Israel Is Going To The Moon

CBS News reported yesterday that on Thursday night Israel launched a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral. The rocket launched an Indonesian communications satellite into orbit and carried a small Israeli spaceship that is scheduled to land on the moon in April. The mission is privately-funded.

The article reports:

If successful, the $100 million mission will put Israel in an exclusive club, joining the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia and China as only the fourth nation in space history to pull off a powered landing on the moon.

“This is going to be the first private interplanetary mission that’s going to go to the moon. This is a big milestone,” said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of SpaceIL, the non-profit that is promoting the mission to boost STEM education initiatives across Israel.

“This is going to be the first time that it’s not going to be a superpower that’s going to go to the moon. This is a huge step for Israel.”

The article describes the Israeli spaceship and its mission:

Landing on the moon’s Mare Serenitatis is targeted for April 11. During the final descent to the surface, a magnetometer will measure the local magnetic field before the main engine shuts down at an altitude of about 16 feet. From there, the spacecraft will free fall to the surface.

Beresheet is equipped with a high-resolution camera to capture panoramic views of the landing site to help scientists better understand the area. The spacecraft also carries a small “time capsule” loaded with cultural artifacts, including a copy of the Bible engraved on a coin-size disk.

“We have a vision to show off Israel’s best qualities to the entire world,” said Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-Israeli businessman and philanthropist who contributed to the SpaceIL project and is an enthusiastic, if unofficial, “ambassador.”

Payloads aside, the Falcon 9 launching was of vital importance to NASA, helping clear the way for the March 2 launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station. NASA plans to hold a flight readiness review Friday.

Space exploration is moving to the private sector.

This Is What Justice In A Muslim Country Looks Like

CNN is reporting today that Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama has been found guilty of blasphemy and has been sentenced to two years in prison.

The article reports:

Ahok was detained immediately after the verdict and taken to the Cipinang detention center in East Jakarta, local media reported. He said he would immediately appeal the court’s decision.
The Jakarta governor sparked controversy in late 2016 after quoting a verse from the Quran to prove to his supporters that there were no restrictions on Muslims voting for a non-Muslim politician.
Almost no one who has been charged under the blasphemy law has ever escaped conviction, associate professor of Indonesian politics at the Australian National University Greg Fealy told CNN.
“The blasphemy law has really been a blight on the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia for decades,” he said, adding that “the fact that Ahok was charged at all was really a product of massive street demonstrations that frightened the government into acting.”
This is one way free speech can be limited in a Muslim-majority country. In America, because blasphemy is not an everyday concept, the concept of ‘hate speech’ is being used to undermine our First Amendment rights. We also have the concept of ‘hate crime’ being introduced into our justice system. Technically a hate crime judges the motive of a criminal, which the courts have neither the authority or the means to judge. However, the concept has become a part of our justice system. That also can be used as a tool to limit free speech.

Something Americans Should Consider

America currently has a problem with illegal immigration. We can debate who the illegal immigrants are and why they are here, but the fact is that there are a lot of them and they are illegal. So what should we do?

Before I go into the solution, I would like to say that I am strongly in favor of legal immigration–legal immigrants are an asset to America. Legal immigration also allows us to know who is coming into the country and whether or not they are likely to cause problems for us. Our legal immigration system needs to be fixed–it needs to be easier, cheaper, and faster, but that is another article.

World Net Daily posted a story yesterday about Australia, a country that until recently was also having a problem with illegal immigration.

The article reports:

In the past seven months, not one single illegal immigrant arrived on Australian shores. Not one single boat has docked on the Australian coastline.

Compare this to the preceding four year period: Over 50,000 illegal immigrants arrived on Australian shores. More than 800 boats. Upwards of 1,000 people drowned at sea. A budget blowout of more than $10.3 billion.

How did they turn that around? There is some history here. In late 2007, Australia elected a center-left government that dismantled the border security policy. In 2013, the Australians essentially revolted against the policies of that government and elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott who began to solve a number of problems the previous Prime Minister and his crew had caused. One of these problems was immigration. (Prime Minister Tony Abbott also ended the carbon tax in Australia.)

The article reports:

As he couldn’t stop the boats overnight, in those first few months, his government gave the illegal immigrants arriving to Australia two options: “You’ve arrived in Australia illegally. As a result, you will never get to stay here. You will never get to be an Australian. So, you have two options – we will take you to a processing center, and you will wait in detention for your asylum application to be processed. Or we will fly you home for free.”

In addition to this, the Abbott government got the Australian military to enforce its border protection, intercepting boats, turning them around, and even towing them back. And it applied pressure on Indonesia, by demanding it secure its own border.

Soon, the message got out, and the boats have stopped. It’s an ongoing issue that requires vigilance, but it has been achieved. Australia’s policy has been exceptionally effective in saving lives. It’s been done amid incessant howling from the left and the mainstream media.

The bottom line here is simple–in a democracy (actually representative republic in the case of America), the people have a choice. The people get the government they choose. We will see in November of this year and in November of 2016 what Americans choose. Hopefully, we will choose the way of Australia. It really isn’t fair to people who have paid money to wait in line to immigrate to America to allow them to become Americans after letting thousands of illegals in. Those who want to come here legally should be at the head of the line–not the end.

This Sort Of Thing Might Be Part Of The Problem With America’s Image Around The World

Steven Hayward at Power Line posted an article today about recent remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry on the subject of climate change. Secretary Kerry was speaking to an audience in Indonesia.

The article reminds us of a few basic facts:

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: Secretary of State John Kerry, owner of five multi-million dollar mansions along with a luxury yacht, has seen fit to lecture Indonesians (average income in 2012: $3,420) about why global warming climate change is “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

…Incidentally, according to World Bank figures, Indonesian per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 1.8 metric tons. The United States: 17.6. Like Al Gore, John Kerry’s per capita emissions are surely a multiple of this, which suggests an obvious first step.  What Indonesia is most vulnerable to is following the policy prescriptions of mountebanks like Kerry.  The good news it that they know that.  India, China, Indonesia, and other developing nations have consistently told our diplomats a version of the following: “We don’t understand you Americans; you expect us to remain poor forever?”  Or: “You Americans got rich on fossil fuels.  When we’re as rich as you, then maybe we’ll talk about emissions reductions.”

Secretary Kerry’s comments are simply offensive. Aside from the poverty Indonesia is dealing with, the country also has a problem with Muslim terrorists. I really don’t think shrinking their carbon footprint is a very high priority in Indonesia. It is a shame that the Secretary of State was not more aware of or more sensitive to the needs of the country he was addressing.

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