Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Hiding Taqiyya

As a consequence, he argues, "we still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war-fighting doctrine laid down by Muhammad, how it might be applied today by an increasing number of Islamic groups, or how it might be countered.” These doctrines include (a) the "war of deceit," which permits Muslims to lie and dissemble whenever they are under the authority of the infidel and, in fact, places deceit on a par with physical courage as an attribute for waging war and (b) the "Abode of War versus the Abode of Islam" dichotomy, which maintains that Islam must always be in a state of animosity vis-à-vis the infidel world and, whenever possible, must wage wars until all infidel territory has been brought under Islamic rule.

NYeT! NYeT! NYeT! (Part 8,896,775,835,754)

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Here’s a better question. The Times mentions in the story that the interrogator refused to be interviewed for it; everything in it is based on interviews with his colleagues — some of whom, do note, aren’t named. If he had cooperated and talked to them, would they have agreed not to identify him in return? There’s no way to tell but I suspect so, which makes the decision to name him essentially … punitive. Especially the gratuitous detail about who his current employer is and what he’s up to these days.

As I say, though, don’t let it stop you from reading the piece. The part about Poland being the 51st state is alone worth the price of admission. Exit quotation:

“He’d be chatty, almost friendly,” the officer added. “He liked to debate. He got to the stage where he’d draw parallels between Christianity and Islam and say, ‘Can’t we get along?’ ”

By this account, [the interrogator] would reply to the man who had overseen the killing of nearly 3,000 people: “Isn’t it a little late for that?”

OSonorous Ones

As for the Academic Left, it wasn’t merely biased. It was beyond biased. On May 16, 1935, for example, a Columbia Teacher’s College prof “surveyed” tapes of 1,000 radio speakers to determine who had the best voice. Her criterion was pronunciation of words such as “government” and “capitalism.” She awarded FDR first prize out of all 1,000. (Father Coughlin, among her losers, lost because he had a “pulpit” voice that made him sound unnatural. Huey Long, she said, could be “ineffective and poor.”) The professor, Jane Zimmerman, said of FDR that “there is a sense of security in his voice.” The papers then reported Zimmerman’s findings as though they were objective and significant.

Mask Slippage (Part 92346)

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When the mask has slipped badly enough for Mark Shields to not only see it but get visibly angry about it, trouble is around the corner.  And Shields lowers the boom in his column today:

Sounds good until you check the facts. McCain has raised a grand total of $650,000 from the lobbying industry (Obama pledges not to accept lobbyists’ or PAC money), according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and just 1 percent of his contributions are from PACs. Talk about a paper tiger.

But everybody remembers the most famous 527 group of all, the 2004 “Swift boats” attack ads questioning John Kerry’s bravery in Vietnam. Here are the numbers: The 527 spending has heavily favored Democrats over Republicans in every election cycle since 2000. In 2004, Democratic-leaning 527 groups spent $316 million to Republican-leaning 527s’ $113 million. So far in 2008, the 527 spending has been $116 million to $69 million in favor of the Democrats.

No Thanks. I'm Not Having Any Phoney Bridges Today. Click.

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Not everyone's buying it:

Make no mistake: the man who admits he looks like Urkel is sounding about as post-racial as the Rev. Al Sharpton. Or about as post-racial as someone who spent the last 20 years under the spiritual tutelage of the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Fr. Michael Pfleger. Someone with that background ought to have some humility when it comes to dealing the race card, but he has chosen it as his opening gambit.

Humility isn't his strong suit.

UPDATE: Juliette Ochieng comments:

This is just pathetic . . . . Most people couldn't care less about your name and your color, Senator Obama. They fear being led by you because you have no substantive legislative record, you're a chronic liar and, after explicitly stating that you choose your friends carefully, you have repeatedly and systematically made friends with people who hate this country.

You would "bridge the divide," Senator, by burning that bridge.


Suicide At ONuremberg

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"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo," Obama said in the interview. "What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks--for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center--we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial."

The Obama antiterror strategy is to wait until terrorists kill American civilians, then arrest them and put them on trial. Of course, when we tried that in the 1990s, the eventual result was another attack on the World Trade Center. This one was far more successful, destroying the complex and multiplying the death toll nearly 500-fold.

