Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peace Through (Pulverized) Plutonium

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No Wonder

Rev. Jeremiah Wright did an interview with Bill Moyers. That's a good match; it's difficult to say which one holds America in lower regard.

During the interview, Wright tries to have it both ways -- he stands by his statements, but he's being unjustly portrayed through the airing of them. No wonder Obama admires Wright.

"Bringing Us Together"

One way of testing whether Obama is the candidate of "bringing us together" and "getting past partisan divisions" is to ask him to specify one -- just one -- significant issue on which he would be willing to break ranks with his party and join with the other party.
We know McCain has done this all the time, on immigration, campaign finance, tax cuts, "torture" and on and on.
In other words -- to state what should be a tautology -- if Obama is going to "bring us together," he has to have a little something for those who in general disagree with him.
And that would be....................what?
The MSN of course isn't going to ask this, since their version of "bringing us together" is to have conservatives live with getting a 100% liberal agenda jammed down their throats. And this is indeed a sort of "bringing us together," to wit, the sort formerly known as "strangulation."


THE US war in Iraq has strengthened its strategic position, especially in terms of key alliances, and the only way this could be reversed would be if it lost the will to continue the struggle and abandoned Iraq in defeat and disarray.

Surely the author of this sentence is on the ganja, you might say. Something a little weird in the coffee? It goes against every aspect of conventional wisdom.

But the author of this thesis, stated only marginally less boldly, is one of the US's most brilliant strategic analysts. Mike Green holds the Japan chair at Washington's Centre for Strategic and International Studies and was for several years the Asia director at the National Security Council. He is also one of America's foremost experts on Japan and northeast Asia generally.

First, Green states and acknowledges the negatives. He writes: "The Iraq war has had one important, pernicious impact on US interests in Asia: it has consumed US attention."

Dangerous Lies

The problem with Bush’s North Korea policy is that he doesn’t have one. Or, rather, he has two, and they are at war with each other. The president himself has said — firmly and repeatedly — that he does not intend to let Kim Jong Il off the hook without guarantees that Kim is living up to his end of the bargain. If you feel that way, your goal isn’t a signature on a piece of paper, but a state of affairs that can be routinely and independently verified. Meanwhile, the State Department takes that signature as its endpoint and dismisses Kim’s every missed deadline and lying promise, since to take these seriously would be to jeopardize the deal. Surely the president knows that smiles and handshakes cannot make us safe. If they distract our attention from a lingering threat, they actually make us less safe. It’s time to admit the deal was a mistake and start rebuilding the consensus to sanction Kim Jong Il for his dangerous lies.

"Free" and "Fair" Like Fidel

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today on the election run-off in Iran, in which the “conservatives”
prevailed over the “reformists” and now hold an overwhelming majority in their
parliament. Unfortunately, Auntie Beeb reports this as if it wasn’t a foregone
conclusion, thanks to election-rigging by the Guardian Council. The British
broadcaster glosses over the fact that the GC disqualified almost 2,000
so-called reformers before the elections:

Iran’s conservatives have consolidated their victory in the country’s
parliamentary elections, after taking more seats in a run-off.

Many reformist candidates had been disqualified from standing in the election
by the country’s non-elected Guardian Council.

Many? Even href="">NPR
puts the number on it, showing the scope of the GC’s rigging to get exactly the
result the BBC reports.

These elections are as free and fair as Cuba’s, where the only people allowed on
the ballot are those who pass the Fidel Castro test of loyalty to the junta.

The Reaper

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This primary has demonstrated the endgame of identity politics, perhaps even
worse in real life than it did in theory. Democrats have exploited racial and
gender politics for decades, but the irony is that it only succeeds when the
groups don’t compete directly against each other.
Democrats a generation ago decided that they couldn’t trust voters to select a
nominee any more than they could trust Americans to choose their diet or take
responsibility for their own health care. They created a system where voters
only account for 80% of the delegates to the convention, leaving the party
establishment with the deciding vote in any close contest.
It means the party will have to select a favorite between its two biggest
identity-politics constituencies, women and African-Americans.
Democrats are reaping what they have sown over the last forty years. For those
in the Democratic Party who don’t get that reference — one familiar to the
bitter Bible-clingers — it’s akin to chickens coming home

Dean For Obliteration After All?

