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The Incorrectness of Salt

The Incorrectness of Salt

Since our blood has about the same saltiness as seawater, the claim that our bodies cannot handle salt safely is absurd. We are in fact very good at it. Salt has been implicated in raised blood pressure but if that were really a concern, a much more constructive approach would be to add potassium (which lowers blood pressure) to food rather than removing salt. Both are natural food components. Also see the research report following the article immediately below – a report which shows that a low salt diet is actually BAD for you. So it is really a puritanical desire to reduce people’s pleasures that motivates the anti-salt brigade. They only look at evidence that suits them

Britain’s food watchdog was accused last night of endangering the lives of 15,000 people a year after backing down on strict guidelines designed to limit the amount of salt in food. Health campaigners were furious at the decision by the Food Standards Agency to publish revised targets to cut salt in 85 types of food products by 2010. In many cases the agency raised levels after feedback from companies which claimed that they were unable to cut salt in certain products for technical or safety reasons.

Increases in permitted levels recommended by the agency included: Raising the salt allowed in crisps such as Quavers and Skips from 1.4g to 3.4g per 100g; Ketchup up from 1.8g to 2.4g; Savoury biscuits up from 1.3g to 2.2g.

The agency said that it still hoped to cut the overall intake of salt per person per day from 10g to 6g within four years. But medical experts said that the new targets meant this would not be met, especially as the targets cannot be imposed on the food industry. If salt intake were cut to 6g per day, it would prevent 70,000 heart attacks and strokes a year, of which 35,000 are fatal. If intake fell only to 8g a day, 15,000 people would die unnecessarily.

“Products like Quavers and Wotsits are still going to be allowed to contain more salt than in seawater,” Professor Graham MacGregor, head of cardio-vascular medicine at St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, southwest London, said. “If by 2010 we only get salt consumption down to 8g a day then that will result in another 30,000 strokes and heart attacks and some 15,000 will be fatal. The new targets reflect the naked power of the food industry that is just not interested in the health of the people it feeds.”

The National Heart Forum also expressed concern about “laggards” in the food industry who were failing to tackle salt reduction. Paul Lincoln, its chief executive, said that the firms resisting change should be “named and shamed”. He pointed the finger at manufacturers of children’s foods such as crisps, pizzas, bread, processed cheese and biscuits for making slowest progress in reducing salt. “The problem is these targets are voluntary,” he said. “Some companies have demonstrated that it is possible to make significant and rapid reductions. However, without the threat of any sanctions or penalties some sectors are clearly unwilling to press ahead with healthy reformulations.”

Malcolm Kane, an independent food safety consultant, said: “The new targets reveal a food industry still defending the use of excess salt in processed foods based upon weak arguments referring to technical reasons or food safety which are largely irrelevant to contemporary food processing conditions.”

The FSA said that its targets were realistic. The agency also said it was pleased with the efforts made by manufacturers and supermarkets to cut salt. Salt in bread was already down by 30 per cent, in breakfast cereals reduced by 33 per cent, and down a third in Kraft cheese spreads and snacks. Manufacturers were also committed to reducing salt in soups and sauces by 30 per cent.

However, some campaigners believe that the agency is running scared of the food industry after a recent rift over the need for red warning labels on junk food. Only Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Asda have endorsed “traffic light” alerts that will show levels of salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat. Gill Fine, the agency’s director of consumer choice, said: “We believe that the salt levels set out represent a realistic rate of reduction which will have a real impact on consumers’ intakes.”

She said that the targets would be reviewed in 2008 to ensure people were on track to achieve a 6g maximum daily intake of salt by 2010. The targets mean that Stilton cheese has been granted a reprieve. The FSA had originally wanted to cut its salt content from 2.5g per 100g to 1.9g.

Cheesemakers argued that salt reduction could threaten the viability of the 33 million pound a year industry which employs at least 500 people.

Salt is Okay for Health

Salt is Okay for Health

Salt gets a shake in a large study, reinforcing previous research which questions the value of a low salt diet – and suggests it might even be harmful. I know. One day they’re telling you one thing and the next the opposite. The trouble is that with salt, doctors and dieticians have assumed because a low salt intake may help blood pressure, that it saves lives.

A 13 year follow up of 7000 people has found that in most groups, the lower the salt intake, the higher the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke – independent of other lifestyle factors. The study wasn’t a trial; it observed people’s health rather than tested a proposition, so had potential problems. But the authors say that applies to almost all the studies which supposedly justify reducing salt and that none, they claim, show that a low salt diet saves lives.

The reason for the possible risk is that a low salt diet may increase artery damaging hormones. So while it’s not carte blanche for salt, it’s probably okay to enjoy the taste of food again.

For reference see: Cohen HW et al. “Sodium intake and mortality in the NHANESII follow-up study”. American Journal of Medicine 2006;119:275.e7-275.e14

Source

There is a further comment on the scandalous ignoring of science by the anti-salt fanatics here

The Winning Agenda for Republicans in 2008: “When Marriage Is Important”

When Marriage Is Important

  • Poverty of women and children will decrease by about seventy-five percent
  • Health care will be a manageable problem
  • The national deficit and debt will no longer be out of control
  • We can have a balanced budget while fighting the war on terror, rebuilding New Orleans, and handling other costly national disasters
  • We will no longer need to move the living room into the board room
  • Strong marriages equal a strong, stable, available, productive work force
  • Child abuse and neglect will become comparatively minor problems
  • Abortion no longer be “necessary”
  • Welfare and child support problems will greatly decrease
  • Crime and violence will decrease tremendously
  • Personal bankruptcy will abate substantially
  • Boys will stop dropping out of school and society
  • Same-sex marriage will no longer have political traction
  • The cycle of poverty and illegitimacy will be broken, allowing black families to finally succeed in large numbers and finally achieve true equal rights and economic success

During the first decade of Republican leadership, social indicators that Republicans promised to improve did not improve. There are few Americans who do not have a loved family member greatly harmed by divorce or entitled non-marriage. The vast majority of Americans know they have been seriously harmed by anti-family federal policies that continue destroying their loved ones and leave them in inevitable poverty and social disenfranchisement.

The vast majority of Americans are unhappy with both political parties. Both parties have pursued anti-marriage policies for decades. Republicans are now at the crossroads: we must deliver what we promised in 1994 or risk losing both the Congress and the Presidency to liberals who will blame all of Americas social problems on Republicans in 2006 and 2008.

The first Republican revolution failed because anti-family Democrat policies were left in place or magnified by Republicans who placed smooth-talking liberals in charge of welfare reform and the Marriage Movement. Renaming welfare to child support did little but to create millions more broken indentured families consisting of poor mothers and children, and criminalized disenfranchised husbands who cannot possibly support two households.

Social indicators measuring the well-being of single mothers and children have not improved on the Republican watch. Just as many women and children live in poverty today as in 1964, substantively due to predatory federal laws that break up families on the false promise that it is somehow possible make the economics of two broken households work on the same amount of income.

