- Prometheus: The Swindle Letter Archives

Monday, April 30, 2007
- Prometheus: The Swindle Letter Archives: "When members of the scientific community call for silencing of others in political debates, at best it demonstrates that they believe that they cannot win arguments on their merits, and at worst is demonstrates a complete disregard for democracy and the ability of the public to participate in important political debates. Positioning oneself n opposition to fundamental principles of democracy is always a losing proposition."

American Successes in Iraq

There really are thousands of them and the Iraq Reconstruction Report has provided a consistant means of assessing measurable progress in realizing objective successes that may have a lasting impact on Iraq. Every project run by the Corps and/or the ground commanders brings Iraqis into contact with a system that actually functions. Quite a few of the CERP projects are actually of the rent a sheik variety but they're still important because some of the money spent does dribble down to the workers, providing them for a reason to not participate in planting IEDS.

It's good to see that the school construction and reconstruction projects will be the first to be completed at 100%. There have to be tens of thousands of teachers who will bear some very good will towards Americans for putting schools first and some of that good will is going to be transmitted to the students and their families.

While I don't believe that actual democracy is possible under a constitution that elevates sharia to the position of primacy, I do believe that Iraq has the potential to be a model for the ME.

It would be shameful to abandon the Iraqis to AQ and its allies in the Democratic party. I don't think much of the Petraeus surge and I hope that the President demands more from him than he offered last week. I've found Alaa at The Mesopotamian to be the most consistant of the Iraqi bloggers and the linked post presents a more rational view of a strategic rather than tactical focus than does the Petraeus 'surge without end'. The only clear addition that I would make to Alaa's ideas is that turnover of specific areas would occur 'ready or not'. The IP and the IA have the manpower advantage to take and hold any area in Iraq - if they have to.

The Winograd Report

Israel continues in the ancient Western tradition (instituted by the Greeks some 2,500 years ago, albeit with some curious results) by publishing an audit report of Israel's campaign in Lebanon last summer. Both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz treat the report respectfully. The reports summary conclusion:
10. The main failures in the decisions made and the decision-making processes can be summed up as follows:

a. The decision to respond with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan, based on careful study of the complex characteristics of the Lebanon arena. A meticulous examination of these characteristics would have revealed the following: the ability to achieve military gains having significant political-international weight was limited; an Israeli military strike would inevitably lead to missiles fired at the Israeli civilian north; there was not other effective military response to such missile attacks than an extensive and prolonged ground operation to capture the areas from which the missiles were fired - which would have a high "cost" and which did not enjoy broad support. These difficulties were not explicitly raised with the political leaders before the decision to strike was taken.

b. Consequently, in making the decision to go to war, the government did not consider the whole range of options, including that of continuing the policy of 'containment', or combining political and diplomatic moves with military strikes below the 'escalation level', or military preparations without immediate military action -- so as to maintain for Israel the full range of responses to the abduction. This failure reflects weakness in strategic thinking, which derives the response to the event from a more comprehensive and encompassing picture.

c. The support in the cabinet for this move was gained in part through ambiguity in the presentation of goals and modes of operation, so that ministers with different or even contradictory attitudes could support it. The ministers voted for a vague decision, without understanding and knowing its nature and implications. They authorized to commence a military campaign without considering how to exit it.

d. Some of the declared goals of the war were not clear and could not be achieved, and in part were not achievable by the authorized modes of military action.

e. The IDF did not exhibit creativity in proposing alternative action possibilities, did not alert the political decision-makers to the discrepancy between its own scenarios and the authorized modes of action, and did not demand - as was necessary under its own plans - early mobilization of the reserves so they could be equipped and trained in case a ground operation would be required.

f. Even after these facts became known to the political leaders, they failed to adapt the military way of operation and its goals to the reality on the ground. On the contrary, declared goals were too ambitious, and it was publicly states that fighting will continue till they are achieved. But the authorized military operations did not enable their achievement.

11. The primary responsibility for these serious failings rests with the Prime Minister, the minister of defense and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff. We single out these three because it is likely that had any of them acted better - the decisions in the relevant period and the ways they were made, as well as the outcome of the war, would have been significantly better.
That is a statement of facts which were obvious within a week of Olmert's decision to initiate military action.

AP's headline: Olmert Will Not Resign After Report indicates a detachment from reality that is Clintonian in nature.

I wonder how Hezbollah is treating the Israelis whose kidnapping was the causus belli for the fracas? Someone should ask Olmert how Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are doing these days. Just to see if he remembers their names.

Kurds to Baghdad - Go Fish

Sunday, April 29, 2007
The KRG is rejecting the oil compact on the basis that it is unconstitutional. That might be a negotiating bluff but it might be absolutely sincere - the KRG minister was certainly eloquent in his rebuttal and quite detailed in his analysis of the various fields.

If the Baghdad government attempts to go forward with the proposed centralized monstrosity outlined in the Dubai Annexes then we can rest assured that the average Iraqi will gain the same benefit from new fields that they enjoyed under Saddam from the old ones - or that the average Iranian or Saudi peasant enjoys.

Buddy made an excellent point concerning democracy's chance for success in Iraq being improved considerably by the average Iraqi having an actual stake as a citizen of Iraq rather than as a serf controlled by some petty desert despot. It could make a very significant and favorable difference in the probable outcome.

Using Kurd oil money to pay extortion to Sunni Arab sheiks shouldn't be acceptable to anyone and using a state owned monopoly which hasn't a hope of transparency to do so may be enough to move the Kurds from autonomy to a declaration of independence. Who could blame them? They've never had a real stake in the fiction of Iraq since the Brits drew the boundary lines on a map.

Current Iraqi production is around 2.3 million bbls per day which (at $50 bbl) translates to a per capita income of $1,500 (total per capita income today is around $2,900). If the KRG minister is correct in his computation that total output could rise to 8 miilion bbls per day then per capita oil income would move to around $5,600 per year.

One might wonder if most of the violence in Iraq isn't driven by speculative investment concerning control of that oil income stream.

Which side will Washington support? If democracy is really an objective, the Kurds should be in good shape.

Run Away, Run Away



Is it not one of the deepest themes of American history, of the American consciousness, the notion that no matter how bad things become we can always escape? We can always go further west, over the next ridge, disperse across the prairies. We can always move on. We can always find our way into the Sunset, or California, which ever comes first. We can always quit the job. "You can take this job and shove it" was once the title of a perennially popular song. We believe that when we quit our job everything will be fine, much better in fact. Is this not one of the most enduring elements of our national mythology, so deeply embedded in our consciousness that we are not even cognizant of its power over us, not even aware of the gross distortion of reality which this mythos represents?

Such at any rate is the fundamental if banal theme upon which the movie The Devil Wears Prada (IMDB Rating: 6.70) revolves. The plot on this level is common if not commonplace in American movies and literature. Jejeune hero (in this case heroine) finds himself in bad circumstances, said circumstances having been caused by the maleficence of an evil character ("The Devil"), hero learns the hard way about reality, hero simply quits and—mirabile dictu—all is well, life is golden.


Movies and novels interest me for a number of reasons, one of which is the glimpse they sometimes offer into other worlds, other milieus which would in the course of quotidian life completely escape my experience. The world of high fashion holds very little intrinsic interest for me; yet a portal into this alien microcosm can't help but hold some interest. If a portal into other worlds appeals to you as well, then that's the first reason to see this film.

