Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kiss Off

Ahhhh, schadenfreude. Kiss's Gene Simmons has a very colorful and and accurate assessment of the man he voted for President in 2008. Enjoy. And credit to Mr. Simmons for his intellectual honesty.


What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The title is perhaps my favorite of all movie quotes. In this instance, I use it to refer to my confusion over Obama's use of the term "1967 lines" and the explosion of criticim it has raised. As I wrote in a post here, my understanding was that the 1967 lines, with modifications, had long been the basis for any sort of "two-state" compromise between Israel and the Palestinians. But in retrospect, it appears my understanding of the "1967 lines" was incorrect. The term is sufficiently ambiguous that I think it worthy of a post to clarify.

The map below shows the borders of Israel as provided by the UN Mandate, and the 1948 borders after the first Arab-Israeli War. Israel was in a precarious position defensively, and Jerusalem was a divided city. Note that these borders remained essentially unchanged until 4 June 1967 and the start of the Six Day War:

So when someone refers to the 1967 lines, are they referring to the above? Clearly, that territory is not defensible, and no peace could be made on such lines. Logically, to my mind, this was not the 1967 line, but the "1948" line.

During the Six Day War, Israel conquered the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. At the conclusion of the Six Day War, on 11 June 1967, this is how Israel's borders looked.

That is what I understood to be the "1967 lines." I will take my cue from the Israeli PM that my understanding of Obama's use of the term "1967 lines" was incorrect. And that makes it much easier to understand Netenyahu's angst indeed. If Obama was refering to the 1948 line as the basis for compromise, he is either grossly incompetent or a true enemy of Israel. Or both.

Update: Obama has now clarified his remarks. He in fact did mean the borders / armistice lines as existed prior to the 1967 war. Either he wants to see more war in the Middle East or he is insanely naive as to what will make peace possible. One, Israel must have fully densible borders. Two, Iran, the entity most responsible for flaming the Palestinian Israeli conflict, must experience regime change. Three, those who would attack Israel - i.e., Hamas, must be vilified and attacked at every turn until they are destroyed or beaten into submission. Then perhaps there will be peace. What Obama proposes is war and genocide, regardless of his intentions.


These Animals Do Not Deserve Life

Below is a propaganda video from Hamas. In it, they celebrate their 7 April 2011 attack on an Israeli school bus with an anti-tank missle. The bus had already dropped off all but one of the children. Daniel Viflic, 16, was the only child left on the bus when the missle struck. He was wounded in the chest and head, dying from his wounds 10 days later.

(H/T Elder of Ziyon)

Hamas is proud of this? They celebrate the murder of a defenseless, innocent child?

Can someone explain to me why we are giving even a penny to the PLO or the PA, now in partnership with Hamas? But even more than that, can someone explain to me why the genocide of these animals and all who support them is not an acceptable solution? There are two standards that seem acceptable to the world, the impossible standard to which Israel is held to and then the total absence of the slightest standard to which these child murdering scum are held. It is long past time that we fully support a standard of conduct for Israel precisely the equal of that of Hamas. Push these bastards into the sea and wipe the world of their stain.


Muslim Conquest Of Sicily

When you hear Muslims complain of imperialism or the Crusades, you should have a good laugh at their boundless hypocrisy, as Islam under the Arabs and the Turks has been the by leaps and bounds the most imperialistic force in history, spreading far and wide by the sword. May 21 is an important day in that history, as it marks the day in 878 A.D. that Syracuse was conquered by an invading Islamic army, starting what would be two centuries of Islamic rule in Sicily.

The invasion began under Ziyadat Allah, the Aghlabid Emir of Tunisia about 826 A.D. and was strongly contested by the native Sicilians, then subjects of Christian Byzantium. The Christians spent the next two centuries as second class citizens in their own land. As dhimmis, "they had to pay a tax, Jizya and had limitations placed on their occupations, dress and ability to participate in public affairs." Moreover, "[m]any churches were converted to mosques and severe limitations were placed on public displays of Christianity."

This Muslim conquest lasted until the 11th century, when the progeny of the Vikings, Norman mercenaries, were hired to retake Sicily. Led by Roger I, several hundred mercenary Norman knights succeeded in 1078 A.D. Nonetheless, understand that, to this day, the radicals of Islam claim an absolute right to rule Sicily. As explained by Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch:

Why do Muslim terrorists attack in Jammu-Kashmir? Because they can. The Muslim claim to Kashmir differs from their claim to all of India (or for that matter to Spain (Al-Andalus), to Israel, to Sicily, to the Balkans, to Bulgaria, to Rumania, to Hungary, and to all the areas once dominated by Muslims) only in the ability to push that claim. Of course, in the jihadist view the entire world in the end must submit to Islam and be dominated by Islam -- though non-Muslims may, should they accept what many Muslims continue to believe is perfectly just, live under those unambiguous conditions of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity whose sum is the status we now describe as "dhimmitude".

Any land area, even within the Western countries where Muslims come to dominate, will by many of them be regarded as "Muslim land." The claims made by various local Muslims may seem comical to us, such as that for the "Caliphate" in Cologne, or the insistence that certain areas in Malmo or Rotterdam or Muslim-populated towns in France are not to be treated as any longer under the control of representatives of the Infidel nation-state, but they are quite serious. That seriousness is being demonstrated even now both by Muslims and by the representatives (police, firemen, teachers) of that nation-state, who are often too afraid not to comply with the Muslim demands that they stay out of what is no longer their territory. . . .

This is a very old war, defending against Muslim / Arab imperialism. And it is one that our grandchildren will be fighting long after we perish if something is not done, whether militarily or in the war of ideas, to break this imperialistic motive once and for all.


Dracula's Birthday

I missed it. It was May 18. No, it was not the birthday of the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes, a 15th century Wallachian Prince and a knight of the order of Dracul. May 18 was the day, in 1887, that Bram Stoker published his magnum opus, "Dracula."

It is hard to overestimate the cultural importance of that novel. Interestingly, it was not a major seller upon its initial release. But over the years, the popularity of the story has grown exponentially. Indeed, at last count, over 227 movies and innumerable books had been created featuring Stoker's undead antagonist.

Stoker's background research for his novel was extensive and spanned several years. There was much material to draw upon, as vampire myths date back several millennia, with the first known reference appearing in the writings of Mesopotamia. Vampires of mythology fed on life essence, not necessarily blood. Nor was a stake through the heart the most common way of destroying the vampire. But Stoker's novel forever altered the mythology of vampires.

Likewise, Vlad Tepes was never associated with vampirism until Stoker's novel. Tepes was one of the most blood thirsty, sadistic people ever to walk this earth. He executed over 100,000 of his foes, most of them invading Turks captured in battle. Tepes favored method of execution was impalement. Tepes had his prisoners stripped and then had a long stake with a blunted point forced perhaps a foot into the anus of the prisoner. He then had the prisoner raised up and the stake planted firmly in the ground. This method of execution was designed to cause utmost agony over hours if not days as the individual, exposed to the elements, slowly slipped ever farther down the stake. And Tepes made entire forests of the people he impaled. Indeed, one of the most famous incidents occurred in 1462 when Turkish Sultan Mehmed II led an Islamic invasion force into Wallachia, only to turn back in horror after happening upon a scene of 20,000 impaled corpses outside Vlad's capital of Târgoviște.

It is not surprising that Stoker would choose Tepes as his vampire, given the prince's royal lineage, his utter blood thirstiness and his association with horror. That said, in Romania, Tepes is celebrated as major national hero for his stand against Islamic imperialism. At any rate, on 18 May, 126 years ago, Tepes was reanimated and a long deceased Wallachian prince became the most famous undead villain of our era, the vampire Dracula.


He's In

Herman Cain announced his candidacy yesterday in Atlanta.

I think his candidacy is more than sheer entertainment, despite what my favorite pundit thinks.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stars: Vermeer & Van Dyke; Van Gogh & Bronte

Man's fascination with the stars began with the dawn of our species - and has been with us ever since.

