Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Odd Twist To Iran Arms Smuggling Story

It's hard to imagine how an American -- not an American named Mohammed, but one named Robert -- could be so scummy as to try to smuggle batteries for Hawk anti-aircraft missile into Iran. Did he think, even for a moment, that those Hawks could be used against our fighters one day?

But that's hardly the strangest part of the story. First the story:
A US man has been charged with attempting to smuggle anti-aircraft missile parts to Iran through Britain and the Netherlands, court documents showed.

Robert Caldwell of Oregon is accused of acting as the US agent of a British company which tried to smuggle batteries used to power Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, a criminal complaint said.

The company was in the process of ordering 35 batteries at a cost of 5,000 dollars each from an exporter who was working as an informant for customs officials. The aim was to ship them through Amsterdam and Britain in order to avoid detection.

Caldwell was arrested in a sting in San Antonio last week before the batteries could be shipped out of the United States. The complaint indicated Brooklands Freight Services had been smuggling arms to the Middle East for some time. (Source)
Now to the odd. Brooklands does more than smuggle arms -- it also helps missionaries with their international moves through its Teachers Freight Service:
International Teachers' Freight Service (I.T.F.S) was established to help teachers and missionaries move from one country to another with as few logistical problems as possible. I.T.F.S was formed in a partnership between Brooklands International Freight, Mission Supplies, and, all experts in their field. Brooklands International have many years of experience in the freight forwarding industry, Mission Supplies deal with supplying overseas aid organisations and missionaries.
Maybe it's more than just making a buck any way they can? Maybe it's more.

Maybe they're balancing out helping Islamism with helping out Christianity.

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Talking With Iran

My visting ex-diplomat stepdad and I were talking last night on the way to our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant. He was lamenting the Bush administration's failure to launch diplomatic initiatives towards our enemies.

"This is the only administration that doesn't talk to its enemies," he said.

Yes, but I've always agreed with Bush's decision to take a strong public stand against the terror-sponsoring states of the Middle East by extending the longstanding "We don't negotiate with terrorists" policy to a higher level. (Of course North Korea does get talked to. My stepdad attributed the negotiations to the departure of "no talk hawks" like John Bolton. But of course, those talks started while the hawks were still in. I think we're talking to NoKo because we were able to bring all the major regional parties to the table. Who would we bring to Tehran? The Saudis? Not a chance!)

But still, I agree with him that talks with Tehran and Damascus are worth a try, as long as we go into them with it clear that diplomacy has barely risen above the gag reflex, and that we don't define diplomacy as "giving away the store," as Jimmy Carter did.

Then, this morning while scanning Real Clear Politics, I came across this by Amir Taheri in the NYPost:
IS the Khomeinist leadership preparing to retreat from confrontation over Tehran's nuclear ambitions?

Until recently, the answer was an emphatic "No." According to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, such retreat would limit Islamic sovereignty by giving the United Nations a veto on Iran's energy policy.

But now Tehran is trying to forestall the passage of a second, and presumably tougher, resolution by the Security Council in March.

Several versions of the presumed Iranian initiative are in circulation. Former President Muhammad Khatami presented one to American and European personalities on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

Taheri's careful selection of the word "personalities" is interesting. I take it to mean John Kerry, a man whose Carteresque softness the mullahs must find appealing. Of course it could be anyone; what's important that it was someone.

Let's continue to pass notes. I liked Bush's in-your-face refusal to deal with Tehran, but now that the evidence is mounting up of its active involvement in the killing of our troops in Iraq, it's time for icy cold diplomatic confrontation, backed by military might and political will.

With the changes in Washington, there's no telling how long the military might and political will are going to last, so it's time to engage. Pass a few more notes, then sit down and yell at each other for a while with diplomatic faux-civility.

Maybe it will save the lives of some of our soldiers who are being killed by Iranian-supplied IEDs.

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Stoning Ban "Sets Back Race Relations"

The little town of Herouxville, Quebec has it right: Immigrants are welcome and will be treated well there, but they need to follow Canadian traditions and leave certain traditions Canadians find reprehensible behind, according to a recent town council declaration led by this guy, councilmember Andre Drouin.

What sort of traditions might those be? The Herouxville Web site is slammed and down because of this story, but Reuters got in early and found this:

"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," said the declaration, which makes clear women are allowed to drive, vote, dance, write checks, dress how they want, work and own property.

"Therefore we consider it completely outside these norms to ... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

Seems reasonable enough, since murder, attempted murder and mutilation are all what we in the West call crimes. Who could possibly be upset?

Well, his name is Salam Elmenyawi, and he's the president of the Muslim Council of Montreal. He thinks Herouxville has "set the [race relations] clock back for decades."

Elmenyawi isn't calling the declaration an infringement of Muslim "rights" to stone, burn and mutilate; rather, he asserts that it's a "false stereotype" that is the result of ignorance about Islam.

The last time I checked the stats, Muslims were way ahead of Christians, Jews -- even Wiccas -- when it came to the "honor killing" of women. (Previous posts on honor killing here, here, here.) Such crimes happen in Hindu and some African animist cultures as well, but Islam is the global Beckham in this field, with all other cultures sitting on the AYSO bench.

Judeo-Christian cultures -- places like Quebec, for example -- are particularly under-represented in the stoning, burning and mutilating set. When our daughters get pregnant, we give them warmth through counseling and comfort. In Muslim villages, they get warmth through kerosene and a match.

Herouxville, described as a traditional town dominated by a Roman Catholic church, is behaving much more straightforwardly than the rest of secular Canada. A couple passages from the Reuters report (which, by the way, was dumped in its "Oddly Enough" section):
The declaration is part of a wider debate over "reasonable accommodation," or how far Quebecers should be prepared to change their customs so as not to offend immigrants. Figures from the 2001 census show that around 10 percent of Quebec's 7.5 million population were born outside Canada. ...

Newspapers say a Montreal community center banned men from prenatal classes to respect Hindu and Sikh traditions and an internal police magazine suggested women police officers allow their male colleagues to interview Hasidic Jews.

Herouxville's law seems to reasonably accommodate immigrants. It doesn't tell anyone what to do, it just says what's allowed and what's not allowed. Because it's OK with Herouxville for women to drive cars or not cover their face, if Papa's upset that the wife and daughter have decided not to live in the 12th century any more, he must find a way to deal with it that doesn't involve stones, kerosene or sharp knives. If he can't and goes all Islamic on his family, he can expect a swift and chilly reception from Herouxville's finest.

There. You're accommodated. Deal with it.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Warmie Doc: "Offer Up Scary Scenarios"

Tim Blair tunes us in to a 1996 quote in which Stanford warmie hawk Stephen Schneider explains the science behind global warming:
On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage.

So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. (source)
Did he get bashed down for that by his scientific peers? No way -- here's a quote from five years later:
"Is the 'scientific advocate' an oxymoron?" asked climate scientist Stephen Schneider at a May 4 "Ethics at Noon" seminar. "Twenty years ago, the answer would have been a resounding 'yes.' " Now, he says, there is more tolerance -- but only up to a point. ...

"Being an advocate is not cost free," Schneider said. "Many members of the political world assume that you are doing what they do: deliberately suppressing countervailing evidence. The world will assume that what you say colors the fact side of the argument: the very scientific work you do."
You betcha ... but remember, the global warming debate is over. We know this is true because objective, serious white-coat guys like Schneider have told us so.

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Quote Of The Day: Pariah Edition

"It was terrible for him to say that. They had earthquakes - we helped. They had floods - we helped. They had disease - we helped. They were threatened - we left the safety of our homes to defend them. I didn't see any of them in New Orleans."
-- Duncan Hunter

It appears that John Kerry just can't go six months without irritating most of America -- most recently with his statement at Davos that the U.S. has become an international pariah nation.

It's really too bad he decided not to run in 2008. He is such a boon to the GOP -- especially when you consider what his staff told AP in response to Hunter's comment:

A spokesman for Kerry said Hunter is out of touch with Americans who desperately want their country to regain the respect of the world.
Is that what we desperately want? Not safety and security? Not just to be left alone? Not continuing to be the global good guys we are, always ready to lend a hand when we're called on?

No, John tells us. What we as Americans want is to be able to ensure that John Kerry and his ilk will receive a warm reception whenever they jet over to Europe to chummy up with the caviar and bidet set.

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Wake Up And Smell The Cordite, Islam

Those are volunteers in the photo, picking up body parts after Muhammad Faisal Saksak blew himself up in front of an Eilat bakery on Monday. Consider their task as you consider this head-scratcher from the religion of peace:
The mother of Muhammad Faisal Saksak, the 21-year-old suicide bomber who carried out Monday's attack in Eilat, said she was aware of her son's plan to blow himself up and that she had wished him "good luck."
Good luck? What does that mean?

"Good luck. Hope to see you soon?" Nope. "Good luck. Say hi to your sister?" Don't think so. Mrs. Saksak was wishing: "Good luck. I hope you kill a lot of Zionists pigs."

She should have been wishing, "Good luck that there really is a God so sick that he would consider you deliberately killing innocents to be a good thing, and that this sick God will let you into a virgin-filled heaven."

Good luck!?

When an American mom sends her son off to battle, she also wishes him good luck. Her wish is that God will keep him safe, and that he will return home, a healthy man ready to give her grandchildren and take care of her in her old age. She wishes that he will be able to help many more people than he has to kill, and she wishes that his service will help bring about peace.

According to JPost, Mrs. Saksak also wished for peace ... sort of:
"I pray to Allah that Muhammad will be accepted as a shaheed [martyr]," she said shortly after hearing about the Eilat bombing. "I hope that his martyrdom will deliver a message to the Fatah and Hamas fighters to stop the fighting and direct their weapons against the one and only enemy - Israel."
Well, I hope that his martyrdom does no such thing. May he rot in Hell, and may Fatah and Hamas keep killing each other so they rot in Hell too. And please, may this perverted Islamic religion of hate and death get a message that forced conversion by the sword has been out of vogue for quite a few centuries now.

Wake up and smell the cordite. Time to change.

Hat-tip: memeorandum
Photo: NYT
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Wrenching Defeat From Victory

Iraqi and US forces killed 250 Soldiers of Heaven Shia militia over the weekend and what's the NYTimes got to say about it?
Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed, American and Iraqi officials said Monday.

They said American ground troops — and not just air support as reported Sunday — were mobilized to help the Iraqi soldiers, who appeared to have dangerously underestimated the strength of the militia, which calls itself the Soldiers of Heaven and had amassed hundreds of heavily armed fighters. ...

“This group had more capabilities than the government,” said Abdul Hussein Abtan, the deputy governor of Najaf Province, at a news conference.
Who knows what Abtan's perspective is. Was he upset be what was basically Shia fighting Shia (the Soldiers of Heaven is largely Shia)? Is he a Soldiers of Heaven supporter? We just don't know and the NYT isn't asking or isn't giving it up. It may be that the report was filed in Baghdad, not Najaf, so the reporter just doesn't want to get close enough to find out.

Still, the question of Iraqi readiness is a valid one and needs to be asked continuously by military commanders, Congress and, yes, the media.

But is this a story question of military preparedness, or just one about an all-too-routine intelligence shortfall that led to a requirement for more forces?

The real story appears to be emphatically the later -- even NYT says the Iraqi forces were "surprised," indicating their intelligence led them to plan for a different battle. When intelligence fails you in battle, there are two options: win or lose. Always the same two options.

In this case, the Iraqi army won, leaving the Soldiers of Heaven with a couple suicide bombers and a couple dozen Shia killed, not a total, frontal assault as they planned.

Mr. Abtan said the Iraqi forces later decided to move on the group because an informer said Sunday was “zero hour” and the government noticed more men streaming into the area.

“If this operation had succeeded, it would have been a chance of a lifetime for them,” he said.

The Iraqis initially sent a battalion from their Eighth Army Division, along with police forces, but they were quickly overwhelmed, according to an Iraqi commander at the scene. The battalion began to retreat but was soon surrounded and pinned down, and had to call in American air support to keep the enemy from overrunning its position.

This should be a case history for doing it right: Iraqis in the lead, taking the initiative, holding their position, calling for US support and swiftly getting it because we're not redeployed somewhere in Murtastan.

Instead, the NYT finds fault. Legit questions for sure, but legit focus? Not at all.

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Nuancing The Poor Man To Death

Juan Williams was my late-night entertainment last night, talking away on NPR as I drove home. He and the host were going over Williams' interview with the president trying desperately to find a nuance that could be cracked open into an indication that Bush was ready to invade Iran.

It was slim pickings.

As all of you must know by now, Bush specifically said he has no plan or intent to invade Iran, then even addressed the question of questioning in a response to Williams:
"This is the kind of thing that happens in Washington. People ascribe, you know, motives to me beyond a simple statement — 'Of course we'll protect our troops.' I don't know how anybody can then say, 'Well, protecting the troops means that we're going to invade Iran.'"
Even with that, the host still drew Williams' attention to the "protecting our troops" phrase, the phrase the president had directly stripped of double meaning, and said, "But when he says 'protecting the trooops,' doesn't that open the door?"

This is not news analysis; it is the attempted generation of Bush hysteria.

The premise of Bush's intent with Iran is quite simple: They are supplying our enemy and are directly and indirectly involved in killing our troops. So we are not going to be like Michael Dukakis Dems, so confused by policies and politics that the bad guys can rape and kill their hypothetical Kitty and they stand by, unengaged in reality.

It's like this, Dukakisites: Kill us, we kill you.

Now if the premise were "invade us," the conclusion would certainly be "we invade you," but we're starting with "kill," not "invade." (I'm making this simple enough for NPR hosts to understand.) "Kill" allows lots of options: Killing Iranians in Iraq. Natch; is there a problem? Maybe even bombing an IED plant in Iran, or a shipment of IEDs on an Iranian highway. Maybe blowing up a bridge on the Iranian side of the Iran/Iraq border. Gosh, we might even go to the UN.

What NPR and its ilk is up to is also simple enough for even an NPR host to understand. If they believe from the pile of tea leaves they swear is evidence that Bush intends to take away our freedoms, knew about 9/11, is fighting in Iran so his oil buddies get rich, is under the control of Dick Cheney and finally, that he still practices Skull and Bones rituals in the basement of the White House, why then of course he's going to invade Iran. That was his plan all along; he's just been waiting until the right moment, until invading another mideast country would seal the win in 2008 for the GOP.

That would be his win, you know, not some other GOP guy, because of course he never intended to step down after eight years anyway, you know.

Aren't you just thrilled your tax dollars support NPR in its mission to inform the American public without favor or bias?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Teaching Math: 1950 To 2007

If you fear for your life everytime you give the fast food register clerk $10.27 for a $5.27 purchase and see her frustration soar, perhaps this bit of explanation will help you understand:
Teaching Math in 1950:

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960:

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100 His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970:

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
Teaching Math in 1980:

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990:

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math in 2007:

Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?
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The World's Dumbest Terrorist?

Wesam Al-Delaema, an Iraq-born Dutch citizen, has been extradited to the US, where he will stand trial for attempting to kill US forces in Fallujah in 2003. Fortunately, he won't have to defend himself against charges that he just might be the world's dumbest terrorist.

The case against Al-Delaema is not dissimilar to cases where rapists, vandalizers and other social dregs videotape their crimes -- then seem shocked that the tapes are being used to convict them of their crimes. Here's the AP report:
Al-Delaema traveled to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion. Evidence against him includes a videotape he filmed of a group called "Warriors of Fallujah" preparing a roadside bomb, which was widely shown on Arabic TV stations. The tape was seized by police who raided al-Delaema's house in the Dutch city of Amersfoort in May 2005 following a tip from U.S. authorities.
When arrested, Al-Delaema responded pretty much like a carjacker shouting "It wasn't me, man!" from behind the wheel when caught in the act:
In extradition hearings in the Netherlands, al-Delaema argued that he was forced to make the video after being kidnapped and beaten. He said he feared being beheaded if he resisted.
Uh-huh. Then why did he tell Dutch TV:
"The Americans and British are coming to our country to steal oil and everyone knows it. I don't care if I myself die or not. I want to offer myself up for my land, for my people."
Sounds like he was more into beheading than he was afraid of being beheaded. His family dismissed the interview as a joke. They probably thought 9/11 was pretty darn funny too.

Welcome to America, al-Dalaema. You may not have heard, but it's the land of the free and the home of the brave. Hope you enjoy your stay. Be sure to visit our prison system while you're here to get a good dose of Yankee hospitality.

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Only in SoCal: The Doody Dude

I saw this service advertised on the pick-up truck next to me in traffic today: "Doody Dude, the dog poop pick up service."

Has it really come to that? After getting our nails done by a Cambodian and our car washed by a Mexican, after our Ukranian shopper drops of the gift we need for Aunt Tillie's birthday, after the Guatemalan housekeeper has folded and put away the clothes and the Albanian nanny's fed and burped the baby, we come home to a yard cleaned by someone else and a dog groomed by someone else, and rest content in the knowledge that nothing is beyond our ability to delegate to the members of the Third World among us.

Not only that, but we comfort in the eco-friendly knowledge that all this is done with an extra cost to show that we're not just lazy, we're Green: All poop is disposed of properly per county code, and all shoes and equipment are disinfected between stops, the Doody Dude tells us.

I love the entrepreneurship of the Doody Dude. He has apparently found a need and capitalized on it, with services now offered to time-poor, cash-laden, poop-adverse populations throughout LA and OC.

But I don't particularly like the fact that he has a market. Somehow things like this make me feel decidely Roman, feasting and indulging as the Huns gain strength.

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Google Admits "Being Evil"

The famous Google motto -- "Don't be evil" -- got tarnished in China, one of the company's founders admitted ... finally.

The global reaction to Google's decision to build political censorship into its Chinese search engine, as demanded by the Communist Chinese government, was sharp and resoundingly negative.

Speaking in Davos yesterday, co-founder Sergey Brin (on the right in the photo) finally admitted the obvious, saying:
"On a business level, that decision to censor... was a net negative."
Translation: Damage to the Google reputation and a significant resultant loss of business outweighed all the money Google is getting out of China. And that's a lot of revenue.

Still, apparently being evil has its advantages and Google is not considering any changes to its China business:
From what was said yesterday a policy change seemed unlikely in the near future. Co-founder Larry Page (on the left in the photo) said: "We always consider what to do. But I don't think we as a company should be making decisions based on too much perception."
Hmmm. Can there ever be too much perception? What kind of perception is OK with not being evil and what kind of perception is across the line?

So, despite admitting the errors of its way, Google will keep on erring, and Chinese googlers still will not be able to find anything about the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Falun Gong movement -- or presumably, this entire controversy -- on their browsers.

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Is The Resolution To Show No Resolve Dying?

Robert Novak writes this a.m. at Real Clear Politics:
The Democratic plan was for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden to sit down over the weekend with his longtime Republican colleague, Sen. John Warner, and hammer out a consensus bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop surge in Iraq. But Warner, who has been making backroom deals for 22 years in the Senate, informed Biden late last Thursday: No deal.

Warner wrote that the "will of the Senate" should be determined in "open" session, not closeted negotiations. That killed the Democratic leadership's dream of passing a Biden-crafted anti-surge resolution by 70 votes or more. Such a proposal now cannot get the 60 votes needed for cloture to end a filibuster (and could fall short of the 50 senators needed for a simple majority). Conceivably, no resolution at all may be passed by the Senate.

The pressure is working. Thanks to Hugh and others for turning the flame up on GOP senators and fundraisers. If you haven't signed the NRSC Pledge, join the 30,000 who have. It's quick, and much easier than having to explain to our grandchildren why the US chickened out and let the Islamofascists pursue their evil while we "redeployed."

Will Harry Reid try to gag the GOP like Pelosi did in the House and ram it through. Difficult at best under Senate Rules. Here's what minority leader Mitch McConnell said on the matter yesterday:
But 41 senators--and we have 49 Republicans--more than 41 senators on our side will insist on a fair process that will ensure that we have several votes, all of which will be subject to a 60-vote threshold like they always are in the Senate. I mean that's--that's routine business in the Senate.
Put nothing past the Bush-haters though. Keep up the pressure.

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Symbolic Political Speech In Israel

Raleb Majadele, an Israeli Arab, will soon become the first non-Jewish cabinent member in Israel's government.

Majadele told AP that he would use his position as a Cabinet minister without portfolio for "promoting coexistence between the two peoples inside the state, and promoting dialogue between the Palestinians and the Israelis toward negotiations and political agreement."

Of course many are criticizing the appointment, with the hard-righties saying it's the beginning of the end of Zionism, and the Arab parties (Yes, Virginia, there have always been Arab members of the Knesset in Democratic Israel.) saying Majadele is immoral for accepting the appointment.

Be that as it may, the appointment is a bold act of symbolic political speech, telling all the world that Israel acknowledges the Arabs' right to exist. And it shows that Israel would rather live in peace, and is willing to work with Arabs toward a way they could do that together.

Meanwhile, the Arabs answered with their own form of symbolic political speech:
EILAT, Israel - A Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a bakery in this southern Israeli resort town on Monday, killing himself and three people, police said. ...

A spokesman for Hamas, the radical Islamic group that controls the Palestinian parliament and Cabinet, praised the bombing as a "natural response" to Israeli policies — a position likely to complicate the group's efforts to end a crippling aid boycott imposed by the international community.

In the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, a large crowd gathered outside the bomber's home to praise the attack. "Mohammed be happy. You will go directly to heaven," the crowd chanted, while children held pictures of the bomber. He looked pensive in one image, and held a machine gun in another. (source)
Guess which side the enlightened left supports? And as you do, remember, pro-Palestinian groups (i.e., pro-suicide bomber, pro-death of innocent civilians groups) were prominent among the organizers at United for Peace, the group that put together this weekend's anti-war demonstrations in DC.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

LA Times: We're Losing ... Losing ... Losing ...

How's this for coverage of today's decimation of insurgents outside Najaf?
BAGHDAD [Note the dateline: Baghdad, nowhere close to the battle] -- U.S. helicopter crashed in southern Iraq today, killing two soldiers abroad amid reports that the aircraft was struck by ground fire.

The helicopter crashed north of Najaf at about 1:30 p.m., the U.S. military said in a report.

The chopper crash was the third in Iraq since Jan. 20, when a Blackhawk helicopter crashed near Baqouba, killing all 12 soldiers on board.
There, that should take care of most readers: They hear a US copter went down and are remined that others have gone down recently. Having had their fill of bad news, they'll move on to the latest "news" on Brittany and Lindsey or Hillary and Barack, and they'll miss the paragraph that follows:
Two Iraqi officials said that at least 250 gunmen were killed outside of Najaf during an intense battle. Iraqi officials said the gunmen were planning to attack the Shiite holy city of Najaf and assassinate Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the country's top Shiite cleric.
Since the fall of Saddam, MSM have been quick to report everything wrong in Iraq and slow to report any evidence that we are, in fact, winning. In this LAT story, we have the entire history of MSM coverage of Iraq in three short paragraphs.

The report was filed by LAT staff writer Borzou Daragahi. No information is given on Daragahi. Where did he/she come from? Is he/she Shia? A Sunni? An American? We have no idea. We only know that he/she was not at all interested in reporting any success of our war effort.

Ernie Pyle, where are you?

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Brownback And The Resolution To Have No Resolve

The Left is cooing about Sam Brownback ... how odd is that? ... because he "knocked down" Joe Lieberman's concerns about the upcoming Resolution To Have No Resolve vote. Here's the passage, from Fox:

LIEBERMAN: I fear that while this resolution is non-binding and, therefore, will not affect the implementation of the plan, it will do two things that can be harmful, which is that it will discourage our troops, who we’re asking to carry out this new plan, and it will encourage the enemy, because as General Petraeus said to our committee, war is a test of wills, and you don’t want your enemy to be given any hope. ...

BROWNBACK: I don’t — I don’t see this enemy as needing any more emboldening or getting it from any resolution. They’re emboldened now. I was there two weeks ago in Iraq. I was in Baghdad. I was in northern Iraq. This is a very aggressive situation. You have sectarian violence of Sunni and Shia. I was in the Kurdish area. They were talking about we have to get the Sunni and Shia together. I talked with the head of the Kurdish group. He said he wouldn’t vote for more troops because you have to first force the Sunni and Shia to sit down and talk about a political accommodation and that’s not happening.

For this Brownback is risking alienating the GOP base? His "knock down" doesn't even mention the effect of a resolution's impact on our troops, and it doesn't address why he feels we shouldn't try to keep from further emboldening our enemy. Just because they're supposedly emboldened we're not supposed to un-embolden them a bit?

All Brownback's statement does politically is separate him from Bush. If that's what he wants to do, here's a question for him: If you want to separate from Bush, why not separate be being more aggressive, more visionary, less encumbered by a history of decisions that are questioned? Why just mimick the Dems?

I have to think that the GOP rank and file will stand by the candidates that are positioned equal to or more aggressive than Bush, and those candidates will attract hawkish Dems. On the flip side, no GOP candidate who's mimicking the Dem position is going to get rank and file GOP votes and certainly won't attract Dem voters away from the host of anti-war, anti-Bush Dem contenders.

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Who's Emboldening Whom?

Amelia at American Daughter asked some serious questions yesterday, foremost among them this:

Resolutions in Congress of non-support of the war effort in Iraq are more than disquieting and they are coming from both sides of the aisle. Have these people no shame? No? Well, then how about memory, as most of the same people voted in support of going to war in the first place. When it morphs into something else entirely as this has done, it is not right to blame the President alone, as though they knew nothing at all of what he was up to over there until late last week, or just before the elections!

And why not blame the insurgents instead of the President for a change? They are the ones who are destroying Iraq’s shot at peace and a representative government, not George Bush. Could he have known this would morph (yes, I like that word and think it does apply in this instance) into a totally different situation than anticipated?
Why indeed? The morphing was firmly in place by the 2004 election and Kerry's infamous voting for the war before voting against the war. At that time, the Golden Mosque at Samarra was still standing and the insurgency, while nasty, was not taking the lives it is taking today. Even then, the leaders of the Democratic party were siezing on the insurgency as an excuse for their dis-emboldening on Iraq and their emboldening in their attacks on Bush.

By focusing on the so-called success of the insurgency, the Dems are supporting its success. Doubt is what the insurgents are after, and doubt is what the Dems are giving them. They want fear; they're getting fear. They want Dems; they've gotten Dems.

Every argument for redeployment is reason for them to build another bomb. Every hearing and news article on upcoming resolutions stating we have no resolve is reason for their resolve to grow.

Unless you're a Dem, of course. Then it's all Bush's fault:
"It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and White House hopeful in 2008. "It's the failed policy of this president — going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."
Go ahead. Read it again. I know it's hard to understand. Yes, American people, it is what Bush did in 2002 that emboldens the enemy! Pay no attention to the fact that he's calling to increase troop strength and change the rules of engagement in order to really pound the insurgents! Ignore that he has ordered our troops to kill Iranian agents among the Shia militia! Forget that Iraq is suddenly following orders and militia are being attacked and are hurting.

Let's just talk about 2002, not 2007; that's the ticket!

Biden wants us to believe that the enemy is not emboldened by the fact that the Dems are in power and the Dems can't handle tough stuff like confronting global enemies and would just as soon cower at some unspecified redeployment point.

And please don't think that the Iranians, who are shipping IEDs to the Shia militia and providing strategic and financial support, are not emboldened when they read this lead in today's NYTimes:
As President Bush and his aides calibrate how directly to confront Iran, they are discovering that both their words and their strategy are haunted by the echoes of four years ago — when their warnings of terrorist activity and nuclear ambitions were clearly a prelude to war.

This time, they insist, it is different.

Could the NYT has sown any more doubt and discontent on the president's Iranian policy than to tie it to their time-tested "no WMDs" argument and the well-established Dem unwillingness to confront the jihadists? Do you think the Mullahs in Tehran aren't reading that and laughing out loud with joy?

Does NYT really think that we'll buy the line that the levels of intelligence about Iran's nuclear program is as fuzzy as what we knew about Saddam in 2001?

My list of questions, like Amelia's, is growing and the answers are increasingly frightening. I've saved my biggest questions until last. One of the mistakes Bush made in the initial planning of the war is underestimating the degree to which it would be a proxy war, providing a new theater for the ancient Shia/Sunni conflict. Do those who wish to end the war soon not see that? Do they not see that bringing the current flare-up to a Democratic end is in the interest of American security, and in the interest of anyone who doesn't want to see bodies by the thousands -- not dozens -- rotting in the hot sun of the oil-rich, conflict-rich Middle East?

Or is it really all about 2008 with them?

Flag poster: EDU Graphics
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New Report Warns: 10 Years To Stop Global Warming

Warmies are going to go into hyper-media mode next week when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues its latest report that pronounces that if we don't get our CO2 act together in ten years, that's it. Game over.

Dead rainforests. Dead great barrier reef. Insanely hot southern Europe. Vast tracts of land slipping under the ocean. Lions and tigers and bears.

The newest, nastiest Warmie theory goes like this: The black magic concentration for the atmosphere is 550 ppm, about double normal levels, and their models show that the globe will not be able to deal with volumes that high because the systems that currently neutralize CO2 would reverse themselves at those levels and make things worse, not better.

IPCC has been fretting about this for long enough that Al Gore included it in Incontinent Truth., when digging into the film, wrote this:
Gore is especially angry that Lord Monckton suggests that the Earth might not be that sensitive to the presence of greenhouse gases. Gore asserts that climate sensitivity, which represents how much temperature increase — all other things being equal — we can expect from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is in the order of 3 degrees C. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits that there is a wide amount of uncertainty in their models as to how much temperature change we can expect from a doubling of CO2 — from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C. Yet when Robert Douglass and Robert Knox of the University of Rochester examined the real world effects of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, they found a climate sensitivity of only 0.6 degrees C — well below the 3 degrees Gore claims “the real world evidence” shows.
When the report comes out, the media will cover it intensely since it's so yummily sensational. Then, over the few next weeks or months, scientists will pore over the data and begin to find flaws, false assumptions, over-estimations and erroneous constructs in the model. We will read very little of those criticisms.

If the science is flawed, they won't report it much. Also left largely unreported will be what it really means to radically cut CO2 emissions in a hurry.

Even though CO2 isn't expected to reach 550 ppm until 2040 or 2050 -- a projection you can believe if you choose to, but like many Warmie projections, it assumes there will be no technological breakthroughs or changes in human behavior over those years, and that the model was correctly constructed and run -- the Warmies are calling for major reductions in CO2 in just 10 years.

They think a tipping point will occur if we don't turn things around in a decade. Serious reductions in CO2 won't come from technology or human behavior in that short a time; the only thing that can accomplish that is shutting down industry and parking all the cars.

Since no one's stepping up to tell China and India to get their air quality act together, since Europe's not meeting its Kyoto targets and the U.S.'s most aggressive proposed goals -- proposed, not passed -- won't get us there.

Warmies know this. They've seen the skepticism and intransigence that has greeted their previous excited predictions, so why even bother to call for the collapse of the world economy if that's not going to happen in time satisfy their model?

Perhaps they believe if the just shout louder like so many Whos, we'll finally hear. In that regard, Warmies share a belief system -- but not tactics (yet) -- with Islamists. Islamists tell us, "Convert or die." Warmies tell us "Cut the carbon or die." And like Islamists, Warmies have no patience for those with other viewpoints.

Nor do Warmie sympathizers in the media. The Times of London, normally a straightforward enough publication, did even bother to seek out an alternative view in its report.

Their defensiveness makes you wonder: Is the Warmie movement as much about economic change as it is about climate change?

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Think John Will Invite The Po' Folks Over?

Being for the little guy ... or at least suing on behalf of a class of little guys ... sure does pay off.

Carolina Journal reports that Dem prez candidate John Edwards' new home is the most expensive in Orange County, North Carolina: 102 acres, 25,600 square feet -- a 10,400 square foot home and a 15,200 square foot recreation building that includes a room designated a "John's lounge."

Edwards ventured off the estate recently to give a longwinded speech in New Orleans that shamed the president for not suggesting the salaries of Hallilburton executives be cut. How about the salaries of trial attorneys?

He also had an idea about how to get into a new home:
First, let's help folks buy a home they can actually keep. Today, the rich get subsidies while the poor get ravaged by predatory lenders. We should do something different: crack down on those lenders and offer a new deal to poor families just going into the workforce: for the first five years you are working, we will set aside up to $1,000 in an account to help you make home payments. After five years, you'll have up to $5,000 for down payments.
At $1,000 a year, how long would it take Johnny to get a 10% downpayment together for his new home? This might not set too well with the po' folk, but it would be 600 years before he could slap his wad on the counter at the corner mortgage lender and ask for the keys to his new digs.

You just have to wonder why he saw the dirt poor as his constituency.

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They Don't Call Him "Stern" for Nothing

Sir Nicholas Stern depressed a lot of people last fall when he issued, on behalf of the British Treasury, a 700-page analysis of the economic impacts of ignoring global warming. Make that "alleged economic impacts."

A lot has been written about the hyper-doomy pronouncements, including here at C-SM (here, there, everywhere), and about Stern himself, whom Telegraph columnist Charles Moore categorizes, as the Brits say, thusly:
Stern always uses the most doom-laden projections, omits the numerous qualifications on the other side of the ledger, employs figures that don't add up and advocates a shock to the present world economy so great that it would make the Great Depression look like a hedge fund's Christmas party.
Yeah, but this is all old news. But what is emerging news is the scientific community's response to Stern -- especially those scientists he used to justify his doomsday scenarios and calls for massive expense to stall global warming, at the expenses of all other causes (children's health, AIDS, malaria, clean water, vaccinations ... the list goes on). Again, Moore:

Professor William Nordhaus, for example, perhaps the doyen in the field, is affronted to find his own projections beyond the year 2100 treated as totally accurate by Stern, when he himself has always insisted that such projections were "particularly unreliable".

Professor Richard Tol finds Stern making free with his work on rising sea levels to warn about the terrible damage that would cause, without making any allowance, as Tol does, for the fact that people would find ways of adapting to that rise.

Professor Robert Mendelsohn, of Yale, notes that Stern assumes that the economic damage from hurricanes will rise strongly each year, when we already know that the damage last year was much less than the damage in the year that Katrina struck.

The dons get so piqued by Stern that some resort to the deadliest weapon of academic warfare — the footnote. Here is Prof Tol on Stern's calculations about the control of emissions: "This can be found in any textbook on cost/benefit analysis. It is puzzling that economists at HM Treasury [where Sir Nicholas now works] can make such basic mistakes."

Tol, in general, is the rudest. The report, he says, is "alarmist and incompetent". Others put it more politely, but in their way are just as devastating. Professor Mendelsohn points out that Stern's calculations about the future costs of climate change might easily be wrong by trillions of dollars. Sir Partha Dasgupta, of Cambridge, says: "Where the modern economist is rightly hesitant, the authors of the review are supremely confident."

Moore points out that MSM, which are supposed to be highly critical of government reports -- like those reports that convinced us all that Saddam was on the verge of using nukes -- lapped up Stern without so much as a whimpering, whispered question.

Stern gets a pass. Gore gets a pass. Stern gets a hundred front page stories. Gore gets an Oscar nomination and a hundred front page stories.

And global warming critics? Off with their heads!

But no, Virginia, there is no media bias, and remember, the global warming debate is over.

Hat-tip: Real Clear Politics. Photo: TCS
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Ooooooh! This protesting feels sooooo good!

Has a moment even passed since Vietnam? It doesn't seem like it because there's Jane Fonda out protesting a war ... but wait ... this is different! That's Eve Ensler! The author of The Vagina Monologues. At today's anti-war rally in DC!

Oh just gush! The celelbrity of it all! Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins and Jesse Jackson! It makes me want to break into verse!
My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bell ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.

Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me. So cold, the steel rod cancelling my heart. Don’t know whether they’re going to fire it or shove it through my spinning brain. Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too. There were sticks and the end of a broom.

My vagina swimming river water, clean spilling water over sun-baked stones,
(My condolences to Ms. Ensler for allegedly having an abusive father. But she wasn't raped by soldiers ... that's' a bit of make-believe poetic justification for her anti-war sentiments.)

Lest you get all caught up in the excitement and celebrity of being among anti-war emotionalists, I offer you this photo. Behind every scene of supposedly impromtu outpouring of anti-war feelings today, behind every rhyming chant, there is an organization, working as hard as the Hezbollah PR guys worked in Lebanon last summer to lead America to defeat.

In this case, the organization is United for Peace, a group that includes communists, anti-Israel organizations, pro-Castro groups and other seriously misguided misfits.

The group was founded in Sept. 2002, eight months before the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was still in power, and that was A-OK with these supposed human rights activists. They cared not a whit if he stole Oil-for-Food funds from his people, causing them starvation and depravation, and spent it on palaces, payoffs to the families of suicide bombers, and salaries for weapons scientists. It didn't matter to them if he shot at UN-sanctioned enforcers of the no-fly zone. They didn't care if he didn't face justice for his mass murders of Kurds, Kuwaitis, Iranians and Iraqis, all for the purpose of self-aggrandization.

But Bush? They can't stomach Bush. And today, they are vomiting all over DC and our national airwaves their displeasure with a man who defends America, who supports freedom globally and who proudly shares traditional American values -- not the values of Jane Fonda or Eve Ensler.

Photos: AP
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Jim Webb's Gastrointestinal Crisis

The Hairy Beast, an Aussie blog that shares my fondness for analysis, outrage and humor (though he can slap together a few more paragraphs of analysis than I can on my best days) was taken aback by the appearance of Jim Webb, Dem responder to Bush's SOTU address.

And why shouldn't he be?

THB's description of this tonsorial madness was:
It looks as if some animal ate a dozen bottles of Grecian Formula For Men and then had an unfortunate gastrointestinal crisis on his cranium.
Go visit the post to see what THB (who by his name apparently knows a thing or two about hair) did with the help of PhotoShop to alleviate Webb of his crisis, and make the good ol' boy feel back at home again.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Nobody's Asking You To, Geezers!

Nice sign, geezers, but nobody's asking you to fight in Iraq. Your war, if you are indeed combat vets, was Vietnam. You were not fighting a war against global jihad, so you have less to say about this war than whoever you're referring to with that "refused to fight" comment.

Bush didn't refuse to fight. He also didn't refuse to realize the nature of the enemy. He also didn't refuse to shave.

Be that as it may, tomorrow these geezers will join their old nemesis, aging hippies, along with various anarchists, Commie lawyers, brainwashed college students and a trashbin full of anti-Americans and urge Congress to have us lose the war in Iraq.

But it's these guys who bug me the most: People who fought a war in their time but won't support us fighting a war in our time.

I don't really care if they have nightmares or if they wish chicks had welcomed them home with open arms and legs instead of calling them baby-killers. They should go see a shrink to help them deal with their resentment against America.

We face a fierce enemy and the place we are doing the best job of killing them is Iraq. But the Dem "leadership" in Washington are going to put more creedence in these geezers than they will in Gen. Petreus.

Thank goodness President Bush knows his role in all this. Today he told GOP House members, "I am the decision-maker."

Photo: NYT
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Iran Blames Hiroshima For Its Holocaust Denial

Today every one of the members of the UN except Iran -- even the long list really deplorable criminal nations -- voted without reservation to condemn the Holocaust. Iran had different a idea:

Iranian representative Hossein Gharibi, while reiterating his country’s “unambiguous” condemnation of genocide against any race, dismissed the resolution as a manipulation to deflect attention from Israel’s “atrocious” crimes and said it should have included other cases of genocide such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the US dropped atomic bombs, Palestine, Rwanda and the Balkans.

“In view of the above we truly disassociate ourselves from this entire hypocritical political exercise,” he declared. (source)

Apparently Mr. Gharibi thought he was somewhere other than the UN -- which passed 22 resolutions against Israel in 2006 alone. No one is better than the UN at not deflecting attention from Israel.

It's an interesting brain-teaser to try to figure out how Gharibi can correlate the bombing of Hiroshima with the Holocaust. The residents of Hiroshima were citizens of Japan, a country we were at war with, that was desperately trying to defeat us. The victims of the Holocaust were Jews from all over Europe who were killed by the country we were trying desperately to defeat.

The Japanese citizens were supporters of the Japanese war machine. The Jews were victims of the German war machine.

I have to admit I'm a bit shell-shocked that the UN would vote so solidly on a measure that acknowledged the Jewish tragedy. However that came to papss, it is a fine double-dip that it brought with it a level of isolation Iran has never before had to face.

Enjoy the moment. The UN will be ticking us off again momentarily.

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Fossil Of First Politician Found!

Creative Headline Of The Day

Atop a Reuters story about vandals trashing a "gnome forest" in Australia -- "An unknown number of attackers lopped off the heads or smashed several dozen of the pot-bellied statues this week at Gnomesville, a collection of more than a 1,000 colorful characters deep in a forest south of Perth." -- stands this fine bit of headline writing:

Gnome, Gnome on Derange.

The Curious Case For Impeachment

Writing in The Nation (a publication that generally despises the nation), Elizabeth Holtzman is upset that her previous cry for impeachment of President Bush fell on deaf ears. But the former Congresswoman is a trooper. She's been trying to impeach a Republican president since she sat on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon fall, and she's taking up the cause again -- still with no awareness whatsoever that there's a war to be fought.

In fact, her bill of impeachment is all about the fact that we are fighting a war:
  • Bush lied to get us into the war
  • Bush used illegal surveillance techniques
  • Bush violated Geneva in the treatment of detainees
I won't even bother to refute; we all know the talking points to counter hers. What matters is that nowhere in her analysis is there even the spark of recognition that there's a reason for fighting this war. In fact, she is oblivious to the terror threat, which apparently ended on 9/11 in her left-leaning world:
Investigations should also be conducted into Vice President Cheney's meetings with oil company executives at the outset of the Administration. If divvying up oil contracts in Iraq were discussed, as some suggest, this would help prove that the Iraq War had been contemplated well before 9/11, and that a key motivation was oil.
Holtzman and the audience she writes to are so wrapped up in hatred of Bush (which is really hatred of a strong and uncowering America) that she doesn't care what impeachment would do to the outcome of a war on terror. Let me restate that more forcefully: To Holtzman, if impeachment contributes to an American defeat in the war on terror, so much the better.

And it's not just Holtzman; it's the global Left. Der Spiegel's running a long excerpt from the new German book "Hurra, Wir Kapitulieren" (Hooray! We Capitulated) by Henryk M. Broder that concludes with this revealing look into the Heart of Darkness:
Oskar Lafontaine, a one-time chairman of the Social Democratic Party and German chancellor candidate, sees "commonalities between leftist policies and the Islamic religion." In an interview with Neues Deutschland, he says: "Islam depends on community, which places it in opposition to extreme individualism, which threatens to fail in the West. The second similarity is that the devout Muslim is required to share his wealth with others. The leftist also wants to see the strong help the weak. Finally, the prohibition of interest still plays a role in Islam, much as it once did in Christianity. At a time when entire economies are plunging into crisis because their expectations of returns on investment have become totally absurd, there is a basis for a dialogue to be conducted between the left and the Islamic world."

Lafontaine called upon the West to exercise self-criticism ("We must constantly ask ourselves through which eyes the Muslims see us") and expressed sympathy for the "indignation" of Muslims. According to Lafontaine, "people in Muslim countries have experienced many indignities, one of the most recent being the Iraq war. What we are seeing here is resource imperialism."

In other words, Lafontaine is willing to sacrifice the future of Europe As We Know It if it means the Social Democratic Party can get the Islamic vote -- and is more than willing to ignore and rationalize the threat of Islamism to accomplish that end.

Holtzman's thinking is no different from Lafontaine's: If you hate your own country, you are drawn to your country's enemies. She doesn't bother to look at impeachment in the context of American security because she doesn't care about American security. Never having to lift a pinkie to defend her freedoms, she is quick to risk those freedoms.

Hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oil-For-Food 2: Cash-For-Nukes

Learning nothing from the shame it suffered when it was caught funding Saddam Hussein's many lusts through oil-for-food, the UN now has had to admit it may have had a pretty good cash-for-nukes program going with the nuke-psycho regime in Pyongyang.

Here's a photo of Little Kim Jong Il and his crack generals reviewing the fissionability of crabgrass. And here's a bit of the offical UN admission it got the crazy notion to give cash to Little Kim's upstanding government:
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aiming to address concerns over the paying of hard currency and other practices in its operations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), today officially proposed to its Executive Board an external audit and modification of future operations in the country.

“Following extensive consultations with members of the Executive Board on the DPRK country programme, we would like to suggest a way forward to address the concerns that have been raised,” said Associate Administrator Ad Melkert at a meeting in New York.

Hmmm. I wonder what Claudia Rosette would have to say about that?

Shades of Oil-for-Food, the audits of this UN program have been so secret that when the U.S. government asked to see them, UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis first said no. When U.S. diplomat Mark Wallace pressed for access, the UNDP finally let U.S. officials look at the audits and take notes at UNDP headquarters — but wouldn’t give them copies. What they saw was anything but reassuring.

So, would you give money for Melkert and his colleagues at the UNDP? If you’re a U.S. taxpayer, you already do — out of the more than $5.3 billion per year the U.S. currently lavishes on the UN system, hundreds of millions go to the UNDP, which in turn pours millions into North Korea.

I'm only not speechless because it's the UN. When Uganda, the most successful AIDS-fighting nation in Africa, didn't handle money to the UN's liking, the UN cut off all funding -- stopping AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis programs temporarily -- while at the same time it was being so lax with its own systems that Little Kim was pocketing handsful of UN cash without even having to hand over a receipt.

What sort of organization gives millions of dollars to a renegade nuclear nation? Better still, wat kind of nation would give an organization like this $5.3 billion a year?

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Putting The Other F-Word To Work

The Gay Police are out in force over this "faggot" controversy. Here's a news release the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation just released:

New York, N. Y., Wednesday, January 24, 2007 – Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil G. Giuliano today criticized CNN host Glenn Beck for his flippant and gratuitous on-air use of an anti-gay slur during his Jan. 22, 2007 program.

The host of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck was discussing the Isaiah Washington story when he had the following exchange with radio host Dave Glover:

BECK: But anyway, Dave, what is the—what is the controversy? One of the guys called another guy a naughty name.

GLOVER: Yes. Basically you have Isaiah Washington, who's one of the stars of the show, who referred to one of his co-stars during a heated argument as a derogatory term for a gay man that starts with “F”, rhymes with maggot. Did it a couple more times after that. And do you like how I did that?

BECK: Yes.


BECK: Do you know that “The New York Times” wouldn't even print—I mean, we can say the word. We're having an adult conversation here. Wouldn't even print the word “faggot.”

GLOVER: Right.

BECK: Wouldn't print it. I find that amazing.

Glover's attempt to identify the epithet without using it on-air was in keeping with how other broadcast and cable outlets – including CNN – have approached it since the 64th Annual Golden Globe® Awards incident that sparked a national dialogue about the slur and the impact of anti-gay prejudice. Throughout CNN's coverage of the Isaiah Washington controversy over the past week, Beck appears to be the only host to have repeated the epithet on the air.

"Beck's obnoxious repetition of the slur -- and his flip dismissal of it as simply a 'naughty name' – speaks volumes about his appalling ignorance of its impact," Giuliano said. "Beck added nothing to the audience's understanding of the issue, except perhaps to demonstrate his juvenile belief that repeating an anti-gay slur makes him an 'adult.'”

On Tuesday, GLAAD reached out to CNN's standards and practices department to discuss the matter. On Wednesday, a CNN spokesperson told GLAAD that Beck wasn't using the word himself, that Beck's show is an “opinion show” and not a news program, and that Beck was expressing an opinion about The New York Times’ decision to not use the word.

"The ugliness of Glenn Beck's word choice and his ignorance of its impact really speak for themselves," Giuliano said. "Other CNN personalities have discussed derogatory slurs as part of this story without debasing that discussion. CNN has a responsibility to address Beck's crudeness and require that he adhere to basic standards of respect."

GLAAD is doing PR here, with a set goal and the application of tactics.

Let's go to the tactics first.

The attack on Beck for the "ugliness of Beck's word choice" is being done to keep the issue alive; no more, no less. But Beck did not choose the word. Some pipsqueak Hollywood actor did. Beck reported the word. And sorry, GLAAD, we can't use "the 'f-word'" instead of "faggot" because that's already taken. You want us to come up with something like Prince's unpronounceable name for it?

The tactic is valid enough, but the GLAAD message is weakend by anti-straight slurs from the gay community like "homophobe" and "breeder." Remove the board from your eye before getting all excised about the mote in ours.

As for the "ignorance of the impact," GLAAD has a point. The word does not belong in common speech any more than do disgraceful words for blacks and certain female body parts. It's just that the target is wrong, and the reaction is too hot.

The correct target is not Beck, but Isaiah Washington. GLAAD realizes that Washington's blurt is very old news now, so it had to find some new guy who used a word that begins with f and ends with aggot. This tactic will get old soon with most of us, but the sympathetic media will eat it up and keep "f-scandals" alive.

Still, GLAAD is more than welcome to raise public awareness that this is a word that should no longer be in good people's lexicon. There is no reason to inflict word damage on folks that have already had a lot of damage.

While GLAAD's current strategy will be effective with some, with most of America it is not a good strategy because it makes them look like a bunch of ... a naughty word is coming to mind here ... I'm trying hard to ignore it ... there! - it's gone! ... over-sensitive crybabies.

Hat-tip: memeorandum
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Bad News For "Ebola" Ahmadinejad

Ebola spreads lightening fast, killing nearly all it touches. But its very quickness and lethalness is the only reason we're not all be dead from it by now -- it kills its hosts too quickly, running out of bodies to spread to before it can become a transnational epidemic.

More and more, I am reminded of Ebola when I see Mah- I'm- in- the- moud for Shia Power Ahmadinejad (rhymes with "There's still Sunnis; ain't that sad?"). From the Telegraph:
Internal pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to abandon his confrontational policies with the West has intensified after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme spiritual leader, snubbed a request for a meeting on the country's controversial nuclear programme.

Iran's president meets regularly with Ayatollah Khamenei, who is regarded as the guardian of the Islamic Revolution, to brief him on international and domestic political issues. But when the president requested a meeting earlier this month, the ayatollah declined.

It is the first time that he has refused to meet Mr Ahmadinejad since the former Revolutionary Guard commander was elected president in 2005 and is a further indication of the growing unrest within Iran at his hard-line policies.

"It is a clear indication that the cracks are starting to appear in the highest echelons of the Iranian regime," said a senior Bush administration official with responsibility for monitoring Iran. "If the country's leading religious figure is not talking to the political leadership then obviously something is going seriously wrong."
Khamenei sees ebola in Ahmadinejad's soul. His holocaust ferver and 12th Imam baiting makes for some hot rhetoric the ayatollahs most have found amusing at first. Now they see that if Ahmadinejad gets his way, their host -- the Iranian people -- will be dying too fast for them to survive.

The ideal attack on Iran would be to let it attack itself. The game is to provide enough time for that to happen ... and not provide enough time for Mahmoud to get his nukes. If there ever were a place for intelligence, diplomacy and the threat of imminent military action to work together, it is in Iran.

I would like to be seeing more evidence of that sort of coordination right about now, but we all know that's still a big problem with Washington. C'mon guys; enough with the inter-departmental conflicts; get on with your jobs and take advantage of these opportunities to accomplish our objectives without spilling the blood of our troops.

Hat-tip: memeorandum
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Quote Of The Day: Hollybama Edition

Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen ... probably have started to question [Hillary's] electability, and see Obama as the candidate that best represents the collective wisdom of Hollywood. If I were Obama, I'd sue for defamation.
-- Capt. Ed

Yes, Hil, the mighty troika of Hollywood have made their first move, and it's not toward the wife of Bill "Mr. Hollywood" Clinton.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hollywood's movers and shakers received an invitation that they may find hard to refuse.

They've been invited to come meet Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's new superstar. He already has the buzz, but can he bring home the prize?

Movie moguls Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg want their Hollywood peers to join them at a Feb. 20 fundraiser the three are throwing for Obama. (Source)

Are Obama's positions on the issues coming to S, K and G in dreams? Were I a power-weilding Hollywood liberal, I certainly have not seen enough substance there to bother with a fundraiser. Could it be that in Hollywood substance doesn't matter much; it's all about image? Perish the thought!

So Obama gets the first big nod and Hil is left to feel like an aging starlet who's not getting the parts any more. It may seem trivial, but as Capt. Ed points out:

This presents a huge problem for Hillary. A large segment of the Left takes their lead from such Hollywood power brokers, and the early support for Obama gives the freshman Senator a significant boost in credibility. The Dreamworks trio do not waste their time flacking for also-rans, and this signals to the entire Democratic Party that Hollywood wants an alternative to Hillary.

Hillary's deliberate, intense focus on the presidency has been going on so long it has become like the third sequel: familiar, but not as exciting as the original, even if well scripted and well acted.

Now Obama can count Soros as firmly in his camp and Hollywood within his grasp. Hil can count on mod to lib women.

Think ahead to when it gets dirty: A black man attacking an established white woman. A white woman attacking an up and coming black man. All the while, both fight for the liberal crown because the Dem party misplaced its moderate crown some decades back.

Race, gender and a very narrow philosophic playing field are going to make the Dem race very ugly, and therein is an opportunity for the right GOP candidate to shine.

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