Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chinese Diplomacy a Serial Flop

Reasons for China's ham-handed diplomacy are being debated by China scholars everywhere, according to the Economist.
“WHY has the external environment changed?” asks a Chinese scholar of international relations in Beijing, pondering a bad few months for Chinese diplomacy. Nothing big has changed in China, nor has its own foreign policy shifted. Yet it has lurched from quarrel to quarrel with all its most important partners. The temptation for Chinese nationalists is to see their country as the victim of a Western conspiracy to keep China down, just as it is beginning to take its rightful place in the world. A more plausible explanation may be the ineptness of Chinese diplomacy, made up so often of hectoring and threats.

Exhibit one for China’s conspiracy theorists is the award of the Nobel peace prize to Liu Xiaobo, a jailed activist. Global Times, a party newspaper, said the award ceremony marked the beginning of a “trial by history against the Nobel committee”. But it was China itself that, rather than loftily ignoring the perceived slight, turned attendance in Oslo on December 10th into a with-us-or-against-us test of friendship. By this misleading benchmark, most of those invited were against. Some, such as India, had to withstand concerted Chinese arm-twisting.

The 17 countries that heeded China’s boycott call hardly justified its claim that most countries backed its stand. Some, like Vietnam, might have liked to see China embarrassed, but would certainly stand up for a government’s sovereign right to lock up peaceful dissidents. So would Cuba and Iran. A few others, like Pakistan, are “all-weather friends”. The only real surprise was the Philippines, which is proud of its democratic freedom. But its foreign ministry was anxious to placate China after a botched hostage rescue in August, in which eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed. Even so, the Philippine president’s office pleaded a “scheduling conflict” for his ambassador. The local press has pilloried the government for its timidity.

But China is a bull in a china shop [pun intended] in its extreme contortions to exhibit how unaffected it is by Liu's Nobel Prize:
Official Chinese commentators have repeatedly called the prize-giving a “farce”. The word would be more accurately applied to the award in Beijing on December 9th of the first-ever “Confucius peace prize”. The winner was Lien Chan, a former vice-president of Taiwan, much liked by the Chinese government for his conciliatory approach. Mr Lien, claiming he was unaware of the prize, was, like Mr Liu, unable to receive it. In his absence, it was given to an “angel of peace”, a six-year-old girl who found herself cuddling a bundle of 100,000 yuan ($15,000) in cash. This has not gone down well in Taiwan, one of the few places where Chinese policy has recently seemed quite successful (perhaps because China sees Taiwan as a domestic problem).

More important than the symbolic resonance of the Oslo Nobel removing the mandate of heaven and making the PRC lose big-time face around the world are the other missteps and lurchings that are befalling Chinese diplomacy:
Elsewhere, China has antagonised America, Japan and South Korea by refusing to condemn North Korea for its attacks on the South. It had already alienated a friendly government in Japan by its aggressive response to the detention in September of a Chinese trawler captain who rammed a Japanese coastguard vessel. It has succeeded in uniting many of the littoral states in the South China Sea against its high-handed refusal to discuss its territorial claims there. In November it even picked a fight with the Vatican, by ordaining a bishop not endorsed by the pope and forcing some of his bishops to attend.

In the farther out perspective of the Middle Kingdom's exalted perception of itself, who needs a foreign policy when you have a fifth of the world's population to persecute? Or that's what it seems to the Economist writer:
Maybe China has decided that, contrary to its own protestations, it does not really need smooth foreign relations. Or maybe its diplomacy is a mess. The Chinese scholar offers three possible explanations. One is the confusing proliferation of “non-diplomatic” bodies and special-interest groups in foreign policy, from oil firms to the army to, in the case of Japan, the marine affairs and fisheries bureaus. But the other two may be more telling: the increasing importance of Chinese public opinion and the absence of any senior political figure in charge of foreign policy. The foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, is not a member of the Communist Party’s 25-member Politburo, let alone its nine-member, decision-making Standing Committee. There is nobody to thump the table for foreign relations. Abroad does not matter very much.

However, one reason the PRC politburo and their military thugs are quaking is that sleeping dragon, public opinion, which is beginning to stir after a long dormancy:
Indeed, for all the threats and vituperation directed at foreign governments, it is mostly Chinese citizens who suffer. At home, the authorities’ bite is as bad as their bark. They fear organised protest and dissent far more than foreign embarrassment. Mr Liu’s wife has been kept incommunicado. Human-rights groups say hundreds of people were interrogated or detained ahead of the Nobel ceremony. Many were prevented from leaving the country, lest they turn up in Oslo. News of the ceremony there was largely blacked out.

Even in China, however, the government is not having things all its own way. As reported by Danwei, which monitors the Chinese media, microbloggers have been posting eulogies to “the people they admire most”, who happen to be named Liu, and whose lives echo the Nobel prize-winner’s: a table-tennis player, a famous actress, a champion hurdler, a Cantopop star and Liu Shaoqi, a former president hounded to his death during the Cultural Revolution. “He was unjustly accused and spent many years in prison,” read the post, by a writer who, like Global Times, takes the long view. “But I believe that all of this is but the test of history, because he said that, fortunately, history is written by the people.” Not if the party can help it, it isn’t.

Yes, the joke is that the People's Republic simply isn't ready for a role by "people" just yet.

VDH: How did all that Happen?

Genius scholar Victor Davis Hanson asks pertinent questions about the pervasive madness afoot in the marketplace of ideas:
The Improbables

There are a number of improbables, anomalies, paradoxes, ironies, absurdities — call them what you wish – on the national scene that simply defy reason. We usually fault an ignorant media as culpable for creating narratives that have no basis in fact and yet are rarely questioned. Here are some of the glaring examples and you decide how the unlikely became the gospel.

1. How did 20-minutes-of-fame Julian Assange construct the façade of an idealistic crusading electronic muckraker?

He seems much more likely a part P.T. Barnum showman/part celebrity narcissist. While promising to embarrass a number of banks and capitalist CEOs, he just contracted for $1.7 million in book deal advances — after enjoying his house “arrest” at the mansion of a supportive aristocrat, and after protesting the unwanted fame that has come his way rather than to be shared among the WikiLeaks board.

Assange talks of absolute transparency as an ipso facto virtue, but is shocked that his own protocols of leaking now are turned on himself — as we learn from preliminary legal leaks that he is a sexual cad at best, and more likely a creepy sort of honey-tongued predator. Amid his jet-set Westernized odysseys — predicated on the bounty and security of U.S.-European culture — Assange was certainly not too eager to root out and leak to us many state secrets from Russia, China, or Iran. What would we think of Assange had he given credit to his team at WikiLeaks; globe-trotted in Africa, the Middle East, China, and Russia to inform the world about Mugabe, Chinese plans toward Tibet, Ahmadinejad’s nuke project, or Putin’s attack on dissidents; or donated his profits to dissidents?

Gentleman Victor is too kind to tell the ugly truth: the media are cowardly craven curs, afraid that if they criticize the PRC, Russia, Mugabe, the NorKs, Arabs and other perfidious monstrosities like Chavez and the coke-baron leaders of Ecuador and Bolivia, they'll be denied entry visas, not treated like royalty in foreign lands and who cares about the ugly truth anyway? Assange is a coward, a hypocrite, a paraphiliac, a greedy drama queen, and a solipsistic narcissistic dolt. Who knew?
2. When did global warming so easily get away with becoming “climate change”? With record winter low temperatures again this year in Europe, and similar freezing weather in the U.S., we are given a number of contorted exegeses from climatologists and green activists that, in fact, argue terrible cold is proof of global warming. One wonders: if it were now 80 degrees in New York or dry and 70 degrees in London, would we be told such unseasonable heat was not an artifact, but likewise real proof of climate change?

Philology usually is a good barometer of ideology: when global warming became climate change and now is evolving to “climate chaos,” you can see a case study in deductive thinking, as symptoms are fudged to conform to a preexisting diagnosis. Circular reasoning also is characteristic: we convince the coal-devouring and nuclear-producing Chinese that there is a soon to be big (Western-subsidized) global market for wind turbines and solar panels, given the spread of Gorism among Western elites and grandees, then we frighten Americans that the Chinese will soon capture the entire “green” market that we fostered unless we … (fill in the cap and trade / green subsidy-grant blanks).

Another guy named Hanson at NASA, Maurice Strong, and a cabal of lonesome professors itching for grant money concocted a statistical 'hockey stick' graph which falsified hundreds of years Middle Age Warm temps and the Little Ice Age and the contingent variables like sunspots along with placing thermal gauges next to air conditioning condensers to ramp up the temp a few notches. The great Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman called this CARGO CULT SCIENCE.
3. How did authoritarian and Islamist Palestinian groups become reinvented into traditional Western victimized minorities — analogous to women, gays, and minorities? Hamas, for example, is not known for free speech, gender equity, tolerance of homosexuality, or equality of the races (cf. the past West Bank newspaper cartoons of Sec. Condoleezza Rice). Visit any campus free speech area, and the PA or pro-Hamas literature is handed out right next to the Latino, black, gay, Native American, or feminist booths. Go to the Voice of Aztlan website, and the pro-Palestinian anti-Semitic rants appear cheek by jowl with Alta California chauvinism. How did such an intolerant illiberal movement piggy-back onto self-proclaimed progressive agendas? Multiculturalism? Anti-Semitism? Oil interests? Fear of terror? I suppose the transmogrification of a tiny outnumbered Israel of 1966 into a surrogate United States — its seven-million population now supposedly lording its “excessive” power over 400 million Arabs in the Middle East — explains a lot too.