Oh, and the men who carried out the attack were never arrested and put on trial, because it was a suicide attack. Another failure of the Bush administration!

They Should Practice Up On Their Chinese

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PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's annual update on confidence in institutions finds just 12% of Americans expressing confidence in Congress, the lowest of the 16 institutions tested this year, and the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35-year history of this question.

Come to think of it, most of them should feel right at home in the People's Republic. Why else would they get such a pathetic rating?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Facts Optional

Obama says that "I... cut taxes for working families," citing Illinois Public Act: PA 91-0700, the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit of 2000. Given the collaborative nature of any legislation, Obama's claim that "I cut taxes" is pretentious at best. As it happens, though, Obama was only a minor player with respect to the Earned Income Tax Credit Act. In fact, he was not one of the bill's chief sponsors. He signed on as one of 37 co-sponsors on April 15, 2000, shortly before the act was signed into law on May 11.

In the ad, Obama also claims that "I…extended health care for wounded troops who had been neglected." Wow, that's quite an accomplishment for a single Senator. The ad cites Public Law 110-181, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. Funny thing, though: Obama didn't show up to vote on that bill in the Senate. So it's hard to see how Obama can take credit for having personally "extended health care for wounded troops."

But that's Obamaworld--the facts are optional.

M Obama -- Persecuted Rocket Scientist

James Taranto observes, "The Tuskegee outrage was real. But the notion that the Tuskegee experiment—which began in the Jim Crow era (1932) and ended in 1972, eight years after the Civil Rights Act became law—reflects the attitudes of American governmental and medical institutions today is an urban legend, a superstition—and potentially a deadly one.

There is some controversy about the HPV vaccine, as some question whether it ought to be government policy to vaccinate all preteen girls for a sexually-transmitted disease. Nonetheless, if this characterization is accurate, Obama canceled a vaccination program not out of a concern about parental consent or encouraging promiscuity, but out of a supremely farfetched fear that white doctors at her own hospital had some secret, sinister motive for offering the vaccine to African-American girls.

I'm Sure Mayor ODaley Would Never Let That Happen

A fairly glaring whopper from Obama, mentioned in this op-ed by economics professor Jay Mandle in the Washington Post:

During a Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, for example, Obama said that "we have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50." His campaign's own data from January 2007 through January 2008 show that 36 percent of donated funds were from small donors. Obama probably meant that 90 percent of the individuals who contributed were small donors, but the number of donors has not been verified.

If the campaign isn't able to keep up, and donors don't have to report a donation of less than $200 to the FEC, what is to stop someone from working around the $2,300 per candidate per race limit by donating, say, $19,900 in a hundred donations of $199?

A Sneak Preview Of The New "Consensus Science" On Earthquakes

CBS News and the Associated Press were quick to regurgitate claims that global warming has increased the intensity of earthquakes fivefold in the past 20 years. But had either taken the time to investigate, they would have discovered that both the source's facts and credentials were, if you'll pardon the expression, on very tremorous ground.
In a Wednesday piece — suddenly vanished on Thursday — attributed to the AP, CBS warned in its subtitle that a new "study" has found "Seismic Activity 5 Times More Energetic Than 20 Years Ago Because Of Global Warming."   Based on a Tuesday Market Wire press release, the article went on to say that:
"The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of ‘global warming' is comprehensively and urgently addressed."

Can Even The World's Champion Cynics Finally Have Had Enough?

From one of my most careful and accurate pen pals:

For all yesterday and in to the night, the people of the city of Mashad, one of the most religious cities, on the north east corner of Iran, has been under the people’s demonstration. The news is that over 8,000 to 10,000 people were on the streets demonstrating against the regime of the mullahs. 1500 Students of the Ferdowsi University there have been demonstrating against the government. The slogans were: Death to the revolution. "Guns, tanks and Basijies are not effective any more." "The economic Mafia must be exposed. Illegitimate government must resign Must resign." "We are waves who will move." The Basijies, paramilitary force, have used chains, axes, electric batons, teargas and they were shooting over the crowd’s heads. There has been report of one person shot, hundreds injured and over 200 were arrested at the university. The number of arrests on the streets is not known.