The Astronomer, Vermeer, 1668

As Henry Van Dyke makes clear in the great poem below, our fascination has been for reasons religious, artistic and practical.

Stars and the Soul
by Henry Van Dyke

To Charles A. Young, Astronomer

"Two things," the wise man said, "fill me with awe:
The starry heavens and the moral law."
Nay, add another wonder to thy roll, --
The living marvel of the human soul!

Born in the dust and cradled in the dark,
It feels the fire of an immortal spark,
And learns to read, with patient, searching eyes,
The splendid secret of the unconscious skies.

For God thought Light before He spoke the word;
The darkness understood not, though it heard:
But man looks up to where the planets swim,
And thinks God's thoughts of glory after Him.

What knows the star that guides the sailor's way,
Or lights the lover's bower with liquid ray,
Of toil and passion, danger and distress,
Brave hope, true love, and utter faithfulness?

But human hearts that suffer good and ill,
And hold to virtue with a loyal will,
Adorn the law that rules our mortal strife
With star-surpassing victories of life.

So take our thanks, dear reader of the skies,
Devout astronomer, most humbly wise,
For lessons brighter than the stars can give,
And inward light that helps us all to live.

The world has brought the laurel-leaves to crown
The star-discoverer's name with high renown;
Accept the flower of love we lay with these
For influence sweeter than the Pleiades!

Perhaps the greatest work of pre-history, Stonehenge, was a carefully crafted observatory designed to mark the solstice. It was built of supreme effort by a people who had not yet mastered the written word.

And the night sky, in its beauty, has given given birth to countless paens in art and literature.

Starry Night, van Gogh, 1889


by Emily Bronte

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun
Restored our Earth to joy,
Have you departed, every one,
And left a desert sky?

All through the night, your glorious eyes
Were gazing down in mine,
And, with a full heart's thankful sighs,
I blessed that watch divine.

I was at peace, and drank your beams
As they were life to me;
And revelled in my changeful dreams,
Like petrel on the sea.

Thought followed thought, star followed star
Through boundless regions on;
While one sweet influence, near and far,
Thrilled through, and proved us one!

Why did the morning dawn to break
So great, so pure a spell;
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,
Where your cool radiance fell?

Blood-red, he rose, and arrow-straight,
His fierce beams struck my brow;
The soul of nature sprang, elate,
But mine sank sad and low.

My lids closed down, yet through their veil
I saw him, blazinig, still,
And steep in gold the misty dale,
And flash upon the hill.

I turned me to the pillow, then,
To call back night, and see
Your words of solemn light, again,
Throb with my heart, and me!

It would not do - the pillow glowed,
And glowed both roof and floor;
And birds sang loudly in the wood,
And fresh winds shook the door;

The curtains waved, the wakened flies
Were murmuring round my room,
Imprisoned there, till I should rise,
And give them leave to roam.

O stars, and dreams, and gentle night;
O night and stars, return!
And hide me from the hostile light
That does not warm, but burn;

That drains the blood of suffering men;
Drinks tears, instead of dew;
Let me sleep through his blinding reign,
And only wake with you!

The stars point towards the future of humanity. Is there anyone that doubts, a millenium from now, that we will have broken the bonds of our planet, our solar system, and perhaps even our universe.


The Thugocracy & The War Powers Act

The Congress shall have Power To . . . declare War . . .

U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 8

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States . . .

U.S. Const., Art. II, Sec. II

Within sixty calendar days after [the President has committed our military to combat], the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to [such combat] , unless the Congress . . . has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, . . .

50 U.S.C. § 1544(b)(1) (War Powers Act)

Over sixty days ago, Obama committed us to war in Libya, calling it, in Orwellian fashion, not a war, but a "kinetic military action." The War Powers Act, quoted in relevant part above, gives Obama 60 days to request a Congressional authoriation of war or to "terminate" military action. Obama, who consulted the UN prior to sending our forces into combat, has not consulted Congress and apparently has no intention of doing so. In sum, Obama is ignoring the War Powers Act and the Constitution.

Do note that President Bush, before committing our soldiers to war in either Afganistan or Iraq, received specific approval from Congress for both actions. And Obama led the charge in calling Bush's actions of dubious constitutionality. The hypocrisy here is a yawning chasm.

Obama's excuse for failing to seek Congressional authorization is that he has transferred the lead of the operation to NATO. This could not be a bigger dodge. U.S. forces dominate NATO, and regardless who is leading combat operaitons on Libya, U.S. combat forces are still involved in it. As WaPo points out, "[m]ake no mistake: Obama is breaking new ground, moving decisively beyond his predecessors."

Virtually all President's since 1972 have maintained that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional, but all have complied with its terms regardless. Whether it is unconstitutional is a close question that, under our current Supreme Court, could go either way. But one thing is certain, no prior President has ever acted in such total and complete regard for the law as Obama. His presidency is indeed a lawless thugocracy.


Friday, May 20, 2011

An Adult Conversation On Medicare?

This ad really sums up everything about the left's style of argument. One, it is a complete lie as, under Ryan's plan, senior's Medicare would remain untouched. Two, it is designed to appeal wholly to emotion rather than make any sort of intellectually honest argument. Three, it is designed to demonize the right for making any sort of serous effort to reform Medicare. When the left calls for an adult conversation, what they are really asking is that the right shut up and not push back against their scurrilous attacks. They could care less about anything other than gaining political power, whatever the cost to our nation. Worthless scum.


Obama's Middle East Speech

For me, the most striking part of Obama's speech (text here) was his adoption of the Bush Doctrine - ie., to push a democracy and freedom agenda in the Middle East. Well, that wasn't striking. To the contrary, that is what he should have been doing from day one. What was striking about it was that he pretended he had been pushing a democracy and freedom agenda all along while no President before him had. He is going to need buckets of white out and barrels of ink to rewrite that much history. What a disingenuous S.O.B.

No administration has been quite so on their heels on foreign policy as has been the Obama administration. Obama's first acts in office were to walk back the Bush administrations democracy / freedom agenda in the Middle East. Obama announced his intentions clearly in the Cairo speech, then followed word with deed, virtually zeroing out the budget for pushing democracy in Iran and cutting the budget in half for pushing democracy in Egypt. When the Green Revolution broke out in Iran, Obama was caught completely flat footed and, like a deer in the headlights, lifted not a finger in support of the Iranian people for months. Obama was similarly in a reactive mode as regards to the Arab Spring that has swept across the Middle East.

Yet in his speech today, in announcing his new democracy and freedom agenda for the region, he described the foreign policy of preceeding administrations as being narrowly limited to "countering terrorism and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; securing the free flow of commerce, and safe-guarding the security of the region; standing up for Israel's security and pursuing Arab-Israeli peace." This was shameless. Obama gave no mention of the fact that pushing democracy in the Middle East was a Bush administration policy backed with significant funding. Shameless.

Other than that minor detail, there was Obama ignoring the single most important reality of the Middle East - that bin Laden was not an anamoly, but rather a true believer in the Wahhabi dogma, and thus, just the very tip of a massive radical Islamic ice berg. You wouldn't know that from Obama's speech, where he claimed al Qaeda an irrelevancy whose message has been rejected throughout the Islamic world. Hmmmm, maybe he should have checked with Egypt's Copts on that - or the Muslim Brotherhood. Bottom line, Obama's complete failure to engage in the war of ideas as part of the larger war against "radical Islam" insures that our grandchildren will still be fighting the war against Islamic extremists long after we have past into dust.

As to Obama's discussion that Israel-Palestine peace should be based on the 1967 border, subject to modifications necessary for Israel's self-protection, I didn't see anything new or otherwise objectionable in taking that position. My understanding was that Israel has taken the same position on a two-state issue for over a decade. Indeed, I note that Elder of Ziyon has given Obama's speech relatively good marks on his discussion of Palestinian issue. For his part, Charles Krauthammer is a bit more reserved in his judgment, parsing the speech for signs of new, potentially problematic changes in Obama's policy towards Israel. This from Krauthammer:

A lasting peace will involve . . . Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.

