Thursday, June 22, 2006

Get a load of this disgusting display of moral equivalency by political cartoonist Mike Luckovich...

Be sure to vote at the cartoon poll, btw.

It seems to me, that if the Luckovich's of the world are going to accuse the American military of "torture" regardless, and assist the feeding frenzy of anti-Americanism simply for the sake of hating all things Bush, then perhaps the military should at least earn this undeserved title and start indiscriminately cutting their heads off in kind -- perhaps beginning with Mr. Luckovich.

The thing is, such a world is a possibility precisely because of the morally equivalent notions that guide the actions of the Left.

Think it's far fetched? Consider, in a few generations, should the liberal community get its way and the US government be forced to apply Geneva protections to illegal combatants who do not follow the laws of war, who do not carry arms openly, who disguise themselves as civilians, and operate without discipline and with no command and control structure, the US soldier - disadvantaged they are by having to follow just such rules - might decide that since they're all equally protected regardless - terrorist the same as lawful combatant - they will, in turn, act as terrorists do. After all, there is no longer a disincentive to not do so!

Geneva Conventions and other laws of warfare, you see, were not created so everyone would be treated fairly, or as so often misrepresented by Democrats on Capital Hill, "to 'protect' US soldiers," but rather they were created as an incentive to fight with some ethical standards.

Thus, by giving the same protections to terrorist beheaders as lawful soldiers we only ensure that the lawful soldiers will one day slip down the slopes of war ethics and act the same as the terrorist, and with the same regularity and barbarity.

Should that day occur you'll have only the Left to blame.



Ah, today's WSJ editorial:

The Savages
June 22, 2006; Page A16

The Pentagon yesterday announced the names of seven Marines and a Navy corpsman charged with the April 26 kidnapping and murder of a 52-year-old Iraqi man in the town of Hamdania. The accusations are grave and, if proved, will almost certainly lead to severe sentences. We suspect no parallel process is taking place among Iraqi insurgents for the weekend murders near Yusufiya of U.S. soldiers Thomas L. Tucker and Kristian Menchaca.

That's a distinction worth pondering the next time you hear Iraq war critics carp at the U.S. refusal to apply Geneva Convention privileges to enemy combatants. The Convention extends those privileges to combatants who abide by the laws it sets for war, including the treatment of prisoners.

Combatants who fail to obey those laws -- by not wearing distinctive military insignia or targeting civilians -- are not entitled to its privileges. If they were, the very purpose of the Convention would be rendered a nonsense. And this is why the U.S. has refused Geneva privileges to the enemy combatants at Guantanamo, which we hope is an argument heeded by the Supreme Court as it decides the Hamdan case.

Especially so given the kinds of combatants the U.S. and the rest of the civilized world now face in Iraq. Privates Tucker and Menchaca were not simply ambushed, taken prisoner and killed. "The torture was something unnatural," said Major General Abdul Azziz Mohammed Jassim of Iraq's Defense Ministry, hinting at the state of the soldiers' remains. The corpses were so mutilated that they could only be positively identified through DNA testing.

Here, then, is the enemy we face in Iraq: Not nationalists or extremists or even fanatics, but something like a band of real-life Hannibal Lecters for whom human slaughter is both business and religious fulfillment. Following the killing, an Internet statement said to be from the Mujahadeen Shura Council praised Abu Hamza al-Muhajir -- who is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's successor as head of Al Qaeda in Iraq -- with "the implementation of the sentence." Note the legalistic pretensions: This is the kind of "justice" Iraqis could expect should the insurgents come to power. And it is the enemy that might well come to power if the U.S. left Iraq prematurely, as many Senate Democrats urged yesterday.

No wonder so many Iraqis are risking their lives by joining the military and the police force to defend themselves against their would-be masters, a point that's too often forgotten by critics of the war. Thus, following the slaughter of Tucker and Menchaca, Representative John Murtha issued a statement, notably short on grief, insinuating that Iraqis are a nation of conniving killers.

"I continue to be concerned with the fact that our military men and women fighting in Iraq often tell me they do not know who the enemy is," said the Pennsylvania Democrat, who favors immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. "They do not know whom they can trust. . . . One day the Iraqis are smiling and waving at them on the streets; the next day the same people are throwing grenades at them."

Mr. Murtha might have checked his facts before issuing this generalized slur. According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count Web site (, in 2005 there were 3,510 Iraqi military and police fatalities, almost all at the hands of terrorists. That's four times the number of U.S. servicemen killed that year, and it gives the lie to the notion that Iraqis are doing little in their own defense while Coalition forces do all the heavy lifting.

Meantime, the U.S. military continues to examine allegations that Marines killed 24 civilians in the town of Haditha last November. Pentagon investigators have also uncovered evidence of detainee abuse by U.S. Special Forces in early 2004 -- just as the Army was the first to disclose the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib.

For some, all this is just more evidence of inveterate U.S. barbarity or the criminal abuses made possible by Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. In fact, it testifies to a U.S. military and executive branch willing to investigate, disclose and prosecute errant military behavior, whatever the military or political price. That's something Mr. Murtha and his fellow-travelers in Congress and the media might not recognize. But a majority of Iraqis do, which is why, in the battle against the killers of Privates Tucker and Menchaca, they line up to fight on our side.


One pair of doctors proclaim the benefits of a state-controlled health care system, as is in Canada. Another doctor underscores the laws of supply and demand by identifying that in the amount of time it takes you to get treated in Canada you might just as well die first. Now, guess which one actually has experienced Canadian health care and which one hasn't!

