Thursday, January 31, 2008

The DNC Appoints Hardline Islamist To Their '08 Convention Committee

Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee made an interesting appointment to the credentials committee of the Democratic 2008 Convention - Pakistani-born Iman Malik Mujahid,the founder and president of the Chicago-based Islamist materials distributor Sound Vision Foundation.

He's quaintly described as `a Muslim leader, activist, imam at three Chicago mosques, and currently president of the Council of the Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.'

Whom is he really? Charles at Little Green Footballs unmasks him:

Mujahid (a name which means “holy warrior,” of course) and his operation Sound Vision will be familiar to longtime LGF readers, because about a year after the 9/11 attacks we discovered the bulletin board they used to run—a center of support for terrorism, jihad ideology, suicide bombing, and snuff films.

Here’s our post about a thread at Sound Vision where one of the Muslim members posted a poem called: “Yes, I am a Terrorist.”

Here’s our post about a thread where they were defending the posting of beheading videos: Support for ClearGuidance.

And here’s our post about a Sound Vision thread where the Muslim members were jubilant over a mass murder attack in Jerusalem that killed a number of children: US Muslim Teens Celebrate Murder.

Eventually they noticed our attention, warned each other to watch out what they were posting, and then the next day closed the forum to outsiders.

And there’s more, in a post about one of the mosques with which Mujahid is affiliated: Investigating the Mosque Foundation.

Needless to say,I'd be surprised if we heard so much as a peep out of either of the two remaining Democrats running for president about this,just as you won't hear words like 'jihad', 'Islamist','Radical Islam' or 'Islamist terrorism', just as they continue to remain clueless about national security or winning this war we're involved in.

Remember that when you vote.

Some Politics..

There are a number of pieces out today on the American political campaign..most of them are pure partisan drivel, in my humble opinion.

However, I found some real nuggets out there, which I commend to the attention of Joshua's Army members.

First off we start with Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal on `The New Rules In Politics', an essay by a master of the art on what still works and what doesn't:

"In the aftermath of the Florida primary, some new rules for winning the nomination have emerged and some old rules have been ratified. As we head toward the 23 contests next Tuesday, it's worth considering a few of them.

The new rules include:

- The big bounce is gone. Winning gives a candidate a jump in the polls, but nothing like in years past. For example, in 2000, George W. Bush led in South Carolina by double digits the day before the New Hampshire primary and was behind by high single digits the day after his loss. Having nearly one out of every five voters change their preference in two days is an earthquake. This time around, we've only seen tremors.

John McCain won New Hampshire this year. Yet his bounce was gone seven days later in Michigan. Mitt Romney carried Michigan. But it had little or no impact on the race in South Carolina. In 2008, winning a primary gives a candidate only a small bounce that lasts a limited time.

- Television ads don't matter as much as they used to. Going on the air with the earliest and most ads doesn't count for nearly as much as it once did. Campaigning this time has been so intense, long and geared toward retail politics that people -- especially in the early states -- form opinions that are difficult to alter by early and voluminous advertising. Mr. Romney, who spent $2.4 million on TV ads in Iowa beginning last February, found that out.

Voters are discounting advertising. They may be blocking out ads, relying more on personal exposure, information from social networks, alternative information sources like talk radio and the Internet, and local media coverage. By Feb. 5, when it costs $16 million to burn one television spot in every state that's voting, it's simply too expensive to be on air everywhere at once.

The 20th century's closing decades saw the rise of the TV ad man as the most potent operator in presidential campaigns. The 21st century's opening decade is seeing the rise of the communications director and press spokesman as the more important figures on a campaign staff. It is the age of the Internet, cable TV, YouTube, multiple news cycles in one day, and the need for really instantaneous response. Ads and ad makers are still vital -- but not nearly as much as they were just a few years ago.

- Technology allows a candidate to raise money quickly and inexpensively. The Internet dramatically shortens the gap between political success and raising money. Under the old regime, members of the finance committee would start calling a few days after a successful debate and FedEx'ing the checks. Mail pieces might hit 10 days later. Fundraising required events with weeks of advance notice. Today, if you do well in a debate on Tuesday night you can begin raising large sums of money Wednesday morning. Effective fundraising can be a mouse-click away.

- Debates are a great way to come on late and make up for a lack of resources and endorsements. Mike Huckabee was an asterisk for most of the campaign. But he is an excellent debater with a terrific sense of humor who hit his stride, especially in the debates, just as activists and party opinion leaders were starting to pay close attention before the Iowa caucuses. Running on a frayed shoestring and with a staff so small it would fit comfortably into a minivan, Mr. Huckabee used his moments to strongly impress voters, at least the church-going ones of central and western Iowa."

Rove than goes on to cite proof that at least some of the old rules are still with us with a vengeance:

-Appealing to one part of the party isn't enough. Mr. Huckabee rode the evangelical wave to victory in Iowa. Since then, he has not figured out how to increase his appeal to non-evangelicals. For a candidate to win, he must appeal to more than one constituency group -- even one as large as social conservatives. Mr. Huckabee has yet to do that.

In each party, the winner will be the person who can draw support from the greatest number of diverse elements within the party. Being strong in just one or two of those communities is not enough.

- Adapt or die. Sometimes you can't run the campaign you want -- but if you're lucky, you run the campaign you need. Sen. McCain was the GOP front-runner in late 2006 and early 2007 -- and then his campaign fell apart. It was broke. Top aides bailed out. His condition was widely thought to be fatal. Yet those who squandered his money, whittled away at his strengths and tied him up in a campaign style that was uncomfortable did him a favor by forcing Mr. McCain back into a lean, guerrilla-style campaign. That kind of campaign served him well in New Hampshire in 2000 and did so again in 2008.

- Bad exit polls shape coverage. On primary day, before voting closed in New Hampshire, the exit poll predicted Mr. McCain would win handily. I asked members of the press how close Mr. Romney needed to run for it to still be a horse race. Most said four or five points. The race ended with Mr. McCain at 31% and Mr. Romney at 26%. Yet for most of the evening, while pundits instructed viewers and reporters drafted stories, Mr. McCain's lead was between 7% and 10%. It only closed late as communities along the Massachusetts border came in.

What would the coverage have sounded like if Mr. McCain's margin had been 5% while TV droned on and stories were being locked in? Mr. Romney would have fared better in the coverage.

- Win early somewhere or run darned close. Rudy Giuliani's novel strategy was to ignore the results of the first six contests but win the seventh. You can avoid an early state or two, but staying out of more early contests suggests to voters a candidate is uncomfortable competing. In politics, like sports, winning builds on itself -- and so does losing.

- Joining the race a lot later than everyone else doesn't work. Fred Thompson thought he could announce nearly half a year after his Republican competitors and succeed with a 21st-century version of William McKinley's front-porch campaign -- based on personality and lack of enthusiasm for all the other candidates. But you can't waltz in late, work less than anyone and expect to light a prairie fire. People want to see you sweat and bleed for the most important job in the world. Getting in late means too few workers, talkers, phoners, askers, walkers and raisers to turn your personality and agenda, no matter how attractive, into victory.

- Money still cannot substitute for likability or message or broad appeal. Neither Mr. McCain's financial strength last spring nor Mr. Romney's large personal wealth nor Congressman Ron Paul's record-breaking Internet fundraising blitzes have guaranteed victory. As important as it is, there is a lot more to politics than simply raising money.

- Ideas still matter. Both Democrats and Republicans are in spirited and, at times, heated contests. The difference is Democrats are running a nasty race that has as its subtext race and gender. The Republican race, on the other hand, is a serious debate about serious ideas. Over the last several months, we have been seeing men who represent different strands within the GOP battle each other. The debate can get personal at times-but at core the debate it is about ideas rather than personalities, which can no longer be said about the Democratic race."

The second good piece out there I found was by Froma Harrop in the Providence Journal, a superb rant on the media's wholesale swallowing of the Kennedy `coronation' of Barack Obama:

"Are we done worshipping the Kennedys yet? And what do you mean by "we"?

That was quite a spectacle -- the commentariat gushing superlatives over the alleged power of Ted and Caroline to deliver liberals to Barack Obama. {...}

Americans fought a revolution to free themselves from ruling families. Thomas Paine wrote that "we cannot conceive a more ridiculous figure of government than hereditary succession, in all its cases, presents."

