Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Registered Trademark

Remember the recent post on rocket artillery? It's back in the news. Bill Roggio reports that Special Group targets have been hit by GMLRS in Sadr City.

The US army targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System in Sadr City at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "There were six GMLRS rocket strikes on these Special Groups criminal command and control nodes," Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad, told The Long War Journal while refuting claims that the US used aircraft to attack. "We conducted a precision strike, hopefully got a few leaders, and sent a very strong message."

The arrival of a GMLRS rocket so suddenly that no one has time to even react has given it a psychological -- even a theological potency -- and militants call it the "the Hand of Allah". A registered trademark of General Dynamics.

Roads, Bubbles And Stars

A video captured from the Taliban in Afghanistan illustrates the power of
electronic warfare. The enemy is using a cell phone to trigger an IED on
American convoys. But the Americans have their own wizardry. Their vehicles are
blanketed by an electronic jamming bubble. Watch as the Taliban try to blow up
American vehicles traveling along the strategic Pech
road without success. Not even praying to Allah helps.

Kilcullen argues that road-building "separates the enemy from the
population ... builds connectivity with and confidence in government ... creates
jobs and promotes business, facilitates agriculture, and allows farmers to get
crops to market faster before they spoil". Ultimately fighting extremism in
the 21st century is a race to see which side can use technology better. One side
wants to use it to return the world to the 8th century and the other to reach
the stars.

Hell On Earth

From a reader who spent time observing life on the inside:

Years ago I worked on the film, "Malcolm X"; part of the film was shot at the prison in Rahway, New Jersey, a maximun security jail for life and long-term sentencees….

We got to know the guards who were constantly with us well; they told us the prison could not operate without the supply of drugs that came to the inmates in packages from the outside. The inmates receive their packages only at the beginning of each month, some packages are inspected, most are not. Towards the end of the month, the drugs start to dry up, and hostile behavior by the inmates increases commensurate with the decreasing supply….The guards were emphatic that without illegal drugs to pacify the population, the place would be a hell on earth, and absolutely impossible to control.

Grace To "Sorrow"

The mainline Protestant churches have long been beyond parody. America gave us the first Episcopal minister who's also a practising Muslim. Now Canada gives us a minister from the United Church (the merged Congregationalists, Methodist and Presbyterians) who wants to move beyond the whole Jesus thing:

Though an ordained minister, she does not like the title of reverend. It is one of those symbols that hold the church back from breaking into the future — to a time "when the label Christian won't even exist" and the Church will be freed of the burdens of the past. To balance out those symbols of the past inside West Hill, there is a giant, non-religious rainbow tapestry just behind the altar and multi-coloured streamers hang from the ceiling.

"The central story of Christianity will fade away," she explained. "The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away..."

just replace the Cross with a giant version of Robert Ferrigno's "I'm Sorry" button?  

Welcome To The Obamanation Of Gun Control

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Fifty-four shootings in two weekends. Shot-up bodies recovered in groups of three and five. Is this Ramadi? Basra? No.

Welcome to Chicago.

Note the fruits of gun control. Plus this on the Chicago P.D.'s up-armament: "If the department arms 10,000 of their officers with M4s, the police will have 9,900 more assault rifles in Chicago than the U.S. Marines presently have in Fallujah, Iraq."

Move along now. Nothing to see here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Nothing Incoherent?

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JOHN HINDERAKER: "The Democrats' domestic policies are an incoherent jumble: they want lower gasoline and heating oil prices, but they block the very things, oil drilling and the construction of new refineries, that would actually reduce them. At the same time, for reasons of 'climate change,' they want less consumption of oil and gas, which implies higher, not lower, prices." I think they want higher prices, but without taking responsibility for that outcome. In which case there's nothing incoherent about the approach at all.

Out Of Touch With Time

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RUNNING OUT OF GAS? "Not knowing the exact city could be excusable in the grind of a presidential campaign, although it’s not exactly flattering, either. Not understanding what month it is — getting it almost two months off — and miscalculating the amount of time left for the general election looks more problematic. . . . Obama’s the youngest candidate in the race. He’s the one who should be showing energy, enthusiasm, and presence. Instead, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have shown more of all these qualities, especially of late."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bush Was Out Of Touch?

