Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Muslims make up only about 12 percent of France’s population — but account for from 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prisons.
In Britain, Muslims reportedly make up 3 percent of the population, but 11 percent of prisoners.
In the Netherlands, 20 percent of adult prisoners and 26 percent of juvenile offenders are Muslims, while the nation on the whole is about 5.5 percent Muslim, according to research by the Open Society Institute, an advocacy organization.
In Belgium, Muslims from Turkey and Morocco account for at least 16 percent of inmates; they make up 2 percent of the general population.
... French prison officials blame that remarkable statistic on the poverty of people who have moved to France from North Africa and other Muslim nations in recent decades. (Jihad might have something to do with it!?! - Tiger)
French Muslim leaders further hold racism and discrimination as the root cause of unemployment and crime rates among the Muslim minority, according to the Islam Online Web site. (Ahhh! Fascism rears its head again! - Tiger)
“Sociologists and Muslim leaders say the French prison system reflects the deep social and ethnic divides roiling France and its European neighbors as immigrants and a new generation of their children alter the demographic and cultural landscape of the continent,” the Washington Post observed. (this last sentence is classic Psycho-Babble! From the Post, of course! - Tiger)
France has had difficulty reacting to the growing numbers of Muslims incarcerated in the country. The prison system has only 100 Muslim clerics for the nation’s 200 prisons, compared with about 480 Catholic, 250 Protestant and 50 Jewish chaplains, even though Muslim prisoners far outnumber prisoners of all other religions. (Oh yeah! That's it! Give 'em more Radical Clerics! - Tiger)
“It is true that we haven’t attained full equality among religions in prisons yet,” Jeanne Sautiere, director of integration and religious groups for the French prison system, told the Post.
“It is a matter of time.”
The Times of London recently included Paris’ rat-infested La Santé prison — which includes a number of Islamic militants among its large Muslim population — on its list of the “10 Most Notorious Jails in the World.”
... If you review this blog you'll find many articles describing rapid Radical Islamic Jihadist growth in American communities, its schools, its military, the Pentagon, and her prisons. Our leaders? They either don't care or don't have a clue. Or is it that they want the Fifth Column to succeed!?! - Tiger
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Many of you have written to me to ask why I recently taped an advertisement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for The Alliance for Climate Protection, a group founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
I completely understand why many of you would have questions about this, so I want to take this opportunity to explain my reasons. First of all, I want to be clear: I don't think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don't think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it.
But here's what we do know. There is an important debate going on right now over the right energy policy, the right environmental policy, and making sure we do the right things for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Conservatives are missing from this debate, and I think that's a mistake. When it comes to preserving our environment for future generations, we can't have a slogan of "Just yell no!"
I have a different view. I think it's important to be on the stage, to engage in the debate, and to communicate our position clearly. There is a big difference between left-wing environmentalism that wants higher taxes, bigger government., more bureaucracy, more regulation, more red tape, and more litigation and a Green Conservatism that wants to use science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurs, and prizes to find a way to creatively invent the kind of environmental future we all want to live in.
Unless we start making the case for the latter, we're going to get the former. That's why I took part in the ad.
Thank you for reading and visiting Newt.org
Visit ContractWithTheEarth.com for more on green conservatism
*UPDATE* We are compiling a list of your comments and Newt will be personally responding to them, stay tuned!
... sorry, Newt! I'm not buying it! The "Green" movement is a modern day FASCIST effort. Just read Jonah Goldberg's book. Why is it Republican Pols always partner with the enemy? - Tiger
Back out of this no win debate before you loose so much credibility you become impotent with regards to REAL issues...
WASHINGTON – Today is the last day for public comments on a proposed Federal Communications Commission rule change some say would threaten the licenses of Christian radio stations from coast to coast.
At issue is a proposal that would require every radio station to take programming advice from community advisory boards representative of the area's population.
Advocates of Christian programming say that would require Christian broadcasters to seek advice from non-Christians and even those opposed to the Christian message. Some radio stations fear organized groups of atheists, for instance, could demand representation on the new FCC-mandated advisory boards that would factor into licensing decisions.
"While the FCC is considering these rule changes, at the moment nothing is 'set in stone' as they await public comment," explains the Christian Air 1 Radio Network. "If any of these changes were adopted, there would be significant impact on our ability to minister to you and your community. These rules would not only affect our stations but also thousands of stations around the country."
In addition to the requirement for advisory boards, the new regulations would also mandate radio stations produce every three months reports on how much programming of various types has been broadcast, who produced it and how it reflects the interests of the community – including segments who do not approve of or share Christian values.
The National Association of Broadcasters, which opposes the rule change, offers an online form for making comments on the FCC rule change – but the deadline is today. All comments must be filed under the assigned docket number No. 04-233, meaning that number must be included in all communications about the proposed rule change to be considered by the FCC.
The NAB is advising its member stations to tell the FCC why the rule change is counter-productive – that it would pressure broadcasters to air programming that is not necessarily commercially viable. The group also suggests the FCC rule change would mandate programming quotas.
Broadcasters don't like another element of the rule change – one that would require stations to have at least one employee on duty during all hours of operation. Breakthroughs in automated programming have made that unnecessary in recent years, so the rule change would mean more expense for some smaller-market stations.
Last week, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell questioned the need to turn back the clock with such a rule change. In a speech before the Quello Communications Law and Policy Symposium, McDowell cited the proliferation of competing communications opportunities on the Internet, through cable television channels and other venues.
Given the media choices available, he questioned why "policymakers like us at the FCC" are dusting off decades-old regulations to impose on broadcasters.
"Why are we considering placing these proverbial albatrosses around the necks of traditional media precisely at this 'tipping point' in history when they can least afford a regulatory disadvantage vis-à-vis unregulated platforms like the Internet?" he asked.
The potential Orwellian implications of such policies are chilling, the commissioner argued.
... Meanwhile, the Administration also wants to create another level of bureaucracy - FOR NATION BUILDING!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida school board member is drawing fire from some parents for saying they should spend money on school clothes for their children instead of buying alcohol and cigarettes.
School board member Jay Wheeler's comments were made in an e-mail response to parents’ complaints that they cannot afford the new uniforms mandated by the Osceola County School District, according to MyFOXOrlando.com.
"Everyone can afford Wal-Mart and if they can’t, they need to think about turning off their cable TV or stop buying alcohol or cigarettes and spend their money on their children," he wrote.
Parent Maria Quintana says Wheeler’s e-mail is insulting. “I have a job and sometimes it's really hard. You have to struggle," Quintana told MyFOXOrlando.com. "And to have them say something like that is really degrading."
Wheeler stands by his comments, saying people should get serious about education and put their children first.
"I thought it might be a wake-up call and I think it's something people want to say but were afraid to,” he said.
