Thursday, August 31, 2006

Still crazy after all these years

I once heard a speaker at a symposium on the American Presidency describe Teddy Roosevelt this way. "He was not the Smartest American President or the dumbest. He was not the tallest or the shortest. He was not the thinnest or the fattest. But he definitely was the craziest."

He once said that he felt that there was nothing he could not do when he wore his special cowboy suit.

Upon shooting his first buffalo he abandoned himself to a celebration which involved screaming and shouting while jumping up and down and dancing about. This is said to have lasted for several minutes. Witnesses report that he had the same reaction in Cuba when he killed his first human being.

When elevated to the presidency he did much to grow the federal government to the detriment of the average citizen's wealth and freedom.

It is good to see others taking note of the disaster that TR's administration was for the nation. From today's American Spectator website:

A lot of conservatives seem to love Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps because he came across as a rugged individualist and a strong president. It didn't hurt that he looked great in a cowboy hat.

Yet TR did much to increase the scope of federal power, and saddle us with a federal income tax. Congress had enacted an income tax in 1894 but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down the following year. With no political opportunities to reintroduce the idea, its promoters gave up. Then, in 1906, TR began giving speeches saying that America needed a federal income tax with ever steeper rates. He inspired Cordell Hull, Democratic congressman from Tennessee, to draft a proposed constitutional amendment permitting an income tax, and after it was ratified, an income tax bill. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law in 1913.

As President, Roosevelt oversaw a dramatic expansion of executive power, and was famously quoted as saying, "I love power...I don't think any harm comes from the concentration of power in one man's hands." He repeatedly bypassed congress, issuing more executive orders than any other president except Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson (both of whom at least had the excuse of being involved in World Wars - LC).

[Snip]

Roosevelt remarked that free markets were "a riot of individualistic materialism." He secured passage of a law that restricted the ability of America's largest industry (railroads) to set market-rate prices. This began the long decline of railroads, by making it harder for them to attract the capital needed for maintenance and improvement.

[Snip]

As Roosevelt said in his "New Nationalism" speech in Kansas in 1910, he sought "a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country." In short, he was no conservative. Theodore Roosevelt was a big government man, and many of our current troubles can be traced to him.

Teddy Roosevelt was a member of the Republican Party and was an outdoors man who loved to hunt and shoot. He was also an aggressive advocate of using American military power (even against nations which had not attacked us and were no conceivable threat to us, like Canada which TR urged President McKinley to invade).

These traits have caused some modern Republicans to view TR as some kind of ideal president. In reality he was a statist who rivaled Howard Dean for lunacy.

The French are French wherever you find them

In The Brussels Journal Paul Belien gives us a lesson in a history that some people would rather be forgotten:

The Belgian authorities have destroyed archives and records relating to the persecution and deportation of Jews in Belgium in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of this happened as recently as the late 1990s. This was revealed during hearings in the Belgian Senate last Spring. Though the Senate report dates from 4 May the Belgian press has not yet mentioned the affair. The Senate report says that “documents about the period 1930-1950 have been destroyed on a massive scale.”

The systematic destructions of the records of police and judiciary from the 1930s and ’40s happened chiefly in Brussels and Wallonia, the French-speaking south of Belgium. The Senate report states that in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of the country, archives have been saved thanks to conscientious archivists. “This policy – of having competent archivists manage dead archives – contrasts with the disastrous situation at the offices of the public prosecutors in Brussels and
Wallonia.”


While the records about the persecution of the Antwerp Jewry have been kept intact, documents about the fate of the Jews in Brussels and in French-speaking cities with large pre-war Jewish communities, such as Charleroi and Li├Ęge, were purposely destroyed. In Charleroi all the archives relating to the 1930s and the war years have vanished. In Brussels the judicial archives are present “until the early 1930s, while there is (almost) nothing left of the period thereafter,” the report says, adding that “Reference is often made to the 1944 fire of the Palais de Justice to explain this lack of archives [...] However, there is no doubt that large parts of the Brussels judicial wartime archives were destroyed after 1944.”

The report says that some archives disappeared very recently, during the reform of the Belgian police forces in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the Gendarmerie was abolished and the Federal Police was instituted. Crucial parts of the Gendarmerie archives vanished in the process.
In Charleroi the archives of both the municipal
police as well as the judicial police were completely destroyed in the late 1970s. Before the war Charleroi had a relatively large Jewish community which was all but exterminated during the war, while in Antwerp a significant proportion of the Jews managed to survive. Yet in Belgium no-one is familiar with the extermination of the Walloon Jewry, while Antwerp is regularly blamed for having been a “center of anti-semitism.” By destroying paper trails people are made to forget that certain events ever took place.


There is a good deal more and reading it is well worth your time.

I note with no surprise whatsoever that the majority of the collaboration with the Nazis was French Wallonia rather than Dutch Flanders. This is also where the destruction of incriminating documents seems to be centered.

It would seem that surrender to and collaboration with evil are traits which are deeply ingrained in what passes for the French soul.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The snake in the grass

The other day I made an offhand remark about the Bush administration's strange tendency to clutch vipers to its bosom. That fact is made more apparent the more one learns about the strange "Plamegate" affair.

The conclusion that Colin Powell is a lying snake who should never have been granted a position of trust in a Republican administration is now inescapable.

Ed Laskey writes in The American Thinker:

Draw your own conclusions from the fact that Armitage’s best friend Colin Powell called Dick Cheney’s supporters (including Scooter Libby, Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz) the “Gestapo Office” (quite insulting considering that there is a history of relatives lost in the Holocaust among them).

Factor in that Powell called Doug Feith “a card-carrying member of the Likud Party” and referred to the Likudnicks in the White House controlling policy during his “exit interview with Bush” (see Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq) – thereby showing his support for anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

Don’t forget that Powell is also joined at the hip with Brent Scowcroft – no friend of Israel and an investor in the Saudi-funded Carlyle Group? Consider that Armitage felt it was fine for Libby to undergo undeserved torment during Fitzgerald’s inquisition and that Colin Powell also knew that Armitage was the leaker but kept quiet about his knowledge when interviewed by the Justice two days after Amitage admitted to Powell he was the leaker.

The Wall Street Journal has this to add:

Meanwhile, according to the Corn-Isikoff book, Mr. Armitage never did tell the White House or his boss, the President, that he was the leaker. Instead, in October 2003 he told Mr. Powell, who told the State Department general counsel, who in turn told the Justice Department but gave the White House Counsel only the sketchiest overview of what he'd learned and didn't mention Mr. Armitage's name. So while Mr. Fitzgerald presumably knew when he began his probe two months later that Mr. Armitage was Mr. Novak's source, the President himself was apparently kept in the dark, even as he was pledging publicly to find out who the leaker was.

At a minimum, there appears to be a serious question of disloyalty here. By keeping silent, Messrs. Powell and Armitage let the President take political heat for the case, while also letting Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby and other White House officials twist in the wind for more than two years. We also know that it was the folks in Mr. Powell's shop--including his former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson and intelligence officer Carl Ford Jr.--who did so much to trash John Bolton's nomination to be Ambassador to the U.N. in 2005. The State Department clique that Mr. Bush tolerated for so long did tremendous damage to his Administration.

It was Colin Powell who, as Chairman of the JCS, convinced George H W Bush not to press on to Bagdad in the first Gulf War and unseat Saddam Hussein. This failure to finish the job allowed the Iraq situation to fester for the eight years of the do-nothing Clinton administration and left the situation for George W Bush to clean up.

It was Powell as Secretary of State who insisted that the nation waste over a year dithering with the UN and Europe in the buildup to the Iraq war. Powell failed to recognize that the leaders of the UN, France and Germany were essentially the paid employees of Saddam Hussein and would never authorize his removal.

Since leaving the State Department Powell has waged a low key campaign to undermine the President’s foreign policy in the Middle East and undercut Mr. Bush’s choice to lead the American delegation to the UN.

From giving disastrously bad advice to maintaining a dishonest silence when administration colleagues were having their lives ruined and their effectiveness diminished (in a time of war) by a baseless criminal investigation Powell’s involvement with the Bush administration ran the spectrum from merely useless to actively harmful.

