Review of Peter J. Wallis Article In the Wall Street Journal

by Sig7. November 2012 20:47

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“Sig, here is another article for your blog,” wrote my friend David and attached an article by Peter J. Wallison from the WSJ. I do not believe that many of you have the time to read the Wall Street Journal for two hours each morning the way I do. Therefore, a monumental amount of very important information about the economy, the politics and cultural changes is lost. I will try to sum-up many of the topics and try to present them in condensed form. Perhaps those of you with some spare time in the evening, and an interest in the country will be able to follow along.

Peter Wallis postulates that the "Occupy" protesters in their tent enclaves have been sold a bill of goods. Now we all know that the Thesaurus defines a bill of goods as deception, misrepresentation, falsehood and deceit. So, what would make Mr. Wallis say something so strong and accusatory? It is simply the fact that he, and many others, believe that the government was responsible for the housing crisis that brought on our economic downturn.

Instead of protesting Wall Street, he thinks it would be more appropriate to put up tent in front of the White House or the House of Congress. It was the Dodd-Frank Act that allowed Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac to lend money to people who had neither down-payment for a house, nor did they have the means to later make the monthly payments on their loans.

Now let us be quite clear, this feat of pushing the housing market over the brink, accomplished through the flawed Department of Housing and Urban Development, an agency with a long-time reputation of mismanagement, was the piece the resistance served up by the Bill Clinton and the George W. Bush administrations.

In conclusion let me say that anyone who lost their house should protest HUD and the offices of Mr. Dodd and Frank. It was their brain-child and they should be fully credited with the results. That is not to say that there were not plenty other suspects involved in the crisis—and yes, Wall Street was in on it too. In my opinion--like a kid discovering an open candy-jar.



Once, Twice, Three Times A Teacup--Liar! Krakauer's Expose`"Three Cups Of Deceit"

by Sig7. November 2012 20:40

A long time ago I wrote a book, “Escaping the Twilight.” It is a book that most publishers did not want to publish because it dealt with the very daunting aspects of Female Genital Mutilation. In this book, I describe the life of woman living under the twin scourges of ancient culture and Islam’s protection and continuation of the culture. I will talk about this subject in the future on this blog. Let me just say for now, that I am steeped in knowledge of Islamic customs, culture and religion. Furthermore, because my husband and I worked for ten years with Afghans in exile in Pakistan during the Russian invasion, I know a few things about the people, the customs and workings of the countries.

Well, my book got published in the end anyway, and has made its way through book-clubs and a few universities, dealing with the subject of Medical Anthropology. Whenever I spoke in the past on the subject, well-meaning ladies would pipe up at the end and flute, “did you read “Three Cups of Tea” and what do think about this wonderful book and all the achievements of Mr. Mortenson. In every case I had to answer that I believed many passages of the book to be sheer fantasy, and then I would state my reasons why I believed that to be so. It never failed but that the dear ladies would be angry and dismayed with me for my critique of “this wonderful book!”

I must have explained at least twenty times that for example Mortenson’s kidnapping scene by Pathans with its subsequent strange and outlandish reversal is a totally manufactured set out of Hollywood. First off, the Mujahedeen responsible for my husband’s and my safety would have never allowed us any contact with elements unapproved by them personally. We could not have contacted anyone without their approval. Because they, our guides and interpreters, were personally held responsible for our persons by their superiors and they covered our wherewithal minute by minute for that very reason.

One of the young men guarding us from attacks by the KGB and Al Qaeda once told me: “We will die three times over before anyone will get to you.” We trusted these men totally with lives and our possessions. The right people in the Afghan culture live by an ancient code that proscribes that the guest who comes on friendship to their home lives under the protection of the entire clan.

Having said all that, you must realize that Mr. Mortenson would have never been left in a vulnerable position as he claims in his book. But was only one instance that I found to be untruthful. There were other things that did not ring true. The way he described building his schools for girls in Swat Valley and other places sounded impossible without the help of government officials and local infrastructure. It galled me for many years that he should have gotten away telling so many lies, basking in the adulation of decent Americans who blindly believed a man whom they thought to be good to the core.