The second Republican revolution can and will succeed providing it establishes a real Marriage Movement wherein economic conservatives allow knowledgeable social conservatives to roll out true pro-marriage policies. Congress has been unable to deal with health care and poverty because these problems are largely caused by non-marriage. These social disasters continue to drive the very federal deficits, and the national debt, that preclude affordability of these largely-reactive programs.

There is only one way to give everyone what they want and need. Anti-family federal programs must be ended and replaced with low-cost policies that expect marital responsibility of husband and wife, that will end entitled abortion of the American family and positively help spouses work through the normal processes and common problems of marriage and aging when help is asked for by a responsible spouse.

For example: family break-ups often involve abuse of drugs or alcohol by a family member. Most spouses do not want a divorce. They just want a decent marriage. Federal policy should fund state programs that help the responsible spouse get the troubled spouse into treatment when they ask for help. We can reduce federal expenditures by hundreds of billions, reduce divorce rates by half, and substantially improve marriage rates, by this simple change alone. But if the marriage issues are serious, then you have to seek help from Glen Burnie MD Divorce Lawyers.

75% of American women no longer believe that feminism is a good thing. Few men believed it in the first place. Why coninue funding radical feminist pork such as VAWA, and entitle permanent non-marriage, when feminists will never vote for Republicans? Why not fund policies that voters want and need, real marriage movement policies that will win millions of votes across all voting groups, restore the economically-stable two-parent heterosexual family, and make a balanced budget entirely possible?

The New Republican Contract for America:
Marriage is important!

David R. Usher is President of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition

Coffee Correctness

Coffee Correctness

Like all socialism, socialist coffee is good only for its own chosen elite. But it’s a cheap ego-boost for the parlour pinks

Fair Trade certification, intended to raise the living standards of coffee farmers in Nicaragua and elsewhere, has grown into a complex bureaucracy and an industry in itself. Starbucks, the longtime Enemy No. 1 of the Fair Trade crusaders, agreed to purchase a limited amount of Fair Trade certified coffee days before a planned protest in 2000. The company bought 10 million pounds in 2005. In 2003 Dunkin’ Donuts agreed to make all of its espresso drinks certified. Nestle, one of the biggest coffee companies on Earth, launched a Fair Trade line in October 2005; the same month, McDonald’s agreed to test Fair Trade in 658 outlets. High-end specialty coffees are the fastest growing sector of the industry, and Fair Trade is the fastest growing specialty coffee; demand for it has ballooned by around 70 percent annually for the last five years.

You’d think this confluence of social responsibility and double lattes, good business practices and lefty politics, would make Katzeff a happy man. But he and a growing number of roasters say the Fair Trade movement has lost its way. The movement has always aroused suspicion on the right, where free traders object to its price floors and anti-globalization rhetoric. Yet critics from the left are more vocal and more angry by half; they point to unhappy farmers, duped consumers, an entrenched Fair Trade bureaucracy, and a grassroots campaign gone corporate.

The Fair Trade label was born in the Netherlands in 1989 under the brand name Max Havelaar, taken from the title of a 19th-century novel about oppressed Javanese coffee plantation workers. When the company came to the U.S. a decade later, the American branch billed itself TransFair USA. TransFair’s stated goal is simple: to ensure that farmers get a decent price for their beans, and to let consumers know it. By cutting out predatory middlemen and selling a clear conscience at a premium, coffee idealists hoped to achieve humanitarian goals by capitalist means.

TransFair USA certifies Fair Trade products and audits the chain of custody from producer to finished product. The organization charges between $2,000 and $4,000 to check out a cooperative, plus annual recertification fees and a small percentage of the price of each pound of coffee. The benefits, for those that pass muster, are not insignificant: a guaranteed price floor of $1.26 a pound to Fair Trade retailers-more than double the going rate for beans globally-and a stable price in a famously volatile market.

The Fair Trade apparatus is intended to mitigate a system that seemed especially cruel just as the movement was gaining steam. Until 1989 the price of coffee was relatively stable, held in place by an international agreement that imposed both import and export quotas. That year, as the Cold War ended and stability in producing countries was less of a priority in consuming ones, the pact-known as the International Coffee Agreement-dissolved completely. When supply and demand kicked in, new producers from Vietnam to Papua New Guinea were free to try their hand at the coffee game, drastically redrawing the java map. The resulting glut sent prices spiraling downward. By autumn 1992 coffee cost 50 cents a pound-a level, according to Fair Trade marketer Global Exchange, that’s comparable to prices in the 1930s.

Counter-intuitively, as prices were plunging for coffee farmers, middle-class Americans were learning to pay double or triple what they once had for a single cup of joe. The major coffee companies-Sara Lee, Kraft, Procter & Gamble, and Nestle-were paying less than they had for years, and the quality of their products, connoisseurs complained, was getting progressively worse. Around the same time, specialty companies such as Green Mountain started buying high-quality beans and pitching coffee as a luxury good rather than a commodity. A “specialty revolution”-the Starbucksification of America, driven by latte-toting yuppies-spawned a massive market for pricey brewed java. By 1998 Starbucks could plan on opening a store a day, and the satirical newspaper The Onion ran a story headlined “New Starbucks Opens in Rest Room of Existing Starbucks.”

As they grew in numbers and influence, it was the small, quality-obsessed specialty roasters who absorbed and perpetuated the Fair Trade ethos, thus distancing themselves from the big four, which continued to pay rock-bottom prices for low-quality coffee. Against the backdrop of schizophrenic prices, in the face of a glaring gap between impoverished Third World farmers and affluent First World consumers, Fair Trade advocates sold a vision of socially just consumption. Men like Katzeff began to travel abroad to source beans, and the industry’s inequities started to emerge: Farmers were being squeezed by middlemen, known as coyotes, so that even the dismal profits from cheap mass-produced coffee failed to reach them. Growers lacked basic information about what their crop was worth, how to maximize production, and how to market their beans, and it was to the coyotes’ advantage to keep it that way. Fair Traders, by contrast, sought a direct relationship between coffee farmers and coffee drinkers: clean, just, transparent transactions.

Fair Trade’s pioneers sought the one best way to reform this culture of abuse, and they settled on a bucolic vision of small farms working for the collective good. The system would serve growers who formed cooperatives of small family farms. Such organizations represent only a very narrow swath of the world’s 25 million coffee farmers, but as the Fair Trade brand has grown, the eligibility requirements have not budged. The result is a marketing machine meant to spread wealth across class divides that in practice draws sharp lines between winners and losers.

Gregorio Martinez grows coffee on 30 hectares of land in Lepaera, Honduras, where he lives with his wife and four children. In 1998 Hurricane Mitch destroyed his crop, leaving him deep in debt; by 2004 he was set to lose his farm to foreclosure for lack of $800. That same year, he sent a bag of beans to the Princess Hotel in San Pedro Sula, where a U.S. nonprofit was hosting a contest known as Cup of Excellence. Martinez took top honors, attracted attention from buyers, and auctioned off his crop for $19,500. In his acceptance speech, he expressed relief that he would be able to pass his farm on to his family rather than the bank.

