The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Trick or Treat
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
Speaking of Socialism...
Face it: Socialism never works. Anywhere. Never has. Never will. It may look great on paper, or in the minds of Marx and Engels, but it eventually has failed or else bankrupted the country wherever it has been tried. Many times Socialist governments have been violently overthrown by angry citizenry. Yet the Democrats seem bound and determined to try and impose it on the American people. Of course it is all about power and control over your lives and the lives of others, damn the economic consequences to the country.
"All is not LOST" on the Law of the Sea Treaty
(Personally, I would suggest some extra encouragement by my fellow Texans to Senator Hutchison, who voted FOR S-CHIP last week...) The Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote in favor of ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty is disappointing, but grassroots opposition is still building against the treaty. The strong statements against LOST in recent days by the Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee campaigns are an indication that their campaigns have already felt this movement against the treaty. The opposition of the Senate’s Republican leadership is another good indication. If Majority Leader Harry Reid brings LOST to the floor for a vote, it is going to be a real fight. For those not up-to-speed on the issue, here are the main points to remember about LOST: 1. LOST threatens U. S. sovereignty. Not just a little or around the edges, but fundamentally. Once the U. S. became a party to the treaty, any number of issues could be adjudicated by a LOST tribunal. It is not clear what the limits are on the issues that could be taken up by LOST. Jurisdiction over anything that affects the oceans directly or indirectly could be asserted. The majority of members of the tribunal adjudicating any particular issue are almost certainly going to be hostile to U. S. interests. Tribunal decisions cannot be appealed. Unlike every other country in the world, those decisions could be enforced in U. S. federal courts against the federal government. 2. LOST would be a big step toward United Nations global governance. The treaty’s reach extends far beyond international issues and disagreements into nations’ internal policies on a wide array of issues. The treaty’s structure is designed to replace national decision making with UN decision making on these issues. 3. For the first time, the United Nations would have international taxing authority through LOST. Enough said. 4. LOST would accomplish backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and far beyond. A claim before a LOST tribunal that industrial CO2 emissions are leading to increasing acidification of the oceans and thereby threatening the world’s marine ecological resources would almost certainly be decided in the affirmative. Other nations could decide how to respond to such a decision. In the U. S., a private party, such as an environmental pressure group, could file suit in federal court to force the federal government to implement the tribunal’s decision. This is because in the U. S., ratified treaties have the same status as the Constitution. This is not true of any other country. More on LOST here.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote in favor of ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty is disappointing, but grassroots opposition is still building against the treaty. The strong statements against LOST in recent days by the Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee campaigns are an indication that their campaigns have already felt this movement against the treaty. The opposition of the Senate’s Republican leadership is another good indication. If Majority Leader Harry Reid brings LOST to the floor for a vote, it is going to be a real fight.
For those not up-to-speed on the issue, here are the main points to remember about LOST:
1. LOST threatens U. S. sovereignty. Not just a little or around the edges, but fundamentally. Once the U. S. became a party to the treaty, any number of issues could be adjudicated by a LOST tribunal. It is not clear what the limits are on the issues that could be taken up by LOST. Jurisdiction over anything that affects the oceans directly or indirectly could be asserted. The majority of members of the tribunal adjudicating any particular issue are almost certainly going to be hostile to U. S. interests. Tribunal decisions cannot be appealed. Unlike every other country in the world, those decisions could be enforced in U. S. federal courts against the federal government.
2. LOST would be a big step toward United Nations global governance. The treaty’s reach extends far beyond international issues and disagreements into nations’ internal policies on a wide array of issues. The treaty’s structure is designed to replace national decision making with UN decision making on these issues.
3. For the first time, the United Nations would have international taxing authority through LOST. Enough said.
4. LOST would accomplish backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and far beyond. A claim before a LOST tribunal that industrial CO2 emissions are leading to increasing acidification of the oceans and thereby threatening the world’s marine ecological resources would almost certainly be decided in the affirmative. Other nations could decide how to respond to such a decision. In the U. S., a private party, such as an environmental pressure group, could file suit in federal court to force the federal government to implement the tribunal’s decision. This is because in the U. S., ratified treaties have the same status as the Constitution. This is not true of any other country.
More on LOST here.
h/t to Glenn Reynolds
Surprise: China's textbook example that Central Planning and Price Controls ultimately cause Shortages
's worst fuel crisis in two years spread to the capital and other inland areas by Wednesday, and one man was killed in a brawl at a petrol station queue, upping pressure on the government to intervene.(Psst... hey guys, maybe if you will stop propping up your currency at artificial levels at the expense of the US Dollar, we could help you out with that oil shortage...)
Diesel shortages in China's political heart, which escaped previous supply crunches unscathed, highlight tensions between the government and its increasingly independent oil firms about who should pay for the country's generous fuel subsidies.
Top refiner Sinopec on Wednesday pledged more supplies and bought additional diesel fuel abroad, but it may fall to to end the stand-off by raising domestic prices, easing taxes, promising another year-end pay-off -- or simply strong-arming suppliers into selling more fuel at a loss. ...
Yes, China is in a growth period and short term gambles can certainly pay off big there. But the Government is still the 500 lb. gorilla in the room that many investors conveniently overlook. What this incident ultimately says to me is that any large long-term investment in China is still very very risky; especially considering their consumer spending is so low compared to most other countries.
Sooner or later, either Capitalism or Socialism has to give; the two are fundamentally incompatible.
