Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Canada Also Interned Japanese Citizens

Now and then efforts have been made to make me feel guilty about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, although I was only six years old at the time of Pearl Harbor. Only recently did I learn that Canada interned 23,000 of its ethnic Japanese citizens at the same time, and also interned Canadians of German and Italian origin as well. Most of this information comes from Wikipedia, not the best of sources, but it is confirmed by documents in the Vancouver Public Library.

“The evacuation of the Japanese Canadians, or Nikkei Kanadajin, from the Pacific Coast in the early months of 1942 was the greatest mass movement in the history of Canada. By the eve of Pearl Harbor, nearly 23,000 people of Japanese descent made their home in Canada, principally in British Columbia. Three-quarters of that number were naturalized or native-born citizens. The Nikkei were foresters and fishermen, miners and merchants. Except for the industrialists who profited from cheap Asian labor, much of white British Columbia regarded the Japanese Canadians with suspicion, if not rabid hostility. Over the years the Nikkei had been targets of unremitting discrimination and occasional violence.

When war was declared on Japan in December 1941, the cry to rid British Columbia of the Japanese menace was taken up in many quarters, including provincial and municipal government halls and influential local newspapers. Tensions mounted and early in 1942 the Ottawa government bowed to West Coast pressure and began the relocation of Japanese nationals and Canadian citizens alike. While this forced resettlement mirrored the wartime policy of the American government, in Canada there were some important differences. Unlike the United States, where families were generally kept together, Canada initially sent its male evacuees to road camps in the B.C. interior, to sugar beet projects on the Prairies, or to internment in a POW camp in Ontario, while women and children were moved to six inland B.C. towns created or revived to house the relocated populace. There the living conditions were so poor that the citizens of wartime Japan even sent supplemental food shipments through the Red Cross. During the period of detention, the Canadian government spent one-third the per capita amount expended by the U.S. on Japanese American evacuees.

Not until 1949, four years after Japan had surrendered, were the majority of Nikkei allowed to return to British Columbia. By then most had chosen to begin life anew elsewhere in Canada. Their property had long before been confiscated and sold at a fraction of its worth. “ Vancouver Public Library

“Camps and relocation centres in the Kootenay region
Greenwood, Kaslo, Lemon Creek, New Denver, Rosebery, Salmo, Sandon, Slocan City, and Tashme. Some were nearly-empty ghost towns when the internment began, others, like Kaslo and Greenwood, while less populous than in their boom years, were substantial communities.Template:Joy Kogawa, Obasan (Markham, Ontario: Penguin, 1983), p. 118, as quoted in Roy Miki, Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice (Vancouver: Raincoast, 2004), pp. 52-53.

Camps and relocation centres elsewhere in BC
Bridge River, Minto City, McGillivray Falls, East Lillooet, Taylor Lake. Other than Taylor Lake, these were all called "Self-supporting centres", not internment camps.

The first three listed were all in a mountainous area so physically isolated that fences and guards were not required as the only egress from that region was by rail or water only. McGillivray Falls and Tashme, on the Crowsnest Highway east of Hope, British Columbia, were just over the minimum 100 miles from the Coast required by the deportation order, though Tashme had direct road access over that distance, unlike McGillivray. Because of the isolation of the country immediately coast-wards from McGillivray, men from that camp were hired to work at a sawmill in what has since been named Devine, after the mill's owner, which is within the 100-mile quarantine zone. Many of those in the East Lillooet camp were hired to work in town, or on farms nearby, particularly at Fountain, while those at Minto and Minto Mine and those at Bridge River worked for the railway or the hydro company.

Camps and relocation centres elsewhere in Canada
There were internment camps near Kananaskis, Alberta; Petawawa, Ontario; Hull, Quebec; Minto, New Brunswick; and Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Italian Canadian Internment
As of June 10, 1940, Italy joined the war on the axis side. After that, Italian Canadians were heavily scrutinized. Openly fascist organizations were deemed illegal while individuals with fascist inclinations were arrested most often without warrants. Organizations seen as openly fascist also had properties confiscated without warrants as well. A provision in the Canadian war measures act was immediately enacted by Prime Minister King. Named the Defense of Canada Regulations, it allowed government authorities to take the needed measures to protect the country from internal threats and enemies. The same afternoon which Italy joined the axis powers, Italian consular and embassy officials were asked to leave as soon as physically possible. Canada, which was heavily involved in the war effort on the allies’ side, saw the Italian communities as a breeding ground of likely internal threats and a haven of conceivable spy networks helping the fascist axis nations of Italy and Germany. Though many Italians were anti-fascist and no longer politically involved with the homeland, this did not stop over 700 Italians from being sent to internment camps throughout Canada.

The main brunt of Italian prisoners were sent to Camp Petawawa situated in the Ottawa River Valley. By October 1940 the round up had already been completed.

Italian Canadian Montrealer, Mario Duliani wrote, "The City Without Women" about his life in the internment camp Petawawa during World War II which describes a personal account of the struggles of the time. Throughout the country Italians were investigated by RCMP officials who had a complied list of Italian persons who were politically involved and deeply connected in the Italian communities. Most of the arrested individuals were from the Montreal and Toronto areas and pronounced enemy aliens.

After the war, resentment and suspicion still lingered upon the Italian communities.

Laval Fortier, commissioner for overseas immigration after the war wrote “The Italian South Peasant is not the type we are looking for in Canada. His standard of living, his way of life, even his civilization seem so different that I doubt if he could ever become an asset to our country”.[15] Such remarks embedded a large proportion of the country that had negative views upon the Italian communities. A gallop poll released in 1946 showed 73 percent of Québécois were against immigration with 25 percent stating Italians were the group of people most wanted kept out. Such a stance upon the Italian people was evident even though years prior to the war had proven Italians were an asset to the Canadian economy and industry, for they accomplished critical jobs that were seen as very unappealing such as laying track across rural and dangerous landscapes and the construction of infrastructure in urban areas.” Wikipedia


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Inflation Is the Cruelest Tax of All

While President Obama and some other politicians are advancing various tax plans, Obama’s policies are decimating all Americans with the cruelest tax of all – inflation.
“So far, during the presidency of Barack Obama, the price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped 83 percent (editorial note - now actually 100%), according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

During the same period, the price of ground beef has gone up 24 percent and price of bacon has gone up 22 percent.

When Obama entered the White House in January 2009, the city average price for one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $1.79, according to the BLS. (The figures are in nominal dollars: not adjusted for inflation.) Five months later in June, unleaded gasoline was $2.26 per gallon, an increase of 26 percent.

By May 2011, gas prices hit a high under the Obama administration at $3.93, about four percentage points away from the July 2008 high.

The U.S. city average retail price for one pound of 100 percent ground beef was $2.36 in January 2009. As of December 2011, that price had risen to $2.92—a 23.7 percent increase and a new peak. (Ground beef prices have risen every month since November 2009 – 26 months of price increases.)”

Everyone who shops for groceries knows what is happening at the cash register. Since the price of gasoline has doubled since Obama took office, the official statistics from the government seem bizarre:

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.9 percent before seasonal adjustment….

The all items index has risen 2.9 percent over the last 12 months, a slight decrease from last month’s 3.0 percent figure. The index for energy has risen 6.1 percent over the last year and the food index 4.4 percent; both figures are slight declines from last month. The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.3 percent, its largest 12-month increase since September 2008.”

