Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Higher Bubble

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Nor have families been able to keep borrowing against the value of their homes, which seemed for years to appreciate with no end in sight. Second mortgages have been shrinking along with real estate values. Money made available by banks to homeowners through home-equity lines of credit has fallen by 25 percent, to $538 billion, since the end of 2007, according to federal data.

About a decade ago, financial planners began to tout the benefits of 529 plans, which invest families’ savings in the stock and bond markets with the aim of keeping pace with the growth in college expenses. Even before the crisis, these plans couldn’t keep up. Then, in 2008, the average 529 plan lost 20 percent of its value.

So you’ve got an industry with skyrocketing prices, fueled by easy credit taken out by those who didn’t fully realize how much it was costing them. Now the credit’s harder to get, and people are much more aware of the downside of debt anyway. What’s next?

COTD: Divide And Control Internally

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I'm simply pointing out how people are conflicted and often incapable of seeing things from a disinterested point of view. I'm talking about human nature here, not legal definitions or actual damages.

It is in the best interest of a corrupt power structure to encourage selfishness in the people, usually through scarcity of resources. As long as people are chasing their own selfish motivations, they will not band together against the governments tyranny. This is what's going on in the world today. Selfish interests pursued by the citizens means more government and corporate corruption and tyranny.

The act of reaching out to work with others means you must stop (at least for a moment) pursuing your own self interests. This is why governments pit their own citizens against each other. We are so busy fighting for the last few scraps of food we don't take a moment to understand why we only have a few scraps of food. Divide and conquer externally morphs into divide and control internally.


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The fabulous news of the day undoubtedly will be the latest release from the Dept of Labor: Initial Claims for the week ended December 26 came in at 432,000, a 22,000 decline from the prior week, and below consensus. The number was sufficient to prompt Bloomberg's Courtney Schlisserman to come up with the following observation, "Fewer Americans than anticipated
filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, pointing to an
improvement in the labor market that will help sustain economic
growth next year
." Perhaps Courtney and Steve Liesman should sit down in a corner and finally figure out what this whole EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) business is - trust us, it is not that difficult. And for the week ended Dec. 12 it surged by 191,669 to almost 4.5 million, another all time record. Three weeks ago we were shocked when this number hit the all time high of 4.2 million: in a mere 21 days it has added a whopping 7% to the total.


"He always did the bare minimum of work," [Fabrizio Cavallo] Marincola [who studied with Abdulmutallab at University College London] said of his classmate, who he said was nicknamed "Biggie."

"When we were studying, he always would go off to pray," Marincol continued. "He was pretty quiet and didn't socialize much or have a girlfriend that I knew of."
Hat tip: Instapundit.

In all cultures, there are young, depressed, lonely people who may occasionally feel suicidal. What is different about Islam is that it offers such people an easy path to honor and glory through the killing of infidels. In other cultures, by contrast, achieving honor and glory tends to require sustained hard work.

RELATED: While Democrats tend to believe that the root cause of terrorism is poverty, Michelle Malkin discusses "the wealthy, pampered lifestyle of would-be Christmas Day bomber Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab."

Dudes And Dudettes

That's what voters say, according to today's Rasmussen survey:

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 30% oppose the use of such techniques, and another 12% are not sure.

There's this, too:

Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters think the attempt by the Nigerian Muslim to blow up the airliner as it landed in Detroit should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Only 22% say it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act, as is currently the case.

My conclusion: the debate is over, and Dick Cheney won it.

And Don't Hold Anything In Your Lap Either

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WASHINGTON – As the government reviews how an alleged terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a U.S.-bound plane and try to blow it up on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.

Frischling said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again on Wednesday morning when he was forced to hand over his lap top computer. Frischling said the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn't cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo.

tOtal jOke

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MILES O’BRIEN: Captain Underpants And The Illusion Of Security. “Here is what any moron can see as plain as day: our $40 billion dollar post-9/11 airline security net is a total joke – a White Elephant of epic (and potentially tragic) proportions. The truth is the only aspect of our post 9/11 defense that has turned out to be 100% effective are the passengers themselves. Without really thinking about it we have become an airborne militia – all watching and ready to kick al Qaeda butt at the drop of… a pair of trousers. It began in Shanksville – it effectively thwarted the shoe-bomber – and now Captain Underpants.”

