Monday, November 30, 2009

The Unmasking of Barack Obama


The overseas reviews for President Obama’s foreign policy are starting to pour in — and they’re not favorable. Bob Ainsworth, the British defense secretary, has blamed Obama for the decline in British public support for the war in Afghanistan. According to the Telegraph:
Mr. Ainsworth took the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing the U.S. President and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban. A “period of hiatus” in Washington — and a lack of clear direction — had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said. Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr. Obama’s “dithering” on Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph disclosed earlier this month, with several former British defense chiefs echoing the concerns.
The President is “Obama the Impotent,” according to Steven Hill of the Guardian. The Economist calls Obama the “Pacific (and pussyfooting) president.” The Financial Times refers to “relations between the U.S. and Europe, which started the year of talks as allies, near breakdown.” The German magazine Der Spiegel accuses the president of being “dishonest with Europe” on the subject of climate change. Another withering piece in Der Spiegel, titled “Obama’s Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage,” lists the instances in which Obama is being rolled.

Climategate Document Database from PJTV/Pajamas Media

Good info:

Pajamas Media
PJTV and PJM now present a complete database of the Climategate documents with a comment section for readers to respond to the individual entries and a way to rank those entries according to interest level. Also available: a roundup of commentary and videos on the subject and Roger L. Simon on "Climategate: Terrified Liars of the UN"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

He Can't Take Another Bow

It keeps coming:
This week, two points in an emerging pointillist picture of a White House leaking support—not the support of voters, though polls there show steady decline, but in two core constituencies, Washington's Democratic-journalistic establishment, and what might still be called the foreign-policy establishment.

From journalist Elizabeth Drew, a veteran and often sympathetic chronicler of Democratic figures, a fiery denunciation of—and warning for—the White House. In a piece in Politico on the firing of White House counsel Greg Craig, Ms. Drew reports that while the president was in Asia last week, "a critical mass of influential people who once held big hopes for his presidency began to wonder whether they had misjudged the man." They once held "an unromantically high opinion of Obama," and were key to his rise, but now they are concluding that the president isn't "the person of integrity and even classiness they had thought."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Behind Obama's overseas allure


Washington Times
A worrisome picture emerges. Mr. Obama's popularity abroad mainly reflects foreign perceptions of how well he suits their interests and values. Yes, foreigners like America better under Mr. Obama - not because they love the U.S. the way we do, but because they think he favors the retrenchment of American power and global influence.

The question is, do we Americans admire Mr. Obama for the same reasons? Do we recognize and want the image of Mr. Obama's America that foreigners have? Should we automatically gauge the value of our policies and interests by how much others like them?

Sometimes Mr. Obama gets alarmingly close to suggesting that. In China, he told CNN, "We've restored America's standing in the world, and that's confirmed by the polls ... before my election, less than half the people - maybe less than 40 percent of the people thought you could count on America to do the right thing. Now it's up to 75 percent."

Put aside the question of whether his popularity has gained international support for concrete American policies. What is interesting is that the foreign image of Mr. Obama's America is increasingly at variance with Americans' views. Many Americans, particularly independents who voted for him, are turning away from his policies because they don't conform to the America they envision. They may still like his personal story, but they are getting worried that he's taking the country in the wrong direction - the very direction many foreigners applaud.

If this trend continues, Americans may end up turning against Mr. Obama precisely for what makes him popular abroad - namely, pursuing policies that weaken America's position in the world.

Remember this the next time someone evaluates the success of the president's foreign policies by foreign opinion polls.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Paul knew a simple truth which we too often miss. Our lives are defined by how we deal with difficulty, in other words "give thanks in all circumstances."

No one can escape the difficult times of life. Jesus said, "in this life you will have tribulation."

So what separates the survivors from the casualties of life?

Many things factor into that equation but one of the primary differences is attitude.   It is how we each deal with what life hands us.

Paul's attitude about life was framed by one passage that he wrote.  "God causes all things to work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

In all things, we need to remember that there is an understanding that no matter what we face, no matter who causes it, no matter how good or bad it is, give thanks in all circumstances.

That's how Paul tempered his attitude. By an understanding that God was bigger than his circumstances, stronger than any problem he faced, and able to use any mistake he made.

How do we learn to deal with difficulty?  By remembering that God is in the midst of all things in our lives and is in control.

As we come to this Thanksgiving week, it is important that we not focus just on one day of fun, food and football.  We also need to focus on attitude. An attitude that should prevail in all our lives is one of giving thanks in all things.

If we stop to think about it, we truly have a lot to be thankful for.

Amazing aerial images taken by daring Allied pilots on secret missions during World War II

 Mail Online
Amazing aerial images taken by daring Allied pilots on secret missions during World War II

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Uh, oh – raw data in New Zealand tells a different story than the “official” one.

Climate information just keeps coming out:

Watts Up With That?
The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The inevitably Marxist zoo XV: King George Soros

Commentary from Michael Moriarty who used to star in Law and Order:

The "Rainbow Elite" of Tom Wolfe's "Radical Chic" has been a power base ultimately consolidated by the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama volleyball game with the White House.

