Archive for November, 2009

It’s Not About the Settlements, Part MMCDXXVIII

This guy is a Sudanese cleric—but I’m sure he studied in Egypt:

Following are excerpts from a Friday sermon delivered in Khartoum by Sheik Abd Al-Jalil Al-Karouri, which aired on Sudan TV on October 30, 2009.

Our history with Christianity is one of friendship, while our history with Judaism is a history of war – not because of their sectarian affiliation, but because of the corrupt Jewish scheme. Since the dawn of history and to this day, they are destined to spread corruption in the land.

We want the world to see Islam’s relations with the other religions in the proper light, in order to achieve world peace. The bloody conflicts in the world today are because we live in “Israeli” times. Israel is recruiting the Christian world against Islam, and this causes a rift in international relations.

[...]

Just like the Jews tried to kill the Prophet Muhammad, they tried to kill Christ, and according to their faith, they indeed killed and crucified him. Despite this, the Jews were granted a pardon. Moreover, the West today is seeking absolution for the Holocaust by trying to serve the Israeli entity. They are seeking absolution for the historical Holocaust. The reason is that the Christian belief is linked to Judaism these days. It is called Zio-Christianity.

This belief resides in the White House, regardless of who occupies it. Some believe in it, like the former US president, and others succumb to it, like the current US president. Therefore, the current US policy is not in its best interests. [Benjamin] Franklin, one of the founders of the American nation, warned them about the Jews 200 years ago, but they did not heed this warning.

[...]

We heard [Obama’s] speech in Cairo and were pleased about it. From this podium, we welcomed our son, OBAMA HUSSEIN, hoping that he would not take the same path as his predecessor. But he is taking the same path.

Israelis are beginning to call Obama Hussein openly anti-Semitic, while Muslim clerics say he’s poisoned by… what is it again? Zio-Christianity.

If everybody hates you, maybe you’re doing something right. Or maybe you’re just a tool.

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Yes We Kandahar

Hardly a shock that a country’s corruption index and its poverty level are directly proportional.

Take a look at the Middle East:

Transparency International issued its 2009 Corruption Index, which rates 180 countries on a scale of corruption from 0 (highest) to 10 (lowest).

The following is the rating of the Middle East countries by rank and score:

22 Qatar 7.0

32 Israel 6.1

39 Oman 5.5

46 Bahrain 5.1

49 Jordan 5.0

61 Turkey 4.4

63 Saudi Arabia 4.3

65 Tunisia 4.2

66 Kuwait 4.1

89 Morocco 3.3

111 Algeria 2.8 [same rating as Egypt]

126 Syria 2.6

130 Libya 2.5

150 Yemen 2.1

168 Iran 1.8

176 Iraq 1.5

176 Sudan 1.5

179 Afghanistan 1.3

180 Somalia 1.1

Good job, Qatar, for placing first in the region. Israel has nothing to be ashamed of, either.

But did you check out the bottom of the table? Below Libya, below Iran, below Syria—below even Sudan—is Afghanistan, just above Somalia. And those two were the worst in the world, btw, not just the region. Even Myanmar, Haiti, Uzbekistan, and Chad rated higher.

Good luck building a nation out of goat s**t, Mr. President.

PS: You’ve got more than just corruption on your hands:

Rape in Afghanistan is under-reported, concealed and a human rights problem of “profound proportions,” the United Nations said on Monday.

Norah Niland, the United Nations’ human rights representative in Afghanistan, said field research conducted late last year and early this year found rape affected all parts of Afghanistan, across all communities and social groups.

“Women and girls are at risk of rape in their homes, in their villages and in detention facilities,” Niland said at a news conference in Kabul, as part of a 16-day activism campaign against gender violence.

“It is a human rights problem of profound proportions.”

Niland said feelings such as shame exacerbate the problem and are often attached to victims rather than perpetrator.

Rape occurs within the family and beyond and victims are often prosecuted for committing adultery, she said.

I remember how proud I felt when I learned how we had brought liberty to those poor people enslaved under the Taliban, especially the women. Now, I can’t even remember what that feeling felt like. I still believe liberty can be brought, but whether it takes root or not is up to the people themselves.

