Ten most corrupt politicians 1

Here is the 2009 list of the Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians released by Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption:

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 “Ten Most Corrupt” list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch’s complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head of the Senate Banking Committee.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. … Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: “The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…” The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign’s office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also “under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.” Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator,” and Treasury granted the funds… Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)… Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn’t until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: “Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG’s impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned ‘full details’ of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG.” Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed “household help” ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the “Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington” list.

Attorney General Eric Holder: … Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro’s Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton’s scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder’s former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. …  Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder’s controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. …

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama’s then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named “Senate Candidate A” in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama’s seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. … Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.

President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration “lowlights” from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the President’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade “artists” to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of “czars” in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President’s bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control — through fiat and threats — large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: “The administration’s central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.” Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama’s “ethics” record — and we haven’t even gotten through the first year of his presidency.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2008 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA’s use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman’s largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks — tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA’s offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, “Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills.” When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, “cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file.” The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha’s nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts …

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly “forget” to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow “forgot” about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making “campaign contributions” to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: “The reigning member of Congress’ top tax committee is apparently ‘wrangling’ other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles…Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him.” Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That’s why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.

Where have all the dollars gone? 1

Verum Serum lists the Ten Most Ridiculous Uses of Stimulus Funds:

10. A $427,824 research grant to design better video games for senior citizens based on their unique “game-play needs”.

9. Funding of a Dartmouth College study involving “sexual arousal in anesthetized female rats” ($9,870).

8. Funding of a $168,300 SBA loan to the Escape Massage parlor in Midlothian, VA.

7. Funding a $447,492 Univ. of North Carolina study on the development and use of “African American English” amongst 70 adolescents.

6. $10,346 for a heating and cooling company to provide “escort services” for other companies performing a laser scanning survey at a courthouse in Honolulu, Hawaii.

5. An academic study comparing outcomes of the concurrent and separate use of malt liquor and marijuana ($389,357).

4. A $225,000 study at Ohio State University on the relative and combined impacts of air pollution and a high fat diet on obesity development.

3. A $712,883 research grant to develop “machine-generated humor“. Project will design artificially intelligent “comedic performance agents”, and will “deploy them both on and off-line for the enjoyment and illumination of everyday citizens”.

2. A $54 million project to relocate one bridge for the Napa Valley Wine Train in order to mitigate the possible impact of a “100 year storm event”.

1. $9.3 million to fund the design and development of a “coordinated colony of robotic bees“!

Update: [A] grand total of 19.79 jobs were reported to have been created as a result of this spending. That’s 19.79 jobs for $65.7 million in federal spending, or roughly $3.3 million per job. This calculation comes from the job totals reported to Recovery.gov by the recipients, although it does not include any possible jobs created from the SBA loan to the massage parlor (apparently SBA loan recipients aren’t required to report this). It also includes 2 jobs which were reported as having been created for the “escort” boondoggle to Hawaii, which were apparently generated by a grant of only $10K.

The thinning of America 0

Is it possible that food could become scarce in America? It could and would become more expensive if cap-and-trade legislation is passed. The progressive elite who run the world on opinions do not think eating should have a high priority among human concerns.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

If the cap-and-trade provisions of the Waxman-Markey bill become law, you can wave goodbye to those amber waves of grain as America’s heartland falls victim to a perverse set of incentives and a process called “afforestation.” Soybeans and wheat will give way to elms and oaks. … [A] study, which was released by the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] earlier this month, reckons that as a result of cap-and-trade, farmers with energy-intensive crops would see their cost of production go up 10% over the next 50 years. Couple that with the money to be made from carbon offsets, and it may not be long before we’re unable to see the farms for the trees.

The USDA projects that under cap-and-trade … fuel costs will rise as much as 5.3% from 2012 to 2018. “The conclusion of all the studies remains the same: that cap-and-trade has the potential to devastate the agricultural community with higher energy prices,” says Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Food prices have risen worldwide as farmland has been converted to the production of energy-deficient biofuels such as ethanol. They’ll rise even further as valuable acreage is taken offline for the planting of trees to absorb the carbon dioxide that was declared to be a pollutant in need of regulation. …

When the enemy was Big Agriculture, Willie Nelson started Farm-Aid and elites lined up to save the family farm. Now, it seems, saving the planet is more important. Who really needs cheap and plentiful food when we can hug trees and get rid of all those pesky barnyard animals and their greenhouse-gas emissions in the process?