Celebrated though it may be in certain circles, there aren't many such reasons to see it. As one review on IMDB has it: "Let's see, it goes something like this; basically decent, idealistic, young (man/woman) goes to (New York/Chicago/Los Angeles/D.C.) to make his/her mark in (writing/business/music/acting/government) only to be temporarily seduced by the very environment/person they are the antithesis of, alienating his/her(boyfriend/girlfriend/family/friends/all of the above) in the process until he/she stumbles on to the revelation, "To thine own self be true." Devil is all of this. . . again. Only the trendy names being dropped have been updated for those who find that sort of thing significant enough to make them believe this is somehow a different story."

That assessment is a little harsh. There is actually one overwhelming reason to see this film: it provides the only contemporary and au courant portrayal of one of the oldest, and most misunderstood by contemporary Americans, pillars of social organizations, despotism.



Despotism is so alien to the American Mind that we foolishly believe we have banned it and outgrown it, and that, like slavery, horse-drawn carriages, and smallpox, it is a forgotten relic of the distant past never to be seen again. But though it is contrary to our national mythology to say so, despotism is ubiquitous in human relations, if not uniform. I personally have suffered through two tyrannical work situations, one in academia and one in private industry. Until you have been inside one, you can't quite imagine how bad it can be, indeed, cannot quite believe in the reality of tyranny at all. The essence of tyranny is not the threat of violence or unknown gulags. As depicted well in this film, tyranny succeeds because the victims become "willing executioners" in the absence of better choices. It is an odd and unpleasant state; one is slowly converted by the ineffable but very real power of the despot into simultaneous victim and fellow perpetrator. Though I have personally experienced the reality of the process, I have never been able to adequately convey the situation to others, and so, like a rape victim, I have remained silent and guilty. This movie manages to convey the willing and yet unwilling transformation of innocent into guilty fellow traveler.

The star of this performance is Meryl Streep, whose character Miranda Priestly (based on the real-life editor of Vogue magazine) manages to perfectly capture one of the two tyrants I have worked under. The quiet voice, never raised, coupled with the ever-present nebulous but potent threat is the essence of the method used. I have never seen this discussed in public, let alone captured so perfectly in any form. No doubt many who have never experienced it themselves will dismiss it as mere fiction. But surely anyone who has risen to any height in Hollywood, a major corporation, or government knows better.



The ending of this movie is Hollywoodized, by which word we usually mean brought into pleasant conformance with the prevailing optimistic American spirit. When the main character runs away by quitting the job, Miranda Priestly actually helps her get her next job, and even smiles at her. Would that it were so. Real-world tyranny is different. In the real world, the main character would "never have worked in this town again". While it is nice to have pleasant endings, we undoubtedly do ourselves, our society, and our foreign policy an enormous disservice by downplaying and belittling the real-life cost of resisting tyranny, of preserving freedom. Generations raised on soothing Hollywood pabulum can never begin to comprehend the harsh reality that running away is not always an option.

Will the Turkish Army Act?

The recent Turkish elections provide an excellent example of mob rule democracy being subverted (or simply used as a tool) by islamists intent upon returning Turkey to the halcyon days of yore when every man knew his place (and if his place was at the bottom - well, he could always beat his wife with impunity).

The polite fiction of democracy has been upheld by the autocrats running the Turkish army since the days of Ataturk, whose own success was based upon military rather than political prowess. After the ethnic cleansing (which came very close to genocide) of the Armenian Christians in Turkey, Ataturk was able to use the gentle art of persuasion by sword and bayonet to convince the clerics (those whom survived) that safety was only to be found outside of government - no matter what the Koran says. In order to insure that this understanding was passed on to their sucessors, Ataturk made sure that the schools which turned out the sucessor generations were controlled by the 'government' and that the theology taught was properly shaped to encompass secularism.

The system worked very well for seventy-five years, the people got to vote, the generals got to rule and the clerics got to live. Over the past ten-fifteen years the islamists have made inroads - actual islamic theology is being taught and the imams have been preaching about the wondrous, idyllic life that can be achieved through submission. While Turks are somewhat smarter than Arabs, they're not that much smarter and so a mob majority has voted themselves back under the heel of religious tyranny. True 'democracy' in action.

Turkey does have the largest secular movement in the ME. It is making its voice heard but it is definitely a minority voice. To whom will the army listen? More importantly, if the army acts in time honored fashion and slaughters the imams fomenting a return to darkness, which side should the West support?

Mob rule or a 'modernity' maintained by force?

Petraeus Takes....

Saturday, April 28, 2007
a break?

a nap?

a walk?

After reading the complete transcript of his presser, the word that wouldn't fit is 'charge'. If this is the best he can do, then the President has replaced McClellan with McClellan or Westmoreland with Westmoreland. When a military commander talks about how 'complex' the situation is, the next step is generally a request for more resources.

I can draw the correct conclusion from his remarks concerning the democracy project - the elected government is a corrupt shambles, unable to to do a damn thing without American (or NGO) minders holding their hands and very intent upon stealing any money that passes within reach. That's unsurprising. I was a bit dismayed to read about the apparently recent discovery that the tribal links and methods of operations were actually of some import. It really shouldn't have taken four years to figure out how sheiks accrete and maintain influence. In fact, Machiavelli provided a precis on muslim power structures about five hundred years ago. Montesquieu amplified Machiavelli's efforts some 250 years later and both men's analyses hold true today.

Petraeus is no fool and I really can't fault him for his focus on the inconsequential because I don't believe that he has been given any mandate whatsoever to do more than exchange pawns at an advantageous rate. The problem is that even at a 1,000/1 ratio, the sheiks, mullahs, ayatollahs and oily princes still retain a tremendous advantage. An individual muslim is a liability in every single islamic country - the more killed, the better for the leaders. Every American killed is a loss to the US.

The game won't change until we start putting the sheiks, mullahs, ayatollahs and oily princes in the ground on a wholesale basis. Petraeus knows it. Maybe some day he will say it.

UPDATE: The White House does a good job of "tightening" Petraeus' remarks. I wonder where shelling Baghdad fits into his plan.

Where is Bono?

Friday, April 27, 2007
Call me cynical but it seems to me that there are a lot of people out there who like to talk about saving Africa, but when one man...namely Paul Wolfowitz, not Bono...actually does something to help the poor people who live there...well he gets shafted for his trouble. Time and again the good old boys find a way to turn institutions like the World Bank or the United Nations into some sort slush fund account for international thieves and parasites. If they do not allow people like Wolfowitz or Bolton to bring reform to these institutions, will the time come when the American people refuse to support them any longer? Will they kill the golden goose?

From the Opinion Journal:

"I would say that Wolfowitz's performance over the last several years and his leadership on African issues should certainly feature prominently in the discussions . . . . In the Liberian case and the case of many forgotten post-conflict fragile countries, he has been a visionary. He has been absolutely supportive, responsive, there for us . . . . We think that he has done a lot to bring Africa in general . . . into the limelight and has certainly championed our cause over the last two years of his leadership, and we look forward to it continuing."

The deputy prime minister for Mauritius, Rama Krishna Sithanen, then piped in that "he has been supportive of reforms in our country . . . . We think that he has done a good job. More specifically, he has apologized for what has happened."

Sub-Saharan Africa is the world's poorest region, and Mr. Wolfowitz has appropriately made it his top priority. On his first day on the job, he met with a large group of African ambassadors and advocates. His first trip as bank president was a swing through Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. He also recruited two African-born women vice presidents, a rarity at the bank.

If you're surprised by that last fact, then you don't appreciate that the World Bank has always been a sinecure for developed-world politicians. They get handsome salaries, tax free, and their performance is measured not by how much poverty they cure but by how much money they disperse.

