Monday, August 30, 2010
…That opposition is fed by enduring social and economic crises. Unemployment last month reached 15% and is as high as 45% in some regions. In Tehran, health officials warned pregnant women and mothers of young children not to drink the water. Electrical failures are widespread. Taxi drivers have been striking around the country this summer, some because of the long lines at gas stations and others because of a shortage of compressed natural gas. The sanctions seem to be having an effect.
As these pressures have mounted, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—against whom Iranians chant "Death to the Dictator!" at public gatherings and nightly from their rooftops—has sought to reaffirm his authority. Late last month he issued a fatwa declaring that his opinions had a status equal to those of the prophet Mohammed. The fatwa caused such consternation that it was removed from his website, then quietly returned a few days later.
…President Ahmadinejad has also tried to buttress his popular support, first by claiming that "stupid Zionists" were trying to kill him, and then by putting out a story—which few in Iran took seriously—of an assassination attempt on his motorcade. As usual, the "report" went through various iterations: first it was a grenade, then a firecracker, then nothing at all.
…These various debacles have strengthened the Green Movement, and opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi continue to launch serious verbal attacks on the regime. When the head of the powerful Guardian Council recently accused the Greens of receiving money from the Saudis and the Americans, Mr. Karroubi gave him the back of his hand: "If I am a conspirator because I object [to the rigged presidential election], then you are a partner of those who stole this nation's vote and are disloyal to the nation."
…Challenges to the regime now come even from prisoners. When Mr. Ahmadinejad challenged Barack Obama to a debate this month, a Green Movement website reported with grim admiration that five journalists in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison had invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to come to jail and debate them.
Very little of this news reaches a mass Western audience, and one wonders to what extent Western governments understand what's going on. If they do, their failure to support the democratic revolutionaries is all the more lamentable. READ at WSJ: Cracks in the Iranian Monolith By Michael Leeden
Friday, August 27, 2010
Islamofascism: New dots are emerging from the probe into who's behind the Ground Zero mosque, and the radical Muslim Brotherhood is coming into view.
While a couple of U.S. nonprofits — the Cordoba Initiative and its sister, the American Society for Muslim Advancement — are coordinating the New York project, they hardly give the full picture. A Saudi charity has sunk more than $300,000 into ASMA. It's called the Kingdom Foundation — headed by Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi prince whose 9/11 relief check was rejected after he blamed the attacks on U.S. foreign policy.
Bin Talal is a major financier of Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the U.S. His foundation is run by Saudi hijabi Muna Abu Sulayman, who appears on ASMA's Web site as one of its "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow."
"Her work," according to her official bio, "focuses on increasing understanding between Islam and the West through establishment of academic centers and programs, both in the Middle East and the United States."
Sulayman, who spends much of her time in the U.S., happens to be the daughter of Dr. AbdulHamid Abu Sulayman, "one of the most important figures in the history of the global Muslim Brotherhood," according to the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.
So? The Egypt-based Brotherhood is the parent of Hamas and al-Qaida and the source of most of the jihadi ideology and related terror throughout the world today. Citing its secret U.S. archives, prosecutors say the Brotherhood has a plan to "destroy" America "from within," and is using its agents and front groups in the U.S. to carry out that strategy. Like the mafia, it's highly organized, and uses shells and cutouts to launder money...READ at IBD " Mosque's Saudi Patron".
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"Otherwise free to regulate their OWN pursuits of industry and improvement"
Thursday, August 19, 2010
What do the controversies around the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco earlier this year, the minaret ban in Switzerland last year, and the recent burka ban in France have in common? All four are framed in the Western media as issues of religious tolerance. But that is not their essence. Fundamentally, they are all symptoms of what the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington called the "Clash of Civilizations," particularly the clash between Islam and the West.
Huntington's argument is worth summarizing briefly for those who now only remember his striking title. The essential building block of the post-Cold War world, he wrote, are seven or eight historical civilizations of which the Western, the Muslim and the Confucian are the most important.