Easy riddle to solve for a State-Dept trained Arabist like myself. Arabs are metrosexual by nature, preening males who cannot win wars against any states except perhaps a smaller Arab state nearby [Iraq over Kuwait, e.g.]. They have always been cowards and backstabbers and after a brief flurry of conquest, lived a parasitic paraphiliac life on the work of others. Ditto for the rest of the victims, whose desire for someone to rescue them underscores their true inner cowardice and helplessness.
4. How did professors convince us that their universities are progressive, anti-capitalist, and against the grain institutions? Private elite schools — a Yale, a Stanford, a Princeton, a Vassar — exist by reason of their endowments, gifts that in large part come from the very wealthy who excelled under the capitalist system. Part-time lecturers and temporary faculty usually teach classes for pennies on the university dollar. The difference between a Wal-Mart greeter and a Wal-Mart check-out clerk is far less than the pay differential for the same class taught by a part-timer versus a full professor.

Few institutions have created such an elite aristocratic hierarchy — tenure, vast pay discrepancies for classes, annual salary based on 3/5s of the year in the classroom, peer reviews in lieu of quantifiable data on performance, lack of oversight — as the reactionary university.

Freedom of thought has morphed into freedom for thoughtlessness---the Ward Churchills need only to plagiarize without being caught and convince a few airhead coeds that they are onto something---which they are, the feckless stupidity of coeds.
5. How did Barack Obama invent himself into a bi-partisan, working across the aisle, no more red state/blue state unifying figure? Mellifluous rhetoric and a partisan myth helped to promulgate that myth, I grant. But still, how did the U.S senator with the most partisan voting record in the Senate (to the left of the socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont) and a devout attendee of one of the most divisive and racist preachers imaginable refashion himself so successfully? Was it the simple declarations — as in something like “I say I am bipartisan, therefore I am bipartisan”? Did all forget that our pre-mid-term election president evoked phrases such as “enemies,” “sit in the back of the car,” and “hand to hand”?

No matter — as soon as Obama was “shellacked” with a 63 seat loss in the House, and his polls hit 42 percent approval, he dropped all the prior rhetoric about “I won and you lost” or “elections matter”—and now announced to his “enemies” that he could “work together” to get things done. Had Obama increased the House Democratic majority by 30 more seats in November, would he now be praising the virtues of bipartisanship? Had the vanity of Rev Wright not convinced the huckster preacher to hawk his Trinity racist rants on incriminating DVDs, would he now be a frequent “healing” presence at the White House?

Lurking somewhere behind all these improbables is a rather small Western elite that is enormously influential in the media, government, the arts, universities, and Hollywood. And what it would like to believe, often simply must be believed — and so it usually is.

McCain practically handed this jug-eared fool the campaign, but Johnny Maverick was also swimming up a Niagara of media indifference to their job of investigative journalism. The lamestream media gave us Obama and now they're trying to resuscitate the body. A Salon maenad opined recently on Bloggerheads that "reality is progressive/liberal" to Ann Althouse and was unchallenged. When are conservatives going to fight back and stop letting weak cowardly misfits assume the commanding heights? When they man up and seize back the high ground through hard work and dedication, two rare commodities in this digital world of ours.

PBS Suarez Conveys Cuban Agitprop via Taxpayer Dollars

Ray Suarez is to journalism what a faggot is to procreation---merely a spectator. Mary Anastasia O'Grady of the WSJ bitch-slaps the creep for a three-part propaganda schtick trying to convince us that Cuba's health care system isn't as bad as the worst in Africa, it's nearest analog.
In his memoir covering four years in Cuba as a correspondent for Spanish Television, Vicente Botín tells about a Havana woman who was frustrated by the doctor shortage in the country. She hung a sheet on her balcony with the words "trade me to Venezuela." When the police arrived she told them: "Look, compañeros, I'm as revolutionary as the next guy, but if you want to see a Cuban doctor, you have to go to Venezuela."

That story was not in the three-part report by Ray Suarez on Cuban health care that aired on PBS's "NewsHour" last week. Nor was the one about the Cuban whose notice of his glaucoma operation arrived in 2005, three years after he died and five years after he had requested it. Nor was there any coverage of the town Mr. Botín writes about close to the city of Holguín, that in 2006 had one doctor serving five clinics treating 600 families. In fact, it was hard to recognize the country that Mr. Suarez claimed to be describing.

The series was taped in Cuba with government "cooperation" so there is no surprise that it went heavy on the party line. Still, there was something disturbing about how Mr. Suarez allowed himself to be used by the police state, dutifully reciting its dubious claims as if he were reporting great advances in medical science.

It's necessary to remember, perhaps, that Suarez is a faggot and may have a Cuban boyfriend. No other explanation on why our tax dollars go for bilge touting Commie lies.
Castro's military dictatorship marks 52 years in power next week. But the "revolution" is dead. A new generation of angry, young Cubans now vents on Internet blogs and through music, mocking the old man and his ruthless little brother. On Nov. 29, in the city of Santa Clara, hundreds of students launched a spontaneous protest when they were denied access to a televised soccer match they had paid to watch. What began as a demand for refunds soon turned to shouts of "freedom," "down with Fidel" and "down with socialism," according to press reports.

Dissent is spreading in Cuba like dengue fever because daily life is so onerous. One of the best documented sources on this subject is the Botín narrative ("Los Funerales de Castro," 2009, available in Spanish only), which pulls back the curtain on "the Potemkin village" that foreigners see on official visits to Cuba. Behind the façade is desperate want. Food, water, transportation, access to health care, electricity, soap and toilet paper are all hard to come by. Even housing is in short supply, with multiple families wedged into single-family homes. The government tries to keep the lid on through repression. But in private there are no limits to the derision of the brothers Castro.

Suarez takes the word of an American expat, without checking out if she's a paid propagandist:
Mr. Suarez's report, by contrast, is like a state propaganda film. In one segment, an American woman named Gail Reed who lives in Cuba tells him that the government's claim of its people's longevity is due to a first-rate system of disease prevention. He then parrots the official line that Cuba's wealth of doctors is the key ingredient. What is more, he says, these unselfish revolutionary "foot soldiers" go on house calls. "It's aggressive preventive medicine," Mr. Suarez explains. "Homes are investigated, water quality checked, electrical plugs checked."

An abundance of doctors? Not in the Cuba Mr. Botín lived in. In 2006 the government claimed there were 65,000 doctors. That number, he says, was "a figure that many professionals considered inflated." When Cubans complained they couldn't get care, he notes that the state upped the number "magically" to 71,000 five months later. Given Fidel's habit of making things up, it's hard to know how many competent doctors the government has trained. But there is no disputing the fact that medics have been sent overseas in large numbers to earn hard currency for the regime. There is also no question that Cubans are paying the price at home.

As to doctors checking on water quality and electricity outlets, the PBS reporter might be surprised to learn that most Cuban homes have no running water or power on a regular basis. This is true even in the capital. In 2006, Mr. Botín says, a government minister admitted that 75.5% of the water pipes in Havana were "unusable" and "recognized that 60% of pumped water was lost before it made it to consumers." To "fix" the problem, the city began providing water in each neighborhood only on certain days. Havana water is also notoriously contaminated. Foreigners drink only the bottled stuff, which Cubans can't afford. In the rest of the country the quality and quantity of the water supply is even less reliable.

The dupe Suarez might have been hoodwinked by his Cuban boyfriend on all these issues, but gay Ray was careful to parrot the party line on just whose fault it is that the Cubans can't get expensive medicines.
Mr. Suarez also reported that, according to Ms. Reed, Cuba is suffering an "embargo of medicine." But there is no embargo on food or medicine. The problem is that the government lacks the money to pay for new medicines that are protected under patent.

So the dozens of Americans who watched the PBS indoctrination special were probably lining up for special health-care passes to Cuba --- unless they have glaucoma. O'Grady ends on a note whacking gay Ray's limp wrist:
Reporters who want access to Cuba know that they have to toe the Castro line. I get that. Mr. Suarez must figure that his American audience does not.

Justice for Rafik Hariri Or More War in the Middle East?

Lebanon is waiting for the Judge:
Tensions in Lebanon are high. The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal, set up in the Hague to prosecute the killers of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister and Saad's father, is preparing to issue indictments.

All indications point to members of Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group loyal to Iran, as the main culprits in the 2005 murder. If Hezbollah militants are indicted, it could lead to serious unrest between the group's Shiite base and the largely Sunni followers of the assassinated prime minister. Regional actors including Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States all have a stake in the outcome.

The U.S. has a butcher's bill of 241 US Marines killed by a Hezbollah assassination squad in 1983 to repay, but the quivering d-bags at the NYT demur:
Many have called for scuttling the tribunal out of fear of the instability it could create. Lebanon is not prepared for justice, these voices claim. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen has argued that "Lebanese stability is precarious and tenuous: it trumps justice delayed, foreign and flawed."

The insufferable, unspeakable, self-hating quisling Jew Cohen and his malefactor bosses Pinch Sulzberger and Keller reek of cowardice. Do these appeasers actually think that calling off the Special Tribunal will bolster the prestige of their beloved UN or keep the bloodthirsty murderers in Hezbollah from their schedule of political assassinations? The author continues:
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has questioned "the use for tribunal justice if it leads to slaughter." True enough, the Middle East does not need another Sunni-Shiite conflict. But rewarding those who engage in assassinations by letting them walk free will only encourage more violence.

Jumblatt was an arch foe of Syria and its cat's paw Hezbollah, both of which in turn answer to Iranian terror instructions [the Syrian Alawite stick-insect Bashar Assad is a closet Shi'ite at heart], until he and his family were threatened with assassination as his father died from multiple bullets in the '70's from Syrian assassins. [The car speeding from his murdered father's mountain redoubt with the killers had Iraqi license plates. in a clumsy attempt to implicate Saddam Hussein.] Jumblatt quakes in his bunker knowing that his entire family is hostage to the bloodthirsty Hezbollah assassins.
Justice is the only path to lasting stability in Lebanon. Without it, Sunni extremists itching to take on their Shiite counterparts will only grow in strength. Sunnis more generally will feel betrayed twice—first for having their leader assassinated and second for being denied justice. Thwarting the tribunal is a guaranteed path to further Sunni-Shiite tensions and a greater sense of anger in the country and the region.