Hate crime

KIROTV.com is reporting this story on their website:

PARKLAND, Wash. -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is searching for five people who allegedly attacked a uniformed National Guardsmen walking along 138th Street in Parkland Tuesday afternoon.

The soldier was walking to a convenience store when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside him and the driver asked if he was in the military and if he had been in any action.

The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.

"And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road," Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

The suspects were driving a black Chevy Suburban-type SUV.

"This is something new for us, we have not had military people assaulted because they were in the military or somebody's opposition to a war or whatever," Troyer said.

The driver is described as a white male, 25-30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, heavy build, short blond hair, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, and armed with a handgun.

The vehicle's passengers are described as white males, 20-25 years old. Some of the suspects wore red baseball hats and red sweatshirts during the attack.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and charging of the individuals involved. Informants can call 253-591-5959, and callers will remain anonymous.


This is one of those times when words fail.

I just wish I had been there. The guy had a gun, that means that he could have been shot six or seven times in the face, because you can meet deadly force with deadly force.

Right?

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Seeing to the heart of Islam

Robert Spencer, writing on the Front Page Magazine website draws our attention to the larger implications of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig's gunpoint "conversion" to Islam, conversions that both men have since renounced:

After being freed, Centanni said: “We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. Don’t get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn’t know what … was going on.”

Indeed, few in the West know what’s going on regarding the example of uhammad and the stance of traditional Islam on conversion. The human rights should have the courage to recognize and denounce this conversion-or-else directive, and to recognize the plight of those who even today suffer from its scourge. Moreover, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad operating according to uhammad’s instructions, this now has geopolitical implications. In his letter to President Bush, Ahmadinejad
invited him to accept Islam, and then echoed the Prophet of Islam in
delivering a threat to Bush through
Mike Wallace: “We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate.”

Ahmadinejad’s threat, as well as the ordeal of Centanni and Wiig, epitomizes the threat that the global jihad represents to the freedom of conscience. Analysts are increasingly beginning to note that the conflict has ideological dimensions, but these dimensions are still imperfectly understood in the public sphere. Were Western leaders courageous enough to speak forthrightly about the threat we face as an Islamic jihad, they could use the “conversions” of Centanni and Wiig to illustrate one of the elements of Western civilization that is being challenged and that we are resolved to defend. Unfortunately, mired as they are in denial about the nature of the “terror” threat itself, they have made as yet no such resolution.

It is a good thing that notice is being taken of the true nature of Islam and what that means for the West in its death struggle against that Seventh Century warrior cult. Islam has not been "hijacked" by "extremists". It has been restored by true believers to a form which Mohammed would have recognized and approved of.

This highlights the problem faced by modern Muslim reformers. Unlike Martin Luther, who was removing centuries of unbiblical additions to Christian doctrine in order to bring Christianity back to a form closer to the New Testament, the would-be Muslim reformers have to contend with the fact that Osama bin Laden is actually advocating a form of Islam which is entirely true to the vision and conduct of its founding prophet.

Just as the United States and its allies forced the Empire of Japan, at bayonet point, after the war to make serious structural changes to their national religion (forcing the Emperor to admit that he was not a god and did not own the entire earth and forcing him to show himself to the people so that they would learn that his radiance would not burn out their eyes if they looked directly at him, among others) the West is going to have to force major changes upon Islam.

Jihad on the Bay?

Michelle Malkin is reporting on the story of Omeed Aziz Popal, a Pakistani man, who went on a rampage in San Francisco yesterday running down people with his SUV. 14 have been injured, some seriously, and one is dead. The man had to drive over 40 miles through heavy traffic to get to the location where he carried out the majority of his attacks. The area seems to be noted mostly for its proximity to the Jewish Community Center and to Temple Emanu-El, "one of San Francisco's most distinguished synagogues".

Several witnesses have reported that Mr. Popal seemed extremely calm, both behind the wheel and after his arrest by San Francisco police. This tends to argue against the theory that this was just an incidence of "road rage".

What is most notable, and most predictable, about the incident is the blazing speed with which the press, police and SF political establishment have pronounced this to be anything but an Islam related anti-Semitic terrorist incident.

If events follow the pattern which has been established in other cities the next thing we can expect is a worried statement from some Islamic organization bemoaning the fact that this could lead to attacks against Muslims and a statement from police that security around mosques will be increased. In other words, a Muslim attacks a Jew or Jews and everyone automatically worries about the safety of the Muslim community.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A new map?


Armed Forces Journal has ignited a bit of controversy by showing a redrawn map of the Middle East along with an article suggesting that borders in the region redrawn in a more sane manner:

International borders are never completely just. But the degree of injustice they inflict upon those whom frontiers force together or separate makes an enormous difference - often the difference between freedom and oppression, tolerance and atrocity, the rule of law and terrorism, or even peace and war.

The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East. Drawn by self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers), Africa's borders continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants. But the unjust borders in the Middle East - to borrow from Churchill - generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.

While the Middle East has far more problems than dysfunctional borders alone - from cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism - the greatest taboo in striving to understand the region's comprehensive failure isn't Islam but the awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries worshipped by our own diplomats.


Hat Tip: The Brussels Journal

A new Ecosystem member!

Well it seems that we have a new Ecosystem member. The Swap Blog has joined and they have created their own level, complete with graphic. It seems that they fit in at the Saloon Keeper level but don't want that handle because they are Southern Baptists and do not drink or trade in alcohol. So they have invented the level of Highland Cattle Rustler, description below.

I have no objection to this.

Note to self with dealing with Southern Baptists. They object to alcohol, but have no problem with theft.

Highland Cattle Rustler - This blog has more than 200 hits per day and is blogrolled on over 400 other blogs. It is regularly updated (usually several times a day), and most posts get comments. This blog has reached the place where it is known on the web, and has as many posts with links to other blogs as original posts on it. People read it just to see what this blog is talking about even if they are not interested in the topic. The highlander cattle rustler is, like the tavern keeper, a hillbilly entrepreneur in that he survives by using a mix of his / her own labor and the labors of others to prosper. Though he / she legals owns some of their cattle, there be a few head amongst the highland herd that be not purchased at auction. The highlander pays their share of taxes, but tends to estimate their wealth a bit below market value while telling the neighbors about their highly valued herds. This means that the he / she has to pay taxes, but he /she also has to defend their honor occasionally. He / she has but one that they love, but their love is always mixed with a bit of concern that a better looking / better skilled highlander may come along. The highlander cattle rustler will never retire because they are Scottish and they only know work, but they will leave a lot of money to their family and the local orphans


Here is the graphic they designed





Welcome to the family! Go over and pay them a visit.

What will fix New Orleans?

Nicole Gelinas has an article up on The City Journal website about the true cause of the devastation which hurricane Katrina brought to the New Orleans area:


Though President Bush declared on Saturday that Hurricane Katrina exposed “deep-seated poverty” in America, the disaster isn’t ultimately a story of poverty or of race, but of the greatest failure of civil engineering in American history. Luckily, while the nation has never been able to solve poverty, it can solve the engineering problem at the heart of southern Louisiana’s potential recovery.
She then goes into the history of the New Orleans levee system and explains why it failed:

The Corps’ post-mortem of Katrina tells the story: “the system did not perform as a system,” its engineers concluded. “The hurricane protection in New Orleans . . . was a system in name only. . . . The majority, approximately two-thirds by volume, of the flooding and half of the economic losses can be attributed to water flowing through breaches in floodwalls and levees.” The failures weren’t due to construction malfeasance or incompetence: “the system was built as designed,” the Corps concluded. But the system was, in many ways, conceived to fail. In the Corps’ view, it was inconsistently designed and lacked redundancy—that is, back-up protections.

Some levees, in particular the massive earthen fortresses with wide foundations, performed well, withstanding days of water pressure with little erosion. But floodwalls designed as narrow vertical walls driven into the ground—they look like the walls built on highways to block out the noise—performed abysmally.

First, some walls had sunk up to three feet lower than their original “authorized heights” before the storm. Second, the pressure of Katrina’s waters wore away the walls’ narrow vertical foundations because they weren’t “armored” with erosion-proof material, causing the structures to topple into the water. And because the system wasn’t redundant, each break caused additional weaknesses.