Meant to reassure Israelis that the administration rejects the so-called right of return of Palestinian refugees. They would return to Palestine, not Israel — Palestine being their homeland, and Israel (which would cease to be Jewish if flooded with refugees) being a Jewish state. But why use code for an issue on which depends Israel’s existence?

The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.

A new formulation favorable to maximal Arab demands. True, that idea has been the working premise for negotiations since 2000. But no president had ever before publicly and explicitly endorsed the 1967 lines.

Even more alarming to Israel is Obama’s omission of previous American assurances to recognize “realities on the ground” in adjusting the 1967 border, meaning U.S. agreement that Israel would incorporate the thickly populated, close-in settlements in any land swap. By omitting this, Obama leaves the impression of indifference to the fate of these settlements. This would be a significant change in U.S. policy and a heavy blow to the Israeli national consensus.

The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves . . . in a sovereign and contiguous state.

Normal U.S. boilerplate except for one thing: Obama refers to Palestinian borders with Egypt, Jordan and Israel. But the only Palestinian territory bordering Egypt is Gaza. How do you get contiguity with Gaza? Does Obama’s map force Israel to give up a corridor of territory connecting the West Bank and Gaza? This is an old Palestinian demand that would cut Israel in two. Is this simply an oversight? Or a new slicing up of Israel?

Finally, in calling for both parties to “come back to the table,” the Palestinians have to explain “the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas. . . . How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?”

Not a strong statement about Washington rejecting any talks involving Hamas. A mere placeholder.

On the other hand, Obama made no mention here of Israeli settlements. A mere oversight? Or has Obama finally realized that his making a settlement freeze a precondition for negotiations — something never demanded before he took office — was a disastrous unforced error? One can only hope.

While neither I nor Elder of Zyion saw much objectionable in Obama's statements on the Palestinian issue, Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, went into minor nuclear melt down. It appears an overreaction to me, but given how Obama has treated Israel over the past two years, it is at least understandable. At any rate, we will see the real fall-out from this speech in the weeks that come, as Obama, Israel, and PLO/Hamas all try to put their own spin on it.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Handicapping The Race

Looking at the Republican potential / declared candidates for President in 2012, here is how I see their chances:

3 to 1 - Paul Ryan: The economy is the single most important issue facing our nation going into 2012. Ryan understands the economics of our government the way few do - and he can explain the economics, albeit a bit woodenly. Most importantly, he has had the intellectual honesty and huevos grande to go where few politicians dare tread, proposing specific reforms to our entitlement boondoggles. Negatives - he says he won't run.
Ability to beat Obama: 54 to 46.

5 to 1 - Chris Christie: His winning wars with the unions and the democratic legislature in NJ have been the stuff of youtube gold. He is articulate and doesn't back down an inch. His ability to communicate is the best of any politician on either side of the aisle.
Negatives - He says he won't run. He wants to keep NJ pensions as defined benefit plans. Lastly, he seems to have RINO tendencies on issues such as gun control, as well as zero understanding of the threat we face from political Islam.
Ability to beat Obama: 53 to 47.

6 to 1 - Mitch Daniels: Daniels too understands economics, having served as Director of OMB. As a two-term Gov. of Indiana, Daniels has taken Indiana from a significant deficit to fiscal sanity. His first day as Gov., Daniels decertified all government employee unions by executive order and did away with the requirement that State employees pay mandatory union dues. In 2008, he passed laws creating a statewide school voucher program and merit pay for teachers. He also oversaw passage of laws penalizing companies who employed illegal aliens as well as denying illegal aliens in-state tuition.
Negatives: His earlier call for a truce on social issues has left SoCon's leery. Moreover, one of his first acts as Gov. was to submit a fiscal plan that called for tax increases. Lastly, he is still playing coy, promising to decide on whether to enter the race "soon."
Ability to beat Obama: 53 to 47.

8 to 1 - Mitt Romney: He is a well known quantity from the 2008 election. He was a very successful businessman and a former governor of bluest of blue Mass. He will likely be able to raise a huge warchest. And lastly, he is the "next man in line," which seems to be the way Republicans choose their nominees.
Negatives: Romneycare, Romneycare, Romneycare. Did I mention Romneycare.
Ability to beat Obama: 51 to 49.

10 - 1 Michelle Bachman: She is still a bit of a mystery to me. She has embraced the tea party and taken strong positions on social issues, leading others more knowledgeable about her than I to say that she has the SoCon vote largely sewn up. I have not heard her debate anyone yet. I do know that she has very strong money raising potential.
Negatives: She has already gotten a bit of the Sarah Palin treatment from the media, claiming that she is an intellectual light weight. If she does well in debates, she could easily move up the ladder.
Ability to beat Obama: 50 to 50.

10 - 1 Herman Cain: An extremely successful businessman and an arch-conservative talk show host. He is likable, well spoken and has the best business bona fides of anyone in the race. He is able to think quickly on his feet and is very knowledgeable about all of the major political issues.
Negatives: No experience in government. His health is also a concern.
Ability to beat Obama: 50 to 50.

15 - 1 - Sarah Palin: She is the most well known of all the potential candidates. She is intelligent, articulate and beautiful. But having been the subject of the most relentless leftwing media jihad in our nations history, she is a wild card. If she enters the race, and she might, I could easily see her placing second, if not first.
Negatives - She has already been successfully labled by the left as an intellectual lightweight. She would have to overcome that label and overcome questions regarding her decision to resign from the governorship of Alaska.
Ability to beat Obama: 49 to 51.

15 - 1 - Jeb Bush: He is the Bush that his family thought would be President. By all accounts, he did an excellent job as Gov. of Florida, making positive changes in the areas of education, medical malpractice and Medicare.
Negatives: He has indicated that he will likely not run. And of course, his last name is Bush - a liability for probably the next 4 to 6 years.
Ability to beat Obama: 49 to 51.

100 - 1 - Jon Huntsman: One of the key issues facing us is the left's insane push to treat carbon as a pollutant, with all the ramifications that has for our economy. A few days ago, Huntsman said he believes in man-made global warming. Moreover, while he was Gov. of Utah, he embraced the stimulus.
Negatives: I don't see much positive about Huntsman at this point.
Ability to beat Obama: 47 to 53.

999 to 1 - Ron Paul: From an uber-isolationist foreign policy to his embrace of the gold standard, Ron Paul is the Republican's crazy uncle.
Ability to beat Obama: 30 to 70.

1,000,000 to 1 - Chuck Schumer: I list Schumer simply to put the chances of Newt Gingrich in perspective.
Ability to beat Obama: 0.

1,000,001 to 1 - Newt Gingrich: Having gone on the Sunday talk shows and played Russian roulette with all chambers filled, Gingrich has destroyed any possible chance of winning the nomination for Republican candidate for the Presidency. But all is not lost. He could still mount a primary challenge to Obama.
Ability to beat Obama: 0


History of Judaism & Israel - in Three Minutes

A nice little primer on Jewish and Israeli history in under 3 minutes. It is a bit quick, blink and you miss a century or two of history. And they could easily have stretched this out to 4 minutes, but, well, enjoy.

(H/T Elder of Ziyon)


In Norway - An "Extreme Right Winger"

This is now what passes for "radical right wing" in the world today - a person standing up for their native culture in their native land.

As the left tries to remake their world into a socialist nirvana, opening the flood gates to immigration from Islamic countries has been both a tool and a Faustian bargain. The Islamists are, for now, a key part of the secular left's power base. This will not end well, however it ends.

(H/T Crusader Rabbit)


Assessing The Impact Of The Public Sector Union Full Employment Act 0f 2009

Actually, the above title is what the Stimulus should have been named, as that was clearly its purpose. Of the $787 billion funds spent in the Stimulus, only 2.6% of it went to address small businesses. The majority of the rest went to states. The left apparently believed that the private sector would bounce back on its own, and in the meantime, they wanted to keep their power base fully employed and sending dues to the Democrat's cash cow, pulbic sector unions. It was a huge error in judgment that has left us teeting on economic catastrophe. Within eight months, by 1 January, 2010, the private sector had hemmoraged 7.3 million jobs. The public sector, on the other hand, had lost only 100,000 jobs.

