Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Living Death Of Palestine


This is exactly backward. Of all the twisted and corrupt Arab cultures, the most dysfunctional, by far, is that of the Palestinians. This is because, for more than a half-century now, the Palestinians have been used by their fellow Arabs and Muslims as political tools. Abetted by the United Nations, the Palestinians' fellow Arabs have kept them living in "refugee" camps for generations. The Palestinians' commitment to terrorism has made it impossible for them to develop a functioning economy. Their educational system is a joke, dedicated mostly to perpetuating the same pathologies that have made the West Bank and Gaza among the world's most miserable places. If Israel were to disappear tomorrow, the Palestinians' pathetic situation would not improve an iota. If anything, it would get worse.

The Not Iraq

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And it is in the Middle East — in Iraq — that the Islamic extremism has been most publicly defeated and humiliated; it is in Iraq where a dictatorial Arab regime has been overthrown. An ordinary observer might be forgiven for thinking the defeat of al-Qaeda right next door to Saudi Arabia was a great victory on strategic ground, which makes the efforts to ascribe improvements in Iraq to Moqtada al Sadr, Iran or the Anbar Sheiks even more puzzling. And as for Afghanistan, even Barack Obama could not seem to muster much of an argument for its strategic importance. At a July 26, 2008 McClatchy Newspaper interview he said:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ken Salazar: Lemming Party Discipline

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How high will Democrats let the price of gas get before considering the option of drilling for more oil?  Ken Salazar (D-CO) has set the bar in today’s action in the Senate.  Gas can hit $10 per gallon and the Democrats still won’t act:

Republicans should use a very simple message. We have enough oil to satisfy American needs for at least the next 100 years, but Democrats won’t let you have it. They’d rather you pay $10 per gallon at the pump and watch food prices increase 250% rather than agree to drilling. If you don’t want $10 per gallon gas, vote Republican.

I'm ashamed to be a Coloradoan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NYeT Stopped Clock Watch

The New York Times writes on the canceled troop visit, but even they can't completely stifle a bit of skepticism on the Obama camp's official explanation.

Assertions in early news reports that the Pentagon had told Mr. Obama he could not visit the medical center were incorrect, said Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman. He said the military personnel in Germany had made arrangements for Mr. Obama’s visit and were surprised when it was called off.

The cancellation provided one of the few sour notes in an overseas trip that otherwise seemed to be well orchestrated. It offered an opening on a subject, military affairs, that the McCain campaign believes Mr. Obama is vulnerable on.

If the story behind the story of the canceled troop visit has run its course, one question remains: Why didn’t Mr. Obama leave his aides behind, even the retired general, and make the visit by himself?

The OMemory Hole Today

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In fact, the worst you can say of Obama's position on Iraq (where we also didn't declare war but where we did have a long series of U.N. resolutions putting the Saddam Hussein regime outside international law) is that he was a member of that quite large and undistinguished group that constituted the president's fair-weather wartime friends. Shortly after Baghdad had fallen at a then-cost of perhaps 100 U.S. fatalities, he said publicly that there was no serious difference between the Bush position and his own. It was only by retro-engineering his politics, and pointing to a speech he had made in Chicago very much earlier in the Iraq debate, that he was able to create the idea that he had been both braver and more prescient than his rivals for the nomination.

But Is It True?

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Asked about these predictions on Sunday's Meet the Press, Obama told NBC's Tom Brokaw that "I know that there's that little snippet that you ran," referring to the MSNBC clip, "but there were also statements made during the course of this debate in which I said there's no doubt that additional U.S. troops could temporarily quell the violence. But unless we saw an underlying change in the politics of the country, unless Sunni, Shia, Kurd made different decisions, then we were going to have a civil war and we could not stop a civil war simply with more troops."

This has become an Obama meme -- that during the debate over the surge he acknowledged that more US troops would mean a temporary reduction in violence.

But is it true?

McCain Wakes Up At Last?

