I probably spend too much time on the computer. I have to visit my favorite websites every day. Sometimes there are links. Sometimes there are interesting links. This leads to more time on the computer. Sometimes people send me things. Most of the time, they're the usual junk. Sometimes they're worth passing on. But all of this takes time. But since I'm sharing today, here are three of the good ones.
The first one is the one I stumbled upon today. (I wish I could remember which site I linked from.) It fits nicely into my "Reasons not to Vote for Obama" series." Not that it matters anymore since 52 percent of the voters did vote for him. It's from The American Spectator and it's called, Obama's Enemy List.
After the Democratic convention, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer warned TV stations against airing a TV ad that was embarrassing to Barack Obama. The commercial focused on the longtime relationship between Obama and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer sent letters to the Justice Department imploring the agency to pursue criminal action against those behind the ads. It was not lost on anyone at that time that Bauer was considered a candidate to be the next U.S. Attorney-General.
A team of Obama campaign operatives, joined by major news outlets, descended on Wasilla, Alaska immediately after Governor Sarah Palin was introduced as Senator John McCain's running mate. This was immediately followed by patently false reports claiming Palin imposed book bans, joined a fringe political party, charged rape victims for emergency room treatment and cut funding for special needs children.
In late August, the Obama campaign emailed an "Obama Action Wire" to thousands of supporters and liberal activists exhorting them to harass the offices of Chicago's WGN radio by flooding the station with angry phone calls and emails. Activists screamed insults to call-in screeners. The radio station's offense was that a long-time, respected radio host had the temerity to interview Ethics and Public Policy Center watchdog Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz had uncovered university records that documented a much closer relationship between Obama and Ayers than the presidential candidate had previously disclosed.
This next link, "Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel", from the Wall Street Journal, goes back about a month. Somebody emailed it to me, and I've been saving it. As blogging has to take a back seat to real life, these delays are to be expected.
In such "youth bulge" countries, young men tend to eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society. In Arab nations such as Lebanon (150,000 dead in the civil war between 1975 and 1990) or Algeria (200,000 dead in the Islamists' war against their own people between 1999 and 2006), the slaughter abated only when the fertility rates in these countries fell from seven children per woman to fewer than two. The warring stopped because no more warriors were being born.
In Gaza, however, there has been no demographic disarmament. The average woman still bears six babies. For every 1,000 men aged 40-44, there are 4,300 boys aged 0-4 years. In the U.S. the latter figure is 1,000, and in the U.K. it's only 670.
The reason for Gaza's endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Unlike the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which deals with the rest of the world's refugees and aims to settle them in their respective host countries, UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem by classifying as refugees not only those who originally fled their homes, but all of their descendents as well.
UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) -- only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West's largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom. Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza's population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040. Within that period, Gazans may alter the justifications and directions of their aggression but are unlikely to stop the aggression itself.
Will The Obama do anything about this? I mean besides trying to revive the insanity known as the Middle East process? And allowing the United States to participate in upcoming anti-Israel hatefest known as Durban II?
"President Roosevelt is magnificently right," John Maynard Keynes wrote of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt's decision to devalue the American dollar in 1933. If any economic policy stance deserves such praise today, it is that of Pope Benedict XVI, whose views on ethics and economics occasioned a flurry of comment last month. Italy's Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti observed, "The prediction that an undisciplined economy would collapse by its own rules can be found" in a 1985 paper (see Market Economy and Ethics, Acton Institute) by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, which Tremonti called "prophetic". I don't know whether it was prophetic, but the future pope was right, and magnificently so.
An unethical economy, he argued, will destroy itself, and economics cannot determine whether any activity is ethical or not. Internet stock valuations, the market delusion of a decade ago, presumed that pornography, gaming, music downloads and shopping would be the driving forces of the future economy. It is easy to ridicule this Alice-in-Wonderland accounting after the fact, just as it is easy to laugh at television advertisements that even today urge Americans to buy homes because their prices double every 10 years (for example this commercial by the National Association of Realtors posted on YouTube). But what should we say of an economy based on consuming as much as one can without troubling to bring children into the world?
Here is what then Cardinal Ratzinger said about it more than 20 years ago:
It is becoming an increasingly obvious fact of economic history that the development of economic systems which concentrate on the common good depends on a determinate ethical system, which in turn can be born and sustained only by strong religious convictions. Conversely, it has also become obvious that the decline of such discipline can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse. An economic policy that is ordered not only to the good of the group - indeed, not only to the common good of a determinate state - but to the common good of the family of man demands a maximum of ethical discipline and thus a maximum of religious strength.