Hillary Has a Bad Hair Night
Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's less-than-straightforward answers in a Democratic debate raise questions about her ability to assume the presidency.
"This may be smart politics by Washington's standards, but it's not what America needs right now," the first-term Illinois senator told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Chicago. "Turning the page means offering the American people a clear sense of your principles and where you'd lead."
Obama complained that during Tuesday night's debate Clinton didn't provide clear answers on a number of occasions.
"After the most secretive administration in memory, an administration that consistently misled the American people, we need a president who is going to be open and forthright," Obama said. "I think last night's debate really exposed this fault line. Senator Clinton left us wondering where she stood on every single hard question from Iran to Social Security to drivers' licenses for undocumented workers."
Obama wasn't the only one who thought Hillary had a bad night:
We now know something that we did not know before: When Hillary Clinton has a bad night, she really has a bad night.
In a debate against six Democratic opponents at Drexel University here Tuesday, Clinton gave the worst performance of her entire campaign.
It was not just that her answer about whether illegal immigrants should be issued driver's licenses was at best incomprehensible and at worst misleading.
It was that for two hours she dodged and weaved, parsed and stonewalled.
And when it was over, both the Barack Obama and John Edwards campaigns signaled that in the weeks ahead they intend to hammer home a simple message: Hillary Clinton does not say what she means or mean what she says.
And she gave them plenty of ammunition Tuesday night.
TIME Out: Another Death Knell for American Journalism
The vision of Clare Booth Luce is officially dead. TIME under the Turner Administration has become little more than a dumbed-down version of The Nation. And CNN too for that matter. MSNBC is as hyper-partisan as is The Daily Kos. CBS?? Dan Rather. Katie Couric. 60 Minutes. Need I say more?
Today I was in our company cafeteria and actually witnessed CNN trying to make some kind of Rodney King moment out of the fact that some individual actually had the Stars and Bars in some garage at a New York Gun Club where the Vice President went hunting lately. Of course, in the "utopian" world of the Left, everything is supposed to be centrally controlled by the Government--including every act by every individual--including whoever dared to display a Confederate flag on some property where Cheney was invited to go hunting. In that world Cheney should have had a Stasi to alert him ahead of time there was a "flag problem", and then the thought police could have sent a team of agents to ship said Confederate to a Gulag in Appalachia somewhere. It is almost as if CNN is saying that The Lives of Others ought to be the template for successful American governance. Cheney had no idea the flag was there and never saw it, but these days little facts like that are not nearly as important as a Soros and Sharpton-orchestrated media feeding frenzy...over nothing at all.
The media in the United States of America has become a crockpot of absurdity, titillation, and outright lies. If we really want to save our Democratic form of government, we may well have to start by tearing down big media and starting over again. A Democracy is only as good as the information its citizens get; if that information is rotten, so will the decisions of the electorate be rotten. Yes we have the blogs, but unfortunately they still do not reach the number of people that the lying-through-their-teeth networks and newspapers reach.
But reforming our dying media is going to be a large undertaking, short of a real life Tyler Durden/Paddy Chayefsky hybrid taking matters into his own hands. The only way I see the current poisoned news environment changing is if enough people get fed up, and then begin to exert extreme pressure on all of the advertisers and corporations who make possible this willful propagandizing of the American public. Hint: good places to start are anyone advertising on MSNBC, CNN, and CBS.
Money talks. If stockholders and interest groups hit these companies hard enough in the pockebook, maybe this thing can fix itself. Until then, if you care enough about your country to want to get to the real truth before you make your decisions about who leads it--then you are going to have to work hard at it. Listen to talk radio. And frequent places like the Instapundit, Blackfive, Captain's Quarters, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, NRO, Don Surber, Hot Air , The American Thinker, Little Green Footballs, and Gateway Pundit. And even the granddaddy of them all, Drudge. (My apologies to the many others I left out... But the ones I listed should be on every thinking American's daily reading list.)
Another thing we can do--once again--is to express yourselves to anyone who dares to advertise on networks spreading lies and salacious propaganda about your country. Hey, we've got to start somewhere...
As a booster shot, in case you missed it the other day, I highly recommend this speech from Mark Levin.
The bottom line of all this: it is YOUR country. And if you do not take it back from those who have co-opted it, who will? So let's get started...
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I frankly do not understand how President Bush could possibly be behind this thing; it goes against everything America is supposed to be about.
Of course, should the Dam fail during a Republican administration, the fact that the Iraqis ignored American advice would be right up there beside the Democratic-ruled State of Louisiana's refusal to build levees that would protect New Orleans from a Cat 5 storm, despite over 20 years of warnings that the levees would not stand up to a storm of that magnitude. Should the Mosul dam fail, the "small detail" that the Bush Administration has been pushing hard for the dam to be addressed as a high priority of the Iraqi government would be largely ignored by our red banner-waving media. If it does happen, expect Anderson Cooper to hop the first plane, get himself into a rubber raft, and go on and on whining about the barbarity of the Bush Administration--to be followed by Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Spike Lee...and (eventually) John Edwards. All this despite the fact that the Americans have been pressing the Iraqis to take action against this threat, and that those pleas have fallen mostly on deaf ears. The sad fact is--in this era of media complicity--hindsight being 20/20 does not seem to faze the so-called "objective" media from second guessing any tragedy that comes down the pipe--even those that America has no direct authority to correct.