It is not only the official unemployment rate that is suspect; who can believe this official Consumer Price Index? We can only hope that voters will remember what they are actually paying for gas and groceries when they vote next November.

This inflation is the direct result of the towering mountain of debt Obama is creating

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Monday, February 27, 2012

A Gentle Reproof for Bill O'Reilly

It has been the availability of cheap, abundant energy that, more than anything else, has completely changed for the better the standard of living for ordinary people. That's why it is so important for everyone to understand the implications of socialist policy on energy, and why I am harping on the distortions Bill O'Reilly has been selling.

A Gentle Reproof for Bill O'Reilly

By James G. Wiles February 25, 2012 American Thinker

Litigation isn't poker. It's chess. You have to think three or four moves ahead.
Economics is like that, too.

Nothing is ever actually ceteris paribus. All the little economic variables are always moving and changing. The world's largest economy (ours) is all interconnected. Touch one gizmo, and you affect several other gizmos. All the little widgets talk to each other.

It's even more so with our even larger, globalized economy.

As the Heritage Foundation said in a recent debate over tax policy, "[s]mall decision changes create feedback effects that can snowball and change the path of the entire economy." And, in a globalized economy, corporations can -- over time -- simply take their assets and go elsewhere.

The most recent opinion-leader to fall into this trap of thinking statically, rather than dynamically, is Fox News's Bill O'Reilly.

There he was on The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday night, singlehandedly solving the gasoline price spike. No problem. O'Reilly's on the case. He even said his plan is how the GOP presidential candidates could show leadership and seize the initiative from Mr. Obama.

What, there's actually no shortage of petroleum or petroleum products in the United States? Or on world markets, either? Wait, this price spike isn't the result of the law of supply and demand?

To the contrary, sez Bill O'Reilly to "the largest audience in cable news," what's really going on here is good old-fashioned greed. The American oil companies -- saddled with excess supply after a warm winter -- are selling their products overseas (especially to China) where they can make more money.

No problem, sez O'Reilly. I'll see your $4.00-a-gallon gasoline and call you. You brought a knife, Mr. Oil Executive? Fine. We'll bring a gun.

"Hey, I can fix this."

Bill O'Reilly knew just what to do. Invite Big Oil's CEOs down to the White House for a little chat -- rather as President Obama once did the Big Three automakers and the Wall Street bank CEOs. And just give them, so to speak, the Full Chicago Treatment.

Get out the baseball bats.

Slap an export tax on petroleum products. Capture Big Oil's extra profits, so the incentive to sell foreign rather than domestic is eliminated. Mention that all of Big Oil's drilling permits -- especially future ones -- are subject to the whim of the U.S. secretary of the interior.

"Nice drilling permit you have there. I wouldn't want anything to happen to it."
Strong medicine?

Yes. And it won't work, either.

O'Reilly, I believe, is honestly mistaken. Unlike Charlie Rose, who had Daniel Yergin (author of The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World) on the other night and generated neither heat nor light, Bill O'Reilly took a hard whack at the ball. Indeed, Bill O'Reilly's arguing, in effect, that President Obama should put this latest crisis to use by taking even greater control over yet another sector of the American economy.

But he's thinking of the wrong analogy -- drawn from a different time and a very different American economy. He's remembering President John F. Kennedy and Big Steel.

Back on April 10, 1962, America's major steel companies (all but one [USX] now extinct) decided to raise the price of steel by the same amount. Big Steel's price increase lasted four days. JFK brought the power of his office to bear -- call it the O'Reilly Solution -- and Big Steel backed down. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, by all reports, did a credible imitation of Al Capone disciplining a wayward capo with a baseball bat.

That's not today's global economy.

Today's global economy is American companies doing their IPOs overseas to get out from under Sarbanes-Oxley and foreign corporations foregoing listing on American stock exchanges. It's British companies moving out of the City of London to Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong to get away from high taxes on executive bonuses. It's French investment bankers commuting to the City of London to avoid working under onerous EU regulations.

The other analogy -- which I'm sure Bill O'Reilly remembers -- is Richard Nixon's August 1971 announcement of wage and price controls. They didn't work, either.
So, Bill: you wanna slap export controls on refined petroleum products?

Do you have any idea where this leads? There won't be another refinery built in the United States. We will end up importing all our refined products to escape the controls. If the only way U.S. oil companies can reap the world price is to sell overseas, then you'll see this entire industry migrate out of the United States.
And almost all the high-paying jobs will go, too.

In twenty years, the U.S. petroleum industry will have moved overseas, corporate headquarters included, because the U.S. laws and regulations which Bill O'Reilly is suggesting will handicap them vis-à-vis their competitors. Their American shareholders will support these moves. All the high-paying jobs which used to be in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma -- not just the headquarters jobs, but also technical services as well -- will be in Dubai, Singapore, Holland, and all sorts of havens.
Maybe Brazil.

Natural resources is a global industry. The natural resource companies headquartered in the United States don't need to be headquartered in the United States. It's that simple. Controls always have this effect.

Bill O'Reilly is a thinking man, a well-educated man, and a highly intelligent man.

Last night's Talking Points Memo was not his best effort.

I'm sure Bill O'Reilly will think this through.

It is also my honest and long-held position that the quickest and best way to solve America's energy problems is to scrap the US Department of Energy, and the quickest and best way to improve education is to scrap the US Department of Education.


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gold, Oil, Interest, O'Reilly, Obama

The price of gasoline is soaring while interest rates remain at historic lows. Working people and their families are suffering from high unemployment and gas prices, while seniors, dependent on interest income, are eating dogfood. All Americans are suffering from the housing crisis in various ways.

Bill O’Reilly on The Factor goes on a nightly rant against the oil companies (everyone hates them), but, although many factors are involved, the main reason for rising gas prices and low domestic interest rates is rooted in policies of the Obama Administration.

First, a little history: although the Arabs publicly stated that the reason for their oil embargo in October, 1973 was payback for our support of Israel, the main reason was economic. Traditionally, Arabs sell oil for dollars and convert their dollars to gold. From 1933 to 1972 the gold price was fixed at $32 per ounce, and it was illegal for Americans to own gold. In 1972 gold was freed, and its price soon went to $100. The oil embargo caused the dollar-price of oil to jump so that the gold-dollar-oil relationship was repaired, and the embargo ended.

Now, as the debt-financing of the Obama Administration continues, see what is happening to the price of gold:

Now look at what has happened to interest rates within the United States:

In other words, Obama is deliberately keeping interest rates near zero here while causing the value of the dollar as an international currency to plummet, thus causing gold and oil prices to increase dramatically.

One might ask what Obama’s motives really are in arranging this catastrophe, especially since he is doing everything he can to throttle domestic production.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Apologize to Afghanistan?

Why Apologize to Afghanistan?

By Andrew C. McCarthy February 25, 2012 National Review

We have officially lost our minds.

The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president — “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. . . . I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention.

Of course, these facts may not become widely known, because no one is supposed to mention the main significance of what has happened here. First, as usual, Muslims — not al-Qaeda terrorists, but ordinary, mainstream Muslims — are rioting and murdering over the burning (indeed, the inadvertent burning) of a book. Yes, it’s the Koran, but it’s a book all the same — and one that, moderate Muslims never tire of telling us, doesn’t really mean everything it says anyhow.

