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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, August 16, 2008

“Obama is being hailed as the newest and freshest face on the American political scene. But he is advocating some of the oldest fallacies, just as if it was the 1960s again, or as if he has learned nothing and forgotten nothing since then... But politics is not about facts. It is about what politicians can get people to believe.”

—Thomas Sowell



When they speak, Congress listens

Environmentalists' Hold on Congress
By Walter E. Williams
Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation.

For several decades, environmentalists have managed to...... [more]


“We don’t look to arsonists to help put out fires but we do look to politicians to help solve financial crises that they played a major role in creating. How did the government help create the current financial mess? Let me count the ways... Government laws and policies at federal, state and local levels have had the net effect of putting both borrowers and lenders way out on a limb.

Yet, when that limb began to crack, the first reaction in politics and in the media has been to look to government to solve this problem because—as always—it was called the market’s fault, the lenders’ fault and everybody’s fault except those politicians who created this dicey situation in the first place. Markets often get blamed for conveying a reality that was not created by the market. ... Markets were also blamed for the Great Depression of the 1930s and New Deal politicians were credited with getting us out of it.

But increasing numbers of economists and historians have concluded that it was government intervention which prolonged the Great Depression beyond that of other depressions where the government did nothing. The stock market crash of 1987 was at least as big as the stock market crash in 1929. But, instead of being followed by a Great Depression, the 1987 crash was followed by 20 years of economic growth, with low inflation and low unemployment.

The Reagan administration did nothing in 1987, despite outrage in the media at the government’s failure to live up to its responsibility, as seen in liberal quarters. But nothing was apparently what needed to be done, so that markets could adjust. The last thing politicians can do in an election year is nothing. So we can look for all sorts of ‘solutions’ by politicians of both parties. Like most political solutions, these are likely to make matters worse.”

—Thomas Sowell

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing. Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, ‘What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power.’ But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.”

—Ronald Reagan

“Every president, every senator, every member of Congress and every Supreme Court justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The way some of them behave, though, you have to wonder if they’ve ever read it. The Constitution is clear and understandable. It gives Congress, the legislative branch, the responsibility of passing our laws. It gives the president, head of the executive branch, the responsibility of enforcing those laws. And it gives the courts, headed by the Supreme Court, the responsibility of interpreting them. Yet in recent years, leaders of all three branches have expressed confusing—and incorrect—ideas about the Constitution... Members of all three branches of our government should do some light reading this summer, and refresh themselves on their proper roles. After all, you can’t uphold what you don’t understand.”

—Ed Feulner

President of What World?

By Tom Tancredo
Senator Obama went to Berlin and told a crowd of 200,000 Europeans that he was speaking to them not as a candidate for President of the United States, but as “a fellow citizen of the world.” He then proceeded to insult the memories of any German over age 30 and the intelligence of every American who remembers what the Berlin Wall was all about.

In Berlin, Obama credited the “people of the world” for bringing down the Berlin Wall. That will be surprising news to the people of Mexico, Switzerland and dozens of other nations who not only sat out World War II as "neutrals" but never gave one penny to support the 1949 Berlin Airlift or NATO. Contrary to Obama’s rosy Code Pink revisionism, the “people of the world” were bit players in the 40 year struggle against Soviet occupation of East Berlin and Eastern Europe.

But Obama's misunderstanding of the Cold War is not the.... [read on]

“I have always believed that America is strongest and freest and happiest when it is truest to the wisdom of its Founders. In Federalist 45, James Madison wrote that ‘The powers delegated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Government are numerous and indefinite.’ Or to put it another way, ‘We the People.’ As long as we remember these words—’We the People’ —and make them our guide, so long as we remember that America has always drawn its inspiration from the people and has always been governed best when governed most by those governments closest to the people, America will remain strong and free, the envy of the world.”

—Ronald Reagan


"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated – simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling – if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!" ------ Barack H. Obama “Barack Obama remains opposed to new offshore drilling (although he now says he would accept a highly restricted version as part of a comprehensive package). Just [recently], he claimed that if only Americans would inflate their tires properly and get regular tune-ups, ‘we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling.’ This is bizarre. By any reasonable calculation of annual tire-inflation and tune-up savings, the Outer Continental Shelf holds nearly a hundred times as much oil. As for oil shale, also under federal moratorium, after a thousand years of driving with Obama-inflated tires and Obama-tuned engines, we would still have saved only one-fifth the oil shale available in the United States.” ------ Charles Krauthammer

It would be foolish not to be in support of conservation, but seriously, conservation is not an energy policy. It is - well - just conservation.

Drill now. Do it for the children - so they have an adequate oil supply line. We have no real alternate even close to replacing the dredded fossil fuel. Wind power and solar power is not going to fly our planes or propel our automobiles.

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

—Thomas Jefferson

Hamas militia operating 300 summer camps for 50,000 children
GAZA CITY — Hamas and allied militia groups have been recruiting children to attend summer camps.

Hamas has established 300 summer camps for an estimated 50,000 children throughout the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said the training included Islamic combat indoctrination, rudiments of light weapons, reconnaissance and sabotage, avoiding Israeli surveillance and infiltrating Israeli facilities.

[Read more]


WASHINGTON — Oil executives in Libya have announced the discovery of a new crude oil reserve.

U.S.-Libya deal clears way for normalized ties
WASHINGTON — Libya and the United States have removed what could be the last obstacle toward military cooperation.

Sudan begins new 'massive' offensive in Darfour
CAIRO — Sudan has launched a new military offensive in the war-torn Darfour region despite increasing international pressure.

The Sudanese military began a ground attack on rebel groups in northern Darfour. The attack has focused on Wadi Atron near the Libyan border.

"They attacked our areas in Wadi Atron with a massive force," Sudan Liberation Army spokesman Al Sayid Sharif said. "We consider this a new declaration of war." [read more]

Amnesty International: Quarter million Chinese in 're-education' camps
China continues to hold in detention thousands of political prisoners, a senior Amnesty International official said recently. [read on]

Senior Iran official predicts imminent demise of Gulf state royals
NICOSIA — Iran expects the Gulf states to undergo a major crisis in 2009.

A senior official said the states would face what he termed a crisis in "legitimacy." He said both Sunni and Shi'ite nationals would challenge the pro-Western Gulf Arab monarchies. [read on]

Al Qaida tied to bomb attack on the army of Hizbullah-backed Lebanon government

NICOSIA -- At least 14 people were killed when a bomb rocked the downtown section of the northern city of Tripoli on Aug. 13. At least nine off-duty soldiers were killed and nearly 50 others were.... (click here for more)

Chinese intel targeting visitors' wireless devices

China is engaged in major intelligence efforts to steal secrets and technology, a senior U.S. government counterintelligence warned last week. .. .(click here for more )

U.S. nixed Israel's request for bunker-busters

TEL AVIV -- The United States rejected a recent Israeli request for advanced detection systems as well as bunker-busters capable of locating and destroying Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Israeli officials said the administration was persuaded by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that such systems could be. ... (click here for more)

More than 90 insurgents killed in Afghanistan - Yahoo! News
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed more than 90 militants during several days of fighting in the south of the country this week, the U.S. military and the Afghan Interior Ministry said on Saturday.



As we watched Russian tanks and planes attack yet another small neighbor, the world had to be reminded of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan, three other countries that had to watch their freedom crushed beneath tank treads. The blatant, outrageous, and long planned invasion of Georgia should make it clear to the United States and Europe that there is an urgent need to pre-empt further Russian expansionism by spreading the NATO umbrella more widely. In Eastern Europe, Ukraine is the name of the game. With close to..... [read more]

Rich Tucker:
The Future Looks Hard
Well, it was fun while it lasted.

When the decrepit Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, it looked as though the U.S. and our allies would be able to preside over a future of peace and prosperity, governing the planet through our soft power (economic sanctions) rather than hard power (military might).

That made sense to leaders who grew up with memories of the horrors of World War II. The use of hard power had, in their lifetimes, led to millions of deaths. And for a few glorious years, it worked.

In the early 1990s, Russia came -- hat in hand -- begging to...[read more]

Michael Barone
Echoes of Berlin
Last week, the two erstwhile communist superpowers were in the spotlight. Starting on Aug. 8, China staged the Olympics -- an event on the schedule for years. Also on Aug. 8, Russia invaded the independent republic of Georgia -- which apparently caught our government flatfooted. George W. Bush remained in Beijing watching the Olympians, while Vladimir Putin, making no secret of who is in charge, went to the Russian borderland with Georgia to supervise.

There are echoes of history in all this. Echoes that remind us in one way or the other of Berlin. China's Olympic extravaganza -- and its suppression of dissent -- inevitably remind us of Adolf Hitler's Berlin Olympics in 1936. Russia's torrent of lies -- its claims that democratic Georgia has been engaged in ethnic cleansing, its claims that it is acting in the interest of Russian citizens, its claims that it has accepted a ceasefire when its tanks continue to enter Georgian cities -- remind us of Hitler's claims that Czechoslovakia was oppressing the Sudeten Germans and his claims that Poland was committing atrocities before he invaded.....[read more]


"There are hundreds of years of oil supplies (at present and projected consumption levels) if oil in oil sands and shale is properly included in reserves. And it can be produced at a cost of $35-$50 a barrel.

Does it seem a bit odd that the current price of oil is between two and three times the cost of producing all the oil the world presently needs and will need long into the future? The reason the price is so high is that the supply has been artificially constrained by governments.

Take our Congress. Some politicians there argue that even if the U.S. government started to allow increased production, that it would be seven to 10 years or more before there would be additional output. This is nonsense.

Yet the very same politicians who claim we cannot increase oil production quickly are often the same ones who tell us we need to move to alternative forms - windmills and solar, etc. - without seeming to understand these desirable technologies will take far more time to meet the goals of "energy independence" than ramping up oil production."

-- Richard Rahn


"We've got war already, and it was a big war, long before the invasion of Georgia. The battlefield runs from Afghanistan into Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel, across northern Africa, and deep into Europe. The latest Russian gambit is part of that big war, as any of our friends and allies in the war zone will tell you.

Insofar as America is seen as weak, our enemies will redouble their actions and our friends will hold back, fearing that association with us will not protect them, and single them out for attack. Those consequences are immediate, traveling across the airwaves of the BBC and al Jazeera and the other propaganda outlets favored by our enemies.

Once you grasp the full dimensions of the war, it becomes easier to conceive useful options, military and other. We are well placed to demonstrate that this is not a one-way street. The Russians think they have shown that it's costly to be a friend of the United States. We need to show that there can be a high price for friendship with Russia."

-- Michael Ledeen


"Did you see the huge crowd outside the Russian Embassy in Washington DC protesting the war in Georgia?

Neither did I. Now that we have a genuine war of aggression, the silence on the Left is deafening.

"You might think, at a moment such as this, that the moral calculus would be pretty well understood," the Washington Post said in an editorial today (8/14).

"Russian troops are occupying large swaths of Georgia, a tiny neighboring country, and sacking its military bases. Russian jets have roamed the Georgian skies, bombing civilian and military targets alike. Russian ships are said to be controlling Georgia's port of Poti, while militia under Russia's control reportedly massacre Georgian civilians. Yet in Washington, the foreign policy sophisticates cluck and murmur that, after all, the Georgians should have known better than to chart an independent course."

It is scandalous to liberals that terrorists at Gitmo don't have easy access to lawyers, but most don't care how many Georgians the Russians kill.

Vladimir Putin is counting on this."

-- Jack Kelly


"Russian tanks are rolling again, but why now?

For one thing, the high oil prices that have propped up the Russian economy are now faltering. The bubble has burst. The Russian stock market (RTS) dropped 25% so far this year.

This stock crash is in spite of vast Russian oil profits. With most of the Russian oil money looted from Russia, and now Russian oil prices falling, the economy is suffering. Real estate has been more expensive in Moscow than in anyplace in the world. That bubble too may now change.

As Jack (Dr. Wheeler) said yesterday (8/08) "Russia has no future beyond ephemerally high oil prices. Once they crash, so does Russia."

The orchestration of high oil prices has fallen apart since America (meaning the Republicans) finally started to get serious about oil supplies. With the future showing cheaper oil, what supported the gluttonous Russian mafia has disappeared. The Putinistas know this, and need a distraction to keep the people feeling powerful and Russian."

And of course, what is a more nationalistic time to show Russia's power but at the start of the Olympics? The whole operation is awash in testosterone."

-- Dagny D'Anconia

Friday, August 15, 2008


"Russia is continuing its invasion of free, democratic Georgia with overwhelming military force. Given the raw power Russia has been willing to apply, there's no question as to which side will win.

But one of the many untold stories of this fateful war is how poorly Russian forces are performing - despite careful planning and extensive preparations.

Putin, currently in his "Wolfschanze" in Vladikavkaz, must be especially furious with his pride and joy, the Russian air force.

The inept performance of the Russian air force may have been the most striking feature of the war thus far. Again, numbers alone guarantee a Russian win. The abysmal performance of Russian pilots has been on display for all the world to see - although, once again, the media don't understand what they're witnessing."

-- Col. Ralph Peters


By Dr. Jack Wheeler

Time to stop the hand-wringing about Russia's re-igniting the Cold War by invading Georgia. Time to start thinking of what a golden opportunity this presents.

First the reality. Russia, before, during, and after the Soviet Union was and remains a brutal imperialist dictatorship. The Soviet Union was simply the same old Czarist Russian imperialism with Marxism-Leninism as an ideological rationale. The fall of the USSR only meant the fall of the rationale.

So Russia is back to where it has always been, with the Russian compulsion for brute force bullying as its way of dealing with the world. It is no accident, comrades, that Russians were the Soviets, and it is no surprise whatever that they are behaving like Soviets in Georgia today.

Thus the fundamental reality of how to conduct foreign policy with Russia, however distasteful it may be to the squishes at the State Department chronically afflicted with terminal testicular atrophy:

The only thing Russians in the Kremlin understand and respect is superior force and the willingness to use it against them. If you don't give them a punch in the mouth and a bloody nose the moment they start to bully you, they will keep bullying you until you start fighting back hard - or you capitulate and obey their orders.

It's either-or, win-lose. Those are their rules. The golden opportunity Putin is giving us by invading Georgia is that it gives us the perfect excuse to play by his rules. Read more.


After getting my Internet to work this morning for an hour and a half, I returned around 4:00 P.M. only to find my Internet not working again. This has been an intermittent problem for the last week or so but the problem really exacerbated in the last 28 hours.

As it turns out, it appears my splitter went bad. I replaced it and all seems well.

Washington Times:

Russia threatens Poland over pact with U.S.
A senior Russian military official on Friday threatened Poland for agreeing to a treaty with the U.S., as President Bush called on the Kremlin to stop "bullying" the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Georgia's capital of Tsibili, persuaded Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to sign a treaty with Russia and then called on Russia to remove all of its military forces from the small country "immediately."

"With the signing of this accord, all Russian troops, and any paramilitary and irregular troops that entered with them must leave immediately," she said.

Meanwhile, Russian Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Poland's decision on Thursday to host a U.S.-backed missile defense system had made the former communist bloc country a "target" for Russian military action.....[read more]

As tabloid reports of a sex scandal threatened former Senator John Edwards’s presidential campaign last December on the eve of......

Edwards' ally explains $14,000 payment to mistress
My Way News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A $14,000 payment to John Edwards' mistress from the candidate's political action committee - after she stopped working for it - was made in exchange for 100 hours of unused videotape she shot producing short Web movies for which she already had been paid $100,000, an associate of Edwards told The Associated Press.

The explanation, which Edwards' advisers declined to discuss on the record, is the first effort to justify the payment in April 2007 to Rielle Hunter, which came months before Edwards' chief fundraiser quietly began sending money himself to the pregnant woman.

Edwards last week acknowledged he had an affair with Hunter in 2006. The former Democratic presidential contender and senator from North Carolina has denied any knowledge of those payments to Hunter from Fred Baron, Edwards' national finance chairman and a wealthy Dallas-based trial attorney. Baron also has described his payments to Hunter as a private transaction.

But the earlier, $14,000 payment to Hunter is significant because its source was Edwards' OneAmerica political action committee, whose expenditures are governed by U.S. election laws. Willfully converting money from a political action committee for personal use would have been a federal criminal violation..... [read more]

Unmasking the Myths Behind the Fairness Doctrine
The mood was sour on Capitol Hill in June 2007. Powerful members of the Senate were humiliated when they were forced to withdraw a wildly unpopular immigration bill that would have provided de facto amnesty to illegal aliens.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) quickly blamed conservative talk radio hosts for the embarrassing defeat. On CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, Feinstein said, “I listened to talk show hosts drumming up the opposition by using this word ‘amnesty’ over and over and over again and essentially raising the roil of Americans to the extent that in my 15 years I’ve never received more hate, or more racist phone calls and threats.”

Talk show hosts frequently express opinions that rankle prominent politicians, and occasionally they even whip up.... [more]

The Lieberman Option
by Rich Lowry

A vice-presidential pick is always important, but John McCain confronts a starkly existential choice this year.

Is he running as a Republican or chiefly as a bipartisan deal-maker? Does he have a reasonable shot at victory, or face desperately long odds? Does he want a traditional administration -- with the option of running for re-election -- or something completely different?

[Read more]
I feel like, at times, that I am living in an alternate universe. There are rumors that Lieberman (Dem/Independent) could be McCain's veep pick and rumors that Hagel (Repub) could be on Barack's list of veeps. What the heck? Wouldn't that be something?

Although I do believe it would be a much more likely scenario that Lieberman would be selected than Hagle.

Relentless Race Narrative

By David Limbaugh:

Sadly, there isn't the slightest chance liberals will forgo the race narrative in this presidential race because painting the other side as racist is essential to their need to feel morally superior.

Read more.

25 Reasons You Might Be a Liberal

I hope John Hawkins does not get mad at me for posting his entire column here:
With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you just might be a liberal if...

* You're sure the Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to abortion and gay marriage, but not the right to own a handgun.

* You think Dan Quayle is the dumbest Vice-President we ever had because he believed a flash card that misspelled "potato," but think Obama is a genius despite the fact he believes we have more than 57 states.

* You'd be more upset about your favorite candidate being endorsed by the NRA than the Communist Party.

* You think the same criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime will just hand them over to comply with the law if guns are made illegal.

* You know that 86% of all income taxes are paid by the top 25% of income earners and you still feel that the rich "aren't paying their fair share of the taxes."

* You put a higher priority on oil pipelines possibly inconveniencing a few caribou than you do on lowering the price of gas for everyone in the country by drilling ANWR.

* You're worried that Osama Bin Laden might not get a fair trial if we capture him, but want George Bush thrown in prison for being too zealous in protecting us from Al-Qaeda.

* You get infuriated when you hear about the CEO of a Fortune 500 company making tens of millions of dollars, but don't see a problem with an actor, basketball player, or trial lawyer making the same amount.

* You're constantly seeing subtle, coded racism in campaign ads, but see nothing racist about blacks being promoted over more qualified white applicants because of Affirmative Action.

* You think it's obscene that oil companies are allowed to make 8.3 cents per gallon in profit with gas prices this high, but would never suggest cutting the 13 cents per gallon they pay on taxes to reduce the price of gas.

* You think George Bush is a chickenhawk because he wanted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the fact that he only served in the National Guard, but you don't think the same about Barack Obama, who has never served in the military and probably couldn't find either country on a map without help.

* You think protesting outside of abortion clinics is extremism and should be illegal, but carrying around giant puppet heads while wearing a t-shirt that compares Bush to Hitler is just exercising your First Amendment rights.

* You think the case for global warming is proven without a shadow of a doubt, but that we need another century or two worth of evidence to figure out if capitalism and free markets work better than socialism.

* You believe the best way to fix the government screwing something up in the market is with...drumroll, please...more government intervention.

* You think the first thing we should have done when Russia invaded Georgia was to take the matter to the United Nations, where Russia sits on the UN Security Council.