What caused the laws of the market to collapse in 2008? In another location (see The monster and the sausages, Asia Times Online, May 20, 2008), I argued that the bulge of workers in the US and Europe approaching retirement age is the ultimate cause of the financial crisis. Too much capital chased too few investment opportunities, and the financial industry met the demand by selling sow's ears with the credit rating of silk purses.
I should warn you that Spengler talks about things like morals and ethic, you know, subjects that undoubtedly keep him from being the life of the party, but this is something worth discussing. Has Western civilization become so wrapped up in self-actualization, that we've forgotten to create the next generation? When advertisers insist that we can have it all, does that include a family? Or do children require too much attention that could better be spent following that dream?
Thanks to advances in the Internet, I can get into arguments with people anywhere the world, at any time, and for as long as I'm interested in banging my head against a wall. As if there weren't enough ways to waste time already on the computer. I wasted a good amount of time on this one. The argument had already begun. I was merely watching it on The Jungle Hut (and I can't seem to find the post that the argument took place on). But then, words were printed that I couldn't ignore from an Algerian Muslim woman named Lilia. It was some of the same sick anti-Semitic crap that I've heard before, and I couldn't just let it go.
The debate continued here on Conservative Outrage. And I shouldn't have even been a participant there. I accidently linked over from Blowing San #1. Nobody told me that the debate had moved there. But the argument did continue until the Muslim woman decided that I was an islamphobic, bigoted dunce who was too stupid and hateful to admit the truth of her words. Of course, her words were idiotic. There is a huge population who would agree with her though. They have other problems too.
I only thought the debate had ended though. Lilia snuck up on me here where once again I proved my duncehood and hatefulness. Maybe she thought one more attack on my stupidity would do the trick.
Of course, it didn't. I proved to be much too thick.
I did accuse her repeatedly of being anti-Semitic, a charge she denied. After all, she didn't hate Jews, and she wasn't blaming all of the problems of the world on Jews, but on Zionists. Recently though, the reality of "anti-Zionism" has been exposed.
I don't want to rehash the entire argument here. But basically, according to her, it was the Israeli Mossad who assassinated JFK and who brought down the World Trade Center. Furthermore, Mohammed did not ethnically cleanse the Arabian peninsula of Jews. Jews somehow corrupted Islamic scripture when it came to that unfortunate episode. To be fair, she only compared Israelis to Nazis once. The argument was also joined by a woman from NYC, who also tried desperately to help me understand the truth, but I proved to be much too pigheaded for even the two of them combined.
The thing is, I was able to answer their arguments while they ignored most of mine, preferring to bring new charges against Israel and the Zionists (not Jews). In fact, Lilia claimed to know the difference between real Jews and Zionist Jews. I was less than kind to her in my response to that moronic, insulting claim. In my sudden doubt as to whether I was a real Jew according to her Islamic standards, I pressed her on the subject. For some reason, she backed down on that one.
Except for the one regarding the Jews of Arabia, I'd heard all of these claims before and read some of the twisted thought behind them, so I know the bizarre claims that are out there. And I know that a lot of people, not only in the Islamic world, but all over the world believe that crap. That's the worst part of it. But don't try to convince me that this idiocy is real. Don't try to convince me that the psychotic killers of Hamas and Hezbollah are the moral equivalents of the IDF. And just crawl away quickly before blaming Zionists - not Jews - for the problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world.
One thing I take care to do on mine or any other blog that I comment on, is to not use my anonymity to say things that I wouldn't say to a person's face. So when Lilia made the insane claim that Jews - oh wait - I mean Zionists, were at least partially responsible for the Holocaust, I did get a bit excited, but I thought I showed great reserve. Had we been face to face, I probably would have gotten even more insulting.
I called Lilia anti-Semitic because to her, Jews were not people, rather, they are a collection of stereotypes, scapegoats who cause no end of trouble for everyone. And she has the audacity to think she can decide who is and who isn't a real Jew? To her, the real ones deny the legitimacy of Israel. Imagine that. To her, my avarice and hook nose wouldn't be enough to pass her "Jew test".
I decided at that point that it wasn't up to her, or me, or anyone else in the world to judge the legitimacy of the State of Israel, the one Jewish nation on the planet, and the only one whose legitimacy is questioned - even though we're told that this opposition has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Right. I brought up some of the real atrocities in the world that are being ignored because they don't involve Jews defending themselves. There were no responses from either Lilia or Elizabeth, the woman form NYC.