... is it fascist for the government to tell your children to wear uniforms to school? Yes, it could be! But this LOCAL ruling has helped this District immensely. In my book, Jay Wheeler is a hero! - Tiger
1 - Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too. - continue the story
2 - Amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles, there exists another world, an underground world of illicit trade in-not drugs or sex-but bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Street vendors may sell you an illegal bacon dog, but hardly anyone will talk about it, for fear of being hassled, shut down or worse. Our camera caught it on tape. One minute bacon dogs are sold in plain view, the next minute cops have confiscated carts, and ordered the dogs dumped into the trash. - continue the story
3 - Fearing the radicalization of U.S. soldiers, the leader of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus has called for a government investigation of all Muslim chaplains serving in the U.S. military to determine whether they have ties to radical Islamic groups. - continue the story
After 9-11 one would think most Americans would want to WIN the G.W.O.T. The Afghanistan and Iraq efforts, noble as they are, have been mismanaged, and as one general recently admitted; "all we're really doing is mowing the grass" - "we mow it down, it regrows, and we mow again". By NOT referring to the enemy, using completely appropriate names and labels, we are PURPOSEFULLY LOSING the G.W.O.T. This lack of courage, this "sensitivity" to calling your enemy "names" has, at it's root, FASCISM. This "war" is becoming the tool of FASCISTS.
Meanwhile, in L.A. (Liberal Always), you may get arrested if you sell bacon with your hotdog! Street vendors are being harassed by police and many "dogs" are being thrown in the trash. The government telling you what to eat and how to eat is abject FASCISM. If you don't understand that, you have probably had a lobotomy.
And lastly, our military, you know the American military that punishes Chaplains for praying to Jesus, is being investigated by Congresswoman Sue Myrick, R-N.C., for failing to properly vet Muslim chaplains ministering to U.S forces since it first set up its Muslim chaplain corps 15 years ago. What a surprise! Many of the Muslim Chaplains apparently have ties to terrorist organizations! Inviting your enemy into your own army is prime FASCIST modus operandi.
For me, all this comes as no suprise, having observed government most of my adult life. The question is; when will the American people awaken? Again, when I see someone like Newt Gingrich leap onto the global warming bandwagon I know the Republican party is lost and a leading figure in conservative circles has simply become another FASCIST.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
OLDSMAR, Florida — A Florida woman found an 8-foot long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night, authorities said.
Sandra Frosti, 69, said the alligator must have pushed through the screen door on the back porch and then walked through an open sliding glass door at her home in Oldsmar, just north of Tampa.
The alligator apparently then strolled through the living room, down a hall and into the kitchen.
A trapper removed the alligator, which was cut by a plate that was knocked to the ground during the chaos.
But no one inside the house was injured.
Story By: MyTampaBay.Com and AP
Sunday, April 20, 2008
"Within military circles there are M4 defectors. U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., was one of the carbine's first customers. But the elite commando units using the M4 soured on it; the rifle had to be cleaned too often and couldn't hold up under the heavy use by Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs."
HARTFORD, Conn. — No weapon is more important to tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than the carbine rifle. And for well over a decade, the military has relied on one company, Colt Defense of Hartford, Conn., to make the M4s they trust with their lives. (My Gen called them CAR-15s - Tiger)
Now, as Congress considers spending millions more on the guns, this exclusive arrangement is being criticized as a bad deal for American forces as well as taxpayers, according to interviews and research conducted by The Associated Press.
"What we have is a fat contractor in Colt who's gotten very rich off our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
The M4, which can shoot hundreds of bullets a minute, is a shorter and lighter version of the company's M16 rifle first used 40 years ago during the Vietnam War. At about $1,500 apiece, the M4 is overpriced, according to Coburn. It jams too often in sandy environments like Iraq, he adds, and requires far more maintenance than more durable carbines. (It's way too expensive - should be around $500.00 - Tiger)
"And if you tend to have the problem at the wrong time, you're putting your life on the line," says Coburn, who began examining the M4's performance last year after receiving complaints from soldiers. "The fact is, the American GI today doesn't have the best weapon. And they ought to."
U.S. military officials don't agree. They call the M4 an excellent carbine. When the time comes to replace the M4, they want a combat rifle that is leaps and bounds beyond what's currently available. (It's here already! - Tiger)
"There's not a weapon out there that's significantly better than the M4," says Col. Robert Radcliffe, director of combat developments at the Army Infantry Center in Fort Benning, Ga. "To replace it with something that has essentially the same capabilities as we have today doesn't make good sense." (Not True! - Tiger)
Colt's exclusive production agreement ends in June 2009. At that point, the Army, in its role as the military's principal buyer of firearms, may have other gunmakers compete along with Colt for continued M4 production. Or, it might begin looking for a totally new weapon.
"We haven't made up our mind yet," Radcliffe says.
William Keys, Colt's chief executive officer, says the M4 gets impressive reviews from the battlefield. And he worries that bashing the carbine will undermine the confidence the troops have in it. (Jamming at the wrong time will "undermine confidence" also! - Tiger)
"The guy killing the enemy with this gun loves it," says Keys, a former Marine Corps general who was awarded the Navy Cross for battlefield valor in Vietnam. "I'm not going to stand here and disparage the senator, but I think he's wrong."
In 2006, a non-profit research group surveyed 2,600 soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and found 89 percent were satisfied with the M4. While Colt and the Army have trumpeted that finding, detractors say the survey also revealed that 19 percent of these soldiers had their weapon jam during a firefight.
And the relationship between the Army and Colt has been frosty at times. Concerned over the steadily rising cost of the M4, the Army forced Colt to lower its prices two years ago by threatening to buy rifles from another supplier.
Prior to the warning, Colt "had not demonstrated any incentive to consider a price reduction," then-Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, an Army acquisition official, wrote in a November 2006 report.
Coburn is the M4's harshest and most vocal critic. But his concern is shared by others, who point to the "SCAR," made by Belgian armorer FN Herstal, and the HK416, produced by Germany's Heckler & Koch, as possible contenders. Both weapons cost about the same as the M4, their manufacturers say.
The SCAR is being purchased by U.S. special operations forces, who have their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't.
"All I know is, we're not having the competition, and the technology that is out there is not in the hands of our troops," says Jack Keane, a former Army general who pushed unsuccessfully for an M4 replacement before retiring four years ago.
Development of the carbine was driven by a need for a weapon that could be used in tight spaces but still had plenty of punch. Colt's answer was the 7 1/2-pound M4.
In 1994, Colt was awarded a no-bid contract to make the weapons. Since then, it has sold more than 400,000 to the U.S. military.
Along the way, Colt's hold has been threatened but not broken.
In 1996, a Navy office improperly released Colt's M4 blueprints, giving nearly two dozen contractors a look at the carbine's inner workings. Colt was ready to sue the U.S. government for the breach. The company wanted between $50 million and $70 million in damages.
Cooler heads prevailed. The Defense Department didn't want to lose its only source for the M4, and Colt didn't want to stop selling to its best customer.
The result was an agreement that made Colt the sole player in the U.S. military carbine market. FNMI, an FN Herstal subsidiary in South Carolina, challenged the deal in federal court but lost.
And since the Sept. 11 attacks, sales have skyrocketed.
