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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, July 19, 2008

Poll Shows Americans Afraid of Obama as Commander-in-Chief
On the night of January 20, 2009, a new commander-in-chief will leave the inaugural podium, parade, and festivities for the Oval Office. A national security staff ready with the latest “threat briefing” will join him there. On his desk, they will place a thick binder of reports, each focusing on real or emerging threats to our national security. In the quiet of the Oval Office -- in the presence of these stern-faced, deadly serious briefers and advisers -- Barack H. Obama, should he be the next president, will come face-to-face with reality.

Americans are afraid of this scenario, Barack H. Obama as commander-in-chief. The New York Times and CBS News released a poll this week; in it, Americans answered....

Oregon health plan covers assisted suicide but not life-extending care
Apparently, a cancer patient was told by her insurance company - Oregon Health Plan - that her policy would not cover the cancer treatment prescribed by her oncologist. It would, however, cover doctor-assisted suicide.

Yes, unfortunately, you read that right.

This all started a while ago when Barbara Wagner of Eugene, Ore., whose lung cancer has been in remission for two years, was prescribed a form of chemotherapy designed to slow the growth of her cancer. But to Wagner's shock, cancer treatments that can prolong life or that change the course of the disease aren't covered by the OHP. (Read more.)

This is what we have to look forward to if we end up with the government ruining running our health care system.

Government Guaranteed
By Terence P. Jeffrey

The Bush administration has proposed a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout that potentially will put taxpayers on the hook for unknown billions. How did we get to this place?

San Francicso Court Debates Religions’ Right to Oppose ‘Gay’ Adoption
Was a resolution by the city of San Francisco condemning the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality a violation of the U.S. Constitution or an expression of free speech? Oral arguments on this issue will be heard Wednesday by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lower Gas Taxes Won’t Equal Lower Prices, Democrat Says
If Congress were to lower the 47 cents per gallon federal and state tax currently levied on gasoline, a price reduction would probably not be passed on to consumers, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday. But two Republicans said they think a tax cut would provide short-term relief.

So lets see if I have this right. Lower gas taxes won't lower the price of gas but raising them (ie., "windfall" gas tax) will. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. A sixth grader has a better handle on basic economics than they do.

Schumer Partly Responsible for $1.3 Billion Run on Bank, Experts Say
IndyMac Bancorp Inc. and the federal government’s Office of Thrift Supervision have accused Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y of sparking a $1.3 billion run on IndyMac by releasing a letter predicting its failure. Experts disagree on whether Schumer acted appropriately.

Palestinian ‘Moderates’ Hope for Remains of Venerated Terrorist
– The Palestinian Authority, Israel’s supposedly moderate “partner for peace,” is hoping to celebrate the return of a Fatah fighter’s body as part of a prisoner exchange. The woman is revered by many Arabs for her role in one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s history, 30 years ago.

Israel Gets Bodies, Hezbollah Gets Live Prisoners
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com)
– Two years and four days after they were abducted in a cross-border raid, the bodies of two Israeli soldiers were returned home on Wednesday. Israel is exchanging five live terrorists for the corpses, as part of a German-mediated deal with the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.

Jews Have Always Ransomed Their Captives
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com)
– Amid a lopsided exchange of captives between Israel and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, an expert here said the idea of such prisoner swaps is rooted in ancient Jewish tradition.

Friday, July 18, 2008


For once, it is the Democrats who have the right idea...we can only hope that the Republicans come along.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid are pushing legislation to restore the controls over the oil future's market speculation that existed before brokerage houses like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley set up a commodities exchange in London to evade restrictions imposed by the Federal Commodities Trading Corporation.

The FCTC had allowed those in the oil biz to buy and sell oil futures - essentially bets on how the price will change - but restricted investment by speculators. After the brokerage houses went offshore so as to be able to indulge their passion for a quick buck, the total traded in oil futures soared from $13 billion in 2003 to $260 billion now. It is this tail that is wagging the dog in pushing up the price of oil and gas at the pump. More.

Obama's Trip: First High-Profile Step on World Stage


Trip Designed to Make Obama Look Presidential

Washington (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama 's trip to the Middle East and Europe marks his first high-profile step onto the international stage, a campaign-season audition of sorts for a presidential hopeful pledging a new era in diplomacy and an end to the U.S. combat role in Iraq.

