Sunday, October 31, 2010

Flying tanks? Already got 'em!

By Donald Sensing

Popular Science online has a retrospective about the decades of the "flying car" dream in its several variations. The tag is that DOD's DARPA has solicited design bids for what essentially sounds like a flying HUMVEE.

The site posts an artistic memory lane of such proposals, including the amazing flying tank:


The accompanying text reads,
Flying Tanks: July 1932

In response to the horrors of trench warfare, inventors raced to develop flying tanks that could land on the battlefield and be ready for immediate combat. American engineer Walter J. Christie envisioned a four-ton armored vehicle equipped with a 1,000-horsepower motor, a propeller, and detachable wings. Each tank would be commanded by two men. Upon landing, the driver would pull a single lever, releasing the wings, and advance into battle. Meanwhile, the Soviet Air Force designed their own winged tanks, like the Antonov A-40, which was essentially a T-60 light tank with large biplane wings and a twin tail attached. Despite the efforts of engineers, flying tanks never really caught on, so further efforts were scrapped and largely forgotten.
Well, no they were not forgotten. In fact, militaries around the world have been using flying tanks for a few decades now. The main one used by the Soviet Army looked like this:


Yep, it's the fabled Mi-24 Hind helicopter, which was by official Soviet Army doctrine classified as a flying tank, insofar as its mission profile and uses were. The US Army's first flying tank (uh, I mean, attack helicopter) was the AH-1 Cobra, but it was fairly lightly armed compared to the Hind and was neither as long ranged nor as versatile. (The Hind could carry troops as well as lots of armament, the AH-1 carried a pilot and a gunner, period.) 

However, as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel noted in World War II, there is no army on earth that knows so little but learns so well or so quickly as the US Army. As so the successor to the Cobra was this massively deadly, all-weather, 24/7 skyborne killer:


First flown in 1975, the AH-64 Apache has gone through a few product-improvement programs since. The most advanced variant of several still flying is the AH-64D Longbow, Block III, which has just begun production. It makes Luke Skywalker's Tie fighter look like a Jenny biplane. 

Yet attack helicopters basically perform missions that are classic ones for armor: rampage in the enemy's rear area, destroying logistics stocks and reserve formations. Gen. George S. Patton told his men that their tank's cannon was its secondary armament, used  to punch through the combat line to reach the enemy's rear, where the tank's most destructive weapon, its .50-caliber machine guns, would wreak havoc on the soft targets there.

An Apache's weapons are considerably more destructive and varied than an M-1 Abram tank's cannon or machine guns. Since World War II, tanks have become very narrowly focused in design. The Abram's tank, born during the height of the Cold War, was designed to fight Soviet tanks. Other considerations were secondary, although tacticians never forgot that tanks are invaluable in urban warfare (i.e., Fallujah, 2004) even when the enemy has no tanks.  

But for versatility, the flyings tanks are far more lethal, more precise, attack far deeper and are multiples faster to the mission area. But there are always tradeoffs. One is that an Abrams is hard to kill but Apaches not so much. Not exactly easy, mind you, but not daunting, either. Another is that the Abrams dominates terrain by being there and staying there. Apaches have no staying power. They fly there, they attack, they leave. Unlike ground tanks, flying tanks cannot take or hold terrain. Apaches rent an objective, Abrams take title possession. You can outwait Apaches, though you won't enjoy a minute of it. But when this steel monster comes calling, it owns you for the brief time you have left to ponder the fact:


Even so, rare (and insane!) is the Abrams commander who would decline being preceded by Apaches into battle.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

"Atheists don't have no songs"

By Donald Sensing



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where Obama dropped his molasses jug

By Donald Sensing


An Old South expression for making a major error in judgment is, "That's where he dropped his molasses jug," referring to consequences of an error so messy that cleaning them up will be difficult and frustratingly slow.

There's no shortage of pundits explaining how President Obama and the Democrats dropped their molasses jug. Last summer, former Obama promoter Mort Zuckerman of US News wrote that the main problem with Obama and administration is that they simply are amateurishly incompetent. The American Enterprise Institute's Marc Theissen wrote in late October that Obama dropped the jug just three days after inauguration when he dismissed Republican Congressmen with a flippant, "I won."

The president himself has said he spent too much time on policy and not enough time on PR work, which has long been the Democrats' favored fallback excuse ("We just didn't get our message out"). And they have another excuse: it's the voters' fault! We're scared and not thinking straight, as the president said very recently.

Well, fine. I think that the Democrats' most fundamental mistake is twofold. First, they did not understand that "Hope and Change" was a catchy campaign slogan but can never be a governing philosophy. Second, they made the most common Leftist mistake there is: they really believed that "unwashed middle" America (in Katie Courics' eloquent phrase) truly wants statist control of their daily lives.

The former first. Barack Obama did not understand that people say they want change but almost never actually mean it. Anyone who has become the chairperson of a volunteer organization, whether a civic club, the county chapter of a political party or, say (cough) pastor of a church, soon learns that what people say they want and what they will actually support are extremely divergent.

What they really mean is that they want change to affect other people but not themselves: "change for thee, but not for me." Each wants more of what he already has with no adversity in his personal situation.

In short, voters do indeed want to have their cake and eat it, too (which I wrote about here). What Obama does not understand even now is that the enthusiasm with which the majority of Americans embraced his campaign message of hope and change should never have been confused with their willingness to be the changees.