Mr. Wolfowitz has upset this sweetheart status quo by focusing more on results, and especially on the corruption that undermines development and squanders foreign aid. Yet many of the poor countries themselves welcome such intervention. At the same April 14 press conference, Zambian Finance Minister N'Gandu Peter Magande endorsed the anticorruption agenda:

"We should keep positive that whatever happens to the president, if, for example, he was to leave, I think whoever comes, we insist that he continues where we have been left, in particular on this issue of anticorruption. That is a cancer that has seen quite a lot of our countries lose development and has seen the poverty continuing in our countries. And therefore . . . we want to live up to what [Wolfowitz] made us believe" that "it is important for ourselves to keep to those high standards."


Good luck with that.

Canada Joins the 3D World

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The first 3D Canadian city, Calgary, has gone live on Virtual Earth tonight. Way to go Canada!

P.S. Don't miss Britain's favorite seaside resort:

Mr. Popularity he ain't

I am talking about Harry Reid, Surrender in Chief. From Don Surber:

Senate Plurality Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said: “I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with the administration’s chief attack dog (VP Cheney). … I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating.”

This just in: Cheney is more popular than Reid.

Reported the Wall Street Journal: “Among other individuals included in the poll, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saw her approval rating fall to 30% in April from 38% in February, shortly after her swearing-in as the first female House speaker. Approval for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) slipped to 22%, from 23% in February but up from 19% a year ago.”

Cheney’s approval rate? 25%.


Well Reid just got his Surrender bill passed with a 51-46 vote. Not exactly veto proof.

Don't it make ya proud?

From Captains Quarters :

The House rejected the message from General David Petraeus, the man the Senate sent just three months ago to command the American forces in Iraq, and voted for a supplemental spending bill that will require the start of an American withdrawal by October 1. It passed on the barest of majorities and has no hope of surviving a veto, but the Democrats insist that they will play this game of chicken all the way to its conclusion:

The House on Wednesday narrowly approved a $124 billion war spending bill that would require American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq by Oct. 1, setting the stage for the first veto fight between President Bush and majority Democrats.

Only hours after Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander in Iraq, told lawmakers that he needed more time to gauge the effectiveness of a troop buildup there, the House voted 218 to 208 pass a measure that sought the removal of most combat forces by next spring. Mr. Bush has said unequivocally and repeatedly that he will veto it.

“This bill is a statement that Congress will no longer fund the war as it exists today,” said Representative Louise Slaughter, the New York Democrat who is chairwoman of the Rules Committee, as she opened the debate. Republicans accused Democrats of establishing a “date certain” for America’s defeat in Iraq.

“There will be no greater event to empower radical Islam than our retreat and defeat from Iraq,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, leader of a conservative wing of House Republicans.

The Democrats want to send the bill to the White House on Monday, April 30th, one day before the fourth anniversary of his appearance on an aircraft carrier flying a banner that read, "Mission Accomplished". Never mind that the banner referred to the carrier group's mission; the Democrats want to use the bill to score a few more political points, on top of declaring defeat and funding some of their pet pork projects. They have even coordinated with outside groups to use the anniversary for television advertisements.

Well Generals Pelosi and Reid have spoken. I bet AlQaida and the mad mullahs are getting a real kick out of this. I espeically like the provision that would allow for a small number {how many?} of Americans to stay and protect American interests or fight some terrorists in some places. You betcha. Can you imagine being one of a handful of Americans left in Iraq when these people get done surrendering. Might as well put a bulls eye on those boys.

QUIZ

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Which of the four men shown above is most worthy of the trust of the American people?

(answer below)
D - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became completely trustworthy on June 3, 1989. The rest of them are still alive and equal in ethical and moral stature.

Will Murtha apologize?

If this story posted by Clarice Feldman is true, will we be hearing an apology from Congressman Murtha for slandering the Marine Corps by calling the soldiers cold blooded murderers following an attack in Haditha, Iraq which left several Iraqi civilians dead? And will the media take a break from attacking the US Army for the mistakes surrounding the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman three years ago and admit that in this case, they were the ones who got it wrong?

In a nutshell, the case exploded when an intelligence officer dropped a bombshell on prosecutors during a pre-hearing interview when he revealed the existence of exculpatory evidence that appears to have been obtained by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and withheld from the prosecutors.
This officer, described by senior Marine Corps superiors as one of the best and most dedicated intelligence officers in the entire Marine Corps, was in possession of evidence which provided a minute-by-minute narrative of the entire day’s action — material which he had amassed while monitoring the day’s action in his capacity as the battalion’s intelligence officer. That material, he says, was also in the hands of the NCIS.
Much of that evidence remains classified, but it includes videos of the entire day’s action, including airstrikes against insurgent safe houses. Also included was all of the radio traffic describing the ongoing action between the men on the ground and battalion headquarters, and proof that the Marines were aware that the insurgents conducting the ambush of the Kilo Company troops were videotaping the action — the same video that after editing ended up in the hands of a gullible anti-war correspondent for Time magazine.
When asked by the prosecution team to give his copies of the evidence to the prosecution, he told NewsMax.com that he was reluctant to do so, fearing it would again be suppressed or misused, but later relented when ordered by his commanding general to do so.
Confronted by the massive mounds of evidence that Marine Corps sources tell NewsMax proves conclusively that the cases against the Haditha Marines are baseless, the prosecutors were forced to postpone the Article 32 against Lt. Col. Chessani and two of the enlisted men in an attempt to regroup.[/quote]
Clarice Feldman

Lookin' Out My Front Door



After Sunday's hailstorm. Still too early for locusts....

Is Anyone As Disgusted With Harry Reid As I Am?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Just asking for an opinion.

His assertion, in response to a question by CNN's Dana Bash, he is merely agreeing with Petraeus that the war is lost is the last straw for me:


BASH: The phrase "the war is lost" really touched a nerve.Do you stand by
that — that — that comment?

REID: General Petraeus has said that only 20 percent of the war can be won
militarily. He's the man on the ground there now. He said 80 percent of the war
has to be won diplomatically, economically and politically. I agree with General
Petraeus.Now, that is clear and I certainly believe that.

BASH: But, sir, General Petraeus has not said the war is lost.I just want
to ask you again...

REID: General — General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily.
He said that. And President Bush is doing nothing economically. He is doing
nothing diplomatically. He is not doing even the minimal requested by the Iraq
Study Group.So I — I stick with General Petraeus. I have no doubt that the war
cannot be won militarily, and that's what I said last Thursday and I stick with
that.


Reid's cynicism is breathtaking. Nevada needs to get a grip.

Cold as ice

Monday, April 23, 2007
Teen girl 'slaughtered two kittens before friend'

A TEENAGE schoolgirl slaughtered two kittens in preparation for the cold-blooded and premeditated murder of her friend, a Perth court has been told.

In what has been described as a callous and vicious attack on 15-year-old Eliza Jane Davis, her two "friends" strangled her with a piece of speaker wire while holding a chemical-soaked cloth over her mouth...

...there appeared to be no motive for the frenzied attack on the teenager.

One of the girls had told police: "We knew it was wrong, but it didn't feel wrong at all, it just felt right."...

...Eliza was... grabbed from behind and a piece of speaker wire was wrapped around her neck twice and pulled tightly.

"The only thing I was thinking about was trying to pull it as tight as I could," the girl told police.

Once Eliza was dead, her body was pushed down a stairway and covered with sand in a 40cm grave underneath the house.

One of the girls reported her missing and even helped Eliza's mother in efforts to find her.

"As our friend, we did not really want her to suffer," one of the girls told police.


What am I missing about the effects of ice? I have a machine that makes the stuff and even grinds it up if I push a button. Maybe I better get rid of it.

[Prosecutor Simon Stone] said one of the girls and Eliza had taken ice the night before the murder but it was not an amount that would affect the girls' sense of right and wrong.

"At best there may have been a slight intoxication by the residual effects of the ice that was taken the night before.