"The stakes are very high for Obama," said Lee Hamilton, president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a supporter of the Illinois Democrat.

While Obama currently leads in the polls, "foreign policy is one area where they (voters) have their doubts" about him, Hamilton said. More.


The media has had a lot of fun ridiculing George W. Bush's speaking ability. Similarly, they like to poke fun at McCain and his inability to deliver a good speech while reading from a teleprompter - while they gush over Obamba's skill in front of one.

Overlooked intentionally by the media is that McCain is far better than Barack when it comes to speaking impromptu and answering "unstaged" questions from the audience. It's not surprising that Obama would decline McCain's challenge to having some town hall type debates. McCain would win hands down.

Obama is lost without a teleprompter. He bumbles and fumbles and comes off pretty foolish looking but the media does not want to point this out.

Here is one of his "shining" moments:


During his eight years in the Illinois state senate, Barack Hussein Obama voted "present" 130 times. That's an astounding 12-13 times a year in which he said, in effect, "I'm here, but I'm not going to take a stand on this issue."

Given that record of bold leadership, I'm surprised Sen. Obama acted as he did on the legislation Congress passed July 9 to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Sen. Obama had pledged to filibuster FISA if it contained a provision to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies which cooperated with the government, and then reneged on that promise.

The FISA flip flop is the latest of er, ah, "pivots" Sen. Obama has made recently on campaign finance, NAFTA, gun control, the death penalty, and abortion. Now get ready for the Mother-of-All-Pivots he is about to make on the Iraq war.
-- Columnist Jack Kelly

(Barack has already had his website scrubbed from all mention of the "surge" not working in Iraq. Why has he done that?)

Barack is such a blank slate that Susan Sarandon, who supports Obama, and who is caught up in all the Obama hype said, "So I think (Obama) definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for," not even realizing what a stupid comment this is and only underscores his jejuneness.

Even Hillary Clinton noted his inexperience and made it known when she said, "I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002."

Obama is a piece of clay being molded by the far left wing of the Democrat party - all hype and little substance - a blank slate in which everyone can see him as anything they want.

It does remind me of the character Chancy Gardner from the 1979 movie "Being There," starring Peter Sellers. I found it to be quite funny.

"Being There" is a story of a man who has been totally isolated in his life living in a man's house and tending to his garden. This is all he knows. His meals are even left for him at the same time each day and does not even know how it arrives. Upon his benefactor's death the isolated gardener is thrust into the an unknown (to him) world and by "chance" he becomes a prominent and important celebrity. His opinions are sought after yet he is oblivious to anything important as he is a simpleton.

If you have never seen the movie, I suggest you rent it and watch it. And think of Barack.

"Being There" trailer

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pelosi stands firm against offshore drilling
Despite increasing pressure, House speaker not budging from long-held position

Oil drops below $130 for 1st time in a month
Massive natural gas sell-off, U.S. economic concerns help drive market



The shadow of the Iraq War still hovers over the 2008 presidential race. In deed, though it's the issue that made Barack Obama (giving him his running room to Hillary Clinton's left), it may now become his chief vulnerability.

Weak on national-security issues, untried, inexperienced and (perhaps) naive, Obama can find the Iraq issue hard to handle - if John McCain plays it right.

Obama has long since won the issue of Iraq-past - opposing the war before anyone and voting continuously and solidly against it when others waffled.

Yet McCain is winning Iraq-present: A majority of Americans believe that the surge is working. Casualties are down so far that the pessimistic left has shifted its doom-and-gloom to Afghanistan.

But McCain's key opportunity is to exploit the issue of Iraq-future.

To start, he must ask Obama: "Why won't ......

Read more.


"Turn down your thermostat ... and put on a sweata."
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen." -- Barack Obama

No sir. I WON'T let that happen when I'm president. If people in Krapistan cannot do it. It's not right for us to do it.

Cost Of Cronyism
By Robert D. Novak

As financial storm signals appeared the last 18 months, there were Bush officials who urged drastic reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But, according to internal government sources, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson objected because it would look "too political." The Republican administration kept hands off the government-backed mortgage companies that are closely tied to the Democratic establishment. (Read more.)

The Saga of Fannie and Freddie

Watch out for the Moral Hazards
Kudlow's Money Politic$
"Too big to fail” was the verdict in the U.S. Treasury decision to backstop mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But is the taxpayer risk of moral hazard still as big as ever? (Read more of Kudlow.)

Administration presses for mortgage giant rescue

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration lobbied skeptical lawmakers Wednesday to support a rescue plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as lawmakers weighed how to protect taxpayers while still giving the government unfettered power to pour money into the mortgage giants.

The administration's request for urgent action to prop up the troubled companies has sparked concern in .....

"Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech."

-- Benjamin Franklin

Punishing the Most Successful
By Michael Medved

Barack Obama wants to punish successful businesspeople with unprecedented tax increases. Lawrence Lindsey, former Chair of the National Economic Council, notes that a high income earner who now gets to keep 62% of what he earns would bring home only 47% under Obama--and that?s before paying state and local taxes.

A small-business man with taxable profit of $500,000 would see a 25% tax hike, paying $42,000 more to Washington.

This extra burden would discourage extra work, and lead America's most productive people to focus on tax avoidance rather than wealth creation. By shifting resources from entrepreneurs to Washington bureaucrats, Obama-nomics would slow job creation, innovation, and investment just when they're needed most.

And the one time you can be sure a politician will keep his promise is when he says he'll raise taxes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fannie, Freddie Crisis Reflects Failure of Gov't, Not Capitalism

From Investor's Business Daily

Boeing Sees Oil High Near-Term But Dropping Sharply in Future

From The Wall Street Journal

Lifting the Offshore Drilling Ban: A Positive Step in the Fight against High Energy Prices

-From The Heritage Foundation

19 Times Bigger than Enron, and the Networks Didn't See It Coming
From The Balance Sheet

Cooking the books but protected by powerful politicians, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financial crisis was seen a mile away by print media, but mostly overlooked by networks.

“No matter the peaks we have climbed in life we are all midgets next to his majestic holiness, the Barack of Obama.”

—Mark Steyn

“Only in America could critics of a group called ‘The Race’ [’La Raza’] be labeled racists. Such is the triumph of left-wing identity chauvinists, whose aggressive activists and supine abettors have succeeded in redefining all opposition as ‘hate’.”

—Michelle Malkin


“La cucaracha, la cucaracha, ya no puede caminar. La cucaracha, la cuca... Oh, perdon. I was just tuning up for an interview with Baracko Obama and Juan McCain. Juan y Baracko have been busy lately wooing los que hablan espanol. That is, people who speak Spanish. With an estimated 9.2 million Hispanic votes in play this November, the stakes are high. And the pandering is in high gear.”

—Kathleen Parker


“Cheap gas is unfair. Driving creates huge social costs in the form of traffic, health-damaging pollution and global warming that aren’t suffered solely by the person buying the gasoline... If the U.S. were to slowly jack up gas taxes until we’re in the $8 range, life would be better. We’d not only be safer and have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, we’d probably be happier too... Sure, $8 gas is unfair to poor people, but so is all of capitalism.”

—Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein


“John McCain and Barack Obama both gave speeches at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention in Washington, and in the 4,600 words they spoke between them didn’t mention assimilation once. Never mind that assimilation is the key to the historic success of American immigration.”

—Rich Lowry

Why the race is tied

By Dick Morris

After almost six weeks of a constant Obama lead, generally in the five- to seven-point range, Scott Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll records two consecutive days of a tie race (July 12-13) and a one-point Obama lead on July 14. What happened to the Democrat’s lead?

Part of the slippage is Obama’s fault and part is McCain’s gain.

Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. In the space of a month and a half, this candidate — who we don’t really yet know very well — reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least eight key issues: Read on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

U.S. ICE agents are terrorists, according to Obama

Immigration Agents ‘Terrorize’ Communities, Obama Says
(CNSNews.com) – While speaking Sunday at the national convention of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group that favors a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said federal immigration agents “terrorized” and divided families during immigration raids.

And, "nursing mothers are torn from their babies..." so says Barack Obama, the Messiah.

Frustrated Congressmen Launch Bipartisan Group on Energy Prices
- Accusing the House leadership of being “locked into their political positions,” a Democratic congressional aide who asked not to be identified by name told Cybercast News Service about plans to launch a bipartisan coalition to uncover real and immediate solutions to skyrocketing energy prices.

Bush Urges Congress to Follow His Lead on Domestic Oil Production
President Bush announced on Monday that he will lift the executive order banning offshore drilling, a move that Republicans consider essential to boosting oil supply. But the move does not affect the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling.

