Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mr. Putin's quick takeover of the Crimean peninsula was no surprise to me.

Neither was the Obama administration's half-butted reaction on Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that to show our support for Poland and the Baltic states after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, the we will train more Polish pilots and expand our role in NATO's air policing mission over their territories.

I'm sure Comrade Putin is quaking in his combat boots.

To show he really meant business, Hagel went to the old Cold War playbook and pulled out some high-minded rhetoric about it being time "for all of us to stand with the Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity and sovereignty."

That sounded real nice, Chuck. The trouble is, it's too late for Ukraine and its people. It's been too late for a long time.

Unless we want to start World War III, Putin is going to do whatever he wants in the Crimea.

It was only a matter of time before Putin took off his Olympic ski mask and cracked down on Ukraine's freedom movement the way his imperialist forefathers in the Kremlin would have during the Cold War.

The United States has been showing Putin how little we care about what he does to the citizens of the former Soviet Union since 2008.

After Putin's quick intervention in Georgia - Mikhail Gorbachev's former Soviet Georgia, not Jimmy Carter's Georgia -- the Bush administration pretended it was going to do something really tough.

Dick Cheney rattled a few sabers and said Putin's use of military force to snuff out Georgia's freely elected pro-Western government would not go unanswered.

If Putin didn't give Georgia back its autonomy, Cheney warned, there'd be serious consequences for Russia's relations with the United States.

Of course, nothing happened. Russia did what it wanted and the Free World moved on. Georgia is an occupied country today, just as Ukraine will be one tomorrow.

The Obama administration has been soft on putinism too.

In 2009 the president's team cancelled the missile defense system the United States had been planning to set up in Poland and the Czech Republic.

We wanted to protect Europe from Iranian missile strikes, but Putin thought we were disrespecting him and threatening his Mother Russia. He put up a fuss and we caved, again showing Putin how tough we really weren't.

The Obama administration can't - and shouldn't - do anything militarily about Ukraine. But it can do more than just talk tough and cancel some military exercises with Russia.

I suggest that President Obama might want to study how Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Union.

He did it without firing a shot, as we know, but he had a super weapon - oil.

Oil was the only thing the Soviets had in the 1980s that anyone in the rest of the world wanted to buy, besides ICBMs and H-bombs, and they weren't for sale.

Since selling oil was the source of the Kremlin's wealth, my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil.

Lower oil prices devalued the ruble, causing the USSR to go bankrupt, which led to perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

The Soviet Union was so destitute, so unable to pay for anything from the West in the 1980s, it was pathetic.

"How bad was it?" I once asked Mr. Gorbachev at a town meeting.

He said his country was so broke its women couldn't get pantyhose. The women of the USSR were so livid, Gorbachev said, he was forced to appoint a Czar of Pantyhose to bring pantyhose into the country.

My father had powerful allies on his team - Maggie Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa. All poor Obama has is the UK's David Cameron.

But if our president is really serious about getting Putin to lay off Ukraine and think twice about rebuilding the Soviet Empire, he should follow the Reagan Rule.

He should put the economic screws to Mother Russia and bankrupt her until she starts clamoring for pantyhose.
President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president attempted to convert national outrage into new gun-control legislation. Specifically, he focused on curtailing semi-automatic "assault" rifles. But there is no statistical evidence that such guns -- semi-automatic rifles that have mostly cosmetic changes to appear similar to banned military-style fully automatic assault weapons -- lead to increased gun-related crimes.

The promiscuous availability of illegal handguns does. They're used in the vast majority of all gun-related violent crime -- and in such cases they are often obtained illegally. Yet the day-to-day enforcement of existing handgun statutes is far more difficult than the widely publicized passing of new laws.

Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet "human." But emerging science has allowed premature babies 5 months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over abortion. Yet the idea that even small fetuses are not viable humans until birth is simply unscientific.

The president still talks of "settled science" in the global warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.

There is no scientific basis for the president's assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California's climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than deductive and political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons why this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.

