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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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Israeli intel projects a one-month war with Syria

TEL AVIV — Israel's intelligence community has concluded that the next war would involve missiles and Hizbullah, last at least a month and include Syria.


“I don’t think we force [taxation]. In fact, quite to the contrary. Our system of government is a voluntary tax system.” —Dingy Harry Reid

Charleton Heston: RIP

Some Heston quotes:
(1) “I say that the Second Amendment is, in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America’s First Freedom, the one right that protects all the others.”

(2) “If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion. If you accept but don’t celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe.”

(3) “As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I’ve realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it’s much, much bigger than that. I’ve come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.”

(4) “I’d rather play a senator than be one.”

“Barack Obama is not an idiot. He is a brilliant orator who exudes charm and arouses near-worship from his host of giddy, hypnotized supporters. He is also a committed socialist and a talented salesman for his brand of Marxist snake oil. Beware of camels bearing gifts, and politicians promising utopia.”

—Michael Reagan



Congressional Democrats: The Other Insurgents

By Michael Reagan:

The goals of the Democrats and both al Qaeda and al Sadr insurgents are the same: the defeat of the United States in the war in Iraq. Read on.

Hot Air in Bangkok

The U.N.'s climatocrats get it wrong on global warming.

More Global Warming Nonsense


The idea that climate change has anything to do with malaria is not scientific. Read on.

Iraq's National Identity Is Alive and Growing


Five years after Saddam Hussein was toppled from power, Iraq and the U.S. face important choices for their future relationship – choices that will have profound long-term ramifications for both countries.

Iraq, freed from a ruthless dictatorship, has chosen plurality, democracy and federalism as a system of government. It is struggling to implement them against a formidable set of internal and external challenges. The leaders of the new Iraq must further demonstrate resolve to defend their choices and rise above parochial interests.

Having intervened and committed itself so deeply, the U.S. is debating the level and cost of its engagement. I submit that it cannot afford to lose this fight to its enemies. The destinies of the U.S. and Iraq have become intertwined and their national interests very closely linked.

Read more.



"Forget about her claim to have dodged sniper’s bullets in Bosnia, or that she was named after Sir Edmund Hilary, or that she met a woman who was denied health care and died.

All of these Hillary Clinton fibs and exaggerations are basically harmless. But her current attempts to lie about her record and to pretend that she always opposed free trade agreements and disagreed with Bill on NAFTA is a serious distortion of her record as she searches for blue collar support in Pennsylvania.

Hillary was a strong supporter of NAFTA. Her official schedule reveals that she attended meetings designed to promote its passage and her memoir, Living History betrays no hint of any opposition to her husband’s key legislative accomplishment of his first two years in office — the ratification of NAFTA.

Hillary and I spoke frequently through all of 1993 and 1994 and together we plotted to help NAFTA ratification. She was deeply involved in the decision to enlist past presidents in supporting the bill and followed the vote count with heightening anxiety as it appeared closer and closer.

That she could totally reinvent her record, turn it around 180 degrees, and expect us to fall for it, shows her arrogance and her continuing belief that she can sell us on anything, no matter how obviously false." Read on.


By Robert Novak:

"Sen. Joseph Lieberman's friends are certain that if Democrats expand their one-vote Senate edge in this year's elections, they will kick him out of the Senate Democratic caucus."

Read more here.

Uncle Sam Pays? Sure, Whatever

"Polls show the economy as the top issue for voters, far ahead of Iraq. The general assumption is that this helps the Democrats, since the Republicans hold the White House and economic growth has stalled on their watch. But what do voters want done about the economy? And how amenable are they to the big-government programs Democrats are proposing?

On fiscal policy, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want higher taxes, at least on high earners. They want to let at least some of the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, as scheduled. On trade, they oppose new free-trade agreements and want to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico.

As it happens, another president embraced such policies in a time of economic slowdown and financial market turbulence. Herbert Hoover raised taxes on high earners sharply and, ignoring a letter from 1,000 economists, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930. The results were not pretty. Until now, his example has not commended itself to Democrats. One wonders whether voters will agree that tax increases will stimulate the economy."

Read more of Uncle Sam Pays? Sure, Whatever by Michael Barone.

Jeremiah Wright

Ten must-see Jeremiah Wright videos can be seen here.

You don't want to miss them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

“Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude.” —Charles Krauthammer

‘Spanking’ Bill Is Government Intrusion, Conservatives Warn
“Good parents in California could be jailed,” unless they rise up and oppose a bill intended to ban the spanking of children, a conservative group is warning...