That's something else I've noticed in this debate, when I've had it with Israel bashers and non-anti-semites who blame all the evils in the world on Zionists or the Mossad, but not the Jews; when you ask them the tough questions, they have no logical answer. And when they have no arguments left, they always resort to name calling. It's happened to me every time I've engaged any of these dopes in debate.
As for being called an islamophobe. Let's look at it this way. Anti-Semites create paranoid fantasies where Jews, or Zionists, or the Mossad are part of some insidious conspiracy to take over the world, or spread Zionism, or oppress the "Palestinians" or control the government. It used to be contained in the fetid fever swamps of delusional weirdos on the fringes of society. But now, thanks to the advance of Islam into the West, and their willing progressive dupes in the media and on college campuses, it's become another respected point of view. And that does have me concerned.
"Islamophobes" merely read the news and pay attention to the depravities being committed by Muslims around the world. And we take them seriously instead of trying to excuse them in fits of multicultural "understanding". And we certainly don't believe it when a Canadian newspaper can find no pattern in the arrests of suspects in a terror plot who all just happen to be Muslims. Nor do we ignore the fact that French "youths" who are torching cars every night in the suburbs of Paris are Muslims. Reports like this and this and this and this just from the past two days on Little Green Footballs help to fuel the fire of distrust of the Muslims world in this islamophobe. It doesn't even include the anti-Israel aspects of professional women's tennis that LGF and Debbie Schlussel are reporting on. And if you notice, Islam or Muslims are never responsible for any evil done by Muslims in the name of Islam, never ever. It's not a Muslims man's fault he can't control his sexual urges. It's the fault of women, who must be covered from head to to in a shapeless garment so nobody can know who or what is under it.
OK, so that's only true in some Islamic countries. In others, women can show their faces. Wow, that's a huge step toward freedom!
So with all of the vicious hatred coming from the Muslim world, I will continue to be on my guard, and I will continue to stand up for the one democracy in the Middle East, the one Jewish country in the world, no matter how much anyone with a morally inverted view of the world tries to convince me with their mental gymnastics and delusional thinking that good is evil and evil is good.
Somebody screwed up at the Detroit Free Press today. They ran an editorial on energy that made sense. It wasn't by one their own. Rather it's by Russ Harding, former director of the Department of Environmental Quality, and who is now director of the Property Rights Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland Michigan. Here's the whole thing.
By means of an executive directive, Gov. Jennifer Granholm made good on her State of the State promise to restrict new coal-fired power plants. The negative effects on Michigan's energy future were not long in coming -- the next day the Bay City Times reported that five pending power plant projects have been put on hold. Before more damage is done, the governor should rescind this directive, or the Legislature should prohibit such a moratorium.
The governor's directive instructs the Department of Environmental Quality to halt environmental permits for new coal plants unless it determines that "a reasonable electricity generation need exists" and that there is no "feasible and prudent alternative."
I was director of the DEQ for nearly eight years and can testify that the agency is ill-equipped to consider factors other than environmental ones. Requiring the DEQ to make critical decisions about Michigan's future energy mix is a recipe for stagnation or worse.
Those decisions should be left to the private sector, with environmental regulators limited to enforcing clean air and water standards on whatever type of plant is built. If there is any greater role for the state, it should be performed by the Public Service Commission.
Beyond that, politicians should be honest about energy realities. According to the PSC, coal generated 68.9% of the electricity consumed in the state in 2007, followed by nuclear at 23.3%. Renewable fuels provided l% percent of our energy needs -- with wind comprising just 0.05%.
The notion that alternative sources can provide more than a fraction of the energy required by a modern industrial economy is nonsense. Honest environmentalists admit that their real agenda is to radically scale back the size of our economy, lowering our standard of living.
Politicians enacting policies that bring this about either support that agenda, are ignorant of the realities, or are taking political benefits today while calculating they will be long gone before the bitter consequences hit home. That applies to the virtual moratorium on new coal plants and legislation passed last year mandating that 10% of Michigan's electricity come from renewable energy by 2015.
Meeting that mandate is impossible without a major scaling back of our economy. Wind energy is unreliable and must be backed up with other sources, usually natural gas-fired power plants. These plants are expensive to operate, and energy from them will consume a larger share of the discretionary income of Michigan families and businesses. And you don't have to be an expert to know that Michigan's solar energy potential is limited.
Last year, Granholm boasted that Sweden had created hundreds of thousands of renewable energy jobs (although she hasn't been able to support these claims). It's ironic that Sweden just announced that it is lifting a moratorium on building new nuclear power plants, rather than gradually closing down existing ones, as previously planned.