There may still be Afghanis worthy of our pity, but for pete’s sake, they live in a s**t-hole. Meet us halfway, and maybe we’ll give you a hand.

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More “Settled Science” Unsettled

Somewhere between the ice caps and the polar bears and the sea levels in the list of things over which to lose sleep come the glaciers.

Bjorn Lomborg does some unconventional thinking:

The lack of water in the shadow of the Himalayas may seem like a strong argument for drastic, short-term reductions in carbon emissions. Indeed, the plight of people like the Bishwokarmas has been used by Al Gore and other campaigners to argue for just such cuts. Climate activists argue that there is a link between melting glaciers in the Himalayas and water shortages elsewhere.

On the surface, this makes sense. But when we dig deeper, we find that the Himalaya glaciers are difficult even for scientists to understand. Most suggestions of rapid melting are based on observations of a small handful of India’s 10,000 or so Himalayan glaciers. A comprehensive report in November by senior glaciologist Vijay Kumar Raina, released by the Indian government, looked more broadly and found that many of these glaciers are stable or have even advanced, and that the rate of retreat for many others has slowed recently.

Jeffrey S. Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona, declared in the Nov. 13 issue of Science that these “extremely provocative” findings were “consistent with what I have learned independently,” while in the same issue of the magazine Kenneth Hewitt, a glaciologist at Wilfrid Laurier University, agreed that “there is no evidence” to support the suggestion that the glaciers are disappearing quickly.

But what about the water shortage?

When glaciers thicken and expand, the summer runoff into rivers decreases. In other words, when climate change does increase glacial melting, the flow of water to poor people like the Bishwokarmas will increase for several decades.

The reason glacial runoff is decreasing is because the glaciers are not melting, not because they are.

As the Climategate scandal confirms, it’s hard even to have a discussion when we can’t agree on the basic facts—or when the basic facts are buried and deleted.

And our president blunders on, obtusely.

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How Liberals Think, How Conservatives Think

The stereotype holds; the Liberal mindset is to throw money at a problem

From the center of Krugman’s op-ed, we get the familiar drill.

And the damage from sustained high unemployment will last much longer. The long-term unemployed can lose their skills, and even when the economy recovers they tend to have difficulty finding a job, because they’re regarded as poor risks by potential employers. Meanwhile, students who graduate into a poor labor market start their careers at a huge disadvantage — and pay a price in lower earnings for their whole working lives. Failure to act on unemployment isn’t just cruel, it’s short-sighted.

So it’s time for an emergency jobs program.

How is a jobs program different from a second stimulus? It’s a matter of priorities. The 2009 Obama stimulus bill was focused on restoring economic growth. It was, in effect, based on the belief that if you build G.D.P., the jobs will come. That strategy might have worked if the stimulus had been big enough — but it wasn’t. And as a matter of political reality, it’s hard to see how the administration could pass a second stimulus big enough to make up for the original shortfall.

Ok, first of all, the very people who voted for this Bozo and his programs are the people who will suffer the most. They voted with their hearts, not their heads. In school, they were taught to think with their hearts, not their heads, so this is not a big surprise. But will more of the same relieve the problem?

Notice how Krugman doesn’t question his worldview or his technique? That was a trick question because you can’t notice directly. It becomes evident when you read a young conservative on the topic of economic downturns

Do downturns create Democrats? The Great Depression certainly did: The generation that came of age in the 1930s has cleaved to the Democratic Party like no population before or since. And it makes intuitive sense that experiencing a recession at a formative age could inspire lifelong sympathy for the party of the welfare state and lifelong suspicion toward the party of free markets.

In a recent paper, “Growing Up In a Recession,” Paola Giuliano, an assistant professor of economics at U.C.L.A., and Antonio Spilimbergo, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, offer statistics to back this intuition up. Looking at over 40 years of survey data, the authors report that Americans who experienced “macroeconomic shocks” between the ages of 18 and 25 were more worried about poverty and inequality across their voting lives, and more skeptical about the wisdom of the market.