Muslim leaders and their leftist apologists are also forever lecturing the United States about “proportionality” in our war-fighting. Yet when it comes to Muslim proportionality, Americans are supposed to shrug meekly and accept the “you burn books, we kill people” law of the jungle. Disgustingly, the Times would inure us to this moral equivalence by rationalizing that “Afghans are fiercely protective of their Islamic faith.” Well then, I guess that makes it all right, huh?

Then there’s the second not-to-be-uttered truth: Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing).

Do you know why you are supposed to stay mum about the intentional Muslim sacrilege but plead to be forgiven for the accidental American offense? Because you would otherwise have to observe that the Koran and other Islamic scriptures instruct Muslims that they are in a civilizational jihad against non-Muslims, and that it is therefore permissible for them to do whatever is necessary — including scrawl militant graffiti on their holy book — if it advances the cause. Abdul Sattar Khawasi — not a member of al-Qaeda but a member in good standing of the Afghan government for which our troops are inexplicably fighting and dying — put it this way: “Americans are invaders, and jihad against the Americans is an obligation.”

Because exploiting America’s hyper-sensitivity to things Islamic advances the jihad, the ostensible abuse of the Koran by using it for secret communiqués is to be overlooked. Actionable abuse occurs only when the book is touched by the bare hands of, or otherwise maltreated by, an infidel.

As our great Iraqi ally Ayatollah Ali Sistani teaches, touching a kafir (“one who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness”) is to be avoided, because Islamic scripture categorizes infidels as equivalent to “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors,” and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats filth.” That is what influential clerics — not al-Qaeda but revered scholars of Islamic law — inculcate in rank-and-file Muslims.

And they are not making it up. Sistani came upon this view after decades of dedicated scriptural study. In fact, to take just one telling example (we could list many, many others), the “holy” Koran we non-Muslims are supposed to honor proclaims (in Sura 9:28), “Truly the pagans are unclean . . . so let them not . . . approach the sacred mosque.” It is because of this injunction from Allah that non-Muslims are barred — not by al-Qaeda but by the Saudi Arabian government — from entering Mecca and Medina. Kafirs are deemed unfit to set their infidel feet on the ground of these ancient cities. You don’t like that? Too bad — grin and bear it . . . and, while you’re at it, surge up a few thousand more American troops to improve life in Kandahar.

Understand this: Muslims are killing Muslims all the time. Sunnis attack Shiites, Shiites attack Sunnis. Ahmadi Muslims are attacked in sundry Islamic countries.

Often, these Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities involve not only murder but also the torching of the other sect’s homes and mosques — necessarily meaning Muslims are burning Korans, and with far more mens rea than the American personnel had in Afghanistan. None of these atrocities incite global Islamic rioting — it is just Muslim-on-Muslim violence, the numbing familiarity of which calls for no comment, except perhaps to mumble that it must have something to do with how “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Muslims are. (Actually, it has to do with Muslims’ deeming the perceived heresies of other Muslims to be apostasy, for which sharia prescribes the death penalty.)

Also understand this: In sharia societies, non-Muslim religious articles are confiscated and destroyed every single day as a matter of policy. In Saudi Arabia, where sharia is the law of the land, where Mecca and Medina are closed to non-Muslims, government guidelines prohibit Jews and Christians from bringing Bibles, crucifixes, Stars of David, and similar artifacts emblematic of their faith into the country. When that prohibition is violated, the offending items are seized and burned or otherwise destroyed. Moreover, though Saudis deny having an official policy that bans Jews from entering the country at all, reports are rampant of travelers’ being denied visas either because they are Jewish or because their passports bear stamps indicative of prior travel to Israel.

In spite of this shameful, conscious, systematic abuse of non-Muslims and their religious articles, King Abdullah has yet to send a letter of apology to Obama. All the presidential bowing in the world will not change this, not when Muslim supremacism is the irreducible core of mainstream Islam — not al-Qaeda Islam, mainstream Islam. And where is Mr. Karzai’s apology over the Afghan soldier who just killed two Americans? That is only the latest incident in a largely unreported epidemic: our “allies” turning their weapons on their Western trainers.

On second thought, who cares if Karzai apologizes? Our troops do not belong in Afghanistan. They have given more than enough, way more. So has our country.

If our government believes the Taliban and other factions are our enemies, allied with al-Qaeda to kill Americans, then we should unleash our military to destroy them. This should not be an endless counterinsurgency experiment that prioritizes the protection of Afghan civilians and the construction of Afghan civil society; it should be a war that our vast might enables us to win rapidly and decisively.

But our government has repeatedly professed that the Taliban are not our enemies. If that is true, we lack not only the will but the cause for waging war. We should leave — now. It is immoral to keep our young men and women there as sitting ducks in a place where the people hate Americans but we are not trying to vanquish them. We routed al-Qaeda years ago. We don’t need to defeat the Taliban or waste time negotiating with them, Karzai, the warlords, and the rest. Let them have their Korans and work it out for themselves with the compassion that has been such a Religion of Peace hallmark for the last 14 centuries.

That, however, cannot be the end of it. If, according to the president, we need to apologize to Muslims because we must accept that they have such an innate, extraordinary ardor for their religion that barbaric reactions to trivial slights are inevitable, then they should not be invited to enter a civilized country. At the very least, our immigration laws should exclude entry from Muslim-majority countries unless and until those countries expressly repeal repressive sharia laws (e.g., the death penalty for apostates) and adopt American standards of non-discrimination against, tolerance of, and protection for religious minorities.

If you really want to promote freedom in Islamic countries, an immigration policy based on civil-rights reciprocity would be a lot more effective, and a lot less expensive, than dispatching tens of thousands of troops to build sharia “democracies.” It would also protect Americans from people whose countries and cultures have not prepared them for the obligations of citizenship in a free society.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Gas Prices, Obama and O’Reilly

It’s getting harder and harder to watch The Factor with Bill O’Reilly. When he’s not using his show to sell his books, he’s taken up constantly castigating oil companies for the rising price of gasoline, and shouting down anyone who tries to explain the facts of the energy situation.

This is a complicated subject. In no other industry is the complex mathematical process known as linear programming used more in management decision-making.

But, two basic facts stand out: 1. Obama’s environmental policies have curtailed exploration and drilling here, and 2. Obama’s spending policies have so cheapened the international value of the American dollar that it buys less oil.

Gasoline Prices and Dollar Prices

By Joseph Svetlic February 24, 2012 American Thinker (excerpt)

“It's not that gasoline is more expensive; it's just that your dollars are worth less. But neither the media nor the political establishment wants you to realize the real reason Americans are experiencing pain at the pump.

Surging gasoline prices are back in the news, and President Obama shows his concern for Americans by doing what he does best. He gave a speech. Happy now?

Of course the grumpy old conservative naysayers place blame on the Obama administration for the surging prices! They point to the administration's denial of the Keystone pipeline and additional supply of Canadian oil sands as illustrative of an anti-energy policy that tries to dictate against the free market that we are all to drive flammable 40-mile/charge Chevy Volts. They point to Obama's own Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, who believes that "[s]omehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."

