The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
OK...he won't talk to just ANY Enemy...
Cartoon by Paul Nowak (click to enlarge)
UPDATED Democrats, Partisanship, Hate and PC: the Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse
If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.
--Thomas Jefferson (the first Democrat)
You see these dictators up on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. They're afraid of words and thought. ... They make frantic efforts to bar our thoughts and words. ... A state of society where men may not speak their mind -- where children denounce their parents to the police -- where a businessman or small shopkeeper ruins his competitor by telling tales about his private opinion. Such a state of society cannot long endure if it is continually in contact with the healthy outside world.
The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.
A good government is one "which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned.
--Thomas Jefferson (the first Democrat)
Josef Stalin is alive and well--and roaming the halls of the US Capitol. I have been around the block a few times, and I am also pretty well read on history--I was a history minor in college--but in all my life I have never seen anything as vile or evil to resemble the people running the Congress and the Senate right now. For as long as I have been aware, Congress has been a contentious place, but until now I have never seen--in this country--one party in power put the entire nation in so much jeopardy, solely for the sake of consolidating its tenuous grasp on power.
Day after day, 24x7x365, I watch partisan mouthpieces like Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, John Murtha, and Nancy Pelosi parade to the microphones; and every day the mission is the same: character assassination, personal attacks, and non-stop sliming of dedicated public servants whose only crime is that they are members of the Bush Administration.
Take for example the recent effort by Democrat partisans to try their mightiest to set a "perjury trap" for members (any member) of President Bush's cabinet--not because there was any wrongdoing, but because they want to manufacture wrongdoing, a la Scooter Libby's poor memory about when he first told reporters about Valerie Plame.
The vitriol, the destructive nature of the incessant attacks against the President and his Cabinet by the rabid Democrat partisans has reached an unprecedented level in my lifetime. The only thing that is a common thread is the visceral hatred of all things Republican and all things Conservative by an extremely hostile majority party and an increasingly hostile media. They talk about "hate crimes"--for example some college student this past week was arrested and charged with a "hate crime" for dunking a Koran in a toilet, while on the other hand the National Endowment for the Arts pays a grant to an artist for placing a crucifix in a jar of piss! (If that isn't a double standard, what is?). But meanwhile our attention is distracted from the real hate crime going on in this country before the microphones of the House and Senate every single day. Hell, there is more hate: in one 30-minute Keith Olberman newscast; in one instance of the sniveling Chuck Schumer attributing non-existent "crimes" to an Attorney General with absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing; in one episode of Dick Durbin comparing American servicemen and women to Soviets operating Gulag labor camps; or in Ted Kennedy comparing the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler--one of the worst mass murderers in history--than there would be if several hundred college students dropping holy books of any and all religions into a toilet.
The whole circus surrounding the Attorney General and the President's personal lawyer and Chief of Staff is a perfect case in point. For those who did not study their high school civics lessons well, the President of the United States IS the Executive Branch. He hires and fires US Attorneys--Executive Branch employees all--at will; if the President wants to fire a US attorney for ANY reason, including political reasons, personal reasons, or just because the President doesn't like the tie he wore, it doesn't matter--the Constitution grants the President complete authority here. No oversight. But the Democrats--for political reasons ONLY--are spending millions of your taxpayer dollars on this Democrat Partisan Investigate-A-Palooza 2008, including "perjury traps" disguised as oversight hearings that forward this ridiculous notion that Presidents cannot hire and fire any Executive Branch employee for any reason whatsoever; or that the President's personal lawyer can be subpoenaed to tell the entire country every conversation and deliberation that goes into his decision making. We did not elect John Conyers President, we elected George Bush. Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal describes the situation:
Let's remember how we got here. Democrats latched on to the firings in hopes of building some case that the White House had engaged in cronyism and cover-up. The Justice Department, in the spirit of cooperation, turned over 8,500 documents and made available a parade of officials for public testimony. Mr. Conyers and his counterpart at Senate Judiciary, Patrick Leahy, found nothing. So they then demanded the White House turn over privileged communications and submit high-ranking officials to public questioning. Mr. Bush invoked executive privilege, and Mr. Conyers went to Defcon contempt.To be plain spoken about it: political correctness is killing this country. And all it is is Stalinism in disguise: they want to silence talk radio, they want to shut down Fox News. And they want America to LOSE the war: no matter what the harm that would befall millions of Iraqis, no matter how much damage it would do to America's national security, no matter how many armies of new terrorists our withdrawl would engender, no matter what message that would send to our Allies about the trustworthiness of America's "word". Why do they want us to lose? For one reason and one reason only: more political power. For a Republican Administration to fail--even if the rest of the good ship America goes down with it--is preferable to the loss on one single House or Senate seat.
This is a constitutional issue, but you don't have to be Robert Bork to get your head around it. The Founders created three separate (but equal) branches of government. The Constitution gave each their own powers, while also supplying checks to prevent the branches from encroaching on each other.
Congress gave itself the right to issue criminal contempt citations long ago, and bully for it, but there's nothing in legal history to suggest that in this case it has the right to apply that power to the president or his subordinates. It'd be one thing if Mr. Conyers had proved beyond doubt that a crime had been committed. He hasn't. Instead, this is a straightforward battle between Mr. Bush's claim of executive privilege and Congress's claim of oversight. Both sides, in theory, have a legitimate case.
So the idea that Congress now gets to win this battle by simply declaring the other side criminal is bizarre. Under that twisted logic, Mr. Bush has just as much right to grant himself a similar power and hold Mr. Conyers in criminal contempt for interfering in executive-branch business. This is not, obviously, a very grown-up way of settling constitutional disputes.
The people in Congress KNOW that the War in Iraq is going well now--but despite press reports to the contrary, they deny this truth every single day. Instead they create a complete fiction and assasinate the character and/or motives of any who dare report an iota of good news from Iraq or Afghanistan (gasp!).
The truth is: there is no length to which the President could stoop that would satisfy these jackals. The Democrats would rather facilitate making America's defeat a self-fulfilling prophecy than to sit and do nothing as America succeeds--if it is on the Republicans' watch; and trust me the Democrats will continue to try and lose this War. And for a party which claims to be a party of the "common man"; from a party whose father is Thomas Jefferson--the man who is quoted above--what becomes clear is that the only men or women these politicians care about is themselves. Damn the country, damn the Republicans, and whoever else gets hurt in the process. And so the drumbeat of hate goes on.
But it goes even further: they want to control what you think and what you can and cannot say. And they have your children's undivided attention from K-12 and in Colleges too. When it comes to the mush that is put into your children's heads, it is the PC thought police in the Teacher's union that not only control it; they control it to such an extent that the schools are going to hell in a handbasket. No,the thought police were not merely a figment of Orwell's imagination. Orwell was with the Communists when they fought the Spanish Fascists; it was being around these people every day that opened his eyes to what Socialism is really about--and it was being among them which finally caused Orwell to renounce the Commies and write books exposing them for the frauds they were (and still are). Animal Farm is one of the best and most prophetic books ever written; Orwell clearly knew his topic. And the entire book appears to have been written about today's PC society and the Democrat party specifically.
