Second Lieutenant Magician needed by Coast Guard 0

Shortly before the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration decided to reduce the manpower, money, ships and helicopters of the Coast Guard.

Creeping Sharia reports on the proposed cuts:

· U.S. Coast Guard – Cuts 1,100 military positions, in addition to ships, aircraft and safety and security teams

· The FY 2011 President’s Budget requests $9.86 billion for the Coast Guard – which is a 0.24% decrease from the FY 2010 enacted level of $9.88 billion.

* Coast Guard asset cuts include decommissioning 4 of the service’s largest cutters; removing 5 HH-65 helicopters from service; eliminating 5 of 12 Maritime Safety and Security Teams; and reassigning 4 HH-60 helicopters & eliminating their work in drug law enforcement and anti-terrorism response.

U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), the Republican leader of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today said the Obama Administration was on a collision course with disaster by asking the U.S. Coast Guard to do more with less …

At a Congressional hearing today, Mica said it would take a new position of “Second Lieutenant Magician” for the U.S. Coast Guard to comply with the policy that was recommended in the 2011 Obama budget. In that February document, the Coast Guard budget was targeted for cuts of 1,100 uniformed positions, along with ships, aircraft and helicopters. …

In the hearing before the Subcommittee, the Coast Guard testified they were barely meeting their personnel and asset requirements to conduct their first responder and inspection duties on deepwater rigs and vessels in the Gulf.

When the biter’s bit 0

On the same day that Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey used terrorists  – aka “activists” – to provoke a confrontation with the Israeli navy, by sending them to defy Israel’s legitimate blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, so that 9 of them were killed by the Israeli Defense Force, Kurdish terrorists struck against the Turkish military, killing 12. Erdogan sent the Turkish air force to punish Kurds indiscriminately in Iraq, killing 120 of them, including a child.

The “democratic” government of Iraq made no objection. Neither did the (disgusting) UN nor the Obama administration – still the protecting power of Iraq – although the Kurds have proved themselves staunch US allies.

There have been no calls for an international inquiry, as into the killing of the 9 Turkish terrorists.

Here’s a report with some background information:

On the same day as the flotilla raid, Kurdish rebels attacked a Turkish naval base, killing 12 soldiers. Last week, Erdogan’s government responded with air strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Iraq that killed 120 people, including a 7-year-old girl.

There were no condemnations of Turkey for using “disproportionate” force, and no UN Security Council meetings regarding the latest flare-up of a 26-year conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

Some 30 million Kurds live in adjoining portions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. [They are] a distinct ethnic group without a country of their own.

For decades, Turkey has oppressed its Kurdish minority of 14 million people by forbidding the use of the Kurdish language and other symbols of national identity in state schools and government institutions. A Kurdish parliamentarian, Layla Zana, was expelled from parliament in 1994 and imprisoned a year later for daring to utter a single sentence in Kurdish from the podium.

The Rubber Duckies 2

The Financial Post has announced the winners of its annual Rubber Duck Awards for junk science.

It reports:

FP Comment’s 12th annual Junk Science Week comes to a triumphant close with today’s 2nd annual Rubber Duck Awards to recognize the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks who each year advance the principles of junk science. Junk Science occurs when scientific facts are distorted, when risk is exaggerated or discounted, when science is adapted and warped by politics and ideology to serve another agenda.

Among the winners we are delighted to see this one:

The Rubber Duck award in the climate category goes to Lord Oxburgh, who gave “peer review” a whole new meaning in rushing out the first whitewash of the Climategate scandal. He headed an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, from which the emails emerged, and concluded in record time that there was nothing to see here. Move along please.

Lord Oxburgh’s skimpy survey — which was carried out by a group distinctly free of skeptics — found in the CRU little more than a “small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers.” His Lordship found the CRU’s “loss” of data infinitely excusable, as also was its lack of statistical sophistication, even though its field was “fundamentally statistical.”