Also--please forgive my cynicism--but is the WaPo not also highlighting this "weakness" in neon lights to any of our enemies? The mad mullahs in Iran--who if they didn't know about this weakness before, do now--no doubt can read the Post, and no doubt they are targeting some of their missiles as we speak, in case the US were to bomb them. To these maniacs, killing half a million Iraqis is nothing compared to a propaganda win over the evil Americans. Presumably the reporters at the Post know this. And so--while this story certainly cannot be compared to the scale of the same Washington Post and New York Times outing classified information about our own surveillance programs--it nevertheless appears from here to be a blatant attempt to head off a confrontation with Iran, even if hundreds of thousands of people die as a result of their "journalistic integrity."
Personally I would prefer that the President pull the plug on ALL War news to having crap like this come out every day which aids and abets our enemies. Maybe one of these days some President and/or Attorney General will actually have the courage to go postal on news organizations who openly help our enemies. Until then--if this story about the Mosul Dam is true--brace yourself for yet another humanitarian disaster to be portrayed as "Bush's fault." Blame seems to be the only game that Democrats still know how to play.
It is extraordinary...in my lifetime I have never seen anything to match the willed blindness of today's American news media to actual facts on the ground. It is as if a mask has been removed and we now suddenly have become aware as a nation that nothing we see or hear in the news media can be taken at face value. It is all spin, all the time. For a country that supposedly prides itself on "freedom of the press", today's press is remarkably in lock step with the Statist Socialists who would steal our country from under our noses. Even in the USSR they had it better--at least with Pravda they knew it was all lies...
UPDATE: I loved Ace's take on the reappearance of this fiction:
Debunked the first time -- it just didn't happen, folks -- the same exact story seems to be making the rounds again among the usual suspects in the world press as well as among the Fox Mulder "I Want To Believe" lefty bloggers.
Is the revival of the short-running morality play getting better reviews the second time 'round? Apparently not: Once again, MNF-I report there is no evidence such a spectacularly grisly find was made anywhere at any time.
But of course TPM and other lefty bloggers -- the "Reality Based Community," remember -- are championing the story.
Think of it as The Little Jihadi Agit-Prop That Could.
I think it's real I think it's real I think it's real...
I hope it's real I hope it's real I hope it's real...
I know it's real I know it's real I know it's real...
Alas, I have a feeling this latest attempt at summiting the hill of reality isn't going to go much better than the previous attempt.
Can I ask Joshua Micah Marshal a favor?
If your site is going to peddle discredited Al Qaeda/Mahdi Army propaganda, could you at least do us the favor of insuring the propaganda is fresh and not a rehash of long-discredited claims?
Speaking of corruption, if you missed the trailer for the Hillary documentary yesterday, here is another chance to check it out.
If a Republic falls in a forest and no MSM reporter is there to hear...
Your Democrat Congress: covering up corruption on an unprecedented scale while accomplishing absolutely nothing whatsoever. (Also, keep in mind that Murtha was knee deep in the ABSCAM scandal too):
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal looks at John Murtha, earmarks and an FBI investigation:
In the massive 2008 military-spending bill now before Congress -- which could go to a House-Senate conference as soon as Thursday -- Mr. Murtha has steered more taxpayer funds to his congressional district than any other member. The Democratic lawmaker is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which will oversee more than $459 billion in military spending this year.
Johnstown's good fortune has come at the expense of taxpayers everywhere else. Defense contractors have found that if they open an office here and hire the right lobbyist, they can get lucrative, no-bid contracts. Over the past decade, Concurrent Technologies Corp., a defense-research firm that employs 800 here, got hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Rep. Murtha despite poor reviews by Pentagon auditors. The National Drug Intelligence Center, with 300 workers, got $509 million, though the White House has tried for years to shut it down as wasteful and unnecessary. Another beneficiary: MTS Technologies, run by a man who got his start some 40 years ago shining shoes at Mr. Murtha's Johnstown Minute Car Wash.
A review by The Wall Street Journal of dozens of such contracts funded by Mr. Murtha's committee shows that many weren't sought by the military or federal agencies they were intended to benefit. Some were inefficient or mismanaged, according to interviews, public records and previously unpublished Pentagon audits. One Murtha-backed firm, ProLogic Inc., is under federal investigation for allegedly diverting public funds to develop commercial software, people close to the case say. The company denies wrongdoing and is in line to get millions of dollars more in the pending defense bill.
I'd say that further -- and broader -- investigation is warranted. Read the whole thing, as it's a free link.
Yes, we have.
The key assessment:
“The evidence fails to establish or even suggest any innocent or wholesome explanation for the events that led to Megahed’s arrest,” Merryday wrote.
“Guns, explosives, fuses, canisters of gasoline, ammunition, welding equipment, GPS devices, all-night interstate drives to an unstated and indeterminate destination, stops to check gun prices and availability, and computers with a recent history of visits to sites that feature the advocates and the means of violence are not attributes that a disinterested but cautious observer associates with a safe and tranquil citizen of the community,” the judge said.
“Rather, a person about whom these attributes are discovered is a person whose means, motive and degree of determination are unknown and unpredictable and who is highly suspicious and threatening.”
We’ve certainly come a long way from the innocent fireworks carriers looking for the beach scenario, haven’t we?
Monday, October 29, 2007
Cartoon by Gary McCoy (click to enlarge)
Anyway, there will be other occasions to rant about the ungrateful Euro-socialists. But this is not one of those times.
