Saturday, February 11, 2012
An Australian with no true love for his country
On sale in March from Top Shelf is Blue, the debut graphic novel of Australian cartoonist Pat Grant. The 96-page hardcover is a beautifully drawn allegorical adventure starring three kids in a provincial beach town as they navigate racism, immigration, surfing and a quest to see a real-life dead body. Featuring blue-skinned aliens whose immigration to the fictional city of Bolton has distressed the economy and stimulated the racial prejudices of its xenophobic inhabitants, Blue is inspired by Grant's first-hand experience in the Cronulla Race Riots of 2005 and described sardonically by him as "District 9 meets Stand By Me." [...]How sad that a moonbat with an Orwellian mindset has to be the one to garner such undeserved attention. And how sad that said moonbat apparently sees "immigrants" as solely victims. A year before the Islamists in Sydney went on a rampage, former policeman Tim Priest wrote in Quadrant (via Michelle Malkin) about how Muslim gangs had taken over a lot of the criminal activity in the area. These same gangs harrassed women and other people at the beachside, and also assaulted at least 2 lifeguards, leading up to the whole vigilante crowd that chased them off the beach. In related news, there was also a horrific case of a girl who was 14 years old who was gang raped by at least 2 Pakistani brothers almost a decade ago. Said brothers amazingly received quite a well-deserved beating in Goulburn prison, and hopefully got their legs damaged enough to make it difficult to commit violent crimes like those again.
Along the kids' macabre quest, Grant shows us how the blue aliens have been trying, unsuccessfully, to assimilate to life in Bolton, and how much of that is the fault of the unwelcoming citizens.
And this Pat Grant considers the Aussies the ones to blame? "Immigrants" have no responsibilities of their own, and that includes their beliefs, religious or otherwise?
If Grant's book is as biased as it sounds, then he has punched quite a few regular Australians in the face, especially any women who were victimized by those Islamic perverts. I'm sure there's plenty of potential talent for writing comics Down Under, but Grant isn't it.
Korean tourists in Sinai had close call
An Egyptian security official says that three South Korean women were released a day after being kidnapped in the Sinai peninsula by a group of armed tribesmen.Was that before or after they left the area that they told this? I don't know, but reports like these can't be taken at face value. And if the tourists had been Jewish, there's every chance fate would be worse. With the rising of Islamofascism in Egypt, even Sinai is not a safe place to visit anymore.
The head of security in South Sinai Maj. Gen. Mohammed Naguib said that the three women and their Egyptian tour guide were released on Saturday after tribal elders pressured the captors to release them.
He says the captors had kidnapped the women on Friday to pressure Egyptian authorities to release their detained relatives.
It was the latest in a series of kidnappings in Sinai. The peninsula has seen a surge in lawlessness over the last year, but abducted tourists are rarely harmed.
Two American women kidnapped last week said afterward that their captors served them tea and dried fruit.
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
Ahmadinejad (and the Mullahs) rule with an iron fist, brook no dissent and have no qualms about brutally silencing those who oppose them.
And they believe they are invincible.
They prop up their puppet ally al-Assad in Syria, although he, too, is expendable if he doesn't toe the line OR is no longer needed.
And they would loive nothing better than to annex Lebanon, and have their Hezbollah goons in place to do so.
And they all want to eliminate the Jews and then America, establishing the Caliphate, regardless of the destruction it will bring on the world.
And the world is ignoring this. Or at least Americans seem to be.
I don;t know. Perhaps I had too much to drink last night or maybe not enough.
But from where I sit it may be 2012 but looks an awful lot like 1939.
Ahmadinejad: Iran to reveal new nuke achievements
By NASSER KARIMI
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran will soon unveil "big new" nuclear achievements, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday while reiterating Tehran's readiness to revive talks with the West over the country's controversial nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad spoke at a rally in Tehran as tens of thousands of Iranians marked the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the pro-Western monarchy and brought Islamic clerics to power.
Ahmadinejad did not elaborate on the upcoming announcement but insisted Iran would never give up its uranium enrichment, a process that makes material for reactors as well as weapons.
The West suspects Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies, insisting it's geared for peaceful purposes only, such as energy production.
Four rounds of U.N. sanctions and recent tough financial penalties by the U.S. and the European Union have failed to get Iran to halt aspects of its atomic work that could provide a possible pathway to weapons production.
"Within the next few days the world will witness the inauguration of several big new achievements in the nuclear field," Ahmadinejad told the crowd in Tehran's famous Azadi, or Freedom, square.
Iran has said it is forced to manufacture nuclear fuel rods, which provide fuel for reactors, on its own since international sanctions ban it from buying them on foreign markets. In January, Iran said it had produced its first such fuel rod.
Apart from progress on the rods, the upcoming announcement could pertain to Iran's underground enrichment facility at Fordo or upgraded centrifuges, which are expected to be installed at the facility in the central town of Natanz. Iran has also said it would inaugurate the Russian-built nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr in 2012.
Iran's unchecked pursuit of the nuclear program scuttled negotiations a year ago but Iranian officials last month proposed a return to the talks with the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany.
"Iran is ready for talks within the framework of equality and justice," Ahmadinejad repeated on said Saturday but warned that Tehran "will never enter talks if enemies behave arrogantly."