She then asks the “money question” and the answer gets to the heart of the problem of not only why the levees failed, but why they are unlikely to be rebuilt in a way which will prevent another Katrina-style flood:

Why didn’t the Corps design a consistent, redundant system? In large part, the reason was foot dragging—or worse—by pols on the state, local, and federal levels. In some cases, political opposition prevented the Corps from seizing land to build sturdier foundations. Plus, Louisiana’s local levee boards were lousy stewards. Levee officials were political animals, not engineering experts, and sometimes proved more interested in running ancillary “economic development” projects than working with the Corps to make sure the levees were up to their task. (It’s not because New Orleans is poor and black: the levees protect New Orleans’s richer, whiter suburbs too.) In addition, the Corps warned that many of New Orleans’s manmade canals, obsolete for years, should be closed or at least gated—to no avail. Moreover, when the Corps, along with state officials, came to understand that wetlands restoration is a vital part of the flood protection system, not a tree-hugger’s afterthought, Congress balked at spending the required $14 billion over several decades for coastal restoration.

Public officials have unfortunately lost interest in such rational infrastructure investment, doubtless because entitlement spending has consumed budgets as well as politicians’ attention. As the American Society of Civil Engineers warned last year, “congested highways, overflowing sewers and corroding bridges are constant reminders of the looming crisis that jeopardizes our nation’s prosperity and our quality of life.” As entitlement spending has gobbled up the federal budget, spending on infrastructure has fallen to about half where it was as a percentage of GDP 40 years ago; state and local infrastructure spending lags as well.

Let us summarize her main point. The welfare state caused the devastation of New Orleans. By sucking up funds that could, and should, have been used for infrastructure entitlement spending ensured that when the flood waters came nothing would be there that was strong enough to hold them back.

As an historical aside I would note that Rome had a similar problem. The aqueducts and fountains which brought a surplus of fresh drinking water into the city of Rome were financed in part by leading citizens, as were the roads which carried commerce to and from the city. The public baths which elevated the quality of life in the city and most of the other public infrastructure were entirely the gifts of wealthy Romans to the people of the city. They did this in order to raise their status as benefactors and buy the love of the people.

Unfortunately there was another way to earn the love of the people and that was by hosting public feasts and by distributing free bread and staging events in the arena. Bread and circuses made one’s largess more apparent to the mob and brought more tangible returns in public adulation than building a new bridge over the Tiber or underwriting the construction of a new sewer, even though those things would have been of far more lasting value to the city.

This brings us back to New Orleans and President Bush's problem.

The incompetence and corruption of the political culture of Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular approaches the level of a Third World banana republic. This non-functional local situation made the federal government appear inadequate, incompetent and unconcerned.

FEMA is designed to function in a support role assisting local authorities. FEMA is to supply money, manpower and material to local emergency management officials who are assumed to know how and where to use it to greatest effect.

This process broke down in Southern Louisiana because there were no, or at least very few, competent local authorities. The “school bus” affair stands as symbol for all the failures of the local government in the face of Katrina.

The city’s evacuation plans called for the city’s school buses to be used to drive people out of the city that had no other way to evacuate. It was there in the city’s disaster plan in black and white. The problem is that the city did not invoke the disaster plan. Bus drivers were never ordered to report to the buses, never given orders to drive to collection points and load up and never given a map to a place on high ground where they could discharge their passengers into the care of FEMA or the Red Cross who would have been happy to set up a tent city, complete with field kitchen and hospital, to receive them.

When asked about the plan to use school buses to evacuate the city Mayor Nagin (earning the nickname “School bus Nagin”) could do nothing but rave semi-hysterically that he needed every Greyhound bus in the country to come down and get his people. Hundreds of school buses which could have driven thousands of people to safety were allowed to sit in low lying parking lots until they were ruined by rising flood waters.

To this could be added the fact that Louisiana’s Democrat governor was caught on tape saying that she should have asked the President for federal assistance sooner, but couldn’t bear the thought of giving him a chance to look good.

When you add to this corrosive mixture of incompetence and corruption a bitterly partisan mainstream media which has been working tirelessly since the levees breached to assign 100% of the blame for every mistake made by anyone at any level to the federal government in general and the President in particular you can see the problem the President faces.

Mr. Bush is in a quandary. He is smart enough to know that what New Orleans needs is engineers and construction crews, not social service handouts and Jesse Jackson. But the modern American mob, like their ancient Roman counterparts, worship instant gratification and the quick fix. So the temptation to pour more billions down anti-poverty rat holes will be almost impossible to resist.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Winning India

From The American Spectator:

With the conflicts and disorder of the Middle East consuming the attention of much of the civilized world, there is yet another battle raging on -- though few in the West are even slightly aware of its potential consequences or that it is even taking place. This one involves the world's great powers and will likely shape the international environment for the foreseeable future. The Bush Administration's early March nuclear deal with New Delhi has set the United States on the proper course in this struggle, but if Washington is to emerge victorious, it must not let any short-term success come to be understood as the ultimate triumph and simply move on.

Go read the rest.

Which side India comes down on is of enormous importance. They have a population almost as large as China, but are a liberal democracy. They spent the post WWII period economically handicapped by their flirtation with socialism, but never fell into totalitarian communism. Consequently their economy and infrastructure are in better shape than either Russia or Red China's.

They are also, as Mr. McLean points out in the article, engaged in a death struggle with Islam in the same manner as the United States. This common enemy presents a strong reason to strengthen relations.

It is very encouraging to see the Bush administration doing the right things here. If George W Bush can engineer an alliance between India and the US he will cement his place in the pantheon of great presidents despite his wrong headedness on immigration.

Goodby Plamegate

From Front Page Magazine:

Unfortunately for her vanity lawsuit, the “leaker” in the Valerie Plame “scandal” is the one Bush administration official she didn’t sue.

According to an article written by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff’s entitled “The Man Who Said Too Much,” the first person to tell the press that Valerie Plame sent her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, on his preposterous trip to Niger was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

The article was designed to promote Hubris, the new book Isikoff co-wrote with
David Corn, Washington editor of the far-Left Nation magazine – a fact which in itself ought to speak volumes about Newsweek’s “unbiased reporting.” The book relates that, upon reading Bob Novak’s description of the original source as “no partisan gunslinger,” Armitage told others in State he was “the one that f-cked
up.”


[Snip]

The most delicious irony of the Isikoff/Corn piece is that throughout the Bush administration the Left hailed Armitage and Powell, relying on the steady stream of leaks emanating from their offices to undermine Bush’s foreign policy. After September 11, the Left hailed Powell and Armitage as sensible “moderates” in an unbalanced administration. Before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Armitage convinced
Powell
to try to sell the president on a multilateral UN force in Iraq. He testified there might be such a force “under UN leadership” after Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld ruled out that particular encroachment on national sovereignty. Isikoff’s piece records the Vietnam vet’s contempt for Cheney, Rove, and other “neocons,” as well as his reticence over Iraq. While in office, Armitage overtly muzzled John Bolton.

The Bill Moyers/George Soros-funded The American Prospect stated correctly, “it was Armitage who supplied the steel fist inside Powell’s velvet glove – and that fist often swung at the administration’s neoconservatives.”

That collective fist swung through a flood of off-the-record press statements to Washington’s prestige media. Aside from his boss, few were as accomplished at the art of the leak as Armitage. The American Prospect
again notes, “Michael Rubin, a former Middle East analyst in the Pentagon’s policy directorate (an outpost of neoconservatism), paid tribute to Armitage’s infighting skills in a September e-mail to friends in which he speculated that a prominent journalist ‘regularly reports Armitage’s line in exchange for weekly backgrounders.’”

Since leaving State, he has teamed with Powell in an under-the-radar
media
campaign to spike
Bolton’s nomination to the UN and become a vocal critic of Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[Snip]

Knowing that it was not the hawkish wing of the White House but one of the most outspoken (quasi-)doves – who fought the Left’s preferred neocon demons and whose leaks the Left cherished – who revealed Valerie Plame’s name should sweep aside the vacuous accusations that “pro-war ideologues” did her in.