Recently, two economists delved deeper into the impact of the Stimulus on states and public sector / private sector employment near 30 months on. Their study, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Public Sector Jobs Saved, Private Sector Jobs Forestalled," provides in-depth evidence for the same conclusions I pointed to in the paragraph above. It makes for interesting - and damning - reading:

Our benchmark results suggest that the ARRA created/saved approximately 450 thousand state and local government jobs and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment. The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services.

(H/T Powerline)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Warmie With Real Comedic Talent

People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful.

John Mitchell, Principle Research Scientist, MET

So in other words, what are you going to believe when it comes to determining whether global warming is occuring and, if so, to what degree and what is driving it? Are you going to believe the measurable evidence? Or are you going to believe the computer models that the warmies have been using to forecast doom and gloom for decades - and all of which have been proven ever more divorced from reality? If this wasn't costing the entire western world billions of dollars, it would be hilarious. Actually, it is hilarious any way. Now where did I put the tar and feathers . . .

To read the whole story of John Mitchell's stand up comedy routine, visit Watts Up With That.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Newt Debacle

In 2010, when I pondered Newt Gingrich entering the 2012 Presidential race, I was optimistic indeed. A brilliant history professor with tremendous intellectual agility, Newt was a man, I thought, who could take up the conservative banner and run with it. After all, he had led the great Republican revolution in 1994 and he championed the Contract With America, a Reagenesque basket of specific reforms strongly supported by all conservatives.

Then, earlier this year, Newt came out in full support of ethanol subsidies. As I wrote here:

Bio-fuels are the world's greatest boondoggle. The fuel is inefficient, expensive and actually contributes to the growth of CO2 in our atmosphere. Not only does it make no sense to mandate or subsidize ethanol, it is a major contributing factor to poverty and hunger world-wide. . . .

And indeed, the WSJ crucified Gingrich for this horrid bit of Iowa-centric, anti-conservative politics, labeling him "Professor Cornpone." The WSJ opined that Gingrich's "ethanol lobbying raises larger questions about his convictions and judgment." To say the least.

And yesterday, appearing on "Meet the Press," Gringrich came out in opposition to Paul Ryan's proposed fix for Medicare, calling it a plan for "radical change" and describing it as "right wing social engineering." To top that fatal self-inflicted wound, he announced support for some "variant" of the "individual mandate." The "individual mandate" means a vast expansion in government power beyond anything envisioned by the Founders, no matter how you cut it. As Judge Roger Vinson noted, as regards the "individual mandate:"

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be ““difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power" . . . and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.

You know, if I wanted to vote for a big government politician who embraces harmful programs for their political value and who wants to vastly expand government power over the individual irrespective of the Constitution, I would vote straight Democrat. Newt doesn't need to be making a bid for the Republican candidacy for President, he needs to be mounting a primary challenge against Obama. At any rate, he won't be getting my vote, much less my support.

Update: Charles Krauthammer delivers the eulogy over Gingrich's 2012 election chances.

RIP - quietly.


To The Warmies - "Sorry, but you’ve been had"

Climate scientist David Evans recently gave the speech below at a rally in Australia. Evans has gone from being a proponent of the theory of antrhopogenic globabl warming, to now, acknowledging that the science is not merely in doubt, but false. And he explains why. This from Mr. Evans:

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.

Let’s set a few things straight.

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Let’s be perfectly clear. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in the air, the warmer the planet. Every bit of carbon dioxide that we emit warms the planet. But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.

Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet’s temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.

This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

At this point, official “climate science” stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

There are now several independent pieces of evidence showing that the earth responds to the warming due to extra carbon dioxide by dampening the warming. Every long-lived natural system behaves this way, counteracting any disturbance. Otherwise the system would be unstable. The climate system is no exception, and now we can prove it.

But the alarmists say the exact opposite, that the climate system amplifies any warming due to extra carbon dioxide, and is potentially unstable. It is no surprise that their predictions of planetary temperature made in 1988 to the U.S. Congress, and again in 1990, 1995, and 2001, have all proved much higher than reality.

They keep lowering the temperature increases they expect, from 0.30C per decade in 1990, to 0.20C per decade in 2001, and now 0.15C per decade — yet they have the gall to tell us “it’s worse than expected.” These people are not scientists. They overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide, selectively deny evidence, and now they conceal the truth.

One way they conceal is in the way they measure temperature.

The official thermometers are often located in the warm exhaust of air conditioning outlets, over hot tarmac at airports where they get blasts of hot air from jet engines, at waste-water plants where they get warmth from decomposing sewage, or in hot cities choked with cars and buildings. Global warming is measured in 10ths of a degree, so any extra heating nudge is important. In the United States, nearly 90% of official thermometers surveyed by volunteers violate official siting requirements that they not be too close to an artificial heating source.

Global temperature is also measured by satellites, which measure nearly the whole planet 24/7 without bias. The satellites say the hottest recent year was 1998, and that since 2001 the global temperature has levelled off. Why does official science track only the surface thermometer results and not mention the satellite results?

The Earth has been in a warming trend since the depth of the Little Ice Age around 1680. Human emissions of carbon dioxide were negligible before 1850 and have nearly all come after the Second World War, so human carbon dioxide cannot possibly have caused the trend. Within the trend, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation causes alternating global warming and cooling for 25 to 30 years at a go in each direction. We have just finished a warming phase, so expect mild global cooling for the next two decades.

We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government — how exciting for the political class!

Even if we stopped emitting all carbon dioxide tomorrow, completely shut up shop and went back to the Stone Age, according to the official government climate models it would be cooler in 2050 by about 0.015 degrees. But their models exaggerate 10-fold — in fact our sacrifices would make the planet in 2050 a mere 0.0015 degrees cooler!

Finally, to those who still believe the planet is in danger from our carbon dioxide emissions: Sorry, but you’ve been had. Yes, carbon dioxide is a cause of global warming, but it’s so minor it’s not worth doing much about.

(H/T Hot Air)


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Obama's Lawless Thugocracy (Update 2)

[This is a post that originated January, 2010. I periodically update it to keep a running list of outrages by our Thug In Chief and his radical administration]

Somebody explain to me why the Obama regime should not be counted among the most lawless and corrupt we have seen in this country. Here are some examples:

21. As noted in #17 below, Obama committed our military to combat in Libya without consulting Congress. Sixty days have passed since, and Obama has not asked Congress for an authorization for this use of force in violation of the War Powers Act. Obama, in a transparent dodge, claims that the WPA does not apply because NATO is now in overall command of the combat operations targeting Libya. This makes a travesty of the War Powers Act and is, at best, unlawful.

20. Under Obama, the National Labor Relations Board, ostensibly a neutral organization, has become radically pro-Union. They have outrageously brought suit against Boeing to force the company to keep all production in unionized Washington. This is an Orwellian assault on capitalism, and indeed, it is an act that ignores both law and seven decades of precedent interpreting that law.

19. Obama's newly radicalized NLRB has also brought suit against Arizona because that state passed a law requiring secret ballots for unionizaiton. A secret ballot is the single most basic procedure guaranteeing fair and free elections in any democracy. The only reason to allow any other procedure is to make room for thuggery and intimidation by unions.

18. In perhaps his most thuggish act to date, Obama has proposed to sign an Executive Order that would require "all companies (and their officers) . . . to list their political donations as a condition to bidding for government contracts." What that means is that "[c]ompanies can bid and lose out for the sin of donating to Republicans. Or they can protect their livelihoods by halting donations to the GOP altogether—which is the White House's real aim." This is not just thuggery taken to a new level, it seems a clear violation of the First Amendment.

17. Obama has taken our nation into war a kinetic military action against Libya, after consulting, not Congress, but the U.N. And the left calls the war in Iraq illegal?

