Political Angst In America

Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Monday, March 31, 2008

Here are some comments about dating by conservative girls. I wonder if there are very many girls like these. When I was young it seemed like most of the girls were liberals. I see that I made a big mistake in dating back when I was young. I usually started with a movie for the first date. Maybe that's why I didn't get many second dates. At least I didn't talk about myself a lot.


Obama's background with Muslim's has always been a concern to me. I don't think we can take the chance that he is the "Manchurian Candidate." Here is an article that describes his early background:


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama has had a lot of close association with communists. It is well known that both admire the socialist activist Saul Alinsky. Here is an article that discusses Barack Obama's association with the Communist Party of the USA member Frank Marshall Davis.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Horizontal drilling to recover petroleum products can change the energy picture for the United States. In the Fort Worth area the Barnett shale natural gas field is extimated to contain about 150 billion cubic feet of methane per square mile of which nearly half can be obtained by horizontal drilling methods. Here is an estimate of what horizontal drilling can do in Montana and the the Dakotas:

February 13, 08
Massive Oil Deposit Could Increase US reserves by 10x
America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.

It was not until 2007, when EOG Resources of Texas started a frenzy when they drilled a single well in Parshal N.D. that is expected to yield 700,000 barrels of oil that real excitement and money started to flow in North Dakota. Marathon Oil is investing $1.5 billion and drilling 300 new wells in what is expected to be one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

The US imported about 14 million barrels of Oil per day in 2007 , which means US consumers sent about $340 Billion Dollars over seas building palaces in Dubai and propping up unfriendly regimes around the World, if 200 billion barrels of oil at $90 a barrel are recovered in the high plains the added wealth to the US economy would be $18 Trillion Dollars which would go a long way in stabilizing the US trade deficit and could cut the cost of oil in half in the long run.

If there are 200 billion barrels of oil recoverable over 50 years, the potential is 11 million barrels per day. That could wipe out the US imports from countries other than Canada and Mexico. That would help us a lot in regard to the politics of the Middle East. If we would drill in ANWR and in coastal areas, such as off of Florida where the Chineses are drilling, the US could be an oil exporter. If the Colorado shale oil and Canadian Oil Sands potential of over two trillion barrels are considered, it will be centuries before the world runs out of oil.

There is also some horizontal drilling going on in other areas. In East Texas there are now wells being drilled to 19,000 feet, but I don't know what is being sought nor how successful the wells are. But, it costs a lot to drill to a depth of 19,000 feet, so the oil companies must think there is a large potential reward.

Imagine the distress of the "greenies" as they read about these potential petroleum reserves. Surely they must be working on how to stop drilling in the Dakotas.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Here is Wilders short film about Islam:


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Before Barack Obama started running for President I had never heard of Black Liberation Theology. It is hard to believe that a man believing in Black Liberation Theology could get elected President, but it is not hard to believe that Democrats would nominate such a man.
In fact, the liberal churches have bestowed great influence and prestige on the inventor of Black Liberation Theology, a Dr. James Hal Cone. Writes Dr. Cone, among other things,

* "Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him."

* "All white men are responsible for white oppression."

* "While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism."

* "Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil.""

* "The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples."

* "We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You don't have to do a lot of scientific research to become an AGW skeptic. Here is a discussion of how one computer geek became a skeptic; he uses an analogy to Y2K.


The Democrats demonized Joe McCarthy for his searches for communists in the State Department. (It was not McCarthy who went after Hollywood types.) As time goes by more classified information is released from the former Soviet Union, and it turns out that McCarthy ewas wrong; the situation was worse than he thought. Here is a paragraph I lifted from 'dissecting leftism."

As time goes by, and more and more records are declassified, it is becoming more and more apparent that Joe McCarthy was mistaken about the amount of Soviet infiltration of American institutions: He underestimated it. There was something like over 400 Soviet agents and fellow travellers in the State Department, alone, where he had estimated 200.

Democrats hate it when it is revealed that many communists in the Democratic Party were actively working with the Russian communists to undermine the United States. Some of those same people are now actively helping Islamists.

I went to the doctor today, and I no longer have pneumonia. That is about the only good news on the health front that we have had recently.

I haven't been blocking much since my wife in now in a nursing home recovering from a compression fracture of a vertabra and a broken arm. I'm also working on my tax return. It is hard to see how Congress and the IRS could have made the income tax laws more confusing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The NASA Aqua satellite launched in 2002 to obtain data on climate indicates that as water vapor increases in the atmosphere more clouds form. This is according to Dr. Roy Spencer. The clouds reflect sunlight having the effect of cooling the earth. Thus increasing water vapor is a negative feedback rather than a positive feedback as assumed in all of the IPCC's Global Circulation Models. (An assumption has to be made since the models do not acurately predict cloud behavior.)

The 3000 Argo buoys were launched in 2003 to get ocean data, including temperature to a depth of over 6000 feet. According to Josh Willis of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the data from Argo indicate that ocean temperatures are declining slightly. This is not possible according to the greenhouse gas global warming hypothesis, so the believers are trying to figure out what is wrong with the data (as they should). They also have their "spin doctors" out trying to obfuscate the issue.

The mayor of Detroit has been indicted. Most of the news accounts do not report which political party he is in. That means he is a Democrat. If he were a Republican, that information would be in the first paragraph.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lot's of people don't know that millions of people have died because of the total ban of DDT, or that the World Trade Center Twin Towers might not have collapsed if safe use of asbestos had not been outlawed. That is discussed in the article below. (The author of the article probably is unaware that the Space Shuttle that broke up over Texas probably would not have been lost if asbestos insulation had not been banned.)


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I have been busy lately caring for my wife. She fell recently and broke her left wrist, and sustained a compression fracture of her L2vertebra. She experienced a lot of back pain, and is in the hospital for testing.

A lot of "global warming deniers" are writing about their doubts. Here is another example:


Monday, March 17, 2008

J. P. Morgan Chase is buying out the Investment Banker Bear Stearns for $236 million. Some say it is quite a steal, since Bear Stearns is said to have assets worth $7.7 billion, despite having a liquidity issue. Of course some bankruptcy lawyers may lose out if J. P. Morgan Chase makes the purchase. But other lawyers will be OK. The reason the price is so low is that J. P. Morgan is setting aside $6 billion to cover anticipated lawsuits. Apparently Bear Stearns did something questionable, otherwise why would so much money be allocated to settle expected lawsuits? I've been involved in some of class action suits after Wall Street manipulators pulled funny stuff. I didn't get much from the class action lawsuits, but the lawyers did very well. I predict that there will be some lawyers that become multi-millionaires as a result of the recent financial meltdown. The people who lost a lot of money, like me, will come out with some good experience. We now know that we can't trust anything the people on Wall Street tell us. That will have an effect on the markets for a few years. Some new laws will be passed. Then in a few years, no one will remember this, and the scammers will have figured out how to circumvent the new laws. Actually the Congressional Staffers who write the news laws will hire out to Wall Street to point out the holes they left in the laws.

Those who don't think that many of the Democrats are basically traitors need to read this post from "flopping aces" on Hillary Clinton's comments on her plans to surrender in Iraq. Note the comments of the enemy. Even they have contempt for those who would surrender. Imagine what would happen if the Democrats announced that they were going to be tougher than the current Administration. If we had done that in Vietnam we now know that the communists would have folded. The same thing could happen in Iraq, though religious fanatics may insist that we follow through and kill them all.

Hillery - “We Cannot Win In Iraq”
Posted by: Curt @ 7:48 pm in The Clintons

Not to be outdone by Obama in the “making a fool of myself” arena Hillary comes out with this:

Democrat Hillary Clinton charged on Monday the Iraq war may cost Americans $1 trillion and add strain to the sagging US economy as she made her case for a prompt US troop pullout from a war “we cannot win.”

Jveritas at FR, who translated many of the Saddam Documents, found this nugget in response to her statement that we can’t win:

It did not take long for Ekhlaas, the largest terrorist forum on the internet to rejoice and be all happy with Hillary Clinton defeatist statements today about the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton said that we cannot win this war even if we stay there for a 100 year. The terrorists were very glad to hear this and below are some of their comments which I translated:

“Zamjari”: Allah is Great Brothers, Hillary Clinton: We cannot win the war in Iraq even if we stay for a hundred year

“Moukhles Moutaalek”: You dogs, you sacrifice the future of your country so you can win a presidential election. If America withdraws from Iraq this will give a clear signal that America can be defeated and America will suffer from attacks all over the world. Taste the flavor of treason you Americans, I am mocking you, may allah put the in authority the traitors from their own skin, the slaves of thrones.

“Younis Al Shami”: In America’s fight against the people of Mesopotamia, America will forget the horrors of Vietnam

“Hode”: Allah protect Sheikh Ossama the conqueror of the Americans from the plots of the enemies

Way to go Hillary! Tell the world that we cannot win a war we are winning already.

