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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Friday, December 22, 2006

"What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Pro-Life Group Hails 'Huge Win for Free Speech'

"A pro-life group calls it a 'huge' win for free speech and grassroots lobbying: A federal court in Washington seems to have poked a tiny hole in the McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Law by ruling that issue ads sponsored by grassroots groups may air within 30 days of an election." More...

Florida businessman pleads guilty to bribing United Nations official with real estate deals

NEW YORK – "A friend of the former procurement official at the United Nations pleaded guilty in a bribery case, saying he let the official rent and later buy an apartment for his family at reduced prices so he could win lucrative U.N. contracts." More....

Japan still Asia’s model as the Koizumi Revolution continues

"You would not know it from reading The New York Times [The Asahi Shimbun of the United States] but the revolution led by former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is alive, well — and progressing.

Despite a campaign of denigration and misinformation by left-leaning, largely mediocre, so-called mainstream media in Japan and the U.S., it may be Asia’s most important contemporary phenomenon. Remember: Japan was the only non-European society in the 19th and 20th century successfully to modernize — if ending in the tragedy of the Great Pacific War.

The vapor trail of the soaring China Boom rocket of the past two decades, fraught with its essentially rickety launchpad, obscures events. But as the Chinese, themselves, increasingly try to find answers to entering the world power constellation; many Asians look to Japan as the model. Generations of Chinese did so until intoxication with Sovietism led to three decades of bloody repression and stagnation. The Chinese Communists unfruitfully have devoted considerable resources to asking why that model failed." More...

Poll: Americans see N. Korea as bigger threat than China

"Some 75 percent of Americans polled called North Korea the most significant military threat next to the Middle East, according to a joint survey by Gallup and Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun. The Middle East ranked as the top threat at 78 percent. China was listed third at 44 percent, indicating warming ties between the two giants." More.

Second U.S. carrier sets sail for the Gulf

"On Dec. 11, the U.S. Navy moved the Eisenhower Strike Group into the Gulf. The group contains three escort ships and an attack submarine, Middle East Newsline reported." More...

North Korea Nuclear Talks End Without Deal

"Negotiations aimed at coaxing North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons ended without progress on Friday, with Washington and Pyongyang blaming each other for betraying expectations and no date set for fresh talks....." More.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence."
-- Alexander Hamilton

Mexican Soldiers Freelancing for Drug Cartels on US Soil
Gun-toting members of the Mexican military are crossing regularly into U.S. territory, where they are partnering with drug cartels and criminal gangs to protect sophisticated smuggling operations, according to Texas sheriffs and lawmakers...

Report: Sandy Berger Hid Classified Documents

Sandy "Sloppy Burglar" (a/k/a Sandy Scissorhands) went from being "just sloppy", i.e, classified documents accidently (through ... eh hem ... sloppiness) ending up in his pants and socks when he left the National Archives office .... to being down right REALLY extra sloppy when classsified documents were removed (through sloppiness) and he must have again, through "sloppiness," hid these documents "sloppily" under a construction trailer .... where he then returned later to the construction sight .... where again through more sloppiness .... he reattained the documents and ended up taking them off the premises .... unbeknownst to him. This is one sloppy man.

"Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday."

Raul Castro Urges 'Public Debate' in Cuba

"Raul Castro signaled a new leadership style in comments published Thursday, promising fewer speeches, more power sharing, and a willingness to hear different views as he fills in for his 'irreplaceable' brother Fidel."

Wash. Capitol: Menorah OK, Nativity Scene Not

"Washington state's Christmas tree controversy has shifted from the airport to the Capitol, where the governor lit a menorah this week, but officials rejected a Nativity scene."


"Steve Valandra, a spokesman for the Department of General Administration, said officials were concerned that in comparison with a tree or menorah, a Nativity scene might carry a stronger impression of government endorsement of religion. Lawyers for the state felt there was insufficient time to fully research the issue, he said."

What kind of tripe is this?

Kofi Annan's Unseemly United Nations Exit

UNITED NATIONS -- "Despite a series of 'self-congratulatory' events, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will spend his remaining days fighting continued criticisms from many United Nations staffers.

In language unfit for print, the sole regret of many U.N. employees was that Annan was not leaving sooner."

Rice: U.S. Supports Iran Sanctions Draft

WASHINGTON --"The United States supports a draft U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran even though it omits a mandatory travel ban against several Iranians involved in the country's nuclear and missile programs, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday."