California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state's water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea -- on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.

The administration has delayed construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, citing concern about climate change. Yet a recent State Department environmental report found that the proposed pipeline would not increase carbon dioxide emissions enough to affect atmospheric temperatures.

There is no scientific basis from which to cancel the Keystone, but a variety of logical reasons to build it -- such as moving toward North American energy independence and protecting ourselves against energy blackmailers and cartels abroad.

Science is rarely "settled." Instead, orthodoxy is constantly challenged. A theory survives not by politics, but only if it can offer the best logical explanations for a set of circumstances backed by hard statistical data.

Global warming that begat "climate change" is no exception. All the good politics in the world of blaming most bad weather on too much carbon dioxide cannot make it true if unquestioned climate data cannot support the notion of recent temperature increases being directly attributable to rising man-caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

In recent years, "settled science" with regard to the causes of peptic ulcers, the health benefits of Vitamin D, the need for annual mammograms and the prognostic value of the prostate-specific antigen test have all been turned upside down by dissident scientists offering new theories to interpret fresh data.

Yet for the new anti-empirical left, science becomes an ally only when refuting absurd religious theories that the earth is 5,000 years old. Otherwise, it can prove irrelevant when it does not necessarily support pet causes.
Obama authorizes sanctions, visa restrictions amid Ukraine turmoil
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, far right, on stage after speaking on the importance of raising the minimum wage during an event at at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Obama traveled to Hartford, Conn., area to highlight the importance of raising the minimum wage and then will travel to Boston for a pair of Democratic fundraising. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Obama authorized sanctions Thursday against unspecified individuals responsible for “undermining” stability in Ukraine, where Russian troops have occupied a southern region of the country.

The White House said Mr. Obama signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against “individuals and entitities responsible” for threatening peace, security and “territorial integrity” in Ukraine.
Press secretary Jay Carney said the action is intended as a “flexible tool” to allow the administration to sanction those most directly responsible for destabilizing the country, including Russia’s military intervention in the Crimean peninsula.
Senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer said the president’s order “will set up a framework for potential sanctions.”

Also, the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on several officials and individuals to deny visas to “those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the White House said.

The U.S. and western allies are in diplomatic talks with Russia and the new interim government in Ukraine, seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis that escalated last week with Russia sending troops into the strategically important peninsula on the Black Sea.

The White House said the actions build upon the previous steps the United States has taken, including suspending bilateral discussions with Russia on trade and investment, suspending other bilateral meetings on a case-by-case basis, putting on hold U.S.-Russia military-to-military engagement, and suspending temporarily participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi, Russia, in June.

“Depending on how the situation develops, the United States is prepared to consider additional steps and sanctions as necessary,” Mr. Carney said.

Victory! Senate Rejects Obama’s Choice of Cop-Killer’s Advocate As Head of DoJ’s Civil Rights Division 
Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

The fact that Obama chose Debo Adegbile for this post in the first place shows how much of a subversive hater of  American values the egotist in the White House really is. Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered a policeman in cold blood. He has been a cause celebre among the left, and they have tried numerous times to get him freed, but he is still in prison because the evidence is so overwhelming that he is guilty. And Obama wanted an advocate for this murderer to be head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It shows how much he values our nation’s police officers.

Heartfelt thanks to all Atlas readers who saw my earlier post and called and wrote your Senators. You made this happen. You showed the power of the people.

“Senate rejects Obama appointment of Debo Adegbile to top civil rights post,” Washington Post, March 5, 2014

Opponents of President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prevailed in blocking his confirmation Wednesday, as he failed to clear a procedural hurdle.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08:  Senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Debo Adegbile testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 8, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Adegbile has been nominated by President Barack Obama to become the next Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Debo Adegbile testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 8. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Several Senate Democrats joined with Republicans in voting against Debo Adegbile, whose nomination was adamantly and vocally opposed by conservatives due to his participation in an appeal filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal – an internationally-known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

The vote was expected to be close — with Vice President Biden on hand to potentially cast a tie-breaking vote — but the final tally was 47-52 in opposition to the appointment.