Well, a while ago a book was released by Jon Krakauer. The name Krakauer will be very familiar to those of you who read books of fiction and popular subjects. Mr. Krakauer’s book is entitled “Three Cups of Deceit,” and he has done what I could not, namely with the help of a research team gone into the Pakistany regions, where Mortenson claimed he worked his magic. His book is an amazing work of detective discovery. Minute by minute he points out the mountains of lies concocted by this “wonderful” educator of Islamic girls.

Why would Mr. Krakauer have become so passionate about this book and Mortenson’s organization the Central Asia Institute, become so intent of uncovering Mortenson’s secret? Five millions of copies of the Three cups of Tea are in print and countless people have send millions to the institute so that Holy Man Mortenson could build more schools and counter radical Islam through education. The people who come to his talks adore him with a passion reserved for saints.

Well here is the reason: Mr. Krakauer was taken in by the charlatan himself. Together with President Obama Krakauer sent large amounts of money to the Institute, only to find out that very little of the largess ever reached the little girls in Pakistan. I, who was never taken in by Mortensen, lost no money but was dealt with angrily when I tried to point out incongruities, was furious, but Krakauer, a believer and disciple for a while, was struck to the core.

Krakauer’s book is a superb blow by blow account as he dismantles the Mortenson the liar. I highly recommend it.









The European Voice Of The Wall Street Journal

by Sig7. November 2012 20:28

The following article was written a while ago, however, I will post it together with others again for readers who have missed it.

By now regular readers of this blog know that the WSJ inspires me to post because their articles and essays bring up issues that have been residing within my ken, but were suppressed by often mundane problems that had to be solved immediately.

So, in the November 10, 2011 edition my eye was caught by Anne Jolis headline, A French Lesson in Free Speech. After political correctness has become the junk-yard-dog, barking on our heels whenever we truly say what is on minds, thereby imposing the new slavery of the left on us, with which it keeps us from criticizing what is wrong in politics, culture and religion. As long as we allow ourselves to be labeled and our voices to be silenced, certain politicians can get away with murder.

One such politically correct subject that no one is allowed to touch is Islam. You cannot point out that the religion needs serious reformation—like other religions have undergone—to bring Islam into this century. Most of the cultural practices of Islam are rooted back in the seven hundreds. So, one should not bring up FGM, for example, the pharaonic method of mutilating women’s vaginas. Do not dare make fun of Mohammed or a fatwa will be on your head. Why not—for God’s sake—I ask? He was, after all, just a man. Holy-yes, he founded a religion and dictated the Qur’an. But, if having thirteen wives, of which the last was a little girl, makes you more holy than the rest of men, then critiques will follow.

With that introduction we arrived at the heart of Ms. Solis article. The subject is Charlie Hedbo a cartoonist who publishes a satirical weekly in France. His paper’s offices were firebombed just as he was ready to print a “Shariah Weekly” edition. “The cover featured Muhammad as “guest editor,” assuring readers “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!” so writes Ms. Solis.

She further writes that the French police, so far, has not discovered the suspects of the fire-bomb-crime, but she mentions that Turkish Muslims claim to have hacked Charlie’s web-site. Pretty bad that someone cannot go and blaspheme unhindered. What the heck has happened to all the good free speech we are all guaranteed?

Well, here we see the difference in the way the French and our American papers view the subject. Ms. Solis tells us that Bruce Crumley, bureau chief for Time Magazine in Paris, “did nothing to hide his contempt—not for the attacker, but for the magazine itself.” He goes on to lecture: “Not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses their author’s claim to proudly defy in the name of common good.”

Oh, Lord! A blasted sermon from Time Magazine. NPR, too, voiced disapproval. And this supposed “public voice of freedom” sounds as if they, too, would like to dispense with freedom of speech if it concerns Muslims. What is one to do? Allow Islam a special place among all other religions? One is not talk about unpleasant truth? Well the French, thank god, will have nothing of the sort. Interior Minister Claude Gueant proclaimed, “All the world, all Frenchmen, must feel solidarity with this newspaper that, with its very existence and way of being expresses the liberty of the press.”

So what did Charlie the blasphemer do? He put out a cover of the magazine showing a Muslim man French-kissing one of the male cartoonists. The caption read: Love is Stronger Than Hate.



The Wall Street Journal Reports on the EPA

by Sig6. November 2012 21:22

In the Thursday, December 22, 2011 edition of the WSJ I found a report by Ryan Tracy and Deborah Solomon, in which they discussed the politics of the Obama administration to keep the environmental movement in the mood to vote for the president. I find it shameful that the president is willing to destroy more of our job-producing industries by enforcing air-quality standards by imposing ever more stringent rules.

