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I’ll Be Your Filter

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Zombie

America used to have a single unified national culture. For over a century from the rise of the first mass-circulation newspapers in the early 19th century up through the 1950s just about everyone in the country shared the same information sources and thus formed their opinions based on the same “data set.” This helped to solidify a national identity but it also had terrible downsides. When the publishers and editors of the major newspapers realized that they essentially had a monopoly on information flow, the era of partisan spin and yellow journalism emerged in which newspapermen molded opinion, fabricated or suppressed scandals, and directed the course of current events either to advance a political cause or simply to drive up circulation and revenue.

Another downside was that a monolithic national culture prevented the flourishing or growth of subcultures. The mainstream dominated to such an extent that most people didn’t even know there was a non-mainstream. The baseball World Series, for example, was for decades the unrivaled climax of the sporting year, and the entire country awaited the outcome because they were told to do so by the media. But if you were among the few weirdos who didn’t like baseball, instead preferring badminton or rugby, you were out of luck; all news outlets obsessed over baseball often to the exclusion of everything else.

The first big fracture of the unified national culture happened in the 1950s with the emergence of what we now call “youth culture,” which of course went into overdrive in the 1960s and eventually subdivided and proliferated into countless little subcultures. Over the ensuing decades, as the baby boomers grew from rebellious teens into The Adults in Charge, their one-time “underground culture” became the dominant culture of the nation, while the former “mainstream culture” sank in a sea of subcultures and now remains merely as a curious subculture itself kept alive only by the allegiance of ossified super-seniors.

The arrival of the World Wide Web in the mid-90s and the subsequent rise of the news aggregators and blogs and search engines in the new century finally put the nail in the mainstream’s coffin, as for the first time people across the country could pick and choose their information sources to match their interests and philosophies. By now, at the end of 2011, it’s gotten to the point where people can and do have a completely personalized “data set” customized to their liking. This applies not just to hobbies and interests but also to politics and news. Each American now has the option to choose any number of Web sites, Twitter feeds, media outlets and blogs to serve essentially as “news filters” through which information reaches us. Depending on which filters you choose, you can have a completely different view of the world from that of your neighbor, your best friend, your brother.

Yes, there remains a default “neutral” data set, now referred to disparagingly as the “mainstream media,” but it seems (at least from my point of view) that fewer and fewer people pay it much mind, as only those too old, too young or too ignorant need to rely on others to do their filtering for them any more. Partly this is because personalization is more engaging, but partly it is also because the general public has grown more aware that the MSM is not neutral at all — it just pretends to be. It still engages in all sorts of “bias through omission,” covering only those stories which promote its agenda, whether it be political partisanship or the need for ratings. It’s no different than the yellow journalism of a century ago, just more surreptitious; let’s call it “vanilla journalism.”

Too many pundits these days spend their energy exposing, deconstructing or mocking the MSM narrative; that was fine when it was needed, but these days I think that the majority of Americans don’t care and don’t even know what the MSM is up to. The MSM is a marginalized and increasingly irrelevant filter used only by a small minority of news consumers.

Anyway, all of this is just a roundabout way of saying that when I wake up in the morning and look at my version of “the news,” it arrives at my eyeballs through a set of very eccentric and individualized filters I have set up so that I can specifically see those things I’m interested in. And so I often find out about odd little incidents and events and facts and so forth that bypassed most news consumers. And when you wake up and look at your version of the news, you too have your own filter — one of which, if you’re reading this, is me, or at least the PJMedia Tatler column, which you have (consciously or unconsciously) chosen to be one of your sources of information. “What have the Tatler authors got for me today?” you’re asking yourself right now.

Sometimes a particular single news item strikes me as so noteworthy that I’ll blog about it specifically. But other times, such as today, I’ll be somewhat-but-not-excessively intrigued by several different current events, none of which inspire me to highlight individually. In such cases I generally just shrug them off and go about my day without blogging about them at all, but today I’ll do something that many other bloggers do on a daily basis but which I’ve never done before — a “news dump,” or survey of mildly interesting or infuriating stories presented essentially without comment.

To paraphrase The Velvet Underground & Nico: I’ll be your filter.


OCCUPY SANTA CRUZ ADOPTS OBAMA CAMPAIGN SLOGAN

The children of Occupy Santa Cruz (“OSC” in their lingo) must have vaguely remembered that the phrase “Yes We Can” was popular a few years ago for some reason (forget exactly why), and so thought it was a good idea to re-use it as their own new slogan for their campaign to “reboot” OSC:

Click here to see the original in context (and if they’ve blocked incoming links from PJM, paste this address into a browser window: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/27/18701113.php).


ISLAMIC CREATIONISM HITS BRITAIN

I’ve been warning people for years about Harun Yahya and his brand of Islamic Creationism; in my opinion, he’s more problematic and more influential than all the American Christian creationists combined, because his reach is worldwide. Well, looks like England is starting to experience the Harun Yahya effect, and it’s not pretty:

Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution… because it ‘clashes with the Koran’

Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain’s leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.

Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.

Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs.


Earlier this year Usama Hasan, iman of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible.

Sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blame the growing popularity of creationist beliefs within Islam on Turkish author Harun Yahya who, influenced by the success of Christian creationists in America, has written several books denouncing Darwinist theory.

Yahya associates Dawinism with Nazism and his books are and videos are available at many Islamic bookshops in the UK and regularly feature on Islamic television channels.

Speakers regularly tour Britain lecturing on Yahya’s beliefs.


THE MOST BIZARRE SPORTS BRAWL YOU’LL EVER SEE

If you haven’t yet seen this video of football legend Joe Kapp receiving an award from the Canadian Football League alongside one-time archrival Angelo Mosca, you’re in for a “treat” — that is, if you enjoy seeing old men beat each other to a pulp:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kThLSiykiHY


RICHMOND VA AUDITS TEA PARTY FOR DARING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT UNFAIR TREATMENT

This one’s already making the rounds so you may already know about it, but the sheer audacity of liberal city governments needs to be exposed over and over:

Outrage!… After Demanding Refund From City, Richmond Tea Party Gets Letter – “You’re Being Audited”

The City of Richmond charged the local tea party $10,000 to hold three rallies at the Kanawha Plaza … But, the #Occupy squatters were allowed to set up a tent city on the plaza for free.

After complaining about this double standard and demanding a refund the Richmond tea party received a letter last week that they are being audited.


OCCUPY OAKLAND DOUBLES DOWN, THREATENS TO RE-TAKE PLAZA AFTER EVICTION

Without a home base to embody their cause, Occupy Oakland, recently evicted for the second time from their camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza, feel restless. Solution? Try, try again!

In direct defiance of police orders, they’re now going to try re-occupying downtown Oakland for the third time:

Re-occupying Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza on Tue 11/29

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at noon, Occupy Oakland activists will retake Frank Ogawa a.k.a. Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland with a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week vigil. Occupiers hope to create a model for a new wave of “Occupation” protest throughout the United States.


UC BERKELEY HOSTS CORNEL WEST STAGE SHOW WITH CARL DIX, CO-FOUNDER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNIST PARTY

August academic Cornel West is joining forces with Carl Dix for a spectacular stage show at UC Berkeley this Friday:

Cornel West & Carl Dix – a dialogue: What Future For Our Youth?