I could say it is going to get ugly, but when it comes to the Democrats--especially those in Congress and the media--it already is ugly; The ugliest I have ever seen since being alive, and just as ugly as I have read about it being just prior to the Civil War in the 1850's. The very fact that I feel compelled to write this is an after-effect of the hate-filled Democrats and what they are trying to do to my country.
It is only now as I pass through middle age that I can see why men in those days could bring themselves to leave home and to fight a bloody war to protect what they have; and I can now appreciate the anger they must have felt towards the people who would take all that away. Now, as then, the Union IS worth preserving and fighting for. Our men overseas know that. Most Republicans know it. I suspect even quite a few Democrats can see it. But for the Worst, Slimiest Congress in US History, working in concert with the minority party for the common good is a completely foreign concept. For them it is all black and white--a zero sum game, now. And when a party gets to the place where it cares more what happens to the Party than it does what happens to the Country, it is time for the Party to go.
UPDATE: My fellow "Wide-Awake," Xformed is on fire today. This captures my frustration as well as anything I have read recently. Something must be in the water, like blood in the water for sharks... it is "Shark Week" after all.
They Just Can't Help Themselves
Chief Justice John Roberts, in my view the most extravagantly qualified Supreme Court nominee in my lifetime, had a "benign idiopathic seizure" today. He's fine, but might be placed on anti-seizure medication since he also had one in 1993. This is how the prominent liberal web site Wonkette covered the news:Chief Justice John Roberts has died in his summer home in Maine. No, not really, but we know you have your fingers crossed.
A lot of them did, too.
There was also this from LoneWacko, who has been watching the comments section of the Democratic Underground website (DU quoted comments follow):
aquart: Unless he fell on his head, it ain't nuttin'. He can break pretty much anything and still go back to work. Look at Corzine.
ThomCat: I hate to wish anyone ill, but I hope his tenure on the supreme court is a short one.
kaygore: If there is a God, then he is not too young to become the right-hand maiden to Satan in the inner reaches of Hell.
antifaschits: [responding to a request for prayers] why? karma, if it exists, will probably kick this SOB in the teeth. Except, unlike 40,000,000 americans, he has access to the best of the best health care plans in the world. If, unexpectedly, he sees his own frail human life, his ability to suffer and die, his future pass before his eyes, like it does to hundreds of thousands each day in this country, if it educates him about the harm he inflicts on others, then, yeah, I can see hoping for him. But more likely than not, he won't. He will not recognize life as most of us see it. He will continue in his neocon way of viewing things, and simply add fat to the fire when he recovers and returns to the bench.
aquart: Was there lightning?
aquart: [responding to the request for prayers] Okay: Dear Lord, May the evil John Roberts does come back to him and only him, from every place it has gone, from everyone it has harmed.
kaygore: Better prayer. Dear God, Please release Satan's hand-maiden, John Roberts, from his worldly cares and allow him to join once again with the Prince of Darkness in the lowest reaches of Hell. We pray this in the name of your son, our lord, Jesus. Amen.
Bornaginhooligan: I prayed. But it didn't come true.
NoodleyAppendage: See. That's what happens when you attempt to goose step down the stairs. Neocon, pro-fascist horseplay is inherently dangerous.
This from the "core" base of the Democrat movement that put Reid and Pelosi in place...
An (unintended) Endorsement for Fred Thompson...
... and Still More Evidence of a Changing Tide
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.
Clyburn, in an interview with the washingtonpost.com video program PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report, scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S. strategy.
Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.
"I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."
Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."
No doubt; I have said all along that the Democrats have gone "all in" on an American defeat, a very dangerous place for an American political party to be. When you put your party in a position of having to root for America's failure or defeat in a war (or for the worsening of the economy...) in order to increase your power base, you have effectively come to a place where you are no longer "preserving, protecting or defending the Constitution of the United States..."; the only thing our despicable excuse for a Congress is working to "preserve" at the moment is its precarious hold on power. And even that is not going well. It appears the Democrats may have bet on the wrong horse in this War.
When your only hope for political success is to try and engineer an American Defeat at home (because the tide is turning on the ground in Iraq) you are fast approaching a place where the public will drop you like a hot rock.
A Turning Point?
What are we to make of the fact that two of the Democratic party’s most knowledgeable critics of President Bush’s campaign to stabilize and democratize post-Saddam Iraq, Michael O’Hanlon and Robert Pollack, have publicly rejected the defeatists and called for a sustained U.S. effort there into 2008? The short answer is that they have the wit to recognize mistaken claims that all is lost in Iraq when they hear them — and the courage to say so.James S. Robbins added:
This assessment is remarkable, of course, not only for the fact that its authors are breaking ranks with nearly all of the rest of the Democrats’ foreign-policy establishment. It is also noteworthy for being the latest and, arguably, most objective indicator that the situation on the ground in Iraq is, indeed, changing for the better.
As such, the O’Hanlon-Pollack report makes plain one other truth: Those who persist in denying that General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy is having the desired, salutary effect and who insist that our defeat is inevitable are promoting a self-fulfilling prophesy. They are so determined to score domestic political points by unilaterally ending the conflict in Iraq that they are prepared to surrender the country to al Qaeda and various Shiite militias and their respective Saudi, Iranian and Syrian enablers.
Public-opinion polling and anecdotal evidence suggests that Americans are beginning to appreciate the true nature — and potentially enormous costs — of the surrender in Iraq being advocated by many Democrats and a few Republicans. The O’Hanlon-Pollack op-ed may reflect that reality as much as shape it. Either way, its authors deserve our thanks.
There is no question that on the ground the war is being won. Baghdad is becoming more secure. Iraqi tribal leaders and even some insurgent groups are turning against al Qaeda in Iraq and other outsiders who are pursuing their own violent agenda and who care nothing for the people of Iraq. The activities of Iran, Syria, and other counties supporting the insurgency are coming under increasing scrutiny and public censure. Iraqi military and police forces are fielding thousands of new, trained recruits every month. The government of Iraq may not be addressing all of the legislative initiatives we would like them to, such as the energy law and sorting out power sharing in their federal structure; but it took our country 75 years to come to grips with the contradictions inherent in our Constitution, and with a great deal more violence. We can give them time.Embedded blogger/reporter/former Green Beret Michael Yon finished a more lengthy post in the symposium with these lines:
The weak link in the war effort is in the U.S. Congress. Politically driven assessments that downplay the progress of the war, pandering to antiwar groups, and a public that has tuned out, add up to grave difficulties in sustaining the war effort. Given more time, the progress in Iraq will become so clear as to be undeniable, and the troop drawdown could commence on more favorable terms. There is a significant difference between withdrawal in the face of adversity and redeployment after meeting our stated objectives. It is the difference between defeat and victory.