Democrats ‘Standing in the Way’ of Domestic Oil Production
President Bush on Tuesday listed the steps his administration is taking to help Americans squeezed by rising energy prices and falling home values. Get going, he told Democratic leaders.

Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America.

--Eric Hoffer


By Thomas Sowell
In an election campaign in which not only young liberals, but also some people who are neither young nor liberals, seem absolutely mesmerized by the skilled rhetoric of Barack Obama, facts have receded even further into the background than usual.

As the hypnotic mantra of "change" is repeated endlessly, few people even raise the question of whether what few specifics we hear represent any real change, much less a change for the better.

Raising taxes, increasing government spending and demonizing business? That is straight out of the New Deal of the 1930s. (Read more)


Now for the Hard Part: From Iraq to Afghanistan
By George Friedman

The Bush administration let it be known last week that it is prepared to start reducing the number of troops in Iraq, indicating that three brigades out of 15 might be withdrawn before Inauguration Day in 2009. There are many dimensions to the announcements, some political and some strategic. But perhaps the single most important aspect of the development was the fairly casual way the report was greeted. It was neither praised nor derided. Instead, it was noted and ignored as the public focused on more immediate issues.

In the public mind, Iraq is clearly no longer an immediate issue. The troops remain there, still fighting and taking casualties, and there is deep division over the wisdom of the invasion in the first place. But the urgency of the issue has passed. This doesn't mean the issue isn't urgent. It simply means the American public — and indeed most of the world — have moved on to other obsessions, as is their eccentric wont. The shift nevertheless warrants careful consideration.

Obviously, there is a significant political dimension to the announcement. It occurred shortly after Sen. Barack Obama began to shift his position on Iraq from what appeared to be a demand for a rapid withdrawal to a more cautious, nuanced position. As we have pointed out on several occasions, while Obama's public posture was for withdrawal with all due haste, his actual position as represented in his position papers was always more complex and ambiguous. He was for a withdrawal by the summer of 2010 unless circumstances dictated otherwise. Rhetorically, Obama aligned himself with the left wing of the Democratic Party, but his position on the record was actually much closer to Sen. John McCain's than he would admit prior to his nomination. Therefore, his recent statements were not inconsistent with items written on his behalf before the nomination — they merely appeared so.

The Bush administration was undoubtedly delighted to take advantage of Obama’s apparent shift by flanking him. Consideration of the troop withdrawal has been under way for some time, but the timing of the leak to The New York Times detailing it must have been driven by Obama's shift. As Obama became more cautious, the administration became more optimistic and less intransigent. The intent was clearly to cause disruption in Obama's base. If so, it failed precisely because the public took the administration’s announcement so casually. To the extent that the announcement was political, it failed because even the Democratic left is now less concerned about the war in Iraq. Politically speaking, the move was a maneuver into a vacuum.

But the announcement was still significant in other, more important ways. Politics aside, the administration is planning withdrawals because the time has come. First, the politico-military situation on the ground in Iraq has stabilized dramatically. The reason for this is the troop surge — although not in the way it is normally thought of. It was not the military consequences of an additional 30,000 troops that made the difference, although the addition and changes in tactics undoubtedly made an impact.

What was important about the surge is that it happened at all. In the fall of 2006, when the Democrats won both houses of Congress, it appeared a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was inevitable. If Bush wouldn't order it, Congress would force it. All of the factions in Iraq, as well as in neighboring states, calculated that the U.S. presence in Iraq would shortly start to decline and in due course disappear. Bush’s order to increase U.S. forces stunned all the regional players and forced a fundamental recalculation. The assumption had been that Bush's hands were tied and that the United States was no longer a factor. What Bush did — and this was more important than numbers or tactics — was demonstrate that his hands were not tied and that the United States could not be discounted.

The realization that the Americans were not going anywhere caused the Sunnis, for example, to reconsider their position. Trapped between foreign jihadists and the Shia, the Americans suddenly appeared to be a stable and long-term ally. The Sunni leadership turned on the jihadists and aligned with the United States, breaking the jihadists’ backs. Suddenly facing a U.S.-Sunni-Kurdish alliance, the Shia lashed out, hoping to break the alliance. But they also split between their own factions, with some afraid of being trapped as Iranian satellites and others viewing the Iranians as the solution to their problem. The result was a civil war not between the Sunnis and Shia, but among the Shia themselves.