We need to get control of ice and speaker wire!
Sunday, April 22, 2007

I don't know if any of you saw Extreme Makeover Home Edition tonight but my brother was on the crew that built the new house for SFC Gene Westbrook and his family of Lawton, Oklahoma. Gene was wounded in Iraq and confined to a wheelchair. After his return the family was in a car wreck which left his 9 year old son James paralyzed as well. The town of Lawton, home of Fort Sill, came together and helped get this much deserved assistance for the Westbrook family. God knows, they earned it.

French Election Results


So, where do the Bayrou and Le Pen voters go two weeks from now? Everyone to the right of Sarkozy in the graphic is on the left, well, except for maybe Le Pen, who is something of a national leftist. Hey, looks like someone got the sides reversed! It looks like the pre-election polls were pretty accurate, so we will probably get a good idea of the runoff results before the voters vote.

h/t : No Pasaran

Why do they do it?

Why do the Democrats stand for defeat? John at Power Line says the answer is hatred:

In truth, the Democrats have needlessly put themselves in a rhetorical hole with their talk about "losing" in Iraq. They would be much better served to argue (as some do, of course) that the game is not worth the candle: that our security interests are not sufficiently at stake in Iraq to justify more than a year's worth of further costs. This argument would avoid the valid charge of defeatism. Moreover, it would be consistent with the Democrats' policy of setting a deadline for withdrawal.

If we have already lost in Iraq, then it is irrational to continue funding the war for another year. On the other hand, it is logical to say that we haven't yet lost in Iraq, and that we have enough security interests there to justify some further effort and some additional costs, but that those interests are sufficiently peripheral that if another twelve months aren't enough to bring success, the costs have exceeded any potential benefits, and we should pull the plug.

So why do so many Democrats persist in defeatist rhetoric which alienates millions of voters, has little empirical basis, and is inconsistent with their own policy prescription? I think this is another case where the Democrats' Bush-hatred has gotten the better of them. To take a rational approach to evaluating our progress over the coming months, the Democrats would have to acknowledge that we do have security interests in Iraq and that President Bush's policy may yet be vindicated. This, they cannot bring themselves to do. Rather than arguing for a policy that a substantial majority of Americans may well accept, they prefer to antagonize millions of voters while at the same time making nonsense of their own Congressional votes.

Hate can do funny things to politicians.


I think it is more than that. There is a commercial I have seen in which some old baby boomer sitting in a fancy office says he is going to use some service {I forget what it is} so that he can stick it to the man. His young assistant says But sir, you are the man. To which the old boy responds, Maybe.

I think liberals have found themselves in a world in which they are the man. They are the people running the World Bank with all of its phenomenal corruption. They are the people responsible for the United Nations with its corruption and incompetence on display every day. They are the people who railed against the likes of Saddam Hussein for years, only to rail against the United States even more. The truth is if they have to choose between the leader of the free world, the President of the United States and some tin pot dictator with a swiss bank account...they are more than likely to choose the dictator.

For years, they played the rebellious teenager speaking truth to power and now they find they are the power. And guess what? They are no better than the other guy. That is what is eating at them. They know they can't reason with the Iranians or the Syrians or people like Hugo Chavez or that nutcase in North Korea. They have shown time and again that all they can do is declare defeat and demand reform. They are good at the defeat part, after all it is some other poor bastard who is sitting out on that limb they are sawing off, but the reform part...not so good. They will spend a lot more time complaining about Wolfowitz than they will the 800 billion lost to corruption at the World Bank. After all, if they go after the Mugabes of the world they will lose the support of those dictators. Better to let them line their pockets and pretend not to notice the kickbacks. Just blame the poverty on capitalism and free trade and ignore the obvious thievery.

They will not demand anyone go to jail over the Food for Oil scandal even though it made a mockery of the United Nations, an institution they show reverence for. No, they will go suck up to Assad and pretend he did not kill the political opposition in Lebanon. They will turn their back on democracy in Iraq. They will whine about the Patriot Act, but they will demand we talk to the Mad Mullahs who are proud of the fact that they publicly execute women of ill repute. They will worry over global warming and the supposed end of the world, but they will not deal with the threats that face us in the here and now. They don't know how.

The Democrats woke up in the world of the 21st century and discovered they are the man. And all they know how to do is bitch. And while bitching might be fun, it doesn't fix a damn thing.

Copperheads

Saturday, April 21, 2007
I saw this over at Best of the Web:

Latter-Day Copperhead

* "I believe . . . that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week."--Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007

* "Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."--1864 Democratic platform

And all it is, is one thing after another


There are some folks people ought not fool with. Miss America 1944 is one such person.

And I'll tip the ol' cap to Maggie's Farm for finding a story with photos.

A Year Ago...

Friday, April 20, 2007
Loner provided us with this great review of Oliver Twist.

The movie is playing this evening at 8:00 EDT on TCM.

Reid Must Resign

Mark Levin is not my favorite "conservative" pundit by far, but he's got this one right:

Reid announces to our brave volunteers that their country is sending them to a lost war. And he announces to our enemy that victory is within their reach — just keep up the killing a little longer. During my radio show last night, I received a call from a Gold Star father. He was outraged by Reid’s comment. He has called before and has become a good friend. But I’ve never heard him as angry and frustrated as he was last night.

Rather than join the chorus demanding Gonzales's resignation, let me be the first to demand Reid's resignation. And let's see how many pundits, conservative and otherwise, will join me.



(Update: Corrected an even more egregious typo. StY)

Actors!

Alec Baldwin unloads on daughter and Cheney. Not in that order.

Warren Beatty wants to play Reagan. No, really. The guy thinks he would be perfect for the part.

My favorite however is Jon Voight. No wonder his daughter doesn't speak to him. He is a man, and men are not favored in Tinsel Town.

(Update: corrected a typo. StY)

1776

Thursday, April 19, 2007
I am reading David McCullough's 1776. It is late December. By now several of Washington's most valued and trusted aides have expressed their failing faith in his abilities. He is aware of this - he has seen the evidence with his own eyes. He himself doubts that he has the skills to achieve success in The Glorious Cause. General Charles Lee, widely considered the most capable American officer and yet another who has lost faith in Washington's ability to command the army, has been captured and is now advising the British about how best to bring the rebellion to the quickest possible end.

Washington has the tattered remnants of his "army" on the western bank of the Delaware River opposite Trenton. Philadelphia, the capitol, has been evacuated.

...Washington now had an army of about 7,500, but that was a paper figure only. Possibly 6,000 were fit for duty. Hundreds were sick and suffering from the cold... more and more of the local citizenry were signing the British Proclamation [a pardon in exchange for an oath of loyalty to the crown]. Congress had fled. Two former members of Congress, Joseph Galloway and Andrew Allen, had gone over to the enemy.


The Continental Army has been humiliated in New York and suffered defeat after defeat. Ft. Washington and Fort Lee, prepared with such daunting effort, are lost. They have fled, ill clothed and fed, across New Jersey with Lord General Howe baying at their heels. It is during this retreat that Thomas Paine writes The Crisis.

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country... What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

I have read a fair bit about Washington and The Revolution but I was unaware of, or had long forgotten, William Tudor.

On December 24, the day before Christmas, Washington's judge advocate, Colonel William Tudor, who had been with him from the beginning, wrote again, as he often had during the campaign, to tell his fiancée in Boston of his continuing love for her, and to explain why his hopes of returning soon to Boston had vanished. "I cannot desert a man (and it would certainly be desertion in a court of honor) who has deserted everything to defend his country, and whose chief misfortune, among ten thousand others, is that large part of it wants spirit to defend itself."


A man, of whom I had taken no lasting notice, has reached across 230 years to cuff me upside the head. I am grateful to him.