More from todays speech:

Now, withdrawal is not risk-free, but the risks of staying in Iraq are certain. And a well-planned withdrawal is the one and only path to a political solution. The only way to spur the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future and to ensure that we don’t bear that responsibility indefinitely. The only way to spur other countries to do their part to help secure stability in the region. The commitment to staying in Iraq has driven President Bush’s foreign policy. It looks like it would drive Senator McCain’s foreign policy as well, but it will not drive mine. My foreign policy will be driven by what is in America’s national security interests…

The most important part of my plan is the first step, to bring our troops home and send the strongest possible message to the Iraqis that they must take responsibly for their own future. No more talk of permanent occupation, no more policing a civil war, no more doing for the Iraqis what they need to be doing for themselves. As president, one of my first official actions will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my Secretary of Defense and my National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to start bringing our troops home within the first 60 days of my taking office. A plan based on my consultation with the military to remove one to two brigades a month, a plan that reduces the risks of attack as they depart.

And Allah reminds us about how far she would go to get our troops out of Iraq from a year old interview:

In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain in Iraq after taking office would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.

Asked if Americans would endure having troops in Iraq who do nothing to stop sectarian attacks there, Mrs. Clinton replied, “Look, I think the American people are done with Iraq. I think they’re at a point where, whether they thought it was a good idea or not, they have seen misjudgment and blunder after blunder, and their attitude is, what is this getting us? What is this doing for us?”

“No one wants to sit by and see mass killing,” she added. “It’s going on every day! Thousands of people are dying every month in Iraq. Our presence there is not stopping it. And there is no potential opportunity I can imagine where it could. This is an Iraqi problem — we cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. If we had a different attitude going in there, if we had stopped the looting immediately, if we had asserted our authority — you can go down the lines, if, if, if.”

No problem with ethnic cleansing in Iraq to ensure that the war Bush started in Iraq goes down in defeat but she begged her hubby to stop the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda way back when.

Just as in the old Soviet Union, Rev. Jeremiah Wright has disappeared from Barack Obama's web site. Gone without a trace; no explanation given. History rewritten.

I'm surprised at the brouhaha that has developed recently over Obama's pastor, Reverend Wright. The fact that Obama belonged to a black racist Church has been known for several years. The Reverend Wright's comments about the CIA created AIDS to kill off black people, etc. have been on the internet for some time. (The idea that Reverend Wright's comments are cherry-picked, or taken out of context is ridiculous; how can there be any context for the AIDS remark, or that the government imports drugs to addict black people.) What I'm wondering about is why the TV networks started playing the comments on TV at this time. It seems unlikely that McCain and the Republicans would have caused this at this time. Far better for them to wait until just before the election in October. Also, if the Clintons did it, the timing also seems wrong. It would have been better for them to have started this just before the primar in Texas and Ohio. It is now over five weeks until the important primary in Pennslyvania. So, there is plenty of time for Obama to overcome the bad press. Thus it seems most likely to me that the Obama campaign is responsible. THis is the best time for this story to be publicized from their perspective. It was bound to happen sometimes, so now the campaign has time to innoculate itself against future major damage.

One of the reasons I am a Republican and not a Democrat is that the Democrats are dominated by lawyers. I had no thought about the extent to which this is true, as is pointed out in this piece from "disecting leftism:"

The parasites' Party: "The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers' Party. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lawyers. Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama are lawyers. John Edwards, the other former Democrat candidate for president, is a lawyer and so is his wife Elizabeth. Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate.) Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Benson, went to law school. Look at the Democrat Party in Congress: the Majority Leader in each house is a lawyer. The Republican Party is different. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were not lawyers, but businessmen. The leaders of the Republican Revolution were not lawyers. Newt Gingrich was a history professor; Tom Delay was an exterminator; and Dick Armey was an economist. House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer, not a lawyer. The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

This is Palm Sunday. In 1836 on Palm Sunday, which was on 27 March that year, the Mexican army executed the members of the Texas army that was defending Goliad, Texas. They had promised that the Texans would not be executed when they surrendered after a short battle, but Santa Anna ordered their execution anyway. (The Mexicans lost sixty men in the battle compared to nine for the Texans, but the Texans were outnumbered three to one, and were out of water.) About three hundred and fifty prisoners who were unaware that they were about to be shot were marched out in three groups. The groups were not synchronised and one group of Mexicans fired before the others. The prisoners in the other two groups, upon hearing the shots, ran. About twenty-eight escaped. The Texans wounded in the battle were bayoneted in the hospital. (The hospital staff was spared so they could treat the Mexican wounded.) The Texan's leader, Col. Fannin, who was among the wounded, was executed by firing squad. The Mexicans agreed to his request that he be shot in the chest, that his pocket watch be sent to his family, and that he be given a Christain burial. So, they shot him in the head, stole his watch and threw his body in the river. I suppose it didn't cost them anything to be polite.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

One of the problems I have had with the catastrophic greenhouse gas hypothesis is that there has never been a "runaway" increasing temperature of earth even though the amount of CO2 has been significantly higher thousands of years ago than it is now. Philosophically it seems unlikely that all feedbacks associated with increased temperature due to greenhouse gases would be positive. There have been a lot of scientists who have argued that the accepted theory violated the second law of thermodynamics, and that basic heat balance would not be satisfied. There has been recent work at UAH that indicates that there are not more high altitude clouds as the amount of water vapor in the air increases, and that the clouds do not persist as long as has been assumed in the Global Circulation Models. Thus high altitude clouds do not produce a positive feedback, and at worst the effect may be neutral. It is obvious from the recent temperature history that the GCMs overestimate the mean temperature increase, but the proponents of the global warming hypothesis do not acknowledge the facts. As stated in the following article, the $5 billion per year the global warmers for their research is a good reason for ignoring the evidence. (It is curious that the people who believe the catastrophic global warming hypothesis say that the "deniers" are supported by "big oil" even though there is no record of significant funding going to the "deniers." In fact, the "deniers" often lose their job or leave due to institutional pressure as the Zagoni did.) The comment by Reto Ruedy in the article that the greenhouse gas equations are 200 years old is pretty funny. I don't think Einstein worried about Newton's gravitation law being over 200years old. Here is the article:


Here is a funny item about Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and Vietnam. If Hayden had known the Vietnamese were going to switch toward a market economy after they realized communism was a failure, maybe he wouldn't have helped them defeat South Vietnam.

In Canada's National Post, Robert Fulford asks what to many is a fairly straightforward rhetorical question:

Why aren't the Vietnamese more grateful to Tom Hayden? Recently, he returned for the first time in 36 years to the country that he and his then-wife Jane Fonda tried to save from American domination in the Vietnam war. The trip disappointed him. As he writes in the March 10 issue of The Nation, Vietnam has turned capitalist. Was that what he fought for? Absolutely not. He remains capitalism's enemy, still the same lefty who helped found 1960s student radicalism.

In the San Jose suburb of Milpitas, the large Vietnamese population is so enamored with the current communist regime that they've gone back to flying the flag of the free former South Vietnam. And they're not alone.

Via Small Dead Animals, which notes:

Ah yes, those ungrateful Vietnamese. After Hollywood cleared their path for a worker's paradise they've decided they don't like it much after all and are abandoning it. Oh well, Hollywood still has Cuba and there's always Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to embrace.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Cuban soccer team had to play a game in the US with only ten players after seven players defected. I'm sure that Robert Redford and Michael Moore think there is something wrong with those defecting Cuban soccer players. Why would they want to leave the socialist paradise of Cuba for the evil United States? No doubt this is mystery to the geniuses in Hollywood.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I read in the paper today that al Qaeda has sent in fingers of some of their American civilian captives. (And more often than not the captives are beheaded.) I wonder if Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and other liberal Democrats think that al Qeada's treatment of captives is not as bad as our locking terrorists up in Gitmo, where they get excellent food, prayer rugs, etc. As long as they can blame George Bush, I'm sure they will say that we are worse than al Qaeda.

Is al Qaeda a world-wide organization or not? Two Austrians, Wofgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber, were kidnapped in Tunisia on 22 February. Al Qaeda of North Africa says they kidnapped the couple in response to the Israeli incursion into Gaza. That happened five days after the kidnapping, but then al Qaeda was probably just acting in anticipation. I wonder if Democrats acknowledge that al Qaeda is in Tunisia, or in the Philippines, or in Somalia. According to Democrats the local law enforcement organization should be able to handle the situation in Tunisia. I wonder if anyone actually believes that will happen?

Here is an article about the "Killer Bee" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). These blended body aircraft look a bit odd, but are probably hard to detect with radar.


The big military news this week is the retirement of Adm Fallon. I thought the Admiral's days were numbered after he reportedly referred to General Petraeus as “an ass-kissing little chickenshit.” The Admiral was not on board with the strategy Bush wanted to follow, so he needed to go. This is much like the situation that Lincoln faced during the Civil War. Lincoln had to fire several generals who did not perform. In the case of McClellan Lincoln had a general from the Democratic Party who did not want to win the Civil War. Bush faces similar challenges. Many Democrats, including those in the military, do not want to win in Iraq. Presumably they do want to defeat Islamic terrorists, but just not in Iraq because that would be a victory for President Bush, something that is intolerable for Democrats.

