A picture of a mess 1

Here’s a picture of what is and is not happening on the Libyan warfront that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a picture of a mess.

DebkFile from which the report comes is known not to be entirely reliable, but in this case we have no information from anywhere else t0 contradict it, and there’s nothing in it that seems improbable.

Four days after the Western-Arab coalition decided Saturday, March 19 to enforce a no fly zone over Libya, only six Western warplanes – American, British, Canadian and French – are in the sky at any one time … This is just enough to enforce the no-fly zone over Benghazi – not the rest of Libya. It is also wholly inadequate for collecting the basic intelligence over Tripoli and other parts of Libya for launching an offensive against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces.

The assault therefore ran out of steam after the first barrage of 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from the sea. Monday, a dozen Tomahawks were fired – and only at Qaddafi’s coastal compounds for lack of intelligence about the rest of the thirty-one targets first postulated.

The military momentum was slowed substantially also by the haziness of the directives coming down from the coalition members’ governments about the offensive’s objectives. As the political leaders in Washington, London and Paris stumbled about and contradicted each other, the military commanders responded by confining their mission to the letter of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 of Friday, March 18.

The disagreements between Washington, London and Paris over the essential nature of the operation and its goals brought to light the uncomfortable fact that neither the UK nor France, alone or together, possesses the air power or crews for maintaining the no fly zone.

Unless the US expands its aerial participation, most of Libyan air space will remain wide open for Qaddafi’s air force to resume operations. By Tuesday, March 22, there was no sign that Washington was willing to deliver – just the reverse. The Obama administration made it clear that its participation would be confined to support functions, such as advanced electronic surveillance craft – no more warplanes.

The US Africa commander Gen. Carter Ham announced from his base in Stuttgart, Germany, that Qaddafi and his regime were not part of “our mission.”

In London, the British government insisted that Muammar Qaddafi as head of his armed forces was a legitimate target of the coalition offensive. Both UK premier David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded the coalition assault on Libya, have pinned their political hopes on their success in removing Qaddafi from power. …

The Obama administration, for its part, has worked itself into a jam: an acerbic argument has developed in the United States over the Libya operation’s immediate and final goals.

In his latest comment, President Barack Obama Monday, March 21, stood by this opaque definition: “The goal of the United Nations-sanctioned military action in Libya is to protect citizens, not regime change – but the goal of US policy is that Muammar Qaddafi has to go.” …

Obama contradicts himself because he has no idea what to do. The commander-in-chief of America’s military might and leader of the world’s only super-power wants not to be responsible for whatever happens:

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the US will hand over control and command of the Libya operation “within days.”

But who would pick up the ball? Neither France nor Britain has the military or logistical resources for taking a lead role in the coalition offensive

The rebels cannot win by themselves:

[The rebels’] wild talk about retaking Adjabiya on the road to Benghazi referred to a single government A-Saiqa commando platoon, which defected in Benghazi in the early stages of the anti-Qaddafi uprising last month, and was able to drive just 50 kilometers southwest of the town before halting in the desert at a loss where to go next.

That platoon is the only organized force the rebels command.

Therefore, to have any chance of their revolt against Qaddafi succeeding, these insurgents would have to rely on American, British and French ground troops fighting government forces on their behalf. That is not going to happen. The US has made it perfectly clear that no American ground forces will be used in Libya, and all Britain and France can command are small commando units.

Obama made much of the Arab League’s Secretary saying it wanted help for the rebellion to succeed. But it’s unclear how many Arab leaders he was speaking for. Now the Arab League is against the intervention. Only one Arab state is willing to act – with a token of support.

The Arab component of the Western-Arab anti-Qaddafi coalition, the pre-condition for NATO participation, has faded away since the Arab League’s Secretary Amr Moussa developed cold feet after his initial wholehearted support for the operation.

In any case, only one Arab country, Qatar, was willing to put up four warplanes for the no-fly zone. Based in Italy, the Qatari pilots have since been directed by Emir Sheikh Al-Thani to cross the Mediterranean only up to the point where the Libyan coast is visible – not an inch further. The United Arab Emirates, initially reported as offering to take part in the Libya mission, has not sent a single plane.

If Gaddafi survives, the US will have lost to a third world dictator. If he goes, he is likely to be replaced by something even worse. Because it was Gaddafi saying that the rebels were linked to al-Qaeda, nobody seems to have believed it. But it may be true – see here and here.

This war is a rash enterprise, far more rash than President Bush’s invasion of Iraq can be said to have been even by his severest critics.

Don’t give a dime 5

At the request of our valued reader and  frequent commenter Frank, we have written this article on foreign aid and what would happen if it were stopped. He was prompted to think about it when he watched a news video reporting that in this time of recession and severe unemployment, hundred of millions of US taxpayer dollars are being sent abroad for the refurbishment of mosques in Islamic countries, many of which are known to incite terrorist attacks on US targets.