We were a little surprised, and felt a little foolish, when we heard about this one , because we’d been taken in by the claim:

There’s a great deal of chatter in the press and online about the tremendous US$1-trillion-dollar mineral “discovery” in Afghanistan headlined by The New York Times recently.  Few … seem to be questioning the value of the so-called discovery…  The US$1-trillion-dollar figure, at best, cannot be anything more than the wildest of hopeful guesses. …

When geologists find outcropping mineralization, or other signs that an economic deposit of minerals may be present, that is not called a discovery. Even if the signs come from the latest scientific equipment flown over the country, as the U.S. government appears to have used, the result is still just an anomaly: a hopeful indication of where to look. …

Once an anomaly is identified, it takes extensive and very expensive field work to determine the best locations for drilling holes in the ground, which you have to do to calculate a volume of mineralized rock, from which you can estimate the metal contained. …

But even after you drill off a deposit, and know how big it is, how deep it is, and roughly what’s in it, you still don’t know what it’s worth. For that, you have to conduct extensive testing on the mineralized material, not just to quantify the metals or other desirable minerals within but also to see if there are contaminants, or other elements present that can complicate, or even make impossible the economic recovery of the valuable mineral. …

Now, back to Afghanistan. A “small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists” cannot possibly have drilled off these deposits, let alone done the engineering required to value them. At very best, they’ve spotted some outcrops and taken some samples. This is not a discovery — no serious exploration geologist would call anything a discovery until enough holes have been drilled into it to outline a significant volume of potentially economic material.

Where do they get the trillion-dollar figure? … They cannot have done the work necessary to generate any reasonable estimate. It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority of mineral outcroppings and other anomalies never lead to economic discoveries, much less mines. Even a very rich vein sticking right out on surface can turn out to be the last dregs of a system that has been eroded away, leaving nothing but a tease behind. For gold, the odds of an anomaly leading to an economic discovery are often cited as being on the order of 300 to one, against.

Note that this doesn’t mean the minerals are not there — Afghanistan has, for obvious reasons, not seen any modern exploration, or even antiquated exploration, for decades. It is, in all likelihood, a terrific place to look for minerals. But … it will take time for any real discoveries to be made …

And the great global warming hoax was recognized again:

Every country on Earth is still officially committed to catastrophic man-made warming as a reality that demands a draconian policy response. The erection of such a massive commitment on such shaky foundations begs for explanation, and must be put in both a larger political and psychological context.

Hubristic overestimation of human significance … may be the fundamental reason for broad acceptance of man-made climate change theory. The notion that man’s sinful and selfish ways will be punished goes back to the myth of the Flood. In many ways this belief in climate apocalypse reflects similar moralistic disapproval of “materialist” Western society

This quasi-religious belief is particularly appealing to the political and bureaucratic classes, because it provides new justifications for intervention to correct the imperfections and ongoing inequities of perpetually demonized capitalism. In a classic example of psychological “projection,” however, alarmists claim that it is their opponents who are tainted by “greed” and “self-interest.”

For most modern liberals, including many scientists, the market sun still goes round the government Earth, and it’s a paradigm they are reluctant to change. Policy skeptics, by contrast, who are still trying to establish the revolutionary and counterintuitive insights of Adam Smith, point out that carbon rationing, green industrial strategy and aid transfers under the aegis of “clean development” are — whatever the science — economic junk.

A matter of no interest 0

Bad as most economic news continues to be, here is something to cheer the allegedly hard hearts and genuinely hard minds of us capitalists.

The efforts some financial institutions have made to launch Sharia-compliant products are not succeeding.

No surprise really. What’s investment without interest? The wonder is that  anyone ever thought they might succeed.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Islamic bank accounts and other financial products have failed to take off in Britain, according to industry insiders. …

New banks that were set up to appeal to the UK’s nearly two million Muslims and Sharia-compliant products created by the existing high street lenders have failed to make much of an impact, critics say.

Junaid Bhatti, part of the team that set up Islamic Bank of Britain, the first Sharia-compliant bank approved by the Financial Services Authority, says that the sector has been a big disappointment.

“As we now approach the sixth anniversary of IBB’s launch, I’m sad to finally have to admit that Islamic finance in the UK has been a huge flop,” he said. “IBB may still be limping on as probably the last bastion of the cause, but it’s difficult to imagine it holding out for much longer.

Competitors have fared even worse and many had closed or scaled back their operations significantly, Mr Bhatti said.

Established banks that launched Islamic banking products are also believed to have fared poorly. HSBC and Lloyds were seen as having made the biggest efforts to make inroads, but without much success, Mr Bhatti said.

“Lloyds, which made a half-hearted stab at Sharia-compliant products in 2004, doesn’t seem to have promoted its offering for years,” he said in an article for MuslimPolitics.com.

