Monday, July 31, 2006

Countercolumn Reports

Writers from The Nation have infiltrated the Washington Times newsroom, and are planning a long expose on the personal bigotry of the WashTimes editor, Fran Coombs. Look for it in September.

Does anyone know more about this? Really, it looks like the left has become so desparate they are trying to start a war with their journalistic cousins. Who next, FOX? Pathetic, really. The last time I heard of something like this it was a reporter for the National Inquirer dating one of the female astronauts to get dirt for a story. Told me by another female astronaut.

h/t countercolumn

The Slide Continues

In keeping with what has become a cheerful Flares tradition, it gives me great pleasure to announce that on Friday, July 28, 2006 the Class A stock of the New York Times closed below $22* for the first time since early 1997. Junior Sulzberger's unparalleled leadership has succeeded in trimming another $150M from stockholders equity and through his extraordinary talent has raised the total loss in stockholder value to $4.3B since 2002. Given the huge debt incurred by Junior in pursuing construction of a completely unneeded monument to his ego it is doubtful whether the companys parlous balance sheet will continue to support even a junk bond rating for much longer.

Way to go, Junior! Take that puppy all the way down.

*The stock broke through $23 on June 13. Junior is clipping value at a better than $3M per day.

The Good Old Days

Remember the 90's before Bush came along and everything was so nice and peaceful....

From Wikipedia

The Rwandan Genocide is the massacre of an estimated 800,000 to 1,071,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during a period of 100 days from April 6th through mid-July 1994.

For many, the Rwandan Genocide stands out as historically significant, not only because of the sheer number of people murdered in such a short period of time, but also because of how inadequately the United Nations (particularly, its Western members such as the U.S. and France) responded (or failed to respond) to or were even complicit in the atrocities. Despite intelligence provided before the killing began, and international news media coverage reflecting the true scale of violence as the Genocide unfolded, most first-world countries declined to intervene.

The United Nations established UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda), in October 1993 "to help implement the Arusha Peace Agreement signed by the Rwandan parties on 4 August 1993"; its "mandate" ended in 1996 (UNAMIR official website). Prior to and during those horrific 100 days in 1994, the UN did not authorize UNAMIR to intervene and to use force quickly and/or effectively enough to halt the killing and other atrocities in Rwanda. While it "adjusted" UNAMIR's "mandate and strength . . . on a number of occasions in the face of the tragic events of the genocide and the changing situation in the country" (official website), given UN Security Council policy and various procedural constraints and other limitations imposed on UNAMIR, the United Nations failed to prevent the Genocide.

In the weeks prior to the attacks, the UN did not respond to reports of Hutu militias amassing weapons and rejected plans for a pre-emptive interdiction. Despite numerous pre- and present-conflict warnings by Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, the United Nations insisted on maintaining its rules of engagement and preventing its peacekeepers on the ground from engaging the militias or discharging their weapons, except in self-defense. Such failure to intervene in a timely and effective manner to halt the killing became the focus of bitter recriminations toward the United Nations, Western countries such as France and the United States, and individual policymakers, including Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and President Clinton, who described US inaction as "the biggest regret of my administration."[1]

And then there was this: Kosovo . Talk about contentious there are still people who say this had more to do with oil or Clinton's love life than it had to do with genocide.

Nor should we forget Saddam Hussein and his murder of hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Today we see what is happening in the Middle East and we forget that not so long ago, more people died in Waco, Texas in a government assault gone awry than died in Qana yesterday or Iraq today. Maybe Stalin was right. Maybe one death is a tragedy, but a million is just a statistic.

Giuliani, McCain or ?

Ryan Sager writes some very decent puffery stating that Giuliani appears to be favored over McCain and that a socially liberal Republican from the northeast would now be "acceptable" in the south and west. He bases his analysis on a recently released Gallup poll which apparently actually uses the term 'acceptable' in one of its questions. He also posits Giuliani as the "clear leader" on the basis of a 29/24 split in Giuliani's favor in a poll for which he does not state the MOE.

Should the race come down to a Giuliani/McCain choice (bearing in mind that neither received even one-third of the respondents support) then I believe that Giuliani might prevail - if he clearly identifies the type of individual whom he would appoint to the bench. McCain has proven to be entirely undependable with regard to judicial appointments and will receive, at most, lukewarm support from those who give primacy to that aspect of a nominee's curriculum vitae and Giuliani shares with McCain (and with Gingrich) lapses in personal conduct which will not redound to an advantage for any one of them.

Mr. Sager also neglects to emphasize that Giuliani has very few ties at the national level within the party. He is not noted as a team player (nor is McCain). If Miz Clinton is the opposing candidate then either man would win but it would not be on the basis of popularity and trust but upon the choice of a lesser evil.

It is still a bit early to try and follow this very closely but I do expect that McCain will receive a considerable amount of negative press coverage, beginning in November from the same MSM who lovingly patted the head of their favorite 'maverick' in a soon to be forgotten past.

Here's a guy who knows how to expedite a pro se appeal in the federal court.

I can't wait to see the enumerations of error and the Appellant's Brief.

I am sure the Court's law clerks are waiting with exquisite anticipation.

Stay tuned for this one.

No, Definitely Not a Client. Just Friends.

France says Iran is respected, stabilizing force in Middle East
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday, during a visit to Lebanon.

The article may be describing simple French perfidy - France pats the mullahs on the head in preparation for planting a knife in their backs. That would be a very natural and common action on the art of the French and no cause for concern. Except for the fact that France is blowing smoke about 'leading' the effort to keep southern Lebanon Hezziefree. The Foreign Minister's statement makes French commitment to that effort somewhat suspect.

I'd place the odds at 50/50 that France will run a "Have You Hugged Your Hezzie, Today?" campaign rather than a campaign to run them out of southern Lebanon. France only 'steps up to the plate' when it sees an opportunity to steal it and sell it for a profit.

No Bolton Filibuster

New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer says there will be no filibuster against UN Ambassador John Bolton.

The Difference, Part 5

In case you missed it, Vladimir Putin signed into law on Friday last a bill "broadening the definition of extremism to include media criticism of state officials....

The new legislation will allow imprisonment of up to three years for journalists, and the suspension or closure of their publication if convicted..."

Yep, media criticism of public officials puts you in the pokey for three years in Russia now.

But don't think gagging reporters and ripping free speech to shreds are all he's been up to. Nope, the former KGB honcho [what is le mot juste here, "fuehrer"?—sounds too loaded, "leader"?—sounds too New-York-Timesish, "head"?—misses the point entirely, "czar"?—too close to the truth] has been a busy beaver. He recently signed a law to guarantee the monopoly of Gazprom, one his largest backers, to all natural gas in Russia (and hence to much of Europe), one banning Duma members from changing parties (can't have free association either), and an agreement with Venezuela to sell them advanced military planes in defiance of a US ban. But wait, there's more.

In case the message wasn't completely clear, two German journalists were jailed in advance of the G8 summit, even before the current journalism bill was signed.

The Difference is an ongoing series seeking to determine whether there is any point in the further continuance of Western Democracy, or whether we're just as bad as our enemies.

Arab-American Speaks Truth to Power

She says it better than any of us have managed.

Social Work

From LGF an example of Hezbellah's social work in Lebanon:

I lived until 2002 in a small southern village near Mardshajund that is inhabited by a majority of Shias like me. After Israel left Lebanon, it did not take long for Hezbollah to have its say in other towns. Received as successful resistance fighters and armed to the teeth, they stored rockets in bunkers in our town as well. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and a residence over these bunkers! A local sheikh explained to me laughing that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or if they attacked the rockets depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population, they use them as shields, and, once dead, as propaganda. As long as they continue existing there, there will be no tranquility and peace.