(Note: Requests are welcome, though we can’t promise always to grant them.)


“Foreign aid is the transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”

There’s disagreement on who first said that, but it doesn’t matter. The question is: is it true?

The first part is not entirely untrue: among the tax–payers whose money goes to foreign aid are many who are poor, or at least not rich, by their own country’s standards.

The second part is almost entirely true. Foreign aid is paid by the donor states to the governments of the recipient states, and very little of it goes any further. The dictators, the kleptocrats, the oligarchs, the once-elected-always-in “democratic” panjandrums, the tribal chiefs who rule weaker tribes by tradition or conquest, pocket the lion’s share of the incoming largesse, distribute some of it to their kinsfolk, chums, influential supporters and selected rivals, and only then, if there’s anything left – which would likely be by oversight for which someone gets fired or shot – it’s flung from the balcony of power, in a little glittering shower, down upon the ravenous masses who scrabble for it in the dust.

Our own sort of government is not like that. Ours is accountable to us, at least in theory. The present government of the US has acted on a different understanding, but even the worst members of the Obama administration cannot – as far as we know – be accused of the venality of, say, African dictators, or even the routine corruption that characterizes the unelected leaders of the European Union.

Now what may be virtuous in an individual can be a fault in government, and vice versa. You, sir/madam, may not kill, but governments must in war. You may not demand money with menaces, but governments must when they tax you. You may not hold someone against their will, but governments must imprison convicts. You may give away your money, but a government is a trustee of others’ money and should spend it only for the benefit of those who earned it. Generosity is a virtue in a person, a vice in a government.

Those who want a government to be a wellspring of cash to pay for all their personal needs, vote for socialism. A socialist government is extortionist, the idea being that those who earn money should be forced to hand it over for the benefit of everybody else. A central agency – which can only be government as it’s the only institution with the legal power of compulsion – must gather it in and deal it out again “fairly”.  Some toil, and all hold their hands out. The system is not just, though it’s devotees call it “social justice”.

Socialists think of an economy as a pie, of which everyone should get an equal slice. They assume there is a fixed amount of wealth in the land, established once and for all long ago by divine grant, so if some are richer than others they must have become so by theft. A few are rich – they imagine – because the many are poor: the many are poor because a few are rich. They cannot grasp, or will not learn, that wealth is created, and where it is created some become rich and many become richer. (A fine example is the “second industrial revolution” that began to the world’s wonder and glory in Silicon Valley about half a century ago. Apple orchards gave way to Apple computers – to sum it up – and where there had been hundreds of poor field workers there are now millions of prosperous industrial workers, and the persons who were free to invest their own money, time, innovative ability as they chose, not only became rich themselves, but have also benefited hundreds of millions of people all over the world. That’s what capitalism and the free market – so dreaded and hated by socialists – can do.)

Foreign aid is a socialist idea. It is redistribution of the “world’s wealth”. That pie idea again, writ very large. Equal slices. A fixed amount that needs to be distributed “fairly”.  (Ideally, to the true believers, by a world government.) Those who advocate it get a warm glowing feeling inside. Puffed up with moral pride, they simply know they are virtuous. They hold compassion to be the highest value, and bestow their compassion, by means of other people’s money, liberally on the wretched of the earth.

But have they actually done any good?

They claim to have “helped” poor countries by bringing plenty where there was  scarcity. The more realistic among them, not entirely persuaded by the pie theory of wealth, see the free grants of cash from the First World as seed money with which  to grow profitable projects that will make many an economic desert bloom.

Has the looked-for transformation ever come about? Has US aid – for instance – ever actually promoted economic success anywhere?

Well, yes. Once. Maybe. European economic recovery after the devastation of World War Two was probably boosted by the aid it received through the Marshall Plan. About $13 billion was distributed in varying amounts to the west European states, including Italy and  Germany  (and even neutral Sweden but not Spain), Britain getting the most. It’s  impossible to know whether Europe would have recovered as well, less well, or better without it. It was given, it was used (much of it to buy goods from the United States), and Europe did recover and prosper, so you could say that the aid wasn’t wasted.

But can as much be said for other hand-outs to foreign lands? If you hunt about you may light upon a successful outcome from a grant being well used here and there on our big round globe. But in general the answer is no. Aid has not proved a successful means to help poor peoples to thrive. And that isn’t all of the bad news. The rest of the story is worse. For the most part aid is squandered.  Worse still, it has often had the effect of making poor countries poorer – a point to which we shall return. And arguably worst of all, it sometimes goes to strengthen the aid-giver’s active enemies. (See our post, Aiding our enemies , March 14, 2011.)

The  redistribution enthusiasts explain, in the patient tones of saints, that the waste of what is given and the hatred directed at the giver are the direct results of the rich countries not giving enough (see for example here, here, and here). They complain that no developed country in the Western world budgets even as much as the .7% of its GDP that they promised once upon a time at some international forum, some field of the cloth of gold. The richest country in the world, the USA, allots barely .2%, and the saints who want to be generous with Americans’ money feel that the US government should hang its head in shame for being so miserly.