Obama’s world of make-believe 0

We applaud Dick Cheney for saying this last Tuesday, December 29 (reported by Politico):

As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war.

He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war.

He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war.

He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war.

He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war.

But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe.

Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society.

President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, government, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Progressivism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Dodd’s choice 0

Among the Democrats most guilty of causing the world-wide economic crisis by forcing financial institutions to provide mortgages to folk who couldn’t afford them – a roll of dishonor that includes Bill Clinton and Barney Frank  - is Senator Chris Dodd.

What other bad decisions has he made? Here’s an interesting snippet of information from the Washington Examiner:

Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it’s worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.

Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.” The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd’s ill-fated presidential bid.

How much harm he did by this may not be measurable, but his doing it is a measure of the man.

Ah tut 1

It turns out that two of the terrorist leaders, now in Yemen, who plotted Abdulmutallab’s intended Christmas Day atrocity over Detroit, were released from Guantanamo in November 2007.

Their names: Said Ali al-Shihri and Muhammad Attik al-Harbi (since changed to Muhammad al-Awfi).

They were flown off to Saudi Arabia, there to be healed of the tragic affliction of their souls which, compassion junkies believe, compelled them to be torturers and killers.

The magic cure was ART THERAPY.

Yes. Designing tiles or whatever non-representational art Islam permits.

Michelle Malkin tells us more about them:

In January 2009, the two “rehabilitated” recidivists released a video vowing to wage jihad to “aid the religion,” “establish the rightly guided caliphate” and ” fight against our enemies.” One of the duo, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September 2008.

So art therapy doesn’t work for terrorists?

Can we think of anything else that might be worth a try?

The spoils of war 1

From a military point of view, the Iraq war was an American (or coalition) success. Bush’s surge gained a military victory. And it must be counted as a great good that the sadistic despot Saddam Hussein was overthrown and executed.

From an historian’s point of view, however, not much has been accomplished. There have been elections, yes, but they do not make Iraq a democracy. It is governed by sharia law, and sharia and Western liberal democracy are not only dissimilar, they are incompatible.

How much benefit has America itself reaped from its investment of dollars, lives, blood, sweat and tears ?

On December 18, Diana West wrote about the surge and its success:

Step One worked. Step Two didn’t. The surge, like an uncaught touchdown pass, was incomplete. The United States is now walking off the battlefield with virtually nothing to show for its blood, treasure, time and effort. In fact, another “success” like that could kill us. … When Iraq staged one of the biggest oil auctions in history last week, U.S. companies left empty-handed. Russia, China and Europe came out the big winners.

Today she writes:

So much for the lack of post-surge U.S. business benefits in Iraq, as I wrote last week. Now, what kind of post-surge ally is Iraq?

No kind.

I write in wonder that the ultimate failures of the surge strategy — which include the failure of anything resembling a U.S. ally to emerge in post-Saddam Iraq – have never entered national discourse. Rather, the strategy that “won Iraq” has been mythologized as a “success” to be repeated in Afghanistan.

It’s not that there aren’t hints to the contrary — as when … 42 percent of Iraqis polled by the BBC in March 2008 still thought it “acceptable” to attack U.S. forces. Or when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, as U.S. forces transferred security responsibilities to Iraqi forces in June, obstreperously declared “victory” over those same U.S. forces! …

Of greater consequence are the positions against U.S. interests Iraq is taking in world affairs.

Take the foundational principle of freedom of speech, continuously under assault by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the international arena. The OIC includes the world’s 57 Muslim nations as represented by kings, heads of state and governments, with policies overseen by the foreign ministers of these same 57 nations. Describing itself as the “collective voice of the Islamic world,” the OIC strives to extend Islamic law throughout the world, and to that end, is the driving force at the United Nations to outlaw criticism of Islam (which includes Islamic law) through proposed bans on the “defamation of religions” — namely, Islam. This is a malignant thrust at the mechanism of Western liberty. Where does post-surge Iraq come down in this crucial ideological struggle?

An OIC nation, Iraq is, with other OIC nations, a signatory to the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This declaration defines human rights according to Islamic law, which prohibits criticism of Islam. Indeed, Iraq’s U.S.-enabled 2004 constitution enshrines Islamic law above all. Little wonder Iraq consistently votes at the United Nations with the OIC and against the United States on this key ideological divide between Islam and the West, most recently in November.