Dr. Mounir Herzallah

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Unsealed Room: The Proverbial Rock and Hard Place

An Unsealed Room: The Proverbial Rock and Hard Place: "If we keep a stiff upper lip, our chins high, our morale and determination intact and fight the good fight like tough soldiers, then we're painted as cold, heartless murderous creatures in the eyes of Europe and the U.S., and of course, the Arab world.

But if we bleed and cry and yell and complain about the awful endless barrage of rockets on Northern Israel, point out that we are suffering and dying too, and pointing out our victimhood at every opportunity, then Nasrallah gets to dance around and be the hero and savior of the Arab cause, pointing gleefully about how he's bringing Israel to its knees, and gets himself even more funding and support from Iran than he's getting, if that's possible.

So, yeah, we've got to do what we've got to do. And it may be true -- the world will hate us no matter what.

It's so hard to fathom that nobody gets that the only reason our numbers of dead and wounded aren't 'proportional' is because we have better protection and infrastructure and their missiles aren't fancy and accurate enough? That if they had the ability to kill us in greater numbers, they'd be doing it in a New York minute? These are people whose STATED GOAL is to eliminate the state of Israel. Compare that to our stated goal of getting rid of the weapons pointed at us."

The Proper Response

Obadiah Shofer provides a very clear reply to questions raised concerning Kfar Kana. I would strongly suggest scrolling back through his previous postings to gain insight into what at least one person in the Israeli military sees as primary problems.

Hezbullah Trophy Shots

Take a good look at how propaganda is generated. BTW where are the parents? All killed? Or have the Hezzies been collecting kids bodies for a few days to haul to a building hit by the Israelis? Is the dust on the first kid Hezzie makeup on a body gone a little too far to be convincing as having died recently?

Social Scientists show criticism of Israel correlated with antisemitism

I am often amused by social scientists finding impressively abstract metaphysical formulae to discover the obvious, though perhaps this habit is understandable since social science finds its justification in questioning what common sense takes for granted. In any case, I also sometimes find myself wanting to mimic the sincerity of the good scientific professors. For example, I have been wondering whether or not this study is merely stating the obvious, and wish to survey your opinions. It claims to have proven that anti-Israel opinion is strongly correlated with antisemitism. (They spell it "anti-Semitism" - my problem with social science is that it must always make questionable assumptions about its necessarily transcendent objects of study: to take the present example, is there really a capital-S Semitic people or must we understand "anti-Semitism" in more basic anthropological terms in which other groups could be substituted for the Jews or Judeophobia, like say the Americans or anti-Americanism?)

Now, while I understand that one of the heated issues of the day is whether criticism of Israel need be considered a sign of antisemitism (the present study not surprisingly discovers that modest, thoughtful criticism of the Israeli state need not be, but intense criticism invariably is) I have for some time taken it as a given that most critics of Israel are inherently antisemitic.

Yet, as I say, I sometimes want to question my assumptions and mimic the methods of the good professors. More to the point, I wonder whether people will think this kind of study will help change people's minds as they debate the question of whether anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

So my question for readers is this: do you feel there is a need for social scientific study to prove the following (from a summary of the present study):
What is the likelihood that the op-ed writer, or cartoonist, or university professor who rants about the evils of Zionism is really an old-fashioned Jew-hater? Much better than most of us thought, according to a study in the August 2006 issue of The Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Goebbels was right. Repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it. This seems to be true even in regard to Jews believing lies about themselves. For decades, so many of us heard pious protestations that strongly held views about Israel had nothing to do with attitudes towards us, that we started to believe it might be true. We didn’t want to believe that classic anti-Semitism was alive and well. It is Israel and the accursed Zionists they were after, not the Jewish people. The Soviets thundered this from the podium at the UN; leftist intelligentsia fed it to their students in the classroom and their readers in the Guardian and listeners to the BBC. Neturei Karta was stupid and/or treacherous enough to fully embrace it.

It isn’t true. Those who hate Israel, hate Jews, according to Yale researchers Edward Kaplan and Charles Small.
Even after controlling for numerous potentially confounding factors, we find that anti-Israel sentiment consistently predicts the probability that an individual is anti-Semitic, with the likelihood of measured anti-Semitism increasing with the extent of anti-Israel sentiment observed.
Kaplan and Small compared respondents in ten European countries (500 in each) on two series of statements, one that measured distaste for Israel and her policies, the other about the nature and behavior of Jews. They controlled for other factors, such as hostility to all members of “outside” groups. They did find less anti-Semitism in women, and people with better education (with the apparent exception of college profs and French and British politicians). They also showed that hostility to Jews correlated well with negative feelings about immigrants.

Can one be a critic of Israel and indeed not harbor anti-Jewish feelings? Categorically yes – if the criticism of Israel is not particularly pronounced.
But will this study help change peoples' minds in the argument of whether anti-Israeli opinion is usually antisemitism?

(Hat Tip: Hodja at Infidel Bloggers Alliance.

Slow Motion Explosions

IDF: Qana building fell hours after strike - News from Israel, Ynetnews: "An IDF investigation has found that the building in Qana struck by the Air Force fell around eight hours after being hit by the IDF.

'The attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear,' Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters told journalists at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, following the incidents at Qana."

Update: I've made a lot of (completely justified) fun at the expense of the Powerline guys, but I think John's got it just right with this point:

What seems odd about this is that the banner was unfurled within hours after the Qana attack took place. The building where the civilians died was bombed on Sunday morning, and the demonstration took place during daylight hours, later the same day. I have no idea what kind of facility it takes to produce a 30-foot-high banner like this one. It is obviously professionally done. It would be interesting to know where this banner was produced; who designed and paid for it; and how its production was expedited so that it was ready for use, on the street, within hours after the event being protested. For example, was the image of Rice produced in advance, awaiting a pretext for its use, with only the script added at the last minute? I've often been curious about the logistics of pro-terrorist demonstrations, and this seems like an especially curious example.

Modern Warfare

Varifrank: Hezbollah Gameplan
  1. Launch missiles into Israel. Kill civilians. World press remains silent.

  2. Israel detects missile launch, performs reconnisance.

  3. Israel drops leaflets telling civilians to leave the area of missile launch.

  4. Hezbollah fills building where launch took place with women and children.

  5. Israel attacks site of missile launch.

  6. Women and children killed.

  7. World press condems shocking attack by Israel.

Now, remind me. Who started the war?

AdelaideNow... These are the pictures
that damn Hezbollah

AdelaideNow... These are the pictures that damn Hezbollah: "Graphic images smuggled out from Lebanon show how Hezbollah is waging war amid suburban homes.

A stream of images, obtained exclusively by the News Ltd, depicts how the extremists are using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy calibre weapons.

Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly melt back into suburbia, the fighters carrying automatic assault rifles ride in on trucks laden with cannons.

The photographs from the Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut were snapped by a visiting journalist caught in the midst of the war, then smuggled out by a friend. "

Find the Stiletto

From a comment by Wretchard at Belmont Club
The French ceasefire proposal, according to the Jerusalem Post has the following stipulations:

The proposal stresses the need "to create the conditions for a permanent cease-fire and a lasting solution to the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon." It emphasizes the need to end the escalating violence, but also "to address urgently the root causes that have given rise to the current crisis.

The conditions for a permanent cease-fire include a buffer zone stretching from the Blue Line - the UN-demarcated boundary that Israel withdrew behind in 2000 - to the Litani River, which was the northern border of Israel's occupation of Lebanon in 1982.

The buffer zone would be "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese armed and security forces and of UN-mandated international forces," the draft says.

These are the preconditions for the deployment of a French-led international force. If the French are unwilling to sweep the Hezbollah out, the only conclusion is that France will await a battlefield result which creates those conditions. In other words, it's a "green light" tricked out as a stoplight. It is effectively a Security Council mandate to sweep out Hezbollah to the Litani River.
Nasrallah can have a ceasefire at this price. It's also a way of saying 'we want peace' but in practice say 'you are authorized to wage war to this limit'.