It is so much fun to watch the left's house of cards cave in upon itself.

This will probably piss them off almost as much as Marines being found innocent of murder.

This also highlights the Bush administration's strange tendency to clutch vipers to its bosom. What’s up with that anyway?

The alien criminals remind us they are still here

The war in the Middle East has been grabbing all the headlines for the past month and the illegal alien criminals obviously feel neglected.

Michelle Malkin is reporting that they have staged one of their attention grabbing raids on an American installation where they take down the American flag and raise the Mexican flag in its place:

This has gotten zero attention in the MSM. Over the weekend, militant illegal alien activists marched onto a post office station in Maywood, Calif., and replaced the American flag with a Mexican flag while chanting anti-American epithets. Yup, here we go again. Remember this spring?

If the MSM continues to ignore this expect them to escalate.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Grass roots profiling

The always fascinating Theodore Dalrymple comments in The City Journal on an incident which occurred recently on an airplane:

British passengers on a flight from Malaga to Manchester did a little impromptu terrorist profiling recently. Some already on the aircraft got off, while those waiting to get on refused to do so, until the flight crew removed from the plane two apparently South Asian young men who seemed to be talking Arabic.

The press has widely condemned the action of the skittish passengers. After all, the two young men had gone through searches like everybody else. Besides, there are many Muslims and very few suicide bombers. . .

. . . By their action, they drew attention to two concerns. The first is the cowardly failure of the British government to oppose implacably the spread of Islamic extremism within Britain. The second is the unwillingness of Britain’s Muslims to recognize without equivocation that something evil is at work among them—something that has a relationship to their religion. . .

. . . The Islamists will use the episode to dramatize not the consequences of what they themselves preach but rather the West’s insuperable prejudice against Muslims. The extremists want a polarized world with a fight to the finish, which they assume they will win, having, as they suppose, God on their side.

This was a small twist in the downward spiral toward such a possible apocalypse, for which the pusillanimity of the government and Muslim tolerance of extremism will be as responsible as the extremists themselves.

First of all good for the passengers!

They have shown the rest of us the way. If our governments are too politically correct to protect us we have the option of protecting ourselves. There is no reason that we have to put up with Arab/Muslims who board planes and then deliberately act in a way which is designed to arouse suspicions.

The "Asians" were wearing heavy winter coats despite the fact that they were boarding a plane in the part of Spain known as the "Sun Coast" in August. They chattered to each other in Arabic while casting furtive glances at the other passengers. Source

What reason - other than an utterly craven capitulation to a blindly suicidal conception of multicultural orthodoxy - could have compelled passengers, many with their children, to have remained in their seats, docile as sheep, while the plane lifted off?

None, so they refused to fly with people who gave them good reason to feel afraid. And these people are from a nation where it is a punishable crime to lift a hand up in self defense against a murderer or rapist.

Again, way to go Brits! Now elect some people with as much sense as you have, repeal the gun control laws and close your borders and I'll stop saying that it is too late for you.

Take a deep breath and count to 10

From The Scotsman:

A NETWORK of secret roadside cameras used to track terror suspects, drug traffickers and child abductors has been rolled out across Scotland, police have revealed.

Senior officers have told The Scotsman that the installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras was completed this month, allowing detectives to monitor the movements of suspects from a 4,000 name watchlist as they travel on major routes across the country.

The surveillance equipment, which looks like ordinary speed cameras, was piloted in Strathclyde and Fife and police say it has been hugely successful in catching and monitoring thousands of suspects and criminals, including sex offenders, bogus callers and disqualified drivers.

But some human rights campaigners have branded the system a "Big Brother"-style infringement on personal liberties.

Human rights activits on both sides of the Atlantic need to get a grip and remember that cameras placed in public areas, like a roadside, record public behavior.

When walking down the sidewalk, or shopping in a public establishment or driving down a public roadway you have no reasonable expetation of privacy. What you do is open to public view and anybody with a camera can snap a picture of it.

There is no more lawful objection to the placment of cameras in public areas that there is to the stationing of police officers in those areas.

Selective outrage

This was on ynetnews.com:

Mel Gibson's apology for making drunken anti-Semitic remarks isn't enough to redeem him, actor-producer Rob Reiner said. The actor also must acknowledge that "his work reflects anti-Semitism," particularly the 2004 hit movie "The Passion of the Christ," Reiner told Associated Press Radio.

"When he comes to the understanding that he has done that, and can come out and say, you know, `My views have been reflected in my work and I feel bad that I've done that,' then that will be the beginning of some reconciliation for him," Reiner said.

As one of Hollywood's most prominent leftists Reiner must know that this San Francisco protester is the face of the modern left as regards Jews. So what is Reiner's problem?

Hat Tip for the photo to Born Again Redneck.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The "Islamic Way of War"

I found this essay The Islamic Way of War by Andrew J. Bacevich on The American Conservative website. It comes to the conclusion that America can not win the war in Iraq because Muslims have discovered the key to defeating Western armies and he offers a couple of examples to prove the point.

The fact is that Professor Bacevich is wrong in concluding that America cannot win and the examples he used actually prove the oppisit of what he wants them to.

To start with he states his thesis:


In Iraq, the world’s only superpower finds itself mired in a conflict that it cannot win. History’s mightiest military has been unable to defeat an enemy force of perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 insurgents equipped with post-World War II vintage assault rifles and anti-tank weapons. In Gaza and southern Lebanon, the Middle East’s mightiest military also finds itself locked in combat with adversaries that it cannot defeat. Despite weeks of bitter fighting, the IDF’s Merkava tanks, F-16 fighter-bombers, and missile-launching unmanned aerial vehicles failed to suppress, much less eliminate, the armed resistance of Hamas and Hezbollah.

What are we to make of this? How is it that the seemingly weak and primitive are able to frustrate modern armies only recently viewed as all but invincible? What do the parallel tribulations—and embarrassments—of the United States and Israel have to tell us about war and politics in the 21st century? In short, what’s going on here?

The answer to that question is dismayingly simple: the sun has set on the age of unquestioned Western military dominance. Bluntly, the East has solved the riddle of the Western Way of War. In Baghdad and in Anbar Province as at various points on Israel’s troubled perimeter, the message is clear: methods that once could be counted on to deliver swift decision no longer work.

What are these methods that no longer work against the Muslims?


For centuries, Western military might underpinned Western political dominion everywhere from Asia to Africa to the New World. It was not virtue that created the overseas empires of Great Britain, France, Spain, and the other European colonizers; it was firepower, technology, and discipline.

Through much of the last century, nowhere was this Western military pre-eminence more in evidence than in the Middle East. During World War I, superior power enabled the British and French to topple the Ottomans, carve up the region to suit their own interests, and then rule it like a fiefdom. Until 1945, European machine guns kept restive Arabs under control in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.


Firepower, technology and discipline. Why does he believe that they have now failed?


Well before Saddam’s final defeat, others, less stupid, began to develop alternative means of what they called “resistance.” This new Islamic Way of War evolved over a period of decades not only in the Arab world but beyond.

In Afghanistan during the 1980s, the Mujahadeen got things started by bringing to its knees a Soviet army equipped with an arsenal of modern equipment. During the so-called First Intifada, which began in 1987, stone-throwing and Molotov-cocktail-wielding Palestinians gave the IDF conniptions. In 1993, an angry Somali rabble—not an army at all—sent the United States packing. In 2000, the collapse of the Camp David talks produced a Second Intifada, this one persuading the government of Ariel Sharon that Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank was becoming unsustainable. Most spectacularly, in September 2001, al-Qaeda engineered a successful assault on the American homeland, the culmination of a series of attacks that had begun a decade earlier.

Here is where we have the examples which do not prove what they are intended to prove.

First the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. The myth of Afghanistan is that tribesmen with pre-WWI weapons brought the Red Army to its knees by knowing the countryside like the backs of their hands and fighting smart. They are said to have used hit-and-run tactics to bleed the Soviets white. Of course they had a bit of help from the USA with antiaircraft missiles, but mostly it was just that the Mujahadeen imposed costs on the Russians that were too high for them to sustain.