And I've thought of an additional benefit of allowing passengers to bring knives on board: At least the terrorist will end up dead with no information extracted from him instead of alive and protected by a lawyer with no information extracted.

CO2 Fail

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Several recent studies have highlighted the possibility that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have started loosing part
of their ability to sequester a large proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere, which
has prevented additional climate change. This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction
since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows
that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use
change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle
models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well of course Republicans are playing politics--which is deplorable, and something that Democrats would never
do. But in my circle--I mix with all kinds--it isn't just Republicans
who were incredulous at the still-growing catalogue of errors, and
awe-struck by Janet Napolitano's initial view that the system had

The first Napolitano statement is surely the main reason
why everybody is piling on more this time. (Her subsequent
clarification didn't help much either: no point in saying you were
quoted out of context when you obviously weren't.) Another difference
is that we found out much faster than in the Richard Reid case just how
many mistakes were made. And a third thing is the elapsed time: after
eight years of enduring the misery of supposedly improved airport
security, we read that (a) a man like Abdulmutallab can still walk on
to a plane, and (b) that the response will be to take away all blankets
and reading material for the last hour of future flights.

I Must Have Fogotten To Mention Bwaney...

disclosures about the role played by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac in last year's financial crisis:

On Christmas Eve, when most Americans' minds were on other things, the Treasury Department announced that it was removing the $400 billion cap from what the administration believes will be necessary to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent. This action confirms that the decade-long congressional failure to more closely regulate these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) will rank for U.S. taxpayers as one of the worst policy disasters in our history. ...

The GSEs had begun buying risky loans in 1993 to meet the "affordable housing" requirements established under congressional direction by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Most of the damage was done from 2005 through 2007, when Fannie and Freddie were binging on risky mortgages. Back then, [Congressman Barney] Frank was the bartender, denying that there was any cause for concern

COTD: Psychopaths

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On the other hand, other than pure psychopaths, who have no emotional or psychological problems with lying (because the only truth is what they say is the truth) the average person becomes (sometimes extremely) uncomfortable when speaking untruths or maintaining the myth. This is the principal idea behind lie detectors.

To take this one step further, people who are firmly anchored in truth instantly recognize truth when it's spoken and are very comfortable around it. Its only when they are hearing lies that they become distressed. But those who are in denial become quite distressed when the truth is spoken, as if it's a personal affront to them.

It's a public myth that all psychopaths have blood on their hands and a wild look in their eyes.

The problems begin within us folks. Our leaders are simply giving us what we ask for. No aliens are buzzing DC, dropping politicians into Congressional office on the sly. They come from within the herd and are supported by the herd.


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Stopped Clock Watch: Her Brother Is Better But This Is Surprisingly Good

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If we can’t catch a Nigerian with a powerful explosive powder in his oddly feminine-looking underpants and a syringe full of acid, a man whose own father had alerted the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a traveler whose ticket was paid for in cash and who didn’t check bags, whose visa renewal had been denied by the British, who had studied Arabic in Al Qaeda sanctuary Yemen, whose name was on a counterterrorism watch list, who can we catch?

We are headed toward the moment when screeners will watch watch-listers sashay through while we have to come to the airport in hospital gowns, flapping open in the back.

Did I Forget To Mention Bwaney?

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On Christmas Eve, when most Americans' minds were on other things, the Treasury Department announced that it was removing the $400 billion cap from what the administration believes will be necessary to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac solvent. This action confirms that the decade-long congressional failure to more closely regulate these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) will rank for U.S. taxpayers as one of the worst policy disasters in our history.

Fannie and Freddie's congressional sponsors—some of whom are now leading the administration's effort to "reform" the financial system—have a lot to answer for. Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, sponsored legislation adopted in 2008 that established a new regulatory structure for the GSEs. But by then it was far too late. The GSEs had begun buying risky loans in 1993 to meet the "affordable housing" requirements established under congressional direction

Bwaney And The Next $4T

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Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- To close out 2009, I decided to do
something I bet no member of Congress has done -- actually read
from cover to cover one of the pieces of sweeping legislation
bouncing around Capitol Hill.

Hunkering down by the fire, I snuggled up with H.R. 4173,
the financial-reform legislation passed earlier this month by
the House of Representatives.