After the entire motorcade pulled up, Clinton waited inside just a few moments as Wilfing got out of the passenger side and started the pumping process. With cameras mobbed together, Clinton hopped out of the truck without incident and joined Wilfing at the pump. She seemed very interested in the actual set up, acknowledging later that she hasn't pumped her own gas in years.

Got It?

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It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with about 200 tcf of proven reserves).

What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity. Americans favor both "energy independence" and cheap fuel. They deplore imports -- who wants to pay foreigners? -- but oppose more production in the United States. Got it?

What Massacre Again?

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I'm largely uninterested in this never-ending Jeremiah Wright controversy, and I'll leave the debunking of his nutty National Press Club rant to others in the blogosphere. But there is one minor point that deserves a correction. According to Wright, his "congregation stood in solidarity with the peasants in El Salvador and Nicaragua, while our government, through Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal, was supporting the Contras, who were killing the peasants and the Miskito Indians in those two countries."

I'm not sure I would be trumpeting my "solidarity" with the foul dictatorship of Daniel Ortega, but I suppose that's a matter of taste. It should be noted, though, that it was the Sandinista government that famously massacred truculent Miskito Indians, who then responded by fighting a prolonged guerilla war against the very government supported by liberation theologists like Wright.

Is anything Wright says true?

I'll Remember You

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In an interesting tussle, a virtually unnoticed clause was added almost at the least moment to a US energy bill that bars the government, in particular the Department of Defense, from using Alberta crude because it is deemed unconventional and too dirty.

A provision in the US Carbon Neutral Government Act incorporated into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 act effectively bars the US government from buying fuels that have greater life-cycle emissions than fuels produced from conventional petroleum sources.

The United States has defined Alberta oilsands as unconventional because the bitumen mined from the ground requires upgrading and refining as opposed to the traditional crude pumped from oil wells.

California Democrat Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Republican Tom Davis added the clause.

Thanks, guys. I'll remember you whenever I fill up.

I Was Only 9

Obama was indeed only 8 in early 1970. I was only 9 then, the year Ayers' Weathermen tried to murder me.

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of Feb. 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood.


[Ret. Col. Bud] Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint.

Mr. Day went on to fly again.
Look. I have plenty of and huge disagreements with McCain.

But Obama is just simply a callow joke compared to him.

There Was A Time

Those of you complaining may not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when a person's associates thought to provide insights into that person's character. I remember a time when a man named Ken Lay became a campaign issue.

That was way back in the election of aught-four. Things were different then; many people argued that lack of active-duty military service should practically disqualify a candidate, if you can believe such a thing, and Geraldine Ferraro, Joe Lieberman, and Bill Clinton were all widely respected within the Democratic party.

We've come a long way since then. The idea that a candidate should be grilled for views of other people in his church hasn't been commonplace in the Democratic party for tens of thousands of minutes, since Mitt Romney suspended his campaign.


I couldn't help but laugh out loud reading the following paragraph in the New York Times on President Bush's decision to keep the nature of the Syrian nuclear facility destroyed by Israel quiet since September.

The International Atomic Energy Agency last week criticized the United States for withholding information about the site and Israel for destroying it, saying both actions undermined efforts to verify whether it was a nuclear reactor being built with the assistance of North Korea.

You just can't make stuff like that up unless you've got a gig at The Improv this Friday night.

We have learned about IAEA "efforts to verify" the nature of nuclear facilities under recalcitrant regimes. North Korea did the verification for an unwitting IAEA. Iran remains in the process of "verification" fully 5 years after its clandestine program was brought to a yet again unwitting IAEA

Why The College Kids Love Him

...the question keeps on being asked whether the Wright affair is a sign of Obama's insincerity or his lack of judgment.  I think it's both, and I think it's all part of a bigger problem with Obama:  He's not yet a full adult.  What I mean by this is that he's still working out, in full view of all of us, his issues with his family (including that poor grandmother), his race, his religion, etc. (less so, alas, his far-left politics).  It's all very interesting, I guess, if you have any affinity with him to begin with (count me out), but it's all so undergraduate.  He conveys the notion of still being that bright college kid (although not as bright as advertised), asking all those big questions and making all those big speeches at the dinner table.  Moreover, as a corollary, he's a youngish overachiever who, like many of them as they age, doesn't handle very well the issue of what to do when his precociousness isn't sufficient to recommend him for further advancement.