Had Hillary Clinton won the election in 2008, a Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton ownership of the Oval office would have looked … uh … "fishy" … and we all know how important it is for the bipartisan Progressive Movement to root out anything that looks "fishy".

The sudden arrival of "The One" seems to have saved the Progressive Day and its 100 year-old game plan.

Cartoon by Robert Minor in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1911. Karl Marx surrounded by an appreciative audience of Wall Street financiers: John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, John D. Ryan of National City Bank and Morgan partner George W. Perkins. Immediately behind Marx is Teddy Roosevelt, leader of the Progressive Party.

This 1911 cartoon featuring Karl Marx being fawned upon by Wall Street moguls, this Capitalist/Communist love affair, this agreement to share a totalitarian power over the "Collective" … hmmm … it is all coming true, largely thanks to George Soros and Saul Alinsky.

Alinsky, the Marxist, gave Barack Obama the formula for Revolutionary "Change" that a number of Obama's best friends "can believe in". George Soros, perhaps Obama's best friend, gave the Presidential candidate all the money and influence he would need in order to defeat even "the most influential man in the world", Bill Clinton. Plus, of course, Bill's wife, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

We're not talking sky's-the-limit poker but end-of-the-universe power games.

The Progressive Club's formula, used by both the Clintons and the Bushes, has never been so fully articulated and boldly put into action than by the Soros/Alinsky prodigy, Barack Obama.

Recently the increasingly Cheshire cat expression upon the face of George Soros and his sphinx-like silence about what is going to happen to the economy – an outcome he is sure of but unwilling to share – well … look at that cartoon again!

Karl Marx's Gang of Capitalists!

Inside the numbers: How Obama has fallen

This doesn't look good for Obama:

Washington Examiner
We've all seen reports that Barack Obama's job approval rating has recently fallen below 50 percent in the Gallup poll for the first time since the president took office in January. A look inside those numbers -- Gallup publishes a weekly breakdown of its results by demographic groups -- shows that there are a lot of other firsts in the polling:

Among age groups: For the first time in the White House, Obama is below 50 percent with every age group of Americans except those between 18 and 29. He's at 48 percent with people in the 30-49 range; 46 percent with people in the 50-64 range; and 42 percent with people 65 and over. Among those 18-29, he's at 61 percent.

Among racial groups: For the first time in the White House, Obama support among white Americans has fallen below 40 percent. He's at 39 percent among whites; 91 percent among blacks, and 70 percent among Hispanics.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hope is Fading Fast

Even Monbiot says the science now needs “reanalyising”

This is turning into a big deal:

Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog
Even George Monbiot, one of the fiercest media propagandists of the warming faith, admits he should have been more sceptical and says the science now needs to be rechecked:

It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.
Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

Sure, Monbiot claims the fudging of what he extremely optimistically puts as just “three or four” scientists doesn’t knock over the whole global warming edifice, yet…

If even Monbiot, an extremist, can say that much, why cannot the Liberals say far more? And will now the legion of warmist journalists in our own media dare say as Monbiot has so belatedly:

Intel Wants Brain Implants in Its Customers' Heads by 2020

I'm not so sure about this:

 Popular Science
If the idea of turning consumers into true cyborgs sounds creepy, don't tell Intel researchers. Intel's Pittsburgh lab aims to develop brain implants that can control all sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020.

The scientists anticipate that consumers will adapt quickly to the idea, and indeed crave the freedom of not requiring a keyboard, mouse, or remote control for surfing the Web or changing channels. They also predict that people will tire of multi-touch devices such as our precious iPhones, Android smart phones and even Microsoft's wacky Surface Table.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lawyer: 9/11 defendants want platform for views


9/11 defendants want platform for views
A lawyer for one of five men facing trial for the Sept. 11 attacks says the men plan to plead not guilty and use the trial to express their political views.

Attorney Scott Fenstermaker says his client Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and the others will not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but will tell the jury "why they did it."

He says the men will explain "their assessment of American foreign policy."

Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. He says the men, including professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have discussed the trial among themselves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Warmist conspiracy exposed?

This seems to be getting bigger:

Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog
The Hadley University of East Anglia CRU director admits the emails seem to be genuine:

The director of Britain’s leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition tonight ..."It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails."…

TGIF asked Jones about the controversial email discussing “hiding the decline”, and Jones explained what he was trying to say….

So the 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory - a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science. I’ve been adding some of the most astonishing in updates below - emails suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more. If it is as it now seems, never again will “peer review” be used to shout down sceptics.

This is clearly not the work of some hacker, but of an insider who’s now blown the whistle.

Congressional Report: Rhee did 'damage control' after sex charges against fiance Kevin Johnson

Oh my II...  read the whole thing:

Washington Examiner
A congressional investigation of the volunteer organization AmeriCorps contains charges that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee handled "damage control" after allegations of sexual misconduct against her now fiance, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and a prominent ally of President Obama, The Washington Examiner has learned.

The charges are contained in a report prepared by Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The investigation began after the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, received reports that Johnson had misused some of the $800,000 in federal AmeriCorps money provided to St. Hope, a non-profit school that Johnson headed for several years.