Here is an article that traces the sub-prime mortgage problem back to government action and regulation. Apparently it all started back in 1977 during the Carter Administration when the government decided to induce banks to loan money to minority people who were not good credit risks. One thing to consider is that the current Democrat candidates for President claim that they also going to use regulation to force corporations to do what they consider socially desirable things, like allowing unions to organize through the "check-off" rather than secret ballot. Here is the article:

How government makes things worse

By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / March 9, 2008

WHAT DO ethanol and the subprime mortgage meltdown have in common? Each is a good reminder of that most powerful of unwritten decrees, the Law of Unintended Consequences - and of the all-too-frequent tendency of solutions imposed by the state to exacerbate the harms they were meant to solve.

Take ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel made (primarily) from corn. Ethanol has been touted as a weapon in the fashionable crusade against climate change, because when mixed with gasoline, it modestly reduces emissions of carbon dioxide. Reasoning that if a little ethanol is good, a lot must be better, Congress and the Bush administration recently mandated a sextupling of ethanol production, from the 6 billion gallons produced last year to 36 billion by 2022.

But now comes word that expanding ethanol use is likely to mean not less CO2 in the atmosphere, but more. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline by 20 percent - the estimate Congress relied on in requiring the huge increase in production - ethanol use will cause such emissions to nearly double over the next 30 years.

The problem, laid out in two new studies in the journal Science, is that it takes a lot of land to grow biofuel feedstocks such as corn, and as forests or grasslands are cleared for crops, large amounts of CO2 are released. Diverting land in this fashion also eliminates "carbon sinks," which absorb atmospheric CO2. Bottom line: The government's ethanol mandate will generate a "carbon debt" that will take decades, maybe centuries, to pay off.

Actually, that's not quite the bottom line. Jacking up ethanol production causes other problems, too. Deforestation. Loss of biodiversity. Depletion of aquifers. More ethanol even means more hunger: As more of the US corn crop goes for ethanol, the price of corn has been soaring, a calamity for Third World countries in which corn is a major dietary staple.

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa bloviates that "everything about ethanol is good, good, good," but it plainly isn't, isn't, isn't. The fate of ethanol, including how much of it is produced, should be determined by the decentralized process of free exchange - by the voluntary interactions of countless consumers and producers, buyers and sellers, each acting according to his best judgment and in his own best interest. Instead, Congress and the president, convinced as always that they know best, imposed a single, inflexible, ham-fisted directive from above. The result is that the carbon dioxide they aimed to reduce will be increased, and many people will suffer unnecessary misfortune.

The subprime mortgage collapse is another tale of unintended consequences.

The crisis has its roots in the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, a Carter-era law that purported to prevent "redlining" - denying mortgages to black borrowers - by pressuring banks to make home loans in "low- and moderate-income neighborhoods." Under the act, banks were to be graded on their attentiveness to the "credit needs" of "predominantly minority neighborhoods." The higher a bank's rating, the more likely that regulators would say yes when the bank sought to open a new branch or undertake a merger or acquisition.

But to earn high ratings, banks were forced to make increasingly risky loans to borrowers who wouldn't qualify for a mortgage under normal standards of creditworthiness. The Community Reinvestment Act, made even more stringent during the Clinton administration, trapped lenders in a Catch-22.

"If they comply," wrote Loyola College economist Thomas DiLorenzo, "they know they will have to suffer from more loan defaults. If they don't comply, they face financial penalties . . . which can cost a large corporation like Bank of America billions of dollars."

Banks nationwide thus ended up making more and more subprime loans and agreeing to dangerously lax underwriting standards - no down payment, no verification of income, interest-only payment plans, weak credit history. If they tried to compensate for the higher risks they were taking by charging higher interest rates, they were accused of unfairly steering borrowers into "predatory" loans they couldn't afford.

Trapped in a no-win situation entirely of the government's making, lenders could only hope that home prices would continue to rise, staving off the inevitable collapse. But once the housing bubble burst, there was no escape. Mortgage lenders have been bankrupted, thousands of subprime homeowners have been foreclosed on, and countless would-be borrowers can no longer get credit. The financial fallout has hurt investors around the world. And all of it thanks to the government, which was sure it understood the credit industry better than the free market did, and confidently created the conditions that made disaster unavoidable.

"No man's life, liberty, or property is safe," warned Mark Twain, "while Congress is in session." Mark Twain was a humorist, but that was no joke.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The greenies forced a change in solder used in electronic devices that has not worked well. This problem was just surfacing as I was about to retire from almost 50 years in Aerospace. The whole thing seemed silly to me, with the solution probably worse than the alleged problem. Here is a comment about this issue from the blog "greenie watch:"

Tin whiskers: Sometimes going green hurts more than it helps

If you own almost any electricity-powered device, this concerns you

[Tin whiskers affect] all of your soldered devices that are two years old or less. Most of these are now assembled using solder joints that have no lead in an effort to save our groundwater and our health. The fact that the lead has been generally replaced with silver or bismuth, both of which are actually greater health risks than lead, well we'll leave that one for Ralph Nader if he decides not to run for President. The longer-term trend is toward all-tin connections, anyway, but they don't work very well, either.

I wrote a column about this back in 2004 (it's in this week's links) that was heavy on information and therefore low on readership. Everything in that column has come to pass and more. Where's my Pulitzer Prize? Costs have gone up, mean time between failures (MTBF) has gone down (accelerated MTBF tests, which are the only MTBF tests we do anymore, don't reliably pick this up, by the way), and reliability has suffered. Since we don't fix things anymore, it's hard to say whether your gizmo failed because of bad solder or not, but the problem is becoming worse as a greater percentage of total circuits in use have lead-free solder. The military was especially concerned, even before the whisker crisis.

We're talking about tin whiskers, single crystals that mysteriously grow from pure tin joints but not generally from tin-lead solder joints. Nobody knows how or why these whiskers grow and nobody knows how to stop them, except through the use of lead solder. Whiskers can start growing in a decade or a year or a day after manufacture. They can grow at up to nine millimeters per year. They grow in any atmosphere including a pure vacuum. They grow in any humidity condition. They just grow. And when they get long enough they either touch another joint, shorting out one or more connections, or they vaporize in a flash, creating a little plasma cloud that can carry for an instant hundreds of amps and literally blow your device to pieces.

Since 2006 we have been exclusively manufacturing soldered connections thousands of times more likely to create tin whiskers than previous generation joints made with tin-lead solder. Because of the universal phase-in of the new solder technology and the fact that the solder technologies can't reliably be mixed (old solders mess with new solder joints in the same device through simple outgassing) this means that it is practically impossible to use older, more reliable technology just for mission-critical (even life-critical) connections. So we're all in this tin boat together.

Some experts confidently say that the disparity of joint reliability we are seeing today will go away and that the new joints will become as reliable or even more reliable than the old tin-lead joints as we gain experience with the new processes. What's disturbing, though, is that these experts don't actually know how this increased reliability is likely to be achieved. Just like extrapolating a Moore's Law curve to figure out how fast or how cheap technology is likely to be a decade from now, they have no idea how these gains will be made, just confidence that they will be.

What if the experts are wrong? Tin whiskers can take out your iPod or your network. They can stop your car cold. They can take down an entire airport or Citibank. They are much more common than most people -- even most experts -- think. The reason for this is that most tin whiskers can't even be seen.

"Maybe it is worth adding," said one expert who prefers to remain anonymous, "that whisker diameters range from 0.1 um to 10 um, while the diameter of a human hair is 70 um to 100 um --- so the largest whisker is only some 15 percent of the diameter of a thin hair, and most are less than 5 percent. A good fraction (of these are) so thin that light waves just pass them by, scattering a bit but not reflecting. So the optical microscope images that (typically used to illustrate whiskers) show only a small fraction of what is really there. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images are a bit better, but only show a small zone of the sample; also, not many folks are able to acquire SEM images of their equipment. So all too many folks have the idea that whiskers are something that happens to someone else, but never to them. This is an expensive misconception."

What I wonder is whether a cost-benefit analysis of this solder technology changeover was ever done? I haven't seen one. And if you think this problem is minor, I have been told that just the cost of changing to lead-free solder stands right now at $280 BILLION and climbing. That cost is borne by all of us. Maybe dumping lead solder was absolutely the right thing to do. Maybe it was absolutely the wrong thing to do. The truth is we haven't the slightest idea the answer to that question and anyone who claims to know is wrong. We didn't know what would happen when we started this and we don't know what we'll get out of it, either, or whether it will be worth the cost. All we know for sure is that a bumpy ride lies ahead.