16. Obama betrayed our closest ally, the UK, in his single minded quest to get a START Treaty done at all costs with Russia. Despite the UK's refusal to allow the US to release their nuclear information to Russia, Obama agreed to do it in secret anyway. That comes on top of Obama potentially lying to Congress about the nature and effect of a provision in START tying our missle defense program to the START offensive nuclear weapons treaty.

15. Immediately after a Federal Court declared Obamacare unconstitutional in toto, the Obama regime announced their intent to ignore the decision and continue implementing Obamacare.

14. A federal judge today ruled that the Obama regime acted with “determined disregard” for the law "by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling" after the policy was struck down by the court.

13. The regime is now stonewalling Congress, refusing to respond to document requests from the House Oversight Committee. This should be viewed in conjunction with the Obama Justice Dept. refusal to respond lawful subpoenas from the Civil Rights Commission.

12. Obama is deeply involved in crony capitalism, picking the winners and losers in our economy. Now we learn that the Obama EPA, which started enforcing draconian new regulations on our energy sector in January, has issued the first waiver to those regulations. The recipient - the biggest of Obama's cronies, GE.

11. The number of entities now given waivers from Obamacare is in excess of 700, with over 40% of these waivers going to unions and other entities, such as AARP, that lent their strong support to passing Obamacare. Update 5/14/11: Make that number 1372, with HHS refusing to make public their criteria for granting or refusing waivers.

10. Obama is conducting a jihad against our coal industry. The most outrageous example of that jihad occurred recently when the EPA acted, for the first time in its history, to withdraw a permit properly issued three years ago to the largest coal mining operation in WV.

9. The HHS, acting with all the subtlety of the old Soviet politburo, threatened insurers with destruction of their business if they publicly point out that their rate increases are being caused by Obamacare. If that doesn't violate the First Amendment, then nothing does.

8. The Obama regime has turned to regulatory agencies to impose his deeply ideological agenda. The only body with legislative authority under our Constitution is Congress. Moreover, it is clear neither the 111th or 112th Congress would approve the power grabs that Obama's regulators have made. Yet today we have the EPA regulating plant food and the FCC claiming the power to regulate the Internet. It may be Constitutional, but it is a complete distortion of the government our Founders envisioned.

7. Don't forget Obama's extortion of GM & Chrysler bond holders to pay off the UAW. Who cares about the 5th Amendment and property rights.

6. Obama fired Gerald Walpin, the Inspector General of AmeriCorps, after he caught an Obama crony involved in corruption.

5. Obama is in the midst of unilateral, massive land and ocean grabs specifically aimed at shutting off new mining or drilling as part of his jihad on our energy sector. It is Constitutional according to black letter precedent, but yet again Obama is shutting Congress out of the decision making loop.

4. Obama paid off teacher's unions by infusing them with billions in cash while restricting states' ability to renegotiate union contracts, all as a part of the unnamed XXXX Act of XXXX.

3. Obama's DOJ is engaging in race-based unequal enforcement of civil rights laws and has lied about it under oath.

2. Obama decided to make recess appointments without even submitting individuals for Congressional confirmation - and at the same time justified his acts as necessary because of Republican obstructionism.

1. The Obama administration committed fraud in support of GM.

If Bush had done even one of the things above, our nation, from sea to shining sea, would have gone deaf from the din and decibel level of the left's primal screams. And do note that the above is just off the top of my head. It is hardly a complete list. Bottom line, the next time someone on the left screams in your ear that the right stands athwart the rule of law (or that a court decision they don't like is, ipse dixit, judicial activism), take aim at their crotch and kick them with all the force you can muster. Repeat as necessary until they experience an epiphany.

Welcome readers from the Infidel Blogger's Alliance


"Osama bin Jerk'n"

By now, everyone has heard that, among the many items the SEALS found and confiscated from the bin Laden compound was a rather extensive cache of porn. Since this information was made public, goat jokes - and videos of goat porn - have been appearing all over the net. That said, the New York Post has taken the jokes to the next level, listing the titles of porn found on the compound. They include among their number:

•Debbie Does Abbotabad
•Oral Qaeda
•No Fatwa Chicks
•9 1/2 Sheiks
•Suicide Bombshells 6
•Behind the Green Burqa
•1000 Arabians in One Night
•Weapons of Mass Seduction
•SEAL Team Sex
•Whora Bora

Heh. Other notable attempts to guess the titles came from Doug Ross, who believed "Deep Goat," "The Camel's Toe," and "Two And A Half Goats" might be among their number. Heh.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our (Snake) Oil Salesman In Chief

Apparently, with gas prices over $4 a gallon, the "demonize domestic oil companies" strategy isn't polling too well for Obama, nor is the utterly bull**** argument that increasing the amount of oil drilled domestically would not effect the price of gas and oil. Thus, Obama has had another poll driven epiphany, announcing in his Weekly Radio Address that, while big oil is still evil for making profits, he, Obama, will take some steps to allow more drilling.

As I discussed here, Obama is at war with our domestic oil and gas industry. In just two years, he has cut almost in half the acerage on which our domestic oil industry can explore and drill. Likewise, he has cut almost in half the number of permits for drilling and exploration. Part of this has been the "permitorium" that Obama has placed on drilling in the Gulf - the same one that has seen an exodus of rigs from the Gulf of Mexico, and with them, thousands of American jobs.

The Republican response to this was to pass the American Energy Initiative - a series of three bills designed to force the administration to allow new exploration and drilling. Specifically:

The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229) would end the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible, transparent manner by setting firm time-lines for considering permits to drill, which provide certainty and allow employers and workers to get back on the job. Passed the House of Representatives on 5/11/2011 with a bipartisan vote of 263 to 163.

The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230) would require the Obama Administration to move forward promptly to conduct offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that the Obama Administration has delayed or canceled. Passed the House of Representatives on 5/5/2011 with a bipartisan vote of 266 to 149.

The Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231) would lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward in the 2012-2017 lease plan with energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. Passed the House of Representatives on 5/12/2011 with a bipartisan vote of 243 to 179.

Obama, feeling the heat, responded in his Weekly Radio Address. Much of what he said was a rehash of the same old snakeoil:

1. He reiterates his claim that "gougers" and "market manipulators" may be somehow responsible for high gas prices - rather than supply, demand, and the insane left wing wars on the value of the dollar and every facet of our energy industry.

2. Obama is still demonizing the oil industry for making profits. And he still wants to treat them as pariahs by singling out the oil industry for unfavorable tax treatment among all U.S. manufacturers.

3. Obama continues his fantasy of reducing our oil usage by wasting billions of our tax dollars on real subsidies for solar and wind, two fuel sources that are grossly inefficient, unable to compete economically with oil or coal, and which together account for less than 1% of our annual energy usage.

4. The only change Obama announced was a series of vague promises to allow for more exploration and drilling. Specifically, he stated:

[W]e should increase safe and responsible oil production here at home. Last year, America’s oil production reached its highest level since 2003. But I believe that we should expand oil production in America – even as we increase safety and environmental standards.

To do this, I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic. We plan to lease new areas in the Gulf of Mexico as well, and work to create new incentives for industry to develop their unused leases both on and offshore.

We’re also taking steps to give companies time to meet higher safety standards when it comes to exploration and drilling. That’s why my Administration is extending drilling leases in areas of the Gulf that were impacted by the temporary moratorium, as well as certain areas off the coast of Alaska. And to streamline that permitting process, I am establishing a new team to coordinate work on Alaska drilling permits.

Whether anything Obama said in his speech actually translates into anything of substance is a very open question. In any event, he clearly does not go anywhere near as far as the Republicans propose in the American Energy Initiative, as Rep. Doc Hastings makes clear in his response to Obama's Weekly Radio Address:

In the last week, House Republicans passed three bipartisan bills that will create 1.2 million jobs, triple American offshore oil production and generate $840 million in revenue - real action to produce real American energy. It’s ironic that while the White House and Congressional Democrats strongly criticized these efforts, President Obama is now taking tiny baby steps in our direction. The President is finally admitting what Republicans have known all along - that increasing the supply of American energy will help lower prices and create jobs. One weekend address announcing minor policy tinkering, while positive, does not erase the Administration’s long job-destroying record of locking-up America’s energy resources.