Second: Obama, like all "progressives," thinks that the masses are actually eager to be embrace statist control of their lives. The progressive world view is that ordinary people are basically incapable of living rightly. Therefore, they must be managed for their own good, and the more closely the better. Furthermore, they think that the masses agree. But we don't and we won't.

It is critical to realize, though, that "change for thee but not for me" is also the motto of the Political Class. That's why the president and his family are not going to be the beneficiaries of Obamacare. Nor will the Congress or its staff. The Political Class is more resistant to change than the rest of the country because they are far more heavily invested in the status quo. They have the power to micromanage us, but their rules for you and me never decrease their wealth or power.

Someone said awhile back, "It's November or never." Nov. 2's bell will toll not only for Democrats but also for Political Class Republicans. If their party fails in the next two years to turn the government back toward public service rather than overlord masters, 2012 will be a political bloodletting not seen since at least the elections of 1860. And we know what followed that election.

Update: Heh, just found this observation from earlier this year by the Denver Post's David Harsanyi. "Progressivism is the belief that we have too much freedom with which to make too many stupid choices."

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not once per 823 years, once every few years

By Donald Sensing

Have you received this email yet?

This October is very special. It has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, all in 1 month. This happens once in 823 years.
Well, no.

My daughter was born on Oct. 31 (Halloween babies are special!) in 1993. Whenever Oct. 31 is on a Sunday, Oct. 1 must fall on a Friday, and so will be followed by four more Fridays (8, 15, 22, 29), hence five Saturdays, too. It happened in 2004 and will happen again in 2021.

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Why debt is the greatest national security threat we face

By Donald Sensing

I have been nagged for some time now that as great as the threat of al Qaeda, et. al, is, especially if they get nukes, the financial insolvency of our country is as great, maybe greater. Not is potential lethality of course, but in what can only be termed the decline and fall of the American republic.

As it turns out, the mounting federal debt (I won't even address the total national debt) may have horrifically lethal consequences, too, if not for us then for some others in the world. Mark Steyn explains with his usual pithy eloquence.

[W]ithin a decade, the United States will be spending more on interest payments on the federal debt than it does on the military – and that’s not because the Pentagon is such a great bargain. In 2009, the United States accounted for over 43 per cent of the world’s military expenditures. So, within a few years, America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey and Israel spend on their militaries combined. The superpower will have evolved from a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.

What does that mean? In 2009, the US spent about $665 billion on its military, the Chinese about $99 billion. If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent times, then within a few years US interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military. This summer, the Pentagon issued an alarming report to Congress on Beijing’s massive military build-up, including new missiles, upgraded bombers, and an aircraft-carrier R&D program intended to challenge US dominance in the Pacific. What the report didn’t mention is who’s paying for it.

Answer: Mr and Mrs America.

By 2015, the People’s Liberation Army, which is the largest employer on the planet, bigger even than the US Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications, will be entirely funded by US taxpayers. When the Commies take Taiwan, suburban families in Connecticut and small businesses in Idaho will have paid for it.

The existential questions for America loom not decades hence but right now. We face not genteel Euro-style decline cushioned by America, but something faster, wrenching and far more convulsive - with nobody to cushion it.
As someone said earlier this year, "It's November or never." And it's the last chance for the Republicans, too. But they've been afloat on the gravy train for so long they I really don't think they can reinvent themselves.

Which leads us to 2012. Next week is "November or never" not really for the American people but for the Republicans. If they fail in the next two years to turn the government back toward public service rather than overlord masters, one of two things will happen.

One, the Tea Party movement will morph into a national third party for the 2012 elections. This will be encouraged by the Democrats in any events, the better to split the Republican and Independents' vote. But the bloodletting within the Republican ranks and with the third party will substantially enhance Democrat chances.

Or the TP movement will strengthen its insurgency into the Republican party rather than try to form a third party. This is already happening, of course, and the only way Establishment Republicans can get handle on it is to move seriously and substantially into true limited-government, fiscal responsibility philosophy.But this is exactly what Establishmentarian Republicanism cannot do. It does not know how and does not believe in it anyway.

Then there are the voters themselves. Are we really willing to accept the pain of smaller government and fiscal austerity? I am not very sure.
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie." ...

The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs.
It's November or never, but the ballot is only the beginning.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Faith-based investing: Gold

By Donald Sensing

Here's an interesting thought: "Gold Is A Religion Masquerading As An Asset Class."

Gold remains close to its all-time high, as fears over government money printing, solvency, and general economic fears make the shiny yellow metal more popular than ever.
Experts recommend that you have a substantial chunk of your investments in this asset class.
But gold is not an asset class.

It's a religion.
And then there's this:
[G]old is a faith-based metal. It pays no dividend, cannot be eaten, and is mostly used for nothing more useful than jewelry. I would say that anything of which 75% sits idly and expensively in bank vaults is, as a measure of value, only one step up from the Polynesian islands that attached value to certain well-known large rocks that were traded. But only one step up. I own some personally, but really more for amusement and speculation than for serious investing. It may well work and it may not. In the longer run, I believe that resources in the ground, forestry, agriculture, common stocks, and even real estate are more certain to resist any inflation or paper currency crisis than is gold.
Over the long term - a few decades - equities outperform gold . (Which equities is of course the key question, but I mean market averages.) Gold may very well be a bubble but if it is its curve lags well behind the now-popped curves of the housing market and the NASDAQ Composite over the last nine years. So if gold is a bubble, it probably has a lot more room to grow. But that doesn't mean it will grow at all.