They point out that President Obama doesn't in fact have a problem with high gas prices; he just prefers a "gradual adjustment." (Is four years long enough?) They point to the reaction of Speaker Pelosi in May 2007 when the average national gas price was only $3.05/gallon, calling it the Bush administration's "failure" and accusing the Bush administration of years of policies favoring "Big Oil." They point to the price of gasoline on January 20, 2009 being a bargain at $1.83/gallon, now having basically doubled and headed much higher. Effective talking points all….

The dollars that you have in your pocket are pieces of paper that hold value only because they are "backed by a gun." The "gun" being the United States Government and the Federal Reserve. The dollars that you have in your pocket are "fiat money" (the term "fiat" is Latin for "let it be done"), not backed by anything of actual value since August 15, 1971. Cash is just paper. Call them Bernanke Bucks.

What "stores" value, if not the "let it be done" Bernanke Bucks that are "backed by a gun"? Precious metals, of course. Traditionally hedges against inflation because they are always worth something. They are valuable by themselves, without the gun.

They are real, hard money, as opposed to fiat currency. They possess qualities that have been valued by humans ever since we started pulling them from the ground long ago. Therefore, there will always be a market for them. They have "objective value." So let's talk about the price of gas compared to something of actual objective value: precious metals.

If you pulled up to a 7-11 station on January 20, 2009 and all you had was silver American Eagles in your pocket, how many ounces of silver would you have paid per gallon? On that very day, silver was trading at around $11.47 per ounce. The average price of a gallon of gasoline was around $1.83 per gallon....

So to purchase 10 gallons of gas for your Toyota Prius (alas, there was no such thing as a Chevy Volt at the time) would've cost you 1.6 ounces of silver.

Fast-forward to today. If you pulled up to a 7-11 station today in your flammable Chevy Volt, things would be different. As of this writing, silver is trading at $34.190 per ounce. As of this writing, the average price gasoline is $3.545 per gallon....

A 10-gallon fill-up for your Chevy Volt today would cost you an ounce of silver, or a single silver American Eagle coin. That's down from 1.6 ounces of silver for the same 10-gallon fill-up in January 2009....

Alternatively, the Obamedia could credibly claim that gas prices are even a little cheaper compared to gold. Working out the same formula with gold, you would fork over 0.002133 ounces of gold (at $858/ounce) in January 2009, while you would pay 0.002018 ounces of gold (at $1756.40) today. See?! Gas is even 5.4% cheaper today when compared to gold. High gas prices? What are you talking about, rubes?

In all seriousness, what do these numbers mean for what you are paying at the pump?

Here we have the main point of this piece, so let's go throat-clearing in red:

It is not that the price of gas is more expensive; it is that your dollars are worth less .

This is evident to anyone with a modem, a calculator, and a basic knowledge of economics. Even more obvious to anyone who has read Rand. The "destroyers" described by d'Anconia are destroying the fiat dollar. They are the Federal Reserve led by Bernanke, who has enabled the Obama administration's spending spree to the tune of over $5 trillion in debt for a single term through artificially low interest rates and "quantitative easing" (i.e., monetizing the debt). The same person, Bernanke, has testified under oath that the Federal Reserve "will not monetize the debt." Yet it is obvious that that is exactly what has happened. It ought not surprise anyone with a knowledge of history that the present Obama-Bernanke fiscal-monetary course is exactly opposite the policies of President Reagan and Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker in the early 1980s, with predictably very different results. So we now have inflation coupled with low economic growth, or stagflation.

Welcome back, Carter. ” American Thinker

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why Be a Republican?

As a Social Security recipient, I am outraged that Congress has passed and President Obama will sign a cut in payroll taxes – thus endangering a program that provides the most basic safety net for seniors. That Republicans in Congress (but not Mitt Romney, who thought this stupid), would support this move that undermines a program that is already in trouble is unconscionable.

Where have your principles and good sense gone, Mr. Boehnor? This also adds $100 billion more to the debt. I am more than outraged.

If Republicans cannot defend a pay-as-you-go Social Security program, where do conservative Americans go for representation? Democrats have always wanted to give away free goodies to everyone, and don’t worry about the consequences, but until now, Democrats have always claimed to be defenders of Social Security. They obviously can’t say this any more.

I’ve never been an admirer of Senator Harkin, but on this issue he’s right:

February 18, 2012 Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Harkin slammed his own president and party for hatching the payroll tax cut deal that is expected to pass Congress Friday, saying he's "embarrassed" the Democrats are pushing a measure that begins the "unravelling of Social Security."

The bill will extend a 2 percent break in the tax that goes to fund Social Security for the rest of 2012, saving families $1,000 on average.

That lost revenue will be replaced in the Social Security trust fund from the nation's general tax collections, but the plan has attracted opposition from both the left and right on grounds that it sets a bad precedent and adds the $100 billion cost to the deficit.

Harkin (D-Iowa), who has long been a staunch defender of Social Security, hammered it as the beginning of the end for the program.

"This Congress will be making a grave mistake -- a grave mistake -- and reinforcing a dangerous precedent," Harkin said in a dramatic Senate floor speech late Thursday. "And I’m dismayed that Democrats, including a Democratic president and a Democratic vice president, have proposed this, and are willing to sign off on a deal that could begin the unraveling of Social Security."

Harkin argued that Social Security had always been strong and protected because it was funded by its own dedicated tax stream that ensured every American would be guaranteed a basic income in their retirements, and that the program added not "even one dime to the deficits or the national debt."

But he said now that Congress was going to pay for this cut with borrowed money from the general treasury funds, the best argument of the program's defenders was gone
"With this bill, we can no longer say that. We can no longer say that Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit," Harkin said.

He argued that a far better plan would have been to simply grant working Americans rebates on their income taxes, the way Presidents Obama and George W. Bush had done in recent years.

Hauling Social Security into the equation, he said, betrays the legacy of Democratic presidents who started the program and strengthened it over the years, from Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy.

"This, I believe has been the hallmark and the underpinning of the party that I've been proud to belong to," Harkin said. "Cutting the payroll tax is a bad idea, terrible idea. I'm embarrassed that it's being proposed by a Democratic president and a Democratic vice president."

Several other Democratic senators, including West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Virginia's Mark Warner, along with Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, were expected to oppose the bill on similar grounds. A substantial number of Republicans were also expected to balk at the deficit spending and vote against the legislation as well. Nevertheless, it was expected to pass Friday afternoon by a comfortable margin.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flip-Flop or Attained Wisdom?

The charge against Romney that he is a flip-flopper on abortion is laughable – so is the charge that Romneycare is the same as Obamacare.

You can accuse me of being a flip-flopper on abortion; I have changed my mind about some aspect of this issue at least three times over my adult lifetime. I think if you do not change your mind occasionally about some great issue, you don’t have much of a mind, and you stopped growing a long time ago.

As to comparing Romneycare with Obamacare, Romney has nothing for which to apologize, as the following article explains:

Obamacare vs. Romneycare -- A Crucial Difference

By Robert P. Kirchhoefer on 2.15.12 American Spectator

There are conservative reasons why Romneycare was backed by conservatives.

As the Maine primary and CPAC straw poll have again pushed Mitt Romney into the front of the pack, Rick Santorum continues to focus on Romneycare and its apparent similarities to Obamacare, as he and Newt Gingrich promised to do after Romney's win in Florida.

