Bill Katz: BOY, THAT WAS WEIRD
Did you see Obama's campaign speech from Afghanistan last night? Strange, wasn't it? Obama, under the great drama of secrecy, flies to the war-torn country to sign a minor agreement and give a speech that could have been given at a chicken lunch in Des Moines.
As usual, a Brit provides the deadliest insight into the president's non-event. Conservative cleric Peter Mullen, one of two Mullens to make news today, has it right in London's Telegraph:
Barack Obama has told the citizens of the US that a decade “under the dark cloud of war" is almost over and that his administration is on course to destroy al-Qaeda. In a massively hyped speech – well, it is election year over there – the President told the American people that the US combat role in Afghanistan was now also winding down, just as it already has in Iraq.
Speaking from a military airbase in Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, he insisted: "We can see the light of a new day on the horizon."
This is pure cloud cuckoo land oratory. “The light of a new day” is the headlights of the next suicide bomber’s approaching car. With devastating naivete the US government has announced the date of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan – so the Taliban will simply lie low until that date and then re-emerge to take over whatever might be remaining of Karzai’s corrupt and failed state.
Obama’s speech gave the impression that he believes victory in Afghanistan – which he has no chance of achieving in any case – represents victory over al-Qaeda. This is mere folly. Al-Q-aeda are as ubiquitous as the common cold virus. They are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and, by their proxies, in Nigeria where they are proving to be particularly barbaric. The Americans show no signs of defeating the terrorist organization in any of those places.
Within hours of Obama’s trip to Afghanistan, the Taliban left a calling-card reminder that they had been listening attentively to the President’s speech by exploding a car bomb in Kabul where the leader of the US had been just hours earlier..
That says it. The president's speech was farcical, a throwback to Chamberlain bringing the British people "peace in our time" on his return from Munich. All Obama needed was the umbrella...but he's way too cool to carry an umbrella.
I thought the speech should have ended with a rousing rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business," but the Marine Band had more important things to do.
FP: See also Scott Johnson’s The long goodbye:
I thought the beginning of the end took place back at the announcement of the surge in December 2009 when Obama thoughtfully provided the date for the commencement of the withdrawal of surged troops. Now we seem to have the Afghanistization of the war against the Taliban, along with the pursuit of a negotiated resolution with an implacable enemy…
Vietnam, anybody? Name one significant war America has won since WW2, and I mean a genuine win—beneficial results.
Debbie Schlussel: Hamtramckstan: Sharia Girls Only Prom Arranged by Public School District
It’s sharia prom time in Hamtramck, Michigan a/k/a Hamtramckstan. And who cares if it violates the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. We must bow down to Islam and accommodate Muslim extremism no matter what, right? More about the “halal” prom, below.
But first a little about Hamtramckstan. For years, I’ve been telling you about the Islamicization of Hamtramck, the once Polish Catholic city surrounded by Detroit. As I’ve told you over the years, Hamtramck has been overtaken and dominated by mostly Yemeni, Bangladeshi, and Bosnian Muslim immigrants who’ve bought out Catholic churches and turned them into mosques and who prevailed on the city to allow the noise pollution of the Muslim call to prayer. And to make it a sanctuary city for Muslim illegal aliens. When part of what is now ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) was still the U.S. Customs Service, an ICE agent friend of mine–who is of Polish descent and was working on shutting down HAMAS and Hezbollah funding out of the Detroit area–took me to Hamtramck for a day of touring, showing me all the places and charities that were involved in Islamic terrorism. There were a lot of them. That was back in 2001. And even before that, there have been reports of anti-Black hate crimes, including violent beatings and attacks, by Muslim students in the Hamtramck public schools. That’s been going on for at least two decades. And most of the Muslim immigrants are on welfare, AFDC, Medicaid, and every other entitlement they can get their hands on . . . courtesy of you.
And don’t forget the “model Muslim City Councilman” who apparently beat his wife, but got away with it. Muslims are not yet the majority on the City Council (which would make it the first Muslim-controlled city in America), but they lost that chance by just a hair. And they and their dhimmis are making every effort to erase any sign of Polish heritage, replacing it with Islamic influences. It’s a microcosm of what is and will continue to slowly happen to America at the hands of Islam and Muslims. We won’t see it happen in our generation, but our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will.
FP: Does this look like the US integrate Muslims, as it’s so often claimed, or will Muslims, given enough time and immigration, integrate America like they did Europe? Given that Americans are as self-dhimmifying as Europeans, make a guess.
A feel for the future you can get by looking not at American Muslims scattered around the US, but at areas like those in Michigan which are exclusively Muslim. Their resemblance with the European counterparts is hard to miss.
It’s even worse, see also So, You Wanna Marry a Muslim Palestinian in America . . .? HAMAS Daddy Kidnaps Kids to Gaza.