So what we are left with is the knowledge that gold is speculative. Well, yeah.

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Blaming the voters

By Donald Sensing

Darn those elderly voters and their palsy, shaky hands! It's their own fault that they voted for Sen. Harry Reid when they didn't mean to! A report from Las Vegas:

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked. ...

Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time -- that's wrong."

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they choose their candidate.

"Especially in a community with elderly citizens (they have) difficulty in (casting their) ballot," Lomax said. "Team leaders said there were complaints (and the) race filled in."
So if your voting machine already has a candidate marked when you approach to vote, carry out the following steps:

1. Check your drivers license to confirm you're an old man or woman.

2. If so, it's your own fault for lingering too long on the screen with your fingers.

Funny, though, that all the shaky, elderly fingers lingering on the screen would up all accidentally cast a ballot for Democrat Reid and not Republican Angle. Shaky fingers only vote one way, I suppose.

Update: Maybe the machine votes what it wants to because it just needs calibration. How strange that uncalibrated voting machines only err-default to Democrat.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obama's cousin: Obamacare must be repealed

By Donald Sensing

Milton R. Wolf, M.D., is President Obama's cousin. He writes today,

We must defund, repeal and replace Obamacare before it defunds America, destroys the finest health care system in the world and replaces it with a European social-welfare government-run version.

Can we really repeal Obamacare? Let me be clear. Yes, we can.

First, in 2010, elect candidates who understand that health care freedom - like our other freedoms - saves lives. Elect candidates who pledge to first defund Obamacare immediately and then will vote for its repeal. Second, let's convince this president that it's in the nation's best interest - and his own - to undo this unholy government takeover that bears his name. If we cannot, then in 2012, let's find a president who will.
And he explains why Obamacare must go. Read the whole thing.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

The drive toward federal single-payer health insurance

By Donald Sensing

Tennessee's Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen explain how the economics of Obamacare will drive businesses and state and local governments to drop their health-insurance coverage and move their employees to Obamacare's single-payer system.

Let's do a thought experiment. We'll use my own state of Tennessee and our state employees for our data. The year is 2014 and the Affordable Care Act is now in full operation. We're a large employer, with about 40,000 direct employees who participate in our health plan. In our thought experiment, let's exit the health-benefits business this year and help our employees use an exchange to purchase their own.

First of all, we need to keep our employees financially whole. With our current plan, they contribute 20% of the total cost of their health insurance, and that contribution in 2014 will total about $86 million. If all these employees now buy their insurance through an exchange, that personal share will increase by another $38 million. We'll adjust our employees' compensation in some rough fashion so that no employee is paying more for insurance as a result of our action. Taking into account the new taxes that would be incurred, the change in employee eligibility for subsidies, and allowing for inefficiency in how we distribute this new compensation, we'll triple our budget for this to $114 million.

Now that we've protected our employees, we'll also have to pay a federal penalty of $2,000 for each employee because we no longer offer health insurance; that's another $86 million. The total state cost is now about $200 million.

But if we keep our existing insurance plan, our cost will be $346 million. We can reduce our annual costs by over $146 million using the legislated mechanics of health reform to transfer them to the federal government.
Which of course was the point all along.

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Moderate Muslims on Juan Williams debacle

By Donald Sensing

I have written that while there certainly are moderate Muslims (untold millions, even), the problem is that, "Jihadists hold almost all the power and influence across Muslim lands" and here in the West.

In the wake of NPR's cursory dismissal of longtime commentator Juan Williams for saying on Fox News Channel that he gets nervous when he boards an airplane and sees men in Muslim garb, some moderate Muslims have spoken out.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told The Daily Caller that though Williams could have been more tactful, his ouster is symptomatic of the problems Americans continue to face when discussing Islam.

“As much as the way he said it was poorly chosen, the era we find ourselves — of political correctness — we are not able to address what this fear is,” Jasser said. “Anybody that starts talking about this fear gets shut down.”

Fatah agreed, saying that he did not believe that anything Williams’ said was terrible enough to lose his job. “I think it is another expression of political correctness. I didn’t find anything that he said that he deserved to be fired,” he told TheDC.

According to Jasser, the fact that the vast majority of national security threats emanate from the Muslim world makes Williams’ fear reasonable. Without open discussion, however, those concerns will never be conquered. ...

Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, echoed Fatah and Jasser. Schwartz told TheDC that he and his organization opposed NPR’s reaction to Williams’ comments.

“Mr. Williams is basically an opinion journalist and he offered an opinion based on an undeniable reality: American Muslims have so far failed in our duty to prevent negative perceptions among our non-Muslim neighbors, and many, unfortunately, have taken the existing concerns among non-Muslims as a challenge to assert Muslim identity more aggressively, through forms of dress as well as speech that are often extravagant and excessive,” Schwartz wrote in an e-mail to TheDC.

“Mr. Williams spoke to this reality in an understated, candid way. He did not express hatred or incite violence against Muslims. He should not have been dismissed.”
Let us hope that these voices and the influence of those who speak will become evermore prominent and forceful henceforth.

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What I said

By Donald Sensing

Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast says the tea party movement is a fraud.

This fall, a group of kamikaze conservatives, terrified by mounting debt, outraged by excessive government spending, and unafraid of hard truths, are rallying to save their children and grandchildren from a future mortgaged to the central bank of China. Too bad they live in England. ...