Martinez owns a small family farm and produces a high-quality coffee, but none of his beans carry the Fair Trade label. His farm isn’t part of a cooperative, a Fair Trade non-negotiable that disqualifies small, independent farmers, larger family farms, and for that matter any multinational that treats its workers well. “It’s like outlawing private enterprise,” says former SCAA chair Cox, who now serves as president of a coffee consulting company. “What about a medium-sized family-owned farm that’s doing great, treats their employees great? Sorry, they don’t qualify.” In Africa, many coffee farms are organized along tribal, not democratic lines. They’re not eligible either, a problem that has prompted some roasters to charge cultural imperialism..

Specialty coffee roasters have always paid above-average prices, but that hasn’t stopped activists from launching smear campaigns against high-end retailers who resist the Fair Trade model. In 2000, activist groups including Global Exchange launched an attack on Starbucks that has left the company stained with a reputation for mistreating farmers. Yet given its size, Starbucks likely has done far more than the Fair Trade movement to improve the lot of coffee growers in the 25 countries from which it purchases coffee. Starbucks buys 2.2 percent of the world’s coffee production, and its infamous growth fuels demand for high-priced specialty coffees. In 2004 it bought that coffee at an average price of $1.20 a pound, slightly below the $1.26 Fair Trade pays but more than twice the average price for beans on the global commodity market.

Among the litany of complaints roasters voice about TransFair, cost is most resented. Roasters and retailers must pay the company to be registered as legitimate purveyors of Fair Trade goods. Organic labels cost about two cents per pound of coffee; TransFair demands ten, and there are controversies about how the money is being spent..

It may have a corporate image in the coffee industry, but Fair Trade still cultivates an aura of grassroots revolution on college campuses, where hundreds of student groups have formed to hold rallies and promote the brand. This past November, Vanderbilt undergraduate Blake Richter and 20 fellow students stood outside a Tennessee Starbucks and handed out free Fair Trade coffee while explaining to passers-by their beef with the company: Only a small percentage of Starbucks’ purchases are Fair Trade Certified. The demonstration, he tells me, was a “first step” toward more equitable exchange in the area. If handing out free stuff sounds like a pretty mild protest, consider the result: “A lot of people would come by and say, `I appreciate what you’re saying, but I still need my latte.” Richter adds, “I think we probably increased Starbucks’ business that day.”

Richter’s experience wouldn’t surprise many specialty roasters. Since the early days of Fair Trade, many of them have argued that customer loyalty hinges on quality, not the perception of social justice. Fair Trade consumers, in other words, tend to be dabblers who are happy to pay extra for conscience-soothing coffee today, but will eventually go back to the beans they like best no matter what the social pedigree. That may be for the best: The specialty revolution, with its $4 lattes and emphasis on growing methods, has probably jacked up prices for farmers far more than the Fair Trade movement has. Starbucks buys more coffee each year than gets Fair Trade certified. When consumers become coffee snobs, prices rise, and some of that increase makes it back to growers..

The range of prices between high- and low-quality coffees is still minuscule compared to what you’ll find with a highly branded beverage like wine, but it is growing, and consumers have consistently demonstrated that they’re willing to pay more for better beans. The best hope for farmers lies with consumers demanding better coffee, not just from Starbucks but from the supermarket shelf. This may be inevitable; a generation weaned on high-quality lattes is not going to turn to instant Nescafe as it grows more affluent. But there are signs that Fair Trade, with its predilection for uniformity, is retarding, not accelerating, that process.

“Fair Trade does not incentivize quality,” explains Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia Coffee, who has spent the last nine years training coffee farmers in Africa and Central America. Fair Trade co-ops are composed of hundreds of farmers producing vastly different qualities of coffee. Often their output is blended together for sale to roasters, masking any quality improvements one farmer may have felt motivated to implement. Money then flows back to the co-op, not the individual farmer, and is distributed equally among the members. “There is no reward for the guy who works harder than his neighbor,” says Watts. Nor is there much motivation for individual farmers to learn better farming techniques, experiment with new types of coffee, or seek new markets.

The system thus breeds anonymity and mediocrity in a business that desperately needs to focus on branding and identity. Ironically, this mimics the problems brought on by multinationals: Treating coffee as a single commodity, in large undifferentiated lots, prevents any single farmer from excelling and advancing.

Internet Access Problems and More!

Internet Access Problems

There have been quite a few problems accessing sites lately. With some blogspot blogs you get this notice: “Blog under maintenance. This blog is temporarily not viewable. Please try again after some time. For more information, click here”. And when you click “here” you are told that the maintenance is complete!! Another problem with blogspot blogs is that you occasionally get the message: “You are not authorized to view this page”. And you can also get a general “Site down” message.

A fix that works most of the time is simply to try again or to hit the refresh button. Hitting Ctrl+F5 (cache bypass) also sometimes helps.

Brooke’s News Update

How the Fed’s price rule triggers recessions: The thought that there is a connection between the manipulation of rates and the so-called boom-and-bust cycle is rarely given any consideration in the US media
The Commonwealth Games is a looming financial disaster for the Bracks’ Government: The economics of state-sponsored sports, including the Commonwealth games and sports stadiums, are complete rubbish. Meanwhile, the Victorian Liberal Party finds itself unable to challenge Bracks’ reckless spending program
Bush is a victim of America’s political civil war: The Bush presidency has revealed the enormous ideological rift that has been developing for more than forty years in America, and yet the vast majority of Americans are still not fully aware of it
Bracks’ energy policies are pricing families out of the housing market: Bracks’ greenie policies are pricing thousands of families out of the housing market. (Similar policies have had the same disastrous effects in California). So why isn’t the Liberal Party attacking him?
Catholic thinking backs labour market reform – but the Liberal Party doesn’t know it: It’s time the Liberal Party learned that despite the chatter of leftwing clergymen Christian doctrine actually supports free labour markets
Simon Crean’s Gosplan mentality: Crean is still wedded to the discredited and dangerous idea of industry policy
America is waking up to the Islamic menace: It’s taken a few years, countless deaths and immeasurable suffering, but mainstream America finally seems to be waking up to the Islamic menace

Elsewhere

A North Korean Musical! “As far as musicals go, seeing people break into song on subjects such as starvation and public executions in North Korea may be one of the most unlikely concepts for stage entertainment in several years. Producers held a preview in Seoul yesterday of the musical called Yoduk Story that features goose-stepping North Korean soldiers and deprived prisoners wondering if they can survive into the next day. The musical is about a North Korean woman’s fall from a dancing revolutionary hero to a tortured inmate along with her family at Yoduk prison camp, where she bears a guard’s child, and learns to forgive her brutal captors. The production is meant to be an irony-free look at life in a North Korean prison camp that could change the way the North is depicted in South Korean entertainment. Songs in the musical include You are just like germs and All I want is rice. The producers hope audiences can find beauty in the misery of life in the prison camps.”