There is some truth here, but the whole truth is this. The Afghan resistance scored some early success by using hit-and-run raids but the Soviets figured out how to beat them. The Red Army would locate a resistance base, not too hard to do since they had to operate in the area of villages, upon which they relied for logistical support. The Russians would then bring in Special Forces by helicopter and insert them near the Mujahadeen encampment. The Spetsnaz commandos would then kill everything that moved. Both in the resistance camp and in the nearby village(s) that were, or could have been, giving them support.

This tactic broke the back of the Afghan resistance and the Mujahadeen fighters were making their way out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan when the United States saw an opportunity to give the Soviets a bloody nose. We supplied the Afghans with Stinger surface-to-air missiles which denied the Afghan countryside to the Soviet helicopter transports, gunships and attack jets.

This forced the Soviets to try to fight a kind of ground war which they were uniquely unsuited for. What they needed were small units operating with a great deal of local autonomy. What they were trained for was massive ground formations operating under strict central control. They could not adapt and so were forced to cut their losses and withdraw.

He then invokes the “Blackhawk Down” incident in Somalia in which Somali fighters were able to shoot down a couple of American helicopters and kill a small number of American soldiers. What Bacevich fails to mention is that in order to kill 18 US soldiers the Somali militia lost between 1000 and 1500 fighters. At the end of the Battle of Mogadishu the ranks of Somali “resistance” fighters were seriously thinned and their stockpiles of RPGs (their most powerful weapons) were nearly depleted.

In the days after the battle the US received overtures from other Somali leaders in which they intimated that warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid could be offered up in exchange for peace talks.

In other words Western armies showed the Muslims what they were capable of when they “took the gloves off” and the Muslims blinked.

That truth has been obscured by the fact that the US at that time had a weak and irresolute president who saw TV pictures of dead American soldiers being dragged through the streets and panicked amid visions of falling poll numbers. We cut and ran not because we couldn’t win, but because the Commander-in-Chief was a coward.

The other example Bacevich cites, that of the Israeli inability to put down the Palestinian Intifada, is an example of a modern nation choosing, for reasons of political correctness, to fight with one hand tied behind its back. In Mogadishu Americans won the battle because they stopped being nice. Somali fighters would surround themselves with a ring of women and shoot at the Americans from between their bodies. Americans would just hose the whole group down with machinegun fire.

We took the decision that if they were going to use woman and children as human body armor that we would demonstrate to them just how poor human flesh is at standing up to sustained automatic weapon’s fire.

The Israelis have not reached that point yet and so they fail to win a complete victory over their foes.

The question is this: Can the Americans and the Israelis reach that point of focused savagery in not just one pitched battle, but for an entire decades long war? I think we can. One only needs to read the fawning approval in newspaper accounts of the brutality with which the Indian uprisings were put down in the post Civil War era and the similarly gushing accounts of the utter ruthlessness with which the Moro rebellion in the Philippines was crushed to understand that one only needs to scratch the surface of the most civilized Westerner to find the heart of a Roman heading off to the Coliseum to spend a happy day watching gladiators soak the sand with each other’s blood.

Modern Western civilization traces its lineage back to Rome. Our Muslim enemies need to remember the fate of Carthage.

Possible good news

Michelle Malkin is reporting that good news is expected soon about the kidnapped Fox News reporters. She is posting reports that they could be released "within hours".

This was posted bit before 1:00 PM. I checked the Fox News website and there is not word of it there, but the Jerusalem Post is also reporting imminent release, so we can keep our fingers crossed.

Immigration and Old and New world problem

There are signs of intelligent life on Great Britian. At least that what the results of a poll taken by the Sunday Times reported on in The Brussels Journal would seem to indicate:

Following the MI5 exposure of a gigantic home-grown Islamic terrorist plot in early August and the rapidly approaching integration of Romanian and Bulgarian territories into the EU, the British public have begun to demand a tougher policy on immigration. In a poll conducted for the Sunday Times, it was revealed that “half the population has serious doubts that allowing foreigners to settle in Britain is good for the country.” The key findings on the public’s view of immigration were as follows:

1. How much do you agree or disagree with the
following statement?

‘Immigration is generally good for
Britain’

Agree: 43%
Disagree: 45%
Neither: 10%
Don’t know: 2%

2. Should laws on immigration be relaxed, kept
same, made tougher, or don’t know?

Relaxed: 6%
Kept same: 17%
Made tougher: 75%
Don’t know: 2%

3. Should the government set a strict limit on
the number of immigrants allowed into Britain each year?

Yes: 77%
No: 21%
Don’t know: 2%

Interestingly, immigration is not straightforwardly seen as good for Britain, laws on immigration should be toughened and the government, against all its wishes, faces a public demanding a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain each year.

Although James McConalogue begins by talking about the terrorist plot the bulk of his analysis concerns the economic impact of mass Eastern European immigration on the UK's economy.

It would seem that we Americans have one more thing in common with the mother country. A significant problem with large scale immigration which creates economic and national security problems. We also have in common the fact that our respective governments are working overtime to make the problem worse, not better.

Perspective


From Cox & Forkum:

Friday, August 25, 2006

The left’s puppeteer

In today's Front Page Magazine David Horowitz and Richard Poe ask if the Democratic Party has become a cult. Specifically the Cult of George Soros:

Has the Democratic Party become a cult? And is leftwing billionaire George Soros its guru? The chorus of hosannas with which leftwing bloggers now greet Mr. Soros’ silliest utterances – and the faithfulness with which Democratic leaders repeat them -- suggests that the answer to both questions is yes.

Take the current Democratic mantra that, if there are terrorists in the world, George Bush has created them. This is a familiar Soros-ism. As he has done many times before, Soros decried Bush’s characterization of the current global conflict as a “war on terror” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “A Self-Defeating War” (8/15). According to Soros “a misleading figure of speech applied literally has unleashed a real war fought on several fronts -- Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia -- a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged millions around the world….we can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor.”

In normal times and coming from an ordinary mortal, these would be regarded as the comments of a crackpot. After all, the Islamic jihad was on the march – and killing Americans -- for twenty years before George Bush employed the metaphor. Back in 1979, the streets of Teheran were already filled with a million frenzied Muslims chanting “Death to America,” and the 9/11 attacks were themselves hardly in response to anything that the American president had said.

As a matter of fact the 9/11 was planned and the execution of it began in the mid 1990's under the Clinton administration. What, we might ask, did Clinton do to provoke bin Laden? Was it committing US military forces to save endangered Muslims in Eastern Europe? I don't think so. It was more likely the way that Clinton cut and ran after the bin Laden planned "Blackhawk Down" incident in Somalia. Paying the Danegeld only gets you more of the Dane.

How was it that Soros came to be the new god of the Democratic Party? In case you think I'm exaggerating by calling Soros a "god" to the Left check out this quote from Soros' own lips:

“If truth be known, I carried some rather potent messianic fantasies with me from childhood, which I felt I had to control, otherwise they might get me in trouble,” Soros once wrote. When asked to elaborate on that passage by The Independent, Soros said, “It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of God, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.”

That is clearly how Soros thinks of himself and from their actions that would seem to be how many left-liberals think of him as well. Now that I think about it August Kubizek, Adolph Hitler's boyhood friend and roommate from the Vienna days remembered how young Hitler harbored messianic fantasies as well.

Let's get back to how the "lord" Soros came to be enthroned at the head of the Jackass Party's pantheon:

During the 2004 election cycle, Soros put together a network of organizations through which he gained effective control of the Democratic Party’s campaign apparatus – and thus of the Democratic Party itself – in a silent coup whose ramifications are still unfolding.

Soros’s coup was ten years in the making. Since 1994, he had worked with a network of leftwing foundations to fund a $140-million-dollar lobbying drive in favor of “campaign finance reform.” The campaign succeeded in passing the McCain-Feingold Act, which, by outlawing “soft-money” donations, in effect de-funded the Democratic Party. As a result of the Act, the Democratic Party could no longer collect the multi-million-dollar donations from labor unions which were its lifeblood.

Soros stepped in with the Shadow Party to collect the donations instead.

