Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norway attack: Just what is Utoya Island anyway?

Utøya is owned by the political youth party Workers' Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking), which holds a summer camp there. So what is the Workers' Youth League? The Workers' Youth League (AKA AUF) is the youth organization affiliated with the Norwegian Labour Party. AUF was formed in April 1927, following the merger of Left Communist Youth League and Socialist Youth League of Norway. Its ideology is social democracy and democratic socialism.

Young woman accuses Oregon Rep. David Wu of aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter


A distraught young woman called U.S. Rep. David Wu's Portland office this spring, accusing him of an unwanted sexual encounter, according to multiple sources.

When confronted, the Oregon Democrat acknowledged a sexual encounter to his senior aides but insisted it was consensual, the sources said.

The woman is the daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor. She apparently did not contact police at the time.

One person who heard the voice mail described the woman as upset, breathing heavily and "distraught."

In the voice mail, the young woman accused Wu of aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior, according to sources with direct knowledge of the message and its contents.

Reporters could not verify the young woman's age. Notes on Facebook over the past 18 months indicate she graduated from high school in 2010. California records show she registered to vote in August.

Wu, 56, did not respond to repeated questions from The Oregonian over the past four days.

Late Friday, Wu issued a one-sentence response: "This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention, or stress to a young woman and her family.

Sources familiar with the voice mail said it was clear that the woman was the daughter of a high school friend of Wu's in Orange County. The Oregonian does not use the names of victims of sexual assault without their permission. In this case, the newspaper is withholding some details about the family that might identify them given the allegations.

The young woman and her mother and father declined to speak to a reporter outside their home Friday. The family said through an attorney that "they are not interested in talking to" the press. The attorney, David Swanson, is an Orange County lawyer who specializes in criminal law, according to his website.

Sources who talked to The Oregonian agreed to speak only on condition they not be named. They offered information about the alleged incident independently, and each said they had direct knowledge of its details.

Two people with knowledge of the recording and the later conversation with Wu said the alleged incident took place over Thanksgiving weekend. Sources said they were told that the woman went outside and Wu left after her. The sexual encounter followed, they said.

Two sources said the woman believed there was not enough evidence to press charges. There were no witnesses, and it would be her word against a seven-term member of the U.S. Congress.

The alleged incident raises new questions about Wu's behavior during the 1st District congressman's re-election campaign last year. According to staff at the time and emails from the period, he behaved so erratically that staff avoided scheduling him for public appearances and ran a campaign that relied heavily on advertising. Shortly before the Nov. 2 election, senior staff quietly shut down the campaign office and sent other campaign workers home.

In February, following unexpectedly large staff turnover, Wu acknowledged extreme stress last year, which he attributed to the campaign and problems in his marriage. He and his wife are in the process of getting a divorce. He said he sought counseling and has taken medication for an unspecified mental condition.

The Southern California incident allegedly occurred a little over three weeks after the election.

In 2004, The Oregonian reported on a 1976 case when Wu was a student at Stanford University and was disciplined for trying to force an ex-girlfriend to have sex.

Wu refused interview requests related to the Stanford incident for months and hired an attorney who aggressively attacked the paper's reporting and sought to stop publication. When the story ran three weeks before the 2004 election, Wu quickly apologized for his "inexcusable behavior" and was re-elected.

-- Charles Pope

Alleged Oslo Terrorists Claim Responsibility Via Jihadi Forums, YouTube

A shadowy terrorist group called Assistants of the Global Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Norwegian Prime Minister's office and a massacre at a children's day camp via the Internet.

A terrorists group has claimed responsibility for today's attacks in Oslo, Norway--which included the bombing of the Prime Minister's office and a massacre at a children's day camp by a gunman dressed as a police officer--using social media.

An obscure group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (Assistants of the Global Jihad) posted a message on an Islamist bulletin board called Smukh and may have uploaded a video to YouTube several days ago predicting the attack, in which at least seven people were killed.

Ansar al-Jihad's Abu Sulayman al-Nasir allegedly posted a message claiming responsibility for the Oslo attacks on the Arabic-language jihadist forum Shamikh. According to a partial translation by terrorism expert Will McCants of Jihadica, al-Nasir claims the attacks were in retribution for the occupation of Afghanistan by foreign troops and unnamed insults to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Al-Nasir also threatens further attacks:
We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations and we have demanded that the countries of Europe withdraw from the land of Afghanistan and end their war on Islam and Muslims. What you see is only the beginning and there is more to come.

The “Stockholm raid” reference is in response to a 2010 suicide bombing in Sweden.

The original post on Shamikh was taken offline and apparently replaced by the terrorist version of a 404 page.

Commenters on Twitter are also claiming that a Polish-language video uploaded to YouTube several days ago and taken later taken offline predicted terrorist attacks in Oslo. However, since the video is not available, the veracity of this claim is unknown. An alleged cache of the YouTube clip is shown below.

The Norwegian Prime Minister's office was hit by what appears to be a sophisticated car bomb, and a gunman opened fire on a day camp in Oslo affiliated with the Norwegian Labor Party. An exact casualty count is not known, but Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is unharmed.

This is an ongoing story; media sources are still unclear on the number of bombs that have gone off in Oslo, the number of casualties, and what exactly happened at the day camp shooting. We recommend checking the Twitter feeds of the New York Times, BBC, and Norwegian journalist Rune Håkonsen for the latest.

Updated: 14:40 EST

16 TRILLION Reasons Why Everyone In Washington, Including The President, Should Be Heading To Prison

16 TRILLION Reasons Why Everyone In Washington, Including The President, Should Be Heading To Prison - By Gary P Jackson

When I first learned of this, late Thursday, I was so angered I couldn’t even put it into words. Even now I’m really doing all I can to measure and moderate my tone. One thing about it, now we know why so many were adamantly opposed to auditing the Fed!

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders [Socialist-VT] reports the first ever top-to-bottom audit of The Fed shows $16 TRILLION in secret “emergency” loans to American and foreign banks and other businesses. All sympathetic to the democrat party.

Last year, the gross domestic product of the entire U.S. economy was only $14.5 trillion!

These secret loans started during President George W Bush’s last month in office, December 2007, but it was all orchestrated by the Fed. In fact, many of the people who work for the Fed also have ties to the banks and corporations who got this money.

Here’s what Senator Sanders posted on his website:

The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.“

Among the investigation’s key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. “No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president,” Sanders said.

The non-partisan, investigative arm of Congress also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans.

For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed’s board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed’s emergency lending programs.

In another disturbing finding, the GAO said that on Sept. 19, 2008, William Dudley, who is now the New York Fed president, was granted a waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time AIG and GE were given bailout funds. One reason the Fed did not make Dudley sell his holdings, according to the audit, was that it might have created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

To Sanders, the conclusion is simple. “No one who works for a firm receiving direct financial assistance from the Fed should be allowed to sit on the Fed’s board of directors or be employed by the Fed,” he said.

The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.

The Fed outsourced virtually all of the operations of their emergency lending programs to private contractors like JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates. Altogether some two-thirds of the contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth $108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of AIG.

A more detailed GAO investigation into potential conflicts of interest at the Fed is due on Oct. 18, but Sanders said one thing already is abundantly clear. “The Federal Reserve must be reformed to serve the needs of working families, not just CEOs on Wall Street.”

To read the GAO report, click here.

This is simply incredible. It’s crony capitalism at it’s worst, and the numbers are so large they are almost incomprehensible. We’re talking about more money than our yearly GDP, trillions more. It’s frightening enough to know our debt is equal to 100% of our GDP, and totally unsustainable, this puts us in a whole other world.

What’s more incredible is there have been numerous reports of bailout money going to foreign banks, a separate situation, and yet, Congress has done nothing.

Astute readers have heard of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It was developed by a couple of radical, socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. both Cloward and Piven have been big players in the democrat party for decades, and have even been photographed at the White House with President Bill Clinton at official ceremonies.

Cloward-Piven is a strategy to overwhelm the system with debt, demand, and confusion, in order to cause the collapse the entire system of capitalism, and bring about a Marxist state. This is why you see the democrats wanting to add MORE debt, and spend MORE money, at a time we are beyond broke. It’s a deliberate, calculated strategy to destroy America as we know it, and bring about a command-and-control form of government …. Not that we aren’t almost there now!

In September of 2008 James Simpson wrote an great article: Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis for the American Thinker. Simpson laid out the strategy Obama would use, as well as giving readers a nice history lesson of Cloward-Piven and the art of “manufactured crisis.” It’s a must read if you want to understand where we are at right now, and what is actually going on.

It’s a damned shame our “betters” in the GOP didn’t take time to learn about all of this BEFORE Obama was elected. Had the feckless Republican establishment learned what many of us already knew about Obama, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess!

