Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, March 31, 2008

Whoa! Reform, Cuban Style!

Change is sweeping over Cuba since Raul took over from Fidel. Riiiight.
HAVANA (AP) - Raul Castro's government opened luxury hotels and resorts to all Cubans Monday, ending a ban despised across the island as "tourist apartheid" and taking another step toward the creation of a consumer economy in the socialist state.

Cuba has made a series of crowd-pleasing announcements in the past few days. Cubans with enough cash will be able to buy computers, DVD players and plasma televisions starting Tuesday [that's a big "with"], and soon they'll even be able to have their own cell phones—consumer goods only companies and foreigners were previously permitted to buy.
Wow! Hey, Raul, how about giving them a vote in a free, open, multi-party election? No? Ya think cell phones will be enough to appease the masses?

Anyway, it's a lesson in how repressive totalitarian states can be (be they Communist or Islamic or dictatorial). Here we see the granting of freedoms so basic we don't even think about them in free America being positioned as huge news in Cuba.

Labels: ,

Collegiate Indoctrination

I asked Incredible Daughter #1 if she was experiencing a lot of Leftist indoctrination at Chapman U., and she affirmed it's there in some classes:
From what I've seen, there is a liberal slant, but the students aren't afraid to call BS on stuff that is way out there.
I'm proud to say that she's one of those unafraid students:
We had some guest speaker in that human diversity's class, and the class would push them very hard afterwards based on what they said. You may go cross eyed over what one of them said.

She said that it is DISCRIMINATION to assume that someone is heterosexual and that it is OFFENSIVE AND NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT to ask a guy if he has a girlfriend because he might be gay. I told her that if you assume he is gay and he's straight, you might get your butt kicked, so sorry, I'll err on the side of political incorrectness.

She was a little shocked at my response.
Interestingly, in our work I'm becoming concerned about writing about real estate developments as "homes for families," and a cringe a bit each time I see "mom" or "dad" in copy, especially if it's copy that's directed to children.

I'm dreading the day gay activists get on us for assuming that houses will be filled with families, not gay couples, or that schools will tell us they're not interested in materials that assume children have moms and dads, rather than dads and dads, moms and moms, dads and ponies or whatever.

I'm sticking with the good ol' fashioned copy for now, but feel the ice getting thinner at all times.

Labels: ,

Iran's Heavy Hand

News reports that Iraqi parliamentarians traveled to Qom in Iran to meet with Iranian mullahs and Revolutionary Guards generals to get Moqtada Sadr to stand down are fascinating on so many levels.

How, for example, can Iran help with a stand-down if they didn't already help with stirring to pot to a boiling point?

And how can some continue to discount direct Iranian involvement in Iraqi violence when confronted by passages like this:
Ali al Adeeb, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's Dawa party, and Hadi al Ameri, the head of the Badr Organization, the military wing of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, had two aims, lawmakers said: to ask Sadr to stand down his militia and to ask Iranian officials to stop supplying weapons to Shiite militants in Iraq.
And finally, if the Iraqi government is capable of brokering such an agreement while under fire, what of the talk of the lack of progress in forming an effective government in Baghdad?

h/t: memeorandum

Labels: , ,

Once Again, Media Set Up Bush For Failure

Like it or not, President Bush got the nation through the tragedies of 9/11, established, put weight behind a new set of foreign affairs policies to deal with the era of global terrorism, and (on his second try) established effective warfare methods against terrorist forces -- thereby presiding over an administration that will have long historical legs.

So why this?
Bush Seeks to Salvage Legacy at NATO and Putin Summits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush left on Monday for his farewell NATO summit and a final heads-of-state meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin in a bid to salvage a foreign policy legacy frayed by the Iraq war.

Seeking to reassert himself on the world stage in the twilight of his term, Bush will press NATO for more troops in Afghanistan, try to keep up momentum in the alliance's eastward expansion and attempt to ease strains with Russia.
The article goes on to talk about Bush's unpopularity in Europe and world leaders who "are looking forward now to the next president in Washington" -- kind of like the reporter who wrote this report, ya think?

It is true that lame duck presidents with low popularity ratings (which most lame duck presidents have) have trouble getting buy-in to their long-term policy goals, but Bush has never appeared to be a president who is too concerned about his legacy. Rather, he's been a do what needs to be done president, a who cares about the polls president.

Who are the leaders of Europe "looking forward" to, anyway? Another Clinton, whose anti-military mindset led us to the brink of 9/11? A McCain, who can be expected to continue a foreign policy stance not dissimilar to Bush's? Or an Obama, who combines inexperience, an anti-military mind-set and advisors who are pro Arab terrorist (in the sense that they are anti-Israel)?

If this were eight years ago, despite the blue dress hanging in the evidence room, a similar Clinton trip was covered more as a final love-fest, an opportunity for good friends and allies to get together one more time. Interestingly, both Bush and Clinton had controversial missile defense system proposals -- something the media is not reminding us of today. Here's a CNN story from the time:
BERLIN -- Plans by the United States to build a National Missile Defense system threatened to overshadow the harmony of President Bill Clinton's three-day visit to Germany as he received the International Charlemagne Award in Aachen, Germany, on Friday for U.S. contributions to postwar European unity.
That was followed by seven paragraphs about how problematic the missile defense system is (including a defense of the system by Sandy "Stuffed Shorts" Berger), then:
Clinton's lengthy meeting with Schroeder, followed by a late dinner on Thursday night, signaled a deepening personal friendship but a growing number of issues that German pundits fear may threaten strong ties. ...

Clinton is the first U.S. president to receive the Charlemagne award and arrived for church services and an afternoon ceremony in Aachen, the eighth- century capital of Emperor Charlemagne, whose empire at its height stretched from northern Spain to the Elbe in Germany.
Not quite the same tone, eh? No lame duck talk, no looking forward to the next president. And I have to think that if Bush had won a Charlemagne award, the press surely would be awash with talk of American imperialism under the Bush "regime."

No matter how the media sets it up, Bush's goals for the trip are straightforward: Do what he can to advance the NATO membership of Georgia and the Ukraine, and try to get his rogue state missile defense system installed in Europe -- both over the protests of Vladamir Putin. (By the way, the press is not full of article about world leaders "looking forward now to the next president in Moscow" because they know Putin's not going anywhere.)

So let's look back over this story over the next week to see if Reuters and the rest of the world press has once again set up high negative expectations about Bush, only to be disappointed by his success, as they have for eight years now.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Muslims Procreating Like Crazy

Catholics have traditionally been well known for using the marriage bed to create lots of new Catholics -- but they're playing second fiddle to Muslims now:
ROME, March 31 (AP/Breitbart) - The Muslim population in the world exceeded that of Catholics in 2006 for the first time in history, the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano reported Sunday, adding that the makeover came about as a result of higher fertility rates among Muslims than Catholics. ...

According to the report, Muslims accounted for 19.2 percent of the total world population as of 2006, while Catholics made up 17.4 percent and Christians as a whole roughly 33 percent. No specific numbers were unveiled.

The newspaper said the Islamic population is rising chiefly in developing nations, while the number of Catholics remain almost flat in European nations with some growth being seen in Latin America.
The troubling undercurrent of Muslim demographic in Europe has been well documented. It's Muslim growth in the Muslim world that worries me more, because as long as there's overpopulation and under-opportunity in the Islamic world, there will be room for radical Imams and hopeless souls who will follow them into jihad.

That's why I still believe to the neocon ideal of bettering the economic and political situation in Muslim nations, a surefire way to reduce the Muslim birthrate -- and achieve many much more important goals.