The article states, the administration estimates that the cost of enforcing these new standards will be $9.6 billion annually to implement. In my seventy years on this planet I have seldom come across projection figures by governments that actually ever approximated their projections. Usually those dealing with the implementation of the rules find the cost enormously higher than the government estimate.

An amusing factoid is one of the reasons cited for these stringent rules. The EPA quotes that following these rules would result in substantial benefits to the populace, precluding 100,000 heart and asthma attacks. How the exalted ones at the EPA arrive at these figures is everyone’s guess. Mine is that that they made it up like the previous figure of $9.6 billion, for the end of the article shows an estimate by the American Electric Power Co., the nation’s largest coal powered plant owner, that their compliance costs alone would be $6 billion to $8 billion through 2020.

Even if we assume that this company plays as fast and loose with its estimates as the EPA, the figures still astound if one applies the numbers to all of America’s emission-producing plants.



Another Pearl Found In The Wall Street Journal

by Sig6. November 2012 21:11

I cannot imagine what my mornings would be like without the Wall Street Journal. The pearls I find therein are well beyond the realm of ordinary papers. I find myself going blithely on thought-provoking journeys stimulated by reports. Best of all, the fare presented is fairly balanced between the liberal and conservative outlook on the world. In the Saturday /Sunday, October 12, 2011 edition, I found an intriguing book reviewby Paul Ryan of Jeffrey Sachs’ work, The Price of Civilization.

Mr. Sachs’ work concerns itself with the evils of free enterprise and the acquisition of material and monetary wealth to the detriment of moral character, the environment and the lower classes, versus the federal government which, although “incompetent and often corrupt” is still the better alternative and one should have more of it.

As I joyously romped through the cerebral review, I found myself once again contemplating the vexing dilemma of mankind. Everything a human hand touches and a human brain designs is inherently flawed by restrictions set upon us. Whatever system we choose, however hale and moral it may be in its antecedents, sooner or later enough quarreling over spoils, laurels or power will ruin the grand design. We are always left with Hobson’s choice—which system is the lesser evil of the two. We have all felt being in a quandary when choosing a president. Bifurcated are our thoughts on many political issues. As human beings we often cannot foresee the end result of our best laid plans. Who would have thought that gunpowder invented by the Chinese and used for entertainment would soon power weapons of war? The same formula holds for the splitting of the atom. I doubt Madam Currie had in mind the creation of atomic weapons capable to destroy all of human kind. Yet, clever, ruthless people soon found a way to split atoms for arms.

In his review Mr. Ryan states that Mr. Sachs carries into our day, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s reasoning that people in a commercial society are:  “scheming, violent, greedy, ambitious, servile, and knavish.” Yes, they are and always have been no matter the social system in which they function. Unfortunately mankind is not created equal, except for the inalienable rights granted by their creator, and we all know that tyrants do not care about that which is granted by God.

Since we are not equal in any other way, but are uniquely different, as different as splicing genes can make us, we will always suffer from different desires, wants and beliefs. Just give me a group of twenty people and they will often hold twenty different ideas on subjects important to their well-being. Just look at general elections. California has some of the highest taxes in the nation, is deeply in debt, with fraying infra-structure, oppressed by unions, with a student population of which almost half is certifiably unable to speak the English language and in need of special tutoring for years to come. Therefore, it boggles the mind to observe how the populace elects the same corrupt governing body again and again.

It has been said that it true insanity to repeat the action over and over again with disastrous results and expect different results. Well, maybe we have grown comfortable with elected officials who treat the populace like a stupid herd of cattle, because we let them do exactly that. In his book, Mr. Jeffrey Sachs utters precisely this kind of reasoning. Although he acknowledges that the governments, large and small, in the US of A are corrupt and incompetent, he would have us believe that more of it is better.

Thank you very much, dear author, but I for one want less and less of the overwhelming load of bureaucrats that is crushing us under their salaries and retirement accounts. I want fewer rules, fewer Tsars, fewer laws, lawyers and regulations. I have lived through a government of Socialists once before under Communism and once was more than enough. I happily throw my lot in with the free enterprise system that I recognize as the only system to have enriched the most citizens of any country in the world. While travelling all over the world, I have seen with my own eyes that our poor are still richer than 89%, or thereabout, of the people in the world.