Skipping past the blow-by-blow and getting to the bottom line: I sense there has been a fundamental shift in Iraq. One officer called it a “change in the seas,” and I believe his words were accurate. Something has changed. The change is fundamental, and for once seems positive. And so, back to the O’Hanlon-Pollack story in the New York Times, “A War We Just Might Win,” I agree.The NRO symposium is well worth your time: besides the full entries from Robbins, Gaffney and Yon there are also posts from Victor Davis Hanson, Senator John McCain, Mackubin Thomas Owens, Joseph Morrison Skelley, Clifford D. May, and Peter W. Rodman.
Monday, July 30, 2007
High Tide and Worms Turning in Iraq
HH: Would a, John Burns, a contrary approach yield the also counterintuitive result that if Congress and the United States said we’re there for two or three more years at this level, would that assist the political settlement, in your view, coming about?
JB: Unfortunately, I think the answer to that is probably not, and that’s something that General Casey and General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker now, General Petraeus’ partner, if you will, are very wary of. They understand that there has to be something of a fire lit under the feet of the Iraqi leaders. It’s a paradox, it’s a conundrum, which is almost impossible to resolve. Now I think the last thing that you need is an Iraqi leadership which is already inclined to passivity on the matters, the questions that seem to matter most in terms of a national reconciliation here, the last thing they need is to be told, in effect, the deadline has been moved back three years. I would guess the way, if you will, to vector all of this would be to find some sort of solution, indeed it was the benchmark solution, which would say to them if you come together and you work on these benchmarks, then you will continue to have our support. But it seems to me that the mood in Congress has moved beyond that. The mood in Congress, as I read it from here, at least those who are leading the push for the withdrawal, are not much interested anymore in incremental progress by the Iraqi government. They’ve come to the conclusion that this war is lost, that no foreseeable movement by the Iraqi leaders will be enough to justify the continued investment of lives and dollars here by the United States, and that it’s time to pull out. And of course, you can make a strong argument to that effect.
HH: Now you’ve reported some very tough places, Sarajevo, Afghanistan under the Taliban, and after the liberation from the Taliban, and you’ve won Pulitzers for that. When you say cataclysmic civil war, what do you mean in terms of what you’ve seen before? What kind of violence do you imagine would break out after precipitous withdrawal?JB: Well, let’s look at what’s happened already as a benchmark. Nobody really knows how many people have died here, but I would guess that in terms of the civilian population, it’s probably not less than 100-150,000, and it could be higher than that. I don’t think it’s as high as the 700,000 that some estimates have suggested, but I think it’s, and I know for a fact, that the sort of figures that were being discussed amongst senior American officials here, as a potential, should there be an early withdrawal and a progress to an all-out civil war, they’re talking about the possibility of as many as a million Iraqis dying. Now of course, that is suppositional. It’s entirely hypothetical. How could we possibly know? But I think you couldn’t rule out that possibility. And the question then arises, catastrophic as the effect on Iraq and the region would be, you know, what would be the effect on American credibility in the world, American power in the world, and America’s sense of itself? These are extremely difficult issues to resolve, and I can’t say, sitting here in Baghdad, that I have any particular wisdom about what the right course would be. And fortunately, as a reporter, I’m not paid money to offer that kind of wisdom, only to observe what I see. And there are days when I thank God that I’m not sitting in the United States Senate or the United States House of Representatives, with the responsibility of putting the ballot in the box on this.
UPDATED Return Fire
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Robert Levy goes after D.C.'s restrictive gun laws with a vengance.
The REAL "Dirty Harry"
The Good News from Iraq and the Ungluing of the American Left
As I predicted earlier in the day, the left wing blogosphere has turned on the Brookings scholars who went to Iraq and noted the results of the surge. Glenn Greenwald, a.k.a. “The Lion of Jalalabad”, penned a characteristically windy attempt at character assassination. Thankfully, Matthew Yglesias showed more brevity.
Characteristically, both pieces didn’t take issue with what Brookings-men Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon reported seeing in Iraq but instead attacked them personally. If you’ve studied the moonbats in their native habitats as I have the past several years, this comes as no surprise. After all, what is the chickenhawk meme but an attempt to win an argument by attacking your opponent rather than engaging his ideas? Has anyone come back from Iraq recently and not seen progress? Wouldn’t an effective rebuttal of O’Hanlon’s and Pollack’s article sought out such friendly sources?
When it comes to dealing substantively with Iraq, the left has a problem. For four joyous years, the left could properly point to a series of Bush administration miscalculations and screw-ups. In spite of being the first MBA president, President Bush spent years without having his entire administration working out of the same playbook. Donald Rumsfeld wanted to topple nations, not build them. And Colin Powell – well, who knows what his shop wanted? All we know is that State’s viceroy in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, made a series of grievous miscalculations such as the disastrous DeBaathification program.
Historians will long debate how much blame President Bush will get for these blunders. War is a tough business, and even successful ones are chock-full of screw-ups. Abe Lincoln doesn’t take much of a rap in the history books for letting the inept George McClellan or the buffoonish “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker run his armies during the Civil War. The fact that he got it right by the end of the war essentially erased many of those mistakes.
Since David Petraeus came to command in Iraq, unanimously confirmed by our prescient and wise senators, have you noticed what we haven’t heard? We haven’t heard any stories of operational stumbling. We haven’t heard any stories of strategic cluelessness. We haven’t heard anything that resembles the breakdowns at Abu Ghraib or the temporizing in Fallujah. In short, General Petraeus is running things superbly in Iraq.
For some on the left, this comes as a painful development. Tales of Bush administration incompetence have become a happy staple of the left’s list of grievances against the administration. While they still have Alberto Gonzales to (rightly) carp about, things on the competence front have improved in Iraq. Dramatically.
You will want to read the rest.
Divestment Mania sweeps the Land
Gooood Mooorning Iraq! (only let's hope for a different ending this time...)
From: Adrian Cronauer
Date: Jul 30, 2007 8:28 AM
Subject: Dengler Review
Good (as usual) review of the Dengler film but one, tiny, nit-picking point if I may: we didn't lose the war in Vietnam, we lost the peace, if we lost anything. Viewed from one perspective, we politically gave up what we had already won militarily. Actually, "we" didn't do so as a country but, rather, the Dems in Congress--to their everlasting shame--deliberately gave South Viet Nam to the Communists.
When we withdrew our military in 1973, the Viet Cong were still recovering from the defeat they suffered during the Tet Offensive while the South Vietnamese military was more than able to defend their country--but only if they continued to receive equipment, ammunition, other supplies, and miscellaneous logistical support from the U.S. which we promised to give them indefinitely. No sooner had our troops returned home ("victoriously" one could argue) when the liberals (I refuse to use the false designation of "progressive") in Congress started to pull the plug on South Vietnam. They blocked any funds to support the S. VN military and, hence, it was only a matter of time before the North Vietnamese Communist troops were able to overrun the South and either "re-educate" or massacre all those who were loyal to the South or had anything to do with the Americans.
Would it be too much of a stretch to see what the Dems are doing in Congress now regarding Iraq as a direct parallel?
Yes, I am THAT Adrian Cronauer and as the patch on my black leather vest says, "Vietnam--When I Left, We Were Winning."
Always enjoy your column. And please keep up the good work.