In the past, Iran has angered Western officials by appearing to buy time through opening talks and weighing proposals even while pressing ahead with the nuclear program.
Washington recently levied new penalties aimed at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil, which accounts for 80 percent of its foreign revenue, while the European Union adopted its own toughest measures yet on Iran, including an oil embargo and freeze of the country's central bank assets.
Israel is worried Iran could be on the brink of an atomic bomb and many Israeli officials believe sanctions only give Tehran time to move its nuclear program underground, out of reach of Israeli military strikes. The U.S. and its allies argue that Israel should hold off on any military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities to allow more time for sanctions to work.
Before Ahmadinejad spoke Saturday, visiting Hamas prime minister from Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also addressed the crowd, congratulating Iranians on the 1979 anniversary and vowing that his militant Palestinian group would never recognize Iran's and Hamas' archenemy, Israel.
Also at the Tehran rally, Iran displayed a real-size model of the U.S. drone RQ-170 Sentinel, captured by Iran in December near the border with Afghanistan. Iran has touted the drone's capture as one of its successes against the West.
The state TV called the drone is a "symbol of power" of the Iranian armed forces "against the global arrogance" of the U.S.
The report broadcast footage of other rallies around Iran, saying millions participated in the anniversary celebrations, many under heavy snowfall.AP:
APNewsBreak: Satellite spots tanks in Syrian city
By DAN ELLIOTT
LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) -- Satellite image provider DigitalGlobe Inc. released photos Friday that appear to show Syrian army tanks and other armored vehicles in the city of Homs.
DigitalGlobe said the images were taken late Friday morning Syrian time by the company's WorldView 2 satellite from about 480 miles above the Earth.
Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe's analysis center, said the photos show tanks, armored personnel carriers and other armored vehicles in the southern part of the city, some of them near apartment buildings.
The satellite images show an increase in the level of army activity in and around Homs from the previous 24 hours, Wood said.
Fighting in Homs has reportedly killed hundreds of people over the past week from bombardments followed by soldiers' advances. The battle there is part of the Syrian government's attempts to suppress an 11-month-old uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad.
Wood said no battle damage was visible in the photos taken Friday, but previous images captured by the company's satellites did show the effects of fighting.
Homs looks deserted, with very few cars on the streets in the satellite photos, he said.
DigitalGlobe company has been gathering satellite photos of Syria since mid-2011, he said.
Cloud cover over Syria in recent days has left few opportunities for satellite photography, and the images captured Friday are hazy because of moisture in the atmosphere, Wood said.
The images were taken the day that two suicide bombers attacked security compounds in the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing 28 people, according to Syrian government officials. Troops and security forces fired on anti-regime protesters as they left mosques after Friday prayers nationwide.
DigitalGlobe is based in Longmont, Colo., and sells satellite imagery and analysis to clients that include the U.S. military, emergency response agencies and private companies.
The company has three orbiting satellites, and a fourth is under construction.BBC:
Clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon over Syria unrest
At least one person has been killed in the Lebanese city of Tripoli in clashes between supporters and opponents of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, security officials say.
At least 12 people were injured, as the two sides fired guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other.
The violence erupted after Friday prayers and continued overnight.
Tensions in the northern port city have mounted since the beginning of the uprising in Syria last March.
Residents said the RPGs were fired from the Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tabbana towards the Alawite district of Jabal Muhsin on Friday.
Footage by Reuters TV also showed gunmen taking cover on street corners and firing volleys of automatic gunfire.
Lebanese troops were later deployed in both districts, the army said in a statement.
It added that several soldiers were among the injured.
Tripoli is dominated by Sunni Muslims, who support the anti-Assad uprising in Syria.
Mr Assad is an Alawite, and members of the minority sect - an offshoot of Shia Islam - occupy key positions in the Syrian government and security forces.
Syria's majority Sunni community has been at the forefront of the revolt against the president and borne the brunt of the state's crackdown, which human rights groups say has left more than 7,000 people dead.
Lest you think I've slipped a cog and are one of those people who think Iran wouldn't and couldn't even try to take on, let alone defeat, the United States, consider this scenario from John Galt:How Iran could Win a War against Israel and the United States in One Hour
by John Galt
February 6, 2012 05:00 ET
In less than sixty minutes, the tiny nation of Iran could easily defeat two of the mightiest military powers in the world if they are allowed to engage in a first strike opportunity against both of those nations. This is not some far-fetched idea as U.S. and Israeli military planners are keenly aware of the implications of an Iranian attack which catches both nations off guard. The problem is not one of strategy or ability by either nation. The military units of both nations could easily defeat the Iranians in a nuclear or conventional war. However, Iran is not a conventional nation-state nor is the modern concept applicable to the confrontation which is coming.
IF Iran were to attack, it would be the ultimate one shot “use it or lose it” approach to all strategic, conventional, and non-conventional forces. Syria would not have any notification of the coming attack and the countries which were to be exposed to collateral damage, Iraq and Jordan, would receive only the warning provided by U.S. military forward air controllers with little choice but to stand down or engage a fellow Islamic nation in combat.
