Credit where it's due
National Review, by Mark Steyn
I would like to thank the US media for doing such a grand job this last week of lowering expectations by portraying Governor Palin - whoops, I mean Hick-Burg Mayor Palin - as a hillbilly know-nothing permapregnant ditz, half of whose 27 kids are the spawn of a stump-toothed uncle who hasn't worked since he was an extra in Deliverance.
How's that narrative holding up, geniuses?
Friday, September 5, 2008
Baghdad - Gen. David Petraeus, outgoing commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, is recommending that one U.S. army brigade be withdrawn from Iraq before a new administration takes over in January.
(Snip) The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is scheduled to deploy in the spring and their training could be shifted to match terrain in Afghanistan instead. The 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry unit, is well suited for such terrain...
Do you remember when "change" meant "get out of Iraq"? The 2006 election was in fact presented as a referendum on Iraq. Senator Barack Obama started his run for the White House shortly after that 2006 election, presenting himself as one who never supported our military action in Iraq, in contrast to, say, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Joe Biden.
But scanning recent headlines, it looks like the meaning of "change" has changed. See if you detect the humor, as I did, in the following recent headlines and stories.
US Military Returns Control of Anbar to Iraqis
Former Marine acquitted in Iraqi detainee deaths
Culture Resurfaces in Sadr City as Violence Falls
US says troops could quite Baghdad soon
Obama says economic issues will decide election
“If there is one element of moral and political certainty that cements the liberal consensus more than any other, it is the complacent view that while Iraq is ‘a war of choice,’ it is really and only Afghanistan that is a war of necessity. The ritualistic solidity of this view is impressive..
It survives all arguments and all evidence.”
Christopher Hitchens, On Wars of “Choice
Al-Qaeda Connections in Gaza
Reporters were given a tour on Monday of a new terrorist base in Hamas-run Gaza - operated by terrorists who say they have the same goals as Al-Qaeda. The terrorists were seen engaged in active training for battle with Israel. The tour of the terrorist base, reported in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat, gives further indication of Hamas's support for terrorist groups.
Pro-al Qaeda fighters train in Gaza Strip
GAZA - The masked gunmen threw themselves to the ground, rolled over and came up firing their assault rifles at an imaginary target. Jaysh al-Ummah, or the Army of the Nation, a Palestinian Islamist group modelled on the ideology of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, was training for battle with Israel. "We are coming, Jews," read graffiti daubed on a wall inside its private training base in the Gaza Strip, where Reuters journalists were allowed rare access.
Not Even Pretending to be Fair: The New York Times On Gaza
The New York Times coverage of the Middle East, especially Steven Erlanger (who will soon be leaving) has often been terrible. Naturally, the Times and Mr. Erlanger will dispute this, but they will not do so by examining the specific stories filed and what these articles do--and do not--say. Anyone who analyzes the articles themselves will find many points which seem slanted, and all the slants seem to lean in the same way.
Consider, for example, the January 28 article, "Israel Vows Not to Block Supplies to Gaza." By presenting this decision as a negative rather than a positive (Israel will let supplies flow; Israel wants to avoid any humanitarian crisis in Gaza, etc) it seems as if the newspaper is grudgingly admitting that Israel is doing something good but trying to minimize it.
Then comes a spin slanted against Israel:
"Israel would no longer disrupt the supply of food, medicine and necessary energy into the Gaza Strip and intended to prevent a 'humanitarian disaster' there."
The obvious and intended implication here is that Israel has been blocking three things, thus threatening to unleash a humanitarian disaster. In fact, Israel has never blocked food and medicine, and while it has reduced energy supplies slightly--to a level reducing the Gaza electricity by no more than 20 percent--it has not blocked "necessary" energy but only made a marginal reduction.
Thus, in a masterfully crafted but factually inaccurate sentence, both newspapers accuse Israel of something it has never done and imply that it has committed inhuman crimes. (Or to put it another way, Congratulations, you have stopped beating your wife.)
Oh, we're just getting started as Mr. Erlanger is a master of bias. Dig this sentence...