Labels: , ,

Sunday Scan

Dith Pram, Journo-Hero, Dies

The world would have learned what Pol Pot did in Cambodia -- killing 2 million of its 7 million people -- without Dith Pran, but the former NYT translator carried the story to the world so effectively that it's hard to imagine the story without him.

Dith (Cambodians do last names first) created the term "killing fields" as he survived the horror for five years, and brought us story through The Killing Fields. He survived Pol Pot, but not pancreatic cancer, and there's a loving obit in the NYT, where he became a photographer.

There's a quote in the AP story on Dith that I really liked. It didn't make the NYT story; I think you'll understand why:
He was "the most patriotic American photographer I've ever met, always talking about how he loves America," said Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma, who knew Dith through their work with the Asian American Journalists Association.
When you can experience America after living through what happens if countries are left to Communists -- particularly crazy Communists in Cambodia's case -- it's hard not to be patriotic.

Non-Story Of The Day

I bring you the Hooters Girls only to make a point: Some political news stories only exist because of big boobs in tight T-shirts, like this one from the Merc News:
It's a pretty safe bet Assemblyman Joe Coto won't be patronizing Hooters anymore.

"You're going to get me in trouble," Coto, D-San Jose, quipped last week, after IA inquired about the most interesting line item on his campaign expense report for late 2007.

The item on page 73 shows a $319.13 "meeting" at a Hooters restaurant in Sacramento, an eatery more famous for cleavage than cuisine thanks to the "Hooters Girls." That's what the attention-loving company calls the young women who dress in tight white tops and skimpy orange shorts while serving burgers, fried chicken and beer to drooling customers.

So what's Coto - a well-dressed, married man, a former superintendent for the East Side Union High School District - doing eating at a place like Hooters?
I am definitely not a Hooters fan -- I'm deeply suspicious of a restaurant that has to rely on sex for customers; it makes me question the quality of its food -- but c'mon, if an elected wants to eat there, it's not like he's spending campaign funds for crack and lap dances.

But here's how desperate the media is to titillate: Coto's Hooters bill was for carry-out for an office dinner, not for table service. Even thought they knew this, the experts in news judgment went ahead with the story anyway.

And we trust them with important stories.

Greenie Fundamentals Revealed

In the Greenie e-mag Greenbang, climate gal Dr. Kate Rowles lets down her guard and tells us what the Greenie/Warmie movement is really all about:
Greenbang: What do you think is wrong with the debate on climate change?

Dr Kate: It hasn’t really got to grips with the fundamental problem, which is that Western, industrialised lifestyles are literally unsustainable. Climate change is just one symptom of this. [The World Wildlife Federation] famously calculated that if everyone on earth were to enjoy the lifestyle of an average Western European, we would need three planet earths.

Not even the most optimistic believers in technology think that we can technofix this problem so that 6 billion people (let alone the projected 9 billion) can enjoy a western lifestyle without ecological meltdown. It follows that we urgently need to rethink what we currently mean by a ‘high standard of living’ and move away from materialistic versions of this to an understanding of quality of life that could be enjoyed by everyone, without causing environmental mayhem. This is about values, not just about technology.
I'm not "the most optimistic believer in technology" by any means, yet I think we can "technofix" the problem, because I believe in the boundless desire of man to survive and thrive ... and to adapt.

The Greenies think in terms of limits, not adaptation. To them, our future is limited, our ability to deal with change is limited, our ability to plan is limited, our intelligence is limited. Take for example the projection of a population of 9 million. China, India and Africa are responsible for most of the population growth and China and India have, through methods I hardly condone, gotten a handle on theirs. No limits to to human ability to learn and adapt.

Dreary Dr. Kate continues:
Current levels of consumption in industrialised societies are too high - as the three planet earth analysis clearly shows. This presents a major problem for current economic thinking, which is premised on growth, and which requires us all to keep consuming more, not less. Clearly we can’t grow infinitely, and consume infinitely, on a finite planet.
In other words, poor people of the world, unite! ... and give up all hope that your life will ever improve, because if the Greenies and Warmies succeed in dialing back Western creativity and growth, any hope the poor nations have for a better future is gone.

But that's OK with Dr. Kate Rowles, because if poor people live better, it's just more carbon to her.

h/t a long chain starting with What Bubba Knows, through Moonbattery and on ...

A Resounding McCain Endorsement

John McCain my not be touting this "endorsement" on his Web site -- after all, the headline is Why We Should Fear a McCain Presidency, and it is a scathing denouncement of his foreign policy. But given that it's from the Moscow Times, it's a reassurance that he might be the right man for the job.

A couple excerpts:
Driven in part by his intense commitment to the Iraq war, McCain has relied more on neoconservatives such as his close friend William Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor. His chief foreign policy adviser is Randy Scheunemann, another leading neoconservative and a founder of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. McCain shares their belief in what Kristol has called "national greatness conservatism." In 1999, McCain declared: "The U.S. is the indispensable nation because we have proven to be the greatest force for good in human history. ... We have every intention of continuing to use our primacy in world affairs for humanity's benefit." ...

Reflecting the neoconservative program of spreading democracy by force, McCain declared in 2000: "I'd institute a policy that I call 'rogue state rollback.' I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments."
Oh, the horror!

Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Pick you're media outlet; it's all the same story. Here's BBC:
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities in an effort to end clashes with security forces.

He said in a statement that his movement wanted the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed and maintain the nation's independence and stability.
I chose BBC because I was listening to it while driving home one day last week, as the fighting in Basra was just rolling out. What better source, eh?, since the Brit withdrawal from Basra had motivated Moqtada Sadr to start fighting again.

So BBC had its Basra reporter and some foreign affairs reporter from a British paper ... the Telegraph, I think ... on, talking about how this was going to be a tough fight, how strong Sadr is, how not-ready the Iraqi Army is, blah, blah, blah.

Well, I read the story about Sadr giving up in less than a week from top to bottom, and nowhere did I see an admission that they got it wrong. Again.

Another Crazy AG (Thank God!)

The Left loves to hate Bush AGs, and Michael Mukasey is no exception, maybe because he says stuff like this (in NanPo's hometown, yet!):
"Forget the liability [phone companies face]. We face the prospect of disclosure in open court of what they did, which is to say the means and the methods by which we collect foreign intelligence against foreign targets."
Whether it's demanding the closure of Gitmo so the worst terrorists in the world can be tried in our court system, or denying phone companies protection so that our technologies are laid open, the Lefties are intent on using our courts to put America at the greatest disadvantage possible in the war on terror.

Faced with enemies without and enemies within, Bush has no choice but to have a tough, no-nonsense AG. And recognizing that, the Left has no choice but to attack every AG Bush appoints.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The State Of The Dem Disunion

Not exactly sure what my friend Jim is doing reading Kos, but happily he found something really funny while perusing the hard left:

"I've been thinking."
"Really? What about?"
"I've decided your candidate's better than mine."
"Yeah. I've been reading diaries and stuff. Your candidate's better than mine."
"That's weird, because lately I've been leaning toward your candidate."
"Really? How can you say that? Yours is clearly better."
"Not after the stuff I've read. You'd have to be crazy to support that keg of dynamite."
"But yours can beat McCain in November."
"No, yours has a much better chance."
"That's bullcrap. Yours isn't imploding."
"Well, yours isn’t getting hammered by the press."
"What??? Have you been living in a hole in the ground?"
"No, but I'd say you have."
"Look, I don’t want to fight about this. We're both Democrats and we both want to beat the Republicans, right?"
"Right. But if you're supporting the candidate that I'm running away from, we're gonna get clobbered in November."
"You really are f***ed up, you know that?"
"I'm not the one flushing our chances down the crapper, douchebag!"
"Party wrecker!"
"I'm writing a diary!"
"Me too!"