But if the money is squandered, what justification is there for giving any at all? If it doesn’t improve living standards, does it at least secure a strategic advantage, a port or an air base? Ensure an ally where one might be needed? Engage a supportive voice in the United Nations? Yes, sometimes, for a while, if nothing comes along to put a strain on the agreement.

Does it matter if the aid money does no good for the recipient and possibly endangers the giver? Conservative governments seem to have answered this question cynically, along such lines as: “Even if a few millions bestowed on this or that Havenotistan is spent on a gold bed for the tyrant’s wife, or a fleet of Mercedes that cannot be moved from the airport where they were landed because no one knew to put oil in them before trying to drive them away (both actual examples), the amounts are too small to fuss about … chump change … and there may be some sort of  dividend coming out of it one sunny day.”

What if consumer goods are sent rather than money? Food, say? Doesn’t that reach the people who need it? Not often. It gets diverted –  to  cartels, army top brass, transport operators, profiteers in influential positions, who will sell what they don’t keep for themselves at inflated prices when famine gets severe enough. For instance, in Somalia, after such slavering packs of wolves have chewed off  their share  –  al-Qaeda linked terrorists among them in that benighted land –  only half the food sent as aid is “distributed to the needy population”. (See our  post,, Out of Africa always something familiar, March 11, 2010.)

But, it might be objected, not all recipients are unpredictable despotisms. The biggest beneficiary of US foreign aid is Israel – $3 billion per annum. Any complaint about that?

Yes. From Israel – because of the strings attached. Israel has to use some of the money to buy American military aircraft and weapons – not the ones it wants, but the sort Israelis say they can make better themselves. Some also say they don’t really need the aid at all, which amounts to under 1% of Israel’s total GDP, but are not allowed to refuse it because tens of thousands of American jobs depend on the Israeli munitions market. If this is true, Israel is not a beneficiary but a victim of aid!

From America’s point of view, however, that’s surely one lump of aid worth giving. Or is it? The economist Peter Bauer, who was Prime Minister Thatcher’s special adviser on foreign aid, pointed out that such an arrangement as that is analogous to your local store owner giving you cash on condition that you spend some of it buying his merchandise.

But let’s return to our assertion that aid often has the effect of making poor countries poorer. Here’s a quotation from an article by Matthew Rees in the Wall Street Journal [first quoted in our post, How to spread poverty, April 4, 2009]:

Dambisa Moyo, a native of Zambia and a former World Bank consultant, believes that it is time to stop proceeding as if foreign aid does the good that it is supposed to do. …  Aid, she writes, is “no longer part of the potential solution, it’s part of the problem – in fact, aid is the problem.” … Ms. Moyo spells out how attempts to help Africa actually hurt it. The aid money pouring into Africa, she says, underwrites brutal and corrupt regimes; it stifles investment; and it leads to higher rates of poverty – all of which, in turn, creates a demand for yet more aid. Africa, Ms. Moyo notes, seems hopelessly trapped in this spiral, and she wants to see it break free. Over the past 30 years, she says, the most aid-dependent countries in Africa have experienced economic contraction averaging 0.2% a year.

In the light of that dismal fact, foreign aid is plainly a bad idea and it should be stopped.

What would happen if it were?

It’s more than likely that the redistribution saints would wax very wrathful indeed. It would soon become plain that their motive was never so much – or at all? – the betterment of life for the hungry masses in poor countries. They, or many of them, have a higher goal in mind: global redistribution of what they call “resources” – meaning the wealth created in and by the capitalist First World.

Matthew Rees explains in his Wall Street Journal article:

The report blends the socialist and Islamic economic perspectives as an alternative to our present capitalistic system.  It has four basic themes.  Western-style free market capitalism is the villain. Redistributive justice is mandatory. New global governance authorities are required. Global taxes are also needed.

The only institution that the UN experts believe has broad enough political legitimacy to serve as the global decision making forum and eliminate the abuses of free market capitalism is, unsurprisingly, the body that gave them the platform to air their views on a global stage in the first place – the United Nations.

Since the United States is usually asked by the UN to put up at least 20% of whatever money it is raising, that would mean U.S. taxpayers would be expected to fork over $200 billion extra over the next two years.

Would we at least be able to impose some reasonable conditions on the massive grants and loans for development and other support (or “conditionalities” as the Commission of Experts calls them)?  The UN experts say absolutely not!

After all, it would be politically incorrect to expect each recipient of our taxpayers’ money to actually have to demonstrate that the money won’t end up in a corrupt dictator’s Swiss bank account because, according to the UN experts’ circular reasoning, such “conditionalities” would “disadvantage developing countries relative to the developed, and undermine incentives for developing countries to seek support funding…

Our sovereignty as a self-governing people to regulate our own economy must give way to global government for the sake of “the broad interest of the international community”.

The bid failed. But the saints never give up. They had another go by claiming that the planet could only be saved from man-made global warming by world government, which would oversee the redistribution of the developed world’s “resources”.

That would be the killing of the goose that lays the golden eggs. There would soon be no more “resources” to redistribute. No one would be rich (except themselves), but there’d be that equality of misery everywhere on earth which, to the socialist conscience, is the non plus ultra of moral good.

We must not let it happen. Our verdict is that if foreign aid were stopped, everyone would benefit, the nations that give and the nations that receive. So what we need now – to save not only ourselves who are thriving on capitalism, but the rest of the world too – are tightfisted governments. America must elect a miser-government, the stingiest ever, refusing so much as a crumb in aid to another country. Then the wretched of the earth can imitate our ways, and prosper.

Jillian Becker   March 21, 2011

What if … ? 1

A Saudi Arabian considers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a point of view that is unusual, to say the least, in the Arab world:

From Arab News, by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim:

What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

I have been exposed to Palestinians since I was in first grade in Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia They were my favorite teachers. They were the most dedicated and the most intelligent among all my instructors, from elementary to high school.

When I was attending New York-based SUNY Maritime college (1975-1979), I read a lot of books about Palestinians, Arabs and the Israelis. I have read every article about the many chances the Palestinians had and missed to solve their problem, especially the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel.

I have seen and read about the lives of the Palestinians in the US and other places. They are very successful in every field. And at the same time I saw the Arab countries at the bottom of the list in education and development. And I always ask the question: What if the Palestinians and the Arabs accepted the presence of Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced?

If Israel was recognized in 1948, then the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of some Arab dictators who kept telling them that the refugees would be back in their homes and all Arab lands will be liberated and Israel will be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians for their own agenda to suppress their own people and to stay in power.

Since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be the hero and the leader of the Arab world, then he has a very easy way to do it. He just shouts as loud as he can about the intention to destroy Israel, without mobilizing one soldier (Talk is cheap).

If Israel was recognized in 1948, then there would have been no need for a coup in Egypt against King Farouq in 1952 and there would have been no attack on Egypt in 1956 by the UK, France and Israel. Also there will be no war in June 1967 and the size of Israel will not be increased and we, the Arabs would not have the need for a UN resolution to beg Israel to go back to the pre-1967 borders. And no war of attrition between Egypt and Israel that caused more casualties on the Egyptian side than the Israeli side.

After the 1967 war, Israel became a strategic ally of the US because before this war, the US was not as close to Israel as people in the Arab world think. The Israelis fought in that war using mainly French and British weapons. At that time, the US administrations refused to supply Israel with more modern aircraft and weapon systems such as the F-4 Phantom.

The Palestinian misery was also used to topple another stable monarchy, this time in Iraq and replacing it with a bloody dictatorship in one of the richest countries of the world. Iraq is rich in minerals, water reserves, fertile land and archaeological sites. The military led by Abdul Karim Qassim killed King Faisal II and his family. Bloodshed in Iraq continued and this Arab country has seen more violent revolutions and one of them was carried out in the 1960s by a brigade that was sent to help liberate Palestine. Instead it made a turn and went back and took over Baghdad. Even years later, Saddam Hussien said that he will liberate Jerusalem via Kuwait. He used Palestinians misery as an excuse to invade Kuwait.

If Israel were recognized in 1948, then the 1968 coup would not have taken place in another stable and rich monarchy (Kingdom of Libya). King Idris was toppled and Muammar Qaddafi took over.

There were other military coups in the Arab world such as Syria, Yemen and the Sudan. And each one of them used Palestine as their reason for such acts. The Egyptian regime of Jamal Abdul Nasser used to call the Arab Gulf states backward states and he tried to topple the governments of these Gulf states by using his media and his military forces. He even attacked southern borders of Saudi Arabia using his air force bases in Yemen.

Even a non-Arab country (Iran) used Palestine to divert the minds of their people from internal unrest. I remember Ayatollah Khomeini declaring that he would liberate Jerusalem via Baghdad and President Ahmadinejad making bellicose statements about Israel, though not even a single fire cracker was fired from Iran toward Israel.

Now, the Palestinians are on their own. Each Arab country is busy with its own crisis. From Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Algeria, Lebanon and the Gulf states. For now, the Arab countries have put the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on hold.