Don't miss this; this is a "must-listen." Be patient if need be and wait for the download. It's worth it.
It should not come as a suprise to anyone paying attention, but what is stunning to me is how this hyper-partisan organization--which was set up by Hillary and her benefactor George Soros-- could possibly still be enjoying tax exempt status. Consider this from the American Thinker a few weeks back:
In 1995, George Soros appeared on PBS with Charlie Rose, and said this:"I like to influence policy. I was not able to get to George Bush (Senior). But now I think I have succeeded with my influence...I do now have great access in the (Clinton) administration. There is no question about this. We actually work together as a team."(The Shadow Party; David Horowitz and Richard Poe; p. 91)So, even though Soros is hedging his political bets by donating to more than one candidate, his intimate ties to Hillary and Bill, going back more than a decade now, make it clear that he would prefer a 2nd Clinton administration, where he is already part of the very in in-crowd.Not so fast, you two. We're onto you.Senators Reid and Harkin are taking their cues from Media Matters, a Soros-funded front group. As Hillary Clinton declared at the recent YearlyKos convention (her confirming sound bite played by Rush Limbaugh on the radio), she was the mastermind behind both The Center for American Progress (her think tank) and Media Matters (her media attack machine). Hillary provides the name and political connections that Soros craves, and Soros provides the money. Quite a powerful partnership, what some might even call a conspiracy.If you want a complete rundown on how all of Hillary's and Soros' "non-profit groups" work together in her plan to take over America, get yourself a copy of the book by her mentor, Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. In it, you'll find the complete outline for throwing Judeo/Christian principles and honesty to the winds of revolutionary fervor. Hillary Clinton has been the perfectly patient disciple of Alinsky's since she wrote her thesis about him her senior year at Wellesley in 1969. If her admiration of Alinsky had died with her thesis, no one would care. But it didn't. He remained a close confidant until his death (The Shadow Party, p. 56) and his tactical fingerprints are all over her projection of the false "Centrist" image she is manipulating to garner political power. It's all in the book.
The British National Health Service has launched an entire new industry: surgical tourism. The Daily Mail reports that the numbers of Britons seeking an escape from the universal health-care system will exceed 70,000 this year and 200,000 by 2010, flying to all parts of the world to get medical attention, and better surgical conditions:Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS - with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.
And by the end of the decade 200,000 "health tourists" will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.
The first survey of Britons opting for treatment overseas shows that fears of hospital infections and frustration of often waiting months for operations are fuelling the increasing trend. ...
India is the most popular destination for surgery, followed by Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, Poland and Spain. But dozens more countries are attracting health tourists.
If you really want to get an idea of how bad things will get under a Clinton National Health Care system, please read the above articles and follow all the links. And then take heart: just because the Canadian and UK's Health Care systems are nightmarish doesn't mean ours has to be.
You see, we still have a choice: we can prevent health care "rationing" from happening here by ensuring Hillary or some other Socialist does not get elected next year; we can elect a Republican President and Republican Congress and put this insanity to bed once and for all. There are viable free market proposals out there which actually could work for all of us, would allow the US to continue to enjoy the best health care on Planet Earth, and (most importantly) would allow Americans to continue to get the care they want when they want it; but to get there it will take a government and a President who actually believe in the power of the marketplace.
You will not find this in today's Democrat party. If you care about the health of you and your family, you will keep this in the forefront of your mind next year.
And trust me, if this effort is successful, other big media executives will take notice. And they will know that they could be next. It's time to lock and load.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Having attended college at UT-Austin, I can attest for the city's heavier than normal liberal population; it is after all the home of The University of Texas (my alma mater, and I love the place; but let's face it, it's our answer to Berkeley and Boulder), but also the seat of State Government and all of the nanny state mentality that implies. In a way it is nice because it is a very "laid back" place with lots of home-grown music and creativity. But like many other major universities these days, PC has infected the UT faculty administrators and faculty where opposing points of view are repressed.
So that is why this story is so delicious to me:
Air America is booted off the dial in liberal Austin, Texas, provoking bewilderment at democraticunderground.com:This is a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic, but the right-wing talk radio stations in town consistently get much better ratings.
Even commies don’t want to listen to commies.
When they may be starting to see the light in Austin, there is hope for us all.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times' media rumbler, Tim Rutten, boldly threw himself under The New Republic's bus in an effort to draw attention away from the magazine's ongoing collapse of credibility.
Confederate Yankee provides the reasons why Tim should never be mistaken for a journalist in a partial fisking --who has time to completely fisk Tim?-- that should leave a mark but won't because of Tim's regard for himself.
Rutten will be defending Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, the Fairness Doctrine, and the New Republic right through the day they shut off the lights at the incredibly shrinking LAT. Tim's an agenda journalist whose target --whose roadrunner-- are critics of the MSM. He's got a nice gig, and he is doing his very best to defend it, even if it means defending the clowns at The New Republic who abetted a smear of the troops and now cowardly hunker down and hope it will go away.
Personally I doubt whether waterboarding is even used that much by our military, although I do know that our soldiers undergo waterboarding themselves as a part of basic training. The fact is, there are many more sophisticated techniques for getting important information from captured terrorists. Still, I agree with Mirengoff that waterboarding would be a good 'test case' for a very public debate; particularly because the Democrat partisans seem determined to make such a big deal about it. So--if need be--let's rumble; let's let the smarmy Democrats like Schumer and Leahy and Kennedy go on the record before the klieg lights as defending the coddling of mass murderers. Call their bluff, Mr. President.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts here.