Meanwhile, McCain gets to campaign with his former opponent, making happy-face and raising bucks.

Go Hillary, fight Obama!

Go Obama, fight Hillary!

Photo courtesy of the goofy but fun McCainBloggette blog.

Labels: , ,

Liberals: Try And Love (Bush) Again?

Patrick farmed some very fine paragraphs yesterday in a post called Avian Chorus, an essay on the unspoken liberal emotion: missing George Bush.

Hard to wrap your mind around that? Yeah ... then mix in themes from The Eagles and five stages of grief popularized by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, and you've got an essay that's definitely not Wasted Time. Excerpt:
You know I’ve always been a dreamer (spent my life running ‘round), and it’s so hard to change—can’t seem to settle down. But the dreams I’ve seen lately keep turning out the same, perhaps because even Barack Obama’s optimism depends entirely on George W. Bush.

Think about “Change you can believe in.” If that slogan works at all, it works only through implied contrast with the kind of change you can’t believe in even after it happens. The once and future progressive conceit about being part of a “reality-based community” is officially on vacation (or standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona), because the election year directive is to embrace only what you choose to believe, while ignoring the rest of the real as much as possible. Without the magnifying glass of George W. Bush to focus his sunshine, Obama would simply revert to form as a glib politician of thin experience and questionable judgment. Accordingly, his campaign is little more than a valentine to denial, which of course is stage one in how people grieve.
Patrick's no New Kid in Town, so you can Try and Love Try Again to get your thoughts so nicely organized and well written, but in The Long Run, I Can't Tell You Why, but the Paragraph Farmer's writing gives you that Peaceful Easy Feeling, so you can just Take It Easy and enjoy some fine writing.

Labels: , , ,

Who Are You Embedded With

This AFP photo ran with a BBC story on the fighting in Basra today.

Apparently, AFP has a photographer embedded with the Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army -- which BBC refers to as "powerful," although no such qualifiers appeared when the report covered the Iraqi army forces in Basra. There's one alternative to an embedded photographer: AFP could have gotten the photo from Sadr's PR staff. Such is the nature of modern warfare.

In either case, the photo is evidence of a high degree of communication and trust between the news service of a NATO nation and a militia that is trying to throw Iraq into chaos. This up-close coverage of both sides of the battle qualifies as objective journalism, but I've never thought objectivity to be a sufficient standard for journalism because it is the standard of relativism.

If you cover both sides the same and you are objective by modern standards, but if you tell the truth about both sides, you are not, because truth requires subjective thought -- weighing, evaluating, choosing sides. So the media cover the staged PR events of the Mehdi Army, Hezbollah and Hamas and run their news releases in the name of objectivity, and consider their job well done. But the public is not served.

It's similar with weighting. A reporter can top-load a story with the quotes and details from one side, then give a few inches or seconds at the bottom of the story to present a quote from the other side, and get a thumbs up from the editor/producer for having presented an objective view. Again, the public is not served.

If the photo above were taken by an AFP photographer, he could have slammed the sniper with his camera bag and saved a good guy, but in the name of objectivity, he let the trigger be squeezed and the round be fired ... and possibly allowed an Iraqi Army or British soldier to be killed.

Ah, objectivity!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Answering Yasmine

Some post I put up recently offended a young convert to Islam, Yasmine, who wrote me this:
I don't know if You ever get this but I hope that one day you educate yourself and I really mean to educate yourself because I haver read all of your posts and some are decent while your arrogance and ignorance is apparent in your opinon and writing style. I am a muslim convert and I invite you to my blog, come a check if I am oppressed and if my faith is so evil.
I ignored her unfounded judgment of me and responded that I would pray for her salvation and:
I'm sorry you made such a tragic mistake by converting to Islam. I read your blog and you seem to be a thoughtful, but emotional, young person and I'm afraid your emotions led you to a religion that is fine on one level but also has a very dark side (jihad, terror, suppression of women, and a God that doesn't care enough about you to give you a clear path to heaven -- outside of jihad).
My comments generated a torrential response from her, which I will fisk herewith:
I am emotional? On the contrary, I am strong and strive for human excellence. so to improve myself in every aspect is very important to me.
I based that statement on her own writings, a blog post about having children that was awash in emotions.
Wish you were a little more open minded and dared to think outside the box for once. I have not done a mistake, I have made the best thing I could ever do in my life and that was to convert to Islam...
I wonder why she thinks that. Christianity offers an excellent moral structure and a clear path to salvation. Islam clearly has some great rules for morality and social structure.

But it also has some terrible ones that the rest of the world's religions have done very well without. As for salvation, in Christianity it's simple; it is based on faith, not works. But in Islam, it's works:
"Then those whose scales are heavy, they are successful. And those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls…"
Further, Islam promises
"... a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which awaits the God-conscious, who spend for charity in time of plenty and in time of hardship, and restrain their anger, and pardon their fellow men, for God loves those who do good."
Whereas Jesus told us that faith alone will open the doors to heaven, Allah makes no such promise, and the Muslim must always wonder whether he's been God-conscious enough, giving enough, forgiving enough to achieve Paradise, living in doubt ... unless, of course, he takes the Jihad route. More on that in a bit.
I was not just a christian before but a practicing christian. who has read and studied the bible extensively. Who had moralities and respect for all humans beings. Do you?
I would hope I pass this test. I've read the Bible every day for over 12 years ... well, I missed a handful when the alarm didn't go off ... but I've read it front to back twice and most of its books three or four times. I've been to Bible studies, have been attending the same men's group for five or so years, have heard a ton of good preachers in church and on the radio. Not that any of that matters at all, because it's the Spirit that brings the experience alive -- something Yasmine should understand:
Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the Revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Quran, 16:102)
Before I became a Christian I was in turns a "practicing" but not reborn Christian, a student of Buddhism, Tantric yoga and various mystical doo-dahs taught by a bunch of phony poobahs. For a time I even delved into the mystical Islamic Sufi sect, so I've been around the block a bit, even knocking on Allah's door.

The culmination is that I have "moralities" and respect for most human beings, but certainly not all. I do not, and never will, respect human beings who recruit terrorists, or human beings who blow themselves up on crowded streets, or human beings who fly airplanes full of innocents into buildings full of innocents.

Perhaps I should double my Bible-reading time .... Yasmine goes on,
I would not sit there and proclaim to be righteous person when you slander a faith you know nothing about. you are only a media slave. Even I a twently year old knows better to make judgments by media because apparently you are not Muslim. I dare you to learn about it and you'll see what I mean. Will you? I don't know. there are people that will be forever be blind no matter what you tell them.
Readers of C-SM should get a pretty good chuckle out of the "media slave" call-out. Yasmine has every right to ask me to study her religion, but until her religion drags itself out of its bloody past and reforms, I have the right to say, "Why waste the time, especially when I've got a perfectly great religion of my own?"
I would suggest to start fromt the bible because that is how I came without being aware I desired Islam. Alhamdulilah (Thank God). I did not even know about Islam then.
This is a very curious girl who has lived through an experience I cannot understand. I cannot understand how a book so full of love and sound teaching could lead someone to a religion that has comported itself so badly ever since Mohammed started spreading his revelations by both the sword and the book.
if you are such a good pious chrsitian (practicing) I suggest for you to refer to me where it explains the trinity and where Jesus proclaims to be God. He called himself a messenger and I will show you all the proofs you need to but not to convert you but to verify your bigoted mindset. inshallah (if God wills).
Bigoted mindset? Pot calling kettle black?

But I'm glad Yasmine asked. There are so many places in the Bible where the Trinity is addressed, and even more that proclaim Jesus to be God -- not a mere messenger like Mohammed. Yasmine must have missed these verses; I hope she will read and understand them because they are wonderful:
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.

Who is the one who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who Testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

For there are three that testify:

the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. [Trinity]

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning his Son.

The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not walk in the life. (1 John 5: 1-12)
And these, some of the most beautiful words ever written:
In the beginning was the Word (Spirit), and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God.

He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God. (The Trinity)

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkeness did not comprehend it. ...

And the Word (spirit) became flesh (Jesus), and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1-5, 14)
I will freely admit that I don't understand the Trinity, but I am in awe of it and looking forward to the day when I will understand it -- a day not on this plane.

But I anticipate Yasmine would retort that I'm quoting John, not Jesus. Then let's see what Jesus himself has to say about it:
So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.

But Jesus replied, "My Father never stops working, so why should I?"

So the Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him. In addition to disobeying the Sabbath rules, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.

Jesus replied, "I assure you, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and tells him everything he is doing, and the Son will do far greater things than healing this man. You will be astonished at what he does.

He will even raise from the dead anyone he wants to, just as the Father does. And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. But if you refuse to honor the Son, then you are certainly not honoring the Father who sent him. (John 5:16-23)
Unfortunately, we must break our reverie and return to a subject as awful as the Trinity is awesome: Jihad.
Jihad? Means struggle not holy war although it can also be reffered to that just like the crusades and missionariy tactics used by some chrsitians. that take advantage of poor countries to only benefit from there desparity to convert them.
The Crusades were a thousand years ago and were the response to Islam's overthrow of the Holy Land. And missionary tactics like those of Jihadists? Show me one. Missionaries convert by the Word and the Spirit, not the sword and C-4. My Christian missionary friends dedicate their lives not just to bring them to Christ; they also dedicate their lives to lifting up the poor, bringing better medical care, education and opportunity to the people they work to bring to Christ.

The phrase "take advantage of poor countries to only benefit from there [sic] desparity [sic] to convert them" makes me wonder if Yasmine is only "a media college prof slave." It sounds like the sort of twisted view of the world that a left-leaning Islamic studies prof might say to a young gal as open to new ideas as I was when I was in my 20s, my dabbling years. (But how do we explain her horrific spelling and punctuation?)

I've heard Yasmine's "jihad means struggle not holy war" thing so many times I suppose the Muslims think if they say it often enough, we'll believe it. The problem is the word "not." To be accurate, Yasmine needs to say "jihad means struggle and holy war." Maybe not to her, but to many, many Muslims including one you may have heard of, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
Zarqawi’s exposition of Islamic theology as he sees it is most revealing. “There is no doubt,” he says, “that Allah commanded us to strike the Kuffar (unbelievers), kill them, and fight them by all means necessary to achieve the goal. The servants of Allah who perform Jihad to elevate the word (laws) of Allah, are permitted to use any and all means necessary to strike the active unbeliever combatants for the purpose of killing them, snatch their souls from their body, cleanse the earth from their abomination, and lift their trial and persecution of the servants of Allah. The goal must be pursued even if the means to accomplish it affect both the intended active fighters and unintended passive ones such as women, children and any other passive category specified by our jurisprudence.” (source)
Paradise is guaranteed to those who “slay and are slain” for Allah: “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth” (Qur’an 9:111). Christianity offers no such route to heaven.
you can go ahead and assume I came to Islam due to my emotions but I don't care what an hateful prejudiced unpious not God fearing Man's evaluations.

Salam (peace), Yasmine
How do you get to peace if before you meet someone, before you know anything about them, you leap to a conclusion that they are "hateful prejudiced not God fearing?"

I don't believe I have ever said anything hateful in C-SM or elsewhere about run-of-the-mill Muslims who don't go around beheading journalists, blowing up buses filled with Israeli school children ... or for that matter, calling for the annihilation of all Jews. I have always been careful to differentiate between "Muslims" and "Islamists." Yet here I am hateful and prejudiced.

I have never said anything in C-SM that would indicate that I am not pious, but because I choose (thank God!) to be pious to God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus instead of Allah and Mohammed, I'm just an infidel to be loathed.

Peace, Yasmine.

Labels: , ,

Illegals: Bush, NYT Can't Count The Cost

The NY Times would have us believe it's simply too expensive to deport the 304,000 illegal immigrants languishing in US prisons, where they make up 10 percent of the population. And the Bush Admin. apparently agrees.
At least 304,000 immigrant criminals eligible for deportation are behind bars nationwide, a top federal immigration official said Thursday.

That is the first official estimate of the total number of such convicts in federal, state and local prisons and jails.

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie L. Myers, said the annual number of deportable immigrant inmates was expected to vary from 300,000 to 455,000, or 10 percent of the overall inmate population, for the next few years.

Ms. Myers estimated that it would cost at least $2 billion a year to find all those immigrants and deport them.
The statement stands as is in the article with the illegals-friendly NYT failing to consider -- or at least report -- the telling follow-up question: Well, how much does it cost to keep them?

The most recent Dept. of Justice figures I could find say it cost $25,327 annually to house an inmate in 2003. The cost has certainly gone up since then, but I'll give the NYT and the administration the benefit of the low number.

So, using 2003 figures, it costs $7.7 billion a year to house our 304,000 illegal immigrant prisoners, vs. $2 billion a year to find and deport them.

Anyone for saving $5.7 billion a year? Is Julie Myers a complete dunce? She should be the champion of deportation.

I won't even bother asking why the Bush Administration isn't working to reduce the costs of government by taking the simple step of deporting illegals. Bush has completely forgotten that Republicans are for small, efficient government.

And is anyone for wondering why the high-priced, Ivy League journalists at the NYT can't comprehend the basics of good reporting?

Labels: , ,

Watcher's Winners

There are a couple very deserving posts top of the list of the Watcher of Weasels' weekly blogorama, Done with Mirrors' Get Your Grim Milestone Today? and Bookworm Room's What Would You Do?

I voted for them in reverse order. Book's essay this week takes something we all read a torrent of words about -- Rev. Wright's view of race relations -- turns it over, and finds a deeper truth most all of us missed. It's really quite a wonderful read.

Calimachus' piece, as you can imagine, comments on the recent flood of stories over the 4,000 combat death in Iraq. I loved it because of the perspective it gave. Did you know, for example, that more than 12,000 soldiers died in WWII ... from traffic accident fatalities? Of course, this piece would have gone nowhere if Calimachus hadn't treated our lost soldiers with the greatest respect, which he did.

I was pleasantly surprised when my entry, Beer-Soaked Politics, placed third -- higher than I thought it would.

Michael Yon did it again on the non-Council side, with a thrilling piece, Stake Through Their Hearts, which shows that even mopping up al Qaeda forces two by three can be a dangerous job.

Runner-up for the non-Council side goes to The Investigative Project on Terrorism's CAIR Exposed: Part 1. The title says it all; can't wait 'til Part 2.

Thanks, Watcher, for refining this batch of high-octane cerebellum fuel.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Foreign Affairs, Spoiled Brat Style

One nation -- oh, let's say it's South Korea -- tells its neighbor to the north that they will not allow any expansion of a joint industrial park on the border of the two nations unless the neighbor to the north -- let's call it North Korea for convenience sake -- sits down and talks about ceasing production of nuclear weapons.

In a normal world, the two nations might withdraw some diplomats, say some harsh words, then sit down and talk. But that's not how they do it in the School of Spoiled Brat Diplomacy:
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea test-launched a barrage of short-range missiles Friday, the communist nation's latest apparent angry response to the new South Korean government's tougher stance on Pyongyang. ...

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that North Korea launched three ship-to-ship missiles at around 10:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m. EST Thursday), citing unidentified government officials.
Does that response remind you something?


Fools Who Trust Big Government

In this week's Watcher's Council readings, there's a bright post, Have a Clear Identity, from Hillbilly White Trash on Dems and the GOP that includes this:
With all that division within their ranks why are Democrats so good at keeping their little fleet of ships all sailing in the same direction? It is precisely because the Democrat party is so fractured and fractious that it is so good at keeping order within its own ranks. It is a matter of survival. If they couldn't keep everyone more or less in line the party would fly apart and they would never win an election.

What unites Democrats is a desire for continued increase in the size, scope and power of government at the expense of the individual.
That's a good working definition, although I might simplify it to "faith in government's superiority." As a Christian, I'm used to challenges to prove my faith, and I can dish as well as receive, so what is the Dems' justification of their faith in government in light of stories like this:
SACRAMENTO (Sac Bee) -- California prison administrators and clerks reviewed the file of Sara Jane Olson multiple times since December, failing to catch the miscalculation that led to the premature release of the former 1970s radical, officials confirmed Thursday.

Olson, 61, was paroled March 17, a year before her sentence was to end. She was re-arrested five days later after the error was caught.
We've often heard people jibe the Dems, saying, "Would you trust your health care to the Department of Motor Vehicles?" Let's add to that, "Would you trust your security to the Department of Corrections?"

Labels: , , , ,

Insider's View On Chavez' Recent Saber Rattling

My step-dad (Bill) is a retired senior Foreign Service Officer who led a fascinating career and has maintained long-time friendships with some very bright foreign policy folks.

He forwarded this analysis of the current situation in Venezuela to me. It was authored by a Foreign Service acquaintance who Bill holds in very high regard, but he asked that I refer to the author only as "a friend of my stepfather." So with no further adieu:
Finally got around to reading the journalist's note on Venezuela/Ecuador vs. Colombia, which was true when written but explained nothing.

Colombia's civil war began in 1948 and the FARC guerrillas trace their ancestry to that date. Then, it was a group of passionate revolutionaries ­ today it is a 20,000 man criminal enterprise, led by rich thugs who make a fine living from cocaine. Reyes, the FARCs # 2 whom Colombia killed just inside Ecuador, was wearing in his jungle camp a ROLEX worth $10,000.

It's not surprising that Colombia got Reyes, who thought himself untouchable in Ecuador, even using his camp for a classroom for "internationals," among them 10 Mexican students (most died in the air strike).

The most important aspect may have been the "information warfare" bonus. Seizure of Reyes' computers and a notebook at his rainforest office have already led Costa Rican police to a cache of $500,000 in moldy $100s in the back yard of a 79 year old professor ­ an aging Robespierre who kept a rainy day fund for the FARC.

The moral, your e-mail is not secure. In more important places, among them Mexico and Brasil, information from Reyes's files is also being tracked.

So while Ecuador got an apology and Chavez strutted, Colombia and President Uribe won big. Reputable polls show Uribe's popularity has risen from near 60% to 82%. The only dissonant note: President Bush ­ unpopular in much of Latin America, ­ broke s recent sensible silence about Chavez to growl loudly, a welcome diversion for Chavez and for the FARC. [Would he have criticized a Bill Clinton statement in a similar situation? I doubt it.]

None of this means the war on drugs goes well, it doesn't. But Colombia may have won a decisive battle against a shrinking FARC, a good thing.

Mindful of Scotty Reston's dictum that "the American people will do anything for Latin America except read about it," I will stop, before you delete all reference to Latin America from your computers.
But he goes on ...
Hardly anyone in the U.S., with the exception of the Spanish language news media, paid attention to the Venezuela and Ecuador vs. Colombia dust up. Now that their Presidents have shaken hands in Santo Domingo, Latin America will be forgotten, until the next crisis.

Colombia got its man (plus the gift of another of the FARC's top leadership). Most Colombians, who detest the FARC and support Uribe because he vigorously prosecutes the war, think an apology is not a heavy price for striking a hard blow at the insurgency.

For Ecuador, the crisis was about honor. That may sound strange, but history has given Ecuador a losers complex with respect to its larger neighbors. Uribe's apology settles the matter, until the next incident.

The chief protagonist, however, is Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

That's probably true for Ecuador, but not for Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who has a blood feud with Colombia and President Alvaro Uribe. Chavez will keep on backing the narco-guerrilla FARC, simply because it is a way of striking at the U. S.

Now the FARC, which has just suffered some hard blows, is nowhere near taking Colombia, who democratic [sorry; the text gets messed up here]

Experts say no; the parties want control of the narrative about who is at fault, not fight. Ecuador voted for an OAS resolution that fell short of its demands though the text gave the Correa government satisfaction by noting Colombia's violation of Ecuador's territory. By accepting OAS good offices, Ecuador, which doesn't have the military horses, signaled a desire for peace.

If this were only about Ecuador and Colombia we could be confident the OAS, with a fine record of defusing state on state conflicts, would talk the dispute to death. The real protagonist, however, is Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who has a blood feud with Colombia and President Alvaro Uribe, mostly because Chavez backs the FARC's narco-guerillas as a way to get at the U.S.

In the conventional wisdom, Chavez goads the U.S., knowing that we recognize that hostilities would drive oil prices through the roof and that our forces are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps that is still true, but his calculations may be changing.

It is important to recognize that Chavez sees himself as the heir of Simon Bolivar, who liberated South America from Spain. In Chavez's mind, he is the new "Liberator," destined to throw off the Yankee yoke. He takes heart from OPEC's success in damaging the American economy but his effort to build an anti-U.S. coalition has not gone well, massive expenditures to support Latin political friends notwithstanding.

Today, Bolivia and Nicaragua are acolytes, while Ecuador and Argentina are friends. Brazil humors Chavez but ignores him when it comes to Brazil's vast ties with the U.S. Elsewhere, he is often detested, for meddling and for his anti-democratic stance. By helping the FARC, which is nowhere near taking power, he has earned the enmity of most Colombians.

Chavez is in a race against time before his popularity runs out at home. Oil production is declining and inflation the highest in the Western Hemisphere. He is about to lose his favorite target, a Bush administration unpopular in much of Latin America.

Our next President, regardless of party, is likely to enjoy warmer relations with the region. A policy of giving Chavez enough rope with which to hang himself could pay off in 2009.

Autocrats in trouble at home resort to foreign adventures. If Chavez recognizes he is on the clock, a war with Colombia may commend itself as a way to drag U.S. forces into the fray, a last chance to mobilize Latin America before declining fortunes and a new U.S. administration cut short his Bolivarian destiny.

None of this, except for trying to bankrupt the U.S. through oil, is rational to us. But in Chavez's Mussolini-style search for glory, war may be logical.
Uribe is alert to this possibility; by not responding to Chavez's troops on the frontier, he positioned Colombia to avoid blame, should Chavez initiate hostilities.

That is key, for Uribe and for ourselves -- no ambiguity about who is the aggressor, should Chavez use force. In Latin America, self defense beats pre-emption every time. In saying this I don't want to fall into what Secretary Gates ­ back when he was DDI -- used to tell me was stuff for a "Cassandra column."

What Teodoro Petkoff (Venezuelan guerrilla turned staunch democrat) said may well be correct: "Chavez barks but will not bite." But have shin guards
handy, just in case.
Despite some breaks and mysterious repetition, perhaps caused when it was copied and forwarded to me, I thought the piece insightful and worth sharing.

Labels: , , , ,

Cousin Kent, In Memorium

My cousin Kent has died, the first of the seemingly indestructible clan on my mom's side of the family to pass on.

Kent was, in my opinion, the most interesting of a bunch of very interesting cousins that sprang from the wombs of my maternal aunts.

My first memories of him are from his Stanford CT home, when we visited during the NY World's Fair. He was a few years younger than me, probably about six or seven at the time, and was an insufferable brat. Crabby and cranky, he was pretty much impossible to like.

That was also (I think) the last time I saw him, since I was raised in Japan and only met up with my South Bend cousins regularly after we moved to Tokyo. But we all followed each other, and we learned a number of years later that doctors had found a tumor on the ocular nerves of our still cranky cousin Kent. The tumor had been putting pressure on a sensitive area, so he had lived his entire life with a bad headache.

Crankiness explained!

A difficult operation followed, and complete success followed that. Not only was the tumor removed, but the crankiness as well, and Kent transformed into entirely a new man -- gentle, sensitive, compassionate, caring. And he was that way for the rest of his days.

He became an avid falconer, moving to the high plains of the West to pursue his passion for the ancient sport. His compassionate personality and love of the outdoors led him to a facility in remotest Idaho that took in troubled boys and gave them a wilderness, hard work, fresh air, good discipline experience to help turn them around. I'm sure he was exceptionally skilled and fruitful in this work.

He died because he loved the outdoors and structured his life so he could be there. He suffered a catastrophic skiing accident a couple days ago, held on for a day, then passed on.

His parents, my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Bill, are in their upper 80s now and Gloria is struggling with cancer, so this is unbelievably bad news at a bad time for them. Please keep them, along with Kent's siblings, June and John, in your prayers.


Quiet Violin Teacher Or Domestic Terrorist?

Is Briana Waters (center) "a quiet 32-year-old violin teacher" as Salon describes her ... yes ... but is she something more, an eco-terrorist, as well?

A jury could have said no with a standard no higher than "reasonable doubt," but it didn't, finding instead that Waters served as lookout for a seasoned and destructive cell of Earth Liberation Front (ELF) terrorists as they burned down the Center for Urban Horticulture building on the University of Washington campus in 2001.

No one died. Indeed, ELF took its usual cautions to reduce the risk of inadvertently killing someone, timing their incindiary device to go off at about 3 a.m. -- the same time of night when an incendiary device went off in a University of Wisconsin building some 30 years earlier in another protest, killing my second cousin.

ELF and the liberal left howl about being called terrorists, railing against stepped up federal powers over their ilk. As Salon explains:
Historically, the crime of terrorism has required civilian deaths. In fact, the State Department defined terrorism as "premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatants." But the USA Patriot Act created a new category of domestic terrorism, which is defined as an offense "calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government" or "to intimidate or coerce a civilian population." Under this broad definition, eco-saboteurs become terrorists if their crime seeks to change government policy or action.
The Salon definition is bizarre and revisionist. First, an intent to cause civilian deaths was often sufficient before 9/11 to cause an act to be considered terrorism. Indeed, international law contains no legal definition of terrorism.

Second, Salon makes it sound as if any action designed to influence the conduct of government or intimidate or coerce the population is illegal under the Patriot Act, while in fact violence is required. The point is a simple one: America provides many opportunities to state your case, but in the end, if you are not persuasive in a democratic forum, you do not have the option of blowing up things or people to prove your point.

And that's for good reason, as ELF itself proved. They burned down the urban horticulture building because they thought genetic research was going on there, and they thought that could result in doctored genetic material being released into the environment, and they thought that would be a bad thing.
As it turned out, the University of Washington Horticulture building was a poor target for arson. Among the items destroyed were hundreds of photographs documenting plant regeneration on Mount St. Helens after the volcanic eruption, research on wetlands and prairie restoration, and a collection of rare showy stickseed plants that were being raised to replenish dwindling wild stocks in the Cascade Mountains. Bradshaw, the targeted professor, has said that although he had considered doing genetic engineering, he was not at the time of the fire. Rather he was conducting basic research on hybrid poplars, a fast-growing species that could reduce the pressure for logging in natural forests.
This is why we have an open government and public processes. Had ELF brought a public action against the horticulture operation, and in the process evidence could have been presented that would have deterred their action (assuming ELF idiots would believe anything the establishment would say in its own defense).

Instead, Briana Waters and four others planned and carried out an arson attack that very well could have resulted in deaths, in an effort to change things in a way the democratic process had not.

Salon raises questions about the case against her, but in the end she was convicted under the scrupulous provisions of our legal system which are designed to protect the innocent from false prosecution, and she is now branded a convicted terrorist.

It's nice that she teaches kids to play violin. It's not nice that she thinks she knows more than everyone else in America, that her views trump our legal system, and that violence is a justifiable means to an end in a democratic society.

Slam the door, lock it, and let her think about her crime for a minimum of five years in prison.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Very Clearly And Frankly"

Nicholas Sarkozy might have opened the gates for international leaders to speak out against China's heavy-handed suppression in Tibet, as Pres. Bush "very clearly and frankly" told Chief Commie Hu Jintao over the phone today to knock it off in Tibet.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush sharply confronted China's President Hu Jintao on Wednesday about Beijing's harsh crackdown in Tibet, joining an international chorus of alarm just months before the U.S. and the rest of the world parade to China for the Olympics.

In a telephone call with Hu, Bush "pushed very hard" about violence in Tibet, a necessity for restraint and a need for China to consult with representatives of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, the White House said.

After days of silence by Bush as other world leaders raised their voices, it marked a rare, direct protest from one president to another. As if to underscore how pointed Bush was, the White House said he used the call to "speak very clearly and frankly."
That's diplomatic-speak for tough stuff.

The Tibetans are getting what they wanted in their uprising, and the timing is proving to be exceptionally effective. With less than five months until the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, all the world's eyes are turned to a sympathetic people under the thumb of an unsympathetic regime.

Beijing knows there are plenty of repressed people in their country who are watching Tibet's example and considering uprisings of their own, including farmers who have had their land stolen by the central government and the Muslim Uighurs next door to Tibet. What fun for us, watching Communist totalitarians squirm!

From a timing point of view, it's also interesting that all this is coming up as Obama "opens the dialog on race" (i.e., backpedals like crazy from his ranting racist pastor), because at its base, the China-Tibet situation is one of racism, with Beijing as the writer and enforcer of Jim Crow laws.

There's a very interesting report, Jampa: The Story of Racism in Tibet on the International Campaign for Tibet Web site. It cuts through the "equality" patter of the regime to detail Chinese attitudes of superiority over the scores of non-Chinese peoples that also make up a part of the nation's population, using Tibet as the central example. Excerpt:
Today's policies and practice of racism and racial discrimination in Tibet are heavily influenced by the historical development of Chinese perceptions of Tibetans. Chinese leaders, including Sun Yatsen and Chiang Kaishek, promoted racial myths to redefine territorial borders and unify the Chinese nation-state.

Chinese nationalism, embedded in a historiography of Chinese greatness and superiority over all other "barbarian" peoples, provides a backdrop to the current Chinese policy on the control and administration of Tibet. In July 2001, Hu Jintao credited China for ushering in "a new era in Tibet to turn from darkness to light, from backwardness to progress, from poverty to affluence."

Liberation, enlightenment and modernization have been the ideological banners for subjugating national minorities and, far from promoting respect and equitable treatment, fuel pre-existing biases of backwardness, barbarism and primitiveness.
The two Chinese characters that "spell out" China are one that means "kingdom" and one that means "central," and "central" comes first. For several thousand years, the Chinese have seen their civilization as the center of things -- and if you see yourself in the center, then everything else is outside of the center and necessarily lesser.

Granted, Tibet's mystical Buddhist demographic makes the country seem to be an odd, primitive anachronism in today's modern world, but appearances are not reality. Tibetan culture is extremely sophisticated and intellectual; they are not a people or a culture to look down one's nose at.

But that is what China is doing, along with sending in troops to quell the Tibetan's desire to practice their religion without the soul-killing influence of Communist atheism.

To speak out against China on Tibet is to speak much good against much evil -- a classic Bush venue, so it's good to see him add his voice to the rising chorus.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday Reading

I missed this last week when I was on vacation, so it's good to see a very exciting mix of posts in this week's Watcher's Council celebration of the best of the blogosphere.

Council links:

  1. Get Your Grim Milestone Today?
    Done With Mirrors
  2. A Taxonomy of Mea Culpas
    The Glittering Eye
  3. Genocide By Inches
  4. It's All in the Branding
    Soccer Dad
  5. What Would You Do?
    Bookworm Room
  6. Beer-Soaked Politics
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  7. A Conversation With Sa'ad
    Wolf Howling
  8. Municipal Internet -- Deader Than a Doornail?
    Rhymes With Right
  9. Question "Authority"
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  10. Virgina Taxpayers Made To Pay For Criminal's Rampage
    The Education Wonks
  11. Welcome To a Brave New World
    Right Wing Nut House
Non-council links:
  1. Stake Through Their Hearts
    Michael Yon
  2. CAIR Exposed: Part 1
    The Investigative Project on Terrorism
  3. Britain's Broken Heart
    Melanie Phillips
  4. The Labor of Hate -- Part I
    Simply Jews
  5. Thoughts On Cheap Symbols of Patriotism
    The Paragraph Farmer
  6. University of the Absurd
    Minding the Campus
  7. The Showdown Cometh
    Defence of the Realm
  8. What Kind of Change Have the Dems Brought?
    American Thinker
  9. Obama, Israel, and American Jews -- It Just Keeps Getting Worse
    Power Line
  10. The Tuzla Hustle
    Michelle Malkin
  11. Can Obama Overcome the ‘Wright Stuff?’
    Pajamas Media
  12. Have a Clear Identity
    Hillbilly White Trash
  13. Dodgey Column: Is There a Future for the Race Industry?
Council members will make their picks Thursday p.m. and you'll see the results here Friday morning, bright and early.

Thanks, Watcher, for collecting all these fast-flying electrons in one place.


When Islamists Try To Rule

Does anyone remember happy days in Somalia? Didn't think so.

There was a brief moment of hope in December 2006 when Ethiopian forces, backed by US air power, drove out the Islamists, but this is an enemy that doesn't go away when driven out. It's a cockroach that needs to be squashed flat to keep it from coming back.

The Union of Islamist Courts has been coming back, as witnessed yesterday when the UIC raided the town of Jowhar, held it briefly until they could free UIC prisoners (read: terrorists) held there, and withdrew, leaving 5 soldiers and 2 civilians dead.

In their drive to push Somalia into a totalitarian Islamist state, the Islamists have cared little about the humanitarian consequences, and it shows, according to BBC:
"It continues to deteriorate by the day," the UN refugee agency's Guillermo Bettocchi told the BBC.

"There are no signs of improvement on the ground, and those who are suffering the brunt of the conflict are the civilians, who are being either killed or displaced, and are in the middle of suffering that is unacceptable," he said.

"In terms of child malnutrition, access to education, lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities, indeed the situation in Somalia is the worst in the world... to be a child in Somalia today is something that means lots of suffering and a grim future."

Record food prices, hyper-inflation and drought in many parts of the country have made the situation worse and seasonal rains due to start soon are also predicted to fail.

"For too long, the needs of ordinary Somalis have been forgotten," the agencies said.
Our commitments in Iraq make our intervention in Somalia difficult, but the real stumbling block to use involvement is Clinton's disastrous handling of Somalia, in which he timidly fled the country at the first sign of difficulty (and in the process doomed our fallen fighting men there to dying for nothing). No route remains for re-entry.

Now the UN is considering stepping in, as a proposal to send 27,000 peacekeepers there (Mothers, guard your children!). Wishful thinking, probably. The African Union has only been able to muster 2,400 troops after promising 8,000, and given the dismal progress of peacekeepers in other African war venues, approval and recruitment will be a tough slog.

Of course, the Islamists could turn the whole thing around by simply embracing other's opinions and allowing some sort of representative government to be formed.

When pigs fly ... to the mosque.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's The Scoop ...

... on poop.

Trying To Un-Spin Hillary's Bosnia Gaffe

You've probably seen this clip by now -- CBS' outing of Hillary's self-aggrandizing description of her trip to Bosnia while First Lady:
I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get to our vehicles to get to our base.
Of course, as the clip shows, it's just not true -- but what I found particularly amusing was how her aide tried to spin it to be true, despite the obviously condemning video footage:
She meant there was fire in the hillsides around the area when we landed, which was the case.
No, that's not what she meant. What she meant was:
I've been under fire, I've been in tough situations that demanded instantaneous decision-making, strength and a commanding presence, unlike that skinny black boy who have the effrontery to run against me!
Memories do fade and twist over time, so should we give Hil a break? No, and here's why: Chelsea was with her on the trip. A mother who had exposed her daughter to gunfire and had to run with her to safety would remember the experience vividly. If the experience had not happened, she would know as she made the claim that it is false, because she could not remember her daughter being in danger.

At least that's how a normal person would react ....

Labels: ,

Sarkozy Sufficiently Ticked About Tibet

Nicolas Sarkozy continued in his role as the most refreshing European chief of state in eons today with a slap -- albeit a tentative and polite slap -- across Beijing's arrogant cheek:
PARIS (Breitbart/AP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested Tuesday that a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was a possibility—the first world leader to raise the prospect of punishing China over its ongoing crackdown in Tibet.

The United States, Britain and Germany all condemned China for using force against Tibetan protesters, but they stopped short of threatening to boycott the games or the Aug. 8 opening ceremony. ...

"Our Chinese friends must understand the worldwide concern that there is about the question of Tibet, and I will adapt my response to the evolutions in the situation that will come, I hope, as rapidly as possible," he said in southwest France.

Asked whether he supported a boycott, Sarkozy said he could "not close the door to any possibility."

His aides confirmed that Sarkozy was talking only about the opening ceremony.
Sarkozy's statement comes after criticism that he had not addressed the Chinese suppression of Tibet -- but better late and a bit strong on the diplomacy genteelness scale than never. With European heads of state gathering on Friday, it appears to be deliberately and well timed.

While I'm still upset Beijing was granted these Olympics and would love to see a sizable international boycott arise to embarrass the regime and promote greater human rights in China, I'm a realist -- and that's a pretty unreal scenario. Sarkozy's middle ground position of boycotting just the opening ceremonies is one that could get traction and create an embarrassment to the thugs that rule China, so let's watch what happens now.

Meanwhile, the totalitarians continue their repressive ways. Chinese state media and human rights groups both reported that two people were killed in a clash between protesters and police in an area of western China that borders on Tibet.

That brings the number killed in the uprising 22 or 140, depending on whether you trust the Chinese official or the human rights groups stats.

Labels: , , , ,

Beer-Soaked Politics

The lengths the Left will go to create anti-American drivel ...

Bear with me. A few days back, the blog Gusts of Popular Feeling ran a post The General Sherman Sails Again, that told the story of a US war ship converted to a merchant trader (the namesake of the post), that was sunk in North Korea's Taedonggang River in Pyongyang in 1866, with the loss of all on board.

Current (revisionist to the max) NoKo history marks the start of modern (oxymoron, anyone?) history to the event, and says Li'l Kim's great-granddaddy led the mob that attacked the ship (although that's probably fabricated).

Gusts of Popular Feeling was moved to re-tell this pretty much forgotten story because the cap of Taedonggang Beer supposedly bears the image of the General Sherman, causing the author to ask:
Does Taedonggang have the honor of being the world's only anti-American beer?
Honor?! Sheesh.

Move forward three days to today, when Andrew Leonard, author of Salon's How the World Works Column, captured this little tale to launch a screed about imperialist America and its many sins. He starts with the history, which is more interesting than the thinking of his brain:
But then... While digging around for more details on the General Sherman, I found "The Opening of Korea by Commodore Shufeldt," published in Political Science Quarterly in 1910, in which author Charles Oscar Paullin tells the tale of how Korea was forced out of its cave and into the family of nations. The opening few pages recount the aftermath of the General Sherman incident -- in 1871, Rear-Admiral John Rodgers and the American minister to China, Frederick Low, led "a flotilla of five steamships, carrying 85 guns and 1235 men" for the purpose of establishing "peaceful relations with Korea."
On June 1 a flotilla from the fleet, while engaged in surveying the river, was unexpectedly fired upon by a Korean fort. The fire of the natives was returned, and a fight took place in which the Americans lost two wounded and the Koreans twenty wounded and many more killed. After a careful consideration of this incident, Low and Rodgers decided that the prestige of the United States would be impaired unless the injury to its flag were avenged or an apology tendered by the Korean government. Through one of his secretaries Low explained to an officer of the local prefecture that sufficient time would be allowed for an apology before any further steps were taken. While deeply regretting the firing on the flotilla, the officer defended the action of the forts, on the grounds that the Korean laws prohibited foreigners to pass a barrier of defense. He sent a present of chickens, bullocks and eggs to Rodgers, who declined to accept it.
The king refused to apologize.
It is sufficient to say that the Americans performed their allotted task with great thoroughness. Five forts were captured or destroyed; fifty flags and four hundred and eighty-one pieces of ordnance were taken, and twenty Koreans were made prisoners. In the principal engagement the loss of the natives were three hundred and fifty men killed and wounded, more than half of them being killed; the loss of the Americans was three killed and ten wounded...
And he concludes with ... brace yourself for the inevitable foul stench of America-hatred:
Is the term "imperialist robbers" too strong to describe such behavior? Maybe not. And as a reminder that the terms of trade agreements between nations often depends on who owns the biggest battleships, even a beer bottle-cap can be effective.
America the imperialist ... worked then, works now, right? Forget that we don't have colonies ... doesn't matter. Forget that trade agreements lift up the nations we make them with, improving lives, not enslaving them ... doesn't matter, either.

Well, besides the obvious historical and political errors in Leonard's analysis, there's this little problem:

Here's the now-notorious beer cap:

And here's a NoKo stamp showing a bridge across the Taedonggang River:

Oops. We've got a flawed launching point for the screed -- it's a bridge not a boat. But that's not what makes the screed flawed. Leonard and his lefties will go back in time -- to the Crusades if necessary -- to find a way to paint a dreary, evil picture of America, while ignoring all the good we do today.

Is NoKo a better place for standing up to America? Would the people -- the people, who are supposed to be the concern of the left -- be living longer, healthier, happier lives if Li'l Kim and his father had stopped being Commie-dictators and tried to do for their people what America tries to do for the people for the world?

Don't bother the Left with such questions; let them see bridges as Yankee ships, terrorists as insurgents, and progress as anti-Progressive.

Labels: , , ,

Al Sadr's Cease-Fire: Already Gone?

The last week in Iraq has been a tough one -- so tough that Gen. David Petraeus is calling for a slow-down in the troop draw-down. At the center of the deterioration is a man who's absence from the war has been the cause of a period of relative safety: Muqtada al Sadr.
Explosions rang out across central Baghdad as rockets or mortars fired from Shiite areas targeted the U.S.-protected Green Zone for the second time this week.

The violence was part of an escalation in the confrontation between the Shiite-run government and al-Sadr's followers — a move that threatens the security gains achieved by U.S. and Iraqi forces. At least 22 people were killed in the Basra fighting.

Al-Sadr's allies have grown increasingly angry over raids and detentions against them by U.S. and Iraqi forces, who insist the crackdown only affects rogue elements loyal to Iran.

Al-Sadr's headquarters in Najaf also ordered field commanders with his Mahdi Army militia to go on maximum alert and prepare "to strike the occupiers" — a term used to describe U.S. forces — and their Iraqi allies, a militia officer said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't supposed to release the information. (AP)
The MSM is full to overflowing with this story today:
For the US media, this isn't really drum-beating against the war timed to advantage the Dem prez candidates. After months of barely disguising their yawning over the lack of "newsworthy" stories coming out of a more peaceful Iraq (not that there weren't plenty of positive, newsworthy stories there), the press is responding as necessary to what appears to be the start of a more violent period.

That's not to say that drum-beating isn't going on; it is. The drums in Najaf are deafening. Al Sadr and his men are seeing two things they don't like: The Iraqi government is starting to re-open the doors to allow Suni participation in the government, and suddenly there's an increasing chance a pro-war president will be elected in the U.S.

Thus, the call to prepare to "strike the occupiers" is a clear signal that the cease fire -- such as it is -- may be coming to an end. In Basra, it already has:

The BBC's Adam Brookes says three Iraqi army brigades were deployed from Baghdad to Basra as back-up for the offensive, and that up to 15,000 troops could be involved.

Some of the fiercest fighting in the operation - dubbed Saulat al-Fursan (Charge of the Knights) - has focused on Mehdi Army strongholds.

Of the suspected militants known to have been killed so far, four died in street fighting and five in a coalition [British] air strike.

British military spokesman Maj Tom Holloway told the BBC no UK troops were involved on the ground.

This is a pivotal battle for the Iraqi army. Even to hold its own against the Medhi Army will be a sign of great progress; a tip of the scales towards victory will represent very positive news.

Don't count on such subtle commentary from the Dem prez candidates. They will focus only on the increase in violence, not on the causes -- which all speak to the progress of the Iraqi government and military, the effectiveness of the surge, and terrorists' fear of McCain.

For McCain, the messaging line that he alone among the candidates called the need for the surge correctly needs a tune-up. The new message -- Iraqi troops are getting better, but troop levels will have to remain higher than we'd like -- clashes against his "100 years in Iraq" mis-message, so he's got a challenge.

Labels: , , ,