Iran’s first strike against Israel would be a combined effort designed to overwhelm the air defense systems of the IAF and create mass confusion. Odds are they would use every available missile launcher, and being conservative, we’ll say that’s 500 inside of Iran with an additional 1,100 plus inside of Lebanon, to fire an overwhelming volley at Israel. In addition, every available fighter aircraft capable of supersonic flight would be launched on a suicide mission trailing the initial missile attack. This initial volley would set the IAF and IDF on their heels along with creating massive panic in the United States defense establishment knowing the retaliatory strike package the tiny nation would launch. The defense systems might intercept 60% of all of the incoming if they were precise and of course, lucky as hell. The impacting conventional and non-conventional warheads would trigger a devastating response which would obliterate the entire nation of Iran however. That strike might be construed as a defeat for the “nation” of Iran but the attack would not end with just the Israel versus Iran aspect of the conflict.
Since the early 1980′s the Islamic Republic of Iran has been infiltrating the United States using a series of faux defectors, college students obtaining access through third party nations, and as highlighted by Fox News own Geraldo Rivera in July of 2002, via Mexico using the coyote network of smugglers. These infiltrators did not come to the United States to learn the historical aspects of American constitutional law nor our theories of engineering, although some did engage in education programs about nuclear physics, civil engineering, and advanced electronic technologies. This group of long time “students” and infiltrators are not here to assist or help our nation.
At the moment the Iranian attack is announced in the West, these sleeper cells will activate with a series of per-determined targets. Imagine the following happening while news reports of Israeli cities being hit:
- An eighty year old woman at a bus stop being beheaded with a machete by a crazy man screaming “God is Great” in Farsi then attacking dozens of other people standing by the area with his blade and a handgun.
- A six year old little girl is standing in front of a store in a shopping mall and is suddenly shot in the back of the head by a man who then shoots dozens of others after the horror of the initial shock wears off and action is taken by authorities against him.
- A man screaming “God is Great” in Farsi uses his car to run a bus load of children off of a large hill causing it to roll over and burst into flames.
- A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest kills the driver and hijacks a gasoline tanker which he drives into a crowded grocery store and detonates.
Crazy talk? No, not really, this is the worst case scenario for U.S. security apparatus. I submit to my readers to consider the following idea. The U.S. has designed a patchwork security system which could handle one, two, maybe even a dozen attacks simultaneously. But if over one thousand were to occur, the best that could be expected before serious casualties and damage were inflicted is at best a forty to fifty percent interception rate. Thus if the Israelis were overwhelmed, the U.S. would be also. That sets the stage for the defeat of both nations, and sadly a period of darkness that will take the world decades to recover from.
Militarily, the nation of Iran would cease to exist. The Iranian people would suffer, at a minimum, a 70% loss rate. The impact would be equally as devastating for the nation of Lebanon which effectively be eradicated from existence along with many cities inside of Syria and much of the Arab world becoming uninhabitable should the Samson Option be triggered, which in this scenario it would. The United States would become a militarized state overnight. Europe would become a basket case. And the Arab street would galvanize behind the eradication of the Israeli state, the removal of the “great Satan” and the largest victory of Islam over the West since the last of the Crusaders. The Islamic world would sing the praise of the sacrifice of the Persian people plus those ancillary nations impacted by the Jewish retaliatory attack.
Meanwhile, there are those who would invoke the Biblical implications of such a conflict. The United States would immediately be seen as a slumbering, bumbling, club footed nation unable to respond against an unseen enemy other than engaging in Wilsonian tactics of isolating Muslims in prison and at the same time destroying the Constitutional rights of American citizens who had nothing to do with the initial wave of attacks or fears of a secondary action. There are many who call this a delusional nightmare, but there is some historical logic behind this horrific scenario.
First, the Russians and Chinese would see an immediate strategic shift in power placing their nations in total control of the world from a strategic perspective. The Russians would instantly replace OPEC and the Middle Eastern oil cartel as the safest and most secure provider of crude oil in the world which would exceed two hundred dollars per barrel at that point in time. China would seize full control of Far Eastern affairs as the United States would be forced to contract its sphere of influence to the Western Hemisphere and no further at that point in time. The nations of South America would disengage in any meaningful strategic relationships with the U.S. thus driving them to Africa, Asia, and the newly Russian dominated European Union nations.
Second, and more importantly, the re-establishment of the greater Islamic caliphate would be completed almost immediately. The Persians would have zero influence over the creation or rule of the new Pan-Islamic territorial region. However, the consequences of this new geopolitical grouping will not be recognized by the world for at least a year. The now extinct nation of Iran would be honored and recognized for their act of martyrdom in the Islamic world thus giving the Shiites and the radical Islamic movement great credibility in the world, especially in fringe Islamic nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and throughout Central Africa. Saudi Arabia and the associated Gulf states would immediately become subservient to the radicals as there would be no common enemy, aka, Israel, to unify their citizens against. Hence a demand for recognition of the re-established Caliphate would become the demand of the street.
Lastly, the destruction of freedom and economic disruption in the United States guarantees a period of renewed U.S. isolationism versus the globalist policies of the post World War II period. While that might well be viewed as a positive by many inside the American sphere and externally, the resulting darkness that would descend on the nations of the world will be a resumption of the Dark Ages of humanity instead of a new world order as designed by the bankers and politicians who envisioned “their” era of of domination after the establishment of the League of Nations. The nation-state of Iran will be defeated immediately, however the memory of the Islamic martyrs of Persia will be viewed as a victory in the centuries old war of Islam versus the West.