But--as Don Surber correctly points out--the real story here is not the fact that a patently ridiculous use of taxpayer money was nixed by Republicans, but rather of how Big Media has shown its backside in suddenly becoming a champion of Democrat pork, and in using this inane story as an excuse to attack a Republican Presidential candidate. (Quite frankly, I am not a big McCain supporter, but you have to admit it was a good line...)
It is almost getting to the point where I cannot even pick up a "mainstream" publication of any kind without experiencing disgust or revulsion at its so-called "objective" reporting. It is like a disease; a virus that continues to multiply--only in this case the "host" which is threatened is Big Media itself; or else our Constitutional form of government--whichever dies first.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
When Opportunity Knocks...
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
Those strategists who denounce Turkey for failing to join the U.S. intervention in Iraq might notice that Ankara has nonetheless helped our effort by making Incirlik available. America’s interests in all this are fairly plain. First, we need to keep Turkey as an ally. It is almost the sole stable element in an unstable but strategically vital area. A U.S. airbase in Kurdish Iraq, however useful, would be no compensation for the loss of Turkey. Second, we need to maintain the Kurdish regions as stable, prosperous, and pro-American areas in an otherwise turbulent Iraq. Third, in order to achieve both aims (and larger strategic purposes), we need to keep the Incirlik base open for the U.S. Its closure would be a far larger blow to the U.S.Read the whole thing.
What these interests suggest is that the U.S. should support a limited Turkish incursion into the remote mountainous regions of northern Iraq to destroy the PKK bases and, if possible, to capture or kill PKK leaders. This holds some risks for the stability of Iraq — there are always risks in military action — but it is perhaps the least bad option for Washington. It is all but undeniable that Ankara has a good moral and even legal justification for intervention. The PKK bases are situated away from major population areas — so intervention there need not lead inexorably to wider conflict. If handled sensibly, a limited intervention might even advance regional stability. Ideally, the U.S. and Iraqi forces would join the Turkish army in a combined operation for this purpose. At the very least, the U.S. should lean strongly on the Iraqi authorities not to protest seriously any Turkish action and to expel as many new Ocalans (and their cats) as possible.
In return the U.S. should seek strong public assurances — from Turkey’s generals as well as its politicians — that Ankara has no objection to the existence of a semi-autonomous Kurdish entity provided it is part of a united Iraq and provided too that it refuses to allow its territory to be used as a terrorist haven. After a lamentable period of drift in U.S. diplomacy with Turkey, Washington now seems to be moving toward some such approach. But this must be the start of a wholly new Turkey policy — one that accommodates Turkish interests while frankly contesting anti-Americanism in Turkish opinion.
Oh it's creepy all right...
Some have attributed the recent fires in Southern California to terrorism, but I've kinda waited for firm evidence to be forthcoming before drawing any conclusions. Here's Randi Rhodes putting a few things together about the causes of the fires through some kind of mental operation, but I'm not sure it's addition. She suspects it is terrorism, but you'll never guess who the terrorists might be.
Rhodes said (audio at source):
I started just doing Google searches to try and figure out. You know, arson, arson, it was like crazy trying to figure out why is that being downplayed? Why is that, you know, just a small part of the story? And you know, every time I look for it what comes up, believe it or not, is that Blackwater wants to move to San Diego and build this giant complex in San Diego right where most of the evacuations are taking place and you know. You just know wherever there is fire, this administration will be out there doing what it does best and that is fanning the flames, you know. It just spooks me, I can’t explain to you how creepy this whole thing is that you know, you’ve got these fires. Some of them are thought to be the work of arsonists and in the same breath you’ve got a community that’s on fire that just recently protested Blackwater West. Just recently said no to Blackwater and apparently you don’t do that. I mean, I don’t even know what to think. You know, nobody is saying Blackwater set the fires, that is nobody that doesn’t want their house burned down. Nobody is saying that, but it is all so bizarre that this is America and you have to sort of sit there and wonder … arson, same place Blackwater West wants to be, people protesting. And then you find out that some of the guys that used to work for Blackwater are now in Schwarzenegger’s administration. It’s all so creepy.
You know, the only hatred that elicits in me is of a newspaper which refuses to pull itself out of the gutter to consider that American taxpayers are sick and tired of having half of their income confiscated to pay for services for people who should not even be here if our government were working properly. Yet another reason to sell short NYT stock.
Friday, October 26, 2007
In a perfect and just world, Rupert Murdoch would somehow find a way to buy out his NY Post's major competition in the City, and to build it back into the prominence the Times once considered its birthright. In many other smaller markets, it is the one major competitor that eventually buys the other. But given the Sulzberger's stake is steering the SS NYT straight into an iceberg field, that particular outcome is most likely too much to hope for... But hopefully, whoever's lap this shrinking albatross does eventually land in will spend more time on truthful reporting and credibility for a balanced view of the news--and far less time on blatant propaganda.
How far the mighty have fallen; this is not always a bad thing (a big h/t here to Don Surber).
He’s the candidate of the common man, you see, heroically crusading against the Man’s abuses of power — “the Man” in this case being a grad student who dared offer a balanced report on why the champion of the poor has his campaign HQ in a relatively well-to-do part of town. They don’t call him Silky Phony for nothing:
A UNC-Chapel Hill journalism professor said John Edwards’ presidential campaign tried to kill a student’s video story about his campaign headquarters.