David Gratzer disparages our study's findings that Canadians are healthier and have better access to health care than Americans ("Where Would You Rather Be Sick?" editorial page, June 15). He claims that Americans' obesity and lack of exercise, as well as "genetics and culture" explain the fact that Canadians live two years longer on average, not differences in care. Yet he neglects to mention that Canadians smoke more than we do -- a factor that should negate Canada's diet and exercise advantage. And there's not an iota of evidence that genetics or culture to explain Americans' higher mortality.

Strong evidence indicts America's deficient health care as the culprit. Canada's infant mortality rate, higher than ours until they adopted national health insurance, fell once universal coverage was implemented and has remained well below the U.S. figure. Though Americans with heart attacks get more heart surgery, their mortality rate is no better than Canadians' rate. The prostate cancer statistics Dr. Gratzer cites to laud U.S. care reflect the enthusiastic pursuit of harmless "cancers" in the U.S. -- many of which would never be diagnosed in Canada or Europe and would cause neither symptoms nor death. A raft of studies indicate that quality of care in Canada for cancer and many other serious conditions is equivalent to that enjoyed by insured Americans.

Yet Canada spends roughly half what we do per capita on health care, and covers everyone. Lower bureaucratic costs -- the result of cutting out the insurance middlemen -- account for much of the savings. National health insurance could save Americans $350 billion annually on health-care bureaucracy, enough to cover the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for the rest of us as well.

David U. Himmelstein, M.D.
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, Mass.

Canada's nationalized (socialized) health-care system is wonderful -- that is if you've never been sick. The members of my family have lived their entire lives in Canada. I could fill several pages of your newspaper with medical care stories that would have Americans up in arms. It's not that Canadian doctors are undertrained. It's that Canada is woefully short of hospital beds and hospital facilities, and also short of state-of-the- art diagnostic and surgical equipment.

You have difficulty getting into a hospital unless you're critically injured or dying of some acute condition. The waiting lines are long for routine surgery despite government denials. Remember, in Canada you cannot purchase non-government-funded private care. It says it all when a recent premier of Ontario sent his mother to the U.S. for her surgery, an option only the very wealthy can usually afford. There is no non-emergency insurance available to Canadians who travel outside the country. This is just another skewed survey trying to seduce the public into Hillary Clinton-style socialized medicine. Don't buy it.

L. Gene Leiske, M.D.
Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Adding to this debate, a final writer (M.A. Sillamaa, a PhD economist from, ahem, Canada), points out how utterly futile it is to make wholesale comparisons between apples and oranges: "In essence, the idea is to calculate what would happen to each American's health outcome if forced to live with the characteristics of the Canadian system (everyone covered, cheaper medications, slower discovery of new medications, fewer doctors per capita, fewer diagnostic machines per capita, longer wait times per patient, less freedom of choice in treatment)."

Like Dr. Leiske said, great coverage if you never actually get sick, eh?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

As has often been said, "peace" activists aren't really for peace, or anti-war, they just root for anarchy, socialism or, these days, Islamic fanatics.

CLARK - The Rainbow Family peace gathering turned hostile Tuesday when a group of attendees began hurling rocks and sticks at law enforcement officers, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The incident forced the officers to abandon a checkpoint they had established near the entrance to the Rainbow gathering campsite in North Routt County, Forest Service spokeswoman Diann Ritschard said. Officers had not returned to the checkpoint as of Tuesday afternoon.

The incident happened at about 11 a.m. and involved Forest Service officers who were manning the checkpoint set up to issue citations to anyone attempting to enter the gathering. Citations were being issued because Rainbow Family members had not signed a free Forest Service special-use permit, which is required for gatherings of 75 or more people.

Before the Tuesday morning incident, Forest Service officials were blocking people from entering the gathering and telling them to "turn around," Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Ottaviano said. Officials said a group of about 100 people -- some of whom already were inside the gathering area -- participated in the incident. Other participants included people waiting outside the checkpoint who were told they could not enter the gathering, Ritschard said.

No arrests were made, and the officers left the scene because they did not want to escalate the situation, Ritschard said. No officers were injured.

No injured this time, that is...

The hypocrisy of the far Left never ceases to amaze me. How's this for a laugh - taken straight from the website of The Rainbow Family: "The Rainbow Family of Living Light, sometimes known as the "Rainbow Tribe", is an international loose affiliation of individuals who have a common goal of trying to achieve peace and love on Earth... the Rainbow Family forms community through shared "traditions" of love for the Earth, and gatherings to pray for peace."

Peace and love, unless you're some poor bastard in a forester uniform just trying to do you job, eh? Violence to fight for their values, but don't you dare do the same for yours, you fascist you. And "pray" to whom exactly?



The human contribution to global warming appears to be quite small and natural climate factors are dominant. -- Fred Singer, climatologist, atmospheric physicist, former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, and professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia [Full Letter Below]
I've said it before, I'll say it again, there is no "global warming," at least certainly not this ridiculous doomsday variant which Al Gore and his media pals will have you believe; and when we're old and gray this planet will be no warmer or cooler than today. But Gore gets page one and Fred Singer or scientists who dare voice an opposing viewpoint are relegated to the letters page.

But the very bad news is that if this consensus science conglomerate - those who purport an issue via consensus and majority appeal (and who generally aren't even climatologist at that) - is successful they will have turned our economy into Spain's with equally ridiculous carbon trading schemes and purposeful limitation of energy output.