Canadian-style Health Care in three words: Prohibitively Expensive Disaster
There is much more; read the entire article here--especially if you think Socialist Medicine in the US is anything but "Sicko". Like everything else having to do with the practical application of Karl Marx, it may sound great on paper but it is a disaster in practice. Methinks we have enough problems in this country already without adding this monstrosity.
But if Canadians are looking to the United States for the care they need, Americans, ironically, are increasingly looking north for a viable health-care model. There’s no question that American health care, a mixture of private insurance and public programs, is a mess. Over the last five years, health-insurance premiums have more than doubled, leaving firms like General Motors on the brink of bankruptcy. Expensive health care has also hit workers in the pocketbook: it’s one of the reasons that median family income fell between 2000 and 2005 (despite a rise in overall labor costs). Health spending has surged past 16 percent of GDP. The number of uninsured Americans has risen, and even the insured seem dissatisfied. So it’s not surprising that some Americans think that solving the nation’s health-care woes may require adopting a Canadian-style single-payer system, in which the government finances and provides the care. Canadians, the seductive single-payer tune goes, not only spend less on health care; their health outcomes are better, too—life expectancy is longer, infant mortality lower.
I was once a believer in socialized medicine. I don’t want to overstate my case: growing up in Canada, I didn’t spend much time contemplating the nuances of health economics. I wanted to get into medical school—my mind brimmed with statistics on MCAT scores and admissions rates, not health spending. But as a Canadian, I had soaked up three things from my environment: a love of ice hockey; an ability to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit in my head; and the belief that government-run health care was truly compassionate. What I knew about American health care was unappealing: high expenses and lots of uninsured people. When HillaryCare shook Washington, I remember thinking that the Clintonistas were right.
My health-care prejudices crumbled not in the classroom but on the way to one. On a subzero Winnipeg morning in 1997, I cut across the hospital emergency room to shave a few minutes off my frigid commute. Swinging open the door, I stepped into a nightmare: the ER overflowed with elderly people on stretchers, waiting for admission. Some, it turned out, had waited five days. The air stank with sweat and urine. Right then, I began to reconsider everything that I thought I knew about Canadian health care. I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic—with a three-year wait list; or the woman needing a sleep study to diagnose what seemed like sleep apnea, who faced a two-year delay; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks.
I decided to write about what I saw. By day, I attended classes and visited patients; at night, I worked on a book. Unfortunately, statistics on Canadian health care’s weaknesses were hard to come by, and even finding people willing to criticize the system was difficult, such was the emotional support that it then enjoyed. One family friend, diagnosed with cancer, was told to wait for potentially lifesaving chemotherapy. I called to see if I could write about his plight. Worried about repercussions, he asked me to change his name. A bit later, he asked if I could change his sex in the story, and maybe his town. Finally, he asked if I could change the illness, too.
My book’s thesis was simple: to contain rising costs, government-run health-care systems invariably restrict the health-care supply. Thus, at a time when Canada’s population was aging and needed more care, not less, cost-crunching bureaucrats had reduced the size of medical school classes, shuttered hospitals, and capped physician fees, resulting in hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for needed treatment—patients who suffered and, in some cases, died from the delays. The only solution, I concluded, was to move away from government command-and-control structures and toward a more market-oriented system. To capture Canadian health care’s growing crisis, I called my book Code Blue, the term used when a patient’s heart stops and hospital staff must leap into action to save him. Though I had a hard time finding a Canadian publisher, the book eventually came out in 1999 from a small imprint; it struck a nerve, going through five printings.
Rick Baker helps people, and sometimes even saves lives. He describes a man who had a seizure and received a diagnosis of epilepsy. Dissatisfied with the opinion—he had no family history of epilepsy, but he did have constant headaches and nausea, which aren’t usually seen in the disorder—the man requested an MRI. The government told him that the wait would be four and a half months. So he went to Baker, who arranged to have the MRI done within 24 hours—and who, after the test discovered a brain tumor, arranged surgery within a few weeks.
Baker isn’t a neurosurgeon or even a doctor. He’s a medical broker, one member of a private sector that is rushing in to address the inadequacies of Canada’s government care. Canadians pay him to set up surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, and specialist consultations, privately and quickly. “I don’t have a medical background. I just have some common sense,” he explains. “I don’t need to be a doctor for what I do. I’m just expediting care.”
He tells me stories of other people whom his British Columbia–based company, Timely Medical Alternatives, has helped—people like the elderly woman who needed vascular surgery for a major artery in her abdomen and was promised prompt care by one of the most senior bureaucrats in the government, who never called back. “Her doctor told her she’s going to die,” Baker remembers. So Timely got her surgery in a couple of days, in Washington State. Then there was the eight-year-old badly in need of a procedure to help correct her deafness. After watching her surgery get bumped three times, her parents called Timely. She’s now back at school, her hearing partly restored. “The father said, ‘Mr. Baker, my wife and I are in agreement that your star shines the brightest in our heaven,’ ” Baker recalls. “I told that story to a government official. He shrugged. He couldn’t f***ing care less.”
Canadian doctors, long silent on the health-care system’s problems, are starting to speak up. Last August, they voted Brian Day president of their national association. A former socialist who counts Fidel Castro as a personal acquaintance, Day has nevertheless become perhaps the most vocal critic of Canadian public health care, having opened his own private surgery center as a remedy for long waiting lists and then challenged the government to shut him down. “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week,” he fumed to the New York Times, “and in which humans can wait two to three years.”
This post has been a public service for anyone even considering voting for a Democrat next year.
How Murtha and Pelosi plan to Legislate America's Defeat
With Congress's August recess less than one week away, it should hardly come as a surprise that Rep. John Murtha, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, is readying more legislative mischief. Mr. Murtha, a close political ally of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has made it clear that plans to use the $459.6 billion defense appropriations bill, which comes to the floor this week, to short-circuit the current military campaign against jihadists in Iraq and shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo).Read the rest here.
Mr. Murtha plans to offer three amendments to the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations bill: One would set a 60-day timeline to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq (which will certainly help al Qaeda and the like in planning the Rwanda-ization of the country). A second Murtha amendment would implement the Pennsylvania Democrat's "slow-bleed" strategy for ensuring a U.S. military defeat by conditioning funds for the war upon the military meeting some unattainable standards for training and equipping the troops. Should the administrate violate the strictures in an effort to reinforce besieged American soldiers or prevent genocide, we have no doubt that if the Democrats are still in the majority that they will be holding oversight hearings and issuing subpoenas to U.S. military commanders and senior Pentagon officials, summoning them to testify about "why they broke the law" by sending these soldiers to the battlefield.
Mr. Murtha's third amendment would close the Guantanamo Bay facility. He hasn't said precisely what he wants to do with these terrorists, but his Democratic colleagues have weighed in, including Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia (who has been perhaps the most fervent congressional advocate of shutting down Gitmo) as well as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri and Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan.