Associate Professor C.A. Tuggle said two top staffers for the former North Carolina senator demanded that the school drop the segment from the student-run television program “Carolina Week.” They also asked to have the video removed from the YouTube Web site.
Tuggle said they threatened to cut off access to Edwards for UNC student reporters and other student groups if the piece aired…
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Cartoon by Chuck Asay (click to enlarge)
... A year before this next election in the U.S., the common space required for civil debate and civilized disagreement has shrivelled to a very thin sliver of ground. Politics requires a minimum of shared assumptions. To compete you have to be playing the same game: you can't thwack the ball back and forth if one of you thinks he's playing baseball and the other fellow thinks he's playing badminton. Likewise, if you want to discuss the best way forward in the war on terror, you can't do that if the guy you're talking to doesn't believe there is a war on terror, only a racket cooked up by the Bushitler and the rest of the Halliburton stooges as a pretext to tear up the constitution.There is much more; read it ALL. And pray for your country...
Americans do not agree on the basic meaning of the last seven years. If you drive around an Ivy League college town -- home to the nation's best and brightest, allegedly -- you notice a wide range of bumper stickers, from the anticipatory ("01/20/09" -- the day of liberation from the Bush tyranny) to the profane ("Buck Fush") to the myopically self-indulgent ("Regime Change Begins At Home") to the exhibitionist paranoid ("9/11 Was An Inside Job"). Let's assume, as polls suggest, that next year's presidential election is pretty open: might be a Democrat, might be a Republican. Suppose it's another 50/50 election with a narrow GOP victory dependent on the electoral college votes of one closely divided state. It's not hard to foresee those stickered Dems concluding that the system has now been entirely delegitimized.
Well, it takes two to have a cold civil war. The right must be doing some of this stuff, too, surely? Up to a point. But for the most part they either go along, or secede from the system -- they home-school, turn to talk radio and the Internet, read Christian publishers' books that shift millions of copies without ever showing up on a New York Times bestsellers list. The established institutions of the state remain under the monolithic control of forces that ceaselessly applaud themselves for being terrifically iconoclastic:
Hollywood's latest war movie? Rendition. Oh, as in the same old song?
A college kid writes a four-word editorial in a campus newspaper -- "Taser this: F--k Bush" -- and the Denver Post hails him as "the future of journalism. Smart. Confident. Audacious." Anyone audacious enough to write "F--k Hillary" or "F--k Obama" at a college paper? Or would the Muse of Confident Smarts refer you to the relevant portions of the hate-speech code?
Speaking of which, Columbia University won't allow U.S. military recruiters on campus because "Don't ask, don't tell" discriminates against homosexuals, but it will invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government beheads you if they think you're bebottoming.
Steyn has nailed it; we are a nation which has become so polarized--thanks to 6 years of non-stop partisan vitriol from Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, the Nutroots, the media, et. al.--that the scorched earth campaign has left very little room for reconciliation. The closest thing to that I have seen to a gesture of goodwill in several years was Diane Feinstein's intervention on behalf of Judge Southwick--and against her party's leadership--which enabled the embattled judge to be confirmed for the Fifth Circuit seat he has been so long denied by Reid, Schumer, Leahy, and the big money special interests pulling their strings. I also note that Feinstein was the only California Senator standing by the President and the Governator today. The hysterical Barbara Boxer was a no-show.
Will this small olive branch be enough? I seriously doubt it. Feinstein will probably be roasted alive for this by the Nutroots--and will no doubt be "encouraged" to do something public soon to prove her steadfast partisanship and hatred for all things Republican. Otherwise those MoveOn.org checks or donations from Chinese dishwashers might stop pouring in...
And so we have stalemate in what is supposed to be the people's government. It has been co-opted by the ambitions of one party; ambitions which exceed that party's desire for the success and continued position of the United States and the Constitution its members are sworn to uphold.
I personally believe we are in the middle of the biggest crisis in our government since the years just before the Civil War. It is hard to disagree with Steyn that we may already be too far gone. Is it salvageable? Only if there are more DiFi's to be found in the majority and only if the scorched earth power brokers like the Clintons and George Soros give the fast hook to the Reids, Schumers, Pelosis, Murthas, Durbins, Leahys, and Boxers--who have stolen the Democrat party, and who seem determined to take America down with it.
It is time for the President to say "enough is enough" and to assert his full Constitutional authority to wage war as he chooses. That right was given to him by the Constitution and nothing can take it away.
On the other hand, Bin Laden may have already assumed room temperature in some cave somewhere long ago; sources close to the intel on his latest "video" assert that all of the "current" content was rolling in "audio-only" mode while the video showed only a still picture. The only synchronization of video/audio occurred when Bin Laden was speaking on topics which he could have filmed years ago. Not exactly a slam dunk for his still being among the living.
But in a sense, that is beside the point on Col. Hunt's speculation; the real point is that America is fighting a global war with a downsized military with rules of engagement that favor our enemies. How about we allow our brave men and women to fight without one hand tied behind their back, for a change?
Anyone who was lucky enough to watch Ken Burns' brilliant documentary The War knows exactly what I mean. Once upon a time, America and its leadership had the cojones to fight an all-out war to WIN. Today for the first time in history, those we are fighting have a good chance to get their hands on real WMD's, given enough time and enough appeasement by the postmodern, Euro-wimped West. So there has never been a more compelling argument for total war--at least not in that sense. Yet our biggest enemies (the internal ones) continue to throw up roadblocks at every turn and our media's sabotage of our War effort has become a national disgrace.