Besides the banks, you’ll notice General Electric is involved in all of this. GE’s CEO Jeffery Immelt is attached to Barack Obama at the hip. GE has received all sorts of special treatment, because Immelt has supported Obama so strongly, and is even on many regime advisory committees. He even turned the TV networks the company owns, most notably NBC and MSNBC, into propaganda channels for Obama and the DNC.

It’s crony capitalism. It reminds me of how socialist and communist states operate. The fat cats, as long as they support the regime, are allowed to not only make money, but actually raid the public coffers.

While these $16 TRILLION in secret loans are so over the top it’s almost hard top comprehend, they are no different to the Obama regime’s handouts to the labor unions, and other special interests who have the regime’s back. History tells us that it’s a good bet most of these loans will never be repaid.

It’s quite telling that at a time Obama is threatening to stop sending seniors and the disabled the monthly checks they have EARNED, as well as gutting the military, [while we are in three wars and terrorism is high] that he has plenty of party favors for his buddies.

The Fed is a bad situation all unto itself. That said, there is congressional oversight of the agency. That the agency has been allowed to run wild, while Congress did nothing, is criminal. Every single member of Congress charged with overseeing the agency must be fired. They also must be investigated. We should be filling our prisons with the corrupt bastards who allowed all of this to happen.

It’s quite obvious the Obama regime has purposely enriched it’s friends through all of this corruption.

We’ve never put a United States President in prison. Obama wants to be “historic” I say we need to make a little history. Obama, Fed chair Ben Bernanke, and an entire cast of characters have created a situation that will most certainly cause the Republic to collapse, if something radical isn’t done.

If the United States collapses, the entire world will collapse. Liberty and Freedom will be things we’ll read about in books. [if books aren't outlawed] We’ll all be living in a very dark time.

I have no faith in Congress. Even though Senator Sanders has exposed this massive corruption, you can bet this will be swept under the rug.

We, the people, must rise up and DEMAND satisfaction.

We must DEMAND that any member of Congress charged with keeping an eye on the Fed resign immediately, pending criminal investigation.

We must DEMAND Ben Bernanke resign immediately, pending criminal investigation.

We must DEMAND members of the Fed involved in this scheme resign immediately, pending criminal investigation.

We must DEMAND any bank officer, corporation management, absolutely anyone involved with any company that received these secret loans, and was involved in the process, should be investigated for criminal activity.

We must DEMAND the resignation of Barack Obama, and anyone else connected to this in his regime, pending criminal investigation.

We also MUST DEMAND a our next elected President have a record of successfully going after corruption, even in her own party. [I just happen to have someone in mind]

Never in the history of our nation has corruption been so rampant in government. We need a top to bottom overhaul. We MUST cut spending and get government out of our lives so we can grow jobs and create opportunities.

The only way we’ll even come close to surviving as a nation is to make the U.S. the most business friendly place on earth.

It’s going to take something radical. It’s going to take our government going back to First Principles, back to the Constitutional Republic our founders created. It’s going to take the federal government realizing what they can and cannot, and should not, interfere with. They need to realize most things, constitutionally, are left to the states to sort out and control.

We need new leadership. We need people who understand reality. We need people who understand they work for us, the people. That WE are their employers, their bosses.

We need people who are mindful of how hard it is to earn a living, and how precious those tax dollars that flow into D.C. are. We need people who will treat those dollars with respect, and spend them wisely.

We also need to send a message to the corrupt bastards in Washington now, by sending the guilty to prison [and throwing away the key] and the inept packing!

With all of the insanity we are seeing from Washington, we can no longer sit by and tolerate it. We must take action and we must be successful. The very existence of our Republic depends on us all standing up and being heard.

Rot sets in for Moscow as Arab Spring raises questions over alliances

RUSSIAN flags are burned by angry protesters alongside those of Iran and the Hezbollah; at the same time in the city of Hama, epicentre of Syria's pro-democracy uprising, a convoy of cars carrying US ambassador Robert Ford is showered with red roses.
Bruce Loudon - The Australian

THE contrast could hardly be more telling or the signals it gives more intriguing.

Slowly but surely evidence is emerging of one of the most remarkable aspects of the Arab Spring: in Syria and Libya, in particular, Moscow has been seriously wrong-footed.

Influence it has wielded for decades is being challenged after apparent policy miscalculations that could have major long-term strategic consequences.

For Moscow, the wave of anger being directed towards it by pro-democracy protesters in Syria is not yet anything like that seen when it was forced out of Afghanistan. But, given Syria has for decades been one of its closest allies in the Middle East, and a major arms buyer, the outbreak of flag-burning and anti-Russian wall slogans are undoubtedly causing deep concern in Moscow. "These acts are a huge shock for the Kremlin," says one analyst. But, surely, no surprise.

Despite the turmoil that has overtaken Syria, threatening President Bashar al-Assad's hold on power, Moscow has been unwavering in its support for its long-standing ally and the country that is the linchpin of its Middle East policy.

Unflinchingly, with China it has blocked attempts at the UN to pass even a mild resolution condemning Assad's suppression of the pro-democracy movement.

It insists, as its deputy UN ambassador Alexander Pankin has put it, there can be no justification for a resolution because events in Syria do not represent a threat to international peace and security. "One cannot disregard the fact that the violence does not all originate from one side," Pankin has said. "A real threat to regional security, in our view, could arise from outside interference in Syria's domestic situation, including attempts to push ready-made solutions or taking of sides."

Russia has come down unequivocally in support of the Assad regime. Hence the anger of the demonstrators, who are now lumping Russia together with the President's two closest allies, Iran and the Hezbollah terrorists. If Assad's regime survives, the Kremlin's support could pay dividends for Moscow. If not, decades of Soviet and Russian involvement in Syria could be at risk.

The consequences for Russian policy in the Middle East would be significant. Analysts point out that beyond the loss of political influence, vital strategic projects would be threatened. So would massive Russian arms sales to Syria amounting to billions of dollars.

With Libya, the challenge is less acute because Moscow, despite its long-standing ties with Muammar Gaddafi, did at least support the UN Security Council's resolution authorising NATO to enforce the no-fly zone.

Yet with hindsight it probably wishes it hadn't: while President Dimitry Medvedev has said Moscow believes Gaddafi should step down, the Kremlin complains the West has misused the resolution, turning it into a justification for regime change.

Significantly, when the 30-nation Libyan contact group met in Turkey last week and decided to accord formal recognition to Gaddafi's opponents, Russia played no part. Analysts believe Moscow resents the way the Libyan operation has turned out, seeing it as the start of a process of southward enlargement similar to NATO's expansion into Poland and the Baltic states.

Critics of the Obama administration were dubious when Washington returned its ambassador to Damascus. That he has now been showered in roses while Russian support for Assad has become the target of pro-democracy demonstrators should go some way towards silencingthem.

In the great game for influence in a pivotal Middle Eastern nation, the manifestation of anti-Russian sentiment within the pro-democracy movement could be the start of a major strategic setback for Moscow.

It is a tantalising prospect.

Lame Duck President

After listening to the President’s press conference today, let’s keep in mind the following:

This is the same president who proposed an absurdly irresponsible budget that would increase our debt by trillions of dollars, and whose party failed to even put forward a budget in over 800 days! This is the same president who is pushing our country to the brink because of his reckless spending on things like the nearly trillion dollar “stimulus” boondoggle. This is the same president who ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations and demonized the voices of fiscal sanity who proposed responsible plans to reform our entitlement programs and rein in our dangerous debt trajectory. This is the same president who wanted to push through an increase in the debt ceiling that didn’t include any cuts in government spending! This is the same president who wants to slam Americans with tax hikes to cover his reckless spending, but has threatened to veto a bill proposing a balanced budget amendment. This is the same president who hasn’t put forward a responsible plan himself, but has rejected reasonable proposals that would tackle our debt. This is the same president who still refuses to understand that the American electorate rejected his big government agenda last November. As I said in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Tax Day Tea Party rally, “We don’t want it. We can’t afford it. And we are unwilling to pay for it.”

Now the President is outraged because the GOP House leadership called his bluff and ended discussions with him because they deemed him an obstruction to any real solution to the debt crisis.

He has been deemed a lame duck president. And he is angry now because he is being treated as such.

His foreign policy strategy has been described as “leading from behind.” Well, that’s his domestic policy strategy as well. Why should he be surprised that he’s been left behind in the negotiations when he’s been leading from behind on this debt crisis?

Thank you, GOP House leaders. Please don’t get wobbly on us now.
2012 can’t come soon enough.

- Sarah Palin

Disunited: Are Our States Moving in Separate Directions?

Legislatures in red and blue states are enacting very different kinds of laws. Is that for the good?

By Ronald Brownstein and Scott Bland

At times, the past six months in the imposing state Capitol building in Indianapolis has seemed more like a track meet than a typical legislative session.