The EU doesn't like walls.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

From a San Diego Union-Tribune article, the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana is quoted saying, "A wall that separates one country from another is not something that I like or that the European Union members like. We don't think walls are reasonable instruments to stop people from crossing into a country.”

This is an incredible piece of hypocracy out of the Spaniard Solana. Spain, with EU funding, has built separation fences between Ceuta & Melilla and Morroco. The fences (the Ceuta fence is pictured) are triple rows of razor wire, with guard towers, spotlights and motion detectors. They were built to keep illegal immigrants out of the two Spanish enclaves in North Africa.

Even more outrageously, he also stated, "(the EU believes immigrants should be treated) like people, not like criminals.” This is of course a complete non sequitur. The fence's purpose has nothing to do with criminalizing legal immigration. Rather, exactly like the Spanish fences it is intended to prevent illegal immigration.

Of course the notion that the European Union Foreign Policy Chief has any reak power is is little more than farcical theater, and even Solana must know he is spouting nonsense, still -- why do we allow the EU to meddle in U.S./Mexican bilateral relations without rebuke from our State Department? The fact that the U.S. allows a steady drip-drip of propoganda without making any credible response is increasingly disheartening.

Our public doplomacy is hopeless. Not only do we seem unwilling to make our case, we are even unwilling to counter daft claims like Solana's.

If the Left really gave a damn

Monday, April 16, 2007
If the left really gave a damn about corruption or poverty of the suffering of the disadvantaged one would think they would be supporting Wolfowitz's attempts to deal with corruption at the World Bank, rather than siding with the thieves.

If they really gave a damn that is. From Betsys :

Needless to say, none of this context has appeared in the media smears suggesting that Mr. Wolfowitz pulled a fast one to pad the pay of Ms. Riza. Yet the record clearly shows he acted only after he had tried to recuse himself but then wasn't allowed to do so by the ethics committee. And he acted only after that same committee advised him to compensate Ms. Riza for the damage to her career from a "conflict of interest" that was no fault of her own.

Based on this paper trail, Mr. Wolfowitz's only real mistake was in assuming that everyone else was acting in good faith. Yet when some of these details leaked to the media, nearly everyone else at the bank dodged responsibility and let Mr. Wolfowitz twist in the wind.

So why would all these rumors have been put out there to make it look like he was just channeling money to his girlfriend. Could it have anything to do with his crusade to clean up the rampant corruption in the Bank?

All of this is so unfair that Mr. Wolfowitz could be forgiven for concluding that bank officials insisted he play a role in raising Ms. Riza's pay precisely so they could use it against him later. Even if that isn't true, it's clear that his enemies--especially Europeans who want the bank presidency to go to one of their own--are now using this to force him out of the bank. They especially dislike his anticorruption campaign, as do his opponents in the staff union and such elites of the global poverty industry as Nancy Birdsall of the Center for Global Development. They prefer the status quo that holds them accountable only for how much money they lend, not how much they actually help the poor.
Equally cynical has been the press corps, which slurred Mr. Wolfowitz with selective reporting and now says, in straight-faced solemnity, that the president must leave the bank because his "credibility" has been damaged.

Shamefully, some of the American media, such as the LA Times, is buying into this attempt to get Wolfowitz.

Trying to clean up the corruption at the World Bank is a truly Herculean task.

The World Bank will work with the United Nations and other agencies in a global drive to help developing countries recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders, the Bank said on Sunday, estimating that the extent of graft in poor states could reach $800 billion a year.


800 billion a year could buy a lot of food and medicine. 800 billion a year could educate a lot of poor illiterate children. 800 billion a year might make the need for celebrity telethons unnecessary.

A Terrible Thing

33 Dead in shooting spree at Virginia Tech. I hope people will at least let the parents bury the dead before they malign the authorities.

Political Expediency

Sunday, April 15, 2007
According to my old Webster expediency is the doing or consideration of what is selfish rather than what is right or just. This is I think the driving force behind the Democrats current efforts to whitewash the regime of Saddam Hussein and nullify any claims that he had operational ties with AlQaida. Note the word operational, it is in and of itself part of this ongoing effort to discredit the Bush administration and gain political power. Back in the 90's the use of the term operational was not the issue, people were just looking for contacts of any kind. The idea that the contacts had to be operational is a relatively recent deveolopment.

In fact I would say that all one has to do is look at the events of 1998 to see these ties:

In February 1998 AlQaida announced its infamous fatwa against the United States, citing the treatment of Iraq in its list of grievances against Americans.

There are attacks on US embassies in Africa on August 7, 1998 which leave hundreds dead and thousands injured.

October 1998 the House overwhelmingly supports the Iraqi Liberation Act at the behest of the Clinton administration, making the removal of Saddam Hussein from power the national policy of the United States.

In November and December 1998 the crisis concerning the UN Weapons Inspectors in Iraq intensifies and ultimately the inspectors are forced to leave Iraq.

Operation Desert Fox is launched in December 1998 and represent the heaviest attacks since Operation Desert Storm.

Ed Morrisey has a post up Follow the Money which contains some interesting information about AlQaida, Saddam and money:

Andy picks up on one very important connection between Iraq and AQ -- money:

Forgetting all of these circumstances, among others, Tom [ed. Jocelyn] also recalls, as Steve Hayes, myself, and others have for some time, that in 1998, "Ayman al-Zawahiri was in Baghdad ... and collected a check for $300,000 from the Iraqi regime." I would add, for context, that this was in the same time frame as bin Laden and Zawahiri's infamous fatwa calling for the murder of Americans — which, if you read it, argues that American actions against Iraq are a big part of the justification. It also came just a few months before al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in east Africa, the Clinton administration bombed a Sudanese phramaceutical factory because intel indicated it was a joint Iraqi/Qaeda chemical weapons venture, and Clinton counter-terror honcho Richard Clarke fretted that "wily old Osama would boogie to Baghdad" — of all places — if the U.S. made things too hot for Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Sure, maybe all this is just a big coincidence. But, given that al Qaeda is a 24/7 terror operation whose main target is the U.S., I've always wondered for what earthly purpose Senator Levin and other connection naysayers figure Saddam Hussein gave Ayman Zawahiri 300K?

So this is not operational? I have heard here of late that the Democrats only went along with the war because they were denied oversight and as such did not realize that Bush was lying to us all. However, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq was passed on October 10, 2002 and the Democrats did not lose control of the Senate until the November elections. That of course means they were in control of the Intelligence Committee.

The other day I had this discussion with a friend who was upset because he says that is has been proven that Saddam had nothing to do with AlQaida. I told him that the only thing that has been proven is that the media and the Democrats will say whatever works for them at the time.

In fact back in 1999 ABC did a report on the ties between Saddam and AlQaida:

Stephanopoulos, who used to work for Clinton, should remember that, back in 1998, the Clinton Administration issued a sealed indictment of bin Laden that read, in part, "...Al-Qaida reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq." What evidence did they have?

And ABC reported in December of 1999 that "ABC News has learned that in December, an Iraqi intelligence chief, named Farouq Hijazi, now Iraq's Ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcomed in Baghdad."


So it seems the truth is relative. Or so some would have us believe. The real truth is that if Saddam was really the innocent victim, the much abused dictator that some folks would have us believe he was, the real question is why were the United Nations and the Clinton Administration picking on the poor man for all those years? Why wait until after Bush came to office and invaded Iraq to decide Saddam was no threat?

History in the making

Saturday, April 14, 2007
Fouad Ajami's excellent article Iraq in the Balance describes history being made in Iraq. History in terms of politics, religion, and culture. He offers hope for the future of Iraq but he does not ignore the challenges. He also gives us a different perspective through which to view these historic events. I could not decide what to excerpt so I just suggest you read the whole thing.