But consider, if Hezbollah gives up its Southen Lebanon stronghold it becomes vastly weakened with respect to its internal rivals. It loses face with its former constituents. It's a defeat of monumental proportions for Hezbollah. Narallah can of course try to spin it, but that ball will hardly rotate.

Now Nasrallah's own megalomanic rhetoric will work against him. He has raised expectations in the Arab street so that to withdraw voluntarily or be driven ignominiously north of the Litani will be a humiliation. Somebody give him a bottle of whiskey and cocked automatic. Either that or he should resolve to reject the ceasefire and fight on.
If I were to write a poem concerning France I believe that I would begin it with:

"How do I mistrust thee?
Let me count the ways. ..."

I consider Iran to be a client of France and I believe that French business interests have been and still are very concerned with maintaining that relationship. There can be no peace in the ME until regime change is effected in Iran and France would not be happy with any change....

Unless... do you suppose that a deal has been cut that guarantees French primacy in dealing with the Iranian government which will follow the current regime? If so, what has Russia been promised?

And why do I feel as if it's 1885 and 'The Great Game' is being played at fever pitch.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

4Pundits » Parliament of whores . . . for real

4Pundits » Parliament of whores . . . for real: "What is most interesting is that Melody Damayo and Mary Carey, the two primary subjects of the piece, are both Republicans. “I want everyone to know that I'm here to bring back the roots of the Republican Party—freedom,' said Nevada gubernatorial candidate Damayo at a recent fundraiser, 'freedom of speech, freedom to party, free enterprise. Now it’s time to limbo.” "

My one thought is that I'm not sure I'd want to make the step down from porn star to politician.

Juan has had Enough

Betsy has an interesting report on Juan Williams new book, Enough.

Williams has taken on a different type of battle with his new book that will come out on Tuesday. The title tells you of Williams' new struggle for black America: Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It. From what Williams told us about his goals in writing this book, he's taken on a huge task. He was inspired by the speech that Bill Cosby gave on the anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision. You can listen to excerpts from that speech here and read the transcript. The introduction gives you an idea of what is so horrifying Cosby and Williams.

Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing."

Ladies and gentlemen, these people set -- they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.

I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?

Williams has picked up the baton in his new book and, boy, has he decided to open the floodgates by blaming black leaders today and black families themselves for the terrible statistics on the black drop out rate, the gaps between black and white students on tests, as well as the incarceration rate for young black men. He contrasts the brave fighters for black civil rights from Frederick Douglass to Booker T. Washington to Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King who had a message of self-reliance and were fighting to give blacks an equal place at the starting gates. But now, Williams argues that a culture that derides hard work in school as "acting white" typifies the skewed mindset that is creating those depressing statistics.

Imagine how a man like Marshall would react to some mouthy rapper. It is good to see people like Williams and Cosby take this on...someone needs to.

Saturday Mini-Review: Take the Lead

To Sir With Love (IMDB Rating: 7.5) meets Strictly Ballroom (IMDB: 7.1), with Antonio Banderas as Sydney Poitier, and the hilarity ensues. Or think of it as Stand and Deliver (IMDB: 7.2) moved to New York and set to hokey music. Doesn't work either way. Consider it to be proof positive that 7 plus 7 sometimes equals 3. The best that can be said is that this version of the Sydney character is so wooden that there's little scope for Banderas's usual arrogance. But watch any of the other three movies if you've never seen them, they're all truly great.

Grand Jury Investigating NSA Leaks

A federal grand jury has begun investigating the leak of classified information about intelligence programs to the press and has subpoenaed a former National Security Agency employee.

The former employee, Russell D. Tice, 44, of Linthicum, Md., said two F.B.I. agents approached on Wednesday and handed him the subpoena, which requires him to testify next Wednesday before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

Jefferson May Review Seized Papers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled yesterday that prosecutors may not examine documents seized from Rep. William J. Jefferson's Capitol Hill office until the congressman has a chance to review them for privileged legislative materials.

A three-judge panel consisting of judges David B. Sentelle, Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas B. Griffith ordered the Justice Department to copy the seized materials and show them to Jefferson. The Louisiana Democrat will have two days to go through them and submit any challenges.

Friday, July 28, 2006

One Dead, At Least 5 Shot At Seattle Jewish Center

Amy Wasser-Simpson, vice president for planning and community services at the Jewish Federation told The Seattle Times the man then got through security at the building and told staff members: "I'm Muslim-American. I'm angry at Israel," then began shooting.
"Police say they believe the gunman was acting alone and not part of any larger organization."

Now why do I believe that the police spokesman's mouth is way ahead of the investigation?

Article via Gateway Pundit which has a good roundup.

Might this pro-Israel rally have been just too much for Seattle's erstwhile jihadi? Just look at all those women and children - the brave jihadi's target of choice. How could he resist?

Let's see how this gets covered in the press

BREITBART.COM - Hezbollah Rocket Hits Israeli Hospital: "Israeli warplanes and artillery attacks Friday hit Hezbollah positions and crushed houses and roads in southern Lebanon, killing up to 12 people. Hezbollah said it fired a new kind of rocket, which landed deeper inside Israel than hundreds of other strikes in 17 days of fighting. One of those rockets hit a hospital in border town of Nahariya. There was no word of casualties."


Dr. Krauthammer is seeing patients today.
Israeli innocents must die in order for Israel to be terrorized. But Lebanese innocents must also die in order for Israel to be demonized, which is why Hezbollah hides its fighters, its rockets, its launchers, its entire infrastructure among civilians. Creating human shields is a war crime. It is also a Hezbollah specialty.
Using ambulances as troop transports is a war crime.

Using hospitals as military command and control centers is a war crime.

Using mosques as arms depots is a war crime.

Killing war criminals and their supporters is a favor to humanity.


Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom has stopped posting (pretty much) in order to pursue a legal solution to a problem with a commenter who appears to be mentally unstable and a potential threat. Legal solutions take time and money and I would encourage those who enjoy Jeff's work to visit his site and hit the tip jar.

There is an issue in this instance and in the situation in which Seixon finds himself that requires some thought. (Seixon is receiving threats because of factual comments which he left on some lefty sites.) The issue has to do with regulating access (or in Seixon's example accessing) private property. Blogs aren't the town square and no one has a First Amendment right to utter whatever they please without consequence. The property owner has the right (if not, sometimes, the means) to control access. Apparently, some bloggers feel that limiting access to their comment sections is an act of intolerance. No one deny them to do as they please with their own property but the corollary to their tolerance is a minimal responsibility for what may occur as a result of that tolerance.

It's not really much different than what has occured as a result of the West's tolerance in dealing with islamist savages, is it?

Or is that too intolerant?

UPDATE:Patterico has a good explanatory post up - if you're not au courant with the situation.

SECOND UPDATE: Jeff's back up. No word on how he has 'taken care' of the matter. If it's a restraining order he needs to assess the value of the paper upon which it is printed.


neo-neocon: "The punishment for taking on Hitler was war. The punishment for not taking on Hitler was war. World War."

Pander and Run

Pander and Run: "How, exactly, publicly humiliating Maliki and making him look like an American and Israeli stooge would enhance his 'leadership' was never explained in the missive. But of course Reid's letter wasn't really about strengthening the Iraqi government at all; that's George W. Bush's problem. It was about appearing more pro-Israel than the White House and thus pandering to Jewish voters."


UN ambulance (can you say "war crime" and "violation of the Geneva Conventions"? I knew you could) transporting Palestinian fighters.

YouTube video, who knows where it really came from, but it would be quite a production to fake it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Too damn serious.

Take the quiz:
Which Egyptian God or Goddess do you represent? (Pictures!)

Thoth, God of Wisdom and Learning
Thoth was said to be self-created, along with his wife Ma'at. He was said to be represented by a baboon, these grave facial features displaying extreme thoughtfulness. He supposedly carried a pen and scrolls with him, with which he records all things.

