Dream speech 0

Obama delivered a commencement speech at the US Military Academy at West Point which was studded with ironies.

From the Washington Post:

Obama pledged to shape a new “international order” based on diplomacy and engagement.

His presidency has been notable for diplomatic failures and not a single success. As for “engagement”, his obstinate persistence in trying to “engage” Iran has given it all the time it needed to develop nuclear bombs and build the ballistic missiles to deliver them. But a record of failure does not prompt Obama to reconsider his policy.

“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation,” he said. “We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”

Just where has he “steered currents in the direction of liberty and justice”? Where has he got nations that do not “meet their responsibilities” to “face consequences”? Russia invaded Georgia, took and occupied two of its provinces, and Obama has not done a thing about it. What international cooperation has there been to make Russia withdraw?

“The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times,” he said in prepared remarks. “Countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing its wounds.”

He may be seeking such an international order, but he’s done nothing to bring it about. Far from “countering violent extremism and insurgency” he refuses even to name the perpetrators of it (Muslims) and the cause they serve (Islam). If he hoped his audience would assume he meant Iraq and Afghanistan, it should be remembered that he was always against the war in Iraq, has shown reluctance to win decisive victory in Afghanistan, and has told the enemy the dates when he’ll withdraw American troops from both battlefields regardless of whether anything that could be called victory has by then been achieved.

On “securing nuclear materials” he held a useless international conference, when Canada and one or two other non-belligerent states promised not to give fissile material to terrorists, but no real danger was eliminated.

And then he comes on to the tired and stupid mantra “combating climate change”. Combating climate? It’s a primitive and ignorant notion. Call in the rainmakers, or cool makers, or warm makers, and let them start their chants!

“Sustaining global growth”? How he feeds the buzz-words (such as “sustaining”) to his far left constituency and at the same time tries to give the impression that he is on the side of prosperity (“global growth”). But his flowery phrasing cannot conceal his lack of understanding.

In Iraq, he said, the United States is “poised” to end its combat operations this summer, leaving behind “an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant.”

Since Obama came to office, there has been far less reporting of terrorist activity in Iraq by the anti-Bush and pro-Obama media. But in fact terrorism in that arrondissement of hell has not stopped. Lately it has intensified. The chances of Iraq becoming stable, “giving no haven to terrorists”, and evolving in this century into a truly democratic state are not worth betting on.

To address the military at all must, he knew, offend the far left constituency to which he long ago sold his soul. Much of his message was aimed at propitiating that radical left rather than reinforcing the morale of American soldiers.

Civilians, he added, must answer the call of service as well, by securing America’s economic future, educating its children and confronting the challenges of poverty and climate change.

His far left critics would understand that when he spoke of “securing America’s economic future” and “confronting the challenges of poverty and climate change” he meant with “green jobs” and redistribution. As for the education of children, they will take it to mean indoctrinating hapless kids with leftist ideology – a cause Obama served actively years ago in Chicago.

Here’s a dry summary of the speech by Arthur Herman in the National Review Online:

On Saturday, Pres. Barack Obama gave a commencement speech … which in effect told the thousand or so soon-to-be second lieutenants that, if he has his way, they’ll soon be out of a job.

Obama outlined for the cadets his vision of a new international order organized around bodies such as the United Nations. In Obama’s future, American military force will give way to American diplomacy joined together with new multilateral partnerships, while “stronger international standards and institutions” will replace unilateral assertion of national interests — including our own. Obama told West Point’s Class of 2010 that he sees them not battling our enemies but “combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth, [and] helping countries feed themselves” even as their citizens achieve their “universal rights.”

He’s still dreaming the dreams of his father.

“His home country” – Kenya 0

Posted under Africa, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, May 24, 2010

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To fatten a cat 0

Redistribution is Socialism. No need to go looking for some dead economist’s definition of the S word. If a central agency with the power of coercion, which is to say a government, takes money from some and distributes it to others, that is Socialism in practice.  The reach of government is widened, individual freedom narrowed.

It should not be called an economic system, because it cannot create wealth. It stultifies innovation and productivity. It kills incentive. It levels down. It is the primrose path to poverty.

Under the leadership of Obama and his gang of collectivists, redistribution is well under way in America. Change to Socialism is well under way.

And Obama’s vision is not just of a socialist America but of a socialist world.

The Investor’s Business Daily comments on how a small, failing, Chicago bank that – inter alia – redistributes US tax-payers’ money to Kenya (the homeland of Obama’s father) is kept going by effort of the redistributionists in the White House.

Sometimes banks are too small to fail, such as when they are in the president’s hometown, deal with the president’s friends and serve the president’s agenda. Or should we perhaps say too connected to fail?

ShoreBank’s Web site boasts: “Van Jones [Obama’s erstwhile ‘Environment Czar’ and admirer of Mao – JB] saves at ShoreBank so his money fights for green jobs just like he does.” …

While President Obama rails against the robber barons of Wall Street, the politically connected Chicago financial institution with a politically correct agenda gets a pass and gets a bailout all its own. It is the poster bank for hope and change.

Fox Business points out that “ShoreBank has ties to the Obama administration. Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior adviser and a fixture in Chicago politics (as was the president), served on the board of Chicago Metropolis 2020, a civic organization which was run by Adele Simmons, a director at ShoreBank.”

ShoreBank was in trouble and needed financial help, either from the government or other financial institutions that have already received government money.

Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., has joined Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., in a letter to Obama asking for records concerning ShoreBank and how it lined up at least  $125 million in capital from major banks to qualify for $75 million from the federal government.

ShoreBank has a history of making the very kind of risky loans that leftist agitators such as Acorn, with government help, pressured banks to do under the Community Reinvestment Act.

During his visit to Africa last year, Obama praised the bank for its involvement in projects in Kenya.

Kenya? Why is a struggling community bank in the Windy City involved in projects in Kenya? We hesitate to guess.

Ten other Illinois banks have already failed in 2010, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ShoreBank has reportedly received $20 million from General Electric, $20 million from Goldman Sachs and $20 million from Citigroup — with more promised by JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

Considering ShoreBank’s track record, is this where taxpayer money should be going?

Forgive us. We forgot for a moment about that whole sharing the wealth and redistribution thing. …

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” President Obama said in an interview on the CBS “60 Minutes” program.

He did run to fundamentally transform America — and if those banks are on Main Street and they follow Obama’s agenda, they get help from those fat cats now in thrall to the government, not to mention all the president’s friends. Pretty sweet deal.

When is illegality illegal? 2

Here’s a snippet of news carrying the whiff and flavor of American bureaucracy in the Age of Obama.

An official whose business it is to enforce the law says he will not “necessarily” enforce it.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

John Morton, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said… the agency intends to increase scrutiny of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

“If we’re going to bring about meaningful changes in behavior, you have to do that by focusing on the employer,” he said during a meeting with the Tribune editorial board. …

Echoing comments by President Barack Obama and others in the administration, Morton said that Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration is not “good government.” The law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally

Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials.

What part of “illegal” does this law enforcement officer not understand?

A success story 1

At last the day came when China and Russia agreed to support a US resolution in the UN Security Council that would make Iran regret it had defied the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, promise never to make nuclear bombs, stop threatening to destroy Israel, and utterly renounce its wicked ways.

As you can imagine, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton felt immensely triumphant – not so much because Iran would now be forced to do all that, but because getting Russia and China on their side had been really hard. It was especially great for Hillary, as she hadn’t achieved anything else to boast about since becoming Secretary of State.

What dire punishments, what unendurable difficulties, will the resolution impose on the Iranian regime?

Sorry, we can’t tell you. The draft of the resolution has not been made public.

However, some information about it comes from unofficial sources.

One report claims that it will ban Iran from building ballistic missiles. (Which it has already done, without permission.)

And what penalties will it impose if Iran disobeys? These:

It “calls on countries to block financial transactions, including insurance and reinsurance, and ban the licensing of Iranian banks if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe these activities could contribute to Iranian nuclear activities.”  And it “recalls the need for states to exercise vigilance over all Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, to prevent transactions contributing to proliferation activities.”

“Calls on them to”, and “recalls the need to”, but does not require them to do so.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, says it will give “greater teeth” to some sanctions already imposed which haven’t proved effective, and “add strong new measures to intensify pressure on the Iranian government to resolve concerns that its nuclear program is peaceful and not aimed at producing nuclear weapons.”

And that seems to be the most that can be hoped of it.

“The draft resolution is weaker than the original Western-backed proposal, especially on financial and energy-related measures. Rather than place sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, the proposed resolution simply notes the potential connection between Iranian energy revenues and funding for the country’s nuclear program and calls on U.N. members to be aware of it.”

The draft was introduced into the Security Council last Tuesday. (It was urgent, Ambassador Rice said, but she “wouldn’t speculate on when the resolution will be put to a vote”.)

On the day before, Iran announced an agreement it had made with Turkey and Brazil [?] to send some if its low-enriched uranium to Turkey (which has as yet no enrichment facility), in exchange for higher-enriched fuel rods – which Iran will use only in an innocent medical research reactor, built long ago for Tehran by the United States. (And meanwhile, of course, it will continue with its own high-enrichment program.)

But if Iran had hoped that this little ruse, this piece of side-play with Turkey and Brazil, would thwart the resolve of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, it was underestimating the stuff they’re made of! They pressed on, confident that Russia and China were right behind them.

That is, if those two powers stuck to their side of the bargain.

The US had had to pay a price for their co-operation.

First, various provisions had to be stripped from the draft before either of them would even consider giving their nods to it.

Chiefly, the one sanction that would really hurt Iran, aimed at its oil and gas industries, had to be removed. Both China and Russia had invested too heavily in them to allow anything like that.

Next, according to another report, they had to drop sanctions against three Russian organizations that had aided Iran’s nuclear program (and that until now the Russian government had denied were giving any support at all to Iran). And “penalties against a fourth Russian entity previously accused of illicit arms sales to Syria were also lifted” as part of the deal. So were “US sanctions imposed in October 2008 against Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport for … illicit assistance to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Now Iran may expect aid from Russia to resume or continue. (And so may Syria.)

Then China had to be paid. Part of China’s demand was that America should take no notice of certain nuclear-related transactions it has made with Pakistan, in particular its contracts to build two reactors in that country, which is already a nuclear power.

Pakistan in its turn is providing nuclear and ballistic missile technologies to both Iran and North Korea.

And North Korea has announced that it is developing a hydrogen bomb – a claim that the Obama administration refuses to believe. (North Korea recently torpedoed a South Korean ship, and warned that any retaliation will mean all-out war.)

So let’s say well done Barack, Hillary, and Susan! And thank you for keeping us safe.

Many worlds, and worlds within worlds 0

Speaking of beheadings by Muslims (which we were yesterday – see the post below, An horrific murder scene): Daniel Pearl has been mis-remembered by Obama.

Pearl’s decapitation was shudderingly appalling, and the pious Muslims who butchered him were absolutely evil. It is also irritatingly, painfully, maddeningly true that Pearl acted stupidly when he deliberately sought out Islamic terrorists. Why did he not know that they would capture, torture, and kill him?  Did he think that as a journalist he was immune? Or did he feel his liberalism was adequate armor?

These are questions that cannot be answered. But the question of why Obama ignores the plain meaning of Pearl’s martyrdom and tries to endow it with a completely different one needs examination. And examined it is by Mark Steyn:

[Obama] came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the “Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act.” Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That’s how I’d put it. This is what the president of the United States said:

Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.”

Now Obama’s off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he’s talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased’s family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it’s the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true. Indeed, for Obama, it’s the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.

Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: “The loss of Daniel Pearl.” He wasn’t “lost.” He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his “loss” merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none. …

But what did the “loss” of Daniel Pearl mean? Well, says the president, it was “one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination.” Really? Evidently it never captured Obama’s imagination because, if it had, he could never have uttered anything so fatuous. He seems literally unable to imagine Pearl’s fate, and so, cruising on autopilot, he reaches for the all-purpose bromides of therapeutic sedation: “one of those moments” – you know, like Princess Di’s wedding, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, whatever – “that captured the world’s imagination.”

Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite – that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don’t even need an “imagination.” Across the planet, the video of an American getting his head sawed off did brisk business in the bazaars and madrassahs and Internet downloads. Excited young men e-mailed it to friends, from cell phone to cell phone, from Karachi to Jakarta to Khartoum to London to Toronto to Falls Church, Virginia. In the old days, you needed an “imagination” to conjure the juicy bits of a distant victory over the Great Satan. But in an age of high-tech barbarism the sight of Pearl’s severed head is a mere click away. …

The latest appropriation that his “loss” “reminded us of how valuable a free press is.” It was nothing to do with “freedom of the press.” By the standards of the Muslim world, Pakistan has a free-ish and very lively press. The problem is that some 80 percent of its people wish to live under the most extreme form of Sharia, and many of its youth are exported around the world in advance of that aim. The man convicted of Pearl’s murder was Omar Sheikh, a British subject, a London School of Economics student, and, like many jihadists from Osama to the Pantybomber, a monument to the peculiar burdens of a non-deprived childhood in the Muslim world. The man who actually did the deed was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed in March 2007: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi.” But Obama’s not the kind to take “guilty” for an answer, so he’s arranging a hugely expensive trial for KSM amid the bright lights of Broadway.

Listen to his killer’s words: “The American Jew Daniel Pearl.” We hit the jackpot! And then we cut his head off. …

Daniel Pearl … [showed] in his calm, coherent final words [that he] understood why he was there:

“My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California, USA …”

He didn’t have a prompter. But he spoke the truth. That’s all President Obama owed him – to do the same.

But Obama cannot even bring himself to state the truth that the Fort Hood terrorist, the Pantybomb terrorist, and the Times Square terrorist are all Muslims waging Islam’s war against America. So we don’t think that it was out of mere laziness that Obama made such a feeble and unfitting statement when he had to say something about Daniel Pearl. We strongly suspect that Obama has no pity for Pearl, doesn’t feel horrified by his beheading, and doesn’t even believe that it was profoundly wrong.

An horrific murder scene 2

Here’s a link to a video of three men being beheaded.

The Northeast Intelligence Network explain why they provided it:

Amid much controversy, the Northeast Intelligence Network was the first “legitimate” Western web site that provided the West the ability to view al Qaeda “beheading” videos. We did so at that time as we believed that Americans and the people of the West were being deceived by Islamic apologists and others who depicted the Islamic method of execution as relatively quick and painless. The beheadings were referenced in media in an almost cavalier manner, failing to reflect the truly vicious nature of the act and the Islamists who performed the act. The truth is that the beheadings performed in accordance with Islamic (Sharia) law are anything but – they are absolutely horrific and gruesome – and represent unspeakable evil. …

The execution … of three “spies” by the Taliban in Pakistan was filmed and uploaded so it could be shared – as an Islamic rallying cry – with other Islamists who want to see the implementation of Worldwide Sharia.

The following video is extremely graphic and should NOT be viewed by anyone under 18, or those who are hypersensitive to the most horrific of murder scenes.

We are posting the following video so that every American who continues to believe that Sharia law is not a threat to the West, and that the adherents to fundamentalist Islam are peaceful. The following video evidence will illustrate otherwise.

Video (GRAPHIC)

Posted under Afghanistan, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Pakistan by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 21, 2010

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Wisdom 0

Bertrand Russell wrote of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (who preached the Second Crusade) that “his sanctity did not suffice to make him intelligent”. No doubt the same could be said of all religious leaders.

Tenzin Gyatsu is the present (14th) Dalai Lama, exiled from Tibet by China. “His Holiness” has been in New York this week, “giving teachings” as his website puts it. Thousands of Americans waited in line to learn wisdom from him.

He declares himself to be a Marxist because he thinks Marxism “has moral ethics”, though he’s noticed that capitalism makes people better off and “brings freedoms”.

Funny that he fell out with the rulers of China.

This comes from First Things:

No wonder the American left loves him.

The Dalai Lama admits to being a Marxist.

He should have told Obama. Maybe he wouldn’t have been forced to leave the White House through the trash door following their meeting in February.

AFP reported:

TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he’s a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to China, the communist country that exiled him.

“Still I am a Marxist,” the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.

“(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits,” the Dalai Lama, 74, said.

But –

“(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved,” he said.

According to Fox News he himself doesn’t get a penny of profit from his lecture tour:

During a press conference this week, the Dalai Lama said Marxism remains “the only economy system expressing concern of equal distribution (of wealth); that is moral ethics.”

He takes no payment for his appearances and asks that proceeds from ticket sales go for hunger relief and other charities. But he admits he doesn’t keep track of where the money goes. “This is up to the organizer,” he says. “I have no connection.”

Posted under Buddhism, China, Commentary, communism, Economics, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 21, 2010

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Man creates life 3

A man said, “Let there be life,” and there is life.

For the first time, living cells have been created in a laboratory.

Behold Synthia, the first laboratory-created life-form on earth.

Why is it not making major headlines in all media everywhere?

See this report in the Telegraph, from which we quote:

Dr Craig Venter, a multi-millionaire pioneer in genetics, and his team have managed to make a completely new “synthetic” life form from a mix of chemicals.

They manufactured a new chromosome from artificial DNA in a test tube, then transferred it into an empty cell and watched it multiply – the very definition of being alive.

The man-made single cell “creature”, which is a modified version of one of the simplest bacteria on earth, proves that the technology works.

Now Dr Venter believes organism, nicknamed Synthia, will pave the way for more complex creatures that can transform environmental waste into clean fuel, vaccinate against disease and soak up pollution. …

Dr Venter, a pioneer of genetic code sequencing and his team at the J Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, have been chasing the goal for more than 15 years at a cost of £30m.

First they sequenced the genetic code of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world’s smallest bacteria that lives in cattle and goats, and stored the information on a computer.

Then they used the computer code to artificially reproduce the DNA in the laboratory, slightly modifying it with a “watermark” so it was distinguishable from the original natural one.

Finally they developed a technique of stripping bacteria cells of all original DNA and substituting it with the new artificial code.

The resulting “synthetic cell” was then “rebooted” and it started to replicate. The ability to reproduce or replicate is considered the basic definition of life. …

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer,” said Dr Venter.

“This becomes a very powerful tool for trying to design what we want biology to do. We have a wide range of applications [in mind],” he said. …

While a major technological leap forward the life form is still incredibly simple in natural terms. Its DNA is made up of 485 genes, each strand of which is made up of one million base pairs, the equivalent of rungs on a ladder.

A human genome has 20,000 genes and three billion base pairs.

Nevertheless it is the beginning of the process that could lead to creation of much more complicated species, and into a world of artificial animals and people

Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, said: “Venter is creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history, potentially peeking into its destiny. …

“He is going toward the role of a god: creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally.

“The potential is in the far future, but real and significant: dealing with pollution, new energy sources, new forms of communication. But the risks are also unparalleled.

“We need new standards of safety evaluation for this kind of radical research and protections from military or terrorist misuse and abuse.

These could be used in the future to make the most powerful bioweapons imaginable.

Dr David King, director of the watchdog Human Genetics Alert, said: “What is really dangerous is these scientists’ ambitions for total and unrestrained control over nature, which many people describe as ‘playing God’.

We look forward to hearing what spokesmen for “God” will say about this.

Drawing Muhammad 0

None of us is a cartoonist, so to support Everybody Draw Muhammad Day – May 20, 2010 – we show all 12 of the original cartoons that were published by the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten 0n 30 September, 2005.

This is the best of them, by Kurt Westergaard.

In deliberately stirred-up rage over these drawings, Muslims killed at least 139 people in various countries, most of them during riotous protest rallies.

The right response to Muslim protest would have been for all the editors of all the newspapers in all the countries that claim to to be free, to re-published the cartoons by agreement on the same day.

Like all ideologies, Islam needs to be examined critically, challenged by reasoned argument, and subjected to jokes of all sorts, including cartoons.

“Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense.”                        – Mark Twain

Footnote: See a selection of today’s drawings of Muhammad here.


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