Not Proof Positive
Preemptive Ideological Strike
"Not much," he said. "I'd really like to know more."
Boy, what an opening, huh? "Well you're in luck," I said with a grin, "because I know a lot about it."
I had been hoping for a perfect opportunity like this. He'd already told me he was politically "progressive," and we hadn't broached the topic of Islam yet, but I knew it would happen eventually. And I had been thinking it would be better to talk about it casually — before we were disagreeing on something specific. And since I already had good rapport with him, I thought now would be a great time.
I began like this: "I started reading about Islam right after 9-11."
"A lot of people did," he said supportively, "I remember Korans were selling well."
"Yeah, I wanted to know what the story was. So many things were being said about Islam; you know, that it was all about peace, but then you had terrorists quoting the Koran, and I didn't know what to think about it all. I eventually read the Koran cover to cover, and that was no easy task, let me tell you. That was one of the most boring books I had ever read."
He looked at me like maybe I was joking.
"I'm serious, man. It was so repetitive and didn't really say much. Or at least it didn't at first. But the last fourth of the book got really interesting. It changed totally. Do you know how the Koran was written?"
"Mohammad got these revelations from an angel named Gabriel. He was living in Mecca at the time, and there were a lot of religions in Mecca, including Judaism and Christianity, so he picked up a lot of their ideas. Anyway, the Koran is just a collection of Mohammad's revelations. That's all that's in there. The whole thing was dictated by Mohammad. Once in awhile, for the rest of his life, he received revelations from Gabriel.
"But his revelations changed at some point. See, at first Mohammad was just one guy among many in a very religiously tolerant place, and he preached tolerance and non-violence. Most of his revelations were about what hell was like and what paradise was like, and how if you don't believe in Allah and if you don't believe Mohammad was the prophet, you were going to hell.
"After 13 years, he gained 150 converts. But Mohammad was always criticizing the other religions of Mecca, and the Meccans resented it, and eventually made his life pretty unpleasant there, so he moved to Medina, where he had some followers, and they set Mohammad up as a kind of leader of their gang."
He looked at me kind of skeptically so I said, "And this history I'm telling you is from Islamic sources, not writings by people who don't like Islam. Anyway, so the Muslims started raiding caravans going to Mecca, since the Meccans were his enemies now, and the enemy of Islam. Mohammad and his believers would raid the caravans, kill the people, and take their stuff. Well, sometimes they would capture some of the people alive and hold them for ransom.
"All of a sudden, Mohammad started getting a lot more people interested in joining Islam."
My workmate smiled at this. He could grasp that there is a certain kind of person who would want to get in on the booty from these raids.
"Yeah, it was a pretty good gig," I said. "They started accumulating some wealth. And Mohammad's little group of followers was growing into an army. Eventually they took over the city of Medina.
"Around this time is when the revelations changed," I said ominously.
"What do you mean?" he asked. He was definitely interested now. We were not arguing. Not at all. The feeling of contention was completely absent in this conversation. He wanted to know about Islam, and I was telling him what I found out. I didn't talk to him like a conservative lecturing a liberal, but like a person who found the whole thing surprising and interesting and wants to share it.
I kept going: "Well, the revelations started becoming less tolerant and more violent. That's what I mean about the last part of the Koran getting interesting. I mean interesting in the sense that it got rid of the confusion I had to begin with."
"Like you, I have also read a lot about different religions. Especially Buddhism and Christianity. And before I learned anything about Islam, I thought most religions were pretty much the same, at least as far as basic principles go."
He was nodding his head.
"You know what I mean? I thought religions were always started by a wise, kind person who gathers people around him because they can see he is wise. And he spends his life helping people, and then his followers build a religion based on his teachings.
"So when I was reading the Koran, I almost couldn't believe what I was reading. This was totally different than any religion I had ever heard of. Mohammad led the raids on the caravans? He killed people?! The founder of the religion was doing these things? I was blown away.
"At one point, Mohammad personally oversaw the beheading of 800 men. He tortured a rabbi to find out where a particular group of Jews had hidden their gold. I mean, can you imagine Buddha or Jesus doing that? I couldn't believe it! Mohammad actually ordered the assassination of people who criticized Islam."
Lights were going on in my workmate's head. He said, "That's like that guy who wrote 'Satanic Verses.'"
"Right! They're just following Mohammad's example. In fact, it says in the Koran that Mohammad is a model for human behavior and followers should try to be like Mohammad."
Then I anticipated what I know from experience people will think of: That other religious books have violence in them and we shouldn't pick on Islam. So I said, "But you know how the Bible has lots of different kinds of writings? Some are violent and some are peaceful, right?"
"Yeah," he said, nodding like he was just thinking the same thing.
"And if you have contradictions in the Bible, it's not really a big deal because it was written over such a long time by so many people. Well, that's not the case with the Koran. It actually says in the Koran itself what to do with its own contradictions.
"It really had to deal with this issue, because if you think about it, there is Mohammad preaching tolerance and non-violence, and his believers know those teachings already, and then the revelations change pretty dramatically. It was very noticeable to everyone. So Allah says in the Koran in one of the revelations that if something I say contradicts something I've said earlier, the newer stuff overwrites the older stuff."