Tehran performed the most important recalculation. The Iranians’ expectation had been that the United States would withdraw from Iraq unilaterally, and that when it did, Iran would fill the vacuum it left. This would lead to the creation of an Iranian-dominated Iraqi Shiite government that would suppress the Sunnis and Kurds, allowing Iran to become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region. It was a heady vision, and not an unreasonable one — if the United States had begun to withdraw in the winter of 2006-2007.

When the surge made it clear that the Americans weren't leaving, the Iranians also recalculated. They understood that they were no longer going to be able to create a puppet government in Iraq, and the danger now was that the United States would somehow create a viable puppet government of its own. The Iranians understood that continued resistance, if it failed, might lead to this outcome. They lowered their sights from dominating Iraq to creating a neutral buffer state in which they had influence. As a result, Tehran acted to restrain the Shiite militias, focusing instead on maximizing its influence with the Shia participating in the Iraqi government, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

A space was created between the Americans and Iranians, and al-Maliki filled it. He is not simply a pawn of Iran — and he uses the Americans to prevent himself from being reduced to that — but neither is he a pawn of the Americans. Recent negotiations between the United States and the al-Maliki government on the status of U.S. forces have demonstrated this. In some sense, the United States has created what it said it wanted: a strong Iraqi government. But it has not achieved what it really wanted, which was a strong, pro-American Iraqi government. Like Iran, the United States has been forced to settle for less than it originally aimed for, but more than most expected it could achieve in 2006.

This still leaves the question of what exactly the invasion of Iraq achieved. When the Americans invaded, they occupied what was clearly the most strategic country in the Middle East, bordering Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Without resistance, the occupation would have provided the United States with a geopolitical platform from which to pressure and influence the region. The fact that there was resistance absorbed the United States, therefore negating the advantage. The United States was so busy hanging on in Iraq that it had no opportunity to take advantage of the terrain.

That is why the critical question for the United States is how many troops it can retain in Iraq, for how long and in what locations. This is a complex issue. From the Sunni standpoint, a continued U.S. presence is essential to protect Sunnis from the Shia. From the Shiite standpoint, the U.S. presence is needed to prevent Iran from overwhelming the Shia. From the standpoint of the Kurds, a U.S. presence guarantees Kurdish safety from everyone else. It is an oddity of history that no major faction in Iraq now wants a precipitous U.S. withdrawal — and some don't want a withdrawal at all.

For the United States, the historical moment for its geopolitical coup seems to have passed. Had there been no resistance after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the U.S. occupation of Iraq would have made Washington a colossus astride the region. But after five years of fighting, the United States is exhausted and has little appetite for power projection in the region. For all its bravado against Iran, no one has ever suggested an invasion, only airstrikes. Therefore, the continued occupation of Iraq simply doesn't have the same effect as it did in 2003.

But the United States can't simply leave. The Iraqi government is not all that stable, and other regional powers, particularly the Saudis, don't want to see a U.S. withdrawal. The reason is simple: If the United States withdraws before the Baghdad government is cohesive enough, strong enough and inclined enough to balance Iranian power, Iran could still fill the partial vacuum of Iraq, thereby posing a threat to Saudi Arabia. With oil at more than $140 a barrel, this is not something the Saudis want to see, nor something the United States wants to see.

Internal Iraqi factions want the Americans to stay, and regional powers want the Americans to stay. The Iranians and pro-Iranian Iraqis are resigned to an ongoing presence, but they ultimately want the Americans to leave, sooner rather than later. Thus, the Americans won't leave. The question now under negotiation is simply how many U.S. troops will remain, how long they will stay, where they will be based and what their mission will be. Given where the United States was in 2006, this is a remarkable evolution. The Americans have pulled something from the jaws of defeat, but what that something is and what they plan to do with it is not altogether clear.

The United States obviously does not want to leave a massive force in Iraq. First, its more ambitious mission has evaporated; that moment is gone. Second, the U.S. Army and Marines are exhausted from five years of multidivisional warfare with a force not substantially increased from peacetime status. The Bush administration’s decision not to dramatically increase the Army was rooted in a fundamental error: namely, the administration did not think the insurgency would be so sustained and effective. They kept believing the United States would turn a corner. The result is that Washington simply can't maintain the current force in Iraq under any circumstances, and to do so would be strategically dangerous. The United States has no strategic ground reserve at present, opening itself to dangers outside of Iraq. Therefore, if the United States is not going to get to play colossus of the Middle East, it needs to reduce its forces dramatically to recreate a strategic reserve. Its interests, the interests of the al-Maliki government — and interestingly, Iran's interests — are not wildly out of sync. Washington wants to rapidly trim down to a residual force of a few brigades, and the other two players want that as well.