Mr. Sachs alludes to the constitutional right to happiness. He wishes, according to Mr. Ryan to establish quantification of America’s citizens happiness and what is lacking therein, and then, have the government do everything to make them happy. What a pathetic dreamer!! I have never in my long life met anyone who was made happy by the efforts of another man. Sorry! One must go out and smell one’s own roses, hike one’s own mountain and decide that it better to love and get hurt sometimes than to sit back and wait for someone to bring perfect love. And with this morsel of hard acquired wisdom I will leave you for today.



The Wall Street Journal Induces Me To Think About Orthodoxy and Islam

by Sig6. November 2012 20:50

This blog was posted shortly before the breakdown of the server. Here it is again.

I have not been blogging much lately. I am re-writing a book, giving lectures and that keeps me focused on these projects. However, occasionally one must stray from the well-trodden road, which becomes boring after a while and indulge in flights of critique. On Thursday, January 5, 2012 an article by Joshua Mitnick caught my attention. (No, I am not critiquing Mr. Mitnick, I am lauding him.)  The article was entitled Israeli Women Fight Bus Segregation by Ultra-Orthodox. My eyes popped! Am I reading this right? Women in Israel fighting segregation? I have been to Israel—twice—and have enjoyed myself enormously. Nowhere did I notice segregation!

So imagine my horror and surprise when, upon reading Mr. Mitnick’s article, I find that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews, those with the large, black hats, the beards and the payess, the curled side burns, have, for years been given the privilege of special public busses catering to the needs of the Hasidic Jews. On those designated buses, women must retreat to the back of the bus like American black slaves of yore.

Ye Gods! Is this real? Yes it is, and no one would know about this indignity in our country if Mr. Mitnick, a blessing on his head, had not brought this outrage to our attention. Women in Israel are incensed with this treatment, which has become more frequent as more of the very fertile Orthodox community is branching out ever more into the secular community. Women have been spat on and were subjugated to outrageous critiques and attacks. An eight-year-old girl was harassed by ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem. She was spat at and called a prostitute for wearing immodest apparel. This act, shown on TV, brought thousand into the streets in protest, and women have defied the Haredi rabbis, sitting on the buses wherever they please.

Once again this drama illuminates Orthodoxy in all religions for us. One in all, whether Muslim, Judaic, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist they are united in their wish and belief that women are inferior and can be treated as second—or third-class—citizens or slaves. In all of the Orthodox belief-systems women are often the only means of support for a family and most of their rights to freely choose education, dress, behavior and place in the family order are curtailed. I have been restrained in Buddhist countries from visiting places deemed male appropriate only. For the simple reason—the reason given me—that women menstruate and therefore are unclean. To which I always replied, without your mother’s menstruation you would not be on this earth. I have been treated like a wanton in Pakistan because I did not cover my hair or face. Imagine, a woman’s hair is the most erotic thing and must be covered in Islamic countries. Islam still keeps most of its women in an inferior, slave-like position. So, why is Orthodoxy in all forms so toxic to women? Because the antecedents for the entire belief-system of all orthodox religions, is rooted in cultures dating back 2000 years and more. Orthodox religion has never been reformed to fit the strides and discoveries man-kind has made in science, social science, psychology and a new understanding of religion. And for that reformation to occur, women will have to fight for their rights wherever they encounter this discrimination.



Are the New Democrats really the old Communists?

by Sig6. November 2012 20:39

The old adage “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and lays duck eggs—it’s a duck!” is still very much applicable. So, when I saw the new Leitmotif “Forward,” the recurring theme and mission statement of the Democratic Party, I was taken aback. Taken aback in every sense of the word.

First off, the statement took me back to the days of my early youth in Communist East Germany. Forward was the cry of the Communist party for many years. It was the cry to fulfill the “Five-Year-Plans,” it was the cry of the newspapers to inspire us to greater work and learning performance. Forward was the cry to march on to become better Communist youths, better factory workers, more productive members of all work environs.