Messrs. Skelton and Conyers want to grant the detainees habeas corpus rights, permitting them to challenge their detentions in federal court. while Mr. Moran has suggested: 1) sending them back to their countries of origin (he doesn't specify whether these people would be turned over to security services in countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, or set free to rejoin their jihadist comrades on the battlefield — something that has already happened in at least 12 cases involving prisoners released from Gitmo); or 2) imprisoning them here. By arming unlawful combatants captured on the battlefield with a panoply of rights a la American criminal defendants, the Democrats are creating a perverse incentive for foreign enemies of the United States join terrorist groups and violate the laws of war — knowing that even if they behave as barbarians, they can fight everything out in U.S. courts, represented by lawyers working with groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights.
"Just Drill, Baby"
America's domestic oil production is declining, importation of oil is rising, and gasoline is more expensive. The government's Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. crude oil field production declined to 1.9 billion barrels in 2005 from 3.5 billion in 1970, and the share of our oil that is imported has increased to 60% from 27% in 1985. The price of gasoline has risen to $3.02 this month from $2 in today's dollars in 1985.Read the rest here. And then work like hell to throw these bums out of office next year...
Washington politicians will tell you this is an "energy crisis," but America's energy challenges are far more political than substantive.
First, we are not running out of oil. In 1920 it was estimated that the world supply of oil was 60 billion barrels. By 1950 it was up to 600 billion, and by 1990 to two trillion. In 2000 the world supply of oil was estimated to be three trillion barrels.
The U.S. has substantial supplies of oil and gas that could be accessed if lawmakers would allow it, but they frequently don't. A National Petroleum Council study released last week reports that 40 billion barrels of America's "recoverable oil reserves are off limits or are subject to significant lease restrictions"--half inshore and half offshore--and similar restrictions apply to more than 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (We consume about 22 trillion cubic feet a year.)
Access to the 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve has been prohibited for decades. Some 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist on the Outer Continental Shelf, but a month ago the House again, as it did last year, voted down an amendment that would have allowed the expansion of coastal drilling for oil and natural gas. All of which leaves the U.S. as the only nation in the world that has forbidden access to significant sources of domestic energy supplies.
Then the Senate voted in June to mandate a reduction in projected future oil usage of 10 million barrels a day, or 35%, which, since our domestic oil production is declining, means less imports. In other words, Congress wants to block drilling for more American oil while at the same time blocking the importation of oil--not a rational energy policy.
Report: US Sinks North Korean Ship bound for Iran
This is from my new best buddy Scott Johnson from Powerline traveling with me in Israel. This is from Debka File which, which has not always been the most accurate but here you go:
(Vancouver, BC) -- "How close were we to seeing an armed nuclear conflict?" That is the question being asked as Syrian nationals temporarily vacated Beirut, Lebanon and the Jordan Valley during mid July according to sources close to ACG-CIS. Many security and intelligence officials believe that this behavior may have been related to the US sinking of a North Korean ship approximately 100 nautical miles from the coast of Iran. It was not immediately clear why, around July 10, 2007, the Syrian nationals, primarily engaged in construction, trades and agricultural occupations, should have vacated Lebanon without notice. The nationals were noticed to have returned to Beirut and the Jordan Valley by July 21, 2007.
ACG-CIS is of the opinion that the approximate 10-day absence may have been in part due to a warning system alerting the nationals to the possibility of an impending military or terror strike against Israel and other western interests in the region.
According a number of news sources, officials and clerics from Syria and Iran met during this time period reportedly to draw plans and scenarios for proposed attacks and increased activity against western interests in both the Mid East region and elsewhere. Those talks ended last week with no official announcements from any of the participants.
ACG-CIS, based upon further analysis, believe that the nationals were warned of an apparent military style strike or strikes as Hezbollah was reported to be moving missiles in civilian populated areas throughout southern Lebanon. This movement along with the involvement of the Iranian president, an adamant believer in nuclear technology and development, lead to concerns about the possibility of a military style "dirty bomb" nuclear attack or a ballistic missile attack involving nuclear weapons purchased from North Korea.
It was reported earlier this month that while the North Korean 2006 test demonstrated the viability and reliability of North Korea's Scud- and Nodong-class systems, it left open the status of the three ballistic missile systems that the Korean People's Army (KPA) recently placed, or is placing, into service as testing on North Korea short-range missile systems has been quietly ongoing.
In reports first published by DEBKAfile, American naval and air forces intercepted two North Korean vessels clandestinely en route for Iran with cargoes of enriched uranium and nuclear equipment in the past month. The shutdown of Pongyong's nuclear facilities has made these items surplus to North Korea's requirements and the Islamic Republic was more than willing to pay a hefty price for the goods.
On July 12, the second intercepted North Korean freighter was sunk in the Arabian Sea.
UPDATED If even NYT Reporters think we are Winning now...
Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.
After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.
In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.
In Baghdad’s Ghazaliya neighborhood, which has seen some of the worst sectarian combat, we walked a street slowly coming back to life with stores and shoppers. The Sunni residents were unhappy with the nearby police checkpoint, where Shiite officers reportedly abused them, but they seemed genuinely happy with the American soldiers and a mostly Kurdish Iraqi Army company patrolling the street. The local Sunni militia even had agreed to confine itself to its compound once the Americans and Iraqi units arrived.
We traveled to the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul. This is an ethnically rich area, with large numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Reliable police officers man the checkpoints in the cities, while Iraqi Army troops cover the countryside. A local mayor told us his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq. All across the country, the dependability of Iraqi security forces over the long term remains a major question mark.
But for now, things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).
These guys have been CRITICS of the War. And even they are now saying the tide is turning... Read the rest here.
UPDATE: Don Surber is not so sure that the NYT is salvageable. He has a point...
Meanwhile Glenn Reynolds points us to an interesting play-by-play account of a night raid in Baghdad (with photos), courtesy of embedded blogger Michael Totten. Totten writes well--you really get a feel for being right there...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
MSM, Present Day...
Day by Day Sunday Comics by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
Olberman hints that Bush may have ordered Pat Tillman's death
Iraq wins Asia Cup
Gingrich: Making Lots of Sense on Fox News Sunday
Saturday, July 28, 2007
She's Got a Longer "Reach" Too...
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
Mark Steyn on the Conrad Black Trial: Everything that is Wrong about American "Justice"
It's long but it's worth it. And at the end, there is only one conclusion to be reached: the American System of justice sucks--and it is getting worse, not better.
Steyn also has a prescription for what ails the justice system:
Here's just a random half-dozen reforms the US justice system would benefit from:
1) An end to the near universal reliance on plea bargains, a feature unknown to most other countries in the Common Law tradition. This assures that a convicted man is doubly penalized, first for the crime and second for insisting on his right to trial by jury. The principal casualty of this plea-coppers' parade is justice itself: for when two men commit the same act but the first is jailed for the rest of his life and dies in prison while the second does six months of golf therapy and community theatre on a British Columbia farm and then resumes his business career, the one thing that can be said with certainty is that such an outcome is unjust.
