Thursday, February 14, 2008

Daily Roundup Feb 14, 2008

After the Read More! Pajamas Media reviews a new thriller set in a future Islamic Republic of America. Ontario looks to replace the Lord's Prayer. Israel puts its embassies on the alert for a possible Hezbollah reprisal; Nasrallah says Israel was cheating by killing Mughaniyeh in Damascus. Putin threatens to target any state that deploys an anti-missile defense. Trendy climate change policies are actually causing environmental disasters. Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski heads for Damascus at a tense time. Saudi Arabia prepares to execute a woman for witchcraft. And flying under the radar, the Philippines is convulsed by allegations that China bribed relatives of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo into awarding a contract to wire the entire government to the Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE).


Arthur Chrenkoff reviews a new novel by Robert Ferrigno entitled Sins of the Assassin. The Amazon Review provides the setting. "In 2043, almost 30 years after a series of suitcase nukes destroyed New York City and Washington, D.C., the U.S. is divided into two major regions—the Islamic Republic and the Bible Belt. Islam and fundamentalist Christianity have respectively filled the spiritual vacuum caused by the mass destruction and the subsequent imposition of martial law."

During the height of the Cold War fiction writers mined the public's deepest fears. But the fears were always grounded in fact. Nightmares, like dreams reveal a public's deepest thoughts. One of the most telling indications that the way back to the fake Clintonion 1990s Garden of Eden is barred are the themes of recent fiction. This is our world; and while Ferrigno's book may be imaginary ours is all too real.


The Ontario premier orders a review of Lord's Prayer recital at the beginning of each Ontario legislative session, saying it doesn't reflect Ontario's diversity. "McGuinty said it was time to 'move beyond' the Lord's Prayer to a more inclusive custom that better reflects Ontario's multiculturalism."

Iowahawk has some thoughts about 'moving beyond'.


Reuters says Israel has put its embassies high alert and reinforced troops on the Lebanese border on Thursday after the assassination of Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh.

The AP says Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to punish Israel, saying "'You have killed Hajj Imad outside the natural battlefield,' Nasrallah said in remarks directed at Israel. Hezbollah has long contended it only fights Israel within Lebanon and along their common border. 'You have crossed the borders,' Nasrallah said. 'With this murder, its timing, location and method — Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open.'". Now Hezbollah has laid down the marker: 'no more Mr. Nice Guy'.


"President Vladimir Putin on Thursday repeated his threat to aim Russian rockets at former Soviet satellite states if U.S. missile defense facilities are deployed there. Speaking about U.S. plans for interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, Putin said, 'Our experts consider that this system threatens our national security, and if it appears, we will be obligated to adequately react to this,' according to the IHT.

Putin is taking every possible step to keep Europe vulnerable to Russian pressure, either the control of its natural gas supplies or by keeping it from squiring out from under his nuclear arsenal. Ironically such Russian tactics will re-create the very conditions which made Europe dependent on the US. With the balance of Europe's energy coming by sea and with no nuclear deterrent of its own, the Old Continent's short term response to the Russian threats can only be a renewed dependence on American seapower and strategic weapons.

The fall of the Soviet Union provided a window in which Europe could act as if it didn't need America any more. But unfortunately, the predicted End of History never materialized and the emergence of resurgent threats will mean that Europe must either invest in its own security or rely once again on an alliance with the United States.


The Wall Street Journal quotes studies by Princeton, Woods Hole and the University of Massachusetts to show that climate-change intiatives to promite ethanol and other biofuels are actually worse for the environment than fossil fuels. Among the things they cause: deforestation in the tropics. The WSJ comments:

Yet special blame also belongs to the environmentalists, who are engaged in a grand bait-and-switch. They stir up a panic about global warming, and Washington responds to the political incentives. Then those policies don't work and the greens immediately begin pushing a new substitute, whose outcomes and costs are equally uncertain. But somehow, that never seems to discredit the entire enterprise and taxpayers keep footing the subsidy bill. Our guess is that these new revelations will also be ignored. They're too embarrassing.


The NY Sun reports that Barack Obama's senior foreign policy adviser is making a trip to Damascus. "Mr. Brzezinski's visit to Syria, a country President Bush has accused of arming terrorists and ordering political assassinations in Lebanon, is in many ways in keeping with a theme of the Obama campaign. The Illinois senator in August said during a Democratic debate that he would be willing to meet with foreign adversaries, earning a rebuke from Senator Clinton, a Democrat of New York, who said such an approach would be 'naïve.'"