“Even HSBC Amanah, probably the most credible and efficient provider of halal banking in the UK, has dramatically reduced its dedicated Islamic banking staff in Britain, and its marketing volume has been turned way down.”

Posted under Economics, Islam, Muslims, News by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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A Standing of Stans 1

American fighting men and women (heroes all, whatever their sexual proclivities) are being sacrificed to no purpose in the wretched region of feuding fiefdoms named Afghanistan. It may soon merge with Pakistan. Other stans may join them. There will be a whole Standing of Stans. And they will have Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to promote jihad.

Because “the coalition forces”, which is to say the United States forces under Obama’s command, have lost the war they’ve been fighting there for – how many decades is it now?

It is not the fault of the US army.

It is because it has been organized into a community of social workers and nation builders.

Its orders are to win hearts and minds. The hearts of Afghans! The minds of Afghans!

Medals are to be awarded to soldiers for not shooting.

The ideal army for an America under an Obama presidency would be manned – so to speak – entirely with women and gay men with pacifist opinions. But with ethnic diversity of course.

Its motto would be: ‘Ask, tell, and no fighting please.”

Its perfect field commander – or rather, “feel commander” – would be Michelle Obama. She would soon have the troops armed only with spades and teaching the Afghans – victims of US aggression, one and all – to grow veggies instead of opium, and watch their fat intake to avoid becoming obese.

Until, that is, the Taliban objects to her being female and doing a job at the same time.

Then Obama could apologize to the Taliban and bring Michelle and the caring sharing land-army home and declare the war over.

Waste 0

The pointless waste of life and resources that now characterizes the Afghanistan war continues, while the corrupt and impotent Afghan government considers “talking” – which is to say capitulating –  to the Taliban.

The Washington Post reports:

As the U.S. military sets out to secure cities including Kandahar, it is relying far more heavily on Afghan forces than at any time in the past nine years, when the American mission focused mainly on defeating the Taliban in the countryside, rather than securing the population. But the Afghan forces are proving poorly equipped and sometimes unmotivated, breeding the same frustration U.S. troops felt in Iraq when they began building up security forces beset by corruption, sectarianism, political meddling and militia infiltration. …

The United States and other Western allies still plan to inject hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands more troops into Kandahar and surrounding villages this year to try to wrest control of Taliban strongholds and allow breathing room for the expansion of government services in an area that has been effectively lawless for decades.

But the beginning of summer in southern Afghanistan has been ominous. In June alone, at least 53 NATO troops have been killed in the country, most in the south, where the Taliban has increasingly resorted to roadside bombings and ambushes to thwart the U.S.-led international force’s efforts.

The report includes anecdotes which luridly illustrate how the efforts of the American forces’ efforts to train Afghans to fight in their own interest are being constantly frustrated.

They strongly imply there is not the remotest chance that Afghans will put up any sustained resistance against the Taliban when American troops are withdrawn next year.

Posted under Afghanistan, Islam, jihad, Muslims, NATO, News, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 21, 2010

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Critical questions 1

Did the Obama administration know that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was leaking oil into the ocean floor some nine weeks before it exploded?

At Townhall, Kevin McCullough writes in a kind of open letter to Obama:

It seems incomprehensible that you Mr. President and other members of the administration still have your jobs when it is now being reported that the federal government was apprised by BP on February 13th that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was leaking oil and natural gas into the ocean floor. In fact according to documents in your own department’s files (MMS) you knew that BP was fighting large cracks at the base of the well for roughly ten days back before the spring thaw had arrived. Further it seems you were also apprised six weeks prior to the rig’s fatal explosion that killed eleven of her workers, when a smart guy from Berkley, you know the global capital of intellectualism, announced to the world a near miss on the rig by stating, “They damn near blew up the rig.” It’s also now being reported it appears that BP was asking for your help on this matter long before the deadly accident and the now gushing well of tar.

As a matter of fact it appears they told you on February 13th, and desired your help.

Given this new bit of revelation Mr. President I’m not sure how you can sleep at night knowing that your inaction did cost the lives of eleven family men in Louisiana.

If these allegations are true, they are very serious indeed.

Kevin McCullough does not give the source or sources of his information.

Who is “the smart guy from Berkley”? How does he know that “they” nearly blew the rig up? Who exactly are “they”?

If all this is true, we wait to see the consequences for the administration.