But are the similarities all that Governor Romney's opponents portend?

I don't love Romneycare but it is worth noting a few things about it before the real battle begins in earnest -- again. Former statements from Obama on healthcare demonstrate that the two healthcare plans, while similar in some ways, present vast differences in the essential origins and motives that separate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney from their infamous healthcare plans.

First of all, when Romney took on the uninsured in Massachusetts, working with both parties in Boston, he did so with the blessing of the Heritage Foundation. The idea was, essentially, people who were getting a free ride with respect to their healthcare would now have to pay. No more getting healthcare for free. This time you had to pony up some cash or buy insurance from a private carrier. The Heritage Foundation, a longstanding bastion of Conservatism, thought it bold, conservative thinking as they helped to craft its design.

From a Heritage Foundation article on Romney's plan in 2006:

… to allow people to go without health insurance, and then when they do fall ill expect someone else to pay the tab for their treatment is a de facto mandate on providers and taxpayers. Romney proposes to take that option off the table, leaving only two choices: Either buy insurance or pay for your own care. Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.

Like it or don't like it, this idea, currently known as Romneycare, was the brainchild of Conservatism. Of personal responsibility. In 2006, long before Barack Obama had even thrown his hat into the presidential ring, the Massachusetts answer was "clearly consistent with conservative values" in its requiring recipients of healthcare to pay for a service that they would otherwise have received for free -- rather, on the backs of Massachusetts taxpayers. Newt Gingrich supported its "tremendous potential" and "real solutions" -- Gingrinchian praise for "creating a sustainable health system" in Massachusetts.

But that is not the most significant aspect of this Romneycare vs. Obamacare battle: Newt's praise and Conservative origins.

The most significant aspect of this war of words stems from a common logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc, which suggests that if event O follows event R, event O must have caused event R. In the present case, event R would be Romneycare and event O would be Obamacare. Romneycare, they say, brought about Obamacare. Or, said another way, Obamacare came from Romneycare (first fallacy), so it must be just like Romneycare (second fallacy).

Before we get too lost in the weeds, it might be interesting to see what Romney's and Obama's original goals were.

As stated by Romney back then, "you will be free to choose but your choices will have consequences." Buy insurance or pay for your healthcare. Romney's goal was finite and simple: to require the few who were sapping the Massachusetts' taxpayers to ultimately pay for healthcare either by paying the state or by paying an insurance provider. These people who had no health insurance -- fewer than 10% in Massachusetts -- would now have to contribute if they wanted healthcare. That was it. Insurance companies were not nationalized. Massachusetts did not become the default healthcare provider in that state. It is not what I would have done, but it was seen as bold and it was the kind of "outside the box" thinking that many from both Parties admired. Newt included.

So, back to the goals or the intentions of Obama and Romney. We know what Romney's goal was. His goal was to involve the private sector of Massachusetts in insuring a small percentage of the Massachusetts' healthcare pie.

Obama's goal prior to signing Obamacare into law was much, much bigger.

In 2003, he said, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan." From that speech:

I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we've got to take back the White House, we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House.

But more recently Obama said:

I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter because, frankly, we historically have had a employer-based system in this country with private insurers, and for us to transition to a system like that I believe would be too disruptive.

I think he meant what he said earlier and he meant what he said later. It just depends on what the meaning of "system like that" and a value on just how disruptive is "too disruptive." I won't attempt to parse his words. The proof is in the Affordable Healthcare Act. It has disrupted and it will continue to disrupt. "That system" is exactly what we got. And "that system" will, if left unchecked, get us what he wanted in 2003 -- a system with just the right amount of "disruptive."

The fact is, Obamacare was originally going to be single payer. It was going to be European -- as close to it as Congress would allow. But that was curbed. What they got, instead -- what we got, instead -- was the first step. Obamacare. The first step toward single-payer, universal healthcare coverage. That's a lot bigger than just under 10%, and it is a heckuva lot more disruptive.

And that is the crucial difference. Romney never said, never touted, never promised that "we may not get [single-payer] immediately" or even a little later than immediately. Much of the criticism against Romneycare is deserved, as is the scrutiny. But Romneycare is not Obamacare because Obamacare is just getting started.

One was an end in and of itself. The other is (still) a means to an end.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston - Star Spangled Banner


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Monday, February 06, 2012

Please Stop with the Creationism, Already

When they are not sliming Sarah Palin, liberals and their media allies are confronting facts about evolution and global warming with jeers and name-calling. The discoveries made with the electron microscope and the cooling that has taken place since 1997, have called into question liberal assertions that the science is settled on these matters. If it were up to liberals, we would still be forced to believe that the world is flat because that was the politicized science of an earlier age.

Republicans and Science

By David Klinghoffer on 2.2.12 the American Spectator

As opposed to liberals and the science they've politicized.

In the religious world you will sometimes read articles or hear sermons trying to understand the mindset of unbelievers and lamenting the lure of apostasy. The funny thing is, in entirely secular venues you will also find people worrying about the power of heresy to seduce the unwary from the true path. In the secular world, that path is called "science."

About such scientific heresy, the level of anxiety seems higher now than any time in recent memory. Republican presidential candidates continuously being probed on their scientific beliefs, ranked by media liberals on the basis of their adherence to scientifically orthodox ideas about evolution, global warming, and stem-cell research, has been the most obvious way this came out recently.

What's wrong with Republicans, anyway? Scientists and journalists offer a variety of diagnoses. Some say a backwoods element in the population has abandoned the Enlightenment, a result of poor education or religious fundamentalism or both.

Other experts find no convincing sociological explanation and opt for a more scientific (or scientific-seeming) approach, pointing to faulty brain chemistry. A forthcoming book title by journalist Chris Mooney says it all: The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.

I'm not aware, though, that anyone trying to explain these things has considered exactly what kind of scientific issues evoke a skeptical response from Republicans.

Doubts about natural selection may seem to be of a piece with wariness about (therapeutically questionable) embryonic-stem-cell research. Sounds like a religious thing. But where is the religious significance of believing in human-induced catastrophic global warming?

What about other scientific questions on which conservative register their distrust? Rush Limbaugh delights listeners by mocking pronouncements that "science says" we must eat this or not eat that. Where's the "fundamentalist" stake in tweaking liberals for using legislation to discourage unhealthy eating and smoking?

Something all these hot-button scientific topics have in common is that each has been politicized. Not by Republicans, however. The scientific issues that incite the Right all involve attempts by government to coerce behavior and spend billions in tax dollars through divisive policies on education, the environment, public health, and medical experiments.

It doesn't reassure conservatives, either, when we happen to know something about the subject and aren't just operating from a "gut feeling" as one social scientists tried to prove recently, in a study in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching that got some media play.

In coverage of the evolution debate, for example, Darwin defenders have convinced many journalists that only two sides exist: Darwinists themselves versus advocates of a naïve Scriptural view that insists the world is just thousands of years old.

But most Americans understand that a more credible view exists, one that accepts a history of life going back more than 3 billion years but that doubts blind Darwinian forces can account for life's development, seeing, instead, evidence of purpose and design.