Tea Party types are quick to say it’s not just Barack Obama’s deficit spending that bothers them; they were outraged, outraged by the Bush deficits too. Really? Where were the folks with flags, muskets, and mutton-chops when Bush masked the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars, year after year, by funding them through supplemental appropriations that fell outside the normal Pentagon budget? Where was Rush Limbaugh when a Bush appointee threatened to fire Medicare’s chief actuary if he disclosed the true cost of Bush’s prescription drug plan, which according to the Congressional Budget Office costs more over 10 years than Obama’s bailouts, economic stimulus, and health-care reform combined? Where were the tears for America’s debt-saddled grandchildren when Bush pushed through tax cut after tax cut without any corresponding spending cuts? Oh yes, I remember where the Republican base was in 2004, when the prescription drug bill passed and the wartime spigot was going full blast—they were reelecting Bush with the largest grassroots conservative turnout in American history.
I don't argue with much he says. If the tea party is a genuine grassroots movement, and I think it is, I agree with Beinart that they are awfully late to the party. As for me, I wrote in late 2003 that I could not endorse G. W. bush for reelection because of his domestic policies.
I do not believe Bush’s domestic policies are in the best interests of our long-term freedom. I do not think that Bush’s domestic legacy will, in the long run, be good for the country.

Hence I cannot urge anyone to vote for Bush in 2004. ...

I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
I re-emphasized this stance only a month later.

I am far from persuaded that tea party marchers are truly serious about shrinking government anywhere close to the extent required, nor are they actually willing personally to bear the pain that meaningful federal budget cuts would mean for them.
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie." ...

The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs.
I hope I am wrong but I fear I am not.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dhimmitude Watch

By Donald Sensing

Dhimmitude is the Islamic term for the third-class status of non-Muslims living in Islamic countries. Non-Muslims are severely restricted in their civil rights, including denial of freedom of worship and prohibition of certain civil activities. Its terms and condition have varied over time and place, but one thing it always does is make non-Muslims subservient to sharia law and Muslim rule without recourse. See here.

Comes now this report of self-dhimmitude in Great Britain: "Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed 'smell of frying bacon offends Muslims."

A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan - because the smell of her frying bacon 'offends' Muslims.

Planning bosses acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next-door neighbour's Muslim friends had felt 'physically sick' due to the 'foul odour'.

Councillors at Stockport Council in Greater Manchester say the smell from the fan is 'unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity'.
As I wrote here, the West is being attacked not merely by violent jihadis, but by practitioners of "stealth jihad," or creeping sharia in Europe and North America. Muslims in the West, especially the so-called "moderates," are actively working to integrate sharia law into Western societies and legal systems.
The method: Acceptance-Endorsement-Enforcement.

Nonviolent jihadists use our political institutions against us. This is the method that the Muslim Brotherhood, ideological wellspring of Islamism, calls dawa, or “summons” to the West to become Muslim. I assess their method as threefold: Acceptance-Endorsement-Enforcement.

First, Muslims in the West plead for acceptance of Muslim practices in America, especially the building of mosques. Mosques are the primary means of radicalizing native-land converts. And if building mosques gains public controversy, the door opens for them to claim oppression and plead for religious tolerance.

Second, greater jihadists demand endorsement of Muslim claims of exceptionalism, such as Islam, the Quran or Muhammad being off limits to public debate or criticism. Here also they have learned how to play the victim card by claiming to be offended by the insensitive, intolerant critics.

Finally, they demand enforcement by Western governments of Muslim privileges and special rights. This process is so far along in Europe that I think my thesis hardly needs defending.
As this unjustifiable ruling in England shows. And here's the kicker - the complainant who got the order to shut down the fan is not even Muslim!
Mr Webb-Lee objected to the aplication - complaining that his Muslim friends refused to visit him becase they 'can't stand the smell of bacon'.
Makes me wonder who is more gutless, the town councillors who gave the order or Mr. Webb-Lee for his groveling self-dhimmitudiness.

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NPR fires Juan Williams for saying what he thinks

By Donald Sensing

The other night, as a guest on Bill O'Reilly's FNC show, "The O'Reilly Factor," Juan Williams, who is black (and yes, this is relevant) made the mistake of answering one of Bill's questions honestly. For that he was promptly fired by NPR, where he was a paid commentator. What did Juan say? Well, first, let's do a little historical walk back, shall we?

Jeffrey Goldberg's 1999 NYT article, "The Color of Suspicion," wherein Goldberg relates of spending a lot of time with law enforcement officers, especially those involved in fighting narcotics.

After the New York cars pull into traffic, Lewis shows Bromwell and his partner, Rob Penny, the newspaper clippings, hoping they will back him up. “Eddie Plank,” he says. “Killed by a black male. My shooting—a black. Robbie Bishop, down in Georgia, killed by a black. North Carolina trooper, killed by a black.”

Bromwell looks uneasy. I ask him if he believes in a connection between the race of the shooters and the crimes they commit.

“People might think it,” Bromwell says, walking away, “but they don’t say it." He flashes Lewis a look that says, Shut up, and quick. ...