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ABC News' Jonathan Greenberger and Teddy Davis Report: In an interview set to
appear in Saturday's Financial Times, Democratic National Committee Chairman
Howard Dean says that he thinks the Democratic race for president will come down
to superdelegates' perception of electability.

"I think the race is going to come down to the perception in the last six or
eight races of who the best opponent for McCain will be. I do not think in the
long run it will come down to the popular vote or anything else," said Dean.

Dean added that he thinks it is "very unlikely" that the superdelegates will
elevate a candidate who is trailing in pledged delegates and the popular vote
before adding that "it is possible" and that superdelegates have "every right to
do it."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good Luck With That: On Deterring Islamic Revolutionaries

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THERE ARE two reasons that a deterrence model will be as ineffective in
curbing Iranian aggression as Obama's appeasement model. First, as last week's
25th anniversary of the Iranian-sponsored bombing of the US embassy in Beirut
recalled, Iran has been attacking the US and its allies both directly and
through proxies since 1979. To date, not only has the US failed to deter such
attacks, it has never made Iran pay a price for them. With this abysmal track
record against a non-nuclear Iran, it is hard to see how the US can threaten a
nuclear-armed Iran with sufficient credibility to make a deterrence-based
strategy successful.

The second reason that basing US policy towards Iran on a deterrence model
will likely fail is because Iran's leadership has made clear that is not
necessarily concerned about the survivability of Iran.

Iran's leadership has made clear that they are not Iranian patriots but global
Islamic revolutionaries.

Imagine That

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Add Dr. Hatem Elhady to the list of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s
weird friends.

In the 1990s, the liberal mantra was “Sex is private.”

In the 21st century, it’s a new mantra: “That’s guilt by

Thus Obama cannot be faulted for hanging out with
slumlord/indicted sleazebag Tony Rezko.

Thus Obama cannot be faulted for hanging out with the pastor of
hate, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Thus Obama cannot be faulted for hanging out with unrepentant
terrorist Bill Ayers.

Thus Obama cannot be faulted for hanging out with terrorist
fund-raiser Dr. Hatem El-Hady (yes, Hatem is his first name).

It is difficult to imagine any other candidate hanging out with
such a diverse group of weirdoes and still be the front-runner for dogcatcher,
let alone president.

Then again, it was difficult to imagine Bill Clinton getting away
with perjury.

Where The "Living" Constitution Leads...

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Caesar was not given a choice between going to war and destroying the
republic or preserving it by going quietly to his doom. He could see that the
republic was doomed no matter what his choice was. He could either start a civil
war or let Rome slide into a tyranny run by the Optimates. Given that choice,
let the dice fly and hope you can put the pieces back together after you win. At
least, you can die trying.

The Democrats remind me of the Optimates in many ways. William Clinton seems
like a 21st century version of Pompey Magnus. That Bush has not played Caesar is
a tribute to two things: George W.'s fundamental decency, and the fact that the
United States is yet not in as bad a shape politically as the late Roman

The ability of Presidents to pardon themselves, and others in their
administrations, before leaving office is more evidence of the Framers' wisdom.
They were not unaware of classical politics.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Purge

One of the clearest signs of victory in a counterinsurgency is when the
insurgents lay down their arms to join the political process. href="">style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">Reuters reports that the Sunnis are
formally getting set to rejoin the government.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Parties that walked out of Iraq's government last year
have agreed to rejoin, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday, in what
could amount to a long-awaited political breakthrough.

The main Sunni Arab bloc, the Accordance Front, said it intended to submit a
list of candidates for cabinet positions within days and could be back in
Maliki's government soon. Its return has been a major goal of the United

This development doesn't mean plain sailing, but it is a beginning. The
reality is that each political faction will have to be purged of its extremist
elements, often by members of the same community.

A Few Facts

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How homo sapiens managed to claim the top of the food chain mystifies me, for no
other creature on earth-with the possible exception of the manicured French
poodle-exhibits such unrelenting silliness. Never in all of recorded history has
life been so good for so many, yet all humans can do is bite their nails

Really? Let me throw out a few facts. In 1900, the average life expectancy for an American was 47 years. In 2004, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, it was 78. In 1900, Americans devoted 50 percent of their incomes to putting food on the table. In the late 1990s, that figure had dropped to 10 percent. By the end of the 20th century, despite a five-fold increase in the U.S. population, forests continued to cover one-third of our land space (the world's forests have actually increased in size since the 1940s). Americans have three times more leisure hours over their lifetimes than did their ancestors in the late 19th century. I could go on and on.