The bottom line is that Senator Obama's words, for all their eloquence and passion, don’t mean all that much. And that’s the problem with Washington. It is not just the Bush Administration, and it’s not just the Democratic Congress. It's that everyone in Washington says whatever it takes get elected or to score the political point of the day.  If Senator Obama doesn’t have the strength to speak openly and directly about how he will address the serious challenges confronting America?  How will he be strong enough to really change Washington? We don't need another politician in Washington who puts self-interest and political expediency ahead of problem solving. We need to start putting the country’s interests first, and come together to keep American families safe and help them realize their dreams for a better life.


For the Times, this whole election is just that: "the ultimate test of racial equality."  If Obama loses, it can only be for one reason:  America failed this test, and is irremediably racist.  Debates about Iraq, the economy, energy, taxes, and all the rest, are just sideshows.  If you're racially enlightened, you'll vote for Obama.  If you're not you won't. 
It must be so gratifying, and self-satisfying, to think like this.  No need to think.  Just divide the world into right-thinking people and evil racists who vote for Republicans.


The Wall Street Journal, it should be noted, had no difficulty grasping the two main findings of the Science study: that “girls and boys have roughly the same average scores on state math tests,” as Keith J. Winstein reported on July 25, but that “boys more often excelled or failed.” That the New York Times, in an article over twice as long as the Journal’s, couldn’t manage to squeeze in a reference to the fact that boys outperformed girls at the top end of the curve should put its readers on notice: trust nothing you read here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Miasma

The offensive against al Qaeda and the remaining Sunni Arab terrorists continues. For many Iraqi troops involved, this has become a training exercise with real bullets. The Sunni terrorists are outnumbered, out-thought and outfought. Many more are surrendering and accepting amnesty. Continuing police corruption is ruining this reconciliation opportunity. But corruption and factionalism are the twin curses that really make Iraq such a hellhole. It's long been ignored by the rest of the world. But with the religious fanaticism, and all the oil money, these local problems become international ones. The Middle Eastern miasma is not going away by itself.  

Kingdoms Of Fauxtoshop

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And so we are facing a situation vis-a-vis Iran that is remarkably similar to
the one we had to contend with re: Iraq.  A hostile dictatorship, actively
attacking American soldiers, sponsoring terrorism, and crushing its own
people.   Oddly enough, Iran’s greatest risk is convincing us they are
on the verge of an atomic bomb.  And they’re trying.

Of course, we’re not their only audience, a lot of their deception is aimed
at their own people.  They are trying to convince Iranians that there is no
hope for them from the West, because the Islamic Republic is just too
potent.  But that, too, runs the risk of backfiring.

And that’s why they’re killing anyone who steps out of line.  Thirty in
one day today.

How will this play out?  I don’t know.  This administration
certainly doesn’t want to attack Iran.  But we may be deceived into doing

Seismicity Lost

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John McCain continued to press Barack Obama on the aborted visit to Landstuhl today.  In speaking with George Stephanopolous, he underscored the event as a demonstration of poor judgment and skewed priorities by Obama and his campaign.  He scoffed at the notion that the Pentagon would tell a Senator that he could not visit wounded troops on a trip abroad, and McCain told Stephanopolous how he would react if told that:

In Landstuhl, Germany, when I went through, I visited the hospital. But the important thing is that, if I had been told by the Pentagon that I couldn’t visit those troops, and I was there and wanted to be there, I guarantee you, there would have been a seismic event. And so, I believe he had the opportunity to go without the media. And I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.

Over At Last?

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International pressure seems to have finally had an effect on South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.  The man who almost singlehandedly shielded Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe from regional and global efforts to oust him has finally told his crony that he has two choices — resign or face prosecution for a myriad of crimes.  Mugabe must hand real power to his political enemy, Morgan Tsvangirai, or else face complete isolation:

The US, UK, and most of Europe can congratulate themselves on keeping pressure on Mugabe and Mbeki.  Russia and China should be ashamed of their intercession at the UN on Mugabe’s behalf.  And South Africans should take a long, hard look in the mirror to see the dissipation of their moral high ground in their country’s active protection of Mugabe for most of the last decade.

I'll believe it when I see it...