Racial profiler, kept his job.
Cops, white and black, know one other thing: they’re not the only ones who profile. Civilians profile all the time—when they buy a house, or pick a school district, or walk down the street. Even civil rights leaders profile. “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson said several years ago, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jackson now says his quotation was “taken out of context.” The context, he said, is that violence is the inevitable byproduct of poor education and health care. But no amount of “context” matters when you fear that you are about to be mugged.
Now let's jump to March 2008. Democrat consultant and operative Susan Estrich appears on Hannity and Colmes on FNC. Susan was Michael Dukakis's campaign manager in 1988. In discussion of then-candidate Barack Obama's famous speech wherein he said that his grandmother was a "typical white person" (move along, no profiling here, nothing to see, eh?), Susan said this:
Racial profiler, kept her job.
“Every woman I know, black, white, green or yellow, gets a little bit nervous, if she’s being honest, when she sees an 18-25 year-old black guy dressed in gang attire, walking behind her on the street. I’m not afraid of old black men. I’m not afraid of old white men.”
And here is what Juan Williams said on The O'Reilly Factor. NPR.org explains:
Host Bill O'Reilly brought on guests to discuss his appearance last week on ABC's "The View" during which Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set in protest of O'Reilly's views on Muslims.

"Where am I going wrong here, Juan?" O'Reilly asked.

Williams, 56, responded that too much political correctness can get in the way of reality.

Religion profiler, got fired.
"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the Civil Rights movement in this country," Williams said. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
See ya, Juan!

Naturally, the Council for Islamic-American Relations, a front for the Muslim Brotherhood (the rabidly anti-American original wellspring of modern Islamism) and an unindicted co-conspirator  in the Holy Land Foundation case, "said such commentary from a journalist about other racial, ethnic or religious minority groups would not be tolerated."

So NPR folded. And did so PDQ, too.

Update: Here's the vid.



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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hogwashing history

By Donald Sensing

Professor Bruce Thornton writes, "Whitewashing Islam: “Who Controls the Past Controls the Future,” subtitled, "Painting Out History with Thick Coatings of Hogwash."

[T]he glories of Islamic civilization are celebrated even as Christianity is chastised for its history of pogroms, witch-burning, and religious wars. We hear all about the Inquisition, which in its entire history executed at most 5000 people, a fraction of those killed just in the Muslim conquest and occupation of Spain. The Crusades are trotted out repeatedly as the premier example of Western proto-imperialist aggression fueled by religious and racial bigotry. Forget the persecution of Christian pilgrims in Palestine, forget the fact that the region was Christian, Jewish, and Hellenic for six centuries before it was brutally conquered by Muslim armies and absorbed into the Islamic empire. And by no means point out that the Crusaders, whatever their baser motives, were pushing back against centuries of Islamic invasion, raids, and plundering of Christian lands.

For the jihadists and their Western apologists, that history “never happened,” which is why the jihadist narrative has gained traction among so many in the West. By accepting that distorted history, we put ourselves in the role of the aggressor who has provoked by his depredations the current terrorist attacks against us. Our behavior, not the religious motives of the jihadists, is the key to the conflict. Hence the futile attempts at outreach, displays of respect, protestations of admiration for Islam, celebrations of Muslim holy days in the White House, fawning school curricula, groveling apologies, and all the other ways in which we tell Muslims that our own historical crimes and continued bigotry against their wonderful religion is the real problem.
No, Islam is the problem, along with our duped willingness to place ourselves into submission to it. Jihad is the fundamental duty of a Muslim. This is explicit in the Quran. Violent, or lesser jihad, gets the attention, but greater jihad is more pernicious and threatening in the longer term. Please see my column, "The Threat of a Greater Jihad - Why talk of 'moderate Muslims' is so misguided."

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What do voters really want?

By Donald Sensing

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, is best remembered for his famous question, "What does a woman want?" He admitted he never learned the answer in 30 years of psychiatric studies. A question of identical form and particular urgency looms in November: "What do voters want?" Politicians on both sides of the aisle think they know the answer. But they do not. And for that matter, neither do the voters!

Exhibit One: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as explained by George Will. It is supposed to recommend measures "that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook." It has a plan to do that. But 164 House Republicans flinched. Explains Will,

They fear, not without reason, that voters are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal -- that voters' cognitive dissonance makes them ardently in favor of shrinking the deficit and as ardently opposed to any measures commensurate with the problem.
There is no shortage of voters who say they want the federal budget cut and the size of government reduced. What they (okay, we) really mean is, "I want the federal programs and agencies that benefit me to stay intact and the ones that benefit someone else to be slashed like it's Halloween night in a horror movie."

Almost 30 years ago, Senate Majority leader Howard Baker (R.-Tenn.) asked the other 99 senators asking them to identify cuts of 5-10 percent in federal spending in their home states. Most senators agreed that the budget should be cut. Not one agreed that a cut could be made in their own states.

The reason is, I think, that we voters ideologically approve cutting the budget but operationally don't want it done on our own backs. My parents are in their 80s. Do I really want Medicare to be cut? Baby boomers, of whom I am one, are just starting to retire in large numbers. Guess what's going to happen to Social Security spending? Do we really want those payouts slashed just as we're starting to draw them?

Including government employees, more than 88 million Americans are personally dependent to some degree on government payouts. That's 29 percent of us. Do you really think it is politically possible for even a veto-proof Republican Congress to slash those programs, jobs or benefits enough to make a meaningful dent in the trillion-dollar-plus deficit?

Mark Steyn once wrote that if national financial collapse was a 20-chapter book, Greece was in chapter 19 and America still in chapter two or three. I think we're further along than that, but I agree with his his point that there is still time to reverse course. Time, though, is not the issue. The question is whether we have the will - the will, each one of us, to accept the consequences personally.