Tony Blair: 'Wake Up' to Iran's Extremism

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- "British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrapped up a Middle East tour Wednesday with a blunt speech warning that the world faces a monumental struggle between moderates and extremists - and labeling Iran the main obstacle to hopes for peace."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Here is some self-delusional, self-righteous, holier-than-thou crap to read should you so choose:

Opinion Journal

The Blog Mob
"Written by fools to be read by imbeciles."


In his second paragraph, Mr. Rago writes,
"The ascendancy of Internet technology did bring with it innovations. Information is more conveniently disseminated, and there's more of it, because anybody can chip in. There's more "choice"--and in a sense, more democracy. Folks on the WWW, conservatives especially, boast about how the alternative media corrodes the "MSM," for mainstream media, a term redolent with unfairness and elitism."

Interestingly, when I finished his column, I found that he did nothing in my mind to dispel that notion.

He boasts:
"The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps."
"Every conceivable belief is on the scene, but the collective prose, by and large, is homogeneous: A tone of careless informality prevails; posts oscillate between the uselessly brief and the uselessly logorrheic; complexity and complication are eschewed; the humor is cringe-making, with irony present only in its conspicuous absence; arguments are solipsistic; writers traffic more in pronouncement than persuasion . . .

and concludes,
"Certainly the MSM, such as it is, collapsed itself. It was once utterly dominant yet made itself vulnerable by playing on its reputed accuracy and disinterest to pursue adversarial agendas. Still, as far from perfect as that system was, it was and is not wholly imperfect. The technology of ink on paper is highly advanced, and has over centuries accumulated a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness.

Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress."

To be sure, there is a lot of "crap" on the internet. I think everyone is entitled to "discover" this for themselves. But I have to be honest here, I see little virtue in getting your "news" and opinions either totally or in large part from television and the "highly advanced technology of ink and paper."

I suppose I should be grateful that we have those non-elitists like Mr. Rago who can lead the way for us, hold our hands, tell us what we need to know, and to "screen [for us] editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness."


“Congressional mores could certainly use an upgrade, but it pays to beware of reformers promising to clean up politics by letting someone else do the dirty work. Exhibit A is the strange new enthusiasm for an ‘independent’ office of public integrity for Congress... A better name for such an ‘independent’ ethics body would be the office of public buck-passing, because it would allow Congress to spare itself the heavy political lifting of judging colleagues. Handing over that duty to outsiders would make Congress less politically accountable, not more, while creating a whole new set of political problems and disputes... Like campaign finance reform, the proposal to outsource ethics oversight is about the appearance of virtue. It would let the Members pretend to come clean while lifting the burden of actually enforcing their own standards of conduct.” —The Wall Street Journal

“America is not a stamp collection with one of each. It’s an overwhelmingly Christian country with freedom of religion for those who aren’t. But it’s quite an expansion of ‘freedom of religion’ to argue that ‘those who aren’t’ are entitled to forbid any public expression of America’s Christian inheritance except as part of an all-U-can-eat interfaith salad bar.” —Mark Steyn

Terrorist Screening Program on ‘Firm Legal Ground’ Says DHS
While some Americans believe the federal government's post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures have compromised their privacy rights, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security is defending his agency's passenger and cargo screening program as the “best tool we have” in combating terrorism...

"The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people."
-- Thomas Jefferson

North Korea Nuclear Talks Extended on `Concrete Negotiations'
Bloomberg - USA
Six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program will continue for two more days because the parties have entered into ``concrete ...

North Korea Says US Is Plotting To Harm It
Mediafax - Bucuresti,Romania
North Korea accused the United States on Wednesday of scheming to do it harm even as the two were locked in diplomatic negotiations to curtail Pyongyang''s ...

ROUNDUP: US Softens Stance On North Korea; Phased Plan To End ...
Playfuls.com - Targu Mures,Romania
The United States has proposed a phased plan of incentives to North Korea in return for Pyongyang's agreement to halt its nuclear programmes, a news report ...

Talks on North Korea's debt will be held soon
Interfax Russia - Moscow,Russia
Officials of the Russian and North Korean Finance Ministries are to hold negotiations soon to discuss ways to settle North Korea's $8-billion ..