Equality for men sought: “Who controls human conception . and when should that control be asserted? That’s really the bottom-line question surrounding the abortion issue, and nothing makes that any clearer than the recent filing of a lawsuit by the National Center for Men, ‘on behalf of a man’s right to make reproductive choice to decline fatherhood in the event of an unintended pregnancy.’ The case is a Michigan dispute, involving one Matt Dubay and his court-ordered levy for child support, for a child he had never intended to father; since he had been informed by his now ex-girlfriend that she was physically incapable of conceiving, he had not taken further precautions against such an event occurring. They even have a pet name for the case: ‘Roe v. Wade for Men,’ and they’re asking the court to grant ‘equal protection’ for a man’s right to decide about fatherhood. The specific issue has more to do with later (and long-term) liability for child support for unintended offspring, in the event the man in question had neither intended to impregnate his partner, nor had expected she was able to conceive (and thus failed to avail himself or her of precautionary devices).”

No free speech for churches? “The IRS wants to strike the fear of God into priests, ministers and rabbis who venture too far into politics and activism. In a Feb. 24 speech to the City Club of Cleveland, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson announced that nearly three-quarters of the 82 churches and charities that the IRS investigated recently for alleged political and electoral improprieties turned out, in the IRS’ view, to be violators. Among the ‘offenses’: Allowing candidates to speak on church premises, preachers delivering remarks from the pulpit interpreted to endorse candidates and the posting of Web links to the Web sites of candidates for office. Interest is boiling over in Ohio: There, two ministers are accused of getting too close to Ken Blackwell, the Republican secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate, as well as letting their preaching get too political (the reverends deny the charges). At issue is whether the IRS should more actively sanction or even revoke the tax-exempt status of churches and charities it believes have gone too far.”

Shelby Steele on the black problem: “By accepting the idea that government is somehow going to take over the responsibility that only we can take, we relinquished authority over ourselves. We became child-like, and our families began to fall to pieces. Welfare-which promised a subsistence living for the rest of your days for doing absolutely nothing-provided a perfect incentive to not get married, yet still have babies. Then the babies will be state wards, and their babies, and so forth. The incentive is just to stay in that rut. And so the goodwill of America finally did do to us what slavery and segregation failed to do. It destroyed our family, destroyed our character, and now black America is in a struggle. We struggle to stand up like men and women and take charge of our lives, and become competitive with other people in the modern world. If we don’t do this, we’ll always be behind. But if we do take charge of our own lives, we’ll be men among men.” [HT Peg Kaplan]

There is an excellent (and sarcastic) response here to the many Leftist critics of America’s armed forces.

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here). I also post several times a week on “Tongue-Tied”. There is an archive of my “Tongue-Tied” posts here or here

Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country’s labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and “helping” them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin’s Communism. The very word “Nazi” is a German abbreviation for “National Socialist” (Nationalsozialistisch)

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.

China in Midst of Huge Military Build Up

by Jim Kouri, CPP

While the news media and politicians in the United States continue their focus on the Dubai Ports World deal or censuring President George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton, there are enormous changes occurring in communist China. For the most part, the news media and pundits have ignored events in China for over a decade.

Even when President Bill Clinton allowed dual-purpose technology transfers to the Chinese, few realized the significance of those transfers, and little was reported in the US media. Some of that US technology helped the Chinese government in perfecting the accuracy of their Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

Now many are ignoring the fact that China boasts it will increase its military spending by 14.7% this year. Of course, an official from China’s parliament quickly told US and European Union military analysts that much of the increase would be used to cover fuel and salaries and that China was a “peace-loving nation”.

Jiang Enzhu, a member of parliament, told the British Broadcasting Company that the US spent a greater proportion of its economy on defense and that China had “no intention of vigorously developing armaments”.

However, American intelligence sources have at various times accused China of understating its military budget and weapons programs.

It’s been widely accepted that China’s armed forces are the biggest in the world and has undergone double-digit increases in military spending since the early 1990s. The increases have caused fear by their immediate neighbors Japan and Taiwan. The US has also expressed concerns over the spending on the 2.5 million strong military. Washington has several times accused China of understating its military budget.

But the Chinese government claims its spending is in line with military budgets in other governments. China’s defense budget has climbed in recent years along with the success of its economy.

China also claims its military spending is insignificant when compared with the United States. According to Pentagon figures the US had a base military budget of $400 billion in last year.

Japan is also developing new torpedos to boost the defense of its islands, including some claimed by China. The Japanese fear the Chinese may try to take over the disputed islands.

Part of the efforts to strengthen its ability to defend remote islands against Chinese attack entails the Japanese sending some 125 ground troops to San Diego, California from January 9-27 for advanced training with the US Marines, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said.

The troops will take part in reconnaissance training such as learning how to land on potentially-occupied remote islands and gather information, the paper said.

The aim is to strengthen Japan’s ability to defend remote southern isles such as the disputed islands known as the Diaoyus in China and the Senkakus in Japan, the newspaper said.

Wang Xinjun, a military analyst, told the Chinese media that the US is playing up China’s military power in order to contain China’s military development. He says that the Pentagon seeks to strengthen US forces in the Asia Pacific area, in order to offset China’s influence in the region.

Meanwhile, the left-wing in the US believe this is a means by which the Pentagon may garner more funding for military weapons and technology. As usual, the liberal-left in the US sees no threat to national security, preferring to hamper any military spending as they did during the Cold War.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, NewsCream.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at

Taheri-Azar says Koran justified terrorism

Mohammed Taheri-azar, the University of North Carolina graduate student who intentionally drove his SUV into a bunch of people on campus in an attempt to kill them, says that the Koran justified his terrorist attack, since it instructs Muslims to kill unbeleiers..(via Jihad Watch)

The University of North Carolina graduate charged with driving a sport utility vehicle through a plaza at the school, which he called revenge for America’s treatment of Muslims, said in a letter the assault was justified based on his reading of Islam’s holy book.

“Allah gives permission in the Koran for the followers of Allah to attack those who have raged war against them, with the expectation of eternal paradise in case of martyrdom,” Mohammed Taheri-azar wrote in a two-page letter sent to a television news reporter and anchor at WTVD-TV, an ABC affiliate station in Durham.

Taheri-azar, 22, is charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault. On March 3, police say, Taheri-azar raced through a crowded campus gathering spot in a rented Jeep Cherokee. No one was seriously injured, and Taheri-azar later called 911 to turn himself in. During the call, he said he wanted to “punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world.”

A native of Iran who grew up mostly in the Charlotte area, Taheri-azar has said he intended to kill the people he struck. He said he wants to defend himself in court and believes a trial will offer him the opportunity to educate people about the will of Allah.

By all means, use the trial to tell the world about what the Koran says. People need to know that the Koran justifies killing anyone who’s not a devout Muslim.