You are a very intelligent individual. You know what is important in life, and that you have to be smart to live in this world. Perhaps you get a bit too caught up in books, to the point where you are oblivious to other things, but for the most part, you are wise and thoughtful. People can depend on you for advice and you can always give those crucial words of wisdom when they are most needed.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

UNIFIL - Pride of the UN

An excellent article detailing the proficiency of the crack UN forces keeping close watch in Lebanon.
The current contingent from Ghana has been in Lebanon for three months. The soldiers at the post are charged with patrolling and monitoring, with their single jeep, the area where the heaviest fighting has been going on for the last 10 days. The fact that Hizbullah has been well entrenched in the area ever since Israel's withdrawal six years ago - with hundreds of fighters, well stocked ammunition depots and extensive fortifications - seemed to have escape the Ghanaians notice. "I have never seen one of them," says the soldier. "You cannot easily identify them in the population."
Ghana - say, doesn't Chief Thief Kofi hail from Ghana? What do you thinks his cut on this deal might be?

Would You Free Him?

From today's

When Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers two weeks ago, provoking the current conflagration, the Shiite terrorist outfit apparently intended to use them as bargaining chips to demand the release of prisoners. Press reports often discuss this as if there were an equivalence between the Israeli soldiers, who committed no crimes but were simply defending their own country within its borders, and Arab terrorists. So it's worth pointing out just who the "prisoners" in Israeli hands are.

According to the BBC "the prisoner Hezbollah wants most" is Samir Qantar. On April 22, 1979, Qantar murdered 28-year-old Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter and caused the death of another Haran daughter, age 2. Haran's widow, Smadar Haran Kaiser, describes the crime (she transliterates the murderer's name as "Kuntar"):

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border.

Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer.

As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her."

The BBC gives a rather more sanitized account of the crime: "Qantar . . . attacked a block of flats in Nahariha in 1979, killing a father and his daughter."

Hey Howard

I wonder what Howard Dean has got to say about this ? Is Kofi an anti semite too?

The Race

Fjordman provides a bleak yet trenchant observation concerning the probability of Muslim ascendancy in Europe:
The less control the authorities have with Muslims, the more control they want to exercise over non-Muslims. As problems in Europe get worse, which they will, the EU will move in an increasingly repressive direction until it either becomes a true, totalitarian entity or falls apart. This strange mix of powerful censorship of public debate, yet little control over public law and order, has by some been labelled anarcho-tyranny.
Do the socialist ninnies currently in power in a number of European countries truly believe that their multicultural transnationalism will save them from the sword?

Fjordman is certainly on the mark with his observation concerning the First and Second Amendments. Being able to seperate the Islamic savages from the tepid moderates and to explain clearly that their murderous acts are entirely consonant with a religion developed for tyrants and slaves allows one to maintain clarity when considering the appropriate level of distrust required to deal with them. Cobras are far more trustworthy.

See Florence King Demolish Ann Coulter

NR / Digital Article: "Wondering what life in America would be like if Coulter used a stiletto instead of a sledgehammer is a tempting but futile excursion into dreamland. Suppose, for example, she was confronted, like Jennie Churchill, with a pompous young man who boasted that his financйe’s virtue was “priced above rubies.” Without missing a beat, Jennie said, “Try diamonds.” But if the young man said the same thing to Coulter?

“The godless liberals are trying to link Pat Robertson to Charles Taylor’s diamond-smuggling cartel in Liberia while they cry crocodile tears over the poor starving Africans they’re helping to starve by conniving with radical ANC goons trained by Winnie Mandela who controls every mine in South Africa, all because they hate Robertson’s Christian beliefs so much they’ll be cheering and dancing in the streets if Taylor and the God-hating Marxists succeed in smearing him!” "

Disorder and the Miracle of Existence

Today's Technology Review has this article.

Q&A: Seth Lloyd
TR talks with one of the pioneers of quantum computing and author of Programming the Universe.


TR: And why does the universe tend to complexity?

SL: This notion of the universe as a giant quantum computer gets you something new and important that you don't get from the ordinary laws of physics. If you look back 13.8 billion years to the beginning of the universe, the Initial State was extremely simple, only requiring a few bits to describe. But I see on your table an intricate, very beautiful orchid -- where the heck did all that complex information come from? The laws of physics are silent on this issue. They have no explanation. They do not encode some yearning for complexity.

I have always wondered about this ever since I learned the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a teenager. If you do not experience wonder and awe at this miracle, you are missing out.

More Good News from the U.N.

U.N. Employee Is Charged With Drug Smuggling.

The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival

The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival: "Considering the fact that UNIFIL peacekeeping mission was a dead-letter it should naturally be asked why Kofi Annan, as their ultimate commander has seen fit to keep them in a position of danger where their only chance of safety actually depends on accurate targeting by the IDF. Their positions are manifestly so close to the Hezbollah; their convoys so at risk at being confused with mobile Hezbollah forces that only by the grace of God and the accuracy of the IDF have fatalities been avoided until now. They were willing to take the risk. Annan was willing to make the hay. You be the judge of Kofi Annan's competence both in the care of his men and with respect to the accusation he has made against the IDF."

[Update&bump: The fact that Hizb'allah has been staying real close to the UNIFIL forces in general came up in the comments. Rick Ballard provided the image I've now added to show just how close Hizb'allah is to UNIFIL.]

[Further update: from Anti-Mullah: "United Nations & Hezbollah flags flying side by side at the Lebanese Observation post where four UN "observers" from Ghana were reportedly killed by someone." Emphasis is mine, and I don't know how much stock to put in it (a site named "Anti-Mullah" would seem to have a certain viewpoint from the start.) If confirmed, it would seem very informative.]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The War on War

I'm back--at least temporarily--and I've been trying to catch up on what's been going down in the blog world the past week. While my PC was silent in the corner, I watched way too much Foxnews, CNN, and MSNBC coverage of and commentary on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict without the ameliorating effect of sharing opinion and arguing points with other human beings.

My frustration grew with each snide remark and glare of Paula Zahn, with Kofi's game, with CNN International's anti-Israeli bias, with the near insane and absurd rantings of Chris Matthews, the complaints and whines of those who expect America to stop.the.violence.NOW, the shouts of proportionality and civilian casualties. But you absolutely MUST engage Syria! Remember Kissinger!

I was ready to burst so I started watching movies instead. Have you ever seen 'Robots'? A leftish plot concerning corporations and their favorite word, greed, but fun to watch anyway. I did a render of robots dancing before I ever heard of that movie, but what can you do? I also saw 'JAWS' again! Perhaps that was my 123rd viewing but what the heck. Or 'Ferngully: The Last Rainforest': a greeny/lefty absurdity with stunningly beautiful artwork. I'd watch it again.

Then I heard someone complain that Americans are not engaged. They'd rather go shopping or watch their favorite TV shows and I almost threw my shoe through the screen.

It seems almost absurd that the war is on tv yet it feels like a natural evolution of our technology at the same time. And being televised has consequences. The first televised war was Vietnam and the consequences of that, I believe, were the boat people. There is deeper and wider coverage now than there was then but I think we're also more sophisticated and more used to images of war and perhaps somewhat better at putting it all into perspective. But that doesn't lessen the emotional impact of what we see on the screen.

We all want the violence to end.

And thus I believe it takes more courage to advocate staying the course than to demand a ceasefire. There is a war on war and we have to be very strong to fight the war against the reaction to war. And for that we must be vigilant and watch what we'd rather not see because I think viewers now have influence more than any other time in history. Both directly and via the internet.

Nick Robertson on CNN had a report from southern Beirut, the Hezbollah controlled area, and I think some viewers may have complained because he later did a report from there demonstrating how Hezbollah was propagandizing by choreographing the movement and sirens of ambulances for the camera. Ambulances which were there only for show, not to pick up injured civilians. CNN pulled the camera back so you could see for yourself.