There is a persistent sense that we are being manipulated by fellow citizens who use the prestige of the word "science," coupled with the technique of the excluded middle, to intimidate us in service to a political agenda. Not just any political agenda, but one that violates our own experience of who, as human beings, we really are.

At stake is an anthropological view that, on "scientific" grounds, equates humans with animals who climbed too high in their own estimation and need an attitude adjustment. In this picture, government plays the role of zookeeper. We need our modes of transportation and industrial production tightly constrained, our diets controlled, our claim of possessing marks of divine intention or favor firmly denied, our offspring available immediately from conception to be consumed for medical research.

Republican resistance to radicalized science is nothing new. It goes back to the founding of modern conservatism.

The book that launched the contemporary conservative movement, Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences (1948), traced man's devolving self-image, with special attention to Darwin. A University of Chicago philosopher, Weaver outlined the cultural costs of a Darwin-directed "world picture," and he suggested the outlines of a scientific critique of evolutionary theory. With "Darwinism… lurking in the background," he wrote, "Politics, arts, everything, came under the rule; man was primarily a food- and shelter-finding animal."

From this erring self-image, as he taught and many conservatives still believe, men have derived almost all the disastrous political and cultural ideas of modern times. It's not "science" that we deny but this effort to redefine man in the name of science that we resist.


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Sunday, February 05, 2012

My Grandfather, His Farm and Me

Perhaps my grandchildren will appreciate a look at a time long gone both for me and for them. My father was the youngest son of a Maine potato farmer, whose other principal crop was beans grown for making baked beans. He and my grandmother grew their own vegetables, hand-milked their one cow for milk and butter (which grandmother churned except when I was around and got the job), raised chickens for eggs and Sunday dinner and laid out the dead folks in town to get some cash income in the winter.

I spent one whole summer living on the farm, located in Fairfield, Maine, when I was 10, and spent two weeks there every summer when I was a child, because my father spent every summer vacation there helping out his father. Grampa Wilcox was a very wise and quiet man who seemed to posses magical powers to forecast the future and heal the sick, but mechanical devices stumped him. He bought old cars to haul potatoes to market, and when they stopped running, he would haul them out back with his team of horses (I remember they were called Billy and Colonel). When my father got to Maine he would go to work repairing the old cars so Grandpa could use them again. When the cars were not repairable, Grandpa would haul them back into the woods. Many years later, when I became interested in antique cars, I traveled back to the old farm to find them, but someone else had beaten me to it.

Just to show you how much things have changed, I earned my first baseball glove that whole summer in Maine. One of the big problems a potato farmer faces is a nasty weed called mustard that must be pulled out by hand if you are a small farmer. The mustard weed has prickles that make it hard and painful to pull. To earn my keep at the farm I was told if I would work every day pulling mustard, I would get my baseball glove at the end of the summer. I won’t say I worked at it every day, but I did enough to get the glove, and remember to this day that it was a Marty Marion, a famous shortstop of that era. I used that glove throughout the rest of my baseball days.

Not only was Grandpa not tuned in to mechanical devices, but other scientific aspects of life were also a mystery to him. He had constructed a methane pit in the back yard that gathered the gas from the cow and horse manure, and provided the gas for the gas lights that lit the house and the barn in the early days before they got electricity. I have no idea how he managed to build this system, but one day it failed, and he went into the pit and lit a match to see what was wrong. Suffice it to say that he recovered from the explosion but never did that again. I was about 7 or 8 when the farm got electricity, but it never had plumbing.

This is not to say that Grandpa was not a learned and wise man. He knew more about life and nature than anyone else around, and was a person that people from all walks of life would consult for help and advice, and when he looked at you, you just knew that he knew everything. Unfortunately for me, the relationships that grandfathers had with their grandchildren was very different from many of today’s relationships. Grandpa came from a time when death came early and often to children, and families tended to have many children so some would survive. Children and grandchildren were expected to be “seen and not heard” – especially when adults were talking about something important.

One ritual I watched dozens of times was the prophesies Grandpa would make, on request, after some dinnertimes. Just as all meals were cooked on a wood stove in the kitchen, tea brewed from loose leaves was served at every meal. Grandpa would examine the empty tea cups after the meal, and poke around in the leaves left in the cup. Somehow he was able to see something in those tea leaves, and then he would prophesy the future for that particular tea drinker. I was always too young for my fortune to be told, and eagerly waited to grow up enough to hear it someday. Unfortunately that day never came for me. I got too busy, and Grandpa got too old.

The cynics who are all around us today would have laughed at Grandpa, but on that farm in Maine people from all over the state would come to him for advice and a prophesy, and for a faith healing service. Grandpa never charged any money for his efforts, and remained cash-poor throughout his life. Until he retired, he never left Maine, except for one famous trip. His oldest son who was my uncle, Irving, was a troublesome child who one day ran away and joined the circus that was passing through.

After several days Grandpa looked into his teacup and said he knew where Irving was, and that he was going to get him. He said Irving was still in the circus and now located in Virginia. He said Irving wanted to come home, but had no way to do it. Grandpa got on a train and went to Virginia. I don’t know any more of the details, but Grandpa and Irving arrived back in Maine shortly thereafter. Irving turned out rather badly as an adult, and became the black sheep of the family. My own father had to clean up some of Irving’s messes later on in life.

Two incidents involving me stick in my mind. One day on that long summer, Grandpa said he was going to spray the potatoes, and would I like to come along. We hitched the team of horses to a rig that had a large wooden barrel in its center, and a spray rig behind it. Then we pulled the rig into the woods and entered a large swamp that had water in it about 2 - 4 feet deep. It was an eerie and mysterious place, dark and forbidding with huge dragonflies flying all around. Grandpa got down into the water and filled the barrel using a pail. Then he mixed some deadly-looking blue-green chemical with the water, turning it all blue-green. We then drove the rig into the potato fields wearing kerchiefs over our faces, and sprayed the plants with this insecticide. It was undoubtedly some very bad stuff, but since Grandpa lived into his eighties, it obviously didn’t do him much harm.

Another time Grandpa said he was going to do some horse-hoeing, and would I like to ride Colonel while he did it. In horse-hoeing you use a single horse to pull a plow-like farm implement that has the blades arranged so that they shear along the sides of the hill-rows containing the potato plants, cutting through and pulling the weeds out. Unfortunately the saddle had seen better days and could not be fastened, so I rode on a saddle that was sitting loosely on Colonel’s back. It was just my luck that we disturbed a hornets’ nest, and they stung Colonel. He took off at a gallop, throwing off the saddle and dragging the horse-hoe behind him, bouncing along. I grabbed the handles on the horse-collar and hung on for dear life, screaming all the while. From the other side of the farm, my grandmother heard my screams and decided I had been bitten. She ran to scoop up some mud to put on my bites just as Colonel ran out of steam not far from where she had run. I jumped off, and Grandma ran up and put the mud on where she thought Colonel had been bitten. I was shaken up, but I was fine.

During World War II meat was in short supply, and you needed ration coupons to buy some. We went to Maine as usual one summer during the war, and something that seemed mysterious to me happened. Being summer, it was not deer season, and hunting deer was illegal. Very early one morning there was a kind of meeting among my father, my grandfather and a neighbor. There was a lot of whispering, and it was obvious that something unusual was going on, and then the men disappeared. The next day it was announced that we would be having liver for dinner, and at dinner I found out that it was deer liver. It seemed to me that it had a green color, and I couldn’t eat it. When we drove back to Providence our car contained a mysterious package, but when we got home my mother made my father go out in the back yard that night and dig a deep hole. Later it became obvious that she had put her foot down and made him bury the deer meat.

