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9751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: December 28, 2010, 11:12:22 AM
Aren't whites a minority in California?
9752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: December 28, 2010, 10:54:07 AM
It's almost like a radical leftist got elected president or something.....
9753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Happy Kwanzaa! on: December 28, 2010, 12:33:41 AM
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=20535

Happy Kwanzaa
By: Paul Mulshine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 26, 2002


On December 24, 1971, the New York Times ran one of the first of many articles on a new holiday designed to foster unity among African Americans. The holiday, called Kwanzaa, was applauded by a certain sixteen-year-old minister who explained that the feast would perform the valuable service of "de-whitizing" Christmas. The minister was a nobody at the time but he would later go on to become perhaps the premier race-baiter of the twentieth century. His name was Al Sharpton and he would later spawn the Tawana Brawley hoax and then incite anti-Jewish tensions in a 1995 incident that ended with the arson deaths of seven people.

Great minds think alike. The inventor of the holiday was one of the few black "leaders" in America even worse than Sharpton. But there was no mention in the Times article of this man or of the fact that at that very moment he was sitting in a California prison. And there was no mention of the curious fact that this purported benefactor of the black people had founded an organization that in its short history tortured and murdered blacks in ways of which the Ku Klux Klan could only fantasize.

It was in newspaper articles like that, repeated in papers all over the country, that the tradition of Kwanzaa began. It is a tradition not out of Africa but out of Orwell. Both history and language have been bent to serve a political goal. When that New York Times article appeared, Ron Karenga's crimes were still recent events. If the reporter had bothered to do any research into the background of the Kwanzaa founder, he might have learned about Karenga's trial earlier that year on charges of torturing two women who were members of US (United Slaves), a black nationalist cult he had founded.

A May 14, 1971, article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of them: "Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said."

Back then, it was relatively easy to get information on the trial. Now it's almost impossible. It took me two days' work to find articles about it. The Los Angeles Times seems to have been the only major newspaper that reported it and the stories were buried deep in the paper, which now is available only on microfilm. And the microfilm index doesn't start until 1972, so it is almost impossible to find the three small articles that cover Karenga's trial and conviction on charges of torture. That is fortunate for Karenga. The trial showed him to be not just brutal, but deranged. He and three members of his cult had tortured the women in an attempt to find some nonexistent "crystals" of poison. Karenga thought his enemies were out to get him.

And in another lucky break for Karenga, the trial transcript no longer exists. I filed a request for it with the Superior Court of Los Angeles. After a search, the court clerk could find no record of the trial. So the exact words of the black woman who had a hot soldering iron pressed against her face by the man who founded Kwanzaa are now lost to history. The only document the court clerk did find was particularly revealing, however. It was a transcript of Karenga's sentencing hearing on Sept. 17, 1971.

A key issue was whether Karenga was sane. Judge Arthur L. Alarcon read from a psychiatrist's report: "Since his admission here he has been isolated and has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, such as staring at the wall, talking to imaginary persons, claiming that he was attacked by dive-bombers and that his attorney was in the next cell. … During part of the interview he would look around as if reacting to hallucination and when the examiner walked away for a moment he began a conversation with a blanket located on his bed, stating that there was someone there and implying indirectly that the 'someone' was a woman imprisoned with him for some offense. This man now presents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and elusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment."

The founder of Kwanzaa paranoid? It seems so. But as the old saying goes, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you.

ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, Karenga's real name is Ron N. Everett. In the '60s, he awarded himself the title "maulana," Swahili for "master teacher." He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister. He came to California in the late 1950s to attend Los Angeles Community College. He moved on to UCLA, where he got a Master's degree in political science and African Studies. By the mid-1960s, he had established himself as a leading "cultural nationalist." That is a term that had some meaning in the '60s, mainly as a way of distinguishing Karenga's followers from the Black Panthers, who were conventional Marxists.

Another way of distinguishing might be to think of Karenga's gang as the Crips and the Panthers as the bloods. Despite all their rhetoric about white people, they reserved their most vicious violence for each other. In 1969, the two groups squared off over the question of who would control the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Karenga and his adherents backed one candidate, the Panthers another. Both groups took to carrying guns on campus, a situation that, remarkably, did not seem to bother the university administration. The Black Student Union, however, set up a coalition to try and bring peace between the Panthers and the group headed by the man whom the Times labeled "Ron Ndabezitha Everett-Karenga."

On Jan. 17, 1969, about 150 students gathered in a lunchroom to discuss the situation. Two Panthers—admitted to UCLA like many of the black students as part of a federal program that put high-school dropouts into the school—apparently spent a good part of the meeting in verbal attacks against Karenga. This did not sit well with Karenga's followers, many of whom had adopted the look of their leader, pseudo-African clothing and a shaved head.

In modern gang parlance, you might say Karenga was "dissed" by John Jerome Huggins, 23, and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, 26. After the meeting, the two Panthers were met in the hallway by two brothers who were members of US, George P. and Larry Joseph Stiner. The Stiners pulled pistols and shot the two Panthers dead. One of the Stiners took a bullet in the shoulder, apparently from a Panther's gun.

There were other beatings and shooting in Los Angeles involving US, but by then the tradition of African nationalism had already taken hold—among whites. That tradition calls for any white person, whether a journalist, a college official, or a politician, to ignore the obvious flaws of the concept that blacks should have a separate culture. "The students here have handled themselves in an absolutely impeccable manner," UCLA chancellor Charles E. Young told the L.A. Times. "They have been concerned. They haven't argued who the director should be; they have been saying what kind of person he should be." Young made those remarks after the shooting. And the university went ahead with its Afro-American Studies Program. Karenga, meanwhile, continued to build and strengthen US, a unique group that seems to have combined the elements of a street gang with those of a California cult. The members performed assaults and robberies but they also strictly followed the rules laid down in The Quotable Karenga, a book that laid out "The Path of Blackness." "The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black," the book states.

In retrospect, it may be fortunate that the cult fell apart over the torture charges. Left to his own devices, Karenga might have orchestrated the type of mass suicide later pioneered by the People's Temple and copied by the Heaven's Gate cult. Instead, he apparently fell into deep paranoia shortly after the killings at UCLA. He began fearing that his followers were trying to have him killed. On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. Karenga himself will not comment on that incident and the victims cannot be located, so the sole remaining account is in the brief passage from the L.A. Times describing tortures inflicted by Karenga and his fellow defendants, Louis Smith and Luz Maria Tamayo:

"The victims said they were living at Karenga's home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis' mouth and against her face. Police were told that one of Miss Jones' toes was placed in a small vise which then allegedly was tightened by one of the defendants. The following day Karenga allegedly told the women that 'Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.' Miss Tamayo reportedly put detergent in their mouths, Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them."

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971, to serve one to ten years in prison. A brief account of the sentencing ran in several newspapers the following day. That was apparently the last newspaper article to mention Karenga's unfortunate habit of doing unspeakable things to black people. After that, the only coverage came from the hundreds of news accounts that depict him as the wonderful man who invented Kwanzaa.