Will you accept a 10 percent reduction in your federally-sponsored benefits (schools, highways, direct payments, name it)? Will I? And if we will, will the representatives and senators we send to Washington next month have the will to push it through?

I am not persuaded the answer is yes, though I hope I'm wrong.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Scared of Muslims"

By Donald Sensing

Matt Welch at Reason writes, "Just Admit it, Newspapers: You're Scared of Muslims."

As Radley Balko noted in yesterday's Morning Links, the Washington Post and other newspapers pulled Wiley Miller's syndicated "Non Sequitur" cartoon [right]from their comics pages two Sundays back, because Miller pulled a familiar-to-Reason-readers "where's Waldo?" gag with the Prophet Muhammad, satirizing the new 21st century taboo on the depiction of even jokes about the fear of depicting a historical figure who really existed.
Then he recounts the excuses given by editors, consisting mainly that the cartoon was "provocative" without a "clear point" and "not of high quality." Well, it seems pretty clear to me. As Matt says, though, "A boundary-stretching case comes before you, and suddenly everyone's an art critic."

I don't get how the WaPO's executive editor Marcus W. Brauchli could say that the cartoon is both provocative and pointless.It is provokes, then doesn't that prove that it has a point? And if pointlessness is now a cause for rejection, how does Doonesbury survive (or half the other comics in the paper)?

No, as Matt says clearly to the editors, "you pulled the cartoon because your fear of Muslims outweighs your commitment to free expression, period." This is another example of our self infidel-ization.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Three reasons Hillary won't run

By Donald Sensing

Okay, I've been assessing the odds of Hillary mounting a challenge to Obama for the 2012 nomination for awhile. I even have a whole category devoted to the posts, HillaryBuzz.

Now Bob Shrum explains the three main reasons he thinks Hillary will not challenge Obama, but will bide her time to 2016. His three reasons are:

First, she already lost to Obama once; why do it again? ...

Second, there are the inescapable realities of cost and the political calendar. To raise the money and put an effective structure in place, Clinton would have to resign early next year and go into all-out campaign mode. ...

Third, even if she somehow won the nomination, it wouldn't be worth having. If Hillary Clinton, or anyone else for that matter, overthrew Barack Obama inside the Democratic Party, many African-Americans would "vote with their feet," refusing to walk to the polls. If the Republicans had the improbably good sense to put forward a mainstream conservative, they could even capture an unprecedented share of the minority vote.
Well, wait and see. I think Shrum's reasons are well considered, but overall not decisive:

First, that she already lost once to Obama, is pretty weak. She wouldn't be the first contender to lose a primary and come back to win a nomination. Reagan did it in 1980 after losing two primary attempts. True, the incumbent that year was of the other party, which does put a cerain wrinkle on a Hillary challenge. If there is any strength to Shrum's first objection, it's linked closely to his third objection, that challenging the first black president would alienate African-Americans so much that they would never vote for her if she won the nomination.

As for Shrum's second objection, that she'd have to get a campaign gojng very soon (even if at a low elvel), I don't think that's an obstacle at all. I explained that in my Right Network column, "The Once and Future Hillary," which also explains some reasons in Hillary's favor for making a run in 2012.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

2011 will be horrific for banks

By Donald Sensing

So says Christopher Whalen of the American Enterprise Institute. I've embedded his short slide show below. The rate of foreclosures and banks' losses therefrom will make 2008 seem like a day at the beach, he says. Here is the link.



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Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Faster, please" - making oil from plastic

By Donald Sensing

About 7 percent of the world's oil production is used to make plastic. But plastic "is one of the environmentally unfriendly substances produced by man." A plastic soft drink bottle takes 1,000 years to break down completely. Nor can plastic be easily recycled.

Coming to a gas tank near you - oil made from plastic.
But fear not! A Japanese company called Blest has invented a machine to convert plastic back into oil.
The machine is effective in recycling different kinds of plastic into oil. According to the data released by Plastic Waste Management Institute - Effective Utilization doesn't just take into account the 20 percent of recycled plastic. But it also considers the incinerated 52 percent used for energy recovery like generating electric power or heat. [Blest's CEO] Akinori Ito says "If we burn the plastic, we generate toxins and a large amount of CO2. If we convert it into oil, we prohibit CO2 production and at the same time, increase people's awareness about the value of plastic garbage". ...

Since the machine employs an electric heater that controls temperature instead of flame, the conversion technology is quite safe. The machines are capable of recycling polystyrene, polyethylene and polypropylene of numbers 2 to 4. PET bottles that fall under number 1 polypropylene, however, cannot be processed. As a result, a crude gas is obtained that can be effectively used to fuel stoves or generators. After refinement, it can even be used to fuel motorbike, boat or a car. One kilogram of plastic using 1 kilowatt of electricity is capable of producing 1 liter of oil. This approximately costs 20 cents.
Sounds like a good deal to me. Bring it on - and faster please!

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"How to stop 50% of West-hating terrorist attacks"

By Donald Sensing

James Lileks, as usual, exposes the intellectual vapidness of the American political class, whose cluelessness become evermore obvious when discussing peace in the Middle East. Link.



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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ice age on the way?

By Donald Sensing

Europe is facing the coldest winter in 1,000 years.

Forecasters say this winter could be the coldest Europe has seen in the last 1,000 years.