He grasped right away what that meant. "So the more violent parts cancel out the peaceful parts?"
"Yes, exactly. Isn't that mind-blowing? I mean, what a shock. But you know, ever since I read the Koran, I'm no longer confused by the news. I used to wonder what the hell is wrong with the Middle East. Why can't they seem to work out their differences and just get along? Now I realize that the Muslims really can't. They can't work things out with the Jews and still remain Muslim! And other stuff, like hijackings and kidnappings and suicide bombers, started to seem not so bewildering any more."
I had just given my workmate a lot to think about. So I said, "Well, we probably ought to get back to work." And as we were on our way back, I changed the topic of conversation to something else. I didn't want to "sell past the close" and I didn't want to appear to be a fanatic. I decided right then that I will not to bring up the subject again with him. I will maintain rapport with him, and just let him digest.
I feel pretty confident he will ask me a question about Islam at some future time.
I didn't think at the time making a "pre-emptive strike." I was just having an interesting conversation. But the more I thought about it afterwards, the more profitable this approach appeared to me. If we could have these kinds of conversations before we are in an argument, we could establish our position as the one who knows about this topic, and establish their position as a curious student. And we could bypass the whole political argument. We could prevent ourselves from stubbornly digging into our trenches on this issue (where no minds can be changed).
We'd have more influence, in other words. I feel confident he will never listen to any information about Islam the same way again.
The approach would probably only work on people who don't already know that you know something about Islam — people you haven't already had conversations with about it. You could just casually ask, when the opportunity presented itself (and when your rapport was strong, and when you were alone so it could be a private, one-on-one conversation), "What do you know about Islam?" or "Do you know much about Islam?" You could even ask it with a tone of voice that implies you don't know anything and are hoping the other person does.
Your chances are really good that they won't know anything. And that creates a wonderful opportunity.
Obama has said that the employers do not have to provide contraceptive services.
But the insurers do. So now the employers just have to pay insurers who provide contraceptive services.
Of course Ace says it better than I do.
Guess that's why he makes the big bucks :)
Ace of Spades:
Obama's Compromise: I'll Just Mandate That Employers Contract With Insurers To Cover Contraception For Free, and Hence Employers Cannot Be Said To Be Paying For It
The revised Obama mandate will make religious groups contract with insurers to offer birth control and the potentially abortion-causing drugs to women at no cost. The revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage at no cost.
Essentially, religious groups will still be mandated to offer plans that cover both birth control and the ella abortion drug
According to Obama administration officials on a conference call this morning, a woman’s insurance company “will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to pay for it.”
The birth control and abortion-causing drugs will simply be “part of the bundle of services that all insurance companies are required to offer,” White House officials said.
So here's how this works.
I'm an insurer. Here were your two options, before Obama's brilliant solution:
I could cover your employees for x dollars.
If you want birth control/abortifacient coverage, we'll add that rider for y dollars. So this option is x + y dollars.
Obama's genius solution is:
Hey, we'll cover your employees for x + y dollars as a baseline. But we'll toss in abortifacient coverage for 0 dollars.
Uhhh... That x+y is what it cost to have base insurance + birth control/abortifacient coverage. All that's being done here is that people are lying about the costs -- now the insurer and the contracting party lie and pretend the base insurance cost is x + y (which it isn't; it's x) and also pretend the cost for the birth control coverage is 0 (which it isn't; it's y).
All Obama's doing is mandating that employers enter into a contract with insurers in which both parties pretend that the base cost of the service is higher than it is, and that abortifacient coverage now costs zero dollars.
Obama's mandate solution is now just to force the conscience-objectors to lie about it. He
The old mandate was just to provide abortifacents. The "solution" just adds a new mandate on top of that one: That you lie about that fact in a legal contract.
This new "solution" is the same one you had before: You always had the option to lie to yourself that you were not part of the abortion providing industry, if you liked.
The only change is now that option is mandatory.
Obama's actual policy doesn't change, nor does the coercion against you. Just a new coercion is added -- that you lie about it -- to insulate him from the political consequences of his policy.
Why the World Needs America
Foreign-policy pundits increasingly argue that democracy and free markets could thrive without U.S. predominance. If this sounds too good to be true, writes Robert Kagan, that's because it is...
By ROBERT KAGAN
History shows that world orders, including our own, are transient. They rise and fall, and the institutions they erect, the beliefs and "norms" that guide them, the economic systems they support—they rise and fall, too. The downfall of the Roman Empire brought an end not just to Roman rule but to Roman government and law and to an entire economic system stretching from Northern Europe to North Africa. Culture, the arts, even progress in science and technology, were set back for centuries.
Modern history has followed a similar pattern. After the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, British control of the seas and the balance of great powers on the European continent provided relative security and stability. Prosperity grew, personal freedoms expanded, and the world was knit more closely together by revolutions in commerce and communication.
With the outbreak of World War I, the age of settled peace and advancing liberalism—of European civilization approaching its pinnacle—collapsed into an age of hyper-nationalism, despotism and economic calamity. The once-promising spread of democracy and liberalism halted and then reversed course, leaving a handful of outnumbered and besieged democracies living nervously in the shadow of fascist and totalitarian neighbors. The collapse of the British and European orders in the 20th century did not produce a new dark age—though if Nazi Germany and imperial Japan had prevailed, it might have—but the horrific conflict that it produced was, in its own way, just as devastating.