The Army, the carbine's heaviest user, is outfitting all its front-line combat units with M4s. The Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and special operations forces also carry M4s. So do U.S. law enforcement agencies and militaries in many NATO countries.
More than $300 million has been spent on 221,000 of the carbines over the past two years alone. And the Defense Department is asking Congress to provide another $230 million for 136,000 more.
A few years ago, the Army considered buying a brand-new carbine called the XM8. Designed by Heckler & Koch, the XM8 was touted as less expensive and more reliable than the M4. The project became bogged down by bureaucracy, however, and was canceled in 2005.
Keane, the retired Army general, blames a bloated and risk-averse bureaucracy for the XM8's demise.
"This is all about people not wanting to move out and do something different," Keane says. "Why are they afraid of the competition?"
Within military circles there are M4 defectors. U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., was one of the carbine's first customers. But the elite commando units using the M4 soured on it; the rifle had to be cleaned too often and couldn't hold up under the heavy use by Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs.
"Jamming can and will occur for a variety of reasons," concluded an internal report written seven years ago by special operations officials but never published. "Several types of jams, however, are 'catastrophic' jams; because one of our operators could die in a firefight while trying to clear them."
Pointing to the report's unpublished status, Colt has disputed its findings. The M4 has been continually improved over the years, says Keys, the company's chief executive.
Special Operations Command is replacing the M4s and several other rifles in its arsenal with FN Herstal's SCAR, which comes in two models: one shoots the same 5.56 mm round as the M4; the other a larger 7.62 mm bullet and costs several hundred dollars more. Both SCARs can accommodate different-size barrels allowing the weapons to be fired at multiple ranges.
The SCARs are more accurate, more reliable and expected to last far longer than their predecessors, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marc Boyd, a command spokesman.
"SOCOM likes to be different," says Keys of Colt, using the acronym for the command. "They wanted something unique."
With the SCAR not yet in full-scale production, Heckler & Koch's HK416 is being used by elite units like Delta Force, the secretive anti-terrorism unit. The command would not comment on the HK416 other than to say there are "a small number" of the carbines in its inventory.
A key difference between the Colt carbine and the competitors is the way the rounds are fed through the rifle at lightning speed.
The SCAR and HK416 use a gas piston system to cycle the bullets automatically. The M4 uses "gas impingement," a method that pushes hot carbon-fouled gas through critical parts of the gun, according to detractors. Without frequent and careful maintenance, they say, the M4 is prone to jamming and will wear out more quickly than its gas-piston competitors.
"A gas piston system runs a little bit smoother and a lot cleaner," says Dale Bohner, a retired Air Force commando who now works for Heckler & Koch. "If the U.S. military opened up a competition for all manufacturers, I see the 416 being a major player in that."
Outside of Special Operations Command, there seems to be no rush to replace the M4.
Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, head of the Army office that buys M4s and other combat gear, traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan last summer to get feedback from soldiers on Colt's carbine.
"I didn't hear one single negative comment," Brown says. "Now, I know I'm a general, and when I go up and talk to a private, they're going to say everything's OK, everything's fine. I said, 'No, no, son. I flew 14,000 miles out here to see you on the border of Afghanistan. The reason I did that was to find out what's happening."'
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., says the troops may not be aware of the alternatives. He wants the Pentagon to study the options and make a decision before Congress does.
"Sen. Coburn has raised a good question: 'Do we have the best personal weapon?' And I don't know that we do," Sessions said. "We're not comfortable now. Let's give this a rigorous examination."
Friday, April 18, 2008
UNITED NATIONS -- Countries that act unilaterally on the world stage undermine the authority of the United Nations and weaken the broad consensus needed to confront global problems, Pope Benedict said on Friday.
In a major speech to the U.N. General Assembly, the pope also said that the international community sometimes had to intervene when a country could not protect its own people from "grave and sustained violations of human rights."
The pope, who arrived from Washington on the second leg of a U.S. trip, became only the third pontiff in history to address the General Assembly.
Speaking in French and English from the Assembly's green marble podium, he gave a wide-ranging address on issues such as globalization, human rights and the environment.
The international community must be "capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules," said the 81-year-old pope, who spoke after meeting privately with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
He said the notion of multilateral consensus was "in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world's problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community." While Benedict did not mention any specific country, this appeared to be a reference to the United States, which led the 2003 invasion of Iraq even though the Security Council refused to approve it.
The Vatican strongly opposed the recourse to war.
Benedict called for "a deeper search for ways of pre-empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation." (in other words; Capitulation - Tiger)
In an apparent reference to the conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur, the pope said that every state had the "primary duty" to protect its citizens from human rights violations and humanitarian crises but outside intervention was sometimes justified.
"If states are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments," he said.
The pope called human rights, particularly religious freedom, "the common language and ethical substratum of international relations," and added that promoting human rights was the best strategy to eliminate inequalities.
"Indeed, the victims of hardship and despair, whose human dignity is violated with impunity, become easy prey to the call to violence, and they can then become violators of peace," he said in an apparent reference to social causes of terrorism.
Benedict called for religious freedom to be protected against secularist views and against majority religions that sideline other faiths -- an apparent reference to Muslim states where some Christian minorities report discrimination.
"It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one's rights," Benedict said.
Later on Friday, the German-born pope was due to visit a New York synagogue just before the start of the Jewish Passover holiday.
He will also visit a Manhattan parish founded by German immigrants in 1873.
The pope arrived in Washington on Tuesday on his first visit to the United States as pontiff.
On Thursday, he held a surprise meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests in an effort to heal scars from a scandal that deeply tarnished the Catholic Church in the United States.
Question: Why Shouldn't we undermine the very Organization that promotes Genocide, Rape, and Murder - namely, the United Nations? - Tiger
An important historic sidebar.
By David Klinghoffer
Get ready for the great Darwin-Hitler debate. There’s already been a volley of advance attacks on a new film’s suggestion of a link between Darwinism and Nazi ideology. The movie is Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opening this weekend, a cheeky documentary that is not primarily about evolutionism in prewar Germany. Reviewers in Time, Scientific American, Variety, Fox News, and elsewhere have denounced the filmmakers for suggesting that Hitlerism without the contribution of Darwinism would be hard to imagine.
This movie is, in fact, about the professional ostracism visited today on American scientists who doubt that undirected natural selection can fully explain life’s development. They are academics at places like the Smithsonian Institution, Iowa State University, and Baylor University. Droll comic-actor Ben Stein stars, interviewing the researchers.
But for about ten minutes, Expelled touches on Darwinism’s historical social costs, notably the unintended contribution to Nazi racial theories. That part packs an emotional wallop. It also happens to be based on impeccable scholarship.
The Darwin-Hitler connection is no recent discovery. In her classic 1951 work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote: “Underlying the Nazis’ belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwin’s idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human being.”
The standard biographies of Hitler almost all point to the influence of Darwinism on their subject. In Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, Alan Bullock writes: “The basis of Hitler’s political beliefs was a crude Darwinism.” What Hitler found objectionable about Christianity was its rejection of Darwin’s theory: “Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest.”