2) An end to the reliance on technical charges such as "mail fraud" and "wire fraud", whereby you're convicted not for the crime itself but for sending a letter or authorizing a bank transfer in the course of said crime. This gives a peculiar dynamic to the presentation of the evidence: the jury spends months hearing about vast schemes and elaborate conspiracies but in the end is asked to rule only on one narrow UPS delivery or faxed letter, the sending of which is not in dispute, only the characterization thereof. If the non-competes are fraudulent, prosecute the fraud, not the mailing of a memo to Jim Thompson while he's on vacation at Claridge's in London.
3) An end to the process advantages American prosecutors have accumulated over the years - such as the ability to seize a defendant's funds and assets and deprive him of the means to hire good lawyers and rebut the charges. Or to take another example: Unlike the Crown in Commonwealth countries, in closing arguments to the jury the US government gets to go first and - after a response from the defence - last. This is an offence against the presumptions of English law: The prosecutor makes his accusation, the accused answers them. Every civilized legal system allows the defendant the last word.
4) An end to countless counts. In this case, Conrad Black was charged originally with 14 crimes. That tends, through sheer weight of numbers, to favour a conviction on some counts and acquittal on others as being a kind of "moderate" "considered" "judicious" "compromise" that reasonable persons can all agree on. In other words, piling up the counts hands a huge advantage to the government. In this case, one of the 14 counts was dropped halfway through the trial, and another nine the jury acquitted Conrad on. But the four of the original 14 on which he was convicted are enough. One alone would be sufficient to ruin his life. This is the very definition of prosecutorial excess. Why not bring 20 charges or 30 or 45? After all, the odds of being acquitted of all 45 are much lower than those of being acquitted of 30 or 40.
5) An end to statute creep. One of the ugliest features of American justice is the way that laws designed to address very particular situations are allowed to metastasize and be applied to anything a prosecutor fancies. The RICO statute was supposed to be for mobsters and racketeers. Conrad Black is not a racketeer but he was nevertheless charged with racketeering. And, while the prosecutorial abuse of RICO is nothing new, the abuse of the "obstruction of justice" statutes in this case are unprecedented. Hitherto, the only obstruction charges that could be brought in regards to extra-territorial actions involved witness-tampering. In that security video at 10 Toronto Street, Conrad Black may be doing all manner of things, but he's not tampering with any witnesses. Nevertheless, a hitherto narrowly defined statute has now been massively expanded to enable prosecutors to characterize actions by foreign nationals on foreign soil in a way never contemplated by the relevant legislation. Statute creep is repugnant and should be stopped.
6) An end to de facto double jeopardy. Conrad Black is likely to wind up back in court to go through all the stuff he's been acquitted of one mo' time, this time in a Securities and Exchange Commission case. That would be a civil case, not a criminal one, and the US Attorney insists that the SEC is an entirely separate body. Oh, come on. The US Attorney and the SEC are both agencies of the US Government. They work in synchronicity. It's not the same as Nicole Brown's family suing OJ after the state's murder case flopped. In this instance, two arms of the same organization are bringing separate cases on exactly the same matters. That's double jeopardy - or, in fact, given the zealousness of the SEC, triple and quadruple jeopardy.
Krauthammer Skewers Obama
For Barack Obama, it was strike two. And this one was a right-down-the-middle question from a YouTuber in Monday night’s South Carolina debate: “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?”Read the whole thing here.
“I would,” responded Obama.
His explanation dug him even deeper: “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.”
From The Nation’s David Corn to super-blogger Mickey Kaus, a near audible gasp. For Hillary Clinton, next in line at the debate, an unmissable opportunity. She pounced: “I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year.” And she then proceeded to give the reasons any graduate student could tick off: You don’t want to be used for their propaganda. You need to know their intentions. Such meetings can make the situation worse.
Moreover, summits can also be traps if they’re not wired in advance for success, such as Nixon’s trip to China, for which Henry Kissinger had already largely hammered out the famous Shanghai communique. You don’t go hoping for the best, as Hillary’s husband learned at the 2000 Camp David summit, when Yasser Arafat’s refusal of Israel’s peace offer brought Arafat worldwide opprobrium — from which he sought (successfully, as it turned out) to escape by launching the second intifada. Such can be the consequences of ill-prepared summits.
Obama enthusiasts might want to write this off as a solitary slip. Except that this was the second time. The first occurred in another unscripted moment. During the April 26 South Carolina candidates’ debate, Brian Williams asked what kind of change in the U.S. military posture abroad Obama would order in response to a hypothetical al Qaeda strike on two American cities.
Obama’s answer: “Well, the first thing we would have to do is make sure that we’ve got an effective emergency response — something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans.”
Asked to be commander-in-chief, Obama could only play first-responder-in-chief. Caught off guard, and without his advisers, he simply slipped into two automatic talking points: emergency response and its corollary — the obligatory Katrina Bush-bash.
When the same question came to Hillary, she again pounced: “I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.” Retaliatory attack did not come up in Obama’s 200-word meander into multilateralism and intelligence gathering.
These gaffes lead to one of two conclusions: (1) Obama is inexplicably unable to think on his feet while standing on South Carolina soil, or (2) Obama is not ready to be a wartime president.
During our 1990s holiday from history, being a national-security amateur was not an issue. Between the 1991 death of the Soviet Union and the terror attacks of 2001, foreign policy played almost no part in our presidential campaigns. But post-9/11, as during the Cold War, the country demands a serious commander -in-chief. It is hard to imagine that with all the electoral tides running in their favor, the Democrats would risk it all by nominating a novice for a wartime presidency.
Taking the offense against the Shiites
The Karbala raid targeted the leader of "a rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi [JAM or Mahdi Army] assassination cell of over 100 armed members," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. The cell leader attacked Coalition forces with roadside bombs, mortars, and the deadly, armor-piercing, Iranian-supplied explosively formed penetrators. The cell was responsible for the assassination of two Iraqi government officials and several civilians.
The cell leader and two other suspects were captured, but the Iraqi and U.S. raiding force was attacked by Mahdi Army fighters with RPGs and machineguns. Five Mahdi Army fighters were killed in the gun battle, and another 12 were killed in a follow up airstrike.
Coalition forces also captured four members of the Iranian-backed Special Groups terror cells during a raid in the village of Qasarin in Diyala. The raid targeted a senior leader of a Special Groups smuggling cell. "The captured terrorists are suspected of facilitating the transport of weapons and personnel from Iran into Iraq," including explosively formed penetrators.
On July 26, the Iraqi Army captured a Mahdi Army cell leader in the Bayaa neighborhood in Baghdad. "The primary suspect is believed to command a rogue JAM improvised explosive device cell that is allegedly responsible for attacks on Coalition Forces," the Multinational Forces Iraq press release stated. "He is also alleged to have received financial support and explosively formed penetrators from Iran, which were distributed to other JAM cell members in the Bayaa and Aamel areas of Baghdad."
Good news from Waziristan: Game On Baby!
If this London Times account is accurate, it sounds like good news:In North Waziristan, the wild border land that America hopes will be Osama Bin Laden’s graveyard, the normally busy roads are almost deserted and the fear is pervasive. Army helicopters sweep the valleys at night hunting for Al-Qaeda militants as troops and gunmen exchange artillery and rocket fire.