Walpin was looking into charges that AmeriCorps-paid volunteers ran personal errands for him, washed his car, and took part in political
activities. In the course of investigating those allegations, the congressional report says, Walpin's investigators were told that Johnson had made inappropriate advances toward three young women involved in the St. Hope program -- and that Johnson offered at least one of those young women money to keep quiet.

Breitbart: Investigate ACORN or We’ll Save the Other Tapes for the Election

Oh my...

Patterico's Pontifications
Breitbart has more. And he’s demanding a federal investigation — or else he’ll hold on to the rest of the tapes until the next election:

Hannity: Are you saying, Andrew, that there are more tapes?

Breitbart: Oh my goodness there are! Not only are there more tapes, it’s not just ACORN. And this message is to Attorney General Holder: I want you to know that we have more tapes, it’s not just ACORN, and we’re going to hold out until the next election cycle, or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have, we will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear that this is a dangerous organization.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prosperity Gospel and the Crash

Did prosperity gospel cause the financial crash?  It could very well have contributed.

The Atlantic (December 2009)
Theologically, the prosperity gospel has always infuriated many mainstream evangelical pastors. Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life outsold Osteen’s, told Time, “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy? There is a word for that: baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?” In 2005, a group of African American pastors met to denounce prosperity megapreachers for promoting a Jesus who is more like a “cosmic bellhop,” as one pastor put it, than the engaged Jesus of the civil-rights era who looked after the poor.

More recently, critics have begun to argue that the prosperity gospel, echoed in churches across the country, might have played a part in the economic collapse. In 2008, in the online magazine Religion Dispatches, Jonathan Walton, a professor of religious studies at the University of California at Riverside, warned:

Narratives of how “God blessed me with my first house despite my credit” were common … Sermons declaring “It’s your season of overflow” supplanted messages of economic sobriety and disinterested sacrifice. Yet as folks were testifying about “what God can do,” little attention was paid to a predatory subprime-mortgage industry, relaxed credit standards, or the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM.

In 2004, Walton was researching a book about black televangelists. “I would hear consistent testimonies about how ‘once I was renting and now God let me own my own home,’ or ‘I was afraid of the loan officer, but God directed him to ignore my bad credit and blessed me with my first home,’” he says. “This trope was so common in these churches that I just became immune to it. Only later did I connect it to this disaster.”

Lead Us Not Into Debt

Surprisingly positive review of Dave Ramsey:

The Atlantic (December 2009)
Dave Ramsey looks nothing like a televangelist. He’s a little on the short side, neither fat nor thin, and he wears jeans and a sports jacket, not a shiny suit and an oily smile. With his goatee and what’s left of his graying hair trimmed close to his head, he looks mostly like what he is—a well-groomed, middle- to upper-middle-class American professional. But when he runs out onstage and starts dispensing financial advice, you realize that he could have been a great preacher.

On a fine summer day at the end of August, I paid $220 for front-row seats on the floor of a minor-league hockey rink in Detroit, just to hear Ramsey talk for five hours. The ostensible topic: getting your financial life in order. Afterward, my fiancé, who grew up in the Bible Belt, called me to ask what I’d thought.

“I think I just attended my first prayer meeting,” I told him.

There was, of course, a great deal of talk about money, and what to do with it. But the format was more tent revival than accounting seminar, with the first 90 minutes or so mostly devoted to Ramsey’s personal story of ruin and redemption. We heard how, during the second half of the 1980s, a young Ramsey built up a multimillion-dollar real-estate empire—then lost it all as the bank got nervous and called his loans, ultimately forcing him and his wife into bankruptcy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Future of Wade Rathke and ACORN, Part III: Wade Rathke Wants to Rule the World

An important read:

Big Government
I’ve come to the conclusion that Wade Rathke’s goal is to rule the world. If you think about what community organizing is, the whole thing makes perfect sense. A good organizer will organize a lot of people. A really good organizer will organize even more. How do you measure someone’s worth in community organizing? It’s by how many people they’ve organized. It’s by how much influence they’ve had in they issue they organize for. Furthermore, effective organizing means a synergy of media outreach, political outreach, and community outreach. Effective organizing means the ability to reach your tentacles into all levels of society. Make no mistake, the reason that ACORN became a force in our society has everything to do with the organizing genius of Wade Rathke.

Now, think about COI. It’s a confederation of international organizations currently in seven countries. It was started about five years ago. In five years, it might be in seventy countries. Wade Rathke started and founded ACORN (then Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now) nearly four decades ago. Then, it was an organization of one. It grew into an organization that had tentacles into nearly all parts of our politically, cultural, and media structure by the time he left. This happened because Wade Rathke is a unique and remarkable organizer. He was so good at it, that he gained enough influence to become embedded into governments of all levels in the U.S. So, what was his goal in ACORN? It was to rule the U.S. If you think that’s absurd and provocative, think again about what makes a good community organizer, the biggest community possible. The bigger the community meant bigger influence. That was in the U.S.