After the 2010 election expanded Indiana Republicans’ control of the state Senate and provided them a majority in the state House, GOP lawmakers joined with Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to briskly advance a long list of conservative priorities. Together they adopted tough measures on illegal immigration (including legislation similar to Arizona’s controversial enforcement bill); expanded the school-voucher program; limited collective bargaining by teachers; and overrode local restrictions that prevent gun owners from carrying their weapons in many public buildings. To much fanfare, Republicans defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted a raft of constraints on abortion, including a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy—a provision that critics say violates the constitutional right to abortion that the Supreme Court established under Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Two hundred miles to the west, in Springfield, Ill., the Legislature has marched, nearly as rapidly, in the opposite direction. Illinois Democrats have moved aggressively to leverage a 2010 election that maintained their party’s control of the state House and Senate and installed Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn for a full term. While devising a budget to salve the desperate fiscal condition, Illinois Democrats made permanent the state’s longtime moratorium on the death penalty. Quinn withdrew Illinois from a controversial federal illegal-immigration enforcement plan championed by President Obama, and signed a law that provides undocumented immigrants in-state higher-education benefits, including tax-advantaged savings. In January, the governor approved a civil-union bill that provides same-sex couples spousal rights equivalent to those of heterosexual couples. “It was,” Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris said with studied understatement, “a good year.”

These Midwestern neighbors aren’t the only states taking separate paths through what has become a busy, even landmark, year for state legislative action. Across an array of issues, red and blue states are pulling apart.

This process isn’t exactly parallel: Energized by their big 2010 wins, red-state Republicans have generally moved more boldly than blue-state Democrats to redirect state policy. But on both sides of the political divide, leaders in many states this year tilted away from the cautious centrism that often shaped the strategies of governors and legislators in earlier times. The result has been a banner legislative year for both gay-rights advocates and abortion opponents. Along the way, the ideological and partisan polarization that defines contemporary Washington increasingly appears to be infusing debates—and driving results—in state capitals as well.

“It is a time for extreme views,” said Richard Nathan, former director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York in Albany, which studies state-level policy. “My recollection of government is that there are times when people work things out, compromise, bargain to get consensus. But there doesn’t seem to be much consensus-seeking [now] at the state level.”

There’s nothing new about states charting distinct pathways. Many thinkers have long championed the idea of states as “laboratories of democracy” that provide a testing ground for competing ideas. And some leaders in both parties agree that our federal system benefits from a built-in escape valve allowing states to craft responses to national controversies that reflect local majorities. But this year’s flurry of legislative activity is testing the limits of that theory by dramatically widening the gap between policies in blue and red states on polarizing issues such as abortion, gay rights, and immigration.

As so many states go their separate ways, no one can say for sure where exactly the line falls between variation that eases political tension and dissonance that intensifies it. “My own [instinct] is toward letting the states decide these things, because having national solutions imposed usually doesn’t solve the problem, and it keeps the pot boiling,” says Peter Wehner, a former senior adviser in the George W. Bush White House. “But at some point, you get people in different states pushing so many diverse laws with so many diverse views, it makes us less united as a country. All things being equal, we’d rather have the bandwidth narrower than wider.”

The contrast this year between red and blue states is most apparent on what might be called discretionary policies. On the biggest challenge facing state governments—budgets squeezed by the lingering economic slowdown—Democratic and Republican governors have displayed a surprising degree of strategic convergence. Generally speaking, states on both sides of the political divide have moved to close budget deficits by cutting spending rather than raising revenue (with Illinois as a notable exception). Even Democrats Jerry Brown in California and Andrew Cuomo in New York, presiding over the bicoastal two towers of blue America, have pursued givebacks from public employees.

Still, differences are apparent even on the fiscal front. Although both Democratic and Republican governors have sought budget concessions from state employees, many GOP governors and legislatures have gone a long step further by also seeking to curtail the bargaining power of the public-employee unions. Thirteen states—almost all of which have Republican governors and legislatures, and most with a strong history of backing the GOP’s presidential candidates—have pursued such limits this year. No state in which Democrats control the governorship and legislature has imposed such limits on public-employee unions.

Attempts to limit public workers’ bargaining rights have generated the most heated conflicts in state policy this year. But the pulling apart across the states is even more vivid on social issues such as abortion and gay rights. Despite the GOP’s huge state-level gains in the 2010 election that netted almost 700 state legislative seats, 2011 witnessed astounding successes in the expansion of gay marriage and civil unions, with five solidly Democratic states enacting legal recognition for gay couples. On the other side of the ledger, 15 mostly Republican-leaning states have moved sharply to restrict abortion rights. Illegal immigration has exposed the same centrifugal current: 15 mostly Republican-leaning states have adopted one or more tough new enforcement measures, while five blue states have either withdrawn from federal enforcement efforts or provided in-state tuition to the children of those here illegally. Red and blue states are also going in different directions on gun control and their response to President Obama’s health care reform law.

At some level, this patchwork of divergent approaches is exactly what the nation’s Founders intended when they established a federalist system that maintains substantial authority for the states (and rejected James Madison’s hope of a congressional veto over state actions).

Particularly on divisive social issues, some liberal and conservative thinkers have long argued that providing states more flexibility to set rules that reflect local mores could drain some of the venom from intractable national debates. Wehner, now a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues that the unending generation-long controversy over the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion shows the cost of imposing a single national solution on divisive cultural questions. On gay marriage, he maintains, the nation would be better served by allowing states to go their own way rather than attempting to either guarantee or ban equal treatment through the courts or a federal constitutional amendment. “To have same-sex marriage now decided at a state level, and different state levels, makes the culture wars less heated than they otherwise would be,” Wehner says.

In the 2008 Republican presidential primary campaign, Rudy Giuliani, attempting to temper conservatives’ skepticism about his liberal social views, argued for allowing states more leeway to pursue their own course on social issues. If Texas Gov. Rick Perry seeks the nomination in 2012, he may use comparable arguments to soften resistance among more-moderate GOP primary voters to his staunchly conservative social views. From the other side of the ideological spectrum, Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, has contended that returning control over abortion to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade would allow the nation to reach a “democratic equilibrium” on the perennial dispute.

Bruce Cain, a University of California (Berkeley) political scientist, agrees with Wehner that many Americans will probably welcome the trend toward diverging state policies. “We are a divided country, and if we were all mixed in one state, we’d be fighting to a standstill,” Cain said. “It may be a way of diffusing the tension somewhat to allow states to have different paths, and then people can choose to live in a state or not.”

As states pull apart, though, it raises questions of how far they can extend flexibility without either undermining nationally guaranteed rights or simply producing an unworkable jumble of cacophonous directives. After all, for decades, state-sponsored segregation was defended as an expression of distinctive Southern mores and preferences. Only decisive national action, first from the Supreme Court through the Brown v. Board of Education decision and then Congress through the 1964 Civil Rights Act, dismantled Jim Crow and ensured African-Americans that they would possess (if not always be able to exercise) equal rights in every state. The Roe decision did the same thing for women on abortion, overriding discordant state laws that permitted or prohibited the procedure.

The aggressive laws that states passed this year, particularly on abortion and illegal immigration, will likely keep federal courts busy for years determining whether they infringe on federal law or constitutional rights. Nathan, the scholar on state policy, believes that the deeper problem with the centrifugal movement isn’t so much legal as political: He sees the trend as reflecting a rising absolutist strain in American politics in which the majority party, no matter how narrow its advantage, pursues a winner-take-all agenda, at the national and the state level, that offers few concessions to opponents’ views. “You could argue that [this trend amounts] to reconciling diversity,” he says. “But I wouldn’t, because I think there’s a churning hardball-politics process at work within both the red and blue states. It doesn’t pretend that you’re going to have a consensus on the social issues or the role of government through deal-making or bargaining.”

It’s possible that the powerful centrifugal force evident this year in the states will prove a temporary surge driven mostly by the historic GOP gains in 2010. But other factors indicate that it could endure.

One reason is that so many states now lean reliably and durably toward one party or the other as Americans arrange themselves in their housing patterns along cultural, ideological, and partisan lines. Bill Bishop, the Texas-based coauthor of the acclaimed 2008 book The Big Sort, which chronicled the increasing tendency of like-minded Americans to flock together, says that the clustering phenomenon creates communities in which converging viewpoints encourage policies that tilt sharply left or right. Increasingly, he contends, the same dynamic is affecting states. “If you look at them, a lot of the states are tipping too,” he says. “And as these places begin to tip, their policies reflect more of the direction they are tipping toward. You saw that initially locally.… Now, as states begin to tip, you see those kinds of [dynamics] carrying over.”

Another factor is that state politics no longer are as resistant as they once were to the polarization and reflexive partisanship that characterizes Washington. Even as national politics grew more divided after the 1960s, governors often prided themselves on functioning as nonpartisan, pragmatic problem-solvers. The National Governors Association cherished its ability to produce bipartisan proposals for almost every challenge.