-- For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the
words “too-big-to-fail,” the main issue confronting the
financial system. Admitting you have a problem, as any 12-
stepper knows, is the crucial first step toward recovery.

-- Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes
Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in
emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for
“no-more-bailouts” talk. That is more than twice what the Fed
pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes
the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.

RTWT. You are toast.

COTD: (Censored)

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1.9% plan to buy a new home.....lowest since 1982.....  What were mortgage rates in 1982?  What are they now????  Yeah...exactly...  We are so
You can guess what the missing word is I'm sure...


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As for the present: current conditions plunged to another record low of 18.8. Never before has the differential between present pain and future hope been so wide.

Reading between the lines of the CBCC indicates that Obama and CNBC's grand plan to get consumers to spend, spend, spend again has fizzled. Autobuying intentions dropped to 3.8 from 4.5 in November, the lowest read in over a year, when the SAAR was 10.5 million. The double dip in the auto sales will soon be upon us. Furthermore, buying intentions of major household appliances held at a weak 23.7: Cash for Bidets can't come fast enough. Most troubling, however, homebuying intentions have plunged to a near-thirty year low: at 1.9, the percentage of Americans planning on buying a house is the lowest since 1982.

Maybe it is time to dust off all those Russian Politics 101 manuals, in our search of how to defeat Soviet Style Communist fiscal and monetary policy, which have so thoroughly penetrated the United States of America itself


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Here’s a letter that I sent today to the New York Times:

Two celebrated advocates of active and expansive government – President Obama and yourself – admit, quite accurately, that the security breach on Northwest Flight 253 represents a momentous failure of government (”The System Failed,” Dec. 30).

Ponder this fact carefully.  Government’s core function is to protect citizens from violence.  If Uncle Sam fails at this central, all-important task, what reason have we to trust that it will succeed at delivering less-costly and higher-quality health-care?  Or at productively restructuring financial markets?

Surely, before government directs energy and resources to these and the countless other tasks that it now tries to do, it should first master its most fundamental duty.

Donald J. Boudreaux

If the gardener isn’t up to the task of keeping the flowers properly watered, then it’s especially foolish to assign to him the additional task of mastering plant genetics.

The Nigerian

This doesn’t look good.
US officials knew about a Nigerian being prepared for a terrorist attack before Christmas!
FOX News reported:

The U.S. government had intelligence from Yemen before Christmas that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda there were talking about “a Nigerian” being prepared for a terrorist attack, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

A senior official told the Times that President Obama was told in a private meeting Tuesday while vacationing in Hawaii that the government had a variety of information in its possession before the failed bombing on a Detroit-bound flight last week that would have been a clear warning sign had it been shared among intelligence agencies.

The newspaper said the information did not include the name of the Nigerian.

It must be Bush’s fault.

Obama went snorkeling today.


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“Time was, a suicide mission to explode an international jumbo jet was an event full of glamor and excitement; but now it seems to be a endless series of delays, hassles, pushy jerks and third-degree testicular chemical burns. And don’t even get me started on the crappy airline food.”

Plus this:

So she looks at her computer screen and says, “um, I’m afraid there’s a problem, this passenger’s name is on a watch list.” Oh, great. Looks like my dad is playing Mr. Buzzkill again, just because I took that semester off from Oxford to go backpacking in Yemen. So I showed her my official State Department visa.

So I’m like, “honey, do I look like I’m a US military veteran?”


“Do I look like I’m some sort of right wing anti-tax teabagger?”


“Do I look like anybody else on the DHS terrorism danger list?”

“No, but…”

“Then I suggest that unless you want a nasty anti-discrimination lawsuit on your hands, you’d best give me an aisle seat. With extended legroom.”


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BETTER AIR SECURITY IN MOGADISHU? “A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Somali man — whose name has not yet been released — was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off.”

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: How’s that 9/11 Commission reorganization working? “Does this sound like a streamlined organization, with reduced tensions and better cooperation, ready to defend America? Or does it sound like a dysfunctional mess, more concerned with turf wars than the war on terror? Perhaps the remarkable thing is how effective they have managed to be despite the mess Congress made of the intelligence community four years ago.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


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Wretchard, there are at least FOUR SIDES to the conflict.