These findings track with the results of the 2008 election, when a cratering economy helped Barack Obama win an extraordinary landslide among young and first-time voters. And they provide grist for the liberal hope that the rising generation will prove as enduringly Democratic as that of their Depression-era grandparents, with George W. Bush playing Herbert Hoover to Obama’s F.D.R.

But the study shouldn’t make liberals too cocky. The authors find that growing up in a recession can encourage conservative instincts as well. Downturns make young voters distrustful of unfettered capitalism, yes. But they also make them less confident in the federal government.

This finding may explain why recent recessions have actually ended up pushing America rightward. The stagflation of the 1970s, for instance, and the hapless liberal response, helped usher in Ronald Reagan’s revolution. (The cohort that grew up with Reagan is the most staunchly Republican in modern history.) The slump of the early 1990s bolstered Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign — but it also gave a boost to the fiscally conservative populism of Ross Perot, and then to the Republican wave of 1994.

The basic assumption in the Krugman piece is: We know what will work but at this point it might be hard to get the dumb voters to join us, so let’s try something slightly less expensive, but still costing a bundle. The Douthat piece looks at the problem entirely differently: Economic problems arise and we know that the success of the fix tends to cement voter preferences, maybe for a lifetime.

They agree that these economic problems are screwing up the generation that is coming of age today. But the Liberal won’t even consider other possibilities to address the problem. He can’t and the people who have been educated in that paradigm can’t, because the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. The answer is a given; the question must follow.

- Aggie

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Jabba the Hut and Wicked Witch of the West Oppose Afghanistan Strategy

Tell me I’m wrong:

Filmmaker Michael Moore urged President Barack Obama on Monday not to expand the war in Afghanistan, as Washington prepares to announce a surge of US troops in the conflict-torn nation.

Moore, visiting Japan this week to promote his latest documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story,” told reporters that he had sent Obama a message from his father, a World War II veteran.

“I passed on to him a personal request from my father and his Japanese friend: ‘Mr. Obama, you do not know war. We both know war and want it no more’,” he told reporters.

Who says President Obama doesn’t know war? He sure talked like he did during the campaign, threatening to escalate the conflict into Pakistan. The delusion on the Left that Obama is an innocent led astray by the big bad world is laughable. He’d drive over his own grandmother if—oh wait, he already did.

Just ask the Elphaba of the Left (cow):

There’s scum that attack and more scum that protect those attackers.

There’s scum that take away our rights to peaceably assemble and to freedom of speech, and more scum that protect those who try to steal those rights.

We the People need to be the ones to vigorously defend our rights and defend peace on earth from everyone from Sgt. Phil Ward to President Obama who think that killing is “right and proper.”

Here’s the video of the “scum” “attacking” Cindy Sheehan. It’s pretty clear she doesn’t mind getting in the face of a decorated American veteran significantly older than she—and it’s equally clear she can’t take anyone who disagrees with her. Watch, and tell me she’s not the bully. Cow.

In Cindy’s defense, she hasn’t changed her tone a bit since Obama’s election. She is just as crude, hateful, and offensive as she’s always been, but now the media don’t want to hear from her. She has to resort to sticking a megaphone in an old man’s face to get any publicity.

Cow.

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They Voted For Him.

An amusing article with fun drawings about newly unemployed people who have essentially taken up residence in hip coffee shops

It isn’t convenient to copy sections but you should go there to get a glimpse into this phenomena. I wonder if coffee shops ever feel used? I mean, they pay rent for the space and then tables are taken up by people who purchase coffee twice a day and attempt to run a business or develop a business or just hang.. all day long.

Meanwhile, do any of these people ever wonder if Obama isn’t The Messiah after all?

- Aggie

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Don’t Mention the (Non) Warming!

No surprise that Mark Steyn can predict the future. America Alone compared demographic trends and strength of ideology in western society and the Muslim world, and predicted some of the very reactions and convulsions we see today (I’d include Switzerland’s recent banning of minarets).

But did you know he can predict the past, as well?