In total, eight Democrats voted against confirmation in the final tally. Initially, seven Democrats voted against confirmation and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) — who initially voted in favor of confirmation — later switched his vote to no, giving him the right as Senate leader to bring up the nomination again at a later date.
Adegbile becomes the first Obama nominee rejected under the new Senate procedures approved in November that require just a majority of senators present to agree to proceed to a vote on most presidential nominees.

In a statement released following the vote, Obama blasted the senators who voted against Adegbile’s nomination, saying they “denied the American people an outstanding public servant.”
“The Senate’s failure to confirm Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice is a travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant,” Obama said, later adding: “As a lawyer, Mr. Adegbile has played by the rules. And now, Washington politics have used the rules against him.”

Other Democrats who voted against the Obama nominee were Chris Coons (Del.),Bob Casey (Pa.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin (W.V.), Joe Donnolly (Ind.) and John Walsh (Mont.).

“I made a conscientious decision after talking to the wife of the victim,” Manchin told reporters.

 But the senator, who usually likes engaging with reporters, was otherwise tight-lipped on his decision, saying repeatedly that “I made a conscientious decision.”

The decision by seven Democrats to buck their party leadership and the White House caused a rare split in the Democratic caucus, which usually votes in lockstep on Obama’s nominees. A senior aide to one of the senators who voted against the pick said several offices were “very angry” with the White House for moving ahead with the Adegbile nomination even though they knew it created an unnecessarily uncomfortable and politically treacherous vote for several vulnerable Democrats in tough reelection races this year.

“It’s a vote you didn’t have to take. It’s a 30-second ad that writes itself,” said the aide, who asked for anonymity in order to speak frankly.

Adegbile, 47, spent more than a decade working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he served as the group’s in-house voting rights expert. The legal defense fund began its work on Abu-Jamal’s behalf well before Adegbile began working for it, however he did contribute to the filing of a 2009 court brief that argued that Abu-Jamal faced a discriminatory jury — an appeal later found to have merit by a judge.

But, that participation in Abu-Jamal’s appeals, opponents including Faulkner’s widow have argued, should disqualify him from holding any publicly appointed position in the justice system.

Several prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), took the floor Wednesday to speak in opposition to the nomination and in hopes of swaying vulnerable Democrats facing re-election in red states.

Prominent Democrats — including members of the Congressional Black Caucus — have defended Adegbile’s nomination and resume, arguing that his lengthy history of work on voting rights issues made him supremely qualified for the post.

In the final speech before the vote, Reid called the GOP opposition to Adegbile “an affront to what it means to live in America,” and — noting Adegbile’s history with working on voting rights cases — said it is part of a larger Republican strategy to disenfranchise minority and impoverished voters.

“They want fewer voting people. They don’t want people to vote and they especially don’t want poor people to vote.” Reid said.

But in the end, it was the votes of Democrats — not those of Republicans — that doomed Adegbile’s nomination.

“At a time when the Civil Rights Division urgently needs better relations with the law enforcement community, I was troubled by the idea of voting for an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who would face such visceral opposition from law enforcement on his first day on the job,” Coons said, in a statement released after the vote. “The vote I cast today was one of the most difficult I have taken since joining the Senate, but I believe it to be right for the people I represent.”

“The vote I cast today was one of the most difficult I have taken since joining the Senate, but I believe it to be right for the people I represent.

Georgetown U seminar: Fear of Robert Spencer, fear of Jihad Watch

/ Jihad Watch
EspositoDaniel Martin Varisco and John Esposito are afraid. They are very afraid. What are they afraid of? Me. And this website. And yet while they could try to put their fears to rest by doing one simple thing, that remedy is the very one they fear to take.