Here is another report that disagrees with the IPCC about the cause of mean near surface of earth temperature increase during the twentieth century. The IPCC's latest work says the 95% of the increase was due to man's activities. This report from the Research Triangle in North Carolina says 69% was due to the Sun. This report is fairly technical, so it may be that some can't appreciate it. Personally this report looks reasonable to me. And I think that the man's activities responsible for the 31% or whatever it is involve more than just emission of greenhouse gases, particularly in the area of land use.


Generally Democrats like to raise taxes. They acknowledge that their purpose in raising taxes is not so much to increase state revenue, but rather is primarily intended to level income. Here is an article comparing the tax plans of McCain, Obama, and Clinton. This article does not cover Obama's plan to increase the cap on social security tax from just over $100,000 per year to $250,000. That is a heck of an increase. This article is from the blog "dissecting leftism:"

Change can be good OR bad...the facts speak for themselves

The article below has appeared on various sites but authorship seems to be unknown. From what I can see it is pretty accurate, though

Proposed changes in taxes after 2008 General Election:


MCCAIN 15% (no change)



How does this affect you? If you sell your home and make a profit, you will pay 28% of your gain on taxes. If you are heading toward retirement and would like to down-size your home or move into a retirement community, 28% of the money you make from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income from their homes as part of their retirement income.


MCCAIN 15% (no change)

OBAMA 39.6%


How will this affect you? If you have any money invested in stock market, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance, retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money earned on taxes if Obama or Clinton become president. The experts predict that "Higher tax rates on dividends and capital gains would crash the stock market yet do absolutely nothing to cut the deficit."


MCCAIN (no changes)

Single making 30K - tax $4,500
Single making 50K - tax $12,500
Single making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 60K- tax $9,000
Married making 75K - tax $18,750
Married making 125K - tax $31,250

OBAMA (reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)

Single making 30K - tax $8,400
Single making 50K - tax $14,000
Single making 75K - tax $23,250
Married making 60K - tax $16,800
Married making 75K - tax $21,000
Married making 125K - tax $38,750

CLINTON (reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts)

Single making 30K - tax $8,400
Single making 50K - tax $14,000
Single making 75K - tax $23,250
Married making 60K - tax $16,800
Married making 75K - tax $21,000
Married making 125K - tax $38,750

How does this affect you? No explanation needed. This is pretty straightforward.


MCCAIN 0% (No change, Bush repealed this tax)

OBAMA (Keep the inheritance tax)

CLINTON (Keep the inheritance tax)

How does this affect you? Many families have lost businesses, farms and ranches, and homes that have been in their families for generations because they could not afford the inheritance tax. Those willing their assets to loved ones will not only lose them to these taxes.


* New government taxes proposed on homes that are more than 2400 square feet
* New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren't high enough already)
* New taxes on natural resources consumption (heating gas, water, electricity)
* New taxes on retirement accounts
and last but not least....

* New taxes to pay for socialized medicine so we can receive the same level of medical care as other third-world countries!!!

In case you want more information on Obama's tax and spend agenda: If Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing $874.35 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term:

Updated February 14, 2008: Obama's National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank will cost $60 Billion Over Ten Years; Equal To $6 Billion A Year And $24 Billion Over Four Years.

Obama: "I'm proposing a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks On Economic Policy, Janesville, WI, 2/13/08)

Obama's Health Care Plan Will Cost Up To $65 Billion A Year; Equal To $260 Billion Over Four Years. "[Obama] campaign officials estimated that the net cost of the plan to the federal government would be $50 billion to $65 billion a year, when fully phased in, and said the revenues from rolling back the tax cuts were enough to cover it." (Robin Toner and Patrick Healy, "Obama Calls For Wider And Less Costly Health Care Coverage," The New York Times, 5/30/07)

Obama's Energy Plan Will Cost $150 Billion Over 10 Years, Equal To $15 Billion Annually And $60 Billion Over Four Years.

"Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid." (Obama For America, "The Blueprint For Change," http://www.barackobama.com/, Accessed 1/14/08, p. 25)

Obama's Tax Plan Will Cost Approximately $85 Billion A Year; Equal To $340 Billion Over Four Years.

"[Obama's] proposed tax cuts and credits, aimed at workers earning $50,000 or less per year, would cost the Treasury an estimated $85 billion annually." (Margaret Talev, "Obama Proposes Tax Code Overhaul To Help The Poor," McClatchy Newspapers, 9/19/07)

Obama's Plan Would Raise Taxes On Capital Gains And Dividends, And On Carried Interest.

Obama's tax plan includes: "[i]ncreasing the highest bracket for capital gains and dividends and closing the carried interest loophole." (Obama For America, "Barack Obama: Tax Fairness For The Middle Class," Fact Sheet, www.barackobama.com, Accessed 1/8/08)

Obama's Economic Stimulus Package Will Cost $75 Billion. "Barack Obama's economic plan will inject $75 billion of stimulus into the economy by getting money in the form of tax cuts and direct spending directly to the people who need it most." (Obama For America, "Barack Obama's Plan To Stimulate The Economy," Fact Sheet, www.barackobama.com, 1/13/08)

Obama's Early Education And K-12 Package Will Cost $18 Billion A Year; Equal To $72 Billion Over Four Years. "Barack Obama's early education and K-12 plan package costs about $18 billion per year." (Obama For America, "Barack Obama's Plan For Lifetime Success Through Education," Fact Sheet, http://www.barackobama.com/, 11/20/07, p. 15)

Obama's National Service Plan Will Cost $3.5 Billion A Year; Equal To $14 Billion Over Four Years. "Barack Obama's national service plan will cost about $3.5 billion per year when it is fully implemented." (Obama For America, "Helping All Americans Serve Their Country: Barack Obama's Plan For Universal Voluntary Citizen Service," Fact Sheet, http://www.barackobama.com/, 12/5/07)

Obama Will Increase Our Foreign Assistance Funding By $25 Billion. "Obama will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and he will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal." (Obama For America, "The Blueprint For Change," www.barackobama.com, Accessed 1/14/08, p. 53)

Obama has sponsored a bill in the senate that will tax 1/7th. of 1% of U.S. GDP to give to the UN for distribution to poor countries. This will amount to $845BB/yr. from American taxpayers that most of it will end up in some tyranical despots Swiss bank account!!! As of March 1, 2008, this bill is still in process but is believed to be thwarted by the Senate.

Obama Will Provide $2 Billion To Aid Iraqi Refugees. "He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe-haven." (Obama For America, "The Blueprint For Change, http://www.barackobama.com/, Accessed 1/14/08, p. 51)

Obama Will Provide $1.5 Billion To Help States Adopt Paid-Leave Systems. "As president, Obama will initiate a strategy to encourage all 50 states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees and employers." (Obama For America, "The Blueprint For Change," www barackobama.com , Accessed 1/14/08, p. 15)

Obama Will Provide $1 Billion Over 5 Years For Transitional Jobs And Career Pathway Programs, Equal To $200 Million A Year And $800 Million Over Four Years. "Obama will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathway programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce." (Obama For America, "The Blueprint For Change," www.barackobama.com, Accessed 1/14/08, p. 42)

Obama Will Provide $50 Million To Jump-Start The Creation Of An IAEA-Controlled Nuclear Fuel Bank. Obama: "We must also stop the spread of nuclear weapons technology and ensure that countries cannot build -- or come to the brink of building -- a weapons program under the auspices of developing peaceful nuclear power. That is why my administration will immediately provide $50 million to jump-start the creation of an International Atomic Energy Agency-controlled nuclear fuel bank and work to update the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, 7-8/07

Barack Obama claims that he will not do business with Lobbyists oor other special interests. Pretty unusual for someone who has risen so fast in Chicago politics, usually acknowledged as among the most corrupt arenas in America. Illinois Governors and other politicians from Chicago are frequently sent to prison for corruption. There is little reason to believe that Barack Obama is an exception to the rule. Barack seems to be loosely connected to Saddam Hussein's bagman. Could this be the reason that Barack says he will pull out of Iraq immediately? Here is an article that discusses some of Barack's unsavory connections:


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I saw one Democrat on TV who wanted to know what Republican had exposed Eliot Spitzer. No doubt it was ordered by Bush, who probably instructed Karl Rove to do it using his mind control powers.

The Global Warming Cartel is now pushing for an elimination of CO2 emissions altogether as discussed in the article below that I got from "dissecting leftism." That policy would have quite an impact on the world as we know it. No more commercial airliners (at least I don't think solar powered would prove to be very practical), no more home heating, no more air conditioning, etc. I suppose sailing ships would be OK. Maybe we wouldn't have to go all the way back to the stone age, but I think a lot of people now in the world would have to go away, probably through starvation. Personally, as opposed to having several billion people starve, I'd like to look into some alternative measures, such as sucking the CO2 out of the air, or using one of the techniques proposed to increase Earth albedo. That is, if it turns out that the global warming alarmists are correct, which is looking more doubtful all the time. The large ocean area around Australia is getting cooler rather than warmer, and the mean temperature of earth fell by 1.13 F in the last year.