Two of the country’s most outspoken and politically engaged Black intellectuals – Cornel West and Carl Dix – will be speaking at UC Berkeley, at a moment when the campus has become a national focus of student protest, the Occupy movement, and a public outcry over police brutality.

This event will address issues at the at the heart of the campus and Occupy protests, the racism and inequalities facing society’s most oppressed, as well as broader issues of moral responsibility, the roots of injustice, and the prospects and pathways for fundamental social change. It is free and open to the pubic.

Mr. Dix and Dr. West have joined Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy protests, and have recently launched a new initiative against mass incarceration.

CORNEL WEST is one of America’s most provocative public intellectuals and has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. …

CARL DIX is a longtime revolutionary and a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. In 1970 Carl was one of the Fort Lewis 6, six GIs who refused orders to go to Vietnam. He served 2 years in Leavenworth Military Penitentiary for his stand….

Also see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/11/18698929.php?show_comments=1#18700595


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Richmond, VA Slaps Local Tea Party with a (Political) Tax Audit

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

A few weeks back the Richmond, VA Tea Party invoiced their city after they learned that the city had allowed the occupiers to protest without filing any permits or getting insurance. When the Tea Party held its protests in 2009, the city’s permits and insurance requirements cost the Tea Party about $10,000. Since the occupiers were getting preferential treatment, the Tea Party wanted their money back.

Richmond’s response: A tax audit.

In the audit letter signed by Cynthia Carr, Field Auditor for the City of Richmond, it states that our Tea Party is delinquent in filing of Admissions, Lodging, and Meals Taxes with the city and as such our group has been targeted for a comprehensive audit. Well, aren’t we special? In fact, as part of the Business License we have with the City, a form is filled out by our treasurer every month (as required). We have never charged admission or had lodging or meals associated with our rallies. Every month the forms are appropriately filled with zeros. Ms. Carr goes on to say that if we don’t respond within 15 days, the City will make a statutory assessment–meaning they’ll pick an amount to charge us.

The city has, to date, required none of these things of the occupiers. The city’s auditor should be job shopping.

 

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NLRB Plans for Its Own Zombie Apocalypse

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The labor-dominated National Labor Relations Board will soon lose Craig Becker, the former (?) SEIU lawyer whom President Obama recess appointed to the board against congressional disapproval. Becker’s term ends at the end of the year. The lone GOP member, Brian Hayes, may resign to deny the board a functioning quorum and stop its anti-business actions. The Democrats on the NLRB planned to continue pushing Big Labor’s agenda despite these vacancies, as Bloomberg reports today:

The National Labor Relations Board delegated certain powers to the panel’s legal staff following a resignation threat by its only Republican member and the pending expiration of a Democrat’s term next month.

The board, which has two vacancies among five positions, gave the general counsel and chief administrative law judge the power to make budget and personnel decisions, anticipating “that in the near future it may, for a temporary period, have fewer than three members,” according to a notice today in the Federal Register.

The NLRB said on Nov. 23 that Republican Brian Hayes told its chairman he may quit as a way to block action on a proposal that business groups say is too pro-union. The appointment of Democrat Craig Becker, a former lawyer for the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union, will expire next month when Congress adjourns. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that a two-member labor board can’t issue rulings.

Bloomberg is late to the story and underplaying the powers that the NLRB’s Democrat members have planned to hand over to its general counsel. It’s more than just personnel and budget that he’ll have power over. As reported here on the Tatler on Nov 9, he will be empowered to certify union elections and can continue to pursue the case against Boeing. The NLRB zombie would continue its pursuit of more power for Big Labor, unabated.

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Atlanta Woman Alleges 13-Year Affair with Herman Cain (Update: Cain Issues Second Statement)

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not posting this because I believe it. In fact, I don’t, at least not yet. We haven’t seen the accuser, nor have we heard any details that might prove or disprove what she is saying. His previous two accusers turned out to be weak on credibility, and provided no solid evidence to back up their accusations. But the story of the affair is coming out on an Atlanta TV station tonight, and here’s a preview.

Oddly, Cain seems to have been the first to break the story during an appearance on CNN today. But he denied sexually harassing the woman, not the affair. That may not mean much — Cain may have expected the accusation to be like the previous ones that have hit him, which have concerned harassment. This accusation is not about harassment.

Or are we looking at two allegations coming out at once, and Cain only knew to respond to the one and didn’t see the other coming?

Update: Watching the video, it’s clear that there’s only one new accuser and Cain is responding to what he thinks will be in the story.

Update: About four minutes into the video, Wolf Blitzer spells out that the accusation is not harassment, but an affair. Mediaite’s headline was misleading.

Update: Here’s the story about Cain’s accuser. She is an Atlanta businesswoman, named Ginger White. And here’s Cain’s response:

“Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.

Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

That’s not a denial.

Update: The first statement, which contained no denial, may have exhibited bad lawyering. The second, which came from his campaign, exhibits bad politicking.

Detractors are trying once again to derail the Cain Train with more accusations of past events that never happened. The Cain Campaign is not surprised that another female accuser has come forward due to the fact that earlier allegations were unable to force Herman Cain to drop his presidential bid to renew America.

“The American public is tired of dirty politics and smear tactics as evident of their tremendous outpouring of support for me, my family and my campaign this past month. I am running for President of the United States of America and the reality is that there are individuals out there that favor the status quo of higher taxes, more government and political cronyism and they are afraid of a Cain Presidency,” said Mr. Cain.
“I have spoken directly to the American people and have been 100% honest with them. My plan is to continue to spread my vision on how I would renew America and keep her safe. I will not fight false claims as it is not what America needs or wants,” continued Mr. Cain.

Mr. Cain has spent four decades climbing the corporate ladder rising to the level of CEO at multiple successful business enterprises. Mr. Cain is a proven leader and the type of leader America badly needs at this time in her history.

At least this statement does seem to be a denial, of “past events that never happened.”

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Newt Throws Down the ‘Electable’ Gauntlet

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Not sure the Newt wants to go there, but he’s going there.

Newt Gingrich, who not long ago was urging his fellow Republican candidates to avoid tearing one another apart in pursuit of the party’s presidential nomination, took a new approach on Monday by explicitly declaring: “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate; I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney.”

With his candidacy on the rise, Mr. Gingrich opened a three-day campaign visit to South Carolina and warned Republicans to be suspicious of candidates who “adopt radically different positions.” It was a fresh glimpse into the sharpening tenor of the nominating fight as the first round of voting begins in five weeks.

You mean, like falling for the global warming hoax before backtracking? Both Gingrich and Romney did that. Or being in favor of big government mandates to “fix” health care before coming out in opposition to said mandate? Because both Gingrich and Romney did that, too.

“We think there has to be a solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” Mr. Gingrich told WSC Radio in Charleston, S.C. “I’m the one candidate who can bring together national security conservatives, and economic conservatives, and social conservatives in order to make sure we have a conservative nominee.”

He added, “I wouldn’t lie to the American people. I wouldn’t switch my positions for political reasons. It’s perfectly reasonable to change your position if facts change. If you see new things you didn’t see – everybody’s done that, Ronald Reagan did that. It’s wrong to go around to adopt radically different positions based on your need of any one election, then people will have to ask themselves, ‘What will you tell me next time?’”