That has grown much more difficult to do, as governors (and state legislators) divide along party lines as reliably as their congressional counterparts do on issues such as climate change, immigration, or Obama’s health care law. The divergence evident this year among red and blue states is not so much a cause of our divisions as a reflection of the fact that no level of American politics remains immune to them. Allowing local majorities to follow increasingly inimical paths may indeed produce more “democratic equilibrium,” but at the price of institutionalizing the deepening divisions between these ostensibly United States.

Newsflash for the Pundits: Analysts have a poor collective track record

Officials from Standard & Poor’s and other credit rating agencies told a gathering of Republicans this week that a default on the nation’s debt by the federal government could lead to a “death spiral” in the bond market.

We have enough tax revenue to make our interest payments so –not- increasing the debt ceiling should not lead to a default on the interest payments. The actual significance of what has taken place in this incident is being misinterpreted.

Pundits like O’Reilly, Kudlow, Charles Krauthammer and old guard Senators like James Coburn are championing the status quo. Krauthammer is contending that Republicans have “over played their hand” and “appear as unreasonable”.

The fundamental problem with all of their melodrama is they are all making the mistake of assuming that the proffered opinion of S&P and Moody’s is somehow an axiom. Nobody is asking the question, who are these people and –why- should we give their opinions automatic credence? I take issue with the very premise. The notion that our debt- should- be DOWNGRADED based upon the debt ceiling not being raised is erroneous at its core and here’s why.

The people at these ratings agencies are merely analysts with their own opinions and can be subject to their own personal biases like anyone else. One thing that I have found about financial analysts in my career as a Financial Advisor is that they are dead wrong at least as often as they are right. How soon we forget that many of these analysts slapped AAA ratings on CDO’s and CMO’s that were packed with tranches of pure garbage, liar loans. Most of the analysts all LOVED the general obligation municipal bonds that were recently hammered down in valuation. Several years before the meltdown, the municipal bond traders at a major global wire house told me that standard procedure was for these bond ratings agencies was to automatically slap a AAA+ rating on a GO bond if that state or municipality simply purchased an insurance policy from the muni bond insurers like MBIA & AMBAC. By the way, those insurers are not sound. One of the top bond insurers, AMBAC is now defunct and MBIA is weak at best. Most of these muni bonds trade steeply below their IPO prices in the secondary market and are being propped up along with the junk bond market by the Federal Reserve’s exceedingly low interest rate policy.

Sure, we could see a self-fulfilling prophecy where our bonds trade down on Monday after a week of apocalyptic rhetoric. But the major buyers of US Treasuries in the primary market now have MORE reason to bid the price of Treasuries UPWARD as a result. The indisputable fact is that thanks to the tea party movement, we have finally elected a group to congress who recognize the gravity of the situation and are willing to stand up to the demagoguery that has for decades led to the pitiful compromise that CAUSED this situation, which is appeasement of self-serving politicians who have raised the debt ceiling over and over and over again.

If the GOP led congress had capitulated and done what their predecessors have done for decades, follow the path of least resistance, they would have signaled to the world that we do not have what it takes to save this country from certain bankruptcy. We do not have TIME to make symbolic gestures with diminutive cuts and growth killing tax increases, Regardless of what some academic quants think at Standard & Poors, smart money, i.e. countries and entities who buy up tens of billions worth of US paper – should have MORE confidence than yesterday that we are going to be able to exercise the fiscal discipline requisite to maintain these obligations into the distant future. I maintain that despite the manipulative rhetoric of Barack Obama and Harry Reed, the outlook for Treasuries and the US dollar is much more positive today than it was yesterday as a result of Boehner walking away from business as usual.

The “smart money” do not make their commitments based upon the impetuous and prosaic reasoning of a Standard and Poor analyst. If prosperity truly was a corollary to reading an S&P report, the analysts at these agencies and the webmasters who publish the reports would be the wealthiest people on the planet because they get the “analysis” first. The strength of the US Treasury cannot be buttressed by Standard and Poors but rather the integrity of those who stand behind it.

Given the dismal track record of the analysts, I would no sooner solicit their subjective opinion on any financial instrument than I would that of an art or movie critic like Rodger Ebert. Ebert may be just as reliable. Concerning the scare tactics of the senate liberals, the last people I would listen to on fiscal matters is a group of elected ambulance chasers. The President would be much better suited to capitalizing on “slip and fall” victims. He and the rest of the lawyers should stick to that which they understand.

With the power of over-reaching government agencies like the SEC and a rogue Attorney General at his disposal, I can’t help but wonder what type of communication might be taking place between the Obama administration and executives at these ratings agencies that are profitable businesses in the highly regulated industry of Wall Street. “Just saying” - it might merit an investigation as the timing of their sudden proclamations could be perceived as somewhat peculiar.

As to the specious contentions of the establishment media pundits, they should be questioned as well. Krauthammer accusing them of “over playing their hand” (by not betraying us like they did before we lost our majority) - has a deceptive look of legitimacy because of the polls these pundits cite. In the same hour the pundits on Fox were was citing a poll that shows 60+ percent of Americans do NOT want the debt ceiling raised, these pundits cited a poll indicating that some 40%+ would “blame the Republicans if the debt ceiling isn’t raised”. Those two polls are actually somewhat consistent upon further reflection. The problem is that Krauthammer and the rest of the panel use their voice inflection to portray that as a NEGATIVE. If 60%+ of Americans DON’T WANT the debt ceiling to be raised – we should WANT the blame, especially if we actually BELIEVE in the cause which we advance!

- Scott Ryan

Norway: Labor declares war against radical Islam --Islam in Europe (2009)

A summary of several articles: The Labor Party's secretary, Martin Kolberg, promised last week that the party will lead against all anti-democracy and anti-equality forces.

"Radical doesn't belong in Norway in any way, and we will fight it," Kolberg said. "The Labor Party wants to take care of the interests of the great majority, at the same time that we must be crystal clear that Norwegian law applies and that all extremist groups have no place in Norwegian society."

He recognizes that people worry not just about Islam, but also about immigration in general. "It's a big challenge to manage all immigrants in Norway, it's also a big challenge to deport those who don't get residence in Norway," says Kolberg.

The parliament passed a law last week banning marriage immigration, making Norway the country with the strictest laws in this field.

"It's absolutely necessary since we see that it's being abused," says Kolberg.

Kolberg's words were received warmly by the Frp. Progress Party (Frp) chairman Siv Jensen says that she thinks it's very good that Martin Kolbert agrees with Frp, but it's the Labor Party which has been responsible for Norwegian immigration policies and integration for decades."

The AP, though, is trying to distance itself from the positions of Frp. Kolberg says it's not difficult to tell the difference between the labor party and Frp in immigration and integration politics. "Since we are for a multicultural society, we think that immigration is both useful and necessary for Norway," says Kolberg.

Arild Stokkan-Grande, labor party immigration policies spokesperson says that Frp's political and negative rhetoric about immigration will cause radicalization of Islamic groups. There is no sneak-Islamization in Norway today, there are several extreme groups which the security service is following. There's no impending danger, but the fear of the Norwegian people should be taken seriously, when we see that society is changing.

The Labor Party lost 4 percentage points on the NRK poll, while the Progress Party got 8.5%. It is thought to be due to the hijab debate. NRK political commentator Kyrre Nakkim says that Kolberg's statements show that the Labor Party is trying to get in on Frp's success.

Not everybody in the Labor Party agrees with Kolberg. Parliament President Thorbjørn Jagland, also of the Labor Party, attacked Kolberg yesterday. "There's no threat from Islam in Norway, but it's completely possible to create a threat," says Jagland.

He says that nobody had made clear what radical Islam is. Hijab and FGM are mentioned as examples among many terms thrown into one pot which are all together called radical Islam. In the end it's a big stew. Jagland says that in this way you create a bogeyman of Islam. There's all possible reason to fight radical Islam, but there's no such thing in Norway, he thinks.

Jagland thinks the Labor party is copying the Frp, winning voters by creating fear which really doesn't exist. He says it's wrong to create a fear which isn't real, and that's why he's responding the way he does. Playing up fear is a dangerous game, since one can lose control.

Yesterday Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called an urgent phone-conference with his party's leadership and said the Kolberg's declaration of war against radical Islam reflects the view of the party.

The county representatives say they support Kolberg, but sources in the Labor Party told Dagbladet that Jagland has support in the party and that Kolberg is mixing up together different issues.

Stoltenberg also said the party heads would take a firmer stance in the future in the value and integration debate.

Sources: NRK 1, 2; Dagbladet (Norwegian)

Debt Crisis Mostly Voters’ Fault President Says

The looming “catastrophic” cut in federal government spending that would occur if the debt ceiling isn’t raised won’t be his fault says President Obama. “I am the only person in the government who was elected to serve all the people,” Obama declared. “All of the others—representatives and senators, alike—serve narrower constituencies. It is their responsibility to accept my leadership. Yet, they persist in pushing views that conflict with the vision I’ve laid out for this country.”

A large part of the blame for what the President labeled “our schizophrenic policies” lies with the American voters. “On the one hand, voters want the government to take care of them,” Obama said. “So, they vote for Democrats. On the other hand, voters don’t want to pay what it costs for the government to take care of them. So, they vote for Republicans who oppose the taxes necessary to pay what it costs. When the result is a divided government like it is now, deadlock ensues.”

If policy deadlock prevents an increase in the debt limit, the President warned that “the long-term compromise of expanding government benefits without raising taxes that has been achieved by continually borrowing more money will be undone. It would be as if we had a balanced budget Amendment—not at some future date years away, but right now. The federal government would be forced to reduce expenditures to fit within its $200 billion per month income from taxes.”

The president acknowledged that the federal government could increase incoming revenues without raising taxes if it were to emulate what some state governments have done and sell off or lease-out government-owned properties. “The federal government owns trillions of dollars worth of land—nearly 30% of this country,” the President admitted. “A lot of this land contains valuable oil, minerals, and timber that could be extracted. Private businesses would pay us billions each year for the rights to exploit these resources. However, opening these lands to such uses would lower costs to consumers and undermine their incentive to conserve.”

“Opening up federal lands in an attempt to ‘grow’ our way out of the current economic slump is not something I can reconcile myself to,” Obama said. “Americans need to learn to live more frugally. These resources may be located in the United States, but can we justify appropriating them solely for the benefit of Americans when there are so many living elsewhere who are poorer and more deserving?”

If Republicans don’t come around to a position he can tolerate the President said he “will be forced to apportion the consequences in a manner that ensures an equitable shared suffering. If I can’t fund everything I will be the one who chooses what expenses will or won’t get paid. The buck really does stop here.”

Obama's political wing involved in Wisconsin recalls

President Barack Obama's political arm at the Democratic National Committee is getting involved in the Wisconsin state Senate recall elections.

Obama's Organizing for America is pulling together volunteers in Madison this weekend to knock on doors and make phone calls in support of Democrats in eight recall elections.

The group sent an email Thursday night to supporters soliciting volunteers.

The group's Wisconsin field director says Organizing for America will be providing support to volunteers working on the recall elections. Six Republicans and two Democrats face recall elections next month.

Obama's group was also involved with helping to organize protests in Madison in February over Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining proposal, which spurred the recalls.

Why Sarah Palin Will Be the Next President of the United States

On Sunday, July 17th, I braved heat and Harry, (No disrespect to fellow fans!) and traveled to Independence Missouri to see The Undefeated, the documentary of Sarah Palin’s accomplishments as Governor in Alaska. I left the theater certain of two things: Sarah will run in 2012 and she will win.

What convinced me? Two things: The Palin Platform and 80%.

The Undefeated chronicles the four areas upon which Governor Palin focused, the Palin Platform.

1. Ethics Reform. Governor Palin basically built a wall between those writing or enforcing the law and major corporations profiting from the shared resources belonging to Alaskans. Before Sarah’s arrival, the conflicts of interest were such that politicians and Big Oil conducted business in a manner that mutually benefited each another while neglecting the best interest of the ordinary citizens.

2. Kitchen Table Economics. When Sarah Palin arrived at the Governor’s Mansion, she was asked by the director to give a detailed list of what groceries she would like purchased. The new Governor told the director that she wanted to use up all the food and supplies still in the pantry from the previous tenants before buying fresh groceries. Sarah’s spirit of “using what’s in the pantry first” is indicative of her application of simple household money management principles to general government. This spirit is detailed in the The Undefeated. She literally sat at the table and, pen in hand, personally removed almost half a billion dollars of wasteful spending from the State’s Budget. She spent money on building infrastructure that would bring business to towns and improve economy, rather than on wasteful programs. She insisted on balanced budgets and that legislators remember they were spending other people’s money.

3. Independent Energy Revolution. Sarah lay the foundation for a total transformation in American Energy Policy and total energy independence for the United States from all foreign sources. She worked to open new areas for drilling and restructured the state tax code so that oil companies now receive tax benefits in proportion to the lowering of energy costs. Sarah pushed for new privatized pipelines that would bring more American energy resources and new jobs to Alaska and eventually, the entire nation.

4. American Exceptionalism-Inspired Foreign Policy. Sarah believes that an energy independent America is the basis for a less tangled foreign policy, one that focuses on securing our freedoms and those of our true allies. This independence permits America to stand for those unique values in areas of the world where these values are compromised by our dependence on oil produced by countries who hate us and our way of life.

The Undefeated begins with a five-minute montage of derision aimed at Sarah Palin by liberal media, celebrities, and politicians. Her opponents often spoke of her as ignorant or incompetent, but none ever attempted to address the significance of her 80% approval rating. During the months preceding her Vice-Presidential campaign, though she advanced legislation and reforms that had the potential to alienate millions of Alaskans, Sarah Palin’s approval rating never dropped below 80%. This level of approval is unheard of in politics after the first three “honeymoon” months are over. The only way Governor Palin could have maintained these ratings is if her policies were really and truly good for all her citizens, ordinary people as well as corporations and businesses in Alaska.

Policies generated by a metal dwarf, or an incompetent narcissist would produce chaos and please only the few who benefit from them. Only well-balanced and intelligent government that weighs the common good of all can create the order in which people with varying needs are all, or nearly all content and find they are able to go about their lives and business uninhibited by intrusion or neglected where good intervention is needed.

I believe that Sarah will run because she believes profoundly in the efficacious principles of governing she applied, with great success, in Alaska. The Undefeated presents the reality of Sarah Palin as an inspirational leader who is actually most apt, not at the podium, but in her ability to envision and execute practical solutions to state problems. Sarah will run because she is passionate about her Platform of simple principles that she knows, from personal experience, will fix the crisis we are facing in America.

Sarah will probably announce in early September that she is seeking the office of President of the United States. This announcement, contrary to what the media, Hollywood, the Democrats, and the GOP Luminaries have told us, will be met by a storm of enthusiasm and relief, support we have yet to see for any GOP Candidate to grace the field. For the first two years his reign, Sarah was the most vocal opponent of the Obama madness and is the de facto, respected, seasoned representative of the Conservative electorate. Once declared, her rapid rise as the logical and enthusiastic nemesis of post-American Obama will be met with ridicule by overconfident opponents until it is too late. They will pay the ultimate price for ignoring her abilities, real record, tenacity, and proven Platform for the restoration of our country.

EEOC sues Florida Jewish nursing home

The possibilities are endless!!!

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a Florida Jewish nursing home for firing a Seventh-day Adventist staffer who did not want to work on her Sabbath.

Menorah House in Boca Raton "denied a religious accommodation to Philomene Augustin and fired her because of her religious beliefs," the EEOC said in a statement Tuesday. The firing violated religious protections in the federal Civil Rights Act that require "reasonable accommodation" of religious beliefs, "so long as this does not pose an undue hardship," the EEOC said.

According to the EEOC, Augustin worked at Menorah House as a certified nursing assistant. The nursing home had accommodated her request not to work on the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, for more than 10 years until management instituted a new policy requiring all employees to work on Saturdays, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit, the statement said, only after its conciliation process failed. Menorah House, which is privately owned, is situated next to the Jewish community campus.

Untranslated first hand account of Attack in Norway

Helvete på Utøya

Jeg har våknet. Jeg klarer ikke å sove mer. Jeg sitter i stuen. Føler sorg, sinne, lykke, Gud jeg vet ikke hva. Det er for mange følelser. Det er for mange tanker. Jeg er redd. Jeg reagerer på hver minste lyd. Jeg vil nå skrive om hva som skjedde på Utøya. Hva mine øyne så, hva jeg følte, hva jeg gjorde. Ordene kommer rett fra levra, men jeg vil samtidig anonymisere mange navn i respekt for mine venner.

Vi hadde hatt krisemøte i hovedbygget etter eksplosjonene i Oslo. Etter det var det et eget møte for medlemmene fra Akershus og Oslo. Etter møtene befant mange, mange seg rundt og i hovedbygget. Vi trøstet oss med at vi var trygge på en øy. Ingen hadde visst at helvete ville bryte ut hos oss også.

Jeg sto i hovedgangen da panikken brøt ut. Jeg hørte skudd. Jeg så ham skyte. Alle begynte å løpe. Det første tanken var: ”Hvorfor skyter politiet på oss? Hva faen?!” Jeg løp inn i lillesalen. Folk løp. Skrek. Jeg var redd. Jeg klarte å komme meg inn på et av rommene bakerst i bygget. Vi var mange der inne. Vi lå på gulvet alle sammen. Vi hørte flere skudd. Ble mer redde. Jeg gråt. Jeg skjønte ingenting. Jeg så bestevennen min gjennom vinduet og lurte på om jeg skulle gå ut for hente ham inn til meg. Jeg rakk det ikke. Jeg så frykten i øynene hans. Vi ble liggende på gulvet inne i rommet i noen minutter. Vi ble enige om ikke å slippe flere inn i tilfelle morderen kom. Vi hørte flere skudd og bestemte oss for å hoppe ut av vinduet. Panikken brøt ut blant oss. Alle inne i rommet hastet seg til vinduet og prøvde å hoppe ut. Jeg var den siste og tenkte: ”Jeg er den siste som hopper ut av vinduet. Nå dør jeg. Jeg er sikker, men det er kanskje greit, da vet jeg at de andre er trygge.” Jeg kasket vesken min ut av vinduet. Prøvde å klarte ned, men mistet taket. Jeg landet hardt på venstre del av kroppen. En gutt hjalp meg opp. Vi løp inn i skogen. Jeg så meg rundt. ”Er han her? Skyter han mot meg? Ser ham meg?” En jente hadde brukket ankelen. En annen var hardt skadd. Jeg prøvde å hjelpe litt før jeg fortsatte ned mot vannet. Jeg søkte dekning bak en slags murvegg. Vi var mange. Jeg ba, ba, ba. Jeg håpet på at Gud så meg. Jeg ringte mamma og sa at det ikke var sikkert vi ville møtes igjen, men at jeg skulle gjøre alt for å klare meg. Jeg sa flere ganger at jeg elsket henne. Jeg hørte frykten i stemmen hennes. Hun gråt. Det gjorde vondt. Jeg sendte tekstmelding til pappa, sa at jeg elsket ham. Jeg sendte tekstmelding til et annet menneske jeg er veldig, veldig glad i. Vi holdt litt kontakt. Jeg sendte tekstmelding til bestevennen min. Han svarte ikke. Vi hørte flere skudd. Krøp oss sammen. Gjorde alt vi kunne for å holde varmen. Det var så mange tanker. Jeg var så redd. Pappa ringte meg. Jeg gråt, sa at jeg elsket ham. Han sa at han var på vei sammen med broren min for å ta meg imot når jeg kommer over til fastlandet eller de kom til øya. Det var så mange følelser. Så mange tanker. Jeg ba alt jeg kunne. Det gikk en del tid. De andre ringte foreldre etter hvert begynte alle å tekste i frykt for at morderen skulle høre oss. Jeg tenkte på søsteren min som er bortreist. Hvordan jeg skulle fortelle henne hvordan det gikk? Hva som skjedde med meg. Jeg oppdaterte på Twitter og Facebook at jeg foreløpig var i live og at jeg var ”trygg”. Jeg skrev at jeg ventet på politiet. Folk hoppet ut i vannet, begynte å svømme. Jeg ble liggende. Jeg bestemte meg for at hvis han kom, skulle jeg spille død. Jeg skulle ikke løpe eller svømme. Jeg kan ikke beskrive frykten, alle tankene, det jeg følte.

En man kom. ”Jeg er fra politiet.” Jeg ble liggende. Noen skrek tilbake at han måtte bevise det. Jeg husker ikke helt hva ham sa, men morderen begynte å skyte. Han ladet. Skjøt mer. Han skjøt de rundt meg. Jeg ble liggende. Jeg tenke: ”Nå er det over. Han er her. Han tar meg. Nå dør jeg.” Folk skrek. Jeg hørte at andre ble skutt. Andre hoppet ut i vannet. Jeg lå der. Mobilen i hånden. Jeg lå oppå beina til en jente. To andre lå oppå mine bein. Jeg ble liggende. Det tikket inn tekstmeldinger. Mobilen ringte flere ganger. Jeg ble liggende. Jeg spilte død. Jeg lå der i minst en time. Det var helt stille. Jeg vred forsiktig på hodet for å se om jeg kunne se noen levende. Jeg så lik. Jeg så blod. Frykt. Jeg bestemte meg for å reise meg. Jeg hadde ligget oppå et lik. To lik lå på meg. Jeg hadde englevakt.

Jeg visste ikke om han ville komme tilbake igjen. Jeg hadde ikke mot til å se på alle som hadde ringt og tekstet meg. Jeg hastet ned mot vannet. Tok av meg genseren. Den var stor. Jeg tenkte at det ville bli vanskelig å svømme meg den. Jeg vurderte om jeg skulle ta med meg mobilen eller la den ligge igjen. Jeg puttet den i baklommen og hoppet uti. Jeg så flere andre ute i vannet. De hadde svømt langt. Jeg så at noen hadde samlet seg rundt en flytende luftbåt eller noe sånt. Det var mange som plukket opp de som svømte utover. Jeg svømte, svømte og svømte mot den luftgreia. Jeg skrek. Gråt. Ble kald. Tenkte på når jeg ville drukne. Det ble tyngre og tyngre. Jeg ba. Jeg fortsatte. Ble sliten i armene. Bestemte meg for å snu meg på ryggen og bare bruke beina for å svømme videre. Jeg sank. Jeg begynte å svømme vanlig igjen. En liten stund trodde jeg de som hadde samlet seg rundt luftbåten begynte å bevege seg bort. Jeg skrek. Tryglet dem om å vente på meg. Jeg må ha sett syner. Jeg svømte hvert fall noen hundre meter før jeg nådde frem. Vi snakket litt sammen. Fortalte hva vi het, hvor vi kom fra. Når båtene kjørte forbi skrek vi om hjelp, men de plukket opp de andre som bare svømte først. En mann i båt kom til oss. Han kastet ut flere redningsvester. Jeg fikk tak i en. Fikk den på meg. Jeg holdt fast i den lille luftbåten lenge helt til den samme mannen kom tilbake for å plukke oss opp. Alle kom seg oppi. Han begynte å kjøre mot land. Etter en stund begynte den lille båten hans å ta inn litt vann. Jeg gjorde alt jeg kunne for å få mest mulig vann ut. Jeg brukte en bøtte. Jeg ble sliten. En annen jente i båten tok over. Vi kom oss til land. Vi fikk tepper. Tårene presset seg på. Jeg gråt mer. En dame klemte meg. Det var så godt. Jeg gråt høyt. Jeg hulket. En mann lånte meg telefonen sin. Jeg ringte pappa: ”Jeg lever. Jeg klarte det. Nå er jeg trygg.” Jeg la på. Gråt mer. Vi måtte gå et lite stykke. Helt ukjente mennesker tok oss inn i bilene sine og kjørte oss til Sundvollen hotell. Jeg løp inn for å se om jeg kunne se bestevennen min. Jeg så ham ikke på noe sted. Jeg så en venninne. Jeg gråt høylytt. Vi klemte hverandre lenge. Det var godt. Jeg gikk rundt, lette etter venner. Hjertet banket. Jeg gråt mer. Jeg registrerte meg hos politiet, så gjennom alle listene. Jeg visste ikke om bestevennen min levde. Jeg så gjennom alle listene. Jeg kunne ikke finne navnet hans noe sted. Jeg var redd. Jeg fikk en dyne. Tok av meg de våte sokkene. Jeg var halvnaken. Fikk en jakke. Jeg prøvde å summe meg litt. Kontaktet foreldrene mine igjen. Pappa og storebror var på vei for å hente meg. Jeg drakk litt kakao. Satte meg ned. Tenkte. Gråt. Så flere venner. Klemte dem. Gråt. Jeg fikk låne en data. Oppdaterte Facebook og Twitter igjen om at jeg nå var trygg. Jeg var på hotellet i flere timer før familien min kom. Jeg lette etter kjente. Snakket med en prest. Jeg fortalte alt jeg hadde sett. Det var en god samtale. En mann fra Røde Kors så på alle sårene mine. Renset dem. Tiden gikk. Jeg var med noen av vennene mine. Alle snakket om det samme. Hvordan vi hadde overlevd. Hva som hadde skjedd. Jeg spurte flere om de hadde sett bestevennen min. Ingen hadde sett ham. Jeg ble redd. Tenkte på at det var min feil fordi vi ikke hadde klart å holde sammen. En venninne fikk nøkkelkort til et hotellrom. Vi satte oss der, så på nyheter. Det var sinne, sorg, så mange følelser. Pappa ringte, de hadde kommet. Jeg tok heisen ned. Løp ut til dem. Klemte storebroren min og pappaen min lenge. Jeg gråt høyt. Broren min gråt også. Det var et godt øyeblikk. Jeg så en gutt som liknet på bestevennen min. Jeg ropte navnet hans. Han snudde seg. Det var ham. Vi klemte hverandre lenge. Begge gråt, vi spurte hverandre om hvordan vi hadde klart oss. Etter en stund registrerte jeg meg ut og vi kjørte hjem. Noen andre satt på med oss. Bestevennen min ble med meg hjem. Broren hans hadde kommet til meg sammen med sin bestevenn. Det var flere som hadde samlet seg hjemme hos meg. De ville ikke dra hjem før de hadde sett at jeg hadde det bra. Vi snakket litt. Jeg drakk et gladd juice. Spiste en yoghurt. Snakket litt mer med mamma og familien min. Jeg ringte bestevenninnen min. Det var en god samtale. Hun sa: ”Jeg var ikke sikker på om jeg noen gang ville få denne telefonen.” Tårene presset seg på. Vi snakket litt. Etter det la jeg meg. Klokken var tre. Mamma nektet å la meg sove alene, så vi sov sammen.

Det har gått noen timer siden alt dette skjedde. Jeg er fortsatt i sjokk. Alt har ikke sunket inn. Jeg har sett lik av mine venner. Flere av vennene mine er savnet. Jeg er glad for at jeg kan svømme. Jeg er glad for at jeg lever. For at Gud passet på meg. Det er så mange følelser, så mange tanker. Jeg tenker på alle de pårørende. På alle jeg har mistet. På det helvete som er og var på øya. Sommerens vakreste eventyr er forvandlet til Norges verste mareritt.

Chicken Liberals

by Russ Vaughn

I don't listen to Michael Savage much, just as I don't listen to much talk radio at all because I live in an area where clear broadcasts of such are not readily available. That being said, one rare occasion when I was listening to the good Dr. Savage in my car, his pronouncement that liberalism is a mental disorder struck a responsive chord in me. Thinking about his premise, I could see where he might find the roots for such a assertion. Mental illness is mental instability; instability is the product of insecurity, of doubt and the fears that always accompany doubt. There is no other descriptive which can be more widely applied to liberal thought than doubt and the extension of that is this: A constant state of doubt produces a constant state of fear.

Think about it-think about the liberals you know; aren't they always the first ones to pick up on the latest, trendy, impending calamity? Why is it that liberals dominate the ranks of global doomsayers in so many instances? Sure, you'll get the occasional, oddball conservative who buys into the disaster of the day, but the truth is, it's mostly liberals who have this constant fear of looming doom. If it isn't industrialization, Malthusian overpopulation, DDT, global cooling or the Y2K rotation of the centuries, it's anthropogenic global warming. At this very moment, as global warming is waning, it's American debt default. The observable and undeniable point being it is always something that is scaring the britches off of liberals.

That sort of constant, unwarranted fear would certainly support Dr. Savage's contention in a symptomatic sense. You know folks, there is a perfectly descriptive medical term for constant, unwarranted fear: paranoia. That condition is indeed classified as a form of mental illness by medical professionals and there are even situations where it has been observed to have been induced in the masses in a condition referred to as mass hysteria. Such hysteria is happily fed by cheerleaders in the mainstream media because fear sells-fear keeps attention focused on the screen; fear slows down channel surfing and keeps a rapt, apprehensive audience glued to the screen which then provides the requisite viewership numbers to sell more advertising. And you thought media fear-mongering was all about politics when it's really about nothing more than money.

But that's only applicable to the opportunists who feed the addictions of those for whom fear of global calamity is the lifeblood of their existence. Those media purveyors of doom might even rightfully claim to be performing a public service in feeding the widespread liberal addiction to fear of imminent disaster. Truth is, these predators are right. When you have a willing, receptive mass of millions who will swallow without question your worst prophecies, all the while enthusiastically buying all the organic, green, solar-powered, wind-driven nonsensical products your advertisers can concoct, why wouldn't you do it? Hey, that's capitalism in its purest form. Even if you're a blogger only selling your political ideology, are you going to ignore such a vast, predisposed audience?

If the sky-is-falling Chicken Liberals ever figure that out, guess what?

Probably another, new end-of-the-world crisis.

Muslims bomb Norway

OSLO — A lone political extremist bombed the government center here on Friday, killing 7 people, the police said, before heading to an island summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party and killing at least 80 people.

The police arrested a 32-year-old Norwegian man in connection with both attacks, the deadliest on Norwegian soil since World War II.

The explosions in Oslo, from one or more bombs, turned the tidy Scandinavian capital into a scene reminiscent of terrorist attacks in Baghdad or Oklahoma City, panicking people and blowing out windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, who was unharmed.

The state television broadcaster, citing the police, said seven people had been killed and at least 15 wounded in the explosions, which they said appeared to be an act of domestic terrorism.

Even as the police locked down a large area of the city after the blasts, the suspect, dressed as a police officer, entered the youth camp on the island of Utoya, about 19 miles northwest of Oslo, a Norwegian security official said, and opened fire. “He said it was a routine check in connection with the terror attack in Oslo,” one witness told VG Nett, the Web site of a national newspaper.

Of the at least 80 people killed on the island, some were as young as 16, the police said on national television early Saturday.

Terrified youths jumped into the water to escape. “Kids have started to swim in a panic, and Utoya is far from the mainland,” said Bjorn Jarle Roberg-Larsen, a Labor Party member who spoke by phone with teenagers on the island, which has no bridge to the mainland. “Others are hiding. Those I spoke with don’t want to talk more. They’re scared to death.”

Many could not flee in time.

“He first shot people on the island,” a 15-year-old camper named Elise told The Associated Press. “Afterward he started shooting people in the water.”

Most of the campers were teenagers but there were also adults on the island, who may have been among the victims.

After the shooting the police seized a 32-year-old Norwegian man on the island, according to the police and Justice Minister Knut Storberget. He was later identified as Anders Behring Breivik and characterized by officials as a right-wing extremist, citing previous writings including on his Facebook page.

The acting police chief, Sveinung Sponheim, said the suspect’s Internet postings “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but if that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.”

He said the suspect had also been seen in Oslo before the explosions. The police and other authorities declined to say what the suspect’s motivations might have been, but many speculated that the target was Mr. Stoltenberg’s liberal government.

“The police have every reason to believe there is a connection between the explosions and what happened at Utoya,” the police said. They said they later recovered explosives on the island.

Mr. Breivik had registered a farm-related business in Rena, in eastern Norway, which the authorities said allowed him to order a large quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an ingredient that can be used to make explosives. Authorities were investigating whether the chemical may have been used in the bombing.

A Facebook page matching his name and the photo given out by the police was set up just a few days ago. It listed his religion as Christian, politics as conservative. It said he enjoys hunting, the video games World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, and books including Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and George Orwell’s “1984.”

There was also a Twitter account apparently belonging to Mr. Breivik. It had one item, posted last Sunday: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

As the investigations continued, the police asked people to leave the center of Oslo, stay indoors and limit their cellphone use. They also said they would initiate border checks.

The attacks bewildered a nation better known for its active diplomacy and peacekeeping missions than as a target for extremists.

In Oslo, office workers and civil servants said that at least two blasts, which ripped through the cluster of modern office buildings around the central Einar Gerhardsen plaza, echoed across the city in quick succession around 3:20 p.m. local time. Giant clouds of light-colored smoke rose hundreds of feet as a fire burned in one of the damaged structures, a six-story office building that houses the Oil Ministry.

The force of the explosions blew out nearly every window in the 17-story office building across the street from the Oil Ministry, and the streets on each side were strewn with glass and debris. The police combed through the debris in search of clues.

Mr. Stoltenberg’s office is on the 16th floor in the towering rectangular block, whose facade and lower floors were damaged. The Justice Ministry also has its offices in the building.

Norwegian authorities said they believed that a number of tourists were in the central district at the time of the explosion, and that the toll would surely have been higher if not for the fact that many Norwegians were on vacation and many more had left their offices early for the weekend.

“Luckily, it’s very empty,” said Stale Sandberg, who works in a government agency a few blocks down the street from the prime minister’s office.

After the explosions, the city filled with an unfamiliar sense of vulnerability. “We heard two loud bangs and then we saw this yellow smoke coming from the government buildings,” said Jeppe Bucher, 18, who works on a ferry boat less than a mile from the bomb site. “There was construction around there, so we thought it was a building being torn down.”

He added, “Of course I’m scared, because Norway is such a neutral country.”

American counterterrorism officials cautioned that Norway’s own homegrown extremists, with unknown grievances, could be responsible for the attacks.

Initial reports focused on the possibility of Islamic militants, in particular Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, cited by some analysts as claiming responsibility for the attacks. American officials said the group was previously unknown and might not even exist.

There was ample reason for concern that terrorists might be responsible. In 2004 and again in 2008, the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden, threatened Norway because of its support of the American-led NATO military operation in Afghanistan.

Norway has about 550 soldiers and three medevac helicopters in northern Afghanistan, a Norwegian defense official said. The government has indicated that it will continue to support the operations as long as the alliance needs partners on the ground.

Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.

“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from Al Qaeda,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington. “One lesson I take away from this is that attacks, especially in the West, are going to move to automatic weapons.”