LOOK AT ANY MAP OF THE WORLD and you will see that Ghana and Kenya are on opposite sides of the continent. This brings up an obvious question about Kwanzaa: Why did Karenga use Swahili words for his fictional African feast? American blacks are primarily descended from people who came from Ghana and other parts of West Africa. Kenya and Tanzania—where Swahili is spoken—are several thousand miles away, about as far from Ghana as Los Angeles is from New York. Yet in celebrating Kwanzaa, African-Americans are supposed to employ a vocabulary of such Swahili words as "kujichagulia" and "kuumba." This makes about as much sense as having Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day by speaking Polish. One possible explanation is that Karenga was simply ignorant of African geography and history when he came up with Kwanzaa in 1966. That might explain why he would schedule a harvest festival near the solstice, a season when few fruits or vegetables are harvested anywhere. But a better explanation is that he simply has contempt for black people.

That does not seem a farfetched hypothesis. Despite all his rhetoric about white racism, I could find no record that he or his followers ever raised a hand in anger against a white person. In fact, Karenga had an excellent relationship with Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty in the '60s and also met with then-Governor Ronald Reagan and other white politicians. But he and his gang were hell on blacks. And Karenga certainly seems to have had a low opinion of his fellow African-Americans. "People think it's African, but it's not," he said about his holiday in an interview quoted in the Washington Post. "I came up with Kwanzaa because black people in this country wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of bloods would be partying." "Bloods" is a '60s California slang term for black people.

That Post article appeared in 1978. Like other news articles from that era, it makes no mention of Karenga's criminal past, which seems to have been forgotten the minute he got out of prison in 1975. Profiting from the absence of memory, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 he was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.

This raises a question: Karenga had just ten years earlier proven himself capable of employing guns and bullets in his efforts to control hiring in the Black Studies Department at UCLA. So how did this ex-con, fresh out jail, get the job at Long Beach? Did he just send a résumé and wait by the phone? The officials at Long Beach State don't like that type of question. I called the university and got a spokeswoman by the name of Toni Barone. She listened to my questions and put me on hold. Christmas music was playing, a nice touch under the circumstances. She told me to fax her my questions. I sent a list of questions that included the matter of whether Karenga had employed threats to get his job. I also asked just what sort of crimes would preclude a person from serving on the faculty there in Long Beach. And whether the university takes any security measures to ensure that Karenga doesn't shoot any students. Barone faxed me back a reply stating that the university is pleased with Karenga's performance and has no record of the procedures that led to his hiring. She ignored the question about how they protect students.

Actually, there is clear evidence that Karenga has reformed. In 1975, he dropped his cultural nationalist views and converted to Marxism. For anyone else, this would have been seen as an endorsement of radicalism, but for Karenga it was considered a sign that he had moderated his outlook. The ultimate irony is that now that Karenga is a Marxist, the capitalists have taken over his holiday. The seven principles of Kwanzaa include "collective work" and "cooperative economics," but Kwanzaa is turning out to be as commercial as Christmas, generating millions in greeting-card sales alone. The purists are whining. "It's clear that a number of major corporations have started to take notice and try to profit from Kwanzaa," said a San Francisco State black studies professor named "Oba T'Shaka" in one news account. "That's not good, with money comes corruption." No, he's wrong. With money comes kitsch. The L.A. Times reported a group was planning an "African Village Faire," the pseudo-archaic spelling of "faire" nicely combining kitsch Africana with kitsch Americana.

With money also comes forgetfulness. As those warm Kwanzaa feelings are generated in a spirit of holiday cheer, those who celebrate this holiday do so in blissful ignorance of the sordid violence, paranoia, and mayhem that helped generate its birth some three decades ago in a section of America that has vanished down the memory hole.
9754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Who's up for celebrating a racist, marxist, made-up holiday? on: December 27, 2010, 11:40:18 PM
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/12/barack-obama-michelle-obama-hail-kwanzaa-holiday.html

Barack and Michelle Obama hail Kwanzaa umoja
9755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 27, 2010, 11:27:32 PM
There is a very common belief in the US that what we've had as a way of life and a standard of living is just the natural order of the universe, and prosperity and safety are inherent, no matter how far we stray from the core principles that allowed such things to come about.
9756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 27, 2010, 09:43:21 PM
So, when do the jobs come back? Real jobs, not census workers or holiday temps.
9757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / States Taxing Themselves to Death on: December 27, 2010, 01:06:08 PM
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/12/states-taxing.html

States Taxing Themselves to Death
Following up on last week's post: Census Data -- Population Flocks to States Without an Income Tax: New York Post, States Taxing Themselves to Death, by Dick Morris:

    NY Post High taxes kill states. There can be no better evidence than the 2010 Census. The states that lost House seats -- because they're shrinking, relative to the nation -- had taxes 27% higher than the ones that gained seats.

    Of the seven states that don't have a personal income tax, four (Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington) account for eight of the 12 seats apportioned to the fastest-growing states.

    New York and Ohio lost two more seats. Other losers -- down one each -- are Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana and Iowa. What do they all have in common? High taxes. ...

    The states that lost seats ranked an average of 24th in taxes and had an average tax burden of $2,267 per capita. ... The states that gained seats ranked an average of 39th in taxes and had an average tax burden (weighted) of $1,788 -- 27% lower than the losing states. ...
    The trend is unmistakeable: The "losing" states drove out their high-income citizens (and middle-income jobs) with heavier tax burdens.
9758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers on: December 27, 2010, 10:28:17 AM
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/557597/201012221907/The-Abiding-Faith-Of-Warm-ongers.aspx

The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Climate: Nothing makes fools of more people than trying to predict the weather. Whether in Los Angeles or London, recent predictions have gone crazily awry. Global warming? How about mini ice age?

The sight of confused and angry travelers stuck in airports across Europe because of an arctic freeze that has settled across the continent isn't funny. Sadly, they've been told for more than a decade now that such a thing was an impossibility — that global warming was inevitable, and couldn't be reversed.

This is a big problem for those who see human-caused global warming as an irreversible result of the Industrial Revolution's reliance on carbon-based fuels. Based on global warming theory — and according to official weather forecasts made earlier in the year — this winter should be warm and dry. It's anything but. Ice and snow cover vast parts of both Europe and North America, in one of the coldest Decembers in history.

A cautionary tale? You bet. Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we're experiencing now, weren't even listed as a possibility.

Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.

Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, "falsifiable." That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it's false. That's what scientific experimentation and observation do. That's the essence of the scientific method.

Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It's global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.

Nothing can disprove their thesis. Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region's strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, "In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile."

Got that? No matter what the weather, it's all due to warming. This isn't science; it's a kind of faith. Scientists go along and even stifle dissent because, frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants are at stake. But for the believers, global warming is the god that failed.