Dancin' Nancy

Friday, April 13, 2007
Spotted at the always interesting Jim Miller on Politics. The loverly Dancin' Nancy.

Un Be Freaking Lievable

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Giant Crystal Cave Comes to Light

(Yes, I know it looks like a trick photo.)

A Good Day for Video

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not quite infinitely cool ...

... but pretty close.



Samurai Sword Cuts a Plastic Bottle-

Arm Chair Hostages

No matter what happens there are always pundits, bloggers and talking heads who think they have all the answers, there is no way that there just might some relevant information that has escaped their notice in their knee jerk rush to judgment. So now of course all manner of people have decided that the British have no balls. You know, the Germans made that mistake too, long ago.

From Austin Bay :

Last week Dean Barnett questioned the British sailors’ and marines’ decision to surrender to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Dean wondered if the phrase “fighting back was not an option” would be the epitaph on the grave of the Western world. A fair enough point to make about the confrontation with Islamo-fascism, but having chased Iranian and Arab dhow in RHIBs (rigid hull inflatable boats) manned by American sailors I understand how exposed and vulnerable the British sailors were. (A couple of weeks ago in a Creators Syndicate column I discussed small ship inspection and boarding operations in the northern Persian Gulf.)

The criminal kidnapping was certainly no Churchillian moment for the Royal Navy. I don’t think Dean and I disagree about the subsequent events; they were a moral disaster. Tehran goody bags and gimme suits have replaced blood, sweat, tears and toil.

But here’s how I see the tactical situation. The Iranians got the drop– they conducted a well planned and rehearsed surround and snatch. The sailors and marines were not in a warship when they were captured, they were in motorized rubber boats. Tactical surprise reinforced by heavy machineguns at close range (and lack of immediate backup) make surrender an understandable and probably appropriate decision. The situations strikes me as one of instant, futile slaughter.

Better planning, better coordination with the supporting forces, and tighter tactical security may well have alerted and saved the sailors and marines. However, would, should, and could are the words of hindsight when staring down the bore of a heavy machinegun.


****************************

As I wrote last week, I think the Iranians hurt themselves in the mid-term and long run. The Iranians got a ring kissed but they blinked strategically. The regime temporarily changed the subject from nuclear weapons and UN sanctions, but reminded the world that since 1979 Iran has been an outlaw. Now the mullahs intend to become nuclear outlaws.

I don't know why the sailors and Marines acted as they did on camera, perhaps as Buddy Larsen {ed. Buddy I hope you don't mind} noted in a comment at Roger Simon they were trying to make light of the situation:

I'm not worried about Brit courage. Their history of coolness and steadfastness under fire is too many centuries long for there to've been any sort of major precipitous drop-off of character in one short generation.

IMHO, it's the total ambiguity of the situation that best explains what we saw on our tv sets. Give those 15 soldiers different orders, and see what they do.

As is, by treating the whole performance in a lighthearted fashion (see the relaxed manners, the smiles, the loose postures) they not only sent a message of superiority over the barbarians who kidnapped them, they also helped save their government from a major confrontation at the time and place of the enemy's obvious choosing.


I am willing to admit that I don't know what was in their minds. I don't know if there was a trade. I don't know if the warning Blair gave the Iranians that they had 48 hours to release these people or his position would harden had some impact. I don't know if the ever growing presence of the American Navy getting closer and closer might have had something to do with the decision to let the Brits go. It would not surprise me. There might even be some domestic politics going on in Iran which influenced the decision.

However, I do know that I am glad the Brits are free and out of Iran and I think that if there is any problem with their behavior the British military is quite capable of dealing with it. I also feel that there is something unseemly about so many people acting downright bummed out that no one got killed. I remember the Israelis having and losing the moral highground as they pounded southern Lebanon after their soldiers were taken by Hezbellah. I supported their doing so in fact. However, it is worth noting that Hezbellah is still there and Hezbellah still has those soldiers.

No good could from the Iranians holding British sailors for weeks or months or even days, after all they took and held our own people for more than 400 days, so perhaps we should blame the Iranians for this, not the British.

Fourth Generation Warfare

Monday, April 09, 2007
I've just discovered the best weapon unleashed in the War on Terrorism in a long time: Dennis Miller's brilliant new radio show.
Sunday, April 08, 2007

You know the Bible 90%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes


Ah shucks.

The quiz is too easy, I don't hardly know anything about the Bible.

Tats!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Jacob wrestling with the angel?

The only time I have been in tattoo shops was when I took a friend of mine to get a dragonfly tattoo over her breast, followed by chilled vodka and oysters to celebrate. Her kids refused to believe it was real until it didn't wash off after the first week. Anyway, the Iceman was tattooed and it is not by any means rare in cultures around the world and in history. There's something fairly basic about it, as with earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Anyway, I just had to add a bit of filler here to go with the picture. That, and I like these American bios: the artist was born in Mexico and her parents were from Argentina. More at the Kat von D site.

h/t: Iowahawk

Immigrants march against Bush's plan.

Well it seems that illegal immigrants do not share Tancredo's opinion that Bush is too soft on immigration.

Sometimes you just can't please people. This bill does sound tougher than the one the Senate came up with.

They count on the American people being oblivious

Who is they? Why the media of course, the same people who think they can pawn Chris Matthews off as a journalist.

Betsys has an interesting post up about perceptions. First the perception that the US Military is broken as is postied by Time with its cynical use of a young soldier's death. Links provided.

The other interesting example of the media counting on the American people being oblivious to history, fact or reality is their current use of Reagan as an example of a good dead conservative. I remember Reagan before he was the darling of liberal journalists. Do you?

Ray Robison at American Thinker shows how absolutely misleading Time Magazine's story on "America's Broken Down Military" was. Time Magazine tried to show that Private Matthew Zeimer who was recently killed in Iraq was inadequately trained for the mission because of President Bush's speeded-up surge plan in Iraq. Robison demonstrates how absolutely false that conclusion is and how, just by using Google, Time could have found out the truth.

Of course, this is from a magazine that photoshopped in a tear on Ronald Reagan's face to show his lamentations for the state of the Republican Party today. Noemie Emery demonstrated Time Magazine's utter hypocrisy in their lionizing of Reagan at the expense of Bush simply by quoting from what that magazine wrote about Reagan at a comparable point in his presidency. According to Time in 1987, Reagan was a washed up, clueless president presiding over a ridiculous foreign policy. Here is what Walter Isaacson wrote in 1987 about Reagan.

As he shouted befuddled Hooverisms over the roar of his helicopter last week or doddered precariously through his press conference, Reagan appeared embarrassingly irrelevant to a reality that he could scarcely comprehend. Stripped of his ability to create economic illusions, stripped of his chance to play host to Mikhail Gorbachev, he elicited the unnerving suspicion that he was an emperor with no clothes."

And here was Lance Morrow in November, 1987.

Who's in Charge?" asked Lance Morrow in Time's November 9, 1987, issue. "Reagan's tepid and grudging reactions--reluctant and uncomprehending--confirmed a suspicion in many minds that Reagan, a lame duck with 15 months to go in his second term, was presiding over an administration bereft of ideas and energy. . . . The President seemed bizarrely disengaged." He seemed in fact just like Willy Loman, in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, who rode a smile and shoeshine into utter oblivion. "Reagan seems to invite the thought that he has found a new model, the Salesman, in the last act, standing on a stage about to go dark."

And Time wasn't the only media outlet who had written off Ronald Reagan's presidency.

In the book The Reagan Legacy, a collection of essays published in 1988, David Ignatius of the Washington Post called Reagan's foreign policy an out-and-out failure, and said he was leaving a legacy of terrible problems for administrations to come. "Compared to the Reagan record of nonachievement, former President Jimmy Carter looked like a master diplomat," intoned the author. "Because he concentrated so much on image rather than substance, Reagan leaves behind an array of unresolved substantive problems. His successor will inherit a collection of outdated strategic premises, alliances that don't quite adhere, [and] roles and expectations for America that no longer hold." In the book Landslide, published the same year, Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times and Jane Mayer, now of the New Yorker, reiterated the Time view of Reagan as reality-challenged, fact-averse, and inert in the face of catastrophe: "Far from bequeathing a dominant Republican party to his successor, Reagan no longer commanded even the conservative coalition that had brought him into power. Right wing activists who had rejoiced at his elections now dismissed him as impotent and soft."

What can ya say?

When someone says something this stupid. It seems Rosie has competition for the biggest mouth in America:

NEW YORK (AP) - The radio station that produces Don Imus' talk show pledged to keep tabs on its content after he apologized for calling the players on Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy headed hos."

"We are disappointed by Imus' actions earlier this week which we find completely inappropriate," WFAN-AM said in a statement Friday. "We fully agree that a sincere apology was called for and will continue to monitor the program's content going forward."

Imus apologized Friday for the comments made earlier this week on his nationally syndicated program.

Not a bad idea

Friday, April 06, 2007
The Anchoress has taken her stand, she is not participating in the never ending campaign.

I know people who do not even watch the news anymore because they just can not stand the whole process. It is depressing and demeaning and completely frustrating to people who do not live and eat and breathe politics, that is normal people. So maybe the Anchoress is right, maybe we should wait unil an election is near before we have a political campaign. Fancy that. Just like the good ol' days.

I resent like hell that these politicians - all of them, but I seem to recall it was Hillary who started early, forcing everyone else to do so, as well - began their stumping and fund-raising two years before an election. Some of them - like Clinton - barely finished their re-election celebrations before reaching out their hands for ‘08 campaign funds.

They’ve decided to be in our faces for an excessive period of time, and the acquiescent media is allowing it by covering their every belch and hiccup, but that doesn’t mean I have to read it and get sucked into a pre-election vortex that has no business forming just now. Our “public servants,” duly elected to represent their states, are running back and forth across the country giving speeches, eating festival food and raising money, money, money instead of attending to the concerns of their constituents, voting on pending legislation, FUNDING OUR TROOPS and otherwise doing what they were hired to do.

I’m not participating in this, yet. I’m not going to allow myself to be suckered into paying attention to these people - and giving them either my money or my time - before I deem it practical and intelligent to do so, and that will be sometime around November of ‘07.

Yes. I am giving myself (gasp!) a whole year off from being caught up in the fakery and frummery of modern electoral politics. The press can make all the noise it wants and declare “winners” and “losers” over and over again, week by interminable week, for the next 18+ months, but that doesn’t mean I have to listen. If we allow the pols and the press to maintain the “endless campaign” mentality, we’re all going to be utterly burned out (and
tuning out) at the time when we most should be keyed in and observant.

I am getting dizzy

Around and around we go and where we stop, nobody knows. The Democrats have reversed themselves again. Dafydd has an interesting post up on the latest change in heart. Remember when the Democrats in Congress said it was absolutely essential to follow the Baker/Hamilton plan? Well they have slept since then:

You remember the Iraq Study Group, right? Evidently Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) does not. They were the bipartisan group (the other co-chair was former Democratic dauphin of the House Lee Hamilton) which produced a series of recommendations anent Iraq. Way back in the dim mists of January, it pleased the Democrats to declare those recommendations the single most important blueprint for moving that thorny problem forward... and they insisted, nay demanded, that President George W. Bush follow every last jot and tittle of that report.

Well today, Baker reminds us of one of the most important of the ISG's recommendations -- one that appears to have slipped Mr. Reid's mind:


The best, and perhaps only, way to build national agreement on the path forward is for the president and Congress to embrace the only set of recommendations that has generated bipartisan support: the Iraq Study Group report...

The report does not set timetables or deadlines for the removal of troops, as contemplated by the supplemental spending bills the House and Senate passed. In fact, the report specifically opposes that approach. As many military and political leaders told us, an arbitrary deadline would allow the enemy to wait us out and would strengthen the positions of extremists over moderates. A premature American departure from Iraq, we unanimously concluded, would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions in Iraq and possibly other countries.


In addition, many of the provisions of Lt.Gen. David Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy embrace the unanimous recommendations found in that document. For example:

The president's plan increases the number of American advisers embedded in Iraqi army units, with the goal that the Iraqi government will assume control of security in all provinces by November. It outlines benchmarks and indicates that the Iraqi government must act to attain them. He has approved ministerial-level meetings of all of Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran; the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council; and other countries.

This is getting stupid.

Personally, I Would Get a Second Opinion

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pelosi's pandering

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jeffrey Hadden briefly explains to us just what Nancy Pelosi's job description is:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to be confused about the office she holds. She is the speaker, not the president. She is traveling in the Middle East, and intends to go to Syria with "great hope" for reviving U.S. relations with that nation, the Associated Press reports.

That is not her role. Article II, section 2 of the Constitution grants treaty making power to the president, and ratification to the Senate. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., which is still the law of the land, made it clear that:

"In this vast external realm (of foreign affairs), with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude; and Congress itself is powerless to invade it."

The speaker is getting ahead of herself. We only have one president at a time in this country.


This is one case in which I would not want to be a fly on the wall. It might make me sick. The headlines say Pelosi brings message of peace. I suppose that message went something like this: Go right ahead helping to kill our soldiers in Iraq. Go right ahead assasinating people in Lebanon. Do whatever you like and know that the Democrats in Washington will be more than happy to kiss your ass.

Maybe when she gets back she could start a new tradition of Hajib Day in the House. She could just require all the female members to cover themselves and refrain {for at least one day a year} from looking like infidel whores. I mean really, if Pelosi is going to make a fool of herself and her country on a world stage, why half ass it?

UPDATE: From Ed Morrisey :

The Jerusalem Post notes that the Israeli Prime Minister's office had to issue a "clarification" after Nancy Pelosi attempted to deliver a message from Ehud Olmert to Syria's Bashar Assad. The PMO's statement contradicts Pelosi and points up the problems when amateurs attempt to involve themselves in sensitive diplomacy:

The Prime Minister's Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East."

Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria's sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to "cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran."


So Nancy forgot that whole terrorism thingee, what's the big deal? Right?

Another Update --- Quote of the day:
It's one thing to be a college student, drunk on Jello shots, at the beach bar in Daytona, lifting your shirt for some dope with a video camera. It is something else to be the Speaker of the House, drunk on power, making a fool of yourself by pretending to be a diplomat and going to the Syrian desert. (Rich Galen)

The crazy years

Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Robert Heinlein outlined a future history as a framework for his science fiction, and projected the latter part of the 20'th century to be the crazy years. Well, maybe they were, but there is crazy and then there is liberal, educated to idiocy, pollywogs swimming in the brain pan crazeee.
BURLINGTON, NJ, April 3, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, March 22, officials at Burlington Township High School enlisted the help of two local policemen to carry out a mock ‘hostage situation’ drill at their school. The drill invoked disapproval from Christian students as the student body was told that the alleged gunmen were “members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the 'New Crusaders' who don't believe in separation of church and state.”

According to a report in the local paper, The Burlington County Times, the mock gunmen pretended to gun down several students in the hallways before taking 10 students hostage in the school’s media center. Given that the drill was intended to test the disaster response of students, faculty and local emergency personnel, county officers were dispatched during the drill to realistically execute an emergency evacuation of the building.

The drill organizers explained that the supposedly Christian gunmen “went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.”
Yeah, this has been posted elsewhere, but it is simply too nuts to let go by. The whole report is here. These folks are educators. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Withdrawal? Not so fast

lurker, a commenter over at Strata Sphere notes the following poll in a comment thread about the Reid's back up cut the funding the bill:

I still don’t like polls but here they are!!

A Bloomberg poll last month found that 61% of Americans believe withholding funding for the war is a bad idea, while only 28% believe it is a good idea.

According to a March USA Today/Gallup poll, 61% of Americans oppose “denying the funding needed to send any additional troops to Iraq.”

That poll also showed that only 20% of Americans want to withdraw the troops immediately.

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) recently reported that a majority of voters (54%) oppose the Democrats imposing a reduction in troops below the level military commanders requested.

A POS poll in February found that 59% of voters believe pulling out of Iraq immediately would do more to harm America’s reputation in the world than staying until order is restored.

That POS poll also finds 57% of voters support staying in Iraq until the job is finished and “the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for its people.”

According to a Time magazine poll also taken in March, only 32% want to withdraw the troops within the next year no matter what happens.

Speaks volumes for the mandate that the Democrats DO NOT understand. They’re heading in the WRONG direction.

A Decent Man.




I think the reason I still support George Bush is that I believe he is basically a decent man trying to do the right thing in a place and time when people like Rosie O'Donnel blather on about conspiracy theories on the The View. This kind of partisan hatred is like a disease that strips people of not only their common sense, but their basic decency. So much so that a picture like this is being remarked on.

From The Anchoress:

President Bush drives us crazy. We want him to fight back. He won’t. We want him to “save” himself. He won’t. He won’t “save” his presidency, either. He won’t “save” his party. He won’t “save” his legacy.

President Bush is doing what is unthinkable - he is staying true to the task laid out before him, to serve all the people. He is remaining faithful to that and he is counting on his God to do the rest, as his God has promised.

This is remarkable witness.

In an era when every special-interest group demands satisfaction for real or imagined “slights,” when Christians try to insist upon respectfulness from the arts, and radical Islamists demand blood or force conversions for any perceived “insult,” this Christian man stands before the world and insists only that the course of liberty be pursued and that he be allowed to protect the safety, rights and freedoms of his citizens. He does not insist that you treat him well. Quite the opposite. He looks at something you can’t see and he allows you to say anything about him you want to, and he holds fast to a promise.

He stands before the entire world and allows that world to curse and mock him, to condemn him. He allows himself to be identified as the “cause” of every difficulty - the “biggest terrorist” in the world, the “most vile human” on the planet. Not Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not the raping, murdering warlords of Dafur, not Vladimir Putin.

George W. Bush, who started a revolutionary push toward world-wide liberty and democratic process - he’s the vile oppressor. He’s the guy who wants to take away your freedoms, pollute your planet into extinction and silence your internets. He’s the Nazi who is trying to kill the free speech you are ironically spouting all over the place against him, on television, on the radio, on the stage, on the printed page, quite without fear of reprisal. President Bush, you see, is not the one who tries to shut people up.

In the face of that upside-down disorientation that says “good” is “bad” and “truthiness” is enough, President Bush gets up every day and keeps going, and remains steadfast, and lets you hate him all you want. And if you stumble in his line of vision he will not step around you. And if you’re old and feeble, he will help you walk.

Yes, this is remarkable witness. How many of us would be capable of doing the same?


Read it all.

The Devil Wears Prada

Monday, April 02, 2007
Remember that movie "Broadcast News" starring Holly Hunter, William Hurt and Al Brooks? I caught a bit of it on the tube the other day and was reminded of the part where Brooks - trying to warn Hunter off - tells her that Hurt is the Devil. Hunter rolls her eyes at the apparent hyperbole and Brooks says no, come on, "what do you think the Devil will look like when he appears? horns and tail? no! he'll look just like that."
His point, of course, is that evil creeps up in disguise - because its evil. Anyway, I only mention this because it popped into my head while i read this story on the Beeb's website here.

Snake in the Grass

Sunday, April 01, 2007
That is what they used to call a guy like Matthew Dowd, the former Bush supporter turned backstabber. He is in fact an oppurtunistic turncoat.

First he is a Democrat and then he is a Republican and now? He wants to find some gentleness in the world. In fact he says the guy he likes the best out there is Barak Obama, a uniter. Yep, that is correct, a junior Democrat with a voting record as liberal as Harry Reid's is a uniter. Gag me:

From Dafydd who has a lot to say about this:

Were it not for the Bush administration's rapid pre-landing response and post-landing followup, thousands more people would be dead.

So what exactly was it about Bush's handing of the hurricane that so saddened Matthew Dowd? I would love to know if Dowd still believes the long-discredited urban legends of multiple murders, rapes, and cannibalism in the Superdome...

And now we really get to the meat: Dowd was stunned that President Bush refused to meet -- for a second time -- with Cindy Sheehan, during the time she had become "the angriest dog in the world" (that's a David Lynch reference, not a comment on her perfectly average looks): camping out in front of Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch, calling him the most vile epithets, accusing him of "murdering" her son, and in general, acting like an unstable mental patient undergoing an episode.

But Bush should have met with her, Dowd says, because...? He offers no reason.

Has he even thought through what would have happened had Bush met with her? She would have berated him, hectored him, lectured him, screamed at him, insulted him and the office, issued diktats that he could not possibly obey, and belittled Bush, the presidency, and the United States -- all on national TV. This would be live, if Bush were foolish enough to allow cameras at the meeting; or if not, then later, when Sheehan would gleefully have reenacted her tantrum for the cameras.

It would have been a PR nightmare, and it would certainly have further damaged the war support, already precarious. If that really were Dowd's advice at the time (which I highly doubt), then thank God he's out of the White House. Were I a Democratic candidate for the presidency considering hiring him for the upcoming campaign, that comment alone would kill the deal for me.

It's as nutty as saying that Bush should attend an anti-war sit-in. It's not merely bad advice, it's stupid advice. But at last, this leads us into the crux of Mr. Dowd's complaints...

The war thing

It really seems to boil down to the Iraq war. But there is an aspect of Dowd's change of heart that particularly disturbs me (repels me, actually): Dowd admits arriving at his new moral denunciation of the war for reasons as personal, if not as drastic, as Cindy Sheehan's:

His views against the war began to harden last spring when, in a personal exercise, he wrote a draft opinion article and found himself agreeing with Mr. Kerry’s call for withdrawal from Iraq. He acknowledged that the expected deployment of his son Daniel was an important factor....

“If the American public says they’re done with something, our leaders have to understand what they want,” Mr. Dowd said. “They’re saying ‘Get out of Iraq.’ ”

First of all, there is no evidence the American people are saying "get out of Iraq." They're clearly saying they not happy with the Iraq war.

But does that mean they necessarily want to immediately abandon Iraq, the Iraqis, and all of our allies, leaving Iraq to complete collapse, to become another failed state -- and a new training and staging ground for al-Qaeda?

Or do the people mean they want to start seeing tangible victories?

To paraphrase Hermann Göring, whenever I hear a man say he is the vox populi -- I reach for my airsickness bag. Oh, please, Matthew Dowd; nobody elected you to lead the American people; they elected (twice) the guy you're now trashing!

But what tore it for me anent Dowd and his fabulous bag of Bush betrayals is his admission that what really turned him so strongly against the war was when "he watched his oldest son prepare for deployment to Iraq as an Army intelligence specialist fluent in Arabic."

That was when Dowd "[wrote] but never submitted an op-ed article titled 'Kerry Was Right,' arguing that Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential candidate, was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq."



Read it all. It is worth the time.