The admirable Douglas Murray is interviewed intelligently on Canadian TV about the pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests erupting in the capitals of Europe.
UN watch 4
July 23, 2014. The United Nations holds an emergency session on the battle in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force destroys the invasion-tunnels and rocket bases of the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
Delegates from countries that specialize in mass murder, such as Sudan, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, accuse Israel of “war crimes”. Most of the rest of the world’s delegates are on the terrorists’ side too.
A lone voice defends Israel, and accuses its accusers. It is the voice of Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
The United Nations must be destroyed.
When all the news is depressing or fearful, it’s great to have a good laugh. Even if the laugh is a trifle hysterical.
We laughed that sort of laugh at this story from the Washington Free Beacon:
The National Science Foundation has committed $10 million to build robots that will act as “personal trainers” for children, in an effort to influence their behavior and eating habits.
The government has spent $2.15 million so far for the five-year project, which is being led by Yale University. The project, “Robots Helping Kids,” will ultimately “deploy” robots into homes and schools to teach English as a second language, and encourage kids to exercise.
The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated socially assistive’ robots, designed to help children learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises”, according to a news release by Yale University …
“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study. “What we want to do is move these robots out of the laboratory and into schools and homes and clinics, places where we can directly help children on a day-to-day basis,” he said. …
“The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians,” the [NSA providers of] the grant said.
Scassellati envisions the robots influencing nearly every aspect of children’s lives.
“We want them to help children learn language, we want to help them learn better eating habits, we want them to learn new social or cognitive skills through their interactions with these robots,” he said. …
Social skills with robots. Interaction with robots who must therefore, presumably, also have social skills. This truly is a brave new world!
Of course kids will probably love having a robot as a pet and companion. Better than a doll or a stuffed bear!
But will the robot be sending info back to a mad professor or the state? We guess so. “He didn’t eat his salad today.” “She quarreled with a classmate.”
The kids will be in the constant presence of a spy. Nurturing a serpent in their little bosoms.
The project is seeking to create robots that could be personal companions to children for up to a year. Scassellati said he wants to “build a healthy relationship of trust and respect between the child and the robot.”
Respectful robots! They may spy on you, but they’ll do it respectfully.
“At the end of five years we’d like to have robots that can guide a child toward long-term educational goals, be customized for the particular needs of that child, and basically grow and develop with the child,” he said. “We want the robot to be the equivalent of a good personal trainer.”
The NSF has allotted $10 million for the study through 2017. The grant is one of the highest amounts the agency dispenses.
The University of Southern California, MIT, Stanford, and Tufts University are listed as partners for the project. Willow Garage, a personal robotics company, is also participating in the research. …
We bet they are. Most lucratively.
Scassellati said the robots would “not replace” humans, but provide additional attention and guidance for children. The research is focusing on both “regularly developing children and those with social or cognitive deficits.” Some of Scassellati’s prior research has focused on how robots can help kids with Autism.
Did you think the do-good factor, the “help” because “we care” factor would be missing? The state always exercises totalitarian control only for your own good.
“If we’re successful in this, we think we can make a real difference in the lives of children,” he said.
We don’t doubt it for a moment. The personal robot scheme will serve the government’s indoctrination purposes much better even than compulsory pre-kindergarten schooling could. Now the state will be with you 24/7. You’ll have no secrets from it. It’ll be in bed with you, at the table with you, in the bathroom with you, at school with you. And it will be fun! This is how you’ll come to love Big Brother.
“And we think that we can produce some of the most interesting, the most engaging, and the most competent social robots that we’ve ever seen.”
You could make them pretty too, Brian. The things could have the look of this or that Hollywood star, for instance.
Considering the official prurience of the state these days, they will very likely be programmed to teach the kids practical sex. No holds barred, of course. (Sado-masochism is strongly advised by state-supported institutions right now.)
Loads of fun for the next generation coming up! Who said that the age of American vision ended with the close of its space exploration?
And – parents – note that the interesting, engaging, competent companion of your kid will not need feeding. It won’t consume the teeniest bite of the arugula, kale, broccoli, coarse bread and dandelion tea that it will prescribe for you and yours.
Brace yourselves for its constant (respectful) criticism though. It will be there to keep you in line too. Can’t risk your preferences or bad influence of any sort undoing its good work.
Terrorists have got hold of nuclear materials that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction, according to Reuters.
Why were nuclear materials in Iraq at all? Once there, why were they not well guarded?
Where did Iraq obtain them? From Iran?
This is from Yahoo News:
Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.
Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”
“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” said Alhakim.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
A US government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon. Another US official familiar with security matters said he was unaware of this development raising any alarm among US authorities.
Not very reassuring statements, those.
Might there not be alarm among US authorities that is being kept secret?
The terrorist organization that has captured the stuff is of course ISIS, now “the Islamic State”.
“The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad,” Alhakim wrote.
Iraq acceded to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material on Monday, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The convention requires states to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.
“It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences,” according to the IAEA.
And just what are the theoretically co-operating states going to do about it?
Here is a news video of citizens rising in revolt on “Independence weekend” – a fitting time to choose.
Some residents of Murrieta, California – a small “bedroom” town of 106,000 – protest against 140 illegal immigrants from Central America, some of them sick with infectious diseases, being brought in buses from the border and dumped on them by federal agents.
The problem needs to be fixed at a federal level, says Alan Long, the mayor of Murrieta. “The problem is in Washington, D.C.”
Right. And its name is Obama.
Once again we display the picture of Obama as the Pied Piper, bringing a stream of children from distant parts into the United States.
Why? Because the Obama Gang in charge of America actually did bring a stream of children over the border. Obama abducted 65,000 children. Organized the abduction and paid for it (with taxpayers’ money).
Thomas Lifson at American Thinker reports this smoking-gun news:
The Obama administration’s claim to have been surprised by the wave of children flooding over our borders may turn out to be another political lie of the year.
Sundance of Conservative Treehouse noticed a very peculiar advertisement:
On January 29th of this year, the federal government posted an advertisement seeking bids for a vendor contract to handle “Unaccompanied Alien Children“. Not just any contract mind you, but a very specific contract – for a very specific number of unaccompanied minors: 65,000.
Why would DHS and ICE be claiming “surprise” by the current influx of unaccompanied minors on the border in June, when they were taking bids for an exact contract to handle the exact situation in January?
Secondly, how could they possibly anticipate 65,000 unaccompanied minors would be showing up at the border, when the most ever encountered in a previous year was 5,000 total?
The bid specifics are even more suspicious:
The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles.There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air.
In addition, the Contractor shall have personnel who are able to communicate with juveniles in their own designated language(s).
Link to the ad here.
Is this a plan to overwhelm the welfare system of the US? A further effort to engineer total breakdown of the economy?
Even our deeply disgusted view of Obama has proved to be too lenient. He is capable of greater evil than even we had thought.
They abducted the children from their homes. They pretended that it was legal for them to enter the US. The misleading news spread and more and more children were drawn to start on the long road to the US border. Whatever care the paid agents were supposed to exercise during the migration of the children, we know it has been insufficient. Not all have been transported over ground or by air. Many have travelled alone, and many have died on the journey. Many have have been abused, forced into prostitution, and some of them have been killed.
This is not just bad government by bad people. It is a reign of monsters.
Continuing from our post below, Civil war in Iraq …
As so often of late, the fullest reporting of events in the Middle East is to be found in the Daily Mail. (Its report is also lavishly illustrated with dramatic pictures.)
The battle for Baghdad is nigh: Thousands of men answer Iraqi government’s call to arms as ISIS jihadists bear down on capital
- Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken over Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and town of Tikrit
- Government forces have stalled the militants’ advance near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad
- ISIS’s goal is to create a Islamic caliphate (state) - it already controls territory in eastern Syria and western/central Iraq
- Iraq’s parliament were to hold an emergency session today but it was postponed due to an opposition boycott
- Kurdish forces are in full control of Iraq’s oil city of Kirkuk after the federal army abandoned their posts
- Iran has sent special forces and a unit of elite troops to Iraq to assist the Iraqi government halt the advance
- Turkey is negotiating for the release of 80 nationals held by Islamist militants in Mosul
- Iraqi air force is bombing insurgent positions in and around Mosul – 1.3 million citizens still remain in the city
(Much detail follows.)
Now that Iranian special forces are coming to the aid of their Shiite brethren in Baghdad, the outcome of the battle for the city is less likely to be another victory for the Sunni forces of ISIS.
From the same source:
Iraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk today as the central government’s army abandoned its posts in a rapid collapse that has lost it control of the north.
Peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into Kirkuk after the army abandoned its posts there …
Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital.
The swift move by their highly organized security forces demonstrates how this week’s sudden advance by fighters of the Al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has redrawn Iraq’s map.
We reckon the map of Iraq, and of the whole region, will need to be drawn many times in the coming months – and maybe years. Iran is not likely to tolerate an ISIS – ie Sunni – conquest of Iraq. And if it has it’s armies there, it is in a strong position to attack Israel.
If ISIS were to take Baghdad, it plans to move on to attempt seizing control of Jordan, Gaza, Sinai, and Lebanon. It’s ultimate target in the region is also, of course, Israel.
What will Hamas do? More importantly, what will Egypt do?
Britain is offering humanitarian aid to Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki.
The US will … ?
President Bush’s victory in Iraq, such as it was, has been thrown away by President Obama.
The pro-Iranian Shiite government cannot hold the country together. The Sunni terrorist organization, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), an al-Qaeda offshoot grown into an effective army, has taken Fallujah, Mosul, and Tikrit, and is marching on Baghdad.
This is from DebkFile:
Under its commander, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Al Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Levant – ISIS – formed up Wednesday night, June 6, to march on Baghdad in two columns – one from Tikrit, which fell a few hours earlier, to Taji, just 20 km from the capital; the second from Tuz Khormato, 55 km south of the northern oil center of Kirkuk.
The Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the last two divisions and six mechanized brigades, totaling 50,000, still operational out of his million-strong army, to build a defensive line to save Baghdad and the seat of Iraqi government from the enemy.
But it remains to be seen how these units perform, given the way the 3rd and 4th divisions supposed to have defended Mosul and the central Salahuddin province melted away under Al Qaeda onslaughts Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11.
Al-Baghdadi has assigned the second column heading for Baghdad the additional task of wrapping up Islamist control of the eastern province of Diyala on the Iranian border.
The first column will approach the capital from the north; the second from the east. Suicide bombers have meanwhile fanned ahead of the columns to smash the roadblocks and military posts set up in their path to check their advance.
This week, Muslim extremists worldwide acclaimed the ISIS chief their hero. …
Al Qaeda’s march of conquest at incredible speed, while causing havoc and misery across Iraq, is also beginning to mutate from a terrorist assault into an insurgency. It is gathering up a growing following of disaffected Sunnis ready for revolt against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. Sunni Muslims account for around one-third of the Iraqi population of 35 million and their numbers are therefore in the region of 12 to 14 million.
Wednesday alone, in a lightening push, ISIS fighters captured the Iraqi oil refinery and electricity power center of Biji (Baiji), 200 km southeast of Mosul, torched the court and police buildings and warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them. They next moved south to seize Hawajah and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, 140 km northwest of Baghdad.
With the Mosul refinery, the Islamists now control Iraq’s northern oil refining facilities as well as the Biji power center which supplies Baghdad and Kirkuk with electricity. …
Various Sunni militias, who had never before followed al Qaeda – not during the American occupation, or even last year when ISIS began moving fighting strength from Syria to Iraq – [are] flocking to the ISIS campaign against Nuri al-Maliki.
Among them are not only demoralized army commanders, but adherents of the dictator Saddam Hussein’s secular Baath Party, who have come out of retirement to join the jihad against Shiite rule.
Wednesday night, the panic-stricken Al-Maliki accused Sunni politicians and army chiefs of “betraying the Iraqi motherland”. He refused to believe that Al Qaeda had been able unaided to conquer northern and central Iraq in a two-day blitz, unless it was the fruit of a long conspiracy carried out between the Islamists and Sunni leaders behind his back. The Iraqi prime minister alleged that the Sunni plotters against the government had provided Al-Baghdadi with intelligence, funds and arms caches ready for his fighters to use.
ISIS is well funded for the moment. This is what happened when it took Mosul, as we summarized this report for our Facebook page:
ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m – from Mosul’s central bank. A large quantity of gold bullion was also stolen. Following the siege of the country’s second city, the financial assets collected by the group are likely to worsen the Iraqi government’s struggle to defeat the insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic state across the Syrian-Iraqi border. They are in control of Mosul airport and local television stations. They also seized US-supplied military hardware. Photos show Isis parading captured Humvees in neighbouring Syria, where they are waging war against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Within hours of taking Mosul, ISIS also seized Tikrit. (Again, this is our summary. Read more here.)
Over 500,000 refugees from Mosul fled to Tikrit after Mosel was taken over on Tuesday by the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Now ISIS has attacked Tikrit (only 95 miles north of Baghdad). They have freed some 300 inmates of a city prison. Local authorities have reported mass beheadings throughout the city. Who’s to blame? Politicians point fingers at security forces and Maliki. The governor of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, Ethyl Najafi, held Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally responsible for Mosul’s takeover by the ISIS, insisting that it is the result of a systemically weak government. He accused Iraqi military leaders of pulling out of the northern city and giving al-Maliki false reports just hours before the Islamists seized the city. He demanded that military leaders be put on trial for the failure. “Military commanders and the Iraqi army in Mosul vanished,” he said. “What happened in Nineveh is a collapse of the Maliki government. The absence of security and military forces in Mosul made it easier for ISIS and all groups that reject al-Maliki’s policy to take the city.” Najafi cited reports that ISIS has been cooperating with other Sunni militias, as well as cooperating with the Syrian regime. He said civilians in Mosul would form popular committees – or leave – and not look to the Iraqi government for protection.
Fifteen of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members have received $180.8 million in EPA grants since 2000. One CASAC panelist (Ed Avol of USC) received $51.7 million!
Repeat: $51.7 million dollars. Whatever did the man do to deserve that much tax-payers’ money? What unique skill has he acquired and uses to the enormous benefit of America or all mankind?
Read on to find out.
This is from Townhall, by Paul Driessen:
The Obama Environmental Protection Agency recently slashed the maximum allowable sulfur content in gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 ppm. The agency claims its new “Tier 3” rule will bring $7 billion to $19 billion in annual health benefits by 2030. “These standards are a win for public health, a win for our environment and a win for our pocketbooks,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy insists.
Note that name. She is one of the most dangerous sub-tyrants in the Obama administration.
It’s all hokum. Like almost everything else emanating from EPA these days, the gasoline regulations are a case study in how America’s economy, jobs, living standards, health and welfare are being pummeled by secretive, deceptive, and indeed fraudulent and corrupt government practices.
Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, America’s cars have eliminated some 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz. Since 2004, under Tier 2 rules, refiners have reduced sulfur in gasoline from an average of 300 ppm to 30 ppm – a 90% drop, on top of pre-2004 reductions. In addition, because newer cars start out cleaner and stay cleaner throughout their lives, fleet turnover is reducing emissions by 8 to10 percent per year, steadily improving air quality.
The net result, says a 2012 Environ International study, is that ground-level ozone concentrations will fall even more dramatically by 2022. Volatile organic pollutants will plummet by 62%, carbon monoxide by 51% and nitrous oxides by 80% – beyond reductions already achieved between 1970 and 2004.
EPA (which once promised to be ultra-transparent) claims its rules will add less than a penny per gallon to gasoline prices; but it won’t say how it arrived at that estimate. Industry sources say the Tier 3 rules will require $10 billion in upfront capital expenditures, an additional $2.4 billion in annual compliance expenses, significant increases in refinery energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, an extra 5-9 cents per gallon in manufacturing costs, which will certainly hit consumers at the pump.
But regardless of their ultimate cost, the rules will reduce monthly ozone levels by just 1.2 parts per billion during rush hour, says Environ. That’s equivalent to 12 cents out of $100 million or 1.2 seconds out of 32,000 years. These minuscule improvements could not even have been measured by equipment existing a couple decades ago.
Their contribution to improved human health will be essentially zero.
Not so, say the EPA, Sierra Club and American Lung Association (ALA). The rules will reduce asthma in “the children,” they insist. However, asthma incidences have been increasing, while air pollution has declined – demonstrating that the pollution-asthma connection is a red herring. The disease is caused by allergies, a failure to expose young children to sufficient allergens to cause their immune systems to build resistance to airborne allergens, and lack of sufficient exercise to keep lungs robust. Not surprisingly, a Southern California study found no association between asthma hospitalizations and air pollution levels.
Moreover, EPA paid the ALA $20 million between 2001 and 2010. No wonder it echoes agency claims about air quality and lung problems. The payments continue today, while EPA also funnels millions to various environmentalist pressure groups – and even to “independent” EPA scientific review panels – that likewise rubber stamp too many EPA pollution claims, studies and regulatory actions.
As Ron Arnold recently reported in The Washington Examiner, 15 of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members have received $180.8 million in EPA grants since 2000. One CASAC panelist (Ed Avol of USC) received $51.7 million!
The seven CASAC executive committee members pocketed $80.2 million. Imagine Big Oil paying that kind of cash to an advisory group, and calling it “independent.” The news media, government and environmentalists would have a field day with that one.
The Clean Air Act, Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12866 and other laws require that agencies assess both the costs and benefits of proposed regulations, adopt them only if their benefits justify their costs, and even determine whether a regulation is worth implementing at all. However, EPA and other agencies systematically violate these rules, routinely inflate the alleged benefits of their rules, and habitually minimize or even ignore their energy, economic, health and social costs.
Reporting on a hearing held by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Arnold noted that CASAC members say they weren’t even aware that they are obligated to advise EPA on both benefits and costs. Former EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeff Holmstead testified, “As far as I know, CASAC never fulfilled this requirement as it relates to the ozone standard or any other” rule.
Former CASAC chairman Dr. Roger McClellan told Rep. Smith he did not think the panel “ever advised EPA to take account of the role of socioeconomic factors, unemployment or other risk factors” adversely affecting people’s health. Another former CASAC member testified that the advisory committee was not even “allowed to discuss any of the adverse consequences” associated with new rulemakings.
EPA regulations impose countless billions of dollars in annual impacts on the US economy, according to studies by the Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute and Government Accountability Office. Estimates of total compliance costs for all federal regulations range to nearly $2 trillion per year. Some may bring benefits, but many or most also inflict significant harm on human health.
They mean millions of layoffs, far fewer jobs created, and steadily declining quality of life for millions of Americans, who cannot heat and cool their homes properly, pay the rent and mortgage, or save for retirement. …
In another example, EPA justifies its onerous carbon dioxide regulations by asserting that Earth’s climate is highly sensitive to C02, hypothesizing every conceivable carbon cost, and imputing huge monetized damages from hydrocarbon use and CO2 emissions ($36/ton of CO2 emitted). It completely ignores even the most obvious and enormous job, health and welfare benefits of using fossil fuels; even the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels for food crops, forests and grasslands; and even the harmful effects that these regulations are having on energy prices and reliability, and thus people’s jobs, health and welfare.
The EPA, ALA and CASAC likewise insist that new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards for coal-fired power plants will bring huge health benefits. However, the mercury risks were hugely overblown, the proclaimed dangers from fine particulates were contradicted by EPA’s own illegal experiments on human subjects – and the agency never assessed the health and welfare damage that the MATS rules will impose by causing the loss of 200,000 jobs and 23,000 megawatts of reliable, affordable electricity by 2015.
So who is Ed Avol, and what did he do to earn $51.7 million of your money?
He is Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, specializing in “respiratory health, air pollution and the public health impacts of traffic”.
Here he is.
And what did he do?
He rubber-stamped the tyrannous rulings of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Citoyons – is this not cause, and is it not time, to rebel?