COI is a world organization. It knows no borders. It can go anywhere but it’s purpose is the same. Remember, Wade Rathke told me himself that he wants to go into every urban neighborhood. He himself told me he wants to rule the world. There’s nothing provocative or incorrect in what I’m saying. He’s a community organizer. His goal is as big a community as possible. His place of business is the entire world. So, in effect, Wade Rathke wants to rule the world.

What makes Wade Rathke different from everyone else? He can do it. He grew ACORN from one person to a force in politics, culture and life in the U.S. Now, he wants to do something very similar in the world. I’ve said it before. ACORN is no longer the story. They’re a dying organization that’s disintegrating in front of us. We’re only paying attention for the same reason we pay attention to a trainwreck.

Going forward, Wade Rathke is the story. He’s an individual that not only wants to rule the world but he’s found the vocation to do it, and he’s effective enough to make it happen. An individual with the means, the capability and the resources to rule the world is a story. That’s one I want to follow. It’s one everyone should follow.

The Importance of Being Lieberman


Roger L. Simon
I used to have mixed feelings about Joe Lieberman. He wasn’t the most electric of presidential candidates and sometimes he tended to the sanctimonious – the Holy Joe thing. But I am increasingly becoming convinced he is the indispensable man in the US Congress, indeed in the entirety of our government, a welcome whiff of integrity in a morass of group think, self interest and outright dishonesty.

Perhaps it’s his independent status, but where freedom of thought is called for, usually it’s Lieberman who is the first to step forward. Most recently we have seen this in two key areas – healthcare and the controversy surrounding the actions of Nidal Hasan.

Regarding healthcare, Joe Lieberman holds within his hands the ability to block a piece of legislation that could be disastrous for our country, a bill constructed out of the most blatant partisan know-nothingism. Of course, his enemies will cry that his opposition stems from the presence of insurance companies in his state, but I think we all know that Joe Lieberman is well beyond that at this point – and not just because he is 67 but because of who he is. From Bloomberg:

Donald W. Greenberg, associate professor of politics at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, said Democrats need Lieberman a lot more than he needs them.
“He feels now that he’s secure,” Greenberg said in an interview. “His history has always been as a social liberal. There are lots of issues where he might bolt the party, but you wouldn’t think this is the one. I do think he believes sincerely that this is very dangerous for the economy.”
Believes sincerely? How’s that for a member of the US Congress, moving about in the world of the Murthas, Rangels, Reids and Dodds, who probably don’t believe sincerely that they put on their own socks in the morning?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happiness Paradox: Why Are Americans So Cheery?

I'm really not surprised:

Happiness Paradox:
But the Great Recession has also exposed our magical thinking about what constitutes a middle-class lifestyle. Flash back a generation to the house with the white picket fence. It had a black-and-white TV with an antenna, a car in the garage, a chicken in every pot and two kinds of lettuce (light green and dark green). Now the average house is more than 50% bigger, the car is twice as powerful (and there's often more than one), the TV is flat and gets 900 channels, and we expect the grocery store to have strawberries year-round and about 50 flavors of mustard. Small wonder we started charging our life-insurance premiums on our credit cards; we only expected to pay when we died.

So while optimism is the all-American anesthetic, at some point Expectation Inflation was bound to take its toll. I'm struck by how many people tell pollsters that the voluntary downshifting and downsizing of the past year have come as a kind of relief. Maybe we've lowered our standards. But we already knew that money can buy only comfort, not contentment; happiness correlates much more closely with our causes and connections than with our net worth. Americans may have less money — charitable giving in current dollars dropped for the first time in 20 years in 2008 — but about a million more people volunteered their time to a cause. Which makes me wonder: Is it a coincidence that eight of the 10 happiest states in the country also rank in the top 10 for volunteering?

"Millions of Muslims are Christians'

This is a translation so it's awkward reading.  How incredible this is, since persecution has been so horrendous in the Sudan:

Google Translate
"There are a disaster taking place within Islam," said one of them. In een land als Soedan stoot de wreedheid van het islamitische regime tegen christenen vele moslims af. In a country like Sudan knocks the cruelty of the Islamic regime against Christians off many Muslims. 800.000 van hen zijn christen geworden. 800,000 of them have become Christians"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

For Conservative Movie Lovers:


Big Hollywood
John Wayne was still young in 1944, only thirty-eight years old. And yet the major elements of his inimitable style were hardening into place. Perhaps no other actor in history has been so cognizant of using his body to express grand themes and timeless mythological underpinnings. Under Ford’s direction Wayne never just stands there, he poses, in ways and with effects that conjure up famous paintings and sculpture. When he fills the frame as Lieutenant Junior Grade Rusty Ryan in They Were Expendable, he becomes every man who ever fought a losing action in a war, who faced defeat with stoicism, who sacrificed for a greater good. In the history of film, John Wayne remains nonpareil in his use of presence to project subtext.