[b**]Read it all.[/b]

9759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AP IMPACT: Mexico says its troops killed US man on: December 27, 2010, 10:06:19 AM
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gArzGbiOwhFhAgcHZWx1MZy8h82Q?docId=f188a3da00a1427093d4332a026a9b47

AP IMPACT: Mexico says its troops killed US man

(AP) – 1 day ago

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Joseph Proctor told his girlfriend he was popping out to the convenience store in the quiet Mexican beach town where the couple had just moved, intending to start a new life.

The next morning, the 32-year-old New York native was dead inside his crashed van on a road outside Acapulco. He had multiple bullet wounds. An AR-15 rifle lay in his hands.

His distraught girlfriend, Liliana Gil Vargas, was summoned to police headquarters, where she was told Proctor had died in a gunbattle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor — whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cell phone number spray-painted on the windows — had attacked the troops. They showed her the gun.

His mother, Donna Proctor, devastated and incredulous, has been fighting through Mexico's secretive military justice system ever since to learn what really happened on the night of Aug. 22.

It took weeks of pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, but she finally got an answer, which she shared with The Associated Press.

Three soldiers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with planting the assault rifle in his hands and claiming falsely that he fired first, according to a Mexican Defense Department document sent to her through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

It is at least the third case this year in which soldiers, locked in a brutal battle with drug cartels, have been accused of killing innocent civilians and faking evidence in cover-ups.
9760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Drunkard’s Progress on: December 26, 2010, 11:23:27 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2010/12/19/the-drunkards-progress/?singlepage=true

The Drunkard’s Progress
December 19, 2010 - by Richard Fernandez
Share |

When Lady Gaga spoke at a rally in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy towards gays in the military, she said: “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” That kind of speech is described as a defense of tolerance. Today the New York Times narrates the case of a University of Nebraska astronomer who was denied a position at the University of Kentucky because he was “potentially evangelical.” The department voted to deny him the position because it would look bad for the university if it hired a religious nut. Both incidents highlight the new normal, whatever that is.

    … the smoking gun is an e-mail dated Sept. 21, 2007, from a department staff member, Sally A. Shafer, to Dr. Cavagnero and another colleague. Ms. Shafer wrote that she did an Internet search on Dr. Gaskell and found links to his notes for a lecture that explores, among other topics, how the Bible could relate to contemporary astronomy.

    “Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with,” Ms. Shafer wrote, “but potentially evangelical. If we hire him, we should expect similar content to be posted on or directly linked from the department Web site.”

Just what is inappropriate in modern society is a matter of intense debate. Some people say that anything goes. Recently, Ann Althouse quoted Justice Scalia in connection with a case involving incest between a Columbia professor and Huffington Post blogger. She argued that morals legislation may effectively be dead. Scalia said where once there was a belief  “that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable’… the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity,” those views were in his view increasingly untenable in view of recent jurisprudence. Scalia wrote:

    The Court today reaches the opposite conclusion. The Texas statute, it says, “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual” … The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.

But a cursory glance around shows that moral judgments in some form refuse to go away. In fact, they are more pervasive than ever. Lady Gaga felt herself perfectly justified in asking those who objected to the repeal of DADT to “go home,” where they could presumably languish in their bigotry. And a university department believes that it may be unacceptable to hire someone who believes in the Bible as an astronomer. They were making moral judgments and felt perfectly entitled to do so.

Hate speech laws have been enacted by Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Council of Europe, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, , Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. What you say and what you do, far from being your own business, is everywhere the public’s business. Recently, the head of the soccer federation FIFA warned homosexuals against engaging in sexual behavior in Qatr because they stood a good chance of running afoul of Islamic law. The FIFA head later apologized for offending gays. But whether that will help gays in Qatr is a different matter, because one may not criticize Islamic law either. So in all likelihood then, while Qatr may beat up the gays anyhow and not have any explaining to do, any European who simply mentions that Qatr might do it is engaging in offensive behavior.

Morals legislation appears to be as pervasive as ever. Nothing in the current environment suggests there exist opinions on which you may not be lectured. The extent of what is out of bounds is growing all the time. What has changed is the contents of that proscribed area. It may now be a crime to quote the Bible. For example, in May of 2010 a British preacher was arrested for handing out leaflets saying that homosexuality was a sin. A policeman appoached “to warn him they had received complaints and that if he made any racist or homophobic comments he would be arrested.”

    I told him homosexuality is a sin, and he told me “I am a homosexual, I find that offensive, and I’m also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community”,’ he said yesterday. ‘I told him it was still a sin.’

    Mr Adams last year represented Cumbria Police at the Gay Pride march in Manchester. On the social networking site MySpace, he describes his orientation as gay and his religion as atheist.

    After the warning, Mr Mcalpine took over preaching for 20 minutes, although he claims he did not cover homosexuality. But while he talked to a passer-by the PCSO radioed for assistance and he was arrested by uniformed officers.

    He was taken to a police station, had his pockets emptied and his mobile phone taken along with his belt and shoes, and was kept in the cells for seven hours where he sang hymns to keep his spirits up.

It is exactly the same process that might have occurred fifty years ago but with a policeman warning a homosexual he could not distribute leaflets advocating sodomy. What has changed isn’t that people are being warned off for their beliefs. What is different is which beliefs they are being warned against. The Ins and the Outs have changed places, but he door remains the same. Wikipedia writes that “views on public morality do change over time,” but whether public morality itself can ever be abolished is an open question.

One of the drivers of the new public morality is who can fight back. British policemen do not go around telling Muslim imams not to preach against homosexuality because such preachers may take strenuous exception to their warnings.  But the rules of the new morality are often capricious, unstated or simply arcane.

The offenses ascribed to Julian Assange illuminate what some publics regard as offensive and inappropriate. He is facing complaints from two Swedish women; both appeared to be ideological supporters of Assange. They have sworn out a complaint against him. Neither had problems with Assange’s practice of revealing classified information. “A fellow activist, she had invited Assange to stay at her flat while he was in Stockholm to address her political party, the centre-left Brotherhood Movement.” No, what deeply offended them was welshing on his promise to use a condom when engaging in sexual activity with them. The Swedish police described the crimes of the Wikileaks supremo. Miss A complained that:

    She tried to reach for a condom but Assange held her arms and pinned her legs, she stated to police. He then agreed to use a condom but, Miss A alleges, he did ‘something’ to it that resulted in it becoming ripped….

    Two days later, he slept with Miss W. She was a twentysomething who had attended his seminar and hung around hoping to meet him. After lunch and the cinema, she invited him to her apartment in Enkoping, near Stockholm, and he stayed.

    They used a condom the first time they had sex, but the next morning he allegedly had sex with her when she was still asleep, without protection. He maintains she was ‘half asleep’ and they joked about it afterwards.

    Either way, it was not long before the two women had learnt of each other, and were swapping notes. After taking stock, they took the drastic step of going to the police.

The hard part of living under the new morality is understanding what the rules actually are. Is it uncool to steal classified documents which may result in the death of hundreds of Afghans who’ve cooperated with NATO? Apparently not. Is it OK for Julian Assange to use his status as a “fugitive” to become a “babe magnet”? Why of course. Who ever said that being a fugitive meant not telling people who you were? You can be a fugitive only for public purposes and not to actually conceal your whereabouts. But it is apparently not ok not to use a condom in Sweden. This point of punctilo is apparently inviolable, and if it is not clear why to all of us, it is nevertheless evident to members of the relevant set.