These days one doesn't even need data, proof or evidence of global warming. In fact, the global warming scaremongers will repeat "the debate is over" until it is, and the rest of us will have to somehow prove a negative.

Case in point, ABC News feels so confidant the debate is over that all they need is anecdotal evidence to further bolster, or perhaps "prove," the Earth is "catastrophically" - their belief, not mine - warming.

Global Warming Affecting Your Life? E-Mail Us

Send Us Your Stories and Video...Extend the Reach of ABC News' Reporting by Sharing Your Observations
Witnessing the impact of global warming in your life?

ABC News wants to hear from you. We're currently producing a report on the increasing changes in our physical environment, and are looking for interesting examples of people coping with the differences in their daily lives. Has your life been directly affected by global warming?

We want to hear and see your stories. Have you noticed changes in your own backyard or hometown? The differences can be large or small - altered blooming schedules, unusual animals that have arrived in your community, higher water levels encroaching on your property.

Show us what you've seen. You can include video material of the environmental change, or simply tell your story via webcam. Please fill out the form below, and be sure to include captions or other descriptive information if you're sending video. We hope to hear from you. Thank you.

I can only hope they get spammed with ridicule. Hmmmm...

What other anecdotal investigations can ABC News conduct?

ABC NEWS INVESTIGATES: Boogey man got you down? Perhaps you've heard strange thumps in the night? Do your children ever claim things are under the bed?

ABC NEWS EXPOSE': Without a doubt, Deja Vu proves reincarnation! The debate is over. Send us your examples. Ever felt like royalty? Ever have a suspicion you've been somewhere before?

It's just absolutely shameless. To call this irresponsible journalism is to offend all irresponsible journalists.


As promised, here's the full letter from Professor Singer (and more here):

Roger C. Altman ("The Beltway's Energy," editorial page, June 16), a Treasury official in the Clinton administration, says he is no climatologist, but then calls for energy policies that assume catastrophic global warming from carbon dioxide emitted in fossil-fuel burning. He doesn't reveal his sources of information -- perhaps they are just various "experts" quoted in the press, or perhaps even Al Gore. But Mr. Gore, in his movie and elsewhere, never asks the key question: How much of current warming is due to natural causes? And how much is really human-caused? Anthropogenic warming is simply taken for granted as part of a claimed but nonexistent "complete" scientific consensus.

The current warming trend is not unusual: Climate is always either warming or cooling, and ice is either melting or accumulating. But thermometers can't talk and tell you the cause of climate change. This requires a comparison of the patterns of the observed warming with the best available models that incorporate both anthropogenic (greenhouse gases and aerosols) as well as natural climate forcings.

Fortunately, the U.S.-Climate Change Science Program, funded at $2 billion annually, has done just that in its first report:

It is based on the best current information on temperature trends. So how well do observations confirm the results of greenhouse models? The answer: not at all. The disparity between theory that predicts a climate disaster and actual data from the atmosphere is demonstrated most strikingly in the report's Fig. 5.4G (p. 111), which plots the difference between surface and troposphere trends for a collection of models and for balloon and satellite data.

Allowing for uncertainties in the data and for imperfect models, there is only one valid conclusion from the failure of greenhouse theory to explain the observations: The human contribution to global warming appears to be quite small and natural climate factors are dominant.

This conclusion should have a crucial influence on shaping our energy future. We hope that Mr. Altman, and the Bush team in Treasury, will pay attention to the science before advocating drastic energy policies that would kill economic growth.

S. Fred Singer
Arlington, Va.

(Mr. Singer, an atmospheric physicist, is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service.)


"I was just wondering what world you were living in if you said the America people are smart." -- a liberal blogger attending the The YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas [reported by Byron York]
There are some things that give me faith in this world, and one of them is my absolute belief that when push comes to shove the common American is not some nitwit, but rather fully rational, capable, and intelligent. It is this belief that equally guides our innovations and economy, the greatest on the planet, precisely because our system empowers the common individual, not the government or elitist group of "experts" or convention attendees. In fact, it is for this reason that those who believe the opposite - that the individual masses are stupid - are so often disappointed when they lose arguments and elections by underestimating the intelligence of the average American. In short, those of the Kos attendee belief continue to get their behinds whipped by Red State America.

Underscoring this point were several letters to the editor to the Wall Street Journal over a couple of days by just ordinary people. I'd like to offer you a few:


Mr. [Roger C.] Altman writes about "the stunning failure of leadership" with the Bush administration's inability to have an energy policy that focuses on curbing demand to suit Mr. Altman. What the former deputy secretary omits is that supply is the other half of the law of supply and demand and that increasing supply -- of oil, nuclear, clean coal, wind and solar -- would have the same effect as decreasing demand. This is not surprising since President Clinton, under whom Mr. Altman served, overruled the house and the Senate 10 years ago and vetoed a bill that would have opened up ANWAR to drilling, increasing supply.

J.A. Morabito


In the current issue of Car and Driver magazine, Patrick Bedard provides a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of replacing small fractions of our gasoline supply with alternatives such as ethanol. It is scientific, quantitative and rigorously analytical.

Roger Altman's commentary is none of those things. His conclusions are supported neither by facts nor analysis. How much of an increase in CAFE standards, for instance, would be required to produce a given reduction in oil consumption or the growth of consumption? Mr. Altman evidently doesn't know and probably doesn't care, any more than he is concerned about proof for his assertion of a 25%-50% reduction because of a pastiche of unproven proposals. There's not even a hint of the costs, benefits or time frames for implementing the proposals.

About the potential for increased oil supplies, he is similarly silent. Because he is dismissive of the possibility? Then why are so many suppliers willing to invest billions of stockholders' dollars to prove him wrong?

Pete Whittier
Dade City, Fla.

Mister Know-It-All
June 2, 2006; Page A19

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert's May 27 Letter to the Editor "Fuel Economy Standards Won't Hurt Auto Safety" perfectly illustrates the hubris of politicians. The automakers are too stupid to know what consumers want, but Rep. Boehlert knows. And the automakers are ignorant of the ability of current technology to produce the kind of cars that we consumers really want, but Rep. Boehlert knows. Let's just nationalize the auto industry and then we will get exactly what we want (or, perhaps, exactly what we deserve).

Patrick Barron
West Chester, Pa.


Albacore Are Scarce? Why Are We Catching So Many?
June 20, 2006; Page A21

You reported in "Where the Fish Are" (June 9, Weekend Journal) that "around San Diego, the albacore tuna have gone AWOL." As owners of a 95-foot sport-fishing boat and business in San Diego for more than 20 years, we beg to differ.

In 2005, the albacore season fell off early and our landing reported an annual catch of around 25,000 albacore. That was a disappointment, but one year doesn't make a trend. Sport anglers fishing on boats out of San Diego's Fisherman's Landing caught 72,000 albacore in 2003 and 63,000 albacore in 2004. In both 2001 and 2002, the catches were well over 100,000 albacore. To make the trend even more interesting, there were no albacore caught from 1992 until 1995.

Maybe some sport anglers are spoiled by those recent outstanding years, but to judge the status of a stock by one season, or even one year, is inappropriate. A blanket statement about a desirable sport-fishing species disappearing can damage our business more than the rising cost of fuel.

Art Taylor and Celia Condit
Owners and Operators
Searcher Sportfishing
San Diego


I share Mr. Stephens's lament over the lack of support the Bush administration has given to pro-democracy activists in the Muslim world. However, is it not understandable that he hesitates to stick his neck out? Since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the international community has barely lifted a finger to assist in the arduous task of building democratic institutions. And this includes the inaudible lip service from the U.N. and "human rights" groups. More importantly, where are those who should be at the forefront of supporting such movements, the Muslims who are living in the West? How often have they organized themselves in loud and conspicuous protests to denounce Islamic totalitarianism and anti-democratic forces at play in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many have rushed to support the likes of Ms. Ismail and to offer their services to Western governments and organizations in this struggle? This is their war. Until they break their conspiracy of silence, the West will be forced to act as best it can and make uncomfortable compromises to protect itself.

Humanity cannot afford to wait for them. Eventually, Muslims must stand up and choose which side they want to belong to: barbarism or civilization. Moreover, how will future generations of Muslims judge the present actions of their ancestors, pride or shame?

Francois Krodel


How to Ruin a Good Idea: Give It to the Government
June 9, 2006; Page A15

Your article about the demise of the phone tax ("U.S. to End Contentious Phone Tax," May 26) shows why people neither like nor trust government: It so easily messes up a good idea. The U.S. Treasury has collected the "illegal" phone tax for years and now plans to distribute refunds to phone-service subscribers. But wait, we phone users paid the tax to our local phone companies, not to the U.S. government. So, I must document how much tax I paid and wait for a refund check or a tax credit? How stupid.

The phone companies collected the taxes and have records of exactly who paid how much. Our congressmen, so anxious to eliminate this tax, should demand the phone companies again act as agents to reimburse customers and then receive lump-sum reimbursements from Uncle Sam. That approach ensures those due refunds actually receive them.

Jon Titus
Herriman, Utah


'Rapacious Capitalist' Loses His Appetite
June 9, 2006; Page A15

So, Chief Executive Patrick Byrne is upset that short sellers have been battering the stock price of his company ("Securities Industry Weighs Suit Over New Utah Short-Sale Law," May 30). That strikes me as odd, as I attended the "Values in Work and Life" talk he gave at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., on Sept. 20, 2001. In that speech, he called himself a "rapacious capitalist" and talked about buying up because it had a poor business model and was mired in excessive debt.

I'm surprised that such a tough-minded and hardnosed businessman as Mr. Byrne would resort to whining for government help just because of short sellers. His company is either fundamentally strong or it isn't. Short sellers may temporarily depress a stock price, but with no effect on earnings, effects should be minimal. Mr. Byrne's mistake was in forgetting that he's not the only rapacious capitalist around.

Thomas H. deSabla
Brookeville, Md.


Stakes in the Iraq War Not Parallel With Vietnam
June 7, 2006; Page A15

As a Vietnam vet, I read Daniel Henninger's June 2 Wonder Land column "The Indictment Of U.S. Troops Was Inevitable," on the Iraqi Syndrome, with great interest. Although I can see a parallel with Vietnam in regard to the apparent growing disenchantment of the public -- a disenchantment driven by the constant media harangue on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and now Haditha and the crowd incident in Kabul.

However, the Iraqi situation is different: Vietnam was a front in the Cold War containment thesis and failure there carried little to no threat to Americans on their own soil. Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan may likely mean that the fight against radical Muslims will return to our streets.

I think the American public would not be so down on the war on terrorism if the media spent equal time on what the civilized world is facing. But the media seem to think it's not appropriate to remind people of 9/11/2001 -- to show gruesome videos of the World Trade Center or beheadings are apparent journalistic taboos.

Bill O'Connor
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas


Monday, June 19, 2006

This is very accurate summation by Peter Collier and David Horowitz:

At the very moment that documents captured from the Zarqawi death site indicate that Al Qaeda feels it is losing its war against the Iraqi future and has become so desperate that its only hope to prevail is by embroiling the U.S. in war with Iran; at the very moment Iraq’s democratically elected government is establishing itself as a functioning regime, and its increasingly capable military becomes more successfully engaged against the insurgents - at this critical moment for the future of Iraq and the Middle East, more than three quarters of the House Democrats have voted against a resolution to "complete the mission."
The behavior by the Democratic party is truly bizarre. (Read the rest of the Collier/Horowitz column here).

And it's not like it's an isolated sentiment by the moon howlers like Cynthia McKinney or Ted Kennedy. With the lone exception of the politically dead Joe Lieberman or intuitive Hillary Clinton (who so deftly rides the fence as did her husband during his reign) the vast majority of the Democratic party has been exposed as wishing for defeat in Iraq.

Were the Democrats and their friends in the media around during WWII the morning headline of the hugely successful Normandy invasion would have read something like: "D-Day for Allies: 10,000 coalition killed in first day alone! Many troops missed drop zones, missing."

Seriously, the Democrats could take lemons, make lemonade, but then call it motor oil. After 9-11, they took self-flaggelation and Blame-America-Firstism to epoch levels. Now, they'll do the same for defeatism.

The fact that the Democratic leadership has allowed Rep. John Murtha (D, Mich.) to spend just one more minute in the media limelight is proof positive that they're not up to the task of fighting any war, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or here at home.

Besides arguing that the US could more effectively respond to crisis in Iraq by moving its troops to... Okinawa (what!?!), Murtha seems to have been in a coma for the past 15 years.

Here's Murth to Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press:

When we went to Beirut, I, I said to President Reagan, "Get out." Now, the other day we were doing a debate, and they said, "Well, Beirut was a different situation. We cut and run." We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision...
Beirut, Somalia. We were there. We left too soon; we left when the going got tough. Everybody, but the Murtha Democrats it would seem, agreed around, oh, September 12th or so, that our failure to persevere in the face of terrorism only further emboldened terrorist leaders.

The bi-partisan September 11 Commission made that abundantly clear:

[Page 48] In August 1996, Bin Ladin had issued his own self-styled fatwa calling on Muslims to drive American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia. The long, disjointed document condemned the Saudi monarchy for allowing the presence of an army of infidels in a land with the sites most sacred to Islam, and celebrated recent suicide bombings of American military facilities in the Kingdom. It praised the 1983 suicide bombing in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. Marines, the 1992 bombing in Aden, and especially the 1993 firefight in Somalia after which the United States "left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you." Bin Ladin said in his ABC interview that he and his followers had been preparing in Somalia for another long struggle, like that against the Soviets in Afghanistan, but "the United States rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace." Citing the Soviet army's withdrawal from Afghanistan as proof that a ragged army of dedicated Muslims could overcome a superpower, he told the interviewer: "We are certain that we shall-with the grace of Allah-prevail over the Americans." He went on to warn that "If the present injustice continues . . . , it will inevitably move the battle to American soil."
Indeed, Osama Bin Laden is on record touting the US defeats in Beirut or Somalia in March 1997, May 1998 twice, and again in December 1998 (and those are just the infamous on-camera Peter Arnett and Robert Fisk interviews).

Now, were it up to the Democratic leadership - from the DNC's Howard Dean to would be House speaker Nancy Pelosi to Harry Reid - Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups could gleefully add Iraq to list. Frankly, with the Democrat defeatism as our new national standard they could probably in time throw in New York and Washington DC.



The Supreme Court injected some common sense into the Clean Water Act, with thanks to Antonin Scalia's scathing opinion:

In the main, however, the Scalia plurality and Justice Kennedy agreed that the Army Corps of Engineers, a principal regulator under the water act, had exceeded its power by defining almost any place where water might be found as qualifying for protection as "waters of the United States."

"The corps has stretched the term... beyond parody," Justice Scalia wrote, encompassing "storm drains, roadside ditches, ripples of sand in the desert that may contain water once a year, and lands that are covered by floodwaters once every 100 years.

"The entire land area of the United States lies in some drainage basin," therefore "any plot of land" might fall victim to the corps, he wrote.

While the act covered wetlands adjacent to interstate waterways, it couldn't be seen as protecting those that lie wholly within a single state, far from interstate channels. To qualify for regulation, they must contain "a relatively permanent body of water connected to traditional interstate navigable waters" and feature "a continuous surface connection with that water, making it difficult to determine where the 'water' ends and the 'wetland' begins," Justice Scalia wrote.

The Army Corps of Engineers was - with a straight face apparently - arguing that, in the case of Rapanos v. US, the developer's proposed site was harming wetlands -- some 20 miles away. Scalia's outrage was justifiable. Surely we'd all be living in a "protected wetland" with such a definition.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

It is only fitting that US coalition troops (specifically, the special forces task force 145) and air power killed al Qaeda's offensive coordinator on the same day that the USS Cole was redeployed to the Middle East. Al Qaeda suicide bombers killed 17 Cole sailors on Oct. 12, 2000.



Contrast the following two statements following the reported death of al Qaeda's biggest terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

"Al Qaeda is the biggest threat to the world. Al Zarqawi's death is a huge victory in the war - This is good news for all Muslims and people of all religions. He was killing people of all faiths. I hope the situation in Iraq will improve now."-- Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi

"I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being [Zarqawi] had to die."-- Michael Berg, whose son Nick was (personally) beheaded in Iraq in 2004, by... Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!

Mr. Berg additionally told Reuters that what would give him satisfaction is, "The end of the war and getting rid of George Bush." That Zarqawi's death could be a large step towards ending the war is lost on the clueless Michael Berg, a master of moral equivalency.

It gets much worse:

Michael Berg: I'm not saying Saddam Hussein's a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Under Saddam Hussein, no al-Qaeda in Iraq; under George Bush, al-Qaeda. Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability; under George Bush, instability. Under Saddam Hussein, 30,000 deaths a year; under George Bush, about 50,000 deaths. I don't understand. Why is this better to have George Bush be the King of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?"
Only a the mind of a child could produce such a silly comparison. Among other things, Michael Berg's comments are not factual: To quote Oliver Stone's JFK, it's bullshit wrapped in excrement inside manure.

Al Qaeda, most notibly al Zarqawi, was very much inside Iraq before US invaded, and captured intelligence has proven that; and to date 30,000 deaths a year for each of Saddam's reign is far more than 50,000 total, even if you discount Berg's ridiculous underlying comparison between Saddam's true victims and those terrorists targeted by the US military. By Berg's arithmatic the greatest American mass murderer was Abraham Lincoln.

But what is most galling is the statement "Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability." Stability?! Is that what "liberals" have decided to sell out for? What is stablility without liberty!? By any other name it's a killing field, a gulag or concentration camp. Those places, too, are quite stable.

This fool calls himself a liberal? Taken from the word liberty, as in defender of? He has the gall to claim to be a "liberal," yet confuses stability with freedom, and calm with liberty. This loser doesn't deserve the liberty he has.

Is Zarqawi to blame for Nick Berg's death? Not to the senior Berg, and not even though the disseminated video of Nick Berg's beheading was titled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American." To Michael Berg, Zarqawi was just as much the choiceless victim as his son - and how moral equivilists love their victims!

That in Zarqawi's camp authorities discovered nine human heads from his butchered victims matters not to Mr. Berg.

To Mr. Berg, all life is equal, and thus all deaths are too. Zarqawi, Mother Theresa, same thing right? Perhaps Mother Theresa had opportunities that Zarqawi didn't? Perhaps had we only offered to share a Coke and kumbaya with al Qaeda on September 12 all would be peaceful in the world? goes the thinking of the moral equivilist.

I'm not exactly sure when the party of Jefferson, FDR, Truman and JFK became the party of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Frank Murtha, but I would argue that it parallels the ascension of moral equivalence.

Yet something tells me that had today it been al Qaeda who took out Bush, Mr. Berg would not be saddened that "another human being had to die," but would likely have lectured us 'non-elitist, intellectually inferior Americans' that Bush, you know, brought it on himself, as did we all. I'm sorry Mr. Berg's son is dead. I wish he were alive so he could knock some damn sense into his father.

The war on terror is certainly the most important war, but the war to prevent this backwards moral equivalent mentality of Bergism (Mooreism, Murthaism, Stoneism, Kerryism) from coming to power is a close second.

As it's been stated before, they're not antiwar, they're just rooting for the other side.



[BBC] The family of murdered hostage Ken Bigley have spoken of their relief at the death of militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq... Mr Bigley's brother Stan said Zarqawi was a "monster" who had killed "a multitude of innocent people".

Reacting to news of Zarqawi's death, Stan Bigley said: "I'm glad he's off the face of the Earth, not just for my brother but for all the people he has killed.

...Another brother, Paul Bigley, told BBC News that his first reaction on hearing the news was that "the world has rid itself of a very evil person".

"The second reaction I think, being a Christian, you know, one should not be very happy about somebody's death.

"But in this particular case, quite frankly, may he rot in hell. That's where the man is."


Hopefully, Zarqawi’s demise is a clarifying event in the United States - for the administration, the Congress, and - hope against hope - the media. This was the real American military in action, in all its effectiveness, doing what the American people sent it to do despite often impossibly difficult circumstances: namely, eliminate nondescript terrorists who strike in stealth then weave themselves back into the civilian population.
-- former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy


No offense to Scott McClellan or Ari Fleischer, but Tony Snow knows how to play the game. Because he was one of them, he understands how the media operates, and as a result, can articulate their shortcomings to a tee. Seek no further understanding than his press briefing today, discussing the impact of Zarqawi's death.

Point 1 - the media are pawns to al Qaeda in Iraq.

Q: What impact does the killing of Zarqawi have on violence in Iraq, does the President think?

A: Quite often it's very easy to measure what's gone on in Iraq in terms of explosions and IEDs. We have been crushing the opposition, but what happens is the opposition has been controlling the airwaves with scattered, fragmentary acts of violence. ... In the briefing earlier today we learned that this was not one, but there were 17 follow-on operations. This was not sort of a one-off operation, get Zarqawi, dust off your hands and walk away. Instead there has been a concerted effort to go after terrorists. And maybe one of the most important things to understand is that Iraqis are now cooperating. They're providing intelligence. And that sends a message to terrorists that safe havens are going away. If you saw, for instance -- and it was striking -- when the Prime Minister today announced the death of Zarqawi at a press conference, what you had was applause followed by rhythmic applause. We saw scenes of celebration in Iraq.

I love that not-so-subtle back hand to the collective media: congratulations, for three years you've become unwitting accomplices to al Qaeda's media machine.

As Snow underscores, today was hardly an isolated US military victory in Iraq. Indeed, along with Zarqawi, Zarqawi's deputy, Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi, and several other ranking members of al Qaeda were eliminated. Prior to that Task Force 145, and other Coalition units, have been successfully killing and capturing members of the Zarqawi insurgency. Indeed, they depleted Zarqawi's leadership to the point that Zarqawi was forced to become sloppy and trust in Iraqis who were preparing to betray him.

Zarqawi's death, as one administration official has reportedly put it, is at worst a wonderful thing, and at best a turning point.

The naysayers may have you believe that al Qaeda and terrorist organizers are plug-and-play entities. That is as silly a notion for terrorism as for companies or corporations. Human capital matters. Take away your best managers and you're bound to have detrimental consequences.

Point 2 - Would Zarqawi have taken such care?

Not only did you have this operation, but it's also an example of what's gone on in this war. You had targeted, 500-pound bombs that hit a single building. The idea is not to kill civilians, the idea is to kill the bad guys. No country has ever spent more in the way of resources or gone more out of its way to protect innocents. And the men and women who fight there, and do it under extraordinary stress and pressure, need to get full credit for what they do every day.
In the end, past all the rants, Hadithas and Abu Ghraibs are the most minuscule of moments in our military's behavior in Iraq. Would any other country, under these circumstances, use such care in executing war (well, besides the UK)?

Point 3 - Pessimism is a choice

Q: You seem to be saying that the way this is seen is that we're letting the drama of the explosions color the way we're seeing everything. But we're certainly hearing plenty of stories from reporters there who are saying they would like to go out on the street and tell these other stories, but they can't because, as we've seen in the CBS case and others, it isn't safe yet to do that.

MR. SNOW: And Baghdad is -- you've got four provinces where violence is a significant problem. Baghdad proper is one of them. Al-Anbar is one. You know -- and so, absolutely, it's tough to get out and around in those places. On the other hand, if you've had people who have been in Kurdish areas, who are vacationing there, for heaven sakes, literally vacationing. So it's -- again, I don't want to be a Pollyanna about this, but there have been significant successes in various portions of the country. There have also been cases where we've succeeded in cleaning out a place, and then over time, bad guys come back. We understand that.

But it is worth noting that it is not all unrelieved gloom and doom, and it is possible for someone to paint a picture of a place being in total chaos simply by detonating a single bomb.

There are 18 provinces in Iraq. It's simple: Reporters choose not to visit the 14 calm and progressive ones.



It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden to attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed. Weir then reported that he spoke to Berg's father this morning, and he condemned the Zarqawi killing as part of an endless cycle of retribution.
-- Tim Graham, Newsbusters.

And another similar post, this a transcript taken from Don Imus' morning show:

Good on Don Imus! On today's 'Imus in the Morning,' he called NBC reporter Mike Boettcher on his attempt to spin a bombing in Baghdad as a "not good" response to the killing of Zarqawi.

Here's how it went down. Boettcher was reporting from Baghdad and had this to say:

Boettcher: "Well, good morning, Don. We have the response here right now [to the Zarqawi killing], it’s not good. There have been, there has been another bombing. Thirteen people are dead in central Baghdad. So that is apparently the current reaction from the insurgents to Zarqawi's death."

Imus: "How do we know that's a reaction to that, Mike?"

Boettcher started to back down: "We don't know for sure, Don. You’re right, you’re absolutely right."

Imus: "Yeah. I mean, this could be another bombing. They try to blow the place up every day, so, but go ahead, Mike."

A by-now abject Boettcher: "No, you’re absolutely right."

Boy, it's a pathetic statement when just hours after the news of Zarqawi's demise is delivered - undebatably a victory for anyone who enjoys freedom of speech, press, assembly, and, for that matter, not being beaten for showing too much skin, etc. - the reactionary press is already paining itself to spin it as something either bad or indifferent.


Undeterred by the obvious, Toronto police chief Bill Blair assured the public that the Muslim suspects "were motivated by an ideology based on politics, hatred, and terrorism, and not on faith - I am not aware of any mosques that these individuals were influenced by." Well, Chief Blindspot, try the Al-Rahman Islamic Center for Islamic Education. That's the Canadian storefront mosque where eldest jihadi suspect Qayyum Abdul Jamal is, according to his own lawyer, a prayer leader and active member - along with many of the other Muslim males arrested in the sweep.

Many clueless North Americans remain shocked, shocked, that jihadis live among them - despite the open secret of our northern neighbor's reputation as an Islamic terrorist safe haven. A cloud of befuddlement looms. The Toronto Star reports, with jaw-dropping dim-wittedness, that "it is difficult to find a common denominator" among those who would kill us.

Pass me a clue-by-four: It's the jihad, stupid. It's been going on since before the Crusades. And it continues under our noses.

-- Michelle Malkin


NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Initial ticket sales for the Dixie Chicks' upcoming tour are far below expectations and several dates will likely be canceled or postponed.

Ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.

In contrast, the band's new album, "Taking the Long Way," sold 526,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan, the third-largest sales week of 2006. The album logged a second week in the period ended June 4, according to sales data issued Wednesday.

Despite those numbers, early ticket sales are clearly not meeting projections. The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (August 23), Oklahoma City (September 26), Memphis (September 27) and Houston (September 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores.

The Memphis show has been pulled off the route and the status of the shows in Indianapolis, Houston and Oklahoma City remains uncertain. Industry speculation has it that much or all of the tour may be postponed. At the very least, it is likely routing and capacity will be reconfigured.

The contrast between record sales and touring is simple: Country fans aren't stupid. Even those who like the Dixie Jerk's music (but not their politics) realize that buying the album makes the record company rich, not the Jerks. You see, in the music industry a band makes it's money from touring. They generally get very little from CD sales.

Not surprisingly, the Dixie Jerks are expected to do well touring Toronto, some northern US cities and in the UK. But if that pattern keeps, the Jerks won't have a very lucrative tour.



Washington Post headline: "Iranian President Signals Readiness to Negotiate [by Karl Vick]"
Good news, right!
Paragraph 1: "STANBUL, July 8 -- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday signaled Iran's readiness to renew negotiations "to resolve misunderstandings in the international arena.""
See! It's Bush who's rigid and crazy, not the Iranians!

Paragraph 7:
[Ahmadinejad:] "Be aware whether you negotiate or not, whether you frown at us or not and whether you stay beside us or turn your back on us, the Iranian nation will not retreat from its path of developments and achievement of advanced [nuclear] technology."
Oh, well, never mind...

Does this statement sound like a country whose leaders are "signaling readiness to negotiate"? Only, apparently, if you work at the Washington Post or another elitist liberal front in the mainstream media.


Friday, June 02, 2006

That atrocities may have occurred in Haditha by US soldiers is not another sign of a climate of coverup, conspiracy, fear or secrecy. Rather it is the opposite: What other nation is so transparent? What other nation wears its mistakes and sins on its sleeves, perpetually covered by 24-hour cable news? That's truly the difference - mistakes in past wars, "just" wars such as the Second World War had its share of dishonorable acts by our servicemen. But back then it was reported once, not taken to extremes, not take advantage of by a press that lacks context and sense of fairness.

The saddest note here - and the reason why we cannot allow the world press to paint the United States as the oppressor - is that 99.99 percent of the US military acts with dignity, honor and professionalism every day.

Contrast this to Darfur, where 99.99 percent of the Sudanese government is complicit in systematically murdering all non-Islamic population from its midst.

Yet the world gives scant attention to true atrocity and genocide, preferring to focus on what is proportionately and historically a small anomaly of wrongdoing by US military forces.

It's disgusting to me. And in the end it proves the world cares not of correcting true horrors, only of any agenda that promotes the decline of the US.



Former president Bill Clinton keynoted a Phoenix Democratic fundraiser Thursday evening, saying the Republican Party is dominated by "right-wing, white Southerners." Clinton also hit the GOP for favoring the rich and practicing "crony capitalism".

Clinton headlined a fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

The event was attended by 500 persons and raised approximately $500,000 for Pederson, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl in November. Pederson is a shopping center developer, former Arizona Democratic Party chairman and an ally of Clinton and his wife Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

Excuse me, but do the Democrats really not see the blatant hypocrisy in this line of attack? Attacking Republican 'fat cats' at a $1,000 bucks a plate fundraiser for Democrats? Pot, kettle.

I mean, last time I checked Bill and Hillary Clinton are wealthy precisely because of the "crony capitalism" they now attack! Forgive me for not taking an ethics lesson from the Clintons. And Jim Pederson is a shopping center developer, for Pete's sake! That's not crony Capitalism?

They're message seems to be, "now that we've made capitalism work for us and become wealthy we're going to do away with it before you can." Plueeeeze.

P.S., Clinton cut taxes in 1997 (Capital Gains). I guess it's fine when a Democrat cuts them but not when a Republican does so? Huh?



"Anyone who watches 'Today' knows that I've done more hard-hitting interviews than any evening news anchor."
-- Katie Couric, newly promoted news anchor for CBS News.

Well, by that standard she's done more "hard-hitting" interviews than my brother's Labrador retriever too, but that's not saying much either.

Media Research Center has an entire archive of Couric softball interview's here.



What makes this episode so Capra-esque is the monumental political stupidity of congressional Republicans. Constitutional arguments aside, this kerfuffle represents an astounding example of political self-immolation nominally on principle (I say nominally because I suspect House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert is more miffed about CIA chief Porter Goss’s getting sacked than he is about Jefferson’s getting ransacked). The House GOP is under a cloud of corruption thanks to the Jack Abramoff and Randy "Duke" Cunningham cases. This cloud could cost them their majority come November. But when a high-ranking Democrat is caught stashing $90K next to his Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish sticks, the Republicans could have changed the subject from GOP corruption to Democratic corruption; instead, they opted to go with curtain No. 2 and change the subject to GOP arrogance and stupidity. The congressional GOP - which won Congress by promising the laws of the land would apply to Congress - decided to seize Jefferson’s cream pie from heaven and throw it in the White House’s face.

Ironically, this scenario is only possible because the same party controls the House and the White House. If House minority leader Nancy Pelosi were in charge, she might make the same case in good faith that this was a constitutional outrage. But nobody would take it seriously on account of how self-serving it would sound.

-- Jonah Goldberg.

Jonah could have also mentioned that Abramoff gave money equally to Democrats and Republicans. For example, Abramoff money went to Hastert, Pelosi and Senate minority leader Harry Reid. Naturally, only Hastert returned that money, and the media only put Hastert under the microscope.

The rules are different when you're a Republican, which is why their incompetence in fumbling such a great opportunity with Jefferson is so very infuriating.


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