Nonetheless, the Kennedys fancy themselves liberal kingmakers, and the media swallow their presumption whole. "The torch is passed," the chroniclers scribble, as candidates beg Kennedys for their "prized endorsements."

JFK was indeed a charismatic figure, but the more we learn about his Camelot in Washington, the less perfect it sounds. (One might start at the 1960 election, which was stolen with an assist by the mob.){..}The career of dynasty elder, Ted Kennedy, meanwhile, is headed for a disgraceful end. The Massachusetts senator has been caught in a sneaky plot to kill a clean-energy project in Nantucket Sound. Seems he doesn't want to see wind turbines from his waterfront estate. "Don't you realize -- that's where I sail!" he famously said. {...}

In 1994, the family parked Ted's troubled son Patrick in a Rhode Island congressional seat.

Patrick moves in and out of rehab over pills and booze. In 2000, he shoved a security guard at Los Angeles International Airport. Later that year, he "trashed" a leased sailboat, according to the vessel's owner. In the wee hours two years ago, he crashed his car into a barrier near the Capitol building.

A new Obama ad shows the Illinois senator flanked by Patrick and Ted, with Caroline spouting the same sort of vacuous platitudes that (sadly) have characterized his own speeches. Obama is better than any of these people, and the spot emphasizes what's missing in his campaign: substance.

In a non-romantic look at the family, "The Dark Side of Camelot," author Seymour Hersh described John's 1960 strategy as follows: "He made his mark not in the Senate, where his legislative output remained undistinguished, but among the voters, who responded to Kennedy as they would to a famous athlete or popular movie star."

I couldn't describe Obama's campaign better myself. All hot air platitudes and no substance whatsoever.

Nugget #3 for your perusal comes from a man who could be said to be the dean of American political writers, Michael Barone, in US News And World Report:

The Republicans, facing a fluid and fractious race 21 days ago, now have a candidate with a clear flight path to the nomination. The Democrats, seemingly headed to an early and decisive decision earlier this month, now have two candidates on a collision course. Yes, John McCain could falter in the 22 contests on February 5, and yes, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could kiss and make up at tomorrow night's debate. But don't bet on either happening. McCain looks like a heavy favorite for the Republican nomination, and a straight-line extrapolation from the ethnic breakdowns in the Florida vote produces victories for Clinton next week not only in the Northeast but also in California.

How did this come to be? Here are the election returns in the Florida Republican primary, and here is the Washington Post's neat interactive map in which you can click on the percentages for the three leading candidates in each county. And here are some further reflections:

Every Republican candidate's strategy failed. Including John McCain's. Remember his original strategy: run as the party's heir apparent and bank on the benevolent neutrality of the Bush White House (obtained by the emotional reconciliation of John Weaver and Karl Rove) to raise large sums of money. This failed spectacularly at the end of June 2007, and the McCain campaign had to reboot. Its strategy: keep the candidate in the field and hope that other candidates would screw up and that external events would strengthen McCain's appeal. I have always been wary of campaign strategies of which one essential step is, "The other guy screws up." In McCain's case there were many steps, not just one. He was like the safecracker who must tackle an unfamiliar safe and must get one tumbler after another to fall in place. But for McCain it looks like all the tumblers fell into place.

Of the other candidates, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson had great potential and at various times led the Republican field in national polls—Giuliani for most of 2007 in most polls, Thompson in Scott Rasmussen's polling in late spring and early summer. But Giuliani never found an early state in which he was comfortable competing, and his strategy of betting everything on Florida turned out to be a loser.

As for Thompson, why didn't he get into the race earlier? He spent more time (the six months from March to September) as a noncandidate than as an actual candidate (the four months from September to January). My sense is that Thompson was deterred from a circa July 4 announcement by the pendency of the Iowa Republicans' Ames straw poll in the second week of August; Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, and (although no one was paying much attention) Mike Huckabee had been organizing intensively for this event, and Thompson evidently thought he couldn't catch up. A mistake, I think. A lackluster finish could have been explained away, and the heavy personal campaigning necessary would have served Thompson well in January.

Mitt Romney's strategy was to sweep Iowa and New Hampshire and lock things away in the other races in the run-up to February 5. But he lost Iowa to Huckabee and New Hampshire to McCain. Since then he's been scampering. He won three asterisked victories: in the January 5 caucuses in Wyoming (where his sons campaigned in every county), in the January 15 primary in Michigan (where his Michigan roots were important to about half his voters), and in the January 19 Nevada caucuses (where his fellow Mormons accounted for half his votes). None of these results was duplicable elsewhere (except Utah, which votes February 5 and in which presumably all three special factors are present). Romney has probably outspent all the other candidates combined on television and organization, but that brought him only an out-of-the-money finish in South Carolina and the short end of a 36-to-31-percent count in Florida.

Huckabee's strategy also failed. In Iowa 60 percent of the caucusgoers were self-identified evangelical or born-again Christians, and 44 percent of them voted for Huckabee, giving him a big margin over Mitt Romney. He has been unable to duplicate or build on this showing since. He has gotten respectable percentages from evangelicals/born-agains in New Hampshire (where there aren't many), Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida, but so have Romney and McCain, leaving Huckabee with little or no net popular vote margin from his core constituency. And he has signally failed to extend his appeal to Republican primary voters or caucusgoers who don't classify themselves as evangelicals or born-agains, winning between 4 and 12 percent of their votes in the different contests. Huckabee soldiers on, hoping to carry congressional districts in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri, though he didn't carry any CDs in Florida (he carried only four small counties in a state with, as we so well recall from the 2000 recount, 67 counties).

Every Democratic candidate's strategy has failed or is failing. Hillary Clinton hoped to wrap this up with back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. No such luck: She lost Iowa and came within a few tears of losing New Hampshire. Barack Obama hoped to sweep to victory by bringing young voters into the process and pitched his appeal not just to black voters but to a broader electorate that goes beyond the usual Democratic primary constituencies. He has had some success—he clearly expanded the pool of caucusgoers in Iowa and the primary electorate in South Carolina. But he's also seen himself defined by Bill and Hillary Clinton as a candidate appealing mostly to black voters, and while his percentages among blacks first in South Carolina and then nationally rose sharply in December and January, Clinton carried Latinos and Jews by more than 2-to-1 margins in Nevada and Florida. That's significant for California, which votes February 5 and where Latinos and Jews outnumber blacks by a ratio of 5 to 2.

John Edwards's withdrawal from the race today comes long after it has been apparent that his strategy of running as a populist on economics and echoing the netroots' cries for immediate withdrawal from Iraq has failed. Edwards won an ersatz second place in Iowa (because the state Democrats' state convention delegate equivalent formula overrepresents the rural counties where Edwards ran best) but finished a miserable third in South Carolina, the state where he was born and where he won his only primary in 2004. His percentage fell from 45 to 17 in four years; his fellow Carolinians were trying to tell him something. He's out now, not that it much matters.

The role of events. McCain's success was due not just to the failure of his opponents' strategies (something he could never count on, but which happened) but also to what the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan referred to as "events, dear boy, events." Notably the success of the surge in Iraq. When McCain's strategy imploded in late June, it was not at all clear that the surge would succeed. Democrats assumed that it wouldn't, as if it were beyond the capacity of the U.S. military to beat gangs of terrorists; Republicans hoped it would but were very nervous indeed. McCain, who had urged a surge of troops and change in tactics since the summer of 2003, in effect bet his candidacy on the surge and won. In November and December, he was able to argue that he was the only candidate who had urged a surge long before George W. Bush ordered one in January 2007, and his Republican opponents had to agree. (The Democratic candidates are still pretending that the surge didn't work, which is an article of faith to left-wing Democratic voters. I wonder why they relish American failure so much.) Over the last week he has criticized Mitt Romney for not supporting the surge; for that he has been criticized by some conservatives and defended by others. In any case, the success of the surge has provided McCain with a strong argument for his candidacy in the Republican contest and will do so, I think, in the general election as well.

McCain also benefited from a surge in his support during the Christmastime period during which pollsters weren't operating, as I have argued before in this blog. My explanation: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto pointed to uncertainty and chaos in Pakistan and made vivid the perils we face in the world. Republican voters, for whatever reasons, rallied not to Rudy Giuliani (who stressed his opposition to terrorism) but to John McCain (who stressed his support of the surge and his national security experience). Without this movement of opinion, McCain would not have been the contender that he has been this month. That shift of opinion over Christmastime, whether prompted by the Bhutto assassination or other factors, was one of the tumblers that had to fall into place to put John McCain on his current clear flight path to the Republican presidential nomination.