Then there’s Iran.

Iran may be a menace to the West, but it is also Iraq’s largest trading partner. … This disastrous fact should dampen — at least enter into — assessments of the surge strategy’s “success”.

But it doesn’t. Not even the fact that Bank Melli — the Iranian terror bank outlawed by the U.S. Treasury as a conduit for Iran’s nuclear and terrorist programs — operates a branch in Baghdad gives pause to one-surge-fits-all enthusiasts. The Bank Melli example is particularly egregious because the bank funds Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force, which is responsible for innumerable American casualties in Iraq — American sacrifices on behalf of Iraq. Guess we’re supposed to look the other way. But that’s like applauding the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Iraq without noticing that the agreement prohibits the United States from attacking Iran (or any other country) from Iraq.

Iraq’s pattern of hostility to U.S. interests continues vis-a-vis Israel, a bona-fide U.S. ally against jihad terror. Whenever Israel strikes back at jihad — whether at Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon — post-Saddam Iraq is quick to condemn the Jewish state, which, not incidentally, it also continues to boycott with the rest of the Arab League. …

Onto Afghanistan.

… where, even if another military success were to be scored, the chance of that benighted land being transformed into anything significantly better is not just remote but less likely than a Yeti.

No offense meant, none taken 8

In a recent post on attempts by Jews to ‘remove Christmas from the public square’, Paul Mirengoff of Power Line – one of our favourite blogsquoted the historian John Steele Gordon as saying: ‘It has always seemed to me that it was not Jews but atheists (a religion of its own in that it is a belief system that is untestable) who have led the charge against public celebrations of Christmas as an “establishment of religion”.’

It is with the parenthetical assertion about atheism that we join issue. Atheism is not ‘a belief system’  - it is the absence of belief in the supernatural. The statement ‘God does not exist’ is not provable, but that does not make it a religious statement, a statement of faith. God’s non-existence does not impinge on any aspect of an atheist’s life or thought. It is not just that God is not watching or does not care. He is not there, at all, ever. The Christian deity lying in a manger, the miracle of the oil in the Hannukah candles, the flying Santa Claus are all  in the same category of idea: incredible, imaginary, supernatural. If an atheist wants such religious symbols to be banned, he or she is showing an irrational superstitious belief in their power, and deserves ridicule.

If some atheists object to any display of fairy folk, or God folk, or magic objects – provided worship of them is not required – it is not because their non-belief is offended, but because they decide to put on a show of being offended in order to make political points, to flex their political muscle. Such atheists are almost certain to be on the Left. I would guess that the Jews who object to nativity displays in public places at Christmas are also politically motivated, and that they too are on the Left. I cannot see how the deification of a Jewish boy should cause religious offense to those who do not believe it. Other people’s irrationality is their own business. Religious offense-taking is the hall-mark of leftist victim politics – and is invariably fraudulent.

C. Gee  December 29, 2009

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Judaism, Progressivism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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A success or a mess? 0

McCLATCHY reports:

As the U.S. and its allies try to overcome logistical hurdles and rush [?] some 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2010, intelligence officials are warning that the Taliban-led insurgency is expanding and that “time is running out” for the U.S.-led coalition to prove that its strategy can succeed.

‘Succeed’ at what? What will constitute success? Can anyone describe what Afghanistan will look like when ‘the US-led coalition’s strategy’ has succeeded?

The report goes on:

The Taliban have created a shadow “government-in-waiting,” complete with Cabinet ministers, that could assume power if the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai fails, a senior International Security Assistance Force intelligence official said in Kabul, speaking only on the condition of anonymity as a matter of ISAF policy.

As the Obama administration and its European allies face dwindling public and political support for the eight-year-old Afghan war, the Taliban now have what the official called “a full-fledged insurgency” and shadow governors in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, including those in the north, where U.S. and other officials had thought the Islamic extremists posed less of a threat.

The Taliban’s return to the northern provinces, including Baghlan, Kunduz and Taqhar … poses serious security, logistical and political problems for the U.S.-led ISAF and Karzai’s government.

The northern region is under the command of German forces, but they and other European contingents operate under restrictions imposed by their governments that limit offensive operations against the Taliban.

The Taliban now threaten the northern supply route that the ISAF established to supplement the vulnerable routes that run through Pakistan, where the U.S.-backed government is battling its own Islamic extremists and growing sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The Taliban in northern Afghanistan are sheltering among and recruiting from large communities of Pashtuns — descendants of settlers transplanted from the south in the early 20th century — fueling tensions with the Uzbeks and Tajiks who dominate the region.

At the same time, though, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens and Arabs linked to al Qaida have moved into northern Afghanistan with the Taliban, seeking to carry their jihad to the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and alarming Russia, which is grappling with Islamic insurgencies in the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan.

As the Taliban have extended their reach, they’ve also grown more formidable militarily by developing bigger and more effective improvised explosive devices. Insurgents have mounted 7,228 IED attacks so far this year, compared with 81 in 2003, and … the homemade bombs have even destroyed some Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, the most heavily armored U.S. troop transports….

So will success be a state of peaceful, happy co-existence among the Pashtuns, Uzbeks, and Tajiks? How likely is this?

Why are they in conflict with each other? What must change so that the ‘tensions’ between them will suddenly end? How can this be brought about?

What will make the Taliban abandon its intentions? What will have changed for them?

If by some remote chance the Karzai government found itself with an effective native fighting force, what would it do to achieve a pacified Afghanistan? Or will there be perpetual internecine war?

What might the US have gained by the time its army is pulled out? What does it want to gain?

We beg for enlightenment. Would someone who knows the answers please give them to us? We see nothing but a mess into which American troops have been plunged for no discernible reason, to fight and die with one arm tied behind their back, so to speak, for no defined or even definable goal.

Who really hates Obama? 2

Uncountable Republicans and conservatives express outrage over, loathing for, desperation about, fury with Obama, and are amply justified in doing so we believe.

But for sheer contempt for him and rage against him it would be hard to beat this rant – from the far left.

It comes from the pen, dipped in vitriol, of one David Michael Green, a professor of political science [!] at Hofstra University in New York.

His bitter denunciations and criticisms may in some instances coincide with ours, but they don’t of course arise for the same reasons. We deplore Obama’s rapid shifting of America to the left and his turning it into an impoverished, weak, welfare state.

Professor Green (how aptly named he is!) thinks that Obama is failing to take America far enough to the left, so that it is not rapidly becoming a disarmed, egalitarian utopia.

He hates Obama more for failing to transform America into a command-economy collective than we do for his failing to keep America free and strong.

He hates Obama so much – and this is truly astonishing – that he would rather have Sarah Palin as president if that would be the ultimate humiliation for ‘the little prick’.

That a man with such passionately leftist opinions as he obviously holds can become a professor of political science in an American university speaks volumes, if you’re looking for an explanation for how a disciple of the Marxist Saul Alinsky came to be elected to the presidency .

It can reasonably be assumed that the far left broadly shares the views uttered, or spat out, by Professor Green. But what did they expect? That as soon as he entered the Oval Office, Obama would nationalize every business, force the rural population on to collective farms, send all dissidents into re-education camps or forced-labor prisons, make heterosexual marriage illegal, execute Bush and Cheney, recall all American servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan and punish them for having fought there, force Israel to surrender to Hamas, give trillions of dollars to the Third World to put out ‘the fire’ that the Greens claim is ‘burning up the world’, make us wait all day in line for a loaf of bread at a state store and put our names down for medical treatment at state-run hospitals in preparation for waiting patiently for years to be given the treatment that we might or might not eventually be allowed?

Has this Green, a professor of political science, never heard that politicians ‘cannot legislate too far ahead of public opinion’? Does he not realize, professor of political science though he is, that the Constitution and the institutions of government were designed to prevent such revolutionary change? The answer to both questions is, apparently not.

Here’s part of what he has to say (all of it can be found here):

You know, I’ve really been trying not to write an article every other week about all the things I don’t like about Barack Obama.

But the little prick is making it very hard.

Like any good progressive, I’ve gone from admiration to hope to disappointment to anger when it comes to this president. Now I’m fast getting to rage.

How much rage? I find myself thinking that the thing I want most from the 2010 elections is for his party to get absolutely clobbered, even if that means a repeat of 1994. And that what I most want from 2012 is for him to be utterly humiliated, even if that means President Palin at the helm. That much rage.

Did this clown really say on national television that “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of you know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street”?!?!

Really, Barack? So, like, my question is: Then why the hell did you help out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street?!?! Why the hell did you surround yourself with nothing but Robert Rubin proteges in all the key economic positions in your government? Why did you allow them to open a Washington branch of Goldman Sachs in the West Wing? Why have your policies been tailored to helping Wall Street bankers, rather than the other 300 million of us, who just happen to be suffering badly right now?

Are you freakin’ kidding me??? What’s up with the passive president routine, anyhow, Fool? …

But, really, are you going to spend the next three interminable years perfecting your whiney victim persona? I don’t really think I could bear that. Hearing you complain about how rough it all is, when you have vastly more power than any of us to fix it? Please. Not that.

Are you going to tell us that “I did not run for office to be shovel-feeding the military-industrial complex”? But what they’re just so darned pushy?

“…I did not run for office to continue George Bush’s valiant effort at shredding the Bill of Rights. It’s just that those government-limiting rules are so darned pesky.”

“…I did not run for office to dump a ton of taxpayer money into the coffers of health insurance companies. It’s just that they asked so nicely.”

“…I did not run for office to block equality for gay Americans. I just never got around to doing anything about it.”

“…I did not run for office to turn Afghanistan into Vietnam. I just didn’t want to say no to all the nice generals asking for more troops.”

Here’s a guy who was supposed to actually do something with his presidency, and he’s … being punked by John Boehner, for chrisakes. He’s being rolled by the likes of Joe Lieberman. He calls a come-to-Jesus meeting with Wall Street bank CEOs, and half of them literally phone it in. Everyone from Bibi Netanyahu to the Japanese prime minister to sundry Iranian mullahs is stomping all over Mr. Happy.

And he doesn’t even seem to realize it.

Did you see him tell Oprah that he gave himself “a good solid B+” for his first year in office? And that it will be an A, if he gets his healthcare legislation passed?

Somebody please pick me up and set me back on my chair, wouldya? …

I can’t even begin to describe how insulting Obama conducting a “jobs summit” is to me, or what an unbelievably ham-fisted piece of public relations that was for the White House, which is increasingly showing itself not just to be sickeningly regressive, but also fully inept. I think I speak for a whole lot of Americans when I say that, one year into his stewardship over a destroyed economy that was actually atomizing for at least six months before inauguration day, I don’t want my president sitting around a table, running a dog-and-pony show, pretending to kick around ideas on how to generate jobs. I wanted him to have those ideas, himself, before he was inaugurated. …

If Democrats think they’ll be screwed next November because of unemployment, wait till Congress passes this healthcare monstrosity. Or doesn’t. At this point, either way they’re gonna get slammed for it, and rightly so.

If they don’t pass anything, they will be seen as unable to govern. …

On the other hand, the Democrats and their hapless president are probably in worse shape if they actually pass this legislation. Especially now that it’s been stripped of nearly every real progressive reform imaginable, it has become an incredibly stupid bill, from the political perspective. …

This will be a total train wreck for the Democratic Party … You know, elite Republicans may be sociopaths, and they may be lower on the moral totem pole than your basic cannibal, but they’re not stupid. I bet they’re salivating at the idea that this thing passes. I bet they’d even have Olympia Snowe vote for it if necessary, just to put it over the top. They must be laughing their asses off at this gift. All they have to do is oppose it right down the line, then say “Told ya so!” at the next election, squashing the pathetic Demognats, one after the next. …

This is President Nothingburger’s great gift to America, along with doing nothing about jobs, doing nothing about the Middle East, nothing about civil liberties, nothing about civil rights, and now doing nothing at Copenhagen. Regarding the latter, the world is literally on fire, and he jets in, gives a speech haranguing the delegates that “Now is not the time for talk, now is the time for action”, then splits even before the vote in order to beat the snowstorm headed to the east coast that might delay him getting home to his comfy bed. I’m not kidding. You can’t make this shit up, man.

This guy is killing me, though at the same time I still can’t quite figure him out. …

Is he just massively deluded? I wouldn’t have thought so, but watching the guy give himself a very good grade for 2009 straight face and all during the same year he’s lost twenty points off his job approval rating, and at a moment when even blacks and gays are deserting him, you know, you have to wonder.

Is he happy just to be a one-term president just to say he’s been there and done that, and then sell some more books even if he is reviled as one of the worst in history? … Obama looked like he could’ve been something different. He ain’t. …

Fine and dandy. With the help of political enemies like this, the conservative right may regain the White House in 2012. Strange, though, to have to welcome such allies!

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