Little of that came naturally to the Duke — in his early films he’s tall and rangy and handsome, but with little of the gravity, focus, and dramatic weight that would come to typify his prime acting years. Those skills, and they were skills, were consciously learned over fifteen years of working with Ford and his old troupe of veteran actors. He watched the way they walked and carried themselves, studied the way they were directed, and began to divine the level of nuance Ford demanded. There’s a funny story from the making of Stagecoach (1939, John Wayne’s big coming-out party as an actor), where Wayne’s character was supposed to be washing his face after a hard day, and Ford started smacking him around screaming, “Christ Duke, wash you face like a man! You’re daubing it! You’re daubing it!” He was trying to teach Wayne that, when you are an actor in front of a camera, your every movement can and should mean something deeper than what is on the surface. The act of washing one’s face can be pedestrian, or it can be a sweeping gesture that evokes strength of character, or a relaxed demeanor, or a gentleness of heart. And those deft movements will unconsciously fire off all sorts of neurons in the brain of an audience.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pollution in China

I don't see it getting much better anytime soon:

Amazing Pictures, Pollution in China | ChinaHush
October 14, 2009, the 30th annual awards ceremony of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund took place at the Asia Society in New York City. Lu Guang (卢广) from People’s Republic of China won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.”

Voters Want Green… In Their Wallets


Voters Want Green… In Their Wallets
As the fallout continues to settle from the 2009 elections, among the more overlooked results was a ballot issue in Boulder County, Colorado that would have extended an existing sales tax to fund the acquisition of additional “open space.”

Obviously, this regional issue didn’t garner as much national interest as the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, or the mayoral races in New York, Atlanta and Houston, or a surprising near-win by an unknown third party challenger in a hotly-contested New York Congressional race. Nonetheless, it stands out as another compelling affirmation of the new direction America is taking – if only American politicians would listen.

Analyzing Major Nidal Hassan

In most Muslim countries, the military would not dither over the issue. In Turkey, for example, the armed forces impose a strictly secular ethos on their personnel. Over the years, scores of stealthy Islamists have been identified and unceremoniously booted out for trying to proselytize fellow soldiers and generally undermine the army's values. In less-forgiving countries like Syria, such offenders tend to disappear without a trace or get funneled clandestinely into terror cells for missions abroad.

In places like Algeria, Egypt and Libya, Muslim officers watch over their Muslim conscripts with relentless scrutiny lest any unscripted forms of freelance worship sneak into the picture. Their prisons are full of Muslim Brotherhood conspirators undergoing torture--if they haven't already disappeared into secret graves. In Saddam's military, turbulent believers often went straight to the frontlines during the Iran-Iraq war. Others found that their views rebounded onto the limbs and lives of family members in the most palpable of ways.

Many Muslims desperately flee these countries for the West in order to pursue their more extreme brand of Islam. We give them the freedom to do so--in effect the freedom to hate us. Whether Major Hasan's enormity derived from jihadist motives or because he snapped under emotional strain, he clearly acted out of religious feelings on that day, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" as he shot his fellow soldiers. The New York Times cannot claim that Muslims suffer unbearable prejudice in the Army and then claim that Major Hasan's conduct had no link to his being a Muslim. There's the rub: Does the Army have any propaganda courses at officer level? Was anyone tasked with the job of telling Major Hasan what life might be like for him in a Muslim military? He would not have stayed around, or alive, long enough to explore his hurt feelings as a Muslim.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ACORN: The LA Story, Part I

It looks like we are going to get more fun exposes:

Big Government
Today I received a phone call from my friend, Gary H., who said that ACORN was staging a protest outside the Fox News studios in West Los Angeles. I called someone at the Fox News bureau to find out that there were no protesters there, but quickly realized ACORN had gotten that wrong too. They were protesting in front of FOX Television Center, the home of local affiliate KTTV.

Since I woke up to the news that ACORN had sued the U.S. government to get its federal funding back, it struck me as obvious that ACORN is in the process of trying to get its mojo back absent any real investigations by the Holder Justice Department, the Democratic-controlled Congress, and the Jerry Brown sham investigation in California – not to mention the so-called “internal investigation” whose chief investigator was picked by number one ACORN defender, John Podesta, and SEIU head Andy Stern, whose union is deeply aligned with the troubled “community organizing” group.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush


...we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.


The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks…you tell them that a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes…and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.

12 reasons unemployment is going to (at least) 12 percent

I hope not, but this does cause concern.  Via Hot Air, and read the whole thing:

James Pethokoukis
Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12 percent, maybe even 13 percent. Optimists, Rosenberg explains, underestimate the incredible damage done to the labor market during this downturn. And even before this downturn, the economy was not generating jobs in huge numbers. If he is right, all political bets are off. I think the Democrats could lose the House and effective control of the Senate. I think you would also be talking about the rise of third party and perhaps a challenger to Obama in 2012.

So here is what I gleaned from Rosenberg’s latest report:

1. For the first time in at least six decades, private sector employment is negative on a 10-year basis (first turned negative in August). Hence, the changes are not merely cyclical or short-term in nature. Many of the jobs created between the 2001 and 2008 recessions were related either directly or indirectly to the parabolic extension of credit.

2. During this two-year recession, employment has declined a record 8 million. Even in percent terms, this is a record in the post-WWII experience.

3. Looking at the split, there were 11 million full-time jobs lost (usually we see three million in a garden-variety recession), of which three million were shifted into part-time work.