According to the Huffington Post Syria's official Cham News agency said the senior Obama policy adviser's trip was an "important sign that the end of official dialogue between Washington and Damascus has not prevented dialogue with important American intellectuals and politicians." Brzezinski will arrive at a time when tensions are running high in Lebanon and in the immediate aftermath of the death of Imad Mughniyeh in an upscale Syrian suburb.


Human Rights Watch has appealed to Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of an illiterate woman named Fawza Falih for witchcraft, according to the BBC and "her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them". The woman affixed her fingerprint to her confession because she could not sign her name.

A sense of what is involved in "witchcraft" is conveyed by an incident which occured in late 2007. "Saudi Arabia’s religious police have arrested a domestic worker accused of having put a spell on her employer, the Al-Madina newspaper reported on Sunday. The arrest of the maid, whose nationality was not revealed, followed a complaint by the wife of the employer who she said had been 'bewitched by the maid'. The woman said she suspected her husband had been put under a spell because he fiercely defended the maid from criticism every time she neglected her work."


A bribery scandal involving Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has highlighted the role of the Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE). Critics allege the firm bribed persons close to the Macapagal-Arroyo to obtain the contract. According to Wikipedia, "ZTE operates in mainland China, Bangladesh, Hong Kong , the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Romania, Pakistan, Nepal, Iran, India, Libya, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, U.S., UK, Algeria, Tunisia, Russia, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka." One of the witnesses against Arroyo claims he was intimidated now gives press conferences from the sanctuary of a chapter house of a religious order. Critics have expressed reservations over Arroyo's decision to contract over the communications infrastructure of the Philippine government to a Chinese firm.





23 Comments:

Blogger Elijah said...

"Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski"...

“The most immediate task [for the U.S.] is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role.”
- Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, p.198

Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf

On February 23, the day after McCain called for "permanent bases" in Afghanistan, a senior political analyst and chief editor of the Kabul Journal, Mohammad Hassan Wulasmal, said, "The US wants to dominate Iran, Uzbekistan and China by using Afghanistan as a military base."

2/14/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Few of the Obamaniacs were alive during the Carter Administration.

The history of that era must be suppressed and those who lived through it must be silenced!

2/14/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

..."her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them".

In a related development, the government of Saudia Arabia pronounced similar penalties upon every Playboy Playmate who ever appeared in the magazine.

Talk about something worth fighting for!

2/14/2008 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Can the Obomination actually surrender before taking office?

i hope Brzezinski comes back with some half cooked intimation that Assad would deal with President Obama to achieve peace in the region. The lefties would swoon at the message but McCain would turn it into what it really was - an Obama boondogle to boost his (lack of) foreign policy experience.

2/14/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The fall of the Soviet Union provided a window in which Europe could act as if it didn't need America any more. But unfortunately, the predicted End of History never materialized and the emergence of resurgent threats will mean that Europe must either invest in its own security or rely once again on an alliance with the United States.

If history is any guide, Europe will do neither. European states will continue to let their militaries atrophy and they will continue to antagonize the United States to such an extent that keeping the present alliance will be nearly impossible.

Vladimir Putin understands that America's expense in defending Europe from Russia may eventually overshadow its benefits. We are at war. We are under attack. Yet, anti-Americanism is popular in Europe. At a time when we sorely need help, key allies are abandoning America. Mr. Putin is banking on that.

2/14/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

In early 1980's many liberals accussed George Bush Senior of cutting a deal with Iran to keep the hostages and help the Republicans win the White House.

It always a good idea to look for the Liberals to do what they accuse others of doing. Mr. Brzezinski was Mr. Carter's national security adviser. Is it OK to wonder what sort of deal he is cutting with the bad guys to get the Democrats back in?

2/14/2008 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Now THIS is disgusting...

Anybody else see this new ass-kissing Time magazine gives
Mughniyah?


"Hizballah Mourns Its Shadowy Hero"


The article never uses the T-word nor explicitly mentions our murdered marines in Beirut! The tone is almost fannish.

Utterly shameful.

2/14/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

"Saudi Arabia set to execute domestic servant whose nationality they will not reveal, after conviction of WITCHCRAFT"

And we let this government play with loaded guns and run around without an ankle bracelet?

Stupid Stupid Stupid

2/14/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thanks, newscaper, for the link. It is a very dis-heartening experience to read this in Time Magazine. I began to grasp the Leftward trend in Newsweek and Time when I was in High School--- not to claim any genius, mind you. Their sympathy and praise for celebrity terrorists and murderers was coming clear that far back, in the late 1960's.