Nothing so demonstrates plebeianism as the inability not to even know the rules. The real hallmark of membership in the new aristocracy is knowing all the etiquette without even having to ask — easy enough because they make the rules. What’s right is what Keith Olbermann and Lady Gaga say. Why? Well if you have to ask then  you must be immoral.  The new morality is above all the art of speaking in code and part of the power of political correctness springs precisely from its vagueness. The art of correct behavior today consists largely in sensing the prevailing fashion. It is a survival skill the Old Bolsheviks knew well. The important thing was to always to have opinions, but never to have opinions that were out of date.
9761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The post-moral morality on: December 26, 2010, 07:08:57 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2010/12/19/the-drunkards-progress/?singlepage=true

The Drunkard’s Progress
December 19, 2010 - by Richard Fernandez
Share |

When Lady Gaga spoke at a rally in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy towards gays in the military, she said: “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” That kind of speech is described as a defense of tolerance. Today the New York Times narrates the case of a University of Nebraska astronomer who was denied a position at the University of Kentucky because he was “potentially evangelical.” The department voted to deny him the position because it would look bad for the university if it hired a religious nut. Both incidents highlight the new normal, whatever that is.

    … the smoking gun is an e-mail dated Sept. 21, 2007, from a department staff member, Sally A. Shafer, to Dr. Cavagnero and another colleague. Ms. Shafer wrote that she did an Internet search on Dr. Gaskell and found links to his notes for a lecture that explores, among other topics, how the Bible could relate to contemporary astronomy.

    “Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with,” Ms. Shafer wrote, “but potentially evangelical. If we hire him, we should expect similar content to be posted on or directly linked from the department Web site.”

Just what is inappropriate in modern society is a matter of intense debate. Some people say that anything goes. Recently, Ann Althouse quoted Justice Scalia in connection with a case involving incest between a Columbia professor and Huffington Post blogger. She argued that morals legislation may effectively be dead. Scalia said where once there was a belief  “that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable’… the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity,” those views were in his view increasingly untenable in view of recent jurisprudence. Scalia wrote:

    The Court today reaches the opposite conclusion. The Texas statute, it says, “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual” … The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.

But a cursory glance around shows that moral judgments in some form refuse to go away. In fact, they are more pervasive than ever. Lady Gaga felt herself perfectly justified in asking those who objected to the repeal of DADT to “go home,” where they could presumably languish in their bigotry. And a university department believes that it may be unacceptable to hire someone who believes in the Bible as an astronomer. They were making moral judgments and felt perfectly entitled to do so.

Hate speech laws have been enacted by Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Council of Europe, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, , Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. What you say and what you do, far from being your own business, is everywhere the public’s business. Recently, the head of the soccer federation FIFA warned homosexuals against engaging in sexual behavior in Qatr because they stood a good chance of running afoul of Islamic law. The FIFA head later apologized for offending gays. But whether that will help gays in Qatr is a different matter, because one may not criticize Islamic law either. So in all likelihood then, while Qatr may beat up the gays anyhow and not have any explaining to do, any European who simply mentions that Qatr might do it is engaging in offensive behavior.

Morals legislation appears to be as pervasive as ever. Nothing in the current environment suggests there exist opinions on which you may not be lectured. The extent of what is out of bounds is growing all the time. What has changed is the contents of that proscribed area. It may now be a crime to quote the Bible. For example, in May of 2010 a British preacher was arrested for handing out leaflets saying that homosexuality was a sin. A policeman appoached “to warn him they had received complaints and that if he made any racist or homophobic comments he would be arrested.”

    I told him homosexuality is a sin, and he told me “I am a homosexual, I find that offensive, and I’m also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community”,’ he said yesterday. ‘I told him it was still a sin.’

    Mr Adams last year represented Cumbria Police at the Gay Pride march in Manchester. On the social networking site MySpace, he describes his orientation as gay and his religion as atheist.

    After the warning, Mr Mcalpine took over preaching for 20 minutes, although he claims he did not cover homosexuality. But while he talked to a passer-by the PCSO radioed for assistance and he was arrested by uniformed officers.

    He was taken to a police station, had his pockets emptied and his mobile phone taken along with his belt and shoes, and was kept in the cells for seven hours where he sang hymns to keep his spirits up.

It is exactly the same process that might have occurred fifty years ago but with a policeman warning a homosexual he could not distribute leaflets advocating sodomy. What has changed isn’t that people are being warned off for their beliefs. What is different is which beliefs they are being warned against. The Ins and the Outs have changed places, but he door remains the same. Wikipedia writes that “views on public morality do change over time,” but whether public morality itself can ever be abolished is an open question.

One of the drivers of the new public morality is who can fight back. British policemen do not go around telling Muslim imams not to preach against homosexuality because such preachers may take strenuous exception to their warnings.  But the rules of the new morality are often capricious, unstated or simply arcane.

The offenses ascribed to Julian Assange illuminate what some publics regard as offensive and inappropriate. He is facing complaints from two Swedish women; both appeared to be ideological supporters of Assange. They have sworn out a complaint against him. Neither had problems with Assange’s practice of revealing classified information. “A fellow activist, she had invited Assange to stay at her flat while he was in Stockholm to address her political party, the centre-left Brotherhood Movement.” No, what deeply offended them was welshing on his promise to use a condom when engaging in sexual activity with them. The Swedish police described the crimes of the Wikileaks supremo. Miss A complained that:

    She tried to reach for a condom but Assange held her arms and pinned her legs, she stated to police. He then agreed to use a condom but, Miss A alleges, he did ‘something’ to it that resulted in it becoming ripped….

    Two days later, he slept with Miss W. She was a twentysomething who had attended his seminar and hung around hoping to meet him. After lunch and the cinema, she invited him to her apartment in Enkoping, near Stockholm, and he stayed.

    They used a condom the first time they had sex, but the next morning he allegedly had sex with her when she was still asleep, without protection. He maintains she was ‘half asleep’ and they joked about it afterwards.

    Either way, it was not long before the two women had learnt of each other, and were swapping notes. After taking stock, they took the drastic step of going to the police.

The hard part of living under the new morality is understanding what the rules actually are. Is it uncool to steal classified documents which may result in the death of hundreds of Afghans who’ve cooperated with NATO? Apparently not. Is it OK for Julian Assange to use his status as a “fugitive” to become a “babe magnet”? Why of course. Who ever said that being a fugitive meant not telling people who you were? You can be a fugitive only for public purposes and not to actually conceal your whereabouts. But it is apparently not ok not to use a condom in Sweden. This point of punctilo is apparently inviolable, and if it is not clear why to all of us, it is nevertheless evident to members of the relevant set.