4.There are now a record 9.3 million Americans working part-time because they have no choice. In past recessions, that number rarely got much above six million.

5. The workweek was sliced this cycle from 33.8 hours to a record low 33.0 hours — the labour input equivalent is another 2.4 million jobs lost. So when you count in hours, it’s as if we lost over 10 million jobs this cycle. Remarkable.

Jon Stewart catches Fox News’ creative editing

This was plain stupid, what was Fox thinking?

Hot Air »
Had CNN spliced footage of a sparsely-attended Capitol Hill rally to discredit the reports of large numbers of attendees to the 9/12 rally in September, conservatives would have rightly howled about media bias. What will conservatives say about Fox News splicing footage of the 9/12 rally into coverage of Michele Bachmann’s otherwise well-attended rally last week?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Rush to Therapy


Op-Ed Columnist -
Major Hasan was portrayed as a disturbed individual who was under a lot of stress. We learned about pre-traumatic stress syndrome, and secondary stress disorder, which one gets from hearing about other people’s stress. We heard the theory (unlikely in retrospect) that Hasan was so traumatized by the thought of going into a combat zone that he decided to take a gun and create one of his own.

A shroud of political correctness settled over the conversation. Hasan was portrayed as a victim of society, a poor soul who was pushed over the edge by prejudice and unhappiness.

There was a national rush to therapy. Hasan was a loner who had trouble finding a wife and socializing with his neighbors.

This response was understandable. It’s important to tamp down vengeful hatreds in moments of passion. But it was also patronizing. Public commentators assumed the air of kindergarten teachers who had to protect their children from thinking certain impermissible and intolerant thoughts. If public commentary wasn’t carefully policed, the assumption seemed to be, then the great mass of unwashed yahoos in Middle America would go off on a racist rampage.

Worse, it absolved Hasan — before the real evidence was in — of his responsibility. He didn’t have the choice to be lonely or unhappy. But he did have a choice over what story to build out of those circumstances. And evidence is now mounting to suggest he chose the extremist War on Islam narrative that so often leads to murderous results.

The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality. It ignored the fact that the war narrative of the struggle against Islam is the central feature of American foreign policy. It ignored the fact that this narrative can be embraced by a self-radicalizing individual in the U.S. as much as by groups in Tehran, Gaza or Kandahar.

It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation.

Is China headed toward collapse?

“Purchases of U.S. consumers cannot be as dominant a driver of growth as they have been in the past,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a trip to Beijing this spring. “In China, ... growth that is sustainable will require a very substantial shift from external to domestic demand, from an investment and export-intensive growth to growth led by consumption.”

That’s one vision of the future.

But there’s a growing group of market professionals who see a different picture altogether. These self-styled China bears take the less popular view: that the much-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is nothing but a paper dragon. In fact, they argue that the Chinese have dangerously overheated their economy, building malls, luxury stores and infrastructure for which there is almost no demand, and that the entire system is teetering toward collapse.

A Chinese collapse, of course, would have profound effects on the United States, limiting China’s ability to buy U.S. debt and provoking unknown political changes inside the Chinese regime.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Emotional Hippies - Crying Over Dead Trees

This is what happens when you put Earth First: Via Big Government

The Berlin Wall Came Down

I never thought it would happen and then it started coming down, so quickly. It really was an amazing time:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Evangelical outrage over play featuring transsexual Jesus

Gee, I wonder why Christian's would find this offensive?

Times Online
A controversial play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual woman was defended yesterday by its writer who has herself crossed the gender barrier to live as a woman.

Jesus, Queen of Heaven, has caused a storm of protest from Christian evangelical groups, who picketed the Tron Theatre in Glasgow when it opened this week.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Marine Traffic of the World

Kind of cool, you can track all of the major shipping, just click on an area and you can zoom in.  You can also get information on individual ships.

Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions

Maybe If We Apologized With Greater Deference


For people determined to avoid any insight into Hasan's mindest, a great place to not look would be the mosque he attended in Maryland:

What interpretation of Islam influenced Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan? As often before, the trail leads to the official sect of Saudi Arabia -- known as Wahhabism to most of us of who denounce it.

Confronting the role of radical Islam here is not Islamophobic, but common sense -- and the first response moderate Muslims themselves will have.

Hasan, though born in America, refused to have his picture taken with women -- an attitude distinct to fundamentalist radicalism among Muslims. The Prophet Mohammed cautioned his followers that when they go to live in non-Muslim lands they must accept the laws and customs of their new home. Millions of American Muslims get their picture taken with women, even ones not their wives, and don't worry about it. To refuse such an elementary and even trivial act of courtesy sets Muslims apart -- and that is the aim of radicals.

We've also learned that, before his transfer to Ft. Hood last year, Hasan served as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and regularly attended Friday prayer at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md.

The Silver Spring clerics have issued formal statements condemning the carnage at Ft. Hood. But Imam Faizul Khan, long the main prayer leader at the mosque and a friend of Hasan, said he never believed Hasan capable of such an act.

Yet what docrines did Hasan absorb at the mosque? While he was a communicant, it hosted at least four talks by Enver Masud, the founder of The Wisdom Fund, the main Muslim "truther" group in America [link, link].