Having driven the Democratic Party to the brink of bankruptcy, Soros then offered to save it. In effect, he privatized the Party, by setting up a network of privately-owned, non-profit groups which would raise the big campaign contributions the Party was now forbidden to raise itself.

Thank you evil wackjob John McCain. May you:
A - burn in hell, and
B - get there real, real soon.

What motivates someone like Soros to hate the United States with such venom? How about this:
Who is this shadowy, controversial man George Soros? Born in 1930 in Hungary, he watched Nazis march into his nation and kill relatives in a 1944 extermination of 440,000 Hungarian Jews. He survived by pretending to be Ayran, and then witnessed Soviet Marxists replace the Nazis. “My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule,” he says, “have sensitized me.”

Soros’ father Tivador, a lawyer/publisher/writer, changed the family’s real last name, Schwartz, to Soros in 1936. “Soros grew up in a family that was so detached from its Jewish roots,”
summarized a Business Week reviewer of his biography, “that they even vacationed in Nazi Germany, with Tivador shrugging off ‘No Jews Allowed’ signs by telling his wife, ‘You are a foreigner, it’s not for you.’”

After World War II, Soros fled alone as a poor 17-year-old immigrant to London, where he worked at a variety of small jobs. “I broke my leg and was taken care of, free of charge, by the National Health Service,”
recalled Soros with gratitude. “I depended on government assistance.” He also, with resentment, remembers from these years how little assistance various Jewish social welfare agencies he approached were willing to give him.
British socialized health care fixed his leg.

Capitalism made him a billionaire.

Which merits more gratitude, a splint or 6 billion dollars in the bank?

The truth is that Soros has a massive case of survivor's guilt. That has made better men than him become unhinged. I have also heard that the young Soros not only pretended to be a gentile under Nazi occupation, but had a job which was peripherally involved with assisting the Nazis in the deportation of Jewish captives to the camps. At least that is what Horowitz and Poe claim in their new book. Read a review of it here.

If this is so it could well explain why Soros, the quintessential capitalist would hate the United States, the capitol of capitalism - so to speak. It would be the externalization of his self-loathing. This could also explain Soros' atheism. After all if the God of Abraham really exists He would be the last person that Soros would want to face one day.

The Democrat Party has accepted large amounts of money and substantial guidance from a man about whom the kindest thing that one might say is that he is a serious crackpot and the most accurate thing would be that he is a dangerous lunatic with a god complex and the money to do enormous harm.

The "Christian" left

Since I have readers who are not Christians I thought that this article on Front Page Magazine might be useful in helping them to understand that just because an organization has the word "church" in its title it is not necessarily part of the "Christian Church".

As one of his formative spiritual experiences, a top official in the World Council of Churches (WCC) fondly recalls attending a Soviet-front group’s conference in the old Czechoslovakia. In a recent official WCC news eport, the Swiss-based ecumenical council interviews Rev. Walter Altmann, a Brazilian Lutheran theologian, former head of the Latin American Council of Churches, and the new moderator the WCC's totalitarian-sounding
"central committee." Currently, he also heads the 700,000 member Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil.

"As a young pastor, at the height of the military dictatorship in Brazil, I traveled semi-secretly to Prague in 1968 to take part as a delegate in the Christian Peace Conference," Altmann reminisces. There is no further comment about the CPC event, much less any note of regret.

The Christian Peace Conference (CPC) was founded by a Czech, pro-Marxist theologian in the late 1950’s, though even he abandoned the CPC when it refused to criticize the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Based in Prague, it operated as part of the phalanx of various Soviet-front groups for churchmen, labor leaders, journalists, and peace activists. Operating in alliance with the Soviet-created World Peace Council (WPC) in Helsinki, the CPC faithfully defended communism and Soviet global initiatives, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to martial law in Poland, to demands for Western disarmament. The CPC and the WPC, with other facades, were under the authority of the International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They received most of their funding from the Soviet Peace Fund, much of which was raised through the Russian Orthodox Church.

Apparently, the CPC no longer actively exists. It survived the implosion of the Soviet Union long enough to denounce the U.S. liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1991. And it never fully abandoned the Old Religion (Marxism, of course, not Christianity). As one CPC official wrote in 1990, "Nothing would be more damaging to the integrity of CPC than to abandon or denounce or deny, under the pressure of contemporary events, our abiding and radical commitment to a socialist vision of society."

Much of the ecumenical movement came to see socialism rather than free market democracy as the desirable alternative to military dictatorship in Latin America. Groups like the WCC actively supported Marxist liberation movement and even now refuse to criticize the Castro dictatorship, because it is "socialist." Those churches that abandoned traditional Gospel work in favor of leftist "social justice" have paid a price. Denominations like Altman’s Lutherans hardly have a bright future in Latin America, where there are at least 40 million evangelicals, many if not most of them Pentecostal.

Meanwhile, Altmann’s leadership at the WCC will be predictable, based on his past performance. At the start of the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, he condemned the liberation of Iraq as possibly the greatest tragedy since World War II, evidently eclipsing even the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides, among others. After 9/11, Altmann joined an ecumenical conference in Washington, D.C., to denounce the U.S. military response and expressed hope that Americans might benefit from feeling "vulnerable."

This is also a good reminder for those readers who are Christian. All of the mainline protestant denominations began as true churches, preaching the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That almost all of them have fallen from this and now preach social action (and socialism) is proof of the old adage that any organization that does not specifically set out to be conservative will eventually become liberal.

This is also good for the Republican Party to keep in mind. Too many Republicans want the Party to be a “majority party” rather than a “conservative party”. They try to be all things to all people and wind up pleasing none.

What they need to remember is that if you survey a large number of random Americans on a broad range of issues, political, foreign policy, taxation, domestic affairs, that most Americans fall into the center-right category. That doesn’t mean that a majority of people won’t come down on the left on some issues, but the overall thrust of America’s thinking is to the right.

That means that as long as the Republican Party is a conservative party it will be a majority party.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The Washington Times tells us that the French have found their spine, or at least a particularly stiff loaf of French bread. First the good news for Israel and Lebanon:

PARIS, Aug. 24 -- French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that France would commit 2,000 troops to a new international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. The decision breaks a stalemate that has held up the dispatch of soldiers seen by diplomats as crucial to maintaining the 11-day-old cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel.

Chirac's announcement in a nationally televised address followed days of intense negotiations with the United Nations, Lebanon and Israel over European concerns that the force would have no clear mandate and inadequate rights to open fire in defense of itself or civilians.

"We obtained the necessary clarifications from the U.N. on the chain of command, which needs to be simple, coherent and reactive," he said, "and the rules of engagement, which must guarantee the freedom of movement of the force and its ability to operate when confronted with hostile conditions."

France helped broker the U.N. cease-fire and initially indicated it would commit 2,000 troops to help maintain the truce. But Chirac was chastised at home and abroad when he later said he would dispatch only 200 engineers to augment the 200 French troops serving in an existing U.N. monitoring force on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Now the bad news:

PARIS, Aug. 24 -- French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that France would commit 2,000 troops to a new international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. The decision breaks a stalemate that has held up the dispatch of soldiers seen by diplomats as crucial to maintaining the 11-day-old cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel.

That's right. The Israelis and the Lebanese are going to have 2000 French troops in their backyard. My grandad, who fought with and around the French all through WWI used to say that he would rather have a division of Germans in front of him than a platoon of French behind him.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

2008

GOP Bloggers is conducting a straw poll:

Which candidates would you accept as the 2008 GOP nominee and which would you find unacceptable, and who is your first choice? (Make sure to pick BOTH who you find acceptable and who is your first choice.

Go and vote if you are interested.

Who SHOULD win this November

Given that it is possible that Democrats could regain control of the House of Representatives this November thoughts are turning to what that might mean for the nation. Phil Kerpen takes on that issue in today's NRO:

Does the House GOP majority — after delivering a record number of pork-barrel earmarks, an enormous new entitlement program, and most recently a giant minimum-wage increase — deserve to become a minority this November? This question, once unthinkable among fiscal conservatives, is now a common topic of conversation in gatherings of limited-government analysts and activists in Washington.