Here is the video of the demonstrations.

I've had close to enough too...

Corruption Shocka

This discussion document (dated March 11, 2008) would appear to support the contention that BofA essentially wrote the bailout section of the bill. Almost all of BofA's preferences are mirrored in the Dodd-Shelby legislation. The BofA document even offers PR tips, such as "We believe that any intervention by the federal government will be acceptable only if it is not perceived as a bail-out of the bond market."

The president has threatened to veto Dodd-Shelby because it would "unfairly benefit lenders who made bad loans." The Senate will resume debating the bill on Monday.

The BofA doc is worth posting here for a couple of reasons: First, the similarities between BofA's ideal bill and the bill before the Senate are obvious even to the layperson — read the document, then read David C. John's analysis of the bailout and see for yourself.

Of Rabbits And Horseshoes

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If police departments are usually stingy with their information, housing departments are even more so. Getting addresses of Section 8 holders is difficult, because the departments want to protect the residents’ privacy. Betts, however, helps the city track where the former residents of public housing have moved. Over time, she and Janikowski realized that they were doing their fieldwork in the same neighborhoods.

About six months ago, they decided to put a hunch to the test. Janikowski merged his computer map of crime patterns with Betts’s map of Section8 rentals. Where Janikowski saw a bunny rabbit, Betts saw a sideways horseshoe (“He has a better imagination,” she said). Otherwise, the match was near-perfect. On the merged map, dense violent-crime areas are shaded dark blue, and Section8 addresses are represented by little red dots. All of the dark-blue areas are covered in little red dots, like bursts of gunfire. The rest of the city has almost no dots.

Welcome To Chicago

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The Post especially gags on the notion that Obama abandoned public financing as a “bold good-government move”. That was supposedly the reason he supported public financing of elections. Private funding was seen as an invitation to corruption and influence. What does it say about Obama that he believes that, and yet decides to go where the money is? The word that springs to mind isn’t “bold”. It’s “hypocrite”.

If the Times still feels the need to rationalize Obama’s moves through outright lies, the Post has had the scales fall from their eyes with this last betrayal. Welcome to Chicago, boys.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

That's A Penny To You, 62 Cents For Me

Besides, very few proponents of offshore drilling believe that this idea alone is the way to reduce gas price.

Note that the EIA report cited by the Obama fan says that with offshore drilling, domestic crude oil production would only increase from 2.2 million barrels per day to 2.4 million barrels per day, while the natural gas production increases only 1.8 percent higher than keeping the areas off limits to drilling. Gross’ article states, “eliminating the Congressional ban on exploration and production on the coasts and on federal lands that are currently off limits for exploration would allow for the production of oil and natural gas equivalent to about 3 million barrels per day.”)

Also note that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer uses the magic math to insist that another million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia would bring the price down by $25 a barrel and 62 cents a gallon, while the exact same amount coming from ANWR would lower prices by a penny.

No And No

Like so much that Obama says, this is absurd. Obama knows that he is raising far more money than the Republicans, so how are the Republicans "gaming the system"? Here, apparently, is the explanation:

Obama said McCain and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

"And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations," Obama said.

This was too much even for the Associated Press, which commented:

Despite that claim, few Republican-leaning groups have weighed into the presidential contest so far. In fact, Obama allies such as are the ones that have been spending money on advertising against McCain.

In past elections, spending by Democratic-allied 527s like MoveOn and ACT has dwarfed spending by Republican-allied groups.


The charter provision on the appeal rights of the Nuremberg defendants was short
and sweet. There weren't any. Article 26 was short and sweet: "The judgment of
the Tribunal as to the guilt or the innocence of any Defendant shall give the
reasons on which it is based, and shall be final and not subject to review."