John Toland’s Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography says this of Hitler’s Second Book published in 1928: “An essential of Hitler’s conclusions in this book was the conviction drawn from Darwin that might makes right.”
In his biography, Hitler: 1889-1936: Hubris, Ian Kershaw explains that “crude social-Darwinism” gave Hitler “his entire political ‘world-view.’ ” Hitler, like lots of other Europeans and Americans of his day, saw Darwinism as offering a total picture of social reality. This view called “social Darwinism” is a logical extension of Darwinian evolutionary theory and was articulated by Darwin himself.
The key elements in the ideology that produced Auschwitz are moral relativism aligned with a rejection of the sacredness of human life, a belief that violent competition in nature creates greater and lesser races, that the greater will inevitably exterminate the lesser, and finally that the lesser race most in need of extermination is the Jews. All but the last of these ideas may be found in Darwin’s writing.
Like Hitler, Charles Darwin saw natural processes as setting moral standards. It’s all in The Descent of Man, where he explains that, had we evolved differently, we would have different moral ideas. On a particularly delicate moral topic, for example, he wrote: “We may, therefore, reject the belief, lately insisted on by some writers, that the abhorrence of incest is due to our possessing a special God-implanted conscience.”
In the same book, he compared the evolution of people to the breeding of animals and drew a chilling conclusion regarding what he saw as the undesirable consequences of allowing the unfit to breed:“
Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” In this desacralized picture of existence, to speak of life as possessing any kind of holiness is to introduce an alien note.
Most disturbing of all, in The Descent of Man, Darwin prophesied: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.”
While it must be very clearly emphasized that the gentle-souled Darwin himself never supported ill treatment of any race or group, his words inspired a movement to “scientific” racism.“
Eugenics,” breeding humans for excellence, is a word coined by Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton in 1865, six years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species. In America itself, between 1907 and 1958, in states including Indiana, California, and Washington, some 60,000 genetically “unfit” persons were legally sterilized against their will. Germany took eugenics to the point of murder, euthanizing 70,000 of the unfit.
You only have to read Mein Kampf to see the indebtedness. A shrewd manipulator of his fellow Germans’ sympathy for scientifically flavored racial theorizing, Hitler gives a Darwinian-style analysis of how the struggle for existence mandates a defense of the Aryan race.He invokes the “principles of Nature’s rule,” “her whole work of higher breeding,” in which “struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development.”
He warns against racial decline from the mixing of blood — his own spin on Darwinism — arguing that the preservation of a “creative race” is “bound up with the rigid law of necessity and the right of victory of the best and stronger in this world.” He calls for “a more noble evolution.”
Other Nazi propaganda followed his lead. In a 1937 German propaganda film, Victims of the Past, the audience is shown a retarded person as the narrator intones, “In the last few decades, mankind has sinned terribly against the law of natural selection. We haven’t just maintained life unworthy of life, we have even allowed it to multiply.”
None of which, of course, is an argument against Darwin’s theory, narrowly defined, which could still be true as most but not all biologists believe, despite having deadly implications.
Yet it is surely of interest that, at the very heart of his message, Hitler appealed to Germans primarily as devotees of modern biological science. He could have framed his pitch in any terms he liked. He chose evolutionary terms. No one knows what he believed in his heart, if he had one. But we know what he judged would stir up fellow Nazis and ordinary citizens to commit themselves to his movement. In that, he judged correctly.
— David Klinghoffer is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author of Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Alan Keyes Is Leaving The Republican Party, As All Good Conservatives Should - To Run For President?
Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has chosen April 15 (two days ago) to make a major announcement of his intentions, following indications he has broken with the GOP.
A life-long Republican who has increasingly cited the party's failure to match conservative rhetoric with actual performance in the political arena, Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP at a press conference scheduled for 8:30 pm ET, at the Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA.
The event will be video-streamed live at Keyes' website, http://www.alankeyes.com/.
Keyes added that he is looking to the Constitution Party as a possible home for his future efforts in politics, including a potential run for president in the 2008 general election.
"No other 'third party' is as well-established as the Constitution Party," said Keyes. "They've been around since 1992, and have built a significant grassroots presence among patriotic, Constitution-minded citizens — with a registered membership of over 350,000. Conservatives have a home in the CP that they can find nowhere else, given the decline in the Republican Party's credibility as a voice and vehicle for conservatism."
Regarding his potential third-party candidacy for president in the fall, Keyes said, "I believe people deserve a choice. They certainly deserve a conservative choice — something neither John McCain, Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama can offer voters. All they can offer is empty promises based on liberal track records."
Symbolic of Keyes' break with the Republican Party is a caricature of the GOP logo — upside down — on the front page of his website.
The Constitution Party will hold its nominating convention April 23-26 in Kansas City.
According to Dan Smeriglio, a Keyes supporter who is helping to arrange the event, the former Reagan administration diplomat chose to make his announcement in Hazleton because of the town's strong stance on illegal immigration.
"I understand a good portion of his speech next week will center on illegal immigration," Smeriglio said. Smeriglio and a group he represents, Voice of the People USA, have been vocal in opposing illegal immigration since Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta introduced the Illegal Immigration Relief Act in 2006 — thrusting Hazleton into national prominence in the movement to stem illegal immigration.
Keyes — who has a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and wrote his dissertation on constitutional theory — served as Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, as well as Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he represented U.S. interests in the UN General Assembly.
... Alan Keyes has been called by some, a black Newt Gingrich. He's much more than that; he's smarter and more Conservative than Newt Gingrich. Unfortunately, Alan would never garner enough votes for the Presidency. - Tiger
Andrew C. McCarthy, a National Review Online contributing editor and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is author of the new book, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, released this week by Encounter Books. He talks about the book and the war we’re in with NRO editor Kathryn Lopez.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Do I have the sides right? They say “Allahu Akbar!” we say “Imagine the liability!”
Andrew C. McCarthy: Unfortunately, that’s exactly right, and you’ve hit on the key difference. They are a religious ideology reveling in a mission for which, far from making any apologies for their brutality, they exude a zeal found only in people convinced they are both right and justified. You won’t ever hear from them the slightest misgiving — no careful references to Infidelo-fascists so as not to offend all the wonderful moderate infidels out there.
We, on the contrary, are an odd combination of diffidence, self-loathing, and arrogance: doubtful we are worth the trouble to defend; apt to figure that if people hate us, we must deserve it; and sure that it is within our power to satisfy their grievances — even though we didn’t cause them — by dialogue, political processes, sensitivity-training, and, of course, buying them off — which simply confirms them in their suspicion that we don’t have the stomach for the fight.
Remember when the Israelis built their security fence and reduced Palestinian suicide bombings by about 95 percent? Prompted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the U.N.’s Court of International Justice promptly pronounced the fence — a passive, life-saving defense measure — to be a shameful violation of international law. In a nutshell, that’s where we’re headed: Ruled by a delusion that, in a world full of lawless savages abetted by rogue regimes, legal processes will save rather than enervate us.
Lopez: Who most damningly has been Willfully Blind?
McCarthy: Well, it’d be easy to say, “Why, the government, of course.” But government is heavily influenced by the media and the commentariat, and those elites will not abide the notion that there just might be a connection between Islam and Islamic terrorism. I think most people are more sensible than that. The more extensive government gets, though, and the more dependent on it we all become, the less will the public has to demand a governmental course correction. Absent some hair-raising event like 9/11, we go along.
Lopez: American investigators have been penalized for foiling plots?
McCarthy: In a perverse way, you’re penalized by your own success, yes. After 9/11, law enforcement was appropriately pushed to become more pro-active, to interrupt plots at a very early point (or even prevent the plots from forming at all, through devices like the laws barring material support to terrorist organizations). Human nature is Pollyannish. When you’re worried about a threat, and you take protective measures that cause you some inconvenience, and then the threat doesn’t further materialize, you are more likely to conclude that the threat wasn’t so serious after all rather than that the protective measures are your salvation. You start questioning, “Do we really need all this surveillance? How can we detain people without a trial? How do we really know those people were supporting al-Qaeda or Hezbollah rather giving to Islamic charities?” So sure, the more we succeed in preventing attacks, the more likely it is we will lose the tools required to prevent attacks.
Lopez: What’s the most devastating lesson from 15 years ago we still haven’t learned?
McCarthy: That the primary cause of Islamic terrorism is Muslim doctrine, and that we are not fighting a tiny, rag-tag collection of fringe lunatics who have somehow “hijacked” the “true Islam.” Mark Steyn reminds us of Toynbee’s observation that civilizations die from suicide rather than murder, and our mulish refusal to look at what we’re up against is case in point. It’s really a frightful commentary on the low regard we have for ourselves: that we don’t think we are capable of soberly assessing the Islamic challenge without smearing all Muslims as terrorists — as if, in the scheme of things, it’s more important to shield the tender sensibilities of Muslims than fulfill our duty to protect American lives. The stubborn fact is: Islamic doctrine is supremacist, chauvinist, and rife with calls to violence against non-Muslims. That doesn’t mean that these are the only elements of Islam. Nor does it mean that all Muslims, or even most, have any interest in acting on those elements. But moderate Muslims, no matter how great a majority of the faithful they may be, do not make Islam moderate. Islam is the font from which springs what we call fundamentalist Islam, radical Islam, militant Islam, political Islam, Islamo-fascism, or whatever we are calling it this week to avoid any hint that Islam has anything to do with the problem. There are many different interpretations of Islam, of course. The one that truly threatens us — let’s call it fundamentalist Islam, since I think that’s closest to accurate — is not a fringe ideology. It is a comprehensive social system, with political, legal, and theological prescriptions. It is 14 centuries old; has in its history won the fealty of rich and poor, educated and illiterate, etc.; cuts across divides like Sunni-versus-Shiite; and today boasts hundreds of millions of adherents — not a majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims, but an influential, dynamic minority. Only a small percentage of fundamentalists cross the line into actual terrorist activity, but even a small percentage of hundreds of millions of people means an awful lot of terrorists, and the equally significant point is that the others — to a greater or lesser extent — share the goals if not the methodology. Moreover, the leading fundamentalist figures, people like Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, exert a powerful influence over even moderates. Their erudition and conviction, their seeming authenticity and command of the scriptures, are very intimidating for the average Muslim who just wants to go about his life.In any event, the forcible tendencies of fundamentalist Islam may be exacerbated or rationalized by poverty, resentment, lack of democracy, etc. But they are not caused by such pretexts. The violence is commanded by scripture.
Lopez: Why did Omar Abdel Rahman want to kill Mubarak?
McCarthy: Because he was breathing. (I was going to clarify the ambiguity, but the “he” works whether you think the antecedent is Abdel Rahman or Mubarak.) The Blind Sheikh regards Mubarak as the “third traitor, backstabber” — that is, following Nasser and Sadat as modern presidents of Abdel Rahman’s native Egypt — who is in cahoots with the United States to destroy Islam.
Note here that when Islamic terrorists and their apologists talk about Islam being under siege, this has to be understood in the context of their hegemonic goals. Any regime that is not governing in accordance with sharia, or Islamic law, is implicitly attacking Islam since Allah commands that all the world be called to Islam and the establishment of sharia is deemed a necessary precondition to that divine injunction.
Lopez: You sent Rahman and Sayyid Nosair away for life. What was the most important lesson from that trial and investigation?
McCarthy: That there are severe limitations to how effective the criminal justice system can be in combating international terrorism, and severe downsides to using it. Under our due-process rules, trials necessarily create and convey to our enemies a lot of intelligence that is very useful to them. If the justice system is the principal counterterrorism response, it betrays a lack of seriousness about our security that our enemies notice and are fortified by. As a practical matter — Abdel Rahman being one of a handful of exceptions — most important jihadists are beyond our justice system’s reach. As I often note, bin Laden’s been under U.S. indictment for a decade — i.e., since before the embassy bombings, the Millennium plot, the Cole bombing, and 9/11. The indictment doesn’t seem to have deterred him much.
Lopez: Why do you love the FBI?
McCarthy: It is filled with good, decent, patriotic folk — the kind of people you’d like to have living next door. I have never loved the Bureau as an institution. As with any big institution of that kind, there are things to admire and things to revile. But I love the agents. I virtually grew up around them, and I’ve found them to be very honorable even in our disagreements, which have been many.
Lopez: You write, “If American lives are to hinge on the prosecution of terrorists vested with the full protections of the criminal justice system, it is alarming to consider the dross that can be the difference between success and failure.” Explain.
McCarthy: When someone is brought into our criminal justice system, no matter how serious the crime and how strong the evidence appears to be, our underlying presumption is that he is innocent, that courts and lawyers should zealously protect his liberty and privacy, and that he should get every bounce of the ball. In sum, our system proudly boasts that we’d prefer to see the government lose — i.e., we’d prefer to see guilty people go free than see a single innocent wrongly convicted. A murderer will be acquitted in the federal system if the murder is not proved to have affected interstate commerce. A would-be terrorist will be acquitted of attempted bombing if the jury finds his exertions amounted only to “mere preparation” rather than the legally required “substantial step.” Bill Ayers, one of the terrorists who enjoys a friendly relationship with Barack Obama, is a free man today — despite his own admission of having participated in several bombings — because government surveillance violations caused evidence of his guilt to be suppressed. The defendants in my case tried to get the charges dismissed on the ground that the main informant made unauthorized recordings that the FBI — which didn’t know about them — failed to preserve.
These are the sorts of things that happen in legal cases. But a national security threat is not, essentially, a legal case. When the protection or even the preservation of the country is at stake, our position has to be that government must prevail — not that we’d prefer to see government lose. Government does not create our rights and our freedom, but it is necessary to their protection. If the system is not preserved, we are no longer free and our rights are worthless.
Lopez: Why are terrorism trials “intense, rewarding, and preposterous”?
McCarthy: They are intense because the stakes could not be higher. Acquitted terrorists will eventually be freed to return to the jihad, to kill again, so there is more than the usual imperative for prosecutors to see that justice is done in a case where the law has been violated. They are rewarding, especially if you win, because by nullifying terrorists for long stretches, you know you have done more than the usual amount of good. Moreover, every interesting legal issue under the sun tends to come up, so they are a tremendous professional experience if you are striving to be a better lawyer. They are preposterous because, from up close, you can see day-to-day, in a way that’s hard to quantify but patent, how crazy it is to think we could protect the country by relying on terrorism trials — which are prohibitively expensive, take years to complete (especially when appeals are factored in), can reach only a small fraction of the terrorist threat, are a telling indicator to our enemies that we shun fighting them in more decisive ways, and generate scads of information that is sure to help the people trying to kill us do so more efficiently.
Lopez: You argue that “international terrorism is not the type of national challenge the criminal justice system is designed to address.” You say that “trials in the criminal justice system don’t work for terrorism. They work for terrorists.” So how do we deal with terrorism and terrorists, realistically, ASAP?
McCarthy: Well, I am not against using the criminal justice system as a component in a comprehensive government response to the jihadist threat. I object to its being the centerpiece of a national counterterrorism strategy, as it was until 9/11, because as a national security matter, that’s counterproductive — it endangers us more than it helps. But when people are arrested in the United States plotting terrorism, and we can prosecute them without having to provide mounds of discovery and testimony describing our intelligence about, say, al-Qaeda or Iran's Republican Guards Corps, then those are cases we should do. And since the best analyses indicate the jihadist threat is more atomized now — i.e., that the ideology is so widely available by the Internet and other means that cells are often forming without the mediating influence of an established terrorist organization — that means we should be able to do criminal cases against such cells without having to compromise our intelligence and our methods and sources for obtaining it.
A national-security strategy to combat Islamic militancy, however, has to have a strong military component. There is simply no substitute for killing and capturing jihadists. We haven’t been hit again since 9/11 because we have often killed and captured more terrorists in a day in Afghanistan or Iraq than we did in the eight years between the time the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 and its destruction in 2001.
We also have to be realistic about the ideology at the root of this challenge. When we are not chanting the “religion of peace” mantra, we are encouraging Islamic reformers. Of course, nothing needs reform unless it is problematic in the first place. Islam is, to put it mildly, problematic. We don’t need to insult Muslims gratuitously, and we shouldn’t. Neither, however, do we need to pretend we think Islam is a net-positive. Behind the operatives doing the killing are legions of sympathizers pushing soft jihad — pushing for Islamicization of our culture, court recognition of Islamic legal principles, sharia-compliant financial arrangements, sensitivity-training for our law enforcement and intelligence officers (who are now taught that jihad is the inner struggle to become a better person despite its undeniable history as a military struggle), special access to government agencies for dubious Islamic interest groups, extraordinary limits on free speech in order to suppress information about connections between Muslims and savagery, etc. In their own way, these creeping developments are more insidious for our way of life — with its separation of the religious and political realms — than the bombings, suicide hijackings, riots-on-demand and other less subtle forms of intimidation.This all needs to be discouraged, and that can’t be done by only applying law enforcement or the military. You have to apply pressure diplomatically, by immigration restrictions, by an aggressive Treasury that tracks and seizes funds. It has to be comprehensive, and it has to start from the premise that, while we hope Islam reforms itself (something we can’t do for Islam), we make no apologies for the fact that we are not an Islamic society and have no intention of becoming one.
Lopez: I know you don’t like to talk about it but there are prosecutors and investigators who are putting their own lives and those of their families in danger, aren’t there?
McCarthy: Of course, but what we are asked to do, even at its most demanding, is a pittance compared to the selfless sacrifices the men and women in our military make every day. Those remarkable people stare death down, day in and day out, no complaint, so I think it would be a bit much for a prosecutor to whine about how hard he has it. Plus, the point of terrorism is to terrorize — if you let them think they are getting to you, they win.
Lopez: Is anyone running for president NOT willfully blind?
McCarthy: Sen. McCain is head and shoulders better than the two Democrats — I don’t think you’ll ever see a President McCain consulting with or pardoning Weather Underground and FALN terrorists. But McCain follows the party line in most respects, is enthusiastic for democracy-promotion even as it legitimizes Islamic fundamentalists, thinks we need to bolster Abbas despite Fatah’s legacy of terror, etc. I don’t see anything on the horizon that would suggest a change in our current mindset.
Lopez: How is Islam like fire?
McCarthy: Fire is a useful but very dangerous thing. For those who are careful with it and rigorously harness its explosive potential, it can be very beneficial. That’s why most Muslims lead productive, dignified, honorable lives. But Islam always has that explosive potential, many of its most influential figures, like Sheikh Abdel Rahman, believe that potential is meant to be unleashed to vanquish non-Muslims. There are far too many Muslims who internalize that message.
Lopez: “Militant Islam may actually pose an existential threat to the United States…” you write. What must be done?
McCarthy: The first step is to recognize the threat and its source. If, as I contend, the doctrine is the source, then security policy has to direct itself to the doctrine. We can’t change the doctrine ourselves. But we can protect ourselves, and increase the pressure for reform, by refusing to tolerate terrorist safe-havens; punishing regimes that facilitate jihadist organizations, particularly by giving them safe-haven; imposing restrictions on business with and immigration from Islamic countries unless they reform; punishing regimes that promote the exportation of Wahhabist and Salafist interpretations of Islam; dealing only with authentic Muslim reformers while shunning groups like CAIR; and making clear that, until Islam actually reforms — until Muslims and Islamic regimes systematically reject and crack down on jihadism in a convincing way — we are not going to pretend that a person’s adherence to Islam is irrelevant to whether we should regard him with suspicion. That doesn’t mean we investigate people solely because of their religion. Yet, as long as we are under siege from Islamic terror groups, we can’t take the position that it is irrelevant whether a person who is here, or wants to come here, is an Islamic fundamentalist who believes sharia should be installed and jihad is the legitimate means toward that end.
Lopez: Don’t be shy: Why is Willful Blindness a “must read”?
McCarthy: That’s so nice of you to suggest, Kathryn. The book is not something I ever thought I’d write. Some of it is personal and a lot of it deals with things we — very much including I — did wrong. But it’s been 15 years and we’re still doing the same things wrong. Because I had the privilege of being inside the official response when the war really started, and dealing face-to-face with the enemy, I have a vantage point that separates my take from the mountains of commentary counterterrorism has generated in the last several years. So for me, that finally made it a “must write.” Whether it’s a “must read” will be for others to decide.
Monday, April 14, 2008
"Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion," al-Astal preached, "so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security and consolidation of power, and even to conquests through da'wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world.
"Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad," he added.
Al-Astal last June preached how it was the duty of Palestinian women to martyr themselves by becoming homicide bombers.
"The most exalted form of jihad is fighting for the sake of Allah, which means sacrificing one's soul by fighting the enemies head-on, even if it leads to martyrdom," he said in a June 23, 2007 interview.