My mother did not like those summer vacations in Maine very much. She was a city girl through and through and hated using a privy during the day and a chamber pot at night. The farm women (there always seemed to be various family from Maine around) were also a very competent and hard-working bunch who could put together a marvelous meal complete with scratch biscuits – all made on a wood stove and without running water. I think these women made my mother feel inadequate. There was a pump handle at the slate sink in the pantry, but the water it produced was not potable. One of my jobs I had when I was there was to take an enamel pail and walk to a spring in the woods where the farm got its drinking water. I also remember that that big kitchen had a telephone in a wood box, and you cranked it to ring the operator.

The farm was actually quite large and included a small mountain that contained many fields and wooded areas. At the top of the mountain (or large hill if you prefer) there was a small, abandoned house where I used to play. Grandfather had built it for my aunt, just as he had built himself at least five other houses that had burned down from chimney fires. When Grandpa retired he and Grandmother moved to Raynham, Massachusetts, where he built a small two-room house. When that house was finished he built a larger house beside it, and then made the small house into a garage.
I lived for a while in Norton, Massachusetts, as a young married man, and was able to visit Grandpa from time to time in the short time he had after Grandmother died, bringing home with me vegetables from his garden. I don’t know if they remember, but some of my children, Connie, Sharon and Steve also visited there a few times.

In her later years in Raynham, Grandmother became well-known to the local police because she developed and suffered from arteriosclerosis and lost her short-term memory and knowledge of who she was. She would leave the house and get lost wandering around town, and Grandpa spent much time looking for her and reclaiming her from the police station. Grandmother died from old age, and Grandpa followed her not too long thereafter. We always felt that he passed away from a broken heart after he lost Grandmother.

I have so many wonderful memories of those times on the farm that I would not trade for anything. In the days before television, everyone went to the movies all the time, and Grandpa loved them so much he went almost every night and took me along to see Tom Mix and Gene Autry movies at the Opera House in Fairfield. He loved ice cream, too, and a stop at the Creamery in town for a sugar cone of rainbow flavor was also usually in the cards. I slept on the bed my Dad had used when he was a child, a tiny straw-mattress bed in a tiny room upstairs, listening to the strange noises and wondering about all those other empty bedrooms and whose they were and what might have happened there.

I can only hope my own grandchildren can look back someday with some happy memories of boating and sailing, cross-country skiing and that house in the woods in Dighton.


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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Why Does Obama Despise Israel?

In my last post, I stated that Obama announced the Israeli plans for a strike on Iran either to prevent Israel from defending itself or to give Iran a heads up on Israel's plans. Since most Americans admire Israel for her tenacity, her support, her democratic traditions and her magnificent scientific contributions, some wonder why Obama would like to see Israel defeated. The reason is that Obama considers Israel an evil colonial power in the same league with Great Britain and France. Obama believes that Israel appropriated land from Muslim Arabs, and has no legitimate claim to its country.

You have to remember that Obama spent most of his childhood in poverty in Indonesia, was raised a Muslim, and was greatly influenced by his anti-colonialist, white mother and Indonesian father, who were both avowed communists. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Israel is our only democratic ally (Iraq is now questionable now that we have pulled out all our troops) in the Arab Middle East, has always been a staunch supporter in all respects and has provided much of the technology behind many of the marvels in our own military.

How Israel Keeps Us Safe

By Karin McQuillan February 3, 2012 The American Thinker

We have a president who has a problem with Israel. According to a New York Times column, "Don't Do It, Bibi," Obama called Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in mid-January to demand a promise that Israel would not bomb Iran in the next few months. Obama doesn't want a spike in oil prices before our presidential election. The threat of unhappy voters is more important to Obama than a nuclear Iran. He is more concerned about his re-election than he is about a dirty bomb in the hands of a terrorist that could waste one of our cities, a destabilized Middle East, or a nuclear attack on Israel.

Obama's indifference to Israel's safety is a moral problem, but it is more than that. It poses a grave threat to our national security.

Israel's blessings don't stop with the gifts of individual Jews advancing high tech and medical care. Israeli inventiveness in those fields is of the greatest military importance to us. As a country, Israel does more than any other country in the world to keep the U.S. safe -- literally. This would be part of the foreign policy equation of our White House and State Department, if they didn't suffer from Arabism.

What has Israel done for us? The two most important areas of 21st-century warfare are electronics and cyberspace. Israel is the world leader in both those areas. Because we are mutual allies, Israel shares its knowledge and equipment with us. We would not be as far ahead in military technology, security, intelligence, or counter-terrorism without this crucial strategic alliance.

Compare the benefits of our alliance with Israel to the things we get from our allies in Europe. Europe has chosen to take advantage of us, depending on our taxpayers to protect theirs. They use us for a free ride. Britain supports us, but has no great military budget anymore. Their modern weapons systems depend on us. There is no broad two-way street.

Our alliance with Israel is not only broad and mutual, but it is essential.

Drones? Israel is the world leader in the development of unmanned aerial systems, including drones (invented by an Israeli) for intelligence collection and combat, and has shared with the U.S. military technology, doctrine, and vital experience.

Think of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We use an Israeli-produced tactical radar system to enhance force protection. Israel is "a global pacesetter in active measures for armored vehicle protection," which we use to save our soldiers' lives. Israel invented the short-range rocket defense we use in both wars. Israel has shared its advanced military robotics with us. The lifesaving armor installed in thousands of MRAP armored vehicles used in Iraq and Afghanistan is known as the "Israeli bandage." Groundbreaking innovations including sensors, unmanned aerial vehicle technology, surveillance equipment, and detection devices to seek out IEDs -- all from Israel. American and Israeli companies are working together to jointly produce the world's first combat-proven counter-rocket system.

State-of-the-art missile defense? Israel is America's "most sophisticated and experienced partner in missile defense," helping us from invention to deployment to joint training exercises. The U.S. has deployed an advanced X-band radar system in Israel with more than 100 American military personnel stationed there, as part of our missile defense architecture to protect U.S. forces and our allies in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf.

Our Navy and Air Force? Israel provides us with a revolutionary helmet-mounted sight that is standard in nearly all frontline Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft. Israel provides us with a gun system for close-in defense of naval vessels against terrorist dinghies and small-boat swarms. Israel provides a port of call for the Sixth Fleet. Israel provides the targeting pods we use on hundreds of Air Force, Navy, and Marine strike aircraft.

Nuclear threats? It was very helpful that Israel prevented Iraq from developing nuclear capability by bombing Osirik in 1981. In 2007, Israel prevented Syria from developing nuclear capability by bombing Syria's secret nuclear facility at al-Kibar. Washington didn't know about the North Korean-built reactor "until Meir Dagan, then the head of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, visited President George W. Bush's national security adviser" and told us. And we're evidently relying on Israel to stop Iran from going nuclear -- a difficult and dangerous job we need done but aren't willing to do ourselves.