If you read these three posts in their entirety, I think you get a pretty good and factual summation of where things are now.

Jerusalem Snowed In...

Definitely a Winter wonderland in the Holy Land this year! There's heavy snowfall in much of Israel, including Jerusalem. Egged, the Israeli bus company has even canceled bus service.

And Israeli kids even got something unheard of....a snow day, as the schools were closed!

Airport Break Room Sharia In Salt Lake City

(Hat tip to The Ryskind Sketchbook for the graphic)

Allowing religious services to be conducted on public property is supposedly against the law...but not for Muslims in this case:

A shuttle driver has filed a complaint with the FAA against the Salt Lake International Airport, saying officials allowed thousands of religious services to be conducted on public property. Muslim cab drivers began praying in a small airport building used as a break room after 9-11, because, the airport says, they became targets, with people yelling at them and throwing things.

Last week we brought you the story of a Muslim cab driver at the airport who says he was assaulted when he tried to pray inside the building. Tonight the man charged in that case speaks out about his case against the airport.

Shuttle driver Jeff Brueningsen took photos inside the building he and other drivers share at the airport. "It was definitely an Islamic center." He said it didn't feel right, so he filed a complaint with the FAA against the airport.

"In proper, polite company you never bring up politics or religion. And they introduced both instantly into what's supposed to be a professional, secular transportation-aviation facility," Brueningsen said.

In the complaint he details claims that he was harassed by a group of Muslim drivers who he says have threatened to kill him. It came to a head earlier this month when Brueningsen says Mohammed Alahmed and other drivers attacked him.

"They were going like this, using their fingers, saying, ‘You F-ing Jew, you don't want us to pray here,'" Brueningsen says.

Alahmed says it was the other way around, that Brueningsen tried to stop him from praying. "He say the F word against me, and I didn't do anything. And he grabbed me from my shirt and hit me with his hand," Alahmed said.

Airport police investigated and charged only Brueningsen with assault. Shortly after, the airport closed the building, and Muslim drivers began praying outside.

The article does not say whether Brueningsen was actually convicted and sentenced for assault, or merely charged, and I would guess that it became a `he said - he said' affair that ended up not being prosecuted.

The fact remains that the airport allowed the Muslim drivers to take over the public building for their private religious and cultural purposes to the exclusion of the rights of others. If a Christian group had wanted to convert this to a church, I doubt the airport authorities would have gone along.

We'll see what develops.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Winograd Report On The Lebanon War Comes Out

Today, the long delayed Winograd Committee's report on the Lebanon War was released in Israel.

The chairman, ex-justice Eliahu Winograd found what were termed 'grave failings' in the way the war was managed on both the part of the Israeli military and the country's political leadership.

The report cited a lack of goals and planning, such as the failure to end the Hezbollah threat to Northern Israel and the farcical last minute offensive which was launched after an equally farcical cease fire agreement had already been reached at the UN. Contrary to what Olmert had to say, that offensive had nothing to do with UN resolution 1701 itself, if one believes John Bolton, the ex-US Ambassador to the UN who actually negotiated the ceasefire resolution under severe pressure from Condi Rice.

It characterized the Israeli decision making at the hands of PM Ehud Olmert, defense minister Amir Peretz, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and army of staff Dan Halutz as `devoid of strategic thinking.' Peretz and Halutz have already resigned.

The report also cited the unreadiness of the IDF and the lack of planning to secure the civilian population of Northern Israel from missile attack by Hezbollah.

The final report and the preliminary report, released last April both tell the same story and cite the Olmert government's lack of planning, misuse of the military and overall poor judgement.

The key now is what happens politically in Israel out of this.

AT least 70% (and probably more) of Israelis who were polled want Olmert to resign over Lebanon. There's an historical precedent here; Israeli PM Golda Meir and other members of her government resigned over the ill preparedness of the Israeli military and losses connected with negligence during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

But of course Olmert, Livni and crew are of an entirely different type.

The present defense minister, Labor's Ehud Barak had promised that he would pull Labor out of Israel's governing coalition and allow the country to go to new elections if the Winograd Report was critical of Olmert.

It remains to be seen whether he will keep that promise. I expect he won't, because the report left just enough wiggle room for Olmert and company to allow Barack to slip through the cracks,particularly when it came to the Winograd Commission's take on that final ground assault in Lebanon .

However, one way or another the country will go to new elections one day....and the electorate may very well demand some payback from Barak, Labor and Kadima for continuing to thwart their consensus just to cling to power.

Edwards Quits The Race; Giuliani Likely To Follow

John Edwards announced today in New Orleans that he's quitting his campaign for the Democratic nomination, as I predicted he would. After a dismal finish in his home state of South Carolina, it was pretty obvious that he had very little reason for staying in.

The chief beneficiary, of course, is Hillary Clinton. Even if she only gets half of Edwards' predominantly white voters, I think she likely has the numbers to lock in the nomination provided the Kennedys don't erode her Hispanic support too much in places like California.

Rudy Giuliani is also expected to quit the race today. If he does, it will be at a GOP debate scheduled tonight at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The scuttle butt is that he's also planning to endorse John McCain....but I prefer to wait and see whether he actually does.

America's Mayor looked like a president in waiting at one time, but his mistake in judgement with his failure to compete in the early primaries essentially cost him the race.

In any case, we now have a considerably narrowed down field in this most dissaffected of elections. Among the Democrats,there's the cage match between Hillary and Obama, increasingly drawn along polarized racial lines.The Republican party remains splintered and at war with itself, thanks largely to the poisoned fruit of the actions of the current occupant of the White House.

There's John McCain,(the anti-Conservative, if you will) who's positions are opposed to the Republicans' conservative base on everything except national security and attracts the retired and those moderates and pragmatic establishment types who see in him one of their own ; There's Mitt Romney, who attracts the economic conservatives and those social conservatives who believe his road-to-Damascus conversion to their principles; And Mike Huckabee, who attracts the Evangelicals and those social conservatives who disbelieve Romney's conversion and/or can't stomache the idea of a Mormon in the White House.

We should have a somewhat clearer idea of where this is going in a weeks' time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Watcher's Council Nominations, 1/29/08

Every week, the Watcher's Council members nominate two posts each, one from the Council members and one from outside for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week's Council nominations can be found at the site of our fearless leader, the infamous Watcher of Weasels

Do take the time and check out the non-Council links..they are always rewarding.

Energy Independence -- What It Am And What It Ain't
Joshuapundit - Ah, the chimera of energy independence so beloved of politicians and pundits and never attained! In this piece, I discuss what it actually is, what it could and couldn't do, why it won't end the War on Jihad, how to achieve it in the space of perhaps four or five years with proven technology and resources we have available now....and why we haven't done it yet.

A Shot in the Dark
Done With Mirrors - Callimachus meditates on the futility of trying to write an editorial for his liberal paper on gun control, and weighs the arguments pro and con. One thing he might wish to consider is that restricting gun ownership only means that criminals will still have them and simply be facing an unarmed populace. There are two countries I'm familiar with that not only readily allow their citizens to own handguns and rifles but actually mandate many of their citizens having military assault weapons and ordnance accessible in their homes - and both Switzerland and Israel have two of the lowest homicide rates on the planet.

Soccer Dad - Soccer Dad has a interesting piece that points out quite tellingly that when the media pontificates that Hamas `won the PR war' in the recent confrontation in Gaza with Israel, they conveniently forget to mention that they were complicit in that victory by cheerfully allowing themselves to be manipulated by Hamas propaganda.

Orwell's Britain Is Halal Toast
Wolf Howling - GW documents the head-in-the sand attitude towards Islamist extremism by Britain's Labour government in worshiping the G-d of multiculturalism. This latest manifestation of dhimmi-itis in the UK involves the new officially mandated PC description of Islamist terrorism as `un-Islamic activity'. We've already seen a few symptoms of this disease here. Newspeak indeed!

About Those "Lies"
The Colossus of Rhodey - Hube writes about a George Soros funded `non-partisan' study conducted on statements made by President Bush and administration prior to the invasion of Iraq that counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. Hube fisks the study and finds it wanting...but people like Keith Olberman and others with a terminal case of Bush Derangement Syndrome are unlikely to want to be confused with things like facts.

State of the Union, 2008
The Glittering Eye - Dave Schuler writes about President Bush as well, looking at last nights' State Of The Union speech by the current occupant of the White House. I gather that like me, he was less than impressed. Dave looks at the state of the union from where he sits and finds much to be concerned about.

The Media, Richard Scaife, and the Never Ending Soros Connection
Bookworm Room - Ms. Bookworm likewise has a fine take on the Soros funded `non-partisan' study of the Bush Administrations' supposed misstatements on Iraq. I particularly enjoyed her likening Soros to a large, malevolent spider, trickling his ill gotten money down the filaments of his web.....which in fact is quite accurate. Another bonus for those who were unaware is Bookworm's rundown on Soros' connection with Barack Obama and Obama's malevolent far left and anti-Israel foreign policy advisors.

Quote of the Day: Prez Bill Edition
Cheat Seeking Missiles - Laer uses a piece by Bruce Feirstein in Vanity Fair as a jump off point to examine the phenomenon of Mr. Bill unleashed, and to have some fun with the Left discovering their idol's flaws. Personally, I find Mr. Bill's behavior to be entirely in character..if `character' is a proper word to use in the same sentence with a mention of our ex-president.

The ACLU: Senator Craig's Newest Pals
The Education Wonks - Edwonk has a delicious time excoriating the ACLU for taking on the case of Senator Larry Craig on the grounds that - get this - people who seek and or perform sex in public restrooms have a reasonable expectation of privacy!

Repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment
Rhymes With Right- The Twenty-Second Amendment is the one passed by after the death of Franklin Roosevelt that mandates a maximum of two terms for a president. Greg wants it repealed, partially because he's upset at the phenomenon of Billary. Far better, he reasons, to be out in the open.

The GOP Comes A’Courtin’
Right Wing Nut House -In his piece this week, Rick Moran is living proof of the truth in Peggy Noonan's latest column, that George W. Bush destroyed the Reagan coalition and shattered the Republican Party into warring bits in his second term on spending, Big Government,the prosecution of the war, illegal aliens and a host of other issues, (albeit with help from certain congressmen) and left a mess for others to clean up.

How to Lie About Lying
Big Lizards - Daffyd likewise writes about the Soros funded Iraq study, in minute detail.

McCain And Clinton Win Florida Primary

With over 80% of the votes counted, John McCain and Hillary Clinton are the projected winners in the long-awaited Florida primary.

McCain topped Mitt Romney with a five point spread, 35% - 30% and leapt ahead in the delegate count 93 to 59.

Rudy Giuliani ended up third with 15% and Mike Huckabee fourth with 13%.

It remains to be seen which way things go for the Republicans from here on in. No one is certain whether Rudy Giuliani is going to withdraw from the race at this point, and if he did where his voters would go, although there's been some speculation he might endorse McCain.

McCain's biggest problem now is that his campaign is now virtually bankrupt and out of cash, with Super Tuesday coming up in a week - while Romney is still flush. On the other hand, Romney's main problem is Mike Huckabee still being in the race, since many of his conservative supporters would probably vote for Romney otherwise.

The Democrat's primary was essentially a beauty contest, since the state was stripped of its delegates by the DNC for having the temerity to defy them by holding their primary when they saw fit. But it's worth noting that in a state with a large Hispanic population and a much smaller black electorate than South Carolina, Hillary beat Obama by almost two to one, 50% to 33%.

Or to put it another way, there's a reason George Soros got on the phone and marshalled Teddy and the family to endorse Obama and get to work campaigning for him in places like work the Hispanics voters and stop the hemorrhaging of the Latino vote to Hillary.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bush At The Beginning Of The End

Tonight, President Bush gave his final State Of The Union Address.We must thank the Almighty for small favors.

In terms of delivery, it wasn't such a bad speech, as Bush's speeches go.
Interested parties can find a full transcript of the president's remarks here.

It may seem unfair of me to critique the current occupant of the White House's remarks. With very little of the political capital left he so famously said he intended to spend after his re-election,it would be unreasonable to expect bold statements or major departures at this late date.

But I must say, to hear President Bush suddenly touting spending cuts and fiscal responsibility and threatening offenders with his veto pen after cheerfully overseeing a veritable orgy of spending and earmarks on his watch for the past seven years rings maddeningly hollow.

I particularly liked this line from the president: "American families have to balance their budgets; so should their government."

Of course, the president has no real intention of actually cutting spending, as he made clear tonight. While talking about submitting a budget that cuts $18 billion in government programs, the president also waxed poetic on a number of high dollar spending programs he wants to embark on, including his economic stimulus program, ( to the tune of $146 billion) and extending and vastly expanding No Child Left Behind and the government's Pell Grant programs to high school students who already are in public schools to the tune of $300 million, rather than taking the problem of dysfunctional public schools head on by allowing working parents access to private schools through school choice.

And he also wants to spend vast sums overseas to fight AIDS and HIV ( a mere $30 billion over the next five years) and malaria and more billions to purchase food crops from the third world and fund `democratic oversight,' whatever that means.

The president is also not content with interfering in the housing and secondary mortgage market by mandating `interest rate freezes' that subsidize borrowers with poor credit and no equity at the expense of investors and ultimately the taxpayers. He now wants to spread the chaos around by allowing state housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds subsidize the mortgages of homeowners with little or no equity or credit.

He also had a few things to say about `leveling the trade playing field'and taking steps to bring jobs back to American workers to make products labeled `Made In The USA.' An interesting idea coming from someone who stood by and watched as 1 in 6 American manufacturing jobs disappeared over the water and did virtually nothing to stop the influx of illegal aliens coming over the border to take a lot of the jobs that were left from those American workers he now has such kind words for.

Of course, those illegal aliens are only taking jobs Americans won't do.I seem to remember the president saying something about that when he was trying to ram amnesty for them down our collective throat.

On foreign policy,the president chose to take the high road, talking about the successes in Iraq without mentioning that a number of congressmen in his audience did their best to sabotage those efforts and slander the commander of our forces there.

He also, thankfully, mentioned the need for Congress to continue to fund our troops,pass the Columbia Trade Agreement and re-enact the legislation allowing the intelligence monitoring of communications between terrorist suspects here and overseas. It would probably be too much to ask for the president to be equally forthright on the need to confront his Saudi friends to curtail the export of wahabi flavored jihad into the mosques and madrassahs they control and fund here in the US.

Of course, the president also did a bit of shilling for his pet project, a Palestinian terrorist enclave next door to Israel. That part should have made any reasonable person gag,if nothing else did. He referred to the Palestinians as electing `a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel'...while Arafat II Mahmoud Abbas still has the Tanzim and the al-Aksa Martyr's brigade on his payroll and funnels cash to the other government those peace loving Palestinians elected - Hamas.

As I said, not the worst speech the present occupant of the White House has ever given - at least until you contrast it with his record of the past seven years.

And until, as always with this president, you look at what he didn't say and what he avoided.

Farewell, Newcastle Brown!

Scottish & Newcastle,the brewer of Kronenbourg, Newcastle Brown Ale, McEwan's Ale and Strongbow cider in Edinburgh, Scotland is no more. One of the last independent brewers, they accepted a buyout offer from Carlsberg and Heineken, who will split its holdings.

They'd been in business for 250 years, since 1749..and are now just another casualty of globalization. Locals are convinced that a cutback in production and job losses are ineveitable.

If that happens, Edinburgh's nickname of `Auld Reekie', which came from the pervasive aroma of hops and barley in certain parts of the city may be a thing of the past.

What we're seeing here is the idea of `global branding' in action, which in beer making usually means increasingly bland lagers made worldwide to appeal to the lowest common denominator of taste and a `one size fits all' economy of scale.

I'm not sure where Newcastle Brown or McEwan's Scots Ale fit into that picture, so grab one while you still can if you've a mind to....Slainte!

A Few Words On Gaza from The Man Who Should Be Leading Israel

Regular members of Joshua's Army may recall me mentioning Effie Eitam a few times.

Eitam is the leader of the National Religious Party, a former General and an authentic Israeli hero who was the former commander of the IDF in South Lebanon.And he's someone who commands respect even from those who disagree with him. When I look at his face, I'm reminded of the images of the ancient Hebrew warriors who defeated the Amalekites, the Canaanites and the Seleucid Greeks and created Israel.

To give you an idea of his character, Eitam, during the forcible uprooting of his fellow Jews from their homes in Gaza defied the Israeli government and brought his wife and children into Gush Katif to stay with his fellow countrymen, ease their sorrow and share their burdens when they lost their homes.

Today in Ynet, Yediot's English news website, Eitam has a few clear and prescient things to say about Gaza....I chose to emphasize a few things.

"The Hamas regime in Gaza can boast of one significant achievement - it managed to unite leftists and rightists in Israel. Both myself and Kadima's Haim Ramon understand that we need to act decisively and firmly in order to topple Hamas.

If the past we heard calls in the center of the political map urging talks with Hamas, its brutal attacks on Sderot residents led almost everyone to adopt the same view, and I also hope that it would lead to united deeds that have two aims: Military acts against Qassam launchers and their masters, and making it clear to the Gaza civilian population that electing a terror group to represent them is the main punishment they must bear.

The State of Israel left Gaza and provided its residents with a historic opportunity to elect their leadership - and they elected a radical, belligerent terror group that is Israel's most bitter enemy. And now, as was the case with many peoples throughout history, they are paying the price of their decision. It is immoral and impossible to task us with bearing even some of the price for their mistake.

Never before in history have we seen an entity that enjoyed impunity in the face of self-defense actions of the side under attack. Hamas declared a war on its neighbor with no discrimination between military and civilian targets, and with no provocation on our part. Yet we do not punish Gaza's residents; we merely realize our right for self-defense while facing a situation that is as clear, simple, and just as it gets.

The question of whether residents of Dresden had to bear the price for electing Hitler to lead them, or whether the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to bear the results of the Japanese government's policies in World War II is controversial to this day. Yet as opposed to other nations who simply turned whole cities and hundreds of thousands of civilians into direct victims - we have utilized the right for self-defense in a phased manner that does not result in direct casualties.

Therefore, Israel has the right to cut off the electricity that it supplies to Qassam workshops, the fuel it provides, which is used by launching vehicles, and the cement used to build tunnels and posts that will be used to fire at IDF soldiers one of these days. Israel's right to cut off the supply of these goods cannot face any legal or moral controversy; it also cannot clash with common sense, which demands that we ensure that our enemies would not "enjoy" Israel's economic and strategic power while attacking it.

The price paid by the Gaza population will benefit Israel. This is a legitimate and moral price, and claims regarding a humanitarian disaster are unfounded. We are no longer in Gaza, we made sure not to leave behind anything, and we withdrew to the last inch. Now Gaza is an enemy state. As such, we must address its indiscriminate hostility when it attacks civilians in contradiction of all international conventions and basic morals.

A situation whereby Israel, which is under attack, is asked to maintain the Hamas regime firing at our citizens is unthinkable. The demands for the prevention of a humanitarian disaster should be directed to international aid organizations. We most certainly need to also call on Egypt, Gaza's good neighbor, to do something that is called for and natural for a neighbor that is not in war with Gaza like we are - allow humanitarian aid to go through.

Yet instead of this, we see growing international pressure on Israel to do something completely unreasonable and continue supporting its enemies.

Therefore, before we send our sons to fight in Gaza's alleyways, reinforced with cement that we have transferred to Gaza through crossing points, and before we expose them to the fire of weapons smuggled into the Strip from Egypt - we must try to topple the Hamas regime, and certainly to weaken it through sanctions, while hermetically sealing off the border between the two warring parties.

The impossible situation whereby the Palestinians continue to fire Qassams, while receiving electricity for their Qassam workshops and fuel used by vehicles that fire Qassams, is deluxe terrorism that fits well with the dictum: "The master of the house has gone mad."

In this case, we are the master of the house, and the price we are paying is the security of Sderot and Gaza-region residents, and the stability of the entire State of Israel."

Well Worth Reading, 1/28/08

Here are a few tidbits well worth the consideration of Joshua's Army members:

Fool Me Thrice by Christopher Hitchens In which he explains why it's no surprise that the Clintons pulled out the race card in Campaign `08.

Hillary's Brown Firewall by Bob Novak I have my disagreements with Bob Novak, but he's the consumate Washington insider who knows his way around politics. Here, he agrees with yours truly that the Clintons have deliberately strategized to exploit the racial animosity between blacks and Latinos.

Iraq's Number 1 Problem, by Bing West and Max Boot A decent analysis of what could trip up our progress in Iraq by August..a lack of political will to share power by the Maliki government.

Bill Clinton, Spouse In Chief by Rick Moran Fellow Council member Rick Moran from Right Wing Nuthouse muses over Bill Clinton's possible role as `first laddy'.

First They Came For Piglet, by Mark Steyn Mark Steyn does a masterful piece on excessive deference to Islam - or should I say, Islamic rage...

The Muslims of Europe Charter by Gates Of ViennaBaron Bodissey once again shows whyhe's one of my favorite bloggers. In this superb piece, he roots out the real meaning behind a sharia-licious document called “The Muslims of Europe Charter”. represnting a joint statement by about 400 European Muslim organizations. A must read.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Energy Independence - What It Am And What It Ain't

`Energy independence' is one of those buzz word phrases politicians and pundits love.

For lots of people, the idea is that if America produces all it's own energy, we can tell the Ay-Rabs to go ride a camel to wherever and completely disengage from the Middle East. For more serious people, America producing all its own energy is an important step in winning the War on Jihad by ending America's funding of its enemies.

Actually, neither one of these ideas is entirely correct, as far as they go.

Before we discuss why, let me first dispose of the biomass/thermal/solar/wind power/green energy crowd. While all of these technologies work to a greater or lesser degree, the infrastructure simply isn't there at this time to utilize them as major energy sources, and it would take years to build that infrastructure and implement it across the board in our technology. To put it more simply, while solar energy may work great in some parts of the country for heating swimming pools, don't expect to run your car on solar batteries anytime soon. For that matter, even today's hybrid cars ultimately depend on electrical energy..generated using that ol' debbil, Mr. Petroleum.

As for ethanol, sorry, it's simply not the solution either.

Brazil managed to achieve energy independence using ethanol made out of cane sugar,but that was largely successful because can sugar has a higher ethanol output than corn, and because Brazil's energy needs as compared to the US are simply not in the same ballpark. The two countries may be somewhat similar in physical size but the level of population, development, infrastructure and cars on the road couldn't be more different.

In the US, most of our ethanol comes from corn, and frankly it's a political football rather than a solution. According to some estimates, it may take as much as 11 acres of farmland to produce enough ethanol to power a car for one year,and even to produce enough ethanol to meet President Bush's modest goal of manufacturing around 35 billions gallons of ethanol per year would only replace around 15% of our gasoline consumption. And if in fact we reach that goal, you can factor in a major increase in food prices, something you're already starting to see when you go to the market and purchase corn products, meat or poultry.

Even worse, to harvest all that corn and manufacture the ethanol, you need to use - you guessed it, oil, electricity(including fertilizer, much of which is petroleum based) and gasoline. Right now,it costs 1.29 gallons of gas to manufacture a gallon of ethanol...and that's not factoring in any of the other costs!

So we're talking about oil, and probably nuclear power.

Let's ignore the practical problems of energy independence for half a mo' (we'll get back to them) and assume that I just waved a magic wand and made it happen.It would have little or no effect on our enemies waging war on the US, and thus not allow us to disengage from the Middle East in the least.

Here's a few facts to chew on: the biggest funders of jihad worldwide are the Saudis, the UAE and Iran. And guess what...out of these three, only one of them, Saudi Arabia, imports a significant amount of oil to the US, roughly 12% of our total imports. As a matter of fact, the US gets 74% of it's oil imports from countries outside the Middle East, with Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia and Nigeria accounting for over 50% of our total imports.

If we suddenly stopped buying Middle East oil,they would still sell it to India, China or someone else, and Islamism is still going to get funded.In any case, the Saudis and the UAE learned from the oil boom/bust of the 1970's; oil is no longer their whole economic basis,and those petro-billions have been invested in financial instruments and infrastructure around the globe.

So anyone preaching energy independence as a magic cure to our problems with Islamist terrorism and jihad simply doesn't have both oars in the water. Taking a bite of that particular sandwich is going to require choices much more difficult than simply whom we purchase our oil from.

