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10001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 12, 2008, 09:49:01 AM
Ron Paul is ok domestically, but to pretend that we can withdraw from the fight with the global jihad is suicidal.
10002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment on: November 12, 2008, 09:38:17 AM
Most all of the bad decisions from the dems are problems, but survivable. The FD seriously threatens our core freedoms.
10003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 12, 2008, 09:22:13 AM
Like it or hate it, the pandora's box of technology is wide open. We live in the age of the panopticon.
10004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 12, 2008, 09:16:33 AM
Very emotional and very unrooted in reality.
10005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 11, 2008, 11:53:01 AM
Abuses and illegal acts by public officials happened long before the first computer was ever invented.
10006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: November 11, 2008, 11:38:23 AM
Happy Veterans' Day   
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not too long ago Ayaan Hirsi Ali was being interviewed by a Canadian tool (who ultimately went to work for Al-Jazeera), and he kept asking her why she didn't seem to think that American militarism and imperialism and such were just as dangerous as the threat of Islamic jihad and Islamic supremacism. Finally, after several go-rounds about this, she told him that since he had grown up with freedom, he didn't value it, or understand how seriously it was being threatened.

And it was true: for him, and for so many in the U.S. today, Constitutional law, including the non-establishment of religion, is as certain as the air we breathe, and we cannot conceive of the possibility that anything could weaken the principles upon which this nation was founded. The freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law -- all these things are unassailable, aren't they?

No, they are being assailed today by increasingly assertive global forces, even as many in the U.S. who once had been aware of the threat turn to other matters. Some have lost interest, others have decided that other issues are more important. Still others have even turned on former allies and comrades-in-arms, opting to pursue imaginary threats rather than actual ones -- or, maybe because they see the way the wind is blowing, they have switched sides. Very few people today are even aware of, much less interested in, the Muslim Brotherhood's "grand jihad" to eliminate and destroy Western civilization "from within, sabotaging its miserable house." And that unawareness and indifference allows this endeavor to proceed apace.

Today, then, we should remember and be grateful to those who gave their lives to secure and protect these freedoms for us -- as if our gratitude could ever be sufficient or adequate. We should ponder the fact that they had to give their lives in order to secure these freedoms. We should remember that if we are not willing to give our own lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to protect the unalienable rights enumerated at the founding of this Republic, we will most assuredly lose both them and the Republic itself -- lose them for ourselves and for our children.

Let us never shrink from the task before us: the great struggle to defend human rights, human dignity, and freedom from oppression and injustice -- particularly the oppression and injustice, and assaults to human dignity that are enshrined in the Sharia that is coming, step-by-step, steadily and apparently inexorably, to a willfully ignorant and indifferent West.

Happy Veterans' Day.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His next book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is coming this November from Regnery Publishing.
10007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 11, 2008, 10:43:10 AM
Rachel,

I wasn't firing a shot at you, I just figured you'd be able to ask more relevant questions than I, given your ground truth experiences in the region.

Either way, I'm sure we'll know Malley's status soon enough.
10008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 11, 2008, 02:49:24 AM
**Rachel, why don't you email the author of this article and get his sourcing for this meeting between Malley and Assad.**

Obama’s Road to Damascus   
By John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

History will record that Barack Obama’s first act of diplomacy as America’s president-elect took place two days after his election victory, when he dispatched his senior foreign-policy adviser, Robert Malley, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—to outline for them the forthcoming administration’s Mideast policy vis-à-vis those nations. An aide to Malley reports, “The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests” than has President Bush. The Bush administration, it should be noted, has rightly recognized Syria to be not only a chief supporter of the al Qaeda insurgency in Iraq, but also the headquarters of the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the longtime sponsor of Hamas—the terrorist army whose founding charter is irrevocably committed to the annihilation of Israel. Yet unlike President Bush, Obama and Malley have called for Israel to engage in peace negotiations with Syria.

A Harvard-trained lawyer and Rhodes Scholar, Robert Malley is no newcomer to the Obama team. In 2007, Obama selected him as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. At the time, Malley was (and still is today) the Middle East and North Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), which receives funding from the Open Society Institute of George Soros (who, incidentally, serves on the ICG Executive Committee).

In his capacity with ICG, Malley directs a number of analysts who focus their attention most heavily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the political and military developments in Iraq, and Islamist movements across the Middle East. Prior to joining ICG, Malley served as President Bill Clinton’s Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs (1998-2001), and as National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s Executive Assistant (1996-1998).

Robert Malley was raised in France. His lineage is noteworthy. His father, Simon Malley (1923-2006), was a key figure in the Egyptian Communist Party. A passionate hater of Israel, the elder Malley was a close friend and confidante of the late PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat; an inveterate critic of “Western imperialism”; a supporter of various revolutionary “liberation movements,” particularly the Palestinian cause; a beneficiary of Soviet funding; and a supporter of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. According to American Thinker news editor Ed Lasky, Simon Malley “participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World [and] … wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations.”

In a July 2001 op-ed which Malley penned for the New York Times, he alleged that Israeli—not Palestinian—inflexibility had caused the previous year’s Camp David peace talks (brokered by Bill Clinton) to fall apart. This was one of several controversial articles Malley has written—some he co-authored with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Arafat—blaming Israel and exonerating Arafat for the failure of the peace process.

Malley’s identification of Israel as the cause of the Camp David impasse has been widely embraced by Palestinian and Arab activists around the world, by Holocaust deniers like Norman Finkelstein, and by anti-Israel publications such as Counterpunch. It should be noted that Malley’s account of the Camp David negotiations is entirely inconsistent with the recollections of the key figures who participated in those talks—specifically, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, and then-U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross (Clinton’s Middle East envoy).

Malley also has written numerous op-eds urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah (a creature of Iran dedicated to the extermination of the Jews and death to America), and Muqtada al-Sadr (the Shiite terrorist leader in Iraq).

In addition, Malley has advised nations around the world to establish relationships with, and to send financial aid to, the Hamas-led Palestinian government in Gaza. In Malley’s calculus, the electoral victory that swept Hamas into power in January 2006 was a manifestation of legitimate Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, [and] Western lecturing …”

Moreover, Malley contends that it is both unreasonable and unrealistic for Israel or Western nations to demand that Syria sever its ties with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Iran. Rather, he suggests that if Israel were to return the Golan Heights (which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, and again in the 1973 Yom Kippur War—two conflicts sparked by Arab aggression which sought so permanently wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth) to Syrian control, Damascus would be inclined to pursue peace with Israel.

Malley has criticized the U.S. for allegedly remaining “on the sidelines” and being a “no-show” in the overall effort to bring peace to the nations of the Middle East. Exhorting the Bush administration to change its policy of refusing to engage diplomatically with terrorists and their sponsoring states, Malley wrote in July 2006: “Today the U.S. does not talk to Iran, Syria, Hamas, the elected Palestinian government or Hezbollah…. The result has been a policy with all the appeal of a moral principle and all the effectiveness of a tired harangue.”

This inclination to negotiate with any and all enemies of the U.S. and Israel—an impulse which Malley has outlined clearly and consistently—clearly has had a powerful influence on Barack Obama.

It is notable that six months ago the Obama campaign and Malley hastily severed ties with one another after the Times of London reported that Malley had been meeting privately with Hamas leaders on a regular basis—something Obama had publicly pledged never to do. At the time, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt minimized the significance of this monumentally embarrassing revelation, saying: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

But indeed, within hours after Obama’s election victory, Malley was back as a key player in the president-elect’s team of advisors—on his way to Syria. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, received a most friendly communication from Hamas, congratulating him on his “historic victory.”

John Perazzo is the Managing Editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at wsbooks25@hotmail.com
10009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 10, 2008, 06:25:53 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/11/10/ohio-governor-downplays-snoopers-blatant-misuse-of-office/

Where is the outrage? Where is the MSM?
10010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 10, 2008, 06:04:14 PM

October 01, 2008
The Long Road to Slack Lending Standards

By Steven Malanga
In the early 1990s I attended a conference designed to teach journalists the tools of an emerging field known as computer-assisted investigative reporting. One of the hottest sessions of the conference explained how journalists could replicate stories that other papers had done locally using computer tools, including one especially popular project to determine if banks in your community were discriminating against minority borrowers in making mortgages. One newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had already won a Pulitzer Prize for its computer-assisted series on the subject, and others, including the Washington Post and the Detroit Free Press, had also weighed in with their own analysis based on government loan data. Everyone sounded keen to learn if their local banks were guilty, too.

Although academic researchers leveled substantial criticisms against these newspaper efforts (namely, that they relied on incomplete data and did not take into account lower savings rates, higher debt levels, and higher loan defaults rates for many minority borrowers), bank lending to minority borrowers still became an enormous issue?"mostly because newspaper reporters and editors in this pre-talk radio, pre-blogging era were determined to make it so. Editorialists called for the government to force banks to end the alleged discrimination, and they castigated federal banking regulators who said they saw no proof of wrongdoing in the data.

Eventually, the political climate changed, and Washington became a believer in the story. Crucial to this change was a Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study which concluded that although lender discrimination was not as severe as suggested by the newspapers, it nevertheless existed. This, then, became the dominant government position, even though subsequent efforts by other researchers to verify the Fed’s conclusions showed serious deficiencies in the original work. One economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. who looked more deeply into the data, for instance, found that the difference in denial rates on loans for whites and minorities could be accounted for by such factors as higher rates of delinquencies on prior loans for minorities, or the inability of lenders to verify information provided to them by some minority applicants.

Ignoring the import of such data, federal officials went on a campaign to encourage banks to lower their lending standards in order to make more minority loans. One result of this campaign is a remarkable document produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1998 titled “Closing the Gap: A Guide to Equal Opportunity Lending”.

Quoting from a study which declared that “underwriting guidelines…may be unintentionally racially biased,” the Boston Fed then called for what amounted to undermining many of the lending criteria that banks had used for decades. It told banks they should consider junking the industry’s traditional debt-to-income ratio, which lenders used to determine whether an applicant’s income was sufficient to cover housing costs plus loan payments. It instructed banks that an applicant’s “lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor” in obtaining a mortgage, even though a mortgage is the biggest financial obligation most individuals will undertake in life. In cases where applicants had bad credit (as opposed to no credit), the Boston Fed told banks to “consider extenuating circumstances” that might still make the borrower creditworthy. When applicants didn’t have enough savings to make a down payment, the Boston Fed urged banks to allow loans from nonprofits or government assistance agencies to count toward a down payment, even though banks had traditionally disallowed such sources because applicants who have little of their own savings invested in a home are more likely to walk away from a loan when they have trouble paying.

Of course, the new federal standards couldn’t just apply to minorities. If they could pay back loans under these terms, then so could the majority of loan applicants. Quickly, in other words, these became the new standards in the industry. In 1999, the New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were easing credit requirements for mortgages it purchased from lenders, and as the housing market boomed, banks embraced these new standards with a vengeance. Between 2004 and 2007, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became the biggest purchasers of subprime mortgages from all kinds of applicants, white and minority, and most of these loans were based on the lending standards promoted by the government.