So I really can't blame the current debased state of journalism on the success of the Watergate show trial, or the Movie celebrating the two journalists that bravely persisted in hounding a president out of office. Although you have to allow that a whole generation of students got their journalism degree with the clear understanding that the purpose of journalism is to obstruct, torment, sass, emasculate, and whenever possible, destroy any Republican president, by any lie, slander, misrepresentation, and unsupported allegation they can think up.

Hey! Who wouldn't want to be perceived as a fearless crusader like Dustin Hoffman or Robert Redford?

2/14/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Niall Ferguson makes the case that WWI would have been much shorter and much less bloody had Britain decided to not participate in any way. He further contends that WWII would never have happened at all and tosses in a few additional thought experiments about the Russian Revolution.

You cannot change history but what ifs can be instructive. A future what if is for the USA to remove all its forces and installations from Europe and let them face Putin alone. I don't believe for an instant that it's a possibility but if the newest version of the Red Army rolled West across Poland, I doubt very much there would be any public support in the USA to do anything about it other than make some noise.

DeGaulle's desire to cozy up to the Arabs looks less brilliant nowadays but it's also obvious that his European buddies did nothing to discourage it either. They made that bed and now they shall lay in it without American room service.

2/14/2008 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Hdgreene: Yeah, you got that right. Some time back here on the Belmont Club I listed the number of things that the Democrats accused Republicans of doing under Reagan when in fact they were doing them in the Clinton Admin.

And there is another organization that pulls that same trick, over and over again: the Communists. The list is very long. They accused NATO of getting ready to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968 as an excuse for doing it themselves. They had an aggressive antimissile program for years and then threw a fit when we started SDI; Gorbachev let it slip around 1990 that sure, they had their own program. They failed in their manned Moon program and then claimed they never had one. It’s a long list. Today, Putin is having a hissy fit over our own strategic defense efforts but you notice he has not offered to get rid of any of theirs – which they have had operational for decades.

The Democrats are still using the Soviet playbook.

2/14/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Some background on pre-SDI US ABM efforts I posted in a comment at Wired's article about the attempt to destroy the US recon sat upon reentry. Some idiot was whining about it violating the ABM Treaty...


As to the ABM Treaty, not only did we bow out, as the treaty itself allowed for, it was mostly aimed at land-based systems -- and it actually DID allow for a working ABM missile site or two *and* the all-important radar.

The Soviets had the nuclear tipped Galosh system they maintained for a long time around Moscow. They also went ahead built extra radars that violated the treaty in the 80s while Dems wailed about SDI research.

In the early the 70s US created the Safeguard ABM system consisting of the exoatmospheric Spartan missile and the short range endoatmospheric Strint (which could accelerate at *100* gees!). Both were tipped with small nukes as well, kinetic kill not being doable with early 70s technology.
The US system was built in ND protecting ICBM fields which, BTW was interpreted by the Sovs as lack of seriousness because we did not protect our capital like they did.

Literally the day after the built and tested system was declared fully operational, the Democrat dominated Congress shut it down -- even though it was specifically *allowed* by the treaty. Its termination was part of the same anti-Nixon backlash that made the Dems betray South Vietnam as a way of scoring points and "punishing" the Republicans.

2/14/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Crap, that's "Sprint", not Strint.

See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safeguard_Program

and

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/sprint.htm
Notice the way the Sprint's whole body has a hypersonic cone shape just like an ICBM's RV -- that puppy was fast.

2/14/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

The AP says Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to punish Israel, saying "'You have killed Hajj Imad outside the natural battlefield,' Nasrallah said in remarks directed at Israel. Hezbollah has long contended it only fights Israel within Lebanon and along their common border. 'You have crossed the borders,' Nasrallah said. 'With this murder, its timing, location and method — Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open.'". Now Hezbollah has laid down the marker: 'no more Mr. Nice Guy'.

What a load of horseradish! Hezbollah initiates terrorist attacks wherever it pleases and then gets its panties in a wad when their perennial victims decide to give them a dose of their own salts.

When is Nasrallah finally going to get his long-overdue .50 caliber third eye?

2/14/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger talnik said...

..."her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them".
Well, lookie there! They've progressed from the seventh century to the 17th!

2/14/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger DJB Rizalist said...