Or Sanjay Gupta's reporting from the hospital in Lebanon. Several segments. Then he was off to Haifa to report from the hospital there. Was it CNN's idea to send him to Haifa? Or did viewers suggest he go?

But the next time a reporter interviews a Lebanese Hezbollah supporter, perhaps a woman with little kids, who says Hezbollah provides all their needs, all the social services they require for their day-to-day living. Mosques, schools, shelter, food. I'd like to hear a reporter say "but do they need rockets and missiles to do that?"

Or the next time a know-it-all like Zbigniew Brzezinski goes on a rant, instead of thanking him for his input, I'd like to see a host throw her head back and laugh.

(I'd love to see Sean Hannity use that tactic instead of wagging his fingers at a nutjob in an attempt to make him feel ashamed of himself.)

Okay, I've ranted on long enough, forgive me. I haven't written a word in almost a week. I will still watch tv as long as I can also engage on the internet. The wall-to-wall coverage of war will continue and we must deal with it. As Jim Pinkerton always reminds us, the best antidote for free speech is more free speech. If/when my computer dies again, I will go back to the movies for a break.

The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival 2

The Belmont Club: A Knife-Thrower at the Carnival 2: " the war cannot be won without cost. And the fundamental fraud foisted on the public is to claim we can have war without horror, conduct an intelligence war without dishonesty and cunning and obtain victory without sacrifice."

The Corner on National Review Online

The Corner on National Review Online: "Would Andrew Yates Get a 'Not Guilty' [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From those disturbed by the Yates ruling, the most frequently asked question: 'Does anyone doubt that a man would have been convicted?'"

Does anyone think a man could make a post-partum psychosis defense?

(K-Lo might be an interesting writer. When she grows up.)

Jefferson Investigation Hits a Speed Bump

The Justice Department bribery investigation of Democrat Louisiana congressman William Jefferson was temporarily delayed when two judges on a federal appellate court panel issued an injunction temporarily barring the examination of computer records and paper documents taken from the Congressman's office during a May raid by the FBI.

Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrote "The purpose of this administrative injunction is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for a stay pending appeal and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion." The identity of the third appellate judge is not known.

We previously reported on Clarice Feldman's article on the Joe Wilson connection here.

What the Hell

This is getting out of hand.

In the Media

In the Media: "Hezbollah deliberately provoked this war on July 12 by kidnapping Israeli soldiers inside Israel's borders, and has been launching rockets into Israel from a massive arsenal that under U.N. writ Hezbollah is not even supposed to possess. That was not the deal under which Israel, in keeping with U.N. wishes, withdrew entirely from southern Lebanon in 2000. The U.N. promise was that Hezbollah would be defanged and that U.N. peacekeepers would help the Lebanese government reestablish control over Hezbollah-infested terrain inside Lebanon.

Over the past six years, Israel honored its commitment to peace. The U.N. — disproportionately — required in practice no such compliance on the Lebanese side of the border. The “peacekeepers” of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, called UNIFIL, sat passively looking on, costing about $100 million a year and doing nothing to stop Hezbollah from trucking in weapons, digging tunnels, and running the armed protection rackets with which it has kept a grip on swathes of Lebanon, including the southern border with Israel, parts of the Bekaa, and southern Beirut. Before the current fighting, UNIFIL had most recently distinguished itself for a run-of-the-U.N.-mill financial swindle involving a contingent of Ukrainian peacekeeping troops. On that subject, whatever laws might have been violated, the U.N. has — as usual with U"

normblog: The rights and wrongs of Israel's military action

normblog: The rights and wrongs of Israel's military action: "Here's something else we should be clear about, however. While some of the condemnation voiced by critics of the Israeli campaign is in good faith, much of it is not. How can you tell? This is how.

(1) Do the critics of Israel condemn Hizbollah for themselves putting civilians at risk in the areas in which they operate, attempting 'to shield military objectives from attacks' by the way they locate these military objectives?

(2) Do these critics allow that some of the civilian casualties caused by Israel in Lebanon are inevitable, and fall within the laws of war, precisely because of this policy of Hizbollah, which bears responsibility for them? Do they charge Hizbollah with war crimes?

(3) Do these critics allow that some of the damage to infrastructure is permissible within the laws of war, where the piece of infrastructure in question is a legitimate military target?

(4) Do these critics condemn Hizbollah for targeting Israeli civilians?

(5) Are they anguished by the deaths of Israelis, as they are by the deaths of Lebanese?

If the answer to these questions is no, their criticism is not in good faith. It betokens a hostility to Israel and its people, a hostility preceding rather than following from Israel's actions. There's a lot of that about."

I don't agree with everything in this posting. Norm has a link to justify his assertion that Israel has committed war crimes, but the argument seems to me to be that Hiz'b allah is committing war crimes, and I don't buy that Dresden and Hiroshima were war crimes, although I think it is at least arguable. (And I may have a bias, as Hiroshima may well have saved my father's life before I was born.)

But these points are good, and should be on anyone's mind when they listen to Kofi Annan or Human Rights Watch.

Brave New Worlds

Brave New Worlds: "People who don’t follow politics closely need to see beyond the easy “progressive” bromides about supporting “tolerance” and being against “hate”.

Because the truth is, many so-called “progressives” are absolutely saturated with hate and will tolerate nothing that doesn’t hew to their idea of what the world should look like. And their impatience is beginning to show."

Okay, this is cool

Chicago Boyz

Chicago Boyz: "Living the life scientific means applying that philosophy to all areas of your life, and admitting when you do not have enough information to make a judgment, something a lot of scientists have a problem with. "

The Heartbreak of Pundititis

Syria Warns It Will Strike Israel Deeper - July 26, 2006 - The New York Sun: "Does she know that when she speaks in Beirut to Prime Minister Siniora, she is speaking directly to Assad in Damascus and the Partisans of the Mahdi in Tehran? Uncertain.

Does the State Department know that when it offers to grant Syria a role in a new Lebanon while dropping the Hairiri investigation that leads to Assad, while granting immunity to warlords Nasrallah of Hezbollah and Meshal of Hamas, and while ignoring the Persian war elephant (Iranian Revolutionary Guard generals) in command of the Syrian military, that the Syrians are convinced that they are winning with the Hezbollah provocation and that their paymasters in Iran are vindicated when they say America is panicked?

Does the State Department know that Syria and Iran aim to accelerate the provocations to guarantee that Damascus is bombed (and then Tehran is bombed) and that Iran gets what it wants: Israel beggared, Iraq inflamed, American in retreat? Uncertain."

Because Condi Rice doesn't have anything like the sources of information and intelligence that John Batchelor has in his office at ABC.


The Corner on National Review Online: "I Have a Useful Analysis of Kofi Annan's Remarks [John Podhoretz]:
He's an anti-Semite who sucks up to Arab dictators and presides over an organization choking on its own immoral filth."

Give the girl a hand!

Oh, wait, nevermind - somebody did that already (Who gave the stripper the severed hand?).

... out-of-state man... crudely severed human hand... exotic dancer... third-degree improper disposition of human remains... six human skulls...

... the hand, nicknamed "Freddy,"...

... commit suicide with a hammer...

... occupants of the residence are involved in the occult... "...officers have viewed things in that house that might be used in that sort of practice"

I need to get out more - I'm missing all the fun.

Democrats are acting like Parasites

I like Barone, he is clear and to the point. He notes here that the roles have changed in the Middle East. He also notes that Iraq is one of the governments of the region which did not support Hezbellah's incursion into Israel. Someone should tell that to all those Democrats who are refusing to even listen to alMaliki's address because he is not firmly behind Israel's bombing campaign in Lebanon. Talk about a lack of nuance. For one thing there are more people in the Iraqi government than alMaliki {he does not speak for all of them} and for another he has not been as nasty with Israel as Kofi Anan has and so far as I know Schumer and the gang are not refusing to do business with the UN. In fact they are still of the mind that the US should be working with and not against Turtle Bay. Things just get screwier and screwier as they try to find ways to spin world events to their political advantage.