And Khan is a leading board member of the Islamic Society of North America -- the main Wahhabi-lobby group in the United States, established by Saudi Arabia to impose extremism on American Muslims. ISNA has a long and disgraceful record of promoting radical Islam.


Most interesting of all: The button on the MCC's Web site titled "Islam" takes you to a pamphlet titled "Islam Is . . ." by a person calling himself "Pete Seda."

Seda is an Iranian also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty and Abu Yunus. He was one of three officers of the US branch of a Saudi-based "charity," the Al-Haramain Foundation -- until being indicted by the Justice Department for terror financing and tax fraud. Seda and his companions still await trial.

From a ghastly act to a Saudi-backed fundamentalist imam to a Saudi-run designated terror-financing "charity" is not a long trail. It is a small coil of associations that exists in too many US mosques. American Muslims must drive these elements out of their community. The problem's not traumatic stress, much less Islam. It's the ideology, the money and the interests of the Saudi hardliners.

This sort of thing would only be relevant if Hasan had been to a tea party or had once phoned in to Rush Limbaugh.

Friday, November 06, 2009

PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail

Wow, get health insurance or else:

House Committee on Ways & Means - Republican
Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

House to vote on PelosiCare bill

Want to know how to contact your Representative?  Follow this link and put in your zip code the information will come up along with talking points.  This is a good time to let our Representatives know how we feel about the health care issue.

American Family Association - Action Alert

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Scientology: The Truth Rundown, Part 1 of 3

This is a long but very revealing look into the inner workings of Scientology. 

Scientology: The Truth Rundown, Part 1 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology - St. Petersburg Times
The leader of the Church of Scientology strode into the room with a boom box and an announcement: Time for a game of musical chairs.

David Miscavige had kept more than 30 members of his church's executive staff cooped up for weeks in a small office building outside Los Angeles, not letting them leave except to grab a shower. They slept on the floor, their food carted in.

Their assignment was to develop strategic plans for the church. But the leader trashed their every idea and berated them as incompetents and enemies, of him and the church.

Prove your devotion, Miscavige told them, by winning at musical chairs. Everyone else — losers, all of you — will be banished to Scientology outposts around the world. If families are split up, too bad.

To the music of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody they played through the night, parading around a conference room in their Navy-style uniforms, grown men and women wrestling over chairs.

The next evening, early in 2004, Miscavige gathered the group and out of nowhere slapped a manager named Tom De Vocht, threw him to the ground and delivered more blows. De Vocht took the beating and the humiliation in silence — the way other executives always took the leader's attacks.

This account comes from executives who for decades were key figures in Scientology's powerful inner circle. Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, the highest-ranking executives to leave the church, are speaking out for the first time.

Tea partiers descend on Capitol Hill

This should be interesting:
The Tea Party holds no seat in Congress, but at least 10,000 of the party’s members descended on Capitol Hill Thursday to rally against a Democratic-written health care overhaul.

A plan first hatched and heralded on FOX by iconic conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) grew over the weekend as she e-mailed with a handful of colleagues. By the time activists started arriving at the foot of the Capitol around 8:30 a.m., it was clear no Republican leader could stay away.

Minority Leader John Boehner, Republican Whip Eric Cantor and Conference Chairman Mike Pence all spoke.

Inside, Democrats were working to finalize a trillion-dollar health care bill that they say will deliver insurance to tens of millions of Americans who currently lack it, improve the quality of care and rein in costs both for individuals and the government.

Top Gear Aston Martin DB5 & Jaguar E Type

Note to Andrew Sullivan: Don’t Blame Breitbart For My Thought Crimes

Fascinating article from a gay conservative on the issue of "marriage equality."

Big Hollywood
I appreciate the restraint of your posting, “A Gay Voice Against Marriage Equality,” though the title concerns me a little, as the last thing I want is for LGBTers to assume I am some kind of Anita Bryant (she was very active when I was coming out, and we don’t need a repeat of that). Few things are as terrifying as the thought of becoming the object of gay fury (which I understand you’ve had some experience with). It’s a sorry state of affairs when people within the gay community no longer feel they can speak freely without risking ostracism or threats. I sometimes wonder if there should be a hate crimes bill to protect gay people from other gay people.

That said, there are a couple of points in your piece I’d like to address.

First, one does not have to ”search high and low” to find lesbians and gays who are suspicious of the cause formerly known as same-sex marriage. Contrary to popular mythology, not all of us feel a pressing need for “marriage equality,” nor do we derive our self-worth from the state. I know gay Californians who voted for Prop 8 last year because they sincerely believe it is in the best interest of children (some of whom will grow up to be gay), and of society as a whole (which includes gay people), to uphold the ideal of the man-woman nuclear family.

And by the way, the gestapo tactics used by the gay community against Prop 8 supporters didn’t win any hearts and minds - they simply spread fear.

Second, the current term for gay marriage, “marriage equality,” is deliberately misleading. On the surface, it sounds harmless, even benign, but its bullet-proof banality is a con to nip dissent in the bud. After all, who could possibly be against something as fair-sounding as “marriage equality?”