When It Was True

Here's the basic thing: Wright and Obama's interests are at odds here. They've each gotten what they wanted from the other—"authenticity" for Obama, and prestige for Wright from having Obama in his pews—but at this point, each needs the other one to be discredited. Obama needs to get the millstone of black nationalism off his neck, and Wright needs Obama to lose the campaign to prove the truth of his black nationalism. They may not think in exactly these terms, as doubtless there is or was personal affection between the two, but as long as Obama wants to be president of all America, Wright's bigotry is poison; and as long as Wright wants to preach the evils of the white man, Obama's success discredits him.
My impression—and I'd like to see some survey data on point—is that more blacks believe that the government is engaged in a conspiracy against them now than believed it when it was true.

A Steaming Bag Of "Context"

Obama and his defenders have insisted that the bits from Wright’s sermons that got wide circulation last month had been taken out of context. His infamous sound bites were grounded in concrete theological or factual foundations, they claim. He was quoting other people. He’s done good things. Nothing to see here, folks.

And so God bless Wright because he’s left all of these folks holding a giant, steaming bag of ... well, let’s just call it a bag of “context.”

Let’s start with the news out of his speeches Sunday and Monday: Wright, Obama’s mentor and former pastor, is worse than we thought. He’s a bigot,
So, does he stand by his “God damn America” statement?

Well, yeah. He explained that until American leaders apologize to Japan for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as to black Americans for slavery and racism, we will remain a damnable nation.

More Incoming?

Wright can destroy Obama's general election chances with one serious interview, and
the New York Post suggests the rebuked reverend may be in a mood to do so, especially after being slammed for his "rants" yesterday:

The Post has learned. "After 20 years of loving Barack like he was a member of his own family, for Jeremiah to see Barack saying over and over that he didn't know about Jeremiah's views during those years, that he wasn't familiar with what Jeremiah had said, that he may have missed church on this day or that and didn't hear what Jeremiah said, this is seen by Jeremiah as nonsense and betrayal," said the source, who has deep roots in Wright's Chicago community and is familiar with his thinking on the matter.

The Hideous Woods

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Al Sharpton criticizing Barack Obama for urging non-violence in the Sean Bell verdict protest puts into dramatic relief the major racial conflict of our time – and it is inside the African-American community, not outside.

Unfortunately for all of us, Obama — whose instincts should have been better on this matter — has found himself trapped between appeasing these race baiters (and their constituencies) and taking what is truly a progressive (note the use of the word) stand against them because of his twenty year association with Reverend Wright. The candidate’s speech on racism, so lauded in the press, actually worsened the situation by implying an equivalency between the reverend’s excrescences and his own grandmother’s fear of being mugged. That Obama could even think this way makes us wonder about his ability to lead us out of these particular woods.

And woods they are indeed.

Jolly Good Show, Morons

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The man makes Wright et al look like the clowns they are, living in the land of the free and the home of the brave and talking about slavery, as if it’s still going on. Meanwhile, Wright went to Libya, stayed silent on Sudan, and damned America for what she did in South Africa (put in place sanctions that brought an end to apartheid). Wright can damn America, but he has nothing to say to the Muslim terror masters who enslave blacks and commit genocide by rape. Jolly good show, morons.

The O'Naif Liar

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AIDS is a U.S. government plot: An oldie but a goodie. "I believe our government is capable of doing anything," Wright said.

Obama did, finally, denounce these comments specifically. But what particularly angered him was the suggestion that Obama is insincere. Well, we all know the real enemy is cynicism!

So, was Obama sincere? Did he spent 20 years as an intimate of Wright and a parishioner of his church without ever having an inkling that the guy is a wacko hatemonger?

If so, can you think of anything more terrifying than sending such a naïf to the White House while there's a war on?

Where They Agree
Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright seem to agree that Wright speaks for black America:

 Obama, March 18: "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community."