The Cynically Missed Huddle

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He may simply be trying to communicate that they come at these issues from different angles and have honest differences of opinion. The idea of a politician saying “what he has to say” makes it sound like an accusation of pandering, but it needn’t be: He refers to himself saying “what he has to say” as a pastor, too. That is, he may be pointing to their differing professions and audiences as proof of their philosophical differences, one set of beliefs leading down one career path and another leading down another one (”two different worlds”). If that’s not what he meant — if he’s actually accusing Obama of lying through his teeth during The Speech That Saved The World — then Team Barry really should have huddled with him before this interview.

A Shocking Depth Of Cynicism

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HE'S BAAACK! href=",CST-NWS-sweet24.article">Wright
offering fresh fodder to Obama critics.
If I didn't know better, I'd think
Rev. Wright was trying to sabotage the Obama campaign.

UPDATE: Reader Kyle Bennett emails: "Why do you think you know better? What
do you think would happen to Wright's raison d'etre should this country
actually elect a black man as President?"

That comment, I'm sorry to say, reveals a shocking depth of cynicism. Which
is not to say he's wrong . . . .

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Deep Damage

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If everyone knows that William Ayers and his comrades in the Weather Underground were planning to set bombs to murder innocent people, why didn’t they do time?

Because the investigation against them was muffed thanks to the illegal activities of the Washington Post’s favorite Watergate answer man himself, Mark Felt — aka Deep Throat.

In 1972-73, FBI official Felt and his colleague Edward S. Miller authorized nine illegal break-ins at the homes of Weather Underground members. When the black bag jobs became public, the federal government decided it couldn’t prosecute the alleged terrorists. Indicted during the Carter Administration, Felt and Miller were tried in 1980 in Washington. Ever the patriot, former President Nixon voluntarily testified on the defendants’ behalf, but they were convicted anyway and pardoned by President Reagan in March 1981.

Mr. Nixon’s gesture was especially gracious in view of his suspicions in the early 1970s that Felt had been the Post’s famous source.

Not Particularly Controversial (Weather) Update

Does Barack Obama really consider these views to be "respectable" and "mainstream," as his web site indicates? If so, what does that tell us about Barack Obama and the hard-left milieu from which he emerged? Likewise, what are we to make of Obama's suggestion that Jeremiah ("God damn America") Wright's church is "not particularly controversial"? A politician can't pick his relatives, but he can choose his spiritual mentor and those who host fundraisers on his behalf. Barack Obama owes the American people an explanation of his choice of friends and political associates.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Out Of A Vacuum

Another factor, the officials say, is that European Muslims lacking military training and good Arabic-language skills are neither needed nor welcomed by Iraqi insurgents - unless they are willing to be involved in suicide missions.

And successful suicide bombers don't bring back much experience to Europe. To risk making light of a decidedly "un-light" subject, Iraq has proven more "boom" than boon for the Europeans who sought their jihad on Iraqi sand.

The other side of the coin (pardoning the COIN pun) remains that Iraq has also become a counterterrorism and counterinsurgency proving ground for our own forces, services and agencies, with the experiences paying off in future theaters within this same conflict.

But if one reads, watches or listens to the dominant news outlets, all that can seemingly be heard is our own costs and the enemies' benefits and gains. Somehow, apparently out of a vacuum, al-Qaeda is cornered in Iraq.

When Loons Conflict

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CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden's chief deputy in an audiotape Tuesday accused Shiite Iran of trying to discredit the Sunni al-Qaida terror network by spreading the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

The comments reflected al-Qaida's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri's increasing criticism of Iran. Al-Zawahri has accused Iran in recent messages of seeking to extend its power in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and through its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon

One of the questioners asked about the theory that has circulated in the Middle East and elsewhere that Israel was behind the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Al-Zawahri accused Hezbollah's Al-Manar television of starting the rumor.

"The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Calmly Clinging

A Tale of Two Cities. Or maybe a tale of two universes. At around the same time Lawrence Lessig presented his Gay Singing Jesus video to Google, a number of distinguished academics were debating the issue of whether "Islam is dominated by radicals". Lessig is a self-described Obama tech advisor.