America and Britain regard this usually autonomous tribal area - where Bin Laden is long believed to have been hiding - as the logistics centre of Islamic terrorist attacks around the world.
President Pervez Musharraf sees it as the centre of a campaign to “Talibanise” Pakistan. Spurred on by Washington, he has abandoned a truce with Waziristan’s Islamist guerrillas and ordered his army to root them out.
There are believed to be about 8,000 gunmen – a mix of foreign Al-Qaeda volunteers, Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Islamists and local Waziris whose families have for centuries fought off any attempt to impose outside rule on this area. In modern times, even map-makers have been shot to hide the region’s mysteries from the outside world.
Last week soldiers sealed all the roads into Miran Shah, the provincial capital, occupied the hills around it and fired the first artillery salvo in what Musharraf’s many critics have called a war on his own people.
It's always hard to evaluate these reports; we've heard similar things before. But if Musharraf is serious about going after the extremists hiding in Waziristan, it can only be a good thing.
An Email from Beauchamp's First Sergeant
The facade of the TNR stunt continues to crumble:SFC McElroy,The email correspondence is listed in full at this particular 'chickenhawk's' site, The Foxhole. And by 'chickenhawk,' I mean Iraq war veteran.
I’m not in the habit of answering these email’s. It would be far too many. I appreciate all the support from home and I can assure you that not a single word of this was true. We’ve been fighting this fight for quite some time. Numerous soldiers within my unit have served on several deployments and this is my third year as a First Sergeant in this unit. My soldiers conduct is consistently honorable. This soldier has other underlining issues which I’m sure will come out in the course of the investigation. No one at any of the post we live at or frequent, remotely fit the descriptions of any of the persons depicted in this young man’s fairy tale. I can’t and won’t divulge any information regarding this soldier, but I do sincerely appreciate all the support from the people back home. Again, this young man has a vivid imagination and I promise you that this by no means reflects the truth of what is happening here. I’m currently serving with the best America has to offer. I have worked and fought closely with every soldier within my company and they are consummate professionals in an area most people can’t fathom. I’m proud of my soldiers and would gladly give my life for any one of them. Please continue to keep them with you in your prayers and thank God that we have these courageous men willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, Americans, and the people of this struggling nation.
MoveOn/Daily Kos-sacks organize an attempt to put Fox News off the air
(Stalin would have been so proud):
VOTER BEWARE:This shows these organizations’ true nature. At their core, they are dictatorial, hateful and intolerant of opposing points of view. In my opinion, that’s the personification of evil and McCarthyism. They aren’t satisfied with getting their way most of the time. Their goal is getting their way all of the time. Based on their willingness to silence media outlets that offer people a different perspective of the news, shouldn’t America worry that Daily Kos, MoveOn and likeminded organizations won’t think twice about silencing any opposing voices, whether it’s through the Fairness Doctrine, threats of financial ruin or whatever tool is available?
At least 5,000 people nationwide have signed up to compile logs on who is running commercials on Fox, Gilliam said. The groups want to first concentrate on businesses running local ads, as opposed to national commercials. “It’s a lot more effective for Sam’s Diner to get calls from 10 people in his town than going to the consumer complaint department of some pharmaceutical company,” Gilliam said.
It’s time that we broke out the double-barrels against these hatemongers. It’s time that we highlighted their utter lack of respect for the First Amendment. It’s time that we realized the Daily Kos, MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future and other likeminded organizations aren’t interested in having a dialogue with America’s voters. It’s time we realized that they’re interested only in dictating the terms by which they dominate the political landscape.
To say that I’m furious is an understatement of historic proportions. Not that I agree with it, but it’s one thing to boycott a business with whom you disagree. It’s an entirely different matter when you try silencing media outlets.
Threatening to ruin businesses who advertise on media outlets that you disagree with is the essence of censorship. Threatening businesses who advertise on FNC is meant to intimidate FNC. That’s the ultimate in fascism. It’s something a freedom loving people can’t tolerate.
I've got news for these yahoos; if they are going to demand "equal time" for their viewpoints, their sacred networks like NPR, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC are fair game too. Otherwise this thing could get really ugly--as in Venezuela ugly...
Dems voting twice in Florida and NY?
Labels: Voter Fraud
Democrats and the Politics of Defeat
Read the rest here.
Peter J. Wallison, senior research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, explores the politics of the war and why Democrats want to set a date for withdraw now, before a September report likely to show that the "surge" is, indeed, working.
Finally, if—as seems apparent now—the surge is succeeding, opponents of the war are going to be hard-pressed to make the case for abandoning Iraq, even if there is no Shi'ite-Sunni political settlement in sight. The inconvenient truth here is that, apart from the irreconcilable Left, the American people's support for withdrawal has been based on an assessment that we were losing the war. If that no longer seems true, support for withdrawal will melt away. The Democratic leaders know this; that's why they made a concerted effort last week to get a vote on withdrawal in July. September, which will likely see a favorable report by General Petraeus, will be too late. Claims that the inability of the Iraqis to reach a political settlement is a reason for us to leave will ring a bit hollow in the face of a possible military success. After all, the American people have noticed that our Congress, unthreatened by anything more serious than an upcoming election, couldn't pass an immigration bill, can't eliminate earmarks or adopt ethics rules, and can't agree on energy legislation when gasoline is $3.50 a gallon. Politicians, they know, will be politicians, but that doesn't mean we should hand our enemies a victory instead of a defeat.
Understand this: The Democratic Party's political success in the 2008 election cycle is based on American defeat in Iraq. If the current military strategy known as "the surge" - which involved a profound change in tactics not just increased numbers of soldiers - works, the cry of Democrats like Harry Reid that the war is already lost will be seen for what they really are - a hollow attempt to create that result based on purely cynical political motivation.
The war has not been lost. American forces on the ground are in the process of winning it. The American military has never lost a war that the American people and its politicians have vowed to win.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Unscheduled Space Walk
How Politics is Killing the Foreign Surveillance Program
Strike Two has been the politicization by Democrats and the Left of our high tech program to intercept communications between foreign terrorists. Earlier this year, President Bush made a decision to revert back to an outdated 1979 FISA law as a "gesture" to the new Democrat Congress. That gesture has been an abysmal failure in that the Democrats have not reciprocated by any gestures of their own; but mostly because the FISA law is woefully inadequate to apply to today's advances in communications. From today's Opinion Journal, comes many reasons why the President should rescind his "gesture" and go back to its focus on the enemy:
President Bush approved this terrorist surveillance not long after 9/11, allowing intelligence officials to track terrorist calls overseas, as well as overseas communications with al Qaeda sympathizers operating in the U.S. The New York Times exposed the program in late 2005, and Democrats and antiwar activists immediately denounced it as an "illegal" attempt to spy on Americans, à la J. Edgar Hoover.Read the rest here.
Democratic leaders were briefed on the program from the first and never once tried to shut it down. But once it was exposed, these same Democrats accused Mr. Bush of breaking the law by not getting warrants from the special court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. Mr. Bush has rightly defended the program's legality, but as a gesture of compromise in January he agreed to seek warrants under the FISA process.