No argument with that, really. If you’ve never changed your mind on anything, you’ve never really thought about anything. Romney’s problem is that he has changed his mind on everything. Gingrich’s brilliance has occasionally become a problem as he chases intellectual fads. We seem to have forgotten that just six months ago his mind and mouth got him into some policy trouble with his own party.

And then there’s this:

“I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate. I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else.”

The Clinton machine and Gingrich’s own marital hypocrisy made him toxic in the 1990s. It won’t take the Democrats long to resurrect those old attacks and try making him toxic again (whether they can actually make him toxic is debatable). As for being more conservative than Romney, well, Gingrich 1.0 definitely was. Gingrich 3.0, though, the one that got paid $1.6 million to be Freddie Mac’s “historian”? That’s not a slam dunk.

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Who is the Next “Great Communicator”?

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Sam Levine

The American presidency has changed dramatically over time. The founders meant for the president to be an executive, a unitary decision maker. However, since the advent of radio, television and mass communication, the presidency has developed into so much more. Today, whenever the president speaks there are dozens of cameras in his face. The president can schedule an address to the nation during prime time, and all the networks will cancel their programs and carry his speech.

Political Scientist Samuel Kernell described this new phenomenon as “Going Public,” wherein the president “promotes himself and his policies in Washington by appealing directly to the American public for support,” thereby “forcing compliance from fellow Washingtonians by going over their heads to enlist constituents’ pressure.”

The president is no longer someone who just makes decisions about the administration of government. The president, by way of mass media and his bully pulpit, has tremendous power to shape the public discourse about American governance and policy. The president, more than any of the legislators who actually make the law, has the extraordinary ability to speak directly to the American people. With this power, the president carries great legislative influence, as a charismatic and well-spoken individual can sway the public’s sentiment and create political conditions wherein his or her agenda is sure to be passed.

Ronald Reagan was very adept at “going public” and taking his case to the American people. Thus, he was known as “The Great Communicator” as he was able to explain his agenda in a clear and compelling way, which eased his tax reform through Congress. In addition, Reagan’s ability to speak to the hearts of the American people lifted an entire nation out of the malaise left behind by Jimmy Carter, and restored America to her greatness. Bill Clinton was a gifted communicator as well, and this was of great assistance during his presidency. The case is still open on Obama. He has staked his political life and agenda on convincing the American people that the Republicans only care about preserving tax breaks for the super rich to the detriment of the rest of the country. The election next year will determine his success.

With this in mind, it is clear that candidates such as Rick Perry and Herman Cain would be lousy presidents. Sure, they would probably make sound decisions and push a conservative agenda. However, that is not enough. It is not enough for Herman Cain to just “surround himself with experts” to advise him on the best course of action. We need a Republican president who is quick on his feet and well-versed in the political issues. We need a Republican president who can take his case to the American people. When the polls are 50/50 and Congress is not sure how to vote on a certain piece of legislation, we need a Republican president who can utilize his bully pulpit in a skillful manner to sway the American public.

We have already seen how difficult it is in this day and age to have a Republican president who is not articulate or quick on his feet. Whoever the next Republican presidential nominee is, we know he or she will be swimming up stream against a hostile main stream media, looking to undercut him or her at every opportunity. Do you trust Herman Cain or Rick Perry to adequately counter the onslaught of anti-Republican rhetoric that is sure to pervade the mainstream media? Can you count on Rick Perry or Herman Cain to answer spontaneous questions at a press conference in a coherent and effective manner?

When choosing among the GOP presidential contenders, primary voters should consider who will be the most effective advocate for conservative values.

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A Brief Rant Against the Consumerism of the Holidays

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Like most Americans (except the occupiers who tried and failed to stop it), I was happy to see that Black Friday sales were up this year over last year. We, well actually you because I don’t shop on Black Friday, set a new spending record. This is a rough economy; every ray of hope that it’s getting better is a good thing.

On the other hand, we may have lost sight of the reason for the holiday season when frenzied shoppers cause near-riots and walk past, around and over a dead man on the way to saving a few bucks.

The man whose birth we allegedly celebrate at this time of year told a story about helping someone who had been beaten by thieves and left for dead on the side of the road. Now might be a good time to revisit that story. There are things in life that are far more important than getting a good deal on an iPad.

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Repression in Cuba – the Weekly Rundown

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Lest we forget – Fidel and company are still there, doing what they do. A regular feature on Babalu Blog to be bookmarked.

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One of the Great Letters to the Editor of All Time

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

Nicholas Sarkozy is one of France’s more colorful heads of state, and this is saying something given that French history includes Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle.  The British news magazine, The Economist, has devoted many of its well-read columns to him.  However, according to a letter to the editor in the November 19, 2011 issue, the magazine could use a bit more originality when it comes to its repeated description of the French president as “mercurial:”

SIR – I have noticed that “mercurial” has become a rather overused word to describe Nicolas Sarkozy in The Economist. It has been used no less than ten times since March this year alone, most recently in your October 22nd issue (“Sauce Hollandaise”). Although it aptly epitomises Mr Sarkozy, perhaps you will permit me to suggest some alternatives: capricious, changeable, erratic, expansive, fickle, impulsive, inconstant, irregular, irrepressible, lubricious, spirited, unpredictable, unstable, variable, volatile.

Ross Hobart
London

Can anyone write a letter to the editor as well as a literate Brit?

 

 

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Afghan Officials: Pakistan Fired First in US Raid that Killed Pakistani Troops

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Yeah, we may already be at war with Pakistan. Well, more at war with Pakistan. The fact that Osama bin Laden lived within a shout of Pakistan’s version of West Point dropped a very strong hint that they’re not really our friends, they just like our money.

Afghan troops and coalition forces came under fire from the direction of two Pakistan army border posts, prompting them to call in NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Afghan officials said Sunday. The account challenges Islamabad’s claims that the attacks, which have plunged U.S.-Pakistan ties to new lows, were unprovoked.

It also pointed to a possible explanation for the incident Saturday on the Pakistan side of the border. NATO officials have complained that insurgents fire from across the poorly defined frontier, often from positions close to Pakistani soldiers, who have been accused of tolerating or supporting them.

Pakistan’s political leaders and military establishment, still facing domestic criticism following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, have reacted with unprecedented anger to the soldiers’ deaths. They closed the country’s Western border to trucks delivering supplies to coalition troops in Afghanistan, demanded the U.S. vacate a base used by American drones within 15 days and said they were reviewing all cooperation with the U.S. and NATO.

More: The growing rift plays right into the hands of you-kn0w-who.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was “deeply shocked” about a NATO cross-border air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and urged respect for Pakistan’s independence and sovereignty.

“China is deeply shocked by these events, and expresses strong concern for the victims and profound condolences to Pakistan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement on the ministry’s website.

China’s spokesman added that those 50 Chinese-made fighters in the Pakistani air force sure do look spiffy.

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Report: Explosion Rocks Isfahan, Home of Iran’s Nuke Program

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Accidental? If it is, Iran really needs to have their OSHA look into this.

A explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, adding that the blast was heard in several parts of the city.