Muslim leaders in Norway swiftly condemned the attacks. “This is our homeland, this is my homeland,” said Mehtab Afsar, secretary general of the Islamic Council of Norway. “I condemn these attacks, and the Islamic Council of Norway condemns these attacks, whoever is behind them.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

DNC releases spanish-language ad

The 2012 presidential race will have a Latin flavor.

The Democrat National Committee’s first ad of the election cycle is a Spanish-language spot in Reno, Las Vegas, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Denver, Albuquerque, and Washington, DC.

The ad, “En Quien Confiar,” first attacks Republicans for their criticism of the president before touting the record of Barack Obama’s middle-class tax cuts, student grants, and health insurance of children. The ad ends with a strong note:

We know who to trust, and who we can’t. Because it’s our job to protect our families.



According to a DNC official, the ad buy is “many times larger” than the latest spot from the Republican National Committee, which launched it’s “Change Directions” series earlier this month. The RNC’s third and latest spot in the series cost about $7,750, according to Politico’s Ben Smith.

“The Republican Party is offering no new solutions to the American people — they simply want to double down on the failed policies that … hurt millions of American families, including far too many Latinos,” said DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “The American people don’t need more distortions from the secret donors of Crossroads and they certainly don’t want the failed policies of the Republican Party.”

The “distortions” from Republicans and conservatives have certainly changed directions this election cycle, particularly when it comes to wooing Hispanic and Latino voters. On Thursday, American Crossroads launched its own Spanish-language ad, and the RNC’s latest ad-buy — in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico — also included several Spanish radio spots. Republicans have also made an effort to attract Hispanic leaders with a new initiative launched by the Republican State Legislative Committee.

Latino voters are proving to be a pivotal voting bloc for both parties as Obama’s approval ratings drop below his disapproval ratings. In 2008, Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic and Latino vote and Democrats won 60 percent of the vote in the 2010 midterm elections, according to CNN.

Minor Problem: A Little Glitch in Obamacare Might Leave People Without Health Insurance

Written by Doug Powers

Anybody who paid attention to the process of putting together the paradoxically-named “Affordable Care Act” knows that neither “affordable” nor “care” was the point of the bill. That’s why the brunt of the law, by careful design, doesn’t kick in until after the 2012 elections. The problem for Obama (one of many) is that as the private sector tries to prepare for the implementation of this massive pile of expensive red tape and intrusive bureaucracy, it’s being discovered just how ill-conceived it really is:

A major provision of the healthcare reform law designed to prevent businesses from dropping coverage for their workers could inadvertently leave families without access to subsidized health insurance.

The problem is a huge headache for the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, because it could leave families unable to buy affordable health insurance when the healthcare law requires that everyone be insured starting in 2014.

Some of the administration’s closest allies on healthcare reform warn this could dramatically undercut support for the law, which already is unpopular with many voters and contributed to Democrats losing the House in the 2010 midterm elections.

This bunch would be laughable if they were relegated to a clown car under the big top where they all belong, but in charge of a national economy the ineptitude isn’t quite as funny. What’s worse, they’re not even very good thieves — they make the Apple Dumpling Gang look like Bonnie & Clyde.

Even if Obama loses in 2012, it’ll take decades to dig out of the deeper hole the Democrats have put America in — all thanks to a bunch of wide-eyed suckers who believed in that unicorn ranch in fantasy-land where it rains gumdrops and we all slumber on beds of somebody else’s money.

Say it for us one more time, Nancy:


The fog is lifting, and it’s not looking good.

The origins of the Allen West & DWS feud

Was-she-a-man-Schultz’s Very Own ‘Tea Party’ Started This Fire (VIDEO)
by Javier Manjarres

The current feud between Congressman Allen West and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz most likely originated during her own ‘Tea Party’ style event that was staged directly in front of then Congressional candidate Allen West’s office. West referenced Wasserman’s protest in the spirited email rejoinder he sent to Wasserman-Schultz a few days ago:
“I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.”-Congressman Allen West

The completely baseless charge that Wasserman-Schultz made against West at the protest was in the middle of her prepared speech-

He thinks it’s OK to objectify and denigrate women.”- Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

I was in attendance at the protest, and I was able to to ask the Congresswoman about the reasons for her ” Tea Party”-esque event (minute 2:52). (original post here)


FYI, Wasserman-Schultz will have to defend her Congressional seat against small business owner Karen Harrington, who has announced that she would be taking on ‘DWS’ in next year’s general election.

Proposed Executive Order Doesn’t Stand Up to the Constitution

bySean Hackbarth

A white paper published today by John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and David W. Marston, a lawyer and former U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, makes a compelling historical and legal case against the administration’s proposed executive order making disclosure of political giving history a condition to being awarded a federal contract.

The paper, available on the AEI web site, shows that anonymous speech has served as the central vehicle for discussing politics both before and after ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Founding Fathers including Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison routinely debated the issues of the day under pseudonyms, and the U.S. Supreme Court has for decades repeatedly protected anonymous speech, as Yoo and Marston note in citing several cases.

Though supporters of the executive order dismiss the potential for retaliation and intimidation as a result of disclosure, Yoo and Marston point to recent instances where this has indeed occurred. In California, supporters of a controversial ballot measure whose names, addresses, and employers were disclosed faced death threats, lost their jobs, saw their property destroyed, and had their businesses boycotted. In Minnesota, Target encountered a boycott and protests at its stores after its contribution to a conservative political group was disclosed.

Yoo and Marston track the administration’s relentless pursuit to curtail free speech. Having failed to legislatively reverse a line of Supreme Court cases ending with Citizens United that reaffirmed core First Amendment speech rights, the administration and its allies are attempting to clamp down on free speech through regulation promulgated by the FEC and the FCC. The latter agency’s chairman, the white paper notes, bundled more than $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and has visited the White House more than 80 times.

Frustrated by the slow pace of a regulatory solution, the administration is now seriously considering a unilateral reversal of the Supreme Court through presidential fiat, against the wishes of several members of its own party, including Rep. Steny Hoyer and Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Lieberman.

The administration should recognize that politics cannot trump a constitutionally protected, fundamental right that has been the cornerstone of our democracy and withstood legal challenges for more than 200 years.

Somebody Tell the Unions… WISCONSIN Accounted For Half of New US Jobs in June

Amazing what a little bit of positive news can do for an economy, isn't it?

Somebody Tell the Unions… WISCONSIN Accounted For Half of New US Jobs in June
Posted by Jim Hoft

Thank you, Governor Scott Walker.
(Reality Based World)

It looks like the Republican Governors in Ohio and Indiana are not the only ones celebrating the fruits of their labor.

Wisconsin posted its largest gain in private sector jobs since 2003 last month.
The Milwaukee Journal reported, via Free Republic:

While Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in June from 7.4% a month earlier, state officials said Thursday the jobs picture in the state “continues to brighten.”

The Department of Workforce Development said preliminary estimates show a net gain of 12,900 private-sector jobs from May to June, marking the largest one-month gain of private sector jobs since September of 2003.

The unemployment rate encompasses Wisconsin residents who are available for work and actively seeking jobs.

“With 15,100 more people entering the labor force in June than in May, we believe more jobseekers are entering the workforce with optimism of finding employment,” said Scott Baumbach, secretary of the department.

The unemployment rate in June last year was 8.3%.

UPDATE: It gets even better.
Wisconsin accounted for half of US jobs in June.


The Obama Depression: 10,000 New Unemployed in June, Jobless Rate 9.2%

Black teen jobless rate is 39.9% blacks overall 16.7%


Worst. Jobs. President. Ever. With all this misery, how could anyone think of raising taxes?

“Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped to 421,250.

Applications have topped 400,000 for 15 straight weeks, a sign of sluggish hiring. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals healthy job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for two months. But applications surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have declined slowly since then.

Consumers have pulled back on spending this year, besieged by high unemployment, stagnant wages, and high gas prices. That has slowed growth.

Unemployment applications “remain stubbornly elevated,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, U.S. economist at BNP Paribas. “A lot of structural factors are still affecting the economy,” she added, such as the weak housing market and continuing layoffs by state and local governments.

The economy expanded only 1.9 percent in the January-March quarter, and some analysts forecast even slower growth for the April-June period.

Employers have responded by cutting back sharply on hiring. The economy added only 18,000 net jobs in June, the second straight month of dismal job gains. That’s far below the average of 215,000 net jobs per month the economy averaged from February through April.

The unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent last month, the highest this year.

See full national unemployment report here.

Actual unemployment, including part-time, underemployed and discouraged workers: 16.2%

Especially shocking is black unemployment:

16.2% of blacks have no jobs.

39.9% of black teens 16 to 19 are out of work.


Jeff Reeves at Market Watch says unemployment will soon go to 10% due to lay-offs expected in the financial and tech sectors and aerospace/defense business.