Spain Seeks Immigration Solution with Morocco

By Sabina Castelfranco

Pozzallo, Sicily – Six months have passed since incidents in which African immigrants died at two Spanish enclaves on North Africa’s Mediterranean coast, and Spanish immigration experts now say lessons have been learned. Ambassador Manuel Pombo, who this week headed the Spanish delegation at an immigration conference in Sicily, says his country has realized it is not just southern European countries who are facing the pressure of thousands of African migrants but the countries in North Africa as well.

Spain is one of a handful of countries on the northern banks of the Mediterranean that has been struggling to find the best way to deal with thousands of African migrants arriving in search of a better life. Immigration experts say the majority of migrants now living in Spain have come from Morocco, which is just 15 kilometers across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Manuel Pombo is an ambassador at large and special representative for humanitarian and social affairs for the Spanish government. He headed the Spanish delegation at an immigration conference in Sicily this week. He says traffickers are no longer using the route across the strait.

“This coast is relatively sealed,” he said. “We have a very sophisticated radar system and surveillance system. We have a very sophisticated patrol system with Morocco. So really we have sealed to a certain extent as much as we can, more than 1,000 miles [1,600 kilometers] of coast.”

But, the ambassador adds, that does not mean that migrants have stopped trying to reach Spain. It means that agreements reached with Morocco are much more effective now.

“The smugglers have just moved the boats south because the Moroccan police and border patrols are now stronger, they are larger and they are largely cooperating,” he said. “They are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution.”

But the solution is still far from satisfactory because, the ambassador says, people who are desperate will stop at nothing, including risking their lives. And so, now that the easier route can no longer be used, they are taking greater risks.

“You put a barrier to the flow of immigrants through the straits [and then] they’re going to go around,” noted Spain’s ambassador. “They’re going to go to Mauritania and try to get through almost 300 miles [500 kilometers] of sea in a very, very terrible voyage into the Canary Islands.”

The ambassador says more than 200 people are arriving in the Canary Islands every week and this trend is expected to continue through the summer. He adds that it is impossible to know how many are setting off from the African coast and never making it to the other end. He says up to 40 percent may be dying at sea during the crossing.

Ambassador Pombo says the incidents at Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla last September, in which 14 immigrants were killed, were an eye-opener for the Spanish government. He says Spain never expected something like that could occur and was not ready for it. It made the authorities realize the real problem was not in Spain, but in North Africa.

The African immigrants died when they attempted to scale razor-wire fences to get into the enclaves, from which they hope to be able to get to Spain. .

Pressure has been building on North African states from migrants coming from sub-Saharan Africa. And the countries in northern Africa find it more difficult to cope with the influx than southern European countries because they have less to offer to the migrant.

“The levels of development in North Africa are lower than in Southern Europe, the rate of unemployment in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia is much higher,” said Pombo. “It reaches, according to some sources 23-24 percent. The structure of society is not as flexible, they still have a huge population working in agriculture.”

The ambassador says it was crucial to stabilize Morocco because what happened there directly affected Spain. And so it was necessary to understand Morocco’s problems and provide assistance. He says the two countries worked out what could be done, and Spain did its part.

“Offering to finance programs Moroccans wanted to undertake with international organizations to alleviate the problem,” he said. “For example for the repatriation of people on a voluntary basis and prevent any kind of danger of break of human rights through proper screening of would-be immigrants.”

Spain’s problem is far from being resolved but it has been working hard on its immigration policies. When migrants arrive they are placed in reception centers for identification but this often proves very difficult. Few migrants ask for political asylum and few are forcefully repatriated. The authorities are now making efforts to provide incentives that will encourage migrants to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.

source: voanews.com

Scientists Find Matter from Hot Sources in a Cold Comet

The tens of thousands of cosmic grains are from the comet Wild-2, collected in a wispy glass material called aerogel on the U.S. Stardust probe as it plowed through the gas and dust surrounding it two years ago. A smaller number of particles, perhaps only 100, are interstellar grains captured on the way to Wild-2.

Now, two months after their return to Earth, the mission’s principal investigator describes the surprising finding after inspecting some of the particles in a special clean room in Houston operated by the U.S. space agency NASA.

“Remarkably enough, we have found fire and ice,” said University of Washington astronomer Donald Brownlee. “In the coldest part of the solar system, we found samples that formed at extremely high temperatures. It’s thought that the ices in comets formed at temperatures about 30 degrees above absolute zero, and yet we’re finding minerals that formed at over 1,500 degrees.”

The minerals in question include magnesium compounds with iron or aluminum and a titanium. They make up only a fraction of the particles brought back, but researchers are perplexed about their origin. Brownlee says they could have formed in a distant star before being cast into our developing solar system 4.5 billion years ago, or they could have formed near the sun and been hurled outward.

The NASA curator of the samples, Michael Zolensky, talks of this latter possibility.

“If these are really from our own sun, they’ve been ejected out all the way across the entire solar system and landed out there,” he said. “That means these materials were basically on a big conveyor belt being shot out and then gradually drifting in and being shot out again.”

The scientists say they will be able to determine the origin of the minerals with modern laboratory techniques that can look at their atomic structure. Donald Brownlee says the atoms of minerals from outside our solar system have a slightly different structure than those inside.

“So it’s not a matter of conjecture,” added Mr. Brownlee. “We have very, very, very strong clues at the atomic level that will enable us to untangle this. We can go grain by grain and say, ‘This is from the solar system and this is not from the solar system.’ At least that’s our expectation.”

In April, scientists will begin examining the interstellar grains not from the comet. In a program called “Stardust at Home,” they plan to load millions of pictures of the particles onto an Internet site so that volunteers at their computers can help identify them.

source: voanews.com

Ramesh Ponnuru: liberal editor-in chief of the National Review

If the National Review is going to send someone to do the Bill Maher show, why not send a conservative?

The case of Matt Dubay, who has filed a historic lawsuit euphemistically dubbed the Roe v. Wade for Men, was brought up on Bill Maher’s show this week.

The case involves a young man whose girlfriend got pregnant by lying to Dubay about her ability to have children. For this reason, birth control was not used.

The central issue of the case is this: if the woman represents to the man that she is physically incapable of getting pregnant, and this is a misrepresentation of fact, then should the man be held financially responsible when she gets pregnant?

Gloria Steinem issued the expected insults, but conveniently forgot to mention the central issue of the case. She also made appear that Dubay wanted the child aborted (We can expect hyper-feminists who support abortion rights for women to insult a man even if he doesn’t want it).

Then, Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for the National Review chimed in. He also failed to mention the fact that Dubay was essentially raped. I almost fell out of my chair that Ponnuru called Dubay a deadbeat dad, and rendered absolutely no conservative analyis on the issue.

What Ponnuru should have said is this: If the woman lies to the man about her reproductive capacity to become Murphy Brown and then steal his money, the man she reproductively raped should receive automatic custody of the child at birth. And we should consider prison for the woman.