The Jihadis, are one side. The general Muslim people, sympathetic and hopeful the jihadis can kill their way to conquering the West, are another. The general Western public, the targets of both Muslim people (passively) and the jihadis (actively) still another, and the PC, politicized feminized, PC-Multiculturalist elite still another.

There is NO WAY that the PC-Multiculturalists will allow data mining and profiling. It will NEVER HAPPEN. Because it would concede a real enemy, and define them by religion (Muslim) and ethnicity (non-White). It will, no matter what, give power to people who threaten the tragically hip PC Multiculturalists, among them nationalists.

So, duh, the Airline industry is DEAD DEAD DEAD. It just does not know it yet. We cannot call the bullet of PC-Multiculturalism back.

And this is exactly what we were going to get under Obama. Flying only for Government honchos and really rich people in chartered planes.


Obama officials tipped off Al-Qaeda in Yemen (al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula) that retaliation strikes are being planned against the local terrorists.
CNN reported, via Kristinn:

Washington (CNN) — The U.S. and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets in Yemen for a potential retaliation strike, two senior U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday, in the aftermath of the botched Christmas Day attack on an airliner that al Qaeda in Yemen claims it organized.

The officials asked not to be not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information. They both stressed the effort is aimed at being ready with options for the White House if President Obama orders a retaliatory strike. The effort is to see whether targets can be specifically linked to the airliner incident and its planning.

Another Democrat Leadership Sighting

H. L. Mencken's New Deal Constitution

This satirical piece first appeared in The American Mercury, 41 (June 1937), 129-36, and was reprinted in condensed form by The Reader’s Digest, 31 (July 1937), 27-29.


We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish social justice, draw the fangs of privilege, effect the redistribution of property, remove the burden of liberty from ourselves and our posterity, and insure the continuance of the New Deal, do ordain and establish this Constitution.


The Executive

All governmental power of whatever sort shall be vested in a President of the United States. He shall hold office during a series of terms of four years each, and shall take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will (in so far as I deem it feasible and convenient) faithfully execute the office of President of the United States

Apparently timeless. RTWT.

Freedom Vs Power

Here's a graphic video of a peaceful march in Tehran on December 27. Notice how restrained and calm the crowd is. Then watch to the end, as the regime's thugs attack:

200 Million?

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I mean really:

The Department of Homeland Security has placed an order for 200 million rounds of pistol ammunition (.40 caliber, hollow-point) over the next five years for use by its Immigration, Customs and Enforcement division.

Let's see now, ICE has approximately 15,000 employees. Not all of them are licensed to carry firearms, but just to keep the math simple, we'll divide the whole shebang into 200 million. That works out to a little over 13,000 rounds per employee over five years, or approximately 2,600 per employee per year.

Now, in case the entire population of Mexico tries to cross the border over the next five years, this would be enough to shoot everybody twice; however, this event seems unlikely, and would represent a pretty harsh response, anyway.

Somebody, anybody, please explain.

I don't think O wants the ammo to stop the Mexicans...

I Already Posted Why

Obama's going to need plastic surgery to give him another side of his mouth to talk out of, soon. Napolitano comes up aces for her "system worked" comment. As previously linked, I already called for her firing for that, and more. But wait! The system that worked suffered a "systemic failure"??

Okay, if you say so, dude! What's obvious is that it took longer for news of the recent terror attack to sink in in Hawaii, then it took for word of Pearl Harbor to get to Washington on December 7, 1941. But word has now clearly gotten through. Maybe we called at 3 AM and no one answered? Someone did suggest that would be the case as I recall. Video below.

HONOLULU (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Tuesday "a systemic failure" allowed the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He called it "totally unacceptable." The president said he wants preliminary results by Thursday from two investigations he has ordered to examine the many lapses that occurred.


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Computer hackers this week said they had cracked and published the secret code that protects 80 per cent of the world’s mobile phones. The move will leave more than 3bn people vulnerable to having their calls intercepted, and could force mobile phone operators into a costly upgrade of their networks.

Karsten Nohl, a German encryption expert, said he had organised the hack to demonstrate the weaknesses of the security measures protecting the global system for mobile communication (GSM) and to push mobile operators to improve their systems.

“This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate,” Mr Nohl told an audience of about 600 people at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, a four-day conference of computer hackers.