Food for thought .....

The Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all..

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace , love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


By Jesse Petrilla

"I have recently returned to the United States from Egypt where I was on a fact-finding mission to see what life is like for non-Moslems who live under Islam.

What I saw was a dire situation of oppression and discrimination that many in America and the West have all but ignored. A place with rampant police brutality and corruption, where non-Moslems are second-class citizens at best, who are brutally victimized on a daily basis.

All this in a nation which is a popular U.S. tourist spot, and has been the recipient of American aid in excess of $28 billion in the last three decades. I wanted to learn what life would be like if our enemies and their allies got their way.

What I saw was an example of the harsh life in store for future American generations in Islamic-dominated regions of the U.S. if we do not work to bring attention to the issue of Islamic oppression now at this critical time in American history."


"Disregard what we told you last week."

"Mainstream" journalists in Iraq haven't said that in so many words. But the stories they're writing this week say it implicitly.

On March 31, six days of fighting between Iraqi government forces and the Iranian-backed militia nominally headed by the Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr subsided when al Sadr asked for a cease fire and his forces abandoned the battlefield. We were told at the time the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had suffered a humiliating defeat.

But this week's stories make clear that Mr. Maliki is not acting like someone who has suffered a humiliating defeat, and Mr. al Sadr is not behaving like someone who has won a big victory.

That's because Moqtada's "Mahdi Army" has been getting its clock cleaned - to the dismay of our journalists.

- - By Jack Kelly

Related news from Yahoo! News:
Top aide to al-Sadr assassinated in Iraq.


The Democrats almost always seem defensive about their level of patriotism. Almost any criticism of their positions of defense, whether it be about our military, our battle in Iraq, or the security of our borders, are almost guaranteed to be met with cries of "you're questioning my patriotism."

I've always found it curious that their reactions are almost always so.

Then, you have situations such as this described by Jack Kelly:
When Democrats in the 43rd state legislative district in suburban Seattle met April 5 to select delegates to the state convention, they refused to begin their deliberations by saying the Pledge of Allegiance:

"At the mere mention of doing the pledge there were groans and boos," wrote Web logger Eli Sanders, who attended the caucus. "Then, when the district chair put the idea of doing the pledge up to a vote, it was overwhelmingly voted down. One might more accurately say the idea of pledging allegiance to the flag...was shouted down."

Can anyone explain this? If you are afraid of being viewed as unpatriotic and wonder why others might view you as such, actions like this do not help your cause.


By Richard Rahn

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. - Mark Twain (1897)

Twain's humorous quip, unfortunately, is all too close to the current reality. "Willful misconduct," a criminal offense, is legally defined as "intentionally doing that which should not be done or intentionally failing to do that which should be done, when knowing that injury to a person will probably result, or recklessly disregarding the possibility that injury to a person may result."

Congress, by failing to act in the case of a clear and present danger to parts of the American financial system, could reasonably be considered engaging in "willful misconduct." And here is why. Read more ...


From Dr. Jack Wheeler:

"As we enjoy watching the debacle of the Chicom Torch Relay disastrously unfold from London to Paris to San Francisco to points beyond, let's step back to the bigger picture of what these Olympics are all about.

They are not about sport and Olympic Ideals, that's for sure. The competing athletes from scores of countries all over the world are only props. These Beijing Games are about one thing only. They are about face - Chinese face.

The concept of face - as in "losing face" or "saving face" - plays a critical role in Chinese culture and the way most Chinese deal with reality - a way that is fundamentally opposed to that of Americans.

If your "face" is the primary concern of your life, controlling your conduct and morality, then you believe that reality is what other people say it is, not what it is in fact. The morality of face is the morality of pretend.

For any country to host an Olympic Games, it's a matter of national pride. But for China, that's all that it is. The purpose of the Beijing Games is China's "coming-out party," during which the world accepts Chicom China as a morally legitimate nation, and publicly pretends it is not a dictatorship. For the Chicoms, this pretense is the Games' only purpose.

Which means, if the party is spoiled, it will be a catastrophic loss of face for the Chicoms, and the Han Chinese they rule."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

California Supreme Court shoots down S.F. handgun ban

I find it rather surprising that the "state Supreme Court dealt a final blow Wednesday to San Francisco's voter-approved ban on handguns, rejecting the city's appeal of a lower-court ruling that sharply limited the ability of localities to regulate firearms. "

Read about it at SFGate.com.