In short, the procedural protections afforded the Guantanamo detainees under
the statute before the Supreme Court in Boumediene substantially exceed
those accorded the Nuremberg defendants. Obama's unfavorable comparison of the
legal treatment of the Guantanamo detainees with that of the Nuremberg
defendants suggest either that he does not know what he's talking about, or that
he feels free to take great liberties with the truth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RezOrama ... bama

We've commented before on Barack Obama's evolving positions regarding the Iraq war. Initially a strong opponent of military action in Iraq, by July 2004 Obama was saying that at this stage there was not much difference between his position on the war and that of President Bush. Earlier that year, on April 5, 2004, Obama surprised an interviewer by denying that he had advocated a troop withdrawal. As can be seen below, he stated, "we’ve got to make sure that we secure and execute the rebuilding and reconstruction process effectively and properly and I don’t think we should have an artificial deadline when to do that."

What, then, prompted Obama's insistence that we resist "artificial" withdrawal dates and finish the job? Fernandez suggests that the explanation may reside in Obama's relationship with his friend and backer the crooked Tony Rezko, who in April 2004 was attempting to secure multi-million-dollar contracts to build and operate a power plant in Kurdish Iraq.
Sorry. It's been a long day and I just couldn't resist that title.

RTWT. Wretchard rocks on this one.

Barry Gump: It's ILLEGAL Now!

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“Ahmed, take the vest off. IT’S OVER MAN!! TAKE THE VEST OFF!! IT’S ILLEGAL NOW!”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Unholy Axis

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We know Iran bought uranium-enrichment technologies from the Khan ring. It could easily have bought this blueprint, as well - or, perhaps, stolen a copy from an unwary ring operative.

But the real lesson here is that stopping nuclear proliferation is almost impossible in the digital age. When sensitive and supposedly top-secret information can be transmitted around the world at the click of a mouse, the only sure safeguard against a rogue regime acquiring nuclear weapons is . . . removing the rogue regime.

The president who best understood this was not George W. Bush, but Bill Clinton.

Back in February 1998, Clinton warned an audience at the Pentagon: "We have to defend our future" from an "unholy axis" of rogue nations using the global economic system to try to get weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, Clinton spoke of an "unholy axis" four years before Bush coined the phrase "axis of evil."

How about that memory hole, huh?

Gifts For Clowns

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Let me see if I get this right:

Sen. Dodd Calls the CEO shopping for a mortgage doing what "millions of people do" and upon hearing he¹s a friend of Angelo thinks this is the same deal "Millions" will be able to "negotiate."

Then Kent "No Clue" Conrad also calls his buddy Angelo (whom he¹s never met) and having no idea that he's getting a better deal.

I'm puzzled. If Mr. Dodd and Conrad are really this stupid that they call the CEO of a national mortgage company looking for a loan and don¹t expect a special deal they¹re too dumb to be in congress. If on the other hand they think we're stupid enough to believe these lame excuses they out to be run out of town on a rail.

Finally the unanswered question is who gave these two clowns Angelo's phone number?

Good point.

It Does

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However it turns out for John McCain this fall -- and so far he's running his general election campaign the way Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ran counterinsurgency ops -- the Arizona Republican is sure to carry at least one battleground state by a landslide. That state is called Iraq.

But I did sit down last week with four key provincial Iraqi leaders, Sunnis and
Shiites, who -- without actually endorsing Mr. McCain -- made their views
abundantly clear.

The Iraqis are even more incredulous about Mr. Obama's willingness to negotiate with Iran, which they see as a predatory regime. "Do you Americans forget what the Iranians did to your embassy?" asks the governor. "Don't you know that Ahmadinejad was one of [the hostage takers]?"

did not stop fingering their prayer beads, as if their future hinges on their
ability to make their case to the American public. They're right: It does. Which
is why Iraq, all but alone among the nations, will be praying for a McCain
victory on the first Tuesday in November

Monday, June 16, 2008

Let Them Eat Splenda

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I feel as if Bizarro World is slowly leaking into ours, and one day we will see Superman and note he has that ugly grey faceted skin, and wonder when that happened. Well, we just didn’t pay attention to the signs. In Bizarro World, illegal foreign combatants are granted constitutional rights; in Bizarro World, people react to high gas prices and energy shortfalls by refusing to boost domestic capacity. You have John McCain nixing ANWAR drilling and lending his sonorous monotone to cap-and-trade; you have Obama noting that gas prices rose too quickly, which presumably means he would have favored a gradual rise to ninety-buck-a-tank fill-ups
But oil is different. It’s necessary! So is food. Farmers are doing well. Let us therefore set the acceptable level for corn farmers, take away the excess profits, invest it new forms of sweeteners or biofuels farmers cannot yet produce, and give people rebates for Splenda to compensate for the price of high fructose corn syrup.