With Reid in charge of the Senate and Obama in the White House, the Republican legislation, no matter how badly needed, is going nowhere. But at least it appears to be putting a lot of pressure on Obama. Let's see if anything of any substance comes out of it.


Rockwell's Puppy Love; Yeat's & "The Clothes Of Heaven"

Puppy Love, Norman Rockwell, 1926

Norman Rockwell is the most iconic of American painters. With a carreer spanning almost six decades and including over 4,000 original works, he was also one of the most prolific. He explained his philosophy of art thusly: "My fundamental purpose is to interpret the typical American. I am a story teller." And that he was, with every one of his works seeming to capture a little piece of the best of life in America. Thus it is not surprising that his work was utterly panned by much of the left wing art world. But as for the rest of us, Rockwell was and is a national treasure. The above painting, Puppy Love, debuted as the cover of a 1926 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.

As to this week's poetry, in line with Rockwell's theme, there is this great poem from Yeats

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Yeats is the greatest of 20th century Irish poets. Like Rockwell, incredibly prolific over a period of decades, Yeat's work was much more varied, ranging from romantic poetry in his early years to striking dark, occult imagery in his latter, post WWI works.


Geert Wilders On Freedom & Islam

The left and political Islamists have made common cause in Europe, and the left uses the police power of the state to punish anyone who complains of the ever growing influence of radical Islam in their countries. Dutch politician Geert Wilders is one man who has not bent to this intimidation. He has spoken out against what he sees as the incremental Islamicization of Europe. For this, he has paid a heavy price. So many death threats have been made against him that he now is surrounded by security 24 hours a day. And in his home country of the Netherlands, Mr. Wilders is on trial, charged with the crime of hate speech.

Wilders is making a swing through America and recently spoke at Cornerstone Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The following is the text of his speech:

Dear friends from Tennessee. I am very happy to be in your midst today. I am happy and proud to be in this impressive church.

My friends, I am here to speak words of truth and freedom.

Do you know why America is in a better state than Europe? Because you enjoy more freedom than Europeans.

And do you know why Americans enjoy more freedom than Europeans? Because you are still allowed to tell the truth.

In Europe and Canada people are dragged to court for telling the truth about islam.

I, too, have been dragged to court. I am an elected member of the house of representatives in the Netherlands. I am currently standing in court like a common criminal for saying that islam is a dangerous totalitarian ideology rather than a religion.

The court case is still pending, but I risk a jail sentence of 16 months.

Last week, my friend Lars Hedegaard, a journalist from Denmark, was fined because in a private conservation, which was recorded without his knowing, he had criticised the way women are treated in islamic societies.

Recently, another friend, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a human rights activist from Austria, was fined because she had criticised islam’s founder Muhammad. She had said that Muhammad was a pedophile because he had married a 6-year old girl and raped her when she was 9.

Unfortunately, there are many similar cases.

I am especially happy to be in your midst because here I can say what I want to say without having to fear that I will be dragged to court upon leaving this church.

My dear American friends, you cannot imagine how we envy your First Amendment. The day when America follows the example of Europe and Canada and introduces so-called “hate speech crimes” which is only used to punish people who are critical of islam, that day America will have lost its freedom.

My friends, let us hope that this never happens.

Last week, we celebrated Liberation Day in the Netherlands. We celebrated the liberation from the Nazi occupation in 1945. Many American soldiers, including many young Tennesseans, played a decisive role in the liberation of the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. We are immensely grateful for that. Young Americans gave their lives so that the Dutch might be free. I assure you: The Dutch people will never forget this.

Unfortunately, however, the Europe which your fathers and grandfathers fought and died for is not the Europe we are living in today.

I travel the world to tell people what Europe has become. I wish I could take you all on a visit to my country and show you what Europe has become. It has changed beyond recognition as a result of mass immigration. And not just any mass immigration, but mass immigration driven by the dangerous force of islam.

My friends, I am sorry. I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow islam to gain a foothold here.

Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by islamic sharia law. Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

The results can be seen in Europe.

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal: the first method is the sword. Do you know what figures on the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country where Christian churches are banned and Christians are not even allowed to wear a tiny crucifix? There is a huge sword on that flag, just below the Islamic creed. The message is clear. Without the sword islam would not have been able to spread its creed.

The second method is immigration. Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra. My learned friend Sam Solomon has written a perfect book about it.

I had a copy of Sam’s book sent to all the members of the Dutch Parliament. But most of them are worse than Saint-Thomas in the Bible. Thomas did not believe what he had not seen. Most politicians refuse to believe the things they see before their very eyes.

In Europe we have been experiencing al-Hijra for over 30 years now. Many of our cities have changed beyond recognition. “In each one of our cities” wrote the well-known Italian author Oriana Fallaci shortly before her death in 2006, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.” – end of quote.

How did the Europeans get into this situation? It is partly our own fault because we have foolishly adopted the concept of cultural relativism, which manifests itself in the ideology of multiculturalism.

Cultural relativism advocates that all cultures are equal. However, cultures wither away and die if people no longer believe that its values are better than those of another culture.

Islam is spreading like wildfire wherever people lack the guts to say that their values are better than the Islamic values.

Islam is spreading like wildfire because the Koran explicitly tells Muslims that they are “the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” and that non-Muslims are “the worst of creatures.”

Islam is spreading like wildfire everywhere in the West where political, academic, cultural and media elites lack the guts to proudly proclaim, as I believe we all should proclaim:

Our Judeo-Christian Western culture is far better and far superior to the islamic culture. We must be proud to say so!

Multiculturalism is a disaster. Almost everyone acknowledges this today, but few dare say why. Let me tell you why: Multiculturalism made us tolerate the intolerant, and now intolerance is annihilating tolerance.

We should, in the name of tolerance, claim the right not to tolerate the intolerant. Let us no longer be afraid and politically correct, let us be brave and bold. Let us tell the truth about islam.

Before I continue I want to make clear that I do not have a problem with people. I always make a distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and islam.

Indeed, I have no problems with Muslims, but I do have a problem with the totalitarian Islamic ideology of hate and violence. The fact that there are many so-called moderate Muslims, does not imply that there exists a moderate islam. A moderate islam doen not exist and will never exist.

And because there is no such thing as a moderate islam, the islamization of our free Western societies is an enormous danger.

Only two weeks ago, the British press revealed how the so-called “London Taliban” is threatening to kill women who do not wear veils in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

In some neighbourhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced, also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Polls show that the influence of those Muslims who live according to islam’s aggressive requirements is growing, especially among young people.

Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider islam more important than democracy.

Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students considers it legitimate to kill in the name of islam.

Christians are asked to follow the example of Jesus. Muslims are ordered to follow the example of Muhammad. That is why islam is dangerous. While Christianity preaches love, islam preached hatred and practizes violence. Hatred and violence for everyone who is not a Muslim.

Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

To this very day, Christian symbols are prohibited in Saudi-Arabia. If you wear a cross in Saudi Arabia, they sent you to jail.

And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia.

Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the islamic youths are anti-semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver was forced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In June 2008, the Christian church authorities in the Danish town of Arhus decided to pay so-called “protection money” to islamic so-called “security guards” who assure that church goers are not harassed by islamic youths.

On March 31st, 2010, Muslims entered the Roman Catholic cathedral of Cordoba, Spain, and attacked the guards with knives. They claimed the cathedral was theirs.

Last month, the bishops of Sweden sent out a letter to priests advising them to avoid converting asylum seekers from islamic countries to Christianity, because the converts would risk losing their lives.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms.

Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. In Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, Jews are again being harassed in the streets. Even political leaders acknowledged that life has become unsafe for Jews in Holland. Do you know what they said? They advised Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

What is needed, my friends, is a spirit of resistance.

I repeat: What we need is a spirit of resistance.

Why? Because resistance to evil is our moral duty. This resistance begins with expressing our solidarity to Christians, Jews, indeed, to all people worldwide, who are the victims of islam. There are millions of them.