The reported incident occurred about two weeks after Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed together with 20 other Guard members Nov. 12 at a military site outside Bidganeh village, 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran.

Earlier Monday, a top Israeli security official said that the recent explosion that rocked an Iranian missile base near Tehran could delay or stop further Iranian surface-to-surface missile development.

The official added, however that the Iranian nuclear program was continuing to gain ground, despite considerable international pressure and attempts to destabilize the Iranian regime.

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Once Again the Funnies Get It …

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Dilbert.com

Someone should point this out to the AGW nuts…

h/t Dilbert.com

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Obama’s Leftist Foreign Policy Dilemma

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

In a post so brief (172 words) that it risks going unnoticed, the nation’s premier analyst of the global threat of radical Islam, Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, perfectly distills the essence of Obama’s leftist dilemma in The National Review Online:

Barack Obama suffers from an inherent policy contradiction, especially in foreign affairs.

On the one hand, as a leftist he despises the United States and sees it as a force for ill in the world. On the other, as president, is judged by how well the country fares during his tenure.

Logically, he cannot reconcile the contradiction of these two imperatives: If he wants to be reelected and celebrated as a great leader, he has to forward American interests; but if he wants to implement his preferred policies, he subverts the country and fouls his nest.

Ideology vs. interests — this leftist conundrum goes far to explain why Obama’s leftist comrades despise his time in office, for he has on occasion ditched his worldview to try to make things work (the base at Guantanamo) or has adopted a muddled middle ground that pleases neither side (the war in Iraq, Arab-Israeli diplomacy).

No one has said it better, more succinctly, or more clearly: there you have Obama’s deeply-conflicted, bobbing-and-weaving foreign policy in a nutshell.

 

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Video: Flip Flop Mitt Makes it Too Easy

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The DNC fires up a flare for the general election, should the GOP nominate Mitt Romney.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s devastating and demoralizing to see just how easy it is to depict a flip-flopper as a flip-flopper. But we can expect this x1000 if Romney gets the nod. Well, this plus shameless play of the race card. Obama could get away with the majority not knowing where he stood on many issues because he was new and hopeychangey, and his actual policy preferences were so far to the left that they had to be masked to maintain his viability. But Romney’s problem is different. He’s not new, and he isn’t masking policy preferences for any real strategic reason beyond obvious pandering. His contradictions are too obvious to avoid. The question remains whether they will be fatal in the general election, and what they tell us about what sort of president he would be. My guess is he would get rolled by the hysterical media, but that’s only a guess. We only have his four years as governor of Massachusetts to go by in terms of actual public office performance.

Should an attack ad like this drive us into the arms of Newt? Well, not so fast. His flip-flops are a little bit harder to pick out but they’re there in his previous support for an individual health care mandate, in his couch potato ad with Nancy Pelosi to drum up action on global warming and on immigration Gingrich does seem to be pushing a form of amnesty for illegal aliens.

It’s interesting to see that for all our conservative skepticism of politicians and their promises, the polls show clearly that we as a party are much more interested in political rhetoric and promises than actual records. Both Bachmann’s and Cain’s rises are directly attributable to how they performed in debates; neither has a substantive record to point to. Both have since proven that they’re out of their depth. Gingrich’s recent rise is once again tied directly to debates. His record is great in his early years, mixed in his time as speaker and not good since his fall from power. But the shiny shiny of what he says is consistently trumping what he has actually done. Tim Pawlenty had a better record as governor than Romney by a long shot, but went nowhere, and Rick Perry has the best record of all the nominees, but seems to be suffering the same fate as Pawlenty now. Both have been solid governors; neither did well in debates.

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Arab Spring: Islamists Win Most Seats in Moroccan Parliament

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Gee, who could have predicted this?

Morocco’s moderate Islamist PJD party won the most seats in the country’s parliamentary election, final results showed Sunday, in the latest sign of a resurgence of faith-based movements since the Arab Spring uprisings.

The victory for Morocco’s Justice and Development Party came a month after Tunisia handed power to a previously-banned party of moderate Islamists. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is also expected to do well in an election starting Monday.

PJD, which will get its first chance to head a coalition government, has said it will promote Islamic finance but steer clear of imposing a strict moral code on a country that depends on tourism.

For now.

Next stop for the Islamist victory tour: Egypt.

 

 

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Breaking: Barney Frank to Retire from Congress (Updated)

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

A sign that the Democrats realize they will not retake the House next year?

The Massachusetts Democrat, first elected in 1980, serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. During a four-year stint as chairman of the panel, he helped shepherd the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the nation’s financial regulations.

He won a closer-than-expected re-election bid in 2010, taking 53 percent of the vote, his lowest total since first winning his Newton- and Tauton-based district in 1980.

The official announcement comes this afternoon. The media will undoubtedly lionize Frank, who has served 16 terms in the House. He doesn’t deserve it. He deserves to be considered a corrupt creature of Washington who helped usher in the Great Recession. Frank was among the Democrats who prevented scrutiny and reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it could have prevented the economic collapse. Republicans at the time wanted more oversight and regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Frank and many of his fellow Democrats stood in the way. He comes into this video at 4:55, saying there’s no problem at Fannie/Freddie at all.

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Frank downplayed concerns about the housing bubble in 2005.

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Frank later lied about his role:

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Frank’s other scandals include bending the TARP to get a bank a loan it shouldn’t have gotten, and, the whole prostitution ring running out of his home story.

Washington and the nation will be far better off without Barney Frank anywhere near political power.

Update: Yikes.

By the way, with Frank retiring Maxine Waters is slated to be the ranking Dem on the banking committee.

Waters marched right alongside Frank in defense of Fannie & Freddie, and once let slip that she would like to “socialize”, as in seize for the government, oil companies. She also told the Tea Party to “go straight to Hell,” but for some reason Colin Powell didn’t see fit to call her out for being divisive.

Frank’s retirement is probably connected to Massachusetts losing a House seat next year.

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Colin Powell Blames Media, Tea Party for Washington’s Divisive Tone

Monday, November 28th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Colin Powell is living proof that not all successful generals make shrewd politicians. On ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour Sunday, Amanpour asks Powell about the “divisive” tone in Washington. Powell first blames the media:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: What about this tone in the country right now? It’s still very divisive. It’s still very sort of brash, some say poisonous. I mean, you can barely get anything done on Capitol Hill, just behind me there. What needs to be done, to actually improve the tone and the ability of people to work together?

COLIN POWELL: The tone is not — is not good right now, and our political system here in Washington, particularly up on The Hill — Congress — has become very, very tense in that two sides, Republicans and Democrats, are focusing more and more on their extreme left and extreme right. And we have to come back toward the center in order to compromise.

A story I like to tell is our Founding Fathers were able to sit in Philadelphia and make some of the greatest compromises known to man — tough, tough issues. But they did it. Why? Because they were there to create a country, where we have a Congress now that can’t even pass an appropriation bill, and we’re running this country on a continuing resolution which is — what else are they here for but to pass appropriations bills?

And so we have got to find a way to start coming back together. And let me say this directly. The media has to help us. The media loves this game, where everybody is on the extreme. It makes for great television. It makes for great chatter. It makes for great talk shows all day long with commentators commenting on commentators about the latest little mini-flap up on Capitol Hill.