Unsurprisingly the audience thought Lessig's video was funny. Fair enough. But over at the debate Reza Aslan, a Harvard educated Muslim was arguing, in response to a question by Daveed Garstein Ross that it was understandable and moderate behavior for a people to resort to violence to avenge an insult to their religion. (Page 55 of the PDF)

Actually what you said was 15 percent of Indonesians would resort to violence in defense of their religion, I can’t believe it’s as little as 15 percent. I would be shocked if it were less than 50 percent.

Lessig is unlikely to get any death threats Pennsylvania. In fact, the people who "cling" to their Bibles aren't expected to react at all.
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COTD: The Underlying Thought

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This has been some of the libs’ underlying thought all along — none of this kinder gentler war stuff — instead, wait till the bad guys are begging for it, then blast ‘em off the face of the earth. The point of Bush Administration policy was to head ‘em off at the pass and avoid the scenario of collateral mass horror involved in ultimate confrontations resulting from WMD proliferation. At least that was the point until the recentest NIE and Condi went native at the State Dept.

Out Of Touch? ... Or Out Of Mind?

Obama himself has equated Ayers' record of treason and violence to the intemperate talk of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Now Cass Sunstein goes further still - and compares unrepentant domestic terrorism  to libertarian theorizing! This is the milieu from which Obama comes, and the more the members of that milieu insist on its basic harmlessness and fundamental compatibility with American life, the more worried I get .... 

Vulgar Marxism Update

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This idea--that the economy trumps culture--isn't new. It's "materialism." The economic "base," Marxists would argue, determines the cultural "superstructure."

Actually this isn't simply Marxism--it's what, when I was in college at least, was called Vulgar Marxism. More sophisticated Marxists hypothesized various ways the cultural "superstructure" could interact with the economy or take on a life of its own. Less supple Marxists (Engels, if I remember) hew to the crude base/superstructure idea--with feudalism you get feudal beliefs, which give way to bourgeois beliefs once capitalism takes over.

1) Always entertain the possibility that you might be wrong and those whose "superstructural" behavior you are explaining are right. Call it the "Marxism of Doubt"! The left ignored this rule when it declared opposition to welfare one of those "scapegoating" behaviors that would thankfully disappear when Democrats delivered good jobs and good wages.

Exploitation From 10,000 (Square) Feet

So one of the famous passages from the "Audacity" sermon would appear to betoken a broader view that holds capitalism to be a fundamentally evil and exploitative phenomenon, both alien to African culture and literally damaging to contemporary Africans and the broader diaspora of Africans around the world. Authentic Christianity, in this view, appears to be a fundamentally African cultural phenomenon, true understanding of which results in antipathy to the capitalist system itself. This view is quite consistent with the broader trend of Black Liberation Theology, and perhaps also with Wright’s three trips to Cuba.

Welcome To Jimmah's "Ancient Document" Analysis Service

Following his meeting with terrorist leader Khaled Meshaal, Jimmy Carter says he now believes Hamas is “no longer determined to destroy the Jewish state.”

"It may be something they wish, but they know it's a fruitless concept," he said. Well, I guess that’s settled then, isn’t it?

And what about the fact that Hamas's charter continues to call for the destruction of Israel? Carter said Hamas leaders referred to the 1988 charter dismissively as "an ancient document."

Surely, if there’s one thing we should know about Islamists it’s that they generally venerate, rather than dismiss, “ancient documents.” 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hacking The Hackers

April 18,
2008:  It's now gotten out that Internet
security operators have been hacking hacker tools as a way to find out who the
hackers are, how they operate, and to shut them down.
the hackers has been am Internet security tool for years, and is also used by
Cyber War practitioners. For obvious reasons, it just doesn't get much
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Hillary: They Are Over On The Left Shoulder

MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."

The coverage of this story thus far is focused on the attempt by Clinton to explain away caucus state losses, but the important aspect --one which will be talked about for days and weeks and months-- is her admission that the actvists of the Democrats are far to the left of American political opinion. 

"MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan," she states and she does not even need to explain how far outside of the mainstream that position was and remains.

Being Here

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April 20, 2008 | This morning at the Coffee Bean, I spotted a bottle of water in the display case that had the words "Fat Free" written in a huge font on the label. Yes, there's no doubt about it now. We are truly a nation in decline.

I remember when bottled water really started to take off, it worried me that water labels said things like "The Thirst Quencher!" or "Nature's Best Hydrator!" Now we know that our cultural downward slide is almost complete.