Steyn on Saturday:

If you rely on the lavishly remunerated “climate correspondents” of the big newspapers and networks, you’ll know nothing about the Climate Research Unit scandals – just the business-as-usual drivel about Boston being underwater by 2011. Indeed, even when a prominent media warm-monger addresses the issue, the newspaper prefers to reprint a month-old column predating the scandal. If you follow online analysis from obscure websites on the fringes of the map, you’ll know what’s going on. If you go to the convenience store and buy today’s newspaper, you won’t. That’s the problem.

Daily Mail on Sunday:

The BBC has become tangled in the row over the alleged manipulation of scientific data on global warming.

One of its reporters has revealed he was sent some of the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia more than a month ago – but did nothing about them.

Despite the explosive nature of some of the messages – which revealed apparent attempts by the CRU’s head, Professor Phil Jones, to destroy global temperature data rather than give it to scientists with opposing views – Paul Hudson failed to report the story.

This has led to suspicions that the scandal was ignored because it ran counter to what critics say is the BBC’s unquestioning acceptance in many of its programmes that man-made climate change is destroying the planet.

Quite.

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When Moshe Met Moses

Fascinating history of the ties between the Zionist movement and the black civil rights movement, starting in the late 19th century and carrying on, through illustrious leaders in both communities, until the 50s and 60s. What happened then to break the bonds forged by oppression and aspiration?

Leftism:

THE SUBSEQUENT anti-Israel shift in African-American and African opinion – far from being a natural evolution of historical attitudes – was very much driven by the white leftist party line. It began as early as the 1956 Suez Campaign with Du Bois. During the Popular Front era when the Kremlin’s line had been pro-Israel, Du Bois denounced Saudi Arabia’s unrepentant continuation of the slave trade and criticized the Arabs for “widespread ignorance and poverty and disease and a fanatic belief in the Mohammedan religion.” U-turning after the new anti-Israel party line, Du Bois in a 1956 poem, “Suez,” portrayed Israelis as “the shock troops” of Anglo-American imperialists.

It’s not like we don’t already know this, but there’s a great history to be written (or read, if already written) about the Soviet poisoning of the Middle East with its support of Arafat and other quasi-fascistic figures there. Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa—commie fingerprints are all over the place. But the Arab states have yet to be fully investigated—or at least reported.

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Don’t Like The Data? Throw It Away.

Global warming data in the dumpster.

Cheesy, cheesy, slimy, little global warmists.

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Would you buy a used car from these clowns?

- Aggie

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Bern Baby Bern

Looks like Switzerland’s Muslims are going to have to text their calls to prayer—in a follow-up to our earlier post:

Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets, official results show.

More than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons – or provinces – voted in favour of the ban.

The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People’s Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation.

The government opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland’s image, particularly in the Muslim world.

But Martin Baltisser, the SVP’s general secretary, told the BBC: “This was a vote against minarets as symbols of Islamic power.”

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes, in Bern, says the surprise result is very bad news for the Swiss government which fears unrest among the Muslim community.

With respect to the lovely and talented Ms. Foulkes, what the [bleep] does she know what’s good for the Swiss government—and why should the Muslim community automatically be assumed to turn to unrest? They may well torch the whole country—French Muslims would—but I am deeply offended by the gratuitous and bigoted presumption that they will. In fact, the only vandalism so far has been anti-Muslim.

Another point:

Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets … and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.

Only four minarets? And they already have a method for preventing more? Not very pluralistic.

Europe. Feh.

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The Global Warming Nut Job That Lives In Your Head

The religion of the Left

Hello, hyperventilating zealot.

Greetings, denialist scum.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the formalities, please allow me to point and laugh at you. Ahem. Ha ha ha! Point point point!

Shut up.

That’s what you’d like me to do. That’s what you’d like all of us to do. Shut our mouths and open our wallets. Did you really think it was going to be so easy?

This doesn’t prove anything.

What doesn’t?

You know.

We both do. I just want to hear you say it.

This Clim… This Climateguh. Guh.

That’s it, almost there.