Would the end of the present American-dominated order have less dire consequences? A surprising number of American intellectuals, politicians and policy makers greet the prospect with equanimity. There is a general sense that the end of the era of American pre-eminence, if and when it comes, need not mean the end of the present international order, with its widespread freedom, unprecedented global prosperity (even amid the current economic crisis) and absence of war among the great powers.
American power may diminish, the political scientist G. John Ikenberry argues, but "the underlying foundations of the liberal international order will survive and thrive." The commentator Fareed Zakaria believes that even as the balance shifts against the U.S., rising powers like China "will continue to live within the framework of the current international system." And there are elements across the political spectrum—Republicans who call for retrenchment, Democrats who put their faith in international law and institutions—who don't imagine that a "post-American world" would look very different from the American world.
If all of this sounds too good to be true, it is. The present world order was largely shaped by American power and reflects American interests and preferences. If the balance of power shifts in the direction of other nations, the world order will change to suit their interests and preferences. Nor can we assume that all the great powers in a post-American world would agree on the benefits of preserving the present order, or have the capacity to preserve it, even if they wanted to.Unfortunately, they might not be able to help themselves. The creation and survival of a liberal economic order has depended, historically, on great powers that are both willing and able to support open trade and free markets, often with naval power. If a declining America is unable to maintain its long-standing hegemony on the high seas, would other nations take on the burdens and the expense of sustaining navies to fill in the gaps?
Even if they did, would this produce an open global commons—or rising tension? China and India are building bigger navies, but the result so far has been greater competition, not greater security. As Mohan Malik has noted in this newspaper, their "maritime rivalry could spill into the open in a decade or two," when India deploys an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean and China deploys one in the Indian Ocean. The move from American-dominated oceans to collective policing by several great powers could be a recipe for competition and conflict rather than for a liberal economic order.
And do the Chinese really value an open economic system? The Chinese economy soon may become the largest in the world, but it will be far from the richest. Its size is a product of the country's enormous population, but in per capita terms, China remains relatively poor. The U.S., Germany and Japan have a per capita GDP of over $40,000. China's is a little over $4,000, putting it at the same level as Angola, Algeria and Belize. Even if optimistic forecasts are correct, China's per capita GDP by 2030 would still only be half that of the U.S., putting it roughly where Slovenia and Greece are today.
As Arvind Subramanian and other economists have pointed out, this will make for a historically unique situation. In the past, the largest and most dominant economies in the world have also been the richest. Nations whose peoples are such obvious winners in a relatively unfettered economic system have less temptation to pursue protectionist measures and have more of an incentive to keep the system open.
China's leaders, presiding over a poorer and still developing country, may prove less willing to open their economy. They have already begun closing some sectors to foreign competition and are likely to close others in the future. Even optimists like Mr. Subramanian believe that the liberal economic order will require "some insurance" against a scenario in which "China exercises its dominance by either reversing its previous policies or failing to open areas of the economy that are now highly protected." American economic dominance has been welcomed by much of the world because, like the mobster Hyman Roth in "The Godfather," the U.S. has always made money for its partners. Chinese economic dominance may get a different reception.
Another problem is that China's form of capitalism is heavily dominated by the state, with the ultimate goal of preserving the rule of the Communist Party. Unlike the eras of British and American pre-eminence, when the leading economic powers were dominated largely by private individuals or companies, China's system is more like the mercantilist arrangements of previous centuries. The government amasses wealth in order to secure its continued rule and to pay for armies and navies to compete with other great powers.
Although the Chinese have been beneficiaries of an open international economic order, they could end up undermining it simply because, as an autocratic society, their priority is to preserve the state's control of wealth and the power that it brings. They might kill the goose that lays the golden eggs because they can't figure out how to keep both it and themselves alive.
Finally, what about the long peace that has held among the great powers for the better part of six decades? Would it survive in a post-American world?
Most commentators who welcome this scenario imagine that American predominance would be replaced by some kind of multipolar harmony. But multipolar systems have historically been neither particularly stable nor particularly peaceful. Rough parity among powerful nations is a source of uncertainty that leads to miscalculation. Conflicts erupt as a result of fluctuations in the delicate power equation.
War among the great powers was a common, if not constant, occurrence in the long periods of multipolarity from the 16th to the 18th centuries, culminating in the series of enormously destructive Europe-wide wars that followed the French Revolution and ended with Napoleon's defeat in 1815.
The 19th century was notable for two stretches of great-power peace of roughly four decades each, punctuated by major conflicts. The Crimean War (1853-1856) was a mini-world war involving well over a million Russian, French, British and Turkish troops, as well as forces from nine other nations; it produced almost a half-million dead combatants and many more wounded. In the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), the two nations together fielded close to two million troops, of whom nearly a half-million were killed or wounded.
The peace that followed these conflicts was characterized by increasing tension and competition, numerous war scares and massive increases in armaments on both land and sea. Its climax was World War I, the most destructive and deadly conflict that mankind had known up to that point. As the political scientist Robert W. Tucker has observed, "Such stability and moderation as the balance brought rested ultimately on the threat or use of force. War remained the essential means for maintaining the balance of power."