The United States has another pressing reason to do this: It has another major war under way in Afghanistan, and it is not winning there. It remains unclear if the United States can win that war, with the Taliban operating widely in Afghanistan and controlling a great deal of the countryside. The Taliban are increasingly aggressive against a NATO force substantially smaller than the conceivable minimum needed to pacify Afghanistan. We know the Soviets couldn't do it with nearly 120,000 troops. And we know the United States and NATO don't have as many troops to deploy in Afghanistan as the Soviets did. It is also clear that, at the moment, there is no exit strategy. Forces in Iraq must be transferred to Afghanistan to stabilize the U.S. position while the new head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus — the architect of the political and military strategy in Iraq — f igures out what, if anything, is going to change.

Interestingly, the Iranians want the Americans in Afghanistan. They supported the invasion in 2001 for the simple reason that they do not want to see an Afghanistan united under the Taliban. The Iranians almost went to war with Afghanistan in 1998 and were delighted to see the United States force the Taliban from the cities. The specter of a Taliban victory in Afghanistan unnerves the Iranians. Rhetoric aside, a drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and a transfer to Afghanistan is what the Iranians would like to see.

To complicate matters, the Taliban situation is not simply an Afghan issue — it is also a Pakistani issue. The Taliban draw supplies, recruits and support from Pakistan, where Taliban support stretches into the army and the intelligence service, which helped create the group in the 1990s while working with the Americans. There is no conceivable solution to the Taliban problem without a willing and effective government in Pakistan participating in the war, and that sort of government simply is not there. Indeed, the economic and security situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate.

Therefore, the Bush administration's desire to withdraw troops from Iraq makes sense on every level. It is a necessary and logical step. But it does not address what should now become the burning issue: What exactly is the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan? As in Iraq before the surge, the current strategy appears to be to hang on and hope for the best. Petraeus' job is to craft a new strategy. But in Iraq, for better or worse, the United States faced an apparently implacable enemy - Iran - which in fact pursued a shrewd, rational and manageable policy. In Afghanistan, the United States is facing a state that appears friendly — Pakistan — but is actually confused, divided and unmanageable by itself or others.

Petraeus’ success in Iraq had a great deal to do with Tehran’s calculations of its self-interest. In Pakistan, by contrast, it is unclear at the moment whether anyone is in a position to even define the national self-interest, let alone pursue it. And this means that every additional U.S. soldier sent to Afghanistan raises the stakes in Pakistan. It will be interesting to see how Afghanistan and Pakistan play out in the U.S. presidential election. This is not a theater of operations that lends itself to political soundbites.



Monday, July 14, 2008


“Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us that they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy ‘accommodation.’ And they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer—not an easy one, but a simple one—if you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based upon what we know in our hearts is morally right... [E]very lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face.”

—Ronald Reagan


“Congressional attacks on speculation do not alter the oil market’s fundamental demand and supply conditions. What would lower the long-term price of oil is for Congress to permit exploration for the estimated billions upon billions of barrels of oil domestically available, not to mention the estimated trillion-plus barrels of shale oil in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Some politicians pooh-pooh calls for drilling, saying it would take five or 10 years to recover the oil. I guarantee you we would begin to see a reduction in today’s prices even if it took five to 10 years for us to get the first barrel. Put yourself in the place of an OPEC member knowing there would be a greater supply of U.S. oil five or 10 years, hence maybe driving oil prices lower to say $40 a barrel. What will you want to do now while oil is $130 a barrel? You would want to sell as much oil now and OPEC’s collective efforts to do so would put downward pressures on current oil prices. Right now the U.S. Congress is OPEC’s staunchest ally.”

—Walter Williams

Payback time comes in November

“It’s time for rage—good, old American rage aimed at those elitist Democrats who prefer to see the folks beggared by soaring fuel prices rather than take the action this very real economic crisis demands. Drill... A partial answer to our immediate problem is at hand. The steady increase in pump prices can be halted and prices somewhat rolled back to a more acceptable level. Yet those Democrats who the people elected to Congress are turning their backs on the voters who sent them to Washington and coldly refusing to lift a finger to help the American people, preferring instead to lay the blame for the problem on big oil, speculators and every place but where it belongs. On themselves. If that doesn’t enrage you, nothing will. Payback time comes in November. Drive them out of office and elect people who will do what needs to be done. Drill, Drill, Drill! Are you listening, John McCain?”

—Michael Reagan

SO TRUE ... SO TRUE.....

“Years and years of history books have taught us that America was shaped by the great deeds of great men and women. It was not. America was shaped by the great deeds of ordinary men and women. America always has been better than its government, that its people have always been more decent than their presidents, and that the strength and greatness of this nation lies in them, the men and women who are not great and who never will be.”

—Roger Simon


“Don’t think that a few years of liberals in charge is that dangerous? Just take a moment to consider what liberals dream of doing once they gain absolute power. There is no aspect of our lives—none—that today’s liberals concede is off limits to the meddling use of government power. In their vision there is no dividing line between the public sphere and the private sphere. Limited government is a concept that makes no sense to them... Energy policies are just the tip of the iceberg—although control over energy gives government control over pretty much the entire economy already. In a world run by liberals literally no aspect of our lives will be outside the legitimate regulation of government. That is because anything—even what temperature you like to keep your house—can be turned into a matter of legitimate public concern. Everything we do, including breathing, eating and of course procreating, can be argued to have an impact on those around us or the great mother earth. And if it affects others, it can and should be regulated by those who know best, at least according to the liberals. Liberals want to regulate just about everything: where we live, what fuels we use, what car we drive, whether we can drive or be forced to use government mass transit, where we send our kids to school, what doctor we see, and even to what extent we express our approval or disapproval of others’ lifestyles. It’s hard to find something liberals don’t want to regulate. Is that a world you want to live in?” —David Strom

McCain: Spending is Out of Control
Sen. John McCain on Tuesday brushed off skepticism from economists and insisted he could balance the budget by 2013 by keeping taxes low and curbing spending.

Oil Paranoia
By Robert D. Novak

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, back from the Fourth of July break, last week delivered a typical harangue on Republican obstructionism and Democratic virtue that included a promise: By week’s end, he would show Republicans his proposal to deal with “this speculation thing” that he calls the root cause of $4-a-gallon gasoline. It would attempt “to end speculation on the oil markets.” By week’s end Friday, Republicans had seen nothing of Reid’s plan because of internal Democratic disagreement on details. After consulting a wide variety of experts on both energy and markets, I could find nobody who sees speculation as a major contributor to the oil spike.

Democrat Insanity

Global Warming Led to ‘Black Hawk Down,’ Congressman Says
A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels.

Dem Blocks Cross-State Child Abortion Act Hearing
Republicans held an “unofficial” hearing on a bill that would make it a crime for minors to be transported across state lines for an abortion without parental consent after the committee chairman blocked a hearing on the measure.

Environmental Bills Called Pretext to Loosen Border Security
Open-border advocates operating under the guise of environmentalism are prepared to push for legislation that could result in an accelerated flow of illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and human trafficking from Mexico into Arizona, according to law enforcement experts familiar with the terrain.

Forced Servitude in America?

By Jonah Goldberg
There's a weird irony at work when Sen. Barack Obama, the black presidential candidate who will allegedly scrub the stain of racism from the nation, vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.

For those who don't remember, the 13th Amendment says: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime ... shall exist within the United States."

In Obama's mind it must be a crime to be born or to attend college.

In his speech on national service last week at the University of Colorado, Obama promised that as president he would "set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year."

Causes "Zits" too, I Think ..........

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Michele Bachmann:
Democrats Chose to Ignore Rising Gas Costs

Instead of returning to DC willing and ready to create a commonsense solution to our nation's rising gas costs, House Democrats have chosen to ignore the issue all together.
(Read more.)

Certainly, it is a world of scarcity. But the scarcity is not confined to iron ore and arable land. The most constricting scarcities are those of character and personality.

--William R. Allen

The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.

--Joseph A. Schumpeter

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm-- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

-- T. S. ELiot

“The Obamans insist that mentioning any of the man’s disreputable friends and religious mentors is a no-no that smacks of McCarthyism. This is an odd complaint because, one, McCarthy was right when he pointed out that the folks who associated with other people at Communist cell meetings were in fact Communists, and, two, every child is told that he’s going to be judged by the company he keeps. So, let’s face facts—John Dillinger ran with a nicer crowd than this guy.”

—Burt Prelutsky

“The problem isn’t a shortage of fuel; it’s a surplus of government.”
—Ronald Reagan

“If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.” —Will Rogers

“Politics, and the fate of mankind, are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness.” —Albert Camus

“Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

“While the media may treat the elections as being about Democrats and Republicans... elections were not set up by the Constitution of the United States in order to enable party politicians to get jobs. Nor were elections set up in order to enable voters to vent their emotions or indulge their fantasies. Voting is a right but it is also... a duty not just to show up on election day, but a duty to give serious thought to the alternatives on the table and what those alternatives mean for the future of the nation.”

—Thomas Sowell

“When we go to the polls in November, we should beware of any candidate promising that government will solve all our problems. We need to work to keep government doing its right roles and no more, because if we do not, it will eventually cease to function at all.”

—Chuck Colson

“The Congress should look to increase exploration inside the United States. It is strange to ask what I should produce. It’s an issue of sovereignty.”

—Qatar Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah in response to Democrats’ plans to sue OPEC

Hat tip to Patriot Post

“How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

—James Madison

Nothing Justifies Terrorism, Say G8 Leaders
In an indirect rebuke to Islamic and Arab governments, leaders of the G8 nations meeting in Japan this week rejected the view that terrorism can be justified by political or other circumstances.

Environmental Group Sues to Block Oil Refinery Expansion
An environmental group on Wednesday filed a lawsuit intended to stop the expansion of a BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana. A shortage of oil refining capacity is often mentioned as one reason for soaring gasoline prices.

US Food Inspectors Made No Trips to China Last Year
U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors made 13 visits to Fiji in 2007 for food inspections and no visits at all to China, according to a study released to Congress recently by the Government Accountability Office.

Hamas seen using new Russian weapons to break Israelis' will following invasion
TEL AVIV — Hamas has been training on a range of new Russian-origin weapons meant to incur heavy civilian casualties in any war with Israel.

Israeli intel: 40,000 missiles, rockets in Lebanon; 14,000 in 2006

McCain disagrees with adviser's 'whiners' remark
Republican John McCain distanced himself from an economic adviser who dubbed the United States "a nation of whiners" in a "mental recession" as Democrat Barack Obama turned the remarks against his rival.

"I strongly disagree" with Phil Gramm's remarks, McCain told reporters in Belleville, Mich. "Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me."

The Republican presidential hopeful said a person who just lost a job "isn't suffering from a mental recession." (Read more.)

In a related post, Austin Hill writes: A "Nation Of Whiners?" Well, Are We?

Have Your Yellowcake and Eat It Too

By Christopher Merola
On July 5, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) released a story titled: Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq. The opening paragraph is as follows:

The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program – a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium – reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

See anything wrong with this picture? We have been hearing from the far-left for more than five years how, “Bush lied.” Somehow, that slogan loses its credibility now that 550 metric tons of Saddam’s yellowcake, used for nuclear weapon enrichment, has been discovered and shipped to Canada for its new use as nuclear energy.

It appears that American troops found the 550 metric tons of uranium in 2003 after invading Iraq. They had to sit on this information and the uranium itself, for fear of terrorists attempting to steal it. It was guarded and kept safe by our military in a 23,000-acre site with large sand beams surrounding the site.

This is vindication for the Bush administration, having been... (Read more)

The Crisis in Assimilation

By Rich Lowry
John McCain and Barack Obama both gave speeches at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention in Washington, and in the 4,600 words they spoke between them didn't mention assimilation once.

Never mind that assimilation is the key to the historic success of American immigration. We all know how it....... (Read more.)

Barack W. Bush?

By Victor Davis Hanson
Almost everyone is talking about Barack Obama's flip-flops, as the Senate's most liberal member steadily moves to the political center and disowns firebrands like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger.

But less noticed is that Obama is not just deflating John McCain's efforts to hold him to his long liberal record, but also embracing much of the present agenda of an unpopular President Bush on a wide variety of fronts.

Take social issues. Obama is now a gun-rights advocate. Like Bush, he applauded the Supreme Court's overturning...... (Read more)