Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Biden's Bid To Divide Iraq Doesn't Divide Iraqis

Joe Biden has differentiated himself from other candidates with his position, Iraqi sovereignty be damned, that the country should be partitioned into Shi'a, Sunni and Kurdish zones -- and he managed to get a sense of the Senate resolution last week supporting the position.

One catch, though: His idea certainly doesn't divide the Iraqis: They hate the idea. Not that it bothers Joe, who has shown his gift of gab is not matched with a gift for listening.

Watching America
provides us an inside at the response to Biden in Baghdad by translating an article from the Iraqi newspaper Sotal Iraq, Iraqis Sound Off on Joe Biden's Plan. By party, we learn:
  • Iraqi National Party chief Mithal al-Alusi [a secular nationalist alliance made up of Sunnis and Shiites led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi] criticized several Iraqi politicians without naming them, for helping Biden formulate his program.

  • Saleh al-Mutlaq, the President of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [a non-sectarian coalition that wants to end the presence of foreign troops and to rebuild Iraqi government institutions] asked the United Nations and Arab League to denounce Biden’s program, describing it as a pathway to a civil war in Iraq.

  • The Iraq Accord Front [originally a coalition of three Sunni parties that have supported participation in the political process] renewed its rejection of any draft resolution that seeks to divide Iraq along sectarian lines, and Accord Front deputy Omar Abdul Satar Al-Karbuli reiterated that the coalition has grave reservations about establishing what he described as “federalized sectarian regions.”

    Iraqi Accord Front MP said, "The partioning of the country on the basis of ethnic or sectarian divisions is completely unacceptable, since it would terminate the modern state of Iraq."

  • Member of Parliament Hamid Rashid Mualla of the United Iraqi Alliance [a broad-based coalition of over 20 groups, dominated by the two major Shiite parties] was a bit more diplomatic. While he emphasized the right of the Iraqi people to choose a system that suits them, he said in an interview with Radio Sawa that, "the amendment passed by the U.S. Senate is fairly open-ended, and would give Iraqis a vast opportunity to choose the kind of federalism they want."
Biden called the vote, "a major repudiation of President Bush's failed policy in Iraq," seemingly ignoring the fact that his own approach has been certified as pre-failed by the Iraqi leadership.

Not listening (of course), Biden said after the vote on Wednesday,
This may be President Bush's war. But it is America's future. Together, we have to get this right. Today, we are one step closer to doing just that.
Biden has a funny definition of "together," doesn't he? He talks about "America" and "we," but has left the Iraqis entirely out of the picture.

The Dems, for all their talk of this being Bush's war, don't want any troublesome meddling in their work to make it their defeat.

Updpate: In a highly unusual move, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq issued a statement condemning Biden's resolution:

"Our goal in Iraq remains the same: a united, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself," the unsigned statement said.

"Iraq's leaders must and will take the lead in determining how to achieve these national aspirations. ... attempts to partition or divide Iraq by intimidation, force or other means into three separate states would produce extraordinary suffering and bloodshed," it said. (AP)

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Debating Debates

Last week, amidst much negative fanfare, the major GOP candidates found better things to do than attend a debate on issue of interest to black voters. It turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Candidates Skirt Women's Issues Debate

Only John Edwards has signed on so far for Rosie O'Donnell's schedule presidential debate, to be held next Tuesday on the Lifetime cable network.

"Donald Trump is sponsoring a fundraiser and hair styling tips session for me, so I regret that I can't be there," Rudy Giuliani explained.

A source on Hillary Clinton's staff who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to say anything not 100% positive to the media about Sen. Clinton, said Clinton is aware of the invitation and is considering her options.
Meanwhile, in Key West and San Francisco, things aren't going well at all for the first national bicoastal presidential debate on issues of concern to transgendered voters.
When Politics Don't Embrace Change:
Candidates Dodge Transgender Debate

"This is just so typical," pouted Suzy Sillycon huskily as the San Francisco transgender activist scanned her email inbox.

Sillycon is lamenting the dearth of accepted invitations to the planned bicoastal debate on issues of concern to transgender voters. Thus far, only Hillary Clinton has accepted an invitation and appears likely to be debating herself.
Well, she'll find herself in a familiar position at least. Finally, in Tuscaloosa, it appears that presidential candidates are not the best friends of dogs.
No Candidates Barking Up Dog Rights Tree

Dog rights activist Rex K. Niner finds himself muzzled in his efforts to increase national attention on issues of concern to dogs and dog owners.

"Every day, Bush is lifting his leg on dogs' God-given rights," Niner said. "If the candidates think they can continue to ignore these issues and win by pandering to the cat vote, we'll show 'em what 'sic' means."
Really, what's a candidate to do? For a long time, presidential debates -- especially before the primaries -- have not been a useful tool for voters, as over-prepared candidates ignore questions and bridge blithely to the question they'd rather answer. All they are good for is catching a candidate in a shameful moment or, all too rarely, showing one candidate to be head and shoulders over another.

Despite this, the media's hunger for content is driving us to more debates earlier in the process. If a candidate opts out, does it mean that he doesn't care about the issue du jour, or is it merely recognition that the media's whims and wills should not be the driving force in campaigns of this importance?

I'd like to give a hat-tip to frequent commenter Gregory, who posted this comment on my post about the top four GOP candidates dodging the recent debate on black issues:
The goal right now is to win the Republican Party nomination and this event really does not help that. Not many Republican primary voters there. Plus the press is just looking for statements that can be labeled racist or at the very least "show a lack of understanding". You make excellent points but what next, a gay issues debate, a hispanic issues debate, womens issues debate. Dividing people by class is what liberals do. Give them a little credit for refusing to pander.
Credit due and given.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Reporter-God Sy Hersh's Dixie Chick Moment

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-icon has had a bit of a DCM -- a Dixie Chicks Moment -- in an interview with a German publication. In doing so, he inadvertently reveals that he is amazingly, deeply confused and disturbed, bedazzlingly transcending normal human capacity for illogical thinking.

Before we get to his DCM, let's start a bit more gently, with two excerpts from Hersh just a couple paragraphs apart in his interview with Spiegel:
You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.


There are two very clear options [for the U.S. in Iraq]: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.
Everything to the left is tabula rasa. Everybody on the left, including Sy Hersh, has no learning curve. He saw the expansion of totalitarianism through South Asia, destroying Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma, after we abandoned Vietnam. It didn't register. He knows millions died because of this totalitarian tsunami, but he has forgotten the lesson that is there to be learned.

In other words, he didn't see the looming threat of Communist Totalitarianism in Southeast Asia then, just as he doesn't see the looming threat of Islamist Totalitarianism globally now. No, he tells us, the fuel that keeps the war going is not the very real threat of global jihad; it's merely George W. Bush's evangelical jingoism.

We'll make one more stop before we get to the really outrageous statement. (You may be surprised I'll be able to trump this one.)
... the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We've basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They've simply split.
Three sentences, three abysmally flawed and distorted statements.

I've heard the surge called a lot of things, but a con game? Con games by definition don't work, yet the surge is working. And who exactly is Hersh calling a con man? Bush, of course. But also Petraeus and his staff. This is stuff.

