Friday, March 07, 2008

No Difference?

But whether or not “blockade” is the right word for Israel’s actions, it’s not the same thing as an occupation. America had a blockade of sorts against Iraq for a decade. Then we occupied it. If there’s no difference between the blockade and the occupation, what has everyone been arguing about?

So why does Israel scrutinize Gaza’s borders and ports? I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with the fact that Gaza’s leadership keeps launching rockets into Israel as part of this overarching policy objective to destroy Israel.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Meet The Aldermen

People who need to believe Barack Obama can solve the world crisis by calling a Muslim summit must of necessity need to forget you can't clear corruption from Chicago by meeting with the aldermen of that great city. To believe in the Audacity of Hope you need to dis-remember the Chicago Way. Especially if you plan on voting for the man representing Hope who came from there.

More Time

And will the question, “Who do you trust as Commander-in-Chief?” -- a fair question for the electorate of the world’s pre-eminent superpower -- advance to the front burner? For that is a question that knocks Mr Obama out of consideration, and he can only hope to win as long as people can be persuaded not to think about it.

If they persist in thinking, anyway, his own rhetoric could easily sink him, for on foreign policy he is incoherent. His official position now, towards America’s allies in the Middle East, is to divide them into two groups, abandoning some, such as Iraq, bombing others, such as Pakistan, with perhaps a mixture of abandonment and bombing in Afghanistan. Getting from there to somewhere credible will take more time than a presidential campaign provides.

Only Just Begun

Jay Stewart of the Better Government Assn. in Chicago told the LA Times:

"Everybody in this town knew that Tony Rezko was headed for trouble.  When he got indicted, there wasn't a single insider who was surprised.  It was viewed as a long time coming. . . . Why would you be having anything to do with Tony Rezko, particularly if you're planning to run for president?"

At a March 3 news conference in San Antonio, Texas, Chicago-based reporters peppered Obama with some of the questions the national news corps has avoided for over a year
Obama has refused to sit down at length with the Chicago reporters who have worked this story for years.  But as Milbank pointed out, "The questioning...has only just begun."  With old-time Chicago corruption now going international-and Presidential--finding those answers is more urgent than ever.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Less Abstract Now

clipped from

“I used to love Osama bin Laden,” proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.

Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.

“Now I hate Islam,” she said, sitting in her family’s unadorned living room in central Baghdad. “Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”

Cosmoclimatology Update

"Viewed from Earth, the rotating tail appears to be laid out on the sky in an almost perfect spiral. It could only appear like that if we are looking nearly exactly down on the axis of the binary system," said Tuthill.

This means we are peering down the barrel of the gun, as when binary supernovae go off, all their energy is focussed into a narrow beam of wildly destructive gamma ray radiation that emanates (both up and down) from the poles of the system.

"If such a gamma-ray burst happens, we really do not want Earth to be in the way," he said. "I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can't help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel."

Sterilising effect

Though the risk may be remote, there is evidence that gamma ray bursts have swept over the planet at various points in Earth's history with a devastating effect on life.

Obama's Wretched Americans

In a televised twelve-second campaign spot aired in Texas, Senator Obama gives a stirring speech to a standing ovation. It is the predictable litany of American faults he will miraculously correct: literacy, expensive prescription drugs and insufficient civil liberties. However, he seems particularly concerned for Arab-Americans.
"If there is an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney, it threatens my civil liberties."

This was an astonishing statement, an infuriating statement and a statement that speaks volumes to Obama's ideology.

Arab-American families being rounded up would not only threaten all our civil liberties, it would raise such a universal outcry, it could not long endure.
Senator Obama holds a wretched America in his heart, a country he has no pride in nor wishes to preserve. If his vision starts from failure, where will it end? There is no truth in his words, just as there is no substance. One may speak well, but still speak lies.

Horse Talk

For years now, the American left has been arguing that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war against al Qaeda and is counter-productive because it's "creating" new terrorists. Apparently, it never occurred to these deep-thinkers that inflicting a defeat on al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a defeat made possible because a previously sympathetic population turned with our help against al Qaeda -- might constitute a devastating blow to al Qaeda's standing in the Arab world.

The idea that losing a war hurts one's standing may be a novel one for our sophisticated liberals. But Osama bin Laden has long grasped it, famously stating years ago that "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse."

Our amazing progress in Iraq is demonstrating that, for now, al Qaeda rather than the U.S. is the weak horse in the very country that al Qaeda has identified as the key battleground in its struggle against us.

Jesus Is Coming. Look Busy.

They like to fashion themselves as more bad ass than the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force. They do have a point. A Marine is much more likely to see combat than a service member in any of the other branches. The Marine Corps takes far more casualties per head than the others. But the Secretary of the Navy outranked the bejeezus out of every man at that station. They found Lieutenant Colonel Dowling a little intimidating, but the news of a visit from Donald C. Winter made me think of that famous bumper sticker: Jesus is Coming. Look Busy.

Two hours later, he arrived. Lieutenant Colonel Dowling shook his hand, called him sir, and introduced him to the Marines. They stood and faced him like star struck teenagers and seemed terrified that he might find them inadequate.

He did not.