"When jihad becomes an individual duty, it applies to women too, because women do not differ from men when it comes to individual duties," he said, calling Jews "the brothers of apes and pigs" who should "taste the bitterness of death."
Friday's rant repeated that theme: "Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam. "
"I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them.
"Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls – and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets, his companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire at whose brink they stand."
Click here to view al-Astal's sermon on MimriTV.org
Sunday, April 13, 2008
It's when you take all the human waste out back, place it in a steel drum, add gasoline (or kerosene) and burn it!
The Chinese have been using human waste for many, many years as fertilizer (a BAD idea). Now we're doing it - to poor neighborhoods in America. Can the Bush admin do anything RIGHT!?!
BALTIMORE — Scientists using federal grants spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil. Families were assured the sludge was safe and were never told about any harmful ingredients.
Nine low-income families in Baltimore row houses agreed to let researchers till the sewage sludge into their yards and plant new grass. In exchange, they were given food coupons as well as the free lawns as part of a study published in 2005 and funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.
The Associated Press reviewed grant documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviewed researchers. No one involved with the $446,231 grant for the two-year study would identify the participants, citing privacy concerns. There is no evidence there was ever any medical follow-up.
Comparable research was conducted by the Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency in a similarly poor, black neighborhood in East St. Louis, Ill.
The sludge, researchers said, put the children at less risk of brain or nerve damage from lead, a highly toxic element once widely used in gasoline and paint. Other studies have shown brain damage among children, often in poor neighborhoods, who ate paint lead-based based that had flaked off their homes.
The idea that sludge — the leftover semisolid wastes filtered from water pollution at 16,500 treatment plants — can be turned into something harmless, even if swallowed, has been a tenet of federal policy for three decades.
In a 1978 memo, the EPA said sludge "contains nutrients and organic matter which have considerable benefit for land and crops" despite the presence of "low levels of toxic substances."
But in the late 1990s the government began underwriting studies such as those in Baltimore and East St. Louis using poor neighborhoods as laboratories to make a case that sludge may also directly benefit human health.
Meanwhile, there has been a paucity of research into the possible harmful effects of heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, other chemicals and disease-causing microorganisms often found in sludge.
A series of reports by the EPA's inspector general and the National Academy of Sciences between 1996 and 2002 faulted the adequacy of the science behind the EPA's 1993 regulations on sludge.
The chairman of the 2002 academy panel, Thomas Burke, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says epidemiological studies have never been done to show whether spreading sludge on land is safe.
"There are potential pathogens and chemicals that are not in the realm of safe," Burke told the AP. "What's needed are more studies on what's going on with the pathogens in sludge — are we actually removing them? The commitment to connecting the dots hasn't been there."
That's not what the subjects of the Baltimore and East St. Louis research were told.
Rufus Chaney, an Agriculture Department research agronomist who co-wrote the Baltimore study, said the researchers provided the families with brochures about lead hazards, tested the soil in their yards and gave assurances that the Orgro fertilizer was store-bought and perfectly safe.
"They were told that their lawn, as it stood, before it was treated, was a lead danger to their children," said Chaney. "So that even if they ate some of the soil, there would not be as much of a risk as there was before. And that's what the science shows."
Chaney said the Baltimore neighborhoods were chosen because they were within an economically depressed area qualifying for tax incentives. He acknowledged the families were not told there have been some safety disputes and health complaints over sludge.
"They were told that it was composted biosolids that are available for sale commercially in the state of Maryland. I don't think there's any other further disclosure required," Chaney said. "There was danger before. There wasn't danger because of the biosolids compost. Composting, of course, kills pathogens."
The Baltimore study concluded that phosphate and iron in sludge can increase the ability of soil to trap more harmful metals including lead, cadmium and zinc, causing the combination to pass safely through a child's body if eaten.
It called the fertilizer "a simple low-cost" technology for parents and communities "to reduce risk to their children" who are in danger of lead contamination. The results were published in Science of the Total Environment, an international research journal, in 2005.
Another study investigating whether sludge might inhibit the "bioavailability" of lead — the rate it enters the bloodstream and circulates to organs and tissues — was conducted on a vacant lot in East St. Louis next to an elementary school, all of whose 300 students were black and almost entirely from low-income families.
In a newsletter, the EPA-funded Community Environmental Resource Program assured local residents it was all safe.
"Though the lot will be closed off to the public, if people — particularly children — get some of the lead contaminated dirt in their mouths, the lead will just pass through their bodies and not be absorbed," the newsletter said. "Without this iron-phosphorus mix, lead poisoning would occur."
Soil chemist Murray McBride, director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute, said he doesn't doubt that sludge can bind lead in soil.
But when eaten, "it's not at all clear that the sludge binding the lead will be preserved in the acidity of the stomach," he said. "Actually thinking about a child ingesting this, there's a very good chance that it's not safe."
McBride and others also questioned the choice of neighborhoods for the studies and why residents were not told about other, possibly harmful ingredients in sludge.
"If you're not telling them what kinds of chemicals could be in there, how could they even make an informed decision. If you're telling them it's absolutely safe, then it's not ethical," McBride said. "In many relatively wealthy people's neighborhoods, I would think that people would research this a little and see a problem and raise a red flag."
The Baltimore study used a compost of sludge mixed with sawdust and wood chips packaged as "biosolids," the term for sludge preferred by government and the waste industry.
"What we did was make the yards greener," said Pat Tracey, a Johns Hopkins University community relations coordinator who recalled helping with the lawn work. "They were bald, bad yards. It was considered sterile fertilizer."
Baltimore environmental activist Glenn Ross says choosing poor neighborhoods destined for demolition makes it hard to track a study's participants. "If you wanted to do something very questionable, you would do it in a neighborhood that's not going to be there in a few years," he said.
HUD documents show the study's lead author, Mark Farfel, has pursued several other studies of lead contamination including the risks of exposure from urban housing demolitions and the vacant lots left behind.
Farfel has since moved to New York, where he directs the World Trade Center Health Registry surveying tens of thousands of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. He denied repeated requests for interviews and referred questions to Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute, the children's research facility that was the recipient of HUD grants with Farfel as project manager.
The institute referred questions to Joann Rodgers, a spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins. She said a review board within its medical school approved the study and the consent forms provided to families that participated. "The study did not test children or other family members living in the homes," she said.
Some of Farfel's previous research has been controversial.
In 2001, Maryland's highest court chastised him, Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins over a study bankrolled by EPA in which researchers testing low-cost ways to control lead hazards exposed more than 75 poor children to lead-based paint in partially renovated houses.
Families of two children alleged to have suffered elevated blood-lead levels and brain damage sued the institute and later settled for an undisclosed amount.
The Maryland Court of Appeals likened the study to Nazi medical research on concentration camp prisoners, the U.S. government's 40-year Tuskegee study that denied treatment for syphilis to black men in order to study the illness and Japan's use of "plague bombs" in World War II to infect and study entire villages.