Nevertheless, it would be a positive development and great for the US economy, it would open up some wonderful strategic opportunities if we chose to exercise them...and the fact remains that oil is not in infinite supply, and that's something we had better begin thinking about.

I see us as being in a transitional period here when it comes to energy, and what's really needed is a solution that gets us from where we are now to the point where new energy technology is both feasible and practical and able to be implemented.

The answer, surprisingly, is not some new techno-whiz miracle. Instead, it involves using proven technology and resources we already have.

During WWII, Adolf Hitler and the German military had a major problem: the British Navy had essentially cut off most of Germany's traditional sources of oil and gasoline, and Germany's military and industry were in danger of running dry. What Hitler did was to put his scientists to work on the idea of synthetic oil...and they came through for Der Fuhrer, using a resource Germany had available in the Ruhr, in the Saar and in Silesia, among other places - coal. The Germans perfected the technology of the gasification of coal and kept the Nazis in the war. And that technology still exists today.

Here in the US, we could be said to be the Saudi Arabia of coal, with an estimated 400-600 years worth of supply. And in fact,the US actually created something called the Synthetic Fuels Corporation back in 1980 to refine and streamline this gasification process after the original OPEC oil embargo, and it made significant progress until around 1986. What happened then is that oil prices tanked and made synthetic oil uneconomical to pursue, because it costs around $50 a barrel to manufacture. When oil was at $16 a barrel, it made no sense to continue to produce our own synthetic fuel. Now,with prices nearing $100 per barrel, it does...especially in light of what some of the profits from imported oil sales are being used for, and by whom.

And it also makes sense to start actually building refineries again, something that hasn't been done in the US for over twenty years. Anyone involved with the energy biz who's actually being honest with you will tell you that the bottleneck that causes shortages and price rises mostly occurs at the refining end of things.

Nor is coal the only arrow in our energy independence quiver.

There are millions of potential barrels of shale oil just sitting in the Rockies in the western United States, another potential bonanza for the US economy using already tried and tested technology. There's also nuclear power, something the Europeans and the Japanese embraced after the Arabs turned off the spigot in the 1970's.

Add this to ramping up our domestic production and some basic conservation measures and and the US could achieve energy independence in a remarkably short space of time..certainly within one four-year presidential term. That would buy us the time we need, and then some to develop the new energy technologies for the future. Not to mention a slew of high paid US jobs, a boost for our economy, more oil to sell to other countries and strategic leverage in certain areas where we need it.

So....why haven't we done this? Nothing I'm pointing out here is exactly a deep, dark secret.

The answer, I think, lies in what I like to refer to as the Arab Oil Producers Government Pension Augmentation Plan, where Presidential libraries, honorariums, consulting fees,retainers, investments in certain financial instruments and foundations get paid out by certain cash flush oil producing nations.

Another part of the puzzle lies in the fact that government in general loves the status quo, because higher gas prices mean higher tax revenues. In my native state that means the county, the state and the feds garner about sixty cents plus per gallon in taxes - the higher the price, the more they make.

But the price for continuing this scam is getter larger by the minute, in blood as well as money.

The US can indeed achieve energy independence if we want to, and in a relatively short time. And the sooner we hold our politicians' feet to the fire to make it happen, the better off we'll be.

Obama Wins a `Victory' In South Carolina - And Hillary Wins A Real One

Barack Obama won the Democrat South Carolina primary yesterday, based on sheer numbers..but the real winner was Hillary Clinton.

The key was in the exit poll data

54.5% of the turn out for the South Carolina primary consisted of black voters, as opposed to about 45.5 for non-blacks. Obama won the black votes in South Carolina by a whopping majority, around 80%.

The key, however is in the non-black vote. Obama beat Clinton and Edward's combined numbers by a couple of points in just one category of non-black voters, the 18-29 age group...and they were only 5% of the turnout. In every other non-black age group, the numbers were as lopsided against Obama as the numbers for black voters were in favor of Obama.

Translation? The Clintons have been successful in painting Obama as `the black candidate' and can expect to harvest the backlash, especially among Hispanic voters. With John Edwards finishing a distant third in a state he was born in and was well known in, he's a pretty safe bet to drop out soon...which means that Hillary Clinton will have the non-black vote pretty much to herself.

Obama may win his home state of Illinois, and he will garner a few delegates in Southern states with large black electorates, but when delegates are apportioned and the hammer comes down, it looks like Senator Clinton as the Democrat nominee this year. And in the general election, she's calculating (probably correctly) on those black votes having nowhere to go but to the Democrats anyway.

UPDATE: Apparently Teddy Kennedy has joined John Kerry and endorsed Obama for president, another chapter in the psychodrama between the Kennedy and Clinton wings of the party. And the New York Times even dragged Caroline Kennedy out of the woodwork...

Geert Wilders - Leading the Charge Aganst Radical Islam In Europe

Part 1

Part 2

Geert Wilders is the most popular individual politician in the Netherlands,with hair to rival John Edwards.

Unlike John Edwards, he's also a serious person, an opponent of the Dutch welfare state and an unapologetic foe of radical Islam. Needless to say, this has made him a marked man in his own country, and he's protected by armed security 24-7. Wilder's latest battle concerns a short film he's making on Islam and the Qu'ran.

The announcement of the film itself (which isn't even finished yet) has sparked a whole round of death threats and seething rage from the proponents of the Religion of Peace. Here, in a Fox News interview, Wilders discusses the film and his views on the problems with radical Islam in Europe and on the Qu'ran, which he refers to as a `fascist book'....enjoy.

Hat tip to GW at Wolf Howling

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The BBC And Fatah Eulogize A Terrorist

George Habash, founder of the radical Popular Front For the Liberation Of Palestine ( PFLP)died today in Jordan at 81, and got a rave eulogy from the BBC that I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't read it myself.

Aside from erroneously referring to Habash as a `Christian' - in reality, he was a genocidal hardline marxist - the article saw fit to understate his record of violence against innocent people and to include a number of soppy quotes from his fellow terrorists in Fatah and elsewhere about what a `hero' he was.

As a matter of fact, Arafat II Mahmoud Abbas saw fit to order three days of public mourning for this murderous jackal, something that should clue you in on how serious the Palestinians are about living in peace next to Israel.

You can tell a lot about people from their heros.

Now here's who ol' George actually was.He was a genocidal maniac who was a pioneer in using domestic aircraft and innocent people as a tool in terrroist warfare, thus making him the spiritual grandfather of Mohammed Atta and the scum who attacked our country on 9/11. Every time you curse the huge lines and time consuming precautions that hold you up at the airport, George Habash is one of the people you have to thank.

He masterminded,among other things, a three-plane hijack to Jordan in 1970, the 1970 in flight bombing of Swissair flight SR330 that murdered 47 people, a 1972 massacre of passengers at Lod Airport in partnership with the Japanese Red Army that killed 26 people and the 1976 hijacking of an 1976 Air France flight from Tel Aviv in cooperation with the Baider-Meinhoff gang to Entebbe, Uganda... the one where those Israeli paratroops led by Yoni Netanyahu (z"l) mounted that famous raid and freed all but one of the hostages.

And those are just the more high profile operations. They leave out on ongoing legacy of terrorism and murder that reaches to our present day, including the assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi in Jerusalem back in 2002 while he was at breakfast with his wife..

I'm not surprised at the Palestinians memorializing this rabid dog in the least, but I am surprised that the BBC felt it necessary to give him a rousing eulogy. I don't think much of them, but I frankly wouldn't have expected it, even from the BBC. This is beyond the pale, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves, frankly.

According to the article,Habash is said to have died of a heart attack. Let's just say I have my doubts about that. He was entirely lacking in one of the necessary components.

However he died, I hope it was painful, at least as painful as the deaths inflicted on the many people he ordered murdered.

Roast in hell, cockroach.Good riddance.

hattip to Soccer Dad

Friday, January 25, 2008

Australia Day, 2008

All the best to my friends and fellow freedom fighters in Oz!

The Real Banana On Politics With Weekend Monkey, 1/25/08

FF: Now it's time to slither once again through the fetid political jungle with JoshuaPundit's own political guru, my pal Weekend Monkey.

WM: Hideyho,Primates!

FF: Howdy, Monkey...What's going on with the campaign?

WM: Hee hee hee! Whooo, it's getting down and dirty... I just love the poop slinging between Bill Clinton and Obama Yo' Mama!