So what we have to do is sort of take some of the heat out of our political life in terms of the coverage of it, so these folks can get to work quietly.

At this point, it might have made sense to point out that President Obama called on some Americans to use politics to “punish their enemies.” Or it might have made sense to point out that the Democrats have entrenched on spending and are defending every penny of entitlement spending. Or, Powell could have criticized Obama and the Democrats for their never-ending class warfare, or for their support of the occupy movement. He could have noted that at least some of the divisive tone comes from the partisan way that the Democrats pushed and passed ObamaCare despite the majority of the public’s opposition to it. But that’s not where the conversation went.

AMANPOUR: I get your point about heat and light, but what about the fact that, in fact, it is one of the political parties, although — or rather the big political influence, which is the Tea Party, which quotes left and right the Founding Fathers? They say compromise is a dirty word, and they try to point to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

POWELL: They compromised — the Founding Fathers compromised on slavery. They had to in order to create a country. They compromised on the composition of the Senate, of the House, of the Supreme Court, of a president — what are the president’s powers? Can you imagine more difficult compromises today?

Compromise is how this country was founded, and unless two people in disagreement with each other don’t find a way to reach out to one another and make compromises, you don’t get a consensus that allows you to move forward.

But the Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.

AMANPOUR: General Powell, thank you very much indeed.

POWELL: Thank you, dear.

Amanpour’s question is both unfair and unbalanced. Who is really more of a divisive presence, Barney Frank or the Tea Party? The Tea Party rose up as a reaction to divisive and dangerous policies coming from Obama and the Democrats. A shrewd politician who actually disagreed with what Amanpour had said would have rejected Amanpour’s mention of the Tea Party as the divisive force in Washington and redirected back on the president. But Powell endorsed and supported Obama.

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Climategate 2 and the Corruption of Peer Review

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

This exhaustive post from New Zealand Climate Change is more than worth your time. It begins:

The post here is a follow-up from my last post on some Climategate 2 emails, which I have tied together into a kind of narrative. Why should you read this? It is very simple. There are plenty of articles, views etc. out there claiming that the climategate 2 emails are being taken out of context. I have also seen Phil Jones has been saying that it is just the normal ‘to and fro’ of normal scientists going about their business etc. etc.

This is most certainly not the case in the emails that follow. There really is no hiding place for the authors, and no ambiguity. The emails will track how annoyance at the publication of a ‘contrary’ article in a journal develops into an attack on the editor, Chris de Freitas, an accomplished scientist. The attack includes a plot to see if they can get him sacked from his job at University of Auckland. Within the story, it is evident exactly what kind of ‘scientists’ the key authors are. The word scientist applied to these people has denigrated the meaning of the word.

Amongst those involved are Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Jim Salinger, Tom Wigley, Barrie Pittock, Mike Hulme + others. In addition Pachauri, the head of the IPCC is copied into many of the emails, meaning that he was fully aware that some of the key scientists in the IPCC were effectively out of control.

Read it all and pass it on.

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This is How They’ll Play the Game

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Remember when we were kids, our coaches always stressed that the most important thing wasn’t whether we won or lost, it was how we played the game? Well forget all that when it comes to Obama. He knows he can’t win clean next year, so he’ll do whatever he can to win dirty or take the body politic down with him if he can’t win at all. The latest evidence — one of Obama’s allies has found a racial undertow in a perfectly benign Mitt Romney ad. Here’s the ad, which is Romney’s first televised ad of the season.

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The ad is all about Obama’s failed policies, and unfulfilled promises. But that’s not what the Democrats want you to come away with.

[A]s happened in 2008, the Obama campaign relied on a surrogate to make charges of racism.  Just as Team Obama left it to James Clyburn to play the race card on Bill Clinton, this time Team Obama left it to Tad Devine, a senior Democratic operative.  As reported in The Hill:

Democratic strategist Tad Devine, an adviser to the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns, accused Mitt Romney’s campaign of invoking the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a recent ad.

Devine said Wednesday that he was “shocked” to see what he believed was imagery of an African-American church in an ad released Tuesday by Romney’s campaign team and airing in New Hampshire. The ad, Romney’s first of the campaign, is “clearly an attempt to bring back Rev. Wright and race,” Devine tweeted.

The charge is based on two images which float through the video so quickly you’ll miss them if you blink.  Again as reported by The Hill:

In the ad, a series of images including those of a foreclosed home and empty businesses flash by as text criticizes President Obama’s economic record. But at two points, the imagery cuts to well-dressed African-American women walking down a large hallway, and pans over a predominantly black audience.

“It appears to be a congregation of African-American people,” Devine told The Hill. “In the first scene there are no white people at all, in the second … it is all African Americans except possibly one person, [whose race] you can’t really tell.”

Devine said he believes these images were selected intentionally to invoke race and the controversy involving Wright, the president’s former pastor.

I never heard of Tad Devine before, but he is pathetic and disgusting in his role of race card player.

Note that Jeremiah Wright, who ought to be an issue as long as Obama is in politics, is not anywhere in the ad. It doesn’t mention him at all. Tad Devine is trying to use racial guilt to wall off Obama’s actual policy failures as an issue. He’s also signalling that any and all criticism of The One will be met with race-baiting and lies.

This is how they are going to play the game from here on out. It will be toxic and divisive, and dishonest from the word “go.” I hope we’re all ready for it.

 

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Newt Receives Key New Hampshire Endorsement

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 - by Sam Levine

From Fox News:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has received the coveted endorsement of the highly influential Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire, a boost for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate and a blow to rival Mitt Romney. The endorsement of the conservative newspaper’s editorial board places an exclamation point on Gingrich’s impressive surge from has-been GOP contender to frontrunner, and sets him apart as the new anti-Romney candidate among his competitors. “Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich,” the editorial board wrote in Sunday’s edition.

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Sarkozy “Explains” Why He Called Netanyahu a “Liar”

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Sarkozy claims his overheard comment to Obama on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (“I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar.”) was “taken out of context.”

So what did he really mean? Well, it’s a secret. Via Haaretz:

“The President reaffirmed his friendship and support for the state of Israel from the very beginning of our conversation,” Francis Kalifat, one of the Jewish community leaders, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Kalifat added that Sarkozy also stressed his “strong, long relationship and friendship with Netanyahu and his family,” and “expressed his firm desire to move beyond the misunderstanding.”

Kalifat told JTA that Sarkozy provided a number of explanations for his remarks about Netanyahu, but asked the Jewish leaders not to publicize them.

How about projection?

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LA Mayor to End the Occupation by Monday?

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

That’s what he says:

The City Hall park where Occupy Los Angeles protesters are camped will be closed at 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, triggering what officials hope will be an end to the nation’s largest remaining Occupy camp.

But police might not immediately begin removing protesters who linger, the mayor said at a news conference Friday with Police Chief Charlie Beck. He said officials hope in the coming days to help protesters move their belongings and to find beds in homeless shelters for those at the camp who need them.

The two officials would not say whether police were prepared to use tear gas or rubber bullets to clear protesters who refuse to leave, tactics officers in other cities have turned to while clearing Occupy encampments. “The goal is to do this as peacefully as possible,” Beck said.