"These programs were somewhat alike in the vulnerability of the subjects: uneducated African-American men, debilitated patients in a charity hospital, prisoners of war, inmates of concentration camps and others falling within the custody and control of the agencies conducting or approving the experiments," the court said.
Question - Even If It Is "Safe", Would You Be OK Using This In Your Yard? - Tiger
The San Jose Democrat on Thursday proposed raising the beer tax by $1.80 per six-pack, or 30 cents per can or bottle. The current tax is 2 cents per can. That's an increase of about 1,500 percent.
Beall said the tax would generate $2 billion a year to fund health care services, crime prevention and programs to prevent underage drinking and addiction.
"The people who use alcohol should pay for part of the cost to society, just like we've accepted that concept with tobacco," Beall said.
He added that the beer tax hasn't been touched since 1991, and the increase then was meager.
But the freshman lawmaker will have to lift the legislative equivalent of a full keg of beer over his head to get his tax enacted. That's because it would require a two-thirds vote in the Assembly and Senate - and then, because it's a constitutional amendment, it would have to be approved by voters. Republicans say it's a non-starter.
"I predict the shelf life will be very short," said Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Sacramento, vice chairman of the budget committee. "It's a piecemeal approach to the budget that completely avoids any discussion of spending discipline, which is fundamentally why we have the problem that we have."
Mike Fox Sr., chairman of San Jose-based beer distributor M.E. Fox & Co., said Beall's heart is in the right place.
"He's very dedicated in areas of health," Fox said. "But a tax of that nature is far too grievous. The beer industry produces so much for the economy. He won't get to first base with that."
Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., calculated that the tax on a barrel of beer would go from $6.40 to $89. "We would all be looking for jobs," he said.
Beall said he's targeting beer because his research showed that California undertaxes brew relative to other states, which he said isn't the case with wine and spirits. But it's also true that taking on the beer lobby will be hard enough for Beall, without letting it team up with the wine and spirits industries.
Beall, a former Santa Clara County supervisor, has focused heavily on underage drinking during his time in Sacramento. He is pushing legislation that would require the sweet alcoholic malt beverages known as "alco-pops" to include warning labels clearly stating that they contain alcohol.
And last year, Beall lobbied successfully to persuade the state Franchise Tax Board to tax "alco-pops" at the rate assessed to hard liquor products instead of beer - a move that was expected to raise the price of a six pack by about $2. The increase is scheduled to go into effect later this year.
That effort, however, did not require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
By David N. Bossie
Dwight Eisenhower once observed, “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” The danger of weakness in prosecuting the War on Terror brings to mind the wisdom of Eisenhower’s prescient observation.
Consider the recent decision by the Department of Defense to award a $35 billion contract to build America’s fleet of refueling tankers to the French-owned European Aerospace Defense and Space Company (EADS). In one of the most colossal blunders of the struggle against the terrorists, we have handed over the future of a vital tool in the projection of U.S. power over to bureaucrats and politicians in Russia and France.
The tanker contract has sparked bipartisan outrage in Congress. A crescendo of opposition is now building, from conservative and pro-family U.S. Senator Sam Brownback to liberal Democrat Jack Murtha, to reverse the decision or deny funding to the Pentagon to implement it.
The lack of ease that accompanies the decision is hardly surprising; the catalogue of horrors at EADS reads like a “how not to” primer in a business-school ethics class. The company has a long and sordid history of bribing governments to purchase their airplanes, especially when competing with U.S. aerospace firms. Former CIA Director James Woolsey has called the practice rampant, and concluded that it was an integral part of EADS’ corporate culture.
A European Parliament report in 2003 confirmed these corrupt practices, and that EADS has been embroiled in bribery scandals in Canada, Belgium, and Syria.
According to a New York Times report just last October, a French financial regulator turned over evidence of insider trading by senior EADS executives to prosecutors. The executives failed to inform the public about production delays in the A-380 jumbo jet while they quietly dumped their own stock. When the delays became public, unwitting shareholders watched their holdings plummet in value. The co-CEO and co-chairman of EADS resigned under pressure, and now some EADS executives may face indictments.
Even more worrisome is the power grab by Vladimir Putin, who is buying up the depressed shares of EADS like a corporate raider. The prospect of the authoritarian Russian leader, whose political opponents are harassed and jailed while prying journalists turn up missing or murdered, having a heavy hand in EADS affairs is deeply troubling. Russia opposed the invasion of Iraq and has sought to undermine U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The most troubling aspect of the tanker contract is the danger it poses to U.S. national security. According to a report by the Center for Security Policy, EADS has been a leading proliferator of weapons and technology to some of the most hostile regimes in the world, including Iran and Venezuela. When the U.S. formally objected to EADS selling cargo and patrol planes to Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez, EADS tried to circumvent U.S. law by stripping American-built components from the aircraft. Chavez is now building an oil refinery in Cuba to keep Castro’s failed Communist state afloat, funding terrorists seeking the violent overthrow of Colombia’s government, and recently meddled in the presidential election in Argentina with secretly smuggled cash contributions. If EADS had its way, Chavez would now be advancing his anti-American designs in the Western hemisphere with U.S. technology and components.
EADS entanglements with Venezuela make the Pentagon’s decision to waive the Berry Amendment, which prohibits the export of technology that might be developed during the building of the tanker to third parties, indefensible. Given the sophisticated radar and anti-missile capabilities of military tankers, this is no small matter. Such technology falling into the hands of state sponsor of terrorism would devastate our war fighters. And such a scenario is hardly unreasonable. EADS executives recently attended an air show in Iran and were caught red-handed trying to sell helicopters with military applications. When confronted, an EADS executive said the company was not bound by the U.S. arms embargo against Iran. EADS also sold nuclear components vital to exploding a nuclear device to an Asian company that in turn sold them to an Iranian front operation.
There is no question that America desperately needs to replace its aging tanker fleet, which dates to the time of Eisenhower, with new aircraft. Given the thousands of sorties flown by U.S. fighters and bombers over Iraq and Afghanistan, the tanker has become a critical tool in winning the war on terror. But outsourcing this vital aircraft to a proliferator of technology to our worst enemies, with partial ownership by the French and Russian governments, is an act of military malpractice.Relying on foreign governments that are wary of U.S. power, as long-term suppliers for a strategic program so critical to projecting U.S. power around the globe is short-sighted and foolish. France has not demonstrated that it is a reliable ally of the United States, and EADS has not been a reliable supplier.
EADS must end its bribery problem, resolve its insider trading scandal, stop its proliferation of weaponry to bad actors like Chavez and Ahmadinejad, kick the Kremlin out of its board room, and stop using anti-competitive trade practices like subsidies from foreign governments. Then — and only then — can it compete for U.S. defense systems with U.S. contractors on a level playing field.
Lenin once said that capitalists would sell him the rope with which he would hang them. In this case, the Department of Defense is buying from EADS a rope that it might someday find around its neck. The Pentagon should cut its losses and reverse this ill-advised plan.
... Looks like the M.I.C. is aggressively trying to kill us! - Tiger