It is also true that if Rahm Emanuel and his friends had their way Saddam would not only be in Baghdad running his little dictatorship, he would be sending money to Palestinians for the express purpose of attacking the Zionist Entity . In the words of Charles Krauthammer the present administration is an improvement.

But the Democrats, who never let a little thing like consistency get in the way of shooting off their mouths and making a bad situation worse..decided they would go after alMaliki. They may wonder if he is sufficiently antiterrorist all they want, but left to them the entire country of Iraq could be turned over to terrorists and other than saying we told you so they would not do a damn thing about it. In fact they seem eager to make that very thing happen.

The nice thing about having a blog is that I can come out and say loud and clear to the likes of Harry Reid, Look whose talking Mister. When it comes to being soft on terrorists and not standing with Israel the Democrats are in no position to preach to anyone. It was Clinton who talked the Israelis into making concessions...and so far it seems that land for peace was not working. So maybe the Democrats should revise their own failed policy before they start giving foreign policy lessons to everyone else.

At least alMaliki has to live with his failures, he has to face his people as they die in the streets...all Reid and his friends have to do is find ways to use the suffering of others for their own political advantage. Parasites.

New Art For the 2000s

Print on water.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Just go read it.

Mr. Smash goes to Washington

Self defense in an emergency.

At least Booby Jindal is showing some common sense.

A New Bookmark

The Truth Laid Bare has a very interesting mapping and news site going regarding Lebanon. It's well worth a visit.

Getting It Straight - July 25, 2006 - The New York Sun

Getting It Straight - July 25, 2006 - The New York Sun: "On July 17, 2006, Human Rights Watch issued a document entitled 'Questions and Answers on Hostilities Between Israel and Hezbollah' with the stated purpose of 'provid[ing] analytic guidance for those who are examining the fighting as well as for the parties to the conflict and those with the capacity to influence them.'

The piece purports to be a neutral guide setting out the legal rules governing the current hostilities in Lebanon. However, the authors' distorted views of the underlying facts, selective omission of crucial legal issues, and insistent characterization of Hezbollah and Israel as the primary legal actors — with the attendant implied denial of legal responsibility of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran to end their support for Hezbollah — all mislead readers and betray the bias of the piece. This is a consistent pattern followed by HRW in activities related to the Middle East."

China freezes out Pyongyang | The World | The Australian

China freezes out Pyongyang | The World | The Australian: "CHINA'S relationship with its former satellite North Korea is unravelling fast, underlined by reports yesterday that the People's Bank of China has frozen all North Korea's accounts.

South Korean parliamentarian Park Jin said he had learned on a visit to Washington that through its action the Chinese central bank had responded to persistent North Korean counterfeiting of its currency, the yuan."

Joe Wilson and William Jefferson?

Clarice Feldman @ American Thinker: "Many other figures, some of them quite prominent, are likely to turn up as players in the temporarily suspended probe. Independent citizen-investigators, posting at such websites as Just One Minute, Macsmind, and Free Republic, have been poring over publicly-available documents and reports, in search of clues as to the identities of those as yet unnamed in the Jefferson investigation.

Few people outside these internet circles realize that one of those names may be Joseph C. Wilson IV."

Jonah Goldberg Calls It

The Corner on National Review Online: "[H]ere's a short rule of thumb for how to tell who is a 'respectable' conservative in the eyes of liberals: any conservative out of power or not seen as supportive of those in power. An even shorter rule of thumb would be: conservatives are respectable if they are useful to liberals. Pat Buchanan became respectable, even adorable, among a loose coalition of liberals leftists, from MSNBC's Chris Matthews to Ralph Nader, when he turned on the GOP establishment. Kevin Phillips, David Gergen and John Dean have been 'real' Republicans — though rarely conservatives — for decades because they are willing to confirm the assumptions of liberals. An even more telling example would be the 'neocons.' Before the Iraq war, neocons were the nice conservatives, the good conservatives, the idealistic conservatives the un-racist conservatives, according to academics, The New York Times and others. This is not to say that they aren't nice, good, idealistic and un-racist. Rather, it's to point up the way in which conservatives become evil as they become influential, relevant, or otherwise inconvenient to liberals. John McCain was touted as a good choice for president by The New Republic and other liberal voices. Today, McCain is increasingly villified by many of these same voices because, it turns out, he's actually a Republican. "

What did he do with the real Richard Cohen?

RealClearPolitics - Articles - A Proportionate Response is Madness: "t's clear now that those boundaries -- a wall, a fence, a whatever -- are immaterial when it comes to missiles. Hezbollah, with the aid of Iran and Syria, has shown that it is no longer necessary to send a dazed suicide bomber over the border -- all that is needed is the requisite amount of thrust and a warhead. That being the case, it's either stupid or mean for anyone to call for proportionality. The only way to ensure that babies don't die in their cribs and old people in the streets is to make the Lebanese or the Palestinians understand that if they, no matter how reluctantly, host those rockets, they will pay a very, very steep price."


Rantingprofs: "We then actually wish to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. It's far more precise, as the combatants on that side are all civilians, but they're still legitimate military targets, even if they're women, even if they're teenagers.

Pick up a gun and aim it, you make yourself a combatant no matter your gender and no matter what clothes you wear. Let Hezbollah put a missile battery in your home, your home is no longer a domicile, and a protected site, it becomes a legitimate military target. If an apartment building is actually used as a barracks for combatants, even if it's in a neighborhood with non-combatants in it, it's a legitimate target if the attacking force has reasonable hope of being able to target it without non-combatant casualties out of proportion to the military advantage that comes with destroying the target. (Which is why all these people taking the Hezbollah guided tour aren't really learning anything useful -- except to Hezbollah propagandists.)"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cheering on the Enemy

We're at war, and CNN admits to being on the other side.

You Broke My Heart, Fuad.

Does Saniora like to fish?

Dayfdd at Big Lizard awards the first Rummy.
"Thank you, Condoleezza Rice, for not being Colin Powell."


I was listening to Brit Hume's panel discussion this evening and it struck me that Fred Barnes sounded a bit wobbly on Iraq. First of all he questioned alMaliki's decision to leave Iraq right now and then he said [more or less] that he was getting nervous about the future of Iraq because of the civilian casualties.

Fred Barnes has been stalwart and so his concern, concerned me. And then I checked out Hugh Hewitt and he had an interesting post on the people he referred to as the 180's. The people Bush had lost on the war. He seemed to think they were lost mostly because they felt "disdained". His comment section was unremarkable.

I think people are just tired of the violence they see on TV everyday and they want it to end. Ofcourse the enemy knows this and so they keep it up hoping they will drive us away and scare the Iraqis into submission. Sometimes I wonder if we could have won WW2 if the TV and internet had been around, or if we would have turned away in disgust and despair. Imagine the impact of the fall of the Phillipines on TV. Imagine the impact of the Death march on morale.

Can Bush bring these folks back? I don't know, but I do know that if they continue to show fear the enemy will not give up.

Rudy Ain't good enough for 'em

The Anchoress has a few choice words for the folks who are judging Rudy as less than pure:

Over at NRO: John J. Miller writes:

If you like the cover of the current NR, then you’ll love this short video of Rudy Giuliani. Something tells me it won’t play in Peoria. (Hat tip: Save the GOP.)

Give me a break. If the GOP thinks it is doing itself a favor by flipping out over a fun video concocted as part of an “inner circle” romp (the equivalent of the Washington Press Club gag in which pols and journos blow off some steam and have some fun), then it is sadly mistaken. All it is going to do is give evidence that the GOP is as “humorless, homophobic, etc” as we are always being told.

I guess the fact that Rudy poses a threat to the “favorite sons” of the far-right, Romney (unelectable) and Allen (unelectable), we’ll now have to watch Rudy’s own side try to sabotage him, just like the Dems are trying to toss Joe Lieberman under the bus.