Dumb And Dumber

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When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was placed
on the British government's watch list in May 2009 and banned
from entering the country, the U.S. embassy in London (and by
extension the U.S. State Department), as well as U.S.
intelligence agencies, were notified of this move as part of
information-sharing agreements entered into by a number of
Western governments after the September 11, 2001 attacks, says a
U.S. State Department employee on the condition of anonymity
because of concern that by speaking about the situation, their
job could be endangered.
This employee says that despite statements from the Obama
Administration, such information was flagged and given higher
priority during the Bush Administration, but that since the
changeover "we are encouraged to not create the appearance that
we are profiling or targeting Muslims. I think career employees
were uncomfortable with the Bush procedures and policies and were
relieved to not have to live under them any longer."

Like Crucifying Christians On Christmas

The Iranian citizens’ uprising against their government has been sustained for six months now, and it took an interesting turn over the weekend. Security forces reportedly opened fire against demonstrators and even killed the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi – and they did it during Ashura. There are few things “supreme guide” Ali Khamenei could have done to enrage religious conservatives and harden them against his regime more than this. As one demonstrator put it, “killing Muslims on Ashura is like crucifying Christians on Christmas.”

Israel unwittingly cast itself in the role of a modern Yazid 26 years ago, and most of the Shia of Lebanon have been in a state of war with their former allies ever since. The Israeli soldiers in that fateful incident didn’t realize what they were doing, but Khamenei of all people should have known to back off during Ashura. The pious Shia who live in Iran won’t easily forget that he didn’t.


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Why are we left to rely on private Dutch citizens and random luck to spare us from major terror attacks? Because under the regime of Hope & Change, there is literally no one running our security agencies. It seems our socialist rulers have been too busy nationalizing the healthcare industry to see to the defense of the citizenry whose wishes they so openly despise.

Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.
Apparently even a cretin like Abdulmutallab is smarter than your average Democrat; at least he realizes that loathsome apologies on behalf of his country by a belly-crawling politician may be worth a Nobel Peace Prize, but they won't reconcile America and imperialist Islam.

The Lowest Level

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Here's how an education system run by moonbats reduces us all to the lowest level:

Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students.

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

According to establishment ideology, all white people deserve to be punished for being racists. However, what moonbattery actually punishes isn't white skin, but excellence.

Sincular-Mertens, who has taught science at BHS for 24 years, said the possible cuts will impact her black students as well.

He Is With The Regime Of Course

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As I mentioned below, I've been communicating with a young woman in Tehran who is an active participant in the protests.  L, as I will call her, messaged me this morning with this:

At 10:30 we were at Azadi Street (Freedom Street). The crowd was moving so slowly in little crowds. We were silent with a bit of fear. Near Enghelab Square, we joined with each other and made a huge crowd, and a huge crowd of people move toward us, and we join each other. After that, we started protesting by saying "Down with Khamenei!". I should say that Ahmadinejad isn't important anymore. The focus of the movement is on the leadership.

This is an interesting bit of information.  This movement was started because of the rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad.  It now has little to do with him, and it is focused on ousting the regime.  I think they are going to do it.

Obama, are you with the regime or are you with freedom?

Because it's all he wants his to be.

The List

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How about a list of guys who like to bomb airliners?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Performance Art

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If true, I'd say this is the nail in the coffin for Gitmo North.

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Art therapy? Is "performance art" going to be Secretary Napolitano's next word for terrorism?


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Meanwhile, the Western world clicks its collective tongue and criticizes “the violence” and the lack of respect for rights of free speech and assembly, as if that were the point.  Not a single western “leader” has found the nerve and the common sense to denounce the regime and call for regime change.  Indeed our guy Obama couldn’t drag himself away from the beach and the basketball court on Oahu to say anything at all.  Nor could Ms Hillary.

A generation of brave freedom fighters in Iran, and the usual accomplices to evil in the West.  As before.  If any of them dares say “never again,” they should be publicly spanked, removed from office, and then sent off for education.  Or is it reeducation?

UPDATE:  Obama finally came out with the usual condemnation of violence and reiteration of human rights.  Fine for academics and scribblers, not good enough for a leader.

COTD: Beatings

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Obama denounces beating protestors?

The SEIU’s not gonna like that.

malclave on December 28, 2009 at 6:39 PM