Yuma-area arrests on border fall 76 percent

Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector made 76 percent fewer arrests in the past six months than during the same period a year ago, continuing a two-year decline there and all along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Tightened security, stepped-up enforcement and .... (Read on)


Washington Post:
Bush Approves Giving Grants to Former Convicts

They were wrong the last two years ....

Can they be wrong again?

USA Today:
'Very active' hurricane season forecast for Atlantic

If they are right this time (they have got to be right one of these times, don't they), rest assured it, will be caused by global warming.

Florida Senate passes controversial guns-to-work bill

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
TALLAHASSEE - The Republican-led state Senate handed a major election-year victory Wednesday to the National Rifle Association by approving a measure allowing some 500,000 Floridians with concealed-weapons permits to carry their guns to work.

In South Florida the reaction was .... (Read more)

Illegal Alien Deportations on the Rise
Although foreigners continue to sneak into this country, the U.S. government is doing a better job of finding them and sending them back. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, a growing number of illegal aliens – many of them with criminal records – are being deported to their native homelands...


Glass Particles in the Sky Studied As 'Global Warming' Fix
Government scientists are studying the feasibility of sending tiny particles of specially made glass into the Earth's upper atmosphere to try to dampen the effects of “global warming.” One leading global warming skeptic said the idea is “not practical” and could depress the ozone layer and cause other problems...


By Amanda Carpenter:

“Get me more white people, we need more white people,” is what organizers of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign said as they racially rearranged students for maximum photo diversity at event with Mrs. Obama at Carnegie Mellon.

An Asian girl was told, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though,” according to Andrew Peters, a reporter for Carnegie Mellon’s paper The Tartan.

The organizers’ remarks may be brash, but are truthful. Obama needs white voters in Pennsylvania. Read more of Amanda Carpenter.

[So we are moving "whites" to the front and "colored people" to the back. I thought we had gotten away from that. Is this the kind of "change" Barack has in mind? -- HH]

Freedom Is Not the Problem, It Is the Solution

By Michelle Bachman:
Doesn’t it seem like year after year, more and more decisions we should be making for ourselves, are instead being made by nameless bureaucrats in Washington? They tell us how to spend our money. They tell us how to run our businesses. They tell us how to raise our families. And now, when you thought things couldn’t become anymore absurd, they even tell us what kind of light bulbs we can use in our own homes. (Read more)

Incidentally, back home here in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and a quattuordecillion liberals, the lefties had fun writing little sniveling attacks on Bachman in the RedStarTribune because they think her proposed legislation to allow us to purchase incandescent light bulbs once again, and rid us of the silly future ban of them, is funny.

Somehow, they miss the big picture. They obviously have no qualms about the government controlling every aspect of our lives. Oh yea. Why would they. They're liberals. Uhhh, no .... I mean progressives, I guess.

Econ 101: ElectionWatch: Presidents Shouldn't Have 'Plans'

"Candidates race to present plans for the economy, education, health care and global warming - but a planned economy has never worked before."

Read this commentary at The Balance Sheet.

Obama's Weakness is Weakness

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:

The USA Today/Gallup Poll of late March suggests a strategy for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the general election. The poll compared Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and McCain on certain key variables. Here were the results: (Read on)

The Ignorant Fool's Errand: How We're Encouraging the High School Dropouts

Suzanne Fields:
It's a lot later than we think. We're raising an illiterate and uneducated generation, and there's more to come.

Where Have All the Liberals Gone?

Victor Davis Hanson:
These days Democrats are not sounding very liberal. Classic liberals, after all, would support free markets, internationalism and the universal desire for constitutional government.

Republicans and Blacks

Thomas Sowell:
If Senator John McCain needed to prove that he is a real Republican, he did it when he continued an old Republican tradition of utterly inept attempts to appeal to black voters.



When Hillary Clinton professed to be furious about Mark Penn's lobbying for the Colombia Free Trade Pact, did she realize that she's up to her ears in lobbyists for foreign entities?

Many of her top advisers and strongest supporters are registered lobbyists for foreign governments and corporations - and many may have gotten lucrative clients via referrals from Bill Clinton himself or by advertising their close connections to the couple.

Start with Colombia.

Bill Clinton met with Colombian Pr esident Alvaro Uribe on March 26, 2007, at the 80th birthday party for Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ten days later, on April 5, ColombiaProExport signed a $40,000 a month contract with the Glover Park Group - a lobbying firm often called "the Clinton White House in exile."

Its partners include Hillary Communications Director Howard Wolfson (now on a leave of absence from the firm) and several other former Clinton administration aides. Former Hillary campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle used to work there, too.