Welcome To The O'Constitution

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One might expect a Constitutional law expert to understand the historical record of the Nuremberg trials, especially if using them as an example in his speeches. Unfortunately, Barack Obama showed his lack of preparation yet again in Pennsylvania as he praised the Boumediene decision by the Supreme Court last week. Obama claimed that it represented a return to American values as represented by the Nuremberg trials — which actually didn’t allow habeas corpus through American civil courts at all:

Obama, a former senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, cited “that principle of habeas corpus, that a state can’t just hold you for any reason without charging you and without giving you any kind of due process — that’s the essence of who we are.

It’s not as if the military tribunals offered by Congress and the Bush administration fell below Nuremberg standards, either. They allowed for even more rights for the defendants than Nuremberg,

The Downside Of A Deal

It would have been nice if the Judge hadn't found out about the money Auchi sent; the money Rezko wasn't going to use to skip. Then he could have been free and in the good graces of his friends. Maybe. All in all, given the complications of the situation maybe the best Tony Rezko can hope for is life imprisonment in jail. It's possible that there's nothing Fitzgerald can threaten Rezko with that would remotely compare with the downside of making a deal. Which is probably why the prosecutors have denied asking Rezko to turn in any associates.

The Tinfoil Apocalypse (Part 89635)

A draft report released by a former U.N. weapons inspector found that the international smuggling ring that supplied nuclear designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea also obtained the blueprints for an advanced nuclear warhead, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

David Albright, a well-known nuclear weapons expert, said that designs for a nuclear device small enough to fit on a ballistic missile were found on computers belonging to the now-defunct smuggling ring of rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Since all the industrial and engineering difficulties are probably going to be solved over the course of several decades there is a real probability of a future nuclear September 11. Like the original September 11, it may feature multiple simultaneous attacks. Perhaps upon the original cities, perhaps upon a dozen or more.

Probably not too many parts left to go I'm afraid...

Who's Reeling Now?

That's the Associated Press's headline on this story by Robert Reid, who has been reporting from Iraq since 2003. It represents another milestone in mainstream media acknowledgement of the improving situation there. Reid writes:

Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.

Reid praises Iraq's security forces:

Shiite militiamen are reeling after military setbacks in Basra and Baghdad's Sadr City districts this spring.

Note that the Iraqi government's successes in Baghdad and Basra were initially reported in the American press as disasters. Those early reports of failure were trumpeted by our media far louder than news of the ultimate success of the mission.

The Enigma

This is, as I said above, pure speculation. But the administration's success in preventing new attacks after September 11 has long suggested the possibility of an intelligence coup equal in magnitude to Enigma. If bin Laden's security was penetrated years ago, it would explain why the administration has preferred to leave him at large despite the occasional annoyance of his propaganda missives.

If the Times' report is correct, then perhaps President Bush has decided that al Qaeda is sufficiently degraded, or the intelligence recoverable through bin Laden is no longer sufficiently valuable, so that it makes sense to try to kill or capture him. No doubt President Bush would like to bequeath his successor a world free of both bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. So it's pure speculation, but for what it's worth, I wouldn't be shocked to see bin Laden killed or captured between now and January.

At Least Both Ways

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The first-term Illinois senator said he told Zebari that if he wins the White House, “an Obama administration will make sure that we continue with the progress that’s been made in Iraq, that we won’t act precipitously.”

What’s that mean? He’s not going to modify his withdrawal plan in the heat of the campaign so this is as close as we’re going to get to a sign that he might be open to revisiting his timetable. Don’t forget, before she got booted from the campaign, Samantha Power all but admitted that we weren’t going to be out in 16 months, regardless of what Obama’s stump speech might say. Or do I have it backwards, and this is just the lip service he’s paying to centrists who might be taking a second look at the war while he crafts a “declare victory and go home” strategy?