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim is Commodore (Retd.), Royal Saudi Navy. He is based in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia, and can be contacted at: [email protected]

Poison 4

President Obama’s father was a communist. His mother was involved with the New Left. The chief mentor of his youth was the communist writer Frank Marshall Davis. At the University of Columbia he sought out Marxist professors. He trained to be a “community organizer” according to the precepts of the communist revolutionary Saul Alinsky. He brought Maoists into the White House to advise and assist him. He advocates communist egalitarianism (“spread the wealth around”). He is not only the first black president of the United States, he is also its first communist president. (However, like any idea that enters his head between parties and games and hangs about there, his communism is a mere miasma; and as he has no leadership ability it will not have much effect, beyond such expensive mistakes as his attempt at a government takeover of the nation’s health care. Getting the country into deep debt was perhaps less the result of a leftist economic policy than of his being unable to formulate any policies at all.)

Returning to the theme of our post, The once and future Republican Party, March 3, 2011 – that the Republican Party has been the friend of blacks and the Democratic Party their enemy – we quote some passages from an article by John Rossomando at Townhall:

Leading black conservatives lay blame for black America’s rampant poverty and other ills squarely at the feet of the socialist orientation of black leaders such as Al Sharpton.

They say the black intelligentsia’s rhetoric has created a defeatist and demoralizing climate that has robbed millions of black Americans of hope and has sentenced them to an impoverished existence.

“One of the tenets of the socialist ideology is to create a welfare state, and that’s exactly what has happened in the black community,” says Florida Rep. Allen West, the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I like to say we have sort of a reverse plantation going on here where you have people like Sharpton and [Jesse] Jackson trying to make themselves into overseers.”

Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, says Marxists have worked hard to exploit blacks for the past century and divide them from the rest of society.

Socialism has been deeply ingrained in the black community since the NAACP’s founding in 1909 according to the Socialist Party USA.

And NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois later developed an admiration for Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin and even continued to apologize for him even after many other black intellectuals such as Ralph Ellison had repudiated their support for the dictator. DuBois even received the 1959 “Lenin Peace Prize” and formally joined the Communist Party USA two years later in 1961. …

Not even legendary civil rights leader [and Republican] Martin Luther King Jr. escaped being infected by the socialist virus, as evidenced by speeches he gave toward the end of his life. …

“The biggest tragedy in all of this is that the blacks did not know the poison of socialism and communism,” Innis says. “And they were led to believe it was the only alternative for fighting Jim Crow and pushing back against segregation.” …

The black elites’ Marxist dialectic has pit white versus black and rich versus poor …

“It has really hurt the black community because the real uplift in this country is through individual initiative, activity and entrepreneurship,” says Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., a prominent conservative black minister and Tea Partier. …

Read it all here.

Divorce jihadi style 2

Muslim men can divorce their wives by repeating a few words three times. For women to divorce their husbands, the process is forbiddingly hard, long, and often doomed to failure.

But now al-Qaeda has come up with an idea that will save Muslim women from being locked in miserable marriages.

They should seek their ideal partners among dedicated suicide-bombers.

If there is time for them to bear any male children, they can soon have them off their hands too by raising them with the ambition to self-detonate.

It is also the path to honor in the community – being the spouse and mother of martyrs.

From the Daily Caller:

The wait is over. Finally, a magazine just for women with a predilection for religiously motivated self-detonation!

This month the al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Fajr Media Center released its first issue of “Al-Shamikha” (“Majestic Woman”), a magazine for women featuring tips on beauty, health and, naturally, violent jihad. Think Elle magazine for the Islamofascist. …

The magazine cover is fitting, with a covered woman bearing a gun.

The articles in the publication are geared toward ensuring their women are good models of jihadi-inspired motherhood. …

The centerpiece of the magazine is an interview with the wife of a suicide bomber. The widow, Um Muhannad, explains to the interviewer how she longed her whole life to marry a mujahid (or religious fighter) and how women play a crucial role in the movement. …

“A woman has a pivotal role in spurring [her husband to jihad] and supporting [the mujahideen] … ” said Um Muhannad. “[In the case of jihad], she teaches her son to become a mujahid from childhood, and encourages him until he achieves his goal [i.e., martyrdom]. …”

Not to be outdone by Cosmo, the publication also features clothing and health advice as well as guidance on how to snag a man.

With that gun, perhaps. He’s going to need it. And put explosive on the wedding-gift list.

Posted under Commentary, Islam, jihad, Muslims by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 20, 2011

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Popular revolt threatens the communist regimes of Asia 3

The fever of revolution has spread from North Africa to the communist Far East. There are stirrings of revolt in North Korea and Vietnam. And it seems possible that the Chinese people may actually achieve a change of regime.

Ryan Mauro provides information about these movements which is otherwise hard to find. He attributes the new-found courage of populations under communist tyrannies to the example of the revolutionary movements in the Arab states.

The government of North Korea is frightened:

Trouble began for the regime on February 14 after it failed to deliver promised goods in the days leading up to Kim Jong-Il’s birthday. Dozens of people in North Pyongan Province demanded electricity and food. On February 18 in Sinuiju, the security forces had a confrontation with traders at the market, resulting in an assault on one trader to the point where he was unconscious. The family members of the victim protested and were quickly joined by other traders, resulting in the deployment of more soldiers and police. A source to one newspaper reported that “hundreds” were involved in the clashes. The true number is unknown but the clashes are an unprecedented and important development in the Hermit Kingdom.