Nothing so demonstrates plebeianism as the inability not to even know the rules. The real hallmark of membership in the new aristocracy is knowing all the etiquette without even having to ask — easy enough because they make the rules. What’s right is what Keith Olbermann and Lady Gaga say. Why? Well if you have to ask then  you must be immoral.  The new morality is above all the art of speaking in code and part of the power of political correctness springs precisely from its vagueness. The art of correct behavior today consists largely in sensing the prevailing fashion. It is a survival skill the Old Bolsheviks knew well. The important thing was to always to have opinions, but never to have opinions that were out of date.
9762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mainstreaming deviance on: December 26, 2010, 03:36:40 PM
**Hey, it's just a lifestyle choice, right?

http://theothermccain.com/2010/12/10/palin-hating-columbia-professor-huffington-post-blogger-busted-for-incest/

**So, how long before the left adopts this as a political movement?
9763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: December 26, 2010, 01:08:35 PM
So, little or no snow=global warming

Lots of snow=global warming

Sounds very scientific to me.
9764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The SCIENCE is settled! on: December 25, 2010, 11:01:29 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians

Monday, 20 March 2000

 

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
9765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jounolist-ism on: December 24, 2010, 02:47:32 PM
http://thevailspot.blogspot.com/2010/12/111th-congress-most-productive-ever.html

111th Congress Most Productive Ever: JournoList Alive & Well: Media Talking Points
If there was ever any doubt that JourList (or it's successor) isn't up and running...the current talking points by the MSM that the 111th Congress is the most productive since the Great Society initiative of Johnson in the 1960's should put that to rest.  Pretty much every outlet from NBC to the LATimes is saying this almost verbatim. 

9766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: December 24, 2010, 01:16:21 PM
http://bigjournalism.com/dreaboi/2010/12/21/csp-responds-to-wapo/#more-151496

Yesterday’s feature, “Monitoring America,” by Dana Priest and William Arkin, intentionally distorts the role of outside experts training local law enforcement in matters related to terrorism.

In an effort to smear the Center for Security Policy, Arkin and Preist erroneously describe the Center’s book, Shariah: The Threat to America, as “expanding on what [Walid] Shoebat and [Ramon] Montijo believe.”

This is false. In fact, Shariah: The Threat to America is an independent work of nineteen national security experts, including the former Director of Central Intelligence, former directors of military intelligence agencies, a former counterterrorism agent in the FBI, experts in Shariah law, and many others. Each of the authors is an expert in his own right on a diverse array of national security issues; in that capacity, they can authoritatively address the nexus between America’s national security and Islamic law, called Shariah.

The study of Shariah is important to the nation’s national security because America’s Islamist enemies—from the inhabitants of al Qaeda-linked training camps in Yemen and Pakistan to homegrown American “lone-wolf” bombers—declare, above all other concerns, that they fight to install Islamic law and in furtherance of its explicit dictates.

Shariah: The Threat to America demonstrates that the mainstream legal code understood by many of the world’s Muslims to be divinely sanctioned law (Shariah) is a knowable system of law, making the practice of Islam possible in an organized way.  Its foundational rulings—on issues like jihad, relations with non-Muslims, mandatory punishments for adultery and apostasy, and more—are objectively knowable. The book takes great pains to present the most mainstream Islamic sources, like the classic of Shafi’i law, Umdat Al-Salik (or Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law) and, in describing the tenants of Shariah, use texts written by Muslims for an Islamic audience.

In writing on the Center for Security Policy’s book, Shariah: The Threat to America, “Monitoring America” gives no more accurate or deep a description of the nearly 400-page work than dismissive posts on far-left blogs and missives from organizations linked by the US Government to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Arkin and Preist write, “government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center’s book [Shariah: The Threat to America] inaccurate and counterproductive. They say the DHS should increase its training of local police, using teachers who have evidence-based viewpoints.”

Predictably, the un-named “government terrorism experts” who, according to Preist and Arkin, critiqued the book, could not point to a single assertion or fact that is “inaccurate and counterproductive.” Shariah: The Threat to America may indeed be “counterproductive”—but only to politically correct fictions these un-named experts cling to at the expense of national security.

The premise of Shariah: The Threat to America is that America’s law enforcement and national security professionals must orient on the terrorist threat itself, using an unconstrained analysis that should begin with what the nation’s enemies themselves declare as war aims. It is unreasonable and counterproductive for national security professionals to substitute Western rationalizations—like poverty, localized political aspirations, the effect of globalization, or territorial claims—for terrorist groups’ motivations; this analysis will inevitably fail, at the detriment of both America’s foreign policy goals and its own security.


In addition, while lamenting the viewpoints of terrorism experts currently training local police around the country, no article has appeared in The Washington Post describing the other groups involved with training and advising national security professionals, from local police forces to consulting at the National Counterrerrorism Center and the White House: the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and many other groups previously named by the U.S. Government as unindicted co-conspirators in US vs. Holy Land Foundation, the largest and most sweeping terrorism-financing case in America’s history. As recently as this year, a Federal Judge Jorge Solis reiterated the close links between these groups and the recognized terrorist entity Hamas, writing of, “at least a prima facie case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas.” Indeed, according to the United States government, the seed for the most vocal group, CAIR, was created at a Hamas meeting in Philadelphia taped by the FBI as an explicit branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.


Evidently, Arkin and Priest are not concerned about the security implications of or, indeed, the scandal of, relying on associates of a known terrorist entity to provide national security professionals with advice or guidance in combating terror. This pernicious influence is felt less in mandatory sensitivity training than in the ability of groups like CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and others to define what’s known as the “war on terror” for us. Allowing our national security epistemology to be ‘outsourced’ to any group prior to an understanding of what motivates jihadist terrorism is a recipe for both continued potentially disastrous attacks, as well as the confusion and demoralization of watching those with the responsibility to protect us prove to be ineffective and clueless.

The bulk of “Monitoring America” takes a critical look at the gathering of raw intelligence by law enforcement nationally and locally; the effort, made clear by previous reporting from Preist and Arkin, is to enflame civil libertarians about possible violations of privacy at the expense of security. There is, however, no “false choice between liberty and security”—it is difficult, but it is a reality any free society must necessarily negotiate.

The authors, however, do not see the contradiction in their concerns: by maintaining a stubborn refusal to look at the motivating doctrine of terror on its own terms, the nation’s security establishment has no choice but to fiddle with data points and “See Something, Say Something” campaigns at Wal-Mart. Our intelligence bureaucracy decided it was more beneficial to its politically correct shibboleths to ignore the most important determining factor, a legal system that demands jihad.
9767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 24, 2010, 12:55:16 PM
Just a joking reference to the federal healthcare mandate. Could congress pass a law requiring every male in the US to purchase a weekly haircut? Hey, good grooming is important!
9768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law on: December 24, 2010, 12:48:34 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html#ixzz18nRU3RD7

The latest WikiLeaks revelation: 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:24 PM on 22nd December 2010

 

    * Reaching out to UK Muslim community was 'top priority' for U.S.

Around a third of young British Muslims favour killing in the name of Islam, according to a survey revealed by the WikiLeaks' publication of U.S. diplomatic cables.