A few weeks later, Penn's firm, Burson MarSteller, signed a $300,000 contract on the Colombia trade deal.

According to one high Colombia official privy to Bill Clinton's private conversations, the former president urged Colombia to shift its focus from GOP legislators to Democrats (who'd taken control of Congress) and then made phone calls to two Democratic congressmen.

How did the Colombians end up ....... (Read on)

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint."

-- Alexander Hamilton --

The Government Gets One Right

By David Davenport

"Every once in awhile, the federal government actually gets one right, as President Bush did when his first two executive orders, 7 years ago, created the faith-based initiatives program.

Unlike most federal programs, this was not new bureaucracy and more spending, but it lowered legal barriers that had prevented local, faith-based charities from carrying out social service programs with federal dollars that other providers received. As President Bush said, it leveled the playing field.

Now, on its 7th anniversary, the results are clear. Faith-based programs work. They are local and personal and they have delivered as good or better results than traditional programs in prisons, homelessness, health and other areas.

In fact, by now 35 states--with 19 governors who are Democrats and 16 Republicans--have followed suit.

It's a win-win and in the process, perhaps, the president has fostered a quiet revolution by lowering the barriers and giving religious-charities a seat at the table."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Separation of Church and State ??

Local columnist Katherine Kirsten wrote an article not to long ago for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a charter school, questioning whether it should be getting public funds because it appeared to be a Muslim school, in her opinion.

Well not to the surprise of your humble blogging host, she was excoriated by the left, a number of them writing in to the editor and had their rambling diatribes posted in the letter-to-the-editor section.

Today she followed it up with another column, "Wall of Silence Broken at State's Muslim Public School" raising more concerns and has had a witness (a substitute teacher) come forward reinforcing some of Kerstens arguments and concerns about this school.

You can read it here. The column most likely has a short shelf life, so read it before it disappears.

World Net Daily has picked up on the controversy and they post an article today, "Teacher spills beans about publicly funded Islamic classes," and can be read here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lawrence Kudlow: The Cleansing Power of Recessions
Recessions are part of capitalism. They happen every so often.

How 'Community Organizers' (like Obama) Created the Subprime Crisis

Jerry Bowyer writes:
I wrote to you previously (Meet Barry Obama, 'Fair Housing' Lawyer) about the Community Reinvestment Act, a law which compels banks to make home loans in minority neighborhoods to people who were poor credit risks. Although the CRA is well known in the financial industry, political pundits and reporters often know very little about finance and so have missed this extremely important aspect of the story. Ignorance of economics doesn't help much either. The political class seems blissfully unaware of the concept of unintended consequences which is the idea that laws which are designed to make our lives better often make our lives worse.

On a recent edition of Kudlow and Company, I debated Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on precisely this point. He seemed not only to disagree with my point that if congress compels banks to make Subprime loans, then they share responsibility for the crisis that results when the borrowers default; he seemed not to understand it. For him once we identify the target group as bankers, nothing else matters - they're bad and he's good, no more reasoning is necessary.

Dinesh D'Souza: The Failure of "Intelligent Design"
As a Christian, I believe that the universe and its living creatures are the products of intelligent design. This belief is not merely derived from theology but is also supported by rational considerations.

Witty Stuff

“’When you set out to take Vienna,’ Napoleon famously advised, ‘take Vienna.’ That might be updated to: ‘If you’re going to bowl, bowl better than a 37.’ That’s what Barack Obama scored when he set out to demonstrate he was just one of the guys at a Pennsylvania bowling alley recently. He started with a gutter ball. Hillary Clinton responded with an April Fools’ Day gag about deciding the nomination with a bowl-off. ‘A bowling night. Right here in Pennsylvania,’ Clinton proposed. ‘The winner take all. I’ll even spot him two frames. It is time for his campaign to get out of the gutter and allow all the pins to be counted. I’m prepared to play this game all the way to the 10th frame. When this game is over, the American people will know that when that phone rings at 3 a.m., they’ll have a president ready to bowl on Day One.’ The saddest part is that this was, without a doubt, the absolute funniest thing Hillary Clinton has ever said (after, of course, ‘I believe you, Bill’). Unfortunately, Obama missed an opportunity to explain that he was bowling so badly because he was under sniper fire.” —Jonah Goldberg

Obama's Gun Dance

“Barack Obama, who informs campaign audiences that he taught constitutional law for 10 years, might be expected to weigh in on the historic Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices are pondering whether the 1976 District of Columbia law effectively prohibiting personal gun ownership in the nation’s capital is constitutional. But Sen. Obama has not stated his position. Obama, disagreeing with the D. C. government and gun control advocates, declares the Second Amendment’s ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms’ applies to individuals, not just the ‘well-regulated militia’ cited in the amendment. In the next breath, he asserts this constitutional guarantee does not preclude local ‘common sense’ restrictions on firearms. Does the Draconian prohibition for Washington, D. C., fit that description? My attempts to get an answer have proved unavailing. The front-running Democratic presidential candidate is doing the gun dance.” —Robert Novak

Read more.


“Obama’s success is truly a remarkable commentary on the goodness of Americans and how far we’ve come in resolving matters of race. I’m 72 years old. For almost all of my life, a black having a real chance at becoming the president of the United States was at best a pipe dream. Obama has convincingly won primaries in states with insignificant black populations. As such, it further confirms what I’ve often said: The civil rights struggle in America is over and it’s won. At one time black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by white Americans; now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems confronting many members of the black community but they are not civil rights problems and have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination. While not every single vestige of racial discrimination has disappeared, Obama and the Rev. Wright are absolutely wrong in suggesting that racial discrimination is anywhere near the major problem confronting a large segment of the black community. The major problems are: family breakdown, illegitimacy, fraudulent education and a high rate of criminality. To confront these problems, that are not the fault of the larger society, requires political courage and that’s an attribute that Obama and most other politicians lack.” —Walter Williams


“I think the [California] state court is looking at the state Constitution upside down. The court finds no constitutional right to home school one’s children. But in a free country, people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law. If the Constitution is silent about home schooling, then the right is reserved to the people. That’s how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution said things are supposed to work. Last week, the appellate court surprised everyone by agreeing to rehear the case. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the judges ‘hinted at a re-evaluation of its entire Feb. 28 ruling by inviting written arguments from state and local education officials and teachers’ unions’. On top of that, state Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell says he thinks home schooling is legal and favors choice in education. That’s reasonable news. But why is education the business of government? It’s taken for granted that the state is every child’s ultimate parent, but there’s no justification for that in a free society. Parents may not be perfect—some are pretty bad—but a cold, faceless bureaucracy is no better.” —John Stossel


“One of the biggest problems with government intervention in the economy is that politicians usually have neither the knowledge nor the incentives to intervene at the right time. Bruce Bartlett has pointed out that most government intervention in an economic downturn comes too late. That is, the problem it is trying to solve has already worked itself out and the government intervention can create new problems. More fundamentally, markets readjust themselves for a reason. That reason is that people pay a price for their misjudgments and mistakes. Government interventions are usually based on trying to stop them from having to pay that price. People who went way out on a limb to buy a house that they could not afford are now being pictured as victims of a heartless market or deceptive lenders. Just a few years ago, people who went out on that limb made money big-time in a skyrocketing housing market. But now that they have been caught in the ups and downs that markets have gone through for centuries, the government is supposed to bail them out. Solving short-run problems, especially in an election year, often means creating long-run problems. Pumping money into the economy can help many problems. But do not be surprised if it also leads to inflationary pressures and financial repercussions around the world.” —Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts
Most of the problems of this country are not nearly as bad as the "solutions" -- especially the solutions that politicians come up with during election years.

Dennis Prager: It's a Bad World
The world is filled with evil. Always has been. The biggest difference today is that, thanks to communications, we are far more aware of much of it.

Mike S. Adams: Forward this Column or Get Stuck on Stupid
If your kid comes home from college one day and tells you that your Christian faith is stupid, welcome to the world in which I live.

Iraq and Its Costs

Destroying Detroit
By Rich Lowry


Clinton Broadcasting Service (CBS) is said to be considering using the Clinton News Network (CNN) in reporting.

Wow. This would turn the national media on it's head. Heh.

Tsk, tsk, tsk ....

Chicago Sun-Times:
Delegate for Obama quits over 'monkeys' remark

Jerusalem Post:
Hamas threatens to breach Israeli border

No kidding ......

USA Today:
Expert: "We're brainwashing our children" about global warming

Universal Health Insurance: Just Don’t Get Sick
By Alan Caruba

Okay, let’s say that President Obama or Hillary is in office and Congress has passed a bill that requires everyone to have health insurance. Gas is up over $4.00 a gallon, food prices are sky high, and, if you’ve recently graduated from college, you are paying off loans at $1,000 per month. All of a sudden, mandatory health insurance doesn’t seem like such a great idea…

Israelis Practice for Rocket Attacks, Think About Reality
Givat Ze’ev, Jerusalem
– Air raid sirens sounded throughout Israel on Tuesday, warning civilians to “take cover.” School children and civil servants headed for bomb shelters as part of the country’s largest-ever civil defense drill. While Israelis were just practicing today, many understand that the threat around them is very real...