There is no other relief possible that does not reward the woman for taking advantage of the man. To suggest that Dubay must pay his rapist for committing an act of rape is outrageously liberal and radically feminist.

Reproductive fraud is an extremely serious and life-affecting issue. I do consider it rape. When a man forces his reproductive capacity on a woman, we call it rape. When a woman forces her reproductive capacity on a man, it is also rape. I cannot bring myself to lessen the offense to something cute like “paternity fraud”, simply because the perpetrator happens to be a woman.

The only difference between the two is the means that a particular sex uses to get what they want. Whether fraudulent means or physical force is used is substantively immaterial to the case. Clearly, men should never be forced to pay their own rapists for the acts they committed.

Illegitimacy is still at record levels, despite the fact that we have the best birth control methods in the history of civilization. Most of them are invisible – making it very easy for women to rape men. Automatic awards of welfare and child support make this a profitable activity.

It is my experience that the vast majority of men do not want to have a child out of wedlock. It is quite clear that the vast majority of illegitimacy is actually predatory reproduction for income and to achieve status as a brave “single mother”.

When conservatives widely expect fair treatment of men in family law and society, illegitimacy will decrease steeply and marriage rates will improve drastically.

Conservatives who assume a professional feminist position on family issues prevent conservatives from reaching their goals. When we blame all of society’s problems on men, we turn the family over to feminists and big government.Federal social expenditures necessarily rise. Social statistics, have not improved under Republican leadership.

Self-entitling federal social expenditures that are driven by husband-absence, such as welfare and heath care,are a tremendous portion of the federal budget.We cannot have a balanced budget while fighting the war on terroruntil we stop driving husbands out of the family and entitling permanent non-marriage.

The Dubay case is clearly a step towards rebuilding a sound social infrastructure and resolving many otherwise unsoluble federal budgetary problems.

David R. Usher is President of the
American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition

Of Elections, Ports, and Political Posturing

By Vincent Fiore

Regarding the recent misadventures of the Bush administration in relation to the running of several U.S. ports by a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company, here is a scenario that some on the left have breathlessly chattered on about:

While Cindy Sheehan and the Washington press pool were camped out on the Texas prairie last August, Karl Rove was busy.

It seems that Rove was brainstorming with Bush, the GOP leadership, and a few key outside-the-beltway supporters, concerning the idea that the UAE would have one of its largest companies–Dubai Ports World–manage and run six American ports.

Of course, Rove knew well in advance, as 80% of the American public came to realize, that this deal would be bad for America. Anything that jeopardizes the security of the country would naturally be a deal-breaker.

Arabs running U.S. ports? Absurd! That would be like the Red Chinese running ports in California, (they do) or Saudi Arabian pilots flying Saudi-owned planes all over the U.S. (they do, too) Or 82% of the drivers of yellow cabs that travel the arteries of New York’s Midtown, Manhattan, being foreign-born. Well, those are stories for another day.

Here, though, the plot thickens. Rove figures that since Bush isn’t running for anything anymore, he can afford to use him in the ultimate charade of good cop, bad cop.

The plan was to have Bush push for an obviously flawed and politically unpopular issue, and the UAE ports-deal was it. While Bush feigned ignorance regarding the deal, (nobody believes that, do they?) the upper and lower houses of Congress would start to howl.

And since both the Senate and the House of Representatives are run by the GOP, what better way to show one’s independence (as Rove planned it) from the administration than by hyperactively opposing it?

Even state officials, like New York Governor George Pataki and Maryland Governor Robert Erlich, would become visibly upset with President Bush when it became known that the UAE-aka al-Qaeda, would be coming to a port near them. Indeed. What else could these two future presidential candidates do but reject the deal on the face of it?

Amid the bellowing backdrop of that Mighty Mouse classic, Here I come to save the day., the GOP-dominated Congress, along with elected and non-elected officials alike, sweep in to right the wrongs of an uninformed and careless Bush administration. As the thongs cheer, Karl Rove smiles to himself, knowing that he has averted sure disaster for the GOP come November.

If the above were even remotely true, then I might be swayed by the arguments from the left that Rove is indeed inhuman, and is intellectually responsible for George W. Bush’s thoughts every waking moment. But however much it might make sense, the above isn’t true.

The rush by Congress to condemn the UAE, the Bush administration, and now homeland security in general is, in essence, an election year exercise in cover-your-butt politics. It is incumbent cravenness at its most obvious.

Congress decided to hide behind the specter of 9/11. For their part, Republicans wanted to segregate themselves from a president that they see more and more as a lame duck. Bush’s poll numbers have been abysmal lately, and the numbers for Congress were even worse. What better way to create campaign stump issue than to create a terrorist state in the UAE? Simply put, this was a play on the fears of the American people.

On the other side of the political aisle, Democrats decided to embrace national security. This would be believable, if not for the fact that the Democratic Party–nearly as a whole–has rejected every tool created by President Bush to fight terrorism.

One need only listen to their rhetoric regarding the war in Iraq to see that Democrats have embraced a philosophy of defeat in Iraq, and the war against terrorism in general. Democrats have filibustered the Patriot Act, dragged their feet when it came to the setting up of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and have voted against troop funding.

Even now, Senator Russ Feingold, (D-Wis.) is attempting to censure President Bush over what the mainstream media still misreports as domestic spying, a reference to the legal and constitutionally protected National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program enacted against terrorists abroad who are trying to infiltrate the United States.

Though Feingold’s attempt won’t go far, it is meant as an election-year stunt. Feingold is also running for president, so he, like the Republicans in Congress, needed something to talk about in the upcoming months. If anything, the Democrats have behaved and accounted themselves as Vice President Cheney recently said: Some Democrats in Congress have decided the president is the enemy.

(www.breitbart.com/news/2006/03/13/D8GB0M1O0.html)

In an election year, GOP incumbents can be seen as doing almost anything to get reelected, including throwing their president to the wolves, (though it will be these same incumbents begging Bush to campaign with them soon enough) and racially profiling an entire country.

To be sure, the midterm elections are here and woe to the voter from now till Election Day. These political stunts won’t be the last, as incumbents will gladly use whatever is presented to them in order to preserve their power.

Vincent Fiore is a freelance political writer who lives in New York City. His work can be seen on a host of sites, including the American Conservative Union, GOPUSA, ChronWatch, and Opinioneditorials. Vincent is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance and a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He receives e-mail at: Anwar004@aol.com

Israel on High Alert After Jail Siege

By Jim Teeple

Jerusalem – Israeli police and defense forces are on high alert, after Israeli forces captured a leading Palestinian militant after storming a jail in the West Bank city, Jericho, Tuesday. Palestinian militants have threatened retaliation for the Israeli action.

Israeli security forces are on a state of alert – just below the maximum alert level – following Tuesday’s ten-hour siege at the Jericho jail. After tanks and bulldozers broke through the walls of the jail, Israeli forces captured Ahmed Saadat – the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – and several of his colleagues. Saadat and his associates were being held at the jail after the PFLP claimed responsibility for the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.