A survey of 600 Muslim students at 30 universities throughout Britain found that 32 per cent of Muslim respondents believed killing in the name of religion is justified.

A U.S. diplomatic cable from January 2009 quoted a poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion as saying 54 per cent wanted a Muslim party to represent their world view in Parliament and 40 per cent want Muslims in the UK to be under Sharia law.
9769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 24, 2010, 12:41:17 PM
http://gas2.org/2010/12/22/west-virginia-mcdonalds-adding-two-ev-chargers/

The first place I ever saw a redbox movie rental kiosk was at McD's. Maybe NG as well as EV chargers in the future?
9770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 24, 2010, 11:58:38 AM
You can't try dead people. Unfortunately, we got away from that long ago.
9771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Mayor Bloomberg Was " In Cahoots" With Planners of Ground Zero Mosque on: December 24, 2010, 11:55:27 AM
http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2010/12/ny-mayor-bloomberg-was-in-cahoots-with.html

NY Mayor Bloomberg Was " In Cahoots" With Planners of Ground Zero Mosque

This past summer it seemed as if every day Michael Bloomberg, the arrogant, out of touch Mayor of New York was making another speech implying that the opponents of the ground-zero mosque were either stupid or bigoted.  And when he wasn't calling the mosque opponents names, he was  proclaiming there should be no compromise. What the Arrogant Mayor neglected to mention during any of his many rants is that the Ground Zero Mosque fight was fixed from the beginning. The Mayor had his top aides helping the mosque planners, writing letters for them and helping them politically navigate around the anti-mosque forces.

Emails released due to a FOIA lawsuit by The American Center for Law and Justice reveal

    ...City Hall had direct communications with the Mosque’s developers, explicitly tried to assist with the political process, and was involved with discussions between the developers and the Community Board 1.  An email from the developers’ attorney, Shelly Friedman, also acknowledged that Robert Tierney, the Chairman of the LPC, was seeking “political cover” from politicians in order not to landmark the building. 

 The emails released by City Hall revealed the coaching Bloomberg's brass gave to the imam pushing to build the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf.  At one point, Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi even drafted a letter for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, to send to Community Board 1, which was voting on the project.

    "As a Muslim-American and a New Yorker, I take my role in keeping New York the greatest City in the world serious," the draft said. Parvizi also provided the contact information for the board.

In a email sent in May, Shelly Friedman, the organizers' lawyer, wrote that Manhattan Community Board 1's vote in support of the project would be helpful as organizers urged landmark commission Chairman Robert Tierney and other panel members to reject landmark status for the building currently on the site. "I do know that chairman Tierney was looking forward to having the 'political cover' their support would bring him," Ms. Friedman wrote.

Parvizi also sent the Imam an email advising  Rauf not to go back to Community Board 1 for approval for the project after the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the project the green light.

    "Hi Feisal," the letter begins. "I know that [Community Board 1 President] Julie [Menin] is incredibly anxious to get the letter and she was really upset to hear that such a landmarking issue exists and was not even mentioned.

    "My recommendation is given you mau [sic] have to go up to the community board again to discuss this issue, send the letter to julie asap and keep her on your good side. Tommorow or monday am at the latest.

    "I would at this point keep the issues separate. What the letter will do I hope is get the media attention off everyone's backs and give you guys time to regroup on your strategy, as discussed."

    Another email reveals that Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama expedited a temporary public assembly permit for the group to conduct prayers in January at Park 51

    In another letter, Shama congratulated the group after the project was approved by CB1's finance committee, writing,

    "Sharif, Daisy, Iman Faisal,
    Again—congratulations!!! This is very exciting for all of you and our community at large!"

The Mayor's office contends that they get behind everyone's projects just as much:

    City Hall says it is the job of the community and immigrant affairs commissioners to assist community groups, including drafting letters for them. Officials noted Bloomberg has always been in favor of building the mosque near Ground Zero.

    "The Community Affairs Unit exists to help groups navigate city government, and from helping prepare for a Papal visit to expediting approval of a Sukkah in a midtown Manhattan park, this kind of assistance is typical of its regular work," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser.

It seems that these emails show more than the usual amount of support coming from the mayor's office.  In fact they reveal another example of  Mayor Bloomberg's contempt for the vast majority of  people of his own city, indeed the people of the United States. While people worked so hard to protect what they see as hallowed grounds, the Mayor's office was sneaking behind their backs to fight against them.

Sources: NY Observer, Wall Street Journal, NY Post and The ACLJ

 
9772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Heckler & Koch probed over Mexico arms sales on: December 24, 2010, 11:46:43 AM
Heckler & Koch probed over Mexico arms sales

Published: 22 Dec 10 11:47 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20101222-31963.html


Police have searched the premises of renowned German gun maker Heckler & Koch on suspicion that the firm was breaking a ban on weapons sales to parts of Mexico that are plagued by bloody drug gang warfare.
9773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 24, 2010, 11:16:25 AM
Can congress mandate you get a haircut, hippie?
9774  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Full Contact Stickfighting on Christmas! on: December 23, 2010, 08:46:30 PM
Our society is poorer from the lack of masculine standards once commonly expected.
9775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / “A Rough Version of Mr. Bush’s Dream May Yet Come True” on: December 23, 2010, 02:14:43 PM
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/wehner/384948

“A Rough Version of Mr. Bush’s Dream May Yet Come True”
Peter Wehner - 12.23.2010 - 8:56 AM

In its editorial today, “A Good Year in Iraq,” the Washington Post writes this:

    AT THE beginning of this year, Iraq’s fragile new political order faced a momentous challenge. The country needed to hold credible democratic elections at a time when its army was still battling al-Qaeda and other domestic insurgents. The winners had to form a government in spite of deep rifts among leaders and sects, who just three years ago were fighting a civil war. And all this had to happen even as the United States reduced its troops from 150,000 to 50,000 and ended combat operations for those who remained.

    The result was a long, painful, contentious, confusing and sometimes bloody year. But when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presented his new government to parliament on Tuesday, Iraq could fairly be said to have passed a major test. It is not yet the peaceful Arab democracy and force for good in the Middle East that President George W. Bush imagined when he decided on invasion eight years ago. But in the past 12 months it has taken some big steps in the right direction.

The editorial goes on to point out that (a) the election was judged free and fair, a very rare event in the Middle East; (b) measures to integrate former Sunni militiamen into the security forces or other government jobs have been implemented; (c) fears that Mr. Maliki would establish a dictatorship look to be exaggerated; (d) the economy is nearing a tipping point, with foreign oil companies refurbishing the fields of southern Iraq and the city of Basra, a militia-ruled jungle four years ago, beginning to boom; and (e) violence has dwindled to the lowest level Iraq probably has known in decades (in September 2006, there were more than 3,300 civilian deaths from violence; this month so far it has counted 62, making Iraq a country far safer than Mexico).