Yes, we have built a wall or two in Iraq, but Hersh is caught in the classic leftist trap of ignoring of the obvious: Iraq was far more Balkanized under Saddam Hussein's reign, where Sunnis ruled all and all others suffered genocide or near-genocide.

And all the Shi'ites have fled Anbar? At this point, the reporters (Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith) simply should have turned off the microphone and excused themselves. After all, why give an idiot the time of day?

The population of Anbar is, and has been for some time, 95 percent Sunni. I'd say the ethnic cleansing that went on there during the Saddam's reign of Sunni terror had already pretty efficiently purged that stretch of desert of Shi'a. Now, with cooperative efforts against Sunni terrorists in Anbar, things are more safe for Shi'a there, not less safe.

But Hersh has just been winding up for his pitch until this point. Here comes the DCM:
The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he's talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He's not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You're going to have a Kurdistan. You're going to have a Sunni area that we're going to have to support forever. And you're going to have the Shiites in the South.
While ethnic cleansing can include mere expulsion, the common understanding of the word is that it involves wholesale killing and vicious intimidation of an ethnic minority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity. The term came into existence in the Bosnian/Croatian war, where genocidal massacres occurred in the name of ethnic cleansing.

The Left can call Bush stupid all they want and it's fine with me because all it does is make them look prejudiced and foolish; but for Hersh to say that our president is no different than a Slobodan Milošević is a slam of a different and far more troubling nature.

All you have to do is look at the language of ethnic cleansing to see how rabidly over the line Hersh is. Here's how the UN resolution defining the practice puts it:
Deploring the grave situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the serious
deterioration of the living conditions of the people there, especially the Muslim and Croat populations, arising from the aggression against the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Alarmed by the prospect of further escalation of the fighting in the region,

Expressing grave alarm at continuing reports of widespread violations of international humanitarian law occurring within the territory of the former Yugoslavia and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including reports of mass forcibile expulsion and deportation of civilians, imprisonment and abuse of civilians in detention centres and deliberate attacks on non-combatants, hospitals and ambulances, impeding the delivery of food and medical supplies to the civilian population, as well as wanton devastation and destruction of property,
Ask yourself: Is this what has been happening in Iraq since the surge? The "widespread violations of international humanitarian law" have downturned sharply because the perpetrators -- Islamofascists, not Bush -- are being killed off.

"Mass forcible expulsions?" There have been none.

"Imprisonment and abuse of civilians?" Under Hussein, a lot. Perpetrated by al Qaeda, for sure, and awful. While the U.S. surge forces and their Iraqi allies imprison many who deserve to be imprisoned, they are not into the abuse and abusive imprisonment of civilians.

"Deliberate attacks on non-combatants?" This is too easy. Here's the answer, courtesy of A Second Hand Conjecture (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Hersh, as he did in reporting Mai Lai 40 years ago and Abu Ghraib earlier in this war, continues the liberal MSM tradition of not letting mere facts get in the way of Grand Prejudices. And because he does, media outlets like Spiegel treat him like a god, not a dangerous buffoon, when they interview him.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

It's A Wonder She Could Find Her Fork

Trudy Rubin, foreign affairs columnist with the Philadelphia Enquirer, accepted the invitation offered on cream colored stock with flowing calligraphy. Yes, she would sit down at the same table as Mah - I'm in the - moud - for dinner patter Ahmadinejad (rhymes with "They're so easy to dupe, which makes me glad"). Not only that, she apparently commited to not upchucking all over the table ('lit by chandeliers, and set with plates of oriental salads and vases of roses') while trying to consume food in his presence.

Rubin is no Bollinger, her column clearly shows. Her insults are tepid and barely heart-felt:
This is a man of overweening self-confidence who believes his own rhetoric. He badly misunderstands the American system, but is certain that he gets it. He prefaces every meeting with a long religious prologue calling for justice, peace and friendship, yet his words increase tensions.
"Increase tensions?" Like something you can take a Bayer for?

Rubin did not leave the dinner overwhelmed by the fact that she had just spent three hours with a very dangerous and irrational man in mad pursuit of nuclear weapons so he can carry out his recurring threats against Israel. No, instead:
The overwhelming sense I had from the dinner was of opportunities being squandered to improve U.S.-Iranian relations.
Rubin hasn't grasped the fact that U.S.-Iranian relations can't improve as long as the East Coast liberal media elite can sit down and extend civility to a man who is doing all he can to kill our troops in Iraq. But her entire column, which purportedly covered the entire dinner conversation, came and went with but one scant reference to Iraq -- and that was more of her "overwhelming sense," not her "overwhelming disgust:"
One was left with the impression that there is slim chance on Iran's side for actions to reduce tensions, including cooperation on Afghanistan or Iraq.
Again, the tepidness. She is merely left with an impression; how Leftist. Never wanting to appear to not be inclusive, never wanting to judge the morality of others, she is merely left with an impression, as if a flaming hot brand of anti-Semitic, anti-American hatred was pushed up against her skin, and left only a faint impression. What would it take to actually make her feel something strongly?

Oh, I know the answer. Looking at a photo of Bush. The cover of her anti-Bush tome makes that clear.

Finally, she concludes:
Frustrating he is, because his rhetoric inflames tensions and gives ammo to politicians who want military action. But Hitler he is not.
I wish you could have heard the tired, repulsed sigh that just came out of me as I pasted that into my post. He's frustrating because his rhetoric inflames tensions? Not because he kills our soldiers, strips freedoms from his people, quashes opposition, executes homosexuals and wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

He's frustrating because his rhetoric makes military action more likely? Not his actions? This woman lives on a parallel planet where reality is what is talked about so insightfully among the intellectuals, not our planet where blood gets spilled, dissidents get tortured, and fanatics try to push entire nations either off the planet if they're Jewish or back a few centuries if they're Islamic.

The only reason she excuses Ahmadinejad from being Hitler is because, she says, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the real power, not the imp in the bad suit. So, then, would Heinrich Himmler be perfectly acceptable as "not a Hitler" to Rubin?

After all this, we are left with the most interest element of all regarding My Dinner With Mahmoud: Someone put together and carefully vetted this invitation list. Someone worked diligently to make sure that no one would be invited who would leap across the table and wring the little @#$%!'s neck.

That someone, I'll bet you a dollar to a donut, is an American working for a lobbying firm in Washington DC who is perfectly content to aid and abet the enemy -- not just the enemy of America, but the enemy of freedom, free speech, political discussions and religious rights.

I think I'd actually be more inclined to wring that @#$%!'s neck than Ahmadinejad's.

Hat-tip: RCP

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From Far Away, A Proud Papa

My friend Jim forwarded this picture to me in a collection of pictures of the troops. It stood out as particularly poignant -- first, because the young father is so far away from his wife and his new baby, but also because we are so blessed that we have the technology that he could almost be there.

Now, he will have a memory of his baby's first breaths, not just a memory that he wasn't there for this wonderful occasion.

The message that accompanied the photos concluded with,
The only thing harder than being a soldier ...
... is loving one.
But it was made a little easier for this soldier's wife, knowing that her husband there with her, at least in a small way.

Remember today and every day to pray for the troops, and their families.

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A Shameful Night For The GOP

Imagine, if you will, that Fox had organized a debate for Dems on national security issues at a suitable military venue -- one of the academies or a large base somewhere -- and Clinton, Obama and Edwards all decided not to show.

Unthinkable, right? It would set back the Dems even further on their weak spot of national security and would create an MSM/blogosphere/voter whirlwind.

Then why on earth did Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney decide not to show at the All-American Presidential Forum on PBS, where the topic was a GOP weak spot -- race and matters of concern to black (and Latino) voters?

How hard is this topic?

No, the answer isn't that we weren't racists in 1860 or 1960 -- who cares? We all know the GOP had a strategy to take the South from the Dems, and that included embracing a certain number of good ol' boys who don't appeal much to blacks. So get off that wagon.

Our message is simple: We don't see things in black and white, whereas the Dem party more and more defines the world in that way.

We support opportunity, independence, the chance to excel and the chance to hold on to more of your earnings when you do.

The Dems support affirmative action, government programs and high taxes.

We will not get the votes of blacks who want the false advantage of affirmative action, or those that are dependent on government programs and the high taxes that support them.

Big deal. It's a big tent, not a universal tent. Our candidates should be in all communities with those messages, and especially the black community -- not because we see it as black, not white, but because we see it as a community we have to go to if we're going to win it over.

Mike Huckabee gets that. He carried a strong majority of blacks when he ran for governor in Arkansas. Asked why, he simply says, "Because I never thought I couldn't get their vote."

To him, they were simply voters with minds that would be made up one way or the other, and he went to them that way: voters, not black voters.

In Iowa, one of the king-makers is Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsin. He skewers the GOP foursome today:
That sent a hostile signal about the Republican Party to the nation's black and Latino communities.

For a party already in minority status in much of the country, it defies political logic to just brush off these constituencies.
Yepsin saw Huckabee as the winner of the mini-debate, saying:
Mike Huckabee seemed to stand out. As a former governor of Arkansas, he seemed quite familiar with the issues facing minority voters and his answers sounded calm, informed and presidential.
I'll tell you what: Every day that goes by, I like Mike Huckabee a bit more.

hat-tip: RCP

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Watcher's Winners

There was a perfect symmetry at the Watcher of Weasel's gathering of great blog-writing this week, as we sojourned back to the 30's with both the Watcher's Council winner and the non-Council winner.

Bookworm took top honors among the Council members with her Cosmic Ironies, the difficult tale of her ancestry, and how it was torn asunder by Hitler and the Nazis. To find the cosmic irony, you'll just have to read the piece -- it's quite something!

Rafael Medoff's post on History News Network, Columbia "Invites Hitler to Campus" -- As It did in 1933 took top honors among non-council members. This is history as it should be, illuminating and relevant -- with a good bit of "I didn't know that!" tossed in.

Back to the Council, Big Lizards was once again excellent this week, coming in second. (It wouldn't be a week without BL up there somewhere!) His post The Human Touch finds a less obvious – and better — solution to immigrants from terror-sponsoring states.

I was happy to see my post, Gates' Iraq Agenda Short on Democracy, coming in third against such exceptional competition.

Second place on the Non-Council side went to Dr. Sanity's Islam and Marxism: A Marriage Made in Allah's Socialist Paradise. It's frightening to think that Islam could gain broad appeal among the angry and the disaffected -- I'd rather have Lenin back!

Also of note was third-place-winning The Next Iranian Revolution by Michael Totten. It's long, but valuable, because it really details the various revolutionary groups and the prospects for revolution in Iran. I posted on it earlier here.

You can find all the winners at Watcher of Weasels.

Thanks again, WoW, for ringmastering this circus.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quote Of The Day Edition: Well Duh Edition

“Perhaps al-Qaeda members have now come to Basra." -- Col. Abdul Kareem el-Zaydee

Col. el-Zaydee is none too happy about the recent Basra bombing bout, including one incident that killed several of his new recruits.

Adeel Thaher Ali, a lawyer living in the city, has an idea what's up:

He said that security in Basra had deteriorated since 500 British troops pulled out of Basra Palace and back to the airport as part of an ultimate goal to hand control of security to the Iraqi authorities, possibly by the end of the year.

“Many things changed . . . the withdrawal of the troops has given the terrorists a chance to attack the people,” Mr Ali, 50, said. “I want them to think again and try to help the security forces to protect Basra,” he said. (Times of London)

Let me see if I have this right. The stabilizing force in Basra pulled back due to political opposition back home ... and the terrorists took advantage of the situation ... and everyday Iraqis who just might believe there's a chance for Democracy in that sick land died.

How enlightening! Gosh! I wonder if the Dems in DC have heard about this yet ...

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Despots Of The World, Unite!

Bad Timing For Burma's Junta

Do Burmese Buddhist monks know that world leaders converge on New York in late September for the General Assembly?

Possibly, possibly ...

Since all the highest leaders of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are in New York for the General Assembly this week, it proved much easier for them to get together to discuss the latest attrocities -- five dead yesterday, eight today -- perpetrated upon their people by the commie-leaning megalomaniacs in Rangoon.

So, was it just higher fuel prices that got the monks and the people fired up ... or did they opportunely take advantage of General Assembly's sidebar dynamics to ratchet up the pressure on the wretched generals? Whatever, this is what the got:

The foreign ministers, who met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session, said in a statement issued after the meeting that they were "appalled to receive reports of automatic weapons being used and demanded that the Myanmar government immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators."

"They expressed their revulsion to Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities," the statement said.

They called on Myanmar to "exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution" and "resume its efforts at national reconciliation with all parties concerned, and work towards a peaceful transition to democracy," the statement said. (Breitbart/AP)

In news related to the whole idea that foreign leaders are in the states, we learn:

  • President Bush called China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi into the oval office when Yang was visiting the National Security Advisor and reminded him that with the Olympics coming up, China might want to take reign in its puppets in Burma.

  • Condoleezza Rice rallied the Association of South East Asian Nations in New York at a hastily called meeting which reportedly ended when Rice got a bit undiplomatically confrontational with the Burmese delegation.

Yesterday, China blocked a Security Council move to condemn the Burmese junta for its actions, but today a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing is “extremely concerned about the situation.” That's quite a toughening of the ol' rhetoric -- made possible in part by the escalating violence, but also by the escalating dialog facilitated by the timing of this latest cry for freedom.

Smart monks, I'd say.

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Sweet Irony, Jihadist Style

In a sweeping mulit-culti gesture, Virginia gov. Tom Kaine appointed a diverse mix of citizensto a state commission on the benefits and costs of immigration and the effects on federal immigration policies on the state. Included was Muslim American Society president Dr. Esam S. Omesh.

Well, it appears that one of the costs of immigration is that you get an anti-Semitic, holocaust-supporting, jihad-loving Islamofascist on state commissions:
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine examined online videos Thursday that show a man he appointed to the state Commission on Immigration condemning Israel and advocating "the jihad way," his spokesman said.

In a video that appears on YouTube, Muslim American Society president Dr. Esam S. Omesh is shown at an August 2006 rally in Washington denouncing an invasion of Lebanon by the "Israeli war machine."

Omesh ... also accused Israel of genocide and massacres against Palestinians and said the "Israeli agenda" controls Congress.

In a separate, undated video, Omesh tells a crowd of Washington-area Muslims: " have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."

That video was credited to Investigative Project, a Washington-based organization that investigates radical Islamic organizations. (Breitbart/AP)

You can find YouTube's Omesh videos here. The man has beliefs as vile of those of the KKK, and those beliefs should preclude him of holding a position of influence in an American state.

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A Big Hollywood Tip To Hillary -- Plus A MoveOn Slam

It's a funny political world we live in when one of the nation's top timber processors newspapers leads off the day's coverage with:
Director Rob Reiner, one of liberal Hollywood's most courted presidential fence-sitters, said Wednesday that he has decided to endorse New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. (LA Times)
Yes, Meathead is even going to throw Bill's gal a 60th birthday party/Hollywood fundraiser, the equivalent of giving her his ring. And it's big, big news from Malibu all the way to the Hollywood Hills.

The article is a hoot -- and a piece of one-sided Hillary boosterism -- that's a fun read. We learn of the other Hollywood fence sitters and their response to the news of the Meathead endorsement. You can almost hear paparazzi jostling in the background.
Reiner began telling his friends about his decision last week. He ran into [former studio exec Sherry] Lansing on Friday evening in the valet line at Morton's restaurant, a film industry favorite, where he sprang the news.

"He said, 'Have you made up your mind yet?' " Lansing said. She told him that she was still busy fundraising for all the Democrats and she didn't plan to make a decision until after she holds her own event for Edwards. "He said, 'Well, I'm coming out for Hillary.' I told him that I think it's great. I think she's wonderful," Lansing said in an interview Wednesday.

Reiner also informed [irritating has-been Norman] Lear, considered by many as political Hollywood's elder statesman, about his decision. Lear was supportive, although he said he was not yet ready to pick a candidate.
Brace yourselves Breck Boy fans, because the next paragraph contains some bad, bad news for your boy.
"I certainly support Hillary," Lear said. "I certainly support Obama, and I support Edwards. It will take me a little more time."
Lear, man of nuance.

What's interesting in this Hillaryfest is that the LATimes -- self-professed chronicler of "The Biz" -- failed to mention anywhere in the story of David Geffen's early endorsement of Obama, his bitter comments about the unusually finely honed lying ability of the Clintons, and Hil's subsequent hissy fit.

How can you write about self-effacing, society-debasing Hollywood luminaries and not write about Geffen? You can't, unless you're pretty sharply focused on promoting Hil for prez.

BTW, the story contained this gem:
[Reiner] said Wednesday that he found it "deplorable" that recently characterized Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, as "General Betray Us" in a controversial New York Times ad. "This is a guy who is a military officer who is working hard to do his job," said Reiner, who has made ads for in the past but is not sure if he will in the future.
Kudos, man. What a blessed relief to find at least one icon of the Left that is ready to stand up to the despicable anti-Americanism of As we all know, Clinton couldn't find it in her to criticize the hardcore left of the party about the ad.

Which goes to show that Rob is a better man than Hillary.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Wish I'd Said That

I wrote about UC Davis' decision to un-invite former Harvard prez Larry Summers from a campus speaking engagement. I've written about Columbia's decision to invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak there (here, for example).

But I didn't draw the two together and contrast them as they so juicily need contrasting -- but Victor Davis Hanson did in RCP, where he also wrote this:
Along with a general lack of common sense -- and decency -- the powers that be at Columbia, for all their erudition, don't seem to understand the line between responsible debate and crass propaganda.
Hanson faced collegiate intolerance at Stanford, where his employer, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, invited Donald Rumsfeld to serve on a task force -- only to be met with a petition signed by 2,000 theoretically liberal profs and students. The Institution persevered, and Rummie's in.

I went to college at a pretty radical time -- the late 60s and early 70s -- and I'm trying to think what would have happened if a controversial speaker had been invited to our campus. Sorry to say, I think the students I hung out with would have welcomed Ho Chi Minh, but would have protested an invitation to Dean Rusk or Gen. Westmoreland. However, I can't imagine the administrators of the day inviting Ho or dis-inviting Rusk or Westmoreland.

The ones among my collegiate peers who never grew up, never tasted the real world, and opted instead to stay in academia, are the faculty and administrators of today, and they haven't gotten any more tolerant with time.

Now they're inviting the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on their campuses, are fighting to stop the firing of the likes of Ward Churchill, and are protesting whenever someone like Donald Rumsfeld threatens to walk past their ivory towers.

It's times like these that remind us of the foul stench the 60s left behind, a stench that will take some generations to eradicate.

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Disencouragement sounds like a Bushism, but it's actually what you'll feel upon viewing Despair, Inc.'s Demotivator line of spoofs on those horrible motivational business posters managers put up in DMV offices, insurance processing centers and other places without a spark of motivation. Disencouragement and a few good belly laughs, actually.

Here's an example of a great Demotivator. I do a lot of work trying to overcome the ill effects of the efforts of NIMBYs, tree-huggers and radical anti-progress-ites. This Demotivator made me laugh, sure, but gosh ... why even bother ....

Incredible Daughter #1 turned me onto the line by sending me this one, which is near and dear to my heart as a consultant:

And just one more before I violate every copyright law on the books. (Did I mention you could buy their stuff on-line?) This one's just for you, because I remember how much you ranted against France, especially in the pre-Sarkozy era:


Hope, And Hope Delayed

Yesterday at the U.N., President Bush reminded that fallen body that it once stood for freedom and human rights, and it should again. He focused on countries that have taken steps toward freedom, and those that continue in darkness, including Myanmar ... er, Burma.

Bush used "Burma", and the CIA World Fact Book tells us:
... since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw
Good enough for me (although not the UN or the MSM, which use Myanmar). Here's what Bush had to say about Burma:
Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma, where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear. Basic freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship are severely restricted. Ethnic minorities are persecuted. Forced child labor, human trafficking, and rape are common. The regime is holding more than 1,000 political prisoners -- including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party was elected overwhelmingly by the Burmese people in 1990.

The ruling junta remains unyielding, yet the people's desire for freedom is unmistakable. This morning, I'm announcing a series of steps to help bring peaceful change to Burma. The United States will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. We will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members. We'll continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma. And I urge the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom.

It is obvious that it'll take more than mere words to force Burma out of the grip of the Socialist junta that rules it, as the Chinese-supported regime paid no heed and moved virtually as Bush spoke to try to crush the latest popular uprising there:

YANGON, Myanmar - Security forces shot and wounded three people, and beat and dragged away dozens of Buddhist monks Wednesday in the most violent crackdown against the protests that began last month, witnesses said. About 300 monks and activists were arrested, dissidents said.

Reports from exiled Myanmar journalists and activists in Thailand said security forces had shot and killed as many as five people in Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon [Rangoon]. The reports could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press.

Witnesses in Yangon known to the AP said they had seen two women and one young man with gunshot wounds in the chaotic confrontations.

Zin Linn, information minister for the Washington-based National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, which is Myanmar's self-styled government-in-exile, said at least five monks were killed, while an organization of exiled political activists in Thailand, the National League for Democracy-Liberated Area said three monks had been confirmed dead, and about 17 wounded.

It seems like beating Buddhist monks is not a good strategy for gaining popular support in a nation where nearly 90 percent of the people are Buddhist. Of course, it would also seem that refusing to relinquish power after a popular election, as the junta did in 1990 after Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in a popular election.

So, how about an International League for Democracy to snuff out the brutes that are denying a nation its freedom? Bush reminded the U.N. that in theory we have such an organization headquartered in NYC, but that the theory and the practice have become woefully disjointed.

President Bush concluded his speech:
With the commitment and courage of this chamber, we can build a world where people are free to speak, assemble, and worship as they wish; a world where children in every nation grow up healthy, get a decent education, and look to the future with hope; a world where opportunity crosses every border. America will lead toward this vision where all are created equal, and free to pursue their dreams. This is the founding conviction of my country. It is the promise that established this body. And with our determination, it can be the future of our world.
Inspiring words to some, but let's face it: They're threatening words to a significant number of the world leaders who sat before him, whose sheer numbers drive the U.N., whose influence is too strong for the likes of Ban-ki Moon to stand up to.

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Wednesday Reading

So much good stuff to read, so little time. The Watcher has posted the Watcher's Council's selections of this week's best blogwriting. Winners will be posted Friday morning.

Council links:

  1. "Jena 6" Update
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  2. A Big Hole in the Desert (and in the story)
    Soccer Dad
  3. What Do Wahhabis Want?
    Done With Mirrors
  4. Point of Inflection
    The Glittering Eye
  5. Columbia Dhimmis Get Ahmedinejad Earful! Some Applaud, Some Laugh -- We All Should Just Cry...
    ‘Okie’ on the Lam
  6. Cosmic Ironies
    Bookworm Room
  7. How The Arab Lobby Works
  8. Krugman Spews Race-Baiting Bile
    Rhymes With Right
  9. Gates' Iraq Agenda Short On Democracy
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  10. The Free-Radical Approach To EduReform
    The Education Wonks
  11. The Human Touch
    Big Lizards
  12. The World Is Still Here
    Right Wing Nut House
Non-council links:
  1. There's Slanting a Story, Then There's This Doozy.
    The Sundries Shack
  2. Abourezk, Part 3
    Elder of Ziyon
  3. An Apology Is In Order!
    The Moderate Voice
  4. Review of 'The Kingdom'
    Crossroads Arabia
  5. Columbia's Disgrace, Part 9
    Power Line
  6. Acting On Principle Rather Than On Policy
    The Paragraph Farmer
  7. Rafael Medoff: Columbia "Invites Hitler to Campus" -- As it Did in 1933
    History News Network
  8. Musharraf Will Resign From Army
    Captain's Quarters
  9. The Next Iranian Revolution
    Reason Magazine
  10. Gays, Haircuts, Nooses. Some Denial Required.
    Classical Values
  11. The Ugly Side of Bob Herbert
    The QandO Blog
  12. Islam and Marxism -- A Marriage Made In Allah's Socialist Paradise
    Dr. Sanity
  13. Collectivism vs Individuality
  14. ISP Bullying


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mr. Whipple And Global Warming

Mr. Whipple, the strange man with the fixation to squeeze toilet paper rolls, proved the old advertising adage that you can't just tell somebody to buy something. Instead, you have to bludgeon them into it. Or, as they say in ad school, repetition builds recognition, and recognition builds sales.

So year after year, Mr. Whipple got caught in the aisle white-handed, squeezing his beloved Charmin. And people bought it, and life was good at P&G or whatever corporate demon foisted this heinous campaign on us.

Mr. Whipple, metaphorically speaking, is whispering in my ear, telling me this is quite simply the most amazingly unbelievable chart ever produced:

We have BBC to thank for it, because they stuck it on the bottom of a story about low recognition of global warming in Russia. Scan over to the right, to the green "don't know" numbers and you'll see that absolutely everyone in Brazil, Australia and France has heard of global warming.

Yup, there's not one up-Amazon indigenous tribe member walking about with a bone through his nose who has not heard of global warming. Way out in the Outback where people know a thing or two about heat, there's not even one Fosters-swilling town drunk who couldn't tell you why the appropriate term is "climate change." And all the epicures and snobs in Paris, not to mention every single French sheep herder down in the Pyrenees, can sit down over a croissant and discuss the finer points of urban heat islands and polar ice cycles with you.

Why, even in dumb ol' America, where we're all too fat and sassy in our SUVs to ever actually learn anything, a full-blown 99% of us know about global warming. That 14-year-old gal Warren Jeffs wed up maybe didn't get a chance to find out about it yet, I guess.

To cover up the sheer audacity of making such claims as these, BBC tells us:
The survey was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan co-ordinated fieldwork between 29 May and 26 July 2007.
The question itself is straightforward enough on the survey instrument:
M1. How much have you heard or read about global warming or climate change?
The methodology section of the survey is suspiciously unrevealing, just giving the number of people surveyed per country, when they were asked and a few sketchy details. There are no clear reasons in the information available that would give us a hint at why such improbable results were posted. I see two possible reasons:
  1. The data are true. We may indeed have reached a point where the media have such compelling reach that if they all get singing from the same page, people will hear about it. I find this impossible to believe. There are just too many people how are too remote, too unplugged or too stupid for the data to be true.
  2. The countries were selected carefully. I don't see Senegal there, or Peru, or Myanmar, or Yemen. Instead, countries with better than average education and communications systems were selected. Still, the data for the 20 countries selected is simply not believable.
Neither idea really pans out. But a second look at the methodology tells the tale: In virtually every country, a phone survey was conducted. Phone ownership biases surveys heavily. Phone owners have dwelling places, money, connections, technology. And (surprise!) when face-to-face interviews were used, they were conducted in urban markets. Guess what? Urban residency biases surveys heavily. Urban dwellers -- especially the ones who will stop and talk to someone on a busy downtown street -- have money, connections and technology.

So what we've learned is that a lot of people know about global warming and there are a lot of ways to bias a survey.

Oh, we also learned that in Russia, they really don't care all that much about the negative effects of global warming. As one meteorologist in the frozen town of Arkhangelsk told the BBC, "I know global warming is a problem, but I would welcome a bit of warmth up here. Then I could grow my own tomatoes."

He was standing in the middle of a frozen river, with the temperature hovering at -25C.

hat-tip: Jim

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Bush Working With Dems On Iraq Transition

If I could nominate one news article this week as the one most likely to drive and the Kos-sac into a fine dither, it would be the second excerpt from Bill Sammon's The Evangelical President that ran in the SF Chronicle.

In Sammon's piece, we see a president that is supposedly too stupid to articulate his way to the end of a sentence, and too partisan to ever look beyond the hateful blinders of his GOP cohorts, actually planning for the possible transition of the Iraq war to a Democratic president.

(Not that he thinks that will happen. In the first part of the two-parter, Bush predicts that Clinton will win the primary but lose the general, a statement that's obsessed the leftyblogs.)

Sammon reveals that Bush is "quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president."

Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told Sammon:
“He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”
The Left will think the Bush is taking recreational breaks with Marion Barry when they read the president's remarks to Sammon:

The Examiner asked Bush why Democratic candidates such as Clinton and Barack Obama, who routinely lambaste his handling of Iraq, should take his advice.

“First of all, I expect them to criticize me. That’s one way you get elected in the Democratic primary, is to criticize the president,” Bush replied. “I don’t expect them to necessarily take advice from me. I would expect their insiders to at least get a perspective about how we see things.”

He added: “We have an obligation to make sure that whoever is interested, they get our point of view, because you want somebody running for president to at least understand all perspectives, apart from the politics.”

Besides, Bush suggested that Clinton and Obama just might benefit from his advice.

“If I were a candidate running for president in a complex world that we’re in, I would be asking my national security team to touch base with the White House just to at least listen about plans, thoughts,” he said.

And apparently the Clinton campaign, and possibly others, are doing just that -- listening to the thoughts of a man MoveOn et. al. would have us believe is incapable of thinking. Why shouldn't they? Unlike most of us, they've seen Bush up close and bluster as they will in public, they know he's a smart man with a clear, long-term vision.

Of course, his long-term vision could become a short-term vision in the hands of a Dem president, but it looks more and more like we will be able to wrap up Iraq much more successfully than appeared would be the case earlier this year.

Part of the reason for optimism is that Bush has done such a good job of making that possible. He's taken the hits on surveillance and Guantanamo so others won't have to. He's changed tactics and leadership. He's cobbled together his shattered party to stand up to Dem white-flag bullying. And, we now learn, he's reaching out to anyone who may take his chair to help them form a viable ongoing policy for Iraq.

There must be no joy in Kosville.

hat-tip: Jim

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300 ... And Counting

If you've seen 300 -- or if immigration is an issue that interests you -- you'll want to see this.

(Incredible Daughter #3, who knows these things, just tried to paste the YouTube start screen into here and even she was powerless against the obstinance of Blogger. Some day I'll figure it out, promise!)


"Lost In The Mail"

President Bush is warming up his pipes for his U.N. speech as I write this and I'll be in my weekly meeting with a bunch of church guys when he gives it, but I like the leak on the speech's topic: No new spotlight for the crackpot despot handpuppet from Tehran, but instead a bright, glaring light on the UN's failure to live up to its charter's ideals of human rights and freedom.

Bush reportedly will focus on Myanmar, where 100,000 protested this week in a cry for freedom, and where the UN has done absolutely nothing to put a ray of hope behind that cry. Instead, the UN turns the other way as the power-hungry cabal that oppresses an entire nation, murders its Christian minority, supports the nation's opium-growing drug lords ... and gets a helping hand in keeping the whole, sick mess from collapsing from China.

Amidst this horror, the UN straight-facedly tells us that the poverty rate in Myanmar is just two percent, and presents data on the nation's health in deaths per thousand while admitting it doesn't even know what the nation's population is.

There is not even a place in the UN's "Country at a Glance" window that addresses human rights.

Why bother? What difference would it make to the thieves, liars, rapists and torturers who sit with Myanmar in the General Assembly?

Meanwhile, at the White House, planning goes on for the President's reception for world leaders this evening. Not invited: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

When asked what happened to Ahmadinejad's invitation, Dana Perrino told AP:

"Lost in the mail."

Now if we could just entrust Ahmadinejad to the US Postal Service ....

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Why Bollinger Did It: Ego, Ego, Ego

As much doubt as I had about Columbia's rationale for inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak, and as little faith I had in Columbia prez Lee Bollinger really asking him tough questions, I have to say upon reading the transcript that I'm impressed.

Let's start at the obvious place; the end:

Let me close with this comment. Frankly, and in all candor, Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us. I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mindset that characterizes so much of what you say and do. Fortunately, I am told by experts on your country, that this only further undermines your position in Iran with all the many good-hearted, intelligent citizens there. A year ago, I am reliably told, your preposterous and belligerent statements in this country (as in your meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations) so embarrassed sensible Iranian citizens that this led to your party’s defeat in the December mayoral elections. May this do that and more.

I am only a professor, who is also a university president, and today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better.

Ahmadinejad, of course, kept the revulsion meter running.

In my post this afternoon before the transcript of the college prez and the upchuck-elevating Iranian prez was released, I worried that Bollinger hadn't adequately covered Iran's active involvement in the killing of our soldiers and its desire to vaporize Israel in his questions. But non. On Iran's actions against our soldiers:

In a briefing before the National Press Club earlier this month, General David Petraeus reported that arms supplies from Iran, including 240mm rockets and explosively formed projectiles, are contributing to “a sophistication of attacks that would by no means be possible without Iranian support.”

A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They, like other Americans with sons, daughters, fathers, husbands and wives serving in combat, rightly see your government as the enemy.

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shi’a militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?

I would have gone quite a lot farther, but all in all not bad for a Bush-hating, war-hating liberal college prof. And as for his desire to put Israel permanently on hold:

Twelve days ago, you said that the state of Israel “cannot continue its life.” This echoed a number of inflammatory statements you have delivered in the last two years, including in October 2005 when you said that Israel should be “wiped off the map.”

Columbia has over 800 alumni currently living in Israel. As an institution we have deep ties with our colleagues there. I personally have spoken out in the most forceful terms against proposals to boycott Israeli scholars and universities, saying that such boycotts might as well include Columbia. More than 400 college and university presidents in this country have joined in that statement. My question, then, is: Do you plan on wiping us off the map, too?

A little egocentric, but it'll do. And the egocentric nature of this question shines light on why Bollinger refused to cancel the invitation. It was just too big a spotlight for him to dim.

Still, and even taking into account how much better Lee Bollinger must feel about himself tonight, I still say it was a mistake to give Ahmadinejad a forum beyond the one forum we had no choice over, the UN General Assembly.

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My friend Jim forwarded this to me. I don't usually run emails in their entirety, especially ones that at first glance poke fun and hardworking folks who are just doing the jobs Americans are no longer given the chance to do won't do, but rules were made to be broken, right?
In order to continue getting by in America, we all need to learn the NEW English language! Practice by reading the following conversation until you are able to understand the term "TENJOOBERRYMUDS".

With a little patience, you'll be able to fit right in. Now, here goes...

The following is a telephone exchange between maybe you as a hotel guest and room-service somewhere in the good old USA today......

Room Service : "Morrin. Roon sirbees."

Guest : "Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service."

Room Service: " Rye . Roon sirbees...morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???"

Guest: "Uh..... Yes, I'd like to order bacon and eggs."

Room Service: "Ow July den?"

Guest: ".....What??"

Room Service: "Ow July den?!?... pryed, boyud, poochd?"

Guest: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. scrambled, please."

Room Service: "Ow July dee baykem? Crease?"

Guest: "Crisp will be fine."

Room Service: "Hokay. An sahn toes?"

Guest: "What?"

Room Service: "An toes. July sahn toes?"

Guest: "I... don't think so."

Room Service: "No? Judo wan sahn toes???"

Guest: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means."

Room Service: "Toes! Toes!...Why Joo don Juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?"

Guest: "Oh, English muffin!!!I've got it! You were saying 'toast'... Fine...Yes, an English muffin will be fine."

RoomS ervice: "We bodder?"

Guest: "No, just put the bodder on the side."

Room Service: "Wad?!?"

Guest: "I mean butter... just put the butter on the side."

RoomService: "Copy?"

Guest: "Excuse me?"

Room Service: "Copy...tea..meel?"

Guest: "Yes. Coffee, please... and that's everything."

Room Service: "One minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin, we bodder on sigh and copy ... rye??"

Guest: "Whatever you say."

Room Service: "Tenjooberrymuds."

Guest: "You're welcome"

Remember I said "By the time you read through this YOU WILL UNDERSTAND
'TENJOOBERRYMUDS'".....and you do don't you?
Ach. I did understand it perfectly. Owbow jew? Jew unnerstan?

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The Upside Of Global Warming?

I was talking to someone the other day who is just a bit anti-Greenie on the subject of global warming. When melting polar ice and allegations that polar bear populations will be harmed came up, here's what ensued:

"Good!" she said.

"Good? I'll bite. Why?"

"More baby seals to club, of course."

Some folks are too anti-Greenie even for me!

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Did Bollinger Completely Miss The Point?

Update: The Bollinger transcript is out; view it here. He did quite a good job all in all, as I discuss above ... which I'll post as soon as I'm done.

I'm still waiting for a transcript of Lee Bollinger's reportedly scathing introduction of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be posted. Despite the views of some I respect that it was an award-winning intro, I'm holding my opinion until I can see the transcript.

Here's why.

The LAT clip below is indicative of most clips I've read regarding the appearance:
In his scathing introduction to the much-anticipated on-campus event, Bollinger told the leader of Iran that he resembled "a petty and cruel dictator."

Bollinger levied repeated criticisms against Ahmadinejad, calling on him to answer a series of challenges about his leadership, blasting his views about the "myth" of the Holocaust "absurd" and saying that he doubted he "will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions."

"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.

He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant.
It appears from all the coverage I've read that Bollinger focused on the Holocaust, which certainly wouldn't have been my focus. As appalling has Ahmadinejad's view on the Holocaust is, it is inconsequential in terms of the politics of today. That's not to say the extermination of Jews isn't a critical issue, but Bollinger should have gone after Ahmadinejad for his declarations that Israel should be wiped off the map today. That is much more relevant than his denial that Hitler tried to exterminate them 60 years ago.

I also have seen no mention that Bollinger attacked Ahmadinejad for Iran's supply of munitions, funding and training to terrorists in Iraq, all in a deliberate effort to kill as many American troops as possible.

It would have taken some real courage to bring that up at Columbia, a place where a fair number on the faculty and in the student body probably think killing "imperialist" U.S. soldiers is a fine thing to do. Criticizing holocaust deniers, in contrast, is not risk-taking in an American campus (yet, thank God), so I don't give Bollinger any kudos for that.

Like I say, when I get to read the transcript, I may change my viewpoint.

Meanwhile, I thought David Schizer, the dean of the Columbia Law School did some pretty commendable risk-taking with this statement:
A controversy has developed about the invitation extended to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran by the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Although Columbia Law School was not involved in arranging this invitation, we have received many inquiries about it.

This event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom, and to our free way of life. Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true. Therefore, my personal opinion is that he should not be invited to speak. Mr. Ahmadinejad is a reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel. It would be deeply regrettable if some misread this invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views.

Our university is a pluralistic place, and I recognize that others within our community take a different view in good faith, and that they have the right to extend invitations that I personally would not extend. I know that we will learn from each other in discussing the difficult questions prompted by this invitation. (emphasis added)
That's getting it right.

Meanwhile, over at Kos, we read this:
As an American, I was stunned and embarrassed by Bollinger's harangue of Ahmedinejad. It was a craven and cowardly capitulation to political pressures, and unworthy of the academic institution that Bollinger represents. I know who and what Ahmedinejad is, but I also know that he was at Columbia at Columbia's invitation. Bollinger's speech was less a challenge to Ahmedinejad than it was an ambush, and it dishonered [sic] all of us as Americans.
Hmm. I wonder what this writer's response would be if Bollinger had been equally pointed in introducing the president of the United States. I'll hazard a guess that he wouldn't think that to be unworthy of Columbia or -- and this is really odd -- dishonoring to Americans.

And speaking of Kos, we also see this on the site, courtesy of LGF:

Obviously, this is not a poll based on reality so a lot of people used it to make political statements that do not reflect what their actual actions would have been if we were suddenly transported to Bizzaro World, where such a vote might in fact take place.

Be that as it may, Kos posed the question, a question no one on the Left in the pre-Bush era would have ever thought about asking. It appears that as the Bush administration is winding down, the demented hatred of Bush is only increasing among the rabid Left.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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Columbia Has A Lot To Learn

Columbia University. A front-row seat of higher learning, where only the smartest go to get even smarter. As a mere honor roll student of meager means, I couldn't have hoped to get into a school like Columbia, a school so elite and prestigious.

So I have to wonder what has happened to this great university over the four decades since I graduated from high school that would cause its president, Lee Bollinger, to defend Columbia's speaking invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by saying:
"It's extremely important to know who the leaders are of countries that are your adversaries. To watch them to see how they think, to see how they reason or do not reason. To see whether they're fanatical, or to see whether they are sly." (WSJ)
Bollinger is a First Amendment scholar and author of high repute and a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, so he knows he is on solid legal ground in extending and defending the invitation. But why does he think so little of the smart kids who got accepted to his school?

Does he think they will really gain anything from seeing a polished politician on his best behavior, far from the protection of his elite Revolutionary Guards and his Mullahs? Does he think for a moment that he is tricking Ahmadinejad into revealing his true, brutal, hateful, repressive, totalitarian, theocratic, fanatic, GI-killing self, so the students of Columbia will see the world as it is?

Or is he merely being an academic pawn, supporting the purpose of Ahmadinejad's trip, which is to project a positive image of Ahmadinejad as a thoughtful man who is dedicated to the downtrodden?

In other words, Ahmadinejad is on a mission to present a lie, and Bollinger -- whose university is home to aggressively antisemitic and anti-Israel scholars -- is giving him that forum.

The students of Columbia will see a polite, learned man not dissimilar to the man who presented to the Council on Foreign Relations during his last visit. In other words, one who thinks well (if faultily), who reasons well (if intolerantly) and who appears to be anything but a fanatic. A man who will try his hardest to make President Bush appear to be the one who doesn't think well, who doesn't reason well, and who uses his fanatical Islamophobia and Christian crusading against Islam.

In that, he will be sly. Will the Columbia students see the slyness? If they do, will they learn from it? Will they learn as much as they would have learned if Bollinger instead had rebuffed his faculty and others and said, no, Columbia is a place of higher learning, and that precludes invitations to men like Ahmadinejad?

I think not, but I also think Duncan Hunter is woefully wrong in his approach to the situation:
"For an institution of Columbia University's caliber, it is inconceivable that you would provide President Ahmadinejad with this opportunity," said Mr. Hunter, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. "I trust the University will do the right thing and immediately withdraw its invitation to President Ahmadinejad. However, should you choose to go forward, I intend to introduce legislation in Congress to disqualify Columbia University from any future federal support." (WashTimes)
Bollinger knows the First Amendment will shred any such effort by Hunter, and Hunter should know better than to issue the threat, which just makes him look like a book-burner and worse, a believer in a big, heavy-handed government.

It is not government's place to slap Bollinger around. That role falls to the funders of Columbia University -- from its big benefactors to the corporations and individuals that underwrite scholarships, to the parents who pay the tuition, to the students who enroll there. These are the people and institutions that should rise up against Bollinger's entirely legal but entirely irresponsible decision and give the man some hurt.

As he sees the millions drain away, will he react rationally, as a man who thinks well, and apologize -- or will he react fanatically, like a die-hard liberal academic, and continue to bite the hands that feed his institution?

Whichever, it's clear that Columbia, like all our foremost universities, has a lot to learn.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fun In Hell

This week, the United States National Holocaust Museum in Washington released 116 photographs from the World War II era, including this one:

German officers and women's auxiliary having a day of fun during World War II is not that unusual; fun does happen in wartime. But what's made this and the other photos so remarkable, and such a comment on the human psyche, is that they are of the people who ran the Auschwitz death camp.

People like this:

That's Auschwitz camp commandant Richard Baer and the notorious doctor of death Josef Mengele on the left, having a pleasant little chat with the commandant of the Birkenau camp, Josef Kramer (obscured) and its former commandant, Rudolf Höss, in the foreground.

Look at the comradely smiles, the casual postures, as if they had not a care in the world -- as the souls of those they killed pile higher and higher on their shoulders.

Then, back to the fun:

And, come Christmas, business as usual between the operators of the death camps and their God, as this SS officer lights the candles on a Christmas tree:

What a lovely big tree -- but not big enough to cover the massive guilt of these brutal cogs in the evil Nazi machine.

A retired U.S. Army intelligence officer found the photos in an album in Frankfurt and gave them to the museum. The album originally belonged to Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the final camp commandant at Auschwitz.

You can read about the response these photos have had in Germany here, at Spiegel.

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NoKo Busted By Israel In Syria

Did you expect a bit more outrage from the Global Association of Idiot Nations over Israel's attack of what they claimed to be a Syrian nuclear facility? I certainly did. Now we know why the response -- from Damascus to Pyongyang to -- has been so muted:

Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.

The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.

They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. (Times of London)

So much for that enemy of the Left, Cowboy George Bush. Imagine that he demanded proof before letting the Israelis load up their six-shooters!

And, by the way, so much for that enemy of the Left, the roughshod-running Israelis.

This certainly explains why Damascus has been nearly mute in its response to having its sovereignty invaded by the hated Jews. But what about NoKo? You'd think Li'l Kim Jong Il would have something to say, if nothing more than a lie to distance his regime from the evidence.

Well, it turns out that's an impossible lie, even for the very well-trained Li'l Kim:

Evidence that North Korean personnel were at the site is said to have been shared with President George W Bush over the summer. ...

Diplomats in North Korea and China believe a number of North Koreans were killed in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials.

That conversations would fly between Beijing and Pyongyang after this incident is telling of the state of world terrorism, and, possibly, hints rather strongly that perhaps there's one rather prominent nation missing from the Axis of Evil roster.

We don't know what was said in those conversations, but our intelligence community and our president do. Perhaps China was trying to reign in L'il Kim; perhaps he was getting his knuckles rapped for failing so publicly, thereby embarrassing the Axis. Most likely, China wanted to no what NoKo did wrong that allowed the Israelis to get wind of the whole affair, so the same mistake wouldn't happen again.

Whatever China said, whatever China's role, it is clear that L'il Kim's days must be numbered. While negotiating (in very bad faith) about taking apart his nuke program, we now have hard evidence that he is still trying to create legions of nuclear terrorists. This information comes to us from an Israeli special ops team that risked its life to get the info, so the information deserves more than a space in a file cabinet.

It's time to make L'il Kim's life very, very unpleasant.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ahmadinejad's Silly Saber-Rattling

On the eve of his trip to New York, Mah- I'm in the -moud for aviation fuel Ahmadinejad (rhymes with "Let's have a little jet-powered jihad") bragged about Iran's new Saeqeh fighter jets, which were flitting about in the sky above.
"Those who prevented Iran, at the height of the [1980-88 Iran-Iraq] war from getting even barbed wire must see now that all the equipment on display today has been built by the mighty hands and brains of experts at Iran's armed forces," Mr Ahmadinejad said BBC.
Hmm. I read the BBC article from top to bottom and I found plenty of threats, like Ahmadinejad saying anybody who attacked Iran "would experience nothing but regret," but I didn't find out any more about these famous jets that came from the mighty hands and brains of Iran's' military experts ... especially anything about why they look so much like our old F-5s. You know, the F-5s we sold about 100 years ago to the Shah.

So I went on over to Defense Talk to see what they were talking about and lo and behold:
The Saeqeh shown previously was in effect an F-5E with a V tail. The Azarakhsh [the other "new" Iranian jet, the] in turn is an F-5E with the wings moved from the bottom of the fuselage to a mid point on the fuselage. While either design change may give some improvement in performance the plane is still a modified F-5.
Funny that BBC wouldn't take the effort to tell us that, especially since it took me about five seconds to find that confirming quote.

The last F-5E rolled off our assembly lines 20 years ago, in 1987, so I kind of wondered just how the Saeqeh and Azarakhsh would fare in warfare against one of our better jets, like an F-18. Back to Defense Talk:
Neither could be described as similar to an F-18 in capabilities.
I don't know to what extent, if at all, the Iranians were able to improve on the performance, avionic or firepower capabilities of the F-5A -- especially since they're under an arms embargo -- but here's what the jet could do when Northrup (as opposed to a bunch of Iranians) manufactured it:

Max Speed: 802 kt / 924 mph
Max Range: 2594 km / 1,612 miles
Powerplant: two 1850-kg (4,080-lb) afterburning thrust General Electric J85-GE 13 turbojets
Armament: two 20-mm M39 cannon with 280 rounds per gun; provision for 1996 kg (4,400 lb) of disposable stores, including AAMs, bombs, cluster bombs, rocket-launcher

Now let's mosey over to the carrier-launched F-18 Hornet, the aircraft the Iranians would most likely be up against if tit were to lead to tat:

Max Speed: 1,032 kt / 1,183 mph
Max Range: 740 km / 460 miles
Powerplant: two 7257-kg (16,000-lb) afterburning thrust General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans
Armament: one 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel rotary cannon with 570 rounds; up to 7711 kg (17,000 Ib) of disposable stores, including AAMs, ASMs, anti-ship missiles, free-fall or guided bombs, cluster bombs, dispenser weapons, napalm tanks, rocket launchers, drop tanks and ECM pods, carried on nine external hardpoints

Ouch. Hugely faster, double the thrust and Holy cow, those munitions! Yes, the Iranians would have a range advantage on us, but what good will that do them if they're shot down within a few miles of taking off?

I bring this all up not to saber-rattle, but merely to point out that Ahmadinejad has no choice, given the sorry state of the nation he quasi-rules, but to use propaganda to shore up Iran. The facts do nothing for him. We'll be hearing that propaganda full bore this coming week when be soils New York with his presence.

Some, like students at Columbia and delegates at the UN Gen. Assembly, will fall for what he says. But I know that you, dear reader, won't.

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