CO2 output must cease altogether: Research points to years of warming even with ambitious emission cuts

Sounds like we had better stop breathing then

The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades. Their findings, published in separate journals over the past few weeks, suggest that both industrialized and developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could change precipitation patterns and dry up sources of water worldwide.

Using advanced computer models to factor in deep-sea warming and other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes carbon dioxide (CO2), the scientists, from countries including the United States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further. "The question is, what if we don't want the Earth to warm anymore?" asked Carnegie Institution senior scientist Ken Caldeira, co-author of a paper published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "The answer implies a much more radical change to our energy system than people are thinking about."

Although many nations have been pledging steps to curb emissions for nearly a decade, the world's output of carbon from human activities totals about 10 billion tons a year and has been steadily rising. For now, at least, a goal of zero emissions appears well beyond the reach of politicians here and abroad. U.S. leaders are just beginning to grapple with setting any mandatory limit on greenhouse gases. The Senate is poised to vote in June on legislation that would reduce U.S. emissions by 70 percent by 2050; the two Democratic senators running for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), back an 80 percent cut. The Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), supports a 60 percent reduction by mid-century.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is shepherding climate legislation through the Senate as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the new findings "make it clear we must act now to address global warming." "It won't be easy, given the makeup of the Senate, but the science is compelling," she said. "It is hard for me to see how my colleagues can duck this issue and live with themselves."

James L. Connaughton, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, offered a more guarded reaction, saying the idea that "ultimately you need to get to net-zero emissions" is "something we've heard before." When it comes to tackling such a daunting environmental and technological problem, he added: "We've done this kind of thing before. We will do it again. It will just take a sufficient amount of time."

Until now, scientists and policymakers have generally described the problem in terms of halting the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere. The United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change framed the question that way two decades ago, and many experts talk of limiting CO2 concentrations to 450 parts per million (ppm). But Caldeira and Oregon State University professor Andreas Schmittner now argue that it makes more sense to focus on a temperature threshold as a better marker of when the planet will experience severe climate disruptions. The Earth has already warmed by 0.76 degrees Celsius (nearly 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists warn that a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) could have serious consequences.

Schmittner, lead author of a Feb. 14 article in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, said his modeling indicates that if global emissions continue on a "business as usual" path for the rest of the century, the Earth will warm by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. If emissions do not drop to zero until 2300, he calculated, the temperature rise at that point would be more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. "This is tremendous," Schmittner said. "I was struck by the fact that the warming continues much longer even after emissions have declined. . . . Our actions right now will have consequences for many, many generations. Not just for a hundred years, but thousands of years."

While natural cycles remove roughly half of human-emitted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere within a hundred years, a significant portion persists for thousands of years. Some of this carbon triggers deep-sea warming, which keeps raising the global average temperature even after emissions halt.

Researchers have predicted for a long time that warming will persist even after the world's carbon emissions start to fall and that countries will have to dramatically curb their carbon output in order to avert severe climate change. Last year's report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said industrialized nations would have to cut emissions 80 to 95 percent by 2050 to limit CO2 concentrations to the 450 ppm goal, and the world as a whole would have to reduce emissions by 50 to 80 percent.

European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, in Washington last week for meetings with administration officials, said he and his colleagues are operating on the assumption that developed nations must cut emissions 60 to 80 percent by mid-century, with an overall global reduction of 50 percent. "If that is not enough, common sense is that we would not let the planet be destroyed," he said. The two new studies outline the challenge in greater detail, and on a longer time scale, than many earlier studies. Schmittner's study, for example, projects how the Earth will warm for the next 2,000 years.

But some climate researchers who back major greenhouse gas reductions said it is unrealistic to expect policymakers to think in terms of such vast time scales. "People aren't reducing emissions at all, let alone debating whether 88 percent or 99 percent is sufficient," said Gavin A. Schmidt, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "It's like you're starting off on a road trip from New York to California, and before you even start, you're arguing about where you're going to park at the end." Brian O'Neill of the National Center for Atmospheric Research emphasized that some uncertainties surround the strength of the natural carbon cycle and the dynamics of ocean warming, which in turn would affect the accuracy of Caldeira's modeling. "Neither of these are known precisely," he said.

Although computer models used by scientists to project changes in the climate have become increasingly powerful, scientists acknowledge that no model is a perfect reflection of the complex dynamics involved and how they will evolve with time. Still, O'Neill said the modeling "helps clarify thinking about long-term policy goals. If we want to reduce warming to a certain level, there's a fixed amount of carbon we can put into the atmosphere. After that, we can't emit any more, at all."

Caldeira and his colleague, H. Damon Matthews, a geography professor at Concordia University in Montreal, emphasized this point in their paper, concluding that "each unit of CO2 emissions must be viewed as leading to quantifiable and essentially permanent climate change on centennial timescales."

Steve Gardiner, a philosophy professor at the University of Washington who studies climate change, said the studies highlight that the argument over global warming "is a classic inter-generational debate, where the short-term benefits of emitting carbon accrue mainly to us and where the dangers of them are largely put off until future generations."

When it comes to deciding how drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, O'Neill said, "in the end, this is a value judgment, it's not a scientific question." The idea of shifting to a carbon-free society, he added, "appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible."

Are there two America's as some of the Democrats claim? The recent experiences of the New York governor Eliott Spitzer indicate that the politicians live in a different world than the rest of us. He was willing to pay a call girl $4300, a couple of month's pay for most people. He did negotiate her down from $5500, so I guess that shows that money means something to him. Bill Clinton didn't pay in most cases, but he was President, and probably has more charm than Spitzer, who appears to be deficient in that department. But maybe Elliott's girl was better looking than Monica.

And what is with this unsafe sex thing? Spitzer knows he doesn't have an STD, but he doesn't know about the call girl, who is obviously at some risk for a possibly fatal STD. So Spitzer is willing to expose his wife to a bad disease. What a sleazy guy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Here is an article from the WSJ discussing how Democrats are opposed to free trade, and like to help out socialist dictators when they can.

The Chávez Democrats

March 10, 2008; Page A14

What is it about Democrats and Hugo Chávez? Even as the Venezuelan strongman was threatening war last week against Colombia, Congress was threatening to hand him a huge strategic victory by spurning Colombia's free trade overtures to the U.S.

This isn't the first time Democrats have come to Mr. Chávez's aid, but it would be the most destructive. The Venezuelan is engaged in a high-stakes competition over the political and economic direction of Latin America. He wants the region to follow his path of ever greater state control of the economy, while assisting U.S. enemies wherever he can. He's already won converts in Bolivia and Ecuador, and he came far too close for American comfort in Mexico's election last year.

Meanwhile, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is embracing greater economic and political freedom. He has bravely assisted the U.S fight against narco-traffickers, and he now wants to link his country more closely to America with a free-trade accord. As a strategic matter, to reject Colombia's offer now would tell everyone in Latin America that it is far more dangerous to trust America than it is to trash it.

Yet Democrats on Capitol Hill are doing their best to help Mr. Chávez prevail against Mr. Uribe. Even as Mr. Chávez was doing his war dance, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus was warning the White House not to send the Colombia deal to the Hill for a vote without the permission of Democratic leaders. He was seconded by Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who told Congress Daily that "they don't have the votes for it, it's not going to come on the floor," adding that "what they [the White House] don't understand it's not the facts on the ground, it's the politics that's in the air."

Mr. Rangel is right about the politics. No matter what U.S. strategic interests may be in Colombia, this is an election year in America. And Democrats don't want to upset their union and anti-trade allies. The problem is that the time available to pass anything this year is growing short. The closer the election gets, the more leverage protectionists have to run out the clock on the Bush Presidency. The deal has the support of a bipartisan majority in the Senate, and probably also in the House. Sooner or later the White House will have to force the issue.

Our guess is that Messrs. Baucus and Rangel understand the stakes and privately favor the accord. The bottleneck is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is refusing to allow a vote under pressure from her left-wing Members. These Democrats deride any link between Hugo Chávez and trade as a "scare tactic," as if greater economic prosperity had no political consequences. "President Bush's recent fear-mongering on trade shows just how desperate he is to deliver one final victory for multinational corporations," declared Illinois Democrat Phil Hare, who is one of Ms. Pelosi's main trade policy deputies.

These are the same Democrats who preach the virtues of "soft power" and diplomacy, while deriding Mr. Bush for being too quick to use military force. But trade is a classic form of soft power that would expand U.S. and Latin ties in a web of commercial interests. More than 8,000 U.S. companies currently export to Colombia, nearly 85% of which are small and medium-sized firms. Colombia is already the largest South American market for U.S. farm products, and the pact would open Colombia to new competition and entrepreneurship.