AP: North Korea Won't Budge on Financial Curbs
BEIJING (Dec. 20) - North Korea is refusing to back down from its demand at international arms talks that US financial restrictions be lifted before it dismantles its nuclear program, delegates said Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iran Tells Hamas to 'Wait Quietly' for a Few Months

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - "Iran reportedly told Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that Hamas should "wait quietly" for a dramatic Iranian announcement that is coming in a few months, the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv reported. The Iranians also told Haniyeh to lower Hamas' profile and calm the situation, the report said. Haniyeh met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 11 days ago and received promises of economic aid and military cooperation as well as millions of dollars in cash. In four months, Iran is going to issue a statement that will dramatically change the strategic balance in the Middle East, the paper quoted Iranian officials as saying. The head of the Israel's Mossad (secret service) Meir Dagan was quoted as telling Israeli lawmakers on Monday that Ahmadinejad wants to have "3,000 centrifugal processors in bunkers by March 2007." The centrifuges enrich uranium, which can be used as fuel for a nuclear reactor but also is a key ingredient in the production of nuclear bombs. Experts here have warned that if Iran does acquire nuclear capability, it could then pursue its religious goal of spreading the Islamic revolution throughout the Middle East."

US Urged to End Cuba Embargo
Amid increasing speculation over the severity of Fidel Castro’s medical condition, a coalition of advocates for open relations with Cuba urged the Bush administration Monday to lift the trade and travel embargo against the communist country...

Valedictorian Silenced Over Her Christian Faith Will Go to Court
A federal judge in Nevada ruled Monday that a debate over freedom of religious expression in public school commencement ceremonies will go to court. The case involves a high school student whose commencement speech was cut off when she spoke about her Christian faith...

‘Stealth Racism’ Still Pervasive in America, Says NAACP
White Americans have “an absolute blind spot” when it comes to linking racism with the social challenges facing black Americans, a top NAACP official contends...

Hispanic Legal Group Condemns Holiday Immigration Raids
A group of Hispanic legal professionals is condemning last week’s roundup of illegal aliens at six Swift and Company plants, calling for a moratorium on raids that “entrap on the basis of race or color.”

Religious People Are More Charitable, Says Expert
Faith “swamps” all other factors when it comes to which Americans give to charity and which don’t, an economics professor said Monday. He said "values" influence giving...

Dick Morris: I’m Leaving if Hillary Wins

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Constitution's Guardrails

Jeff Jacoby:

"A lawsuit filed in US District Court last week accuses 109 Massachusetts lawmakers of violating the US Constitution. The plaintiffs are leaders of VoteOnMarriage.org, a grass-roots campaign to amend the Massachusetts constitution by defining marriage 'only as the union of one man and one woman.'

It was a year ago this week that the proposed amendment, having attracted a record-setting 170,000 signatures, was formally transmitted to the Legislature by the Massachusetts secretary of state. What was supposed to happen next is spelled out in the state constitution. Article 48 directs the House and Senate to meet jointly and vote on amendments proposed by citizen initiative; those that get at least 50 votes in two consecutive sessions are then put on the state ballot." Read more....

Bush, Pelosi Under Fire Over Immigration

"A California group that favors strict limits on immigration is airing a radio ad criticizing incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Bush for their anticipated cooperation on immigration reform.

'At a time when immigration is overwhelming California, it's horribly ironic our state's own representative is the one pushing for open-ended increases in immigration,' Diana Hull, president of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), said in a statement Tuesday.

Hull said Californians 'want less immigration, not more, and so do most Americans. Now that Representative Pelosi is becoming Speaker Pelosi, it's time for her politics to grow up for the good of this state and the country.' " Read on...

Results in Iranian Vote Seen as Setback for Ahmadinejad


"TEHRAN, Dec 17 -- Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad failed to dominate elections for a powerful Iranian clerical body and local councils, according to early results Sunday, in what analysts said was a setback to the hard-line leader's standing." Read on....

Castro not dying, US envoys told


"Cuban officials have told visiting US lawmakers that Cuba's ailing leader, Fidel Castro, does not have cancer or any other terminal illness.

The US delegation chief said he was told Mr Castro would be back, although no details about his health were given.

The veteran leader handed over control to his brother Raul in July, when he underwent urgent intestinal surgery." More...

Saudis report Shi'ite 'state' inside of Iraq

The Washington Times

"Iran has effectively created a Shi'ite 'state within a state' in neighboring Iraq, defying both Iraqi Sunnis and neighboring Sunni nations, according to a Saudi security report.

Iranian military forces are providing Shi'ite militias with weapons and training, Iranian charities are pouring funds into schools and hospitals, and Tehran is actively supporting pro-Iranian Iraqi politicians, the report said." More...