I laughed more than once reading “Preaching ‘Islamophobia’ to the Choir at Saudi-Funded Georgetown,” by Andrew Harrod at FrontPage today, which provides an in-depth look at the abject fear of the “Islamophobia” mythmakers, and the corner into which they have painted themselves. Harrod attended the “Islamophobia” seminar on which I published a report from another attendee here. “Audience questions, however, focused on Spencer,” Harrod reports: “Varisco discussed his refusal to debate Spencer as ‘someone who just hates Islam,’ yet claimed that in any hypothetical encounter he ‘would beat the whatever out of him.’” Yet Esposito “sneered” that I “wrote ‘best-selling books’ while discussing worries about Spencer’s popularity. Noting the influence of popular culture, Esposito complained that ‘Islamophobic websites score very, very high.’”

Heh. This is high comedy. There is a very simple remedy of which Varisco and Esposito could avail themselves, but won’t: one or both of them could take me on in debate, “beat the whatever” out of me as Varisco boasts that he could do, and thereby strike a huge blow for their claim that their views of Islam and jihad are accurate and mine are not. They could go a long way toward ending the popularity of Jihad Watch and substantiating their dismissals of my work by doing this.

But they won’t. Why not? Because in reality, they know they would lose. They know their “Islamophobia” construct is a manipulative, propagandistic farrago, and that what I say is true. And they know I would establish that in debate with them. So they wring their hands over my “popularity” while refusing to take an obvious course of action to end it. Instead, they hope they will be able to demonize and smear me sufficiently so that decent people will turn away from me and listen to them just because they don’t know any better.

That is the one way they can stop the truth: using unscrupulous and frankly mendacious attack dogs such as Reza Aslan’s gunsel, Nathan Lean of Aslan Media, and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, they intimidate people into being afraid to discuss these issues for fear of charges of “Islamophobia,” and into canceling events featuring counter-jihad speakers, for fear of “controversy” that the smear merchants manufacture. Meanwhile, their cyberterrorist allies throw all their cyberskillz into trying to take down this website (to the applause of dull-witted thugs like Aslan and Lean, who don’t realize that one day they could find themselves on the wrong side of a world without free speech), out of the abject fear that someone might learn the truth about jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.

Their endeavor is foredoomed. Their problem is not just Robert Spencer. Their problem is that the truth cannot be hidden. Their problem is truth and reality, and the fact that multitudes of people beyond me know what that truth is, and can see reality for themselves. Their “Islamophobia” campaign is a huge Big Lie operation. They won’t debate me because they know I would expose it. But it is already exposed. Every day’s headlines expose it further. And there is nothing they can do, even if they hold a thousand seminars like this one, to prevent that.
“I don’t have any desire to debate Robert Spencer….I would never give someone like that a forum,” Hofstra University Professor Daniel Martin Varisco declared at Georgetown University on February 26, 2014.  Addressing the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding (ACMCU), Varisco’s equally flawed outlooks on Islam and intellectual inquiry had disturbing implications for modern academia.
Prior perusal of the opening pages of Varisco’s 2007 Reading Orientalism:  Said and Unsaid did not raise hopes for his briefing “Khutba vs. Khutzpa:  Islamophobia on the Internet.”…
Nothing improved during Varisco’s presentation on “Islamophobia,” described in a Powerpoint image referencing a 1991 Runnymede Trust report as an “unfounded hostility” towards all things and persons Muslim.  One Powerpoint on “Combatting Islamophobia on the Internet” set a leveling tone with a recommendation of a “[f]ocus on interfaith efforts, noting that all religions have positive and negative aspects.”  This accorded with Varisco’s prior call for scholars to “be doing all we can to refute the notion that Islam is intrinsically more violent than other religions.”  “I am not saying that these things don’t happen,” Varisco conceded when showing a picture of a woman undergoing a sharia stoning to death.  Another Powerpoint, meanwhile, simply dismissed as “fallacy” controversies that “Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam is cruel to women.”…