Which brings us back to Mr. Chávez and his many Democratic friends. Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd's early support helped the strongman consolidate his power. Former President Jimmy Carter blessed Mr. Chávez's August 2004 recall victory, despite evidence of fraud. And then there are the many House Democrats, current and former, who have accepted discount oil from Venezuela and then distributed it in the U.S. to boost their own political fortunes. Joseph P. Kennedy II and Massachusetts Congressman Bill Delahunt have been especially cozy with Venezuela's oil company. If Democrats spurn free trade with Colombia, these Democratic ties with Mr. Chávez will deserve more political scrutiny.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both competing for union support. But if they wanted to demonstrate their own Presidential qualities, they'd be privately telling Ms. Pelosi to pass the Colombia pact while Mr. Bush is still in office. That would spare either one of them from having to spend political capital to pass it next year.

Instead, both say they oppose the deal on grounds that Mr. Uribe has not done more to protect "trade unionists." In fact, Mr. Uribe has done more to reduce violence in Colombia than any modern leader in Bogotá. The real question for Democrats is whether they're going to choose Colombia -- or Hugo Chávez.

Here is a photo of a Ukrainian army unit. Their skirts seem a bit short, and what is with their shoes. I wonder what the mission of this unit is? I'm glad to see that they have a lot of blond women.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

For those who don't read Powerline, here is a blog about a taxpayer funded Islamic school in Minnesota. Islam is on an offensive against us, and we need to be aware of it. Saudi Arabia won't allow anyone to bring a Christian Bible into the country: why do we allow people who want to destroy our culture into our country?

The Muslim American Society is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, out of which the genocidal terrorist group Hamas emerged. The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society has been the source of local controversies involving the purported observance of Sharia in public facilities such as taxis based at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society also houses a Minnesota charter school in the Twin Cities suburb Inver Grover Heights. The school is Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy -- named for the Muslim general who conquered medieval Spain. As a charter school, Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill for it. The school is formally sponsored by Islamic Relief USA, whose parent has been identified by Israel as a supporter of Hamas. Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten recently attended the MAS Minnesota convention and discovered that the school observes Sharia and is dispensing Islamic religious instruction:

Journalists whom Zaman has permitted to visit TIZA have described the school's Islamic atmosphere and practices.

"A visitor might well mistake Tarek ibn Ziyad for an Islamic school," reported Minnesota Monthly in 2007. "Head scarves are voluntary, but virtually all the girls wear them." The school has a central carpeted prayer space, and "vaguely religious-sounding language" is used.

According to the Pioneer Press, TIZA's student body prays daily and the school's cafeteria serves halal food (permissible under Islamic law). During Ramadan, all students fast from dawn to dusk, according to a parent quoted in the article.

In fact, TIZA was originally envisioned as a private Islamic school. In 2001, MAS-MN negotiated to buy the current TIZA/MAS-MN building for Al-Amal School, a private religious institution in Fridley, according to Bruce Rimstad of the Inver Grove Heights School District. But many immigrant families can't afford Al-Amal. In 2002, Islamic Relief -- headquartered in California -- agreed to sponsor a publicly funded charter school, TIZA, at the same location.

TIZA claims to be non-sectarian, as Minnesota law requires charters to be. But "after-school Islamic learning" takes place on weekdays in the same building under MAS-MN's auspices, according to the program for MAS-MN's 2007 convention. At that convention, a TIZA representative at the school's booth told me that students go directly to "Islamic studies" classes at 3:30, when TIZA's day ends. There, they learn "Qur'anic recitation, the Sunnah of the Prophet" and other religious subjects, he said....

[W]hen addressing Muslim audiences, school officials make the link to Islam clear. At MAS-MN's 2007 convention, for example, the program featured an advertisement for the "Muslim American Society of Minnesota," superimposed on a picture of a mosque. Under the motto "Establishing Islam in Minnesota," it asked: "Did you know that MAS-MN...houses a full-time elementary school"? On the adjacent page was an application for TIZA.

Not coincidentally, the school's principal is an imam. Kersten sought to visit the school and interview the principal in connection with her work on the column. She reports that "he declined to allow me to visit the school or grant me an interview. He did not respond to e-mails seeking written replies." The Fifth Amendment does not apply here. Only a fool would not draw adverse inferences from the prinipcal's silence and tentatively conclude that Kersten has found a major scandal hiding in plain view.

One of the scams going on in America over the past few decades is bogus asbestos injury claims. A fair and just judicial system is one of the requirements of a successful country. Lately the United States has been failing the test, with a judicial system that has become increasingly more of a lottery than one of justice. A lot of small companies have been put out of business because they could not defend themselves against bogus asbestos claims. Many small auto parts companies were put out of business because they sold replacement brake linings that contained asbestos, never mind that all brake linings originally in all automobiles contained asbestos. Here is an article from the Wall St Journal about the asbestos lawsuit industry.

Some Asbestos Grace

March 8, 2008; Page A8

The asbestos lawsuit blob has grown so large that many companies have simply given up fighting it. Then there's W.R. Grace, which is on the verge of making legal history with a trial proceeding that could alter the federal asbestos bankruptcy landscape forever.

A building materials company, W.R. Grace was among the firms swept up in a second round of asbestos litigation in the late 1990s. Having chewed their way through asbestos manufacturers, trial lawyers went after companies that had only a marginal asbestos link. By blanketing these firms with an avalanche of claims they recruited, the tort bar pushed at least 30 of these second-tier players into bankruptcy.

Most companies then followed the usual asbestos bankruptcy script. They cut a deal with the plaintiffs attorneys, handing over a big sum to pay current and future claims. Federal bankruptcy judges happily went along, because most view their jobs as getting companies out of bankruptcy quickly and few want the hassle of investigating tens of thousands of individual asbestos claims.

Enter W.R. Grace, and its lead attorney, David Bernick, a veteran of the tobacco and breast-implant wars. Mr. Bernick has taken the unheard-of position that federal rules of evidence apply even in bankruptcy court. He has argued that the only way Judge Judith Fitzgerald can make a legitimate ruling on Grace's liability is for her to decide first how many claims have scientific merit. This is revolutionary stuff.

To her credit, Judge Fitzgerald has allowed Grace to investigate those claims, and present her with its results. The stakes are enormous. At the end of this process, Judge Fitzgerald will make a finding on W.R. Grace's ultimate liability. The plaintiffs claim it is as much as $6 billion, a figure that would make Grace insolvent. The company claims the money necessary to cover legitimate claims is closer to $500 million, a number that would allow it to rejoin the land of the living.

On the evidence so far, Grace's number is correct. The company entered Chapter 11 with some 120,000 pending claims. But Judge Fitzgerald allowed it to send a medical questionnaire to those plaintiffs, and to request proof of a claim. Some 35,000 didn't bother to finish that process.

The judge has also seen a videotape of the "doctors" who diagnosed many of the remaining 85,000 claims. These are some of the same characters from the recent silicosis legal scam, and the court was treated to scenes of doctors recanting their diagnoses or invoking the "Fifth Amendment" to avoid answering questions. One doctor admitted that he charged $35 for a negative X-ray reading, but $70 for a positive one. A retired epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control testified there were no more than 28,000 medically plausible cases of asbestosis in the U.S. male population between 1989 and 2001. Grace was hit with more than 200,000 claims over that period.

In another instance, a doctor presented a study involving 807 X-rays from Grace claimants. Doctors hired by the plaintiffs lawyers had found evidence of asbestosis in about 80% of those X-rays. In a double-blind study in which doctors didn't know the purpose of the work, they found evidence in only 7% of X-rays.

All of this underscores what has long been obvious: The vast majority of asbestos claims are bogus. The plaintiffs lawyers know it, which is why, instead of trying to defend these claims, they've fought every attempt by Grace to examine them. Now that they've lost that battle, they argue that because Grace settled such claims in the past, they should continue to pay them going forward.

That decision now rests with Judge Fitzgerald. Comparisons are being made to federal Judge Janis Jack, who several years ago blew up bogus silicosis claims. But unlike the recent silica fraud, some Grace plaintiffs do have asbestos-related disease. Judge Fitzgerald has to weed out the many false claims from the few legitimate ones, but she does have the tools to do it. The medical community long ago established diagnosis criteria that account for dosage, exposure, and work and medical histories. Plaintiffs lawyers have tried to keep these common-sense standards out of courtrooms, but they clearly belong in any court whose goal is just compensation.

If Judge Fitzgerald does discount most of these claims, it could mark the beginning of the end of the bankruptcy racket. Other judges will find it difficult to ignore the evidence and procedures here. As important, trial lawyers might be reluctant to push more companies (in asbestos or other mass torts) into bankruptcy court if they think false claims may be exposed.

This clean-up would obviously come too late for the dozens of companies that have already surrendered to asbestos trusts now run by the tort bar. But it's encouraging that courts are finally investigating sham asbestos claims. It's never too late for real justice.

I wonder why all of the studies of the quality of healthcare in various nations always rate the US at the bottom. Canada is always rated far above the US, yet Canada relies on the United States for part of their healtcare. Here is a blog by Don Surber on how Canada relies on the US, and asks the question what will Canada do if the US adopts socialized medicine asHillary and Obama propose?