It is nothing short of miraculous that--despite these huge constraints--the fact that we have nevertheless been so incredibly successful with our Iraq surge is a testament to the genius of men like General Petraeus, and the tenacity of our troops and a solid President willing to fight difficult political battles at home.
Perhaps enough so that a Thompson or Giuliani or Romney would consider Petraeus as a running mate--assuming that the war continues to go as well as it has in Iraq. This guy is a legitimate American hero, and would easily trump any Wesley Clark or Bill Richardson the Dems could throw up as a VP nominee.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Naturally, comparisons to Katrina have been made elsewhere, but as Bill Bradley points out, Southern California isn't New Orleans. And, as left leaning as present day California is, it does not have a historically ingrained "culture of Government dependency" like New Orleans did in 2005. And Qualcomm Stadium is no Superdome, either. Compare and contrast.
UPDATE: Never content with actually taking action to help out when human tragedy occurs, the Democrat party once again shows itself to be the party of a never-ending blame game--which is more appropriate for a second grade schoolyard than it is for the US Senate or Congress. Hyperpartisans like Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer--and their transparent opportunism as the fires rage on in California is a perfect example of what has become regular accompaniment now to any American tragedy. Even the aforementioned Lt. Governor got into the act.
The extent to which the Democrat party has chosen to live in the gutter when large numbers of people are suffering is nothing short of sickening. Whether it is hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, plane crashes, a falling bridge, or fires in California (which happen pretty much every year out there in that dry climate...), the Democrats seem to suggest that if we would just give them more of our money and would just entrust more of our lives and our liberty to them--i.e. Socialist-style Government--then none of these tragedies would happen. Which is of course a complete crock; still it is the very fact of their using any and every tragedy as a pathetic excuse for sliming political opponents that is the truly detestable thing.
Meanwhile there is an active Arson investigation underway: one man in custody and another man reported killed. This is just breaking now so there may be more later. Normally burning a man alive would be considered as "cruel and unusual punishment"--but it would not bother me to see that happen to any person who set these horrendous fires out there.
Fred Thompson will be issuing the following statement in about the next half hour:
I oppose the ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty at this time. The Treaty threatens U.S. sovereignty and gives a U.N.-affiliated organization far too much authority over U.S. interests in international waters. The American people also deserve ironclad assurances that the problems with the treaty highlighted by President Reagan more than two decades ago have been fixed. At a time when customary international law in this area has proven sufficient, I believe the efforts of treaty proponents would be better spent reforming the United Nations. Until such reforms are complete, I see little reason for the U.S. to move forward on the Law of the Sea Treaty.
Opposing the sovereignty-surrendering Law of the Sea Treaty is a very popular issue with many conservative groups...
Both are good reads.
And The New Republic leads the way... while Jules Crittenden shines the light of truth on the snarky Thomas Friedman.
Meanwhile, Uncle Jimbo is reaching out.
(Click to enlarge)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Cartoon by Bob Gorrell (click to enlarge)
Thompson’s new immigration platform is more hawkish than I expected. Not only does he understand the attrition argument, but his specifics are pretty good too: mandatory electronic verification of all new hires, enable Social Security cooperation with immigration authorities, withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. And in what seems to be a first for a major presidential candidate, he calls for ending chain migration by discontinuing all family-related immigration except for the spouses and minor children of American citizens (as well as eliminating the visa lottery). If all other categories remained the same, such changes would have reduced the legal immigration in 2006 by nearly 400,000, from nearly 1.3 million to a little under 900,000. That’s still way too high, but it’s moving in the right direction.
UPDATE: More here.
Clyburn was right. The Surge is working. Democrats panic
The No. 3 Democrat in the House, James Clyburn of South Carolina, let the cat out of the bag this summer when he said if the Surge works, that would be “a real big problem for us.”
The Surge is working. Violent deaths have dropped in Iraq by 70% since the Surge began. The latest Reuters poll shows the Democratic Congress’s job approval is at 11%.
That means 8 out of 9 Americans don’t approve. The Democratic Congress has turned off 267 million people.
That is because it has done nothing but investigate inside-the-beltway nonsense and debate the Iraq war. Threatening to cut off funding for the troops is not cool, no matter how unpopular the war is.
The Hill reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi will try to put a smiley face on congressional incompetence by going on a PR tour in November.
The Hill quoted the No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland: “We’re concerned obviously that the accomplishments of both the House and Senate are overshadowed by failure to change direction in Iraq. We’re hoping in the next three or four months to make it clear what has been done and make it clear we are upset that more has not been accomplished because of the president’s refusal to change direction.”
What accomplishments? Name them. In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi asked them to talk up those “accomplishments” — a hike in the minimum wage that affects 1% of all workers and more student loans — so colleges can jack up tuition even higher.
Pelosi’s credibility, however, is not very high. The Politico reported top aides to Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn called a mandatory meeting for top Democratic staffers Monday to announce “a major member-driven message campaign” that leaders hope to sustain through the end of the year.
Politico quoted a senior Democratic leadership aide, who said, “The best people to deliver this message are individual members.”
I smell panic.