It’s shameful, but it is becoming less and less surprising. Recall, these are the same folks who, a few months ago, were almost calling for the impeachment of President Bush, because he was only giving them 75% of what they were demanding.

Reagan had problems with these folks, too, recall. They are the folks who always let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I’m pro-life, pro gun-ownership and I would vote for Rudy in a New York minute. I trust him to do the right thing. He turned NYC from a hellhole into a haven. He told Yassar Arafat to get out of town while the rest of the political elite, and the Clinton WH were kissing the old monster’s rear-end, and he told a Saudi Prince to keep his post-9/11 ten million dollars if it meant dissing Israel in any way shape or form. He will get the issues of national security and war RIGHT, and let’s face it, if those issues are not handled the right way, then all the social issues become moot points.

He needs to pick a better shade of lipstick, though. :-)

I happen to agree with her.

Syria Offers Information on Beirut Al Qaida Cells

In the Bullpen » Syria Offers Information on Beruit Al Qaida Cells: "With this statement, Syria confirms they know where Al Qaida cells are inside Beruit and admits they were forming when Syrian soldiers were inside Lebanon, but they did nothing about it. While Syria seems to want to come clean and shed some of the international community’s thoughts upon the nation, their reconciliation speaks volumes as to the nation’s, not support necessarily, but lackadaisical attitude towards both radical Islam and international terrorist groups.

Syria is very much acting like a puppet being paraded around by Iran, though if we have learned anything over the course of three decades it is that Iran is more than confortable using Arabs as pawns in their games to attack Israel and increase the nation’s influence in the region. There’s a part of me that wishes we could somehow wrestle the subservient Syria away from their Iranian lords, but emotion aside, logic dictates that would not only be a tall order but damn near impossible especially when Syria’s concession is locating Al Qaida terrorist cells that the nation has admittedly known about for at least one year."

John Fund looks for middle ground on Immigration

In his recent oped Borderline Insanity John Fund makes some good points.

In trying to reconcile two dramatically different bills addressing illegal immigration, Congress is in danger of forgetting an important lesson of life on the southern U.S. border: whatever legislators do has to recognize the reality on the ground. In part, that means understanding that the millions of crossings every year by illegal aliens will be curbed only if the problem can be made manageable. Right now, with Border Patrol agents trying to apprehend potential busboys and gardeners along with terrorists and gang members, the problem is too big for any law enforcement agency in a democratic society to tackle.

Those who believe an enforcement-only approach to the flow of illegal aliens--the basic approach of the House-passed bill--is sufficient should recall that in 1969 President Richard Nixon visited the Mexican border to declare a "zero tolerance" policy on drug smuggling. Operation Intercept deployed thousands of additional Border Patrol, Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service agents along the 2,000-mile border and subjected every passenger and cargo vehicle to a thorough search, creating a nightmare for millions of legal commuters and truck drivers. The unworkable program was soon moderated, but the resources were shifted to Nixon's vaunted "War on Drugs." For the past 37 years, billions have been spent to halt the flow of drug trafficking. Anyone who thinks the program has been successful in stopping the flow is likely under the influence of one of the substances Nixon was trying to stop.

The truth is that there is so much money to be made in smuggling both drugs and people across our southern border that even the tripling of the size and budget of the Border Patrol in the past decade has done little to stem the flow. Even without any new legislation this year, the Border Patrol is set to grow by more than half over the next six years.

Years ago I had a discussion with a relative who worked for the DEA in Central America and Mexico. I asked him what he thought needed to be done to stop the flow of drugs. I expected him to say more men and guns, but he surprised me and said more education here in the United States. He said we can control what happens here in this country a lot easier than we can control the Latin drug trade.

Fund discusses a compromise being worked on by Pence of Indiana. I have heard that some hardliners don't like it...but I have to say if Mike Pence, Republican from Indiana is not far enough to the Right for you..then you are the one who is out of the mainstream.

AP: Hezbullah didn't get what they wanted from Rice

"[A]n official close to Lebanon's parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who is close to Hezbollah, said he did not reach an accord with Rice because she wanted one comprehensive package to halt the fighting and diminish Hezbollah's strength, rather than an immediate cease-fire.

David Welch, an assistant secretary of state traveling with Rice, said later that it was 'unfair' to say Rice's meeting with Berri went poorly."

Here. Specifically, Rice wouldn't come across with an immediate cease-fire without handling the other problems.

The conservative eeyore caucus (eg, Allah) is all about how Bush and Rice are gonna screw the Israelis, but I don't see it.

Prediction: there won't be a cease fire until Hezbullah is a crumpled wad in a wastebasket and there's a Chapter Seven force in Lebanon.

TCS Daily - Maybe Now We'll Get It

TCS Daily - Maybe Now We'll Get It: "Maybe, when this Lebanon thing is over, we'll finally get it:

Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians.

Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: 'Civilians' are a weapon to them -- as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.

Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are always families, women and children, in and around the place. 'Secret' installations are usually hidden in plain site -- in houses or apartment buildings."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

There are Many ways to Help

If an army runs on its stomach, then you can help even from far away. Click the link to send pizza and soda.

Told You

The American Thinker: "Senator Chris Dodd, has announced that his party will put up a “bruising fight” to prevent the confirmation of John Bolton to remain as U.S. Ambassador to the UN".

Watch this space

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Astronomers glimpse exploded star: "At the moment, sitting just below the critical mass, the novae on RS Oph blow themselves out, achieving brief episodes of brilliance. But soon, RS Oph could pass the tipping point - the nuclear flame will detonate from deep inside the star and blow it apart. How soon is not clear.

'It could be tomorrow, but most likely it'll be 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 years from now,' says Jeno Sokoloski.

Whenever it happens, it will be, she says, a spectacular event, outshining the planets, so that its final glory will be visible against the day time sky."

Free Iraqi

Free Iraqi: "Call me what you want but I say let it rage and rage until it burns all dictators and terrorists in the region. Just like I wished for war in my country I wish it for the Lebanese, Syrians and Iranians. God be with them and get the good souls out of it safe. This war is just another battle in the war on terror and we won't see peace in Iraq, we won't see democracy anywhere in the ME until this war is fought the right way, with full determination. With each battle fought it'll get easier and easier to win this war even if each battle looked like it's very hard to win on its own. There are not so many left of them who are willing to go that far, to open war. Syria and Iran are the toughest and so far others are fighting on their behalf but they have only so much resources and so much space."

Are you a 'chicken hawk?' - The Boston Globe

Are you a 'chicken hawk?' - The Boston Globe: "``Chicken hawk' isn't an argument. It is a slur -- a dishonest and incoherent slur. It is dishonest because those who invoke it don't really mean what they imply -- that only those with combat experience have the moral authority or the necessary understanding to advocate military force. After all, US foreign policy would be more hawkish, not less, if decisions about war and peace were left up to members of the armed forces. Soldiers tend to be politically conservative, hard-nosed about national security, and confident that American arms make the world safer and freer. On the question of Iraq -- stay-the-course or bring-the-troops-home? -- I would be willing to trust their judgment. Would Cindy Sheehan and Howard Dean?"

Alien Invasion

I've seen what I thought were some pretty big yellow jacket nests, waste basket size, and once visited a house where one wall was occupied by bees and leaking honey, but I've never seen anything like this. Giant nests perplex experts.

Is This True?

Apropos the discussion of Iranian involvement in the current war, Debka reports
Thursday, July 21, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander Brig.-Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi (picture) assumed command of the Lebanon war from Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah. RG forward command posts are operating out of Iranian embassies in Beirut and Damascus. Syria has placed its army, Scud missiles and air force in a state of preparedness.