Canadians will die if we adopt a universal health insurance plan.

“Single payer” are weasel words for government-run.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Democrats have made it clear that they no longer want to pay top price for top service. They will save you money.

That will drive down the quality, availability and quantity of health care.

I know this because that is how it is done in every socialized medicine country.

In a column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Lisa Priest explores: “Why Ontario keeps sending patients south.”

She has the numbers.

Heart patient with clogged arteries? You’re headed to Detroit for the same angioplasty that is offered in West Virginia apparently is not offered in Ontario. Curious.

High risk pregnancy? Enjoy the ride to Michigan. Charleston (population 50,000) has more neonatal intensive care units than Calgary (population 1 million). That’s why this summer those “Canadian” quadruplets were born in Great Falls, Mont., which also has more NICU beds than Calgary.

Hey, they can run for president of the United States in 2044.

Her article told the story of one heart patient, a Mr. Bialkowski, who was sent to Detroit.

The price to treat him, including a two-day hospital stay in March, 2007, was $40,826.21 (U.S.) With a 35 per cent discount from Henry Ford Hospital, the bill to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan tallied $26,537.03(U.S.), according to a health ministry document, a copy of which was sent to Mr. Bialkowski.

The father of six, a human resources manager for a manufacturing company based in Windsor, is back at the gym and feels great. It didn’t matter where he received the lifesaving care, he said, just so long as he obtained it.

“I guess the Canadian government took care of me,” he said.

The father of six, a human resources manager for a manufacturing company based in Windsor, is back at the gym and feels great. It didn’t matter where he received the lifesaving care, he said, just so long as he obtained it.

“I guess the Canadian government took care of me,” he said.

If by “took care” he means mooched off the United States, then I guess the Canadian government did just that.

But what happens when an Obama or another Clinton is elected president?

Maybe they can life flight heart patients to India

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Here is a view that multiculturalism is dead. This is the view of an Arab living in Canada. I wish I could see signs that it is true in America. Sadly I think the liberlas in America are slow to realize what is obvious to most of the world. (Of course multiculturalism never existed except in Western Europe and North America, and in Australia.

Multiculturalism cannot survive


Future historians of the phenomenon known as "multiculturalism" that the West bone-headedly adopted towards the end of the second millennium will note the precise time when it was dealt a mortal wound.

It was at 8:46 on Tuesday morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the first of the four commercial airliners hijacked by Islamist terrorists -- all of Arab origin -- struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Since that time other western cities -- Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Washington --have been targets of successful or failed attempts by Islamist terrorists determined to spread random death and destruction.

Those involved in the planning and execution of such terror are immigrants or born of immigrant parents belonging to the rapidly growing Muslim population in the West over the past 40 years. I happen to be a part of this wave of immigration to the West.

This western Muslim population, with its ethnic diversity reflecting the vastness of the Arab-Muslim world -- stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from central Asia to sub-Saharan Africa -- could have given some timely ballast to multiculturalism by unambiguously and unapologetically defending the West against barbarity.


This was the minimum Muslims in the West owed to the civilization where they sought refuge, and where they found security, prosperity, freedom and self-fulfillment of the like denied them in their native lands.

Instead Muslim-based organizations, at first having offered denial, followed with an unending volume of polemics condemning the West for past sins. By exploiting the West's post-colonial guilt they held it responsible for the conditions in the Arab-Muslim world that breeds the politics of terrorism.

These bald-faced polemics are sheer nonsense, and yet they resonated in much of the West that went limp with the anodyne of wishful multicultural thinking.

The idea that all cultures are equal in merit and deserving respect, an idea devoid of any historical perspective, could be seriously proposed and adopted only in western liberal democracies. And logically such an idea meant only one thing, the diminution of the West and its achievements in comparison to other cultures.

Multiculturalism institutionalized as a policy, run by self-perpetuating bureaucracies and sustained by entrepreneurs of a growing multicultural industry, became an easy ride for its proponents and clients.

Immigrants were not required to embrace the West's culture and complex history; and the West did not have to strain itself in instructing immigrants on the need or importance of embracing it, warts and all.

Multiculturalism worked so long as the illusion of cultural harmony could be maintained.

But once the sham of equality got exposed by the heat of Islamist violence -- once it became undeniable that a culture in which a woman, for instance, can assert her individual freedom without fear is not at par with a culture where a woman's worth is less than that of a man -- multiculturalism as an idea was dead.

Historians will note a period of confusion followed the death of multiculturalism before the West asserted its ideals of freedom and democracy, and moved on.

There hasn't been much in the paper about the International Conference on Climate Change. Here is a report.

What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? And Just How Sensitive is the Climate Anyway?
A final dispatch from the International Climate Change Conference

Ronald Bailey | March 5, 2008

Editor's Note: reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey will be filing a series of regular dispatches from the Heartland Institute's controversial International Conference on Climate Change. Below is the final dispatch in that series.

New York, March 4—Let's start with some possible news from Heartland Institute's International Climate Change Conference. In the context of man-made global warming, climate sensitivity asks how much temperatures increase if one adds a specified amount of a greenhouse gas. In general, most climatologists accept the proposition, all things being equal, that if one doubles carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the average temperature will go up by +1 degree centigrade. But all things are not equal. In climate models, additional heat from carbon dioxide boosts atmospheric water vapor which in turn acts as a greenhouse gas. All models are dominated by this positive feedback loop. As a consequence, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated in its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) last year that it "is likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C." In other words, doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to warm the planet by between 2 degrees and 4.5 degrees centigrade.

So how do we find out how sensitive climate is to CO2? During his luncheon keynote, University of Alabama climatologist Roy Spencer described how two of his new studies are attempting to answer that question. In 2001, Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen hypothesized that there might be what he called an "adaptive infrared iris" over the tropics through which tropical storms dissipate excess heat. But other researchers looked and found no strong evidence for such a mechanism.

Now Spencer and his colleagues using satellite data noticed big temperature fluctuations in the tropics in which strong warming was followed by rapid cooling. So Spencer looked at 15 strong intraseasonal oscillations in the tropics to see how clouds evolve. What was known is that tropical storms produce high cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are global warming culprits that retain heat and warm the planet. In the climate models, cirrus clouds tend to remain aloft for a long time. However, Spencer's satellite observations found that they in fact dissipate rapidly, allowing heat to escape back into space and thus cooling the planet.

"To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce estimates of future warming by over 75 percent," Spencer noted when the study was published in Geophysical Research Letters. "The big question that no one can answer right now is whether this enhanced cooling mechanism applies to global warming." Clouds constitute the biggest uncertainty in climate models and Spencer is hoping the modelers will include this effect in future runs to see how it would affect climate projections.

Next, Spencer discussed new research (accepted but not yet published) that he said strongly suggests that climate sensitivity is much lower than the climate models find. As I understood Spencer (and I could be garbling this), in the climate models a feedback is by definition a result of surface temperature change.

As Spencer explained his preliminary thinking at the website Climate Science, "For instance, low cloud cover decreasing with surface warming would be a positive feedback on the temperature change by letting more shortwave solar radiation in. But what never seems to be addressed is the question: What caused the temperature change in the first place? How do we know that the low cloud cover decreased as a response to the surface warming, rather than the other way around?"

In fact, using satellite data combined with a small model, Spencer finds that changes in cloudiness appear to drive changes in temperature. If this is so, Spencer suggests, this means that models have fundamentally mixed up cause and effect. He reported that his study had been peer-reviewed by the two of the climatologists on whose work the IPCC relied for estimating climate sensitivity. "Both came back and said 'you're right,'" claimed Spencer.

If Spencer's results are confirmed—and this is a huge if—it would mean that the climate is far less sensitive to perturbation by carbon dioxide than the models suggest. Spencer says that if he is right about climate sensitivity that would imply that the average temperature of the planet might rise by +0.5 degrees centigrade by the end of this century due to the effects of rising carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. (I will report more fully on Spencer's claims once the study is published and the climatological community has gotten a chance to respond to it).

But let's go back to politics. The final morning of the conference began with a rousing speech by Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He made it clear that to call him a global warming skeptic would be a bit of an understatement. A point Klaus makes crystal clear in his just published book, Blue Planet in Green Chains - What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? "My answer is clear and resolute: 'it is our freedom.' I may also add 'and our prosperity,'" declared Klaus.

Klaus noted that ideological environmentalism appeals to the same sort of people who have always been attracted to collectivist ideas. He warned that environmentalism at its worst is just the latest dogma to claim that a looming "crisis" requires people to sacrifice their prosperity and their freedoms for the greater good. Let me quote Klaus at length.

"Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical—the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of its proponents about their right to sacrifice man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality," warned Klaus. "What I have in mind [is], of course, environmentalism and its currently strongest version, climate alarmism."