Sweden learned that it can't meet its people's power needs through wind and other renewable energy sources. We can only hope that policymakers here stop pretending that Michigan can, because without coal, the last person leaving Michigan won't have lights to turn off.
Environmental scaremongers, like the fellow from the Sierra Club who made the mistake of knocking on my door earlier this evening, will, I'm sure, offer arguments against Mr. Harding.
They need to read this article from City Journal on California's energy problems.
In truth, however, the Golden State’s energy leadership is a mirage. California’s environmental policies have made it heavily dependent on other states for power; generated some of the highest, business-crippling energy costs in the country; and left it vulnerable to periodic electricity shortages. Its economic growth has occurred not because of, but despite, those policies, which would be disastrous if extended to the rest of the country.
A dirty secret about California’s energy economy is that it imports lots of energy from neighboring states to make up for the shortfall caused by having too few power plants. Up to 20 percent of the state’s power comes from coal-burning plants in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Montana, and another significant portion comes from large-scale hydropower in Oregon, Washington State, and the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. “California practices a sort of energy colonialism,” says James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners, a Washington, D.C.–area investment group. “They rely on western states to supply them with power generation they are unwilling to build for themselves”—and leave those states to deal with the resulting pollution.
Another secret: California’s proud claim to have kept per-capita energy consumption flat while growing its economy is less impressive than it seems. The state has some of the highest energy prices in the country—nearly twice the national average, a 2002 Milken Institute study found—largely because of regulations and government mandates to use expensive renewable sources of power. As a result, heavy manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries have been fleeing the Golden State in droves for lower-cost locales. Twenty years ago or so, you could count eight automobile factories in California; today, there’s just one, and it’s the same story with other industries, from chemicals to aerospace. Yet Californians still enjoy the fruits of those manufacturing industries—driving cars built in the Midwest and the South, importing chemicals and resins and paints and plastics produced elsewhere, and flying on jumbo jets manufactured in places like Everett, Washington. California can pretend to have controlled energy consumption, but it has just displaced it.
It's a bit lengthy, but it's well worth reading to see what the fate of every state in the U.S. could be if we were to follow California's "enlightened" approach to generating electricity, something Governor Granholm of Michigan seems intent on doing, even though we, in Michigan, are in quite enough trouble already.
The headline in the Detroit Free Press read, New team will steer a new auto industry. Next to it was a photo of The Obama. But it gets worse. I had to read the article.
President Barack Obama will name a task force today to oversee the remaking of the U.S. auto industry, as General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC press for late concessions to work into turnaround plans that are due to the government on Tuesday.
Isn't the American auto industry in enough trouble already? And further down, there was more cause for worry.
The team will be headed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers. It will include staffers from several agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Energy, Labor, Commerce and Treasury, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The only outside expert hired by the administration so far is Ron Bloom, an adviser to the U.S. Steelworkers who had worked with unions in several industries on corporate restructuring and employee ownership plans.
Maybe I'm naive on these matters, but shouldn't there be somebody on the team who knows something about cars and car production? And why include the EPA? Isn't that part of the reason American car companies are suffering? They keep getting stabbed in the back by environmentalists. How much longer will we allow these idiots to control our lives? The auto industry has been a favorite scapegoat of environmentalists and politicians. Rather than making cars that people want, various regulations on gas mileage (CAFE standards) and the artificially high price of gasoline have wreaked havoc on a once profitable industry. Instead of people buying cars, trucks, and SUVs that they really wanted, they were bullied or shamed into buying something that the neighbors wouldn't scorn. At least that's what it looks like to me.
And then there are the unions. Will they make the needed concessions to help out a little, or do union leaders figure that The Obama owes them so much that they don't have to concede a thing? As a Detroit area, Michigan resident, I would like the Big 3 to be healthy. I seriously doubt that more government interference is going to do it, even if The Obama says otherwise. But that's not what this is about, is it?
The Detroit Free Press has been breathlessly awaiting the latest stimulus plan. But so is everyone else who will be able to nose their way up to the government trough and grab some of that pork. And the Democrats are desperate for it so they can begin the payback of the groups that helped them attain their majority. It's pander city.
The Bush administration overpaid tens of billions of dollars for stocks and other assets in its massive bailout last year of Wall Street banks and financial institutions, a new study by a government watchdog says.
The Congressional Oversight Panel, in a report released Friday, said last year's overpayments amounted to a taxpayer-financed $78 billion subsidy of the firms.