Thousands Rally to Support Lawmaker Targeted by Homosexual Activists
Public officials have the right to bring their religious convictions into the public square, but that right is under assault when Christians mention their deeply held beliefs about homosexuality, according to former homosexual Stephen Black...

Iraq Violence Peaked Just Before U.S. Election, Data Shows
Data from the Defense Intelligence Agency indicates that enemy-initiated attacks on U.S. troops, Iraqi security forces and Iraqi civilians peaked in October 2006, the month leading up to the U.S. midterm elections. At the time, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested the insurgents were trying to influence the upcoming election...

A Mystery in the Middle East

STRATFOR Forecasting
Geopolitical Intelligence Report

By George Friedman

The Arab-Israeli region of the Middle East is filled with rumors of war. That is about as unusual as the rising of the sun, so normally it would not be worth mentioning. But like the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day, such rumors occasionally will be true. In this case, we don’t know that they are true, and certainly it’s not the rumors that are driving us. But other things — minor and readily explicable individually — have drawn our attention to the possibility that something is happening.

The first thing that drew our attention was a minor, routine matter. Back in February, the United States started purchasing oil for its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is a reserve of crude oil stored in underground salt domes. Back in February, it stood at 96.2 percent of capacity, which is pretty full as far as we are concerned. But the U.S. Department of Energy decided to increase its capacity. This move came in spite of record-high oil prices and the fact that the purchase would not help matters. It also came despite potential political fallout, since during times like these there is generally pressure to release reserves. Part of the step could have been the bureaucracy cranking away, and part of it could have been the feeling that the step didn’t make much difference. But part of it could have been based on real fears of a disruption in oil supplies. By itself, the move meant nothing. But it did cause us to become thoughtful.

Also in February, someone assassinated Imad Mughniyah, a leader of Hezbollah, in a car bomb explosion in Syria. It was assumed the Israelis had killed him, although there were some suspicions the Syrians might have had him killed for their own arcane reasons. In any case, Hezbollah publicly claimed the Israelis killed Mughniyah, and therefore it was expected the militant Shiite group would take revenge. In the past, Hezbollah responded not by attacking Israel but by attacking Jewish targets elsewhere, as in the Buenos Aires attacks of 1992 and 1994.

In March, the United States decided to dispatch the USS Cole, then under Sixth Fleet command, to Lebanese coastal waters. Washington later replaced it with two escorts from the Nassau (LHA-4) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), reportedly maintaining a minor naval presence in the area. (Most of the ESG, on a regularly scheduled deployment, is no more than a few days sail from the coast, as it remains in the Mediterranean Sea.) The reason given for the American naval presence was to serve as a warning to the Syrians not to involve themselves in Lebanese affairs. The exact mission of the naval presence off the Levantine coast — and the exact deterrent function it served — was not clear, but there they were. The Sixth Fleet has gone out of its way to park and maintain U.S. warships off the Lebanese coast.

Hezbollah leaders being killed by the Israelis and the presence of American ships off the shores of Mediterranean countries are not news in and of themselves. These things happen. The killing of Mughniyah is notable only to point out that as much as Israel might have wanted him dead, the Israelis knew this fight would escalate. But anyone would have known this. So all we know is that whoever killed Mughniyah wanted to trigger a conflict. The U.S. naval presence off the Levantine coast is notable in that Washington, rather busy with matters elsewhere, found the bandwidth to get involved here as well.

With the situation becoming tense, the Israelis announced in March that they would carry out an exercise in April called Turning Point 2. Once again, an Israeli military exercise is hardly interesting news. But the Syrians apparently got quite interested. After the announcement, the Syrians deployed three divisions — two armored, one mechanized — to the Lebanese-Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley, the western part of which is Hezbollah’s stronghold. The Syrians didn’t appear to be aggressive. Rather, they deployed these forces in a defensive posture, in a way walling off their part of the valley.

The Syrians are well aware that in the event of a conventional war with Israel, they would experience a short but exciting life, as they say. They thus are hardly going to attack Israel. The deployment therefore seemed intended to keep the Israelis on the Lebanese side of the border — on the apparent assumption the Israelis were going into the Bekaa Valley. Despite Israeli and Syrian denials of the Syrian troop buildup along the border, Stratfor sources maintain that the buildup in fact happened. Normally, Israel would be jumping at the chance to trumpet Syrian aggression in response to these troop movements, but, instead, the Israelis downplayed the buildup.