Posted under Commentary, Energy, government, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 21, 2010

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Power race 3

Judge Stephen C. Robinson

Affirmative action is, of course, racism. Obama is the biggest beneficiary of this unjust policy. Now comes the One Minority Voter, Six Votes policy.

The Washington Post explains it. It ‘s all about race.

The court-ordered election that allowed [some] residents of one New York town to flip the lever six times for one candidateand produced a Hispanic winner – could expand to other towns where minorities complain their voices aren’t being heard. …

The unusual election was imposed on Port Chester after a federal judge determined that Hispanics were being treated unfairly.

The 2010 Census is expected to show large increases in Latino populations and lawsuits alleging discrimination are likely to increase, said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonprofit election research and reform group.

“The country’s been changing in a lot of places, with minority growth in exurbs and commuter cities, and there will be a realization that those minorities can’t elect candidates of choice,” Richie said.

That will leave minority groups, federal prosecutors and municipalities looking for ways to keep elections from violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities’ constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

In Port Chester, trustees had been elected two at a time every two years, with conventional at-large voting. Most voters were white, and there were always six white trustees even though Hispanics made up half the population and nearly a quarter of the voters. Judge Stephen Robinson concluded the system violated U.S. law by diluting Hispanics’ votes.

The standard remedy was to break a municipality into districts, with one district including many from the minority, thereby increasing the chances for a candidate backed by the minority group. The Justice Department proposed that solution for Port Chester.

But the village of about 30,000 objected to districts. It suggested instead a system called cumulative voting. All six trustees would be elected at once and the voters could apportion their six votes as they wished – all six to one candidate, one each to six candidates or any combination.

The system, which has been used in Alabama, Illinois, South Dakota and Texas, allows a political minority to gain representation if it organizes behind specific candidates. Judge Robinson went for it, and cumulative voting was used for the first time in a New York municipality.

And surely not the last time. Obviously this idea has legs. It could become a peaceful caring way of disenfranchising despised classes and races, such as white males, Jews, Republicans, Tea Partiers, conservatives, individualists, soldiers, libertarians, anti-feminists, capitalists, free-marketeers, patriots, the rich, Iraq war approvers, habitual Rush Limbaugh listeners, global warming skeptics, big business executives, bankers, SUV drivers, fatties, Mormons, smokers, tobacconists, hunters, non-recyclers, furriers, gun-owners …

Note: This post needs correction. Please see comments by Malachi and Jillian Becker.

Ayn Rand: recruiting sergeant 5

Of extraordinary interest, we think, is an essay by Anthony Daniels in The New Criterion, titled Ayn Rand: engineer of souls. (We cannot link to it, but it’s easy to find.)

We are admirers of Ayn Rand, but not uncritically. We believe, as she does, that capitalism is the only creator and sustainer of prosperity. We despise religion as she does. Like her we value reason. Her enormous novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead have probably won more believers in capitalism and devotees of personal liberty than any other book in any language, even surpassing Hayek’s essential text The Road to Serfdom; and for that she deserves lasting honor.

But her vision of humanity has a comic-book hyperbole about it which keeps her out of the rank of great writers. Her heroes are too big, too superior to us and everyone we’ll ever meet, to be likable. They inspire awe but not affection. We can be sure they’d look down on us if they knew us. We cannot emulate them, we can only wonder at them. They are like gods. They are intensely romantic, and romanticism is the enemy of reason.

Anthony Daniels lists her virtues and vices:

Rand’s virtues were as follows: she was highly intelligent; she was brave and uncompromising in defense of her ideas; she had a kind of iron integrity; and, though a fierce defender of capitalism, she was by no means avid for money herself. The propagation of truth as she saw it was far more important to her than her own material ease. Her vices, of course, were the mirror-image of her virtues, but, in my opinion, the mirror was a magnifying one. Her intelligence was narrow rather than broad. Though in theory a defender of freedom of thought and action, she was dogmatic, inflexible, and intolerant, not only in opinion but in behavior, and it led her to personal cruelty. In the name of her ideas, she was prepared to be deeply unpleasant. She hardened her ideas into ideology. Her integrity led to a lack of self-criticism; she frequently wrote twenty thousand words where one would do. …

A passionate hater of religion, Rand founded a cult around her own person, complete with rituals of excommunication; a passionate believer in rationality and logic, she was incapable of seeing the contradictions in her own work. She was a rationalist who was not entirely rational …

He goes on to paragraphs of stronger condemnation. He finds “horrible” cruelty in her. He perceives that though she was fanatically anti-collectivist, and though she had fled from Soviet Russia to the freedom of America, Stalin’s Russia remained within her.

Her unequivocal admiration bordering on worship of industrialization and the size of human construction as a mark of progress is profoundly Stalinist. Where Stalinist iconography would plant a giant chimney belching black smoke, Randian iconography would plant a skyscraper. (At the end of The Fountainhead, Roark receives a commission to build the tallest skyscraper in New York, its height being the guarantor of its moral grandeur. According to this scale of values, the Burj Dubai would be man’s crowning achievement so far.) Industrialists are to Rand what Stakhanovites were to Stalin: Both saw nature as an enemy, something to be beaten into submission. One doesn’t have to be an adherent of the Gaia hypothesis to know where this hatred of nature led.

Finally, Rand’s treasured theory of literature, what she called Romantic Realism, is virtually indistinguishable from Socialist Realism …

Rand’s heroes are not American but Soviet. The fact that they supposedly embody capitalist values makes no difference. Rand fulfilled Stalin’s criterion for the ideal writer: she tried to be an engineer of souls.

The analysis is not unjust.

But the recruiting sergeant to the Army of Light does not have to be the best exponent of the cause for which it fights.

While acknowledging and regretting all her faults, we keep, for her success as a dedicated recruiting sergeant, an abstract monument to Ayn Rand in our personal Hall of the Defenders of Individual Freedom.

Jillian Becker   June 19, 2010

Defeat, actually 0

There is no longer any question of whether an American victory in Afghanistan is possible. It is not.

It becomes plainer every day that what lies ahead is defeat.

The only uncertainty is whether America – aka “the coalition forces” – will manage withdrawal without the appearance of ignominy.

After an initial victory the war has dragged on for eight years. In that time the mightiest military power on earth has been unable to defeat a bunch of primitive, lightly-armed terrorists. Not because it couldn’t, but because it tied its own hands with unrealistic aims, political correctness, and, under Commander-in-Chief Obama, a preference for losing.

At Canada Free Press, Alan Caruba expresses a similar opinion. Here’s part of what he writes:

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for more than eight years as of this writing. Over that period of time I have been against it, for it, against it, for it, and now I return to what my instincts and experience told me all along. It’s over.

That war is lost. Once the Taliban acquired surface-to-air missiles, the primarily advantage our military had was removed. In the past month, the Taliban have shot down two of our helicopters. Any low-flying aircraft will be vulnerable along with all our front-line forces. …

You cannot win a counterinsurgency with local forces if:

you don’t have a significant portion of the population on your side and

those forces do not want to fight.

Afghans don’t like anyone who is not an Afghan and, in many cases, they do not like other Afghans from other tribes. …

The other factor that is a key to the situation is our “ally”, Pakistan. The U.S. has poured billions into Pakistan and they have been supporting the Taliban the whole time; more specifically, the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence Agency [has been doing so].

An article in the UK’s Times was picked up by the Washington Post on June 14. The Times article was headlined “Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers.” It reported that “Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI, is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council, the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.”

The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Salah, recently resigned. He concluded that Afghan forces of the government under Hamid Karzai, the US hand-picked president of Afghanistan, would not and could not prevail. Afghanistan has never been a nation by any standard definition. It has always been a nation of tribes.

The Afghanistan conflict has cost the West billions and hundreds of lives. …

When word leaked about Obama’s “rules of engagement” in Afghanistan that essentially put every one of our soldiers and marines at risk, the die was cast.

The combined US-UK force failed to loosen the Taliban’s grip on Marjah, the most recent military engagement. The Afghan forces refused to fight much of the time. The Taliban continue to control the whole of southern Afghanistan.

The Kandahar offensive has been postponed. It was to be waged by American, British, Canadian, and Afghan forces. If that doesn’t tell you that the war in Afghanistan is over, nothing will.

If there is no will to wage war vigorously to bring about victory, nothing can be done for now. This is not to say we will not have to return at some time, but as long as President Obama is in office, that is not an option.

If ever America needs to go back and hit the Taliban again, it should do so swiftly, briefly, and decisively. Under the command of the present feeble, pro-Muslim, anti-American president, that would not be done.

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