Instead he read a letter written by an Iraqi woman who wanted to thank the U.S. armed forces for freeing and protecting her country.

Monday, March 03, 2008

On Electing First Graders To Run The Country

Seems innocuous, but...

But Mr. Rockefeller voted for the
war. It was Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, now retired, who
chaired the committee in 2002, urged colleagues to read the briefing
paper and voted against the war.

Obama spokeswoman Jennifer
Psaki insisted that "there was nothing intentionally misleading" about
Mr. Obama's statement. The core issue, she said, was whether Mrs.
Clinton made a correct and informed decision. "I don't think the people
in the audience care who Jay Rockefeller is," she said.

The Dallas Morning News team used the word "Clintonian", but not to describe Hillary.  That said, Graham was famously hawkish, and objected to the war resolution as not going far enough against America's real enemies.

If Obama is a Graham sympathizer then now we can understand his threat to attack Pakistan. Yikes.

Searching For Reality

Remember, Ignatieff wasn't talking about deploying "international peacekeepers," the context Power now suggests for her words. He specifically proposed United States troops, followed by anyone else who was "willing." Their job wouldn't be to keep the peace, but to "enforce the solution." Far better today for Power to have some kind of blackout, than to tell the truth about the "dramatic exercise" she and Ignatieff envisioned.

Ignatieff seems to be more candid. Last year, he wrote: "As a former denizen of Harvard I’ve had to learn that a sense of reality doesn’t always flourish in elite institutions." Unfortunately, Power remains a denizen of Harvard. So, while she may be able to disavow the "weird" reflexive anti-Israel sentiment that was all the rage in Cambridge in 2002, there's little reason to believe she's immune to the more current manifestations of the same impulse. In fact, her recent utterances make it pretty clear she is not.

The Rubes This Time

He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.

As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"

Assume, for a moment, that Ali Abunimah had genuine insight into Barack Obama's opinions four years ago. Is his recently expressed strong support for Israel fabricated? Is it permanent, or will he in fact "be more up front" after he is elected? Or, has Barack Obama actually changed his mind?

Who are the rubes to be fooled this time?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What Failure?

clipped from

But I doubt that JFK would say about negotiating with Cuba, as Obama said in the Texas debate

That clarified an earlier statement when Obama said he would meet with the leaders of North Korea, Iran and Cuba "without preconditions."

Kennedy never availed himself of the opportunity of negotiating with Fidel Castro, with or without preconditions.

I also doubt that Kennedy would say, as Obama said of our policy toward Cuba in the same debate: "I support the eventual normalization, and it's absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure."

The reason I say that  Kennedy would never call our policy a failure is because it was a success. The United States has flourished. Las Vegas has happily substituted for the casinos of Havana, and sugar seems to be in ample supply.

Maybe Obama means that our policy has been a failure for Cuba.


clipped from
[UPDATE: I just caught the transcript of Obama's meeting with Jewish community leaders in Cleveland last week. Unfortunately, Obama lies pretty blatantly, to wit (referring to the award his church's magazine gave to Farrakhan): "An award was given to Farrakhan for his work on behalf of ex-offenders completely unrelated to his controversial statements." As I've noted before, the honor for Farrakhan was for his dedication to "truth," with no mention of ex-offenders.
Now, with his aides having had a month and a half to discover the easily verifiable truth, I have to conclude he is simply being disingenuous. Obama thus avoided addressing the real concern, which is that his church's magazine and his spiritual mentor state that they honoring and praising Farrakhan precisely because of his stated political and racial views, which they claim are "honest" and reflect "truth." Note that as Andrew Sullivan has pointed out, this is not something that concerns only Jews.]

Without Such Extras

He is therefore the cause of that so wonderfully characteristic Welsh phrase, “Do the little things.” For as I was taught, from a child, by the same old man mentioned above, “God is in the details.”

Hope is in the details. And how often in the midst of large, the hope emerges from a small place, and the world turns on an Archimedean hinge. For those reading with the eyes of hope, history is full of such moments, and our lives are full, and nature herself emerged from a singularity. The cynical will never see this, for they have darkened that part of their vision, and put their hope in the wrong things: in wealth, and luxury, in sexual conquest, in control and power, in honours and fame, in sweet revenge and the myriad self-satisfactions. We have enough, without such extras.

And against them we pose the mysterious instruction of St David and all other saints: “Be joyful.” For faith, hope, and charity are compassed in that joy.

Gnostic Mystery Cults

One of the historical myths of today is that such pseudo-sciences as astrology and alchemy preceded the emergence of true science, which overcame them by its superior predictive powers.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the actual ancient world of the Mediterranean and Near East, it was the other way around. Astrology, alchemy, and various kinds of sorcery emerged from the decadence of Greek empiricism. The mystery cults that sustained them, began to flourish just as that Greek world was crumbling under the might of an expanding Roman power, in the centuries before Christ. The ancient degeneration of science was predicated not on the rise of an “irrational” religious force, that suppressed it, but on progressive loss of faith in, and growing cynicism towards, the ancient religious and cosmological order.

And that is what I fear is happening today: the degeneration of science into gnostic mystery cults, as the unifying faith upon which science was built, is hollowed out.
RTWT. Pronto.