Take Ahmadinejad Seriously, Bolton Urges

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be taken seriously in his statements calling for Israel's destruction and his attempts to acquire the capability to do so, Washington's outgoing ambassador to the United Nations has urged.

'Historians often look back after huge tragedies have occurred and say, 'how is it that responsible policy-makers at the time didn't see this coming?' ' John Bolton told an international symposium in New York Thursday." Read more at CNSNews.

North Korea could survive leader's death

United Press International

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- "A report by South Korea's National Assembly has concluded that the political system of North Korea will likely survive beyond the death of leader Kim Jong Il." Read full UPI story .

Litvinenko's killers used polonium worth $10m to give massive overdose

Times Online

British investigators believe that Alexander Litvinenko’s killers used more than $10 million of polonium-210 to poison him. Preliminary findings from the post mortem examination on the former KGB spy suggest that he was given more than ten times the lethal dose.

Police do not know why the assassins used so much of the polonium-210, and are investigating whether the poison was part of a consignment to be sold on the black market.

They believe that whoever orchestrated the plot knew of its effects, but are unsure whether the massive amount was used to send a message — it made it easier for British scientists to detect — or is evidence of a clumsy operation. Read on...

Gingrich: No Time to Campaign

"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he can't be bothered with campaigning for the presidency right now, because he's on a mission to save American civilization from the gravest crisis it has faced since the Civil War.

Moreover, he told the New York Times that he's seeking nothing less than to restore God to a central place in American government and culture and is putting aside running for president for the time being.

That however, does not mean that he's ruling out a run for the White House in 2008 -- it's a just that it will have to wait while he concentrates on his mission. Gingrich says he thinks politics is a distraction from what he insists are mortal challenges facing the United States.

'Taken together, the challenges we face are greater than any since 1861,” Gingrich told the Times. 'No party, no movement has a grip on the scale of the changes we need to make to survive as a civilization. The most important slogan for the next quarter-century is ‘Real change requires real change.’ ” Continue with story.

Hillary Snubs French Socialist Royal

Air America Radio Close to Being Sold

"Air America Radio, the liberal talk radio network headlined by the comedian and author Al Franken, is close to a sealing a deal with a buyer, a network spokeswoman said.

The network launched with much fanfare two years ago as an alternative to conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, but declared bankruptcy protection in October after reaching an impasse with one of its creditors.

Jaime Horn, a spokeswoman for the New York-based network, said the company had reached a tentative agreement with a buyer - signing a letter of intent - but a final deal was not in place. She declined to identify the buyer."

North Korea defiant, sets condition

Asian Age
Beijing, Dec. 18 - "North Korea defiantly proclaimed itself a nuclear power on Monday and demanded an end to sanctions before it disarms, while the US said it was running out of patience with the communist regime at the first six-nation arms talks since its nuclear test.

The talks on the North’s nuclear programme resumed at a Chinese state guesthouse in Beijing after the North ended a 13-month boycott over US financial restrictions. Prospects for progress were uncertain, as North Korea issued a list of pre-conditions before it would dismantle its atomic programme. Among the North’s demands at the talks — involving China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas — were the lifting of all UN sanctions and US financial restrictions, along with being given a nuclear reactor for power generation and energy aid until it is built, according to a summary of opening speeches released by one of the delegations involved.

But US envoy Christopher Hill said sanctions would remain in effect until the North disarms, adding he hoped for initial steps this week on implementing a September 2005 denuclearisation agreement 'to demonstrate that the process indeed has legs and is moving forward.' " Read on...

Al ‘Qaeda trains jihadis from West in Pakistan

Asian Age

"Terrorist outfit Al Qaeda is training a 12-member team of Westerners in Pakistan for a special mission including plotting attacks on return to their home countries, a media report has said.

The team includes nine British citizens, two Norwegian Muslims and an Australian, the Newsweek said quoting Taliban’s chief Qaeda liaison for Ghazni province in Afghanistan Omar Farooqi.

The magazine in its upcoming issue says some Taliban commanders told it of seeing the 'English brothers', as foreign recruits are called, in person during the training. Farooqi said he spent roughly five weeks last year helping indoctrinate and train a class foreign recruits near Afghanistan border in tribal Waziristan.

Their mission, Farooqi said, will be to act as, underground organisers and operatives for Al Qaeda in their home countries — and their yearlong training course is just about finished. He said the Westerners were not meant to be suicide bombers themselves as they are far too valuable to waste.

The magazine quotes US and British security agencies as saying they have known this threat would come sooner or later." Read more....


By John Fund
Why Barack Obama may not run.


Helping North Korea's refugees is the key to regime change.

Yes. Yes it would.

"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands."

-- Thomas Jefferson


I went to the Saturday matinee with Mrs. HH and HH Jr. to take in the movie Eragon which came out on Friday.

HH Jr. has read both Eragon books several times. He really liked them as one might surmise. Mrs. HH and I have read neither.

Little HH said the reviews from "critics" that he had seen on television were not kind to the movie. I have a fondness for these kinds of mystical, good vs. evil action movies. Since I had not read the books (usually the books are better than the movies), I went into the movie assuming I would like it unless it was a total piece of trash that a bunch of 6th graders would produce with a budget of something less than a thousand dollars. Mrs. HH and I both liked it.

HH Jr., going in with some intrepidation, also liked it. While it most very likely won't get any accolades, nor win any Oscars, if you like this type of movie, you should like this one. (The scenery was beautiful as well.)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

North Korea Not Likely to Disarm

By Confidential Reporter
North Korea wants nothing less than a turnaround in US policy. That's the bad news. The good news is that the regime's ambitions are probably limited to the Korean peninsula. In any event, the US is absolutely committed to defending and ...

Bitterness in Beijing over North Korea's betrayal may mean war

"THE prospects for continued peace in north Asia depend on the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear status, which resume in Beijing today after 15 stormy political months on the Korean peninsula.

The dynamics have shifted dramatically since the last talks. When Pyongyang tested its first nuclear bomb two months ago, defying pleas from Beijing, it alienated itself from its only ally.

The extent of that alienation has been revealed in essays by China's leading strategic thinkers. The bitter sense of betrayal felt in China about its communist neighbour, on whose behalf 360,000 soldiers, mainly volunteers, died during the Korean war 53 years ago.

Zhang Liangui, professor of international strategic research at the influential Central Party School in Beijing, says that "having crossed the nuclear threshold, it is unlikely Pyongyang will give up its possession of such weapons". China "is the biggest loser" from this step."
-- The Australian --

"The balance of comprehensive national strength began to tip in the early 1970s, and widened dramatically with the South's economic power growing 30 times greater than the North," said Professor Zhang, adding that North Korea never stopped its nuclear program from the 1960s; but instead, kept buying time. "North Korean leaders see mastering nuclear weapons as the only possible measure to dispel the fear of failure in this competition, and even possibly to take the initiative in unifying the Korean peninsula though force," he further postulates.

He views the nuclear program as (1) domestic cover for its' dismal economy and rampant poverty because many regard having a nuclear program as a sign of national strength, and (2) He sees it as a way to gain leverage for practical (i.e., political) gains.

North Korea, the professor thinks, is greatly interested in "breaking the ice" and wants to improve its relations with the US, but to date, has been unable to do so. Having an improved relationship with the U.S. gives the Chicoms a whopping case of heartburn because that could mean the Bejing would be the ones left out in the cold, or so the thinking goes.

Because he believes North Korea will be reluctant to discuss giving up their nuclear program, he is quite doubtful that the six party talks will achieve anything. And, their next logical step will be to force the international community to accept them as a nuclear power - "or else"!

Through all this, and unless China takes firm action against Kim Jong Il and his regime, Professsor Yhang sees Japan as the biggest winner in this scenario. His rationale is that if the Chicoms stay the course with their vague and equivocal policies on NK's nuclear isssues, Japan, with the not-so-tacit approval of the United States, will become nuclearized.

This would lead to a new East Asian military alliance of Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and other southeastern Asian countries with Japan playing a powerful role as the central force of this new alliance.

This puts China in a box, or as Jhang explains: "China is cornered diplomatically." Nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea is neither in the best interest of China, nor good for mankind; and the heretofore, vague and ambiguous attitude displayed by China "will result in China being denounced by the international community." However, if China were to express clearly, a definite disapproval of North Korea' behavior and their march towards nuclearization, well, it could cause some other serious problems.

"With a shared border of 1,400km, North Korea acts as a guard post for China, keeping at bay the tens of thousands of US troops stationed in South Korea, allowing China to focus on Taiwanese independence while providing North Korea with the means to survive."
Interestingly, Zhu Feng, director of the international security program at Beijing University, makes mention of a recent poll that showed 44 per cent of the Chinese "disliked" North Korea more than any other country. Feng says, "The Chinese leadership now understands it may have deluded itself about the Kim Jong-il Government pursuing a good-neighbourly policy that Pyongyang would gradually be won over by China's kindness."