There is little reason to believe that a return to multipolarity in the 21st century would bring greater peace and stability than it has in the past. The era of American predominance has shown that there is no better recipe for great-power peace than certainty about who holds the upper hand.
President Bill Clinton left office believing that the key task for America was to "create the world we would like to live in when we are no longer the world's only superpower," to prepare for "a time when we would have to share the stage." It is an eminently sensible-sounding proposal. But can it be done? For particularly in matters of security, the rules and institutions of international order rarely survive the decline of the nations that erected them. They are like scaffolding around a building: They don't hold the building up; the building holds them up.
Many foreign-policy experts see the present international order as the inevitable result of human progress, a combination of advancing science and technology, an increasingly global economy, strengthening international institutions, evolving "norms" of international behavior and the gradual but inevitable triumph of liberal democracy over other forms of government—forces of change that transcend the actions of men and nations.
Americans certainly like to believe that our preferred order survives because it is right and just—not only for us but for everyone. We assume that the triumph of democracy is the triumph of a better idea, and the victory of market capitalism is the victory of a better system, and that both are irreversible. That is why Francis Fukuyama's thesis about "the end of history" was so attractive at the end of the Cold War and retains its appeal even now, after it has been discredited by events. The idea of inevitable evolution means that there is no requirement to impose a decent order. It will merely happen.
But international order is not an evolution; it is an imposition. It is the domination of one vision over others—in America's case, the domination of free-market and democratic principles, together with an international system that supports them. The present order will last only as long as those who favor it and benefit from it retain the will and capacity to defend it.
There was nothing inevitable about the world that was created after World War II. No divine providence or unfolding Hegelian dialectic required the triumph of democracy and capitalism, and there is no guarantee that their success will outlast the powerful nations that have fought for them. Democratic progress and liberal economics have been and can be reversed and undone. The ancient democracies of Greece and the republics of Rome and Venice all fell to more powerful forces or through their own failings. The evolving liberal economic order of Europe collapsed in the 1920s and 1930s. The better idea doesn't have to win just because it is a better idea. It requires great powers to champion it.
If and when American power declines, the institutions and norms that American power has supported will decline, too. Or more likely, if history is a guide, they may collapse altogether as we make a transition to another kind of world order, or to disorder. We may discover then that the U.S. was essential to keeping the present world order together and that the alternative to American power was not peace and harmony but chaos and catastrophe—which is what the world looked like right before the American order came into being.
Friday, February 10, 2012
This World Will Rise Against You’
by Liberty Chick
Accusing the state of Israel of displacing and “killing a great many” number of people, the collective of hackers known as ‘Anonymous’ posted a characteristically ominous video message late Thursday evening, vowing to launch a crusade “against [Israel's] reign of terror.” The threat comes in the wake of ongoing cyber warfare between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli hackers.
To the government of the state of Israel. We are Anonymous. For too long we have tolerated your crimes against humanity and allowed your sins to go unpunished. Through the use of media deception and political bribery, you have amassed the sympathies of many. You claim to be democratic, yet in reality, this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses. We see through the propaganda that you circulate through the mainstream media and lobby through the political establishment.
Your Zionist bigotry has displaced and killed a great many. As the world weeps you laugh while planning your next attack. All of this is done under the veil of peace, but so long as your regime exists, peace shall be hindered. You label all who refuse to comply with your superstitious demands as anti-Semitic and have taken steps to ensure a nuclear holocaust. You are unworthy to exist in your current form and will therefore face the wrath of Anonymous. Your empire lacks legitimacy and because of this, you must govern behind a curtain of deceit. We will not allow you to attack a sovereign country based upon a campaign of lies. Your grip over humanity will weaken and man will be closer to freedom. But before this is accomplished, the people of this world will rise against you and renounce you and all your worth.
Our crusade against your reign of terror shall commence in three steps.
Step one will be initiated after the release of this video and will be comprised of systematically removing you from the internet. Step two will be later disclosed and is already in initiation; and, as for step three, well, think of this one as a present from Anonymous to you – we will not stop until the police state becomes a free state. We are Anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget. Israeli government expect us.
It is not known whether Anonymous will actually follow through on the threat, as the collective has been known to abandon some plans, while misunderstanding others. Additionally, an operation is sometimes thwarted when it’s been discovered to be the scheming of a rogue Anon.
But there has already been plenty of cyber-warring amongst hackers in the region, if this is any indicator. Earlier in the week, Israeli hackers identifying themselves as the “IDF Team” attacked several Arab websites, including the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, after Arab hackers launched a distributed denial of service attack on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al airlines. One of the lead hackers in Monday’s attack on Israeli targets told the Jerusalem Post that attacks would cease only “if the Israeli government apologized for what he described as a ‘genocide in Palestine.’”
A collective of Saudi hackers also hacked one of Israel’s largest sports sites and published the details of thousands of Israelis’ credit cards online.
According to Agence France Presse, a statement by “anonymous Saudi Arabian hackers” from Group-XP, the “largest Wahhabi hacker group of Saudi Arabia,” appeared on Israeli sports website One.co.il yesterday, announcing that the customer databases of multiple Israeli sites had been hacked.