When the Israelis kicked off Turning Point 2, which we regard as a pretty interesting name, it turned out to be the largest exercise in Israeli history. It involved the entire country, and was designed to test civil defenses and the ability of the national command authority to continue to function in the event of an attack with unconventional weapons — chemical and nuclear, we would assume. This was a costly exercise. It also involved calling up reserves, some of them for the exercise, and, by some reports, others for deployment to the north against Syria. Israel does not call up reserves casually. Reserve call-ups are expensive and disrupt the civilian economy. These appear small, but in the environment of Turning Point 2, it would not be difficult to mobilize larger forces without being noticed.

The Syrians already were deeply concerned by the Israeli exercise. Eventually, the Lebanese government got worried, too, and started to evacuate some civilians from the South. Hezbollah, which still hadn’t retaliated for the Mughniyah assassination, also claimed the Israelis were about to attack it, and reportedly went on alert and mobilized its forces. The Americans, who normally issue warnings and cautions to everyone, said nothing to try to calm the situation. They just sat offshore on their ships.

It is noteworthy that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak canceled a scheduled visit to Germany this week. The cancellation came immediately after the reports of the Syrian military redeployment were released. Obviously, Barak needed to be in Israel for Turning Point 2, but then he had known about the exercise for at least a month. Why cancel at the last minute? While we are discussing diplomacy, we note that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney visited Oman — a country with close relations with Iran — and then was followed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. By itself not interesting, but why the high-level interest in Oman at this point?

Now let’s swing back to September 2007, when the Israelis bombed something in Syria near the Turkish border. As we discussed at the time, for some reason the Israelis refused to say what they had attacked. It made no sense for them not to trumpet what they carefully leaked — namely, that they had attacked a nuclear facility. Proving that Syria had a secret nuclear program would have been a public relations coup for Israel. Nevertheless, no public charges were leveled. And the Syrians remained awfully calm about the bombing.

Rumors now are swirling that the Israelis are about to reveal publicly that they in fact bombed a nuclear reactor provided to Syria by North Korea. But this news isn’t all that big. Also rumored is that the Israelis will claim Iranian complicity in building the reactor. And one Israeli TV station reported April 8 that Israel really had discovered Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, which it said had been smuggled to Syria.

Now why the Bush administration wouldn’t have trumpeted news of the Syrian reactor worldwide in September 2007 is beyond us, but there obviously were some reasons — assuming the TV report is true, which we have no way of establishing. In fact, we have no idea why the Israelis are choosing this moment to rehash the bombing of this site. But whatever their reason, it certainly raises a critical question. If the Syrians are developing a nuclear capability, what are the Israelis planning to do about it?

No one of these things, by itself, is of very great interest. And taken together they do not provide the means for a clear forecast. Nevertheless, a series of rather ordinary events, taken together, can constitute something significant. Tensions in the Middle East are moving well beyond the normal point, and given everything that is happening, events are moving to a point where someone is likely to take military action. Whether Hezbollah will carry out a retaliatory strike or Israel a pre-emptive strike in Lebanon, or whether the Israelis’ real target is Iran, tensions systematically have been ratcheted up to the point where we, in our simple way, are beginning to wonder whether something has to give.

All together, these events are fairly extraordinary. Ignoring all rhetoric — and the Israelis have gone out of their way to say that they are not looking for a fight — it would seem that each side, but particularly the Americans and Israelis, have gone out of their way to signal that they are expecting conflict. The Syrians have also signaled that they expect conflict, and Hezbollah always claims there is about to be conflict.

What is missing is this: who will fight whom, and why, and why now. The simple explanation is that Israel wants a second round with Hezbollah. But while that might be true, it doesn’t explain everything else that has happened. Most important, it doesn’t explain the simultaneous revelations about the bombing of Syria. It also doesn’t explain the U.S. naval deployment. Is the United States about to get involved in a war with Hezbollah, a war that the Israelis should handle themselves? Are the Israelis going to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad — and then wind up with a Sunni government, or worse, an Israeli occupation of Syria? None of that makes a lot of sense.

In truth, all of this may dissolve into nothing much. In intelligence analysis, however, sometimes a set of not-fully-coherent facts must be reported, and that is what we are doing now. There is no clear pattern; there is no obvious direction this is taking. Nevertheless, when we string together events from February until now, we see a persistently escalating pattern of behavior. In fact, what we can say most clearly is that there is escalation, without being able to say what is the clear direction of the escalation or the purpose.