Meanwhile, those who raced to make these mortgages were lionized. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies even invited Angelo Mozilo, CEO of the lender which made more loans purchased by Fannie and Freddie than anyone else, Countrywide Financial, to give its prestigious 2003 Dunlop Lecture on the subject of "The American Dream of Homeownership: From Cliché to Mission.” A brief, innocuous description of the event still exists online here.

Many defenders of the government’s efforts to prompt banks to lend more to minorities have claimed that this effort had little to do with the present mortgage mess. Specifically they point out that many institutions that made subprime mortgages during the market bubble weren’t even banks subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, the main vehicle that the feds used to cajole banks to loosen their lending.

But this defense misses the point. In order to push banks to lend more to minority borrowers, advocates like the Boston Fed put forward an entire new set of lending standards and explained to the industry just why loans based on these slacker standards were somehow safer than the industry previously thought. These justifications became the basis for a whole new set of values (or lack of values), as no-down payment loans and loans to people with poor credit history or to those who were already loaded up with debt became more common throughout the entire industry.

What happened in the mortgage industry is an example of how, in trying to eliminate discrimination from our society, we turned logic on its head. Instead of nobly trying to ensure equality of opportunity for everyone, many civil rights advocates tried to use the government to ensure equality of outcomes for everyone in the housing market. And so when faced with the idea that minorities weren’t getting approved for enough mortgages because they didn’t measure up as often to lending standards, the advocates told us that the standards must be discriminatory and needed to be junked. When lenders did that, we made heroes out of those who led the way, like Angelo Mozilo, before we made villains of them.

Now we all have to pay.

Steven Malanga is an editor for RealClearMarkets and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute
Page Printed from: http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2008/10/the_long_road_to_slack_lending.html at November 10, 2008 - 06:01:24 PM CST
10011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 10, 2008, 05:13:41 PM
**The dems will do for America, what they've done for California**

http://www.city-journal.org/2008/eon1023lm.html

Lawrence J. McQuillan
Californians Voting with Their Feet

The state government’s stifling economic policies are worsening the downturn and driving citizens elsewhere.
23 October 2008
With the implosion of its storied investment banks and the future of Wall Street in doubt, New York will suffer the effects of the financial crisis more acutely than many states. But the crisis reaches epicenters outside of Manhattan as well. Chief among them is the world’s eighth-largest economy: California.

Several key economic indicators point to grim news for the Golden State in the aftermath of the Wall Street meltdown. The state’s unemployment rate has jumped to 7.7 percent, its highest rate in 12 years and the third-worst in the United States. In Riverside County, 40 percent of homes sold in the past year are in foreclosure. Unfortunately, California’s government doesn’t seem interested in solving the state’s economic problems.

California continues to be burdened with high taxes, punitive regulations, huge wealth-transfer programs, out-of-control spending, and lawsuit abuse. And there’s no end in sight to the state’s fiscal madness. The “balanced budget” signed only a few weeks ago by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger already runs a deficit of as much as $5.5 billion. Last week, to cover state expenditures for the rest of the fiscal year, the state sold $5 billion in short-term notes. Schwarzenegger bought $100,000 worth himself.

Analysts already project that next fiscal year’s budget will be billions in the red. State spending has increased at a faster rate under Schwarzenegger than under his predecessor, Gray Davis. Every year, California puts taxpayers on the hook for yet more spending without any reform of the government’s boneheaded economic policies. It’s not surprising, then, that California ranks fourth-to-last in the Pacific Research Institute’s 2008 U.S. Economic Freedom Index, published in association with Forbes. The Index measures how friendly or unfriendly each state’s government policies are toward free enterprise and consumer choice. Its rankings derive from a comprehensive evaluation of fiscal, judicial, and regulatory indicators such as tax rates, state spending, occupational licensing, environmental rules, income redistribution, tort reform, and prevailing-wage laws.

When he arrived in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger promised to end government overreach. He pledged to “blow up” boxes in the state’s organizational chart, “tear up the credit card” for state legislators, and curtail taxes. Thus far, though, any “Schwarzenegger effect” on state governance has been difficult to discern. Since 2004—Schwarzenegger’s first full year in office—California’s economic-freedom ranking in the PRI index improved only two places, from an abysmal 49 to 47. And $5 billion of new debt will do nothing to bolster the Governator’s self-proclaimed reputation as a fiscal hawk.

By contrast, Nevada, California’s neighbor to the east, boasts a much more favorable economic environment. Nevada ranked sixth among the states in economic freedom, an improvement from 2004, when it placed twelfth. But the model of economic freedom among the states is slightly further east—South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State imposes no corporate-income tax, no personal-income tax, no personal-property tax, no business-inventory tax, and no inheritance tax. States in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains tend to be the most economically free. States in the Northeast tend to be the least free. (New York has ranked dead last since 1999.)

Americans vote with their feet, and strong economic freedom draws workers and businesses. According to United Van Lines, South Dakota ranked seventh in inbound migration in 2007. That’s one way of saying that lots of people are moving there. Nevada ranked second. By contrast, California tallied more outbound shipments than inbound. People are fleeing California partly because of economic aggravation. For every one-place improvement in a state’s Index ranking of economic freedom, its net migration per 1,000 people typically increases by one person. This means that for Michigan, the top-ranked outbound state, a one-spot improvement in economic freedom would result in a net increase of about 10,000 people moving into the state—resulting in much-needed new consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and investors.

Economic freedom—or the lack thereof—affects states in multiple ways. Migration alters the political map through congressional apportionment. Current projections suggest that California’s mass exodus will deprive it of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 census. Economic freedom also impacts pocketbooks. In 2005, per-capita income in the 15 most economically free states grew 31 percent faster than in the 15 states with the lowest levels of economic freedom. Policies friendly to economic freedom help states shore up their finances, too. The 15 freest states saw their general-fund tax revenues grow at a rate more than 6 percent higher than the 15 states with the least economic freedom. California lawmakers should keep these figures in mind as they grapple with the state’s yawning budget deficit.

In short, economic freedom is not an academic exercise or a zero-sum game. It benefits workers, businesses, and governments alike. When one state expands economic freedom, it puts pressure on its neighbors also to improve, or risk competing at a disadvantage for people and capital. With luck, Nevada’s example will spur California to embrace serious reforms. Otherwise, a stagnant economy brought on by the financial crisis will plague the Golden State far longer than necessary.

Lawrence J. McQuillan is director of business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute and coauthor of the 2008 U.S. Economic Freedom Index.
10012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: November 10, 2008, 05:00:55 PM
GSE= Government Sponsored Enterprise
10013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 10, 2008, 10:07:34 AM
http://www.nypost.com/seven/11102008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_vultures_circle_137964.htm?page=0

THE VULTURES CIRCLE
HOSTILE WORLD TESTING BARACK

A'jad: Sees Obama as potential roadkill.



Posted: 4:54 am
November 10, 2008

THE American people have spoken, and whatever our personal preferences, our duty as citizens is to support our next president. And he's going to need support: The international vultures are already circling.

Immediately upon his inauguration, President Obama will have to demonstrate to allies and enemies alike that he won't be a pushover. Justified or not, the international perception of Obama is that he'll be both passive and a pacifist.

He's going to have to show some Southside Chicago street grit. Fast.

Our enemies haven't wasted any time. The day after our election, President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, speaking for Vladimir Putin, gave a Gucci-loafer version of Premier Nikita Krushchev's shoe-heel-on-the-podium rant of a half-century ago.

In a direct challenge to our president-elect, Medvedev announced that Russia would deploy its latest-generation battlefield missiles to the Kaliningrad exclave between Lithuania and Poland. The Russian president made it clear that the target would be the US ballistic-missile interceptors to be based on Polish soil.

Medvedev's speech then elaborated on the Putin Doctrine: Russia will do what it wants, when it wants, where it wants in the territories that once belonged to the czars.

A day later, President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran played good cop to the Russian bad cop, inviting the new US administration to enter direct talks with Tehran. Now, negotiations can be useful - but only when conducted from a position of strength. Unfortunately, the Iranians view our election results as reflecting a greatly weakened American will.

They assess Obama as the perfect patsy, a man who believes in his own powers of persuasion. Drawing out fruitless talks year after year has been Iran's primary technique to protect its pursuit of nukes. Persians are brilliant negotiators. Their position is always, "Well, we might sleep with you . . . next time . . . if you just give us one more present . . ."

And we rush off to Tiffany & Co.

Only the Chinese come close to the Iranian genius for castrating opponents under the negotiating table. Of course, our European allies show up already missing key parts.

By the end of last week, even the Iraqis had swooped down for a bite of roadkill. Brushing President Bush aside (as the Russians, Iranians, Venezuelans and others already have done), Iraqi representatives working on the status-of-forces agreement for our troop presence balked at the previously agreed terms, expecting a better deal from an Obama administration.

One key demand of radical Iraqis is the right to try our troops in Iraqi courts for alleged crimes. Given the present politicized state of the Iraqi legal system, accepting such terms would betray our soldiers.

As a candidate, Obama praised our troops. Will he stand up for them now? Or was his praise pure hypocrisy?

There's much more to come. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and the Castro regime in Cuba have welcomed the election results, anticipating an American retreat from the fight for freedom. As president, it will be Obama's duty to disappoint them. China is facing a serious internal crisis, while terror-tormented Pakistan is broke and begging. A bumper crop of crises is sprouting on every side.

At home, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - a magnificent public servant - has tried to sound the warning that our nuclear arsenal, the ultimate backbone of our national security, has deteriorated badly and must be renewed (not expanded, just updated).

May we hope that the Obama administration, indebted to an extreme left-wing base, will have the audacity to do what is necessary and upgrade our nuclear weapons so that our deterrent remains dependable? The grim paradox of the last 60 years is that humankind's worst weapons were all that prevented another world war.

Today, with faith-drunk fanatics pursuing nukes and old adversaries resharpening their atomic swords, we had best remember that peace is only preserved through evident strength.

President Obama isn't going to enjoy a honeymoon with terrorists, rogue states or opportunistic vultures around the globe. He'll have to establish his leadership credentials immediately, to make it clear that he's America's president, not our liquidator-in-chief.

What could he do to help himself? Three things:

* First, make it clear to all that while America is willing to talk with serious counterparts, we'll expect results, not endless obfuscation.

* Second, beg Secretary Gates to stay on at the Pentagon for at least the first year of transition.

* Third, Obama should nominate that brilliant thug, Richard Holbrooke, as secretary of State. Holbrooke may be the most arrogant man ever to serve in our diplomatic corps (where arrogance has long substituted for competence). But he's also tough, superbly capable and the savviest star in the Democratic constellation when it comes to global affairs.