The siege sparked violence across the Palestinian territories and led to the abduction of a number of foreigners. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been forced to cut short a European tour and return home to deal with the crisis. His spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told reporters Israel caused the crisis by violating the agreement concerning Saadat and the other militants in detention.

“The Israelis committed a crime and we condemn this action,” he said. “We urge the Europeans, the quartet [the four countries working for Mideast peace] and the United States to do all their best to help keep the lives of the kidnapped persons [the militants] in the prison.”

The militants had been in detention under an unusual arrangement agreed to by Israel, the United States and Britain, which allowed for the militants to be in Palestinian custody at the jail – their incarceration monitored by U.S. and British officials. After British and U.S. monitors vacated the facility, citing security concerns, Israeli forces laid siege to the jail.

Israeli cabinet minister Zeev Boim, says Israel decided to act after it appeared to Israeli authorities that President Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, would release the militants.

“Unfortunately when Hamas came to power, after the last elections took place, the situation changed and even President Abu Mazen admitted he was ready to release these murderers,” said Boim.

Israeli officials say Ahmed Saadat and his associates, as well as another Palestinian linked to a massive arms shipment to the Palestinians that was intercepted at sea by Israel in 2002, will now be put on trial in Israeli courts.

source: voanews.com

Why the West will Attack Iran

Why the West will attack Iran

Excerpt from an interesting article from last January that now seems to be not far from coming true

Why did French President Jacques Chirac last week threaten to use non-conventional – that is, nuclear – weapons against terrorist states? And why did Iran announce that it would shift foreign-exchange reserves out of European banks (although it has since retracted this warning)? The answer lies in the nature of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran needs nuclear weapons, I believe, not to attack Israel, but to support imperial expansion by conventional military means.

Iran’s oil exports will shrink to zero in 20 years, just at the demographic inflection point when the costs of maintaining an aged population will crush its state finances, as I reported in Demographics and Iran’s imperial design (September 13, 2005). Just outside Iran’s present frontiers lie the oil resources of Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and not far away are the oil concentrations of eastern Saudi Arabia. Its neighbors are quite as alarmed as Washington about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and privately quite happy for Washington to wipe out this capability.

It is remarkable how quickly an international consensus has emerged for the eventual use of force against Iran. Chirac’s indirect reference to the French nuclear capability was a warning to Tehran. Mohamed ElBaradei, whose Nobel Peace Prize last year was awarded to rap the knuckles of the United States, told Newsweek that in the extreme case, force might be required to stop Iran’s acquiring a nuclear capability. German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that the military option could not be abandoned, although diplomatic efforts should be tried first. Bild, Germany’s largest-circulation daily, ran Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s picture next to Adolf Hitler’s, with the headline, “Will Iran plunge the world into the abyss?”

The same Europeans who excoriated the United States for invading Iraq with insufficient proof of the presence of weapons of mass destruction already have signed on to a military campaign against Iran, in advance of Iran’s gaining WMD..

Elsewhere

A good email from a reader about the Leftist mythology surrounding Tasmania: “In one of the latest Lonely Planet books “The cities book : a journey through the best cities in the world” there are a few pages of pictures of Hobart and a fact page. Which of the following list under Weaknesses stands out to you?: 1). Relatively expensive if good accommodation; 2). Aesthetically challenged Federation Concert Hall; 3). Tasmanian wine (more expensive than mainland wine); 4). Aboriginal massacres by the colonists. Yes, apparently tourists visiting 21st century Hobart will have to tread carefully to avoid the piles of Aboriginal bodies littering the streets. The Left just can’t help themselves in reflexively accusing Australia of massacre and genocide even in the middle of a travel book”.

What a disgusting racist statement!: “A complaint has been made to race relations investigators after Newcastle was described as “hideously white”. The remark was made at a conference by Neil Murphy, a Government official who is working on secondment at Newcastle City Council. At the same conference, the city council’s assistant chief executive, Paul Rubinstein, described the Tyne & Wear area as one of the “whitest” in the North”.

Taranto on the NYT: “Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months, the New York Times reported on Saturday. On Sunday, the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox “had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.” The story of Fox’s death ran on page A8; the story of his torture, on page A10. So what made the Times’ front page on Saturday? Yet another story about Abu Ghraib”.

Taranto also has the latest installment of frothing at the mouth by the world’s greatest sore loser – Al Gore.

British justice for once: “Plans to give housewives without children the right to the basic state pension have been thrown out by ministers – but women who give up work to bring up children or care for elderly relatives will be entitled to the full state pension under new government plans.. John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has decided to stick with a pension based on contributions. However, in a radical reworking of the scheme, the Government will pay the contributions of women who sacrifice years of work to bring up children or care for sick relatives.” [Why should women who have spent neither time nor money on bringing up children be entitled to support from other people’s children?]

A smart Dutch initiative: “Two men kissing in a park and a topless female bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to The Netherlands. The reactions of applicants will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the country’s liberal attitudes. From Wednesday, the DVD – which also shows the often crime-ridden ghettos where poorer immigrants might end up living – will form part of an entrance test, in Dutch, covering the language and culture of Holland. Those sitting the test will be expected to know which country Crown Princess Maxima comes from (Argentina) and whether hitting women and female circumcision are permitted.. The new test – the first of its kind in the world – marks another step in the transformation of Holland from one of Europe’s most liberal countries to the one cracking down hardest on immigration. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, known as Iron Rita, has introduced compulsory integration classes, higher age limits for marriage to people from abroad and the removal of residency permits if immigrants commit petty crimes. She has also talked of banning the burka. Applicants will sit the exam at one of 138 embassies around the world. They will answer 15 minutes of questions and those who pass the first stage will have to complete two “citizenship” tests over five years and swear a pledge of allegiance to Holland and its constitution.”

The prologue to Craig Winn’s book “Prophet of Doom, Terrorist Dogma, In Muhammad’s Own Words” is now up on Spelled Sideways. “Winn uses the most respected Islamic sources, the Qur’an, the Hadith of al-Bukhari, the Biography of Ibn Ishaq, and the History of al-Tabari to link Islam’s beginnings directly to the terror the world is experiencing today.” In the book Winn “shines a bright and revealing light on Islam, Judaism, Christianity, political correctness, profiling, intelligence gathering, politics, martyrdom, the peace process, and the media’s fear of the truth.”

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here). I also post several times a week on “Tongue-Tied”. There is an archive of my “Tongue-Tied” posts here or here

Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country’s labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and “helping” them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin’s Communism. The very word “Nazi” is a German abbreviation for “National Socialist” (Nationalsozialistisch)

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.

NY Times: Saddam’s Generals Believed They Had WMD

by Jim Kouri

The New York Times reports that just prior to the United States lead invasion, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein informed his top generals that he had destroyed his stockpiles of chemical weapons three months before their war plans meeting.