* You spend your days criticizing the use of private jets, SUVS, and luxurious houses that consume enormous amounts of resources and then ride in an SUV to the airport, get on your private plane, and fly home to your luxurious house.

* You have more nice things to say about countries like Cuba and France than you do about your own country.

* You think the war in Iraq is unwinnable, but victory in the war on poverty is going to happen any day now if we can just get the Democrats back in charge.

* You won't even support English as our national language, but can't seem to understand why people worry about tens of millions of illegal aliens changing our culture.

* You think censorship is absolutely wrong; except when it's applied to conservatives on college campuses or on talk radio via the fairness doctrine.

* You get more upset about an American soldier accidentally killing a civilian than you do about a terrorist deliberately blowing up a school bus full of kids.

* You think Fox News is hopelessly biased to the right, but MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS call it right down the middle.

* You think the real hero of the Cold War was Mikhail Gorbachev.

* You couldn't care less about what Americans in states like Kansas or Virginia think of you, but you would be greatly upset if a Frenchman gave you a dirty look because you're an American.

* You think kids in public schools should have to watch Earth in the Balance and read Heather Has Two Mommies, but no piece of literature with the word "Jesus" on it should be allowed within a hundred yards of a school.

Gang Crackdown in Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area

Dozens of foreign-born gang members were caught in a sweep called "Operation Community Shield" -- a campaign by federal, state and local law enforcement -- that targeted the Twin Cities and surrounding metro areas. (This is actually a national campaign.)

In the past 2 weeks, federal agents and Twin Cities-area police, officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have made 50 arrests. Gang members from Mexico and other countries have been swept up. This included 35 gang members and seven gang associates from 10 Twin Cities-area gangs. Of the 50 arrested, 38 are illegal immigrants.

Specifically, those that were here illegally, 29 come from Mexico, six from Honduras, two from El Salvador and one from Ecuador. 10 U.S. citizens were nabbed along with two permanent residents, also known as green-card holders. They were charged with various state and federal charges, including weapons possession, possessing illegal drugs and criminal traffic offenses.

12 of those arrested have previous convictions, including assault, drug possession, criminal damage to property, burglary, disorderly conduct and drunken driving.

Officials are intending on deporting the illegal immigrants that were arrested, except for three suspects; they will be referred to the U.S. Attorney's office. Two will be prosecuted for re-entering the United States after previously being deported. (It is a felony to re-enter the United States after going through formal deportation proceedings.) They face up to 20 years in federal prison. One will be prosecuted for possessing a controlled substance.

I am quite confident someone will complain with charges of profiling or their rights were violated. Besides, they were only doing jobs (victimizing people) that Americans won't do.


My internet was not working for the last 16 hours, but I am up and running again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Jihadist Threat and Grassroots Defense
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
Stratfor Terrorism Intelligence Report

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Egyptian al Qaeda contingent in Pakistan. On Aug. 12, Pakistani security sources confirmed that an Aug. 8 operation in Bajaur resulted in the death of al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, aka Sheikh Said al-Masri. Some posters on jihadist message boards have denied the reports, but al Qaeda itself has yet to release a statement on the issue. Al-Yazid was reportedly al Qaeda’s operational commander for Afghanistan, and some reports also claim he was responsible for planning attacks within Pakistan, such as the June 2 attack on the Danish Embassy.

If confirmed, al-Yazid’s death came just 11 days after the July 28 missile strike in South Waziristan that resulted in the death of al Qaeda’s lead chemical and biological weapons expert, Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri. The strike against al-Sayid also killed three other Egyptian al Qaeda commanders. In an ironic twist, the official al Qaeda eulogy for al-Sayid and his companions was given by al-Yazid.

Unconfirmed rumors also have swirled since the July 28 attack that al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri was either killed or seriously wounded in the same operation. An audiotape in which al-Zawahiri speaks out against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was recently released in an odd manner, in that it was given directly to a Pakistani news channel rather than via al Qaeda’s usual release pattern of having As-Sahab Media upload it directly to the Internet. The tape, in which al-Zawahiri speaks in English for the first time in a public pronouncement, is not convincing proof that al-Zawahiri was not wounded or killed. Obviously, al-Zawahiri’s loss would be another serious blow to the organization.

Al Qaeda’s current problems are nothing new. In fact, the United States and its allies have been attacking al Qaeda’s operational infrastructure consistently since 9/11. While the United States has not yet located and killed the al Qaeda apex leadership, it has done a very good job of eliminating senior operational commanders — the men in the al Qaeda hierarchy who actually plan and direct the militant Islamist group’s operations. The nature of their position means the operational commanders must have more contact with the outside world, and therefore become more vulnerable to being located and killed or captured.

Because of this campaign against al Qaeda’s operational infrastructure, Stratfor has been saying for some time now that we do not believe the core al Qaeda group poses a strategic threat to the U.S. homeland. However, that does not mean that the United States is completely free of danger when it comes to the jihadist threat. While the core al Qaeda group has been damaged, it still poses a tactical threat — and still can kill people. Furthermore, as the jihadist threat has devolved from one based primarily on al Qaeda the organization to one based on al Qaeda the movement, al Qaeda’s regional franchises and a nebulous array of grassroots jihadists must also be accounted for.

With al Qaeda’s operational structure under continued attack and the fact that there are no regional franchises in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps the most pressing jihadist threat to the U.S. homeland at the present time stems from grassroots jihadists.

Beyond the Cliches

There are many cliches used to describe grassroots jihadists. As we have long discussed, grassroots operatives tend to think globally and act locally — meaning they tend to be inspired by events abroad and yet strike close to home. Additionally, these operatives tend to be a mile wide but an inch deep — meaning that while there are many of them, they are often quite inept at terrorist tradecraft. These cliches are not just cute; they have a sound basis in reality, as a study of grassroots jihadists demonstrates.

There are two basic operational models that involve grassroots jihadists. The first operational model is one where an experienced operational commander is sent from the core al Qaeda group to assist the local grassroots cell. This is what we refer to as the “al Qaeda 1.0 operational model” since it literally is the first one we became familiar with. We saw this model used in many early jihadist operations, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa. It has also been employed in a number of thwarted plots, such as Operation Bojinka in 1995 and the millennium plots in 2000. This model also was used in the thwarted 2006 Heathrow airliner plot.

The second grassroots operational model involves operatives who launch attacks themselves without external funding or direct operational guidance. This is what we refer to as the “al Qaeda 3.0 operational model.” Examples of attacks committed using this model include the November 1990 assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York, the July 21, 2005, London bombings, the July 2002 armed assault of the El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport and the botched June 2007 bombing attacks in London and Glasgow.

Something of a gray area exists around the borders of these two operational models, and at times it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. For example, Mohammed Siddique Khan, the leader of the cell that carried out the July 7, 2005, London suicide bombings, had attended training camps in Pakistan with another member of the cell. While there, he had at least some contact with al Qaeda, since al Qaeda released a copy of the martyrdom videos the two made during their time in Pakistan.

Notably, these attacks show that most of these grassroots jihadists, whether as part of a 1.0 or a 3.0 structured cell, selected targets in close proximity to their place of residence. Even when such cells have established safe houses to store chemicals, to manufacture improvised explosive mixtures or to construct improvised explosive devices, those safe houses quite often have been close to the target and the attacker’s residence. Grassroots jihadists really do think globally and act locally.

A second notable aspect of several of these attacks is that these operatives lack terrorist tradecraft such as operational security and surveillance techniques. Blunders in these areas have frequently led to the groups being identified and nabbed before they could launch their attacks. Plain old police traffic stops have exposed jihadist cells such as the Virginia Jihad Network and have helped to thwart several other terror plots.

Even when a grassroots group is able to execute its attack without detection, it often has been hampered by a lack of bomb-making skill. The failed July 21, 2005, London bombings and the June 2007 London and Glasgow attacks exemplify this flaw. Grassroots groups simply do not have the same level of training and operational experience as the professional operatives comprising the core al Qaeda group. Operationally, they are a mile wide and tend to be an inch deep.

Another consideration that comes to light while contemplating past grassroots cases is that lacking funding from al Qaeda core, grassroots operatives are likely to indulge in petty crimes such as credit card theft, cargo theft or armed robbery to fund their activities. For example, in July 2005, a grassroots cell in Torrance, Calif., was uncovered during an investigation into a string of armed robberies. After arresting one suspect, Levar Haney Washington, police who searched his apartment uncovered material indicating that Washington was part of a militant jihadist group planning to attack a number of targets in the Los Angeles area.

Truthfully, most grassroots operatives are far more likely to commit a criminal act such as document fraud or receiving stolen property than they are to have telephone conversations with Osama bin Laden. When they do commit such relatively minor crimes, it is local cops rather than some federal agency that will have the first interaction with them. This means that local police are an important piece of the counterterrorism defenses — they are, in essence, grassroots defenders.

Beyond Grassroots Jihadists

A recent study led by Brent Smith of the Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas’ Fulbright College suggests that these trends extend beyond the grassroots jihadist threat. In a July article in the National Institute of Justice Journal, Smith noted that his research team studied 60 terrorist incidents in the United States over the past 25 years. The terrorist actors were from a cross-section of different ideological backgrounds, including domestic left-wing, domestic right-wing, domestic single-issue and international terrorists.

In the study, Smith and his colleagues identified the residences of 431 terrorist suspects and found that, overall, 44 percent of the attacks were conducted within 30 miles of the perpetrator’s place of residence and 51 percent were conducted within 90 miles of the residence. When broken down by type, the numbers were actually highest for international terrorists, with 59 percent of the suspects living within 30 miles of their target and 76 percent of the suspects residing within 90 miles.

Smith’s study also noted that many of the preparatory actions for the attacks occurred close to the attack site, with 65 percent of the environmental terrorists and 59 percent of the international terrorists studied conducting preparations for their attacks within 30 miles of their target sites. Of course, some preparatory actions, such as preoperational surveillance, by their very nature must be conducted within close proximity to the attack site. But still, the percentage of activity conducted near attack sites is noteworthy.

One other interesting result of Smith’s study was the timeline within which preparation for an attack was completed. For international groups, the preparation could take a year or more. But environmentalist and left-wing groups proved to be far more spontaneous, with a large portion of their preparation (88 and 91 percent, respectively) completed within two weeks of the attack. This means that prior to an attack, international terrorists are generally vulnerable to detection for far longer than are members of a domestic left-wing or environmentalist group.


While there are always exceptions to the percentages, with people like Timothy McVeigh and Mohammed Atta traveling long distances to conduct preparatory acts and execute attacks, most people conducting terrorist attacks tend to operate in areas they are familiar with and environments they are comfortable in.

When we examine the spectrum of potential terrorist actors — from domestic people such as McVeigh and Eric Rudolph to international figures such as Mohammed Atta and Ahmed Ajaj — it is clear that a large number of them have had no prior interaction with federal law enforcement or intelligence officials and therefore no prior record identifying them as potential terrorism suspects. That means that even if they were stopped by a local police officer (as Atta was for driving without a license), any national-level checks would turn up negative. Because of this, it is extremely important for police officers and investigators to trust their instincts and follow up on hunches if a subject just doesn’t feel right. The Oklahoma state trooper who arrested McVeigh, the New Jersey state trooper who nabbed Yu Kikumura, or the rookie Murphy, N.C., officer who apprehended Eric Rudolph are all examples of cops who did this.

Of course, following your instincts is difficult to do when management is pressuring police officers and agents investigating cases such as document and financial fraud to close cases and not to drag them out by pursuing additional leads. Indeed, when Ahmed Ajaj was arrested in September 1992 for committing passport fraud, the case was quickly closed and authorities pretty much ignored that he had been transporting a large quantity of jihadist material, including bomb-making manuals and videos. Instead, he was sentenced to six months in jail for committing passport fraud and was then scheduled for deportation.

Had authorities taken the time to carefully review the materials in Ajaj’s briefcase, they would have found two boarding passes and two passports with exit stamps from Pakistan. Because of that oversight, no one noticed that Ajaj was traveling with a companion — a companion named Abdel Basit who entered the United States on a fraudulent Iraqi passport in the name Ramzi Yousef and who built the large truck-borne explosive device used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

While many state and local departments have specialized intelligence or counterterrorism divisions, training on how to spot potential terrorist preparatory activity often does not go much further than those officers specifically assigned to the counterterrorism portfolio. In some jurisdictions, however, law enforcement managers not only give investigators the leeway to investigate potential terrorist activity, they also encourage their street officers to do so — and even provide training on how to identify such behavior.

In many jurisdictions, serious problems in information sharing persist. Much has been written about “the wall” that separated the FBI’s intelligence investigations from its criminal investigations and how that separation was detrimental to the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts prior to 9/11. The FBI is not the only place such a wall exists, however. In many state and local law enforcement departments, there is still a wide gulf separating the intelligence or counterterrorism division officers and the rest of the department. This means that information regarding cases that general crimes investigators are looking into — cases that very well could have a terrorism angle — does not make it to the officers working terrorism cases.

As the shift toward grassroots operatives continues, information pertaining to preparatory crimes will become even more critical. Identifying this activity and flagging it for follow-on investigation could mean the difference between a thwarted and a successful attack. As the grassroots threat emerges, the need for grassroots defense has never been greater.

Boxer Bullies Senate's Birth Doc

By Debra J. Saunders
In June, the Senate Ethics Committee began an initial look into Dodd's and Conrad's discounted Countrywide Financial VIP loans, as is fitting. Meanwhile, with all of the ethics stink bombs lurking in Washington, the committee, chaired by California Democrat Barbara Boxer, is aiming its guns at Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for "a serious violation of Senate rules."

Coburn's bad? An obstetrician by profession, Coburn won't heed the committee's threat to reprimand him for delivering babies back home in Oklahoma -- for free.

"On my own time, I'm taking care of women who have a need, and I'm going to continue to deliver babies," Coburn told Politico.com.

And, bully for him: "I'm not going to stop." When a member of the House, Coburn delivered 400 babies under an agreement with ethics meisters that allowed him to do so -- if he charged only enough to cover his expenses.
Read more of Boxer Bullies Senate's Birth Doc.

Are American Roots Essential for the President?
By Michael Medved
A recent news story suggests that a former top aide to Hillary Clinton advised that she attack Barack Obama for his lack of "American roots."

The New York Senator appropriately rejected this appalling advice, and made no attempt to make an issue of his boyhood in Indonesia and Hawaii. But talking about the international--rather than American--focus of his present campaign and future potential presidency is a valid, potent issue for John McCain.

When Obama tells 200,000 cheering Germans he's "a citizen of the world," when he commits billions of dollars from American taxpayers to raise living standards in other countries, many voters will rightly question his approach to national leadership. We need a president who will be a champion of America's interests first, last and always--rather than following some internationalist agenda.

I agree with Medved. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when Barack was over in Berlin giving his speech, it sounded as if he was running for the president of the EU. This "citizen of the world" nonsense is total BS.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A look at the Russian and Georgian War

An excellent geopolitical analysis by Stratfor.

The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power

By George Friedman

The Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. The United States has been absorbed in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as potential conflict with Iran and a destabilizing situation in Pakistan. It has no strategic ground forces in reserve and is in no position to intervene on the Russian periphery. This, as we have argued, has opened a window of opportunity for the Russians to reassert their influence in the former Soviet sphere. Moscow did not have to concern itself with the potential response of the United States or Europe; hence, the invasion did not shift the balance of power. The balance of power had already shifted, and it was up to the Russians when to make this public. They did that Aug. 8.

Let’s begin simply by reviewing the last few days.

On the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, forces of the Republic of Georgia drove across the border of South Ossetia, a secessionist region of Georgia that has functioned as an independent entity since the fall of the Soviet Union. The forces drove on to the capital, Tskhinvali, which is close to the border. Georgian forces got bogged down while trying to take the city. In spite of heavy fighting, they never fully secured the city, nor the rest of South Ossetia.

On the morning of Aug. 8, Russian forces entered South Ossetia, using armored and motorized infantry forces along with air power. South Ossetia was informally aligned with Russia, and Russia acted to prevent the region’s absorption by Georgia. Given the speed with which the Russians responded — within hours of the Georgian attack — the Russians were expecting the Georgian attack and were themselves at their jumping-off points. The counterattack was carefully planned and competently executed, and over the next 48 hours, the Russians succeeded in defeating the main Georgian force and forcing a retreat. By Sunday, Aug. 10, the Russians had consolidated their position in South Ossetia.

On Monday, the Russians extended their offensive into Georgia proper, attacking on two axes. One was south from South Ossetia to the Georgian city of Gori. The other drive was from Abkhazia, another secessionist region of Georgia aligned with the Russians. This drive was designed to cut the road between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and its ports. By this point, the Russians had bombed the military airfields at Marneuli and Vaziani and appeared to have disabled radars at the international airport in Tbilisi. These moves brought Russian forces to within 40 miles of the Georgian capital, while making outside reinforcement and resupply of Georgian forces extremely difficult should anyone wish to undertake it.

The Mystery Behind the Georgian Invasion

In this simple chronicle, there is something quite mysterious: Why did the Georgians choose to invade South Ossetia on Thursday night? There had been a great deal of shelling by the South Ossetians of Georgian villages for the previous three nights, but while possibly more intense than usual, artillery exchanges were routine. The Georgians might not have fought well, but they committed fairly substantial forces that must have taken at the very least several days to deploy and supply. Georgia’s move was deliberate.

The United States is Georgia’s closest ally. It maintained about 130 military advisers in Georgia, along with civilian advisers, contractors involved in all aspects of the Georgian government and people doing business in Georgia. It is inconceivable that the Americans were unaware of Georgia’s mobilization and intentions. It is also inconceivable that the Americans were unaware that the Russians had deployed substantial forces on the South Ossetian frontier. U.S. technical intelligence, from satellite imagery and signals intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, could not miss the fact that thousands of Russian troops were moving to forward positions. The Russians clearly knew the Georgians were ready to move. How could the United States not be aware of the Russians? Indeed, given the posture of Russian troops, how could intelligence analysts have missed the possibility that t he Russians had laid a trap, hoping for a Georgian invasion to justify its own counterattack?

It is very difficult to imagine that the Georgians launched their attack against U.S. wishes. The Georgians rely on the United States, and they were in no position to defy it. This leaves two possibilities. The first is a massive breakdown in intelligence, in which the United States either was unaware of the existence of Russian forces, or knew of the Russian forces but — along with the Georgians — miscalculated Russia’s intentions. The United States, along with other countries, has viewed Russia through the prism of the 1990s, when the Russian military was in shambles and the Russian government was paralyzed. The United States has not seen Russia make a decisive military move beyond its borders since the Afghan war of the 1970s-1980s. The Russians had systematically avoided such moves for years. The United States had assumed that the Russians would not risk the consequences of an invasion.

If this was the case, then it points to the central reality of this situation: The Russians had changed dramatically, along with the balance of power in the region. They welcomed the opportunity to drive home the new reality, which was that they could invade Georgia and the United States and Europe could not respond. As for risk, they did not view the invasion as risky. Militarily, there was no counter. Economically, Russia is an energy exporter doing quite well — indeed, the Europeans need Russian energy even more than the Russians need to sell it to them. Politically, as we shall see, the Americans needed the Russians more than the Russians needed the Americans. Moscow’s calculus was that this was the moment to strike. The Russians had been building up to it for months, as we have discussed, and they struck.

The Western Encirclement of Russia

To understand Russian thinking, we need to look at two events. The first is the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. From the U.S. and European point of view, the Orange Revolution represented a triumph of democracy and Western influence. From the Russian point of view, as Moscow made clear, the Orange Revolution was a CIA-funded intrusion into the internal affairs of Ukraine, designed to draw Ukraine into NATO and add to the encirclement of Russia. U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire.

That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO’s expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic — and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Periphery

The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia’s national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion — publicly stated — was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia.

The second and lesser event was the decision by Europe and the United States to back Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. The Russians were friendly with Serbia, but the deeper issue for Russia was this: The principle of Europe since World War II was that, to prevent conflict, national borders would not be changed. If that principle were violated in Kosovo, other border shifts — including demands by various regions for independence from Russia — might follow. The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia’s requests were ignored.

From the Ukrainian experience, the Russians became convinced that the United States was engaged in a plan of strategic encirclement and strangulation of Russia. From the Kosovo experience, they concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia.

Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo. If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship. Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy. This was important for internal Russian political reasons, but the second motive was far more important.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once said that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster. This didn’t mean that he wanted to retain the Soviet state; rather, it meant that the disintegration of the Soviet Union had created a situation in which Russian national security was threatened by Western interests. As an example, consider that during the Cold War, St. Petersburg was about 1,200 miles away from a NATO country. Today it is about 60 miles away from Estonia, a NATO member. The disintegration of the Soviet Union had left Russia surrounded by a group of countries hostile to Russian interests in various degrees and heavily influenced by the United States, Europe and, in some cases, China.

Resurrecting the Russian Sphere

Putin did not want to re-establish the Soviet Union, but he did want to re-establish the Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union region. To accomplish that, he had to do two things. First, he had to re-establish the credibility of the Russian army as a fighting force, at least in the context of its region. Second, he had to establish that Western guarantees, including NATO membership, meant nothing in the face of Russian power. He did not want to confront NATO directly, but he did want to confront and defeat a power that was closely aligned with the United States, had U.S. support, aid and advisers and was widely seen as being under American protection. Georgia was the perfect choice.

By invading Georgia as Russia did (competently if not brilliantly), Putin re-established the credibility of the Russian army. But far more importantly, by doing this Putin revealed an open secret: While the United States is tied down in the Middle East, American guarantees have no value. This lesson is not for American consumption. It is something that, from the Russian point of view, the Ukrainians, the Balts and the Central Asians need to digest. Indeed, it is a lesson Putin wants to transmit to Poland and the Czech Republic as well. The United States wants to place ballistic missile defense installations in those countries, and the Russians want them to understand that allowing this to happen increases their risk, not their security.

The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack. This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk.

The Russians also know something else that is of vital importance: For the United States, the Middle East is far more important than the Caucasus, and Iran is particularly important. The United States wants the Russians to participate in sanctions against Iran. Even more importantly, they do not want the Russians to sell weapons to Iran, particularly the highly effective S-300 air defense system. Georgia is a marginal issue to the United States; Iran is a central issue. The Russians are in a position to pose serious problems for the United States not only in Iran, but also with weapons sales to other countries, like Syria.

Therefore, the United States has a problem — it either must reorient its strategy away from the Middle East and toward the Caucasus, or it has to seriously limit its response to Georgia to avoid a Russian counter in Iran. Even if the United States had an appetite for another war in Georgia at this time, it would have to calculate the Russian response in Iran — and possibly in Afghanistan (even though Moscow’s interests there are currently aligned with those of Washington).

In other words, the Russians have backed the Americans into a corner. The Europeans, who for the most part lack expeditionary militaries and are dependent upon Russian energy exports, have even fewer options. If nothing else happens, the Russians will have demonstrated that they have resumed their role as a regional power. Russia is not a global power by any means, but a significant regional power with lots of nuclear weapons and an economy that isn’t all too shabby at the moment. It has also compelled every state on the Russian periphery to re-evaluate its position relative to Moscow. As for Georgia, the Russians appear ready to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Militarily, that is their option. That is all they wanted to demonstrate, and they have demonstrated it.

The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status. This is not something that just happened — it has been unfolding ever since Putin took power, and with growing intensity in the past five years. Part of it has to do with the increase of Russian power, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that the Middle Eastern wars have left the United States off-balance and short on resources. As we have written, this conflict created a window of opportunity. The Russian goal is to use that window to assert a new reality throughout the region while the Americans are tied down elsewhere and dependent on the Russians. The war was far from a surprise; it has been building for months. But the geopolitical foundations of the war have been building since 1992. Russia has been an empire for centuries. The last 15 years or so were not the new reality, but simply an aberration that would be rectified. And now it is being rectified.

Conflict May Affect NATO Expansion, Ukraine’s Stability
While Georgia has been the focus of Russia’s military action in recent days, Moscow’s willingness to send in tanks and troops also is resonating loudly 900 miles northwest of Tbilisi, in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The signal Russia is sending, analysts say, is that it will not tolerate any further NATO expansion into its backyard, and it will use the existence of Russian communities in former Soviet republics to retain its influence across the region.

Russia-Georgia Conflict Not Easily Solved, Experts Say
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly ordered a halt to military operations in Georgia on Tuesday after five days of fighting. Experts on foreign relations, however, say it’s not clear if the conflict is ending, or merely pausing. “It’s a conflict that has really long roots – and there are multiple dimensions to it,” said Paul Saunders, executive director of the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C.

Americans View Media Bias As Big Problem, Poll Shows
A full 55 percent of likely American voters think that media bias is more of a problem than campaign contributions in the 2008 presidential race, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday. An earlier Rasmussen poll conducted July 19 revealed that 57 percent of likely voters think Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has received the best treatment from the media so far, while 21 percent or respondents think Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has received the best media treatment.

Democrats ‘Still Don’t Get It’ on Guns
Beware of what the Democrats are saying about guns in their party platform, a Second Amendment group says. The draft 2008 Democratic National Platform includes the “Utopian fantasy that gun control laws will somehow make neighborhoods safer,” said the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

DOMA ‘Won’t Count’ in Iowa, Democratic Senator Says
When it comes to November’s presidential elections, voters in the swing state of Iowa will not care about ‘hot button’ issues such as same-sex marriage, Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-Iowa) told CNSNews.com in a telephone conference call Tuesday. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he thinks voters in his state care deeply about marriage but do not realize that Democrats are serious about wanting to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that protects states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.

The War in Georgia Is a War for the West

Let us be frank: This conflict is about the future of freedom in Europe.

August 11, 2008; Page A15

Tbilisi, Georgia

As I write, Russia is waging war on my country.

On Friday, hundreds of Russian tanks crossed into Georgian territory, and Russian air force jets bombed Georgian airports, bases, ports and public markets. Many are dead, many more wounded. This invasion, which echoes Afghanistan in 1979 and the Prague Spring of 1968, threatens to undermine the stability of the international security system.

Why this war? This is the question my people are asking. This war is not of Georgia's making, nor is it Georgia's choice.

The Kremlin designed this war. Earlier this year, Russia tried to.....

Energy Freedom Day Is Coming: Congress Should Let Restrictions on Offshore Oil Production Lapse

By The Heritage Foundation

Chávez Sees Cuba as a Model

The Americas - WSJ.com
It is no secret that Hugo Chávez wants to be just like Fidel Castro someday. And last week he took a step closer to that goal by laying down 26 new decrees designed to eviscerate property rights and further consolidate economic power in the presidential palace. He also nationalized the third-largest bank in the country.

Yet it is not only in the economic realm that Hugo is mimicking his Cuban idol. What has been less publicized is the.....

Hugo Chávez's Jewish Problem

Venezuela sees a disturbing surge in anti-Semitism.
By Travis Pantin

Welcome Back To the Great Game - WSJ.com

Moscow's thin pretense of protecting an ethnic group provided just enough cover for Georgia's timorous friends in the West to ignore increasing Russian provocations over the past few years. Moscow, it now seems, intends to "protect" large numbers of Georgians too -- by occupying and killing them if that's what it takes -- and prevent them from building their own history and pursuing their democratic destiny, as it has for almost two centuries........


My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots - WSJ.com

August 8, 2008; Page A13

As a congressman, senator and one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, I've participated in my share of vigorous public debates over issues of great consequence. And the public has been free to accept or reject the decisions I made when they walked into a ballot booth, drew the curtain and cast their vote. I didn't always win, but I always respected the process.

Voting is an immense privilege.

That is why I am concerned about a new development that could deny this freedom to many Americans. As a longtime friend of labor unions, I must raise my voice against pending legislation I see as a disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.

The legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act, and I am sad to say it runs counter to ideals that were once at the core of the labor movement. Instead of providing a voice for the unheard, EFCA risks silencing those who would speak..............

I am tired. Are you tired?

I am tired of Barack Obama already. We still have September, October, and half of August yet to go before the elections. The amount of press coverage he has gotten during this run up to the November election is unbelievable.

At the start, I thought he was an okay guy - I just did not believe in any of his positions. But now I am just plain tired of his rhetoric, his speech patterns - including all the "umms" and "dahs".

He has been over exposed in my opinion. It has reached a saturation point.

I still do not agree with his positions - whatever they are. It's hard to tell with all the vagueness and the shifting back and forth.

Apparently I am not alone. The polls are showing the same thing.

I question his circle of influence. Whether it's "Birds of a feather flock together" or the old proverb, 'Like readily consorts with like,' you are judged by the people you "hang with."

And his crowd disturbs me. I am not alone.

Russia's Thuggish Aggression
By David Aikman

Russia's alarming invasion of Georgia is based on the claim that it is protecting the citizens of South Ossetia, who have been at odds with Georgia since the 1990s.

In fact, its real goal is to punish and embarrass the United States, which has gained new friends and allies, including Georgia, in the Russian backyard after the Soviet Union fell. It wants to end Georgia's flourishing democracy, nip in the bud Georgia's desire to join NATO and close down an oil pipeline that breaks Russia's monopoly on exporting the region's oil. Essentially, it's Vladimir Putin's Monroe Doctrine: foreigners, especially Americans, should stay out of what used to be the Soviet empire.

If Russia gets away with intimidating Georgia, other former Soviet republics, now independent, may be next.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama Lied About Abortion Record

By Amanda Carpenter

Newly discovered documents from the Illinois state archives prove Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has lied about his opposition to legislation requiring health officials to provide care to babies who survived abortion as an Illinois state senator.

Continue reading.

Hitler Invaded Sudetenland, Now Putin Invades South Ossetia

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

On October 3, 1938, Adolf Hitler's armies marched into Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia.

Read on.

The 'Making Abortion Rare' Hoax

By David Limbaugh

ABC reports that the group "Democrats for Life," whose title gives new meaning to "oxymoronic," decided last week not to press the Democratic Party to restore a life-tolerant "conscience clause" to its party platform.

Read more.

The Galbraith Effect

By Thomas Sowell

Many years ago, when I was a college student, I took a course from John Kenneth Galbraith. On the first day of class, Professor Galbraith gave a brilliant opening lecture, after which the students gave him a standing ovation.

Galbraith kept on giving brilliant opening lectures the whole semester. But, instead of standing ovations, there were now dwindling numbers of students and some of them got up and walked out in the middle of his lectures.

Galbraith never got beyond the glittering generalities that.....
Read more of Thomas Sowell.

Why I Am Not a Liberal

By Dennis Prager

The following is a list of beliefs that I hold. Nearly every one of them was a liberal position until the late 1960s. Not one of them is now.

Read more....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama's Vision: "America Is No Longer What It Could Be, What It Once Was."
By Hugh Hewitt

“America is, uh, is no longer, uh, what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, 'I don’t want that future for my children.'” --Barack Obama, 8/7/08, in response to the question of a 7-year old on why he was running for president.

Study that for a moment. Let it sink in.

Ask yourself "What could Barack Obama possibly mean?"

Obama is ending a second dismal week in a row, a run of gaffes with few equals in modern American political history, and he was fixed on beating a retreat to Hawaii, only to be ambushed by a 7 year old.

Commentators immediately recalled the.....

Obama Supports Global Tax From United Nations

By Christine O'Donnell
For an entire week, Americans watched as Senator Barack Obama took his act on the road, courting the European elitists and cowtowing to an endless array of foreign politicians. At this point it may be easy to take Obama’s “celebri-plomacy” lightly. Yet, his trip highlights a dangerous threat to America’s national sovereignty in the form of his globalist policies that will diminish America’s role in the world and outsource decisions of vital national interest to the United Nations.

Yet, this is what the 'left' around the world - as well as far-left in America - want. They seek to neutralize the U.S. and "level the playing field."

Not If But When
By Michael Medved

"During my recent listener tour of Israel, we toured Israeli military outposts along the Lebanese border and spoke with officers who believe the question isn?t whether there will be another war with Hezbollah, but when.

The Shi?ite terrorist group has blatantly violated UN Resolution 1701 and amassed huge arsenals of Iranian-purchased weaponry, including at least 40,000 Katyusha rockets, some of them perhaps now armed with chemical warheads.

When considering this murderous jihadist band--the same group that slaughtered more than 260 US Marines in Beirut--it's important to understand their motivation. Hezbollah isn't Palestinian, and makes no claim to refugee status or rightful ownership of the land of Israel. Their proudly announced determination to obliterate the Jewish state stems solely from religious fanaticism and anti-Semitism, and openly rejects the idea of peace agreements based on any Israeli concessions."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

U.N. Official Is Pulled From Beirut After Qaeda Threat
Quick: Whose side is the United Nations on in the war on terror? This might be a trick question. As everyone knows, Turtle Bay takes no sides. But some terrorists evidently believe the world body is their enemy, and Secretary-General Ban is sufficiently, and justly, concerned.

Poof! Scientists closer to invisibility cloak
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people and objects invisible.

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects using artificially engineered materials that redirect light around the objects. Previously, they only have been able to cloak very thin two-dimensional objects.