The change is reportedly connected with the speed of the Gulf Stream, which has shrunk in half in just the last couple of years. Polish scientists say that it means the stream will not be able to compensate for the cold from the Arctic winds. According to them, when the stream is completely stopped, a new Ice Age will begin in Europe.
I blame global warming! Oh, wait, we don't have global warming any more. It's being remarketed as "global climate disruption."

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Explaining November

By Donald Sensing

This cartoon well explains the bad news for Democrats coming this November.


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The Threat of a Greater Jihad

By Donald Sensing


Europe went on high terrorism alert this month after authorities learned of an al Qaeda plan to attack public places, much like Islamist terrorists did in Mumbai (Bombay), India, in 2008, that killed 160 people.
Such assaults, though deadly, are not the most serious threat from Islamist operatives. Only if terrorists gain genuine weapons of mass destruction and the means to employ them will the threat of violent jihad be greater than that of non-violent jihad.
Violent jihadists want to kill us. Nonviolent jihadists want to conquer us. On Oct. 3's broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” Anjem Choudary, a Muslim cleric who speaks for the group Islam4UK, openly called for global Islamic rule, especially in the United States. He told host Christiane Amanpour,
We do believe as Muslims the East and the West will be governed by the Sharia. Indeed we believe that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House.
This is jihad, make no mistake. Muslim apologists say that "greater jihad" is peaceful, fully submitting to Allah by keeping Islam's commandments. Yet the principal commandment of Islam is to propagate the faith and bring non-Muslims into conversion or submission. "Lesser," or violent jihad, differs only in means to this end, not in the end itself. A small minority of jihadists are violent. Far more damaging is the much larger number of "greater" jihadists, who eschew violence but are devoted to Islamic imperialism.
That is why talk of “moderate” Muslims is so misguided. Since 9/11, we speak of "moderate Muslims" to mean those who do not commit or (apparently) support Islamist terrorism. This is a grievous error. Enormous numbers of nonviolent Muslims have the same goal as Anjem Choudary, the total victory of Islam over the West and the conquest of America into the House of Islam.
Jihadists hold almost all the power and influence across Muslim lands.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote that there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who “take their sharia with a grain of salt.” These Muslims put no personal stake in the jihad and may not care whether it succeeds. Some oppose the jihad. Unfortunately, they are inconsequential. “Moderate Islam,” says McCarthy, “is a dream, not a reality” because these Muslims work “against great odds” because presently jihadists hold almost all the power and influence across Muslim lands.
They certainly hold Islam’s purse strings. Saudi Arabia, jihadism’s financial gusher, funds only Islamist triumphalists. Moderate figures, woefully underfunded, lack a pre-propagandized constituency like jihadists have and are mostly ignored by the West’s political class to boot. Perhaps Islamic jihadism shall one day be moderated. And perhaps Cunard lines will sign title of Queen Elizabeth over to me after it's christened this month by Her Majesty.
The method: Acceptance-Endorsement-Enforcement.
Nonviolent jihadists use our political institutions against us. This is the method that the Muslim Brotherhood, ideological wellspring of Islamism, calls dawa, or “summons” to the West to become Muslim. I assess their method as threefold: Acceptance-Endorsement-Enforcement.
First, Muslims in the West plead for acceptance of Muslim practices in America, especially the building of mosques. Mosques are the primary means of radicalizing native-land converts. And if building mosques gains public controversy, the door opens for them to claim oppression and plead for religious tolerance.
Second, greater jihadists demand endorsement of Muslim claims of exceptionalism, such as Islam, the Quran or Muhammad being off limits to public debate or criticism. Here also they have learned how to play the victim card by claiming to be offended by the insensitive, intolerant critics.
Finally, they demand enforcement by Western governments of Muslim privileges and special rights. This process is so far along in Europe that I think my thesis hardly needs defending.
So it’s no coincidence that when the “Ground Zero Mosque’s” principal public figure, Feisal Abdul-Rauf, published his book, What’s Right With America, in Malaysia, he called it, A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. And Rauf maintains a “Sharia Index Project,” documenting increasing acceptance of sharia in the West, in partnership with longtime Muslim Brotherhood figure Jamal Barzinji. Rauf is both nonviolent and Islamist. There is hardly a paper-thin difference between his goals and those Anjem Choudary espoused to Christian Amanpuur.
Violent jihadists eventually must show themselves, so they are more easily combated than their nonviolent brethren. But the latter are much more influential and pernicious. Muslim terrorists are like weeds in a flower bed, not always easy to identify but removable root and branch. Greater jihadists, though, present themselves as just one flower among many, deserving of the same care and nurture that everyone else enjoys by beneficent institutions and governments.
But make no mistake: they seek to dominate this country and bring it into submission.

Originally published at Right Network

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Sharia - coming to a White House near you!

By Donald Sensing

Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, spokesman for the group Islam4UK, told ABC’s “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour that it is certain that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House and that sharia law will be the law of the land.



As the old liberal bumper sticker used to say, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

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Did the USSR's collapse ruin the US?

By Donald Sensing

Well, this is thought provoking, but the writer, a naturalized American, former Russian, does not realize that America's global activism during the Cold War, as response to Soviet international expansionism, was the aberration. Link.



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Monday, October 4, 2010

"One Nation" rally trashes World War II Memorial

By Donald Sensing

I linked yesterday to another blogger's post showing photos of the massive amounts of garbage left lying on the ground of the National Mall by people at the "One Nation" rally in Washington, D.C.

Now look at what they did to the memorial to the men and women of World War II.



This is a subset of Americans who have no respect for the historic institutions of this country nor, indeed, for the prior generations of Americans who risked or gave their lives to preserve the
freedom that One Nation ralliers were able to enjoy last weekend.

But why should the ralliers respect this place? They've been taught that America is an repressive, cruel, unjust, selfish, country of white-privilege oppression. They openly despise American participatory, representative democracy, so why should they respect or honor a memorial to those who preserved it? Think I am over the top here? There are scores of photos taken at the rally that you will never see in the mainstream media. Here are a few.




I will not disguise that I find the trashing of the memorial and the open calls for revolution in America deeply offensive and contemptuous. I posted in 2008 of my trip to the WW2 Memorial with my wife and her father, Col. (ret.) George D. Stephens, USAR, veteran of eight combat amphibious assaults in the Pacific war.
We stopped to see the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin. I snapped this picture of George standing across from the Jefferson Memorial. I am proud, and awed, too, to say that he is one of the Americans who saved the world from fascism and tyranny when everything dear to civilization was threatened with destruction. It was by his efforts and those of his comrades (never to forget those who gave their lives!) that Jefferson's ideals survived. He helped preserve what he there surveyed.

In the mind of the Left, there is nothing so sacred that it can't be trashed. For that matter, there is nothing sacred at all.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Not even close"

By Donald Sensing

The left-wing "One Nation" rally visually compared to Glenn Beck's rally of "Constitutional conservatives." Pan with the embedded scroll bars if need be. Link.



And One Nation trashed the Washington Mall, too: "News the Old Media Won’t Tell You: More Trash at One Sparsely Attended Left Wing Rally Than at All the Tea Parties Around the Country in a Year and a Half."

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"Bad news for Democrats"

By Donald Sensing

Business Insider:



And you can bet the rise in unemployment will be unexpected!

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

More economic stressors and the progress of China

By Donald Sensing

Why are energy costs going to rise dramatically? Because we are importing an ever-increasing percentage of the petroleum we use, accelerated in no small measure by the administration's freeze of new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Then we have an aging infrastructure of coal-firec electrical plants with no plan to upgrade or replace them.

Also: why the housing market will continue to fall and the relationship between business-production capacity, the GDP's rate of increase, and employment (or the lack thereof.

Finally, some excellent discussion on the state of political, social and economic freedom in China. Link.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Get your gold at the corner ATM

By Donald Sensing

The spot price of gold continues to rocket: "Gold hits new record above 1,320 dollars."

LONDON — The price of gold hit a fresh record high above 1,320 dollars per ounce in London on Friday, as the precious metal was energised by the weak dollar after disappointing US economic data.

Gold surged to an all-time pinnacle at 1,320.70 dollars per ounce on the London Bullion Market at about 1410 GMT.

The latest record-breaking move helped push silver to 22.15 dollars per ounce, a price last seen in September 1980.

Want gold, but don't quite know how to go about getting it? Why, just waltz on down to your local gold ATM:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you want to cash in on the gold rush, you no longer need a passport to get in on the action. The maker of gold ATMs will debut its gold-dispensing machines in two U.S. locations next month.

Twenty ATMs have already popped up in hotels, airports and stores in tourist destinations like Abu Dhabi, Munich and Madrid. And 20 more are waiting in the wings.

Starting next month, Vegas gamblers and Florida beach bums will be the first to get their hands on the machines in the United States.
Better have a big debit account!

And Hillary ain't even running

By Donald Sensing

The latest installment of HillaryBuzz 2012:

Obama 52%, Clinton 37% for 2012 Democratic Nomination

Clinton's support highest among conservative, less well-educated Democrats

Fortunately for Mrs. Clinton, there are a lot more "less well-educated Democrats" than any other kind. Her hat is not even in the arena, much less in the ring, and she's only 15 points behind. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

Rome. Burn. Fiddle. Congress.

By Donald Sensing

Because this is obviously not an important
problem Americans are facing today.
Associated Press: "Senate votes to turn down volume on TV commercials."
WASHINGTON – Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.
Today's contender for nanny-in-chief added this gem of suffocating paternalism.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said it's time to stop the use of loud commercials to startle viewers into paying attention. "TV viewers should be able to watch their favorite programs without fear of losing their hearing when the show goes to a commercial," he said.
Chucky, ya ever heard of one of these?

Women out-earn men in tech jobs

By Donald Sensing

Okay, this is pretty cool. Business Insider makes it easy as pie to blog their content. You can embed the whole article. At the bottom of the article are the usual suspects for sharing online, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But there is an "embed" button, too. Copy and paste the code and this is what you get:



I think this feature is simply splendiferous. The B.I. piece also included this related video.



The subject of the piece is of interest to my household right now because my daughter has started to narrow her college search. She's one of the relatively few young ladies who is powerfully attracted to science, engineering and math disciplines. We've already toured Georgia Tech and will tour Vanderbilt tomorrow. While Vandy is not an engineering school, it is a major research academy and has an excellent engineering department. For students who want to focus on engineering management, it's a first-class choice.

BTW, Vandy is one of the relatively few universities that "pluses-up" ROTC scholarships. If you get an ROTC scholarship to Vanderbilt, covering tuition, fees and books, Vandy tops it with $6,000 per academic year to pay for room and board. So an ROTC scholarship there is basically a 100 percent deal. Wake Forest does this, too.