If Obama wants to project an idealist's image to the world, he's going to need a realist at Foggy Bottom. And someone's going to have to clean up Vice President Joe Biden's inevitable messes. The next four years are going to be interesting.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."
10014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: November 10, 2008, 09:50:50 AM
**Hope will be what passes for Homeland Security.**

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/10/the-return-of-the-wall/

The return of The Wall?
posted at 9:45 am on November 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey   
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly

The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau takes a look at a potential Attorney General nominee in the nascent Barack Obama administration — and it’s a familiar face.  Jamie S. Gorelick may be on Obama’s short list for AG, but she has been a familiar face during the Bush administration, too.  Gorelick served under Janet Reno during the Clinton administration and played a critical role in blinding counterterrorism efforts prior to 9/11:

Would bring to the job: A wide-ranging Washington résumé that spans corporate, legal and national security affairs. Ms. Gorelick (pronounced Guh-REH-lick) was the No. 2 official at the Justice Department in the Clinton administration, from 1994 to 1997, and if chosen would be the second woman to be named attorney general, following her former boss, Janet Reno. Ms. Gorelick would also bring corporate experience to an Obama administration at a time of financial crisis.

Is linked to Mr. Obama by: Deep contacts in Democratic circles and a background in civil rights. But Ms. Gorelick backed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries and contributed early on to her campaign, which could work against her as a contender. She contributed $10,000 to Mr. Obama’s presidential political action committee in August, after his nomination was all but assured.


Gorelick would bring corporate experience to an Obama administration — in the same way Rahm Emanuel did.  Gorelick was vice chairman at Fannie Mae in the years when the GSE fraudulently reported its income.  She got a Friends of Angelo sweetheart mortgage for almost a million dollars in 2003, and is currently under investigation by the department she would run if nominated for AG.

But even without that taint of corruption, Gorelick would signal a return to incompetence and infighting.  Gorelick played a major role in keeping counterterrorist and law-enforcement agents from sharing information and “connecting the dots” before 9/11.  In a series of judgments at the DoD and at Justice during her tenure in the Clinton administration, Gorelick hamstrung our efforts to find and disarm terrorist infiltrators by discouraging any cooperation between intelligence and enforcement efforts by making “the wall” much more significant than Congress ever intended.

Gorelick wound up serving as a panelist on the 9/11 Commission, but she should have been served a subpoena instead.  Two memos from Clinton-appointed US Attorney Mary Jo White made this point crystal clear, as did an explanation from someone involved for years in the counterterrorist effort.  Gorelick imposed an unrealistic standard on intelligence gathering that led directly to the 9/11 attacks.  As AG, she would have even more power to reimpose those same limitations, and leave us just as blind as we were before those attacks.

Obama ran on “hope and change”, but if Gorelick is what he had in mind, then he sold the US a bill of goods.  It would make the second former GSE board member nominated to a high position in his administration, one who already has connections to Countrywide’s corruption and a federal probe into her actions.  Gorelick also has failed in developing policies and strategies to keep the nation secure.  She would be a disaster as AG, and if she really is on the short list, it shows how clueless Barack Obama is about the threats to this nation.

10015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 09, 2008, 11:15:53 AM
Conservatives should never say to voters, "We can lower your taxes." Conservatives should say to voters, "You can raise spending. You, the electorate, can, if you choose, have an infinite number of elaborate and expensive government programs. But we, the government, will have to pay for those programs. We have three ways to pay.

"We can inflate the currency, destroying your ability to plan for the future, wrecking the nation's culture of thrift and common sense, and giving free rein to scallywags to borrow money for worthless scams and pay it back 10 cents on the dollar.

"We can raise taxes. If the taxes are levied across the board, money will be taken from everyone's pocket, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and least advantaged will be harmed the most. If the taxes are levied only on the wealthy, money will be taken from wealthy people's pockets, hampering their capacity to make loans and investments, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and the least advantaged will be harmed the most.

"And we can borrow, building up a massive national debt. This will cause all of the above things to happen plus it will fund Red Chinese nuclear submarines that will be popping up in San Francisco Bay to get some decent Szechwan take-out."

Yes, this would make for longer and less pithy stump speeches. But we'd be showing ourselves to be men and women of principle. It might cost us, short-term. We might get knocked down for not whoring after bioenergy votes in the Iowa caucuses. But at least we wouldn't land on our scruples. And we could get up again with dignity intact, dust ourselves off, and take another punch at the liberal bully-boys who want to snatch the citizenry's freedom and tuck that freedom, like a trophy feather, into the hatbands of their greasy political bowlers.

But are we men and women of principle? And I don't mean in the matter of tricky and private concerns like gay marriage. Civil marriage is an issue of contract law. A constitutional amendment against gay marriage? I don't get it. How about a constitutional amendment against first marriages? Now we're talking. No, I speak, once again, of the geological foundations of conservatism.

Where was the meum and the tuum in our shakedown of Washington lobbyists? It took a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives 40 years--from 1954 to 1994--to get that corrupt and arrogant. And we managed it in just 12. (Who says Republicans don't have much on the ball?)

Our attitude toward immigration has been repulsive. Are we not pro-life? Are not immigrants alive? Unfortunately, no, a lot of them aren't after attempting to cross our borders. Conservative immigration policies are as stupid as conservative attitudes are gross. Fence the border and give a huge boost to the Mexican ladder industry. Put the National Guard on the Rio Grande and know that U.S. troops are standing between you and yard care. George W. Bush, at his most beneficent, said if illegal immigrants wanted citizenship they would have to do three things: Pay taxes, learn English, and work in a meaningful job. Bush doesn't meet two out of three of those qualifications. And where would you rather eat? At a Vietnamese restaurant? Or in the Ayn Rand Café? Hey, waiter, are the burgers any good? Atlas shrugged. (We would, however, be able to have a smoke at the latter establishment.)

To go from slime to the sublime, there are the lofty issues about which we never bothered to form enough principles to go out and break them. What is the coherent modern conservative foreign policy?

We may think of this as a post 9/11 problem, but it's been with us all along. What was Reagan thinking, landing Marines in Lebanon to prop up the government of a country that didn't have one? In 1984, I visited the site where the Marines were murdered. It was a beachfront bivouac overlooked on three sides by hills full of hostile Shiite militia. You'd urge your daughter to date Rosie O'Donnell before you'd put troops ashore in such a place.

Since the early 1980s I've been present at the conception (to use the polite term) of many of our foreign policy initiatives. Iran-contra was about as smart as using the U.S. Postal Service to get weapons to anti-Communists. And I notice Danny Ortega is back in power anyway. I had a look into the eyes of the future rulers of Afghanistan at a sura in Peshawar as the Soviets were withdrawing from Kabul. I would rather have had a beer with Leonid Brezhnev.

Fall of the Berlin wall? Being there was fun. Nations that flaked off of the Soviet Union in southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus? Being there was not so fun.

The aftermath of the Gulf war still makes me sick. Fine to save the fat, greedy Kuwaitis and the arrogant, grasping house of Saud, but to hell with the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq until they get some oil.

Then, half a generation later, when we returned with our armies, we expected to be greeted as liberators. And, damn it, we were. I was in Baghdad in April 2003. People were glad to see us, until they noticed that we'd forgotten to bring along any personnel or provisions to feed or doctor the survivors of shock and awe or to get their electricity and water running again. After that they got huffy and began stuffing dynamite down their pants before consulting with the occupying forces.

Is there a moral dimension to foreign policy in our political philosophy? Or do we just exist to help the world's rich people make and keep their money? (And a fine job we've been doing of that lately.)

If we do have morals, where were they while Bosnians were slaughtered? And where were we while Clinton dithered over the massacres in Kosovo and decided, at last, to send the Serbs a message: Mess with the United States and we'll wait six months, then bomb the country next to you. Of Rwanda, I cannot bear to think, let alone jest.

And now, to glue and screw the lid on our coffin, comes this financial crisis. For almost three decades we've been trying to teach average Americans to act like "stakeholders" in their economy. They learned. They're crying and whining for government bailouts just like the billionaire stakeholders in banks and investment houses. Aid, I can assure you, will be forthcoming from President Obama.

Then average Americans will learn the wisdom of Ronald Reagan's statement: "The ten most dangerous words in the English language are, 'I'm from the federal government, and I'm here to help.'?" Ask a Katrina survivor.

The left has no idea what's going on in the financial crisis. And I honor their confusion. Jim Jerk down the road from me, with all the cars up on blocks in his front yard, falls behind in his mortgage payments, and the economy of Iceland implodes. I'm missing a few pieces of this puzzle myself.

Under constant political pressure, which went almost unresisted by conservatives, a lot of lousy mortgages that would never be repaid were handed out to Jim Jerk and his drinking buddies and all the ex-wives and single mothers with whom Jim and his pals have littered the nation.

Wall Street looked at the worthless paper and thought, "How can we make a buck off this?" The answer was to wrap it in a bow. Take a wide enough variety of lousy mortgages--some from the East, some from the West, some from the cities, some from the suburbs, some from shacks, some from McMansions--bundle them together and put pressure on the bond rating agencies to do fancy risk management math, and you get a "collateralized debt obligation" with a triple-A rating. Good as cash. Until it wasn't.

Or, put another way, Wall Street was pulling the "room full of horse s--" trick. Brokerages were saying, "We're going to sell you a room full of horse s--. And with that much horse s--, you just know there's a pony in there somewhere."

Anyway, it's no use blaming Wall Street. Blaming Wall Street for being greedy is like scolding defensive linemen for being big and aggressive. The people on Wall Street never claimed to be public servants. They took no oath of office. They're in it for the money. We pay them to be in it for the money. We don't want our retirement accounts to get a 2 percent return. (Although that sounds pretty good at the moment.)

What will destroy our country and us is not the financial crisis but the fact that liberals think the free market is some kind of sect or cult, which conservatives have asked Americans to take on faith. That's not what the free market is. The free market is just a measurement, a device to tell us what people are willing to pay for any given thing at any given moment. The free market is a bathroom scale. You may hate what you see when you step on the scale. "Jeeze, 230 pounds!" But you can't pass a law making yourself weigh 185. Liberals think you can. And voters--all the voters, right up to the tippy-top corner office of Goldman Sachs--think so too.

We, the conservatives, who do understand the free market, had the responsibility to--as it were--foreclose upon this mess. The market is a measurement, but that measuring does not work to the advantage of a nation or its citizens unless the assessments of volume, circumference, and weight are conducted with transparency and under the rule of law. We've had the rule of law largely in our hands since 1980. Where is the transparency? It's one more job we botched.

Although I must say we're doing good work on our final task--attaching the garden hose to our car's exhaust pipe and running it in through a vent window. Barack and Michelle will be by in a moment with some subsidized ethanol to top up our gas tank. And then we can turn the key.

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
10016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 09, 2008, 11:14:59 AM
**I don't agree with every point, but his take on the size of gov't is right on.**

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/791jsebl.asp?pg=1

We Blew It
A look back in remorse on the conservative opportunity that was squandered.
by P.J. O'Rourke
11/17/2008, Volume 014, Issue 09


Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone--gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that's headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.

An entire generation has been born, grown up, and had families of its own since Ronald Reagan was elected. And where is the world we promised these children of the Conservative Age? Where is this land of freedom and responsibility, knowledge, opportunity, accomplishment, honor, truth, trust, and one boring hour each week spent in itchy clothes at church, synagogue, or mosque? It lies in ruins at our feet, as well it might, since we ourselves kicked the shining city upon a hill into dust and rubble. The progeny of the Reagan Revolution will live instead in the universe that revolves around Hyde Park.

Mind you, they won't live in Hyde Park. Those leafy precincts will be reserved for the micromanagers and macro-apparatchiks of liberalism--for Secretary of the Department of Peace Bill Ayers and Secretary of the Department of Fairness Bernardine Dohrn. The formerly independent citizens of our previously self-governed nation will live, as I said, around Hyde Park. They will make what homes they can in the physical, ethical, and intellectual slums of the South Side of Chicago.

The South Side of Chicago is what everyplace in America will be once the Democratic administration and filibuster-resistant Democratic Congress have tackled global warming, sustainability, green alternatives to coal and oil, subprime mortgage foreclosures, consumer protection, business oversight, financial regulation, health care reform, taxes on the "rich," and urban sprawl. The Democrats will have plenty of time to do all this because conservatism, if it is ever reborn, will not come again in the lifetime of anyone old enough to be rounded up by ACORN and shipped to the polling booths.

None of this is the fault of the left. After the events of the 20th century--national socialism, international socialism, inter-species socialism from Earth First--anyone who is still on the left is obviously insane and not responsible for his or her actions. No, we on the right did it. The financial crisis that is hoisting us on our own petard is only the latest (if the last) of the petard hoistings that have issued from the hindquarters of our movement. We've had nearly three decades to educate the electorate about freedom, responsibility, and the evils of collectivism, and we responded by creating a big-city-public-school-system of a learning environment.

Liberalism had been running wild in the nation since the Great Depression. At the end of the Carter administration we had it cornered in one of its dreadful low-income housing projects or smelly public parks or some such place, and we held the Taser gun in our hand, pointed it at the beast's swollen gut, and didn't pull the trigger. Liberalism wasn't zapped and rolled away on a gurney and confined somewhere until it expired from natural causes such as natural law or natural rights.

In our preaching and our practice we neglected to convey the organic and universal nature of freedom. Thus we ensured our loss before we even began our winning streak. Barry Goldwater was an admirable and principled man. He took an admirably principled stand on states' rights. But he was dead wrong. Separate isn't equal. Ask a kid whose parents are divorced.

Since then modern conservatism has been plagued by the wrong friends and the wrong foes. The "Southern Strategy" was bequeathed to the Republican party by Richard Nixon--not a bad friend of conservatism but no friend at all. The Southern Strategy wasn't needed. Southern whites were on--begging the pardon of the Scopes trial jury--an evolutionary course toward becoming Republican. There's a joke in Arkansas about a candidate hustling votes in the country. The candidate asks a farmer how many children he has.

"I've got six sons," the farmer says.

"Are they all good little Democrats?" the candidate asks.

"Well," the farmer says, "five of 'em are. But my oldest boy, he got to readin'??.??.??.??"

There was no need to piss off the entire black population of America to get Dixie's electoral votes. And despising cracker trash who have a laundry hamper full of bedsheets with eye-holes cut in them does not make a man a liberal.

Blacks used to poll Republican. They did so right up until Mrs. Roosevelt made some sympathetic noises in 1932. And her husband didn't even deliver on Eleanor's promises.

It's not hard to move a voting bloc. And it should be especially easy to move voters to the right. Sensible adults are conservative in most aspects of their private lives. If this weren't so, imagine driving on I-95: The majority of drivers are drunk, stoned, making out, or watching TV, while the rest are trying to calculate the size of their carbon footprints on the backs of Whole Foods receipts while negotiating lane changes.

People are even more conservative if they have children. Nobody with kids is a liberal, except maybe one pothead in Marin County. Everybody wants his or her children to respect freedom, exercise responsibility, be honest, get educated, have opportunities, and own a bunch of guns. (The last is optional and includes, but is not limited to, me, my friends in New Hampshire, and Sarah Palin.)

Reagan managed to reach out to blue collar whites. But there his reach stopped, leaving many people on our side, but barely knowing it. There are enough yarmulkes among the neocons to show that Jews are not immune to conservatism. Few practicing Catholics vote Democratic anymore except in Massachusetts where they put something in the communion wafers. When it comes to a full-on, hemp-wearing, kelp-eating, mandala-tatted, fool-coifed liberal with socks in sandals, I have never met a Muslim like that or a Chinese and very few Hispanics. No U.S. immigrants from the Indian subcontinent fill that bill (the odd charlatan yogi excepted), nor do immigrants from Africa, Eastern Europe, or East Asia. And Japanese tourists may go so far as socks in sandals, but their liberal nonsense stops at the ankles.

We have all of this going for us, worldwide. And yet we chose to deliver our sermons only to the faithful or the already converted. Of course the trailer park Protestants yell "Amen." If you were handling rattlesnakes and keeping dinosaurs for pets, would you vote for the party that gets money from PETA?

In how many ways did we fail conservatism? And who can count that high? Take just one example of our unconserved tendency to poke our noses into other people's business: abortion. Democracy--be it howsoever conservative--is a manifestation of the will of the people. We may argue with the people as a man may argue with his wife, but in the end we must submit to the fact of being married. Get a pro-life friend drunk to the truth-telling stage and ask him what happens if his 14-year-old gets knocked up. What if it's rape? Some people truly have the courage of their convictions. I don't know if I'm one of them. I might kill the baby. I will kill the boy.

The real message of the conservative pro-life position is that we're in favor of living. We consider people--with a few obvious exceptions--to be assets. Liberals consider people to be nuisances. People are always needing more government resources to feed, house, and clothe them and to pick up the trash around their FEMA trailers and to make sure their self-esteem is high enough to join community organizers lobbying for more government resources.

If the citizenry insists that abortion remain legal--and, in a passive and conflicted way, the citizenry seems to be doing so--then give the issue a rest. Meanwhile we can, with the public's blessing, refuse to spend taxpayers' money on killing, circumscribe the timing and method of taking a human life, make sure parental consent is obtained when underage girls are involved, and tar and feather teenage boys and run them out of town on a rail. The law cannot be made identical with morality. Scan the list of the Ten Commandments and see how many could be enforced even by Rudy Giuliani.

Our impeachment of President Clinton was another example of placing the wrong political emphasis on personal matters. We impeached Clinton for lying to the government. To our surprise the electorate gave us cold comfort. Lying to the government: It's called April 15th. And we accused Clinton of lying about sex, which all men spend their lives doing, starting at 15 bragging about things we haven't done yet, then on to fibbing about things we are doing, and winding up with prevarications about things we no longer can do.

When the Monica Lewinsky news broke, my wife set me straight about the issue. "Here," she said, "is the most powerful man in the world. And everyone hates his wife. What's the matter with Sharon Stone? Instead, he's hitting on an emotionally disturbed intern barely out of her teens." But our horn rims were so fogged with detestation of Clinton that we couldn't see how really detestable he was. If we had stayed our hand in the House of Representatives and treated the brute with shunning or calls for interventions to make him seek help, we might have chased him out of the White House. (Although this probably would have required a U.S. news media from a parallel universe.)

Such things as letting the abortion debate be turned against us and using the gravity of the impeachment process on something that required the fly-swat of pest control were strategic errors. Would that blame could be put on our strategies instead of ourselves. We have lived up to no principle of conservatism.

Government is bigger than ever. We have fattened the stalled ox and hatred therewith rather than dined on herbs where love (and the voter) is. Instead of flattening the Department of Education with a wrecking ball we let it stand as a pulpit for Bill Bennett. When--to switch metaphors yet again--such a white elephant is not discarded someone will eventually try to ride in the howdah on its back. One of our supposed own did. No Child Left Behind? What if they deserve to be left behind? What if they deserve a smack on the behind? A nationwide program to test whether kids are what? Stupid? You've got kids. Kids are stupid.

We railed at welfare and counted it a great victory when Bill Clinton confused a few poor people by making the rules more complicated. But the "French-bread lines" for the rich, the "terrapin soup kitchens," continue their charity without stint.

The sludge and dreck of political muck-funds flowing to prosperous businesses and individuals have gotten deeper and more slippery and stink worse than ever with conservatives minding the sewage works of legislation.

Agriculture is a business that has been up to its bib overalls in politics since the first Thanksgiving dinner kickback to the Indians for subsidizing Pilgrim maize production with fish head fertilizer grants. But never, since the Mayflower knocked the rock in Plymouth, has anything as putrid as the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2008 been spread upon the land. Just the name says it. There are no farms left. Not like the one grampa grew up on.

A "farm" today means 100,000 chickens in a space the size of a Motel 6 shower stall. If we cared anything about "nutrition" we would--to judge by the mountainous, jiggling flab of Americans--stop growing all food immediately. And "bioenergy" is a fraud of John Edwards-marital-fidelity proportions. Taxpayer money composted to produce a fuel made of alcohol that is more expensive than oil, more polluting than oil, and almost as bad as oil with vermouth and an olive. But this bill passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and was happily signed into law by President Bush. Now it's going to cost us at least $285 billion. That's about five times the gross domestic product of prewar Iraq. For what we will spend on the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2008 we could have avoided the war in Iraq and simply bought a controlling interest in Saddam Hussein's country.

Yes, we got a few tax breaks during the regimes of Reagan and W. But the government is still taking a third of our salary. Is the government doing a third of our job? Is the government doing a third of our dishes? Our laundry? Our vacuuming? When we go to Hooters is the government tending bar making sure that one out of three margaritas is on the house? If our spouse is feeling romantic and we're tired, does the government come over to our house and take care of foreplay? (Actually, during the Clinton administration??.??.??.??)

Anyway, a low tax rate is not--never mind the rhetoric of every conservative politician--a bedrock principle of conservatism. The principle is fiscal responsibility.

10017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The global celebration continues! on: November 08, 2008, 09:31:46 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/08/world/middleeast/08jihadi.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

Jihadi Leader Says Radicals Share Obama Victory

 
By MICHAEL SLACKMAN and SOUAD MEKHENNET
Published: November 7, 2008
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The leader of a jihadi group in Iraq argued Friday that the election of Barack Obama as president represented a victory for radical Islamic groups that had battled American forces since the invasion of Iraq.


The statement, which experts said was part of the psychological duel with the United States, was included in a 25-minute audiotaped speech by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization that claims ties to Al Qaeda. Mr. Baghdadi’s statement was posted on a password-protected Web site called Al Hesbah, used to disseminate information to Islamic radicals.