Joe Cirincione: The Federal Government's $10 Billion Plutonium Boondoggle
While a national debate rages over whether to spend $6 billion to keep down interest rates on loans that students desperately need, the government may spend $10 billion to make plutonium bombs and plutonium fuel that nobody wants. Congress and the Administration are in a fierce contest to see who can throw the most money into the plutonium pit.
Some members of Congress are trying to restore billions in funding for a new factory at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to make plutonium cores for nuclear bombs that the military doesn't need. Meanwhile, President Obama is plowing ahead with plans to make plutonium fuel rods for power reactors that no power company wants to buy. Together, construction costs for these two radioactive white elephants add up to over $10 billion, and rising.
This is seriously wasteful spending at a time when we should be serious about fiscal responsibility and national security. Developing a nuclear strategy that is smart, efficient, and effective against current threats means cutting Cold War programs we no longer need.
FP: That’s one way a dominant power declines: inability to be creative, flexible and to adapt.
And here’s another:
FOR many recent college graduates, the dream of owning a home may have to be postponed awhile as they first grapple with repaying mounds of education loans.
Outstanding student loan debt now totals over $1 trillion, according to a report last month from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That surpasses the amount owned on all credit cards in the United States.
Student debt has become an issue in the presidential race, with both President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee, supporting efforts to extend loan subsidies set to expire in July.
Last year alone, students took out $117 billion just in federal loans. And it's no wonder: According to the College Board, the average annual cost of out-of-state tuition, room and board at a public institution is $29,657; at a private nonprofit, it is $38,589.
"Some student loan payments are as high as a mortgage," said Cari Sweet-Kostoplis, an assistant vice president of the Jersey Mortgage Corporation in Parsippany. She noted that one client who had monthly loan payments totaling $2,800 opted to work as a prison psychologist to qualify for a federal student loan forgiveness program offered to those who undertake community service work after graduation.
Come to think of it public service is such a bad idea. It would be better if graduates would do it without the burden of such loans, but I won’t hold my breath.
Prime Minister Netanyahu expected to announce Sept. 4 date for next elections • Tzipi Livni resigns, says she's "not sorry I didn't agree to sell the country to the ultra-Orthodox" • Yair Lapid tells haredim: "Don't believe anyone who says we hate you."
State comptroller report says Military Rabbinate and Education Corps vying for control of soldiers' education • IDF concerned over possible breach of status quo in military education • Comptroller also skeptical of programs for ultra-Orthodox employment.
FP: I am being proven right that the religious-secular cleavage is as existential a danger for Israel as its external and internal Arab risks. And may even prove more difficult to resolve, unless seculars cave in to the religious.
If a Street View car passed by your house, it wasn’t just snapping pictures of your neighborhood for Google Maps. If you had a wireless router that was not password-protected, the Google car also was recording your email passwords, notes to your friends and family, and any website you happened to visit.
Google’s representatives didn’t admit the data collection efforts of their own accord — they were forced to, thanks to an order by a German court. Canadian government officials ruled that the company had invaded the privacy of thousands of its citizens. French officials concluded that Google deliberately used the information to refine its search and advertising capabilities. South Korean police raided Google’s headquarters in Seoul.
But here in the United States, federal officials have taken their time or closed investigations in short order. The Federal Trade Commission spent a few months glancing at the scandal before closing its investigation in October 2010. The Federal Communications Commission has spent two years working on its own investigation, and it still has not released the findings to the public.
For years, Google leaders including Eric Schmidt have had a disconcertingly cozy relationship with President Barack Obama’s administration. They’ve enjoyed access to the highest levels of power — even buying the services of John Podesta, the lobbyist who oversaw Obama’s transition team in 2008 — and the slow pace of the FCC’s investigation is an unpleasant reminder of what you can get when you spend enough money and attend enough dinners with the right people in Washington, D.C.
FP: The corporate welfare state at its best. IBM, Microsoft, FaceBook, Enron—all corporation that reach behemoth status cannot be controlled by governments, which is controlled by them. After reaching a certain size, It is much easier for these companies to lobby and buy politicians than to innovate and compete; and it is easier for the government to favor them than the public interest.
But Google does improve service:
Is Google perpetuating anti-Semitic tropes by suggesting "Jewish" in searches for wealthy and powerful people? • Several French organizations are suing the Internet titan over the practice • Google counters that the results are generated by algorithm.
FP: I would not be surprised if Google based this on its search statistics that show a strong correlation between “rich and power” and “Jewish” search terms, so they simply made it easier for anti-Semites to search.
Arab youth survey shows that one year after the Arab Spring, earning a fair wage and owning a home are now the two highest priorities for young people in the Middle East • Israeli-Palestinian conflict features low on list of priorities.
FP: Yes, but how do you think this will change when Islamist governments won’t be able to fulfill these expectations? After all they won’t be able to blame the governments that rule in Allah’s name, and the governments know that the best distraction is to blame the Jews.