"Hey, look, guys, let's not forget to remind people that there's no fat in water!" "Yes, because ... there's only water in water." "Right. In fact, maybe we should put 'Low sodium' and 'No sugar!' and 'Wheat-free' and 'Lactose-free' on there, too." "Definitely! Consumers need to understand that water is the most robust, scalable solution to the ongoing challenge of thirst."

MoveOn.LOL Says This Doesn't Exist

Welcome to the Ministry of Truth...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brigitte Fleeman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 10:58 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: continuing madness
> Considering the spirit of the dialogue on this list, some of
> you might beinterested in joining the following petition or
> contribute with other means
> of help to promote a "breaking the violence cycle" solution:
> _________________________________________________________________
> "Although our leaders are under tremendous pressure to act in the
> aftermath of the terrible events of Sept. 11th, it's important to
> let them know that we support justice, not escalating violence,
> which would only play into the terrorists' hands.
> I hope you'll join me in signing an online statement of support
> for "Justice, not Terror" at:
> Thank you.
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NYeT: What Ukranian Famine?

Journalists were warned they would be shut out of the trial completely
if they wrote news stories about the famine. Most of the foreign press
corp yielded to the Soviet demand and either didn't cover the famine or
wrote stories sympathetic to the official Soviet propaganda line that it
didn't exist. Among those was Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty
of the New York Times who sent one dispatch stating "...all
talk of famine now is ridiculous."
governments of the West adopted a passive
attitude toward the famine, although most of them had become aware of the
true suffering in the Ukraine through confidential diplomatic channels.
In November 1933, the United States, under its new president, Franklin
D. Roosevelt, even chose to formally recognized Stalin's Communist government
and also negotiated a sweeping new trade agreement. The following year,
the pattern of denial in the West culminated with the admission of the
Soviet Union into the League of Nations.
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O'Denouncement, Same As The Old Denouncement

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John Dickerson got an opportunity to take a train ride with Barack Obama, but Obama’s supporters might run Dickerson out of town on a rail if they read his column at Slate. Instead of fawning all over the candidate of Hope and Change, Dickerson instead reported on the Audacity of Hypocrisy. Dickerson quickly tired of hearing complaints about tit-for-tat politics from a campaign enthusiastically participating in it (via Memeorandum):

At the next train stop, I’m going to stand behind Senator Obama when he speaks. When he’s decrying the trivial distractions in politics, I think he may be crossing his fingers behind his back.

As the Senator’s campaign train wound from one speech where he denounced tit-for-tat politics to the next speech where he denounced tit-for-tat politics, his campaign hosted a conference call to engage in the practice the candidate was busy denouncing.

Quagmire Update

Ah, yes. Iraqi ground troops wiped out the Mahdi Army in Basra, but they couldn't do it without our Air Force. Quagmire!

Anyway, it really does not matter what the editors on 43rd Street think. Iran knows a battlefield defeat when it sees one, and has obviously decided that Moqtada al-Sadr is such a loser that it rewrote history:
Why his fighters have clung to those fight-then-fade tactics is unknown. But American military and civilian officials have repeatedly claimed that Mahdi Army units trained and equipped by Iran had played a major role in the unexpectedly strong resistance that government troops met in Basra.

Whether to counter those allegations or simply because, as many Iraqis have recently speculated, Mr. Sadr’s stock has recently fallen in Iranian eyes, the Iranian ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, on Saturday expressed his government’s strong support for the Iraqi assault on Basra. He even called the militias in Basra “outlaws,”

Eutopia, Ruled By Eumoroons

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The EU Commission on Monday rejected claims that producing biofuels is a "crime against humanity" that threatens food supplies, and vowed to stick to its goals as part of a climate change package.

"There is no question for now of suspending the target fixed for biofuels," said Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

"You can't change a political objective without risking a debate on all the other objectives," which could see the EU landmark climate change and energy package disintegrate, an EU official said.

Their comments came amid growing unease over the planting of biofuel crops as food prices rocket and riots against poverty and hunger multiply worldwide.

UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food Jean Ziegler told German radio Monday that the production of biofuels is "a crime against humanity" because of its impact on global food prices.

Suddenly, Stalin's relationship to the Ukraine seems poised for a modern replay with different actors. The first time was a tragedy...

I'm somewhat less than positively inclined to continue taking in moralizing condescension from the same group who have set the world record for carnage within the last blink of the historical eye -- it seems they have not lost their touch for it after all the faux repentence...