In his address, Mr. Baghdadi also said that the election of Mr. Obama — and the rejection of the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain — was a victory for his movement, a claim that has already begun to resonate among the radical faithful. In so doing Mr. Baghdadi highlighted the challenge the new president would face as he weighed how to remove troops from Iraq without also giving movements like Al Qaeda a powerful propaganda tool to use for recruiting.

“And the other truth that politicians are embarrassed to admit,” Mr. Baghdadi said, “is that their unjust war on the houses of Islam, with its heavy and successive losses and the continuous operations of exhaustion of your power and your economy, were the principal cause of the collapse of the economic giant.”

The audio statement came amid a very public discussion in the Middle East over what Mr. Obama’s election meant for the future — and what it said about the past. Most of the public reaction, in newspapers and on television and radio stations, was euphoric, with many commentators marveling at the election of a black man whose father was from a Muslim family. There was a general assessment that Mr. Obama’s election was a repudiation of the course taken by President Bush and his inner circle over the past eight years.

“Obama’s election was a message against such destruction, against unjustified wars, wars that are fought with ignorance and rashness, without knowledge of their arenas or the shape of their surroundings,” wrote Ghassan Charbel in Thursday’s issue of the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab daily newspaper Al Hayat. “It was a message against the pattern that became a burden on the U.S. and transformed the U.S. into a burden on the world.”

Some even pointed to Mr. Obama’s election as a lesson to the rest of the region. In Kuwait, Sheik Hamed al-Ali, an Islamic scholar known for his support of jihadi fighters, posted a message titled “We Want Change!” on his Web site.

Sheik Ali said, “It remains the obligation of our Islamic nation to benefit from this example and request change, also, and to get rid of any regime that leads with ignorance and injustice, plunders from the country, enslaves the worshipers, drives us to destruction.” The comments were then circulated on other Islamic Web forums.

But there was also a growing chorus of caution, as commentators began to try to tamp down expectations of any change in American policies in the region. And other commentators echoed Mr. Baghdadi’s view that the election was a victory for the insurgents in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

“It would be no exaggeration to say that we Arabs and Muslims were the main unseen voters who decided the outcome of these elections,” wrote Abdelbari Atwan in Wednesday’s issue of the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.

He wrote, “The transformation that will begin in the U.S. starting today in various political, economic, military, and social domains may well have been delayed for decades, had the new American century been crowned with victory, and had the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan taken the directions sought by the neo-cons — in other words, had there been political stability and economic prosperity, and had the citizens of the two countries targeted by the U.S.’s designs been totally subjugated by it.”

Mr. Baghdadi also used his address to offer Mr. Obama an unlikely deal, one certain to do little to bring any resolution to the conflict between radical Islamic groups and the United States. He offered a truce of sorts in exchange for the removal of all forces from the region.

“On behalf of my brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Chechnya, I offer you what is better for you and us: you return to your previous era of neutrality, you withdraw your forces, and you return to your homes,” Mr. Baghdadi said. “You do not interfere in the affairs of our countries, directly or indirectly. We in turn will not prevent commerce with you, whether it is in oil or otherwise, but with fairness, not at a loss.”

Faris bin Hizam, an expert on Al Qaeda, said the offer of a trade relationship had struck a new note. “How can he call for establishing a relationship with the United States if it withdraws?” Mr. Bin Hizam said. “The main principle of Al Qaeda prohibits any relation with infidels.”

Marwan Shehadeh, a Jordanian researcher and expert in radical Islamic groups, said that Al Qaeda leaders outside Iraq might balk at such a relationship, but that jihadis might view Mr. Obama’s election as an opportunity.

“Of course there is a shift, because there is a new president who came from an oppressed class, and people who had little opportunity,” Mr. Shehadeh said. “He wants to give Obama the chance to make a change, since Obama has no previous animosity with Islam.”

Intelligence officials working in the region said that they did not see Mr. Obama’s election as having any fundamental effect on Al Qaeda, and that any talk of a truce was likely to go nowhere. But two intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of their work said that they were concerned that any step that could be perceived as a victory for Al Qaeda, like pulling troops out of Iraq right away, would only strengthen its ability to recruit.

“If he withdraws the soldiers from Iraq before the country gets really stable, Al Qaeda will see it as their victory, and they might get stronger again,” one regional intelligence official said. That dynamic was already beginning to play out on Al Hesbah.

As with other Web sites, it is impossible for an outsider to verify the identity, or integrity, of posted comments. But experts recognize Al Hesbah as the one remaining online forum for those aligned with Al Qaeda, after two other Web sites were apparently hacked and taken offline.

On the same day Mr. Baghdadi posted his statement, others chatted about the need to continue the fight against the United States. “All of them are low and dirty, and their hatred of Islam is the same,” one participant wrote. Of Mr. Obama, he wrote, “Even in his speech rejoicing his victory he said, ‘To those who fight us, we will defeat you.’ Let us see who will be victorious.”
10018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 08, 2008, 08:00:04 PM
http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2008/11/some-mayhem-arrests-after-obama-rally.html

Some mayhem, arrests after Obama rally
November 5, 2008 at 4:54 PM

At least five people were arrested across the city after Barack Obama's rally in Grant Park, including a woman who slapped a Chicago police officer, saying police couldn't arrest her anymore, prosecutors said today.
Most of the others celebrated the historic occasion with gunfire.
Celita Hart, 19, stood silently in court today when she appeared for a bond hearing.

Prosecutors said Hart, who is black, yelled " 'White [expletive], [expletive] McCain--you white police can't do nothing anymore.'"  With that, she reached through the window of a squad car and slapped a white male officer in the face, according to Assistant State's Atty. Lorraine Scaduto.

The incident occurred after police responded to a crowd of people celebrating Obama's win on the corner of 69th Street and Western Avenue.  Hart, of the 7100 block of South Rockwell Street, was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer and was ordered her held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Others who appeared before Circuit Judge Israel Desierto included Andre Murph, 37, of Aurora, who was arrested after police saw him shooting a handgun into the ground on the Southwest Side.

Scaduto said he told the officers he was "shooting to celebrate Obama as president."

Narada Thomas, 23, of the 1200 North Central Avenue, allegedly gave a similar explanation after he was arrested with a handgun near his home. "He said he had the gun because he wanted to celebrate Obama becoming the first black president," Scaduto said.

Kenneth Smith, 24, of the 6700 block of South Ada Street, was arrested after he allegedly fired a handgun outside his home. Smith, who is on parole for a previous weapons conviction, told authorities that "the police only arrested him because a black man won for president," Scaduto said.

Robert Morgan, 54, of the 5700 South Lowe Avenue, appeared to have simply been caught up in the excitement.

 When officers arrested him for allegedly firing a handgun into the air from his back porch, "He told the officers, 'Everyone else is shooting off their guns--I figured, why not?'" Scaduto said.

Matthew Walberg, Chicago Breaking News Center
10019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 08, 2008, 01:09:34 PM
I hope you are right, Rachel. I'll take no pleasure if i'm proven correct.
10020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: November 08, 2008, 01:06:03 PM
A cemetary I drive past on a regular basis on patrol just put up a sign indicating that it's a jewish cemetary. I've driven past it for years and had no clue. It is next to a larger cemetary, I had just assumed it was a part of the larger one.

Though it's outside my actual jurisdiction, now I feel compelled to watch it even closer, given today's climate. I'd rather that they had maintained security through obscurity.
10021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: November 08, 2008, 12:57:25 PM
You could put a holocaust denier in a time machine and take him to the death camps firsthand and that would have no effect. Same for the 9/11 truthers.
10022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 12:18:17 PM
http://www.gao.gov/cghome/d08446cg.pdf

Ok, so here is the good/bad news: read the above and see that the nanny-state can't go on for much longer. Prepare for a hard landing.
10023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 12:08:37 PM




November 08, 2008, 7:00 a.m.

The Death of the American Idea
An electorate living high off the entitlement hog.

By Mark Steyn

‘Give me liberty or give me death!”

“Live free or die!”

What's that? Oh, don't mind me. I'm just trying out slogans for the 2012 campaign and seeing which one would get the biggest laughs.

My Republican friends are now saying, oh, not to worry, look at the exit polls, this is still a “center-right” country. Americans didn't vote to go left, they voted to go cool. It was a Dancing With The Stars election: Obama's a star and everyone wants to dance with him. It doesn't mean they're suddenly gung-ho for left-wingery.

Up to a point. Unlike those excitable countries where the peasants overrun the presidential palace, settled democratic societies rarely vote to “go left.” Yet oddly enough that's where they've all gone. In its assumptions about the size of the state and the role of government, almost every advanced nation is more left than it was, and getting lefter. Even in America, federal spending (in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars) has gone from $600 billion in 1965 to $3 trillion today. The Heritage Foundation put it in a convenient graph: It's pretty much a straight line across four decades, up, up, up. Doesn't make any difference who controls Congress, who's in the White House. The government just grows and grows, remorselessly. Every two years, the voters walk out of their town halls and school gyms and tell the exit pollsters that three-quarters of them are “moderates” or “conservatives” (ie, the center and the right) and barely 20 per cent are “liberals.” And then, regardless of how the vote went, big government just resumes its inexorable growth.

“The greatest dangers to liberty,” wrote Justice Brandeis, “lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”

Now who does that remind you of?

Ha! Trick question! Never mind Obama, it's John McCain. He encroached on our liberties with the constitutional abomination of McCain-Feingold. Well-meaning but without understanding, he proposed that the federal government buy up all these junk mortgages so that people would be able to stay in “their” homes. And this is the “center-right” candidate? It's hard for Republicans to hammer Obama as a socialist when their own party's nationalizing the banks and its presidential nominee is denouncing the private sector for putting profits before patriotism. That's why Joe the Plumber struck a chord: he briefly turned a one-and-a-half party election back into a two-party choice again.

If you went back to the end of the 19th century and suggested to, say, William McKinley that one day Americans would find themselves choosing between a candidate promising to guarantee your mortgage and a candidate promising to give “tax cuts” to millions of people who pay no taxes he would scoff at you for concocting some patently absurd H G Wells dystopian fantasy. Yet it happened. Slowly, remorselessly, government metastasized to the point where it now seems entirely normal for Peggy Joseph of Sarasota, Florida to vote for Obama because “I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage.”

While few electorates consciously choose to leap left, a couple more steps every election and eventually societies reach a tipping point. In much of the west, it's government health care. It changes the relationship between state and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. Henceforth, elections are fought over which party is proposing the shiniest government bauble: If you think President-elect Obama's promise of federally subsidized day care was a relatively peripheral part of his platform, in Canada in the election before last it was the dominant issue. Yet America may be approaching its tipping point even more directly. In political terms, the message of the gazillion-dollar bipartisan bailout was a simple one: “Individual responsibility” and “self-reliance” are for chumps. If Goldman Sachs and AIG and Bear Stearns are getting government checks to “stay in their homes” (and boardrooms, and luxury corporate retreats), why shouldn't Peggy Joseph?

I don't need Barack Obama's help to “spread the wealth around.” I spread my wealth around every time I hire somebody, expand my business, or just go to the general store and buy a quart of milk and loaf of bread. As far as I know, only one bloated plutocrat declines to spread his wealth around, and that's Scrooge McDuck, whose principal activity in Disney cartoons was getting into his little bulldozer and plowing back and forth over a mountain of warehoused gold and silver coins. Don't know where he is these days. On the board at Halliburton, no doubt. But most of the beleaguered band of American capitalists do not warehouse their wealth in McDuck fashion. It's not a choice between hoarding and spreading, but a choice between who spreads it best: an individual free to make his own decisions about investment and spending, or Barney Frank. I don't find that a difficult question to answer. More to the point, put Barney & Co in charge of the spreading, and there'll be a lot less to spread.

I disagree with my fellow conservatives who think the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Frank liberal behemoth will so obviously screw up that they'll be routed in two or four years' time. The President-elect's so-called “tax cut” will absolve 48 per cent of Americans from paying any federal income tax at all, while those that are left will pay more. Just under half the population will be, as Daniel Henninger pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, on the dole. By 2012, it will be more than half, and this will be an electorate where the majority of the electorate will be able to vote itself more lollipops from the minority of their compatriots still dumb enough to prioritize self-reliance, dynamism, and innovation over the sedating cocoon of the nanny state. That is the death of the American idea — which, after all, began as an economic argument: “No taxation without representation" is a great rallying cry. “No representation without taxation” has less mass appeal. For how do you tell an electorate living high off the entitlement hog that it's unsustainable and you've got to give some of it back?

At that point, America might as well apply for honorary membership in the European Union. It will be a nation at odds with the spirit of its founding, and embarking on decline from which there are few escape routes. In 2012, the least we deserve is a choice between the collectivist assumptions of the Democrats, and a candidate who stands for individual liberty — for economic dynamism not the sclerotic “managed capitalism” of Germany; for the First Amendment, not Canadian-style government regulation of approved opinion; for self-reliance and the Second Amendment, not the security state in which Britons are second only to North Koreans in the number of times they're photographed by government cameras in the course of going about their daily business. In Forbes this week, Claudia Rosett issued a stirring defense of individual liberty. That it should require a stirring defense at all is a melancholy reflection on this election season. Live free — or die from a thousand beguiling caresses of nanny-state sirens.

© Mark Steyn 2008
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZDcxYWNiZTVkNjZkY2I1YmUyMjQzNzc4Y2FjNzI4MjA=
10024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 08, 2008, 11:59:19 AM
Careful, if you suggest Obama is wrong, JDN will lable you a racist.
10025  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you like to see from DBMA? on: November 08, 2008, 08:51:44 AM
A 2 day "Die less often" seminar aimed towards the average, non-martial artist citizens concerned about self defense.
10026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: November 08, 2008, 08:37:43 AM
No worries. Obama will give them amnesty and a "path towards citizenship" in exchange for their votes in 2012.
10027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 07, 2008, 03:12:49 PM
Rachel Ehrenfeld is one of the unsung heroes of our time.
10028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 07, 2008, 03:01:06 PM
Doug,

If we are lucky, our grandkids will have peace. We are in a multigenerational war for our survival. It doesn't feel like it to most right now, but it's absolutely the case. Survival, then victory through strength, then someday peace through strength.
10029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 07, 2008, 02:55:08 PM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/04/treasury-submits-to-shariah/

GAFFNEY: Treasury submits to Shariah

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


COMMENTARY:

The U.S. Treasury Department is submitting to Shariah - the seditious religio-political-legal code authoritative Islam seeks to impose worldwide under a global theocracy.

As reported in this space last week, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt set the stage with his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. His stated purpose was to promote the recycling of petrodollars in the form of foreign investment here.

Evidently, the price demanded by his hosts is that the U.S. government get with the Islamist financial program. While in Riyadh, Mr. Kimmitt announced: "The U.S. government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis."

"Islamic banking" is a euphemism for a practice better known as "Shariah-Compliant Finance (SFC)." And it turns out that this week the Treasury will be taking officials from various federal agencies literally to school on SFC.

The department is hosting a half-day course entitled "Islamic Finance 101" on Thursday at its headquarters building. Treasury's self-described "seminar for the policy community" is co-sponsored with the leading academic promoters of Shariah and SCF in the United States: Harvard University Law School's Project on Islamic Finance. At the very least, the U.S. government evidently hopes to emulate Harvard's success in securing immense amounts of Wahhabi money in exchange for conforming to the Islamists' agenda. Like Harvard, Treasury seems utterly disinterested in what Shariah actually is, and portends.

Unfortunately, such submission - the literal meaning of "Islam" - is not likely to remain confined long to the Treasury or its sister agencies. Thanks to the extraordinary authority conferred on Treasury since September, backed by the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the department is now in a position to impose its embrace of Shariah on the U.S. financial sector. The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Treasury's purchase of - at last count - 17 banks and the ability to provide, or withhold, funds from its new slush-fund can translate into unprecedented coercive power.

Concerns in this regard are only heightened by the prominent role Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari will be playing in "Islamic Finance 101." Mr. Kashkari, the official charged with administering the TARP fund, will provide welcoming remarks to participants. Presumably, in the process, he will convey the enthusiasm about Shariah-Compliant Finance that appears to be the current party line at Treasury.

As this enthusiasm for SCF ramps up in Washington officialdom, it is worth recalling a lesson from "across the pond." Earlier this year, the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, provoked a brief but intense firestorm of controversy with his declaration that it was "unavoidable" that Shariah would be practiced in Britain. Largely unremarked was the reason he gave for such an ominous forecast: The U.K. had already accommodated itself to Shariah-Compliant Finance.

This statement provides an important insight for the incumbent U.S. administration and whomever succeeds it: Shariah-Compliant Finance serves as a leading edge of the spear for those seeking to insinuate Shariah into Western societies.

Regrettably, SCF is not the only instrument of the stealth jihad by which Shariah-promoting Islamists are seeking to achieve "parallel societies" here and elsewhere in the West. The British experience is instructive on this score, too. Her Majesty's government has allowed the establishment of at least five Shariah courts to hear (initially) family law cases. Polygamists in the U.K. can get welfare for each of their wives (as long as all the marriages beyond the first were performed overseas).

Thus far, we in this country may not have reached the point where evidence of this sort of creeping Shariah is so manifest. But Treasury's accommodation to SCF demonstrates that we are on the same trajectory - the one ordained and demanded by the promoters of Shariah, one to which we serially accommodate ourselves at our extreme peril.

After all, the object of Shariah is the supplanting of our government and Constitution, through violent means if possible and, until then, through stealthy ones. Islamists, having secured footholds via their parallel societies, inevitably use those to extend their influence over Muslims who have no more interest in living under authoritative Islam's Shariah than the rest of us do. Inexorably, it becomes the turn of non-Muslims to accommodate themselves to ever more intrusive demands from the Islamists. It is known as submission, or dhimmitude.

Soon - possibly as early as this Wednesday - the Treasury Department and the other federal agencies will be taking orders from representatives of Barack Obama or John McCain. It may be that the outgoing administration's determination to advance the Islamist agenda via "Islamic Finance 101," and what flows from it, may be the first, far-reaching policy decision inherited by the new president-elect. If he does not want to have his transition saddled with an implicit endorsement of submission to Shariah, the winner of the White House sweepstakes would be well-advised to pull the plug on Thursday's indoctrination program and the insidious industry it is meant to foist on the "policy community," our capital markets and our country.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.
10030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 07, 2008, 11:58:47 AM
Not waiting long before moving in for the kill.
10031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 07, 2008, 11:53:24 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/04/treasury-submits-to-shariah/

GAFFNEY: Treasury submits to Shariah

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


COMMENTARY:

The U.S. Treasury Department is submitting to Shariah - the seditious religio-political-legal code authoritative Islam seeks to impose worldwide under a global theocracy.

As reported in this space last week, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt set the stage with his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. His stated purpose was to promote the recycling of petrodollars in the form of foreign investment here.

Evidently, the price demanded by his hosts is that the U.S. government get with the Islamist financial program. While in Riyadh, Mr. Kimmitt announced: "The U.S. government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis."

"Islamic banking" is a euphemism for a practice better known as "Shariah-Compliant Finance (SFC)." And it turns out that this week the Treasury will be taking officials from various federal agencies literally to school on SFC.

The department is hosting a half-day course entitled "Islamic Finance 101" on Thursday at its headquarters building. Treasury's self-described "seminar for the policy community" is co-sponsored with the leading academic promoters of Shariah and SCF in the United States: Harvard University Law School's Project on Islamic Finance. At the very least, the U.S. government evidently hopes to emulate Harvard's success in securing immense amounts of Wahhabi money in exchange for conforming to the Islamists' agenda. Like Harvard, Treasury seems utterly disinterested in what Shariah actually is, and portends.

Unfortunately, such submission - the literal meaning of "Islam" - is not likely to remain confined long to the Treasury or its sister agencies. Thanks to the extraordinary authority conferred on Treasury since September, backed by the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the department is now in a position to impose its embrace of Shariah on the U.S. financial sector. The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Treasury's purchase of - at last count - 17 banks and the ability to provide, or withhold, funds from its new slush-fund can translate into unprecedented coercive power.

Concerns in this regard are only heightened by the prominent role Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari will be playing in "Islamic Finance 101." Mr. Kashkari, the official charged with administering the TARP fund, will provide welcoming remarks to participants. Presumably, in the process, he will convey the enthusiasm about Shariah-Compliant Finance that appears to be the current party line at Treasury.

As this enthusiasm for SCF ramps up in Washington officialdom, it is worth recalling a lesson from "across the pond." Earlier this year, the head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, provoked a brief but intense firestorm of controversy with his declaration that it was "unavoidable" that Shariah would be practiced in Britain. Largely unremarked was the reason he gave for such an ominous forecast: The U.K. had already accommodated itself to Shariah-Compliant Finance.

This statement provides an important insight for the incumbent U.S. administration and whomever succeeds it: Shariah-Compliant Finance serves as a leading edge of the spear for those seeking to insinuate Shariah into Western societies.

Regrettably, SCF is not the only instrument of the stealth jihad by which Shariah-promoting Islamists are seeking to achieve "parallel societies" here and elsewhere in the West. The British experience is instructive on this score, too. Her Majesty's government has allowed the establishment of at least five Shariah courts to hear (initially) family law cases. Polygamists in the U.K. can get welfare for each of their wives (as long as all the marriages beyond the first were performed overseas).

Thus far, we in this country may not have reached the point where evidence of this sort of creeping Shariah is so manifest. But Treasury's accommodation to SCF demonstrates that we are on the same trajectory - the one ordained and demanded by the promoters of Shariah, one to which we serially accommodate ourselves at our extreme peril.

After all, the object of Shariah is the supplanting of our government and Constitution, through violent means if possible and, until then, through stealthy ones. Islamists, having secured footholds via their parallel societies, inevitably use those to extend their influence over Muslims who have no more interest in living under authoritative Islam's Shariah than the rest of us do. Inexorably, it becomes the turn of non-Muslims to accommodate themselves to ever more intrusive demands from the Islamists. It is known as submission, or dhimmitude.

Soon - possibly as early as this Wednesday - the Treasury Department and the other federal agencies will be taking orders from representatives of Barack Obama or John McCain. It may be that the outgoing administration's determination to advance the Islamist agenda via "Islamic Finance 101," and what flows from it, may be the first, far-reaching policy decision inherited by the new president-elect. If he does not want to have his transition saddled with an implicit endorsement of submission to Shariah, the winner of the White House sweepstakes would be well-advised to pull the plug on Thursday's indoctrination program and the insidious industry it is meant to foist on the "policy community," our capital markets and our country.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.
10032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 07, 2008, 11:41:35 AM
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2008/11/iran-ahmadineja.html

Aware of Obama's affinity for socializing with terrorists, A-jad offers a hand of friendship. Wonderful.
10033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 07, 2008, 10:47:35 AM
The "four pillars" of conservatism:

1. Adherence to the ideals of the founding fathers.

2. Prosperity through low taxes and reasonable regulation of trade.

3. Individialism and self reliance.

4. Small government.
10034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 07, 2008, 10:32:38 AM
1/20/09 will be a glorious day for the mullahs. Full steam ahead on the nukes that will turn Tel Aviv into a sheet of glass.
10035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 07, 2008, 10:28:47 AM
Some Americans will. I do.

As goes Israel, so goes the free world.  I'm not sure Israel will survive Obama's tenure as president.
10036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 07, 2008, 08:53:34 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/06/video-zo-on-the-aftermath/

Zo rocks! I disagree with him about Huckabee, but I think his core point is very valid.
10037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 07, 2008, 08:49:56 AM
It's not just Russia that watching Obama very closely. The whole world is watching, but our enemies around the world are watching to see just how much of a victim Obama is willing to be.
10038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 11:03:37 PM
The plan that would work on the state and national level:

1. Cut taxes. Just as California's taxes and over-regulation has been chasing business to other states, the dems plan to do on a massive level nationally. Just look at California as the dem's test track. Like what you see? Just wait.

2. Cut government spending. No deficits. This means all the wonderful, touchy-feely programs the dems love to burn other people's money on have to go. Just do the core gov't services that are actually mandated by law. Roads, bridges, fire, law enforcement, EMS. Liberals want free health care for the poor? Create non-profits and fund them out of your own pockets. You''l get more bang for your buck anyway.

3. Return to a culture of self-reliance. Like or not, we are broke. "New Deal II" will only make it worse, and won't work anyway. We are responsible for ourselves, and gov't can't and won't be there as the "good mommy" the dems love to imagine. Very bleak times await us. Grird up and brace for impact.
10039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 10:29:51 PM
This perfectly captures my take on the election:

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/11/election-analysis-america-can-take-pride-in-this-historic-inspirational-disaster.html

Election Analysis: America Can Take Pride In This Historic, Inspirational Disaster

Although I have not always been the most outspoken advocate of President-Elect Barack Obama, today I would like to congratulate him and add my voice to the millions of fellow citizens who are celebrating his historic and frightening election victory. I don't care whether you are a conservative or a liberal -- when you saw this inspiring young African-American rise to our nation's highest office I hope you felt the same sense of patriotic pride that I experienced, no matter how hard you were hyperventilating with deep existential dread. 

Yes, I know there are probably other African-Americans much better qualified and prepared for the presidency. Much, much better qualified. Hundreds, easily, if not thousands, and without any troubling ties to radical lunatics and Chicago mobsters. Gary Coleman comes to mind. But let's not let that distract us from the fact that Mr. Obama's election represents a profound, positive milestone in our country's struggle to overcome its long legacy of racial divisions and bigotry. It reminds us of how far we've come, and it's something everyone in our nation should celebrate in whatever little time we now have left.

Less than fifty years ago, African-Americans were barred from public universities, restaurants, and even drinking fountains in many parts of the country. On Tuesday we came together and transcended that shameful legacy, electing an African-American to the country's top job -- which, in fact, appears to be his first actual job. Certainly, it doesn't mean that racism has disappeared in America, but it is an undeniable mark of progress that a majority of voters no longer consider skin color nor a dangerously gullible naivete as a barrier to the presidency.

It's also heartening to realize that as president Mr. Obama will soon be working hand-in-hand with a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard like Senator Robert Byrd to craft the incoherent and destructive programs that will plunge the American economy into a nightmare of full-blown sustained depression. As Vice President-Elect Joe Biden has repeatedly warned, there will be difficult times ahead and the programs will not always be popular, or even sane. But as we look out over the wreckage of bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we can always look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America's breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.

It's obvious that this newfound pride is not confined to Americans alone. All across the world, Mr. Obama's election has helped mend America's tattered image as a racist, violent cowboy, willing to retaliate with bombs at the slightest provocation. The huge outpouring of international support following the election shows that America can still win new friendships while rebuilding its old ones, and provides Mr. Obama with unprecedented diplomatic leverage over our remaining enemies. When Russian tanks start pouring into eastern Europe and Iranian missiles begin raining down on Jerusalem, their leaders will know they will be facing a man who not only conquered America's racial divide but the hearts of the entire Cannes film community. And those Al Qaeda terrorists plotting a dirty nuke or chemical attack on San Francisco face a stark new reality: while they may no longer need to worry about US Marines, they are looking down the barrel of a strongly worded diplomatic condemnation by a Europe fully united in their deep sympathy for surviving Americans.

So for now, let's put politics aside and celebrate this historic milestone. In his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. King said "I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Let us now take pride that Tuesday we Americans proved that neither thing matters anymore.
10040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 06, 2008, 10:24:23 PM
Buyer's remorse. Just wait....
10041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 10:11:17 PM
We're just starting to see the start of the great Obama-depression. "Soak the rich" socialism is going to kill off our already damaged economy. Capital is fleeing, and as the dems try to grasp all the money they can for their "New Deal II", it'll drag us to the bottom.

Meanwhile, the world's hotspots will burst into flame.
10042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 09:07:48 PM
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081107/D949OQU00.html

States consider billions in cuts as deficits widen


Nov 6, 7:32 PM (ET)

By JULIET WILLIAMS
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The nation's economic meltdown is taking state budgets down with it - especially in California, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday he wants to close a $11.2 billion gap in part by raising sales taxes on everything from cars to Disneyland tickets.
Several other states are confronting billion-dollar deficits. Some, including Massachusetts, North Carolina and Wisconsin, have ordered broad and deep cuts in spending, while others have only begun to consider how to compensate for their revenue wells drying up.
Schwarzenegger wants $4.5 billion in cuts; one of his proposals would force state employees to take a day off each month without pay and give up two holidays. But he says cuts alone aren't enough to deal with a steep drop in revenue, and he proposes $4.7 billion in tax hikes, including a three-year, 1.5-percentage-point increase in the sales tax.
"We have a dramatic situation here and it takes dramatic solutions ... and immediate action," Schwarzenegger said as he called the Legislature back into session to deal with the shortfall. "We must stop the bleeding."
California's bleak new projections come just six weeks after Schwarzenegger signed this year's budget, which made $7.1 billion in cuts to services to help close a $15.2 billion deficit.
"I'm not a believer in taxes, I'm not a believer of increasing fees. It's just under these circumstances it's necessary to do," Schwarzenegger said.
California relies heavily on capital gains taxes, which have plunged along with the stock market. Sales taxes also have plummeted as consumers have cut off nonessential spending. And California is among the states hardest hit by falling housing prices.
The state controller issued a statement saying California runs "the very real risk" of a severe cash shortage by the end of the year and may have to resort to borrowing so it can balance its books. Its deficit is now 11 percent of general fund spending and could double by next fiscal year if not addressed immediately, the controller said.
The shortfall in Arizona is even worse, on a percentage basis, than California's. Gov. Janet Napolitano on Thursday said the state's deficit had grown to an estimated $1.2 billion, or 12 percent of general fund spending, forcing lawmakers into a likely special session by the end of the year.
The deficit in Washington state is projected at $3.2 billion, but could grow by the time officials get an update later this month.
Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and the Legislature have cut spending by $1.2 billion because of declining tax revenue, but Gibbons warned lawmakers they might have to cut another 14 percent when they go into session in February.
Wisconsin's governor has ordered state agencies to trim 10 percent to cover a $3 billion hole over two years, while North Carolina's governor has ordered several departments to make do with 5 percent less. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced last month that the state would eliminate up to 1,000 jobs and make more than $1 billion in cuts and spending controls to bridge a growing budget gap.
New York Gov. David Paterson last week asked Congress for as much as $8.6 billion from an economic stimulus measure Democrats are considering. He already has called a special session for later this month to tackle a $1.5 billion deficit for the fiscal year that ends in April and warned that New York's deficit could hit $47 billion by 2012.
California's crisis has brought a change in rhetoric from Schwarzenegger. Since taking office in 2003, he has blamed "autopilot spending" by the Legislature whenever California has confronted fiscal woes, but on Thursday he said, "It is now a revenue problem rather than a spending problem."
His proposed sales-tax increase would apply to items as varied as cars and amusement park and sporting game tickets. For the first time, the sales tax also would be applied to services such as vehicle, appliance and furniture repairs, veterinarian services and even greens fees for playing golf. Taxes on alcohol also would increase.
The sales tax plan met immediate opposition from some in the business community. Peter Welch, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, said raising vehicle prices by hundreds of dollars is the last thing his faltering industry needs.
"The fact of the matter is we are in an historic car recession (that's) bordering on a depression," he said. "We actually think we need an economic stimulus package to get people to come in and buy cars. This is just the opposite."
Other revenue could come from raising the registration fee for vehicles by $12 and taxing companies that extract oil from California, which Schwarzenegger said would generate $528 million this year.
The governor also wants to accelerate hundreds of millions of dollars in public works spending to spark job creation. At the same, the newly unemployed would struggle more under his plan. He wants to tighten eligibility for unemployment benefits because the state's unemployment insurance fund is on the brink of insolvency.
---
Associated Press Writers Judy Lin and Steve Lawrence contributed to this report.
10043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 09:02:25 PM
http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2008/10/24/obama-dems-seek-to-end-401-k-plans/

Obama, Dems Seek to End 401(k) Plans
By Mark Impomeni
Oct 24th 2008 9:00AM
Filed Under:eDemocrats, Barack Obama, 2008 President

Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic allies in Congress are looking into a radical new plan that would fundamentally change the way Americans save for retirement. House Democrats recently heard testimony on the idea and, under a potential Obama administration, would likely move to put it in place. Democrats want to seize the money that workers currently invest in their 401(k) plans and replace the popular retirement savings accounts with a one-size-fits-all government sponsored retirement account. Under the scheme, Americans would be forced to transfer all of their hard earned retirement savings from their 401(k) to the government.