We can see what islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere.

Almost every day, churches are arsoned and Christians are assassinated in islamic countries.

In a report on the persecution of Christians in the world, Archbishop Twal of Jerusalem, wrote recently– I quote: “In the Middle East to be Christian means accepting that you must make a great sacrifice. All too often and in many places, Christians suffer various threats. On some occasions, their homes and churches are burnt, and people are killed. How many atrocities must we endure before somebody somewhere comes to our aid?” – end of quote.

Indeed, how many atrocities before we come to their aid?

Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel.

That is why Israel deserves our support. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight.

The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel. We should always support Israel!

Today, we are confronted with political unrest in the Arab countries. The Arab peoples long for freedom. However, the ideology and culture of islam is so deeply entrenched in these countries that real freedom is simply impossible as long as islam remains dominant.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Islam and freedom, islam and democracy are not compatible.

The death of Osama bin Laden last week was a victory for the free world, but we will be confronted with Islamic terrorism as long as islam exists, because islam’s founder Muhammad himself was a terrorist, worse than Bin Laden.

And here is another truth: The rise of islam means the rise of sharia law in our judicial systems. In Europe we already have sharia wills, sharia schools, sharia banks. Britain even has sharia courts.

In my own country, the Netherlands, sharia is being applied by the courts in cases relating to divorce, child custody, inheritance, and property ownership. Women are always the victims of this because sharia discriminates women.

This is a disgrace. This is not the way we should treat women.

My friends, I told you that we have just remembered Liberation Day to commemorate the young Americans and all the heroes who offered their lives to free the Netherlands from nazi tyranny. It would be an insult to them if we Europeans would give up that precious freedom for another totalitarian ideology called Islam.

That is the goal for which my party and I work day after day. And we are having success.

In the Netherlands, we are successfully starting to roll back islam. The current Dutch government is a minority government which can only survive with the backing of my party, the Party for Freedom.

We have 24 seats of the 150 seats in parliament and we support the government, in return for measures to prohibit certain aspects of sharia law.

We have achieved that the Netherlands will soon ban the burka and the niqaab.

We will also restrict immigration from non-Western countries by up to 50% in the next four years. We are not going to allow islam to steal our country from us. It was the land of our fathers, it is our land now, our values are based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism and we will pass this on to our children with all the freedoms that the previous generations have fought for.

Let those who want to rob us from our freedoms, stay in their own countries. We do not need them. If you want to wear a burqa, stay in Saudi-Arabia. If you want four wives, stay in Iran. If you want to live in a country where the islamic ideology is dominant, stay in Pakistan, if you don’t want to assimilate in our society, stay in Somalia. But don’t come over here.

We are also going to strip criminals who have a double nationality – for instance Dutch and Moroccan, and who repeatedly commit serious crimes, of their Dutch nationality. We will send them packing, back to their homeland.

My friends, what the Party for Freedom has achieved, shows that it can be done. We can fight the islamization of our societies.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit. Last March, a judge in Tampa, Florida, ruled that a lawsuit against a mosque and involving the control of 2.4 million dollars, should proceed under Islamic law.

My friends, be aware that this is only the beginning. This is also how it started in Europe. If things continue like this, you will soon have the same problems as we are currently facing.

Leaders who talk about immigration without mentioning islam are blind. They ignore the most important problem Europe and America are facing. I have a message for them: it’s islam stupid!

My friends, fortunately, not all politicians are irresponsible. Here, in Tennessee, brave politicians want to pass legislation which gives the state the power to declare organisations as terrorist groups and allowing material supporters of terrorism to be prosecuted. I applaud them for that. They are true heroes.

Yesterday and today, I met some of those brave legislators. They told me that Tennessee in particular is a target of islam. Help them win their battle.

They need your support.

While Tennessee is in the frontline, similar legislative initiatives are also being taken in the states of Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana. It is encouraging to see that so many politicians are willing to resist islam.

This gives us hope and courage. I am not a pessimist. We can still turn the tide – even in Europe – if we act today.

There are five things which we must do.

First, we must defend freedom of speech.

Freedom is the source of human creativity and development. People and nations wither away without the freedom to question what is presented to them as the truth.

Without freedom of speech we risk becoming slaves. Frederick Douglass, the 19th century black American politician, the son of a slave, said – I quote – “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

I have already told you about my court case. This legal charade will not, however, prevent me from saying the truth. Never. I will speak out, even if they drag me before 500 courts and threaten to jail me for a thousand years.

The fact that we are being treated as criminals for telling the truth must not deter us. We are doomed if we remain silent or let ourselves be silenced. Let us not forget, this is our first and most important obligation: defend the right to speak the truth.

Second, we must end cultural relativism and political correctness. We must repeat it over and over again, especially to our children: Our Western culture based on Christianity and Judaism is superior to the islamic culture. Our laws are superior to sharia. Our judeo-christian values are better than islam’s totalitarian rules.

And because they are superior and better, we must defend them. We must fight for our own identity, or else we will lose it. We need to be warriors for the good, because the good is worth fighting for. Neutrality in the face of evil is evil.

Third, we must stop the islamization of our countries. More islam means less freedom. There is enough islam in the West already. We must stop immigration from non-Western countries, which are mostly islamic countries. We must expel criminal immigrants. We must forbid the construction of new hate palaces called mosques.

We must also close down all islamic schools because educating children in a spirit of hate is one of the worst things imaginable. We must introduce anti-sharia legislation everywhere in the free world. Enough is enough.

Fourth, we must take pride in our nations again. We must cherish and preserve the culture and identity of our country. Preserving our own culture and identity is the best antidote against islamization.

And fifth, last but certainly not least, we must elect wise and courageous leaders who are brave enough to address the problems which are facing us, including the threat of islam.

Politicians who have the courage to speak the truth about islam.

Politicians who dare to denounce the devastating results of the multicultural society.

Politicians who – without political correctness – say: enough is enough.

You and I, Americans and Europeans, we belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. In order to pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism.

That, my friends, is why I am here. I am here to forge an alliance. Our international freedom alliance. We must stand together for the Judeo-Christian West.

We will not allow islam to overrun Israel and Europe, the cradle of the judeo-Christian civilization.

My friends, we will stand together.

We will stand firm.

We will not submit. Never. Not in Israel, not in Europe, not in America. Nowhere.

We will survive.

We will stop islam.

We will defend our freedoms.

We will remain free.

Thank you.


Friday, May 13, 2011

The Facts & Obama's War On Domestic Oil & Gas

Let's go over some of the eye-opening facts about our gas and oil industry:

- Oil Prices: The major oil companies do not set the price of oil. That price is set independently by traders based on world supply and demand, the strength of the dollar, stability in oil producing regions, and weather events, among other factors.

- Oil Usage - Transportation: Per the DOE, oil accounts for 94% of the energy used in our transportation sector.

- Oil As Our Single Largest Source Of Energy: Per the DOE, oil is our single most important source of energy, accounting for 35.6% of all energy consumed in America. In comparison, solar and wind, added together account for less than 1% of all energy consumed in the U.S. There is a reason for that. Wind and solar energy are vastly more inefficient and costly than oil, gas and coal. They are not commecially viable without substantial subsidies.

- Profit Margin: While oil companies' profits may be vast, that is because their volume is vast. America uses over 20 million barrels of oil daily. The actual profit margin across the oil industry averages less than 6 cents on the dollar. By comparison, Obama's favorite crony capitalist, GE, has a profit margin nearly 33% higher.

- Oil Companies & Taxes: The oil and gas industry is a cash cow for government. Oil and gas companies pay, on average, more than 40% of their profits in taxes. To put a number to this, over the past three years, the oil and gas industry has paid over $242 billion in taxes. Obama's favored business, GE, paid no taxes last year.

- Oil Companies & Jobs: Domestic gas and oil companies play a huge role in our private sector, supporting "9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy."

- Reinvesting Profits: Exploring and exploiting new sources of oil is a time consuming and very expensive process. For instance, Exxon, in the first quarter of 2011, made an after tax profit of $10.65 billion. Of that, Exxon invested "$7.8 billion into capital and exploration."