South Korea has also begun trying to incite unrest by sending tens of thousands of helium balloons delivering messages, medicine, food, clothing and radios up to 200 kilometers into North Korea. The messages inform the readers of the revolutions in the Middle East and boldly say, “a dictatorial regime is bound to collapse.” The regime is threatening to attack the areas from which the balloons are launched and has said it will destroy loudspeakers near the border if they broadcast anti-government messages into the country.

The government of Vietnam tries to silence a defiant leader:

A top democratic opposition leader named Nguyen Dan Que was arrested in late February after calling on the Vietnamese people to follow in the footsteps of the Tunisians and Egyptians. He spoke of accomplishing a “clean sweep of Communist dictatorship and build[ing] a new, free, democratic, humane and progressive Vietnam.” He was shortly thereafter released but 60,000 files from his computer were taken. The government says they will question him further as their investigation into opposition activities continues. Que is allowed to go home at night but must return to a police station during the day.

The “domino effect” of the Jasmine Revolution has “even reached China”, where security forces in large numbers have been deployed to forestall protests in Beijing, Shanghai, and eleven other cities.

Over 100 democratic activists were arrested or placed under house arrest. Greater Internetcensorship began with more websites being blocked and users were even prevented from searching the word “jasmine” on Twitter and other social networking websites.

Despite these precautions, ways of bringing protestors out on Sundays were found:

A crowd of hundreds still formed in Beijing and Shanghai and activists are spreading the word about protesting every Sunday by having “peaceful strolls” with no signs or chanting so that the police have little reason to arrest them. University campuses have been surrounded by security forces when the government has learned of the demonstrations and journalists are not being permitted to visit the protest sites. Those who do say they are harassed. Major streets and commercial centers are the scene of police dogs, security agents dressed as civilians, paramilitary personnel and special forces. The ruling party is now discussing further Internet censorship and at least 20 have been charged for their role in organizing the protests.

Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, is quoted as predicting the near approach of “the last days of the People’s Republic”. He believes that “a single action could cause a chain of events resulting in huge changes in the government.”

“When the Chinese lose their fear—and that moment is coming soon—we will see the strength of the discontent in society,” he said.

No oppressive government can be confident in times like these. The world is focused on the rapidly changing events in the Middle East but there is a freedom movement just as important in Asia, even if few are paying attention to it.

Questioning religiously 17

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

6. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

University of Virginia

PS. It will be a shame if we can’t own a Canadian.

Footnote: We are grateful to our reader, Damon Minvielle, for drawing our attention to Dr. James Kauffman’s denial that he wrote the “Dear Dr. Laura” letter.

http://drlauraletter.com/ and http://people.virginia.edu/~jmk9t/

Exposing the lie 0

Professor Richard Muller exposes the con-trick used by disgraceful scientists to support the lie of “manmade global warming”.

Read more about it here.

Accuse Obama 3

Okay, we have to concede that Obama cannot – either deliberately or through negligence – cause earthquakes and tsunamis. For all our scathing contempt of him, our seething animosity towards him, we cannot blame him for the destruction and loss of life those natural disasters have caused in Japan.

But for all other major calamities presently afflicting the world and America in particular, we do hold him responsible.

Obama is chiefly to blame for the continuing economic crisis in America. Incompetent though he is, this could be his singular success, the one goal he aimed at and achieved. America, in his eyes, was too prosperous. He took measures to make the country he led poorer and weaker. He extended government control over the economy, increased government spending, and so put people out of work. Food and energy prices are soaring. He intentionally raised the cost of energy. Higher energy costs mean higher food prices. He puts the hungrier country deeper into debt. Inflation looms. And lo! – it’s done: America is no longer the most prosperous, the freest, the mightiest country on earth. “God damn America!” Pastor Jeremiah Wright prayed. His parishioner Barack Obama heard him, and, having had power put in his hands by a misled electorate, acts to grant that iniquitous prayer.

And he is largely to blame for the growing danger of chaos and war in North Africa and the Middle East, which will affect the whole world, as oil supplies are endangered, and Iran seizes the opportunity created for it by violent upheavals and slaughter to arm its proxies, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria …

This is from Investor’s Business Daily  …

With all eyes on upheaval in the Middle East and Japan’s triple catastrophe, Iran is quietly working under the radar to wreak havoc. It’s moving fast to ship illegal weapons for use against us and our allies.

The Israeli navy on Tuesday intercepted a ship loaded with Iranian weapons 125 miles off its coast. The Liberian-flagged, German-owned Victoria, which debarked from Turkey full of what it claimed were lentils and cotton, made a pit stop at the Syrian port of Latakia and then sailed for Egypt.