This has turned out to be an enormous mistake that has unilaterally disarmed one of our best intelligence weapons in the war on terror. To understand why, keep in mind that we live in a world of fiber optics and packet-switching. A wiretap today doesn't mean the FBI must install a bug on Abdul Terrorist's phone in Peshawar. Information now follows the path of least resistance, wherever that may lead. And because the U.S. has among the world's most efficient networks, hundreds of millions of foreign calls are routed through the U.S.
That's right: If an al Qaeda operative in Quetta calls a fellow jihadi in Peshawar, that call may well travel through a U.S. network. This ought to be a big U.S. advantage in our "asymmetrical" conflict with terrorists. But it also means that, for the purposes of FISA, a foreign call that is routed through U.S. networks becomes a domestic call. So thanks to the obligation to abide by an outdated FISA statute, U.S. intelligence is now struggling even to tap the communications of foreign-based terrorists. If this makes you furious, it gets worse.
Our understanding is that some FISA judges have been open to expediting warrants, as well as granting retroactive approval. But there are 11 judges in the FISA rotation, and some of them have been demanding that intelligence officials get permission in advance for wiretaps. This means missed opportunities and less effective intelligence. And it shows once again why the decisions of unaccountable judges shouldn't be allowed to supplant those of an elected Commander in Chief.
When the program began, certain U.S. telecom companies also cooperated with the National Security Agency. But they were sued once the program was exposed, and so some have ceased cooperating for fear of damaging liability claims. We found all of this hard to believe when we first heard it, but we've since confirmed the details with other high-level sources.
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell more or less admitted the problem last week, albeit obliquely, when he told the Senate that "we're actually missing a significant portion of what we should be getting." That's understating things. Our sources say the surveillance program is now at most one-third as effective as it once was.
Why the "Investigation Congress" is much ado about nothing
Check it out, really good information here.
UPDATED Glass, Beauchamp, and The New Republic: Losers on Parade
Any way you look at it you lose..." -- Paul Simon
Those lyrics from Mrs. Robinson could not be more appropriate to the situation with The New Republic and it's "embed" in Iraq, now revealed as Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Jack Kelly discusses the case and finds that it is a no win situation for TNR's anti-war "plant" :
Now that they've demonstrated their diarist is a real soldier, the New Republic's editors feel vindicated. But the issue is not whether Pvt. Beauchamp is a soldier. It's whether he's telling the truth or not. And his story stinks to high heaven. No one else at the base ever seems to have a seen a woman who fits the description of the woman in the chow hall. No mass graves have been discovered during the time Pvt. Beauchamp has been at FOB Falcon. It is physically impossible for the driver of a Bradley to see a dog to the immediate right of his vehicle.
It would be better for Pvt. Beauchamp if he made his stories up. It breaks no military rule to BS gullible liberal journalists. But if Pvt. Beauchamp is telling the truth, he and his buddies have broken so many articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that I haven't space to list them all.
It isn't only Pvt. Beauchamp who'd be in trouble. If the latter two stories are true, then his fire team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant and platoon leader either witnessed them, and did nothing about them, or were negligent in supervising their soldiers. And if I were his company commander, I wouldn't be expecting below the zone promotion to major anytime soon.
His superiors won't be happy campers, and neither will his fellow troops, to whom he has brought unwanted scrutiny, deserved or not. I suspect Pvt. Beauchamp soon will be the guest of honor at a blanket party.
That he is Pvt. Beauchamp suggests this is not his first brush with the UCMJ. He called himself PFC Beauchamp on his Web site last September, which indicates he's been busted a stripe. He's been in the Army long enough to be a Spec 4.
On his blog (Sir Real Scott Thomas), Pvt. Beauchamp indicates he's an aspiring writer who joined the Army to establish credentials for voicing his liberal political opinions.
"I know that NOT participating in a war (and such a misguided one at that) should be considered better than wanting to be in one just to write a book," he wrote May 18, 2006. "But...maybe I'd rather be both."
But is Pvt. Beauchamp telling the truth about what he sees in Iraq?
In a blog entry for May 8, 2006, Pvt. Beauchamp describes an atrocity: "'Put a 556 in his head.' (The caliber of an M-16 rifle is 5.56 millimeters.) On the street below, the man's brown face dissolves in a thick red mist. The lights in the city's houses shut off in unison. Electricity rationing. Water rationing too. You ever tried to survive for more than a few hours in 120 degree weather?"
On May 8, 2006, Pvt. Beauchamp was in Germany, where temperatures rarely reach 120 degrees, and the electricity and water work just fine.
My guess is that these are not the only things that Pvt. Beauchamp made up. And it appears that TNR's scandal with Stephen Glass may just be the tip of the iceberg for that left-wing rag. So is anyone asking the forbidden question: why is it that a large majority of the "made up" news only seems to come from the Left? Could it be a natural result of a bankrupt ideology with no long-term historical "success stories"--because Marxism does not work and never has worked as an economic/political model--or is it the fact that the Left (aka "World Socialism") already has the blood of over 200 million political murders (and counting) on its hands?
Chalk up another big "win" for the blogosphere (especially Ace); but it isn't like the Left has made it hard or anything... they don't seem to get it that in the age of the Internet and the blogs, you can't just roll out lies and automatically have it accepted as gospel anymore. To many so called "journalists" that is a bad thing--but real journalism needs to be about getting the story right. And the fact that bloggers like Ace are making that happen can only be good for a democracy in the long run.
UPDATE: John Hawkins offers a refresher course on the evils of Communism (which = "Socialism"):
Communism is a system that forces human beings to behave in a method that runs contrary to human nature and as such, is always destined to fail, impoverish the people living under it, and crush the human spirit. Communism is all about forcing people to work for the state, stealing the fruit of their labor, and giving faceless bureaucrats unlimited power and control over every aspect of the human existence.
That's why Communist nations always end up being totalitarian. Because when the people see what a nightmare communism is, they reject it, and then the elitist left-wingers who implemented the system in the first place have to use force to maintain the system.
The free press has to go because it'll report the truth about how terrible communism is for the people. Real, honest elections are out because the people would vote to get rid of communism. The communists always end up turning to secret police, gulags, non-stop government propaganda, and murder, sometimes on an almost unimaginable scale, to keep the people under control.
In the 20th century, communist regimes killed more than a hundred million people including (rough estimates that vary a lot depending on whose work you believe)
Mao: 77 million
Soviet Union: 61 million
Pol Pot: 2 million
Kim Il-Sung: 1.6 million
The Nazis were lightweights compared to the communists who killed far more people, enslaved far more people, and held power for a much longer time.
If you want to know why Communism has never been treated with the utter disdain of Nazism in the United States, it's because liberals have always been sympathetic to commies. Liberals flirted with Communism in the forties and fifties and vigorously defended the communists who moved into positions of power in Hollywood and even the communist spies in our own government. Even today, you have liberals slobbering over that evil old monster Castro and wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.
But, despite the liberal comfort with Communism, it is an evil system with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.