The balance of power among these civilizations, he argued, is shifting. The West is declining in relative power, Islam is exploding demographically, and Asian civilizations—especially China—are economically ascendant. Huntington also said that a civilization-based world order is emerging in which states that share cultural affinities will cooperate with each other and group themselves around the leading states of their civilization.
The West's universalist pretensions are increasingly bringing it into conflict with the other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China. Thus the survival of the West depends on Americans, Europeans and other Westerners reaffirming their shared civilization as unique—and uniting to defend it against challenges from non-Western civilizations...READ at WSJ - "How to Win the Clash of Civilizations".
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"Government workers have incomes --30% higher and benefits 50% more costly on average than those received by equivalent private-sector workers"
...This shift of wealth from the productive private sector to the unproductive public sector is stickier today than it was in "Atlas Shrugged" because government is now a union shop, with pay having little to do with performance. Unionized government cannot be downsized easily, and its employees have effectively become the country's most powerful entitlement special-interest group.
Thus, government-run schools controlled by the teachers unions can fail decade after decade without consequence or substantive reform. The government takeover of the health care industry — aka "ObamaCare" — was a high priority not because it was good for the majority of Americans, but because the ruling elite want to expand unionization, entitlement and dependency.
The media chase scandal and sensationalism but largely ignore the most consequential story of our time: the Obama administration's drive to shift wealth and power from the productive private sector to the nonproductive public sector. Rand calls this appropriation of wealth by the government nothing less than looting.
For her, the primary source of social good is in ingenuity and hard work that produce wealth in the form of invention and technological breakthrough. Crony capitalism and forced redistribution of wealth by faceless government bureaucrats is anything but virtuous.
Rand warns us that government policies that engender entitlement and cause business owners to go on strike and withhold their capital are detrimental to the economy. What compounds this problem today is that an out-of-control profligate government that enlarges dependence also sets us up for a greater economic crisis than the last one.
Fortunately, the catalyst for course correction is around the corner. Ironically, President Obama can be thanked for making this midterm election an overdue referendum on liberalism. Average Americans are now more informed and engaged than they have been in generations, and they are highly motivated to vote... READ at Investor's Business Daily- "Atlas Shrugged: The CliffNotes Today".
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good. (For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand).
The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights; under socialism, the right to property (which is the right of use and disposal) is vested in "society as a whole," i.e., in the collective, with production and distribution controlled by the state, i.e., by the government.
The degree of socialization may be total, as in Russia-or partial, as in England. Theoretically, the differences are superficial; practically, they are only a matter of time. The basic principle, in all cases is the same.
The alleged goals of socialism were: the abolition of poverty, the achievement of general prosperity, progress, peace and human brotherhood. The results have been a terrifying failure-terrifying, that is, if one's motive is men's welfare.
Instead of prosperity, socialism has brought economic paralysis and/or collapse to every country that tried it. The degree of socialization has been the degree of disaster. The consequences have varied accordingly. ("The Monument Builders" in The Virtue of selfishness by Ayn Rand).
Sunday, August 15, 2010
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Last year House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the "most corrupt" list for sneaking a $25 million earmark for her husband into a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act passed by Congress. This year, Pelosi ran afoul of federal election law by participating in an illegal advertising campaign funded by Al Gore's non-profit Alliance for Climate protection. The advertisement featuring Pelosi ran at least 300 times nationally, including in the House speaker's district, during campaign season, representing an illegal in-kind contribution to her campaign. Perhaps more disturbing than this incident, however, is the fact that Speaker Pelosi has allowed corruption to run rampant in Congress and has ignored serious incidents of crooked behavior within her own party. Pelosi promised a new era of ethics enforcement during the 2006 campaign and she has failed to deliver. Instead, she continues to protect the worst of the worst of political corruption in the House of Representatives.
Also read this at New York Daily News -
Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama's inaugural address to the nation, and he's referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet.
But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns—or forgoing them altogether—the Obamas don't seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her "closest friends." According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times.
Reports are calling the lodgings of Obama's Spanish fiesta, the Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, "luxurious," "posh" and "a millionaires' playground." Estimated room rate per night? Up to a staggering $2,500. Method of transportation? Air Force Two....
The Obama modus operandi is becoming clear. From lavish trips to Spain to reportedly flying Bo, the President's Portuguese water dog, on a separate aircraft to vacation with them in Maine, to a date night in New York City that perhaps cost nearly $100,000, their idea of austerity is really just the lap of luxury, at least for ordinary folks....
I don't begrudge anyone rest and relaxation when they work hard. We all need downtime—the First Family included. It's the extravagance of Michelle Obama's trip and glitzy destination contrasted with President Obama's demonization of the rich that smacks of hypocrisy and perpetuates a disconnect between the country and its leaders. (http://www.tiadaily.com/)
Saturday, August 14, 2010
If al-Qaida looks and sounds different as we approach 9/11's ninth anniversary, it's because it's under new American management. No fewer than four U.S. citizens and a permanent U.S. resident have risen to senior leadership posts.
These five English-speaking leaders are actively planning or facilitating attacks against their countrymen, while recruiting and radicalizing other American turncoats to carry them out.
By remaking itself into an American enterprise, al-Qaida is now more lethal than ever. Its new generation of leaders understands the way America works, having lived here for decades. They have a better sense of our security blind spots. They also know which kinds of attacks will produce both mass panic and maximum economic damage.
Al-Qaida's indigenous rebirth, moreover, befogs our military strategy. We're no longer at war with just a foreign enemy, but fellow Americans recruited by the enemy. They're supplied, in turn, by a seemingly endless stream of homegrown foot soldiers, fed by a native Muslim population once believed quiescent and nonthreatening.
Shockingly, the War on Terror has morphed into a mini-civil war, and it's posing major new challenges to its prosecution. We're now battling our own citizens. How do we deal with wartime traitors? Can the CIA assassinate them? Can it spy on them? What about their civil rights?
This muddies an already muddy war — and it's all part of al-Qaida's plan.
After 9/11, the group vowed to convert our own people against us, something once thought impossible. But it's managed to groom a startling number of American citizens and residents and install them in top leadership slots, including:
• Adnan Shukrijumah: The long-time Florida resident, who obtained a green card while living in the U.S. for more than 15 years, has replaced 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as chief of al-Qaida's terror operations...READ "Under New American Management Al Qaida Now Poses Inner Threat" by Paul Sperry at IBD.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
...The Obama Administration is sticking by its ruinous deepwater drilling moratorium, when it would be better to take a hint from the rest of the world's oil-producers. Their response to the Gulf disaster? Learn from it, and drill on.
Norway, run by the very model of modern environmentalists, announced a deep-water drilling halt until the spill is done. However, its ban applies only to new drilling, unlike the Obama Administration's total ban.
Norway also announced it's moving ahead with a deep water push into the Barents and Norwegian Seas, putting up 94 new blocks for drilling leases. Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen made clear he views the stoppage as temporary.
Brazil is accelerating its drilling pace, announcing it would spend some $200 billion the next five years to tap newly discovered offshore reserves at depths to 23,000 feet. State-controlled Petrobras, the world's biggest deep water producer, recently struck oil three miles under Brazil's sea—a reserve that could yield 380 million barrels of oil and natural gas.
Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has offered 31 new leases off his country's coast that allow for wells at twice the depth of the BP Macondo. As recently as 2000, Australia was self-sufficient in oil and gas but its import costs are rising. The new leases reverse that trend.
"There is no intention by the government to scale back the development of the oil and gas industry in Australia," Mr. Ferguson said. "It is important in terms of the nation's energy security, jobs and the overall economy." READ at WSJ "The World Drills On. There's no ban in Norway, Brazil, Australia, Canada . . ."