Three events in the first decade of the 21st century will be remembered as epic turning points in world geopolitics: 9/11; the Iraq War and the Russian invasion of Georgia in August, 2008.
However convulsive the consequences of the first two events, what is transpiring currently in Georgia may be more damaging to international stability than anything that has occurred since 1939.
The objectives of the Russians remain as we reported last week: (1) Deposing President Saakashvili; (2) Destroying Georgia's economy and infrastructure, and (3) Monopolizing Caspian energy supply. [snip]
"At stake is what kind of role Russia will play in the new international system. Putin is putting Russia on a course that is ominously similar to Stalin's and Hitler's in the 1930s...It is important that Russia be stopped now by mobilizing a concerted, global effort to oppose and condemn the Russian invasion. "The U.N. Security Council is as helpless as when confronted with Iranian defiance of its Resolutions. Faced with a Russian veto, the Council is still "discussing" the situation.
If NATO can not reverse its current malaise and restore itself as an alliance in which political reach is matched by military muscle, it will become as ineffectual as the European Union in international crises. [snip]
"Tanks once again decide what happens. 'Soft power,' on which so many hopes had been pinned, has just been exposed as irrelevant...The decision on whether to confront Russia is an enormously tough one. But that decision will have to be made. Europe's holiday from serious geopolitics is over."
[Highly Recommended > ]
Berlin - Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright has blasted the United State's handling of the Georgia crisis, saying her first move would have been to travel to Russia for talks.
In an interview with the online service of German news weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday, Albright said she would have criticized the Russian military invasion of Georgia and its recognition of two Georgian provinces - but reassured Moscow over its security fears...
[they just can't help themselves - and abroad no less]
As the estimated cost of measures proposed by politicians to "combat global warming" soars ever higher – such as the International Energy Council's $45 trillion [that's a 'T', folks] – "fighting climate change" has become the single most expensive [i.e., profitable] item on the world's political agenda.
As Senators Obama and McCain vie with the leaders of the European Union to promise 50, 60, even 80 per cent cuts in "carbon emissions", it is clear that to realise even half their imaginary targets would necessitate a dramatic change in how we all live, and a drastic reduction in living standards.
All this makes it important to know just why our politicians have come to believe that global warming is the most serious challenge confronting mankind, and just how reliable is the evidence for the theory on which their policies are based... [snip]
This wholly repudiates the IPCC process, showing how its computer models are hopelessly biased, based on unreliable data and programmed to ignore many of the genuine drivers of climate change, from variations in solar activity to those cyclical shifts in ocean currents.
As it was put by Roger Cohen, a senior US physicist formerly involved with the IPCC process, who long accepted its orthodoxy:
"I was appalled at how flimsy the case is. I was also appalled at the behaviour of many of those who helped produce the IPCC reports and by many of those who promote it.
"In particular I am referring to the arrogance, the activities aimed at shutting down debate; the outright fabrications; the mindless defence of bogus science; and the politicisation of the IPCC process and the science process itself."
Yet it is at just this moment, when the IPCC's house of cards is crumbling, that the politicians of the Western world are using it to propose steps that can only damage our way of life beyond recognition.
It really is time for that "counter-consensus" to be taken seriously.
[but it's up to us little people - there's too much money to be made for anyone else to derail this scam. Have children? Then I mean you...
Excellent short-ish summary, MUST READ > ]
A Sri Lankan port being built by China points to Beijing's jockeying with India for regional influence.
... These tankers provide 80% of China's oil and 65% of India's -- fuel desperately needed for the two countries' rapidly growing economies. Japan is almost totally dependent on energy supplies shipped through the Indian Ocean.
For decades the world relied on the U.S. Navy to protect this sea lane. But as India and China gain economic heft, they are moving to expand their control of the waterway, sparking a new, and potentially dangerous, rivalry between Asia's emerging giants.
The Chinese insist the Hambantota port is a purely commercial move, and by all appearances, it is. But some in India see ominous designs behind the project, while others in countries surrounding India like the idea. A 2004 Pentagon report called Beijing's effort to expand its presence in the region China's "string of pearls."