FF: Yeah,it's really something alright..although actually it's both Clintons. You know how I see it, Monkey.

WM:Yeah, and the more I see, the more I think you got it right saying that Shrillary and Bill may have deliberately written off part of the black vote to Obama to court the Hispanic vote. Obama Yo' Mama was just stoopid enough to fall into the trap of the Martin Luther King stuff, so now they're both playing the race card - Shrillary with the Hispanics and their feelings about blacks and Obama posing as the official black candidate!It's a race war!

FF: Yeah, I heard an ABC poll that showed that his support among blacks in South Carolina has risen dramatically, while his support among whites has tanked. I guess I'm naive, but it still amazes me that the Democrats, who claim to be the party of diversity and political correctness would use race as a campaign tactic.And to be honest, I'm really disappointed in the parts of both the black and Hispanic electorate that are allowing themselves to be manipulated like that and are buying into it. They should turn their backs on both these jokers, Monkey.

WM: Like I told you before, FF,it may not make common sense but it makes political sense, OK? Shrillery wanted Obama to position himself as the black candidate...because of the numbers, it means he has as much chance of getting the Donkey nomination as Kucinich.

FF: He just dropped out too, y'know.

WM: Hey, why not? He already got what he wanted out of it. You ever seen his wife, that six foot tall redhead? Now that's one tree I wouldn't mind climbing..

FF: Monkey, you are dancing over the borderline of good taste on this site...

WM: Alright, alright, keep your hat on, OK? Sheesh!

FF: Ok. Monkey. First let's talk about South Carolina. You had a perfect track record on predicting elections until the GOP primary there,when you picked Huckabee to win over McCain....

WM: Yeah yeah, so Mccain beat him by what, a lousy three points or so? Big whoop. I told you it was too close to call,and the bookies said the same.I got Nevada right though, didn't I?

FF: Yup, and for both parties too.You even got the point spread exactly right on Hillary and Obama...5 points

WM: Well Nevada was where my money was anyway..I bet with the point spread.

FF: You're betting on the races??

WM: You betcha, FF. And I'm making a nice amount of bananas doing it too.

FF: Speaking of which, the last time we spoke, you mentioned a little something about `extra expenses', and a lot of our readers figured it had something to do with Baby Monkey. Are they right?

WM: @#!$!!'s the skinny. Sue Ki Yung, like I told you, was connected to the Obama campaign, which I didn't know when we got ummm..friendly.Anyway,her court case blew up because there's no legal way of establishing parenthood in these situations and I figure she already got paid anyway by the Obama Yo' mama people, so she all of a sudden wasn't so interested in legalities anymore. I figure she probably got Baby Monkey from an exotic animal dealer anyway, and..well, the end of the story is that I assumed legal custody and he's living with me and Gruppstein now.

FF: You adopted Baby Monkey?

WM: Hey, I wasn't going to let him go to a zoo or a science lab so..

FF: Monkey, you did the right thing.

WM: Yeah, yeah. Cramps my style a lot though, having the little jungle rat around.

FF: Now that you're a family man, maybe it's time for you to clean up your act a bit, y'know?

WM: @#!#!!#!

FF: Ooooh-kay...back to politics. Let's start with the Dems in South Carolina.

WM: Really too close to call at this point, and it depends on turnout. It's gonna split along racial lines, which, since half the dem electorate in South Carolina is black should favor Obama...but I still think Shrillary might take it, because she'll get the white and Hispanic vote, plus at least some of the blacks. Obama and Shrillary will be seperated by probably three points, max, whoever wins. And ultimately,it doesn't matter. Obama yo' Mama is toast after February 5th. Barbie might just drop out entirely. He won't be a factor in South Carolina or anywhere else.

FF: The GOP in Florida, Monkey?

WM: Man, that's a re-eal zoo. Giuliani needs a win, and like I always say, need adds a few notches to the point spread. He either has to win or come in a strong second just to stay alive.McCain needs it too. He has to show that he can win among rethugs in a sothern state where the primary isn't an open one.And there's enough of a military vote in Florida that favors him, just like Giuliani has all them transplanted New Yorker-type primates.Romney and Huckabuck are factors too,now that Fred Thompson is history.

The reality is that the polls show the rethugs seperated by a real thin margin, and even that doesn't tell the whole story, since a lotta primates already voted back when Rudy Giuliani was king of the jungle...I don't have a call on this one.

FF: Aw c'mon, Monkey!

WM: Really, FF, it could go any which way. I want to sniff the wind on this one a little more, OK?

FF: OK, fair enough Monkey, I'll let you get back to your family for the weekend..

Wm: You are really looking for it,FF. Smell ya later primates....

Hamas Destroys Another Section Of The Gaza Wall And Beefs Up Control Of Its New Stronghold

Today, Hamas bulldozed down one of the last remaining sections of the border wall between Egypt and Gaza as what's left of the Egyptian border force stood by and watched.

Hamas brought more troops into the area as the population from Gaza continued to stream into the area. Their numbers are now estimated at over 600,000 people.

It would take a massive Egyptian force to remove the Palestinians at this point, and the Egyptians are unlikely to send an army to fight the Palestinians because of the political cost to Egypt and the Mubarak regime at home and in the Arab world.

Hamas and its allies have accomplished two major objectives. First, they have broken the Israeli siege of Gaza and acquired a chunk of real estate almost double the size of the Gaza Strip, which means they now have a de facto safe haven to launch attacks against Israel, who will have difficulty responding because the area is still officially "Egypt". This is very similar to the dilemma NATO faces in Afghanistan,where the Taliban makes raids across the border from a safe haven in Pakistani Waziristan. And the area of the Israeli border now exposed to terrorist raids, rocket attacks and infiltration has just expanded dramatically.

Second, Hamas is now indirect contact with its parent organization in Egypt,the Muslim Brotherhood and can coordinate with them to help bring down the Mubarak regime and advance the radical Islamization of Egypt.

And of course, the importation of missiles, heavy weapons and trained fighters fromIran and Syria just got a whole lot easier.

Hamas, of course, set the stage for this attack brilliantly, manipulating the dinosaur media with the bogus `humanitarian crisis' so that the invaders would be perceived as just impoverished `shoppers'.

Israel has immediately advised its nationals in the Sinai to return to Israel. The Sinai resort of Sharm El Sheik is fairly nearby, and a popular vacation spot for Israelis.

Don't be surprised to see a bombing or kidnap attempt in Sharm El Sheik.

Watcher's council results. 1/25/08

The Council has spoken! A complete list of results can be found at the site of our fearless leader, the infamous Watcher of Weasels

This weeks' winner is:

Done With Mirrors: Liberal Fascism A critique and review of Jonah Goldber's book of the same title by Callimachus.

In second place, we had an unbelievable 7 place tie, with :

'I Have A Dream' -- The Democrat's Version by Joshuapundit

Hillanomix 101 by Wolf Howling

The Radicalization of American Politics by The Glittering Eye

Grim Choices Confront GOP by Right Wing Nut House

Di Caprio Lies and Hustles Bucks by Cheat Seeking Missiles

Our Out of Control Borders: Who's Accountable? by The Education Wonks

What Is "Freedom"? by The Colossus of Rhodey

For non-Council, the winner was:

Iowahawk: Bylines of Brutality th eclear winner, Iowahawks hilarious satire that practices turnabout on journalistic musings on `psychotic veterans'.

In second place for non-Council, we had another tie between:

It's All Israel's Fault by my nominee, Council alumnus Gates of Vienna


About the Anarcholibertarians by The QandO Blog

Hearty Kudos to all the winners and the participants for some great writing!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Look At The Presidential Field

Florida and Super Tuesday are on the horizon, and the last GOP debate is over.I think it's time we took a look at what's out there, presidentially speaking.

As you know, I haven't endorsed anyone for president as of yet, nor will I now, although I've definitely let some preferences slip from time to time.

Simply speaking, I tend to look at the selection of a president differently than a lot of people. The way I see it, what we are doing here essentially is hiring a chief executive, keeping in mind the specific situation we happen to be faced with at present.

In that context, I'm not particularly interested in `likeability'. soundbites, race, religion or gender or anyone's personal life except as it might impact on their actual ability to perform.Of course, that puts me almost 180 degrees apart from the tabloidized dinosaur media, and probably a good portion of the electorate.

So, just for the hell of it, let's examine our job applicants based on my criterion, and forget about the other fluff, shall we?

The first thing I think we should look at is our current situation and what qualities we are likely to need to cope with it.

The first thing that occurs to me is that we are going to need someone experienced in crisis management, with the ability to make quick and hard decisions and implement them.

This is not a situation for on the job training. The Oval Office has a history of either expanding a man to fit the position or being severe in revealing his limitations, and given the circumstances, we have less leeway than usual this time in allowing for growth.

The financial markets are in turmoil and the economy is in need of some severe and expert tweaking, while the unfinished foreign policy issues left over by the current occupant of the White House are going to need to be dealt with. The challenge of Russia, energy, the Iran nuclear situation and the issue of domestic and foreign Islamist terrorism are not going to go away. Nor is the problem of our open borders and illegal aliens.

In addition, our new president is going to have the responsibility of restoring confidence in the presidency by uniting the country, exercising consistency in implementing policy, and in coherently and honestly explaining those policies to the American people. When our new president takes office, he or she will have to do his best to dispose of a 16 year legacy in the opposite direction.

I don't wish to seem partisan, but there is absolutely no one running as a Democrat right now who is remotely capable of dealing with these challenges, either in terms of experience or basic character. I wish that wasn't the case, but it unfortunately is.

Neither Senator Clinton or Senator Obama have the slightest executive experience in running anything, let alone something as complex as a national government. Neither of them have ever even run so much as a small business, which is probably why both of them are so antithetical to entrepreneurs and corporations in general. And both have a number of quite questionable people around them and supporting them.

Both of them favor huge tax increases `on the rich' with the definition of whom qualifies as `rich' being a fairly elastic one, and neither has shown the slightest flair or understanding of the way the US economy works, or for the kind of economic management necessary to make it work. Clinton and Obama's grandiose and costly plans for government paid and managed universal healthcare and schemes to penalize the already crippled mortgage industry and make a bad situation worse are just two examples among many others of what I can only call muddle headed thinking on the economy.

Nor can either one of them be seen as particularly decisive, or willing to make hard decisions when the moment calls for it. Mrs. Clinton, like her husband, is known for tacking to whatever wind blows to her political advantage at the moment and has a well-deserved reputation for political expediency at the expense of principle, or even at the expense of what one would ordinarily term common sense. Obama, as his rivals for the Democratic nomination correctly pointed out at the last debate is so anxious to avoid going on record in his positions that he voted `present' over two hundred times during his still uncompleted senate term! Aside fromspeeches loaded with platitudes and easy applause lines, there's simply not much there.

On foreign policy and national security, both candidates agree on open borders, a reduced military and a US surrender in Iraq. And both are essentially selling a return to the good old days of Clinton era and a vacation from history...and I think we've already seen where that leads.

If we look at the Republicans, we at least get a bit more substance, if nothing like perfection.

The current front runner if the polls are to be believed is John McCain. The senator from Arizona definitely has executive experience, of the life and death kind. And his personal courage is beyond question.

By his own admission, he knows very little about economics, and had he had his way on tax cuts, the nation would be in far worse straits economically than it is today. And his record on national security issues is a mixed bag - good on the military and on Iraq, abysmal on our open borders.

Significantly, he's tacking right on the border issue now. Whether I trust his new conversion is another matter entirely.

In a strange sort of way McCain is heading back towards the future, as it were - revisiting his past of thirty years ago as a conservative, war veteran Reaganite legislator. And that's really his message,the way I see it:here I stand, the old know me, and I will take things back to the way they used to be.

It is not the most unattractive of messages, either. I find myself disagreeing with John McCain's stance on a number of issues, but I respect the fact that he stands for the old values and I like the fact that he is not a baby boomer, having avoided the malignant narcissism of that generation.

Like his chief rival in the GOP, Mitt Romney, he may be the least worse in a field where the choices remain unclear so best.

Mitt Romney likewise certainly has stellar credentials when it comes to executive experience, and unlike McCain, he understands economics, which is why he's now making that the linchpin of his campaign. He's seen which way the wind is blowing with the electorate. Romney has shifted his positions to the right as well, something I personally don't have a problem with since we all change our minds, but in his case I can't help but wonder about his sincerity. I don't wish to be harsh, but Romney sometimes reminds me of another `bidness' Republican who ran as a conservative and then ended up betraying both the principles and the constituency he espoused when it was expedient. That man ended up in the White House, but he tore his own party to pieces, and cost them majorities in both houses of Congress while alienating most of the people who put him in office.

And it's no accident the way I see it that Romney has Jeb Bush and a lot of the old Bush team working with him on his campaign. I saw that coming when Romney made his speech on faith from the George HW Bush Library in Texas and was introduced by the ex-president personally.

Romney likewise is selling character, and he wears it well, but at times he seems so perfectly scripted that it makes the rare occasion when he stumbles outside the script loom that much bigger.

Romney's essential message is one of competence and of newness, of a personality outside of the beltway, and it's certainly not the least compelling narrative out there.

Mike Huckabee, on the other hand really is an outsider.He has at least some executive experience as governor of a small state, and a wonderful ability to communicate and think on his president, he'd be the closest thing we've ever had to a standup comedian in the White House since Abe Lincoln and his speeches have a unique way of hitting home, a talent he honed as a Baptist preacher.

He's recieved a great deal of criticism as a `liberal' because of some parts of his record in Arkansas, but now claims to have seen the light on issues like taxes and the border, and I see no reason why his conversion should be considered any less genuine than McCain's or Romney's.

He's also an avowed and unapologetic Evangelical Christian, who's even popped into the pulpit to preach a sermon now and then on the campaign trail, something I personally find rather appealing.

But that's also his chief drawback for a lot of people. A lot of the Republican elite have a habit of regarding Evangelicals like rich people have always regarded the `help'- useful to have around when needed, but better unseen and unheard when you don't.Others,who consider themselves more moderate are concerned by the idea of having a candidate so closely identified with that part of the GOP and consider him unelectable.

Huckabee, of course, fed this by deliberately injecting identity politics into the race, the first time that's been done on the Republican side for quite some time.The fact that he was willing to do this so blatantly gives one pause for thought. One key question for Mike Huckabee if he stays in the race is whether he has the ability to move beyond that.Time will tell.

Rudy Giuliani would seem, at first glance to be the ideal candidate for the job. A solid record of accomplishment as a executive (and remember, being mayor of New York City is more than equivalent to being governor of all but the largest and most populous states) and his success in turning around a dysfunctional city against all odds was a solid accomplishment. His personal courage, as shown by his actions as a federal prosecutor taking on the mafia and as mayor during 9/11 is also not in doubt.

He has solid national security credentials and arguably the best team of foreign policy advisors of any candidate in either party. He has never wavered from conservative fiscal policies, has sound economic ideas and his ability to communicate with his fellow Americans is only rivaled by Mike Huckabee among the candidates.He's also the candidate most likely to successfully challenge the Islamist penetration into our society - just ask CAIR.

Where America's Mayor seems to have stumbled is in his judgement of the electorate.While avoiding the early states and conserving time and resources for the bigger states may have seemed like a smart campaign strategy on paper, the message it sent to the electorate was that Giuliani was afraid to compete. To the citizens of the states affected, it sent a message that they didn't count, something that fit the stereotype of the elitist, snobby New Yorker.That will continue to be true no matter how well he does in Florida and on Super Tuesday.

Another error, I'm convinced was his continued emphasis on 9/11 and national security. Now that things are going better in Iraq and the Bush administration has essentially chosen to pass the problem of Iran on to the next president with the farcical NIE, the American people are much more concerned with bread and butter issues like the economy than they are with national security. Mitt Romney was able to read the wind and change accordingly. Rudy Giuliani was not.

Those aren't the only errors in judgement that cost Rudy Giuliani his frontrunner status, but I think they are symbolic of a slew of other things that did, and call into question whether he's really the right man for the job.Again, time will tell.

One of those errors in judgement is one he shares with the entire Republican field, in my opinion.The GOP candidate with the courage and foresight to run against President Bush in the way Nicholas Sarkozy ran against Jacque Chirac, politely but firmly, is the candidate most likely to succeed, both in the primaries and in the general election.

It remains to be seen whether any of the Republican candidates will take that challenge, and whether events intervene to change things, as they have a way of doing.