In his excellent new book, Buck Wild, which details how the House GOP degenerated from the Contract With America to its present state, Stephen Slivinski of the Cato Institute concludes a chapter with this provocative question: “Even if you don’t agree that a divided government would make us better off, can you really argue — based on the evidence here — that it would make us worse off?” I’m not so sure.

Slivinski’s data show that the growth of government is far more rapid under periods of united control, with one party running the House, Senate, and White House, than when the House is controlled by the party not in the White House. Real per capita federal spending, which is adjusted for inflation and population growth, has increased at a 3.1 percent annual rate under Bush, faster than every president since Lyndon Johnson. This spending spree fits a larger historical trend with respect to divided government: Surveying more than forty years of data, Slivinski found that per capita government spending grows at an average inflation-adjusted rate of 3.4 percent under united government, versus only 1.5 percent under divided government.

There is reason to doubt that divided government, specifically in the next Congress, will limit spending. Bush, simply, has shown no appetite for cutting spending, and his cooperation with Democrats on landmark legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act suggests partisanship may not be the reason. When Bush did have a Democratic Senate to contend with, spending grew considerably faster at 4.3 percent annually than his overall 3.1 percent average. While Bush’s spending priorities would be largely at odds with a Democratic House, it’s possible that a Democratic House takeover would be a quid pro quo in which everyone’s pet projects grow.

The fact is that President Bush is not a conservative. He is conservative on some issues, maybe more than half of them, but he is not a "movement conservative". Advancing the cause of conservatism is not one of his goals. He honestly believes that big activist government is good for the nation.

This makes it very unlikely that he will find himself at odds with a Democrat House in the same way that President Clinton was with a Republican one. Bush's sincere belief in big government coupled with his extreme reluctance to use the veto will likely mean an explosion of spending unlike anything seen in US history. Unless the Senate, which will certainly stay in Republican hands puts on the brakes.

The Senate might do that, but then it might not. It is possible that the Democrats will make some gains in the Senate this November. A larger Democrat minority coupled with those liberal Republicans like McCain and Graham could give the Democrats effective control of the Senate as well as the House.

There is another issue besides spending. That is taxes. Kerpen continues:
Spending is only half the equation for fiscal conservatives, and the GOP is light years better on taxes than spending. The 2003 tax bill was a stunning supply-side success, restoring investor confidence and fueling a dramatic economic expansion. The expansion has, ironically, filled federal coffers and enabled the spending binge, but it also has created millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of shareholder wealth. Because major tax hikes are scheduled to occur automatically on January 1, 2011 — increasing the capital-gains tax rate by 33 percent, the dividend rate by 133 percent, and the top marginal income-tax rate by 13 percent — a prolonged period of gridlock, lasting through the next two Congresses, could cause real economic damage on the tax side.

It’s clear from the fact that this discussion is even occurring that the Republican majority has a dismal record on limiting spending. The party has lost its fiscal compass. If the Republicans do lose the House this cycle, it will be hard to argue, based on spending policy, that they deserved otherwise. The ideal scenario for fiscal conservatives would probably be a brief period in the wilderness, a single cycle in which the GOP could regroup and refocus on the core fiscal issues that powered the Reagan revolution, led by a presidential candidate with a genuine commitment to spending restraint. But there are no guarantees in politics, and the Democrats could instead hold onto control, starting an era of even bigger government.

Of course the problem with letting the Democrats have control of even one house of the legislature for even two years is the war. The global war on the Islamofascists of which Iraq is the primary battlefield.

The conventional wisdom this year is that the mid-term elections are going to be a referendum on the war. That may be as wrong as most conventional wisdom, but it is still believed. The nut case left is exerting control over the Democrat Party and if the Party wins this November the dailykos crowd will claim credit and the mainstream media will back them 100%. In that environment it will be hard for the Democrats not to pay them off by cutting and running in Iraq.

It must also be remembered that the new nutroots left is as anti-Semitic as a Nuremberg Rally. If the Democrat Party puts them in the driver's seat they will throw Israel to the wolves. Not by cutting them off, but by using the USA's enormous influence to arm-twist them into making suicidal concessions to their blood enemy.

Under ideal circumstances losing the House to the Democrats this year could light a fire under the Republican Party. It could frighten them enough to come back to their conservative principals and purge out the RINO's who do more harm than good (McCain and his wretched little hand puppet Lindsay Graham and the rest of the backstabbing seven).

But it could just as easily go the other way.

I think the safest course is to remember that the nation is at war and vote for the only party that will try to win. If the people do not know or care about that the nation is doomed anyway.

Do all that many of them really hate us all that much?

In today's American Spectator online Christopher Orlet comments on a piece written by Julie E Sweig in last week's LA Times. Sweig was doing one of those "why they hate us" screeds that the left are so fond of. You know, the ones where they assume that the entire rest of the world hates the US for the same reason that the American left hates the US.

After cutting her apart for a bit he gets down to the real issue of how the world really feels about the US:

How does the rest of the world genuinely feel about the U.S.? Despite a historical suspicion of gringos, polls consistently show that Latin America is overwhelmingly pro-U.S., and that was surveying the few Latin Americans that have yet to emigrate here. Australia and Canada are pro-U.S., as is much of Asia (even Muslim Indonesia), sub-Saharan Africa, Israel and all of Eastern Europe. Leaving aside Russia and China, which remain on the fence, about 80 percent of the world "likes" us. Speaking of Russia and China, how many Russians or Chinamen do you suppose would pass up an immigrant visa to the U.S.? How about none?

So who are "they" that "hate" us so badly? Granted a great many Arabs, Turks and Persians despise the infidel America. Even without the war in Iraq Arabs would abhor the U.S. for its support of Israel. (As an indication of how clueless Ms. Sweig is, she completely disregards our relationship with Israel as a cause of anti-Americanism.) France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands don't exactly hate the U.S. Many of them, however, do hate free market capitalism, of which America is the standard bearer. But mostly their enmity is colored green with envy and resentment. Even Ms. Sweig admits this. "Power generates resentment," she writes. If Mongolia were the world's lone superpower Western Europeans would hate the Mongolians.

Should Americans be overly concerned about negative Muslim attitudes toward the U.S.? Unless we're willing to toss Israel over the side Muslims will continue to hate America regardless of what we do. Meanwhile Old Europe should look to its own increasingly troubled front yard: its growing discontent among poor and fanatical Muslims, its increasing anti-Semitism, aging population and a soon-to-be bankrupt social security system, to say nothing of ts over-reliance on U.S. security.

Useless idiots like Michael Moore and Julia Sweig may continue to apologize to those who hate America if they like. But, as the anti-war set likes to say, not in my name.

This is about what I had thought. Most people are rational.

Elvira Arellano: How To Use Your Child As A Human Shield

Originally posted on CommonSense America:

I am so tired of seeing logic, and our laws, twisted and turned on their heads while those that wish to break our laws claim to be the victims. While Elvira Arellano uses her child, and her church, as a human shield against the crimes she willfully committed, the leftists and the media try to portray her as the poor victim of our immigration laws.

It is time for our nation, our media, and especially our elected officials, to get a personal-responsibility-reality-check.

Ms. Arellano knew the consequences of her actions. She willfully entered this country illegally. She willfully had a child knowing that her illegal status could cause her own deportation. She willfully used, and was convicted of using, a fraudulent Social Security Card to gain employment - a felony. She willfully re-entered this country after being deported in 1997. Re-entry after deportation is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Now she willfully thumbs her nose at our immigration laws portraying herself as a victim as she hides behind her child.

I guess I fail to see how this woman is the victim of anything but her own bad decisions.

So, what should be become of this poor victim, Elvira Arellano? I agree with Robert Klein Engler of ChronWatch, who clearly states:

You’d think that after being in this country illegally for 7 years and after giving birth to an anchor baby, Elvira Arellano would at least know English. Apparently not. Speaking through an interpreter, she said, “If Homeland Security chooses to send agents to a holy place, I would know that God wants me to serve as an example of the hatred and hypocrisy of the current administration.”

Illegal immigrants have turned around the lives of many Americans, altering our communities for the worse, wasting our tax dollars, and transforming our public schools. It’s time to turn out of office those politicians who refuse to deport illegal immigrants. It’s time also for you, Elvira Arellano, to go home to Mexico. And when you leave, shut the door behind you.