The findings added to the frustrations of lawmakers already wary of the $700 billion rescue plan, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Congress approved the plan last fall, but members of both parties criticized spending decisions by the Bush administration and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Now, as I recall, at the time, there had to be a bailout now, NOW, DO YOU HEAR ME? NOW! The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were poised to rend our country asunder if there wasn't bipartisan support to rescue AIG and other financial institutions deemed too big to fail. There was no time to stop and read the fine print. There wasn't even time to figure out if this whole bailout thing was even a good idea, or as Michelle Malkin refers to it, "a crap sandwich."
So why is it all Bush's fault? Oh, that's right, because he's Bush. And for the next four to (God forbid) eight years, everything that goes wrong due to Obama's socialist-inspired policies will be blamed on Bush.
And now, there is another crap sandwich being shoved down our throat whether we like it or not because, remember those four horsemen? Well, they're still there, hunched behind Al Gore's private jet ready to pounce if Republican senators don't submit to Democrat's fearmongering - uh, I mean - if they don't return to the bipartisan spirit that made this country great. And if nobody bothers to actually read where this almost $900,000,000,000 is going. Because as we find out from the National Review, here's where some of the money is scheduled to be doled out:
$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program $300 million for grants to combat violence against women $2 billion for federal child-care block grants $6 billion for university building projects $15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships $4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24 $1 billion for community-development block grants $4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities” $650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”
$89 billion for Medicaid $30 billion for COBRA insurance extension $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits $20 billion for food stamps
$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research) $2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois $6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program $3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants $3.4 billion for the State Energy Program $200 million for state and local electric-transport projects $300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries $1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees $8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects $4.5 billion for electricity grid
And there's more. Read it all and weep. Or contact your senators.
Leonard Pitts had an interesting column recently. It started off with some information that should be spread throughout the West. We need to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, Islam is not as healthy for women (or men) as the apologists have been claiming.
A story for women and girls.
Shamsia was walking with her sister when a man on a motorcycle pulled abreast of them. ''Are you going to school?'' he asked.
She was. And this was, by definition, an incendiary act in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the Taliban is making a comeback and posters on walls warn, ``Don't Let Your Daughters Go to School.''
What happened next was monstrous. As recounted Jan. 14 by The New York Times, the man lifted the girl's burqa, exposing her face. Then he sprayed it with acid. In all, 15 girls and their teachers at the Mirwais School For Girls were targeted by six men on three motorcycles in the November attacks.
Read the whole thing. He kind of flies off track. Nowhere does he mention Muslims or Islam. Rather, by some dubious sleight of mind, he attaches this story to the alleged current climate of anti-female prejudice in the United States. I haven't seen that anti-female bias myself, unless he's referring to Sarah Palin. After all, he does offer this quote:
Here, we speak of ''sexism,'' by which we mean the candidate who faced a double standard when she ran for office . . .
Maybe Leonard Pitts can ignore the humiliation of women in Islamic society, but not everyone does. Here's a good one from FrontPage Magazine from January of last year.
This week, seven hundred feminists signed an Open Letter complaining that “columnists and opinion writers from The Weekly Standard to the Washington Post to Slate have recently accused American feminists of focusing obsessively on minor or even nonexistent injustices in the United States while ignoring atrocities against women in other countries, especially the Muslim world.”
We recognize this Open Letter as a delayed response to the Freedom Center’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which protested the silence of feminists over the “Oppression of Women in Islam” on campuses all over the country last fall, organized sit-ins at a dozen Women’s Studies Departments to protest the absence of courses and department-sponsored events confronting the issue, and made this a matter of national discussion and debate. This is why the signers of the Open Letter complain that “‘Women’s rights are human rights’ was not a slogan dreamed up by David Horowitz or Christina Hoff Sommers,” two of our speakers for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. (We never claimed it was.)
The signers of this Letter claim that, “contrary to the accusations of pundits,” they support Muslim feminists in “their struggle against female genital mutilation, ‘honor’ murder, forced marriage, child marriage, compulsory Islamic dress codes, the criminalization of sex outside marriage, brutal punishments like lashing and stoning, family laws that favor men and that place adult women under the legal power of fathers, brothers, and husbands, and laws that discount legal testimony made by women.”
I haven't heard much of this alleged defense of Muslim women since then, have you? How do these people spend so much energy whining about minor (or nonexistent) problems in the West while ignoring or excusing the horrors of living under Sharia law? What kind of mental processes leads a person to think like that?
A final quick question to a brief post: Why is it that every pathology within Islam is declared to be unislamic and some strange aberration no matter how many thousands or millions of times it's performed?
"No one can find a safe way out for himself if socety is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." -- Ludwig von Mises