Mayor Villaraigosa tried bribery, in the form of farmland (?!) and nearly free office space, last week. That didn’t work. There probably aren’t a whole lot of future farmers lurking under those giant chicken heads and behind those anti-Semitic signs.

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Climategate 2.0: Emails Show Government Collusion with Biased Scientists

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The US Dept. of Energy was happy to help hide the decline.

One message appeared to show a member of Defra staff telling colleagues working on climate science to give the government a ‘strong message’.

The emails paint a clear picture of scientists selectively using data, and colluding with politicians to misuse scientific information.

‘Humphrey’, said to work at Defra, writes: ‘I cannot overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the government can give on climate change to help them tell their story.

‘They want their story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.’

Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the centre of the affair, said the group findings did stand up to scrutiny.

Yet one of the newly released emails, written by Prof. Jones  – who is working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – said: ‘Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.

‘I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.’

In another of his emails, he wrote: ‘I’ve been told that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is above national Freedom of Information Acts.

‘One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.’

He didn’t take his own advice.

Now, for the fauxtography. You can’t have a good story without compelling visuals. If nature doesn’t provide them, Photoshop will.

 

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The Herman Cain Problem

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 - by Dan Miller

Herman Cain has many problems. Although he probably knows how many states there are and that Hawaii is not in Asia, it has been claimed that he doesn’t realize that Spanish is spoken in Cuba. Does he know that “Idiota” is a Spanish word for “idiotic?” Spin placed upon what he has said in various contexts has damaged his candidacy not, I hope, beyond repair.

Maybe it’s time for a fresh look at Mr. Cain, his world view, his somewhat old fashioned charm and at the many other ways in which he is almost exactly unlike President Obama. Might he be as effective an antidote to the Obama Era as President Reagan was to the Carter Era? I think so, for the reasons explained here.

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Hacker-Loving, Secrecy-Hating Guardian Asks Readers to Help Police Catch Climategate Leaker

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 - by Mike McNally

You wouldn’t expect Britain’s hard-left Guardian newspaper to be overjoyed about the release of the ‘Climategate 2′ emails, further undermining as they do the reputation of key players in the global warming industry. However, you might at least expect the paper to respect the spirit of inquiry, and the desire for openness and honesty, behind the release of the correspondence – this, after all, is the paper that took a leading role in publishing the Wikileaks documents.

On the contrary, the paper is asking its readers to help it – and the police – track down those responsible for the leaks. At the paper’s environment blog, Leo Hickman has posted the ‘README’ text file that accompanies the emails, inviting readers to “offer your own thoughts, speculations and theories about what this file might tell us about the hacker’s profile (and the police who are sure to be also scrutinising it for potential clues)”. Another Guardian blogger, Damian Carrington, complains that the ‘real scandal’ here is not climate scientists manipulating data, and colluding to suppress dissenting opinions – it’s that the leakers haven’t been caught.

To the casual observer it might seem odd that a paper which champions investigative journalism and rails against secrecy should be seeking to identify the ‘hacker’ and have him bought to justice. But, as I pointed out when writing about the tabloid phone-hacking scandal in Britain earlier this year, the Guardian, along with the rest of the left-wing media, is only in favor of the release of confidential material – whether as a result of ‘hacking’ or of investigative journalism – when it advances the interests of the left.

Let’s be clear about this: the Guardian would have no qualms about publishing information damaging to a Conservative politician in Britain, or a Republican presidential candidate in the US, or the state of Israel, or big business – even if that information had been extracted as a result of waterboarding carried out personally by Sarah Palin.

Yes, of course it’s hypocrisy – but leftists can no more avoid being hypocrites than they can avoid breathing.

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Arab Spring and Changing Times.

Friday, November 25th, 2011 - by Dan Miller

This video raises questions about how much change Arab Spring is bringing.

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Obama Admin Wants Egyptian Elections to be Free of What?

Friday, November 25th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Isn’t this ironic?

“The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately,” the statement said.

“We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation.”

Right. President Obama hails from an ACORN group called Project Vote, which he has rebadged to become a part of his 2012 campaign. That group existed in part to degrade election security.

Former Democratic Rep. Arthur Davis recently said that his party uses voter fraud to maintain control. The Democrats fight every attempt to increase election security by requiring photo ID.

As for wanting elections free of intimidation…Obama’s own DOJ dropped the case against this intimidating guy and his pals, after winning it.

So, the Obama administration claims to want things in Egypt’s elections that it clearly does not want in American elections.

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Tea Party For the Win, Again

Friday, November 25th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

The occupiers continue their destructive, nihilistic campaign to…do…something annoying.

Some demonstrators are planning to occupy retailers on Black Friday to protest “the business that are in the pockets of Wall Street.”

Organizers are encouraging consumers to either occupy or boycott retailers that are publicly traded, according to the Stop Black Friday website.

The goal of the movement is to impact the profits of major corporations this holiday season.

Just so we’re clear, the occupiers are already occupying because they’re broke, mired in debt, and can’t find jobs that will help them pay off their $35,000 degrees in advanced puppetry. So absent actually parking themselves in retail space to physically block people from buying their Christmas gifts, this latest occupation will be nothing more than a call to irritate innocent people buying gifts, and retailers trying to survive the Obama economy.

Nevertheless, the Tea Party once again shows that it’s the reasonable, mainstream, patriotic side of the protest coin.

Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America, a Tea Party coalition of groups countering the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, are challenging the latest move by Occupy Wall Street protesters to occupy or boycott publicly traded retailers on Black Friday by instead encouraging consumers to shop on Black Friday to help the economy recover.

“At a time when our economy is most fragile and ratings agencies are talking about another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, it’s completely irresponsible for Occupy Wall Street to attempt to bring the U.S. economy to a halt on the busiest shopping day of the year,” Liberate organizer and a spokesman for the Tea Party, John Sullivan, stated in a press release.

Although “Occupy Black Friday” is not meant to be an anti-capitalist movement, according to the group’s website, supporters of Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America claim that the entire “Occupy Wall Street” movement is not in support of a free market.

“Occupy’s message is frequently one of destroying the American free market,” Liberate organizer and President of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, Teri Adams, stated in a Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America press release.

Retailers typically take on seasonal hires to help handle the increased traffic and volume that hits this time of year, a time that many of these eeeevil corporations depend on to carry them through the rest of the year (and keep Americans employed). If the occupiers really wanted to do something useful, they would just go and occupy a job.

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More on Anne McCaffrey…

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Over at Otherwhere Gazette, contributor David F. has a few musings on the loss of a legendary writer:

On Tuesday, 22 November 2011, the science fiction and fantasy world lost one of its brightest and longest-lasting stars. Anne McCaffrey succumbed to a stroke at the age of 85.

~snip~

In the second book, Pegasus In Flight, however, is where she really shows the lady inside. The main character is a young boy who’s been paralyzed by an accident. He discovers a new way to use his Talent by accident, which then becomes one of the primary uses of Talent for the rest of the series.

It’s this young disabled boy that really caught my interest in these books. Not many authors are willing to use a disabled protagonist, not even for a book or two. That Anne did it, and used him as the discoverer of the Talent that formed the basis for the Rowan books–which are set in a future where interplanetary travel is pretty much based on this Talent–says a lot about her, I think.

Read the rest here.

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Climate Madness Continues in Durban Despite New Emails

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Durban, South Africa – that city which in 2001 distinguished itself with a festival of the most rancid anti-Semitism – is now host to yet another noxious event, this time in realm of climate. Chris Huhne – the current UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change [sic] – is urging further international restrictions while attacking climate skeptic Lord Lawson in an open letter. (Neither Huhne nor Lawson is a scientist. Both have their Oxford degrees in the far less challenging area of Philosophy, Politics and Economics.)

This is all against the background of the dump of yet another round of embarrassing emails from and to the climate scientists who seem considerably more bent on self-preservation than the advancement of truth.

The casualty here, of course, is science itself, which has become politicized both on the small academic scale and on the grand scale of profiteers setting up billion-dollar carbon exchanges and such. But look on the bright side: it’s provided a much bigger share for Tipper Gore in her divorce settlement.

A whole lot more at the invaluable Watts Up With That.

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D.C. Shakes Down Wal-Mart And Wins

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 - by Richard Pollock

This is what a shakedown looks like, D.C. style.

In the midst of the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, Wal-Mart announced it would open up four new stores, creating 1,300 new jobs and providing low prices for the poorest residents of the city.  In the worst ward, unemployment has averaged 26.5%.

These tangible benefits did not concern a liberal anti-Wal-Mart coalition that formed that included labor unions. They issued a wish list of 17 demands that ran the gamut from requiring a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour, to free bike racks and free shuttles to each store every ten minutes.

The blackmail worked. Yesterday the District of Columbia and Wal-Mart agreed that the low-cost retailer would commit to give away $21 million to for hunger relief, health programs, education and job-training programs.  The Washington Post described other shake-down details:

“Under the deal, Wal-Mart agrees to seek District small-and minority-owned businesses for construction of its stores; create and fund training programs aimed at populations suffering from high unemployment rates; and open hiring centers in the wards where the chain opens stores.

The chain also agreed not to sell guns or ammunition and to install bike-sharing stations and bike racks at its District stores — features that will distinguish the new stores from many of its others across the country.”

DC Mayor Vincent Gray (D) called the unprecedented mandates a good thing, saying ““Wal-Mart is showing what it means to be a good corporate neighbor, and I encourage other firms interested in doing business in the District of Columbia to show a similar level of commitment to our residents.”

If anything, the D.C.-Wal-Mart deal will frighten away other retailers. They now understand the steep price required to be a “good corporate neighbor” in the nation’s capital.

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Egypt: Female Political Candidate Says ‘Women Deficient in Intelligence’

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 - by Raymond Ibrahim

According to the newsite Donia Alwatan, a female, Salafi candidate running for Egypt’s parliament, Mona Salah (pictured), asserts that “women are deficient in intelligence and religion,” and that it is impermissible for them to take over the presidency.

Female political candidate says females are unintelligent: Not the best way to win the confidence of voters.

She is, of course, only quoting the words of her prophet Muhammad. After being asked why he said most of the inhabitants of hell are women, he replied:

You [women] curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.

Despite this unflattering depiction of her gender, Mona Salah defended her candidacy by pointing out that a position in the people’s council invests her only with “partial” authority, not “absolute” authority, as in the case of the presidency, which requires a male.

Yet, even a position with “partial” authority would not seem to get around Muhammad’s point that even “a cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you [women].” Perhaps that is why Salah was quick to assure that “she would strive to apply the Islamic Sharia, cutting the hands of thieves, preventing the intermingling of sexes, and having women dress in black garments, men in white.”

[http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/11/egypt-female-political-candidate-says-women-deficient-in-intelligence.html]

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The entire Occupy movement summarized in one sign

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 - by Zombie

Photojournalist El Marco has returned from a trip to New York during which he documented the final days of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park. His newly published collection of Zuccotti Park portraits contains many unforgettable images (one of which we already featured here), but one particular image summarizes the entire Occupy movement — and the entire entitlement mentality as well.

I hereby present the photo I have titled “JFK’s Greatest Nightmare:”

Alternate title: Cloward-Piven’s Revenge.

Winning the Most Clueless “Useful Idiot” of the Decade award is “Colleen, age 20, from Johnston State College in Vermont,” a Zuccotti Park Occupier who informs us that…

…because, y’know, that first Cultural Revolution worked out so well.

Look deep into her eyes: Is she the stupidest person on Earth, or does she actually know what she’s advocating? The brainwashing of our modern educational system goes deep, my friend, deeper than we can even fathom.

Want more? Because these two pictures are just a sampling of El Marco’s amazing Zuccotti Park portait gallery. Click this link to see the whole thing:

Zuccotti Utopia: Portraits of The New Revolutionaries

UPDATE:

To clarify matters for those few folks who think the question mark at the end of the “Ask not…” sign means the guy holding it is being sarcastic and is secretly a Tea Party counter-protester, or something along those lines: Sorry, no dice. As you can see at the bottom left of his sign, his name is “Marvin Knight” and he’s made plenty of other appearances at Occupy Wall Street carrying other indisputably left-leaning signs. He’s even been quoted in MSM articles about OWS saying things like this:

Marvin Knight, a 68-year-old pensioner who lives in Brooklyn, joined the Wall Street protests on October 3. Holding a large, handmade poster that read, “Jesus is not for corporate greed,” he said he lives on Social Security retirement benefits of less than $800 a month.

I am here to protest this capitalist system we have here, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and there’s no end in sight,” Knight said.

There’s no way to wriggle out of this one: He’s an authentic and sincere Occupy Wall Street protester, and he’s completely serious about his sign.

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like…in Hell

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 - by Zombie

Occupy protesters these days are fond of chanting “This is what democracy looks like!” — a slogan they borrowed from other far-left protests in recent decades.

But at Occupy Los Angeles, fellow photojournalist Ringo captured what democracy really looks like in the OWS milieu. Yeah, Occupations have their “General Assemblies” and their up-twinkles and so forth, but that only works when everyone is already in essential agreement after the real dissenters have already been expelled, leaving the “democratic assembly” to at most bicker over minor details.

But what happens when there is deep fundamental disagreement on some point — in this case the key point of who is allowed permission to speak in the first place? Do the Occupiers have their own version of the First Amendment, or perhaps something even better?

In a word: No.

The deeply disturbing underbelly of Occupy groupthink was captured by Ringo a couple weeks ago at the Occupy LA encampment when two disgruntled protesters wanted to have their say on the camp’s “open mike” stage which is supposedly free for anyone to use. According to the Occupy philosophy, this system is even better than the First Amendment, because with an open mike, every single person has an equal voice (not just those who control the broadcast media).

Except what happens when one of your own starts saying things that the other Occupiers don’t want to hear?

Below you will find a series of videos taken from Ringo’s report Infighting, Pot Smoke & Chemtrails – One Hundred Minutes at Occupy L.A. (In this post we’ll be focusing on the “infighting” part; read Ringo’s full report for more on the Chemtrails lunacy and open drug use.)

Captions (in quotation marks) are by Ringo, with a few clarifications by me:

“No sooner did I turn away from this scene before I heard another argument breaking out – this one was on the stage, and much of it was being amplified across the park.

“Seems a man who wanted to make a short speech walked up on the empty stage with his own portable P.A. system, but as soon as he began to speak he was quickly surrounded by fellow occupiers who were intent on preventing him. They repeatedly unplugged his microphone. In the picture below you can see the man who wanted to speak in the brown sweater being faced off by a very angry Aztlan-warrior-hippie in a yellow shirt.

“Here is video of how it looked as I approached”:

This is the essence of what the future would look like in an Occupied nation, boiled down into a two-minute video: When there are no laws and/or no one to enforce those laws, then the bullies will control society.

“A guy in a striped tank-top and flat cap came over to cool things down. He kept saying, ‘Listen to me, I’m from San Francisco, I know how this works, I’m from San Francisco, listen to me.’ …Nobody seemed to care that he was from San Francisco. The shouting and shoving continued.

“Evidently a moment of silence had been scheduled for noon – just about the exact moment the ruckus began. The ‘moment of silence’ was to be followed by a one hour yoga session on the main stage, accompanied by Indian chanting – the purpose of which was to exorcise the bad energy and heal the rifts between the various factions. As the yogis took the stage, the imbroglio continued. As you can hear in the next video, the man who was being prevented from speaking starts calling for the police to help him…but there were no police around”:

As you watch the video above, keep in mind that if the Occupiers actually took over the country, this is how our nation’s new parliament or congress would act.

“What I gathered from talking to a few people who were standing nearby is that libertarians, and others, including some of the anarchists and hippies and conspiracy theorists, were angry that the use of the main stage was being controlled by Communists and Left-wing radicals. They claimed that opposing viewpoints were not allowed. One guy with a black bandana tied around his neck told me that ‘organized groups’ were trying to take over OLA. He said this movement should be leaderless. Another girl who looked to me like a hippie, countered that ‘somebody has to be in charge.’

“Meanwhile, as flaring tempers and shouting continued on one side of the stage, a woman sat down on the other side with a Hare Krishna-style pump organ and began chanting over the public address system – the system controlled by the ‘Commies and Leftists.’ This all made for a very surreal scene”:

“…After nearly half an hour of shoving and yelling and fighting over the right to speak the two men who wanted to address the crowd had ultimately been defeated, their voices silenced.

The Leftists, using thug tactics, had maintained their control over the microphone and the main stage…”

Now, this final video is the most important of all. A short while later, the argument continued at the foot of the main stage. Let Ringo set the scene:

“The big fellow with the beard had had enough of the yoga and the chanting. He was determined to address the crowd about the ‘Communists and Leftists’ who were taking over Occupy L.A. and preventing others from speaking. He was immediately surrounded by Communists and Leftists who were determined to stop him from speaking”:

Here is a transcript of the action starting at 0:13 (as best as I can make out – people are talking over each other):

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: I’m speaking!

Leftist Occupy protester: But you’re an asshole.

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: So who’s gonna constitute what an asshole is? You?

Woman occupier: 99%…

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: Really? So 99 wolves and one sheep, and we get to vote on what’s for dinner? Communism doesn’t work!

Leftist Occupy protester: You are a sheep!

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: Yes I am. Yes I am. I ain’t no wolf though.

[Shoving in the crowd surrounding him]

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: I’m not involved in the pushing. Not involved in pushing and confrontation. I just use my mouth and my mind. Communism doesn’t work. Occupy LA is being controlled by the Democratic Party, by the communists! See how they’re all around me? See how the communists –

Aggressive occupy protester: Don’t you fuckin’ put me in no category. Don’t say “they.” ‘Cause I stand alone.

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: What you gonna do? What you gonna do? Violent and aggressive manner. See? the 99 sheep– the 99 wolves coming against the one sheep.

Aggressive occupy protester #2: How much did they pay you? How much did they pay you to come here?

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: What are you talking about? You don’t have to spit on me sir. Please finish eating before speaking.

Aggressive occupy protester #2: Do you sleep here?

Anti-authoritarian Occupy protester: I sleep right there!

…etc. The argument continues for several minutes afterward.

It’s heartening to see that at least some of the Occupiers are trying to resist being totally co-opted and taken over by the far left. But unfortunately I fear they are far too few in number to make any difference at this point. Whenever the communists and the anarchists try to cooperate on a project, the communists always take control and elbow the competition out of the way. It’s happened before, it’s happening now, and it will surely happen in the future should the anarchists be foolish enough to ever hook up with the communists again.

For the complete report, with more insanity that you can even digest in one sitting, see Ringo’s full photo essay Infighting, Pot Smoke & Chemtrails – One Hundred Minutes at Occupy L.A.

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Speech Totalitarian: Professor Craig Santos Perez at U of Hawaii

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 - by Christian Adams

Yesterday, I had this post announcing a lawsuit filed in Guam on behalf of a white retired Air Force officer who was not allowed to register to vote in a certain Guam election because of his race.  Major Dave Davis (Ret.) regularly writes articles for the Marianas Variety which oppose the racially discriminatory election law.  The election law limits participation in the election to “native inhabitants” or descendants thereof.  It is similar to the unconstitutional grandfather clauses of the old south. 

It has been rather amazing watching some on Guam respond to the lawsuit in ways wholly unfamiliar with this history, or even the results prong of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  Simply put, Section 2 makes illegal any laws which might not racially discriminate on their face (eg. “Native Inhabitants”) but have the statistical effect of racial discrimination (few if any “native inhabitants” happen to be white, or even black).   Some advocates of the racial discrimination on Guam seem to have no comprehension of the results test of the Voting Rights Act.  Fine.

But what has been especially surprising is the emergence of Speech Totalitarians the likes of which we rarely encounter on the mainland.  Consider Taxpayer Supported University of Hawaii Professor Craig Santos Perez.  (Biography and contact information here.)  Santos responds to a column by Dave Davis which criticizes the Guam law barring him from registering to vote in a fashion that would make Che proud:

People who support colonization are as dangerous to humanity as people who support racism, slavery, poverty, genocide, gender discrimination, homophobia, and other hatreds. Writing which supports colonization is “colonial speech.” Colonial speech is hate speech.

The editors actually believe hate speech is good for us: “Each of our columnists has their opinions on a wide spectrum of issues, and the more viewpoints we receive, the better it is for our readers.”

How is reading a column that opposes decolonization better for readers, especially when many of your readers are the people being colonized? When I read the colonial speech in your newspaper, I don’t feel better for it; in fact, I feel disempowered, demeaned, and disrespected.

“Dangerous to humanity.”  We’ve seen this sort of stuff before.  Professor Perez doesn’t want the newspaper to publish any opposition to the racially discriminatory election law, and his warning that the plaintiff is “dangerous to humanity” sounds ominously familiar.  Humanity has rarely suffered from people who seek the law to apply equally to everyone, as Davis has done by filing the lawsuit in Guam.  To the contrary, history reveals the true dangers to humanity come in a quite distinct form, and wiping out speech some find disagreeable ranks high on the actual list of “dangers to humanity.”  That Professor Craig Santos Perez, zealous opponent of free speech, teaches in a taxpayer funded American university should concern us far more than the editorial advocating for equal rights published by a retired Air Force officer.

Not surprisingly, his biography indicates Santos is a Ford Foundation fellow.

 

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