The government would contribute $600 a year to fund each account and would pay a rate of return of around three percent in interest. The government would also mandate that each worker contribute 5% of their yearly salary to the accounts. Under current law, workers with 401(k) plans contribute to their retirement accounts and earn interest tax free. The Democrats' plan would end those tax breaks, amounting to as much as a 15% tax hike on each American worker.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said recently that Democrats had better ideas for the $80 billion that Americans contribute to their 401(k) plans each year. "We have to start thinking about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that's not doing what we say it should." Sen. Obama would likely sign on to the plan as president.

Obama, McDermott, and Congressional Democrats miss the point that under current law, Americans have control over their retirement savings, where and how it is invested, and when and how much they contribute. The idea to nationalize retirement savings is another example of Democrats' socialist proclivities. They want control of Americans' retirement to reside in Washington DC, not on Main St., all in the name of "retirement security."
10044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 08:41:21 PM
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a9Oq499c._cA&refer=worldwide

U.S. Stocks Tumble in Market's Worst Two-Day Slump Since 1987
By Lynn Thomasson

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks slid, sending the market to its biggest two-day slump since 1987, after jobless claims jumped and the shrinking economy crushed earnings at companies from Blackstone Group Inc. to News Corp.

Blackstone, the largest private-equity firm, fell 12 percent after posting the biggest quarterly loss in its 18 months as a public company. News Corp. sank 16 percent after the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch said ad sales decreased. Chevron Corp. fell 6.4 percent as oil tumbled to a 19-month low, while an unexpected decrease in chain-store sales dragged down 25 of 27 shares in the S&P 500 Retailing Index.

``We're a long way from the end of the economic challenges,'' said Mike Morcos, who helps manage $1 billion at Old Second Wealth Management in Aurora, Illinois. ``Earnings next year are going to be significantly lower and estimates are going to continue to come down.''

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 5 percent to 904.88, extending its two-day loss to 10 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 443.48 points, or 4.9 percent, to 8,695.79. The Russell 2000 Index of small U.S. companies declined 3.7 percent to 495.84. The MSCI World Index of 23 developed markets lost 5.9 percent to 925.09.

The two-day tumble following Election Day wiped out more than half of the market's rebound from a five-year low on Oct. 27. Both the S&P 500 and Dow average posted their biggest two-day slides since plunging more than 24 percent as rising borrowing costs helped spur the market crash of October 1987.

Europe Slides

BP Plc led a 5.6 percent retreat in Europe's benchmark index even after the Bank of England unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate by 1.5 percentage points to 3 percent to contain damage from a recession. Switzerland's central bank and the European Central Bank reduced their main lending rates by 50 basis points.

The S&P 500 is down 38 percent this year, poised for the steepest annual retreat since 1937. The benchmark for U.S. equities has plunged 42 percent since its record in October 2007 after the U.S. economy shrunk in two of the last four quarters.

The VIX, as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index is known, climbed 17 percent to 63.68. The measure tracks the cost of using options as insurance against declines in the S&P 500.

``It's just been a steady, steady sell,'' said Alan Gayle, the Richmond, Virginia-based senior strategist at Ridgeworth Investments, which oversees about $70 billion. ``The pain and frustration and anxiety of these volatile moves from one day to the next has discouraged a lot of investors to move to the sidelines.''

Lost Jobs

About 481,000 workers filed initial jobless claims last week, the Labor Department said today in Washington, exceeding the 477,000 projected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The number of people staying on benefit rolls was the most since February 1983.

A report tomorrow will probably show U.S. employers eliminated jobs in October for a 10th consecutive month, based on economists' estimates.

Earnings at companies in the S&P 500 that have reported third-quarter results fell 9.2 percent on average, Bloomberg data show. Analysts expect full-year profits to drop 7.7 percent, according to a compilation of analysts' estimates.

S&P 500 energy companies lost 6.1 percent as a group, as oil declined for the third time this week. Crude for December delivery retreated 6.9 percent to $60.77 a barrel, the lowest settlement since March 2007.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, tumbled $3.73 to $69.96, while Chevron Corp. slid 6.4 percent to $70.11.

Tech Slump

Cisco Systems Inc. declined 2.6 percent to $16.94. The biggest maker of networking equipment forecast the first revenue drop in five years because of the financial crisis.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. tumbled 11 percent to $3.17. The second-largest maker of personal-computer processors plans to cut 500 jobs, about 3 percent of the workforce, as part of its effort to return to profitability.

Technology companies in the S&P 500 lost 5.4 percent collectively. Dell Inc., Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. fell more than 5 percent.

Amazon.com Inc. sank 9.2 percent to $47.22. The largest Internet retailer was cut to ``hold'' from ``buy'' at Citigroup Inc., which noted the shares' surge of as much as 36 percent since third-quarter results and concerns consumer spending will slow.

GM's Survival

General Motors Corp. had the steepest decline in almost a month, tumbling 14 percent to $4.80. The largest U.S. automaker is focused on winning government aid to survive through 2009, not to help a merger with Chrysler LLC, as it uses cash faster than it forecast, people familiar with the plans said. GM plans to give an update on liquidity when it reports third-quarter results tomorrow.

Tyco Electronics Ltd. fell the most in more than a year, slumping 12 percent to $16.78. Fiscal fourth-quarter profit slid 55 percent on restructuring costs and the company forecast a ``significant'' drop in sales and earnings this period.

News Corp.'s Class A shares tumbled $1.53 to $8.26. Fiscal 2009 profit will drop in the ``low to mid teens'' in percentage terms, the company said after previously forecasting a gain of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Financial stocks in the S&P 500 fell 6.7 percent as a group, led lower by Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. The group is down 52 percent in 2008 as the slowing economy raises concern banks will be hit by more bad loans after the subprime mortgage market's collapse led to $690 billion in credit losses worldwide.

Blackstone's Loss

Blackstone tumbled $1.05 to $7.55 after the financial crisis eroded the value of the businesses and real estate it has acquired, triggering a quarterly loss excluding items of $502.5 million. Blackstone had been expected to break even, based on the average estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Wells Fargo declined 9.2 percent to $28.77 after the biggest bank on the U.S. West Coast said it plans to sell stock to fund the purchase of Wachovia Corp. The bank also said losses from the acquisition will be less than previously expected.

The bank, which disclosed the share offering yesterday in a statement, had said it would raise as much as $20 billion to fund the deal. That was before the Treasury said it was buying $25 billion of Wells Fargo's preferred shares.

Libor Declines

The slump in financials came even as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for three-month loans in dollars dropped 12 basis points to 2.39 percent today, the lowest level since November 2004, according to the British Bankers' Association.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., billionaire Sheldon Adelson's casino company, posted the biggest drop since becoming a publicly traded company with a 33 percent plunge to $7.85 after saying it may default on debt and face bankruptcy.

Big Lots Inc. plunged 26 percent to $17.31 for the steepest decline in the S&P 500. The largest U.S. seller of overstocked and discontinued items said third-quarter profit may be below its prediction.

October same-store sales fell 0.9 percent at U.S. chain stores, the first drop in seven months, and declined 4.2 percent excluding Wal-Mart, the International Council of Shopping Centers said. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected a 0.7 percent increase.

Excluding the effect of the shifting Easter holiday, it's the first decline since at least 2000, according to research firm Retail Metrics LLC.

Grocers Gain

Whole Foods Market Inc. climbed 1.7 percent to $10.48. The largest U.S. natural-foods grocer received a $425 million equity investment from Leonard Green & Partners LP.

Kroger Co., the biggest U.S. supermarket chain, added 1.1 percent to $26.99. Safeway Inc., the third-largest, rose 2 percent to $22.03.

Analysts are lowering fourth quarter and 2009 profit forecasts for U.S. companies as third-period results miss projections at the highest rate in almost 11 years.

Companies in the S&P 500 may see fourth-quarter earnings advance 15 percent, down from 42 percent projected at the end of August, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Profits in 2009 may grow 13 percent, analysts say, compared with the 24 percent predicted two months ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Thomasson in New York at lthomasson@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: November 6, 2008 17:04 EST
10045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Clusterfcuk on: November 06, 2008, 08:09:47 PM
http://www.usnews.com/blogs/capital-commerce/2008/11/6/the-obama-stock-market-correction-2.html

The Obama Stock Market Correction
November 06, 2008 05:40 PM ET | James Pethokoukis

Since Election Day, the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, is down a smidgen over 10 percent. That's what we call a "correction."  Of course, the decline is really part of a broader bear market which has seen the S&P 500 fall some 42 percent. Hey, Obama already warned us that it's going to be "a long road and a steep climb." Maybe if we doubled/tripled/quadrupled/quintupled that big stimulus package ...  What I really wonder is what stocks would be doing if we lowered the capital gains tax rate to zero ...

**Impeach Obama in '08, before it's too late!**
10046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: November 06, 2008, 07:19:53 PM
Without trying to dig through Alaska and federal law, I'd guess that in theory, yes. I think that would be a very bad idea though.
10047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: November 06, 2008, 12:45:45 PM


I see this to be a pure toss under the bus. Complete and unnecessary defamation of character. I think they see Palin as a threat in '08 - '12 and are launching pre-emptive strikes.

Yup. Smartest thing for Sarah to do is go back to Alaska and govern well. In the future, the public will want to see a real track record of actually skill as an executive rather than treating a presidential election as a reality TV show and going for the new and exciting novelty.
10048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 06, 2008, 12:41:40 PM
Our choices:

1. Abandon our allies and usher in a new era of American weakness.

2. Locate a Russian pressure point and push it. As bad as our economy is, theirs is much worse.

3. Make a deal, trade something they want in exchange for them backing off on this point.

4. Direct confrontation. See who blinks first.
10049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 06, 2008, 12:34:15 PM
Growing up, my health/dental care came courtesy of the IHS (Indian Health Service). It operated with the efficiency of the post office and the compassion of the IRS.  grin

A running joke on the reservation goes "What's the leading cause of death on the rez? IHS."
10050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 06, 2008, 12:26:23 PM
The whole Russia issue was neglected since the Clinton administration. Putin has been subtly making moves, prepping the environment, waiting for his moment. Now the guy that should be wearing the trainee hat is about to be running things, Putin sees his chance to force us to turn tail and abandon our allies.

What can we do? We can show the weakness that europe loves or hold our ground and see who blinks first. Don't think that others aren't watching carefully, waiting to see if Obama isn't just as weak and inept as I/they expect.
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