In reality, the ship was hauling 2,500 mortar shells, six C-704 anti-ship missiles, two radar systems, two launchers, two hydraulic mounting cranes and 67,000 bullets.

Its Syrian stop just happened to be at the same port an Iranian ship visited when it crossed the Suez Canal last Jan. 22, and no, the Victoria was not bound for Egypt.

“The weaponry originated in Iran, which is trying to arm the Gaza strip,” said Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

As disturbing as it is, it seems to be just one element of an accelerating Iranian plan to arm terrorists in areas where it thinks it can get away with it. …

Israel in fact has been encircled from all sides by Iranian arms in the past three days. Coming up from the south, Egyptian security forces on Sunday captured another load of rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds, rifles and explosive in five trucks coming from Sudan on their way to terrorists in Gaza.

Around the same time, Turkey forced an illicit Iranian plane flying over its territory to land. It was carrying, analysts believe, weapons bound for Syria.

And it seems a creepy coincidence that five members of an Israeli settler family in the West Bank were murdered over the weekend by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorists who named their subgroup after a Hezbollah terrorist with links to Iran.

Iran in fact is stepping up arms shipments all over, blithely ignoring the United Nations embargo.

Three weeks ago, Senegal sent Iran’s ambassador packing after separatist rebels in the south fought pitched battles with Iranian weapons against Senegalese troops, killing three of them. …

Gambia has had it with Iran, too.

Last November, it gave Iran’s diplomats 48 hours to leave, without giving a reason. But it was believed to involve a huge shipment of illegal Iranian rocket launchers and grenades discovered in a Nigerian port on a ship that claimed to be hauling building materials.

Nigeria reported the illegal shipment to the United Nations Security Council — to no effect. Gambia booted the Iranians.

Meanwhile, illegal Iranian arms continue to flow to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and there’s cause to worry that they’ll end up in the hands of Mexican and Central American drug traffickers via Nicaragua.

It all signals that nuclear weapons are not the only danger from Iran — the country is spreading weapons of war in earnest, especially now that it sees its chance.

The world should be alert to the unquestionably violent aims of this evil regime. Its weapons shipments signal a will to make war. But who will stop them?

Not America. It could stop the Iranian regime from becoming a nuclear-armed power, but its president doesn’t want it to.

It is the recognition by dictators, rogue states, terrorists, and the Islamic “community of believers” – the ummah – that America under Obama’s presidency has resigned from its super-power status, has opted to be weak, a passive nation among nations, unjudging of others, no threat to any tyrant, wanting pathetically to be friendly with the bloodiest regimes, that has moved them to act as they do now. By his silence and inactivity he has given them permission.

This article by Ernest S. Christian and Gary A. Robbins, whose bitterness and anger we applaud, also comes from IBD:

Other nations no longer look to America’s mysterious president for leadership. …

President Obama … has not done one single thing to make America better off. His presidential scorecard is all negatives, a mixture of strikeouts, bunts, pop flies and game-losing errors so dumb and off-base they must be deliberate. Why else would he spend us into bankruptcy and lower our flag of freedom?

Obama’s foreign policy is a moral and intellectual outrage. People in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in that region seek liberty and need help. But from Obama they get flabby babble that means nothing or is too little, too late and grudging. He is condemning whole populations to further enslavement — and pushing millions of people into the arms of bin Laden, thereby pointing a gun right back at America’s head. …

Obama is as a matter of principle reluctant to interfere with the evil plans of despots — not even the mullahs in Iran who threaten nuclear holocaust — but he does not hesitate to impose harmful, downright bizarre “solutions” on innocent Americans.

He spent trillions of dollars to create a mountain of debt and a few temporary make-work jobs — but, guess what? The debt must be repaid with tax increases that will destroy millions of real private-sector jobs for years to come. Smart move, Barack! …

Obama talks airily about creating “green jobs,” but what he’s really doing is outlawing carbon fuels and destroying all the high-paying jobs in America’s manufacturing sector.

Through the combination of stultifying regulations, Obama-created high energy prices (gas may soon hit $5) and the sheer in terrorem effect of his continued presence in the White House, the president is “resetting” America’s economy to operate at a low GDP growth rate that for the foreseeable future is insufficient to provide jobs for our growing population.

Unless Republicans quickly succeed in cutting back federal spending and downsizing government — despite Obama’s opposition — and unless they repeal ObamaCare, Americans face a bleak future of massive tax increases, lower living standards, government-run and rationed health care — and a gradual loss of personal freedom. …

Obama traduces the truth daily and has already done more damage to the U.S. than Nixon, Carter and Clinton combined — and the worst may be yet to come. The man is a public menace who should be kept under political quarantine.

Better still, impeached and removed from office. Beyond that – is there a punishment that would fit what he has done?