Klaus added, "What I see in Europe (and in the U.S. and other countries as well) is a powerful combination of irresponsibility, of wishful thinking, of implicit believing in some form of Malthusianism, of cynical approach of those who themselves are sufficiently well-off, together with the strong belief in the possibility of changing the economic nature of things through a radical political project."

But assume that man-made global warming is a genuine crisis. That it is a real gigantic open access commons problem. Wouldn't that require some kind of governmental action to coordinate a solution to the problem? I have recently come out in favor of using a carbon tax as a way to spur the technological innovation toward a low-carbon energy economy (and incidentally as a way to also reduce taxes on labor and capital). This was not a popular position at the conference. Why not?

While many environmentalists focus on mitigation (cutting greenhouse gas emissions), many of the economists who spoke at the conference argued that adaptation through wealth creation is the better strategy. Policies aimed at reducing energy consumption to mitigate man-made global warming would likely result in a poorer, less technologically adept future in which future generations would be less able to address the problems caused by climate change. This is clearly true and as a reluctant proponent of a carbon tax, I am painfully aware of this trade-off.

As John Locke Foundation economist Roy Cordato explained: "A higher tax today means lower production and output of goods and services tomorrow, making future generations materially worse off. In setting a carbon tax you must show that future generations would value the problems solved by reduced global warming more than they would value the goods and services that were foregone." He argued it's not possible to know the preferences of future generations, but providing them with more wealth and better technologies will give them more options to express whatever preferences they have.

One final note, geophysicist Russell Seitz gave an interesting talk about the future of "fossil hydrogen." Fossil hydrogen? Yes indeed. Seitz pointed out that coal varies considerably in the amount of hydrogen it contains. Some varieties of bituminous coal are 65 percent carbon and some are 46 percent carbon. Seitz suggested that in an ideal case utilities could cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by switching to high hydrogen coal.

That's it from the International Climate Change Conference.

Ronald Bailey is reason's science correspondent. His most recent book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, is available from Prometheus Books

The media are propagandizing rather than reporting in the global warming debate (which is not over regardless of what Al Gore says). Here is a report about how the media distorts coverage.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Here are some thoughts about Obama by Mona Charen.

Obama: Old Wine, New Bottle
By Mona Charen

It says a great deal about a liberal Democrat that he does not outrage conservative Republicans. To mention the Clintons, Howard Dean, Al Gore, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry to this crowd is to inflict hypertension. But I, for one, can sit through an entire speech by Barack Obama without flinching. I can admire his poise, his fluid delivery, and his self-confident, dignified presence.

Part of the reason Obama doesn't send his political adversaries up the wall is that he employs the language of unity and patriotism. He is clearly the most gifted speaker to grace American politics since Ronald Reagan. And as with Reagan, there is a basic decency to Obama that blunts dislike.

But as he moves into the lead for the Democratic nomination, however much we may delight in seeing the air deflate from the Clinton dirigible, we must ask: What would a President Obama look like?

Much of his rhetoric is lighter than air -- almost content-free. It's the past versus the future, hope over fear, one nation not two, yes we can, turn the page, and so forth. But when you get past the music and really focus on the lyrics, Obama emerges as an utterly conventional, down-the-line liberal Democrat. He claims to be all about the future, but his policy ideas are about as modern as disco and the leisure suit.

In pitching his universal health care idea, Obama asserts that Americans spend twice as much per capita on health care as Canadians or Germans, yet "our outcomes are not better, in some cases they are worse." He is correct about per capita spending, but not about results. As evidence of our poor outcomes, he cites infant mortality statistics from the state of Mississippi (and only Mississippi, our poorest state) to suggest that infant mortality rates are rising.

The use of infant mortality as a measure of health care quality has been shown to be unreliable. Infant mortality is closely tied to social factors like illegitimacy, maternal drinking and other misbehavior far more than to the availability of health services. Further, cross-cultural comparisons are problematic, as countries define the term differently. In some countries, a newborn must breathe and show other signs of life before a death will be counted in the statistics. In America, every baby delivered (including severely premature infants) counts. Further, as US News & World Report has noted, "In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth." In the U.S., we count them all. Besides, infant mortality is also closely tied to multiple births. Because so many Americans are resorting to (expensive) fertility treatments, our rate of multiple births has skyrocketed in recent years.

Obama always summarizes his health care pitch with the dubious claim that if we just simplify record keeping and streamline health delivery, we can save "$100 to 125 billion per year, enough to provide health insurance to every man, woman, and child in the country."

That's dubious, to say the least. It's the no trade-offs necessary happy talk he peddles on many issues. We don't have to make difficult choices about energy. If we simply increase required miles per gallon to 45, "we'd have to import zero oil from the Middle East." And echoing Al Gore, Obama urges that green technology will be a great source of new wealth as American ingenuity devises improved products.

Well maybe, but if environmentally friendly products were great wealth generators, why would government need to subsidize them? And while Obama doesn't shrink from recommending new taxes, he assures listeners that these will be paid only by the rich. Is this new or cloyingly familiar? He who taxes Peter to pay Paul can usually count on the vote of Paul.

The war on terror scarcely exists in the world Obama traces for his audiences. Instead, he focuses relentlessly on what he regards as the misguided war in Iraq. "We need to do more than end the war," he intones, "we need to end the mindset that got us into war." We know which mindset Sen. Obama will bring to foreign policy -- the "diplomacy only" style last employed to such great effect by Jimmy Carter.

"Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom," Obama offers in one of his better lines. But a little worldliness would not be amiss for the golden-tongued senator. All of that soaring rhetoric is supported by policies that are so old they creak. Obama may be shiny, bright and new, but his ideas are suffering from senility.

Here is something from the blog "Mohamadism.org." This explains a misconception about Islam that I have tried to explain before, namely, that Islam is a political system rather than just religion. Another difference with other major religions is that Muslims are obligated to either subjugate or kill members of other religions.

Most people in the West believe that Islam is a religion in the traditional sense of the word. However, this is a fateful misconception. Islam is not just a religion. It is much more than a religion. Muslims themselves describe their faith by saying, Islam is a Complete Way of Life. This is certainly a more apt description, because Islam is a religious, social, economic, educational, health, political, and philosophic way of life. In fact, Islam is an all-embracing socio-politico-religious utopian ideology that encompasses every field of human endeavor.

The Western view of religion is that a religion is a narrow aspect of life. It does not encompass all human affairs. Religion stands beside culture, economic, politics, and other human institutions. Westerners may differ on matters of religious faith, but they can work together in social, state, and economic affairs. The reason for this is that their respective religions don't claim divine authority over the institutions of governance and economics. Their faiths may differ regarding the salvation of the soul, life after death, and religious rituals, but they don't claim to have divine insight into the institutions of human government and its particular laws. As good citizens, they strive to have a just and equitable society.

Islam is different from other religions in that it is not limited to the spiritual aspects of life. It engulfs all aspects of life from the cradle to the grave. Islam claims to have a divine mandate over everyone, and this includes non-Muslims too. While non-Muslims may not be required to observe the religious rituals of Islam, they must recognize the supremacy of Islamic rule over them. As an ideology, Islam promises an economic, political, social, and religious utopia when the world finally submits to Allah and the rule of Shari'a law. The Islamic objective is to have all aspects of a nation's culture and institutions undergo gradual Islamization to yield an Islamic state patterned after Shari'a Law.

The aim of the Islamic movement is to bring about somewhere in the world a new society wholeheartedly committed to the teachings of Islam in their totality and striving to abide by those teachings in its government, political, economic and social organizations, its relation with other states, its educational system and moral values and all other aspects of its way of life

Muslims justify their welfare cheating in European nations as their due since the non-Mulims owe them a tax. Over 200 years ago, the mUslim nations at the time demanded a payment from the US when George Washigton died. This was because all nations owed them tribute when the leader of that nation dies. The US built the Constellation class warships, sailed to the Mediterranean, and sank the Muslim pirates. Our leaders today do not seem to be so clear-sighted.

Yesterday was the 172nd anniversary of the fall of the Alamo. I didn't see any mention of this in the newspaper or hear it on the radio or TV. A few years ago, it would have been discussed at least in passing. Now it is forgotten. Another sign that American culture is disappearing.

The Samantha Power interview that caused her to have to resign from the Obama campaign had some more interesting comments than referring to Hillary as a "monster." She also said that Obama probably wouldn't pull out of Iraq immediately as he has said he would in his campaign. Instead, after he was in office, he would probably change his view and continue the effort. This reminds me of the JFK campaign. He claimed that Russia was far ahead of the US in missile technology, which he rferred to as "the missile gap." Eisenhower gave JFK all of the available intelligence that showed the US was far ahead, but JFK persisted, and the issue swung the election to him. After he was in office, JFK quietly said there is no missile gap, and that was the end of the story. Basically he lied in the campaign and got elected. (There is a differnece in JFK's lie and President Bush's so-called "lies," since Kennedy knew what he was saying was not true, but Bush had no way of knowing that the intelligence estiamtes he had been given were wrong.)