According to the Times report, the generals all believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and were counting on the WMD to repel the oncoming coalition invaders.

While reporting on this story, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly said he is not surprised that the CIA and other nations believed Saddam had WMD since Hussein’s own generals believed they had them. He said that this proves President Bush did not lie and that he believed what Saddam’s own generals believed – that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.

O’Reilly also rhetorically asked when the Democrat Senators Reid, Kennedy, Durbin and others would apologize for calling President Bush a liar about WMD. He also asked when liberals such as Barbara Streisand, Jessica Lange and others would apologize to Bush for calling him a liar.

According to the Times story, Saddam Hussein wanted the world to believe he possessed WMD in order to create fear and thwart any war plans by the US. The revelation that Saddam’s generals believed they would use WMD against American, British and other invading forces explains why the US military found protective gear had been issued to Iraqi soldiers. The top commanders wanted their troops protected from the WMD they intended to use.

“The Iraqi dictator was so secretive and kept information so compartmentalized that his top military leaders were stunned when he told them three months before the war that he had no weapons of mass destruction, and they were demoralized because they had counted on hidden stocks of poison gas or germ weapons for the nation’s defense, ” stated the New York Times on March 12.

The Times story supports the testimony of two former Iraqi generals who said that prior to the war, Saddam was in possession of WMD.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, NewsCream.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at

Death by Coffee

Oh, well, gotta die of something. Might as well be a tall latte.

COFFEE drinkers who have more than three cups a day could significantly increase their chances of suffering a heart attack.

Research suggests that some people who carry a particular variation of a gene cannot process caffeine as quickly as other people. Such individuals could be 60 per cent more likely to have a heart attack if they drink large amounts of coffee.

It is not known how common the gene variation is in the British population. Some studies indicate that up to a third of Caucasians may carry it.

Canadian scientists have discovered that people with the slower metabolism gene variation, known as *1F, run a dramatically higher risk even if they drink only two cups a day.

Researchers found that heavy coffee drinkers under the age of 50 were four times as likely to have an attack compared with those who had one cup a day.

However, the study suggests conversely that people with a different variant of the same CYP1A2 gene, called *1A, could benefit from coffee. It found that for these individuals the drink might offer some protection against heart attacks, although the figures are less statistically significant. Drinking one cup a day appeared to halve the odds of a heart attack for these individuals, while drinking two or three cups cut the risk by about 40 per cent.

So how much more likely are to you to actually have a heart attack if you’re in the 33% or so of the population that has this gene? Well, it looks like quite a bit.

The latest study, carried out by Dr El-Sohemy and colleagues, and involving more than 4,000 people in Costa Rica, suggests that individuals with the specific variant gene who have two to three cups of coffee a day increase their chances of suffering a heart attack by 36 per cent. For those who drink four cups or more, the risk is raised by 64 per cent.

The article doesn’t say how common the gene is that causes you to benefit from coffee. I guess I’ll have to hope I’m one of those people, or that I at least fall into the 2/3 of the population that doesn’t have the bad gene.

Guess What? The VA Is Another Republican Miscue!

By Thomas D. Segel

There was the FEMA mess, the Homeland Security problems, and the NSA rhubarb. With all of that on its plate, it is no wonder the Republican administration and majority party in Congress have managed to ignore the many problems percolating inside the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now that last sentence is a misstatement. They have always ignored problems within the VA.

There are many who believe there is collusion between the current Administration, Congress and the VA to the detriment of the veteran and retired military community. The belief is that while pledges to establish a swifter acting, more open and service-oriented Department of Veterans Affairs are repeatedly made, the words are really just more of the same false promises veterans have heard for years. There is also a strong feeling that those elected to high office are really attempting to find ways to end or reduce earlier promised benefits to veterans.

With each passing month more and more reports about the dysfunctional VA are brought to the attention of Americans. In the March issue of VFW Magazine for example, is an article headlined “Quality No Longer ‘Job One’ For VA Claims Processing.”

The decline in performance can be traced to a lack of dedication and productivity of VA employees, says one article.

Back in 2005 Knight Ridder published an article detailing the results of its investigation into VA claims processing. In part it said, Based on an internal VA report that used staffing and overtime levels to estimate production capacity, Knight Ridder found that VA employee productivity was only 75% of what is expected. It indicates that though the agency has promised swift action on veteran health claims it is, in reality, falling further and further behind.

At the start of 2005 there were 473,869 medical claims awaiting final disposition. Instead of shrinking that workload, today there are a total of 547,411 unprocessed claims. Last year there were more than 152 thousand appeals cases to be examined. That number remains virtually unchanged today.

In 2005 a total of 92 thousand veterans were in the application process for educational benefits. This year almost 114 thousand former service personnel are still awaiting receipt of those schooling assistance awards.

Arthur A. Bernklau, Executive Director of Veterans For Constitutional Law claims Congress has passed legislation denying veterans the right to due process under the law when they were in any appeal process with the VA. When extremely unfair anti-veteran statutes were enacted, it took away veteran rights of access to a fair and impartial hearing in a real or normal court and deprived them of their Constitutional right to an attorney of their choosing. Because of these statutes, the VA has felt emboldened enough to ignore most legitimate claims, he contends. Why is it, he asks, that the VA has over 260,000 employees nation-wide and they can only approve 4% of veteran claims per year?

But, the real disgrace is the failure of our government officials to inform nearly two million veterans or their widows that they qualify for disability pensions. Those who remain unaware of their eligibility can be found mostly among the underemployed or under educated veterans. Also impacted by this neglect are deceased veteran’s widows. . This same group is also among those most in need of all those services .and least likely to receive them.

According to VFW magazine, Because they are unaware they qualify, nearly 2 million veterans or their widows are leaving an estimated $22 billion a year in VA pensions unclaimed. What the article fails to report is the Department of Veterans Affairs is doing absolutely nothing to inform those in need of the available funds.

The biggest information roadblock seems to be the VA language, which seems to result in those billions of unclaimed dollars. The VA calls the award a “disability pension” even though a person does not need to be disabled to qualify. To be eligible veterans must be age 65 or older, have served in uniform during a war and earn less than $10,579. Some veterans who have non-service connected medical conditions may also qualify. Veteran’s widows must make less than $7,094. Deducting unreimbursed medical expenses can reduce incomes to assist in meeting qualifying standards.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 853,000 veterans and 1.1 million widows are eligible to receive these pensions, but only 27% of the veterans and 14% of the qualified widows are receiving the money.

There seems to be government failing upon failing being reported in today’s news. It has reached such a deplorable state that something like an anti-veteran Department of Veterans Affairs won’t even cause a ripple in the news media wave. However, with the loudly voiced support for our troops being continuously proclaimed by Republicans and Democrats alike and the numbers of disabled veterans increasing daily, a serious question needs to be asked. How can any administration fail to take action on behalf of those who offered their lives up in service to this country? These veterans deserve far more than false promises or being delayed and denied.