This Climategate garbage doesn’t mean anything! You science-denying neocon fascist racist warmongering planet-raping… [Goes on like this for a bit]

My goodness. Feel better?

No.

Well, I do. OMG, can you believe Obama changed his mind about going to Copenhagen after all this stuff came out? It’s like sprinting to board your ship at the last minute, and it’s the Titanic.

You’re the Titanic. You are.

Should we do this some other time? You’re making even less sense than usual.

Do you really think you know more than scientists? They’re scientists.

Yes, and science is a wonderful thing. It’s improved our lives in countless ways. It also has nothing to do with what these frauds, and the useful idiots who believed them, have been pulling.

How would you know?

I can read. “Hide the decline” and “Quick, delete these files before somebody catches on” and “HOLY CRAP WHY CAN’T I GET THIS DATA TO SAY WHAT WE NEED IT TO SAY IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR JOBS” aren’t exactly complex scientific concepts.

Go to the link. It’s excellent.

- Aggie

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In Debt Up to Yao Ming’s Eyeballs

Newsweek may be a pathetic excuse for a “news” magazine—actually, it’s quite good at “news”; it’s news at which it sucks—but Niall Ferguson is a respectable writer.

Only thing is, I can’t tell if he’s writing a prescription or an obituary:

Military experts talk as if the president’s decision about whether to send an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan is a make-or-break moment. In reality, his indecision about the deficit could matter much more for the country’s long-term national security. Call the United States what you like—superpower, hegemon, or empire—but its ability to manage its finances is closely tied to its ability to remain the predominant global military power. Here’s why.

The disciples of John Maynard Keynes argue that increasing the federal debt by roughly a third was necessary to avoid Depression 2.0. Well, maybe, though some would say the benefits of fiscal stimulus have been oversold and that the magic multiplier (which is supposed to transform $1 of government spending into a lot more than $1 of aggregate demand) is trivially small.

While crediting the stimulus with lifting the economy out of recession last quarter, he observes that the returns on such an enormous investment are small potatoes.

He continues:

Meanwhile, let’s consider the cost of this muted stimulus. The deficit for the fiscal year 2009 came in at more than $1.4 trillion—about 11.2 percent of GDP, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That’s a bigger deficit than any seen in the past 60 years—only slightly larger in relative terms than the deficit in 1942. We are, it seems, having the fiscal policy of a world war, without the war. Yes, I know, the United States is at war in Afghanistan and still has a significant contingent of troops in Iraq. But these are trivial conflicts compared with the world wars, and their contribution to the gathering fiscal storm has in fact been quite modest (little more than 1.8 percent of GDP, even if you accept the estimated cumulative cost of $3.2 trillion published by Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz in February 2008).

And that $1.4 trillion is just for starters. According to the CBO’s most recent projections, the federal deficit will decline from 11.2 percent of GDP this year to 9.6 percent in 2010, 6.1 percent in 2011, and 3.7 percent in 2012. After that it will stay above 3 percent for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, in dollar terms, the total debt held by the public (excluding government agencies, but including foreigners) rises from $5.8 trillion in 2008 to $14.3 trillion in 2019—from 41 percent of GDP to 68 percent.

In other words, there is no end in sight to the borrowing binge. Unless entitlements are cut or taxes are raised, there will never be another balanced budget. Let’s assume I live another 30 years and follow my grandfathers to the grave at about 75. By 2039, when I shuffle off this mortal coil, the federal debt held by the public will have reached 91 percent of GDP, according to the CBO’s extended baseline projections. Nothing to worry about, retort -deficit-loving economists like Paul Krugman. In 1945, the figure was 113 percent.

Well, let’s leave aside the likely huge differences between the United States in 1945 and in 2039. Consider the simple fact that under the CBO’s alternative (i.e., more pessimistic) fiscal scenario, the debt could hit 215 percent by 2039. That’s right: more than double the annual output of the entire U.S. economy.

And remember, most objective measures of socialized medicine have it coming in at several times the cost the CBO is currently putting on it. In other words, the pessimistic scenario may be unrealistically optimistic.

He goes on at much more length, but my work is done here. Have a nice day!

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