Smells like... (dare I say it?) victory. Read the rest.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Does Bin Ladenism or Salafism or whatever we agree to call it have anything in common with fascism?Read the whole thing here.
I think yes. The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.
Fascism (and Nazism) also attempted to counterfeit the then-success of the socialist movement by issuing pseudo-socialist and populist appeals. It has been very interesting to observe lately the way in which al-Qaida has been striving to counterfeit and recycle the propaganda of the anti-globalist and green movements. (See my column on Osama Bin Laden's Sept. 11 statement.)
There isn't a perfect congruence. Historically, fascism laid great emphasis on glorifying the nation-state and the corporate structure. There isn't much of a corporate structure in the Muslim world, where the conditions often approximate more nearly to feudalism than capitalism, but Bin Laden's own business conglomerate is, among other things, a rogue multinational corporation with some links to finance-capital. As to the nation-state, al-Qaida's demand is that countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia be dissolved into one great revived caliphate, but doesn't this have points of resemblance with the mad scheme of a "Greater Germany" or with Mussolini's fantasy of a revived Roman empire?
Technically, no form of Islam preaches racial superiority or proposes a master race. But in practice, Islamic fanatics operate a fascistic concept of the "pure" and the "exclusive" over the unclean and the kufar or profane. In the propaganda against Hinduism and India, for example, there can be seen something very like bigotry. In the attitude to Jews, it is clear that an inferior or unclean race is being talked about (which is why many Muslim extremists like the grand mufti of Jerusalem gravitated to Hitler's side). In the attempted destruction of the Hazara people of Afghanistan, who are ethnically Persian as well as religiously Shiite, there was also a strong suggestion of "cleansing." And, of course, Bin Laden has threatened force against U.N. peacekeepers who might dare interrupt the race-murder campaign against African Muslims that is being carried out by his pious Sudanese friends in Darfur.
Meanwhile Gateway Pundit is keeping tabs on the organized opposition to David Horowitz's brainchild, Islamofascism Awareneess Week. And--like all good Communists--they are getting organized...
This city, famous for being America's playground, has also become its security lab. Like nowhere else in the United States, Las Vegas has embraced the twin trends of data mining and high-tech surveillance, with arguably more cameras per square foot than any airport or sports arena in the country. Even the city's cabs and monorail have cameras. As the U.S. government ramps up its efforts to forestall terrorist attacks, some privacy advocates view the city as a harbinger of things to come.
In secret rooms in casinos across Las Vegas, surveillance specialists are busy analyzing information about players and employees. Relying on thousands of cameras in nearly every cranny of the casinos, they evaluate suspicious behavior. They ping names against databases that share information with other casinos, sometimes using facial-recognition software to validate a match. And in the marketing suites, casino staffers track players' every wager, every win or loss, the better to target high-rollers for special treatment and low- and middle-rollers for promotions.
"You could almost look at Vegas as the incubator of a whole host of surveillance technologies," said James X. Dempsey, policy director for the Center for Democracy and Technology. Those technologies, he said, have spread to other commercial venues: malls, stadiums, amusement parks.
And although that is "problematic," he said, "the spread of the techniques to counterterrorism is doubly worrisome. Finding a terrorist is much harder than finding a card counter, and the consequences of being wrongly labeled a terrorist are much more severe than being excluded from a casino."
Read the rest of this extremely interesting article here.
The fact that Obama apparently feels comfortable showing his contempt for long-standing traditions speaks volumes about the man. His continued refusal to honor the flag of the United States smacks of disloyalty and defiance, but it also suggests an inability to gauge the ripples of controversy created by his actions -- not a quality we would want in the leader of our nation. For a politician running for the highest office in the land to deliberately and publicly refrain from showing respect for his country is sheer idiocy! The flag may be just a piece of cloth, but better men than Barack Obama have died to preserve what it stands for. Most Americans acknowledge that.....and so should Obama.
Obama's defenders have been quick to point out that the photo in question is not a video, and that Obama simply may have been the last to raise his hand to his heart or the first to put it down. If, however, the photo is an accurate account of the events, Obama's action -- or lack thereof -- should not be taken lightly. America doesn't need a citizen of the world with globalist ideas right now. We need a president who is committed to the United States and the United States alone.....a leader who can accurately estimate the consequences of his actions and who is not above placing his hand on his heart to honor the flag and the anthem of the country he serves.
All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.
I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.
No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public. ...
Read the whole thing.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Cartoon by Chip Bok (click to enlarge)
A black police leader has reignited controversy in one of the most sensitive areas of British policing by suggesting that more people from ethnic minorities must be stopped and searched to tackle violent crime.
Keith Jarrett, president of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), disclosed that in a speech this week he will ask the Government and Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to consider increasing stop-and-searches among black people to reduce the kind of shootings which have claimed the lives of another two teenagers in the past week.
The NBPA has long raised questions about the disproportionately high number of black people stopped and searched by police.
Mr Jarrett said he would not be signalling a change in policy in a speech in Bristol this week, but was reflecting the views put to him by members of the black community.
He told The Observer: “From the return that I am getting from a lot of black people, they want to stop these killings, these knife crimes, and if it means their sons and daughters are going to be inconvenienced by being stopped by the police, so be it.
Read the whole thing here... and just imagine the Sharpton-Jackson firestorm if this had occurred in the US. But in the UK, it seems that stopping black on black crime has been deemed more important than "appearances". Proof that our own federal government could learn a thing or two from our cousins in the UK.