The war on terror? Israel provides homeland security training for U.S. airport security and police departments across the country. They've worked to help us with national resilience planning to save lives and preserve national security during natural disasters and terror attacks. Israel helps us with counter-terrorism intelligence and cooperation in defeating the terrorist operations of Hamas, Hezb'allah, and al-Qaeda. We have joint Special Forces training and exercises, collaboration on shared targets, and close cooperation among the relevant U.S. and Israeli security for preventive actions and deterrence. We rely on Israeli advances to enhance our capabilities to defend our cyberspace from sabotage. Israeli advances protect our banking, communications, utilities, transportation, and internet infrastructure.

Israel is not a charity case. U.S. presidents are sworn to protect and defend America, not Israel. Sixty years of close cooperation has been maintained because it is to our benefit. It was President Eisenhower who first recognized that Israel was a key strategic asset in the Cold War, a policy Kissinger and Nixon implemented. Post-9/11, this is truer than ever with regards to the new threats facing our citizens.

The U.S.-Israeli relationship makes it easier for our military to do their job. In superficial ways, it makes it harder for the State to do their job. Our State Department is unwilling to confront Arab lies about Israel being the cause of Islamic violence. There is no actual cost to our alliance with Israel, and immeasurable benefits. Unfortunately, our State Department has few Kissingers who can see past Arab propaganda to the realities of national interest.

Israel is a highly effective ally in our fight to defend and protect America. The Israelis do more than any other country in the world to oppose the imposition of the jihadi vision. Europe is succumbing. Obama would follow. The rest of us know that our alliance with Israel helps keep us safe.

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Obama Places Dagger in Israel’s Back

Fresh from suggesting that Israel should revert to 1963 borders (which are indefensible), yesterday the Obama administration announced (by Leon Panetta, Defense Secretary) that Israel would probably attack Iran over the next few months, in April, May or June.

This is obviously an attempt to stop Israel from defending herself (how long will there be an Israel if Iran succeeds in getting a nuclear weapon?), by telling Iran when an attack will take place.

Of all the double-crossing of allies that has taken place in the last three years, this is the worst; this is outrageous.

Is Israel preparing to attack Iran?

By David Ignatius, Thursday, February 2, 2012 Washington Post

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months.

Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June — before Iran enters what Israelis described as a “zone of immunity” to commence building a nuclear bomb. Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon — and only the United States could then stop them militarily.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action, which would be triggered by intelligence that Iran is building a bomb, which it hasn’t done yet.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak may have signaled the prospect of an Israeli attack soon when he asked last month to postpone a planned U.S.-Israel military exercise that would culminate in a live-fire phase in May. Barak apologized that Israel couldn’t devote the resources to the annual exercise this spring.

President Obama and Panetta are said to have cautioned the Israelis that the United States opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the threshold. But the White House hasn’t yet decided precisely how the United States would respond if the Israelis do attack.

The Obama administration is conducting intense discussions about what an Israeli attack would mean for the United States: whether Iran would target U.S. ships in the region or try to close the Strait of Hormuz; and what effect the conflict and a likely spike in oil prices would have on the fragile global economy.

The administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response.

This U.S. policy — signaling that Israel is acting on its own — might open a breach like the one in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower condemned an Israeli-European attack on the Suez Canal. Complicating matters is the 2012 presidential campaign, which has Republicans candidates clamoring for stronger U.S. support of Israel.

Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.

Israelis are said to believe that a military strike could be limited and contained.

They would bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz and other targets; an attack on the buried enrichment facility at Qom would be harder from the air.

Iranians would retaliate, but Israelis doubt that the action would be an overwhelming barrage, with rockets from Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. One Israeli estimate is that the Jewish state might have to absorb 500 casualties.

Israelis point to Syria’s lack of response to an Israeli attack on a nuclear reactor there in 2007. Iranians might show similar restraint, because of fear the regime would be endangered by all-out war. Some Israelis have also likened a strike on Iran to the 1976 hostage-rescue raid on Entebbe, Uganda, which was followed by a change of regime in that country.

Israeli leaders are said to accept, and even welcome, the prospect of going it alone and demonstrating their resolve at a time when their security is undermined by the Arab Spring.

“You stay to the side, and let us do it,” one Israeli official is said to have advised the United States. A “short-war” scenario assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The Israelis are said to recognize that damage to the nuclear program might be modest, requiring another strike in a few years.

U.S. officials see two possible ways to dissuade the Israelis from such an attack: Tehran could finally open serious negotiations for a formula to verifiably guarantee that its nuclear program will remain a civilian one; or the United States could step up its covert actions to degrade the program so much that Israelis would decide that military action wasn’t necessary.

U.S. officials don’t think that Netanyahu has made a final decision to attack, and they note that top Israeli intelligence officials remain skeptical of the project. But senior Americans doubt that the Israelis are bluffing. They’re worrying about the guns of spring — and the unintended consequences.


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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Some Questions On Obama and Holder Justice

Can some of my readers enlighten me as to:

What is happening with Major Hasan, the American Muslim jihadist who murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood?

What is happening with the murderers of the 17 USS Cole sailors?

What is happening with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the planner of 9/11, who Obama tried to bring to a New York courtroom?

What is happening with the ‘underwear bomber’, and with the ‘Times Square bomber’?

Where is al Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber of Pan Am 107, who Obama and the British allowed out of prison to return to Libya, now that we gave Libyan rebels all that unlawful help?

When are the Black Panthers who terrified white voters so they couldn’t vote in Philadelphia going to be arrested?

And one question on the dysfunction of liberal justice in general: there is a lady in Venice, Florida who could be jailed for five years for disturbing a turtle nest, but we in Florida are literally surrounded by thousands of known sex offenders – some of whom have molested children. These child molesters get probation or 1 to 5 years, when ones with multiple convictions should be castrated or executed for the damage they do to children and to their families. Child molestation is worse than murder; when someone is murdered, at least their suffering is over, and the family might be able to grieve and get on with their lives. I know from personal experience that when a child is molested, that child suffers for the rest of his or her life. The family and any future spouses and children also suffer by having to deal with the consequences of the molestation. And this can go on and on for generations. Why, then, is the liberal’s sense of justice to treat people who disturb a turtle nest more harshly than they treat a child molester?

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Abbott and Costello Discuss Unemployment

Thanks to Dave and Errol for this:

Unemployment as reported is at 9 percent. But it's actually more than 16 percent. Some smart statistician came up with a distinction ……A sleight of hand to make the unemployment number tolerable rather than frightening.

The concept is simple: 9 percent are unemployed and are actively looking for work. The 16 percent includes those who gave up and are no longer actively looking for work. So those casualties are no longer counted. They cease to exist. The 9 percent is a fake …….

A sham - and worthy of an Abbott & Costello routine. If that great comedy team were still alive, the routine on our unemployment woes might go something like this.

I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.

That many people are out of work?

No, that's 16%.

You just said 9%.

9% Unemployed.

Right - 9% out of work.

No, that's 16%.

Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

No, that's 9%...

WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

If you are out of work you are unemployed?

No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


No, you miss my point.

What point?

Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

To who?

The unemployed.

But they are ALL out of work.

No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as less unemployment?

Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

That would be frightening.


Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

Two ways is correct.

Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?


And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?


So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

Now you're thinking like an economist.

I don't even know what the hell I just said!

If you count the underemployed, the figure is probably more like 23 %


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