- Our Trade Deficit & Foreign Oil: We are, today, transferring vast amounts of our wealth outside of the U.S. to purchase foreign oil. Approximately 62% of our monthly trade deficit comes from the purchase of foreign oil.

- Who Gets Rich Off Of Oil Company Profits: Profitable oil companies are a key portion of many pensions and portfolios.

[A]bout 1.5 percent of the shares of oil companies are held by the officers and board members of those companies. That is comparable to other industries. Similarly, if you look at who is holding the other 98.5 percent of the shares, more than 60 percent is being held by either mutual funds or the companies that manage large portfolios for pensions. There is another 9 percent that is held directly by pension plans and insurance companies and foundations.
. . . .
What do you say to people who are critical of oil and natural gas industry earnings? Aren't they really being critical of the benefits that are going to millions of American consumers and retirees?

Mr. Shapiro: Those earnings go to two places. They go to the dividends and the value of the stock that is held by pensions and people saving for their retirement. That comprises the overwhelming majority of the ownership of these companies. The other place where oil and natural gas company earnings go is into investment. The oil and natural gas industry has enormous investment needs. . . . That is the other place those earnings go. They go to the retirement plans of both average Americans and certainly the beneficiaries of the major pension plans in the country. They are public employees or auto workers and the earnings also go toward investments that generate returns in the future.

What all of these facts mean are that oil companies are huge industries that, in a myriad of ways, play a very critical role in supporting our economy. Moreover, nothing is going to replace our oil usage at any point in the forseeable future. Yet, with gas prices rising and the oil industry showing huge profits in the last quarter, the left wants to show they are doing something about gas prices - by punishing the oil industry. Specifically, Obama and Harry Reid propose removing "big oil's subsidies." And in reality, this is merely the latest in Obama and the left's much larger war on our domestic oil and gas industry.

George Will recently opined that the ideology and politics of the left are "untethered from the facts." Will, noting the left's substitution of wishful thinking for plans based in reality, chalks this up to deep historical ignorance. Will is half right. The other reason the left's politics and ideology are "untethered from the facts" is because the left are at least as intellectualy dishonest as they are historically ignorant. The actions of Obama, Reid and the left, to demonize and attack our oil and gas industry because gas prices are rising is merely the most recent proof.

The first deceit of the left is that the oil and gas industry receives no subsidies. Rather, what they receive, and that which Obama aspires to remove, are four tax write downs, three of which - domestic manufacturing tax deduction, percentage depletion allowance, and foreign tax credit - are available to every manufacturing entity in the U.S. The only way in which oil companies are treated partially different than other manufacturing entities in the the U.S. is as regards:

Intangible drilling costs -- According to CNN, "[a]ll industries get to write off the costs of doing business, but they must take it over the life of an investment. The oil industry gets to take the drilling credit in the first year."

So when Obama says he wants to take away all of "big oil's subsidies," what he is really saying is that he wants to single out our oil and gas industry for unfavorable tax treatment as compared to all other manufacturing concerns in America. He wants to treat them as a pariah and steal more of their profits.

It is hard to imagine a plan more "untethered from reality" or more cynically designed to gain political advantage, irrespective of the expense to our nation. Basic economics dictate that this plan will negatively impact our economy.

Singling out our domestic oil and gas for special, unfavorable treatment will reduce domestic oil production, it will increase our trade imbalance, it will cost us private sector jobs, it will harm the pensions of millions of Americans, and it will result in rising gas and oil prices to the consumer. Charles Krauthammer does a great job of skewering Obama and the left for the intellectual dishonesty inherent this ostentatious push to punish our oil and gas industry:

Ultimately, this proposal by Obama and the left is going nowhere, simply because there are too many Republicans in Congress to allow them to get away with this insanity. Were this the only attack on our oil and gas industry from Obama and the left, perhaps it would be no big deal. But the reality is that Obama is waging war on our oil and gas industry very effectively by other means.

While Obama recently claimed credit for increased oil production in America under his watch, that was the height of hypocrisy. To the extent that there has been a slight uptick in production under his watch, that is because of expansions of oil drilling on private lands in North Dakota, South Texas and West Texas. Further, these figures have been bumped upward by the opening of BP's deepwater Thunder Horse well. That well was leased under Reagan, the exploratory well dug under Clinton, the well set under Bush, and production only now coming to full flow. In sum, Obama had as much to do with the increase in domestic oil production on his watch as he has had to do with the daily rising and setting of the sun.

To the contrary, as stated earlier, Obama is warring quite effectively on our domestic oil drilling. He is doing so, on one hand, by severely restricting the availability of public lands and coastal regions for exploration and drilling and, on the other hand, by limiting permits for such activities:

In 2008 there were 2,416 new oil and natural gas leases issued on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land spanning 2.6 million acres. In 2010, under the Obama Administration, the number of new leases issued dropped to 1,308 and acres leased dropped to 1.3 million. The total onshore acreage leased under the Obama Administration in 2009 and 2010 are the lowest in over two decades, stretching back to at least 1984.

There is also, of course, the permatorium on drilling in the Gulf, though at least a few drilling permits have recently been issued. The effects of Obama's war will be with us long after Obama himself is but a distant, very unpleasant memory in our national consciousness.

What makes this war on our domestic production, with all its attendant negatives for our economy, all the more mind boggling is that Obama has promised to significantly finance Brazil's development of their own oil industry. That is inexplicable - though of course it does bear noting that George Soros has a substantial investment, close to $1 billion, in Brazil's oil industry.

Fortunately for our nation, Obama's war on our domestic oil production is something that we can change at the ballot box. But there is also another front in the left's war on oil and gas - one that wholly bypasses Congress and the ballot box. I am referring to the radical environmentalists who have been given keys to the courthouse under our environmental laws. They are seeking new ways daily to bring our nation to its knees by hitting the off switch on oil, gas and economic growth.

One of their well honed methods is to request that a species be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Once whatever little beastie is then declared endangered, any and all human activity that effects that beasties's habitat becomes enjoined. So for example, California's Central Valley, which but three years ago was a thriving bed of agriculture, has seen its irrigation water shut and is today "Zimbabwe West." The reason - a law suit brought under the ESA to protect a 3 inch fish with no commercial value, the Delta smelt.

What the left accomplished in California with agriculture, they are attempting to repeat with the oil and gas industry in West Texas. The left has brought suit under the ESA to have the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard declared endangered. If they succeed, virtually all oil production and exploration in West Texas will come to a grinding hault.

And then there are the law suits charging that carbon dioxide is a pollutant for which emitters are liable. Their ultimate goal is to have the courts take over our nation's energy policy. Whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant and whether it is causing "global warming" are scientific questions very much at issue and that courts are unqualified to answer. Even assuming arguendo that CO2 is a pollutant causing global warming, what to do about it is a political question with massive ramifications for our economy. It is not a question to be decided by our Courts, but by our elected representatives.

Yet our federal judiciary, from the Supreme Court on down - none of whom are scientists - has shown an avid willingness to hear and decide such cases. The EPA is regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant today under the Clean Air Act because five members of the Supreme Court felt qualified to pass judgment on this issue. Moreover, enterprising lawyers have brought suits against power companies under a nuisance theory because they are contributing to carbon dioxide in the air. These law suits are currently in the court system. If the lawyers succeed, the Courts then become the single most important arbiters of energy policy in America. On top of this, we have seen in the past week NASA's Jim Hansen, the "Bernie Madoff of climate science," file lawsuits with children as the plaintiffs seeking to have courts take complete control over our energy policy in the name of Global Warming.

While Obama's attempt to punish our domestic oil and gas industry for daring to make a profit is not going to go anywhere, his and the left's larger war on that industry is "untethered from the facts." We are all going to ultimately pay the price. I am praying that we are able to elect someone in 2012 who is both capable of articulating a coherent energy policy and who is able to take our courts and the radical left out of the business of deciding our nation's energy policy.


Linked: Larwyn's Linx