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let me know at what level you would like to participate.**

Stop The ACLU Blogburst

William A. Donohue is the President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights based in New York. He received his Doctorate in Sociology from NYU in 1980. He is the author of three books, two of which are very critical on and revealing of the ACLU. We have quoted from his books on numerous occasions so it was quite an honor when he returned my call requesting an interview.

His first book, The Politics of the American Civil Liberties Union, was published in 1985. His second book, The New Freedom: Individualism and Collectivism in the Social Lives of Americans, was written while Bill was a Bradley Resident Scholar at The Heritage Foundation; it appeared in 1990. Bill’s third book, Twilight of Liberty: The Legacy of the ACLU, was published in 1994 by Transaction Press; a new afterward to this book was published in 2001. Source

It was an honor that Mr. Donohue took time from his schedule to allow us an interview. It was even more encouraging that he had heard of Stop The ACLU and expressed his appreciation for what we do. I recommend reading his books to anyone that is interested in learning more about the ACLU and how their actions are actually harming civil rights.

Go over to the Stop The ACLU website to read the whole interview.

Jihad for dummies

From our friends at MEMRI:

On August 4, 2006, the Al-Hesbah website published instructions on "How to Kill a Crusader in the Arabian Peninsula." The document was signed by Amer Al-Najdi, and dated June 15, 2006.

Al-Najdi instructs his readers in some possible ways to kill a Westerner, from choosing the victim through following him through the stage of the actual killing.

The following are excerpts from the document:(1)

Before Carrying Out the Operation, Pray for Guidance"

Below I will explain the jihadist way of action and the security measures to be employed by the jihad fighter [when he wants to kill a Westerner]:

First of all, before carrying out the operation, pray [to Allah] to guide you on the good path.

[Regarding your] external appearance: Try as much as possible to look like someone who is not religious. For example, wear [a kuffiyeh] with an 'aqal instead of a turban, and wear cheap dark glasses during the day and regular glasses at night. Your clothes must be long, and try if at all possible for them to be heel-length, or longer; don't be afraid of this. Wear a sport suit or a regular suit. Similarly, it is greatly preferable to be shaven.

[Regarding] the items or the clothing in [your] car: Immediately get rid of everything in your car that indicates that you are religious, such as jihad cassettes, small papers such as post-its... The most important thing there must not be anything in the car indicating that the owner is a religious man... so that if the dogs of the security [apparatuses], the emergency [apparatuses], or the other [apparatuses] stop you in a suspicious place and search your car they will find nothing proving that you are religious, and will release you right away.

While you are carrying out the operation, be careful not to take your cell phone with you, especially if it has a camera, so that it won't cause you, or your friends whose numbers are in the phone, problems with unknown consequences.

Some Ways to Find a Crusader [i.e. a Westerner] or a Dog From the Security Apparatus
In order to carry out the operation when the time comes, you must have a weapon (a pistol or a submachine gun) or a good knife, if you are interested in slaughtering this infidel or this [Saudi] dog...

[How to find a target] in the Crusader settlements [i.e. compounds] that are found everywhere:

The first method: At about seven AM, pass by the settlement and check only how these Crusaders leave it, and what road they take. Beware, my jihad-fighting brother, to pass by only once, because the military dogs at the gates [of the settlement] might suspect you and detain you.

Two or three days later, pass by the [same] settlement, but don't go near it as you did the first time. That is, go straight to the road where [the settlement residents] go, and wait for them by the side of the road, and when you see one of these Crusaders, follow him.

It is best to change vehicles each time, if you can. While following the Crusader, be very careful not to be exposed. For the most part, especially these days, they are feeling safer, because there are not many operations against them. But the jihad wave is approaching, and Allah will conceal this matter from them....

When [the Westerner you have selected] stops at a traffic light, try to be behind him, in the same lane, with at least two cars between you and him, or alongside him, but not exactly alongside him. While waiting at the traffic light, refrain from casual glances, and try to occupy yourself with something (such as arranging your 'akal...). When you two turn onto the highway, try to pass the infidel on the right or left, and then slow down so that he will pass you, so as to remove suspicion for the next time.

When you and the infidel move to the secondary road, and you are following him and there is no one on the road but the two of you, first slow down and pretend you're looking for a shop or a place or a person, by turning your head right and left as if searching for something, [thus showing] that this infidel does not interest you at all.

A second way to find [a Westerner]: Sometimes there is no need to follow the infidel first thing in the morning; often we see them next to traffic lights or at the big marketplaces... (such as Karfour, Extra, and so on); often, they shop there, particularly in the morning, between 9:30 and 12:00. When you see [an infidel in one of these places], follow him carefully, and you will [quickly] notice that for the most part he will be going to a settlement or to a house in one of the neighborhoods...

A third way to find [a Westerner]: Sometimes when you, the jihad fighter, are sitting with your colleague or with family, someone comes and says: 'We have an American working for the company, who receives [a salary of] 150,000...' When you hear this, you must find out the following things:

1) If you know where your colleague works - fine. But if you don't know where he works and where his company is, immediately address your colleague, saying: 'That's not true, this [salary] is exaggerated.' He will immediately say, 'You're wrong, and I can prove it.' Tell him, 'I know someone who works for such-and-such a company (give a name) and they have an American who gets [paid] 40,000, and their company is in (give a place). Then tell him, 'Your company is probably in the such-and-such area (north, for example).' And he will reply: 'No, our company is in such-and-such a place.' If the description so far is [still] unclear to you, say to him: 'Oh... next to (give the name of a place)?' He will reply, 'No, our company is in such-and-such a place' exactly. Then say to him, 'This American you have must be a director if he gets [paid] such a sum,' and then he will tell you what this infidel does [in the company]. Then say, 'Surely he has a fancy car if he gets such a salary,' and then he will tell you the kind of car. Thus you have gotten the information that will help you in the future, without your colleague or anyone around him noticing. Then pretend that the matter doesn't interest you, and try to change the subject immediately.

2) If you know where your colleague works but you are interested in information about this infidel, question him in the manner I described above, and take care that they don't notice that you are looking for this infidel.

How to Kill the Infidel and What Security Measures to Take:

The best way to carry this out is to forge an ID card and a work ID, in order to rent a car. If you can't do this, act as follows:

1) Take the license plate from any car that is the same model as your car. Be sure that the region from which you take the license plate is far away from the region in which you live. For example, if your car is a white Camry, look for a white Camry that is far from the region [in which you live], and take its license plate.

2) Take the car of one of the ordinary people, in some easy way, and carry out the operation that day using [this car]. Then leave the [car] in a public place, so that the infidels will find it and return it to its owners...

3) After obtaining a suitable car, kill the Crusader, in accordance with the circumstances  if the Crusader works at a company where you work, or at a company where someone you know works, strike him on his day off, or somewhere far from [where the company is located]...; if the Crusader lives next door to you or near you, and you want to kill him, it is best to kill him when he is outside work, so as to distance you from suspicion...

4) Take care that the windows of the car you use to carry out the [killing] operation are somewhat dark; this will help you when you stop at traffic lights.

5) When you carry out the [killing] operation and make your escape, travel a route that you have planned in advance. It is best [to go] by the highway for five minutes, and then to move to secondary roads and then to neighborhoods, so as to distance yourself from the place of the operation... [In order to avoid being followed,] look behind you (and check) if anyone is tailing you.

6) After ... [you have evaded being followed] park the car somewhere, [where] you have at your disposal another vehicle, extremely clean, that you will use to return home safely.

7) Take care not to say a word. The tongue is what will lead you to the infidels' prison. Many brothers have been arrested because they spoke near people.

It is desirable to film the operation so it can be presented by the media, so that it has a broader impact.

After the operation succeeds, you will realize that this is very simple, and that there is no need for an entire squad [to carry it out] but that one, two, or three people are enough...

You can look through the Mu'askar Al-Battar and Sawt Al-Jihad publications, [to learn from them] important things that I may not have clarified here...

Your brother Amer Al-Najdi
Arabian Peninsula
Thursday, The 19th day of the fifth month, 1427 [June 15, 2006].