“Marriage equality” is like “social justice” – a catch-all phrase that means everything, and nothing. But ordinary words are a powerful tool in the ongoing, subliminal campaign to disguise social revolution (the tearing down of mainstream institutions) as reasonable legal reform. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

Another good night for the Second Amendment

The Volokh Conspiracy » Blog Archive » Another good night for the Second Amendment
NY-23: Winning Democrat Bill Owens was A-rated by NRA (as was Hoffman).

Virginia: Either Deeds (B rating) or McDonnell (A) were sure to be a big improvement over outgoing Governor Kaine. Deeds lost the NRA endorsement by supporting closing of the (non-existent) “gun show loophole.” In the Attorney General race, Republican Ken Cuccinelli (A+) handily defeated a D-rated Democrat who advertised very aggressively on the gun show issue. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (A+) trounced an F-rated challenger.

In the Virginia House of Delegates, five Republican challengers with A ratings ousted Democratic incumbents rated F,F,B,B,B. A C-rated Republican also unseated an F Democrat incumbent. The House of Delegates already had a fairly solid pro-Second Amendment majority, so the major change in Virginia is a new Governor who, like former Governor and current Senator Mark Warner (Dem.), will sign rights-enhancing legislation passed by the legislature.

By far the most prominent gun control advocate on the ballot this year was Jon Corzine (F). This summer, Corzine twisted lots of legislative arms to win enactment of gun rationing (“one-handgun-a-month”), a silly law that is even sillier in New Jersey, where every handgun purchase requires advance permission from the local police chief. With Christie replacing Corzine, New Jersey gun owners can hope for benign neglect rather than active hostility. The New Jersey Assembly appears to be unchanged.

In sum: A bad night for advocates of gun show restrictions. Another fine night (as were election nights 2006 and 2008) for Democrats with A ratings from NRA. And good news for Second Amendment advocates in blue New Jersey and purple Virginia.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Climate change belief given same legal status as religion

Yeesh, you have to read the whole thing:

In a landmark ruling, Mr Justice Michael Burton said that "a belief in man-made climate change ... is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations".

The ruling could open the door for employees to sue their companies for failing to account for their green lifestyles, such as providing recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel.

The Obama magic has faded


The Obama magic has faded
All politics is local, they say, and Tuesday’s off-off-year elections certainly had their local angles. Jon Corzine has been a terrible governor even by the undemanding standards of terribly governed New Jersey. Creigh Deeds, though he looked good to Democratic Party recruiters not long ago, turned out to be an undistinguished campaigner, more driven by the concerns of Washington Post editorialists than of Virginia voters. And NY-23 Republican nomineee Dede Scozzafava was a bizarre choice, bizarre enough to inspire a seemingly quixotic third-party run by Doug Hoffman.

But these local angles weren’t enough to keep the Obama administration out of the races. President Obama barnstormed Virginia and New Jersey — and pumped money and Joe Biden into NY-23 in support of Democratic candidate Bill Owens. (One suspects Owens would have preferred more money and less Biden.)

And — until it started looking as if they might lose — the Obama people were suggesting that these races would seal their mandate and encourage congressional wafflers to toe the line on health-care reform. Not so much, as it turns out.

In fact, the elections underscored Obama’s political weakness just one year after his triumphant victory over Republican moderate John McCain.

The Obama invincibility that was so much in evidence then seems to have lost its power. People can argue the reasons why these elections, all in places Obama carried handily, were so close. But if he were the political marvel he was thought to be, these races wouldn’t have been contests, but walkovers. So one consequence of this Election Day is the end of his special political magic.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Paranoid Center


Reason Magazine
The Paranoid Style in Center-Left Politics

This isn't the first time the establishment has been overrun with paranoia about paranoiacs. The classic account of American conspiratology is Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," a 1964 survey of political fear from the founding generation through the Cold War. A flawed and uneven essay, Hofstadter's article nonetheless includes several perceptive passages. The most astute one might be this:

"It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through 'front' groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy."

Hofstadter didn't acknowledge it, but his argument applied to much of his audience as well. His article begins with a reference to "extreme right-wingers," a lead that reflected the times. In the early 1960s, America was experiencing a wave of alarm about the radical right. This had been building throughout the Kennedy years and then exploded after the president's assassination, which many people either blamed directly on the far right or attributed to an atmosphere of fear and division fed by right-wing rhetoric. By the time Hofstadter's essay appeared, the "projection of the self" he described was in full effect. Just as anti-communists had mimicked the communists, anti-anti-communists were emulating the red hunters.

Color Movie of Word War II

This is really interesting:

Golden State a flop

One thing most states do not want to emulate today is California's budgetary crisis.

Hot Air
William Voegeli wrote yesterday about the collapse of California’s political class, and the end of the competition between the Golden State model of expansive benefits and taxes and red-state models of low taxes and spending. Voegeli concludes that the high-spending model isn’t worth the expense, and that he’s not the only one who has drawn that conclusion. Migration patterns show that Americans have voted with their feet in this competition between political models, and for good reason: