September 8, 2012

Why the Democrats are Fixated on Mitt Romney's Taxes

So what is it about the Democrats that they are so fixated on seeing Mitt Romney's tax returns? Part of it I think is just that political junkies key in on certain things like a dog latching onto your ankle, and the whole thing assumes monumental importance in their minds. The universe swirls around this one issue to the point where nothing else he or she does or stands for matters a whit.

And part of it is the usual double standard in politics; if their side does it we care, if our side does it we excuse it away. As I recently demonstrated, it is most curious that the liberals fixate on Paul Ryan's marathon time while studiously ignoring Joe Biden's lies over his academic record. Yes, this occurs on our side too.

A recent article in National Review made me realize there's more going on. Mitt Romney is an amazingly generous person, who has devoted untold hours and much of his personal treasure to helping other people. In other words, he contributes a lot of time and money to charity.

And boy does this drive liberals nuts.

Romney's Taxes and the Liberal Mindset
Democrats want to show they care by spending other people's money.
By Michael Tanner
September 5, 2012

...Romney also donated an additional 13.8 percent of his income to charity, nearly $3 million. When the Romney campaign mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, Democrats were quick to dismiss it as substantively different from and less important than paying taxes. In fact, some suggested that such large charitable contributions might actually be a form of tax evasion, since they were tax-deductible. By helping people on his own, Romney was undermining government charity. "Charity is not democracy," complained Garrett Gruener, who helped found Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a pro-tax group.

At the same time, the Obama administration was upset that Americans still resisted turning to government programs when they hit hard times. Responding to a poll showing that most Americans were far more likely to rely on family, personal savings, or other forms of aid than on government, the Obama administration hastened to put out word that "given that only 15 percent of you turn to government assistance in tough times, we want you to know about the benefits that could help you," according to USA.gov's "government made easy" website.

...we've long known that conservatives and libertarians, on average, contribute significantly more to charity than do modern liberals. Indeed, according to a recent Gallup poll, Americans who described themselves as "very conservative" gave 4.5 percent of their income to charity, on average; self-described "conservatives" gave 3.6 percent; and "moderates" gave 3 percent; while "liberals" gave just 1.5 percent; and "very liberal" Americans gave barely 1.2 percent.

Those who voluntarily give the least are the same people who will spend the next few nights in Charlotte telling us how much they care, while demanding that the government take more from the rest of us by force through higher taxes.

This is not really the contradiction it seems. Rather, it reflects the mindset of modern liberals, such as President Obama and his supporters, who fundamentally discount, indeed distrust, the actions of private individuals and businesses. To modern liberalism, anything truly important must be done by government -- can only be done by government. The myriad institutions of civil society are a distraction at best, an unwelcome competitor at worst.

This is an attitude that goes far beyond charitable giving....Remember Julia, the Obama campaign's sad vision of a composite American, who can't do anything, from going to school to starting a business to buying her own birth control, without the government's help.

The president's oft-quoted "you didn't build that" remark, even in context, reflects this basic idea of government primacy. It is government, the president believes, that makes all else possible. That is why the president repeatedly expresses concern over cutbacks in government spending, while observing that "the private sector is doing just fine."

I do believe that Mr. Tanner is on to something. In a 2009 post titled The Left's War on Charities, I wrote about how Obama and the left have a simple objective; they want total control of how aid to the poor is distributed. They'd like government to do as much as possible, and failing that the want to control what private charities do. They don't like or trust private charity, and consider the government noble.

What this adds up to is that liberals are ok with charitable donations, as long as it doesn't reduce the amount of money you pay the government in taxes too much.

Being a liberal is all about feeling guilty and relieving your feelings of guilt by voting the right way and paying whatever they consider the appropriate amount of taxes. Giving time or money to charity doesn't really count, and besides, it's all too much trouble.

But in fact it's the other way around. While I have no problem with, and indeed support, a government safety net (though smaller than the one we currently have), it is only private charity that counts. And best of all, private charity that you don't publicly reveal. If you're not sure why, what follows is instructive:

"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:1-4

In other words, giving to the poor only counts with God if you do it yourself without forcing others to go along, and of course without bragging about it.

Not to say that many liberals do not give time and/or money to charity, or that all conservatives do. Clearly there are liberals who do give time and/or money and conservatives who do not.

So bragging that you are willing to pay high.er taxes to take care of the poor gets you a big fat Zero with me and with God. Sorry, but I'm only impressed when you spend your own time and money without forcing others to go along.

Back to Mitt's taxes. I realize there are other stated reasons why the liberals say they need to see his taxes, but none of them are valid.

They say they need to make sure he's not breaking the law. But in this country it's innocent until proven guilty, and running for office doesn't change that.

They say that Obama has released more years of his returns, so this would only make it fair. One, Obama was stupid to release so many years when it's all irrelevant anyway, two he does not set the standard, and three when he releases his college transcripts and tells his AG Eric Holder to release the Fast and Furious information I'll be interested.

They also say they want to make sure he's paying his "fair share." One, you liberals don't get to determine what "fair share" is. Two, as long as all tax deductions are legal then paying zero taxes is fair. If you don't like that someone pays very little taxes because of the deductions they took then change the law or shut up. Obama and the Democrats had total control of the government for two years and if they didn't rescind these supposedly terrible deductions or abilities to shelter money then they should have but it's too bad now.

Or are the liberals saying that you should not take all of the deductions that you are legally able to take or shelter as much money as you can? Are they saying that there is some mystical amount whereby if you see you're paying less than x amount you should say "ok I won't take those deductions even though I could legally do so?" That people should purposely turn down deductions or not take advantage of tax shelters? This turns doing your tax return into a guessing game, which is insane.

More, we really know it's all about politics. If Romney was pro-abortion oops, "pro-choice," and pro gay marriage, and was a Democrat, the liberals would not care about his taxes. John Kerry famously saved a half a million dollars in taxes by docking his yacht in nearby Rhode Island, and he was a major speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

My guess is that this entire issue is the type of thing that really only impresses political junkies and will not swing any significant number of votes. This election will be decided on who the public believes has the best plan for America, and who can be trusted to carry it forth.

Not only that, but while government programs certainly have their role, they should not be nearly as all-consuming as they are now. They make wild promises of future benefits that can not be paid in any economic scenario. Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable. Pensions promised to government workers at the state and city level around the country are unsustainable, and the piper for some of them is demanding to be paid, with bankruptcy as often as not the result. The whole thing simply does not work for the long run, the only thing that counts.

More than the economics of the matter, though, it comes down to your vision of America. Do you see it as a giant welfare state funded by massive taxes or do you see it as a collection of individuals, most of them taking their own time and effort to contribute, or "give back" to their community. When government does so much, it diminishes the desire to do good yourself, to contribute your own time and money. It's more than a matter of "I pay too much in taxes to contribute," it's more of a mentality.

That mentality of charitable giving is a very good thing, both for the individual both on the giving and receiving ends, and for the community as a whole. And the best way to encourage that mentality is to limit what government does. This is one of the fundamental differences between the conservative and liberal, or progressive, visions of America.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 7, 2012

The Democratic Party's Hostility to Religion and Israel

There's no other way to interpret this than outright hostility to religion and Israel:

The description on the Youtube site:

"DNC Vote on Platform Change - At 2012 Democrat National Convention, DNC Chair Antonio Villaraigosa holds three votes on reinserting references to "God" and "Jerusulem" back into the Democratic Party platform. The language had been removed from the 2012 Democrat Party platform, igniting a firestorm of criticism but reflective of the Obama administration's often lukewarm support for Israel and the President's omission of references to "God" from his readings of the Declaration of Independence. The DNC Chair tries three times to secure the required two-thirds floor vote for the platform change, but a majority of the Democrat delegates clearly vote each time against the platform change. Finally, the DNC Chair gives up, cynically declares that 2/3 of the delegates have voted for the platform change, and the motion passes. The delegates boo in disapproval of Chicago politics on display at the convention."

The editors of the Washington Times have the full story:

Obama's party says no to God
Convention meltdowns show Democrats are in disarray
by The Washington Times

The most memorable moment of the Democratic National Convention was when the delegates denied God three times from the convention floor. It was the latest blunder in an Obama re-election effort that increasingly looks like it doesn't have a prayer.

The deity issue arose when conservatives slammed Democrats for deleting references to God and a united Jerusalem that were in the liberals' 2008 platform. The slap must have stung because the Obama campaign quickly orchestrated a floor amendment to stuff the clauses in the previously approved 2012 platform. It should have been a pro-forma matter, but when convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, called the vote, the floor responded with a vigorous "no" twice. In a fit of procedural integrity, Mr. Villaraigosa tried to get the required two-thirds to amend a third time, but the "no's" were louder than ever. Finally, visibly frustrated, he announced the motion had passed even though everyone in the hall knew it hadn't. It was amateur hour.

It's not surprising that Democratic delegates were generally hostile to God. According to the latest Gallup numbers, President Obama has a 46 percent advantage over Mitt Romney among those who profess "no religion" and lags 23 percent behind Mr. Romney among those who say they are "highly religious." Asking a group of Democratic true believers -- or in this case, true nonbelievers -- whether they want God in the platform is their secular equivalent of blasphemy.

Democrats compounded the platform blunder by not getting their story straight. The Obama campaign claimed omitting God and Jerusalem was a "technical" error, whatever that means. It was reported that Mr. Obama had seen and signed off on the original godless platform, but then the campaign denied he had approved it. Either way, the platform bears the mark of Mr. Obama, who is mentioned by name 38 times and cited more than 200 times in the 40-page manifesto. Voters are left with the conclusion that either Mr. Obama saw the platform in advance and thought it was fine or the president simply isn't on top of things.

The Obama campaign also bungled the Jerusalem issue. The inserted language pledges support for a united Jerusalem, which is not administration policy. The campaign said this reflected Mr. Obama's personal preference, in which case it has no place in a party platform. The hedge, of course, was designed to appease the Democrats' strong pro-Palestinian faction, which nixed the Jerusalem language in the first place. Mr. Obama's clear message to them was, "I support your vision of a divided Jerusalem, but I have to say some things to shore up my sagging support among Jews."

Getting down to brass tacks, these convention snafus expose serious flaws in Mr. Obama's operation. In 2008, the liberal media ran with the story line that the Obama campaign was a well-oiled machine that could do no wrong in its inevitable march to victory. Times have changed. The money isn't rolling in; the crowds aren't showing up; and Democrats can't even pull off a rigged voice vote to amend their own platform without causing a major embarrassment for their nominee. Forward, indeed.

The Democrats didn't always used to be this way, of course. Before the '70s they were center-left, a coalition that included defense hawks and real fiscal conservatives. Today's crowd is all about abortion, free contraception, big mommy government, and an outright disdain for the things of middle America, or most people on the coasts, for that matter.

Of course I didn't watch their convention. I've got better things do to than subject myself to their nonsense. The Times calls the scene above "amateur hour." Were that this was the case. No, it was more a two-minute hate than anything else. But such is the state of the Democrats.

Posted by Tom at 8:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 20, 2012

"How Hatred Became a Liberal Value"

Pretty dynamite charge, but sadly to say it's all too true. Via David French at The Corner:

How Hatred Became a Liberal Value
Paul A. Rahe
Aug 16, 2012

Politics is generational. Consider the thuggery practiced by the Democrats recently in Wisconsin. Force, intimidation, and openly partisan, unprofessional conduct on the part of judges, civil servants, physicians, and policemen became on the part of left-liberals the order of the day, and no one on the left stood up to denounce this conduct. Now, thanks to our President's admiration for the tactics of Saul Alinsky, others in other states are imitating the deportment of the Wisconsin left-liberals - not only heckling Republican candidates but attempting to storm the platforms on which they speak.

I remember when left-liberals insisted on civility. I remember when they condemned the tactics of intimidation championed by the New Left. I remember when progressives insisted on impartiality on the part of judges, civil servants, policemen, and those who purported to be reporting the news (as opposed to espousing opinion). There were always exceptions to the rule. Dan Rather was playing tricks as early as 1963. But, when caught and exposed, these exceptions took it on the chin. Today they rarely even apologize.

I remember when liberals sported on their automobiles bumper stickers reading, "Hatred is not a Family Value." Then, back in 2003, in The New Republic, Jonathan Chait wrote an essay explaining why it was legitimate to hate George W. Bush, and the dam burst. Civility is no longer a liberal ideal. And now - as yesterday's armed attack on the Family Research Council in Washington, the five-hour delay in President Obama's condemnation of the act as he calculated whether it was in his interest to comment or not, and the mainstream media's initial reluctance to report on the event, much less highlight the activist LGBT connections of the shooter suggest - left liberals are willing to wink at violence. It may be regrettable, they think, but, like stealing elections, it is all in a good cause - and before figuring out how to respond to an outbreak of violence on the part of their allies, they pause to calculate the political consequences. You will not hear liberals arguing for a crackdown on the use of force by animal-rights activists, environmental activists, union thugs, and the Occupy movement. Instead, you will find in them a desperate hankering to pin on the Tea Party responsibility for conduct the Tea-Partiers abhor and a willingness to engage in race-baiting and talk of class warfare on a stunning scale.

The truth is that it is a short distance from the hatred preached by Jonathan Chait to assassination, and five and six years ago there was a great deal of open, public fantasizing along these lines by left liberals.

Posted by Tom at 10:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2012

Should We Blame Liberals and Gays for the Family Research Center Shooting?

On Wednesday Floyd Lee Corkins II, of Herndon, Va., walked into the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington DC and shot a security guard before being subdued. He did it with a 9-mm. Sig Sauer handgun, which, by the way, he had purchased legally. The guard who was shot survived and in fact was the one who wrestled

A relatively small story in and of itself. What makes it newsworthy is this via Fox News:

(Corkin) uttered a statement to the effect of, "I don't like your politics," before reaching into a backpack for a handgun and opening fire.

And after being subdued

Sources told Fox News that after Johnson disarmed Corkins, the gunman said: "Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for."
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Now where might Mr Corkin have possibly gotten the idea that Family Research Council was such a terrible organization that they should be attacked?

The Southern Poverty Law Center, that's where. If you're not familiar they are a liberal advocacy group masquerading as a civil rights organization. At least that's the take of many conservatives.

On November 10, 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center's research director Heidi Beirich was on Talking Points Memo, and here is the relevant part of her exchange with Evan McMorris-Santoro:

As Beirich told me, there is no difference between the FRC and the KKK in the eyes of the SPLC now. Still, she said that the hate group designation doesn't mean the SPLC thinks everyone who supports the FRC "has a full understanding of what they're up to." Many who support the FRC may do so because of the group's very public ties to evangelical Christianity, and Beirich stressed that the SPLC designation has nothing to do with an "attack on the churchly world."

I asked her if a Republican choosing to address the FRC convention next year would be making the same choice as one who addressed an Aryan Nation rally.

"Yeah," she told me. "What we're saying is these [anti-gay] groups perpetrate hate -- just like those [racist] organizations do."

No one seems to know whether Corkins knew about that designation, but it is known that he worked as a volunteer for about six months at the The DC Center for the LGBT Community.

So Who Should We Blame?

Reverse the whole thing, and the left would be blaming conservative talk radio, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, even probably the Catholic Church and Evangelicals. In short, every conservative person or organization they saw as a threat.

We know because this is exactly what has happened in the past. They tried to blame the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords shooting on Sarah Palin because of the supposed gun-related metaphors in her speeches and her PAC posted a "target" on liberal politicians they wanted to vote out.

This is nothing new, either. Sixty years ago many liberals tried to blame the assassination of President John F Kennedy on the right, only to find (to their great disappointment, I'm sure) that the deed was done by a communist wanna-be.

In August of 2010 James Jay Lee took three people hostage at the Discovery Channel building in Montgomery County, just outside of Washington DC. After a four hour standoff, a tactical squad shot and killed Lee after he pointed his pistol at a hostage. Lee specifically said that he had been inspired by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Fortunately in this case no one else was killed, but they could easily have been.

Did we see a media campaign to urge environmentalists to "tone down the rhetoric?" Stop their hysterical claims that "the earth has a fever" and that there was "a planetary emergency?" Anyone tell Al Gore to apologize? Of course not. In fact, the reaction of the right was to NOT exploit this, but rather to say "if this had been the other way around the left would exploit it." Sure enough, they have.

The left has been hoist by their own petard in this latest shooting at the Family Research Center. They wanted to play the game whereby they would blame the right for any violence directed at a liberal politician. They should have known that it would come around to bite them. There are crazies on all sides, and those who think that they're on on the other side come to learn the truth, usually the hard way.

Part of me is amused watching liberals squirm over all this. They know that we have the perfect opportunity to slam them on this just like they tried to do to us. But from what I an tell no significant person or publication on the right is using this to blame the left for what Corkins did, but rather to admonish the left for their ridiculous attempt to blame certain acts of violence on the right.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, did say that "he blamed the suspect for the shooting, but said he was "given a license" by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group."

He also said that "I think it's time for people to realize what the Southern Poverty Law Center is doing with their reckless labeling of organizations that they disagree with."

Yes the SPLC is reckless, but no the shooter was not "given a license" to do what he did

Ok, So Who is to Blame?

Of course the left is not to blame for what Corkins did, anymore than the global warming nuts are to blame for what Lee did, or almost did, at The Discovery Channel. And no one on the right is to blame for the Giffords shooting.

Yes calls to "tone it down" are fine. Sometimes they'll even be heeded, at least for awhile. But human nature is what it is, and people will say terrible things about their political opponents. Any student of history knows that the reality is that political speech is not any worse today than it was in times past. What has changed is that technology allows them to be heard by more people.

So the problem is not the speech, it's the communications technology. And I don't know how to dial that back.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 1, 2012

Of Course I went to Chick-fil-A Today

Photobucket

Was there really any doubt? Activist that I am, it was the only place to go today.

I got to my local Chick-fil-A at a few minutes past noon, and unsurprisingly the parking lot was overflowing and there was a line of maybe 20 or 25 cars at the drive-through. Inside the line snaked all around the inside, wrapping around the place. But it moved very quickly, as the company was clearly ready for the day. I must say I have never been more impressed with a fast food place's organization and the speed and dedication of the workers They had it figured out.

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Hmmm. Somehow the bottom picture won't resize right, but it doesn't really matter so I'm not going to diddle with it.

While in line of course the conversation was about the political situation that had brought about this day. I saw several people from church, one Catholic priest, a county supervisor and several of my Republican activist friends. No surprise there.

And news reports from all over the country make it clear that today's Mike Huckabee inspired Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day resulted in similar scenes in their restaurants all around the country. From dawn to dusk, they've been swamped.

It wasn't the desire by some people to legalize gay marriage that brought this about. Nor was it ay sort of push for "equal rights" or however they want to dress it up. No, today was a reaction to the thuggish behavior of several liberal-leftist big-city mayors and their allies in the militant gay left.

What you have, plain and simple is an attempt by the thugs on the left to bully decent people into submission. And let's make clear; this is what the "gay rights" movement is all about. It's not about gay people wanting marriage or whatever and then to be left alone to go on their merry way. It's about forcing everyone else to actively accept and sing the praises of their agenda.

It's an attack on liberty, really. Just as the HHS mandate is an attack on religion and freedom of conscience, what the left is doing is trying to take away your ability to disagree.

The attack on Chick-fil-A has a cause du jour aspect to it that we've seen so many times before. One day it's the Boy Scouts who are denounced as public enemy number one, then it's on to bullying as the thing we're all supposed to be upset about, then it's "violence against women," now it's Chick-fil-A. One year were suppose to be mad at pharmaceutical companies, the next it's the oil companies, now it's private-equity companies.

What I've learned is that if a company or organization can just stand firm for a short time, the storm passes and the liberals move on to something else. If you cave to their demands they just ask for more and more and the demands never end. It's not that the quest for gay marriage will end, but the attacks on a particular organization or company will largely stop.

So my hat is off to the owners of Chick-fil-A, and I salute my fellow Americans who went to their restaurant today for standing up to the thugs. May we stay strong and prevail in this fight.

Thursday Morning Update

It looks like a few gay groups are trying to designate this coming Saturday as a "kiss-in" day at Chick-fil-A restaurants. Charming. I wouldn't like it if a heterosexual group did this, and I don't like it that some gays are going to do it. Public displays of affection beyond handholding, or the quick hug or kiss are inappropriate, and it's most certainly wrong when it's meant as an in-your-face, as this is.

I think this is going to backfire on the gay groups, though. These tactics may make hard-core partisans feel good, but they offend everyone else, including moderates and normal liberals who might otherwise sympathize with their cause.

Posted by Tom at 8:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 3, 2012

Occupy's Trend to Violence

Almost all political movements have a fringe element which tends towards extremism, even violence, at times. The question is whether the extremists are integral to the movement or peripheral to it. So that while there are no doubt racists as part of the Tea Party movement, and advocates and perpetrators as part of the pro-life, anti-war, and environmental movements, these are clearly peripheral, not integral, to these movements. Partisans on both sides tend to claim that extremists withing a movement they oppose are integral to it, but most of the time they are wrong.

It is not clear that violence is periphera to the Occupy movement, and it may well be integral to it. Witness the following:

Violence, arrests at Seattle May Day protests
Seattle Times
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Black-clad protesters using sticks and bats smashed stores and automobile windows during May Day demonstrations that turned violent in Seattle, and police recovered homemade incendiary devices made from toilet paper rolls and fruit juice boxes.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn issued an emergency order Tuesday, allowing police to confiscate items that could be used as weapons. By Tuesday night, police had seized about 70 such items, including one with at least a dozen cigarette lighters taped together.

"Our concerns were real, and I think we handled it as best we could," police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said late Tuesday night. "These were, for the most part, peaceful demonstrations. It's such as shame that such a small group of individuals were able to hijack the event and dilute the message to one of violence. They came here and they smashed it up."

Did they "hijack" an otherwise peaceful movement or where they integral to it? Consider this trend (follow the link to the story at NRO for news links to each incident:

Occupy Wall Street Blotter
National Review The Corner
By Nathaniel Botwinick
May 2, 2012 12:11 P.M.

5/1/12: FBI Arrests Five Protesters Associated with Occupy Cleveland in Bomb Plot
The FBI arrested five men who were planning to bomb a bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The men are self-described members of Occupy Cleveland.

5/1/12: May Day in New York
Over 50 protesters were arrested over the course of the day in New York. Protesters were arrested for attempting to block traffic in midtown and on the bridges into Manhattan. There were also multiple arrests after members of the "Black Bloc" Wildcat march assaulted journalists who attempted to take pictures of them. Around 10 P.M., violence broke out in Lower Manhattan as police enforced the curfew on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, leading to clashes with protesters.

5/1/12: Violence in Seattle
In Seattle, more than a dozen protesters were arrested after violent attacks on local businesses. Seattle police recovered homemade incendiary devices from the scenes of the attacks. Vandals in Seattle smashed the entrances to the Niketown and American Apparel stores.

5/1/12: Occupy SF
Protesters attacked a row of small businesses in San Francisco on Monday. Over 100 masked protesters launched paint bombs at the Mission Police Station, and smashed windows and cars on Valencia Street.

11/21/11: Occupy London Cited for Defecation, Drugs, and Sex Offenders
The City of London Corporation has filed documents as part of an effort to evict the protesters from St. Paul's Cathedral. According to the police, "members of the camp [have been] continually urinating through the fence of the Chapter House and the Cathedral itself." There have also been arrests for "possession of a bladed article, failing to register a new address under the Sexual Offences Act, theft, assault (on) police, breach of bail, breach of the peace, (being) drunk and disorderly and possession of drugs." Remember, this is all taking place within St. Paul's Cathedral, one of the most important historical landmarks in England.

11/21/11: Police Arrest 15 at Occupation of Bank of America in Massachusetts
On Monday, 350 people protested foreclosures at a branch of Bank of America in Springfield, Massachusetts. Seven people were arrested for sitting down in the bank and refusing to leave, while eight others were arrested for blocking access to the exits or the ATMs. All 15 were charged with trespassing. A spokesman for the protesters demanded, "end all no-fault evictions and reduce principal on loan modifications to the current value."

11/20/11: Violence and Illegal Guns at Occupy Wall Street
The NYPD arrested Joshua Fellows, 32, of Youngstown, Ohio, for criminal possession of a weapon. He had been driving around Wall Street with an unregistered .45 caliber handgun and 32 rounds of ammunition. Four other protesters were arrested this weekend: Zach Breur, 22, was arrested for allegedly groping the breasts and buttocks of a 22-year-old woman. He was charged with two counts of forcible touching. Michael Doe, a homeless man, was arrested for tampering with the Christmas lights in the park. Another homeless man was also arrested for throwing an unknown liquid into the eyes of a police officer. Finally, Star Bun, 24, of Brooklyn, was arrested for trying to bring sleeping gear into Zuccotti Park. She was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

11/20/11: Bomb Threat at Occupy Fort Myers
Ryan Komosinski, 22, of Cape Coral, Florida, was arrested for threatening to bomb the Fort Myers police department. After a Facebook search, the police found a comment posted by Komosinksi that announced: "I'm bombing the FMPD, [expletive] them." Komosinski was reportedly enraged over the arrest of fellow protester Constance Galati, who was arrested on Thursday for trespassing, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer. But not to worry, fellow protesters insist that Ryan Komosinksi is "a very good kid."

11/19/11: Occupy Santa Cruz Connected with 93 Complaints, Including 200 Pounds of Human Waste
Santa Cruz county officials have released a list of 93 complaints of illegal and destructive behavior by the Occupy protesters near the county's main office and courthouse. County workers have documented "drug and alcohol use, public urination and defecation, littering, bathing in county restrooms, fights and more." The Occupy Santa Cruz movement has gained notoriety following "the discovery of an estimated 200 pounds of human feces near the county Veterans Memorial Building." The county was forced to call in a HAZMAT team to deal with the removal of the waste.

11/18/11: Woman Assaulted for Refusing to Join Occupy Protest at UC Berkeley
A female student was assaulted by a man at UC Berkeley after she refused to join the protest on Sproul Plaza. The suspect yelled, "people like you are the reason that California is in debt," and then threw a full aluminum bottle at the woman's face. The student called the police, who were unable to locate the suspect on the scene.

11/17/11: 275 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Two hundred and seventy five protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Wall Street to shut down the stock exchange and for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven police officers were injured, including one who was slashed with broken glass.

11/17/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Threaten Children
Occupy Wall Street protesters threatened small children, some as young as four, as they attempted to get to school. The children were forced to walk a gauntlet in between screaming protesters and the police as they attempted to reach their school. Some of the protesters yelled, "Follow those kids," and attempted to frighten their parents.

11/17/11: Police Evict Occupy Dallas
Eighteen protesters were arrested as police evicted Occupy Dallas's encampment. Dallas authorities said the situation had become "untenable" after "the arrests of almost two dozen demonstrators for blocking the entrance to a bank, arrest of a participant charged with failing to register as a sex offender and sexual assault of a child after being accused of having sex with a 14-year-old runaway at the camp, arrests for assault and public intoxication and a 9-month-old child taken into protective custody after the parents were living the campsite with the child."

11/17/11: 14 Arrested for Blocking Bridge at Occupy St. Louis
Fourteen protesters were arrested at the entrance to the Martin Luther King Bridge in St. Louis. They were protesting in solidarity with other movements across the country. Uniformed members of the SEIU helped direct the protest. The protesters were joined by the Teamsters, United Autoworkers, American Postal Workers, and other union members.

11/16/11: 16 Arrested at Occupy Cincinnati Following Visit by Jesse Jackson
Sixteen protesters were arrested at Occupy Cincinnati following a visit by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Fifteen protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing, while two were also charged with resisting arrest. Lloyd Jordan, 36, of Clifton, Illinois, was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business after he photographed a covert police vehicle, including the license plate. The second half of Jackson's speech was repeated by the crowd line by line: "It's not about a place . . . it's about a state of mind. We fight for jobs. . . . We fight for health care . . . We are determined . . .We are not going away. Move our tents . . . but not our spirit."

11/15/11: Police Shoot Gunman at Occupy Cal
Police shot a gunman who infiltrated Berkeley's Haas School of Business during major demonstrations at UC Berkeley. He was seen carrying a gun by a staff member in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. The police arrived at 2:19 p.m., and searched for the suspect in the building. Officers found the gunman in a third-floor computer room where there were at least four students. The suspect raised the gun and was shot by an officer. The protesters from Occupy Cal deny any affiliation with the man; there have been no statements from the police or the suspect so far regarding his views.

11/15/11: 5 Arrested at Occupy LA (Including for Assault and Masturbation)
Five people from the Occupy LA movement were charged on Tuesday with a variety of crimes. Farid Ahntab, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest for wielding a knife and as he tried to burn a food vendor. Robert Holland, Jr., 31, was charged with threatening someone with a knife and resisting arrest. Angele Chaidez, 21, has been charged with lewd conduct for allegedly masturbating on the steps of City Hall last week and exposing himself in public. Zachary Isaac, 21, was charged with battery for allegedly punching a woman in the face in her tent. Finally, Michael Howard Thomson, 51, was charged with two counts of battery and one count of resisting arrest. He tried to take a two-year-old from its parent and is accused of punching a mediator. Afterwards, he fought the officers who arrested him.

11/15/11: NYPD Clears Zuccotti Park, 200 Arrested
The New York Police Department moved in early this morning and cleared out the protesters from Occupy Wall Street. The protesters will be allowed to return to the park, but will not be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags. The protesters fought with police officers for several hours, and there were injuries reported amongst both the police and the protesters.

11/13/11: Man Threatens Woman with Arson at Occupy Portland
Occupy Portland protester threatens to burn down the house of a woman who disagrees with him.

11/13/11: Three Men Arrested With Explosives in Connection to Occupy Portland
Three men from Occupy Portland were arrested during a traffic stop after officers suspected they had marijuana in their possession. Upon searching the vehicle, the drugs were discovered. The officers also found within the car firecrackers and two commercially made mortars inside glass canning jars. The three men "told authorities that they knew the canning jar would explode, causing glass shrapnel to fly and possibly cause injury."

11/12/11: Woman Raped at Occupy Philadelphia
A woman was raped at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment by a man who had traveled from Michigan to join the protest. The suspect had been arrested previously for involvement in armed robberies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

11/10/11: "Send in the Clowns," Two Dressed as Clowns Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow were arrested for climbing the barricades surrounding the statue of the bull at Wall Street. They then performed a variety of antics before their arrest for disorderly behavior.

11/10/11: Occupy Atlanta Shelter Tests Positive for Tuberculosis
Several people at the Atlanta shelter have contracted tuberculosis. At least one of those infected has contracted the more dangerous, drug-resistant form of TB. The shelter is one of the largest encampments at Occupy Atlanta.

11/10/11: Six more arrests at Occupy Fresno
Six people were arrested last night in Fresno for failure to disperse. This brings the weekly total of arrests at Occupy Fresno to 55.

11/10/11: Sotheby's Also Targeted by Occupy Wall Street, 8 Arrested
Eight protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Sotheby's during its final sale of the fall season. They were there in support of the Teamsters union, which is currently engaged in a labor dispute with Sotheby's.

11/10/11: Man Shot to Death at Occupy Oakland
A young man was shot fatally in the head outside the Occupy Oakland gathering Thursday evening. There are still no suspects or leads in the case.

11/9/11: 39 Arrests at Berkeley
Thirty-nine people were arrested at Berkeley as part of OccupyCal. Protesters set up tents despite Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's request that they refrain. Thirty-two students and one faculty member were among those arrested. The majority of the arrests were for obstruction of justice or unlawful assembly. Two arrests were for assault and battery.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Assaults EMT
An EMT was injured at Occupy Wall Street. Joshua Ehrenberg, 20, of Rochester, NY, was arrested for felony assault and obstructing governmental administration for attacking the EMT. The EMT was injured when Mr. Ehrenberg's friends, in an attempt to prevent NYPD officers from assisting the EMT, fell on either a barricade or a ladder, which trapped the EMT underneath. The EMT suffered injuries to his ankle and knee.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Arrested for Public Lewdness
Xavier Maslowsky, 25, was arrested for exposing himself to others at Zuccotti Park.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested for Blocking Sidewalk with Square-Dance Lesson
A group of 50 protesters staged a square dance on the sidewalk around the plaza at Liberty and Cedar. The revelers were told repeatedly to disperse. Zachary Kamul, 25, was given two summonses for disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon when he refused to disperse. Sebastian Posada, 24, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest when he attempted to run from police into the middle of Broadway.

11/5/11: Man Arrested at Occupy Wall Street for Urinating on an NYPD van
Edgar Rivera, 26, was arrested for relieving himself at 1:20 a.m. on an NYPD van. He attempted to escape, but was captured a half a block away. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

11/5/11: 19 Arrested at Occupy Atlanta
Protesters gathered in support of police pressure on Occupy Atlanta were subjected to arrests. Two were arrested for failing to leave Woodruff Park after the 11 p.m. close and 17 were arrested for obstructing traffic after leaving the park.

11/5/11: 20 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Most of the protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, though three were arrested for assaulting a police officer. The incidents occurred at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, near the New York State Court of Appeals. According to witnesses, police had asked the protesters to refrain from blocking the sidewalks and the stairs to the courthouse.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for setting another person's clothes on fire
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for striking a man with a tent pole
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/4/11: Occupy Fort Carson Protester Arrested for $10 Million Arson
Benjamin Gilmore, 29, was arrested on suspicion of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief in connection to a fire on October 24 in a construction site.

11/4/11: Occupy Wall Street protester arrested for violence in McDonald's
Fisika Bezabeh rioted inside the McDonald's by Wall Street at 2 a.m., when workers refused to give him free food. He tore a credit card reader from the counter and threw it at employees. Mr. Bezabeh has been charged with criminal mischief.

11/4/11: Bronx Teacher Arrested for Assaulting Police
David Suker of Bronx Regional High School was arrested for knocking a police officer off his scooter using a shopping cart. He is charged with attempted assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. This is his second arrest; he was previously arrested during the October 1 march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

11/4/11: Occupy DC Attacks Americans for Prosperity event
Protesters attempted to storm the building where the AFP was holding a conference. Afterwards, they assaulted two elderly women, sending them to the hospital, and blockaded the streets surrounding the building.

11/3/11: 15 Arrested Outside Goldman Sachs
Fifteen protesters were arrested outside Goldman Sachs, including Christopher Hedges of The Nation Institute and Reverend Billy of the Church of Earthalajuh. The protesters staged a trial of Goldman Sachs executives and were arrested when they proceeded to sit and block the entrance to Goldman Sachs.

11/3/11: Occupy Oakland Riots
Riot police used tear gas and other methods to disperse Occupy Oakland rioters. The protesters lit barricades on fire, hurled rocks, explosives, and other projectiles at police. Massive acts of vandalism were committed against several banks. Several dozen were eventually arrested.

11/2/11: Occupy Philadelphia takes over Comcast Headquarters
Occupy Philadelphia protesters sat in Comcast's lobby and demanded repayment of its tax abatement. Nine were arrested for trespass.

11/2/11: Tonye Ikebutosin Arrested for Rape at Occupy Wall Street
A 26-year-old man from Crown Heights was arrested for the sexual assault and rape of a fellow Occupy Wall Street protester. He raped the 18-year-old woman after sharing a tent with her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman after helping her set up her tent. Iketubosin has been working in the Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

10/27/11: 14 Arrested in NYC for March in Support of Occupy Oakland
Protesters took over the streets and marched through lower Manhattan, resulting in arrests for disorderly conduct, rioting, and resisting arrest.

10/25/11: 53 Arrests at Occupy Atlanta
Fifty-three people were arrested at Occupy Atlanta. Among those arrested was State Senator Vincent Fort. This was a reversal from the previous acceptance of Occupy Atlanta by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed explained his decision by saying, "Occupy Atlanta protesters attempted to hold an unsanctioned concert over the weekend ... Last week, demonstrators inserted wire hangers into electrical sockets to create additional power sources ... [There has been] a persistent and dangerous disregard for public safety."

10/25/11: 75 Arrested During Attempted Clearing of Occupy Oakland
Police arrested 75 people while attempting to disperse the Occupy Oakland encampment.

10/23/11: David Park, serial sexual assaulter, arrested
David Park, who attempted to rape several women, was finally arrested by the NYPD. The women declined to press charges, but the NYPD held him on an open-container violation.

10/22/11: NYPD arrests 30 in OWS March in Harlem
Police arrested 30 protesters, including Cornel West, for blocking the entrance to the Harlem police precinct. The protesters were demonstrating against the NYPD's "stop and frisk" procedures.

10/14/11: 14 Arrested by NYPD in Marches Connected with Park Cleaning
Fourteen protesters arrested despite Mayor Bloomberg's decision to halt the cleaning of the park.

10/1/11: 700 Arrested for March Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Seven hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic when they proceeded to block the roadway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

That's quite a few incidents for a movement that bills itself as peaceful. I've been to dozens of protests in and around Washington DC (see "Rallies and Protests" under "Categories" at right) and I never saw any arrests or violent behavior, and only in a few cases did I read about arrests in the newspaper afterward.

I'm not going to quote this story, but do see Charles Cooke's Occupy's Totalitarian Temptation to get an idea as to what the movement is all about. It's not pretty, and the author's conclusion that "as long as the Occupiers so widely and openly indulge the totalitarian temptation, and so long as they seek to impose from the outside their vision for utopia, Occupy Wall Street is destined to remain what it has always been: a group on the fringe" seems pretty much right. I'm not entirely ready to say that outright violence is integral to the movement, but it is certainly a much larger part of it than it's defenders would like to admit.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 2, 2012

Increasing Dependence on Government

I've been saving this one for when nothing else struck me, I was too busy to work out a proper post, and it had been awhile since my last post. I'm working on a book review of Mark Steyn's After America which I will have up this week, so in the meantime take a look at this dreadfully depressing article:

Cause or Effect?
February 22, 2012
by Richard Fernandez

The Heritage Foundation has a series of graphs which appear to depict two trends: an ever increasing dependency of the American population on government transfer payments and a narrowing income tax base. It writes, "it is the conjunction of these two trends--higher spending on dependence-creating programs, and an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers who pay for these programs--that concerns those interested in the fate of the American form of government."

The 2012 publication of the Index of Dependence on Government marks the tenth year that The Heritage Foundation has flashed warning lights about Americans' growing dependence on government programs. For a decade, the Index has signaled troubling and rapid increases in the growth of dependence-creating federal programs, and every year Heritage has raised concerns about the challenges that rapidly growing dependence poses to this country's republican form of government, its economy, and for the broader civil society. Index measurements begin in 1962; since then, the Index score has grown by more than 15 times its original amount. This means that, keeping inflation neutral in the calculations, more than 15 times the resources were committed to paying for people who depend on government in 2010 than in 1962. In 2010 alone, the Index of Dependence on Government grew by 8.1 percent. The Index variables that grew the most were:

Housing: 13 percent
Health Care and Welfare: 13.1 percent
Retirement: 3.1 percent.

The increase from the previous Index means that the Index has now grown by 60.7 percent just since 2001. One of the most worrying trends in the Index is the coinciding growth in the non-taxpaying public. The percentage of people who do not pay federal income taxes, and who are not claimed as dependents by someone who does pay them, jumped from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009. This means that in 1984, 34.8 million tax filers paid no taxes; in 2009, 151.7 million paid nothing.

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Tim Wise, who is a regular guest on CNN, says the dependency question is only another way of looking at the history of racism in America. The idea of small government, he argues, is the nothing more than a code word in the "politics of nostalgia"; the a desire to return to the inequities of the past.

Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but the founders actually did foster quite a lot of government dependence: enshrining slavery was about government protecting white people from the competition of free black labor, and white folks becoming quite dependent on that protection. Stealing native land and then redistributing it to white people was about dependence on government-imposed violence. And later, yet still in the supposedly "good old days," government dependence was at the heart of segregation-which artificially subsidized white people in the job, school and housing markets-and was at the heart of the FHA and VA loans that white families used (and from which black families were all but completely blocked) in the 40s and 50s, which literally built the white middle class.

But I'm guessing that when she uses a phrase like "dependence on government" she isn't thinking about the white folks who were given 270 million acres of essentially free land under the Homestead Act. Or the 15 million or so white families who got those racially preferential home loans, with government underwriting and guarantees, thanks to programs implemented by liberals and thanks to pressure from the left. I'm thinking she isn't talking about the white soldiers (but typically not the black ones) who were able to return from World War II and make use of the GI Bill to go to college, or get job training. And the fact that she likely doesn't think of those kinds of things and those kinds of people as being dependent on government is, of course, precisely the problem, and the point I was trying to make. ...

Indeed several of the e-mails made this same argument about opposing "government dependence," all the while oblivious, it appears, to the way in which that concept has become so color-coded in the white imagination over the past several decades. In fact, this is a point I had made on the program: that according to a significant body of social science research (among the most prominent, Martin Gilens's brilliant book, Why Americans Hate Welfare), most whites perceive social program spending aimed at helping the have-nots (be they income have-nots, housing have-nots, or health care-have nots) as being about giving something tothose people, who are, of course, conceived of in black and brown terms, and taking from "hard-working" white folks in order to do it. So if the notion of government dependence itself has been racialized-and the evidence says it has been-to say that it is only this dependence you oppose, and that racism has nothing to do with it is to either lie or engage in self-deception of a most unfortunate and unbecoming variety. ...

In the end, although there are many people, with many different reasons for opposing the President or his health care proposal, the role that race and racism is playing cannot be ignored. With major conservative spokespersons stoking the fires of racial resentment daily, and with most whites having long ago come to the conclusion that social program spending is something done on behalf of racial "minorities" at their own white expense, it is not too much to insist that race is operating, for some quite overtly and for others more subtly.

According to this point of view, "government dependence" is nothing more than an index of the frontline in class struggle. Small government is nothing but the effect of Big Property. Big government on the other hand, just represents sharing the wealth. And there is nothing wrong in that; it simply represents the flow of resources, for so long in the direction from the poor to the rich, back in the direction it should go. At least so goes the argument.

Whichever side of the issue one takes on this matter, the question might be if that line is where it should be. Is the growing role of government as a redistributor of incomes a bug or a feature? Is it good or bad? Underneath the differences in personalities which supposedly underlies each campaign, the question of whether this boundary is what actually divides the country lies at the heart of the 2012 election.

What is the role of government in the social context of America? Is it a promoter of 'freedom' or a champion of 'fairness'?

Crazy, but this is how the left thinks. Because things were done wrong in the past, it's ok to do wrong today. Because the government allegedly encouraged dependence in the past, it's ok to do it today. Nevermind that there are vast differences, not the least of which is that the founders did not encourage sloth and an complete lack of responsibility for one's actions. And today the left encourages everyone to see themselves as helpless victims, and only government can save them. And not to mention the small matter that we're spending ourselves to oblivion, only a slight difference from yesteryear, but more on that later this week.

Posted by Tom at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 29, 2012

Hard Times for the Left, with ObamaCare at the Supreme Court at the Top

For all the troubles in the GOP presidential field that I've detailed here, it's easy to forget how much it sucks to be a liberal Democrat these days. And, full admission, the troubles on the left escaped me until I read a post by Steven Hayward at Powerline in which he pointed out that "It is typical for politically-engaged people to note the weaknesses and defects of their own side, while overestimating the strength and prowess of their opponents." Reading the rest of it, I immediately saw how right he was.

Regardless of the eventual ruling, opinion around the political spectrum is in universal agreement that the solicitor general's attempt to defend ObamaCare was an unmitigated disaster. Donald Verrilli was raked over the coals by justices from the right, left, and center, and left flailing in the wind. There are a zillion good articles to choose from which summarize the situation, but John Podhoretz, writing in the New York Post, is as good as any:

There appears to be no question in the mind of anyone who read the transcripts or listened to the oral arguments that the conservative lawyers and justices made mincemeat out of the Obama administration's advocates and the liberal members of the court.

This came as a startling shock to the liberals who write about the court.

Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker and CNN confidently asserted on Charlie Rose at the beginning of the week that the court would rule 7-2, maybe even 8-1 in favor of ObamaCare. The previous week, he called the anti-ObamaCare arguments "really weak."

His view was echoed by an equally confident op-ed assertion by the veteran court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who in The New York Times declared the case against ObamaCare "analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection."

It was quite a change, then, to see Toobin emerge almost hysterical from the Supreme Court chamber after two hours of argument on Tuesday and declare the proceedings "a train wreck for the Obama administration."

Yesterday, after another two hours of argument, he suggested it might even be a "plane wreck."

That was the general consensus across the board. It held that the two lawyers arguing against ObamaCare -- Paul Clement and Michael Carvin -- were dazzlingly effective, while the administration's solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, put in a mediocre performance.

As my homestate Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli warned in an email to supporters, he's seen plenty of instances in which as a litigator the oral arguments seem to go your way only to see the court rule against you. The reason this can happen is pretty simple; it's not a contest to see who is the best debater. A person can do a bad job presenting an argument but still be right on the merits. More, judges/justices may work overtime trying to poke holes in a case to be sure they are correct in upholding it.

So while we can't say with certainty how the court will rule... I'll go out on a limb and say that I wouldn't be surprised to see the court strike down the entire law in a 5-4 decision but toss the individual mandate 7-2 or even 9-0.

As for the other Democrat/liberal disasters, let's go back to the Powerline post referenced at the beginning (boldtype added):

The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Month for the Left by Steven Hayward March 29, 2012

It is typical for politically-engaged people to note the weaknesses and defects of their own side, while overestimating the strength and prowess of their opponents. This is not a bad instinct, but sometimes it's worth stepping back and trying to view the whole scene from a neutral perspective. It is possible a neutral or objective observer would conclude that the Left has just had about the worst month in longer than I can recall.

First came the Sandra Fluke controversy. What looked like a well-staged triumph for the Left because of a rare overreach by Rush Limbaugh resulted instead in a ferocious blowback against Bill Maher, Louis C.K. (cancelled from the White House correspondents' dinner because of his vile comments about Sarah Palin), and HBO, while Rush's ratings have spiked and advertisers came groveling back after the anti-Rush boycott was revealed to have been trumped up by Media Matters. Meanwhile, while the media elites identify with Fluke as one of their own, it is less clear that ordinary Americans think the government owes free contraception to 30-year old college students.

Second, Obama is in full retreat and panic mode over gasoline prices, and energy generally. To be sure, the EPA is still advancing its jihad against coal, and cheap natural gas is bailing out Obama to some extent (but also driving another nail into the coffin of wind and solar power), but I've always thought that liberal opposition to domestic oil production would not survive an extended period of $4 gasoline prices. Byron York flatly predicts that Obama will be forced to approve the Keystone pipeline before the election. Obama's embrace of the GOP slogan of "all-of-the-above" energy means that environmentalists are being largely thrown under the bus. (Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the Post-It note gas pump protests, and consider joining the swarm.)

Then came the Trayvon Martin incident. But what looked like a by-the-numbers drill for the racial grievance industry has started to collapse beneath certain inconvenient facts that don't fit the narrative such as Zimmerman's ethnicity and political party registration (Democratic), eyewitness testimony that Martin was assaulting Zimmerman (perhaps with cause), and Spike Lee advocating vigilantism against Zimmerman, but tweeting an incorrect home address, endangering an innocent elderly couple. Again, while the media lap up the antics of Al Sharpton, it is doubtful most ordinary Americans are impressed with this. More blowback.

Then of course we have the Obamacare argument in the Supreme Court this week. Even if the Court ultimately upholds the Affordable Care Act, the course of the argument is extremely damaging to the Left. And if it is struck down, I predict the Left will overreact in ways that will also backfire badly. (I'll have more thoughts on this in a separate post later today.)

Finally, yesterday the House voted down Obama's proposed budget for next year by a vote of 414 - 0. Not even the most leftist members of Obama's own party are willing to go on record in support of his unserious and irresponsible budget. Political stunt by the GOP? Sure, but so what? Back in the Reagan years, when every Reagan budget proposal was pronounced "dead on arrival" when it came to Capitol Hill, it could rely on substantial GOP support, and became a fixed point from which serious budget compromises would then be hammered out. Obama's budget was dead before it left the White House, and is irrelevant to any serious effort to confront our fiscal abyss.

None of this should be taken as a sign of a decisive "turning point," or that our side has won, or even that we're winning. "There are no lost causes because there are no gained causes," T.S. Eliot wrote. This is a never-ending struggle, and these incidents just the latest skirmish lines in the hundred years war with the Left. But it's been a lousy last month for the Left. Go ahead, enjoy a smile, have a drink, and then get back in the arena.

Posted by Tom at 8:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2012

State of the Union 2012: What is Tax Fairness?

Consider this from Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night:

We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get a tax break I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit or somebody else has to make up the difference, like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet.

That's not right. Americans know that's not right. They know that this generation's success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That's how we'll reduce our deficit. That's an America built to last.

What is "fair share?" What does that even mean? Obama seems to assume that we all share his vision of a steeply "progressive" tax whereby those who have money over a certain amount are obligated to pay whatever amount he deems necessary to fund the government programs that he thinks necessary.

But there's no reason that should be so.

What is "Wealthy?"

First, how do we even define "the wealthy?" Is it someone who makes over a million dollars a year? Half a million? One hundred thousand? Is it measured in total income or in total net worth? Does it matter whether you get your income from salary, investments, playing the stock market or the horses at the track?

I'm not saying that there's no such thing as "wealthy," just that we all have our own concept of what that is, and my observation is that it's nearly always somewhere greater than our own personal situation. However much money or holdings anyone has, that person will almost all of the time point to someone else as truly "wealthy."

Further, what constitutes paying your "fair share?" Once again, Obama talks as if it's obvious. But there are no stone tables carved in the sky outlining any of this. It's all subjective.

Half Pay No Federal Income Taxes

Worse, almost half (46.4) of all Americans pay no federal income tax. This is terribly unfair, and for a number of reasons.

One, if you're going to consume services you need to pay something somewhere for them. When you have to pay for something, no matter how little, you develop the mentality of having a stake making sure it works well. When you get something for nothing, you don't care, and want more and more and more and more... and demand that someone else keep paying more and more and more for it.

Finally, if Obama's going to talk about us all being in it together and benefiting from our history, previous generations, and government a then fine. But if according to him we all share in the benefits, we all must share in the costs.

So I don't care how little someone makes, everyone should pay something in federal income taxes every year, even if it's only $10. A symbolic payment of something, just to inculcate the attitude of responsibility.

You want tax fairness? Fine; then fair is when everyone pays something.

Speaking of Fairness...

John Hood explains why "those who defend Buffett's false claim about the undertaxed wealthy are either ignorant or dishonest."

The wealthy pay a significant higher share of their income in taxes than the middle class or the poor do. If you combine federal, state, and local taxes together and divide by income, the top quintile of U.S. households pay about twice as much in taxes as a share of their incomes as the bottom quintile does. Because government spending disproportionately benefits lower-income households, the progressivity of government's fiscal structure is even more steep than the tax data alone would show.

If you want to defend this level of progressivity, fine. If you want to argue that the system ought to be even more punitive at higher income levels, go for it. But denying that the wealthy already pay a disproportionate share of taxes is an act of gross irresponsibility.

Why Do Democrats Want Higher Taxes on the Wealthy?

So why do Democrats and liberals like higher taxes those they consider to be wealthy?

Punishment is a large part of it. Liberals believe that people who they see as wealthy got that way because they cheated, stole, exploited the poor, or got lucky.

Political intimidation is a large part of it too. "Get on board and support our policies or we'll tax you more" is the clear message. You can bet that if Mitt Romney was pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and supported Obamacare there wouldn't be any talk about where he got his money or whether he was paying the right amount of taxes.

So when I hear politicians rail at "the wealthy," who don't pay their "fair share of taxes," you can be sure that they're simply demagogues using all the threatening power of the state to extort money for government programs that they deem are worthy.

Posted by Tom at 7:00 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 20, 2011

A Partial List of Occupy Wall Street Criminality

There's just so much out there that no one list could be complete. Follow the link for the source link to each incident.

Occupy Wall Street Blotter
National Review
November 18, 2011 11:30 A.M.
By Nathaniel Botwinick

11/17/11: 275 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Two hundred and seventy five protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Wall Street to shut down the stock exchange and for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Seven police officers were injured, including one who was slashed with broken glass.

11/17/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Threaten Children
Occupy Wall Street protesters threatened small children, some as young as four, as they attempted to get to school. The children were forced to walk a gauntlet in between screaming protesters and the police as they attempted to reach their school. Some of the protesters yelled, "Follow those kids," and attempted to frighten their parents.

11/17/11: Police Evict Occupy Dallas Eighteen protesters were arrested as police evicted Occupy Dallas's encampment. Dallas authorities said the situation had become "untenable" after "the arrests of almost two dozen demonstrators for blocking the entrance to a bank, arrest of a participant charged with failing to register as a sex offender and sexual assault of a child after being accused of having sex with a 14-year-old runaway at the camp, arrests for assault and public intoxication and a 9-month-old child taken into protective custody after the parents were living the campsite with the child."

11/17/11: 14 Arrested for Blocking Bridge at Occupy St. Louis
Fourteen protesters were arrested at the entrance to the Martin Luther King Bridge in St. Louis. They were protesting in solidarity with other movements across the country. Uniformed members of the SEIU helped direct the protest. The protesters were joined by the Teamsters, United Autoworkers, American Postal Workers, and other union members.

11/16/11: 16 Arrested at Occupy Cincinnati Following Visit by Jesse Jackson
Sixteen protesters were arrested at Occupy Cincinnati following a visit by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Fifteen protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing, while two were also charged with resisting arrest. Lloyd Jordan, 36, of Clifton, Illinois, was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business after he photographed a covert police vehicle, including the license plate. The second half of Jackson's speech was repeated by the crowd line by line: "It's not about a place . . . it's about a state of mind. We fight for jobs. . . . We fight for health care . . . We are determined . . .We are not going away. Move our tents . . . but not our spirit."

11/15/11: Police Shoot Gunman at Occupy Cal
Police shot a gunman who infiltrated Berkeley's Haas School of Business during major demonstrations at UC Berkeley. He was seen carrying a gun by a staff member in an elevator at the business school after 2 p.m. The police arrived at 2:19 p.m., and searched for the suspect in the building. Officers found the gunman in a third-floor computer room where there were at least four students. The suspect raised the gun and was shot by an officer. The protesters from Occupy Cal deny any affiliation with the man; there have been no statements from the police or the suspect so far regarding his views.

11/15/11: 5 Arrested at Occupy LA (Including for Assault and Masturbation)
Five people from the Occupy LA movement were charged on Tuesday with a variety of crimes. Farid Ahntab, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest for wielding a knife and as he tried to burn a food vendor. Robert Holland, Jr., 31, was charged with threatening someone with a knife and resisting arrest. Angele Chaidez, 21, has been charged with lewd conduct for allegedly masturbating on the steps of City Hall last week and exposing himself in public. Zachary Isaac, 21, was charged with battery for allegedly punching a woman in the face in her tent. Finally, Michael Howard Thomson, 51, was charged with two counts of battery and one count of resisting arrest. He tried to take a two-year-old from its parent and is accused of punching a mediator. Afterwards, he fought the officers who arrested him.

11/15/11: NYPD Clears Zuccotti Park, 200 Arrested
The New York Police Department moved in early this morning and cleared out the protesters from Occupy Wall Street. The protesters will be allowed to return to the park, but will not be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags. The protesters fought with police officers for several hours, and there were injuries reported amongst both the police and the protesters.

11/13/11: Man Threatens Woman with Arson at Occupy Portland
Occupy Portland protester threatens to burn down the house of a woman who disagrees with him.

11/13/11: Three Men Arrested With Explosives in Connection to Occupy Portland
Three men from Occupy Portland were arrested during a traffic stop after officers suspected they had marijuana in their possession. Upon searching the vehicle, the drugs were discovered. The officers also found within the car firecrackers and two commercially made mortars inside glass canning jars. The three men "told authorities that they knew the canning jar would explode, causing glass shrapnel to fly and possibly cause injury."

11/12/11: Woman Raped at Occupy Philadelphia
A woman was raped at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment by a man who had traveled from Michigan to join the protest. The suspect had been arrested previously for involvement in armed robberies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

11/10/11: "Send in the Clowns," Two Dressed as Clowns Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow were arrested for climbing the barricades surrounding the statue of the bull at Wall Street. They then performed a variety of antics before their arrest for disorderly behavior.

11/10/11: Occupy Atlanta Shelter Tests Positive for Tuberculosis
Several people at the Atlanta shelter have contracted tuberculosis. At least one of those infected has contracted the more dangerous, drug-resistant form of TB. The shelter is one of the largest encampments at Occupy Atlanta.

11/10/11: Six more arrests at Occupy Fresno
Six people were arrested last night in Fresno for failure to disperse. This brings the weekly total of arrests at Occupy Fresno to 55.

11/10/11: Sotheby's Also Targeted by Occupy Wall Street, 8 Arrested
Eight protesters were arrested for attempting to storm Sotheby's during its final sale of the fall season. They were there in support of the Teamsters union, which is currently engaged in a labor dispute with Sotheby's.

11/10/11: Man Shot to Death at Occupy Oakland
A young man was shot fatally in the head outside the Occupy Oakland gathering Thursday evening. There are still no suspects or leads in the case.

11/9/11: 39 Arrests at Berkeley
Thirty-nine people were arrested at Berkeley as part of OccupyCal. Protesters set up tents despite Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's request that they refrain. Thirty-two students and one faculty member were among those arrested. The majority of the arrests were for obstruction of justice or unlawful assembly. Two arrests were for assault and battery.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Assaults EMT
An EMT was injured at Occupy Wall Street. Joshua Ehrenberg, 20, of Rochester, NY, was arrested for felony assault and obstructing governmental administration for attacking the EMT. The EMT was injured when Mr. Ehrenberg's friends, in an attempt to prevent NYPD officers from assisting the EMT, fell on either a barricade or a ladder, which trapped the EMT underneath. The EMT suffered injuries to his ankle and knee.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protester Arrested for Public Lewdness
Xavier Maslowsky, 25, was arrested for exposing himself to others at Zuccotti Park.

11/9/11: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Arrested for Blocking Sidewalk with Square-Dance Lesson
A group of 50 protesters staged a square dance on the sidewalk around the plaza at Liberty and Cedar. The revelers were told repeatedly to disperse. Zachary Kamul, 25, was given two summonses for disorderly conduct and possession of a weapon when he refused to disperse. Sebastian Posada, 24, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest when he attempted to run from police into the middle of Broadway.

11/5/11: Man Arrested at Occupy Wall Street for Urinating on an NYPD van
Edgar Rivera, 26, was arrested for relieving himself at 1:20 a.m. on an NYPD van. He attempted to escape, but was captured a half a block away. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

11/5/11: 19 Arrested at Occupy Atlanta
Protesters gathered in support of police pressure on Occupy Atlanta were subjected to arrests. Two were arrested for failing to leave Woodruff Park after the 11 p.m. close and 17 were arrested for obstructing traffic after leaving the park.

11/5/11: 20 Arrested at Occupy Wall Street
Most of the protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, though three were arrested for assaulting a police officer. The incidents occurred at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, near the New York State Court of Appeals. According to witnesses, police had asked the protesters to refrain from blocking the sidewalks and the stairs to the courthouse.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for setting another person's clothes on fire
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/5/11: Woman arrested at Occupy LA for striking a man with a tent pole
She was charged with suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

11/4/11: Occupy Fort Carson Protester Arrested for $10 Million Arson
Benjamin Gilmore, 29, was arrested on suspicion of arson, burglary, and criminal mischief in connection to a fire on October 24 in a construction site.

11/4/11: Occupy Wall Street protester arrested for violence in McDonald's
Fisika Bezabeh rioted inside the McDonald's by Wall Street at 2 a.m., when workers refused to give him free food. He tore a credit card reader from the counter and threw it at employees. Mr. Bezabeh has been charged with criminal mischief.

11/4/11: Bronx Teacher Arrested for Assaulting Police
David Suker of Bronx Regional High School was arrested for knocking a police officer off his scooter using a shopping cart. He is charged with attempted assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. This is his second arrest; he was previously arrested during the October 1 march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

11/4/11: Occupy DC Attacks Americans for Prosperity event
Protesters attempted to storm the building where the AFP was holding a conference. Afterwards, they assaulted two elderly women, sending them to the hospital, and blockaded the streets surrounding the building.

11/3/11: 15 Arrested Outside Goldman Sachs
Fifteen protesters were arrested outside Goldman Sachs, including Christopher Hedges of The Nation Institute and Reverend Billy of the Church of Earthalajuh. The protesters staged a trial of Goldman Sachs executives and were arrested when they proceeded to sit and block the entrance to Goldman Sachs.

11/3/11: Occupy Oakland Riots
Riot police used tear gas and other methods to disperse Occupy Oakland rioters. The protesters lit barricades on fire, hurled rocks, explosives, and other projectiles at police. Massive acts of vandalism were committed against several banks. Several dozen were eventually arrested.

11/2/11: Occupy Philadelphia takes over Comcast Headquarters
Occupy Philadelphia protesters sat in Comcast's lobby and demanded repayment of its tax abatement. Nine were arrested for trespass.

11/2/11: Tonye Ikebutosin Arrested for Rape at Occupy Wall Street
A 26-year-old man from Crown Heights was arrested for the sexual assault and rape of a fellow Occupy Wall Street protester. He raped the 18-year-old woman after sharing a tent with her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old woman after helping her set up her tent. Iketubosin has been working in the Occupy Wall Street kitchen.

10/27/11: 14 Arrested in NYC for March in Support of Occupy Oakland
Protesters took over the streets and marched through lower Manhattan, resulting in arrests for disorderly conduct, rioting, and resisting arrest.

10/25/11: 53 Arrests at Occupy Atlanta
Fifty-three people were arrested at Occupy Atlanta. Among those arrested was State Senator Vincent Fort. This was a reversal from the previous acceptance of Occupy Atlanta by Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Mayor Reed explained his decision by saying, "Occupy Atlanta protesters attempted to hold an unsanctioned concert over the weekend ... Last week, demonstrators inserted wire hangers into electrical sockets to create additional power sources ... [There has been] a persistent and dangerous disregard for public safety."

10/25/11: 75 Arrested During Attempted Clearing of Occupy Oakland
Police arrested 75 people while attempting to disperse the Occupy Oakland encampment.

10/23/11: David Park, serial sexual assaulter, arrested
David Park, who attempted to rape several women, was finally arrested by the NYPD. The women declined to press charges, but the NYPD held him on an open-container violation.

10/22/11: NYPD arrests 30 in OWS March in Harlem
Police arrested 30 protesters, including Cornel West, for blocking the entrance to the Harlem police precinct. The protesters were demonstrating against the NYPD's "stop and frisk" procedures.

10/14/11: 14 Arrested by NYPD in Marches Connected with Park Cleaning
Fourteen protesters arrested despite Mayor Bloomberg's decision to halt the cleaning of the park.

10/1/11: 700 Arrested for March Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Seven hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic when they proceeded to block the roadway on the Brooklyn Bridge.

General Thievery

This from the New York Post (via Hot Air, where Ed Morrissey has a lot more):

Thieves preying on fellow protesters
New York Post
By Larry Celona, Laura Italiano, Rebecca Harshbarger, Frank Rosario, and Jamie Schram
Last Updated: 9:35 AM, October 18, 2011
Posted: 2:43 AM, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

"Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment," said Nan Terrie, 18, a kitchen and legal-team volunteer from Fort Lauderdale.

"I had my Mac stolen -- that was like $5,500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night, our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen, so the first thing I had to do was . . . get the message out to our supporters that we needed food!"

Crafty cat burglars sneaked into the makeshift kitchen at Zuccotti Park overnight and swiped as much as $2,500 in donated greenbacks from right under the noses of volunteers who'd fallen asleep after a long day whipping up meals for the hundreds of hungry protesters, the volunteers said.

Security volunteer Harry Wyman, 22, of Brooklyn was furious about the thievery -- and vowed to get tough with the predatory perps.

OWS defenders will no doubt point to the existence of a security volunteer, and to be sure it is laudable that some are trying. But any honest assessment would have to conclude that criminality is rampant because this movement attracts that type of person.

This said, as I pointed out a few days ago, the entire "occupy" part of OWS is criminal because you simply cannot "occupy" public or private property.

Posted by Tom at 7:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Protesting, and Civil Disobedience

The days news is filled with the saga of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has declared a "day of action," which marks the two month anniversary of the movement. The purpose of this day of action is to "shut down wall street" and "take back our democracy," whatever that means.

Protesting is not a theoretical to me, nor is is something I have just seen on TV or on the Internet. Between 2005 and 2009 I went to over a dozen major protests and rallies in downtown Washington DC, and over a hundred smaller ones outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The ones in Washington DC were of two types. One was large anti-war protests by leftist groups such as International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice. I went uptown to join conservative groups such as Free Republic who were counter-protesting just off to the side. The second type was when there were "dueling rallies;" right-wing groups such as Gathering of Eagles staged major rallies of their own which equaled or exceeded the size of a major anti-war protest that was going on at the same time nearby. The issue at hand was primarily the war in Iraq.

See "Rallies and Protests" and "Walter Reed" under "Categories" at right for details.


I also went to one major Tea Party rally on September 9, 2009, which was also in Washington DC.

All of these events, protests, rallies, whatever you want to call them, shared several characteristics

  • All groups got permits from the US Park Police well before the event date
  • During the event(s) the Park Police and Washington DC Metropolitan Police were out with riot gear and sometimes mounted police. They positioned themselves between opposing groups but generally took no other action than to act as a buffer.
  • Each side respected the police
  • There was a defined beginning and end time
  • Each group had defined leaders who "policed" their group
  • There was no violence (or nothing significant to speak of) and people generally felt safe
  • Each side had relatively well-defined political goals that were easy to understand

At any large gathering of people you will have exceptions to generally good behavior. But my experience is that "out of control" people were few and far between at these events.

There comes a certain point where if enough people are doing something then it becomes a characteristic of the entire group. Reasonable people can disagree when that point comes but it does exist. Attempts to paint the Tea Party as racist do not fly because racist individuals in that movement are very few and far between. Attempts to paint the International ANSWER protests as violent fail for the same reason.

All this said, I am not saying that there were no difference between the right-wing and left-wing groups during this time period. There were. Leftists dressed up in all manner of wild costumes and their signs were often vulgar and uncouth. Conservatives rarely wore anything but standard casual clothes and their (our) signs were of the standard "we're for" or "we're against" this or that variety.

What characterizes this Occupy Wall Street Movement that makes it so different?

  • Occupying a public space 24 x 7 in violation of the posted hours (whether physically posted or as part of the legal code)
  • Participants staying 24 x 7, or close to it
  • Not obtaining permits from the relevant authorities
  • A significant number of participants engaging in common criminal activity such as rapes and robberies
  • Besides today's "Day of Action," OWS members directly engage in riotous behavior; criminal tresspass, interfering with road and pedestrian travel in a direct attempt to stop normal activity
  • No coherent political platform or goals.

Don't believe on the rampant criminal behavior of the OWS crowd? The website OWS Exposed has the good on them.

Most of this is reminiscent of what happened in February of this year in Madison, Wisconsin. There, we had labor unions sponsoring and/or egging on people to illegally occupy the statehouse 24 x 7 in direct violation of the law. Their presence, and I believe intent, was to physically intimidate Republican lawmakers.

The bottom line is that you cannot occupy public space such as a park or building 24 x 7. A public space is just that; a place meant for the public to enjoy. Everyone has to be able to have access to it. Any one group taking it over denies others the ability to access it. This isn't democracy, it's criminality. Mob action.

Say what you will about the political goals of the Tea Party movement, but the overwhelming bulk of reports and my personal involvement show that it is a peaceful movement whose members obey they law. That the left has had to resort to their old favorite charge of "racism" (of course without evidence) shows that they have nothing on the movement.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." I'm no scholar, but I am safe in saying that it has been interpreted to mean that groups can obtain permits to use public space for protests, demonstrations, and/or rallies as long as they are peaceful and the event has a defined start and finish time. Not that the police should not be liberal and let protesters start earlier and go on longer, for they should.

I'm also no historian, but I do know that our Founders were worried about mob rule about as much as they worried about tyranny. They wanted a government that would have enough authority to prevent mob rule yet weak enough and with enough checks and balances so as to prevent tyranny.

If Democrats and liberals want to ally themselves with the OWS crowd they are going to regret it. Perhaps they already are.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2011

Obama On Occupy Wall Street: "We are on their side"

When President Obama speaks about the Occupy Wall Street crowd he is "on their side:"

"The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you're supposed to do, is rewarded," Obama tells ABC News. "And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don't feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren't rewarded."

Ok then, now that he's gone on record as supporting them, what are they all about?

Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd
In interviews, protesters show that they are leftists out of step with most American voters. Yet Democrats are embracing them anyway.

The Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2011

By DOUGLAS SCHOEN

President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement--and it may cost them the 2012 election.

Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that "the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America. . . . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don't seem to play by the same set of rules." Nancy Pelosi and others have echoed the message.

Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people--and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.

The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.

Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).

An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won't vote.

Fewer than one in three (32%) call themselves Democrats, while roughly the same proportion (33%) say they aren't represented by any political party.

What binds a large majority of the protesters together--regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education--is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.

Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement--no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).

Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation. Among the general public, by contrast, 41% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 21% as liberal. That's why the Obama-Pelosi embrace of the movement could prove catastrophic for their party.

In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions. While that 1970 election should have been a sweep against the first-term Nixon administration, it was instead one of only four midterm elections since 1938 when the president's party didn't lose seats.

With the Democratic Party on the defensive throughout the 1970 campaign, liberal Democrats were only able to win on Election Day by distancing themselves from the student protest movement. So Adlai Stevenson III pinned an American flag to his lapel, appointed Chicago Seven prosecutor Thomas Foran chairman of his Citizen's Committee, and emphasized "law and order"--a tactic then employed by Ted Kennedy, who denounced the student protesters as "campus commandos" who must be repudiated, "especially by those who may share their goals."

Today, having abandoned any effort to work with the congressional super committee to craft a bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction, President Obama has thrown in with those who support his desire to tax oil companies and the rich, rather than appeal to independent and self-described moderate swing voters who want smaller government and lower taxes, not additional stimulus or interference in the private sector.

Rather than embracing huge new spending programs and tax increases, plus increasingly radical and potentially violent activists, the Democrats should instead build a bridge to the much more numerous independents and moderates in the center by opposing bailouts and broad-based tax increases.

Put simply, Democrats need to say they are with voters in the middle who want cooperation, conciliation and lower taxes. And they should work particularly hard to contrast their rhetoric with the extremes advocated by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

Mr. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is author of "Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond," forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield.

There are five possibilities: One, President Obama is woefully ignorant of the OWS movement. Two, he makes off-the-cuff statements without thinking through the implications. Three, that he actually agrees with them. Four, he knows he is losing the left and is pandering to them. Five, that the reporter just happened to interview the very few radicals in the crowd and somehow missed that the vast majority are normal middle class suburbanites who just want a better life for them and their children.

Ok that last one was a joke. My guess is that it's a combination of the first three. Either way, he looks bad.

For what it's worth I've been to a few dozen right-wing and left-wing rallies and protests in and around Washington DC. See "Rallies and Protests" and "Walter Reed" under Categories at right. My observation is that right-wingers are a lot better behaved, do not carry signs with vulgar messages, clean up after themselves,and dress as normal people dress. The leftists are the opposite in every regard.

Posted by Tom at 7:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 4, 2011

Strange Contradictions Over Libya

VDH sees through the nonsense spewed by the administration:

Into the Libyan Labyrinth
National Review
Victor Davis Hanson
April 1, 2011

We should watch for some very strange things in Libya in the days ahead:

(a) Euros bet on the wrong rebel horse, and if Qaddafi survives, he will surely "renegotiate" his massive oil exports to Europe, or perhaps prefer to deal with the Chinese. So Britain, Italy, and France will become increasing panicky and want us to ratchet things up.

(b) Expect to hear less and less about the UN and the Arab League as Obama, to win, needs more and more to ignore their restrictions on using American ground troops and direct bombing of Libya's assets.

(c) Expect the Left to get increasingly antsy as it weighs the viability of Obama's progressive domestic agenda versus their own humiliation at having to keep still and support a preemptive bombing campaign against a Muslim, Arab, oil-exporting nation, without congressional approval, that was not a national-security threat to the U.S. The Left is going to have to accept Obama's rendering inoperative the UN and Arab League restrictions when he inserts some ground troops or orders some Milosevic-like bombing. His supporters also will have to endure the fact that Obama's prior pledges of "turning over" and "toning down" a war that we would supposedly fight neither on the ground nor by sustained aerial bombardment are simply untrue -- and this on top of everything from the now jim-dandy Guantanamo and A-OK renditions.

(d) We are quickly evolving beyond the choices of both a Mogadishu- or Beirut-like clean skedaddle and a 12-year-Iraq-like-no-fly-zone humanitarian mission, and most likely are considering either bombing Qaddafi like crazy or sending in some troops or both.

Bottom line: It is always a dangerous thing for a president to start a war without Congress, without a consistent mission, without a coherent methodology, without a plausible end game, and without a clue who our rebel allies are or just how strong their opponent actually might be -- contingent on a fickle UN, impotent but oil-enthused allies, and a passive-aggressive Arab world, all to prove a point that we could reinvent our military into a humanitarian rescue force, subordinate to international unelected bodies -- and all the more dangerous during the golfing, basketball-playoffs, and resort seasons.

Posted by Tom at 6:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2011

The Definitive Column on the Liberal/Media Reaction to the Rep Gabrielle Giffords Shooting

So I know I that on Thursday when I wrote One More Post on The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting and the Question of Blame I kind of insinuated that would be my last post on the subject.... and then today I saw Jonah Goldberg's column, so you'll have to endure at least one more. Lesson learned on making foolish promises. And I don't know that his column is truly definitive, but it's pretty darn good. Following are excerpts:

Where the media leads, we don't follow
By Jonah Goldberg
New York Post
Posted: 10:50 PM, January 15, 2011

As President Obama declared in his legitimately moving speech to what seemed to be the homecoming rally of the Arizona Wildcats, now is a time to re-embrace civility.

To that end, now might be a good time to examine the media's role in this mess. There's no disputing -- nor any surprise -- that left-wing activists didn't need to wait for accurate reporting to jump to conclusions about the "real" culprits in the Tucson massacre. For instance, within minutes of the news hitting the wires, commentator Markos Moulitsas wrote on Twitter, "Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin." David Brock, the head of a left-wing activist outfit called Media Matters for America, wrote a laughably self-important "open letter" gloating how he had "warned" Fox News about its dangerous rhetoric. Sounding a bit like Dwight Schrute on NBC's "The Office" penning an urgent letter to the head of the FBI, Brock wrote: "My previous warnings were laughed off and ignored. For the country's sake, I hope you take them more seriously now."
...

They also took cues from such authorities as the editors of The New York Times, who assured readers discomfited by the lack of evidence that it was still OK to blame Republicans for the crime (an approach the Times describes as "Islamophobic" when killers are Muslim). Maybe the lucid-dreamer Loughner lived "well beyond usual ideological categories," but that's no reason not "to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge."

This was something of a fatwah for straight reporters and TV hosts to stay focused on Sarah Palin and Republican rhetoric generally. They used the weaselly rationalization that the murders had started a "national debate" on the political discourse. But this is somewhere between an outright lie and a wild distortion. Loughner's actions didn't spark the conversation, the media (and the Democratic Party) sparked that conversation because they were already locked into a storyline, like a newspaper that has already written an obituary for a still living actor. "People are debating" or a "national conversation has started" is a cheap gimmick for the author -- or his editor -- to talk about whatever they want to talk about. If The New York Times ran an untrue story tomorrow announcing that I beat my wife, it would be the Times that sparked the conversation about my wife-beating, not anything I did.

And this is hardly an isolated incident. It's understandable that journalists would want to set the national agenda by providing new information. That's their job. But sometimes the press just won't take no for an answer, when the public refuses to see events the same way. For instance, last summer the Times worked valiantly to cast the Ground Zero mosque controversy as a symptom of Islamophobia sweeping the nation, even though the data on anti-Muslim hate-crimes undercut the claim entirely. The press routinely floats the idea that the country needs a "frank" or "honest" "national conversation on race" but viciously punishes anybody who says something they don't want to hear. It seems every week there's another thumb-sucking seminar on public radio about how dismaying it is that the public doesn't share the elite press' global warming hysteria. Despite the fact that ObamaCare was persistently unpopular, it seemed news reports often focused on how the public didn't understand what's good for them. Last month, The Washington Post refused to print the results of its own poll, showing that ObamaCare was at an all-time low in popularity. And, right now newspapers are debating whether they should adopt "undocumented immigrant" instead of "illegal immigrant" not because the latter term is inaccurate but because they think their readers will fall for the subtle manipulation.

Just because everyone at the Huffington Post and The New York Times reader forums is regurgitating the same pre-baked narrative isn't proof the narrative is right, it's just proof that everyone in the bubble needs to get out more.

Indeed, it's deeply reassuring (though no doubt dismaying to the Times, MSNBC and other outlets), that the American people didn't buy it. After three days of "discourse hysteria" a CBS poll released Tuesday found that 57% of Americans found the killing unrelated to the political discourse. By Friday a poll by Quinnipiac found that only 15% of Americans blamed the murder spree on "heated political rhetoric." A generation or two ago, this would never have happened.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 13, 2011

One More Post on The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting and the Question of Blame

Unless there are major new developments this is going to be it about this incident and then we're moving on.

No, I did not watch President Obama's speech last night, nor do I plan on watching it or reading the text. Most conservative commentators that I trust said 1) His speech was very good,he said the right things and hit the right notes, and 2) the festival-campaign atmosphere with all the whooping and hollering and cheering was entirely inappropriate.

Assuming these commentators have it right, it speaks well of our president but poorly of his supporters. Given liberal behavior this week, I am not surprised.

I first heard of the shooting while at the gym. I saw it on the TV and thought to myself, what a terrible tragedy. We'll have to put up with some calls for more gun control, but that's standard operating procedure for the Sarah Brady bunch and we'll get through it. I had no idea that the left would unleash such a torrent of hate.

Let's start with this amazing video of Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik:

Now, I'm no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but even I know that it's evidence first, conclusion second.

The tragic shooting of Rep Giffords taught us a lot about our political scene, it just isn't the "heated and threatening rhetoric" that the media is now talking about. The left unleashed a torrent of hate against Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement, Fox News, and conservatives in general almost immediately after the shooting, and well before any of the facts about the motives of the shooter were known. And by "left," we're not just talking about obscure bloggers, but media people in print and on TV, and politicians.

The shooting taught us about the monumental level of raw hate that the left has for Sarah Palin and the lengths they will go in attacking her. The idea that she is to blame because of some ad that used crosshairs is insane. Reaction is summarized around the Internet, but two good pieces are at Powerline: A Disgrace to Nuts Everywhere and A Disgrace to Nuts Everywhere Part 2.

Before the motives or political affiliation of the shooter were known, a full scale assault was mounted on Palin, the Tea Party movement, conservative talk radio, and Fox News.

Throughout the first eight years of this decade conservatives listed to the left issue the most vile statements about George W Bush; "selected, not elected," "Bush lied, people died," a billion references to Bush as Hitler, usually in the form of something like "BusHitler" or "ChimpyMcHitler." Assassination chic, films about his assassination, and all manner of over-the-top statements were all the rage.

And let's be clear; the hateful, overheated, and sometimes even violent imagery in the rhetoric didn't just come from obscure bloggers. Democrats in Congress and media commentators were guilty as well.

Would you like evidence? Two quickies: Michelle Malkin has put together a progressive "climate of hate:" An illustrated primer, 2000-2010. The Washington Times editorial Taking advantage of tragedy: Hate crimes are down, but liberals use violence to target conservatism provides examples of some pretty big-name Democrats and liberals using rhetoric with some awfully violent rhetoric in it.

Last August James Jay Lee took three people hostage at the Discovery Channel building in Montgomery County, just outside of Washington DC. After a four hour standoff, a tactical squad shot and killed Lee after he pointed his pistol at a hostage. Lee specifically said that he had been inspired by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Fortunately in this case no one else was killed, but they could easily have been.

Did we see a media campaign to urge environmentalists to "tone down the rhetoric?" Stop their hysterical claims that "the earth has a fever" and that there was "a planetary emergency?" Anyone tell Al Gore to apologize? Of course not. In fact, the reaction of the right was to NOT exploit this, but rather to say "if this had been the other way around the left would exploit it." Sure enough, they have.

Conclusion

What happened in Tucson was that a lone nutcase went on a terrible rampage and killed a wounded many people. Maybe we need to ban the extra large magazines, I'm actually sympathetic to that, although that's a knee jerk reaction that won't prevent diddly.

We've got to find a way to identify and isolate mentally ill people, and keep them from buying guns, but that's a complex issue. Besides what's mentioned in this article on the subject, the other issue is that if someone doesn't want to go to treatment you can't make them. I'm no lawyer, but even basic research shows that you can't incarcerate people against their will most of the time. And anyway, what constitutes mental illness, and who makes the determination? It all seems to obvious after one of these incidents, but there are genuine civil rights concerns.

My heart goes out to the victims of this tragedy. I do hope they knew God so that they are in a better place. You never know when your time will end. Have you said all the things you need to say to your loved ones? Have you gotten in good with your maker?

Finally; what is going on here is clear: The left is mad that they lost the Nov 2010 elections and is trying to get even. They want to shut down conservative talk radio and Fox News, and marginalize the Tea Party movement.

It won't work.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 9, 2011

The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting and the Question of Blame

This is going to be a very short post because I don't have much time and for reasons I'll explain below the fold I'm more interested in reader comments than anything else.

As we all know three-term Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ-8) and several othe3rs were shot in a Safeway in Tucson, AZ yesterday. She was holding her first "town hall," when Jared Lee Loughner, age 22, shot Giffords in the head. He shot 20 people total in his rampage before he was stopped. Six have died and 14 were wounded, including the congresswoman.

Now, who is to blame for this?

From what I've seen in the past day or so, the left has decided that Fox News and right-wing radio talk show hosts are at fault. The Washington Post even links on their front page to a Financial Times story titled Can a gun-crazed society lead? I guess we don't have to guess what their agenda is.

And of course the left is using this incident to go after Sarah Palin. How boringly predictable, yet also how revealing.

To me it's all pretty obvious; the guy who did it is to blame and that's the end of it. People who drag in Fox News, talk radio, the Tea Party, and others on the right are exploiting the murders for their political agenda.

Further, people who are now saying "we should all tone it down" are also just playing politics. They're basically just using the incident to silence the opposition. After all, most of the same folks who are saying this now were riding the "Bush Lied! People Died!" bandwagon not too many years ago. More, whenever someone on the left says something outrageous, the right objects, they issue dark warnings about a "chill on the First Amendment."

Last September James Jay Lee took two hostages at the Discovery Channel building just outside of Washington DC. He said that former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" was one of the things that inspired him to commit his crime.

None of the conservatives I listen to on the radio or read in print blamed the enviros for this incident (not saying there wasn't one somewhere...). All, in fact, made a point of saying how absurd it would be to do so, but that if the situation was reversed the liberals would not hesitate to exploit the incident. Predictably they were right.

I'm done. Google around if you're not sure what I'm talking about here and need examples of how some on the left are exploiting this (see this great piece in Slate, for example).

This type of story really isn't my thing, as I'm far more happy talking about Iran, Chinese v American military power, or for that matter even something like national health care policy. In fact, I'm keeping most of this story below the fold for the very reason that I'd rather have you read my story about the new Chinese fighter aircraft.

But for now we've got to get past this silly debate.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 14, 2010

Smack Down! Condolezza Rice Educates Katie Couric on Why We Invaded Iraq

Left-wing journalist Katie Couric gets smacked down by former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice in this interview. Couric, who incredibly is the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, trots out all the standard lies about our decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I don't watch TV, so don't have much perspective on her, but hopefully Couric was just having a bad day, because she comes across as a complete dope. Here's the opening:

Couric: On Iraq books have been written, as you know, many, many books, documentaries that have been made about how intelligence was incorrectly analyzed, cherry picked, to build an argument for war, and memos from that time do suggest that officials knew there was a small chance of actually finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq... there are some things that seem to suggest that in the build up to the actual war, that there was some doubt about that, wouldn't you say?

Rice: incredulous laugh No, I don't agree with that at all.

Rice goes on to hand Couric her head. Couric comes across as at best just dumb and at worst someone who just parrots what she reads on bad left-wing web sites. Rice comes across as smart, well spoken, and knowledgeable. Or, as John Hinderaker of Powerline put it, Rice "provides a refreshingly adult take on the subject."

via Powerline:

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 6, 2010

The Bureaucratic State

One of the things that so concern we conservatives is the movement of power in our government from democratic institutions to bureaucratic ones. This shift in power has been going on for a long time, but has been brought home by the radicalism of Barack Obama. Conservatives came awake when last December the EPA announced that it would regulate 'emissions' whether Congress passed "climate legislation" allowing them to do so or not.

It has long been a goal of the progressives to get power as far away from democratic institutions as possible and into the hands of "experts" who, they believe, know what is best for you. Western Europe is far ahead of us in this transition. The European Union grants vast powers to unelected bureaucrats far removed from the various legislatures, and mostly unaccountable to them. The bureaucracy hires, fires, and is almost an independent self-sustaining body. One more step and we'll be there.

"The Four Horsemen of Progressivism: Richard Ely, John Dewey, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Herbert Croly" (National Review, digital subscription required) outlined some of the history. Jonah Goldberg laid out more history in Liberal Fascism. Joseph Postrell tells us where we are today in today's Washington Times

Constitution in Decline
The Washington Times
By Joseph Postell
May 6, 2010

It's time to reform our administrative state. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right when she said Congress would have to "pass the health care bill so you can find out what's in it." That's because the health care bill, like most major laws passed by Congress over the past hundred years, isn't really a law. Rather, Obamacare is a series of assignments to bureaucrats in the Department of Health and Human Services. It is emblematic of what scholars call the administrative state, where legislative, executive and judicial powers are delegated to unaccountable experts sequestered in a fourth branch of government.

If we are seeking the most effective means of defending - and restoring - the Constitution, we must pay attention to the rise of the administrative state and the decline of constitutional government in the United States.

The Founders confronted a basic problem: How to vest government with sufficient power to get things done without giving it the instruments to exercise tyrannical control? To protect individual liberty and rights, they established (among others) two basic principles at the center of our constitutional order: representation and the separation of powers. To assure that government operated by consent, they provided that those responsible for making laws would be held accountable through elections. Moreover, legislative, executive and judicial power would be separated so those who made the laws were not in charge of executing and applying them.

Our modern administrative state violates these principles. That also is by design, courtesy of the progressives - the original architects of the administrative state. Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson disdained the idea of government "by the people" and sought to replace it with government by the experts. Wilson complained of America's "besetting error of ... trying to do too much by vote." "Self-government does not consist in having a hand in everything," he argued.

The progressives sought to circumvent representative government by transferring power from Congress to a newly created fourth branch of government, our modern bureaucracy. Congress would no longer make laws but merely pass bills that consist of assignments to agencies. The actual laws then would be passed by agencies in the form of "rules" carrying the full force of law.

However, Article I of the Constitution requires that "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress." This is not optional. The people, through the Constitution, delegate legislative powers to the Congress. Only the people can delegate legislative power, because they are sovereign according to our founding principles. Legislative power cannot be further delegated.

James Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 62, "Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?" Todays administrative state violates Madison's principle.

The progressives also had contempt for the Constitution's separation of powers. James Landis, an influential adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, explained that administrative agencies arose in response to "the inadequacy of a simple tripartite form of government to deal with modern problems." Circumventing the separation of powers, these agencies would not only have the power to make laws - they also would be authorized to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and enforce violations of those laws.

Herbert Croly, progressive intellectual and founder of the New Republic, explained that such agencies composed "a fourth department of the government" that "does not fit into the traditional classification of governmental powers. It exercises an authority which is in part executive, in part legislative and in part judicial." Agencies would be "a convenient means of consolidating the divided activities of the government for certain practical social purposes."

The administrative state holds sway today. The overwhelming majority of laws in this country are made not by Congress, but by administrative agencies. They execute their laws and adjudicate alleged violations of their laws through agency-employed hearing officers or administrative law judges. In this fourth branch of government, filled with unelected and unaccountable experts, all three powers of government are consolidated.

But all is not lost. In the minds of the people, the Constitution is still the governing document of this country. Most just haven't paused to ponder how far we have strayed from its structural design. But the political will to return to the Constitution is there, and increasing daily.

Two things are needed urgently. First, we need a public education program explaining the pervasiveness of our administrative state and how it departs from the Constitution's vision.

Second, and more difficult, is a practical road map for restoring the principles of representation and the separation of powers. The question is not necessarily how to make government smaller, but how to get it back under popular control and accountability.

We must devise a strategy to: bar Congress from delegating legislative power to agencies, eliminate the consolidation of all three powers in these agencies and make these agencies accountable to the people.

Such reforms would ensure that the only burdens we suffer are those we impose upon ourselves, with a government over which we, the people, finally have regained control.

Posted by Tom at 10:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 5, 2010

WikiLeaks - A New Fifth Column Trying to Undermine Us

Post updated at bottom

Late in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalist General Mola was advancing on Madrid with four columns of soldiers. During a radio address he was asked which one would take the city, which was held by Republican forces. He replied that a "fifth column" of hidden supporters within the city would undermine the government from within.

In a October 20, 2004 post titled The New Fifth Column I wrote that "we are today faced with a new Fifth Column in the War on Terror. One that is working to undermine us from within." Already it was clear that there were those within our ranks who would work to undermine us from within.

We saw this during the Cold War, especially during it's latter stages, with the rise of the "anti-anticommunist" movement on the left. These people were not communists themselves, and if you put them on the rack they'd eventually admit that "ok, communism isn't so great," but their real enemy, and the people they spent their entire time denouncing, were the anti-communists of both the right and left (yes they existed on the left).

So once again the phenomenon has surfaced. We can call them anti-anti-terrorists, or anti-war, or whatever. Like their anti-anti-communist forefathers, they are not terrorists nor do they defend the ideology of jihad. But they spend their entire time attacking the West in general and the United States in particular. To them, if we fight at all, we must conduct the perfect war.

The latest example of this type is WikiLeaks. From their website

The Sunshine Press (WikiLeaks) is an non-profit organization funded by human rights campaigners, investigative journalists, technologists and the general public. Through your support we have exposed significant injustice around the world-- successfully fighting off over 100 legal attacks in the process. Although our work produces reforms daily and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2008 Index on Censorship-Economist Freedom of Expression Award as well as the 2009 Amnesty International New Media Award, these accolades do not pay the bills. Nor can we accept government or corporate funding and maintain our absolute integrity. It is your strong support alone that preserves our continued independence and strength.

Basically they release whatever secret documents they can find and then congratulate themselves.

Bunch of goddamn traitors is what they are.

Here's their latest piece of disinformation

And here's what they say about it:

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff. Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded. For further information please visit the special project website www.collateralmurder.com.

Of course, it's all a big lie. Military expert Bill Roggio analyzes the video and concludes that:

Baghdad in July 2007 was a very violent place, and the neighborhoods of Sadr City and New Baghdad were breeding grounds for the Mahdi Army and associated Iranian-backed Shia terror groups. The city was a war zone. To describe the attack you see in the video as "murder" is a sensationalist gimmick that succeeded in driving tons of media attention and traffic to their website.

But of course.

Yes yes, I know, we're all supposed to believe that the people at WikiLeaks are fighting for truth and justice and the American Way. We're supposed to think that they're only trying to hold the government, corporations, and the powerful to account for any misdeeds. And hey, if they haven't done anything wrong, what's the problem?

If you haven't watched the whole video yet, please do so. The editorial comments before, during, and after the intercepted video make it clear that it's all just hate-America propaganda.

More Misdeeds

In case you're still in doubt as to the vile sort of people we're dealing with, this is the crowd that in 2008 publishedscreen shots of Sarah Palin's emails from her hacked Yahoo account.

Would they have published Obama's emails if someone had hacked into his account? Or that of Joe Biden? I think we know the answer.

People who do this sort of thing are beneath contempt.

In November of 2009 WikiLeaks also published hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. They should not have done this either.

For what it's worth, my distain of global warmers and disbelief in their theories has nothing to do with these hacked emails, and not liking the situation I never blogged on them.

What About Investigative Journalism?"

Don't be silly. Of course there are times when leaked documents and such should be published. But it's clear that the people at WikiLeaks are out of bounds.

The Adversary Culture

In his 1992 work Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home and Abroad, 1965-1990 Paul Hollander summed up these people to a T:

The people I have in mind - who belong to this broader adversary culture - can be identified by a number of beliefs. Among them is that American intervention almost anywhere in the world is without moral justification. They also aver that the United States bears the lion's share of responsibility for the sufferings of the poor in the Third World. They include prosperous white middle-class people who voted for Jesse Jackson, those who would not register for the draft (or who support and encourage nonregistration). They are citizens for whom all American military expenditure is wasteful, who claim to have sleepless nights over the prospect of nuclear war and press for making their towns "nuclear free zones"(and "sister cities" of those in the USSR and Nicaragua), people who in any conceivable conflict between the U.S. and other powers instinctively place the blame on the U.S., those among the college educated who are persuaded that Orwell's1984 captures most aptly the characteristics of contemporary America. They can also be identified by sporting bumper stickers proclaiming "US out of North America" and "This Country Was Build on the Bones of Indians." They are inclined to believe that the United States is a uniquely hypocritical and destructive society that failed to live up to it's promises. They are for the most part people of goodwill amid frustrated idealism, persuaded that in no other country are social ideals and practices so far apart as in the United States of America

Change the nouns and you have the modern left. Instead of obsessing over nuclear war it's global warming. Different decade, same type.

Wednesday Update

NRO's The Feed:

Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks editor, acknowledged to Fox News in an interview Tuesday evening that "it's likely some of the individuals seen in the video were carrying weapons."

Assange said his suspicions about the weapons were so strong that a draft version of the video they produced made specific reference to the AK-47s and RPGs. Ultimately, Assange said, WikiLeaks became "unsure" about the weapons. He claimed the RPG could have been a camera tripod, so editors decided not to point it out.

"Based upon visual evidence I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything," Assange said. Nearly every Iraqi household has a rifle or an AK. Those guys could have just been protecting their area."

And as Greg Pollowitz of NRO's The Feed says,

In this history of man, no army has done more to minimize civilian casualties than what's gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd expect that hundreds, if not thousands of American lives have been lost because the R.O.E. are as strict as they are, not the opposite as WikiLeaks claims.

It's as if the more we try to minimize civilian casualties, the more strident the criticism becomes. You'd think that the folks at Wikileaks wanted to eliminate our ability to make war completely or something.

Thursday Update

Professor Donald Douglas has a must-read post on his American Power blog appropriately titled Exposing the WikiLeaks/Communist/Media Alliance He not only provides armfuls of evidence that WikiLeaks is all wet, but exposes WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as a convicted computer hacker and communist activist.

It'd be a grave miscarriage for U.S. military personnel, who meticulously observed ROE, to be charged with violated rules of war; and it'd be an even greater injustice to truth and common decency should this communist propaganda campaign gain even more domestic and international legitimacy than it already has.

Military expert and blogger Bill Roggio has another article up in which he concludes that that the Military Investigation Matches What Is Seen On Baghdad Strike Tape

The U.S. Army investigated this incident after it occurred and cleared the Apache crews of wrongdoing. And if you read the investigation and watch the tape, you'll see the findings of the investigation are consistent with what you see on the video.

If you follow any of these links, go to and aread all of Bill Roggio's two articles.

Other good posts (via the professor)

Mudville Gazette - War Porn (part three - for the children)

...what shouldn't stand without comment is a demonstrably false accusation (made in the "collateral murder" version of the video) that the children - unseen until that moment - were denied treatment in an American medical facility.

Pajama's Media - Shame on WikiLeaks: Framing Lawful Engagement as Anti-American Propaganda (Part One), and Shame on WikiLeaks: Framing Lawful Engagement as Anti-American Propaganda (Part Two).

Author Bob Owens goes through the video, providing context and refuting various WikiLeaks allegations, so follow the links for his entire analysis. As with me, he questions their motivations:

The organization happens to be attempting to raise funds now. Claiming the need for an operating budget of $600,000, the group states they have only been able to raise $370,000. The implication seems both sad and obvious. Desperate for both attention and funding, WikiLeaks carefully constructed a propaganda video designed to raise their profile and increase donations....

The WikiLeaks video and "Collateral Murder" website seem calibrated for the express purpose of accusing soldiers of murder for the purposes of fundraising.

If they would like to continue to be though of as a non-partisan whistleblower organization, WikiLeaks must retract the inflammatory "Collateral Murder" short video, shut down the identically titled website, and provide critical and historical context -- not partisan framing -- around the events depicted.

The WikiLeaks fundraising effort "Collateral Murder" is not an accurate reflection of what occurred that morning in 2007 and manages only to slaughter the truth.

Yup.

Sunday Update - Wiki Deception: Iraq "Collateral Murder" Rebuttal

Posted by Tom at 9:45 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 2, 2010

Obama and the Arrogance of the Liberal Elites

I'm busy this week with projects, and so have no time to post much original writing. This piece though sums up much that is wrong with the progressive movement

An FDR lesson Obama missed
by Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

Barack Obama is trying to be the new FDR before the concrete settles around his image as the new Jimmy Carter. History will ultimately decide, but last week's celebrated health care summit made him look more like Mr. Jimmy than FDR.

The president was full of self-righteous talk, mostly about himself, and he twice felt it necessary to remind everyone that he's the president, recalling Richard Nixon's bizarre reassurance that he was not a crook. Some things are self-evident, and if they're not, such things are usually not true. We can stipulate that, like it or not, he's the president.

The Democrats relished the opportunity to portray the Republicans as the wrinkled party of "no," a crabby relic of the 20th century, devoid of anything that anybody could want, and Barack Obama's low-church eloquence would melt skepticism like butter on warm toast. But it didn't happen. Setting out the idea of a plain and simple alternative to Obamacare -- smaller measures to reform, taken step by step -- the Republicans sounded like the party of common sense, purveyors of the kind of kitchen-table solution that would work a lot better than an elaborate welfare-state scheme.

The health care summit was not the demolition derby the Democrats expected, instead it's a pothole the president and his party will have difficulty climbing out of. The first public-opinion polls this week will measure who won and who lost. But the prospect of a lot of changed minds in the wake of the talkfest is a small prospect.

The president was in his favorite role, the long-winded professor trying hard to be patient with half-bright students who hadn't done their homework. Like most liberals, he suffers from a severe occupational hazard. Anyone who disagrees with him must be dumb, unlettered and redneck crazy. If Lamar Alexander, John McCain and Eric Cantor had only gone to the right Ivy League university they could understand the prescription for what's good for them. It's a fatal mindset that afflicts the cult. Jonathan Chait of New Republic put it plainly in a revealing blog post: "President Obama is so much smarter and a better communicator than members of Congress in either party. The contrast, side by side, is almost ridiculous."

The contrast was so stark that he could only liken the professor's summit seminar to basketball, our least cerebral sport, where oversized men in gaudy underwear run up and down a court to stuff a ball down a hole. The president is "treating [Republicans] really nice, letting his teammates take shots and allowing the other team to try to score. 'Nice try, Timmy, you almost got it in.' But after a couple minutes I want him to just grab the ball and dunk on these clowns already."

No one would have confused FDR -- or Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan -- with somebody shooting hoops on a schoolyard. Nor would anyone have confused one of those presidents with a professor showing off his mastery of detail and trivia by presiding over a congressional seminar. Mr. Obama should remind himself that he's the president, not a professor.

The president who would be FDR has squandered much of his authority and mystique in pursuit of something the people clearly don't want. The more he pursues it the more the people don't want it. He has yet to understand any of the parts of "no." He is learning too late, if he is learning at all, that too much of a good thing is too much. The powerful hold a president can have on the public is weakened by too much visibility. "The public psychology," FDR once wrote to a friend, "cannot be attuned for long periods of time to a constant repetition of the highest note on the scale."

Mr. Obama's profligate use of the highest note on the scale follows the example of his immediate predecessors, and it may be that the presidential mystique, with its power to accomplish a president's aims, was gravely wounded by the invention of the jet airplane. Air Force One is not only an impressive presidential icon, it makes every congressional district convenient to visit, and presidents are tempted to use it ever more frequently. In his 15 years in the White House, FDR, who preferred trains and was the first president to fly, never got around to visiting all the states.

A visit by a president meant something. Now it's often a hindrance and a distraction. Last week, Mr. Obama should have stood in bed. That may be the ultimate lesson from his great health care summit.

Posted by Tom at 7:00 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 12, 2009

Global Warming as the New Socialism

I'd say that Jonah Goldberg has it about right in this column:

On Monday, Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, formally announced that her agency now considers carbon dioxide to be a dangerous pollutant, subject to government regulation. The finding comes two years after the Supreme Court ruled that CO2 falls under the EPA's jurisdiction.

A day later, an unnamed White House official told Fox's Major Garrett that the message for Congress is clear: "If you don't pass this (cap-and-trade) legislation . . . the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area. . . . And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."

And such "uncertainty" is a huge "deterrent to investment," which will hurt the economy even more.

Translation: We don't want the EPA to kick the economy in the groin, but if Congress doesn't act, well, a-groin-kickin' we shall go.

This is grotesquely dishonest.

The White House and Congress could, quite easily, do something about the EPA's threat. President Obama could instruct Jackson to interpret the Supreme Court's 2007 decision granting the EPA power to regulate greenhouse gases more loosely. He could ask Congress to simply rewrite the Clean Air Act so as to exclude carbon dioxide from its list of official pollutants -- the policy the EPA followed for years until the Supreme Court reinterpreted the Clean Air Act.

But no.

As part of the enduring statist desire to penetrate ever deeper into every nook and cranny of our lives, greens have wanted to find a way for the government to regulate CO2, a natural byproduct of fire and breathing, for decades. Now they can.

That is why the White House will use Jackson as a Medusa's head, to petrify cap-and-trade opponents with the prospect of something even worse: the effective seizing of the means of production. The White House says nothing of the sort is going on. Jackson, the former chief of staff to lame-duck New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, is an independent, disinterested public servant simply following sound science with no concern for politics.

If Jackson cares so much about sound science, why is she basing some of her policies on data from the discredited scientific frat house, the Climatic Research Unit?

If Jackson cares so little about politics, why did she make her announcement to such fanfare at the opening of Climapalooza in Copenhagen?

In fairness, Jackson is only a Medusa's head to those who care desperately about economic growth and who don't think draconian taxes on energy and massive wealth transfers for white elephants in the Third World are the answer to our problems. But for others, she represents another icon from Greek mythology: the Golden Fleece.

Jason and his Argonauts set out to find the fleece so they might place Jason on the throne of Iolcus. The original story is one of power-seeking in a noble cause.

It's debatable whether the modern tale of Jackson and the Goregonauts is quite so noble. But it's obvious they're interested in power and hell-bent on fleecing.

Indeed, some of loudest voices have a weird habit of telegraphing their priorities. Tim Wirth, a former senator and now chairman of the United Nations Foundation, once said: "We've got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." New York Times columnist and prominent warm-monger Thomas Friedman has repeatedly said (most recently this week) that he doesn't care if global warming is a "hoax" because, even if it is, the fear of it will force us to do what we need to do.

And it just so happens that with the exception of nuclear power -- which most greens still won't support -- global warming fuels nearly every progressive ambition. Wealth transfers from rich to poor nations: Check. The rise of "global governance" and the decline of American sovereignty: Check. A secular fatwa not only to erode capitalism but to intrude on every aspect of our lives (Greenpeace offers a guide to carbon-neutral sex): Check. Weaning us off of oil (which, don't let the Goregonauts fool you, was a priority back when we were still worried about global cooling): Check. The checks go on for as far as the eye can see, and we will be writing them for years to come.

The left has seized upon global warming to perpetuate the greatest power grab in modern times. It's the latest excuse for socialism and big-government regulation, and they're only getting started.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2009

On the Business of Conservatives Being "Afraid" of New York Terror Trials

I don't normally devote a whole blog post to silly liberal arguments, but the huge problems surrounding the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his fellows in civilian court in New York City have persuaded me otherwise. The issue is too serious, and the fallout too deadly.

It would seem the liberal response to conservative arguments is to simply call us "fraidy cats," "cowards," and "sissies." Really. I am indebted to Sister Toldjah to these first three clips.

First up is Attorney General Eric Holder, defending his decision before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

I have every confidence the nation and the world will see him for the coward he is....I'm not scared of what (Mohammed) will have to say at trial and no one else needs to be either....We need not cower in the face of this enemy. Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.

Next is Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of said committee:

I don't think we should run and hide and cower. Let's use our system.

Uberblogger Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, this time posting at The Hill, in a post called "Conservative Cowards:"

American liberals are tough on terrorists and secure in their knowledge that the Sept. 11 conspirators are guilty of mass murder. American conservatives are timid cowards who fear that the U.S. government can't actually prove that the Sept. 11 killers committed their heinous crimes. Sound weird?

Maybe. But what else can be concluded after watching conservatives collectively lose their heads over President Barack Obama's easy decision to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other co-conspirators in U.S. District Court in New York City? Seems that macho conservatives are terrified of shackled terrorists in orange jumpsuits and the United States Constitution.

These are remarkably silly arguments.

More, they miss the point of our objections, perhaps deliberately so. I think it's a way of avoiding debate more than anything else. Technically, it's known as the "straw man" argument.

What is Fear?

Are you afraid of your boss? Of your spouse? Are you or were you afraid of your parents? Lets assume normal relationships here. The answer is yes... and no. You should be afraid of being fired if you don't do your work, of having your spouse divorce you if you cheat on him or her, and of punishment by a parent if you were a bad child. But you don't cower and shrink back when one of them approaches you.

So yes, in a sense we are and should be afraid of KSM and his fellows in a civilian trial. But no, it's silly and stupid to resort to the "macho conservatives are terrified of shackled terrorists" line of attack.

Legitimate Concerns

Running through a few of the issues conservatives have raised, in no particular order, they are

  1. Security concerns. Security is not a matter of beating one's chest and trumpeting that you are not afraid. It will be hard to protect the defendants and citizens of New York. Further, the security concerns are not limited to New York City. Such a public trial will encourage terrorists to strike all over the world "to send the United States a message."
  2. The trial could become a circus. All major trials draw massive media coverage and the tabloids go nuts, but in most of them a firm judge keeps the proceedings under control. Judge Lance Ito famously let the O.J. Simpson criminal trail descend into farce, whereby Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki kept the civil trail quite orderly. In this case we have a unique circumstances that may be beyond the capability of any judge to control. The defendants have a right to represent themselves, and by definition they can grandstand and get away with all manner of things before being restrained or stopped (we could deny them the ability to represent themselves, but this opens up the possibility of a guilty verdict being overturned on Sixth Amendment grounds).
  3. The government on trial. The way the far left will look at this trial is not letting terrorists free, but pronouncing the United States guilty. They will do this because these five have no real defense. They're obviously guilty, and when you're obviously guilty you do one of or both of two things; tie up the court in legalisms, and/or put the government on trial. They will put the Bush Administration on trial for renditions, waterboarding, the whole thing. Liberals may revel in this sort of thing, but it's not the purpose of the trial.
  4. A soapbox for al Qaeda. Partially because the defendants can represent themselves, and partially because very Lynne Stewart-Ramsey Clark type hate-America lawyer will be drawn to this trial like moths to a lamp, they will do their utmost to use the trial as a forum to get out the radical Islamic view of the world, and why the United States is a bad, evil nation. These leftist attorney's do not sympathize with al Qaeda so much as they hate the West in general and United States in particular.
  5. National security secrets could be revealed. There is no way you can hold this trial without revealing national security secrets. As such, it will prove a bonanza for our enemies. They will learn and/or be able to deduce many of our sources and methods. As such, many methods won't work anymore and many sources will face capture, torture, and execution. To those who think that the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) will prevent this from happening, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy says that is not exactly the case.
  6. The law of unintended consequences. President Obama and his followers think he is great because he "dares to do big things." Ok, I get it, this is not in and of itself bad. But he has a habit of not thinking things through, failing to imagine worst case scenarios and ignoring contingency planning.
  7. "The world" isn't impressed. There is no "the world" anyway, and such thinking shows a simplistic view of the world that is almost childlike. There are different peoples with different perspectives on what constitutes truth, justice, reality, and one's purpose for being on this earth. Many or most Muslims accept Sharia law as the only legitimate governing force for humanity. They won't be impressed. Chinese who think a strong authoritarian government necessary for maintaining order and ensuring economic process won't be impressed. Latin American dictators and dictators-wanna-be and their many followers won't be impressed. Europeans are of two minds. Many will be impressed, this is true. But there is and has been an implicit agreement between them and the United States since WWII that we would do their dirty work for them around the world. Norway can be Norway because the United States is the United States.
  8. A propaganda coup for the other side. Following up on the above, ma around the world will use things revealed during the trial to show that the U.S. is indeed a bad, evil nation, and thus proves that they were right all along. They will ignore the obvious hypocrisy in such an argument (if we're so bad,how can we air our own laundry?) but the fact is this how how may people think whether we agree with the logic or not.
  9. "Tainted" evidence tossed out. It's not too hard to imagine a judge throwing out lots of evidence, claiming it was illegally obtained. What does this them do to the government's case?
  10. A prelude to inditing Bush Administration officials. The other day former Secretary of Homeland Defense Tom Ridge said he feared the trial could descend into a big "fishing expedition" with the real goal being to release enough information for the international left to start war crimes trials against George W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. Again, this may warm the hearts of liberals but it is not the reason why Obama/Holder say we need a civilian trial.
  11. There could be some not-guilty verdicts. Although I don't have time to find the link, I believe AG Holder has said that we'll keep the defendant's in "preventive detention" anyway if any are found not guilty, or if the judge dismisses the trial. Unlikely, to be sure, but not impossible. How will we look then if we keep not-guilty defendants in jail?
  12. The defendants are not "criminals." Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his fellows are not "criminals" as properly understood, but are illegal or unlawful combatants. This differing understanding of the status of KSM and other terrorists goes to the heart of the dispute between right and left on this entire matter.

If you want to disagree with me on any of these please do, and state your case. But Holder, Leahy, and Moulitsas, and many liberal bloggers don't even address these issues seriously. As such, we can dismiss their argument as at best intellectually dishonest, at worst ad hominem.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 14, 2009

Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Four Other Sept 11 Plotters to be Tried in New York

Yesterday the Obama Administration hit us with this stunner:

The nation's top law enforcement officer announced Friday that he is returning the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and his accomplices to the scene of their alleged crimes -- a decision that drew immediate outrage from some lawmakers and victims' families.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four others now detained in Guantanamo Bay will be moved to a prison facility near the Brooklyn Bridge and stand trial in a civilian federal courtroom down the street from the World Trade Center buildings that Mohammad takes credit for demolishing on Sept. 11, 2001.

This is madness, and for a whole host of reasons. If you're not sure why, consider the case of this lady:

Judith Coplon

Judith Coplon was the first major figure tried for spying as a result of the Venona project (although, for reasons of security, the Venona information was not revealed at her trial). Her disclosures to the Soviet intelligence agencies were the first information to alert them to the size of the U.S. counter-intelligence operation against them.

She worked in Foreign Agents Registration section of the Department of Justice, where she had access to counter-intelligence information during World War II. She was first brought to the attention of the FBI as a result of a Venona message (she was known in both Soviet intelligence and the Venona files as "SIMA"). An extensive counter-intelligence operation then investigated her, and planted secret documents for her to purloin.

FBI agents detained Coplon in March 1949 as she met with Valentin Gubitchev, a KGB official employed by the United Nations, carrying secret U.S. government documents in her purse. In her trial, FBI Special Agent Robert Lamphere testified that suspicion had fallen on Coplon because of information from a reliable "confidential informant" that was not a wiretap. She was convicted in two separate trials, one for espionage (by herself), and in another for conspiracy (along with Gubithchev).

Her conviction was later over-turned on a technicality relating to the arrest (which been on probable cause, as she was observed meeting her Soviet contact, not as a result of a warrant). Her complicity in espionage was further corroborated by information found within the KGB archives in the 1990s.

Both convictions were overturned, and to this day Coplon is a free woman. She still denies her guilt, despite enormous evidence to the contrary.

Of course the parallel is not exact. Coplon was a spy, and deserved a trial. KSM and the others are illegal combatants, and do not deserve trials.

What the Judith Coplon story illustrates is that even someone caught "red handed" in the act of handing secrets to a known Soviet agent can get off if they have clever attorneys. It also illustrates the dilemma faced by the government; if it revealed the existance of Venona a conviction that could not overturned was assured, but doing so could tell the Soviets that we had (partially) broken their diplomatic code.

For decades the far left used the cases of Alger Hiss and Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg as soapboxes to attack the United States (not so much Coplon). Although at the time the Rosenberg's seemed guilty to most people, the government and judge behaved badly much of the time with provided them fodder. Again, the parallels are not exact as Hiss and the Rosenbergs deserved trials and the Sept 11 terrorists do not, but bringing them up does illustrate some good points.

My Time as a Juror

Many years ago I was called to be a juror in which a guy had passed a bad check for something like $5,000. The prosecution's case was so airtight I wondered for a time what in the world the guy could possibly say say in his defense. As the case proceeded it became clear that the defense attorney's strategy was to challenge every statement and bit of evidence he could, hoping to get something significant thrown out. He managed to get one or two minor statements by prosecution witnesses retracted, but they were so minor as to be laughable. When the prosecution had finished it's case I waited anxiously for the defense to have it's turn. Much to my surprise, the defense attorney simply said "it's the burden of the government to prove my client guilty...." and then them moved right into closing arguments. The defense argument was to try and confuse the matter. We convicted the guy in nothing flat, but it was a lesson in what defense attorneys do when they have no case.

Back to Khalid Sheik Mohammed

The way the far left will look at this trial is not letting terrorists free, but pronouncing the United States guilty. They will do this because these five have no real defense. They're obviously guilty, and when you're obviously guilty you do one of or both of two things; tie up the court in legalisms, and/or put the government on trial. They will put the Bush Administration on trial for renditions, waterboarding, the whole thing.

Also consider the entire issue of waterboarding and whatever else we did to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the others. It will be discussed in excruciating detail ad nauseum in court, the objective being to make the Bush Administration, and by extension the United States, look as bad as possible. For our enemies overseas this will be a propaganda bonanza. The international left will use this as a justification to oppose everything else the United States does or wants to do. And the domestic left will salivate over the details, confirming as it will in their minds that the United States in general, and the Bush Administration in particular, is an evil, bad, nation.

The idea that "if we expose these guys the world will rally to our side" is ridiculous. Much of the world hates us and will rejoice in every revelation that embarrasses the U.S. Some of the Muslim world sympathizes with the terrorists. Certainly many Islamic leaders will loudly proclaim their support for them, and as is so often the case they'll intimidate many others into silence. They will use this as a forum to attack the U.S.

Just as when Holder announced the investigation of CIA agents, Obama was conveniently out of the country. The reason is that he wants to distance himself in case the thing explodes in their face. He'll throw Holder under the bus so fast it'll make your head spin.

There is no way you can hold this trial without revealing national security secrets. As such, it will prove a bonanza for our enemies. They will learn our methods and be able to deduce at least some of our sources, who themselves will face capture, torture, and execution.

Andy McCarthy sums it all up in better language than I can muster:

We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda's case against America. Since that will be their "defense," the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and -- depending on what judge catches the case -- they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see -- in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America's defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.

This is a disaster in the making.

Posted by Tom at 1:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 11, 2009

The Coming Obama Excuse for Withdrawing from Afghanistan?

Ever since the invasion of Iraq turned unpopular in maybe 2005, liberals assured us that while that was the wrong war, Afghanistan was the right one where we had to fight. Yessiree, they were raring to go "get bin Laden."

During the campaign, then-Senator Obama seemed on board too. On October 22, 2008 he said

In 2002, I said we should focus on finishing the fight against Osama bin Laden. Throughout this campaign, I have argued that we need more troops and more resources to win the war in Afghanistan, and to confront the growing threat from al Qaeda along the Pakistani border. ...

Make no mistake: we are confronting an urgent crisis in Afghanistan, and we have to act. It's time to heed the call from General McKiernan and others for more troops. That's why I'd send at least two or three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan. ...Only a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes Afghanistan and the fight against al Qaeda will succeed.

And indeed, last March, Obama seemed to keep his promise when he announced that we were sending another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan.

At the time I congratulated the president, but harbored some doubts as to whether he'd really see it through.

Please Note - President Obama may well do the right thing and order the surge of troops that General McChrystal wants. If he does I will congratulate him.

Right now though I am seeing signs that this is not what they will do. They seem to be floating a justification for scaling back troops, and moving to a counterterror strategy of special forces and airpower.

The Excuse

What they will tell us is that the Taliban are not a threat to the United States, and al Qaeda does not operate in force in Afghanistan, so bringing elements of the Taliban (Quetta Shura Taliban (QST), actually, and they call themselves the "Islamic Emerate of Afghanistan") into the Afghan government. The Obama Administration will tell us that they've struck a deal with the QST by which the latter has agreed not to harbor al Qaeda. As such, we have no beef with QST, the country is safe from al Qaeda, and we can withdraw troops.

On Thursday White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs equivocated when asked if "the administration believe it's possible to defeat the Taliban?"

Transcript:

Q Thanks, Robert. Coming out of the Situation Room meeting yesterday on Afghanistan and Pakistan, obviously, what significance should we attach to the fact that the President's public words lately, a lot of people have been noting that he continues to talk about dismantling al Qaeda but seems to be talking less and less about Taliban. And people are reading that, that's sort of a significant shift and a signal of where the mission is headed. What do you say about that?

MR. GIBBS: I would tell folks to go back and read what the President said -- has said virtually every month leading up to -- and I would -- including the review and the speech coming out of the review from last March.

The President has always evaluated our policy, as I said here yesterday, based on those that pose a direct threat to attack our homeland or to attack our allies. Included in that group are any that would provide safe haven for those activities.

Though, as I said yesterday, we're not talking about the same type of -- they're not the same type of group. Al Qaeda is a global transnational jihadist movement that has conducted attacks on the United States homeland; conducted attacks on our allies; continues to plan, and has the intent and will to do so again. Again, some in the Taliban have similar agendas that have helped al Qaeda with safe havens. There's also a significant number of Taliban that are local warlords that have far different agendas. I think to look at them as separate entities, it's certainly not backed up by any of the intelligence.

What Gibbs does throughout the briefing is stress that "the Taliban is not...a homogenous group." What the Administration is going to do is bring elements of the Taliban into the government that claim that they have an agenda that does not threaten the United States.

This next exchange is the worst:

Q Thanks, Robert. You had the March review on Afghanistan/Pakistan policy. You have General McChrystal's report. You've had hours of discussions over the past couple weeks. Does the administration believe it's possible to defeat the Taliban?

MR. GIBBS: I think -- let me get a better sense of -- let me say this. I think as we get into Friday's discussion, there will be a larger discussion about Afghanistan, particularly, and the threats we face there.

No direct answer, so the answer is "no." Sounds like preparation for a withdrawal to me.

Richard Haas, president of the liberal Council on Foreign Relations, said much the same thing in today's Washington Post:

Al-Qaeda does not require Afghan real estate to constitute a regional or global threat. Terrorists gravitate to areas of least resistance; if they cannot use Afghanistan, they will use countries such as Yemen or Somalia, as in fact they already are. No doubt, the human rights situation would grow worse under Taliban rule, but helping Afghan girls get an education, no matter how laudable, is not a goal that justifies an enormous U.S. military commitment....

All of this argues that U.S. interests in Afghanistan are less than fundamental, rendering the conflict not a war of necessity but a war of choice.

Reading the entire piece, the summary of his argument is that al Qaeda will not be a force in Afghanistan, it does not depend on that country anyway, so it's not so important for us to be there in force. Indeed, he says, "if they cannot use Afghanistan, they will use countries such as Yemen or Somalia, as in fact they already are."

There are two problems with this. One, as Thomas Joscelyn points out, "why not allow al Qaeda and its allies to take over whatever geographic territory they desire?"

The second is that it's all contradicted by history. Have we forgotten that the Taliban harbored al Quaeda prior to our invasion? If given the chance, surely they will do so again.

Indeed, as By Thomas Joscelyn & Bill Roggio conclude

You have undoubtedly heard that Osama bin Laden was the Taliban's "guest" in Afghanistan prior to September 11. That is a vast understatement. The reality is that bin Laden integrated al Qaeda's operations with the Taliban's in a variety of important ways. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been fighting side-by-side for more than a decade. Long before September 11, al Qaeda successfully integrated itself into the Taliban's infrastructure...

The bottom line is that al Qaeda and the Taliban fight side-by-side today, just as they have for more than a decade.

It is remarkable that anyone would argue that a Taliban safe haven in Afghanistan would not necessarily lead to an al Qaeda safe haven there given that the two currently enjoy the same safe havens in Northern Pakistan. After the two jointly established the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan in 2006, for example, it should have become painfully obvious that they had not given up on their combined territorial ambitions.

If yo udon't believe them maybe you'll believe Al Jazeera:

Another Excuse

The other excuse the Obama Administration may try is that the war is too expensive. Bill Kristol said last Tuesday us that

At today's White House meeting, President Obama, I'm told, reminded the congressional leaders that every thousand troops sent to Afghanistan would cost about a billion dollars a year, and asked whether the lawmakers would really support $40 to $50 billion a year of additional spending for the war.

This from the administration that thought nothing of a trillion dollar "stimulus," no less. $40 - $50 billion is pocket change to Democrats.

Conclusion

All these past several years when I heard liberals say that Iraq was the wrong war but they wanted to fight in Afghanistan, I openly doubted them on this blog. I said that once they got into power they'd say the war was too expensive, because the money was needed at home for "badly needed school lunch program."

I sincerely hope Obama does the right thing, but if not I think I'll be halfway right as to his excuse if he doesn't.

Posted by Tom at 8:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2009

Unbelievable Video of Obama Telling ACORN They Will Help Shape His Presidential Agenda


I think that by now everyone in the universe except those in the msm are aware of the videos by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles and which are posted at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com exposing ACORN as a criminal organization.

But hey, it's no big deal, we're told, ACORN doesn't mean anything and President Obama only had an indirect relationship with them years ago.

Uh, not exactly. On this video Obama is caught saying ACORN and friends will shape his presidential agenda.

...before I even get inaugurated during the transition we're going to be calling all of you in to help us shape the agenda. We're going to be having meetings all across the country with community organizations so that you have input into the agenda for the next president of the United States of America."

Swell.

Of course, this should be investigated to high heaven, and the WaPo and NYT should be all over it. But they'll yawn and move on because it doesn't suit their agenda.

Posted by Tom at 8:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2009

Edward M Kennedy, 1932 - 2009


Ted Kennedy

Using the justification of "never speak ill of the dead" I'll keep this post short. Love him or hate him, Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009) was the most important legislator of late 20th century America. He got more legislation passed that has changed our country more, than any other single person.

It is really for this that he is so vilified on the right. During the 2004 election it came out that fellow Massachusetts Senator John Kerry had a more liberal voting record than did Kennedy. This was met with no small amount of surprise, as being more liberal than Kennedy was a pretty touch accomplishment. But the reason we were so surprised is that Kerry had virtually no legislative accomplishments under his belt despite having been in the Senate since 1985.

As for me, I think most of what Ted Kennedy did was very harmful to the United States. His advocates will reply that he "helped" the poor and downtrodden, and in a limited sense he did. But his legislation.... ah but I'm violating the pledge I took at the start so I'll stop.

Politics aside, Kennedy was a Christian and in the end that's all that matters. His family is in my prayers.

Posted by Tom at 7:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2009

The Glenn Beck Boycott and Whole Foods

So in addition to boycotting Fox News in general the left has taken after radio talk show host and Fox News host Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck returns to Fox News Channel on Monday after a vacation with fewer companies willing to advertise on his show than when he left, part of the fallout from calling President Barack Obama a racist.

A total of 33 Fox advertisers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Caremark, Clorox and Sprint, directed that their commercials not air on Beck's show, according to the companies and ColorofChange.org, a group that promotes political action among blacks and launched a campaign to get advertisers to abandon him. That's more than a dozen more than were identified a week ago....

e was actually on another Fox show July 28 when he referred to Obama as a racist with "a deep-seated hatred for white people." The network immediately distanced itself from Beck's statement, but Beck didn't. He used his radio show the next day to explain why he believed that. He would not comment for this article, spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said.

ColorofChange.org quickly targeted companies whose ads had appeared during Beck's show, telling them what he had said and seeking a commitment to drop him. The goal is to make Beck a liability, said James Rucker, the organization's executive director.

"They have a toxic asset," Rucker said. "They can either clean it up or get rid of it."

The insane hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds.

Whether Beck's comment was over the top of not is not the issue. I disagree and I don't think Obama is a racist, but he certainly has no problem associating with anti-white and anti-Semitic racists. He did, after all attend Trinity United for 20 years, all the while admiring Jeremiah Wright, and only left when it became politically expedient to do so.

After almost decade of listening to "Selected, not Elected, "Bush lied, people died, "impeach Bush," "Bushitler," "Chimpy McHitler," and about a zillion other comparisons of George W Bush to Hitler and Republicans to Nazis, I am in no mood to sit back and listen to liberals whine about something a radio and TV talk show host said.

Here we have Keith Olbermann call Bush and Republicans Fascists, and the anti-religious hatemonger Bill Maher spewing his venom, all the while egged on by the left, and I'm supposed to be upset about Glenn Beck? Please. Given all that we on the right have had to put up with everyone from Olbermann and Maher to Roseanne Barr and Janeane Garofalo, Beck's comment was about as unremarkable as it gets.

And we all know that the same leftist idiots who want to throw Beck off the air and shut down Fox News would be the first to scream that their First Amendment rights were being violated if the shoe was on the other foot.

So to claim that Beck is so over-the-top that he should be taken off the air is liberal lunacy pure and simply.

Speaking of boycotts, the left is engaged in yet another boycott, that of the trendy leftie Whole Foods chain. Whole Foods founder and CEO had the temerity to - gasp - go against the leftist party line in an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. Now the lefties are all up in arms and are boycotting his stores.

Andrew Breitbart hits another home run today in his editorial in today's Washington Times, so we'll just quote in in full:

Boycotting the boycotters

Andrew Breitbart

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

John Mackey - the founder, CEO and marketing genius behind Whole Foods - finds himself in an organic, unsustainable mess with his carefully cultivated affluent, liberal customer base after penning an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare."

For starters, Mr. Mackey opens with a line from known-liberal-allergen Margaret Thatcher that features the dreaded "S" word: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Then he goes on to provide eight sensible free-market solutions gleaned from his company's well-regarded employee health care program.

Mr. Mackey, a free-market libertarian, is now at the mercy of an unforgiving grass-roots mob intent on destroying his company. More than 25,000 people have signed on to a Whole Foods boycott on Facebook.

"Whole Foods has built its brand with the dollars of deceived progressives," the online petition reads. "Let them know your money will no longer go to support Whole Foods' anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing activities."

A complementary Web site, WholeBoycott.com, features unintentionally comical video testimonials from aggrieved former customers. The mainstream media have picked up on the story and fanned the flames.

The success of Whole Foods is largely built on Mr. Mackey's understanding of the liberal mind. It wants the good life - but with instant absolution for the sin of conspicuous consumption. Whole Foods is marketing at its best. Iconography and slogans throughout the store - not unlike those Barack Obama used to win the presidency - tell the shopper they are saving the planet in large and small ways.

The product is so good even conservatives and skeptics are willing to play along.

But Mr. Mackey missed the key ingredient of modern liberalism: intolerance to the ideas of nonliberals. And this miscalculation may prove to be devastating to his multibillion-dollar business.

Everywhere one looks these days, the intolerance of self-avowed liberals is on display. Especially since Mr. Obama came to power.

The purportedly open-minded and empathic among us who now run everything - save for NASCAR and Nashville - openly wage war against those who dare disagree.

Witness Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi's joint-penned editorial in USA Today in which the House's two top Democrats describe those publicly questioning Mr. Obama's proposed health care system overhaul as "un-American."

One need not go back too far in the political time machine to recall a time when the same people were claiming that the term "un-American" was being tossed at liberals for opposing the Iraq war, and that Republicans were stifling free speech.

Examples were rarely, if ever, given. It just was. And we were told this was a very, very bad thing.

The Dixie Chicks brilliantly used this sob line to become a Rolling Stone magazine cover staple, a blue-state crossover and an international cause celebre. A chorus line of would-be liberal celebrity martyrs took a similar marketing tack proclaiming McCarthyism was again afoot - as conservative Hollywood kept its collective mouth shut knowing that support for President Bush or the war was an instant career-killer.

Yet amid the cries of "dissent is patriotic" - a phrase seen on the bumper stickers of cars in the Whole Foods parking lot - the antiwar movement grew and grew, unfettered by the war's supporters or by the party in power.

As the Hollywood Left churned out antiwar film screeds, it was creating a narrative of its victimhood as it victimized Mr. Bush and his administration with the false accusation that dissenters were being persecuted. But now that they are in power, Democrats are brazenly wielding punitive weaponry against dissenting Americans and are using the power of the state to shut up citizens.

The Democratic leadership - and its friends in the mainstream media - seem determined to brand opposition to the president's legislative agenda as illegitimate, even racist in origin. Individuals and grass-roots organizations are helping the statists' cause by advocating boycotts and other means of stifling dissent.

The strategy is clear: Intimidate people from speaking up or from attending public protests by telegraphing that anyone can be made a demon for standing up and exercising basic, constitutional rights.

To call these people hypocrites would be a grave insult to those who fail to live up to their own standards. Liberalism has never been about establishing a universal standard. Liberalism is simply intellectual cover for those wanting to gain political power and increase the size of the state.

For free-speech principles to be reinforced and free-market ideas to win the day, more people are going to have to stand up and be heard.

Mrs. Pelosi and the Whole Foods boycotters are on the wrong side of history.

The way to stand up to them is to go to "tea parties," raise a ruckus at health care debates and - buy organic garlic, herb fresh goat cheese and three-bean salad with quinoa at your local Whole Foods store.

This time, you really could be saving the planet.

• Andrew Breitbart is publisher of the news portals Breitbart.com and Breitbart.tv. His latest endeavor, Big Hollywood (http://bighollywood.breitbart.com), is a group blog on Hollywood and politics from the center-right perspective.

Posted by Tom at 9:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2009

Alinsky's Rule 12: Destroy the Individual

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

Hillary Clinton used to complain about "the politics of personal destruction," but the Republicans of the 1990s had nothing on the radicals of today. Other than the occasional observation by Rush that Chelsea Clinton wasn't going to win any beauty contests, she didn't have to worry about her child or extended family.

But these liberals today are something else. For almost eight years they say that George W. Bush is another Hitler, and then whine when anyone compares their healthcare plan to the German plan under the Nazis. We heard one despicable attack on George W. Bush after another, and all the time the media stayed silent. But anyone says anything about their messiah Obama, or puts up an offensive poster, and you'd think the world had come to an end if you watch the liberal news.

Speaking of news, these liberals can't take any dissent. On the left side of broadcast media you have CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS. There's a grand total of one on the right, Fox News, and they can't stand the idea that it even exists. Sure, for decades conservatives have lamented liberal bias in the news. But I never saw the sheer hatred toward any network that I see for Fox. They want it off the air, and over at Democrats.org they're actually getting some companies to drop their advertising.

To this day they attack every single member of Sarah Palin's family with apparent impunity from criticism from the media.

We saw how after the defeat of Proposition 8 in California the brown shirts of the "gay rights" movement attacked Mormons, storming their churches and issuing the most vile slanders and attacks.

Carrie Prejean gave one of the most unoffensive and nice answers I've ever heard to a question on gay marriage, yet was subject to the most vile and insane attacks from everyone from hollywood media types to Keith Olbermann.

Even Anderson Cooper, supposedly a "serious" CNN anchor, made "tea bagging" "jokes" with his guests, referring to a gay sex practice too disgusting for me to explain here.

And all of this is considered quite normal for liberals, from what I can tell. Olbermann and Cooper are still employed at their respective networks.

As Sister Toldjah asked last week, "Since when the hell did the MSM ever give a damn about Hitler comparisons?"

Andrew Breitbart nails all this and more in his column today in The Washington Times, which I am reproducing in it's entirety:

George W. Bush-by-proxy syndrome
Andrew Breitbart

There is an extensive body of writing from both sides of the political aisle that has analyzed the extraordinary depths of hatred leveled at former President George W. Bush.

His birth into a wealthy and politically connected family is where a lot of the animus starts. His rejection of his Connecticut roots and adoption of a rugged Texan persona naturally riled his birth-constituency. His disjointed speaking style also alienated many others - especially those who covered him in the Northeastern media. Naturally, some of his initiatives were controversial. His allies say he didn't do enough.

But all presidents make mistakes, pursue unpopular ideas, possess off-putting personality traits and don't do enough to appeal to their core supporters. Something far more insidious was at work in the hatred of our most recent former president.

Now that Mr. Bush is quietly going about his retirement, this strain of rage - the GWB43 virus - has spread like wildfire, finding unsuspecting targets, each granting us greater perspective into what not long ago seemed like a mysterious phenomenon isolated only on our 43rd president.

The first person to catch the virus was Sarah Palin, whose family also was infected, including, unforgivably, her children.

Then it was Joe the Plumber, for asking a question.

Next were the Mormons.

Then it was Rush Limbaugh - who hit back.

Next, tax-day "tea party" attendees were "tea bagged."

Then there was a beauty contestant.

And a Cambridge cop, too.

And now we have town-hall "mobs."

Smile ... you've been "community organized."

When put on the media stage, these individuals and groups have been isolated for destruction for standing in the way of a resurgent modern progressive movement and for challenging its charismatic once-in-a-lifetime standard-bearer, Barack Obama.

This is their time, we've been told. And no one is going to stand in the way.

The origins of manufactured "politics of personal destruction" is Saul Alinsky, the mentor of a young Hillary Rodham, who wrote her 92-page Wellesley College senior thesis on the late Chicago-based "progressive" street agitator titled, "There Is Only the Fight."

Mr. Obama and his Fighting Illini, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, have perfected Mr. Alinsky's techniques as laid out in his guidebook to political warfare, "Rules for Radicals." In plain language, we see how normal, decent and even private citizens become nationally vilified symbols overnight - all in the pursuit of progressive political victory.

"Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)"

With the complicity of the mainstream media and abetted by George Soros' money and netroots nation, Mr. Bush never stood a chance.

But the more the virus spreads, the more we study it and, perhaps, find the cure. The repetitive use of the same technique against anyone who would dare stand up and oppose the progressive movement and especially its leader has exposed the game and rendered its tactics less effective.

In fact, one could make the argument that the Republican Party, usually slow on the uptake, has finally figured it out. There are no major Republican targets out there opposing Mr. Obama and his aggressive agenda. The conservative movement appears leaderless, but perhaps for the best.

Maybe that is the strategy: Standing back and letting the Obama machine flail in its pursuit of its next victim.

A grass-roots movement of average Americans has stood up, making it extremely difficult to isolate and demonize an individual.

Mr. Alinsky noted in "Rule 12" that it is difficult to go after "institutions." And attacking "tea baggers" and "mobs" has only created more resistance and drawn attention to the left's limited playbook. Even Americans expressing their constitutionally protected right to free speech are open game.

Now that many people are Googling the Alinsky rule book and catching up with the way Chicago thugs play their political games, Mr. Obama and the Fighting Illini are going to be forced to create new rules - or double down on the old ones.

Worse yet, as his approval ratings descend rapidly - Rasmussen has him at 47 percent, the lowest of his presidency - angry citizens may be turning the tables on him, using Mr. Alinsky against him.

They won't have to "freeze" and "personalize" him either. He's got 3 1/2 years left with the klieg lights focused on him. And if Mr. Obama can't get the economy rolling and continues to demonize everyday folks for his failures, he will be further isolated from sympathy and even ridiculed.

Yes, it's cruel - and effective.

Ask Mr. Bush, the magnanimous guy who gave the new president a heartfelt hug the day he took office. He knows.

Boy, I wish I could see his famous smirk right about now. I always loved how much they hated that.

The Democrats made a classic error after the last election by overestimating their mandate. A majority of voters wanted the Republicans out, and thought they'd give the Democrats a chance. But they didn't buy into the entire socialist-left Democrat agenda, and they're finding this out the hard way now.

In the end, I think Andrew might be right; the left has overplayed it's hand. The American people are waking up and we're seeing it at the town halls. More, the town halls are showing that liberal-left tactics of intimidation aren't working anymore.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 15, 2009

The "Nazi/president" Selective Outrage of the Left

Sister Toldjah asks

Since when the hell did the MSM ever give a damn about Hitler comparisons?

If you're like me, you're pretty disgusted and close to nauseous over hearing the repeated "outrage" from the mainstream mediots about the alleged comparisons the "mobsters" at the ObamaCare town halls are making between Hitler and Obama. Ever since Pelosi's "swastika" crack, the MSM (and their cohorts at far left liberal blogs) have been scouring town halls across the country looking for any evidence whatsoever of signs made by alleged "conservative mobsters" featuring swastikas and/or images of Hitler and Obama together, in desperate attempts to prove how diehard conservatives have supposedly "lost it" over Obama and thus should be ignored when it comes to the discussion and debate over ObamaCare.

As the sister relates, it was Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer started all this earlier this week when she called critics of Obama's health care plan "un-American, and even accused them of "carrying swastikas and symbols like that" to meetings.

Liberals also have their panties on a wad over comments Rush Limbaugh made, and pull out the "how dare anyone call Obama a socialist!" meme.

Oh the outrage. Nevermind that Rush didn't say Obama was equivalent to Hitler or Pelosi Himmler. What he said was that socialist health care in Germany was started by Bismark and completed by the Nazis, and that the Democrats are doing the same thing. Historically he's right. But whether you like that or not, these same liberals weren't so outraged during years of "Bushitler" hate.

Like, oh, this one via Michelle Malkin:

Or these, which you can find simply by googling for "Bushitler" while set on "images:

Bushitler1


Bushitler2


bushitler3


Not to mention this video of protesters with Bush-Nazi signs at Bush's second inauguration


Recall any outrage over this?

Zombietime has about a zillion photos of Bush-as-Hitler from various leftist protests. Where was the media outrage then?

For that matter, I've seen tons of Bush-the-Nazi signs in every anti-war protest I observed in Washington DC over the past four years. Pictures are all over the internet.

Now, I'll never say that conservatives are saints. Too many buy into the Barack Obama birth certificate nonsense. And when we actly badly it is reported gleefully by the press. All we're asking for is some even-handedness.

Bill Sammon of Fox News relates how the press ignored these constant references to Bush as Hitler:

News outlets that are focusing on the incendiary rhetoric of conservatives outside President Obama's town hall meeting Tuesday ignored the incendiary rhetoric -- and even violence -- of liberals outside an appearance by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

When Bush visited Portland, Ore., for a fundraiser, protesters stalked his motorcade, assailed his limousine and stoned a car containing his advisers. Chanting "Bush is a terrorist!", the demonstrators bullied passers-by, including gay softball players and a wheelchair-bound grandfather with multiple sclerosis.

One protester even brandished a sign that seemed to advocate Bush's assassination. The man held a large photo of Bush that had been doctored to show a gun barrel pressed against his temple.

"BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE," read the placard, which had an X over the word "ALIVE."

Another poster showed Bush's face with the words: "F--- YOU, MOTHERF---ER!"

A third sign urged motorists to "HONK IF YOU HATE BUSH." A fourth declared: "CHRISTIAN FASCISM," with a swastika in place of the letter S in each word.

Although reporters from numerous national news organizations were traveling with Bush and witnessed the protest, none reported that protesters were shrieking at Republican donors epithets like "Slut!" "Whore!" and "Fascists!"

Frank Dulcich, president and CEO of Pacific Seafood Group, had a cup of liquid thrown into his face, and then was surrounded by a group of menacing protesters, including several who wore masks. Donald Tykeson, 75, who had multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair, was blocked by a thug who threatened him.

Protesters slashed the tires of several state patrol cruisers and leapt onto an occupied police car, slamming the hood and blocking the windshield with placards. A female police officer was knocked to the street by advancing protesters, badly injuring her wrist.

The angry protest grew so violent that the Secret Service was forced to take the highly unusual step of using a backup route for Bush's motorcade because the primary route had been compromised by protesters, one of whom pounded his fist on the president's moving limousine.

All the while, angry demonstrators brandished signs with incendiary rhetoric, such as "9/11 - YOU LET IT HAPPEN, SHRUB," and "BUSH: BASTARD CHILD OF THE SUPREME COURT." One sign read: "IMPEACH THE COURT-APPOINTED JUNTA AND THE FASCIST, EGOMANIACAL, BLOOD-SWILLING BEAST!"

Yet none of these signs were cited in the national media's coverage of the event. By contrast, the press focused extensively on over-the-top signs held by Obama critics at the president's town hall event held Tuesday in New Hampshire.

The lead story in Wednesday's Washington Post, for example, is headlined: "Obama Faces 'Scare Tactics' Head-On."

"As the president spoke, demonstrators outside held posters declaring him a socialist and dubbing him 'Obamahdinejad,' in reference to Iran's president," the Post reported. "People screamed into bullhorns to protest a bigger government role in health care. 'Nobama Deathcare!' one sign read. A young girl held up a sign that said: 'Obama Lies, Grandma Dies.' Images of a protester wearing what appeared to be a gun were shown on television."

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that a Democratic congressman discovered that "an opponent of health care reform hanged him in effigy" and was confronted by "200 angry conservatives." The article lamented "increasingly ugly scenes of partisan screaming matches, scuffles, threats and even arrests."

No such coverage was given to the Portland protest of Bush by The New York Times or the Washington Post, which witnessed the protest.

But if anyone shows up at a conservative protest with one sign that's out of place, and the media and liberal politicians go nuts.

Sorry, but I'm having a hard time taking the liberal outrage seriously.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 3, 2009

Is Health Care a Right?

Is heath care a right? Short answer; no.

Consider our Bill of Rights

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Did you read it? I hope so.

Now consider Franklin Delano Roosevelts' proposed Second Bill of Rights, sometimes called his "Economic Bill of Rights"

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

Thankfully this was never formally adopted. Unfortunately some of it it has been adopted in practice, which was Roosevelt's intent. He was not one to let the Constitution stand in his way.

The difference between the two is striking. The first tells us what the government cannot do to us, the second what it should do for us. The first simply requires it to stay out of the way, the second to proactively interfere in our lives. The first describes what the government must do in cases where it wishes to charge a citizen with a crime, the latter what it must do to make us happy.

Today we are told by the left that health care is a right. The government may or may not have an obligation to provide it, but it most certainly is not a right as properly defined.

Theodore Dalyrymple has some thoughts in his piece in last week's Wall Street Journal that are well worth pondering.

If there is a right to health care, someone has the duty to provide it. Inevitably, that "someone" is the government. Concrete benefits in pursuance of abstract rights, however, can be provided by the government only by constant coercion.

People sometimes argue in favor of a universal human right to health care by saying that health care is different from all other human goods or products. It is supposedly an important precondition of life itself. This is wrong: There are several other, much more important preconditions of human existence, such as food, shelter and clothing.

Everyone agrees that hunger is a bad thing (as is overeating), but few suppose there is a right to a healthy, balanced diet, or that if there was, the federal government would be the best at providing and distributing it to each and every American.

Where does the right to health care come from? Did it exist in, say, 250 B.C., or in A.D. 1750? If it did, how was it that our ancestors, who were no less intelligent than we, failed completely to notice it?

If, on the other hand, the right to health care did not exist in those benighted days, how did it come into existence, and how did we come to recognize it once it did?

When the supposed right to health care is widely recognized, as in the United Kingdom, it tends to reduce moral imagination. Whenever I deny the existence of a right to health care to a Briton who asserts it, he replies, "So you think it is all right for people to be left to die in the street?"

When I then ask my interlocutor whether he can think of any reason why people should not be left to die in the street, other than that they have a right to health care, he is generally reduced to silence. He cannot think of one.

Moreover, the right to grant is also the right to deny. And in times of economic stringency, when the first call on public expenditure is the payment of the salaries and pensions of health-care staff, we can rely with absolute confidence on the capacity of government sophists to find good reasons for doing bad things.

The question of health care is not one of rights but of how best in practice to organize it. America is certainly not a perfect model in this regard. But neither is Britain, where a universal right to health care has been recognized longest in the Western world.

Not coincidentally, the U.K. is by far the most unpleasant country in which to be ill in the Western world. Even Greeks living in Britain return home for medical treatment if they are physically able to do so.

The government-run health-care system--which in the U.K. is believed to be the necessary institutional corollary to an inalienable right to health care--has pauperized the entire population. This is not to say that in every last case the treatment is bad: A pauper may be well or badly treated, according to the inclination, temperament and abilities of those providing the treatment. But a pauper must accept what he is given.

Universality is closely allied as an ideal, ideologically, to that of equality. But equality is not desirable in itself. To provide everyone with the same bad quality of care would satisfy the demand for equality. (Not coincidentally, British survival rates for cancer and heart disease are much below those of other European countries, where patients need to make at least some payment for their care.)

In any case, the universality of government health care in pursuance of the abstract right to it in Britain has not ensured equality. After 60 years of universal health care, free at the point of usage and funded by taxation, inequalities between the richest and poorest sections of the population have not been reduced. But Britain does have the dirtiest, most broken-down hospitals in Europe.

There is no right to health care--any more than there is a right to chicken Kiev every second Thursday of the month.


Posted by Tom at 9:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 25, 2009

The Democrat "Truth Commissions"

Yesterday I lambasted President Obama for deciding to allow prosecution of Bush Administration officials who approved harsh interrogation techniques. I also quoted from several news stories that showed that congressional Democrats knew full well years ago what was happening, but for political reasons are choosing to lie about it now.

Today I've got a few additional thoughts on the matter.

If this actually goes forward, Obama will have gone too far, and all in less than 100 days. His 'stimulus' program will set us on the road to long-term economic ruin. Using the economic crisis as an excuse to effectively take over businesses sets us on the road to socialism. Cutting spending for the Navy and Air Force is dangerous. His serial apologies, insults to our country really, while overseas are disgraceful. That he refuses to even use the term "war on terror" is a scandal in and of itself. But these truth commissions, inquiries, whatever you want to call them, put us on the road to becoming a banana republic.

These prosecutions are nothing more than politically motivated witch hunts. Obama is throwing a bone to the kook left. It's not really even about guilt or innocence in any meaningful sense. It's about the criminalization of policy differences.

This is about intimidating any future advisers into only issuing the most bland, politically correct opinions. Anyone who seriously considers anything in an opinion other than the liberal party line risks prosecution. It's an attempt to shut down discussion on certain matters, sort of like what happened recently to Carrie Prejean and the Miss USA pagent.

This is what goes on in a banana republic; the guy who seizes power, or wins an election immediately sets about bringing the losers to trial.

I think the Democrats are also doing this because they think it's politically popular. Kind of like when they supported the invasion of Iraq when that was popular, and then opposed the war when the opinion polls turned south.

As a candidate, and until last week, Obama said that he was against these prosecutions. Apparently he has caved to political pressure. So much for his being a strong leader able to introduce a new type of politics. Whatever happened to "looking to the future?" This seems like concentrating on the past to me. The editors of the Wall Street Journal:

One major concern here is what Mr. Obama's decision to release these memos says about his own political leadership. He claims that one of his goals as President is to restore more comity to our politics, especially concerning national security. He also knows he needs a CIA willing to take risks to keep the country safe. Yet Mr. Obama seems more than willing to indulge the revenge fantasies of the left, as long as its potential victims served a different President. And while he is willing to release classified documents about interrogation techniques, Mr. Obama refuses to release documents that more fully discuss their results.

Apparently civility will have to wait.

All of this also shows the pernicious influence of groups like Movon.org. If they don't want to like Bush Administration policies, fine. What's going on here though is a policy dispute dressed up as criminal acts. This is similar to calls by environmentalists for prosecution of anyone involved in contributing to "global warming," or anti-gun groups or cities suing gun manufactures because their products allegedly violate consumer safety laws.

This makes what Obama and the Democrats are doing just the opposite of what happened to President Clinton. Whether you think his perjury rose to the level of an impeachable offense or not (and it is debatable), it was not a simple policy dispute and it wasn't the popular thing for the Republicans to do (the media at the time warning darkly that they would pay in the next election).

History

If you want to get down to it, it's no different than what any other president has done in times of war. They all do things that are later said to be 'going too far'

President Lincoln suspended habeus corpus three times during the Civil War. Here's one

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus in the confederate border state of Maryland (also a slave state) due to the fear that Maryland might secede from the Union. If secession occurred, it would result in Washington DC being completely surrounded by Confederate states.

His action was challenged in the U.S. Circuit Court in Maryland and overturned, but Lincoln ignored the court's ruling. In 1866 (5 years later), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to suspend habeas corpus since the President did not have that power.

Well that sounds pretty serious. Shall we demolish the Lincoln Memorial?

Now revered by almost all Americans, at the time Lincoln was lambasted by critics for what the liberals today call "shredding the Constitution. "

During World War I, Woodrow Wilson's Postmaster General was given the authority to refuse to deliver any publication he deemed seditious, and there was no appeal to his decision. At least seventy-five periodicals were effectively banned when the post office refused to deliver them.

FDR is worshiped by liberals and yet he "interned" some 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.

My message here again is that during time of national emergency American leaders all do what seems right at the time. We have never prosecuted any of them. We must not start now.

So these "truth commissions," investigatations, or whatever the Democrats want to call them represent childishness and naivete on an unparalleled level. The only people who will be impressed are the ones who don't really matter; the Europeans, who have refused to help us in Afghanistan and are in the process of surrendering their nations to Islam.

Our enemies, on the other hand, are laughing at us.

They also know that Obama has done nothing, and I mean nothing, to actually fight terrorism, let alone jihadism. This despite that for the past several years the mantra from the left was "Bush has done nothing to make us safer" or "We aren't any safer now than on Sept 10."

Perhaps it's time for Mark Steyn to update the pronouns in what he said a few years ago:

I think when we listen to terrorists talking about the new caliphate, and there are a bunch of guys sitting in the cave, we think they're nuts. When a guy is sitting in the cave listening to (editor of The New York Times) Bill Keller explain proudly why he betrayed America's national security interests, that guy in the cave would rightly conclude that we're the ones that are nuts.

They must think we're nuts right about now.

Posted by Tom at 10:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Changing his position, President Obama has now decided to open the door to prosecution of Bush Administration officials who approved harsh interrogation techniques. From the New York Times on Wednesday:

President Obama left the door open Tuesday to creating a bipartisan commission that would investigate the Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects, and did not rule out action by the Justice Department against those who fashioned the legal rationale for those techniques.

Obama is caving to pressure from his fellow Democrats. On March 4 Marc A. Thiessen reported this on National Review:

In an interview last week with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that she "absolutely" supports the criminal investigation and potential prosecution of Bush officials, stating: "We have to have the facts. . . . We are unhappy about certain things; we anecdotally know about certain things....

The investigative train leaves the station this morning, as Sen. Whitehouse and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy hold the first hearing on Leahy's proposal for a "Truth Commission" to investigate the Bush administration. Leahy presents his commission as a "middle ground" between those "who resist any effort to investigate the misdeeds of the recent past" and those "who say that, regardless of the cost in time, resources, and unity, we must prosecute Bush administration officials to lay down a marker."

I hear they've selected their chief prosecutor, er, "investigator:"

Andrey Januaryevich Vyshinskiy

Andrey Januaryevich Vyshinskiy (Russian: Андре́й Януа́рьевич Выши́нский, Andrej Januar'evič Vyšinskij) (December 10 [O.S. November 28] 1883, Odessa, Imperial Russia -November 22, 1954, New York), was a Russian and Soviet jurist and diplomat. He is mostly known as a state prosecutor of Stalin's show trials. He served as the Soviet Foreign Minister from 1949 to 1953. Vyshinsky was of Polish and Russian descent and spoke some English and excellent French...

In 1935 he became Prosecutor General of the USSR, the legal mastermind of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge. He is widely cited for the principle that "confession of the accused is the queen of evidence". His monograph that justifies this postulate, Theory of Judicial Proofs in Soviet Justice, was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1947. He was the prosecutor at the Moscow Trials of the Great Purge, lashing its defenseless victims with vituperative, sometimes cruelly witty rhetoric.

Democrats are full of moral righteousness these days, imagining themselves to be as pure as the wind driven snow.

They're not. They're in on this too. A Dec 9, 2007 story in the Washington Post is most revealing

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange....

Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Well well. They knew all along.

A story this past Thursday in The Washington Times reports much the same thing:

The CIA briefed top Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees more than 30 times about enhanced interrogation techniques, according to intelligence sources who said the lawmakers tacitly approved the techniques that some Democrats in Congress now say should land Bush administration officials in jail.

Between 2002 and 2006, the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees "each got complete, benchmark briefings on the program," said one of the intelligence sources who is familiar with the briefings.

"If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the closed-door briefings.

Those who were briefed included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Rep. Jane Harman of California, all Democrats, and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, all Republicans.

The Democratic and Republican staff directors for both committees also were briefed, according to the intelligence source and to a declassified memo released Wednesday that detailed some of the Senate committee briefings.

Speaker Pelosi is in full backtrack mode. In a press conference on Thusday she said

"It is not appropriate for me to talk about what happens at briefings. It is very interesting that people are talking so freely. But I can say this: they have been talking about it for a while. At that or any other briefing, and that was the only briefing that I was briefed on in that regard, we were not -- I repeat, we were not -- told that water boarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.

"What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel -- the Office of Legislative Counsel opinions that they could be used, but not that they would. And they further -- further, the point was that if and when they would be used, they would brief Congress at that time, A.

This is hotly disputed by Republicans. As reported today in the Times


Rep. Peter Hoekstra, currently the ranking Republican on the House intelligence panel, described her comments as the "lamest of lame excuses," saying she could have gone to then-Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt to discuss her concerns.

and

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner on Thursday chided Democrats for seeking an investigation of the Bush administration's treatment of captured terror suspects, noting a long list of lawmakers from both parties were briefed about the use of harsh interrogation methods years ago.

"Not a word was raised at the time," said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, adding that he has seen a partial list of Democrats and Republicans briefed on CIA interrogation techniques as far back as 2002.

"There is nothing here that should surprise them," he said.

Very simply, I think Pelosi is lying through her teeth.

It is all very fine for her to say these things to reporters at a press briefing. If she allows her party to push forward with this, our attorneys will supoena her, get a deposition, and under oath she'll have to tell the truth. She'll be confronted with the records, statements of the CIA officers who briefed them, and the Republicans who were also present.

These Democrats were in on this from the beginning. Now they are trying to pretend that they didn't know.

They are playing to the polls. Their policy is whatever the latest poll or focus group shows. After 9-11 the polls said to be tough, so they were tough. Like everyone else, they were scared of another attack, and pulled out all the stops to prevent it. But not that the memory of that awful day has faded, they look at the polls and they show a public that doesn't like George W Bush, ignoring that it's for reasons other than actions taken fighting the GWOT. So they get ontheir moral high horse and sanctimoniously cry "torture!"

It's all like the Iraq war; they were for it when it was popular, and turned against it when the war went south and support sank in the polls.

They allowed kook groups like Movon.org to exert undue inlfuence over their party, and we are seeing the result; the criminalization of foreign policy differences. This is what banana republics do; the winner puts his defeated opponents in jail.

And the vast right-wing conspiracy, which is waiting for all this to unfold, will be out in full force. We've got the finest legal minds in the country lined up around the block to defend anyone they dare put through their show trials.

Stay tuned. More to come.

Posted by Tom at 10:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 2, 2009

The Coming War on American Sovereignty

What do these stories have in common?

One: The New York Times reports that a Spanish court wants to indite former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez on five other Bush Administration officials, charging that they "violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay." If this evokes a response of "oh these are some kooks and nothing will come of it," think again.

Two: The Times also reports that President Obama has appointed Yale law school dean Harold Koh has to head the legal adviser's office in the State Department. Ed Whelan at NRO says that "Koh is a leading proponent of transnationalism."

Three: There's a new push for the United States to ratify something called the innocuous sounding UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Last month I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Michael Farris in which he explained why it's not so innocuous.

The answer is that they're signs of what is coming down the pike and fast; a determined attack on the concept of national sovereignty in general, and American sovereignty in particular.

These may seem isolated incidents, and in a way they are. What's important is that we recognize is that there is a large and well organized effort by the internationalist left to destroy traditional concepts of sovereignty. Now that President Obama is in office with large Democrat majorities in each house of Congress, they're determined to strike while the iron is hot.

Their plan is laid out for all to see. You can find it at the website of The Brookings Institution, one of the largest and most influential liberal think tanks in Washington DC. It's part of their Managing Global Insecurity (MGI) project. The MGI is a cooperative effort between them, tanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, and New York University's Center on International Cooperation.

Rolled out last November, the full title is A Plan for Action A New Era of International Cooperation for a Changed World: 2009, 2010, and Beyond. There's a link where you can download it from the aformentioned page.

I did, and what I found concerns me greatly.

This document is the worst of the worst regarding the plans of the internationalist left. If this represents anything like what the Obama Administration wants to do, then America as we know it will come to an end. It would represent a victory for second and third-world dictators and statists, and jihadists, and a defeat for traditional notions of liberty.

At the end of the Cold War it seemed that liberty and democracy (not quite the same thing) were on the ascendancy, and indeed the 90s seemed to bear that out if one didn't look to hard at demographic figures.

After 9-11 many of us woke up to the jihadist threat. We realized that we were in a World War IV (or War of Ideas, Clash of Civilizations, choose your term) and that a new long era of struggle awaited us. Those who looked more closely at our traditional allies in Europe saw problems that we had ignored for too long

Let's look at some of the American members of the Advisory Group who contributed to this document

  • Madeleine Albright - President Clinton's Secretary of State. 'Nuff said
  • Richard Armitage - Who undercut the Bush Administration and leaked the information about Valerie Plame to Robert Novak
  • Samuel Berger - who stole top secret documents from the National Achives
  • Lawrence Eagleburger - how he was duped into this business I'll never know
  • John Podesta - big lib
  • Brent Scowcroft - champion of stability uber alles in foreign affairs to the point where all action is forbidden as "destabilizing"
  • Strobe Talbott - one-world goverment guy. He was famously wrong about Soviet IRBMs in the 1980s, urging President Reagan to abandon his insistence on a "zero-zero" solution.

Some of the International Members

  • Wu Jianmin - former Ambassador of China to the UN. I'm sure he has our best interests in mind.
  • Igor S. Ivanov - former Russian Foreign Minister. Ditto to what i said about Jianmin
  • Salim Ahmed Salim - Former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Their Recommendations

Let's just go straight to the end of this document and see what it says

Under "TRACK 1 GOAL: America restores its standing internationally--a necessary foundation for credible U.S. leadership across this action agenda" we see

Deliver Consistent and Strong Messages on International Cooperation
  • High-level consultations conducted to promote global dialogue
  • Presidential speeches in the lead-up to the G8, UNGA, and in strategic international capitals;
  • message delivered on U.S. leadership to build a 21st century international security system
  • U.S. shifts rhetoric away from a general GWOT and towards a specific war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates
  • Demonstrate Respect for a Rules-Based System
  • U.S. upholds Geneva Conventions, Convention Against Torture and other laws of war
  • U.S. President closes Guantanamo and works with Congress on a sustainable detainee policy

As with everyone who insists that we close Gitmo they never say what we're supposed to do with the prisoners there. Obama, we now know, is shipping some of them to prisons in the United States. Ok... but how many? What about the foreigners? We know that their countries won't take them, or we won't extradite them because we're afraid they'll torture them. This itself could be the subject of an entire post. What bugs me is the self-assured arrogance of these people that all they have to do is say "close Guantanamo" and presto problem solved.

Of course, there is the general wrongness of moving " away from a general GWOT and towards a specific war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates" which completely misunderstands our current struggle.

Under "TRACK 3 GOAL: Utilize enhanced international cooperation and international institutions to tackle key global threats" we have, among other things

Negotiate Two-Track Agreement on Climate Change Under UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) auspices
  • Track 1 is emissions abatement: major emitters agree on global 2020 and 2050 emissions targets, price carbon, and legislate/coordinate national measures
  • Track 2 is investment: investment in technology, adaptation, and rainforests to manage the impacts of climate change on the developing world
  • Negotiations led through a G16 climate group under UNFCCC auspices

Man-made climate change is at best debatable, and possibly outright fiction. I'm fine with a scientific debate, but what what bothers me is how this is being used by internationalists to dilute American power, increase the power of second and third-world dictators, and control the citizens of developed countries such as the United States. That their schemes will drive us to economic ruin is oddly the least of our worries.

Revitalize the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime
  • Nuclear states re-pledge commitment to disarmament: initiate a joint study of reducing their nuclear weapons to zero

Which will allow countries from China to Iran to blackmail us, because only a fool would think they'll give up their nukes.

Under "TRACK 4 GOAL: Internationalize crisis response in the broader Middle East to address regional conflict and transnational threats" we have this fantasy

Improve International Strategy and Increase Investments for Afghanistan
  • Seek further troop commitments to secure volatile regions

The Europeans have made it clear they're not interested in contributing more than a token number of troops, and many of those who do have troops there have imposed such strict rules on what they can do that they're largely useless.

There's the usual blather about a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, but that's an idea so stupid that only an intellectual could think it possible (with apologies to Orwell).

Worst of all, perhaps, is this

Improve Relations Between Islam and the West
  • (The) West focuses on messages that build bridges rather than alienate, including avoiding phrases such as Islamic terrorism
  • U.S. focuses on respect for international law, and avoiding double standards on democratic principles in the Muslim world

Grrr. There are so many things wrong with these two sentences one hardly knows where to start.

The entire problem is that Islam is a Medieval religion that has never undergone a Renaissance, Reformation, or Enlightenment. Pandering or ignoring the problem will not help bring this about. We must confront Islam and encourage true reformers, not blather about "building bridges" and the like. Most of all, we must use terms like "Islamic Terrorism" because that's what it is.

Further, the "double standards" are almost entirely on the Muslim side. Everyone has some hypocrisy in them, but the Muslim world takes the cake.

Most importantly, this talk about "international law" is really just an attempt by the hate-America crowd to limit American power. This is wrong because all values and cultures are not equal, some are better than others. Sorry relativists, but "the West is Best."

The entire document is only 42 pages so please download and read it, but what I have quoted is representative and if anything other quotes would be even worse.

Better than I could say it, though, is John Bolton. In an article in Commentary titled The Coming War on Sovereignty (yes I stole his title and just added a word, and h/t Andy McCarthy at NRO) he outlined what is happening and why it is so nefarious. Money quotes:

...the authors provide a brief for what they call "responsible sovereignty." They define it as "the notion that sovereignty entails obligations and duties toward other states as well as to one's own citizens," and they believe that its application can form the basis for a "cooperative international order." At first glance, the phrase "responsible sovereignty" may seem unremarkable, given the paucity of advocates for "irresponsible sovereignty." But despite the Plan's mainstream provenance, the conception is a dramatic overhaul of sovereignty itself.

"Global leaders," the Plan insists, "increasingly recognize that alone they are unable to protect their interests and their citizens--national security has become interdependent with global security." The United States must therefore commit to "a rule-based international system that rejects unilateralism and looks beyond military might," or else "resign [our]selves to an ad-hoc international system." Mere "traditional sovereignty" is insufficient in the new era we have entered, an era in which we must contend with "the realities of a now transnational world." This "rule-based international system" will create the conditions for "global governance."...

Diplomacy is a tool, not a policy. It is a technique, not an end in itself. Urging, however earnestly, that we "engage" with our enemies tells us nothing about what happens after concluding the initial pleasantries at the negotiating table...

For the authors and signatories of A Plan of Action, sovereignty is simply an abstraction, a historical concept about as important today as the "sovereigns" from whose absolute rights the term originally derived. That is not the understanding of the U.S. Constitution, which locates the basis of its legitimacy in "we the people," who constitute the sovereign authority of the nation.

"Sharing" sovereignty with someone or something else is thus not abstract for Americans. Doing so by definition will diminish the sovereign power of the American people over their government and their own lives, the very purpose for which the Constitution was written. This is something Americans have been reluctant to do. Now their reluctance may have to take the form of more concerted action against "responsible sovereignty" if its onward march is to be halted or reversed. Our Founders would clearly understand the need.

More To It Than Even This

If you think all this is just about Iraq and Bush's GWOT think again. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child cited above is only the tip of the iceberg. We know how bad the climate change stuff will be. The internationalists are also working to destroy our Second Amendment as well. Just as bad, they're working to take away our free speech, ostensibly through a "Combating defamation of religions" resolution, this latter pushed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

If you don't believe me google around and see for yourself.

My Plea to Liberals

If you want to hate George W. Bush and all Republicans fine. If you think that our country needs to be reformed from within fine. We can debate issues such as foreign policy, the role of the armed forces, health care, taxes, the mimimum wage, a maximum wage for executives or whatever. If you want to take a hard liberal position on each of them fine.

And maybe you'll win. Maybe you'll get a majority of Americans to agree with you.

But let's debate and decide these things ourselves. Let's make our own decisions amongst ourselves.

I ask; do you really, really and truly, want to give the theocrats in the Middle East a say in what we've traditionally considered our internal decisions? The kleptocrats of Africa? The timpot dictators of Central and South America?

Update

A Radical Perspective has linked to this post. He makes some good points, so go checkit out.

Posted by Tom at 9:45 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

March 7, 2009

The Left's War on Charities

Liberals constantly tell us what good people they are because they want to help the poor and downtrodden. Why, then, is President Obama out to destroy charitable institutions? From an opinion piece in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal:

Nonprofit leaders are reeling from the recent news that President Barack Obama's proposed budget would limit tax deductions on charitable contributions from wealthy Americans. But now the philanthropic world has something else to worry about. Today the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a research and advocacy group, will release a report offering "benchmarks to assess foundation performance." Its real aim is to push philanthropic organizations into ignoring donor intent and instead giving grants based on political considerations.

The committee is part of a rising tide of politicians and activists who are working to change the face of American philanthropy -- and not for the better.

The report, titled "Criteria for Philanthropy at its Best," advises foundations to "provide at least 50 percent of grant dollars to benefit lower-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups, broadly defined." The committee looked at 809 of the largest foundations in the country, whose combined three-year grants totaled almost $15 billion, and concluded that the majority of foundations are "eschewing the needs of the most vulnerable in our society" by neglecting "marginalized groups."

"But it's only advice," you protest. So far it's just advice, I respond. I think that limiting tax deductions was only Obama's first step. His next step will be to say "if you want your deductions back you have to meet my requirements."

Reducing the Charitable Deduction

First, here are the tax brackets for fy 2009:

_______0 to _$8,350 10%
__$8,350 to _$33,950 15%
_$33,960 to _$82,250 25%
_$82,250 to $171,550 28%
$171,550 to $372,950 33%
$372,950 and above _ 35%

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explains that the amount of charitable giving you can deduct depends on your tax bracket, so that if you're in the 33 or 35% bracket, that's what you can deduct (beyond the "standard deduction," and for up to 30 - 50% of your adjusted gross income). Under Obama's proposal, anyone making over $250,000 would be limited to 28% for all itemized deductions.

As an example, suppose

...a wealthy donor in the top tax bracket who makes a $100,000 gift. The donor currently would save $35,000 in taxes, or 35 percent of the gift. Under President Obama's proposal, that same donor would save only $28,000, or 28 percent -- a difference of $7,000.

For all of you liberals who profess to care so much about the poor, what this means is that wealthy people will give less money to charity. Happy now?

And as you might imagine, charities are up in arms over this.

Politically Correct Giving

Reducing the tax deduction is only part of the story. In addition, Obama and his fellow leftists are looking for ways to regulate how charities spend their money.

Let's look at that report mentioned earlier; Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best: Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact, issued by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. I read the Executive Summary, and a few of the other documents, and most of it didn't look so bad. This stuck out, though, in Chapter 1, "Values:"

A grantmaker practicing Philanthropy at Its Best serves the public good by contributing to a strong, participatory democracy that engages all communities....

b) Provides at least 25 percent of its grant dollars for advocacy, organizing and
civic engagement to promote equity, opportunity and justice in our society.....

Reading on, there is much talk about "income inequality" which we are told "remains a
significant barrier to improving one's quality of life and data suggest that income inequality has been exacerbated in recent years." I'm not so sure about the data, but I do know that it's not "income inequality" that's the problem. The problem is not that incomes are unequal, but that there are too many people whose income is too low. This is a distinction with a difference.

Also worrisome is that Harvard political philosopher John Rawls is cited approvingly:

In A Theory of Justice, Rawls articulated his now famous and often cited principles of distributive justice. The first principle calls for all people to have "equal rights to the most extensive system of basic civil liberties." The second principle, also called the "distributive justice principle," states that the socio-economic inequalities inherent in the free market system are morally justifiable if they "work to the benefit of the least advantaged" in our society. Rawls sought to ensure justice and fairness, with an emphasis on redistributive justice in the welfare state. Rawls asserted that all wealth in society is made by the cooperation of all the members of society in the context of the arrangements of basic institutions. He stated that there are two types of societies: a capitalist welfare society and a democratic property owning society. The first is concerned with order and will support welfare for the purpose of maintaining order and serving capital. The latter will arrange institutions and norms to support democracy and welfare to secure membership. Capital will be arranged to support democracy and people.

Socialist income redistribution, here we come.

Also sticking out in the NCRP report was this in Chapter 1 as well

Advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement have played essential roles in the development of our society and our democracy...

Digging further, one comes across the term "social justice" many times. Conveniently, they define it for us:

Social justice philanthropy is the practice of making contributions to nonprofit organizations that work for structural change and increase the opportunity of those who are less well off politically, economically and socially.

Their recommendation:

Leading the field, 108 foundations (13.35 percent of our sample) provided at least 50 percent of their grant dollars for the intended benefit of marginalized communities. Also noteworthy, 56 foundations (6.9 percent) provided at least 25 percent of their grant dollars for social justice. These are the benchmarks for Philanthropy at Its Best.

This is scary stuff for those of us who believe in traditional concepts of liberty. Hold on to your wallets, because these people want to use charitable causes to advocate for income redistribution and other leftist political goals.

Much of the rest of the proposals were innocuous, and some of the ideas were actually quite sound.

However, read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article cited above. Ms Riley discusses other leftist groups that advocate leftist goals for charitable institutions, such as The Greenlining Institute and the Council on Foundations. Given how leftist the Obama Administration is proving, it can't be long before they enact at least some of their recommendations into law.

Why They're Doing This

Obama makes his purpose clear in "Jumpstarting the Economy", one of the documents outlining his proposal. Under "Financing health Care Reform" it says

The reserve fund is financed by a combination of rebalancing the tax code so that the wealthiest pay more as well as specific health care savings in three areas: promoting efficiency and accountability, aligning incentives toward quality, and encouraging shared responsibility.

This is straight out class warfare. Obama and his fellow leftists hate large segments of America and are determined to punish them. The blather at the end about "shared responsibility" is a lot of hooey. Their idea is that you are not only responsible for your neighbor in a moral sense but as such must be forced to pay for them as well. It's not a matter of doing the right thing out of a sense of moral obligation; the liberals want to force you to do it their way.

When Obama said to "Joe the Plumber" during the campaign that "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" he wasn't kidding.

Obama and the left have a simple objective; they want total control of how aid to the poor is distributed. They'd like government to do as much as possible, and failing that the want to control what private charities do.

Posted by Tom at 8:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 3, 2009

Save us from a Military Takeover!

Via Sister Toldjah comes this on the Huffington Post

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (IPS) by Gareth Porter - CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn't convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama's decision to override Petraeus's recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama's decision.

Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, "Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama."

Petraeus, Gates and Odierno had hoped to sell Obama on a plan that they formulated in the final months of the Bush administration that aimed at getting around a key provision of the U.S.-Iraqi withdrawal agreement signed envisioned re-categorising large numbers of combat troops as support troops. That subterfuge was by the United States last November while ostensibly allowing Obama to deliver on his campaign promise.

It took me a day but I think I've figure out what this is all about.

It's an attempt by the kook antiwar left to make our president into a hero by portraying a fascist military takeover that he must immediately put down.

If you don't believe me follow the link and read the whole thing. It's the story of how active duty military officers are secretly planning a public relations campaign to undermine Obama.

Michael Goldfarb, writing at The Weekly Standard, says file this story under fiction. He's not buying it at all:

"Porter, relying exclusively on anonymous sources, has alleged that America's top general (known to the left as General Betray Us) is acting in defiance of his commander in chief and angling to subvert civilian control of the military. Is it true? Well, Gareth Porter was the man who wrote a book, Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, attacking the "myth" that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were engaged in mass murder. I'm sure he had great anonymous sources for that story, too."

Googling around, I discovered how the left is spinning this; as insubordination that our heroic president must immediately squash. This one is precious:

Generals' Revolt Threatens Obama Presidency

If an article by Gareth Porter in run by InterPress is correct that CentCom Commander Gen. David Petraeus and Iraq Commander Gen. Ray Odierno, backed by a group of lower-ranking generals, are planning to mount a public campaign to try and undermine President Obama's plan for a withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months, Obama needs to act fast and nip this dangerous act of insubordination in the bud....

Obama, on a much more serious issue--the conduct of and termination of a war--is now apparently being more or less openly defied by his top generals, who after all get their glory and power by having troops in battle, and who are also worried that a collapse of the puppet regime in Iraq could leave them looking like losers. They are thus opposing a pullout from Iraq (and a hardly precipitous one at that!) out of self-interest and self-preservation...

There is only one answer to this challenge to presidential authority: President Obama must sack both Petraeus and Odierno...

This is not just a matter of salvaging an Obama presidency. It is also a profound constitutional issue....

Got it? Obama the hero saves us from a fascist military takeover. Sounds like this Porter fellow has seen Seven Days in May one too many times.

Don't misunderstand this post; I am not attacking President Obama, but rather some of his supporters.

I don't see that the Daily Kos has picked up this particular story, but diarist testvet6778 thinks that even retired generals speaking out are a threat to the republic. Really.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 8, 2009

The Israeli War on Hamas - Not Nessarily a Left-Right Divide

While I think it's accurate to say that that most on the right support Israel, and most on the left at least oppose what Israel is doing even if they're not outright pro-Hamas, this is not always the case.

Republican Congressman Ron Paul reveals his moral bankruptcy when says that "we should be on neither side; this is a conflict that has been going on for a long time"


You can see why he didn't make any headway in the primaries.

Pat Buchanan isn't any better. Here's an excerpt from what he wrote on Dec 30:

About Israel's right and duty to defend its border towns, there is no dispute. When Hamas permits Gaza to be used as a launch pad for rockets, it must expect retaliation. Nor can Hamas claim some right to dictate the limits of that retaliation.

Yet the wisdom of so savage a retribution for rockets that killed not one Israeli is open to question. And crass Israeli politics seems to be behind this premeditated and planned blitz....

The moderate Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas, who has been talking to Israel, testifying to her good faith, has been made to appear the puppet and fool. A new intifada spreading to the West Bank, with suicide attacks inside Israel, is now possible.

Moderate Arabs, who have recognized Israel or backed peace, will now be seen by the Arab street as appeasers impotent to stop the public suffering of the Palestinian people....

Whatever Israel decides, we support. For eight years that has been the most reliable guide to U.S. Middle East policy.

Buchanan's statement that Israel has a right to defend itself is clearly a throwaway line. Where all his Arab moderates are is a mystery to me. None of this is a big surprise, though, because as far back as 1991 William F Buckley Jr concluded that Buchanan was an anti-Semite.

On the other side, consider this blog post by a guy who styles himself "Truth101." I ran into him over at American Power, where we usually disagree, but was pleasantly surprised to find him taking Israel's side. Here's an excerpt from his post "The Left isn't always Right"

One of my fellow lefties at Newshoggers posted some nonsense about Israel and the Gaza Conflict. He was trying to make a case that Israel was occupying Gaza and was overreaching or something.

Lefties: the people of Hamas are not your friends. They are lying, sniveling pricks that have no interest in peaceful coexistence with anyone. Let alone Israel. Once the Left and the world accepts these jokers for the no good terrorist, innocent women and children killing pricks they are, we will all be better off and ready to fight a real war on terror. Not the make Halliburton and Blackwater lots of money war Bush has waged.

In the comments section I wrote that my hat was off to him for his clear thinking on this issue.

No matter what Israel does the so-called international community disapproves. The good news is that unlike during the 2006 war in Lebanon, Israel is holding its own in the propaganda war, and setting the record straight as soon as Hamas propaganda hits the news. I'll go out on a limb and sai that I think Israel is going to win this one, much the the chagrin of the internationalists.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 30, 2008

A Childlike View of the World

David Gelernter knocks it out of the park with a piece in The Weekly Standard that will leave youngish yuppie liberal types seething.

His thesis is that the generation who grew up after the 60s Cultural Revolution know little about recent history, and most of what they do know is wrong. Recall Obama actually using the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit as a reason why he should meet with Ahmadinejad.

He calls them "gen-CR", and his indictment is stinging

We know what to expect of gen-CR. Unless they have grown up in regions or families with an unusually strong grasp of tradition, patriotism, and reality, gen-CR'ers tend to have a fuzzy view of history, an unconditional belief in tolerance and diplomacy, and contempt for the military and war-making. Their patriotism (such as it is) tends to focus on the "global community" or "the planet" or some other large, meaningless object. (Beyond a certain point, patriotic devotion spread too thin simply evaporates-which is a good way to get rid of it if you are, say, an English intellectual trusting to the European Union to eradicate this primitive emotion.)

Ouch.

To be sure, not everyone in a particular generation fits to type. After all, not all baby boomers burned their draft cards and protested the war in Vietnam. But there are certain general characteristics (dare we call them "stereotypes"?) of each generation.

On to some history:

His (Obama's) announcement that he would meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions shows exactly why a president must not merely know history but have a decently nuanced view. It was wrong for Chamberlain to meet Hitler and foolish for JFK to meet Khrushchev, but right for Begin to meet Sadat and for Churchill to make repeated long, dangerous journeys to meet Stalin.

We've all read leftie blogs gleefully point out that we were supposedly "allied" with Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war, and how in 1983 Reagan-envoy Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad and shook hands with Saddam, and how these supposedly illegitimized our 2003 invasion.

Never mind that we weren't really "allied" with Iraq. For awhile I tried to point out that we were very much allied with Stalin's Soviet Union, and yet as soon as the war ended fought a Cold War against them for 40 years, so did our onetime alliance with them illegitimize that too? Eventually I grew weary and gave up. Too many on the left today lack the moral clarity to understand the difference.

But other than racism, sexism, or the new one, "homophobia", Hemingway points out that "Gen-CR recoils from the idea of enemies." Last night I was listening to Dennis Prager on the radio say that when he spoke with Europeans they told him that what they didn't like about America was that we spoke about good and evil. Anecdotal to be sure, but it rings true.

Start with a given: An Obama administration might still bring about defeat in Iraq; speeded-up troop with-drawals might weaken this new democracy and bring on its collapse like a burnt-out log into a blaze of terrorist violence. But if it did-if the left's policies proved tragically mistaken-Obama's supporters would never know it. What would the collapse of America's noble project in Iraq look like in the funhouse mirrors of the New York Times, NBC, Time and Newsweek and NPR and the rest of the establishment media? "In the end, Bush policy plunged Iraq into chaos, but Obama was smart enough to pull out before more American lives were lost." And that's what Democrats would "know" about Iraq.

It would all just be another excuse to blame George W Bush and from which to seek political advantage, the better to put us all under the rule of the EPA.

Members of the CR generation who had mainstream, establishment educations have been trained like pet poodles to understand where romping is allowed and where it is forbidden. The permissible range of thought on such topics as protected minorities, protected species, protected psychosexual deviations, et al. is clearly spelled out from kindergarten onward.

Yup. I see more intolerance among the "tolerance" and "diversity" crowd than anywhere else. The push for gay marriage is about a lot of things, but marriage isn't one of them. Their real agenda is to force everyone to accept and approve of the gay lifestyle whether they want to or not. Anyone who deviates from correct thought will be severely punished.

You doubt me? Consider the fate of Harvard President Harry Summers, and before the incident that got him in trouble he was considered a right-thinking liberal:

To understand this generational shift in the making, consider the resignation of Harvard president Lawrence Summers in 2006, under attack for having said that, just possibly, the far greater number of male than of female scientists might have to do with innate differences between men and women-something that a large majority of working scientists (male and female) almost certainly take for granted (whether or not they are willing to say so). But Summers had expressed a forbidden thought, and (despite his abject confessions and apologies at the Harvard show trials) was duly banished. In the gen-CR age now approaching, such embarrassing accidents will no longer happen. Forbidden ideas simply won't occur to the Harvard presidents of the future.

The Obama generation in action.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 27, 2008

The Global Patriot Incident

On March 25, the American Forces Press Service issued the following:

A ship on short-term charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal last night, military officials reported.

There were no reports of casualties from the ship, the Global Patriot.

Officials said several boats approached the Global Patriot while it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal. The boats were hailed and warned by a native Arabic speaker on the Global Patriot to advise them to turn away. Other warning steps, including a signal flare, were used to caution the boats.

One small boat continued to approach the ship and received two sets of warning shots 20 to 30 meters in front of the boat's bow. All shots were accounted for as they entered the water, officials said.

Here's the same story with video

The initial report of no casualties, however, turned out to be wrong. The next day the AFPS issued this

U.S. 5th Fleet officials today expressed regret for the death of an Egyptian citizen who died the night of March 24, an apparent result of warning shots fired at a small boat approaching a ship chartered by the U.S. Navy.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased," Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, 5th Fleet commander. "We are greatly saddened by events that apparently resulted in this accidental death. This situation is tragic, and we will do our utmost to help take care of the family of the deceased."

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Command continues to work cooperatively with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal Authority, through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, officials said. A full investigation into the incident is under way....

Oh boy, I thought, here we go again. Will we get the same reaction from the left as we did in early January when several small Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats zoomed around 3 US Navy ships?

This blog doesn't get many comments, but I did get one on the post that I wrote about the incident from some leftist who wrote that "So, WHY was it that the Iranians threatened the US? Funny stuff, eh pal? Some jokester on the CB airwaves! The Pentagon once again has mud on its face." Over on his own blog he took great delight in mocking the administration. I heard much the same from commenter "anon" over at the most excellent DowneastBlog (I can't find the exact post).

The incident with the Global Patriot hasn't received the same coverage, but the Internet being what it is I felt sure that someone else was blogging about it. I checked the Daily Kos and Huffington Post to see if they had anything. To their credit, I have only been able to find straight-up news reports on those two blogs. So unless I'm missing something they're not engaged in any wackyness on this one. There is a long thread about it over at the Democrat Underground, but other than the usual talk about "mercenaries" not much of note.

You don't have to go far on Google, however, to find posts on "Global Patriot". This guy titles his post "Global Patriot Lied: Egyptian WAS Murdered", so you know where he's coming from. Another says that the incident proves that we're "ignoring sovereignty". His theory is that we're trying to paper over the affair because "It's just some Egyptian guy", but if it is was an Australian "the papers would go beserk!" There are more but these came up on page 1.

Now, I'm sure that many leftists are being responsible about this incident, as my search of the Daily Kos and Huffington Post showed. And no doubt the right has it's share of nutty bloggers as well.

I just rather thought I'd use this post to discuss this from a larger perspective. Because if the left isn't going nuts over the incident with the Global Patriot, the one in January with the Iranian speedboats showed that too many will rush to see anything as another Gulf of Tonkin Incident, just as every spike in violence in Iraq is seen as portending another Tet Offensive.

My friend (ok I've only met him once) Steve Schippert was writing the other day over at National Review's The Tank blog about an incident in Iraq, but his words apply here as well

There are things beyond our control in Iraq. And there are mistakes we make. But there are far more things that we simply are not aware of because we are not omniscient or omnipresent. Or, you can believe that we are a torturous, imperialistic force of bad actors and worse actions. Take your pick.

Anyone who has read this blog at all knows that I take the former position.

With regards to the Global Patriot, any one of a number of things may have happened. Our guys may have simply miscounted the rounds as the hit the water and not realized that one hit the Egyptian. Or the rounds may have skipped along the water (yes this really happens) and then hit the Egyptian. The contractors simply assumed that the rounds went into the water.

Another possibility is that Egyptians may really be members of a Jihadist organization like al Qaeda and killed their own guy to stage an incident (kind of like a suicide bombing but for purely propaganda purposes). It's also possible that the contractors lied about the incident.

Maybe we'll never know.

The question is, what is your initial reaction? If it's to give our side the benefit of the doubt then you possess moral clarity. Yes, let's pursue a vigorous investigation. But as with Schippert, it annoys me to no end that there are those who's first reaction is to assume that the American government is lying, misleading, racist, on and on.

And please, lets not have any tripe about how we all need to "question authority". That's not what this is about. It's about a knee-jerk leftism that lives in the past and wants every American military venture to become another Vietnam.

The bottom line is that bad things happen by accident. You can take every imaginable precaution and you will still have incidents of this sort. And it doesn't matter whether a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat is in the White House.

This said, we do need to be aware that incidents such as this one will be exploited by the anti-American and Jihadist media to their fullest extent. As I have written many times, we are engaged in a War of Ideas as much if not more than one involving bombs and bullets. We need to do all that we can to keep these incidents from happening. We also need to do all that we can to put our own media in place so that when they do we can get out our side of the story quickly and efficiently.

I think that the responsible position is to simply wait for the results of the investigation. If we don't think the investigation was honestly done, then let's say so. If the results of the investigation are such that we need to change our procedures, fine, let's do so. If we even need to prosecute people let's do so, though this seems unlikely. But it's at best irresponsible to judge before the facts are in.

In the meantime, though, can we please give our side the benefit of the doubt?

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2007

The War Against al Qaeda is in Iraq: But the Left is Giving Encouragement to the Enemy

This post by W Thomas Smith Jr on The Corner is so right-on it's worth reprinting in it's entirety

At "The Corner," Victor Davis Hanson considers the fact that:

Although it is taboo to say so, it really is true that Afghan veteran terrorists like al-Masri and Zarqawi did flee from Afghanistan to Iraq where they often ended up dead.

There is no question but that this is true. War is all about finding, fixing, and destroying the enemy; and that often means maneuvering around him, thrusting, feinting, luring, forcing him to turn, withdraw, or perhaps move to a position that he believes is the best ground from which to engage us. When in fact, we have — by virtue of our own positioning — forced the enemy to that ground he wrongly believes is best-suited for him. That is exactly what we have accomplished (among other things) by invading Iraq.

The Left says we are in a quagmire in Iraq. For Heaven's sake, Al Qaeda is in a quagmire. AQ is suffering huge losses in that country, and it is having an enormous impact on their ability to wage war against us elsewhere in the world.

Doesn't mean AQ isn't fighting us elsewhere in the world. They are. But their focus is on Iraq where we and the Iraqi security forces — which by the way are getting stronger all the time — are chewing them to pieces. AQ has to win in Iraq — which they won't — because losing in Iraq would be disastrous for them globally.

No thanks to the gutless, propagandizing Left in this country, who I've now grown beyond the stages of simple intellectual disagreement. I'm now truly angry at them because they've hurt the American military effort in Iraq. They've constantly condemned it: Said it was a "failure," a "disaster," and "lost," even as Anbar was turning around (and we now see the success of Anbar is spreading to other provinces). They've mercilessly ridiculed the commander-in-chief. Accused the senior commander on the ground in Iraq of "betrayal." And attempted to publicly convict the rank-and-file riflemen — of whom Jack Murtha said killed innocent civilians in "cold blood" — prior to any charges being leveled against those riflemen in a case that is still being argued.

In that sense, the Left has stiffened the backbone of the enemy. Made him fight harder than he should have. Made him believe there is hope for his own success at driving us out of Iraq, when the enemy should ALWAYS be made to feel there is no hope of defeating the United States anywhere on earth.

The left just doesn't understand that if we pull out of Iraq without finishing the job it will be seen around the world as a huge victory for al Qaeda and a huge loss for the United States. They'll use it to bolster their numbers, and no country will trust the United States to protect them from anyone.

But I don't think they really care.

Posted by Tom at 9:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

The Fascists of Code Pink

If you haven't seen it before, here is the video of two members of Code Pink getting thrown out of the Petreaus/Crocker hearing on Monday. The Pinko sitting in back taking videos with her cell phone might be Gael Murphy.


Let's get one thing straight right up front; this is not just some harmless protest that we can all laugh at and go on with our business. This is an attempt by a bunch of fascists to destroy American Democracy.

And good for Rep Ike Skelton for taking matters firmly in hand. The Pinkos have continued to disrupt the hearings, at periodic intervals one or more of their members would stand and scream some inanity.

What gets me is how they seem to think they have a right to disrupt the hearing. Unlike traditional civil rights activists who have engaged in civil disobedence, the Pinko in the video above actually fought with police as she was dragged from the room. She apparently thinks she has some sort of right to just stand there and be allowed to scream.

I've had my dealings with Code Pink outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center (and here), as well as at many Rallies and Protests in Washington DC (look under "Categories" at right). Nothing they do surprises me anymore.

A quick Youtube search turned up another instance in which Code Pink disrupted a committee hearing on the hill. In this video, dated May 10, 2007, Pinko Medea Benjamin is the one ejected from the room.


As usual, the New York Times gets it all wrong

For that matter, (the American people) deserve more than what was offered by Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. When protesters interrupted the hearing, Mr. Skelton ordered them removed from the room, which is understandable. But then he said that they would be prosecuted. That seemed like an unnecessarily authoritarian response to people who just wanted to be heard.

What utter nonsense. The members of Code Pink didn't just want to be heard, they wanted to disrupt a vital institution of our democracy. They have the same rights the rest of us have, and the same opportunity to be heard. They can start a newspaper or magazine, and can stand on streetcorners handing out literature. They can and have received many permits to hold demonstrations in Washington DC and elsewhere. It is right and proper that every group, no matter how offensive, be allowed their First Amendment rights.

But this does not mean that we have to listen. And just as one cannot cry "fire" in a theater if there isn't one, we simply have to have standards of decorum in parlimentary proceedures if democracy is to continue. Code Pink thinks that they can disrupt our representatives when they are conducting official business. They are wrong and must not be allowed to get away with it.

This is not at all to say they should be treated harshly. Far from it, I'm sure the Capitol Hill Police performed their duties professionally, and that whatever penalties the Pinkos receive will not be oppressive. This, too, is as it should be.

Note that in both videos above it was a Democrat who threw them out, so no one can claim partisanship. This is not, or should not, be a Republican-Democrat or Left-Right issue. Everyone is threatened by these sorts of tactics. I would be mortally embarrassed if someone claiming to be conservative did such a thing, and I would condemn them immediately.

Posted by Tom at 8:56 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Moveon.org Slanders General Petraeus II

So far not a single Democrat Congressman or Senator has denounced the slanderous Moveon.org attack on General Petraeus. I checked the site of my own Democrat Senator, James Webb, and he is completely silent on the matter. He ran as a conservative Democrat. Let's see if that was just hot air or if he does the right thing.

PetraeusNYTad_Moveon_org.jpg

Instead, once again Senator John McCain stands tall in a Congress full of Liliputians

"I remain deeply disappointed by the failure of leading Democrat presidential candidates to personally and publicly denounce the smear tactics used against General Petraeus by MoveOn.org. There is no greater slander to a soldier than an accusation of betrayal to his nation. I do not understand why those seeking to be commander-in-chief have yet to forcefully denounce, in their own words, this McCarthyite attack on our commander. I hope they would reconsider their silence and not let this slander of an exceptional American stand."

Be sure to also read his opening statement before the Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

Becuase of his stances on immigration and campaign finance I've never thought I could support him for president, but if he keeps this up I'll definately reconsider.

The Washington Times points out that

The Democrats who take MoveOn.org's money are the same ones who cry "my patriotism!" whenever someone observes how weak they are on national security. They're either silent or engage in Mr. Reid's tepid talk in defense of common decency. Democrats dismiss Gen. Petraeus as not being an "independent evaluator" — that's Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California — or accuse him of "carefully manipulating the statistics" — that's Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Others who cannot summon the boldness to say anything in public praise MoveOn.org's ability to do the dirty work.

If these attacks are not smears on the patriotism of Gen. Petraeus, nothing could be. The left expects its "my patriotism!" indignation to be taken seriously, but and expect others to stand by as the smear is launched. It does not add up.

My response to any leftist who is upset that someone has questioned his patriotism is "fine, we'll stop questionin your patriotism, the moment you stop calling our President and military leaders liars".

And those Democrats who claim that Gen Petraeus has presented misleading information need to put their money where their mouth is. If they truely believe such things, they need to file perjury charges, or recommend that he be brought up on charges and tried in a courts-martial.

After reviewing several of the more offensive statements leading Democrats have made about Petraeus, the Wall Street Journal asks if

(This can) really be the new standard of political rhetoric across the Democratic Party? There was a time when the party's institutional elites, such as the Times, would have pulled it back from reducing politics to all or nothing. They would have blown the whistle on such accusations. Now they are leading the charge.

Under these new terms, public policy is no longer subject to debate, discussion and disagreement over competing views and interpretations. Instead, the opposition is reduced to the status of liar. Now the opposition is not merely wrong, but lacks legitimacy and political standing. The goal here is not to debate, but to destroy.

No doubt that in the 90s many on the right got carried away with their denunciations of President Clinton. I sometimes found myself half-believing in some of it. It's a strong temptation to believe the worst about your political enemies. But after all of the investigations, I was persuaded that yes, Vince Foster really did kill himself in Fort Marcy Park, and that no, the government did not intentially set fire to the Waco compound.

The next time there's a Democrat president I'll have to watch myself, that I don't automatically buy into every bad thing that's said about him...or her. Perhaps in that sense the 90s and today are good lessons for us all.

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Moveon.org Slanders General Petraeus

Posted by Tom at 8:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 10, 2007

Moveon.org Slanders General Petraeus

Yes I know, half the conservative blogosphere is up in arms about this outrage, and I'm late in posting about it, but it deserves wide attention so here goes.

This ad by Moveon.org appeared today in the New York Times

PetraeusNYTad_Moveon_org.jpg

What a disgrace. So much for "we support the troops but oppose the war", in case anyone ever believed that lie.

But it's Moveon.org that is lying. Take this one sentence from the ad:

"Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows t hat the surge strategy has failed."

Besides committing the logical fallacy of making a universal statement (in which case a single exception invalidates the premise), only someone on the loony left could believe such a thing. There are hundreds of independent reports by qualified individuals who say that the strategy is, in fact, working. I've linked to dozens on this site alone.

The "facts" on the Moveon.org webpage to support their assertion are laughable.

I used to wonder if I should question the patriotism of the Moveon.org people. No more.

Let me be clear here: No I am not saying that if you do not support the surge strategy, or think that it is working, you are unpatriotic. Nor am I saying that if you think that the invasion was a mistake and that the best thing to do is withdraw you are unpatriotic.

If you believe these things, make your case using facts and logic. But this ad is pure character assassination.

And this is what I meant by my above statement that up until now I wasn't quite sure where to place Moveon.org. Groups like International ANSWER, Code Pink (the nuts who got thrown out of today's hearing), United for Peace and Justice and any of the organizations that are members of it are not patriots. They are part of the hate-America left, and they are not patriots.

But I never wanted to make that group too broad. I didn't and don't want to get into the habit of saying that every group that opposes what I think is right to be anti-American or unpatriotic. As such, I wanted to be careful before I characterized Moveon.org

But I now conclude that they have joined the ranks of the hate-America left. Congratulations, idiots.

More

I can't do better than Michelle Malkin so be sure and visit her site for more on the Moveon.org outrage.

Byron York asks if Moveon.org has betrayed the Democrat Party by going too far in this ad. I listened to much of the hearings today, and when Republicans brought up the ad, Democrats seemed quick to distance themselves. Here's the money quote from York's piece

...the thing that should trouble party leaders is not that MoveOn is capable of silly stunts. It’s not even that MoveOn is capable of making slanderous comments about U.S. military officials. And it’s not that MoveOn is against the war in Iraq, which polls show many Americans believe was a mistake. Rather, MoveOn’s latest campaign is a continuation of a drive to oppose not just the action in Iraq, but the war on terror in general, and, in a larger sense, America’s use of military power in its own defense.

Captain Ed also questions their patriotism. As do I.


Posted by Tom at 9:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 24, 2007

Fake Arguments against Democracy

The latest argument coming from the left is that by not supporting Hamas, the Bush Administration, and conservatives in general, do not respect Democracy.

Here's Jimmy Carter (h/t NRO)

The United States, Israel and the European Union must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, or they will doom the Palestinian people to deepening conflict between the rival movements, former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was addressing a conference of Irish human rights officials, said the Bush administration's refusal to accept the 2006 election victory of Hamas was "criminal."

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Next up is a writer on the Daily Kos (h/t LGF)

The extreme contempt both Israel and the U.S. have for democracy means that, despite recent events in Gaza, the isolation and strangulation of Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza will likely continue. The probable Israeli response to Hamas’ assumption of power in Gaza will be to ease restrictions in the West Bank and engage in meaningless “peace talks” with Abbas, with the cynical aim of increasing his popularity relative to Hamas’. In the long-term, however, if Hamas remains resilient and does not submit to external pressures to relinquish power, we could very possibly witness a full-blown “‘Bay of Pigs’ type invasion of Gaza”, with Dahlan at its head.

If what we want to see is a relatively stable Palestinian democracy with the capacity to engage in meaningful peace negotiations with Israel (and again I emphasise that these are not the objectives of the Israeli government), the policies we should follow are obvious, as they have been for months. The Hamas government should be recognised as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and should be engaged with in the form of meaningful final status negotiations.

Sorry, but I'm not buying this.

The whole issue raises interesting, and I don't think completely easy to answer, questions about the nature of democracy, and it's twin, liberty.

The short version of my answer is that there is a lot more to democracy than just the mechanics of voting. Carter I'm not so sure about, but I have to think that most liberals and even leftists know this full well. So when the folks at Kos berate conservatives for not accepting Hamas because they were elected, I have to think they're not being entirely serious in their criticism, because it's eithe that or they're outright apologists for terrorism. I have to think that most who spout this line are just blinded by their hatred of President Bush. In short, they've got Bush Derangement Syndrome.

After all, if the Ku Klux Klan started winning elections in the U.S., I can't imagine the left would accept their right to rule regardless of the fairness of the vote.

Likewise, the Nazi party won a plurality of the vote in the 1933 elections, coming in first with 43.9%, more than twice that of their nearest opponent. The election itself was relatively free and fair, but who today would say that it really represented "democracy"?

All of this brings to the forefront the central question of elections and their relationship to what we think of as "democracy": Is it just or acceptable for a non-democratic party to come to power through elections?

What is Democracy?

The US Department of State helpfully provides a longish definition. Here are some of the highlights

Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom.

Several "Pillars of Democracy" are listed

# Sovereignty of the people. # Government based upon consent of the governed. # Majority rule. # Minority rights. # Guarantee of basic human rights. # Free and fair elections. # Equality before the law. # Due process of law. # Constitutional limits on government. # Social, economic, and political pluralism. # Values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise.

Wikipedia says that

Liberal democracy is a representative democracy along with the protection of minorities, the rule of law, a separation of powers, and protection of liberties (thus the name liberal) of speech, assembly, religion, and property.

I think that most Westerners can agree that all of the above are pretty good definitions of democracy.

Back to the Palestinian Authority

Clearly, then, Hamas does not qualify as an institution committed to democracy. Neither, for that matter, does Fatah. Therefore, when the Kos author talks about "extreme contempt both Israel and the U.S. have for democracy" we can conclude that he either has no understanding of democracy, is just off on a political rant and is thus guilty of lazy thinking, or is just an apologist for terrorism. Or, as I mentioned above, he's got BDS.

As for ex-President Carter, I think he's just a bitter old man. He never reconciled himself to this 1980 defeat, and for a Christian seems not to have learned how to forgive. He's thrown in with the worst dictators, has become a virtual anti-Semite, and I believe will be judged harshly by history.

The Algerian Example

What if a situation develops whereby a political party promises to dismantle the institutions of democracy if it is elected? What if it actually wins a majority of the popular vote?

Such a situation has actually occured, not once but several times in the post-WWII era.

In 1991, the Islamic Salvation Front won the first round of Algeria's first multi-party elections. The ISF had promised to turn the country into an Islamic state and institute sharia law. After the voting, the military stepped in and annuled the elections. Western governments either applauded or remained silent. This led to a civil war, and some 160,000 people were killed over the next ten years. However, in the end the insurgents were defeated and a true democracy (republic, actually) is emerging.

What it Means

We in the West are good at the mechanics of voting. Through international agencies we can set up relatively free and fair votes most of the time.

But our record at installing actual democratic values has been rather hit-or-miss. We got it right in Germany and Japan. India has also turned out to be a stable democracy. We got it wrong in Zimbabwe and most other African states. El Salvadore seems to be doing well, but Nicaragua not so much.

Iraq somewhat parallels the Palestinian Authority. It was easy enough for us to set up voting, not so easy to convince people to respect each other's liberty.

In the end, then, we need to recognise that democracy is about more than voting. We need to think harder about what it takes to instill concepts of liberty in troubled regions, and not fixate on voting. This is a tough subject, and will require much thinking and trial and error in order to get it right in a place like Iraq. The first step, though, is to have moral clarity on the subject, and to recognize the true nature of democracy.

Posted by Tom at 10:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 15, 2007

Islamist-Left Alliance Meets in Cairo

"Where else can you sit down in a single evening and listen to senior people from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, people from the revolutionary left and the antiwar movement from around the globe?"

— British Trotskyite John Rees at the Cairo Anti-War Conference, April 2007

Steven Stalinsky, writing in the New York Sun last week, reported on Rees and the "anti-war" conference he attended.

These meetings, Stalinsky says, are nothing new

Over the past year, multiple international conferences have featured leaders of the anti-global left and Islamist groups working together. Go to any anti-war or anti-globalization demonstration in the West and chances are you will see the flags of Hezbollah and Hamas waved by people wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. And at some of these meetings, members of such radical Islamist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah have enjoyed starring roles.

The roster of Islamist-left alliances quietly grows every day: Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor Noam Chomsky praises Hamas and denounces America on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television. London Mayor Ken Livingstone invites a leading Islamist, Sheikh Yosef Al-Qaradawi, who is known for supporting suicide attacks, to visit his city. Iranian President Ahmadinejad calls for a world without America even as he plays host to a Tehran peace conference attended by American Mennonites, Quakers, Episcopalians, Methodists, and leaders of the National Council of Churches.

If you are a Christian, you might want to follow the link above to the NCC website to find out if your church is a member. I assure you that mine is not, because not a penny of my money is going to that organization.

What went on at the conference?

The key forum at this year's annual Cairo Anti-War Conference was titled "Bridge-building Between the Left and Islam," and focused on practical ways to increase cooperation. The aim of the conference sessions were described in one piece of literature as tackling "the challenges and prospects facing the international anti-war and pro-intifada movements" and planning "strategy and tactics for bridging the gap and uniting Islamist and leftist ranks in the face of U.S. imperialism and Zionism."

The cooperation is between leftist and Islamist groups.

Photographs and a more complete report can be found on the Arabist.net website.

David Horowitz reported on this alliance over two years ago in his book Unholy Alliance. Melanie Phillips documented the same nexus in the UK in her eye-opening book Londonistan.

On it's surface, one would think that the left would abhore radical Islam. Even Islam in it's moderate varieties opposes many of the causes that the left holds dear, such as gay marriage. Islam as practiced in many areas of the world is theocratic, misogynistic, and excuses violence.

The short answer as to why the left would ally itself with radical Islam is that they hate the West so much that anything seems preferable to it. America is unjust, therefore any wars she fights are unjust. There is little difference between Democrats and Republicans to the hard left.

The heyday of the Old Left was in the 1930s and 40s, and while the New Left (their terms, btw) made a brief splash in the 1960s and 70s, they were both on a downhill slide until 9-11. The War on Terror has increased their numbers, but despite their ability to influence policy remains limited.

The objective of this hard left is to destroy the West. They want to replace it with some variant of communism. Their problem is that in order to achieve the second goal they need to get past the first one, which remains elusive. They want to use the Islamists/jihadists to destroy the West.

The left believes that they can control the Islamists, just as the Islamists believe that they can manipulate the them. Unfortunately for the left, their numbers remain steady while the number of Muslims in the West and indeed around the world is increasing almost exponentially. It is the left that is being used, and if the jihadists ever do seize control of a Western country, it is the leftists that they'll kill first.

Posted by Tom at 8:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 17, 2006

Lenninist Lynne Gets Lucky

Here's how the AP story on the sentencing of Lynne Stewart, printed in the Washington Times, starts out

A firebrand civil rights lawyer who has defended Black Panthers and anti-war radicals was sentenced yesterday to nearly 2? years in prison -- far less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted -- for helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his followers on the outside.

Lynne Stewart, 67, smiled, cried and hugged supporters after U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl pronounced the sentence of 28 months.

The judge said Stewart was guilty of smuggling messages between her client and his followers that could have "potentially lethal consequences." He called the crimes "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct."

But in departing from federal guidelines that called for 30 years behind bars, he cited Stewart's more than three decades of dedication to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients.

"Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Judge Koeltl said.

"firebrand civil rights lawyer"? dedication to "poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients"? "performed a public service...to the nation"?

What are this AP reporter and judge smoking? Lynne Stewart is a communist and member of the hate-America crowd if there every was one. If you don't believe me read what she herself has said

"We have in Washington a poisonous government that spreads its venom to the body politic in all corners of the globe. We now resume...our quests...like David going forth to meet Goliath, like Beowulf the dragon slayer...like Sir Galahad seeking the holy grail. And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Che Guevara who reminds us 'At the risk of sounding ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.'"

How does she view "Muslim fundamentalists"?

"They are basically forces of national liberation. And I think that we, as persons who are committed to the liberation of oppressed people, should fasten on the need for self-determination....My own sense is that, were the Islamists to be empowered, there would be movements within their own countries...to liberate."

As for violence;

"I don't believe in anarchistic violence, but in directed violence. That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, and sexism, and the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."

"Civil rights attorney" my foot. She's part of the New Fifth Columnists who take the side of our enemy that's all there is to it.

For Additional Reading

Much more about Stewart's background here.

Powerline dissects the sentencing and says "Not Enough Jail Time". I agree.

Captain Ed says that the light sentencing of Stewart "demonstrates the fecklessness of pursuing terrorists through the civil courts." Ditto that.

Michelle Malkin calls it a "travesty". So do I. She points to an article in the New York Times that is very sympathetic to Stewart. Unbelievable.

Andy McCarthy at NRO provides valuable legal insight. He relates how he spent some time on the phone with a New York Times reporter trying to explain how no, a long sentence would not have a chilling effect on lawyers who defend terrorists if she receives a long sentence.” The reporter didn't get it.

The Wall Street Journal also editoralizes that given her crime she got off light.

Lastly, be sure to check out Michelle Malkin's Hot Air, where she's got a "videoblog" entry about Lennist Lynne.

Posted by Tom at 8:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 2, 2006

The Hate America Code Pink Crowd Strikes Again

Code Pink is at it again, trying to undermining our efforts to bring democracy and hope to Iraq. However bad the current situation there is, we don't need their kind of help.

Ben Johnson of FrontPage Magazine has written a very well researched and thorough expose of their recent trip to Jordan to meet with some members of the Iraqi parliament (hat tip Andi's World)

Code Pink Women for Peace, if you don't know, is a radical pro-Fidel Castro group that sees the insurgent terrorists as a legitimate force, and has condoned the killing of US troops in Iraq. I've faced off against them dozens of times this past year outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Read all about it here. In particular, I and some other patriots had a confronation with Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy this past July. You can read all about it here. Scroll about halfway down to read my "Case Against Code Pink". You'll find out how they support the insurgent terrorists in Iraq and think the killing of American troops justified.

Twelve people went on the trip, including Media Benjamin, fellow Pinkos Gael Murphy and Jodie Evans, as well as Tom Hayden, and the ever-present Cindy Sheehan.

Code Pink leader Media Benjamin let the trip, which left August 2. Their goal was, in her words, "“for the U.S. peace movement to meet directly with Iraqi parliamentarians working on a peace plan. We hope to return to the U.S. to build support for their plan.”

Uh huh. Let's be clear; Benjamin wants to go a lot farther than simply bring peace to Iraq. She wants to completely eliminate US influence in the world. Ben Johnson elaborates

In this, Medea is following the blueprint she laid out in her April 2003 Nation magazine essay “Toward a Global Movement,” in which she counseled left-wing “grassroots teams” to “link up with appropriate local and regional groups” in terrorist states to “channel the bursting anti-American sentiment overseas.” Then, “Working with local communities where U.S. troops are based, let's start a Bring All the Troops Home campaign to stop the expansion of U.S. bases and start dismantling some of the hundreds of existing bases overseas.” Al-Sadr’s enablers constituted one such “appropriate” group; terrorism’s elected cheerleaders comprised another. (As they were in the area during the Hezbollah-Israel War, they visited Syria and stopped by Lebanese refugee camps, as well.)

Who did they meet with?

This leftist motley crew met with Sheikh Ahmad al-Kubaysi, a Baghdad-based cleric who “almost certainly is affiliated” with the Naziesque Muslim Brotherhood. He once declared:
These young men who came here from other Muslim countries to defend Iraq are very brave. They left their homes and comfortable lives to protect fellow Muslims. That is the most important form of Jihad. These Mujahideen are guaranteed Paradise.

In addition to echoing Cindy Sheehan’s views on this topic, the Sheikh had another commonality with his guests: his Association for Muslim Studies in Iraq also collected food and supplies for Fallujah’s terrorists. No slacker, Kubaysi is said to have given al-Sadr $50 million. Al-Sadr, in turn, offered to work with him. The AMS leadership explicitly condones armed “resistance” against U.S. forces as an Allah-given Iraqi right and has sanctioned the murder of civilian hostages as collaborators.

The leftists’s prime sponsor, however, was the Iraq National Dialogue Front, a coalition led by Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Sunni who led the charge against the Iraqi constitution when it guaranteed the Shi’ites an autonomous region.
...

Like al-Kubaysi, the INDF leader condones armed “resistance,” has offered to join the “insurgency,” and regularly calls upon the United States to disarm itself in the face of terrorism.

So what did this lovely bunch decide?

For starters, a timetable for withdrawal of American troops. From the Code Pink's own report on the meeting

The common thread among this diverse group of Iraqis and Americans was a desire to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops, ensure no permanent bases in Iraq, and secure a U.S. commitment to pay for rebuilding Iraq. Other issues that emerged in two-days of intensive talks include the need to dismantle militias, provide amnesty for prisoners and the various armed groups, compensate victims of the violence, revise the Constitution and preserve the unity of Iraq, and reverse US-imposed de-Baathification and economic policies. We left this historic meeting with a commitment to make sure that the voices of these Iraqi parliamentarians are heard here in the US, and we will bring a group of them to the U.S. in the Fall.

Note the bit about "reverse US-imposed de-Baathification". The Ba'ath Party in Iraq was Saddam's political party. It is somewhat similar to Hitler's Nazi Party of Mussolini's Fascist one. And they want to bring them back?

Another person who went on the trip was Jeeni Criscenzo, a DailyKos blogger and Democrat candidate for the 49th District in California. In an August 6 post on the DailyKos she wrote

It is important to distinguish between the militia, or death squads and the resistance, particularly when considering the amnesty aspects of the Reconciliation Plan crafted in Cairo last month. Over 95% of the Iraqi people oppose the presence of the U.S. troops in their country and consider the people the U.S. call "insurgents" to be patriotic freedom fighters -- no different that how we look at the people who fought in our Revolutionary War. Heroic titles go to the victors and if justice is to ever come to the people of Iraq, the people we call insurgents will have to be recognized as the ones who are actually defending their homeland. Emphasis added)

This woman is insane. She thinks that the insurgent terrorists - Al Qaeda in Iraq - are "patriotic freedom fighters". I question her patriotism. No, I'll say it outright; Jeeni Criscenzo and the rest of those people who went on this trio are not American patriots. They are traitors, to the United States, and to Iraq, for that matter.

There, now I've said it.

If Criscenzo is not bad enough for you, try Code Pink co-founder Jodi Evans. She thinks Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a great place

Let’s go back to the Iraq before we invaded, there was a good education and health care system, food for everyone. That system didn’t belong to Saddam it belonged to the Iraqi, it belonged to years of creating what a civilization needed. If your parents didn’t send you to school they could be put in jail.

Another insane woman.

Lasty there's Cindy Sheehan. She wrote about her experiences in an article posted on Code Pink's website. Besides the usual nuttyness, before leaving at the airport she met an "Iraqi gentleman" who told her just what she wanted to hear

He sadly informed me that the Americans are not stopping the sectarian violence, only encouraging it in his country, and he holds little hope for any future for the land that he was born in and loves.
Oh yeah that makes sense. We're encouraging the sectarian violence so the American people will get fed up with the venture and elect Democrats this November who will demand a troop withdrawal. Another insane woman.

All in all, another day's work betraying their country by some prime members of the Hate America crowd.

All links above taken from Ben Johnson's excellent FrontPage Magazine article.

Posted by Tom at 7:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 8, 2006

Confrontation with Code Pink at Walter Reed

As readers of this blog know, every Friday night members of FreeRepublic.com and other patriots assemble outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in northwest Washington DC to wave patriotic signs and keep the leftists of Code Pink away from the hospital entrance.

Walter Reed is one of the main hospitals in the United States where our wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan go for rehabilitation. Most stay for months, and over the course of time I've come to meet and know many of them and their families. Dozens of times I and others have gone inside the hospital to meet with our troops and bring them what we can, from books and food treats to coloring books for their kids, you name it.

Last Friday marked the 64th straight week that we have held our rally at Walter Reed. I have attended since last August, so am almost at my one-year mark. Due to time and distance from my house I attend every other Friday. A complete history of our rallies and face-offs with Code Pink can be found on The Redhunter here.

Now that the Pinkos have lost their permit for the corners directly at the entrance they hold their "vigils" halfway down the street, where they are largely out of sight and out of mind. We don't pay much attention to them anymore, nor do the passing motorists. We spend out time waving pro-troops signs, banners, and flags. Lots of people honk their horns for us and/or wave. Our presence at the hospital entrance is to keep them away from the entrance and to provide a general show of true support for our troops.

Due to the holiday, I suppose, we had more people that usual show up on our side last night, maybe 30+ people. I estimate the pinkos had about 20+. Here's a photo of our largest banner. This corner is directly across the street from the entrance to the hospital.

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Here's a photo of the corner caddycorner to the one above. The pinkos are a few hundred feet down the street from this corner. It's the one the pinko leaders were to visit (although I took this photo after the confrontation)

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The Pinkos Visit

So last night Code Pink founders Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy decided to pay a visit to one of our corners. I'm still not sure why they did it, although I heard vague reference to them wanting to have a "discussion" or some such matter.

At any rate, they were quickly surrounded by Freepers and the others on our side and a "vigorous" discussion ensued (in the ensuing melee I forgot to turn on the red-eye feature of my camera).

Here two of our people challenge Medea and Gael. Medea is the one in the pink shirt. Gael has the glasses on

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Gael (at left) and Medea are engaged by our side in a forceful debate

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The guy at right in this next photo is a solder back from Iraq who is at Walter Reed. Later he told me that although the pinkos may be deceived by anecdotal stories of soldiers who oppose the war, in his opinion the "vast majority" support our efforts and despise groups like Code Pink

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I didn't hear much of what was said, as there were maybe 20 or 30 people engaged here, with much loud talking and carrying on. I did hear Gael say that they were just trying to "raise awareness" of the war. I shouted at her something like "oh please, everyone knows there's a war on, and how many American's have lost their lives" but so many people were confronting here that she didn't hear or respond to me.

A handful of Pinkos came up to join in the fray, but they were vastly outnumbered. One came up to me, and although I forget how the conversation started, I pretty quickly called her a communist sympathizer (or something pretty similar). "Why?" she asked. "Because you hang out with people who like Fidel Castro, and who supported the Sandinistas in the 1980s." "Why do you say communism is bad?" she asked. I mentioned Robert Conquest's books, and the Black Book of Communism, but she wasn't impressed. After a few minutes she went on her way and I resumed taking photographs.

This Pinko tried to shake hands with Kristinn Taylor, the president of the DC chapter of FreeRepublic.com, but Kristinn declined. Let's be clear; these are not liberal Democrats, Code Pink is a bunch of communist sympathizers who side with the insurgents in Iraq (at least their leaders do), and hate this country.

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After about 10 or 15 minutes Medea and Gael decided enough was enough and beat a retreat, rejoining their comrades down the street. We chanted "swim ... to ... Cuba!" after them. Code Pink had planned on spending this past New Year's eve in Cuba, but cancelled the trip when the State Department sent them letters informing them that it was against the law to visit Cuba and threatening fines and penalties.

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The Troops Arrive!

Sometime between 9:15 and 9:45 the troop bus arrives at the hospital entrance, carrying wounded warriors who have been treated to a gourmet meal at an upscale DC restaurant. The bus caught me by surprise last night and this was the best photo I got

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As usual, the pinkos are gone by the time the troop bus arrives. Despite their claim that they are simply "supporting the troops" and "raising awareness of the war's costs", they show no sign of actually wanting to meet or interact with real soldiers and Marines. Some time ago, when Code Pink still had the corners directly at the hospital entrance, there was an incident in which troops on the bus gave the one-finger salute to the pinkos on the corner. From that evening on, the leaders made sure that they had disbanded their people before the bus arrived.

Who are Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy?

As I mentioned, Medea and Gael are two of the founders of Code Pink, Women for Peace. Although Gael shows up occasionally at their Walter Reed "vigils", this is the first time any of us had seen Medea here. Perhaps it was Medea who wanted to come up and see for herself who we were.

Medea Benjamin's bio on the Code Pink website.

Gael Murphy's bio on the Code Pink website.

Medea Benjamin's bio on David Horowitz' DiscoverTheNetworks.org database site of leftist groups and people.

The Case Against Code Pink

According to the description of the group on DiscoverTheNetworks.org the term "code pink" was choosen to mock the Bush Administration's color-coded alert system.

Besides their general leftist wackiness there are by my count at least three main pieces of evidence against Code Pink:

"The World Tribunal"

On June 24, 25, and 26 of 2005, a group called Democracy Now! sponsored a "World Tribunal on Iraq" whereby the United States and President Bush were placed on trial for crimes against humanity. They were - surprise - found guilty. Code Pink is listed as one of the endorsers of the event.

Ok, that's weird enough, but if that's all there was to it we could write it off as another convention of moonbats.

However, the tribunal issued a "Declaration of Jury of Conscience" where in section I paragraph 11 you find this

11. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to repression by the occupying forces. It is the occupation and its brutality that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.
(emphasis added)

In other words, it is ok to kill American troops. There's no other way to read that paragraph.

The "Beirut Communique"

Gael Murphy represented Code Pink at, and was asignatory to, the "Beirut Communique", which was arrived at during a strategy meeting anti-war and anti-globalization types in Beirut, Lebanon September 17-19 of 2004.

Here is a partial list of demands that the participants of the Communique drew up:

* We support the right of the people of Iraq and Palestine to resist the occupations.

* We call for the unconditional withdrawal and "coalition" forces from Iraq.

* We demand the end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine

* We demand the Right of Return be fulfilled....

* We ask for the release of all Palestinian and Iraqi political prisoners.

In another section, the express their "support for efforts by Iraqis to build a united national front against the occupation."

Although they claim that they "oppose war in all forms", there is not a single word in the communique condemning, or even mentioning, Palestinian, Iraqi, or al-Qaeda terrorism.

If all this is not a statement of support for the insurgent terrorists plaguing Iraq, then nothing is. And in case your not familiar, the "right of return" is a Palestinian plan to flood Israel with their people, so as to vote the nation out of existence in it's own elections.

Aid to Terrorists?

Perhaps the most damming allegation is that Medea Benjamin gave aid and money to the terrorists themselves. From DiscoverTheNetwork.org:

During the last week of December 2004, Medea Benjamin announced in Amman, Jordan that Code Pink, Global Exchange, and Families for Peace would be donating a combined $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the terrorist insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq.
The news was first reported by Agence France Press, and stories were run by the Turkish Press and Space War. There is even a mention of the incident on the Code Pink website
We traveled to Amman, Jordan, with medical supplies, blankets, heaters and water purifiers for the refugees in the camps outside Falluja. Global Exchange received donations of medications from a large pharmaceutical company as well as small donations of supplies and cash valued at $600,000.
Who is right? David Horowitz' site says that they gave the aid and money to the insurgent terrorists, Code Pink says that they gave it to refugees.

In the Turkish Press article cited above, Medea says that she gave aid to "...families of the 'other side'". At the very least, by "other side", she at least means families of those fighting our troops. If someone had given aid and comfort to German or Japanese families during World War II, they would have been guilty of treason.

Examining the matter in some detail in an article on FrontpageMag(also a David Horowitz site), Ben Johnson concludes that "Medea Benjamin has the motive, and her allies have actively comforted our enemies before. And some in her recent Iraqi caravan have personal ties to terrorism."

My guess is that they gave the aid to people who in turn gave some or most of it to the terrorists, or maybe they gave it to people who were terrorists themselves but represented themselves as "refugee workers". Either way, Medea knew the terrorists would get some, part, or most of the aid, and intended this to happen, but also wanted "plausible deniability".

Either way, Code Pink is a disgraceful outfit, and I figure it's the least I can do to help keep them away from the hospital entrance. If you're even in Washington DC over a weekend, stop by and give us a hand. I can't promise any confrontations with the leftists, but can promise lots of friendly waves and honks from motorists, and a lot of thankful troops.

Update

Check out PleaDeal's post on the face-off with Code Pink over at FreeRepublic.com. Notice the salute one of the peace-loving Pinkos gave to one of our soldiers currently being treated at Walter Reed.

Posted by Tom at 7:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 2, 2006

The Holy Grail of Haditha

Finally, they think they've found it. The anti-war left has hoped and prayed for this moment for a long time.

At first they thought they'd found it when we failed to find WMD in Iraq. Surely, they thought, the American people would turn against their president, apologize to the world, and bring our troops home.

Two years ago they thought that they'd found it in Abu Ghraib. But, despite the best efforts of much of the msm, it was not to be.

But now they're convinced that the Holy Grail is within their grasp, and they are determined not to be denied. Finally, we've got something that we can use to bring down President Bush and get the troops out of Iraq!

Calling All Civil Libertarians

The investigation into the the Haditha incident is ongoing. All of the facts are not known. Nothing against the press (here, anyway), but initial reports are notoriously unreliable.

Yet this has not kept many, like the editors of The Nation magazine, a "mainstream" left-liberal publication, not only from pronouncing the Marines guilty, but claiming that " the Marines institutionally covered up Haditha."

The Nation wants us to believe that the Marine Corps was going to sweep the whole thing under the rug "until Time magazine raised questions with the Corps suggests that the moral damage from the Iraq War is broader than a single debased unit. "

Please.

There are at least two problems here. One, this idea that we must immediately make all of our - even potentially - dirty laundry as public as possible as soon as possible. Now, if I though that liberals were making the honest argument that our government should be transparent, I would have no problem. But as so often with the left, the transparency argument is really just a smokescreen.

The left is embarassed by our nation and our history. They want us to engage in constant acts of self-flagellation. Further, they want to exploit this to further their political goals of getting us out of Iraq regardless of consequences. And the worse our country and our military look the better.

We Support the Troops, But

"Oh but we support the troops! We just oppose the war."

Uh huh. Their reaction to Haditha puts the lie to that line. It's more like this

We support the troops, but we say they work, bleed, and die for nothing (or for Big-Oil).

We support the troops, but they terrorize women and children in the dark of the night.

We support the troops, but we only rally around a mother who attacks the troops and the mission (Mother Syndy).

We support the troops, but an anti-war based, misquoting-troops filled, film producer gets a prominent seat at out convention.

We support the troops, but we jump to judgment when a prison scandal is on the horizon.

We support the troops, but we accept a false Newsweek story (Koran flushing…).

We support the troops, but we do not wait for a military trial to determine the facts surrounding the killings of 24 innocent Iraqis.

We support the troops, but we smear all of them for the actions of merely a dozen people (in the prison scandal).

Where are our great supporters of the troops when you really need them?

They're out claiming that this is "endemic" to the troops.

Where are our great civil libertarians when you actually need them for something?

They're out looking for Christmas creches on public property.

The New My Lai

Jed Babbin , writing at at RealClearPolitics, nails it

The accelerating media feeding frenzy over the alleged killings of twenty-four Iraqi civilians in Haditha by US Marines last November is about to overwhelm American politics. Propelled by their most irresponsible war critics, the left will try use Haditha as it used My Lai thirty years ago: as a political tool to take apart America's support for the war and to shatter the legitimacy of our cause and the morale of our troops.
...

No matter how quickly military investigators work, and no matter how firmly any crimes are punished, the anti-war left won't be satisfied unless Haditha becomes the lever that pushes President Bush to admit the war was wrong and set a time to withdraw from Iraq.
...

The left will use every tool at their disposal to ensure that the Haditha incident becomes synonymous with the entire Iraq war. Abu Ghraib proved a propaganda bonanza for the terrorists and nations such as Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia that want us to withdraw from Iraq in defeat. Haditha - regardless of what the facts may turn out to be - will be used ceaselessly and purposefully to eliminate American support for the Iraq war and to demonize anyone who still supports it.
...

Be sure to read the whole thing.

An Iraq Syndrome?

Daniel Henninger, in an OpinionJournal piece, points out that this may be the beginning of an "Iraq Syndrome", and that while this may be welcomed by the left, it is something that should worry serious people.

The Vietnam Syndrome, a loss of confidence in the efficacy of American military engagement, was mainly a failure of U.S. elites. But it's different this time. This presidency has been steadfast in war. No matter. In a piece this week on the White House's efforts to rally the nation to the idea of defeating terrorism abroad to thwart another attack on the U.S., the AP's Nedra Pickler wrote: "But that hasn't kept the violence and unrest out of the headlines every day." This time the despondency looks to be penetrating the general population. And the issue isn't just body counts; it's more than that.

The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan grew from the moral outrage of September 11. U.S. troops, the best this country has yet produced, went overseas to defend us against repeating that day. Now it isn't just that the war on terror has proven hard; the men and women fighting for us, the magnificent 99%, are being soiled in a repetitive, public way that is unbearable.

The greatest danger at this moment is that the American public will decide it wants to pull back because it has concluded that when the U.S. goes in, it always gets hung out to dry.



In other words, we might lack the willpower to stick it out. Strategy, technology, politics, propaganda, they all have their role, and we have to get all of them right. Not to pat myself on the back, but it's true that in the days after 9-11, once the shock had worn off, I realized that the core of this war was WILLPOWER. We were in for the long slog and it wasn't going to end in Afghanistan.

I'm thinking now that my piece on Lt. Col. John Nagl's book, Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, which I called Eating Soup with a Knife and the Question of Time , was more prescient than I realized.

It's all so depressing.

Not to worry about me, though, because I'll keep up my visits to the troops at Walter Reed, and my letter-writing campaign will continue unabaited.

And God help the person who slanders our troops within earshot of me.

Posted by Tom at 9:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2006

Useful Idiots

I wasn't going to write about this but I just can't take it anymore. Normally I try to provide what I hope are unique peerspectives on issues, and don't repeat the story-of-the-day that everyone else is talking about.

But this issue with the rescue of the Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages in Iraq has set me off.

Just to lay my cards on the table, I am a Christian, I go to church every Sunday and participate occasionally in mission programs. Currently I attend a non-denominational somewhat evangelical church. I used to go to a Presbyterian church, but changed when I moved to a different town. Over the years my reading had led me to conclude that the national leadership of the Presbyterian Church USA was hopelessly left-wing and so it seemed as good a time as any to sever that relationship.

That said, I do not believe nor would never insinuate that in order to be a Christian you have to be conservative. Far from it. One can certainly be liberal or even left-wing and still be a good Christian.

Nor do I question any one's personal relationship with God.

But what I will do is question people's public actions. And the actions of the Christian Peacemaker Teams(CPT) has been nothing short of reprehensible.

The Story

Some four months ago three members of a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped in Iraq. The kidnapped men were Norman Kember, Jim Loney, and Harmeet Sooden. It is not entirely clear as to who the kidnappers are, but according to the BBC Mr Loney "described the kidnappers as a criminal gang, apparently motivated by money. The same story, however, tells of a split in the gang, with some motivated more by ideology.

In a daring raid this past Thursday, British, Canadian, and US troops rescued the three hostages. The raid was led by a British SAS unit, which is their equivalent of our Navy SEALs.

These same kidnappers had just two weeks ago murdered fellow CPT member Tom Fox. Mr Fox had been beaten before being murdered.

Ingrates

So you think they'd be grateful to their rescuers, and help in locating other hostages so that they might be rescued too, right?

Think again

The London Telegraph has the story

The three peace activists freed by an SAS-led coalition force after being held hostage in Iraq for four months refused to co-operate fully with an intelligence unit sent to debrief them, a security source claimed yesterday.

The claim has infuriated those searching for other hostages.

Neither the men nor the Canadian group that sent them to Iraq have thanked the people who saved them in any of their public statements.

But wait, it get's worse. Yesterday the CPT issued a statement which reads in part

Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict. They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers. We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.

The initial statement contained not a single word of thanks to their rescuers. This was noted by many people, who chastised them for it. Later that same day (Thursday March 23) they added this addendum

We have been so overwhelmed and overjoyed to have Jim, Harmeet and Norman freed, that we have not adequately thanked the people involved with freeing them, nor remembered those still in captivity. So we offer these paragraphs as the first of several addenda:

We are grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives to free Jim, Norman and Harmeet. As peacemakers who hold firm to our commitment to nonviolence, we are also deeply grateful that they fired no shots to free our colleagues. We are thankful to all the people who gave of themselves sacrificially to free Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom over the last four months, and those supporters who prayed and wept for our brothers in captivity, for their loved ones and for us, their co-workers.

We will continue to lift Jill Carroll up in our prayers for her safe return. In addition, we will continue to advocate for the human rights of Iraqi detainees and assert their right to due process in a just legal system.

So they just forgot, huh? If you believe that I've got a bridge for sale.

Contradictions

Richard Hernandez ("Wretchard") of The Belmont Club pointed to this ABC News story

Peggy Gish, a member of the Chicago-based group for which the former hostages worked in Baghdad, said the men were bound and their captors left the building "right before the intervention." ...

Gish said the captives were not always bound during their captivity and were allowed to exercise regularly. The kidnappers provided medication for Kember, who had an undisclosed health problem. She said the three appeared physically fit despite their long captivity. "We do not know of any specific maladies, any particular illnesses, as a result," she said. "Even Norman (Kember) seemed fairly strong for what he had gone through."

Gish said the captives never learned why they were kidnapped or who their captors were. "Our team has never received any direct communication with them," she said of the captors, adding that no ransom was demanded or paid.

Gish also said she did not know why Fox was killed. "He was the only American," Gish said. "I don't know if that's the reason."

He then asks some relevant questions

Why did James Loney characterize his captors as "criminals" or Norman Kemper call them "criminals rather than insurgents" whose "motive was believed to be money" if "the captives never learned why they were kidnapped or who their captors were"? Although the captives were "not always bound during their captivity and were allowed to exercise regularly" they never learned a thing about why Tom Fox was killed. Did they bother to ask? Why would Fox be singled out as "the only American" if the captors were criminals interested only in money? Or are they now not sure?

Who Are the Christian Peacemaker Teams?

From the CPT website, their mission statement

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) offers an organized, nonviolent alternative to war and other forms of lethal inter-group conflict. CPT provides organizational support to persons committed to faith-based nonviolent alternatives in situations where lethal conflict is an immediate reality or is supported by public policy. CPT seeks to enlist the response of the whole church in conscientious objection to war, and in the development of nonviolent institutions, skills and training for intervention in conflict situations. CPT projects connect intimately with the spiritual lives of constituent congregations. Gifts of prayer, money and time from these churches undergird CPT’s peacemaking ministries

Sounds innocuous enough. Lefty and naive, but noting special.

But then there's a photo of some of their protesters confronting some Israeli soldiers with the caption

CPTers "get in the way" of Israeli soldiers preparing to open fire on peaceful Palestinian protesters.

And then, regarding "Palestine"

A continuing presence in the Hebron District (West Bank) since June 1995. Team members stand with Palestinians and Israeli peace groups engaged in nonviolent opposition to Israeli military occupation, collective punishment, settler harassment, home demolitions and land confiscation.

Regarding Iraq

A Baghdad-based presence since October 2002. Team members accompanied the Iraqi people through the U.S.-led 2003 war and continue during the post-war occupation to expose abusive acts by U.S. Armed Forces and support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance.

And also

The primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them. Issues related to detainees remain but the current focus of the team has expanded to include efforts to end occupation and militarization of the country and to foster nonviolent and just alternatives for a free and independent Iraq.

Not one word about terrorism that I could find. Anywhere.

Just from reading the CPT site, one could be forgiven for believing that the Israeli and American armies had no enemies to fight at all. To the CPT, insurgents and terrorists simply do not exist.

If they want to say that they are Christian, that they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I'll believe them. Their members might well spend other time participating in evangelism or other activities that are not political and more in line with Christians ought to be doing.

But there is little that is Christian about the Christian Peacemaker Teams organization itself. One searches in vain for any scripture or religions teachings on their site. Indeed, in their FAQ section they go to great pains to point out that they are not a missionary organization. Indeed, their actions seem to be entirely political.

They do say that "participants in CPT are Christians", that they "engage in regular spiritual reflection" and that "public and private prayer is emphasized". But that's about it. Nowhere is there a theological justification for their pacifism. There are a very few mentions of Jesus, but as far as I can tell there are no references to scripture anywhere on their website.

As always, David Horowitz has the scoop on the CPT at his database of the left Discover The Network. Here's part of it

Clearly, the evidence demonstrates the vast gap between CPT's claims to work for peace "through non-violent means," and its biased political agenda. CPT's strident advocacy is part of the NGO-led divestment campaign designed to promote demonization and isolation of Israel in the framework of the on-going political conflict.

They call themselves "peacemakers", I call them Useful Idiots.

Update

The Iraqi government is furious

Iraq's embassy to Canada lashed out at the Christian Peacemaker Teams Friday, calling them "phony pacifists" and "dupes" after the anti-war group responded to the rescue of three of its kidnapped activists by condemning the U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq.

In a statement obtained by the National Post, the Iraqi embassy called CPT "willfully ignorant" and "outrageous," and accused the Chicago-based group of being on the side of anti-democratic forces in Iraq.

"The Christian Peacemaker Teams practises the kind of politics that automatically nominate them as dupes for jihadism and fascism," the embassy's statement said.

"The statement shows they even share the rhetoric of the jihadists, even if they do it out of naivete. Despite their claimed affinity for 'non-violence,' this is false.

"Politically, they are on the other side of this war. Christian Peacemaker Teams are objectively on the side of the fascists, Saddam Hussein's loyalists and al-Qaida in Iraq."

It is abundantly clear that Christian Peacemaker Teams are opposed to and, in effect, at war with Iraqi democrats, Americans, the British, and the rest of the multi-national Coalition."

They don't mince words, do they? Can't say I disagree.

Posted by Tom at 12:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 18, 2006

Code Pink at it Again

From their latest on-line petition

We, the women of the United States, Iraq and women worldwide, have had enough of the senseless war in Iraq and the cruel attacks on civilians around the world. We've buried too many of our loved ones. We've seen too many lives crippled forever by physical and mental wounds. We've watched in horror as our precious resources are poured into war while our families' basic needs of food, shelter, education and healthcare go unmet. We've had enough of living in constant fear of violence and seeing the growing cancer of hatred and intolerance seep into our homes and communities.

(If you want the root URL, start here and select "Sign the Call Now". Also hat tip to Freedom Watch for finding the petition)

Uh, wait a second. So their objection to the war in Iraq is financial? That we're spending money there that we oh-so-desperately need here at home in the world's richest nation?

"...our families' basic needs...go unmet"

Basic needs? The federal budget this year will be over 2 trillion dollars, with less than 400 billion of that on defense. This doesn't even count spending by states and localities. And we still can't meet our "basic needs"?

The reality, of course, is that OIF has cost much less than most American wars, once one adjusts for inflation.

Also, aren't liberals the ones who are always telling us that we need to spend more on foreign aid?

For the record, I'm in favor of foreign aid, if it is done right. If we can pull this off (and I think we can), then our investment in Iraq will pay dividends for decades if not centuries to come. Stay tuned for a coming post on this subject.

Christopher Hitchens had something to say about this during the last presidential campaign

A few years ago, many of the same liberals and leftists were quoting improbable if not impossible numbers of dead Iraqi children, murdered by the international sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein. Even at its most propagandistic, this contained an important moral point: Iraqi civilians were suffering for the sins of their dictatorship (and from the lavish corruption of the U.N. supervision of the "oil-for-food" program). OK, then, we'll remove the regime and lift the sanctions. Happy now? Not at all! It turns out that 1) the Saddam regime was only a threat invented by neo-cons and that 2) we don't owe the Iraqi people a thing. Also, we could use the money ourselves.

This would mean that all the protest about dead and malnourished Iraqi infants was all for show. Surely that can't be right?

Afraid so, Hitch.

He continued

Whatever you think about the twists and turns of U.S. policy toward Baghdad in the last three decades, there can be no doubt of any kind that we have collectively incurred a huge responsibility there, much of it political but a good deal of it purely humanitarian. To demand that American funds be cut off or diverted, just as the country is fighting to rebuild and struggling toward a form of elections, is unconscionable from any standpoint.

"Unconsionable" pretty much sums up Code Pink. You can read all about them on David Horowitz database of leftist groups here. I exposed them (again) here last week. And just click on "Rallys and Protests" at right to read all about their fake vigils in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

But Wait, There's More

What does Code Pink want? Here are their first three demands

- The withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq;

- Negotiations to reincorporate disenfranchised Iraqis into all aspects of Iraqi society;

- The full representation of women in the peacemaking process and a commitment to women's full equality in the post-war Iraq;

Oh, my head is spinning.

Do these useful idiots not realize that if they got their way on the first the second two would not take place? No, they don't. These people actually think that if we left Iraq the insurgency would die by itself, that the only thing that keeps it going is the presense of foreign troops.

This, however, is not the case. To be sure, the presence of American troops provide propaganda value for recruiting and a rally cry.

But as General John Abizaid, CENTCOM commander, said in his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 14 2006, the enemy in Iraq is made up of three groups, each of which would continue to fight whether we were there or not

Iraqi insurgents are predominantly Sunni Arab and consist of three major elements: Iraqi rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists and foreign fighters. These groups operate primarily in four of Iraq’s eighteen provinces, where they receive varying levels of support from the Sunni population but are certainly not supported by all Sunni Arabs. Indeed, Sunni Arabs participate in all governmental activities and constitute a large number of Iraq’s security forces. These different insurgent groups have varying motivations but are unified in their opposition to U.S. and Coalition presence and their refusal to accept the authority of the legitimate, democratically-elected government of Iraq. While deadly and disruptive, the insurgency is also attractive to numbers of unemployed Iraqi young men and criminals.

The Iraqi rejectionists, mostly Sunni Arabs who want a return to their privileged status under Saddam, form the largest insurgent group. Their leadership is fragmented. They view themselves as an “honorable resistance” seeking to oust foreign occupation forces and unwilling to recognize the new-found power of groups previously excluded from political and economic life.

The Saddamists are mostly former senior officials from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Their numbers are smaller than the Iraqi rejectionists. They seek a return to power by trying to de-legitimize and undermine the new Iraqi government through a campaign of mass intimidation against the Sunni population. They also conduct stand-off attacks with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), rockets, and mortars against U.S. and Coalition forces, Iraqi security forces, and government officials in an attempt to demoralize these groups. They exploit criminal elements to assist them with these attacks. The Saddamists lack broad popular support, but they harbor long-term designs to try to infiltrate and subvert the newly-elected government from within.

The terrorists and foreign fighters are the smallest but most lethal group. The al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) network, led by the terrorist Zarqawi, is the dominant threat within this group. AQI’s objective is to create chaos in Iraq by inciting civil war between Sunni and Shia through terrorist acts such as the recent bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Such mayhem, they believe, will topple the elected government of Iraq and drive Coalition forces from the country. This could enable AQI to establish safe havens for Islamic extremism within Iraq from which to launch terrorist attacks against other moderate regimes in the region. Zarqawi has pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and the goals of AQI support bin Ladin’s broader objective of establishing a Caliphate throughout the Middle East.



One may make the argument that none of these groups would exist if we hadn't invaded. This is only partly true, as the first two would be running the country, and as we all know now were partially in league with last. We went into Iraq for sound reasons, but that's not the point of this post.

None of the above three groups would support either the reincorporation of "disenfranchised Iraqis into all aspects of Iraqi society" or women's equality.

Code Pink ends their petiton by calling on

...world leaders to join us in spreading the fundamental values of love for the human family and for our precious planet.

Doll at Freedom Watch says it best: "The only fundamental values these morons seem to be spreading is their hate of George Bush and the War on Terror."

Ditto that.

Posted by Tom at 3:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 7, 2006

Leftist Whacko Items You May Have Missed

Two topics in this post
1) Leftist groups that fund the terrorist insurgents in Iraq
2) Leftist groups that have given their approval to killing American and coalition troops in Iraq

Funding Terrorism

Guess what leftist organizations are funding the terrorists in Iraq?

Besides Code Pink, that is.

European leftists, that's who. I missed this when it first came out last June, but this US News and World Report story documents how leftists in Europe

Turns out that far-left groups in western Europe are carrying on a campaign dubbed Ten Euros for the Resistance, offering aid and comfort to the car bombers, kidnappers, and snipers trying to destabilize the fledgling Iraq government. In the words of one Italian website, Iraq Libero (Free Iraq), the funds are meant for those fighting the occupanti imperialisti. The groups are an odd collection, made up largely of Marxists and Maoists, sprinkled with an array of Arab emigres and aging, old-school fascists, according to Lorenzo Vidino, an analyst on European terrorism based at The Investigative Project in Washington, D.C. "It's the old anticapitalist, anti-U.S., anti-Israel crowd," says Vidino, who has been to their gatherings, where he saw activists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Italy. "The glue that binds them together is anti-Americanism." The groups are working on an October conference to further support "the Iraqi Resistance." A key goal is to expand backing for the insurgents from the fringe left to the broader antiwar and antiglobalization movements.

Don't think that these people are just buying "humanitarian supplies" either

Some funds may be buying more deadly stuff; one leader boasted to Vidino that the campaign will send "everything it takes" for the resistance to win, including weaponry. Neither Iraq Libero nor Campo Antiimperialista responded to questions from U.S. News about where their funds end up.

The article makes clear that these people probably haven't raised a lot of money, but of course that isn't the point. One penny it too much. As is often said of Christmas presents, "it's the thought that counts." And this time the thought is murderous.

Code Pink's Funding Operation

At the top of this post I mentioned a group called Code Pink. They are an American-based radical pro-Castro group who's full name is "Code Pink Women for Peace"

In December of 2004 they gave some $600,000 in cash and supplies to the terrorists in Fallujah. This was just before the US attack that freed the city from the insurgents. David Horowitz has the full story on this group on his DiscoverTheNetwork.org database website here.

If you don't believe Horowitz go to Code Pink's website, where they admit to doing it. It was also reported on TurkishPress.com

License to Kill

A "World Tribunal on Iraq" was held in Istanbul on June 24, 25, and 26 of 2005, Democracy Now! sponsored the A full list of endorsers can be found on the World Tribunal website. Here are some of the ones you've probably heard of


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - NY Chapter
CODEPINK: Women for Peace
GreenPeace
International A.N.S.W.E.R
International Action Center
National Lawyers Guild - NYC chapter
Not in Our Name Project
The Greens/Green Party USA


Among their findings, taken directly from the World Tribunal website:

1. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was and is illegal. The reasons given by the US and UK governments for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003 have proven to be false. Much evidence supports the conclusion that a major motive for the war was to control and dominate the Middle East and its vast reserves of oil as a part of the US drive for global hegemony.

2. Blatant falsehoods about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a link between Al Qaeda terrorism and the Saddam Hussein régime were manufactured in order to create public support for a �preemptive� assault upon a sovereign independent nation.

All of this is standard leftist patter. This next one is a bit more interesting

8. The imposition of the UN sanctions in 1990 caused untold suffering and thousands of deaths. The situation has worsened after the occupation. At least 100,000 civilians have been killed; 60,000 are being held in US custody in inhumane conditions, without charges; thousands have disappeared; and torture has become routine

So...they're against both the war and the sanctions the preceded it? Would they have prefered that Saddam be given free reign to rebuild his WMD after the Gulf War of 1991? Apparently so, for they give no indication anywhere that they see Saddam's Iraq as a threat.

But it's this next one that you ought to read very carefully

11. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to repression by the occupying forces. It is the occupation and its brutality that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.

"...the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified."

Get it? It's ok to kill American and coalition soldiers. There is simply no other way to read that part.

I think it's ok to question the patriotism of these people.

Posted by Tom at 8:33 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 23, 2005

From Fake Vigils to Fake Parties

If Code Pink can hold fake "vigils" for American soldiers every Friday night (more here) outside the main entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, why can't another leftie group hold fake parties (er, "events") when our death toll in Iraq reaches 2000?

No reason at all, say the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

That's right, they're planning celebrations(drat, there I go again) across the country on the day after the 2,000th death is reported. If you don't believe me, go to their website and check it out.

Ugh. And no doubt our msm will faithfully cover these "vigils", without telling us who the AFSC really are. But you can get the scoop here, because I will tell you. After all, I don't call myself The Redhunter for nothing.

Before we get going, there's a bit of a spat in the blogosphere about what exactly these "events" AFSC is holding. Little Green Footballs calls them "a series of parties". Michelle Malkin links to lfg and says that AFSC "support(s) the troops...by partying over their deaths"

Well...calling them "parties" may be going a bit too far. What AFSC will do is more akin to Code Pink's fake "vigils" than outright "parties". In fact, they specifically suggest "candlelight vigils" as an appropriate way to mark the event.

They're Still Fake

Let's not let a small terminology quibble with lgf and Malkin obscure the real issue here, and that is that the AFSC is a far-left group that wants us to pull out of Iraq immediately regardless of the consequences. They are quite direct about this on their website. The first sentence of a news release dated December 22, 2004 reads:

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an international Quaker peace, justice, and humanitarian organization, is calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Why? From another section of their site:

The American Friends Service Committee believes that there is no military solution to the Iraq war. Continued fighting and occupation promises only further deaths and injuries, more widows and orphans, more separated families.

The way they want to "end the war" is to cut off funding:

The U.S. Constitution gives the Congress financial oversight. The time has come for our elected representatives to listen to the country’s pro-peace majority and end funding for this war.

They're going to hold these events all over the US. There's a place on their website where you can punch in your zip code, and see if there's one planned at a location near you. Lo and behold, I found that the moonbats are planning on holding one on the courthouse lawn of my own town! Ugh. Neadless to say, when the time comes, if I remember and have time I'll run up and take some photos for the blog.

Why do I call their "vigil" fake? Because like all these other leftie "end the war' groups, they claim to be oh-so-concerned with the killing. Their claim is that they want "to stop the deaths", and on their website they repeat the bogus claim that 100,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq "as a result of this war" (debunked here and here).

Two problems with this line of reasoning.

First, it's not as if Iraq was all tranquil and peaceful before we came along. Saddam was murdering his own people by the tens of thousands. Mass graves are uncovered every month in Iraq. In addition, let's not forget that he started two major wars; against Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. The first killed up to a million people on both sides (I can't find figures for the second at this moment). By invading we are reducing the killing in Iraq.

Yes, at this moment, people are dying. No one disputes this. But by the logic of the anti-war crowd, we should not have invaded France to expel Germany. Tens of thousands of French were killed by American and British bombs and shells. And we weren't terribly discriminate about our actions either, folks. It was a tough, dirty business. And you know what? Despite their distain for our current foreign policy the French do truely appreciate what we did for them (yes they really do).

Second, if we were to pack up and leave Iraq, we would face a bloodbath at least as bad as what happened in Southeast Asia after we left there in 1972. Between Vietnam and Cambodia, more people died after our withdrawal than during the war. The reason, of course, is that the communists exacted their revenge on the people. In Iraq, Al Quada would try to set up a calipate that would make the Taliban look tame by comparison. Even if they didn't succeed, it would be a bloodbath worse than what is going on now, because the Iraqi Army would have a very tough time of it.

Who are the American Friends Service Committee?

The best single source of information about them (and any other leftie group you may want to research) is David Horowitz' excellent DiscovertheNetwork.org website. Here are a few excerpts from his entry on the AFSC:

Although the AFSC has repeatedly denied being a Communist or Communist-infiltrated organization, it has in fact developed close affiliations with the Communist Party USA and various socialist and revolutionary groups. Because the AFSC views Communism as a desirable state, it actively assisted Communist nations in their elusive quest to achieve economic prosperity.

As AFSC author Ruth Anna Brown explains, "We have helped, or are helping, Communist countries reach the amount of economic growth and development necessary for them to allow a degree of relaxed domestic control. We are helping Communist countries to achieve greater benefits through peaceful co-existence than they could receive through war

In recent decades the AFSC has had no higher priority than to agitate for the unilateral disarmament of the United States.

Today the AFSC is a member organization of the Abolition 2000, Win Without War, and United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalitions. Moreover, the AFSC (which recently formed an alliance with the radical group MECha) also takes a strong stance against laws that would apprehend and punish illegal immigrants in the United States.Today the AFSC is a member organization of the Abolition 2000, Win Without War, and United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalitions. Moreover, the AFSC (which recently formed an alliance with the radical group MECha) also takes a strong stance against laws that would apprehend and punish illegal immigrants in the United States.

I think you get the idea. Basically, they hate the United States and everything this country stands for. They're ashamed to be Americans, and when they go overseas no doubt spend their time "apologizing" for our actions.

Crying Foul

Leftie blogs are, of course, crying foul over the exposure of the AFSC by lgf. You can go visit them and read their whining and moaning if you're up for a good laugh. Go to lgf here for the links.

Posted by Tom at 7:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Shocked, Shocked!

So Tony Blair is shocked, shocked! that the London terrorists were indiginous and did not come into the country especially for that purpose, as did the 9/11 hijackers(hat tip NRO)

Tony Blair said it is "shocking" that the four suspected London suicide bombers are believed to be home-grown terrorists.

The Prime Minister told the Commons during PMQs that it was "shocking that they were brought up in this country".

Unbelieveable. Anyone who has followed events in the UK knows that the Islamists are tolerated there, all in the name of "tolerance" and "multiculturalism." The left is so absorbed in the idea the greviances of all minority groups are automatically valid that they can't see hate when it's staring them in the face.

But on the other side of the pond they can't figure it out:

The four suspects in the London suicide bombings were young men who had lived outwardly normal lives in the northern English city of Leeds.

That leaves police, politicians, Britain's 1.7 million Muslims and a nation known for its multicultural tolerance asking the same anguished question -- what turned these young men into killers?

It's pretty simple, actually, and as always Christopher Hitchens summed it up nicely the other day(again, hat tip NRO):

We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

Dead spot on. But some people seem intent on ignoring the radicals in our midst.

If you really want to follow the PC pandering in the UK, read USS Neverdock. He tracks this stuff daily.

Daniel Pipes is also a great source. Check out this list of PC follies on his blog. Just be warned; keep objects that can be thrown out of reach before you read it.

It's stuff like what Marc of USS Neverdock and Daniel Pipes track that allows terrorism to develop. When you have hate speech coming from even a few mosques, and no one in the major media or a major politician dares to call them on it, then sooner or later some young Muslims are going to become radicalized to the point where they become terrorists. How hard is this to figure out?

Victor Davis Hanson also nails it in a recent column of his (Hat tip USS Neverdock)

The terrorists and their supporters understand that in a strange way the West is not only split, but also increasingly illiberal as well. It has lost confidence in its old commitment to rationalism, free speech and empiricism, and now embraces the deductive near-religious doctrines of moral equivalence and utopian pacifism. Al Qaeda's supporters will say that Thursday's victims were killed because of Afghanistan or Iraq. Westerners will duly repeat the dull refrain that "Bush lied, thousands died" in their guilt-ridden search for something we did to cause this.

And so, rather than focus our attention on the madrassas and the mosques that preach hatred, we will strive to learn more about Islamic culture, as if our own insensitivity were the true culprit. Our grandfathers could despise Bushido — Japan's warrior cult — without worrying whether they were being unfair to Buddhists; we of less conviction and even less courage, cannot do likewise.

In short, we now know what to expect from the London bombings and the others to follow. There will be no effort to punish the states that subsidize al Qaeda. Critics will cling to the myth that the British got what they had coming. The primary obsession of many Westerners will be to extend sensitivity to Islam, not the victims of those who kill in its name. And all will be consoled that just a few dozen were harvested this time.

What a strange way to fight a war.

Strange indeed.

Posted by Tom at 8:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 6, 2005

Live Aid II

I cannot believe it.

When I wrote "Live Aid" below, it was in the usual morning hurry. I'd heard about Geldorf's comments on the radio yesterday, made a few notes, and then did some quick research this morning and wrote the post before hurrying off to work.

Then today I found out the details.

Live Aid, you see, does not raise one penny for people in Africa.

That's right. It's sole purpose is to "raise awareness" Jonah Goldberg has the scoop:

You may be wondering how much money this intercontinental jam session raised for the sick and dying of Africa. Alas, not a farthing. Sir Bob Geldof was very explicit about this point. Live8 was intended to raise consciousness and exert political pressure on the G8 summiteers. No one was allowed to actually raise money for the masses of starving people in Africa.

This morning I was willing to give Geldorf and his pals the benefit of the doubt. Now I'm disgusted.

What annoys me is when people like Geldorf tell, no, demand, that other people cough up vast sums of money because...he cares.

And let's just revisit what Geldorf demands that we do: fork over 25 billion dollars, and forgive billions in debt. This is money that you and I will pay for, friends. Will it do any good? We're not supposed to ask. For Geldorf further instructs us that

Something must be done, even if it doesn't work.

As Jonah points out, does anybody really think that all, or even many, of the people who watched or went to the concert (the number is disputed) care about the people in Africa? In other words, would they have watched or gone if it had just been a plain old concert? I think we know the answers.

If Geldorf and his entertainment pals feel guilty, which seems to be the case, then they can take personal action. If they personally go to Africa to help out, or at least give personal money, then God bless them.

But when rich hollywood types demand that governments spend tons of money and that "we will not applaud half measures, or politics as usual" well, he can go jump in a lake.

In brief, then what are the problems facing Africa that stand in the way of progress?

1) Lack of pluralism and democracy. Our administration has rejected the status quo foreign policy of the past with regard to the Middle East. Let's expand this to other parts of the world.

2) Lack of free market capitalism. Central planning has for too long been the way that African governments ran their economies. The Heritage Foundation has an Index of Economic Freedom that rates countries by their level of economic freedom. Sadly, most countries in Africa rank low.

3) Property Rights are not enforced and respected. Business will not go where contract law is not guaranteed.

4) Rule of Law is not ensured. By this we mean that the courts will rule on matters of law in a non-partisan manner.

5) Their is a culture of corruption that is beyond what most westerners believe. I've heard the stories from friends from that part of the world, and have read, and the corruption is so all-encompasing as to be almost unbelieveable.

6) Most importantly, we in the west have accepted these failures for far too long. We've done so for many and varied reasons; guilt over colonialism etc, foreign policy "realism", the dominance of the Cold War, and just plain old not caring. This is what must end for progress to be made.

Posted by Tom at 9:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 5, 2005

If you're not Making them Mad....

There comes a certain point where if you're not driving the liberals nuts you're not doing your job.

For example, if President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court does not generate howls of rage from NOW, the People for the American Way, and all the other assorted leftie groups, we'll know it was a bad choice.

Likewise with the media. If the guardians of the traditional media aren't mad at us, we're doing something wrong.

For the fact is that the reporting on the War on Terror in general and Iraq in particular is abysmal. You are simply not going to find out what is going on if you limit yourself to the TV news channels (Fox News included, the newspapers, and especially newsmagazines. What passes for analysis there is pathetic.

I set up a sidebar link with some sites that I think are particularly useful in understanding what is going on. They're not all neoconservative, btw. But I'm getting off topic.

You see, several of the dreaded radio talk show hosts are making a trip to Iraq to find out what is going on. They are calling it a "truth tour" and will be live-blogging it at VoicesOfSoldiers.com You'll want to bookmark it.

The talk-show hosts will be broadcasting their shows from Baghdad, and will be traveling with the troops daily. In addition, two writers from David Horowitz' FrontPage Magazine are going, which is guaranteed to drive the left to fits of apoplexy.

I heard about this will scanning the Fox News website, and then while listening to Michael Graham, a local talk show host (Washington DC area) will is going on the trip.

So how have the liberals in the press reacted? Predictably, that's how.

Let's just observe a sampling of their reaction:

"This is the most pathetic thing I've heard in a long time. They should be ashamed of themselves," Peter Beinart, editor of left-leaning The New Republic magazine, said.

"They have no idea what journalism is, and to pretend they are journalists is laughable," Beinart said. "You do not achieve victory by not facing reality. I think these are the kinds of people that will lead us to lose there."
...

"I think they are going to discover very quickly that Iraq is an extremely dangerous place," Joe Conason, editor for American Prospect magazine and author of "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth," said. "The realities of the war zone are likely to intrude on whatever ideological disposition they have going in there."
...

one of them even pulled out the "Arstrong Williams" canard:

Steve Rendall, senior analyst for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and author of "The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error," said with an attitude like that, the trip will probably be useless in terms of real news-making.
...

Rendall noted it "bears comparison to the Armstrong Williams and the other instances" of government payment for good news, referring to conservative talk show host Williams, who was paid by the Department of Education to pump up school choice on his radio show in 2004.

(Just for the record, the talk-show hosts are paying their own way)

But we know the drill: "How dare these, these radio talk show hosts attempt to report on their own! Why, they didn't go to the right school! They don't have the right degrees! They didn't worship er, sit, at the feet of Bob Woodward!"

The parody is too easy. And I'll leave the humor to sites that are a lot better at it.

So much is wrong with what Beinart and Rendall say that it's hard to know where to start. I'll just point out what has become obvious, and that is to the liberals who make up most of the mainstream press, if you're not anti-Bush and against the war in Iraq you're not "objective"

And the reason for this is simple. People like Beinart and Rendall want to bring back the glory days of Vietnam.

Melanie Morgain, a talk-show host who is going on the trip, countered the liberal criticism:

Morgan, a former television reporter, said she and the others are tired of "hotel journalists" from "the mainstream media" who "sit around in a hotel bar" cribbing other writers' quotes and clips "so they don’t have to go out and cover the war."

"We are not going to engage in hotel journalism," she said.

Oh, and if you want the scoop on Beinart (and more info on the trip), Michelle Malkin has it all.

Stay tuned. I've added Voices of Soldiers my blogroll and will try and follow their reports as best I can.

Posted by Tom at 8:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 30, 2005

All the Right Enemies II

Well, well, so the liberals are all in a huff over President Bush' mention of 9/11 in his speech Tuesday night.

Fine. What's important is who is upset, and who is happy. The invaluable Victor Davis Hanson pointed this out some time ago in a must-read article.

And it appears that all the right people are upset. All those who I never agree with anyway didn't like it.

Such as David Gergen, the man who will serve in any administration as long as they stroke his ego.

Like the Washington Post, who is still off on the bogus he "missed an opportunity to fully level with Americans" line that I dealt with a post or so ago.

Like the New York Times, which makes the Post look positively reactionary by comparison. Their editorial is beyond pathetic.

Like the Democrat's response to the speech. That they don't get it has been obvious for a long time.

The editors of National Review, typically, do:

The September 11 attacks were so important and so horrific that they never should be mentioned again. That at least seems to be the position of the Left and establishment media. Images of the planes hitting the towers on that day have been all but banned from the public airwaves. And the president of the United States cannot mention 9/11 when explaining the stakes in a fight against jihadists supported by Osama bin Laden in Iraq without prompting howls of outrage. Bush was absolutely justified in invoking repeatedly Sept. 11 and the fight against terrorism in his speech from Fort Bragg Tuesday night. Let's count the ways:
There never would have been an Iraq war without 9/11, which drastically reduced the country's tolerance for a hostile Arab who had sought weapons of mass destruction before and was likely to do so again.

Saddam's regime had a web of connections to Islamic extremists and terrorists, as explained by Andy McCarthy elsewhere on NRO.

Foreign jihadists are now pouring into Iraq to fight on behalf of Abu Zarqawi, who has explicitly allied himself with Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. The case for a connection between the Iraq war and the sort of terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 is — sadly — stronger than ever.

Bin Laden himself has, as Bush noted Tuesday night, called the Iraq war a crucial front in the war on terror. He has said that the war will end in “victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”

If we lose in Iraq, a Sunni rump state could emerge that would provide a haven for terrorists, the same way Afghanistan provided a haven for the 9/11 terrorists.

If we fail in Iraq, it will be a blow to America's prestige. One reason the terrorists struck on 9/11 is that they thought America was weak and making it bleed would prompt it to abandon its allies in the Middle East. The signal of weakness sent by a loss in Iraq wouldn't placate our enemies, but invite more attacks.

Supporters of a radical Islamic ideology struck American on 9/11. The war on terror is not a fight against a tactic (as the name falsely suggests), but against that ideology. The appeal of an ideology ebbs and flows with perceptions of its success. Communism advanced in the third world after its victory in Vietnam. The Islamists would get a similar boost if they were to prevail in Iraq.

Competing interpretations of Islam are at war in Iraq — that of Aytollah Sistani, who says Islam is compatible with democracy, and that of Zarqawi, who believes like bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers that Islam is a religion of violence. It is imperative that Sistani win out.

Islamic extremists justifiably fear a Middle East that turns away from radicalism and anti-Americanism. Victory in Iraq will be a step toward that goal.

In short, not only was it defensible for Bush to talk of 9/11 Tuesday night, it would be impossible for him to make the case for the Iraq war without reference to it. The war on terror began in earnest on that day, and Iraq is properly understood as a front in that larger, necessary war.

As mentioned by the NR editors, Andrew McCarthy outlined the links between Saddam and terrorism (for the umpteenth time, one might add):

It is not the war for democratization. It is not the war for stability. Democratization and stability are not unimportant. They are among a host of developments that could help defeat the enemy.

But they are not the primary goal of this war, which is to destroy the network of Islamic militants who declared war against the United States when they bombed the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993, and finally jarred us into an appropriate response when they demolished that complex, struck the Pentagon, and killed 3000 of us on September 11, 2001.

That is why we are in Iraq.

On September 12, 2001, no one in America cared about whether there would be enough Sunni participation in a fledgling Iraqi democracy if Saddam were ever toppled. No one in lower Manhattan cared whether the electricity would work in Baghdad, or whether Muqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite militia could be coaxed into a political process. They cared about smashing terrorists and the states that supported them for the purpose of promoting American national security.

Saddam Hussein’s regime was a crucial part of that response because it was a safety net for al Qaeda. A place where terror attacks against the United States and the West were planned. A place where Saddam’s intelligence service aided and abetted al Qaeda terrorists planning operations. A place where terrorists could hide safely between attacks. A place where terrorists could lick their wounds. A place where committed terrorists could receive vital training in weapons construction and paramilitary tactics. In short, a platform of precisely the type without which an international terror network cannot succeed.
...
On that score, nobody should worry about anything the Times or David Gergen or Senator Reid has to say about all this until they have some straight answers on questions like these. What does the “nothing whatsoever” crowd have to say about:

Ahmed Hikmat Shakir — the Iraqi Intelligence operative who facilitated a 9/11 hijacker into Malaysia and was in attendance at the Kuala Lampur meeting with two of the hijackers, and other conspirators, at what is roundly acknowledged to be the initial 9/11 planning session in January 2000? Who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks in possession of contact information for several known terrorists? Who managed to make his way out of Jordanian custody over our objections after the 9/11 attacks because of special pleading by Saddam’s regime?

Saddam's intelligence agency's efforts to recruit jihadists to bomb Radio Free Europe in Prague in the late 1990's?

Mohammed Atta's unexplained visits to Prague in 2000, and his alleged visit there in April 2001 which — notwithstanding the 9/11 Commission's dismissal of it (based on interviewing exactly zero relevant witnesses) — the Czechs have not retracted?

The Clinton Justice Department's allegation in a 1998 indictment (two months before the embassy bombings) against bin Laden, to wit: In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

Seized Iraq Intelligence Service records indicating that Saddam's henchmen regarded bin Laden as an asset as early as 1992?

Saddam's hosting of al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri beginning in the early 1990’s, and reports of a large payment of money to Zawahiri in 1998?

Saddam’s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?

Iraqi Intelligence Service operatives being dispatched to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 (the year of bin Laden’s fatwa demanding the killing of all Americans, as well as the embassy bombings)?

Saddam’s official press lionizing bin Laden as “an Arab and Islamic hero” following the 1998 embassy bombing attacks?

The continued insistence of high-ranking Clinton administration officials to the 9/11 Commission that the 1998 retaliatory strikes (after the embassy bombings) against a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory were justified because the factory was a chemical weapons hub tied to Iraq and bin Laden?

Top Clinton administration counterterrorism official Richard Clarke’s assertions, based on intelligence reports in 1999, that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings, and Clarke’s memo to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, advising him not to fly U-2 missions against bin Laden in Afghanistan because he might be tipped off by Pakistani Intelligence, and “[a]rmed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad”? (See 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 134 & n.135.)

Terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi's choice to boogie to Baghdad of all places when he needed surgery after fighting American forces in Afghanistan in 2001?

Saddam's Intelligence Service running a training camp at Salman Pak, were terrorists were instructed in tactics for assassination, kidnapping and hijacking?

Former CIA Director George Tenet’s October 7, 2002 letter to Congress, which asserted: Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.

We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.

Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

There's more. Stephen Hayes’s book, The Connection, remains required reading. But these are just the questions; the answers — if someone will just investigate the questions rather than pretending there’s “nothing whatsoever” there — will provide more still.

So Gergen, Reid, the Times, and the rest are “offended” at the president's reminding us of 9/11? The rest of us should be offended, too. Offended at the “nothing whatsoever” crowd’s inexplicable lack of curiosity about these ties, and about the answers to these questions.

Just tell us one thing: Do you have any good answer to what Ahmed Hikmat Shakir was doing with the 9/11 hijackers in Kuala Lampur? Can you explain it?

If not, why aren't you moving heaven and earth to find out the answer?

Update

I was doing a google search for some other information and look at what I found. The article, by CNS, is about a year old, so is not exactly news. But as with the information above, it is useful to throw at people who still insist that there were few ties between Saddam and terrorism:

Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.

One of the Iraqi memos contains an order from Saddam for his intelligence service to support terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia. The memo was written nine months before U.S. Army Rangers were ambushed in Mogadishu by forces loyal to a warlord with alleged ties to al Qaeda.

Other memos provide a list of terrorist groups with whom Iraq had relationships and considered available for terror operations against the United States.

Among the organizations mentioned are those affiliated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri, two of the world's most wanted terrorists.

As always, read the whole thing.

Posted by Tom at 10:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

Inconvenient Quotes

Actually they're quite convenient to me. But if you're a liberal who runs around crying Bush Lied! they're quite inconvenient.

Best of all, the quotes are impeccably sourced. They come courtesy of one of my favorite talk show hosts, Glenn Beck. Visit his page to see if he is on a station in your area.


"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003 | Source

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002 | Source

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 | Source

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 | Source

"We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998 | Source

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 | Source

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton.
- (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 1998 | Source

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998 | Source

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999 | Source

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002 | Source

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 | Source

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 | Source

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002 | Source

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002 | Source

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002 | Source

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002 | Source

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002 | Source


There are some liberals who will object to my using these quotes. Here's why they're full of it:

So in order to still believe that Bush Lied! you need to believe that Bush and co fooled the Democrats with fake intel. This would make the Democrats are incredibly stupid and easily fooled people. Oops.

Of course, the Robb-Silberman Commission cleared Bush of this charge, but since when has the left let facts stand in the way?

You also have to ignore the fact that even Hans Blix and Jacques Chirac thought that Saddam had WMD. They just didn't think we needed to invade Iraq.

So if you want to believe that the invasion was a mistake, fine. Reasonable people can disagree. But only left-wing whackos think that Bush Lied!

Posted by Tom at 9:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2005

Leftist Assaults on Free Speech

As anyone who's followed the blogosphere recently knows, there's been a spate of incidents recently in which leftist protesters have thrown pies and other food at conservative speakers.

Is it a big deal? Michelle Malkin thinks so:

Drudge linked last night to a story and video of Pat Buchanan getting attacked by a deranged college student while giving a speech. The assailant doused Buchanan's face completely with salad dressing. He screamed, "Stop the bigotry!"before charging within inches of Buchanan and nearly hitting him in the head with the bottle as well.

If you think this is funny, you are sick. This is madness and it is chilling. Where are all the free-speech defenders when you need them? Too busy defending loons like you-know-who and trying to suppress the free-speech rights of law-abiding citizens.

These physical attacks targeting conservatives on campus and in the public square are getting more frequent. (See Kristol, Coulter, Perle, Harris, and the conservative kid who got kicked by a left-wing nut professor, for starters.) The Left continues to snicker about it. The MSM makes light of it (CBS: "A Dressing-Down For Pat Buchanan"; NPR: "What's a little pie in the face?"). And for the most part, college administrators let the thugs get away with it.

These unhinged moonbats have more thoroughly exposed the great myth of liberal tolerance than any conservative critic could. For that, I suppose we should be grateful.
I've caught a few of her campus lectures on C-SPAN, and can tell you that the left hates her with a vengence. At the ones I've seen the campus police kept the rabble-rousers out of the lecture hall, but you could hear their chants in the background.

Some will say that this is no big deal. What, after all, are a few pies? And if that was all conservatives could point too, I'd agree. But it is really just part of a larger attempt by leftists to prevent conservatives from speaking at all.

This is not something new. In the 1980s conservative speakers were regularly shouted down on college campuses by well-organized leftist mobs.

Two friends, Barbara and Lyn La Cava got to see leftist mobs up close recently at the University of Texas when they went to hear David Horowitz speak. As is the standard practice, Horowitz would make some remarks, after which there would be a question and answer period.

The event was sponsored by the University of Texas Federalist Society. Barbara, a member of the "Middle-aged Moms" provides this description of what she saw on her blog, Quid Nimis:

The group that was apparently organized to disrupt the lecture used three main tactics: holding up aforementioned cheesy signs, shouting and interrupting verbally, and using cell phones and air horns to create noise. At various times some were hustled out by campus security, some left noisily of their own accord ("Some people can't handle the truth") and some put up a fuss so that they had to be handcuffed, which is the pseudo-revolutionary's martyrdom. You get extra points if you manage to wrest your arm away from the cop long enough to hold your fist high and scream, "Power to the peopllllle!!" Such courage, such passion, such fervor. One could almost hear the the plaintive chorus of babushka-ed garment workers singing "Bread and Roses."
Having been to several Horowitz lectures in the past, and this time her and her fellow conservatives were prepared to meet the leftists head on. Lyn La Cava tells us what happened:
There were the usual tedious, hostile rampages posing as questions during the Q & A, but no threat of shutting down the lecture. This time they almost succeeded, as Horowitz rightly refused to talk over persistent cell phone ringing, air horns, shouting and signs. Aggression from the Left is intensifying. This time I wondered if I had erred by sitting front row center, in the line of fire of a pie - or worse. Yet once the rabble attacked, our group stood up against them, adrenaline and outrage trumping anxiety. It was gratifying to toss decorum aside and shout back at these thugs to shut up, go home and grow up. When they shook their fists, we shook ours back. When one charged down the aisle sputtering and shouting, we rose against him yelling “Let Horowitz speak!” among other suggestions. When some acted victimized at being cuffed and led out by police we cried, “Whaa, baby, go home!” At one point the room erupted into a cacophony of yelling from both sides about rights, fascism and free speech.
Apparently she's made enough of an impact on her blog that a few leftists have discovered it and, dispute their description of events in the comments section. I wasn't there, so I can't authoritatively say one way or the other, but I can tell you that over the years I've read so much about situations like these that Barbara and La Cava's descriptions fit perfectly.

And, indeed, a story in the Daily Texan about the lecture backs them up:

Six people, including one juvenile, were arrested Wednesday night after protesting David Horowitz's speech at Townes Hall at the UT School of Law. The Texas Federalist Society hosted the meeting and invited Horowitz, a right-wing advocate and author of the Academic Bill of Rights, to speak.

Opposition groups were holding signs and speaking out during Horowitz's speech on Wednesday, but when they were told to stop speaking, some took out noisemakers to mark their disapproval of the speaker. Three females and three males were arrested and then jailed under charges of disrupting a meeting or procession ­- a Class B misdemeanor. The subjects were not UT students.

People who can not or will not control themselves deserve to be arrested. The invited speaker deserves to have his or her say. Occasional cheering or booing is fine, but it should not go on long enough to prevent the speaker from continuing. There is always a Q & A period, and this is the time during which dissent should be expressed. Tough and pointed questions are fine, no one has any objections to them.

According to the Daily Texan, two of the students were arrested for using an air horn, and the other four for "verbal utterances" , described as "yelling and arguing with a speaker". Again, this to me is unacceptable behavior and they deserved arrest.

But this is not all the leftists did. Again, the Daily Texan:

"Protesters chose to disrupt Mr. Horowitz's lecture by moving threateningly toward the stage, shouting at the speaker and blowing foghorns and other noise-making devices," Breloff said in a statement.

Melissa Hotze, assistant vice president of events, was sitting in the last row of the auditorium and said she was frustrated that the protesters would not sit down until the question and answer period to voice their opinions.

In other words, they refused to follow the rules and decided that they would act like spoiled brats. That's the nicest thing I can say. The worst is that they're really a bunch of fascists but are too ignorant of history to know it.

Predictably, the left views all this as "an assault on free speech"

A speech about academic freedom turned into a "violation of First Amendment rights," according to Dana Cloud, a member of the International Socialist Organization.
...
"The irony of squelching such a protest with police on a meeting on free speech is the fact that Horowitz is part of a growing trend, the new McCarthyisms - disciplining progressive faculty," Cloud said.
No, Dana, you do not have the right to shout down speakers. You do not have the right to disrupt a lecture. If you want to make a fool of yourself go outside and march around with the stupid signs you leftists usually carry. But when you disrupt speakers, I'm going to cheer when you get arrested.

Update

I have made a few minor corrections in the above text that was brought to my attention by Lyn La Cava.

We also have some commentary on the article in the Daily Texan, provided by Quid Nimis:


The Daily Texan article was apparently written by someone who wasn't there. There is no mention of the VIGOROUS anti-protest group shouting back at the Socialists/Anarchists/Totalitarian-Welcome-Wagon Leftist Frat Boys 'n Girls. Its primary source is a Leftist professor of Communications, Dana Cloud, whom the article quotes at the beginning and end, and, secondarily, the police blotter.

[Note to self : add "Communications" to list of joke majors, along with Education and Sociology.]

Turns out there were a total of six "cuffed martyrs" who got to spend about 18 hours as guests of the police department. None of them were actually students at UT (Surprise!).

Apparently the left imports professional agitators. As I said above, these people use fascist tactics whether they know it or not.


Posted by Tom at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

"Discover the Network" works

As I mentioned in an earlier post, David Horowitz has created a new website called "Discover the Network" which is a database of left-wing groups and people. It is the best single research tool for this that I have found so far.

I used it yesterday in a debate with a leftist on Dr. Sanity's website. The leftist challenged us to name "anti-America, anti-Democracy" academics. I used "Discover the Network" to list several in my reply. He (or she) was taken aback. It was, I admit, quite satisfying.

Horowitz has a new post on his Frontpagemag site in which he debates a leftist professor, who "has concerns" about Discover the Network:

FP: Prof. Timothy Burke and David Horowitz, welcome to the third and final part of our series on DiscoverTheNetwork.org. Prof. Burke, let me begin with you. What is your assessment of DiscoverTheNetwork? And can you kindly also tell us where you personally stand on members of the left who ally themselves with the enemy in our terror war?

Professor) Burke: On DiscoverTheNetwork, some of my objections have already been ably described by my colleagues. Let me mention a few of my greatest concerns.

First, I think the entire project has an almost non-existent sense of what represents a “linkage” between two separate individuals. This is the bread and butter art of intellectual or political history, the major question in the study of social networks. What is minimally needed to claim a serious or substantial connection between two people in terms of ideas they share, institutional projects they are both contributing to, influences they exert on one another? Whether you’re talking about a connection across time (some individual in the past influencing some individual at a later time) or space (some individual in one society or community influencing another), you have to define what you regard as a meaningful connection, stick to that definition, and provide evidence of it. ...

Horowitz: Professor Burke begins with a series of insults – as seems to be the norm for leftists, particularly when discussing issues with conservatives whose work they have not read. But underneath the unearned scorn poured forth in Professor Burke’s first two paragraphs lies an interesting point, in fact the only interesting point that has surfaced in the three conversations so far.

If I could rephrase this point for Professor Burke, it would be that DiscoverTheNetwork doesn’t articulate the rationale for the linkages it makes on the site in a fashion explicit enough to make clear to him and leftists like him what the rationale might be for its construction. (I notice I have received no such critiques of the linkages on DiscoverTheNetwork from conservatives of whatever persuasion. Nor have any liberals for that matter found the categories in the site suspect let alone risible.) In Professor Burke’s view – respectfully rephrased -- DiscoverTheNetwork identifies networks but doesn’t explain why anyone who shares the assumptions and prejudices of the left should take them seriously
Read the whole thing.

Posted by Tom at 9:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 6, 2005

Another Liberal Myth Destroyed

The left can't make up their mind about President Bush. On the one hand he's a moron, on the other an evil genius. It doesn't make sense, but that never seems to matter.

One of their favorite myths is that Bush is controlled by the evil neo-cons, primary among them Vice-President Cheney. People who are in the know, like General Tommy Franks, have said otherwise, but myths die hard.

The Wall Street Journal describes how this myth has been totally destroyed;

The Robb-Silberman panel does the enormous service of exposing all of this as both false regarding Iraq, and dangerous if it colors the future. The problem in Iraq wasn't some rogue Pentagon intelligence operation that ran roughshod over the CIA and DIA. Far from it, the problem was a "climate of conformity" across the entire intelligence community that firmly believed that Saddam still had WMD. Instead of disagreement, there was almost no internal intelligence debate at all. Everybody believed Saddam had WMD.
Including, of course, Secretary of State Colin Powell. Before he made his famous presentation to the UN in February of 2003 he demanded that the CIA "scrub" it's intelligence findings so that he could be absolutely sure that what he was telling the world was the unvarnished truth. Unfortunately, doubts about that intelligence never made it to the secretary.

This and other errors "stem from poor tradecraft and poor management" within the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community, the report adds. But "the Commission found no evidence of political pressure" to alter intelligence findings. "Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter their analytical judgments," the panelists unanimously say.

These conclusions are all terribly inconvenient to those antiwar critics who are still promoting the Dick-Cheney-as-Rasputin fable of Iraq. And, incredibly, their response has been to imply that the Robb-Silberman panel is also in on this Big Con. A few open-minded liberals are even suggesting that no one should bother to read the report, which we suppose makes it easier to keep believing in the Grassy Knoll.

Chuck Robb is a former United States Senator from Virginia, and the left will have a hard time portraying him as a dupe. Those who insist on seeing the panel's report as a con simply expose themselves as farther and farther divorced from reality.

How did we get the intelligence so wrong?

One reason it overestimated Saddam's WMD capability in 2002-03 is because its analysts recalled how they had underestimated how far along his nuclear-weapons program had been in 1991. The agency was also surprised to discover, after the fall of the Taliban, how much progress al Qaeda had made toward gaining biological weapons in Afghanistan. Regarding both Iran and North Korea, it still knows disturbingly little.
From what I understand, the reason why our intelligence is so poor in these areas is that for the past thirty or forty years we have stressed technical methods of gathering information over human means. There were several reasons for this.

One is simply that we are very good at technology. Putting our resources into technology plays to our strength. One of the tenants of warfare is that you don't hit the enemy where they are strong (preventing infiltration) but where they are weak (technology). Asymetrical warfare works both ways.

A second reason is that much of what we needed to know during the Cold War years could be gathered more easily by technical means than with human means. We needed to count "things" like missiles, ships, tanks, and the like, and keep track of where they were. The Soviets used the same type of communications systems we did (radio and cable) so in a sense we were intercepting what we did ourselves.

A third reason is that the CIA abused their trust during the 1950s and 60s. They engaged in many practices that were questionable at best, seeming to think they were a law unto themselves. During 1975 and 1976 Senator Frank Church led the investigations that exposed wrongdoing by the CIA and FBI. Unfortunately, his recommendations went too far, and the agency ended up hobbled in it's ability to collect needed information. It was a classic case of the pendulum swinging too far in either direction.

The fourth reason is that no administration since has had the fortitude or foresight to challenge our reliance on technology and to insist that better human intelligence was needed. Hindsight is 20/20, and one can easily understand that for a president to try and change things would have led to a great outcry from the left.

The WSJ editorial sums up by saying that "The lesson of the Robb-Silberman report is that, in a world of terrorists eager to acquire WMD, political leaders have a duty to second-guess intellitgence". True enough, but they don't go far enough. We need to change our attitudes toward intelligence gathering, and emphasise human means. This has been the recommendation of other reports and investigations, and needs to be given priority.

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March 24, 2005

The Left Dissected

David Horowitz is one of my favorite authors. A one-time radical left-wing revolutionary, he is now a conservative. A prolific author, he not only maintains a website, FrontPage Magazine, but is the author of numerous books, including his autobiography Radical Son, Destructive Generation, The Politics of Bad Faith, and Unholy Alliance. The last of these is a must-read, as it deals with the alliance between the radical left and radical Islam.

In today's Washington Times Horowitz describes his newest project, and discusses how the mainstream media routinely refer to radical leftists as simply "liberals."

David Horowitz, a radical turned conservative author and activist, has created a Web site, DiscoverTheNetwork.org, which he describes as "a navigation tool for identifying, mapping and defining the left and its elaborate and extensive political network."

In a telephone interview from his Los Angeles home, Mr. Horowitz discussed the idea for the site:

Question: You distinguish between liberalism and "the left." Why is that distinction important?

Historically, it's very important. ... In the early '70s, Norman Podhoretz, who really qualifies as a liberal, was upset at the way his party under [1972 presidential candidate Sen. George] McGovern was opting out of the Cold War -- much as the Democratic Party today has opted out of the war for freedom in Iraq.

When Podhoretz began saying that Democrats had betrayed the tradition of John Kennedy and Harry Truman, a Marxist named Michael Harrington labeled Podhoretz and those who supported him "neoconservatives" -- that's the origin of the term. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the network news followed suit.

Soon, pro-communist leftists like Angela Davis and Tom Hayden were being referred to as "liberals" by the media, and liberals like Norman Podhoretz and Jeane Kirkpatrick were being referred to as "neoconservatives." ... So, to understand our present situation, I felt you have to try to restore accurate political labels. And that's partly what my new Web site, DiscoverTheNetwork.org, is about.

Q: You have documented the Marxist backgrounds of several leading anti-war groups and individuals. Why do you think the media have routinely ignored these connections?

A: This is the beauty of the site: On one page, you get a list of every major anti-war organization and each listing is a link to a profile of the individual group, and each group is connected to a map icon, which, if you click on it, opens up a diagram that shows all the other groups with radical agendas ... that they are connected to.

The fact that the two major peace organizations, International ANSWER and the Coalition for Peace and Justice, are headed by easily identifiable communists, was known to the mainstream media, specifically the New York Times. Because the New York Times is essentially a fellow-traveling institution of the left, it chose not to mention this fact. ...

Read the whole thing.

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Moonbats on Parade

You can find some of the best moonbat photos on the Internet here. (hat tip, DagneyT). Apparently the website is maintained by some guy who lives in the Berkley area and makes a habit of going to the local demonstrations to take photos. I guess if I lived there I'd entertain myself by doing the same. Whoever he is, he's done a great job. Check it out.

Posted by Tom at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2005

Naive or Just Plain Stupid?

Is the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena naive or just plain stupid? Or is this just how communists think?

Giuliana Sgrena, of course, is hostage who was ransomed from her terrorist kidnappers in Iraq by her government. She writes for the communist newspaper Il Manifesto.

The more I read about this story the curiouser and curiouser it gets. Jack Kelly had some details on her thinking in his column yesterday:

Sgrena went to Iraq to report on the heroic resistance to the American imperialists. Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos rode in the airplane to Baghdad with her.

"Be careful not to get kidnapped," Doornbos warned Sgrena.

"You don't understand the situation," she responded, according to Doornbos' account in the Nederlands Dagblatt. "The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers. The enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear." Sgrena left her hotel the morning of Feb. 4th to interview refugees from Fallujah, the resistance stronghold captured by U.S. Marines in November.
So she counts herself as an enemy of America, it would seem. Nice.
The interviews didn't go well. "The refugees...would not listen to me," she said. "I had in front of me the accurate confirmation of the analysis of what the Iraqi society had become as a result of the war and they would throw their truth in my face."

Sgrena's feelings were hurt that the refugees could be so curt to: "I who had risked everything, challenging the Italian government who didn't want journalists to reach Iraq and the Americans who don't want our work to be witnessed of what really became of that country with the war and notwithstanding that which they call elections."

This sort of stuff boggles the mind. Can anyone be so naive?

Unfortunately yes. This is what the communist mindset is all about. From Lenin on down, they have believed that they have a mission to educate "the masses" about the reality of what is going on in the world. The people are fooled by the capitalists, imperialists, religious leaders, etc, into adopting a "false reality." It is the mission of the elite to educate them and lead them to a proper understanding. And, if the communists do come into power and the masses don't cooperate, just shoot them or send them to the gulag. Either will do.

But I don't have time this morning for a full exploration of this topic. A few more tidbits will have to suffice for now.

LGF has a link to a Dutch reporter, Harald Doornbos, who know Sgrenga. He backs up Kelly's description:

'Be careful not to get kidnapped,' I told the female Italian journalist sitting next to me in the small plane that was headed for Baghdad. 'Oh no,' she said. 'That won't happen. We are siding with the oppressed Iraqi people. No Iraqi would kidnap us.'

It doesn't sound very nice to be critical of a fellow reporter. But Sgrena's attitude is a disgrace for journalism. Or didn't she tell me back in the plane that 'common journalists such as yourself' simply do not support the Iraqi people? 'The Americans are the biggest enemies of mankind,' the three women behind me had told me, for Sgrena travelled to Iraq with two Italian colleagues who hated the Americans as well.

(Doornbos goes on to explain how the women demeaned him for travelling as an embedded reporter with the US military, for security reasons. They didn't want to hear about any safety concerns.)

'You don't understand the situation. We are anti-imperialists, anti-capitalists, communists,' they said. The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers, the enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear.

(Doornbos tells them they're out of their mind.)

But they knew better. When we arrived at Baghdad Airport, I was waiting for a jeep from the American army to come pick me up. I saw one of the Italian women walking around crying. An Iraqi had stolen her computer and television equipment. They were standing outside shivering, waiting for a cab to take them to Baghdad.

You just can't make this stuff up.

LGF also reports that her story is unraveling fast.

Predicatably, the left-wingers in the US support her whacko version of events. If you can stomach it, check out this example here.. At least more respectable outlets like The Nation seem to be ignoring her.

This entire situation is at once bizarre and hohum. Bizarre because once again we are reminded of just how out-to-lunch some people on the left are. Hohum because we've seen it so many times over the past century and a half.

Posted by Tom at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack