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Monday, March 31, 2008

An Amazing Confession of Faith: The mustard seed in global strategy

From, the Asia Times (H/T Instapundit) by Spengler. The Italian journalist and author Magdi Cristiano Allam, whom Pope Benedict XVI baptized during the Easter Vigil at St Peter's. Allam converted from Islam to Christianity and has been under constant guard due to death threats from both inside and outside of Italy. That this should be the case is a stain not just on Islam but on Western civilization.

Since September 2001, the would-be wizards of Western strategy have tried to conjure an "Islamic reformation", or a "moderate Islam", or "Islamic democracy". None of this matters now, for as Magdi Allam tells us, the matter on the agenda is not to persuade Muslims to act like liberal Westerners, but instead to convince them to cease to be Muslims. The use of the world "revolution" is Magdi Allam's:

His Holiness has sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too prudent in the conversion of Muslims, abstaining from proselytizing in majority Muslim countries and keeping quiet about the reality of converts in Christian countries. Out of fear. The fear of not being able to protect converts in the face of their being condemned to death for apostasy and fear of reprisals against Christians living in Islamic countries. Well, today Benedict XVI, with his witness, tells us that we must overcome fear and not be afraid to affirm the truth of Jesus even with Muslims.
There is no deference to mutual respect and multi-culturalism. Magdi Allam forsook Islam because he considers it to be "inherently evil". As he wrote to his editor at the Corriere della Sera:
My conversion to Catholicism is the touching down of a gradual and profound interior meditation from which I could not pull myself away, given that for five years I have been confined to a life under guard, with permanent surveillance at home and a police escort for my every movement, because of death threats and death sentences from Islamic extremists and terrorists, both those in and outside of Italy ...

I asked myself how it was possible that those who, like me, sincerely and boldly called for a "moderate Islam", assuming the responsibility of exposing themselves in the first person in denouncing Islamic extremism and terrorism, ended up being sentenced to death in the name of Islam on the basis of the Koran. I was forced to see that, beyond the contingency of the phenomenon of Islamic extremism and terrorism that has appeared on a global level, the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive [emphasis added].

Far more important than denouncing the evils of Islam, though, is Magdi Allam's embrace of what he calls the God of faith and reason:
The miracle of the Resurrection of Christ has reverberated through my soul, liberating it from the darkness of a tendency where hate and intolerance in before the "other", condemning it uncritically as an "enemy", and ascending to love and respect for one's "neighbor", who is always and in any case a person; thus my mind has been released from the obscurantism of an ideology which legitimates lying and dissimulation, the violent death that leads to homicide and suicide, blind submission and tyranny - permitting me to adhere to the authentic religion of Truth, of Life, and freedom. Upon my first Easter as a Christian I have not only discovered Jesus, but I have discovered for the first time the true and only God, which is the God of Faith and Reason ...

Praise be to God for such brave men. Compare that to the lickspittle cowards in Holland and at the EU who have rushed to denounce FITNA to appease the murderous rage of Islamofascism.

Welcome Freepers. Go HERE for more.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Ad The Democrats are Afraid Of

"Middle classism" or " Two Americas"?

From NRO's The Corner:

Would somebody do the calculus?

Is "the brilliant" (and I do mean brilliant) Rev. Wright's current purported $1.6 million 10,000 sq. ft. mansion (cum elevator and butler's pantry) under construction in a gated Chicago community a better reflection of his hated black "middle classism," or is the Obamas' $1.65 million stately domicile more indicative of Michelle's former lack of pride in America?

Perhaps kindred populist John Edwards of two Americas and 30,000 sq.ft fame can adjudicate.

Here's the Wright pad

And Obama's gated mansion.

Picking up the trash in Basra

The NY Times has a story about the fearless Shiite militias in Basra who are punching the lights out of the hapless Iraqi army ... but have inexplicably just surrendered.

Here's the real reason the central government moved in on Basra, the place is a mess.

Look at the litter in the street! And the overcrowded pickup. That's illegal!

Welcome Freepers, for more on the story, click HERE.

Shiite Militias Cling to Swaths of Basra and Stage Raids (The Battle of Gettysburg as reported by the New York Times)

I picked up a copy of the NY Times while waiting for a coffee at Starbucks after church today and started to read the story about the battle in Basra. Click here to read the Timesmen’s report.

Note the fact that the people who supplied the information to the Times were Qais Mizher, Ahmad Fadam, Mudafer al-Husaini, Hosham Hussein and other Iraqi employees of The New York Times in Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya and Diyala Province.

According to the Times, the initiative is on the part of the Shiite militias, with the Iraqi army simply the punching bag for the militia.

Shiite militiamen in Basra openly controlled wide swaths of the city on Saturday and staged increasingly bold raids on Iraqi government forces sent five days ago to wrest control from the gunmen, witnesses said, as Iraqi political leaders grew increasingly critical of the stalled assault.

That's not the way it's being reported by other, more credible witnesses in Iraq.
Here's Bill Roggio Sadr orders followers to end fighting

Six days after the Iraqi government launched Operation Knights’ Charge in Basrah against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed Shia terror groups, Muqtada al Sadr, the Leader of the Mahdi Army, has called for his fighters to lay down their weapons and cooperate with Iraqi security forces. Sadr’s call for an end to the fighting comes as his Mahdi Army has taken serious losses since the operation began.

So I thought I would have a little fun with it and see if we could substitute a few names and dates. Here’s the New York Times version of the battle of Gettysburg as reported by Times reporters:

July 1, 1863

WASHINGTON — Confederate troops in Pennsylvania openly controlled wide swaths of the State on Saturday and staged increasingly bold raids on Federal government forces sent five days ago to wrest control from the rebels witnesses said, as American political leaders grew increasingly critical of the stalled assault.

Witnesses in Gettysburg said members of the most powerful army in the Confederacy, the Army of Northern Virginia were setting up checkpoints and controlling traffic in many places ringing the central district controlled by some of the 90,000 Federal Army involved in the assault. Confederate cavalry under Jeb Stuart were regularly attacking the government forces, then quickly retreating.

Senior members of several political parties said the operation, ordered by President Lincoln, had been poorly planned. The growing discontent adds a new level of complication to the Federal effort to demonstrate that the Lincoln administration had made strides toward being able to operate a unified country and keep the peace without sacrificing thousands of American troops.

Mr. Lincoln has staked his reputation on the success of the Gettysburg assault, fulfilling a longstanding administration desire for him to boldly take on the Confederates.

But as criticism of the assault has risen, it has brought into question another American benchmark of progress in this struggle: political reconciliation.

After their brilliant victory, the Army of Northern Virginia left Pennsylvania.

Stake Through Their Hearts:

Michael Yon on line.

Long and well written articles from the front lines, not from well fortified hotel rooms or somewhere in the Midwest.
The sun was setting over Nineveh as four terrorists driving tons of explosives closed on their targets. On August 14, 2007, the Yezidi villages of Qahtaniya and Jazeera were under attack, but only the terrorists knew it as they drove their trucks straight into the hearts of the communities.

The shockwave from detonation far outpaced the speed of sound. Buildings and humans were ripped apart and hurled asunder. Superheated poisonous gases from the explosions gathered the smoke and dust and lofted heavenward, while the second detonation quickly followed. The terrorists had landed their first blows straight through the heart of the Yezidi community, turning a wedding party into hundreds of funerals.

Read the rest...

Obama's Parents

Your parents are not your fault. But this is interesting.

I, for one, take the traditional view of why the good Senator would deliberately exclude of any dates, timeline, or other information about his parents' meeting, falling in love, and marriage from his autobiography — though he does, of course, include his date of birth. And he was right to do so, before he had reason to know that he would become a successful national figure whose life would be picked apart by the media for inconsistencies and fibs. The very quick divorce, hot on the heels of the already abandoned Ann Dunham finding out that she was in a polygamous marriage, suggests that she did a really admirable job of shielding her son from all sorts of harsh truths.

Latest Modified Obama Hangout

Doesn't Obama get it? Every time he contextualizes Wright, he loses. Every time Obama impugns the motives of those who worried over the relationship, he loses. Every time Obama suggests that Wright was a healer whose words were misused by those suspect to inflame ("[it] spoke to some of the racial divisions we have") he loses.

Wright's clips indeed did speak to "racial divisions," but by slurring whites, Jews, Italians, the WWII generation, and the United States. Other than radical African-Americans, Central American Marxists, Libyans and the Palestinians, almost every one else was fair game. He was not just "stupid" but cruel and uncouth. He did not misspeak "five or six" times, as did a Ferraro, a McCain, an Obama himself, or a Clinton on various topics, but systematically offered a written and spoken ideology of separatism and venom. And those who believe that are not themselves trying to do what Wright did. Would that Obama spend as much time criticizing Wright as he does the critics of Wright.

The controversy is no longer Wright (whose 20 years of slander and hatred lie like foul verbal IEDs buried deeply amid thousands of words in transcripts and texts, and go off the more the media navigates over them). Nor is the rub just Obama's past comments on Wright or his own landmark speech on race.

Obama Overstates Kennedys' Role in Helping His Father

It now turns out that Hillary is not the only one lying about their past.

From the Washington Post:

Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his "very existence" to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother.

The Camelot connection has become part of the mythology surrounding Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Caroline Kennedy endorsed his candidacy in January, Newsweek commentator Jonathan Alter reported that she had been struck by the extraordinary way in which "history replays itself" and by how "two generations of two families -- separated by distance, culture and wealth -- can intersect in strange and wonderful ways."

It is a touching story -- but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.

Read the whole thing.

Shut Up About Race Already

Jonah Goldberg puts his tongue firmly in his cheek:

Thank God for Barack Obama. Until his “More Perfect Union” speech last Tuesday, it seems it never occurred to anyone that America needed to talk about race.

“Maybe this’ll be the beginning of a conversation,” Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan proclaimed on Meet the Press. The Chicago Tribune reported that “many voters, black and white, say they were moved by Obama’s speech ... which they see as a long-awaited invitation to begin an honest, calm national dialogue about race.” Newspaper editorial boards agree. In the words of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “Prodding Americans to confront their racial differences is, by itself, an accomplishment of historical proportions.”

Because so many agree on this brilliant new strategy to heal our national wounds, I can only assume that I’m the one missing something. But when one luminary after another smacks his forehead like someone who forgot to have a V8 in epiphanic awe over the genius of Obama’s call for a national conversation on race, all I can do is wonder: “What on Earth are you people talking about?”

“Universities were moving to incorporate the issues Mr. Obama raised into classroom discussions and course work,” the New York Times reported within 48 hours of the speech.

Oh, thank goodness Obama fired the starter’s pistol in the race to discuss race. Here I’d been under the impression that every major university in the country already had boatloads of courses dedicated to race in America. I’d even read somewhere that professors had incorporated racial themes into classes on everything from Shakespeare to the mating habits of snail darters. I also had some vague memory that these universities recruited black students and other racial minorities, on the grounds that interracial conversations on campus are as important as talking about math, science, and literature. A ghost of an image in my mind’s eye seemed to reveal African-American studies centers, banners for Black History Month, and copies of books like Race Matters and The Future of the Race lining shelves at college bookstores.

Were all the corporate diversity consultants and racial sensitivity seminars mere apparitions in a dream? Also disappearing down the memory hole, apparently, were the debates that followed Hurricane Katrina, Trent Lott’s remarks about Strom Thurmond, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, the publication of The Bell Curve, and O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. Not to mention the ongoing national chatter about affirmative action, racial disparities in prison sentences and racial profiling by law enforcement.

And the thousands of hours of newscasts, television dramas, and movies — remember films such as 2004’s Oscar-winning Crash? — dedicated to racial issues? It’s as if they never existed.

But here's the truth:

...when they say we need more conversation, they really mean their version of reality should win the day. Replace “conversation” with “instruction” and you’ll have a better sense of where these people are coming from and where they want their “dialogue” to take us

The Liberal editorial writers no more want a conversation on race that they want to see their newspapers go out of business. They want the opportunity to once again lecture and hector. They want to be the ones to outlast everyone else in the meeting and by so doing, win the argument. They want to be the Brownshirts in the streets who intimidate everyone else into submission. They want the solidarity of Fascism with their ideas the only ones permitted.

Dialog on race? Don't be an ass! The country has been immersed in a discussion of race since the first Arab and African slavers sold their countrymen (a long standing and time honored tradition) to the first Europeans who brought them to these shores. We fought a long and bloody war over race. And today the biggest, baddest race baiters are no longer white men with KKK hoods but Black preachers whose right to preach racial hatred is being defended by the chi-chi white wine and brie crowd typified by the editorail writers of rags like the Virginian Pilot.

In their defense of Wright, they don't address the truth or falsity of Wrights racist, anti-semitic and moonbat conspiracy pronouncements. They address the issue by infantalizing Black people:

Most may wish that Wright wasn’t speaking for anyone else, but he was.
And do they join in denouncing this? Come one, this is the Virginina Pilot!

Is this how they treat racist remarks by the KKK? No! This is how people treat children who are not really responsible for their actions. This is the racism of White Liberals who treat Blacks as less than human.

They state that the denunciation of Wright's rants is an attempt to dvide the country.
They suggest that there should be a common understanding, some middle ground, between people who believe that the American government invented AIDS to wipe out Black people and the rest of us.

And this is the kind of people who have been facilitating the dialog on race that we have had for the last 100 years. It's little wonder that the Wrights, Jacksons, Farrakhans and Sharptons of this world have prospered and have radicalized large segments of Black culture. People like those who write for the Pilot are at fault. They have been the excusers, the enablers, the facilitators of the race hustlers and race baiters. And the rewards? Here is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's new $1.6 million house under construction.

As Liberal Fascist Mark Rudd liked to say "Up against the wall, motherfucker."

Islamofascists are not a fringe: By definition, thirty-six per cent can't be "extremist". It's mainstream

From The Corner at National Review Online:

John McCain might like to ponder this story:

Excerpts from a conversation in a car during "Operation Badr," recorded covertly by police:

Person 3: "What happens, what happens at the Parliament?"

Person 1: "We go and kill everybody."

Person 3: "And then what?"

Informant: "And then read about it ..."

Person 1: "We get victory."

That's not in the Sunni Triangle, that's in Toronto: Young Muslims who've spent virtually their entire lives in the west. Interestingly, the above guys also met with the two Georgia Tech students currently facing trial. Not sure whether they're on scholarships, but they're another stirring tribute to the soothing effect of western education on the jihadist brow:

As the film shot by the Georgia students was played in court, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee’s voice could be heard on the soundtrack: “This is where our brothers attacked the Pentagon.”

“Allahu Akbar,” responds young Ahmed. God is great.

A couple of readers have pointed out that John McCain at least has the guts to refer to "radical Muslim extremists". But "extremism" surely means views out on the fringe: Thirty-six per cent of young Muslim men favor the death penalty for apostasy. That's 36 per cent not in Yemen or Waziristan but in the United Kingdom. By definition, thirty-six per cent can't be "extremist". It's mainstream.

Ssome more detail about the plot:
Alleged Toronto terror plot detailed in court

Details of the alleged plot, which also included storming Parliament Hill and beheading politicians, emerged in a factum filed by the Crown that described the case against the accused as "shocking and sensational."

Investigation Concludes Saddam Was A Terrorist Threat

Via Flopping Aces:

The Iraqi tyrant didn’t “just” aid anti-American terrorist groups; he explicitly ordered them to attack.

From the Pentagon report that the MSM said was proof that Saddam was no threat Mark Eichenlaub:
“Evidence that was uncovered and analyzed attests to the existence of a terrorist capability and a willingness to use it until the day Saddam was forced to flee Baghdad by Coalition forces.”

Instead of squabbling over who is and isn’t a member of al-Qaeda and what the requirements of a “link” or “connection” are, this report details Saddam’s broad support for (and sometimes direction of) a multitude of terrorist groups targeting Americans and American allies. Based on the Iraqi Perspectives Project, Saddam’s Iraq did not just use terrorism against America and her allies but took advantage of “the rising fundamentalism in the region” as an “opportunity to make terrorism . . . a formal instrument of state power.” Because of Saddam’s removal, which came at considerable cost in American blood and gold, a “formal instrument” of state terrorism is no longer secretly plotting to kill Americans. The American public deserves to know what a threat was removed for that price.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ann Russell on Wagner's Ring Trilogy

Anna Russell giving a synopsis of "Das Rheingold"

Anna Russell parodying Wagner's "Die Walküre"

Anna Russell storming through "Siegfried"

Anna Russell finishing off Wagner's "Götterdämmerung"

Kangaroo court is now in session

Mark Steyn:
Could it be that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has the only fax machine that prints double sided?

Unfortunately for the CHRC, Marc Lemire has been inconsiderate enough to defend himself, and their determination to obstruct him has wound up making the issue not him but them, and some of their dodgier practices. Let's start with the easy stuff first. If Bill Baergen doesn't like my scare quotes round "human rights," let's move 'em: The "Canadian" Human Rights Commission does not treat all Canadians equally. The lead investigator testifying on Tuesday, Dean Steacy, is blind, but the justice his commission administers certainly isn't: if you're one of their allies, they'll start lurking on websites before you've made a formal complaint. But, if you're not simpatico, they'll reject your complaint on the grounds that it was on double-sided paper. Which was what happened to Mr. Lemire, when he tried to file his own Section 13 complaint against the police. Apparently, Mr. Lemire's complaint was double-sided — which came as news to Mr. Lemire, since he faxed it in. But by the time it uncoiled itself at the other end it had become the first double-sided fax on the planet. "I don't know what happened to the fax," said Mr. Steacy non-committally. Hey, it's a federal bureaucracy: things happen. Evidently one reason why Richard Warman has been the complainant on every Section 13 case since 2002 is that he's the only one who remembers the critical single-sided rule.

Mother of All Cultural Battles

After listening to these autobiographical excerpts from Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father, read out loud by Obama himself, I’m left with the conviction that, in the 2008 election we are facing the mother of all cultural battles. E.J. Dionne thinks the political culture wars are over. Well, I’ve been rebutting "end of the culture wars" declarations for eight years. They always prove out wrong. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we’re certain to see a huge cultural battle in 2008. But it’s now evident that even a Hillary campaign would be tame by comparison to the cultural confrontation flowing from an Obama nomination. The transformation of the 2008 campaign into a full-fledged cultural battle is what is really emerging from the Jeremiah Wright flap.

A president who identifies with Malcolm X? A man who grew up alienated from ordinary American life and determined to avoid becoming a "sellout" by hanging with Marxist professors and radical feminists? In his commentary, Mark Steyn highlights Obama’s alienation — the fact that even his many radical gestures never felt quite satisfying. Yet it’s important to emphasize that Obama’s inability to feel fully satisfied by radicalism wasn’t overcome by rejecting radicalism. On the contrary, when Jeremiah Wright came along and offered himself as a substitute father figure, Obama overcame his alienation and embraced leftist organizing and Wright’s radical sermons in earnest. Obama finally grew up when he threw away his alienated radical pose and embraced the real radical thing instead.

FITNA And Islamofascist Rage

Pre-emptive Rage by Diana West in the Washington Times was written before the film was released:

The film is by Geert Wilders, a Dutch member of parliament who wants to reverse the Islamization of Europe and believes the Koran should be banned along with Hitler's "Mein Kampf" for inciting hatred and violence. The film is called "Fitna," Arabic for upheaval. And just the thought of "Fitna" has Europe in upheaval, cowering before widely anticipated Islamic outrage expected to range from diplomatic huff, to economic boycott, to rioting, even bloodshed, over this still unseen ten-minute film.

Such mass psychosis has erupted before — Satanic Verses Rage, Koran Rage, Cartoon Rage, Pope Rage, even Teddy Bear Rage. But never has an Islamic "rage" begun to build without actual cause. For the first time, we are seeing rage preparations and precautions before "offense" has been given or taken.

The Film was 16 minutes, not 10 and was shown on LiveLeak. LiveLeak has taken it down because of threats to its personnel.

The reaction from the supposed defenders of Western freedom was nothing short of sickening:

At a press conference earlier this year, the online Dutch site NIS News Bulletin reported that Mr. Balkenende "stressed repeatedly and with irritation that Wilders and no one else was responsible for any violence that might break out after his film's release." And when Sheikh Tantawi indicates that providing "protection" for Mr. Wilders is a bad idea, it not only sounds like a mafia don calling for a hit, it also echoes the dean of Dutch journalists, Henk Hofland. As Thomas Landen of The Brussels Journal reports, Mr. Hofland urged the Dutch government to withdraw state protection from Mr. Wilders, who lives under constant threat of assassination. "Let him feel what it is like for those whose lives he endangers," said Mr. Hofland, adding that any murders committed in retaliation for Mr. Wilders' opinions on Islam would be the responsibility of Mr. Wilders, not the murderers.

Volokh watched it:

Parts of it are an indubitably sound reminder of the dangers posed by extremist Islam, and the support that it finds from some traditional Islamic religious teachings.

Other parts assert that extremist Islam is a problem at the heart of the Islamic world generally, and of Islam in the Netherlands and in Europe, and not just a tangential matter (the way that fundamentalist Mormon outliers are tangential to modern Mormonism, or, even more extremely, the way the Branch Davidians were tangential to the Seventh-Day Adventists from whom they sprang). But here too Wilders' view seems sound: Unfortunately, while by all accounts most Muslims do not adhere to the extremists' views, the extremist movement is prominent enough in Middle Eastern and European Islam that it is indeed a peril to freedom.

Nor does the rhetoric strike me as excessive. This is of course a rhetorical work, not an academic inquiry, and it's trying to stir people emotionally. But I didn't see much of hyperbole or gratuitious insults. Wilders is arguing against an important and dangerous ideological movement; my sense is that his approach is well within bounds of legitimate criticism.

The Belmont Clubs Wetchard

By publishing the film Wilders has accepted responsibility for crossing a line in the sand. This act will provoke two possible responses. Protests, boycotts, demonstrations and legal action are almost certain to follow demanding the withdrawal of the film of Wilder's censure. There is also a high probability that attempts will be made to attack Western targets in general in reprisal. Radical Islamists, perhaps accustomed to authoritarian social situations, may regard the Dutch broadcasters unwillingness to broadcast Wilder's film as a mere exercise in "plausible deniability" and hold Western society "collectively responsible" anyway.

But the real significance of Wilder's film is to illustrate the growing loss of control by Western governments over the narrative over the nature of the War on Terror. By criticizing Islam itself, a growing number of voices including Geert Wilders and recent convert Magdi Cristiano Allam (who called Islam "inherently evil") have taken one more step towards tearing down the notion, so carefully constructed by George Bush after September 11 of separating terrorism from the "religion of peace".

This is an incredibly important point. Thanks to the connectivity of the Internet, ideas that governments consider "dangerous" can't be stifled any longer. That's why when LiveLeak dropped it, the FITNA has already been downloaded to literally thousands of computers who spread it like a virus. I have several links.

Scott at Powerline

The Dutch Prime Minister says he rejects the interpretation, but he seems to do so because he fears that it has some merit. His comments put me in mind of the bumper sticker "Support mental health or I'll kill you."

The film would not be worthy of note were it not for the fear and threats of violence that the its release has generated. The Iranian regime that commits mass murder in the name of Islam has condemned the film as "hideous" and called on European governments to block the showing of the film. Or else, I guess.

From Little Green Footballs:

Following the release of Geert Wilders’ film Fitna, the European Union is quick to reassure the Islamic world that the whole idea of “free speech” is probably overrated: EU condemns Dutch anti-Islam film.

I have in the past deplored the lack of respect shown for various religions, especially when they could be considered blasphemous ("Piss Christ" is an example that comes to mind). However, that horse has left the barn, at least in regards to Christianity and Judaism. Those who are in the forefront of trying to silence Wilders were also the ones manning the barricades in support of Andres Serrano . The motivations appear to be a mixture: hatred of Christians and Jews, hatred of Western Civilization and rank cowardice.

And today via ReutersU.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as "offensively anti-Islamic" a Dutch lawmaker's film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.
The story was reported by Lewis Krauskopf and edited by Mohammad Zargham. You can't make this stuff up.

"'s not important for me to succeed, only for my friends to fail."

Mark Steyn on the Clintons:

About this business of Hillary coming under intense sniping, I have some sympathy. The Clintons got away with this sort of thing for so long that you can't blame them for wondering how they missed the memo advising that henceforth the old rules no longer apply.

Bill, being warier, was usually canny enough to set his fantasies just far enough back in time that live cable footage was unlikely to be available – his vivid memories of entirely mythical black church burnings in his childhood, etc. But Hillary liked to live a little more dangerously. The defining fiction arose back in the mid-Nineties when she visited New Zealand and met Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Everest, and for some reason decided to tell him he was the guy her parents had named her after.

Hmm. Edmund Hillary reached the top of Everest in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and a somewhat unlikely inspiration for two young parents in the Chicago suburbs. If any of the bigshot U.S. newspaper correspondents on the trip noticed this inconsistency, they kept it to themselves. I mentioned it in Britain's Sunday Telegraph at the time, but like so many other improbabilities in the Clinton record it sailed on indestructibly for years. By 2004 it was preserved for the ages in Bill Clinton's autobiography, on page (gulp) 870:

"Sir Edmund Hillary, who had explored the South Pole in the 1950s, was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest and, most important, was the man Chelsea's mother had been named for."

Eventually, when it was noticed that Hillary was born six years before the ascent of Everest, Clinton aides tried assuring skeptics that her parents had seen a press interview with Sir Edmund in his beekeeping days, Mr. and Mrs. Rodham apparently being the only Illinois subscribers to The New Zealand Apiarist. Then, in the early days of her presidential campaign, Sen. Clinton quietly withdrew the story, by which time the damage was done. Edmund Hillary passed away a couple of months back, and, as I recall, the New York Times headline read:

"New Zealander For Whom Sen. Clinton Named Dies; Also First Man To Climb Everest. Sen. Clinton Was At The Summit To Greet Him, After Landing Under Heavy Sniper Fire From The Abominable Snowman."

Read the whole thing. At this point the smart money is on Hillary to fight on forever even if it leads to a Democrat loss in November.

The Same Old Spiel about a 'New' New Deal

I finally found a supply of Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” in a mall in Roanoke, Virginia and am halfway through reading it. It is a polemic and well written, but it’s also a good history of Fascism from the beginning of the 20th century to now.

The problem for most people is that for them, history starts with the day they were born. To them, the “New Deal” was how the sainted FDR ended the Great Depression. To have lived through that period was traumatic, and people in their 80s and older will carry the memory to their death. But most of us are taught the lies about FDR and how the Depression really ended.

Jonah refers to the cult of personality that surrounded FDR that was the result of deliberate propaganda of the Roosevelt administration in cahoots with Hollywood. If George Bush tried to do half the things that FDR accomplished during that era, he would have not only had all the Left clamoring for his hide, but most of the Right would be ready to string him up.

The Internet is a wonderful instrument and you can now see Hollywood’s version of Soviet, Nazi German and Fascist Italy’s adulation of the “Leader. FDR”

In the final analysis, the Left is determined to make us all the same, make us march in unison, make us like the same things, repeat the same slogans, go to the same state institutions, the same stores, the same doctors all on the name of “unity” and “change” and “hope.”

Evil always comes disguised as good. Who could be against “Peace, land and bread” during a war when people were hungry? It happens to be the slogan that Lenin used to gain the support of the Russian people in 1917. Once in power, those promises were abandoned and the “dictatorship of the proletariat” was transformed into the most brutal, murderous dictatorship that that unfortunate country had ever seen.

“Change you can believe in” is the slogan of one presidential candidate. That’s about as empty a promise as anyone has ever made. Winning the lottery is change; getting killed by an axe murderer is change. But that slogan is deliberately vague. It is an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. Imagine what changes you would like to see and now imagine Obama making those changes. So vote for Obama on that basis?

At least “Peace, land and bread” has some substance to it. It may have been a lie, but it was not so transparent a lie. It was not so obvious an appeal to weak minds as “Change you can believe in.”

Back to Jonah:

Since George W. Bush was elected, liberals have been calling for new New Deals more frequently than my daughter asks "are we there yet?" whenever we're in the car. After 9/11, Sen. Charles Schumer argued that the terrorist attack proved the need for a new New Deal, and that "the president can either lead the charge or be run over by it." After Hurricane Katrina, left-wing journalist William Greider spoke for many when he said that the natural disaster required a "new New Deal." Last January, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said the looming recession was all the excuse government needed. The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rahm Emmanuel, wrote last January that we need "a New Deal for the New Economy" that provides everything from universal health care to sweeping job training, in response to globalization.

Now it's the financial crisis that requires a you-know-what.

It's like liberals are playing a game of "Jeopardy" where the response to every question is, "What is a new New Deal?"

Still, it's worth noting for the record that the New Deal didn't really do what most of these people think it did. It didn't, for example, end the Great Depression. It prolonged it - by years. It didn't really crack down on big business - it gave big business unprecedented power to regulate itself, to the detriment of small businessmen.

But when you point out these facts, the usual response is, "So what?"

Well, if you're going to proclaim that what we need is a new New Deal when you're conceding that the New Deal didn't work, you've got a problem on your hands.

But the problems go deeper than that. Some say what they love about the New Deal was its "bold, persistent experimentation," in FDR's famous words.

"We need our leaders to recapture the urgency of the New Deal era, an enthusiasm for experimentation that attempts to address Americans' core challenges and not just win elections," writes Andrea Batista Schlesinger in the April 7 issue of The Nation.

Others, like Emanuel, suggest that "planning" was the essence of the New Deal. But planning and experimentation are, in fact, opposites. You don't "experiment" when performing an appendectomy or when building a house; you follow a plan.

More important, these New Deal nostalgists don't like experiments in the first place. It's all one-way, about finding new ways to expand government, not new ways to solve problems. Experiments like school vouchers or social security privatization: These are completely taboo to the same people clamoring for a new New Deal.

Others will tell you that what was great about the New Deal was its spirit of "hope" and "unity" - two words we hear a lot these days. But hope for what? Unity about what?

The answer is obvious. The hope for power that comes with unity. "Experimentation" is really just a dishonest word for allowing the would-be Brain Trusters to do whatever they want. And if it fails, well, that's no reason to take away their licenses, because they warned us they were "experimenting."

Friday, March 28, 2008

See Geert Wilders Film FITNA

LiveLeak has taken it down due to threats against it's employees. I'm leaving the link as a testimony to the "Religion of Peace."

From YouTube (part 1):

YouTube, part 2:

Here is a link that still works.

And here's commentary from Hot Air and a link to the video:
LiveLeak pulls “Fitna” after receiving “very serious” threats

From Hollywood Reporter:

AMSTERDAM -- Holland's prime minister roundly condemned the anti-Muslim film "Fitna" on Thursday within hours of its appearance on a Web site in the Netherlands.

The country's cabinet went into a crisis meeting directly after the "debut" of the controversial film by right wing politician Geert Wilders as police formed a security cordon around the Dutch Parliament building in the Hague.

"Fitna" links verses of the Quran to a background of violent images from terrorist attacks.

Wilders had been unable to get his film posted on the Web or broadcast, but at 7 p.m. Dutch time Thursday his political party PVV put a link to the 15-minute short on its Web site. English- and Dutch-language versions were posted at via a link to No TV channels aired the film.

Local media immediately swarmed over the story with widespread speculation about the possible impact of the film's release. The Dutch government had warned Wilders that a film offensive to Muslims could spark protests in Islamic countries as violent as those two years ago after European newspapers published cartoons of Mohammed.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Thursday night that the Department of Justice will investigate whether Wilders has broken Dutch law with his attack on the Quran. Balkenende condemned the film as "out to hurt" the Dutch people.

The immediate reaction from the Muslim community in Holland appeared constrained regarding the bow of "Fitna," which combines images of Sept. 11, the London and Madrid attacks and the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh with quotes from the Quran. Many local Muslim organizations reacted with moderation, saying it did not put forward any new views that could insult Muslims in the Netherlands.

Members of the Dutch Parliament had mixed views. The Christian-democratic party CDA condemned it for not helping immigration issues in the Dutch community. The Green Party (Groen Links) called it an "anti-climax." The Liberal VVD, the party that Wilders left some years ago, was disappointed that "Fitna" did not offer any solutions.
"Fitna's" appearance after months of controversy brought a wave of traffic to the PVV site. Within two hours of the posting, about 1.6 million viewers had clicked on the film. The English version attracted an audience of 800,000.

Wilders told reporters that he made the film because "Islam and the Quran are dangers to the preservation of freedom in the Netherlands in the long term, and I have to warn people of that."

Last week, U.S. Internet provider Network Solutions refused to host the film online.

NY Times Covers Basra from Baghdad

Intrepid NY Timesmen JAMES GLANZ and STEVEN LEE MYERS write a story about fighting in Basra while in Baghdad and Ohio (that's somewhere in the Midwest of the US of A). The two cities (Baghdad and Basra) are over 300 miles apart and are connected by road and rail. Ohio, on the other hand is a few thousand miles from the action, but that's close enough for the NY Times.

The headline: Assault by Iraq on Shiite Forces Stalls in Basra

You mean the battle isn't won in a few days? Quagmire here we come!

So how are our intrepid nimrods getting the story about what's going on in Basra? The same way the news is primarily reported from Iraq: from local "stringers." Of course, most of these have a dog in this fight. But then, the reporters themselves have their own biases so their being there would not get us any better picture of what's going on.

The Times gives the names of contributors to this story:

James Glanz reported from Baghdad, and Steven Lee Myers from Ohio. Reporting was contributed by Qais Mizher, Ahmad Fadam, Mudhafer al-Husaini, Hosham Hussein, Erica Goode and Karim al-Hilmi, and employees of The New York Times from Basra, Kut, Baghdad, Hilla, Kirkuk and Diyala Province.

Long-Distance Reporting
Check out the bylines on the news-reports on the fighting in Basra and see if you can find any foreign reporters who are actually in the city they are writing about. The New York Times's James Glanzer is filing from a compound in Baghdad. The BBC's reporters are doing the same. Depending on phone calls to more or less reliable — or partis-pris — Iraqi stringers at the other end of the country, they might as well be filing from Amman or Tel Aviv or New York. It's the usual complacency and dishonesty at work. On the other hand there's something impressive about reporters who may never have never visited Basra — the country's second city and an hour's flight away — sounding authoritative about the place and its atmosphere . . . This is mainstream reporting on the Iraq war as it has evolved. It's why the Michaels Totten and Yon are so important, and the milblogs, and the Iraqi blogs like Healing Iraq.

Scalia Criticizes News Media

This is an AP report that was re-printed at Breibart and the NY Times. And linked by Drudge. Note the suggestion at the end of the article that he was posturing for a special interest group.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Justice Antonin Scalia took the news media to task Thursday for some recent coverage of the Supreme Court.
At a conference of attorneys in Washington, Scalia said news organizations often fail to focus on the text of the laws the court interprets, citing accounts of last month's 8-1 decision that made it harder for consumers to sue makers of federally approved medical devices.

He singled out for criticism a New York Times editorial on the case headlined "No Recourse for the Injured."

The media often make it appear as though the court is reaching policy judgments on its own rather than basing its decisions on the text of the law at issue in a case, Scalia said.

In some instances, said Scalia, the news media leave the impression that no ruling based on the text of a law "is even possible."

Scalia spoke to a friendly and enthusiastic audience from the Food and Drug Law Institute, an organization of attorneys from industry and government specializing in food and drug regulatory law.

It's inevitable. Criticize the media and the media strikes back.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Democrats Are Tied in New Poll

JACKIE CALMES in the Wall Street Journal says that a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that Obama has not been hurt by his association with the racist, anti-Semitic and anti-American rants of Jeremiah Wright.

The racially charged debate over Barack Obama's relationship with his longtime pastor hasn't much changed his close contest against Hillary Clinton, or hurt him against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Journal/NBC polls with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, called the latest poll a "myth-buster" that showed the pastor controversy is "not the beginning of the end for the Obama campaign."

But then comes this:

But both Democrats, and especially New York's Sen. Clinton, are showing wounds from their prolonged and increasingly bitter nomination contest, which could weaken the ultimate nominee for the general-election showdown against Sen. McCain of Arizona.

Why should this be? Other than the Wright controversy, what would be the reason for Obama to show any "wounds?" The fact that the nomination has not been decided should not cause either candidate to lose support. So we are left with the mystery of why Hillary or Obama should be weakened. The article gives us no clue.

But there is a clue here:

Even among women, who are the base of Sen. Clinton's support, she now is viewed negatively by more voters than positively for the first time in a Journal/NBC poll.

The latest survey has the Democratic rivals in a dead heat, each with 45% support from registered Democratic voters. That is a slight improvement for Sen. Obama, though a statistically insignificant one, from the last Journal/NBC poll, two weeks ago, which had Sen. Clinton leading among Democratic voters, 47% to 43%.

While Sen. Clinton still leads among white Democrats, her edge shrank to eight points (49% to 41%) from 12 points in early March (51% to 39%). That seems to refute widespread speculation -- and fears among Sen. Obama's backers -- that he would lose white support for his bid to be the nation's first African-American president over the controversy surrounding his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. of Chicago

This is really a hit piece on Hillary. It is intended to show her losing support among her base and to say to the Superdelegates to the Democrat convention that it's safe to vote for Obama.

And here's the clincher:

Beyond the nomination race, in hypothetical matchups for November's election Sen. Obama still edges Sen. McCain 44% to 42%. That is nearly the same result as in the early March poll, before videos of Mr. Wright's most fiery sermons spread over the Internet. But Sen. Clinton, who likewise had a narrow advantage over Sen. McCain in the earlier survey, trails in this one by two points, 44% to his 46%.

Message to Democrats: nominate Obama and we win, nominate Hillary and we lose.

Welcome Freepers, please make yourselves at home and look around.

Saddam Paid for Lawmakers' Iraq Trip: Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California

Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.

Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam's regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.

The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators "have no information whatsoever" any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

Note the party label. Unusual in a story about Democrats doing something bad.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Flashback: Stephanopoulos Scolded Critic of Bonior and McDermott

The AP reported this afternoon: “Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam's regime.”

When two of those Congressmen, Democrats Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan, appeared from Baghdad on the September 29, 2002 This Week on ABC, George Stephanopoulos -- the MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me -- chastised a critic, not McDermott and Bonior, for daring to condemn the loaded charges against the U.S propagated by the two left-wingers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

HILLARY: SWIFTBOATED! (And Wright's Jewbaiting)

Ann Coulter:
Hillary is being "swiftboated"!

She claimed that she came under sniper fire when she visited in Bosnia in 1996, but was contradicted by videotape showing her sauntering off the plane and stopping on the tarmac to listen to a little girl read her a poem.

Similarly, John Kerry's claim to heroism in Vietnam was contradicted by 264 Swift Boat Veterans who served with him. His claim to having been on a secret mission to Cambodia for President Nixon on Christmas 1968 was contradicted not only by all of his commanders -- who said he would have been court-martialed if he had gone anywhere near Cambodia -- but also the simple fact that Nixon wasn't president on Christmas 1968.

In Hillary's defense, she probably deserves a Purple Heart about as much as Kerry did for his service in Vietnam.

Also, unlike Kerry, Hillary acknowledged her error, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "I was sleep-deprived, and I misspoke." (What if she's sleep-deprived when she gets that call on the red phone at 3 a.m., imagines a Russian nuclear attack and responds with mutual assured destruction? Oops. "It proves I'm human.")

The reason no one claims Hillary is being "swiftboated" is that the definition of "swiftboating" is: "producing irrefutable evidence that a Democrat is lying." And for purposes of her race against matinee idol B. Hussein Obama, Hillary has become the media's honorary Republican.

In liberal-speak, only a Democrat can be swiftboated. Democrats are "swiftboated"; Republicans are "guilty." So as an honorary Republican, Hillary isn't being swiftboated; she's just lying.

Indeed, instead of attacking the people who produced a video of Hillary's uneventful landing in Bosnia, the mainstream media are the people who discovered that video.

I've always wondered how a Democrat would fare being treated like a Republican by the media. Now we know.

It's such fun watching liberals turn on the Clintons! The bitter infighting among Democrats is especially enjoyable after having to listen to Democrats hyperventilate for months about how delighted they were to have so many wonderful choices for president.

Now liberals just want to be rid of the Clintons -- which is as close to actual mainstream thinking as they've been in years. So the media suddenly notice when Hillary "misspeaks," while rushing to make absurd excuses for much greater outrages by her opponent.

Liberals are even using the Slick Willy defense when Obama is caught fraternizing with a racist loon. When Bill Clinton was exposed as a philandering, adulterous, pathological liar, his defenders said that everybody is a philandering, adulterous, pathological liar.

And now, when B. Hussein Obama is caught in a 20-year relationship with a raving racist, his defenders scream that everybody is a racist wack-job.

In the Obama speech on race that Chris Matthews deemed "worthy of Abraham Lincoln," B. Hussein Obama defended Wright's anti-American statements, saying:

"For the men and women of Rev. Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table."

So in the speech the media are telling us is on a par with the Gettysburg Address, B. Hussein Obama casually informed us that even blacks who seem to like white people actually hate our guts.

First of all: Watch out the next time you get your hair cut by a black barber over the age of 50.

Second, Rev. Wright's world wasn't segregated.

And third, what about Wright's wanton anti-Semitism? All the liberals (including essence-besplattered Chris Matthews) have accepted Obama's defense of Wright and want us to understand Wright's "legitimate" rage over his painful youth in segregated America.

But the anti-Semitic tone of Wright's sermons is as clear as his rage against the United States. Rev. Wright calls Israel a "dirty word" and a "racist country." He denounces Zionism and calls for divestment from Israel.

In addition to videos of Rev. Wright's sermons, Obama's church also offers for sale sermons by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom Rev. Wright joined on a visit to Moammar Gadhafi in Libya in 1984. Just last year, Obama's church awarded Farrakhan the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award, saying Farrakhan "truly epitomized greatness."

What, pray tell, is the legitimate source of Wright's anti-Semitism? I believe Brother Obama passed over that issue entirely in his "conversation," even as he made the obligatory bow to Israel's status as one of our "stalwart allies." Why does crazy "uncle" Wright dislike Jews?

Will liberals contend that these remarks were "taken out of context"? Maybe Wright's church was trying to say that Farrakhan isn't great when it said he "epitomized greatness." Who knows? We weren't there.

Can liberals please educate us on the "legitimate" impulses behind Rev. Wright's Jew-baiting?

Obama's Spiritual Advisor: "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans."

There Goes the Italian Vote [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

( - Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a member for two decades, slurred Italians in a piece published in the most recent issue of Trumpet Newsmagazine.

"(Jesus') enemies had their opinion about Him," Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue. "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans."

Wright continued, "From the circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth (in a barn in a township that was under the Apartheid Roman government that said his daddy had to be in), up to and including the circumstances surrounding Jesus' death on a cross, a Roman cross, public lynching Italian style. ...

"He refused to be defined by others and Dr. Asa Hilliard also refused to be defined by others. The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge, but Asa, like Jesus, refused to be defined by an oppressive government because Asa got his identity from an Omnipotent God."

Perhaps Obama should stay in the Islands for a while. Wright is putting him in the headlines without any help.

Day by Day

Here’s a video presentation on the radical Marxist, dictator-supporting Jean Ziegler, and why he should never be anywhere near the UN Human Rights Cou

Video: UN Watch on Another Corrupt UN Human Rights Official

Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) Working with Communist FARC Rebels in Colombia

A hard drive recovered from the computer of a killed Colombian guerrilla has offered more insights into the opposition of House Democrats to the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

A military strike three weeks ago killed Raúl Reyes, No. 2 in command of the FARC, Colombia's most notorious terrorist group. The Reyes hard drive reveals an ardent effort to do business directly with the FARC by Congressman James McGovern (D., Mass.), a leading opponent of the free-trade deal. Mr. McGovern has been working with an American go-between, who has been offering the rebels help in undermining Colombia's elected and popular government.
"Receive my warm greetings, as always, from Washington," Mr. Jones began in a letter to the rebels last fall. "The big news is that I spoke for several hours with the Democratic Congressman James McGovern. In the meeting we had the opportunity to exchange some ideas that will be, I believe, of interest to the FARC-EP [popular army]."
Some Democrats oppose the Colombia trade deal because they sympathize more with FARC's terrorists than with a U.S. antiterror ally.

This is very reminiscent of the Democrats who supported the Ortega brothers in Nicaragua as they tried to establish their Soviet supported communist dictatorship during the Reagan administration.

It's amazing what computers reveal, isn't it?

Hat tip to American Digest

Don't Elevate Me, Please!

Mickey Kaus...

The Nightmare of Illumination: Jon Alter writes of his candidate (Obama) that "[even] if his legislative agenda founders, he might be able to help the nation raise its sights ..."

[P]residents must do more than rally the country enough to win backing in polls for a course of action. That's relatively easy. The hard part is using the bully pulpit to instruct and illuminate and rearrange our mental furniture. Every great president has been a captivating teacher. By talking honestly and intelligently about a subject that most Americans would rather ignore, Obama offered a preview of how he would perform as educator-in-chief. ... Barack Obama knows how to think big, elevate the debate and transport the public to a new place. [E.A.]

Hmmm. After last Tuesday, I'm not sure I want to be instructed and elevated any more by Prof. Obama. I'd kind of like to rearrange his mental furniture on welfare and affirmative action, where his vagueness suggests incoherence more than brilliance. Alter holds out the prospect that an Obama Presidency will not be four years of merely winning "backing in polls for a course of action"--oh no, that's easy!-- but ... well, four years of insufferable pedagogic condescension.

And here I thought Hillary was the self-righteous know-it-all. Obama lectures even when he's the one who's been called into the principal's office. Alter has presented the most compelling case for Al Gore I've read

The Left is constantly seeking to re-interpret what people say. Deconstructionism in a big way. Try to keep up; most people mean what they say.'s hard to believe we're about to nominate a Democrat who doesn't acknowledge the lesson of the 1990s--that voters are worried about issues like welfare because they are worried about welfare, not because "welfare" is a surrogate for "lack of national health insurance."

The 'Emboldenment Effect'

Researchers at Harvard say that publicly voiced doubts about the U.S. occupation of Iraq have a measurable 'emboldenment effect' on insurgents there," United Press International reports:

Periods of intense news media coverage in the United States of criticism about the war, or of polling about public opinion on the conflict, are followed by a small but quantifiable increases in the number of attacks on civilians and U.S. forces in Iraq, according to a study by Radha Iyengar, a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in health policy research at Harvard and Jonathan Monten of the Belfer Center at the university's Kennedy School of Government.
The increase in attacks is more pronounced in areas of Iraq that have better access to international news media, the authors conclude in a report titled "Is There an 'Emboldenment' Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq." . . .
In Iraqi provinces that were broadly comparable in social and economic terms, attacks increased between 7 percent and 10 percent following what the researchers call "high-mention weeks," like the two just before the November 2006 election.

On a related note, the New York Times reports that the media aren't paying as much attention to Iraq as they used to:

Media attention on Iraq began to wane after the first months of fighting, but as recently as the middle of last year, it was still the most-covered topic. Since then, Iraq coverage by major American news sources has plummeted, to about one-fifth of what it was last summer, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The drop in coverage parallels--and may be explained by--a decline in public interest. Surveys by the Pew Research Center show that more than 50 percent of Americans said they followed events in Iraq "very closely" in the months just before and after the war began, but that slid to an average of 40 percent in 2006, and has been running below 30 percent since last fall.

"May be explained by"? What about "may explain"? The Web notwithstanding, most people are still fairly passive consumers of news and are likely to follow stories less closely if there's less news about them.

But here's another possible explanation: News organizations, by and large, are biased against American success in Iraq, as illustrated by this crass bit of editorializing from the Associated Press:

Fresh off his eighth Iraq visit, Sen. John McCain declared Monday that "we are succeeding" and said he wouldn't change course--even as the U.S. death toll rose to 4,000 and the war entered its sixth year.

That "even as" clause is the reporter's opinion, not McCain's. Yet while this sort of thing still goes on, journalists have paid less attention to Iraq over the past year as the "surge" has succeeded in reducing violence. If the Harvard study is right, we may be looking at a virtuous circle: Less violence means less media coverage, which in turn means less violence.

Perhaps one day we'll wake up to discover that America won the war in Iraq months earlier, but no one noticed because the reporters were all busy with other things.

Many on the web have complained that the press is so invested in America losing the war in Iraq that they have stopped reporting on Iraq because the surge is working. This puts a different light on the matter. By all means, Drive-by-Media, ignore Iraq. You're not part of the winning team and are not needed; the American military will do it without you. Just don't cheerlead the enemy.

Of course the impulse to keep reminding us and the enemy of ghoulish milestones is too much to resist.


Oliver North opines:

This carefully researched study verifies what many of us who have spent months in the field concluded long ago: The drumbeat of negative news coverage about events in Iraq and the careless commentary from the political left in Washington have increased the danger for U.S. troops and our allies.

The riots and murders precipitated by a fictitious May 9, 2005, article in Newsweek magazine -- describing how a Quran had been flushed down a toilet in Guantanamo -- certainly validated how quickly bad news is spread, not just in Iraq but throughout the Muslim world. When a U.S. senator likens American troops to those who served Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot, it not only disheartens our sons and daughters in uniform but also encourages our adversaries, as well. When the senior U.S. commander in Iraq is depicted as "General Betray Us" in the pages of The New York Times, those who hate us are exultant.

The Harvard study also confirms that our adversary in Iraq is very media savvy. They pay close attention to U.S. news and use it to exhort attacks and recruit new supporters to their jihad. To believe that they are not paying attention to the current U.S. presidential campaign is to deny reality.

The message in this study is not just a cry for responsible reporting -- but a charge for American political elites. It's also very likely that this study is a prediction of the next nine months on the ground in Iraq.

In the aftermath of this study -- and this week's spike in violence in Iraq -- how can there be any doubt that the Iranians and al-Qaida will do all they can to ensure that the next occupant of the Oval Office is a person pledged to "get us out of Iraq starting on Day One." Duh!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Obama Crash and Burn

Victor Davis Hanson's take is that Obama made a mistake because ...
For some bizarre reason, Obama aimed his speech at winning praise from National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Harvard, and solidifying an already 90-percent solid African-American base — while apparently insulting the intelligence of everyone else.

Indeed, the more op-eds and pundits praised the courage of Barack Obama, the more the polls showed that there was a growing distrust that the eloquent and inspirational candidate has used his great gifts, in the end, to excuse the inexcusable.

Beyond Obama's natural constituency which includes most members of the Drive-by-Media, ordinary Americans are frankly outraged and disgusted by the racist, bigoted and anti-American rants of J. Wright.

The more the pundits gushed about the speech, the more the average Americans thought, “Wait a minute — did he just say what I thought he said?” It’s not lost on Joe Q. Public that Obama justified Wright’s racism by offering us a “landmark” speech on race that:

(1) Compared Wright’s felony to the misdemeanors of his grandmother, Geraldine Ferraro, the Reagan Coalition, corporate culture, and the kitchen sink.

(2) Established the precedent that context excuses everything, in the sense that what good a Wright did (or an Imus did) in the past outweighs any racist outburst of the present.

(3) Claimed that the voice of the oppressed is not to be judged by the same rules of censure as the dominant majority that has no similar claim on victim status.

What is happening, ever so slowly, is that the public is beginning to realize that it knows even less after the speech than it did before about what exactly Obama knew (and when) about Wright’s racism and hatred.

Even elites will wake up to the fact that they’ve been had, in a sense, once they deconstruct the speech carefully and fathom that their utopian candidate just may have managed to destroy what was once a near-certain Democratic sweep in the fall. And a number of African-Americans will come to resent that they are being lumped into a majority akin to the Rev. Wright, millions of whom the majestic Sen. Obama has nobly chosen not to “disown,” despite their apparently similar embarrassing racialism.

Over the past four days, I asked seven or eight random (Asian, Mexican-American, and working-class white) Americans in southern California what they thought of Obama’s candidacy — and framed the question with, “Don’t you think that was a good speech?” The answers, without exception, were essentially: “Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright.” In some cases, the reaction was not mild disappointment, but unprintable outrage.

Why did Obama take such a "superior" approach?

The blame, such as it is, for all this goes to the Obama campaign “pros,” who, in their apparent arrogance over Obamania (a phenomenon due to the candidate’s charisma, not their own savvy), simply went to sleep and let the senator and his wife resort to their natural self-indulgence — itself the offspring of the Obamas’ privilege and insularity. Any amateur handler could have scanned that speech and taken out just 8-10 phrases, called for a tougher stance on Wright, a genuine apology, and put the issue behind them.

Meanwhile Thomas Sowell points out that Obama's entire history is one of associating with radicals on the Left..
Barack Obama's own account of his life shows that he consciously sought out people on the far left fringe. In college, "I chose my friends carefully," he said in his first book, "Dreams From My Father."

These friends included "Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets" -- in Obama's own words -- as well as the "more politically active black students." He later visited a former member of the terrorist Weatherman underground, who endorsed him when he ran for state senator.

Obama didn't just happen to encounter Jeremiah Wright, who just happened to say some way out things. Jeremiah Wright is in the same mold as the kinds of people Barack Obama began seeking out in college -- members of the left, anti-American counter-culture.

In Shelby Steele's brilliantly insightful book about Barack Obama -- "A Bound Man" -- it is painfully clear that Obama was one of those people seeking a racial identity that he had never really experienced in growing up in a white world. He was trying to become a convert to blackness, as it were -- and, like many converts, he went overboard.

Nor has Obama changed in recent years. His voting record in the U.S. Senate is the furthest left of any Senator. There is a remarkable consistency in what Barack Obama has done over the years, despite inconsistencies in what he says.

The irony is that Obama's sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party's presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together.

The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man's talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left. That's bringing us all together?

Is "divisiveness" defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left? Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama's verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother -- "a typical white person," he says -- with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Addressing the issue of Wright's words "resonating" with the black community:

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan's words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

And who gets hurt in the process? The dissolution of morals may have hurt upper and middle class people, but the most tragic figures are the people at the bottom.

While many whites may be annoyed by Jeremiah Wright's words, a year from now most of them will probably have forgotten about him. But many blacks who absorb his toxic message can still be paying for it, big-time, for decades to come.

And from the New Republic, bastion of Leftist thought since before the Stalin era:

How do I know?

It happens that, as a Philadelphian, I attended Central High School – the same public school Jeremiah Wright attended from 1955 to 1959. He could have gone to an integrated neighborhood school, but he chose to go to Central, a virtually all-white school. Central is the second oldest public high school in the country, which attracts the most serious academic students in the city. The school then was about 80% Jewish and 95% white. The African-American students, like all the others, were there on merit. Generally speaking, we came from lower/middle class backgrounds. Many of our parents had not received a formal education and we tended to live in row houses. In short, economically, we were roughly on par.

I attended Central a few years after Rev. Wright, so I did not know him personally. But I knew of him and I know where he used to live – in a tree-lined neighborhood of large stone houses in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. This is a lovely neighborhood to this day. Moreover, Rev. Wright's father was a prominent pastor and his mother was a teacher and later vice-principal and disciplinarian of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, also a distinguished academic high school. Two of my acquaintances remember her as an intimidating and strict disciplinarian and excellent math teacher. In short, Rev. Wright had a comfortable upper-middle class upbringing. It was hardly the scene of poverty and indignity suggested by Senator Obama to explain what he calls Wright's anger and what I describe as his hatred.

In recent days, we have seen clips of several of Rev. Wright's sermons, showing him declaring "G-d Damn America," blaming America for intentionally creating the drug problem, for creating the AIDS virus, for supporting Israeli "state terrorism against Palestinians," for being responsible for causing 9-11, for being white supremacist and racist and for intentionally keeping people in poverty.

We have also learned that, last year, Rev. Wright's Church honored with a lifetime achievement award Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, who has said that "Judaism is a gutter religion," that "Hitler was a very great man" and that "white people are potential humans, they haven't evolved yet." In fact, Rev. Wright accompanied Farrakhan in the 1980s on a visit to Muammar Gaddafi's Libya, which was then illegal under U.S. law. Nevertheless, the Church and Wright's successor as pastor, Rev. Otis Moss III, have issued a statement defending and praising Wright, while completely ignoring Wright's horrific statements.

why does this not surprise me?

Welcome Freepers. Please look around and feel free to comment.

Obama Can't Denouce My Idea Anymore Than He Can Denounce All White People (That's His Pastor's Job)

Frank J. gives us some ideas as only Frank J. can.

"Let Go of Your Hate, Luke"

I was reminded of that line from Star Wars reading the speeches of Partor Wright and Barack Obama.

Lionel Chetwynd has learned to do that.

That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him. That’s how we’ll reach the postracial era: by no longer justifying ourselves with what was, instead speaking to what now exists. Not deny the past, but recognize that’s what it is: past.

You say you are devoted to Reverend Wright because he brought you to Christ. I can only imagine how powerful a relationship that forges. But, my imperfect understanding of the Christian Faith tells me you can do him an equally magnificent service: You can help bring him back to Christ. Show him redemption and salvation lie not in the satisfaction of doing little dances in a pulpit while you slander good and decent people. Teach him that great leadership and Christian love abjures the very filth – and I pick that word deliberately – that he spews on an apparently regular basis. After all, Senator, you know our government did not invent the HIV virus to kill African-Americans. You know, Senator, this is not the United States of KKK America. You know the truth of 9/11. At least you should. Both you and Michelle have benefited mightily from the new spirit that has come to America in the last two generations. I thought you were part of that. I thought you were post-racial.

But in your silence, in your justifications, in your facile instruction to contextualize, you seem just a more presentable version of those dreary self-promoters, Sharpton, Jackson, Bakewell and the rest. Surely this is not you. Please, Senator, be brave. Lead. From a position of honesty where context is our daily reality, not drawn from bitter memories, no matter how justified they once might have been. Deny Jeremiah Wright your comfort of “context”. Be Presidential. To all Americans.

Yours sincerely, and in prayer for the Grace of God,

BBC erases all traces of lies over Bush speech report; so what have we learned?

Exhibiting a thoroughness worthy of Orwell's Ministry of Truth, the BBC has been busy erasing all traces of the corporation's blatantly dishonest reporting of President Bush's speech on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion

Read the whole thing.

Day by Day

Rabbi Alleges Attack: Men Chanted 'Allahu Akhbar'

Sharia comes to Brooklyn.

The case is against 18-year old Ali Hussein, accused of snatching Ohana's yarmulke last week inside a Park Slope subway station. It was an offense Ohana says he couldn't let pass.

"I decided to chase him to get my yarmulke back," Ohana said.

Prosecutors haven't classified the incident as a bias crime yet, but a Brooklyn resident who spoke to CBS 2 HD says he's not encouraged by what happened.

"It's unfortunate that these two cultures that don't get along a world away … even here in Brooklyn … are not getting along," Brooklyn resident Miguel Yazinsky said.

Rabbi Ohana says as he ran back down the station's stairs two of Hussein's friends got up from this bench and chased him out of the station.

"They were screaming 'Allahu Akhbar (God is great) and punching my face," Ohana said.

Nothing to see folks ... move along.

Is that the Prostitootin' Choo-Choo? - Steyn

Mark Steyn:

The governor of New York gave an interview this week. Not the governor of New York who resigned over the five-grand-an-hour hooker he had waiting for him in room 871 of the Mayflower in Washington. That was last week's governor of New York — "Client #9," Mister Sleaze, Mister I-transport-women-across-state-lines-for-immoral-purposes, Mister If-I-pay-extra-can-we-do-something-"unsafe"?

No, this was this week's governor of New York — Mister New Broom, sweeping clean. So a few hours after being sworn in on Monday, the new gubernatorial broom gives an interview to New York's Daily News, headlined as follows:

"Gov. Paterson Admits To Sex With Other Woman For Years."

Very shrewd politically. What could be savvier than coming in the way the other fellow went out? David Paterson may be the first black governor of New York and also the first blind governor of New York, but it's good to know, midst all this shattering of the glass ceiling, that it's only to get to the hot-sheet penthouse. As the newspaper reported, "The thunderous applause was still ringing in his ears when the state's new governor, David Paterson, told the Daily News that he and his wife had extramarital affairs."

For two or three years, he used to travel down from the state legislature at Albany to meet up with his mistress at the Days Inn on 94th Street in Manhattan. But, as a subsequent story reported after a couple of expense claims for the relevant hostelry turned up, "I Never Used State Cash To Pay For Liaisons." And, even if he did, booking the Days Inn is a lot more fiscally responsible than putting up at the Mayflower.

Also, he didn't break the Mann Act because he kept the mistress in state rather than, as his predecessor did, buying a train ticket to ship "Kristen" from Penn Station in New York to Union Station in Washington. Like the song says:

Pardon me, girl, is that the Prostitootin' Choo-Choo?
Client Number Nine?
Gimme the check and I'll sign . . .
You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine while you're awaiting your whore
Dinner date with Kristen
Gee, my eyes are mistin'
Pity 'bout the extras, but I'm still persistin' . . .

When last week's Empire State gubernatorial scandal broke — that's the Eliot Spitzer sex story, not the David Paterson sex story — the press noted the ritual presence of the sad wife dutifully standing by her no-good husband. Mrs. Spitzer being unavailable for interview, the media sought a comment from the previous first lady to find herself the victim of gubernatorial infidelity — Dina McGreevey from across the Hudson in New Jersey.

In her harrowing confessional memoir, Mrs. McGreevey revealed how stunned she was when her husband James told her it was time for her to get out the old sober suit and sorrowful expression because the limo was waiting to take them to the press conference — oh, and by the way, it wasn't with a girl, it was with a boy, New Jersey's "homeland security" adviser. When it comes to homeland security in the Garden State, they take off a lot more than their shoes and coats. "My truth is that I am a gay American," announced Governor McGreevey.

Anyway, last week the former first lady of New Jersey gave a couple of interviews saying how she felt the former first lady of New York's pain. That, in turn, brought former gubernatorial aide Theodore Pedersen out of the woodwork. "I wanted to get this out now because it was so offensive to me that she goes on television playing the victim," Mr. Pedersen told the Newark Star-Ledger. "She should have told the truth about the three of us."

Er, hang on: the "three of us"? Why, yes. Mr. Pedersen revealed that he had "three-way sexual trysts" with Governor and Mrs. McGreevey — and the good news is you don't even have to book a room at the Days Inn. Instead, the "weekly romps" "typically began with dinner at T.G.I. Friday's and ended with a threesome at McGreevey's condo in Woodbridge." Dinner at T.G.I Friday's? What's that? Twelve bucks? Try proposing that to "Kristen."

How long before someone comes forward claiming to have had a four-way "romp" with Governor Spitzer, Governor McGreevey and Mrs. McGreevey somewhere in the, ah, bi-state area, preferably in a gubernatorial limo stuck in gridlock under the Holland Tunnel? Actually, it's technically known as the tristate area, but the governor of Connecticut seems to be sitting this one out and letting N.Y. and N.J. do all the heavy lifting.

I am, as long-time readers know, the most fanatical "Europhobe" in North America, but on balance I think our transatlantic cousins do political sex scandals better. The French have tremendous élan, of course. Nicolas Sarkozy shuffles first ladies faster than Britney does hubbies, but you can get away with an awful lot if you're Gallically insouciant about it. Jacques Chirac is said to have hit on the wife of the Syrian president during his state visit to Paris, and certainly, if you're as passionately committed as Mr. Chirac to personal outreach to the Arab world, Mrs. Assad is well worth reaching out for. Barack Obama may believe in The Audacity Of Hope but Jacques Chirac prefers the audacity of grope.

For their part, no political party has the range of sexual appetites of the British Tories. Lord Lambton was caught in flagrante with two girls, one white, one black, while Stephen Milligan preferred more solitary pursuits and was found dead on his kitchen table naked but for ladies' stockings and the plastic bag over his head, victim of an over-ambitious bout of "auto-erotic asphyxiation." If not quite so fatally inept, Labour members are nevertheless also ill-starred in their extra-marital forays. A few years back, one chap embarked on a nocturnal expedition from Westminster to Clapham Common in pursuit of some Rastafarian "rough trade." The evening began straightforwardly enough when he spotted "Boogie," a respected crack dealer and pimp, and beckoned him over.

Alas, instead of spending the evening in the arms of some muscular hunk, he found himself relieved of his wallet, and, when Boogie and his chums went through it, they discovered that their hapless client was, in fact, Her Majesty's secretary of state for Wales.

Ron Davies is now remembered, if at all, as the first minister of the Crown to deliver a resignation speech referencing the first act finale of La Cage aux folles: "We are what we are," he ruefully told the House of Commons. Sadly, even that is not always clear. He said how moved he'd been by a "letter of support" he'd received from Diana Ross — "It is impossible to imagine your hurt yet I feel it as though it were my own." Unfortunately, this turned out to be not Diana Ross the celebrated Motown diva but a Miss D. Ross of the north London suburbs.

The British even get the full comic juice from the bit every American female columnist was tutting over last week — the wife with the rictus grin standing on the podium alongside the Adulterer of the Week. A decade or so back, a famously avuncular BBC host, Frank Bough, turned up in the morning papers hanging upside down in a bondage dungeon being whipped by his dominatrix. With touching naiveté, Frank had always paid by personal cheque. His loyal missus dutifully did the stand-by-her-man routine, pledging defiantly that the couple would survive the scandal. Or, as she told the Daily Mail, "We will not be beaten." Speak for yourself.

Why do American sex scandals lack either the Brits' comic inventiveness or the Frogs' effortless bravura? Go back to that line of Governor McGreevey's: "My truth is that I am a gay American." That's such an exquisitely contemporary formulation: "my" truth. Once upon a time, there was only "the" truth. Now everyone gets his own — at least if you're a Democrat, as McGreevey, Spitzer and Paterson are. As New Jersey's chief exec put it, "One has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world." But the point is that whatever "unique truth" the consultants have run past the focus groups has to bear at least a passing relationship to the real, actual truth. That was Spitzer's mistake.

As a public figure, his "unique truth" was as a law-enforcement crusader against everyone else's footling failings, including very zealous prosecution of nickel-and-dime prostitution rings. "I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself," he told New Yorkers. In other words, there is no agreed societal morality. As President-for-Life of the Republic of Spitzer, he was in breach only of his own standards.

A truly satisfying sex scandal is difficult in such an age, which is why the Spitzer story offers only a big brute of a man suddenly shrunken to a fool having motel sex at Mayflower prices. On the other hand, I would like to announce that I too have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself, just in case my mistress, my catamite or my goat are negotiating exclusive interviews with the North Bay Nugget.