ZTE Corp. is one of China's four telecomm dragons. It appears they are all over the developing world cutting deals with corrupt local mafias posing as governments.

But the kingpins within ZTE are really crafty. They have not however been able to completely cover up their misdeeds. In Pakistan they apparently did something like this already with a large BOT deal in 2004.

Overpricing and kickback have become their global modus operandi.

ZTE will have $10 billion in sales this year. And their systems are running entire government networks in dozens of Third World countries.

2/14/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

So, is Putin going to target us when we use the Aegis Standard SM-3 to shoot down our failed radar satellite?

"Ahhh, the good old days, when Ronald Ray Gun's Star Wars was a fantasy," Pooty must be thinking.

Wretchard, please make the shootdown of the NROL-21 its own thread.

I hear on the radio that we're so worried about the hyrdrazine on board (would rocket fuel survive re-entry?) that we have to blow the bumbitg up!

Couldn't be that we want to counter the Chicomm ASAT demo, could it?

Let's see if we can finesse this one, pop it after re-entry, like Standard is designed to do to ICBM's.

And BIG WOW to Wikipedia - today's news is already in there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_missile

2/14/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Regarding the shootdown, it's actually an excellent showcase because there can't be any BS from the domestic whiners about a rigged test to make our adversaries skeptical.

Here's to hoping it works.

FWIW, now that the pieces of real world ABM technology are undeniably coming into place, I'm really dreading a Dem president & congress scuttling it as it becomes ever more relevant -- just like the same bastards scuttled the fully operational SafeGuard system in the mid-seventies.

I am not hearing ANY discussion of this vital issue WRT the elections, none at all.

Somebody in the media must hold Hillary & Obama's feet to the fire for an answer on this -- if they pander to the moonbats then McCain can rightfully shove it up their ***.

2/14/2008 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Alexis said:
"...Vladimir Putin understands that America's expense in defending Europe from Russia may eventually overshadow its benefits...."

I believe Putin believes that either Russia becomes great again or Russia dies.

What does Russia have to lose by behaving badly? Nothing.

What does Russia have to gain by joining the 'free world'? Nothing. They don't know how.

A Happening

Yesterday I watched an amazing fight.
Between a woman in love and a man who was not. Her hair agitated, and her mouth interrupted by white teeth.

She talked and and talked--he did not.

She talked furiously, striking expired time with words.

No sound of shields.
Time totally disarmed!

She had her arguments, he did not.

He was leaving.......

Cassian,
Life sentence, pg 57.

What animal instinct causes the animal to bite?

2/14/2008 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Actually, we can’t figure out what all the hoopla is about concerning the satellite. We did the analysis on a Shuttle breakup and the Columbia loss and that leads us to believe that nothing is going to make it to the ground intact – especially a tank of hydrazine. (Imagine describing a whole Space Shuttle in terms of pieces of a given material of a certain size and thickness. We did that. I am still amazed.)

But this may indeed be a way to say “See your hand and raise you” to the PRC on satellite intercepts. It will be far more difficult to destroy that satellite than the one the Chinese shredded.

They had a Sprint site at MDAC in Huntington Beach. Years after the program was over they decided to use it for a diesel fuel tank. Bad idea! Was not sealed against leakage and it made a real mess.

And Putin is no doubt giving cover to the Democrats who want to get rid of missile defenses because “they are weapons and weapons are evil.” We rejected the ABM treaty and built defenses and exactly squat happened. Now they can point to Putin being Putout and claim we have to do so. I.e, Reykjavik all over again, but without RR to tell them where to stuff it.

2/14/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger boinky said...

The concensus in the Philippines is that we have "EDSA FEVER" and figure that anyone replacing Gloria will be just as corrupt but might also be incompetent.

And besides, she only has two years to go...

The money of course is not linked to her, but her hubby, how convenient. But if they find that she is using the government police etc to cover up the scandal, she could still be in trouble. (a Presidential security guard was among those who kidnapped Losado from the airport...but since he was let go unharmed, she could claim it was to ensure his safety).

2/14/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger boinky said...

Sorry, I meant "EDSA FATIGUE" not EDSA fever...too many previous demonstrations went no where, so why try?

2/14/2008 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"important sign that the end of official dialogue between Washington and Damascus has not prevented dialogue with important American intellectuals and politicians"

Actually it's a sign that the end of official dialogue has not prevented dialogue with has-been antisemitic losers whoring themselves out for petrodollars.

2/14/2008 11:25:00 PM  

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