"Each pearl in the string is a link in a chain of the Chinese maritime presence," India's navy chief, Adm. Sureesh Mehta, said in a speech in January, expressing concern that naval forces operating out of ports established by the Chinese could "take control over the world energy jugular."
[in today's world, energy is power - we're the only major nation ignoring that]
This is not an angry book. It is not even an anti-immigrant book. It is instead a book that coldly looks at how this nation's current immigration policy affects every sector, from health care and education to national security.
The book has its share of statistics. One of them ought to shock even those who think they know everything about immigration. Krikorian writes, "Fully one-third of all the people ever to move to the United States, starting from the first Siberian to cross the Bering land bridge in search of game, have arrived since 1965."
His book is a record of how this mass immigration policy began and what it has produced. He details the impact on the public education system, showing that nearly all of the the more recent increases in enrollment are traceable to immigration.
He demonstrates the impact on health care, that about one-quarter of the uninsured in America are immigrants or their children. Because U.S. law mandates that no emergency room may turn away a needy patient, such rooms are closing at an alarming rate. In Los Angeles alone, some 60 hospitals have closed their emergency rooms in the last decade.
The problems posed by current immigration policy — or the lack of it — cannot forever be ignored. When, not if, the issue resurfaces and the debate resumes, Krikorian's book will be the starting place for serious-minded Americans concerned for their country's future.
Mark Krikorian, "The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal"
Earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported that the top dogs at Ford, GM and Chrysler had a meeting of the minds and decided that the way out of their current losing streak would be to ask the feds for a lifeline.
Detroit's political calculation is plain: Having seen the way Washington has bowed to rescue the mortgage industry and Wall Street, why shouldn't auto makers give it a try? Michigan is up for grabs in the election, so now is the time to strike with a goal of getting the Bush Administration and both Presidential candidates to agree.
Regardless of where and why these federal bailouts started, American taxpayers can't save everyone. The only way to stop this parade of supplicants is to start saying no -- and Detroit is as good a place as any, says the Journal.
[if they do go through with it and use our money to save them, can we not then insist on the disbandment of labor unions (chief contributor to Detroit's uncompetitiveness) as a condition of our 'loan'?]
Tijuana, Mexico –Drug traffickers are abducting U.S. citizens and holding them for ransom as a way to get funds now that Mexico is cracking down on drug gangs in the Tijuana area, authorities say.
Mexican intelligence officials say about 30 Americans have been abducted from southern California and taken to Tijuana since November...
[evidently not 'news worthy'...]
f Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were president of the United States, would Iran try to build a nuclear bomb? Would Pakistan provide covert aid to al-Qaeda? Would Hugo Chavez train terrorists in Venezuela? Would leftover nationalities with delusions of grandeur provoke the great powers?
[A: yes. Putin would have as difficult a time dealing with congress and our press as Bush has. People need remember: in Russia, he controls both ...]
Tasting GOP Blood
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says that, if elected, an Obama administration might pursue criminal charges against the Bush White House. This is how he plans to unite the country? Barack Obama insists he's the one we've been waiting for to bring the country together.
Yet, he and Biden are signaling their willingness — or is it their eagerness? — to criminalize political opposition.
July factory orders stronger than expected
WASHINGTON - New orders at U.S. factories jumped by a bigger-than-expected 1.3 percent in July, helped by a rise in transportation orders, a Commerce Department report showed on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting factory orders to gain 1 percent in the month. June's increase was revised up to a 2.1 percent gain from 1.7 percent.
Factory orders have risen for five months in a row.
Republicans Protest NBC News
About a year into MSNBC's strategy of refashioning itself into the network for Bush haters, some consequences are starting to emerge for the cable channel and its corporate parent NBC.
Internally, the lurch to the left has resulted in numerous outbreaks of hostility [among MS/NBC members] as the remains of the old guard fight to protect themselves and the token conservatives find themselves increasingly marginalized.
[yeah yeah - but check out the signs...