The Sunnis used to have an equilibrium with the Christians and Shi'ites in the tripartite condominium of Lebanon. until the murderous Shi'ite Hezbollah thugs arrived after the iranian Revolution to do the Ayatollah's work of subversion through terror. It has worked so well, the New York Times is quaking in its boots, eager to appease the Hezbollah hordes building an underground arsenal of missiles along the border with Israel. Does the worm Pinch actually think Hezbollah will cease its assassinations in Lebanon because a UN Special Tribunal is thwarted in its mission?
For its part, Hezbollah is attempting to smear the tribunal, labeling it an "American-Israeli project." But no one knows what evidence an indictment will put forward. Judgments about the court's integrity should be withheld until then, and no one should be duped by Hezbollah's misinformation campaign.

Methinks the lady doth protest too much...!
Most people in Lebanon already believe that Hezbollah has been exposed for what it truly is, especially after the self-proclaimed "resistance" against Israel turned its weapons against fellow Lebanese in the domestic troubles of 2008. An indictment with solid evidence will only further isolate the group within Lebanon and tarnish its carefully cultivated image in the broader Arab and Muslim worlds.

That said, Hezbollah's overwhelming hold over Lebanon's Shiite community will no doubt remain a key source of its strength. Unraveling this relationship will require a long-term strategy, including engaging with local partners to find alternatives to the extensive social services and patronage networks that the group has employed to capture Shiite loyalty since its 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

The Arab & Muslim worlds are a joke as far as influence is concerned, except the simpleton in the Oval Office seems to respect them far more than they deserve.
As for the assassination of Rafik Hariri, few Lebanese believe that Hezbollah would have acted without direction from—and coordination with—the Syrian forces that controlled their country at the time of the crime in February 2005. Collective Lebanese consciousness has been shaped by a long history of Syrian-inspired political killings, and Syria has long maintained close relations with Hezbollah.

It remains to be seen whether the evidence collected at the Hague will be enough to prosecute not only those who carried out the crime, but those who planned and ordered the killing. International pressure on the tribunal may spare the Syrian regime.

Of course, this is the reason that the NYT is so concerned. They favor Ehud Barak's looney-tune support of an Israeli demarche toward Syria, which the Foreign Minister Lieberman is also said to support, albeit in his own bizarre manner. The NYT wants to undercut Benjamin Netanyahu's stalwart resistance to the violent terrorists in Gaza and South Lebanon, one group of Hamas a Sunni terrorist group, the other a Shi'ite terrorist organizaiton. The NYT and Sulzberger and quisling Cohen care nothing about the US Marines killed in 1983, nor their French Foreign Legion allies murdered in a simultaneous operation. I should confess that I met Rafik Hariri long ago in the eighties when he had an office in the US and admired the man greatly. His death was another stain on Islam and its murderous terrorists who make a mockery of the so-called 'religion of peace.'
For those of us watching these developments in the relative safety of America, let us remember that what happens in the seemingly distant Middle East often comes to haunt us. As we prepare to usher in the new year, let us think of families who do so with genuine fear. And let us stand by those pursuing justice not only because it's the right thing, but for the sake of our long-term interests and theirs.

Once again, the Wall Street Journal bravely faces the necessity of stopping terrorists in their tracks, while they plan their next attacks on the USA.

Robo-Dunce Putin Flexes His Muscles--Medvedev Fights Back

The trial of Mikhael Khodorkovsky is as farcical as any show trial by Vlad Putin's hero Josef Stalin. Medvedev at least bleated back at Putin:
Putin, who has remained as powerful as ever since becoming Prime Minister in 2008, repeated throughout the trial that Khodorkovsky deserves to stay behind bars. Most recently on Dec. 16, less than two weeks before the verdict, he said on national television that "a thief should sit in prison."
This blatant bit of pressure on the court seemed to irritate President Dmitri Medvedev, a former lawyer, who said on Dec. 24 that no official "has the right to state his position about this case or any other case until the sentence is read." This was the clearest rebuke against Putin that Medvedev had ever made, and for Khodorkovsky's lawyers, it seemed to highlight their core dilemma.

Unless Medvedev mans up and grants a presidential pardon, Putin will run again and brush him aside like a used Kleenex. Russia is a tyranny of dunces and will remain so until

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Terrible Weather a Sign of GLOBAL WARMING???

The cultural and health commissars at Time trot out a stooge who seriously makes a case that the melting icecaps are warming up the oceans and causing terrible blizzards around the world. This dupe says the years 2001-2010 is the warmest decade on record, an obvious lie which is refuted thusly by an educated reader:
Strange how global warming alarmists like the writer never mention one of the best ways to look at long-term temperatures: the isotope data from Greenland ice cores, from which temperatures for thousands of years can be determined. The temperature record as read from a central Greenland ice core gives us about as close as we can come to a direct, experimental measurement of temperature at that one spot for the past 50,000 years. The data is not adjusted according to any machinations from a computer climate model by scientists in search of funding or prestige.

According to the ice cores in Greenland, the ten hottest years ever measured happened thousands of years ago and 2009 was not one of them. Using only temperature readings from a 125 year thermometer set is a very short time to look at when one is trying to understand Global Warming, but this period of time suits the environmentalists because it is a time in which temperatures happened to be wandering up. Why are they wandering up? The overall average temperature is higher today then 125 years ago because we are coming out of the "Little Ice Age" (16th to 19th centuries) a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warming Period. This is another cyclical pattern that can be clearly seen in the Greenland Ice Core records.

Alarmists refuse to look at the big picture because it shows what they refuse to believe. The big picture is that for the last eleven thousand years, Global Temperatures have been going sideways while wandering up and down between 54 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In this eleven thousand years there have been five up-spikes hotter than the year 2009. The current rise in temperature is merely a medium size upward movement.

Ajami Sees Obama Starting to grow up

Fouad Ajami continues his astute and penetrating analysis of the American Dilemma which is becoming more balanced now that adults are running the House of Representatives.
A president steeped in history would have never pushed ObamaCare on so thin a reed of public approval. In the great movement of American history, Americans haven't worshipped at the altar of charismatic leadership. They have been the most skeptical of peoples. They may have trusted several of their presidents through wars and economic downturns, but they have insisted on the wisdom of the public and on the ability of this republic of laws and institutions—and precedent—to see its way out of great dangers.

Americans have given big mandates to presidents only to send them packing when they lost the contingent mandate given by the electorate. Woodrow Wilson led the country through the Great War, only to be rebuffed, and to die later a broken man when he tried to impose the League of Nations on a country and a Senate dubious of it. Wilson was an absolutist, which doomed his cause. Of "the League fight" he would say, "Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?" But the opponents of the League were not intimidated.

In recent times, Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and Richard Nixon in 1972, won huge popular mandates only to be shunted aside when the consensus around them cracked. Ronald Reagan lost only one state in 1984—Walter Mondale's home state of Minnesota, and only because his grace decreed that he not campaign on his opponent's turf—but Reagan was forever courting House Speaker and liberal Democrat Tip O'Neill.

We have never wanted our presidents to be above the political fray. The prerogatives of an "imperial presidency" may have grown, but the expectation of political argument and disputation and compromise has deeper resonance in the American tradition.

"As a student of history"—such is the way Mr. Obama described himself in his 2009 Cairo speech—our president would have known that a command economy is alien to the American temperament, that unfettered government spending was bound to arouse the antagonism of the American people. We were not all Keynesians after all, and the American people—to liberals' wonderment—cared about budget deficits.

The brain-challenged liberals rammed through an unaffordable healthcare monstrosity at the very moment the chief concern of the country was about getting itself back on its feet. It's as if a fighter in the ring who was knocked down was being persuaded to lie on the canvas for the ten-count and throw the fight. Big government is a sham, as even Bill Clinton admitted.
....there was panic in the midst of the recession of 2008. That anxiety helped carry Mr. Obama to office; it bridged the gap between Mr. Obama and the white working class in the rust belt states. But it did not last. In their infinite wisdom, ordinary Americans caught in the grip of a terrible economic malady still cared about the direction of the country and the debt burden their children would come to carry.

Mr. Obama had demonized the Bush tax cuts. They were, in the full length of his campaign, emblematic of the politics of greed and heartlessness. But he came around. There was no need to love or embrace them: It was enough that the president came down from on high to accept the logic of things and to step aside in the face of the popular revolt against big government and higher taxes.

The era of charisma, which began when Barack Obama was swept into office by delirium and enthusiasm, has drawn to a close. With the resounding repudiation of the midterm elections, the tax legislation, the ratification of a strategic arms pact with Russia and the end of "don't ask, don't tell" thanks to the support of Republican senators, the Obama presidency has just begun.

The ADD-afflicted Democrats will whine and moan and gnash their teeth, but their POTUS is growing up before their eyes and leaving them behind. For him, it's childhood's end---for them, eternity in the playpen.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bush's "Decision Points" Sells 2 Million in less than a Month

Yesterday I got an online coupon from Barnes & Noble for a 35% discount and scooted over to the nearest B&N at the University Commons. When I asked the nearest clerk about the GWB auto-biography, she said it was 'sold out.' When I got in line with my second choice, Colonel Roosevelt, the fellow behind me had the same book and I mentioned that I'd come for the Bush autobiography, but it was sold out. He mused whether it had been written 'with crayons' and I recounted that John Lewis Gaddis, his history prof and the dean of American historians, had received unbidden a book report every month or so from GWB on the biography of some American POTUS that GWB had read in his spare time in the WH or Crawford. The guy said somebody else probably ghosted it, but I refrained from speculating out loud that Bill Ayers and his team of traitor-terrorists had written Obummer's two autobios, before the age of forty, thus showing the immense narcissistic bent which the Eurotards lap up like the lapdogs they are.

When I got to the cashier, I asked about Decision Points and she said that two days ago there had been 'a ton of the books' at the front of the store, but the huge pile had disappeared in a day, evaporated like a puddle in the hot sun [my metaphor!?].