Forward came the exhortation cries from Erich Honecker—our communist party leader on the television. By the way, this man was the Mastermind behind the Berlin Wall that separated Germany for years. Then, I must go even back further, because “Forward” was also the cry of the Stalinists in the now defunct Soviet Union. And let us nor forget Mao's "Great Leap Forward," which cost millions of Chinese their lives.

Under Communism we marched forward. The command: “Forward March,” guns in the back.

So, imagine my surprise, dear reader, when I found that the Democratic Party led by our peerless president Obama had chosen this outright Communist slogan to be the mission statement of the Democratic Party for the future.  Is it possible for the Democratic Party to demonstrate in any clearer terms what they have come to represent and want to accomplish?

Well, “Forward,” quacks like the proverbial duck!





Sig's Blog Is Back

by Sig4. November 2012 22:14

Welcome back!!

After a long absence we finally are back on line. The reason for our silence, of course, is technology. Perhaps I should say more precisely our taking for granted the server and neglect of the obvious--backing up. So, gentle reader, learn from our mistake and back up everything.

Before the server breathed its last, my life was very hectic and I wrote the following blog, hoping to post before the election. It was not to be. Today is our first opportunity to post. So, please find the newest blog below.
The Server went caput—the website and the blog went away—like the Phoenix we must rise from the Ashes

I have been holding my breath for a considerable time, allowing this blog to go cold. It is time that I stir the cold ashes. I just finished a memoire of the first twenty years of my life under Communism and sent the work off to an agent. I expect nothing much to come off it, because Communism is as sacred a cow of America as is Islam. I have watched the growing circus about the upcoming elections and my take on the whole thing has been changed overnight.

I now believe that it is possible for Obama to win a second term.  Until very recently I thought this was impossible. Based on facts –over 8% unemployment, a stagnant economy, a disastrously expensive healthcare bill and the enormous debt burden placed by his regime on the country, I thought rational beings would vote for change—any change but Obama.

However, since then, I have debated a few Democrats. Debate is the wrong term—I could not even make myself understood using the English language and factual words. I found that reasoning and arguing using facts was perceived as a personal attack. To get any kind of conversation going, I had to phrase my arguments in emotional terms. Once I emoted, changing my factual data into feeling examples I began to gain some ground.

What I learned fills me with dismay. A country that is electing its leaders using purely good feelings versus rational thought is lost. History has taught us that demagogues with silver tongues have caused people to willingly follow into slavery more than once. Assuming that Obama gets elected for another four years, one can only hope that Congress would begin to rein in the spending. That, however, is a dream in which Congress is composed of intelligent, rational beings possessed of iron spines.

Even our dear neighbor, Canada, through the voice of his former Prime Minister Paul Martin, has issued a stern warning to the Obama regime that the USA is facing certain disaster if our debt is not speedily reduced.  Our debt service—the amount of interest we pay on the money we owe, now amounts to one third of government revenue.

To add insult to injury and hopefully get Obama inaugurated once more, the FED launched another “Quantitative Easing,” meaning more debt buying by the government and more printing of money. I know with certainty that the future belt-tightening and the pain will be brought to bear upon the segment of the population so eager to put the Obama government back into power.


About the author

Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers the horrific aftermath of Fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under Communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche and a healthy distrust of government’s, usurping too many powers to control people, supposedly for their own good. After the Berlin Wall was built, she managed to escape the repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. To this day she does not speak French.

She holds degrees in medical technology, psychology and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon for her trilogy "The Volga Flows Forever."

 Her first published book, “Escaping the Twilight,” deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. In her trilogy the Volga Flows Forever, she brings to life Catherine the Great in her multiple roles as monarch, woman--lover, mother, grandmother and head of the general staff of the army, in volume one. The following two historical volumes deal with the Volga Germans brought to Russia by Catherine's edict.  The last book, “From Gulag to Freedom,” describes the lives of Russian-Germans and minority populations under Stalin’s regime and the systematic eradication of these minorities. The last part of the book is a comparison of communism, Russia, versus free enterprise in the USA. The heroin of the book settles in Fresno, California.

Three years ago she moved to Santa Rosa Valley, California from Portland Oregon. She has passionately embraced California together with her family that also resides here.

Always active, lecturing on historical and anthropological subjects and being a part of arts and culture in Portland, Oregon, she bestrode the same path when she came to California and is active on the Northwest Symphony League Board.

At present she is writing a memoir of her early childhood during WW I and later young adulthood under Communism.


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