 Wright, April 28: "This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. It is an attack on the black church."

Green Innumeracy Update (Part 21396)

Keep in mind that transportation is typically only 20 percent of a mature nation’s emissions. With increasing middle classes, the BRIC countries will also be buying every other electricity-drawing product on the market from laptops to lamps, not to mention ever bigger homes, businesses, etc.


Why is the auto in demand around the world? “Because,” says Apfel, drawing on the companies vast global marketing research, “the auto, like the Internet, is an enabler. It is the avenue to freedom. That is a universal value.”

Simply put, trying to manage 80-percent emissions cuts by 2050 would require centralized control of this “universal value” on the order of a totalitarian state, and all the economic chaos and threat to personal freedoms that would engender.

Greenie Windbag Nutjobs Will Solve All Our Problems

Last week, the Scottish Executive put the kibosh on a 181-turbine wind farm, after opposition from parties concerned about the wind farm’s impact on the environment, highlighting the ongoing battle among environmentalists over wind-energy development. The Guardian reports:

 “The Scotsman reported that ‘environmental agencies welcomed the news’ of the massive wind power project's demise, thanks to concerns about impacts on rare peat bog and birdlife habitat. . . . The Lewis wind farm's impact on the landscape would have been substantial - with 181 turbines each standing 140 metres tall, erected on massive concrete bases drilled into the fragile peat surface
Similarly, the British Wind Energy Association — environmentalists all — is furious that £5m has been wasted on a failed scheme, and warns that this will damage investor confidence in new wind projects.”
Wind energy has got its work cut out for it among the greenies.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This Day Has Come

Actually, Wright told the NY Times this day would come last year:

"If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me," Mr. Wright said with a shrug. "I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen."
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Ken Lee

The power of the modern electronic communications to garble messages was never more starkly displayed than on Bulgarian TV.

I'll bet you don't know the lyrics to that hit single, "Ken Lee".

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Of The Parent Brand

Maybe James Lewis is onto something when he argues that the "moment of truth for the Left has arrived" because the ideology espoused by Jeremiah Wright and his enthusiastic audience is more a product of the Left's idea mill than anything else. You'll find equivalent versions of the Wright ideology for Latinos, Indians, gays, lesbians and environmentalists. Wright is part of a product line. A small part.

And that's why Obama's associations with people like Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, in conjunction with Jeremiah Wright are more significant than they appear at first glance. They imply a loyalty to the parent brand, the Left, more than to its special product line for black people.

I doubt whether the Left will ever meet it's moment of truth. They exist in entirely parallel universes.

God Damn America: Crank It Up Edition

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American."

"It is an attack on the black church."
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Reality, Meet Divorce

The North Korean initiative to proliferate plutonium production technology and capability by secretly building a facility for Syria "might seriously have undermined Washington's diplomatic efforts," don't you think? At what point are well-intended diplomatic efforts recognized as the extortion tools they are in the eyes of a recalcitrant NoKor regime?

For crying out loud, North Korea just attempted to complete a plutonium production plant with zero civilian purpose for a state sponsor of terrorism. Yet somehow, talking about NoKor's actions is more damaging than NoKor's actual actions. How divorced from reality can Washington's thinking be? And how genuine could any deal inked under those circumstances be? This is who we are dealing with, and they're neither mysterious nor nuanced.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Without Losing Face

North Korean military engineers are completing an underground runway beneath a
mountain that can protect fighter aircraft from attack until they take off
at high speed through the mouth of a tunnel.

The 6,000ft runway is a few minutes’ flying time from the tense front line
where the Korean People’s Army faces soldiers from the United States and
South Korea.

Democrats suggested hardliners
around Dick Cheney, the vice-president, had forced the issue to try to wreck
the talks with Kim.

However, there is a more persuasive argument. Analysts in Seoul see the
American disclosures as a sly way to keep the negotiations alive. Kim had
refused to make a “full declaration” of his nuclear programme by a December
31 deadline; now, in effect, the CIA has done it for him. “The revelation
was a highly orchestrated one,” commented The Korea Herald, adding that it
“enabled” Pyongyang to “make its declaration without losing face”.