We would like to wrap this up with a crystal clear explanation and forecast. But we can’t. The motives of the various actors are opaque; and taken separately, the individual events all have quite innocent explanations. We are not prepared to say war is imminent, nor even what sort of war there would be. We are simply prepared to say that the course of events since February — and really since the September 2007 attack on Syria — have been startling, and they appear to be reaching some sort of hard-to-understand crescendo.

The bombing of Syria symbolizes our confusion. Why would Syria want a nuclear reactor and why put it on the border of Turkey, a country the Syrians aren’t particularly friendly with? If the Syrians had a nuclear reactor, why would the Israelis be coy about it? Why would the Americans? Having said nothing for months apart from careful leaks, why are the Israelis going to speak publicly now? And if what they are going to say is simply that the North Koreans provided the equipment, what’s the big deal? That was leaked months ago.

The events of September 2007 make no sense and have never made any sense. The events we have seen since February make no sense either. That is noteworthy, and we bring it to your attention. We are not saying that the events are meaningless. We are saying that we do not know their meaning. But we can’t help but regard them as ominous.

Monday, April 07, 2008

'Condi' author making book campaign issue

Rising speculation that Rice to be McCain's running mate

Bush builds border fence – in Egypt!

Israel: We'll 'destroy' Iran

Harsh warning as region under general war alert.

More on Hillary's Fraudulent Behavior

Counsel confirms Hillary's 'fraudulent' Watergate brief
Clinton was fired for allegedly colluding with Kennedys to protect JFK legacy

Hillary Clinton, with chief counsel John Doar (left), bringing impeachment charges against President Nixon before the House Judiciary Committee in 1974

Details of Hillary Clinton's firing from the House Judiciary Committee staff for unethical behavior as she helped prepare articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon have been confirmed by the panel's chief Republican counsel.

Franklin Polk backed up major claims by Jerry Zeifman, the general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee who supervised Clinton's work on the Watergate investigation in 1974, reported columnist Dan Calabrese in a column republished by WND. (read more)

Related: Hillary Clinton and Watergate: Corroboration of ‘Stupid, Politically Tone-Deaf’ Behavior

Obama's Revealing Blunder
—Hugh Hewitt

In a recent Q and A with voters, Barack Obama got questions on a variety of sensitive subjects, one of which was sex education. Senator Obama noted he had two young daughters, and that he would first try to teach them morals, but added:

"But, if they make a mistake I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16."

This shocked many in America. Calling a baby born under any circumstances a punishment is a bewildering and callous devaluing of human life. Comparing the punishment of a baby to the punishment of an STD is similarly shocking--as it reveals a comfort with abortion as some sort of "solution" that is compatible with the senator's pro-abortion record.

Since his blunder, Senator Obama's campaign has been trying to correct the record, but the spoken word is powerful--and Barack Obama's conclusion that babies are punishments will remain a feature of campaign 2008.

"If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk by the hour? That 150 lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected."

-- Thomas Jefferson --


Our founding fathers were so wise and insightful. Where are these kinds of people today?

When is extortion legal?

When it's done in the court system - usually - but not always.

John Stossel writes that "Payoffs and bribery aren't the real problem. Extortions is."

In his column in WSJ.com, Small Victories for Tort Reform, he writes:
Foes of lawsuit abuse have been writing gleefully about the fall of Dickie Scruggs, Bill Lerach and Melvyn Weiss. All three lawyers are likely to spend time in jail for plotting to bribe a judge (Scruggs) or paying kickbacks (Lerach and Weiss).

Good riddance.

Locking them up will stop them from further damaging America – at least for a few years. But it's a small victory for reformers.

New members of the parasite circus will just step forward to take their place. And what these aggressive class-action and securities lawyers do legally is more damaging to America than the crimes that Scruggs, Lerach and Weiss committed. They broke laws to cheat other lawyers out of some loot, but at least that barely hurt the public.

Emphasis mine.

Obama and King

The senator's missteps on Rev. Wright show we still have a crisis in racial leadership.
By Juan Williams

The 'No, Nothing' Democrats

Most sources of energy are beyond the pale in the Democratic Party, but nothing carries quite the moral stigma of coal. The latest excommunication is under way in Kansas, of all places, and it may be a forerunner of national political trends.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a moral obligation," as though she were opposing crimes against humanity. This is a reference to coal companies guilty of ... (Read more at - WSJ.com)