The voluble and self-absorbed ClyntOOn's autobio, despite the plausible curiosity a perjuring sex-addicted oaf's description of his own narcissism [what is it with Demonrats' narcissistic tendencies, like the ineffable oaf Kerry or the insufferable oaf Gore?] in two terms in the White House, only managed 2.2 million in sales over the last five years, so GWB will probably pass that in one month, given the Christmas Rush and the palpable curiosity to hear him from his own words and not the funhouse mirror depiction of the lamestream media.

More Administrative Law End-Around Legislation from Obummer.

President Obummer
sneaked in a couple of coups de pouce, the kinds of Admin Law back-doors to socialism that the GOP snoring oldies and their sleepy-headed media flacks didn't even notice. The FCC and EPA are getting Cass Sunstein-type reach-arounds from Obama. Barry Soetero is the ideal lame-o for the enemies of America to run rings around. He is asleep at the wheel, his 'opponents' in Congress are 'what-me-worry Alfred E. Newman dodos like Lugar, and the lib mantra seems to be, on foreign policy, if it cries, feed it.

A feminized US foreign policy more like a Pelosi botox treatment than the tough spine we need to build muscle around.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sarah Palin Uses Info Gleaned From 'Treasonous' WikiLeaks To Pen Op-Ed On Dangers Of Iran

'll bet Nick Wing doesn't realize that his whole argument that Palin is 'hypocriti­cal' or whatever is nugatory. Nothing doing. Nick has to learn that the biggest hypocrite is the whinging megalomani­ac Julian who whines that his Stockholm police report was leaked, poor mama's boy...

Keep giving Palin all the publicity she can get, cuz it convinces Keith Olbermann that she's getting unfair advantage, even when moonbat Wing tries to diss her...

Keith is rapidly declining and we won't see his like again, thank God...!
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, December 23, 2010

1984: Lez TSA Guidance Punishes Airline Pilot

Lez Bean Napolitano has her dominatrixes send out the posse to confiscate an airline pilot's firearms for daring to point out that airport security is a Kabuki theater of poses, gestures, smoke & mirrors. Read it and weep.

Crazy Catholic Quarterbacks

The Democratic Underground isn't full of religious sentiment, but it gave me this ca-raazy coincidence:
Don't doubt the Crazy Catholic Mojo when it comes to football. The Almightly is definitely paying attention.

At the end of November, 1942, Holy Cross was playing in its annual tilt against Boston College. BC had dominated the matchup, but for some reason that day, Holy Cross rose up and destroyed BC 50-0. The BC players, naturally despondent at the defeat, did not go out to the club they had chosen for their victory party.

That club was the Coconut Grove, which burned that night killing 492 people. This was the fire that caused the zoning rule which dictated that all exit doors open outwards instead of inwards. The rule came because most of the dead in the Coconut Grove died of smoke inhalation while piled up against the front door, which opened inwards.

God watches Catholic college football, and occasionally, gets involved.

I'd been thinking of all the first-rate Catholic QBs like Favre, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, the Mannings, and a whole lot more like Jaworski, Marino, Kosar [who wore a crucifix conspicuously while he QB'd for the Browns], Jim Kelly, and on and on.

When I was in Ireland last summer, I was watching on TV a couple of the brutal sports that pass for recreation there and the fact that rugby originated in the Auld Green Sod and I wondered if American football might have some Irish DNA.

Just asking....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clapper Wins Douchebag of the Week Prize Among Obama Retards

Napolitano the Lez Bean might be working 364 days a year [minus Christmas Day when the crotch-bomber from hell flew into Detroit], but the US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't hear until yesterday night on Diane Sawyer's show that 12 men were arrested in the UK planning an Al-Qaeda-inspired attack. ABC had had the story headlined on Good Morning America, so it was old news for most Americans, but not for the ignoramus nitwit [meaning average Obama cabinet member] Clapper. So Napolitano and Clapper are both asleep at the wheel and we are acclaiming a dodo of a POTUS for pushing through a pro-Russian START Treaty.

Wow, I hope the US survives until the 2012 elections...!

Why Pollard Will Never Be Released

Fifteen years ago I was told by the very highest US intelligence source outside the White House that Pollard would never be released, because as a matter of principle, Israel had committed a mortal sin against the USA. Pollard had managed to send the Israelis the TOP-SECRET codes and other dis-encrypted material on the location timetables and GPS of US nuclear sub movements over the next few months. That wasn't the problem. The problem was, according to this top US spy, that the Israelis had themselves taken it upon themselves to trade this intelligence on the nuke subs and their timetables to the USSR, in exchange for other information, presumably concerning the Middle East region, or for other trade-offs. Once the Pollard thefts were finally discovered, of course, the times and schedules were changed. However, a window of opportunity was open and much information that could be examined by the Soviets later was compromised.

For that reason, because Israel betrayed the US in such a manner as to totally compromise our national security, Pollard would rot in jail for the rest of his life, whinging and whining and all other things to the contrary notwithstanding. The US is punishing Israel, not Pollard.

FCC Marxist Coup to End Telephone & Cable Freedoms by "Net Neutrality"

Julius Genachowski is another reason to believe that all the hoopla and ballyhoo about the GOP takeover of Congress is overdone, because Obama-bots and The Won Himself are planning an administrative end run around Congress that will neuter poor weepy Speaker Boehner and his Republican cohorts by Cass Sunstein's silent revolution.

John Fund writes convincingly that the paranoid right that Richard Hofstadter wrote about so long ago is being circumvented, and along with it the American voter, by a POTUS and his accomplices, the lamestream media, who are too clever and are underreported, except by fawning nitwits in the media trying hard to figure out what the original problem is. Bert Lance once famously intoned: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context." He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist."

For a man with such radical views, Mr. McChesney and his Free Press group have had astonishing influence. Mr. Genachowski's press secretary at the FCC, Jen Howard, used to handle media relations at Free Press. The FCC's chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for regulation of political talk radio.

Free Press has been funded by a network of liberal foundations that helped the lobby invent the purported problem that net neutrality is supposed to solve. They then fashioned a political strategy similar to the one employed by activists behind the political speech restrictions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill. The methods of that earlier campaign were discussed in 2004 by Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, during a talk at the University of Southern California. Far from being the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, Mr. Treglia noted, the campaign-finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by foundations like Pew.

"The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot," he told his audience. He noted that "If Congress thought this was a Pew effort, it'd be worthless." A study by the Political Money Line, a nonpartisan website dealing with issues of campaign funding, found that of the $140 million spent to directly promote campaign-finance reform in the last decade, $123 million came from eight liberal foundations.

So the net neutrality regulation is the camel's nose under the tent on the way to nationalization of the media, with the ultimate control of the media by the government.

Those who are aware of Marxist movements are aware that when the media is under government control, the tendency toward one-party government is very strong. Hugo Chavez is a big fan of net neutrality.
To that end, Free Press and other groups helped manufacture "research" on net neutrality. In 2009, for example, the FCC commissioned Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society to conduct an "independent review of existing information" for the agency in order to "lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decision making."

Considering how openly activist the Berkman Center has been on these issues, it was an odd decision for the FCC to delegate its broadband research to this outfit. Unless, of course, the FCC already knew the answer it wanted to get.

The Berkman Center's FCC- commissioned report, "Next Generation Connectivity," wound up being funded in large part by the Ford and MacArthur foundations. So some of the same foundations that have spent years funding net neutrality advocacy research ended up funding the FCC-commissioned study that evaluated net neutrality research.

Watch for crushing media silence on this media analogy to the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax concocted by thousands of greedy "climate scientists" eager for government funding, which only came if the research was likely to be pro-AGW. Cargo Cult Science was the term by Richard Feynman which described fake research and elaborate grant requests for funding which aimed at achieving a bogus goal, to verify a theorem that the fake 'scientists' wished to 'prove.' In this case, net neutrality has plenty of fake 'research' concocted with a political goal in mind, the denial of free market access by the media. Don't be surprised when we all become honorable Venezuelans.
The FCC's "National Broadband Plan," released last spring, included only five citations of respected think tanks such as the International Technology and Innovation Foundation or the Brookings Institution. But the report cited research from liberal groups such as Free Press, Public Knowledge, Pew and the New America Foundation more than 50 times.

So the "media reform" movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for. Now they have their policy. That's quite a coup.

Obama's socialist takeover of the country proceeds apace, with moronic Republicans like Lugar and other RINOs acquiescing in their senile dotage.

Big Sis Napolitano---Not the Hair-Challenged Judge---suffers from Ganser's Syndrome

Lesbian Dodette she may be, but the Homeland Security Czarina has her moments:
Evidence has emerged suggesting that the U.S. secretary of homeland security may suffer from a rare dissociative disorder called Ganser syndrome. As described by

The most well-recognized symptom of Ganser syndrome is the so-called symptom of approximate answers (alternately designated in the literature by the German terms vorbeireden [talking past], vorbeigehen [to pass by], or danebenreden [talking next to]). Here, the patient responds to questions with an incorrect answer, but by the nature of the answer reveals an understanding of the question posed. This can be illustrated by the patient answering "3" when asked, "How many legs has a horse?" or "black" when asked "What color is snow?" or "Tuesday" when asked "What is the day after Sunday?" Frequently, the patient answers a number of questions with these odd approximate answers. This is in direct contrast to answers that are simply nonsensical, perseverative, or otherwise inappropriate.

To be clear, an example of a perseverative answer would be "Failure is not an option." A nonsensical one would be just about anything Vice President Biden says. But Janet Napolitano's latest utterance falls into the approximate category.

In a much-discussed interview with ABC's "World News Tonight," reports, Diane Sawyer asked Napolitano about the possibility of a terror attack over the holidays. The secretary answered: "What I say to the American people is that . . . thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year to keep the American people safe."

She's had a long year.

The minimum number of days in a year is 365. So what was Napolitano trying to say? Our first thought was that the Homeland Security Department doesn't work on--pardon the expression, Miss Totenberg--Christmas, which would explain how that guy managed to get on a plane last year with a bomb in his drawers. This would be consistent with a Ganser diagnosis. WebMD notes that questions have been raised about Ganser's "status as a true mental illness versus a specific form of malingering." But while those questions have "been the subject of multiple journal articles and book chapters," they have yet to be answered with precision.

In a 2003 article for the Journal of Medical Humanities, Mady Schutzman offered a provocative hypothesis. In the course of researching "hysteria as a cultural and relational phenomenon rather than a disorder belonging to women's bodies," Schutzman stumbled upon a curious phenomenon known as "humor," which bears an uncanny resemblance to the symptoms of Ganser syndrome:

I discovered a performative trope--a slippery kind of verbal humor--that epitomized "talking past the point" and relocated its dynamic outside the boundaries of medical science. . . .
Jokes rely upon "getting the point" just at the boundaries of the point; that is, jokes are about sidestepping the point, a kind of punning, taking the literal and tweeking [sic] it, bending it so that we are made precisely aware of what was "past," what was expected, precisely from the vantage point of the unexpected. A master of this form of comedic repartee was Groucho Marx. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Or, "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
And inside of a plane, the underwear bomber flies on Christmas.

If Napolitano is suffering from Ganser syndrome, what are the implications for homeland security? The good news, according to WebMD: "Symptoms usually resolve spontaneously." The bad news: "Occasionally, they may be followed by a major depressive episode."

"The full Ganser syndrome is considered very rare," WedMD reports, noting that "fewer than 100 cases have been described and documented in the literature." But we wonder if the disorder doesn't often go undiagnosed. Remember the Beatles song "Eight Days a Week"? Maybe the Fab Five had it.

Huit Jours is the Froggie way of describing a week, and the French are well-known for their dissociative disorders---as in common sense versus the Cartesian mindset. Francophone francophile Lennon occasionally delved into that language, "Michelle, ma belle, etc...," for some of his language.

But Napolitano speaks no known language and may be innumerate to boot. Unlike the ineffable insufferable dunce Biden, she could have a mental block that is insuperably thick, just like her jowls and impenetrable skull.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Every Dog Has Its Day, and Assange Gets Rabid

Boy-bitch Julian, "If You Cross Me, I'll Get You, My Pretty!"

The Australian has an article with the headline "WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange turns on everyone" which pretty much sums up this cornered dog's snarling as his high-handed egomania is outed through his own favorite weapon---leaks.

Including the Guardian, which decided to reward him for getting the choicest stolen e-mails and confidential messages by hacking into the Swedish police indictment, which makes this fellow look and sound very much like the rapist he is accused of being.

Ha ha ha.

"Hoist by his own petard" is the old-fashioned way of describing his fate.

And from the many different other descriptions by his former colleagues and friends of his high-handed dictatorial treatment of them after they shared resources and did essential work for him, he is the "boss" from hell.

I sincerely hope they indict, extradite, and punish this specimen of Stalin-wannabe as severely as the law allows.

Dumb, Dumber and Cynthia Tucker

Toy-gun eating Mash-o-Matic is a sure way for a parent to worm her way into her child's heart, er, if she has one:
For seven years, Providence municipal and law enforcement officials have organized the event around Christmastime as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake. The event is a mix of the macabre and the playful, a children’s version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.

Yesterday, younger children ran through a rubber obstacle course while officials told the older children the story of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.

In exchange for their toy guns, all the children received wrapped presents that were indisputably not violent — dolls, stuffed animals, and board games like checkers.

Some children were not thrilled with the trade.

Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said.

“I’m worried,’’ she said. “He might cry.’’

But when it was his turn, Malik strode dry-eyed and with quiet dignity to the Bash-O-Matic and fed it the gun. When his mother approached, he said nothing.

“You don’t want to talk to me?’’ Hall asked. He looked at her stonily and left to retrieve his gift. Hall said she had no regrets. The 26-year-old mother of six said she has been trying to wean her only son off toy guns for years.

Six children at age 26, Amanda didn't tell the intrepid "reporter" who the daddy[ies] is/were.


"McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, have themselves followed the Rovian low road by questioning Obama's patriotism."--Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oct. 26, 2008
"There is simply no modern precedent for the behavior of Republicans in the U.S. Senate. They are not only hyper-partisan, but they are also petty, petulant and unpatriotic."--Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 20, 2010

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution keeps getting Pulitzers, but everyone knows you don't get those for writing well or telling the truth anymore.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Canada, What a Shithole You've Become!

Free Booze is the latest cure for living in Canada and bearing the endless pain of being an institutionally exact third-rater by birth. It's even part of your passport...

James Taranto in the WSJ explains in his own tongue-in-cheek manner:
A Canadian walks into a bar in Vancouver and notices that the place is filled with disheveled bums. But he really wants a drink, so he stays anyway. "I'll have a Crown Royal neat, eh," he says to the bartender.

The bartender replies, "That'll be $100 [about US$98]." Then he observes, "You know, we don't get many well-dressed, gainfully employed customers in here."

The Canadian says, "At these prices, no wonder!"

This joke was inspired by a story from the Canadian Press:

Alcohol is the cheapest drug in B.C., says a report released Thursday by the Centre for Addictions Research, which recommends a hike in liquor prices to reduce illness and injuries.
CTV reports that according to the research, raising booze prices by up to 150% "could have a major impact on everything from hospital visits and traffic accidents, to venereal disease."

So far, so good. But "there's a concern" that if prices go up, "those who can't afford it" will "go to the less expensive, and far more damaging, rubbing alcohol, antifreeze and mouthwash to drink."

The proposed solution: "a controlled access program that gives free alcohol to homeless alcoholics." A socialized open bar! Those who drink responsibly pay more to bail out the real drunks.

At least the Obama administration hasn't caught up with this idea yet. If it does, the Long Island Iced Tea Party will have something to say about it.

"Long Island Iced Tea Party", pretty much sums up two problems, Canada and New York, sisters in incompetence and booze...!

Oxford Union: From Now On a Moribund Sinkhole of Depraved PC Wankers.

Tony Hodges was a friend who was President of the Oxford Union, and much better than the wanker sodhole spermburper Andrew Sullivan at his duties. Below is why one should pay little attention to the Oxford Union in a new century when democracy and free speech are curtailed there by left-wing bombthrowers:
In November 2007, President Luke Tryl sparked controversy by inviting Holocaust denier David Irving and British National Party leader Nick Griffin to speak at a Union forum on the topic of free speech. Following protests by several student groups, a poll of the Union's members was taken and resulted in a two-to-one majority in favour of the invitations.[14]
On the evening of the planned debate several hundred protesters gathered outside the Union buildings, chanting anti-fascist slogans and later preventing guests and Union members from entering the premises. Eventually succeeding in breaching the poorly-maintained security cordon, around 20 of the campaigners attempted to force their way through to the main chamber, whereupon some of the waiting audience blocked access by pushing back against the chamber doors. After students were convinced to yield to the protestors by Union staff, a sit-in protest was staged in the debating chamber, which prevented a full debate from occurring due to security concerns. A small number of the audience attempted to reason with the demonstrators. Because of a lack of security personnel, a number of students from the audience eventually came to take on the responsibilities of controlling events, in one instance preventing a scuffle from breaking out between a protestor and members of the audience, and eventually assisting police in herding protestors from the main hall. One student protestor interviewed by BBC News reported that fellow protestors played 'jingles' on the piano and danced on the President's chair [1] although the truth of the latter assertion is seriously questioned by eyewitnesses. Smaller debates were eventually held with Irving and Griffin in separate rooms, amid criticism that the police and Union officials had not foreseen the degree of unrest which the controversial invitations would arouse.[15] The President of Oxford University Student Union, Martin McCluskey, strongly criticised the decision to proceed with the debate, claiming that providing Irving and Griffin with a platform for their extreme views afforded them undue legitimacy.[16] Some students following the event criticised the Student Union for preventing Oxford Union members (as students themselves) from exercising the right to free assembly, and accused the Oxford University Student Union of hypocrisy in seemingly restricting the rights of free speech to those individuals whose views chimed with those of the Student Union leadership (although the decision to oppose the invite had been agreed by representatives of the Student Population at a Council meeting).[17]

Go to the Wiki site for more history before the OU becomes another fossil of totalitarian buttholery.

Kool-AID Addicts Beware: Obama's Star May be Setting

Good news from Charles Babington:
The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections.
The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.
The biggest gainer will be Texas, a GOP-dominated state expected to gain up to four new House seats, for a total of 36. The chief losers - New York and Ohio, each projected by nongovernment analysts to lose two seats - were carried by Obama in 2008 and are typical of states in the Northeast and Midwest that are declining in political influence.
Democrats' problems don't end there.
November's elections put Republicans in control of dozens of state legislatures and governorships, just as states prepare to redraw their congressional and legislative district maps. It's often a brutally partisan process, and Republicans' control in those states will enable them to create new districts to their liking.
The combination of population shifts and the recent election results could make Obama's re-election campaign more difficult. Each House seat represents an electoral vote in the presidential election process, giving more weight to states Obama probably will lose in 2012. The states he carried in 2008 are projected to lose, on balance, six electoral votes to states that his GOP challenger, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, won. That sets a higher bar for Obama before his re-election campaign even starts.
"The way the maps have shifted have made Obama's route to success much more difficult," said Republican Party spokesman Doug Heye. He said the GOP takeover of several state governments on the eve of redistricting efforts was "a dramatic shift."
Republicans now control the governor's offices and both legislative chambers in competitive presidential states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Maine and Wisconsin. They hold the governors' chairs in other crucial states, including Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Iowa.
When Obama carried those states in 2008, most had Democratic governors happy to lend their political operations to his cause. Now he will run where governors can bend their powers against his administration's policies and his campaign's strategies.

The slimebags in the media got revenge on Tom DeLay for doing something which wouldn't raise an eyebrow in Cook County, Manhattan, or other Demonrat scoundrel-havens.
Of course, any number of things can happen before the 2012 elections, and Obama and other Democrats may come roaring back. Republicans might help them by pushing their luck and trying to draw more GOP-leaning House districts than the elections of 2012, 2014 and beyond will support.
State politicians use detailed, computer-generated data on voting patterns to carve neighborhoods in or out of newly drawn districts, tilting them more to the left or right. Sometimes they play it safe, quietly agreeing to protect Republican and Democratic incumbents alike. But sometimes the party in control will gamble and aggressively try to reconfigure the map to dump as many opponents as possible.
"The danger you run is trying to be too clever and cutting those margins too thin," said Tim Storey, a redistricting authority for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
That's what Pennsylvania Republicans did 10 years ago, when they controlled the redistricting process after the 2000 census. Determined to turn the Democrats' 11-10 House delegation advantage into a 13-6 GOP edge (after the state lost two seats due to sluggish population growth), Republicans created new districts that forced several Democratic incumbents to run against each other. Democratic lawsuits in state and federal courts failed to overturn the "grotesque district boundaries," as the Almanac of American Politics called them.
Republicans initially won 12 of the state's newly drawn House districts. But when Pennsylvania voters shifted more toward Democrats in the next few years, thinly protected GOP lawmakers lost their seats. By 2009, Democrats had a 12-7 advantage.
Pennsylvania's partisan warfare was mild compared with the Texas redistricting imbroglio of 2003. Republicans, who had just taken over the state government, refused to live eight more years with a political map that had given 17 U.S. House seats to Democrats, and 15 to the GOP.

Right now, the best thing to hope for is a retention of the huge GOP majority in the House and electoral justice in the flyover states, except for the carbuncle on the ass of America, Cook County and environs. DeLay was too clever by half, but the Voting Rights Act didn't prevent a handful of Demonrats from thwarting the national will, as the ACA rests as a prime example.

FCC Lurching Toward Beijing by one Cut At A Time

Net Neutrality is the latest homicidal assault on democracy mounted by the Obama minions and their numberless orcs in the legal community.
Nothing is broken and needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being "data driven" in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.

It wasn't long ago that bipartisan and international consensus centered on insulating the Internet from regulation. This policy was a bright hallmark of the Clinton administration, which oversaw the Internet's privatization. Over time, however, the call for more Internet regulation became imbedded into a 2008 presidential campaign promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama. So here we are.

Now that the nanny-state Obamabots are still able to throw their weight around, for the next few days at least, the creepy little petty functionary aka quango Julius Genachowski is making Polish politicians again a byword for stupidity. [Check European History 101 for examples.]
Watch this space before Obama's butt-boys in the FCC get their takeover and loose Cass Sunstein to ruin what is left of the internets.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

National Journal on Senate and House Races in 2012

Charlie Cook remains the most solid pronosticator of them all. Here are his takes in 2012:
To state the obvious, we do not know yet what the economic and political climate will be, not to mention the performance of the candidates who will be on the ballot. But we do know some basic numbers and who will be up for reelection.
First, the numbers. In the Senate, Democrats are facing the first round of a two-part election ordeal that is the by-product of their netting six seats in 2006 and eight in 2008. In wave years such as those, some very bright and deserving people get elected; some moderately bright and somewhat-deserving people win; and some, well, let’s just say that some candidates are very fortunate to be running at the right time. Their victories, no doubt, amazed everyone in their high school graduating class.
So Senate Democrats will have the numbers against them in 2012 and 2014. In 2012, they will have 23 seats in play, compared with only 10 Republican seats. Four years from now, Democrats will have 20 seats up, compared with 13 for the GOP.
In the first round of The Cook Political Report’s 2012 Senate ratings, Democrats start with three incumbents whose races are classified as toss-ups: Ben Nelson in Nebraska, Jim Webb in Virginia, and newly elected Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Three Democrats are in the “Lean Democratic” column: Bill Nelson in Florida, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Sherrod Brown in Ohio. To that list you can add independent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, who sits and caucuses with the Democrats. So, that’s seven incumbents in races expected to be competitive.
Five more Senate Democrats begin the cycle in the “Likely Democratic” column, essentially a watch list of contests that are not yet—but could well become—competitive. In that category are Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Jon Tester in Montana, Kent Conrad in North Dakota, Robert Casey in Pennsylvania, and Maria Cantwell in Washington. The remaining 11 Democratic-held seats start off in the “Solid Democratic” category.

Senate Democrats will have the numbers against them in 2012 and 2014.
Republicans, meanwhile, go into the 2012 cycle with just two Senate seats in competitive categories, both toss-ups: Scott Brown in Massachusetts and John Ensign in Nevada. Of the eight remaining GOP senators up for reelection, the only one whose race is not currently in the “Solid Republican” column is Olympia Snowe of Maine, who might be more at risk in the primary than in the general election.
Thus, Democrats, who currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, will go into 2012 with seven seats at real risk, against only two for the GOP. But keep in mind that these lists will likely change many times over the next two years.
In the House, the challenge for Democrats will be scoring a net gain of 25 seats to win a majority. That’s a tall order considering that Republicans enter this redistricting season in their strongest position in modern history, controlling the mapmaking process in states with about 195 districts. Democrats will run the show in states with just a combined 49 districts.
Those numbers will become concrete on Tuesday at 11 a.m., when the Census Bureau releases its official reapportionment numbers that tell each state exactly how many congressional districts it will have. The redistricting process will strengthen some House members, weaken others, and leave some unaffected. Obviously, the results will greatly change the way seats are perceived and rated.
While some prognosticators are throwing around big numbers about how many additional seats the GOP could gain through redistricting, remember that you can’t pick up a seat you’ve already won. The Republicans’ 63-seat gain this year limits what they can expect to pick up. The GOP’s redistricting focus should be on solidifying the seats it has just won instead of trying to spread Republican voters into more districts and thus gain more seats; such a strategy could jeopardize the seats the party has now.
Based on what little we know at this point, The Cook Political Report’s initial 2012 House ratings show six GOP seats as toss-ups and 14 in the “Lean Republican” column, for a total of 20 in competitive categories. The six Republicans in toss-up races are all freshmen: Allen West (FL-22), Robert Dold (IL-10), Bobby Schilling (IL-17), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), and Blake Farenthold (TX-27). Conversely, House Democrats begin with four members in districts that are potential toss-ups: John Barrow (GA-12), Joe Donnelly (IN-02), Gary Peters (MI-09), and Betty Sutton (OH-13).
To be sure, all of these ratings will change as retirements, recruiting, redistricting, and other political developments occur. This is just a first-blush look.

So of the 23 Senate seats up for grabs, 12 are possible pick-ups for the Republicans if the economy hits a second roadbump or Obama shilly-shallies on his Clinton re-do. Three Dems right now are to the right of Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins or Scott Brown---I'm talking about Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, and Jim Webb.

As a Florida resident, I am plumping for anybody except the other Nelson for Senator, except of course, Charlie Crist, the ultimate mugwump...!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Italy's Northern League to the Rescue: Bye bye Berlusconi!

Silvio isn't a sex addict, he's a Bill Clinton-wannabe

Berlusconi barely survived a 314-311 vote of confidence last week. But when and if his battered political career comes to a halt, the elections afterwards might vault The Northern League's political boss, Signor Roberto Bossi, into the top seat in Italy. Roberto Bossi is responsible for touting the Po Valley's advantages versus the problems in the rest of the country with the great quip "Garibaldi didn't unite Italy---he divided Africa!"

Here's a recent Economist article:
For almost ten years, starting in the late 1990s, the League and its dream of a free “Padania” (northern Italy) could be dismissed as outlandish. No longer. Since 2008, Silvio Berlusconi’s government has relied on the League’s votes in parliament. To ensure its continued support the prime minister promised this month to accelerate the implementation of “fiscal federalism”—the League’s ill-defined project for greater financial autonomy.

If, however, the government is brought down next year by divisions among its non-League elements, Mr Bossi and his followers should be the main beneficiaries of any resulting election. Polls show them increasing their share of the vote by half since the 2008 election.

As with many parties across Europe, the League’s anti-illegal immigration and anti-Islamic stance is popular. It is a Leaguer, the interior minister, Roberto Maroni, who has implemented Italy’s controversial policy of turning back migrants in the Mediterranean before they can apply for asylum. Islamophobia is rife in the League. Another minister, Roberto Calderoli, once walked a pig over land earmarked for the building of a mosque.

Yet the party’s xenophobia is in essence a by-product of Mr Bossi’s efforts to create a shared identity among the people he seeks to unite. “One way he does this is by setting up common enemies,” says Alessandro Trocino, co-author of a recent book on the League. “First, it was Italians from the south; then immigrants in general, now Muslims in particular.”

Mr Bossi’s message has proved increasingly attractive to traditionally left-wing voters. Indeed, their support was crucial to the League’s impressive showing in the 2008 election. “We are neither left nor right,” says Ettore Albertoni, a former speaker of the assembly of Lombardy, the region around Milan. The claim has some foundation; many of the League’s longstanding voters are both employers and workers—owners of farms, workshops and bars.

It would be ironic if next year, the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification, became the League’s annus mirabilis. But Giuseppe Berta, the author of a book on Italy’s north, says, “The League is on the crest of a wave. That means it’s about to fall back.” The party, he maintains, has innate handicaps. It remains dependent on Mr Bossi’s charisma (undimmed by a stroke in 2004 that left him with impaired speech). Urban voters are put off by its populism, vulgarity (Mr Bossi recently described Romans as “pigs”) and mythologising (of an ur-Padanian Celtic heritage). Professor Berta says the League has yet to produce leaders capable of governing anything bigger than a town. Not everyone agrees. Mr Maroni is among the government’s most popular ministers. Luca Zaia, who left the cabinet in April, is seen as an effective governor of the Veneto.

Much depends on whether the League will achieve its fiscal federalism, and, if it does, how it uses its new powers. Mr Trocino believes that it suits Mr Bossi and his followers to have an eternally unfulfilled demand. “Remember Oscar Wilde’s quip,” he says: “‘When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers’.”

The Northern League seems to vaguely resemble the Poujadists of mid-century France, a conservative movement of small business and property owners. The Italians constantly repeated to me during my numerous trips to Italy that "Africa begins fifty miles south of Rome," meaning the divide between the two cultures of italy. From a classical point of view, the two Italys might be the Magna Graecia of south Italy, where the gestures are Greek-derived, and the more familiar Latin gestures.

The pledge by Roberto Bossi to return to the Celtic pre-Roman past reminds one of the Cis-Alpine Celtic tribes that sacked Rome in 390BC before they were eventually conquered two centuries later by the Roman legions. The Celts never cease reminding the anecdotal legends of the Italic tribes conquered by Rome that the original seven hills were a refuge for bandits, criminals, and highwaymen just across the Tiber, the southern border of Etruria, the Etruscan limits of governance. These tribes collected slaves and militarized them early on until a combination of volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters weakened the Etruscans enough so that the highway robber enclave of Rome defeated the Etruscans around 420BC and then utterly laid waste to their capital, foreshadowing the fate of Carthage three centuries later.

Bossi's idea of "Padania" comprising the Po Valley's scenic riches might just propel the wealthy north into control of the rest of the country, much as northern Paris controls the rest of the French paysage.

Michael Moore's Sicko Banned in Cuba

It only Hurts When He Lies

Moore's colossal collection of lies from his 911 spoof to his flick on health care are now revealed as comedies. Here's Larry Johnson to explain:
Remember Michael Moore’s SICKO? He pushed the propaganda that Cuban Healthcare was wonderful and the U.S. awful. So this is just the kind of movie that Fidel Castro and his boys would want the Cuban people to see. Right?


Seems that Fidel does not want the Cuban people to see a “reality” that is denied to them. The Guardian has the story courtesy of Julian Assagne:

Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

Serial fool Jimmy Carter invited this beer belly, at the moment trying to shrink below 500 lbs. and curb his habit of a dozen Whoppers and six milk shakes for lunch while sequestered at a Florida fat farm. Here's the first WikiLeaks cable I'm positively rejoicing saw the light of day. I quote in full because this brings me back to the days when I wrote cables like this from the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia. It's usually, or was in those days, called an "Airgram," used for background color and tone.
The confidential para is highlighted in the final para:
Thursday, 31 January 2008, 19:52
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 HAVANA 000103
EO 12958 DECL: 01/25/2018
Classified By: COM: Michael E. Parmly: For reasons 1.4 b/d

1. Sicko
2. Production year: 2007
3. Country: USA
4. Cert (UK): 12A
5. Runtime: 113 mins
6. Directors: Michael Moore
7. More on this film


1. Diplomats believe Michael Moore film “Sicko” was banned in Cuba – for showing the country’s health system in such glowing light that it would have provoked a popular backlash. Key passages highlighted in yellow.

2. Read related article

1. (C) SUMMARY: This cable is a follow up to Reftel and provides anecdotal accounts from Cubans about their healthcare, based on USINT FSHP’s (Foreign Service Health Practitioner) interactions with them, her unauthorized visits to Cuban hospitals, and her care of USINT American and Cuban personnel. End Summary.

2. (C) The following anecdotes were obtained from Cubans of various walks of life: domestic employees, neighbors in the Havana suburbs, USINT Local Contract National (LCN) employees, service providers such as manicurists, masseuses, hair stylists, chauffeurs, musicians, artists, yoga teachers, tailors, as well as HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, physicians, and foreign medical students.

– A Cuban woman in her thirties confides, “It’s all about who you know. I’m okay because I am healthy and I have ‘friends’ in the medical field. If I didn’t have my connections, and most Cubans do not, it would be horrible.” She relates that Cubans are increasingly dissatisfied with their medical care. In addition to the general lack of supplies and medicines, and because so many doctors have been sent abroad, the neighborhood family physicians now care for 300-400 families and are overwhelmed by the workload. (Note: Neighborhood doctors are supposed to provide care for only 120 families. End Note.) In the absence of the physicians, patients go to their municipality’s “polyclinic,” but long lines before dawn are common, with an all too common 30-second diagnosis of “it’s a virus.”

– A 40-year old pregnant Cuban woman had a miscarriage. At the OB-Gyn hospital they used a primitive manual vacuum to aspirate the contents of her womb, without any anesthesia or pain medicine. She was offered no emotional support for her ‘loss’ and no pain medication or follow up appointments.

– A 6-year old Cuban boy with osterosarcoma (bone cancer) is admitted to the oncology hospital. Only his parents are permitted to visit, and then only for limited hours. He does not have a television nor any games or toys. The hospital offers no social support services. The parents do not seem informed as to their son’s case. When asked by the FSHP what they know about the management of the disease, they shrug their shoulders. According to the FSHP, cancer patients do not receive on-going basic care utilizing testing procedures common in much of the world to monitor cancer care — such as blood chemistries and tumor markers, sonograms, x-rays, CT and bone scans, MRIs, PET scans, etc. Patients are generally informed of the type of cancer they have, but know little of its staging, tumor size, metastasis, or prognosis. They may be offered surgery followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation but are not given choices to decide an aggressive versus less aggressive approach, nor are they allowed internet access to learn more of their disease.

– Many young cancer patients reportedly have become infected with Hepatitis C after their surgeries. Contracting Hepatitis C after surgery indicates a lack of proper blood screening prior to administering transfusions. All blood should be screened for Hepatitis B, C, HIV and Syphilis prior to use. Patients have no recourse and are not fully informed of the seriousness of such an inadvertent infection.

– During chemotherapy and radiation treatments, patients receive little in the way of symptom or side-effects care (i.e., severe nausea, vomiting, low blood counts, fever, diarrhea, radiation burns, mouth sores, peripheral neuropathies,etc.) that is critically important in being able to continue treatments, let alone provide comfort to an already emotionally distraught victim. Cancer patients are not provided with, nor can they find locally, simple medications such as Aspirin, Tylenol, skin lotions, vitamins, etc. Most Cuban patients are not offered Hospice Care or any social support programs for children, adults, or their care providers.

– HIV positive patients have had the letters ‘SIDA’ (AIDS) stamped on their national ID cards. Needless to say, in a country where the national ID card must be shown for everything from getting monthly rations to buying a train ticket, the person is stigmatized for life. There is no patient/doctor confidentiality and discrimination is very strong. (Note: According to Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) officials in Havana, stamping ID cards used to be the case but is no longer the practice in Cuba, something we could not independently corroborate. End Note.)

– Some newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS patients are held in what has come to be known as “Prision de Pacientes con SIDA de San Jose” (Prison for AIDS patients). There they are started on antiretrovirals AZT, D4T, 3TC. It is unclear to them why they were put in this prison-like facility but believe it is plain discrimination due to their homosexuality. The average period spent at this facility seems to be 18-24 months.

– AIDS patients are not given prophylaxis medication for the prevention of PCP (Pneumocysti carinii pneumonia), and for lack of newer medicines some patients are re-started on antiretroviral regimens that were stopped due to significant side effects. The Cuban family physicians who care for these patients’ primary care needs do not have the authority to treat their HIV/AIDS disease. There is only one facility in Cuba, Instituto Pedro Kouri, located in Havana, where HIV positive patients can receive their specialty care, antiretroviral medications and treatments. According to HIV positive Cubans known to FSHP, one usually waits for months for an appointment, but can often move ahead in line by offering a gift or hard currency. We are told five Cuban convertible pesos (approximately USD 5.40) can get one an x-ray and more can get one a CD4 count. Patients on the island must travel to the capital city for their specialist visits and medication. Due to the lack of island-wide transportation and the cost of travel, many HIV-positive patients may be seen only once per year.

– While the GOC claims there is a network of organizations that provide social support for HIV/AIDS patients, many of our sources say they have never been to one. Because they are “marked” as HIV positive, many are prevented from pursuing university studies and few can find gainful employment — many must resort to menial jobs to survive.

– A physician XXXXXXXXXXXX told the FSHP that he works 14 hours every other day, then has to hitchhike home because he cannot afford to own a car.

– XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” as being subversive. Although the film’s intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them. When the FSHP showed Sicko to a group of XXXXXXXXXXXX, some became so disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room.

– Even the Cuban ruling elite sometimes goes outside of Cuba for the best medical care. Fidel Castro, in July, 2006 brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis. Vice Minister of Health Abelardo Ramirez went to France for gastric cancer surgery. The neurosurgeon who is Chief of CIMEQ Hospital (reportedly one of the best in Cuba) went to England for eye surgery and returns periodically for checkups.

– According to a local pediatrician, the approximate breakdown of Cuban physicians’ salaries are: 1st & 2nd year residences earn 325 pesos monthly (USD 15.00); 3rd year residences earn 355 (USD 16.00); 4th year residences (specialists) earn 400 pesos monthly (USD 18.00). For every four years of medical practice thereafter, a physician receives an additional 20 pesos (USD 0.89 cents) per month.

– There is reportedly such a shortage of nurses that within the last few years, a high-school graduate is now offered an
accelerated training course of just ten-months duration entitled, “Enfermeras Emergentes” (Emergency Nurses). These “quasi” nurses are not trained to start Intravenous lines, interpret lab results or draw blood.

– Few medical professionals are allowed access to the internet and are rarely allowed to travel to participate in international conferences or continuing education courses. Access to up-to-date medical literature is not available. Some physicians have confided to the FSHP, “All of us want to leave.” They are dissatisfied with their salaries and their own medical care. They receive no special privileges – most of them do not even have access to care at the better foreigner hospitals, even if they work there.

– As described in reftel, the best medical institutions in Cuba are reserved for foreigners with hard currency, members of the ruling elite and high-ranking military personnel. These institutions, with their intended patient clientele in parentheses, include: Clinica Central Cira Garcia (diplomats & tourists), Centro Internacional de Investigaciones Restauracion Neurologica (foreigners & military elite), Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirurgicas (military & regime elite), Clinica de Kohly (Primer Buro Politico & Generals of the Ministry of Interior), and the top floors of the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital (foreigners) and Frank Pais Hospital (foreigners). These institutions are hygienically qualified, and have a wide array of diagnostic equipment with a full complement of laboratories, well-stocked pharmacies, and private patient suites with cable television and bathrooms.

4. (C) Below are first-hand observations from USINT’s Foreign Service Health Practitioner’s (FSHP) impromptu and unauthorized (by the GOC) visits to major Havana hospitals where average Cubans receive their healthcare, and from conversations with Cubans in many walks of life.

A. Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital

– Address: San Lazaro #701 Esquina A Belascoain, Centro Habana, Havana

– Date of visit: October, 2007

Built in 1982, this newly renovated 600 bed, 24 story hospital is depicted in Michael Moore’s film “Sicko,” where some 60 surgeries are performed daily including heart, kidney, and cornea transplants, mostly to patients who receive free treatment as part of Operation Milagro (mostly from Venezuela, but also from the rest of Latin America). The two top floors (shown in the movie) are the most modern and are reserved for medical tourists and foreign diplomats who pay in hard currency. The hospital has three intensive care units and all medical specialties except Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology and has no emergency room. The facility has a CT scanner (often said to be out-of-service), MRI and hyperbaric chamber capabilities.

– Upon entering the building the FSHP was struck by the grand and impressive lobby with a four-story ceiling, polished terrazzo floors and an elegant center reception booth. No one was in the reception booth, which displayed a digital streaming ticker-tape announcing an outdated hospital event; 30 or 40 people were sparsely scattered in the leather-like chairs throughout the lobby. There were no wheel chairs or other obvious signs this was a hospital.

– She was told the majority of patients came from Venezuela and each received weekly one bar of Palmolive bath soap, Palmolive shampoo, and a tube of Colgate toothpaste. She was also told the Venezuelan patients frequently take these items outside to the front parking lot and sell them to local Cubans. Cuban in-patients receive one tube of Colgate toothpaste and no other toiletries.

– Due to the high volume of foreigners receiving treatments and surgeries, most Cubans do not have access – the only chance might be a through a family member or connection working there and a gift or 20 CUCS (USD 21.60) to the Hospital Administrator. Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is “off-limits” to them.

B. Ramon Gonzalez Coro Hospital

– Address: Calle 21 #856 between 4th & 6th Avenues, Vedado Plaza, Havana

– Date of visit: July, 2006

– What is today the Obstetrics & Gynecology (OB-Gyn) hospital for Havana, used to be a private clinic prior to the revolution. The hospital has: 300 beds and reserves 12 beds for foreigners; an Intensive Care Unit for women as well as a Newborn Intensive Care Unit (using a very old infant ‘Bird’ respirator/ventilator – the model used in the U.S. in the 1970s); an Intermediate Newborn Care Unit; one room for babies less than five pounds needing weight gain; a Genetics Department with a specialized laboratory; and five surgical suites.

– The FSHP visited this hospital with a pregnant USINT American patient. Normally USINT staff is required to go to Cira Garcia Clinic, but because there were possible OB complications the FSHP was able to arrange, through a Cuban medical contact, for the patient to be seen by a highly-recommended obstetrician.

– This hospital, located in the densely populated residential area of Vedado, had a dilapidated and crumbling exterior. The FSHP was stopped at the entrance by a guard, but upon mentioning the name of the doctor they were to see, were allowed to proceed to the second floor – supposedly the nicest part of the hospital, which is reserved for foreigners; it reminded the FSHP of some of the poorest hospitals she had seen in Africa – unkempt rooms, old wrought-iron beds, flat mattresses with only one sheet, no A/C, no TV, no amenities. At the nursing station there was no nurse, but a metal cabinet with glass doors that had one jar filled with cotton and one half-full 16 ounce bottle of isopropyl alcohol. There were no other supplies nor any indication this was a nurse’s station – no stethoscopes, no computers, no medical charts, no papers or pens on the desk – there was a lone dial-type black telephone.

– After waiting 15 minutes a nurse in a white uniform appeared and told the FSHP and her patient to wait. She wasn’t friendly. There was no waiting room, so they found some chairs in the hall. It was very hot and the patient was very anxious and in pain. After 45 minutes and several attempts in a polite manner to move things along, a young female doctor came out smiling and asked for the patient – she asked that her husband remain in the chair, but did allow the FSHP to go with her upon insisting. At the end of a long hallway, the FSHP and the patient were guided into an “exam room.” There were no chairs, screens, posters, any medical supplies or equipment; only one old rusting sheet-metal table without any covering, extensions or stirrups. She asked the patient to undress and climb on the table with no intention to drape her. Having worked in third-world countries, the FSHP brought with her a bag of supplies that included paper drapes, which she placed on the table and over the patient. The doctor pulled out of a nearby drawer an old Pinard fetal heart stethoscope made of aluminum (funnel-shaped, like those used at the turn of the Century ) to listen for the baby’s heart beat. The FSHP could not believe her eyes — this was one of the best OB/GYN hospitals in Cuba. When the FSHP offered the doctor a portable fetal Doppler she had brought from the USINT Health Unit (HU), she gladly accepted.

– Although the doctor appeared to be clinically competent, she was abrupt and rough with the patient. FSHP believes this to be typical of the hierarchical doctor-patient relationship in Cuba. She stated, “She has an infection and needs an antibiotic,” and gave the FSHP a written prescription for an antibiotic generally not recommended during pregnancy. Upon returning to the HU the FSHP did a culture that returned negative for a bacterial infection. Needless to say, the FSHP did not give the prescription to the patient. As a result of this experience, the FSHP concluded that the best care for her unstable female pregnant patients in Havana — barring a MEDEVAC to the U.S. — would
be by the FSHP in their own home with telephone consults to an obstetrician in the U.S.

– XXXXXXXXXXXX told the FSHP that XXXXXXXXXXXX foreign medical students are increasingly covering for the gross shortages of physicians in Cuban hospitals.

C. Calixto Garcia Hospital

– Address: Avenida De Universidad Y 27 De Noviembre, Vedado, Havana

– Date of visit: November, 2007

– Built in the late 1800′s, this dilapidated 400-bed hospital was the first teaching hospital in Cuba and is only for Cubans. FSHP believes that if Michael Moore really wanted the “same care as local Cubans,” this is where he should have gone. The 22-bed emergency room receives all the major trauma and accident victims from Havana City, plus there are large Intensive and Intermediate Care Units. It also has a CT scanner and an MRI, which are reportedly often out of order. The hospital provides specialist care in all medical fields except OB-Gyn and Pediatrics.

– During the hospital visit, FSHP was struck by the shabbiness of the facility — no renovations were apparent — and the lack of everything (medical supplies, privacy, professional care staff). To the FSHP it was reminiscent of a scene from some of the poorest countries in the world.

– In an open-curtained exam room inside the emergency room, FSHP saw a middle-aged man lying on a gurney in his own soiled clothes with a large bloody bandage wrapped around his head – he was breathing, but was neither moving nor talking – there was no IV, oxygen (in fact no piped-in oxygen at all at this facility) or monitoring equipment. Neither did there seem to be any sense of urgency to his care.

– The hospital is spread out over several city blocks consisting of many two-story buildings with various specialties: Internal Medicine, Cardiology, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, and Neurology, etc. Each building is set up in dormitory style, with 44 metal beds in two large open rooms.

– The laboratory equipment is very rudimentary – a simple CBC (complete blood count) blood test is calculated manually by a laboratory technician looking through a microscope and counting the individual leucocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, etc.

– As the FSHP exited a building, XXXXXXXXXXXX drove up in a badly dented 1981 Moskovich that belched exhaust fumes. The private car, which is a luxury in Cuba, was a gift from his deceased father. He was a thin man, appearing disheveled, unshaved, with a cigarette between his lips, wearing a tattered white lab coat without a shirt underneath. He said his salary was 565 pesos (approximately $22) per month.

D. Salvador Allende Hospital

– Address: Calzada Del Cerro # 1551, Cerro, Havana

– Date of visit: November, 2007

– This 400-bed hospital is located in Cerro – a poorer and more densely populated section than the others visited in Havana. It is an old, run-down facility similar in appearance to Calixto Garcia Hospital in that there are several two-story buildings each with a medical specialty.

– The FSHP was dropped off a few blocks away so the guards wouldn’t see the diplomatic plates. When she walked in, the guards smelled of alcohol. In the emergency room there were about 40 mostly poor-looking Afro-Cuban patients waiting to
be seen. It appeared to be very orderly, clean, and organized.

– The rest of the buildings were in shambles . The FSHP did not see any “real” medicine or nursing practiced during her almost one-hour walk through most of the buildings. As she saw patients, she could not help but think that their own home might provide more value-added than remaining in that hospital. Patients had to bring their own light bulbs if they wanted light in their rooms. The switch plates and knobs had been stolen from most of the rooms so one had to connect bare wires to get electricity. There was no A/C and few patients had floor fans. Patients had to bring their own sheets, towels, soap and supplemental foods. Hospital food service consisted of rice, fish, rice, eggs, and potatoes day after day. No fresh fruits, vegetables, or meat were available.

5. (C) Comment: After living in Cuba for two and a half years, treating numerous Cuban employees at USINT, and interacting with many other Cubans, the FSHP believes many are malnourished and psychologically stressed. Hypertension, diabetes and asthma are widespread, but poorly treated. Common prescription and basic over-the-counter medications are unavailable. Given the large number of chronic diseases treated by the FSHP, preventive medicine in Cuba is a by-gone ideal, rather than the standard practice of care. PARMLY

As you may note if you peruse the classified message closely, HIV/AID patients have this category stamped on their national ID cards, you know, the ones that the ObamaCare provisions will eventually require in an administrative codicil yet to be written by shithead Cass Sunstein. The level of ignorance and discrimination abroad in this socialists' workers paradise is such that an victim of an STD has it on his personal ID, ruining his personal existence completely. Not that pigshit purveyors like Michael Moore give one ounce of compassion---after all, it's the douchbag's goal for ObamaCare to be as 'good' as Cuban health care.