The Post editorial concludes this way:

    It’s still too early to draw conclusions about Iraq, though many opponents of the war did so long ago. Mr. Maliki’s government could easily go wrong; the coming year, which could end with the withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops, will likely be just as challenging as this one. But the country’s political class has repeatedly chosen democracy over dictatorship and accommodation over violence. If that keeps up, a rough version of Mr. Bush’s dream may yet come true.

Four years ago this month may have been the low-water mark in Iraq, with the nation gripped by a low-grade but escalating civil war. The American public strongly opposed the war. Almost every Democratic lawmaker in Congress, with the honorable exception of Senator Joseph Lieberman, was in fierce opposition to both the war and what later became known as the “surge.” Republican lawmakers were losing their nerve as well. Three months earlier, in September 2006, Senator Mitch McConnell had asked for, and received, a private meeting with President Bush. Senator McConnell’s message was a simple one: the Iraq war’s unpopularity was going to cost the GOP control of Congress. “Mr. President,” McConnell said, “bring some troops home from Iraq.”

President Bush, to his everlasting credit, not only refused to bend; he increased the American commitment to Iraq and changed our counterinsurgency strategy. And while the situation in Iraq remains fragile and can be undone — and while problems still remain and need to be urgently addressed (including the terrible persecution of Christians occurring in Iraq right now) — this is a moment for our nation, and most especially our military, to take sober satisfaction in what has been achieved. It has not been an easy journey. But it has been a noble and estimable one.

There is no need here to rehearse the names of the few who did not buckle at the moment when the war seemed lost. They know who they are. In the words of Milton, they were “faithful found among the faithless.” Their faithfulness, and in many cases their courage, is being vindicated.
9776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 23, 2010, 01:09:27 PM
FWIW, I'm doubling down on bearishness for 2011. I'd rather that Wesbury would be right and me be wrong though.
9777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 22, 2010, 05:14:26 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/19/60minutes/main7166220_page4.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

The problem with that, according to Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney, is that no one really knows how deep the holes are. She and her staff spent two years and thousands of man hours trying to analyze the financial condition of the 15 largest states. She wanted to find out if they would be able to pay back the money they've borrowed and what kind of risk they pose to the $3 trillion municipal bond market, where state and local governments go to finance their schools, highways, and other projects.

"How accurate is the financial information that's public on the states? And municipalities," Kroft asked.

"The lack of transparency with the state disclosure is the worst I have ever seen," Whitney said. "Ultimately we have to use what's publicly available data and a lot of it is as old as June 2008. So that's before the financial collapse in the fall of 2008."

Whitney believes the states will find a way to honor their debts, but she's afraid some local governments which depend on their state for a third of their revenues will get squeezed as the states are forced to tighten their belts. She's convinced that some cities and counties will be unable to meet their obligations to municipal bond holders who financed their debt. Earlier this year, the state of Pennsylvania had to rescue the city of Harrisburg, its capital, from defaulting on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt for an incinerator project.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that you will see a spate of municipal bond defaults," Whitney predicted.

Asked how many is a "spate," Whitney said, "You could see 50 sizeable defaults. Fifty to 100 sizeable defaults. More. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."

Municipal bonds have long been considered to be among the safest investments, bought by small investors saving for retirement, and held in huge numbers by big banks. Even a few defaults could affect the entire market. Right now the big bond rating agencies like Standard & Poor's and Moody's, who got everything wrong in the housing collapse, say there's no cause for concern, but Meredith Whitney doesn't believe it.

"When individual investors look to people that are supposed to know better, they're patted on the head and told, 'It's not something you need to worry about.' It'll be something to worry about within the next 12 months," she said.

No one is talking about it now, but the big test will come this spring. That's when $160 billion in federal stimulus money, that has helped states and local governments limp through the great recession, will run out.

The states are going to need some more cash and will almost certainly ask for another bailout. Only this time there are no guarantees that Washington will ride to the rescue.
9778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 22, 2010, 04:35:11 PM
States and local governments aren't just cutting spending, some like California are deep in debt where they may well start defaulting as well as no longer being able to provide core services.
9779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Season's Greetings From Al-Qaida on: December 22, 2010, 02:42:07 PM
http://www.strategypage.com/on_point/20101221225721.aspx

Season's Greetings From Al-Qaida

by Austin Bay
December 21, 2010

"Just how real is the holiday terrorist threat?"

The question isn't rhetorical, nor is it an arid theoretical. Since Thanksgiving, it's been the query of the season, reflecting the uneasy spirit of our times. I've had it popped on me at parties, in the gym, on the phone and by my wife.
9780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 22, 2010, 01:59:27 PM
Well, AG Holder is concerned about homegrown terrorists while the Obama administration continues to cuddle with muslim brotherhood front groups.

Holder told ABC News yesterday: "It is one of the things that keeps me up at night. You didn't worry about this even two years ago – about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And – that is of – of great concern.

"The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens – raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason (whatever reason?), have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born," he said.
9781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 22, 2010, 01:46:56 PM
Imagine how bad the snow would be in europe if we didn't have all this global warning?
9782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: December 22, 2010, 01:41:18 PM
"It's hard to see how that will do anything to strengthen the nation's defenses."

It's not supposed to strengthen the nation's defenses, it's supposed to make deviant sexual behavior a norm via gov't fiat.
9783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 22, 2010, 10:37:01 AM

 "It's hard to see how this self-reinforcing process of recovery can be derailed."

Um......Howabout states defaulting on debt? Govenment shutdowns? Trillions in new nat'l debt? QE2?
9784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: December 22, 2010, 09:45:24 AM
The democrats and rinos can't be trusted with national security?


Who could have seen that coming??   rolleyes
9785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We're in the best of hands on: December 21, 2010, 08:33:34 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/US/counterterror-officials-terror-chatter-rise-holiday-travel-season/story?id=12449231&page=2

Brennan and Napolitano knew of the arrests and said that the plot would not have threatened the United States, but Director Clapper, who briefs the president daily on the nation's security, appeared to be unfamiliar with the events in London.

"First of all, London," Sawyer said. "How serious is it? Any implication that it was coming here? ... Director Clapper?"

"London?" Clapper said, before Brennan entered the conversation explaining the arrests.

Later in the interview, Sawyer returned to the subject.

"I was a little surprised you didn't know about London," Sawyer told Clapper.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't," he replied.
9786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: December 21, 2010, 01:20:38 PM
NY appeals court OKs ex-sailor's terror conviction

Published December 20, 2010


NEW YORK –  A federal appeals court Monday upheld the conviction of a former Navy sailor serving a 10-year prison sentence after he leaked details about ship movements to a London-based Web site operator that supported attacking Americans.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected defense arguments seeking to overturn the 2008 conviction of Hassan Abu-Jihaad of Phoenix. He was a signalman aboard the USS Benfold who was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2002.

Abu-Jihaad was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison by a federal judge in New Haven, Conn., after he was convicted on charges that he disclosed classified national defense information. Prosecutors at trial had labeled him a traitor. A message for comment left with Abu-Jihaad's defense lawyer was not immediately returned Monday.