The once and future Republican Party 3

Is the  Republican Party again being true to its tradition of standing for progress and liberalism in the proper meaning of those two words? Slowly, and maybe only because of heavy pressure from the Tea Party, it is inching in the right direction and may yet save America from the economic and political calamities Obama has organized for the nation. It must overcome its timidity and recover the boldness that characterized it in the past.

Let’s recall some of the achievements of its bold past. For one thing, the Republican Party has always, from its inception, been the party that best served the interests of black Americans. Is it now?

In his Townhall column today, titled Blacks and Republicans, Thomas Sowell writes:

Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco, and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula, by high housing prices.

At one time, housing prices in San Francisco were much like housing prices elsewhere in the country. But the building restrictions– and outright bans– resulting from the political crusades of environmentalist zealots sent housing prices skyrocketing in San Francisco, San Jose and most of the communities in between. Housing prices in these communities soared to about three times the national average. …

With all the Republican politicians’ laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats’ constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don’t make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers’ unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans’ general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats’ welfare state approach.

As we stressed in our post, Democrats for slavery, secession, segregation, socialism, December 7, 2009: The Republican Party was founded to end slavery, and the greatest fighter of them all against slavery was Republican President Abe Lincoln.

Lincoln was personally responsible for making the Thirteenth Amendment what it is – the amendment that forbids slavery in the United States of America.

This is from Great American History:

The final version of the Thirteenth Amendment – the one ending slavery – has an interesting story of its own. Passed during the Civil War years, when southern congressional representatives were not present for debate, one would think today that it must have easily passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Not true. As a matter of fact, although passed in April 1864 by the Senate, with a vote of 38 to 6, the required two-thirds majority was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 93 to 65. Abolishing slavery was almost exclusively a Republican party effort – only four Democrats voted for it.

It was then that President Abraham Lincoln took an active role in pushing it through congress. He insisted that the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment be added to the Republican party platform for the upcoming presidential elections. He used all of his political skill and influence to convince additional democrats to support the amendments’ passage. His efforts finally met with success, when the House passed the bill in January 1865 with a vote of 119-56. Finally, Lincoln supported those congressmen that insisted southern state legislatures must adopt the Thirteenth Amendment before their states would be allowed to return with full rights to Congress.

And the Republican Party continued to be the pro-black party, fighting Democratic racism. In fact, all the important genuinely “progressive” legislation was passed by the Republicans, as this article relates:

Republicans in Congress also enacted the nation’s first-ever Civil Rights Act, which extended citizenship and equal rights to people of all races, all colors, and all creeds.In 1875, the Republicans expanded these protections to give all citizens the right of equal access to all public accommodations. Struck down by the Supreme Court eight years later, this landmark legislation would be reborn as the 1964 Civil Rights Act..

Which only became law after overcoming a Democratic filibuster.

Every single African-American in Congress until 1935 was a Republican. Among the Republican pioneers were South Carolina’s Joseph Rainey, the first black member of the House of Representatives, in 1870. Republican Hiram Revels of Mississippi became the first black U. S. Senator the same year. Two years later, Pinckney Pinchback of Louisiana became the nation’s first black Governor…

Democratic opposition to Republican efforts to protect the civil rights of all Americans lasted not only throughout Reconstruction, but well into the 20th century. In the South, those Democrats who most bitterly opposed equality for blacks founded the Ku Klux Klan, which operated as the party’s terrorist  wing.

Women’s emancipation was also effected chiefly by Republicans:

Republicans led the fight for women’s rights, and most suffragists were Republicans. In fact, Susan B. Anthony bragged about how, after voting (illegally) in 1872, she had voted a straight Republican ticket. The suffragists included two African-American women who were also co-founders of the NAACP: Ida Wells and Mary Terrell, great Republicans, both of them. …

It was in 1916 that the first woman was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Jeannette Rankin. The first woman mayor was elected in 1926, the Honorable Bertha Landes of Seattle, another great Republican.

California was the first state to have a Hispanic governor, Republican Romualdo Pacheco, in 1875. The first Hispanic U. S. Senator, Octaviano Larrazolo, came to Washington from New Mexico as a Republican in 1928. The first Jewish U.S. Senator outside the former Confederacy was a Republican from Oregon, Joseph Simon, and the first Jewish woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives was a California Republican, Florence Kahn. …

The first woman on the Supreme Court was a Republican [at least she was when she was appointed -JB], Sandra Day O’Connor.

The first Asian-Americans and Hispanics appointed to powerful positions were Republicans:

The first Asian-American U.S. Senator was a Republican, Hiram Fong from Hawaii. The first African-American Senator after Reconstruction was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts. The first Asian-American federal judge was a Republican, Herbert Choy… The first Hispanic presidential Cabinet member was a Republican, Lauro Cavazos, Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan.

What the Republicans need now is a powerful leader who will succeed as president the incompetent, ignorant, immature community-organizer who bends to the left and bows to Islam.

We have not yet spotted him or her.

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