Interesting if true. The whole article is here. It is not clear to me that the American resupply is a response to the Iranian resupply through Syria as Debka says, no doubt we are committed to giving the Israelis what they need. But if the Iranian involvement includes overall military command of Hizbollah forces, then I think there is little choice but to make sure Hezbollah is defeated in detail. I suspect the one week time table I see bandied about is DOA. I also wonder what escalation Iran will try if it looks like defeat for Hizbollah? Ummm...

Secret Aircraft Exposed by AFP

Airlifts using C-130 helicopters, the largest in the US military, whisked the wounded to local hospitals.
I've seen a video of a C-130 landing on a carrier but the helicopter version is new to me. Whoa, bet the military wants more of those. The whole story.

h/t Countercolumn.

Why Israel now?

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Why Hezbollah attacked when it did: "attacking Israel now may be the shot the mullahs have to take, before Iraq is self-sufficient and before democracy takes root in Lebanon and spreads further. Using Lebanon as a forward base makes sense from a logistics point of view and from a political one. The Lebanese government, an infant democracy, is not yet strong enough to resist Hezbollah (assuming it even wants to) and isn’t fully rid of Syrian influence. Destabilizing it makes sense from both an Iranian and Syrian point of view–as a relatively cosmopolitan if weak democracy, its existence is a threat. Handing it to Hezbollah by inflaming rage against Israel and highlighting the impotence of Lebanon’s democratic government hands Iran a little piece of empire right on Israel’s doorstep, and weakens nascent faith in democracy. And if it succeeds, Israel is weakened and America takes a proxy defeat. Seen this way, Hezbollah’s rocket strikes opened up an Iranian/Syrian counterattack against the US and its broad plans to re-shape the Middle East."

Chris Dodd is an idiot.

That is all.

A light at the End of the Tunnel?

Haaretz has a story on a possible cease fire between Israel and Hamas.

The initiative, discussed by representatives of Palestinian organizations in Gaza over the past several days, also includes an agreement to set up a unity government.

The Egyptian-initiated plan consists of freeing abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, a joint cease-fire and the cessation of IDF assassinations in the Gaza Strip. The release of Palestinian prisoners would be part of the deal, but come at a later stage.

It is not clear, however, whether the Hamas political leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, would agree to such a deal.

Representatives of several military factions in Gaza denied Saturday reports of a unilateral cease-fire. Palestinian sources stated that they are only willing to accept a joint truce that would include an end to Qassam fire in return for a halt in IDF actions in Gaza.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas parliament members and leaders in Gaza, urging them to accept the deal before American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's arrival on Monday.

Most Palestinian factions, including the Hamas leadership, have agreed to the Egyptian deal in principle, but argue that Israel will not be ready for a cease-fire as long as Shalit is held captive. Fatah's leadership also rejects a unilateral cease-fire at this stage.

Egypt, meanwhile, is continuing its efforts to persuade Hamas leaders overseas and in Gaza to free Shalit in exchange for Egyptian guarantees to release Palestinian prisoners later on, as part of a comprehensive cease-fire deal.

Dr. Salah al-Bardawil, head of the Hamas parliamentary faction, told Haaretz that if Israel stops its actions in Gaza, most Palestinian groups would accept a cease-fire.

I wonder how the Hamas leadership in Damascus will react to this if it really comes about? So far they are not the ones the bombs are dropping on.

H/T Captains Quarters .

Ed also has an interesting story on the possibility of a split between Syria and Iran, and the role Condi Rice's trip might play in exploiting such a split. The idea seems to be to isolate the Hezbellah more than they already are.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I don't think we've ever done catblogging ...

... until now.

(My oldest, Radar.)

Kramer on Israel vs. Hezbollah (Martin Kramer's Sandbox)

Kramer on Israel vs. Hezbollah (Martin Kramer's Sandbox): "Why do you think this crisis is happening?

Hezbollah's hubris has created an opportunity for Israel.

Since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah has basked in the illusion that it defeated Israel--that it somehow discovered a path to victory that had eluded Arab governments and the Palestinian movement. It began to puff itself up, as the only force willing and able to stand up to Israel. Hezbollah lost its respect for Israeli power, and began to portray Israel as unable to sustain a protracted conflict.

Nasrallah allowed a personality cult to develop around himself, and Hezbollah marketed him as the only strategic genius in the Arab world. Increasingly, it would seem that the higher echelons in Hezbollah began to believe their own propaganda.

I doubt Hezbollah expected the Israeli reaction to be as swift, extensive and destructive as it has been. Hezbollah probably believed it would score a few points in Arab public opinion by a cross-border operation, and that it would make one more incremental change in the rules of the game."

Ben Stein

The American Spectator: "By any historic measure, Israel's response to a decade of torment is extremely restrained -- maybe too restrained. And it can stop any time the Hezbollah says they will use peaceful means to get their aims. I don't hear them saying that. What I hear is a thousand Hezbollah rockets falling on exclusively civilian targets in Eretz Israel. There's your answer about whether Israel's response is disproportionate."

Best Cloud du Jour

Daniel Ellsberg Supports 9/11 Denialists

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the classified Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971, supports the claims of 9/11 denialists like University of Wisconsin Lecturer Kevin Barrett (see here and here). The following is quoted from a July 14, 2006 interview with Ellsberg:

Interviewer Jack Blood: "I’m gonna take a risk here in asking you this Daniel, in all due respect, have you had a chance to look at this information coming from America’s leading scholars, business’, engineers, etc. who have taken a look now at 9-11 and are now not only questioning what might have happened on 9-11, but really being very direct…."

Daniel Ellsberg: "I have looked at a lot of that and I tell ya, without going into it all, which would take a lot of time, I find some of it very implausible and other parts of it, quite solid. There is no question in my mind, that there is enough evidence to justify a very comprehensive and hard hitting investigation of the kind we have not seen. With subpoenas, general questioning of people, releasing a lot of documents. There’s no question that very serious questions have been raised about how much they knew before hand and how much involvement there may have been. Is the administration capable, humanly, psychologically, of engineering such a provocation? Yes. I would say that."

Words of Wisdom

Betsy gives us a history lesson:

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

Ed Morrissey had a meeting with Karl Rove to get his implants updated. I see that Rove doesn't buy into the standard line that most political analysts think controls how elections work in the U.S.

Rove also talked about the "two great myths of American politics": single-issue voters and "the base", as defined by critics. Rove thinks that those who claim to be single-issue voters actually show much more nuance when the choices cease to be hypothetical. As far as "the base" goes, Rove laughed it off as a straw man for critics of the GOP. Of late, many pundits have claimed that Rove wants to win elections by pandering to a narrow political slice of the spectrum. He counters this by noting that Bush received many more votes in 2004 than he did in 2000, even by percentage. People win elections, Rove said, by broadening their appeal, not by narrowing it.

It does seem that the single-issue voter is a much smaller group than people think. Usually a person who believes passionately in one issue, let's say abortion, and picks a candidate on that one issue, also believes in a whole constellation of issues that the chosen candidate will also believe in. As far as "the base," I just hope that those who are angry on some issues with the GOP will realize that they cannot achieve their goals with electing Democrats.

In my class on Lincoln this morning, we were looking at a letter he wrote in 1845 to a member of the Liberty Party who had not voted for the Whig candidate in 1844, Henry Clay, because Clay was a slaveowner. And Lincoln was reminding him, now that Clay had lost and Polk was elected, that the supporters of the Liberty Party were much further away from achieving their goals, because all they had done was split New York's vote so Polk won the close election instead of Clay. So the Liberty voters, for all their sanctimony about never voting for a slaveowner, simply ensured that another slaveowner was elected and that slaveowner, Polk, would pursue a policy of expansion that would lead to the Mexican War and the push to expand slavery across the continent. Lincoln, in his letter, was chiding his friend for trying to vote so purely, yet actually achieving the opposite result.

It is like those conservatives who wouldn't vote for the GOP over a certain issue such as spending or immigration. Are they likely to achieve their goals any better by allowing Democrats to win control?

Remember Lincoln's wisdom and don't let the perfect be the
enemy of the good.