In upholding the conviction, the three-judge appeals panel ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was constitutional and was used properly in the investigation to obtain evidence related to overseas communications.

Abu-Jihaad was accused of leaking details of ship movements to London-based Azzam Publications, an organization that in 2001 maintained web sites that openly espoused violent jihad against the U.S., the appeals court said.

The leaked information included the makeup of his Navy battle group and a drawing of the formation the group would use to pass through the dangerous Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf in April 2001. The ships were not attacked.

In 1997, Abu-Jihaad changed his name from Paul Raphael Hall to Hassan Abu-Jihaad, the surname of which translates to "Father of Jihad," the appeals court said.

"This curious choice appears not to have raised any concern in the United States Navy when, in January 1998, Abu-Jihaad enlisted," the appeals court said. It said the Navy cleared Abu-Jihaad to receive classified national defense information from 1998 to 2002.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/20/ny-appeals-court-oks-ex-sailors-terror-conviction/
9787  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: December 21, 2010, 12:05:04 PM
With this administration? I can't dismiss it, something that stupid would be quite consistent with all their other stupid moves.
9788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: December 20, 2010, 11:41:20 PM
Just showing how their time in the UK obviously made them moderate muslims, they didn't just kill her outright.
9789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 20, 2010, 11:20:51 PM

"Sanford V. Levinson, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Texas, called the proposal “a really terrible idea” because it would give the same weight to small states as it would to large ones, allowing those with a relatively small proportion of the national population to have outsize influence."

Yes, we are much better off with a few large cities on either coast having disproportionate influence on the country.  rolleyes
9790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 20, 2010, 11:16:11 PM
So, is there a real concern/demand for such protections in social networking? Say you started "Rachelbook" with the policies below as your selling point. Do you think that would be a winning business plan for attracting people who go out of their way to post pictures of themselves puking on spring break?
9791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Religion of peace settles family dispute on: December 20, 2010, 10:46:18 PM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/harry-potter-actress-beaten-called-a-prostitute-by-family-for-seeing-non-muslim/

Harry Potter Actress Beaten, Called a Prostitute by Family for Seeing Non-Muslim

    * Posted on December 20, 2010 at 6:53pm by Meredith Jessup Meredith Jessup
   
Afshan Azad, the 22-year-old British actress who portrayed Padma Patil, a classmate of Harry Potter in the blockbuster Hollywood films, was reportedly beaten, called a ‘whore’ and threatened with death by members of her own family after dating a young, non-Muslim man.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the young actress was assaulted and called a ‘prostitute’ after she met with a young Hindu man — a potential relationship that apparently angered her father and brother. After her family members threatened to kill her, Azad reportedly fled the family’s home through her bedroom window. The movie star is apparently so frightened of her brother and father, she has refused to confront them in court.

    Both men were charged with making threats to kill her and her brother was also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on his sister.

    Instead of both going on trial today, the prosecution decided to accept a guilty plea of assault by her brother, and both men were formally found not guilty of making threats to kill. …

    Richard Vardon QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The incident took place on Saturday 21 of May at the home address of the family in Longsight, Manchester.

    ‘The prosecution allegation in essence is she was the victim of a wholly unnecessary and unpleasant assault by her brother.

    ‘The reason for the assault, apparently her association with a Hindu young man, that apparently being disapproved of by her family who are Muslim.

    ‘Specifically she spoke not only of assault but also threats to kill, made jointly by her father and brother.’

According to the prosecutor, the father was awoken by his son when he shouted, “Sort out your daughter!  She’s a slag (slang for ‘whore’)!”

    ‘[The brother] continued to further assault her, in disputed Bengali, shouting, “Just kill her!”

    ‘The assault continued. There was a discussion where she was being called a prostitute.’

    The threats to kill her apparently continued, the witness told police in a statement.

    Reading from the victim’s statement, Mr Vardon added: ‘My father began saying he would do it, a reference to kill her, as he did not want his sons to have her blood on their hands and he would do time for it.

    ‘Then she began to feel very scared.

    ‘Having gone to the police in respect of these matters she made a statement to the police on 22nd of May.

    ‘Part of her version of events was that he was going to force the complainant into a forced marriage of some sort.’

But, according to the prosecutor’s report, the young actress was too afraid of her own family members to press formal assault charges:

    After going to police she ‘made it plain’ to officers and lawyers that she did not want any action taken against her family, or the arrest of her father or brother otherwise it would put her in ‘genuine danger’.

    ‘She came to police for help and support, and the arrest of her family members would not be of assistance,’ Mr Vardon added.

    The prosecutor said she later made ‘retraction statements’ to police and reiterated her lack of willingness to support any prosecution.

    She also ‘put a gloss’ on her father’s words by saying she found it hard to understand his heavy Bengali accent so could not be sure what he had said.

Both men were found not guilty on death threats and the son pleaded guilty to one count of assault, but was bailed out and awaits formal sentencing in January and has been instructed not to contact his sister.  Both men have been ordered to “keep the peace” on parole.
9792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 20, 2010, 04:11:39 PM
WTF??!
9793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Methodists? Mormons? on: December 20, 2010, 04:01:38 PM
**They must be christians, because the bible is more violent than the koran, or so i've been told. Oh, and jihad means "warm woolen mittens and whiskers on kittens", or something to that effect....

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/terror-plot-foiled-britain-12438300

Terror Plot Foiled in Britain
12 men suspected of planning to set off a number of bombs are under arrest.
9794  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 20, 2010, 01:54:46 PM
Stopping in a well lit parking lot is good. Turning on your dome light is also good. As Crafty did, keeping hands visible is very good, though just keeping them visible on the steering wheel is fine.

Don't frantically dig for your documents. The officer can't tell if you are digging for a weapon or trying to stash something you shouldn't have. The less stressful you make the stop for the officer, the better your chances for avoiding a summons.
9795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 20, 2010, 01:18:12 PM
They couldn't do it without the help of the media, luckily for them, the media won't push any story that doesn't further the pro-illegal alien agenda.
9796  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 20, 2010, 01:12:24 PM
Horizontal gaze nystagmus. It's an involuntary "bouncing" of the eyes as they move on a horizontal plane. Often caused by alcohol consumption. That's the "finger" test.
9797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 20, 2010, 01:02:17 PM
What would that statement look like?
9798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 19, 2010, 09:07:45 PM
Depending on gov't to protect your privacy is like expecting it to protect your person. Law enforcement in the US is mostly stuck reacting to crimes after the fact.
9799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 19, 2010, 05:29:29 PM
Part of the "Transformation of America" Obama promised was the end of the rule of law and the creation of a permanent democrat underclass. That what these various attempts at amnesty are intended to do.
9800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: December 19, 2010, 05:09:39 PM
Doug,

In the assault you describe, it's sounds reasonable to look at assault charges. Like a lot of cases, it depends on context and severity. Not every schoolyard fight should be adjudicated in court, a no weapons policy should differ between a concealed handgun and a toy soldier's 1/2 inch long rifle.
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