Visitors were then redirected to another page, where they were invited to download lists of thousands of names, addresses, credit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. Cards used to make payments to “Judaism” websites or “Israeli Zionist Rabbis” were among those listed, Haaretz reported.
The hackers’ statement described the attack as “a gift to the world for the new year” that they hoped “would hurt the Zionist pocket,” according to Ynet:
“It will be so fun to see 400,000 Israelis stand in line outside banks and offices of credit card companies to complain that their cards had been stolen. To see banks shred 400,000 cards and reissue them. To see that Israeli cards are not accepted around the world, like the Nigerian cards,” the hackers wrote.
Coincidentally, the incidents come at a time when some are speculating that Hamas leaders are pushing for another ‘Arab Spring’ in the region in light of their recent signing of a unity agreement with Fatah, a deal that was denounced by Israel’s prime minister.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
This Week The Gathering Storm
The call-in number is 646-915-9870.
This week's scheduled guest is IQ al Rassooli.
Listen to the February 10, 2012 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.
Read more »
I find this hard to believe
According to Shargh, an independent newspaper, the Simpsons were banned to avoid the promotion of Western culture, putting Bart and Homer alongside Barbie on an Iranian toy blacklist. Superman and Spider-Man were allowed because they helped the "oppressed," the Associated Press reported.Honestly, I find that hard to swallow. In any case, it might not last that long either, because of the Jewish backgrounds of their creators. (Don't be surprised if Wonder Woman is banned such places already, not just because of her sexy outfit but also because of what that comics heroine certainly once stood for, which was freedom for women. Come to think of it, don't be surprised if any of the lovely ladies appearing in Supes and Spidey's books like Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson-Parker are banned in sharia zones either!)
A leftard denies Iran's technological capabilities
First and foremost, Iran does not have the technology to strike the United States with a nuclear warhead. While the Islamic Republic is currently enriching uranium, perhaps for a bomb, there’s absolutely no evidence they’re building a long-range bomb, nor do they have existing weapons that can carry a radioactive load to the United States. Israel? Maybe. The U.S.? Most definitely not. Hell, their weapons can’t even reach Europe.And Belonksy, we see, is exploiting this not just for more conservative-hating incitement, but also for downplaying the seriousness of the subject. Just like Ron Paul, the one so-called GOP member he certainly supported until recently.
Second, if Iran could attack the United States, which they cannot, there is absolutely no way Ohio would be their first target. Sorry, Ohio, you’re just not a high level target for our enemies. Plus, Ohio is so deep into the United States that any missile would be intercepted before reaching the state.
Gingrich, you see, was simply using this impossible hypothetical to scare up voters, clearly hoping that playing on fears would bring him some much needed support. Hopefully voters are smart enough to see through this weak and poorly thought out ploy.
And what does he dare, I repeat, what does he DARE to imply regarding Israel? "Maybe"? Just what kind of downplay is that supposed to be exactly? Belonsky really is that crazy and hateful to suggest that Iran couldn't manage to get it that far, and at the same time to make it sound like he doesn't have much care for Israel, just like Ron Paul.
His ridiculing the idea that Iran's nuclear rockets couldn't even reach Europe is also offensive, and just a few days ago, an Israeli official knocked down his whole unbacked claim it's impossible for the rockets to reach the US:
JERUSALEM — A senior Israeli official said Thursday that the missile testing site near Tehran that was destroyed in a huge explosion three months ago was developing missiles with a range of about 6,000 miles that could reach the United States.And that just shows that truly, leftards like Belonsky aren't really concerned about Muslims either. All he's doing is parroting the politicians in Obama's crowd who can only see the warnings of Iran's capabilities as mere exaggerations. Belonsky's references to the voting public are also quite insulting and distasteful, as they show he must prefer that the public underestimate serious dangers. Let's be clear: if we underestimate the danger imposed by Iran's nuclear program, we'll be making the same mistakes made before 9-11, when some people may have thought it impossible for a terrorist attack on the scale of that time to occur within the US.
The assertion went far beyond what rocket experts have established about Iran’s missile capabilities, and American officials questioned its accuracy.
The Israeli, Moshe Yaalon, a deputy prime minister and minister for strategic affairs, said the blast at a missile base of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hit a system “getting ready to produce a missile with a range of 10,000 kilometers.”
“That’s the Great Satan,” he said, invoking a name Iran has used for the United States. “It was aimed at America, not at us.”
Mr. Yaalon was trying to make the point that the Iranian nuclear program is a threat not only to Israel but to other nations, creating “a nightmare for the free world.” He said that it was a concern to Arab states as well as to the United States and Israel.
Here's also an op-ed in the Wash. Times about the dangers of Iranian missiles reaching America, and another in the Jerusalem Post from a few days ago about the danger they impose to Europe as well.
Gingrich isn't perfect, but his concerns about the dangers of terrorist and modern nuclear warfare are fully legitimate and should be very seriously pondered.
Suppose Israel moves on Iran the day the US and NATO decide Assad must go?
International ‘militarisation’ in Syria growing closer, warns US official
The international community may be forced to ‘militarise’ the crisis in Syria unless president Bashar al-Assad stops the onsalught on his people, a senior US official warned on Wednesday.