Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Tale Of Two Parties

In case any of you were in any suspense about the impact of one Cindy Sheehan, you needn't have bothered:

"Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan's Bush-bashing protest has apparently backfired, with a slight plurality of Americans saying her antics have actually made them more likely to support the Iraq war, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday.

Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said Sheehan has had no impact on how they view the Iraq war. 10% say the [acid]-tongued Californian, who blames Israel for terrorism and said she wants to curse out the President to his face, has actually made them more pro-war. A slightly smaller number, 9%, said Sheehan's protest helped turn them against U.S. efforts in Iraq, for a net pick-up of support for the Iraq war of one percent.
Is there an angle the anti-American Left hasn't tried? If any were going to gain traction, you would have thought the "grieving soldier's mother" would have been their best bet. But as always happens with the Bushophobes, her virulent hatred of the President carried Cindy away into the fetid mists of Moore-ony, and took her always-shaky claim to "moral authority" with it.

As usual, the intelligent criticism of the Bush Administration's GWOT policy comes not from the Left, but the Right. And on NRO today, Andrew McCarthy penned as succinct a summation as I have yet seen (or penned myself):

Why are the polls down? Is public support for the war crumbling? Well, no. But the explanation for plummeting numbers varies depending on which war you are talking about.

If you mean what started out as the "war on terror," support remains high. You may recall that war. It was about the eradication of militant Islam and its state sponsors. To the extent there is public uneasiness, it is not over the fact of that war but rather the manner in which it is being prosecuted, with terrorists continuing to score successes and their facilitators in Iran and Syria making war on American forces with impunity.

But if you're talking about what the "war on terror" has lately evolved into — namely, the war to spread freedom — public support cannot fairly be described as "crumbling." Public support for that war was never there in the first place. [emphases added]
This is an oft-covered pet peeve of mine, which I have been carrying on about for the past two years. It boils down to this: liberating Afghanistan and Iraq is not enough; there are two (or, depending upon how you look at the Saudis, three...) terror regimes still standing: Iran and Syria. The GWOT cannot be won, and Iraqi democracy cannot be assured of surviving and thriving, until the governments in Tehran and Damascus are overthrown and replaced with friendly regimes that will, at minimum, no longer be in the terrorism business.

However, the Bush Administration didn't see it that way. Rather, they tried to liberate four countries with two invasions. By establishing freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, their example would send "ripples" across the region, undermine the remaining enemy states, and the remaining Arab Crescent would be cleared without firing a shot. Call it "democratization on the cheap."

This gamble was a lot like heaving up a half-court shot in a basketball game: if it goes in, it's a spectacular success that brings the house down, but if it misses - as is far more likely - the crowd scatches its collective head and asks, "What the hell was that?" And if the shooter is on the home team, some will starting booing - not because they don't want their team to win, but because they see their team making mistakes that could cost them the game.

McCarthy powerfully retraces the steps that the Bush White House took after the Afghan campaign was quickly won and shows how the original war rationale - eliminating the terrorists and the their Middle East state sponsors - was subordinated to one - "disarming" Saddam Hussein - that was thought (mistakenly) to be more palatable to the UN, whose support and approval Dubya mistakenly sought instead of just bypassing it, as he did in Afghanistan and ultimately ended up doing in Iraq. This set a self-fulfilling trap by providing Saddam six months in which to spirit his WMD arsenal out of the country, leaving little tangible (i.e. easily photographed, and therefore easily grasped by the masses) evidence of Operation Iraqi Freedom's core justification.

Yes, we had to put something better in the place of the Ba'athists, which is why a majority of Americans still oppose cutting and running before the "insurgency" is crushed. And it is being crushed, as al Qaeda is smashing itself to pieces against Coalition forces. But there is no plan beyond that; no talk of the next military campaign, which has to take place if the GWOT is ultimately to be won. No talk of why that military campaign is imperative and inevitable if our enemies are to be defeated and our national security preserved. And not even the slightest peep about Saddam Hussein's own extensive connections to and support of the whole gamut of Islamist terror organizations, including al Qaeda.

In short, the Bushies have not "bungled" the war itself, in Iraq or anyplace else; what they have bungled is the selling of a war that could still be almost selling itself. We've gone from destroying our enemies to "disarming" them to "spreading freedom," each mission redefinition moving farther and farther away from the reality of total war while that reality itself hasn't changed one iota.

McCarthy puts it thusly:

Vanquishing jihadists and their facilitators is something Americans now connect instinctively to their security. It will always have their strong support and never be thought a lost cause. But as long as the war on terror is portrayed as an airy and potentially limitless campaign to spread freedom, the public will not ardently support it.

Seen in a domestic political context, Republicans will still retain the decisive edge on national security by default as long as people like Cindy Sheehan maintain their grip on the Democrat Party. But if that should somehow change, either genuinely or in a Clintonian "triangulation" scam, the GOP could be in some serious doo-doo in 2006 and 2008.

One could almost say it's a race between the two parties as to which wants to win the next election(s) the least. Tony Blankley calls it a "synchronized funk":

Republican operatives do not currently anticipate the 2006 election to be a good time for Republican challengers. As a result, as Bob Novak and others have pointed out, it is hard to get the best Republican hopeful candidates to risk taking on even weak Democratic incumbents in the next election.

Meanwhile, Republican incumbent congressmen and senators are sending signals not to expect many heroic legislative efforts from them before the election - which is still 15 months away. Social Security, of course, is off the Republican legislative agenda. But so, too, will be other smaller legislative efforts that might upset even small groups of voters.

Yes, the GOP's congenital timidity. Something I got sick of lamenting and lambasting years ago. Which is another way of saying, "Don't get me started...."

But here, as on the war, the President's indifference to public relations is hurting him and his party's '06 chances - in addition to the active damage he's doing with his tone-deafness on illegal immigration:

Compounding the problem is President Bush's insistence on pushing for his guest-worker legislation this fall. Unless he agrees to a full, really-secure-the-border-first-before- addressing-guest-worker plan - this is both political and legislative terrible news waiting to happen. If the Republicans go along with him, they further alienate the growing part of the public for whom secure borders is becoming the single issue on which they will vote. If they oppose the President, they further weaken their own party's is the lesser of dangers to oppose their president on a vastly unpopular (and unwise) policy. Insecure borders and immigration looks to be shaping up as the tax increase tar baby of 2006.
And yet, for all of that, the Democrats keep removing themselves farther and farther from national electoral viability because, "[their] Party has been all but possessed by their lunatic,, Howard Dean, anti-war, anti religion, anti-pickup truck, anti-normal, activist wing - and they know it....Once the loons get a hold of a party, it is the devil's own time unprying their maniacal grip from a party's throat. Thus, currently, the normal Democratic senators and congressmen know that, to placate their loony Left, they will have to pronounce various foolish and irresponsible things about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and the Iraq War."

TB even suggests that Hillary may fall victim to this insanity, though I for one will believe that only when I see it.

But next year she'll only be on the ballot in New York, and in the meantime the Donks will be tearing themselves apart on the war, and further burying themselves on the matter of central cultural concern to the red states they have to turn blue:

The Pew Research Center has published an interesting survey on the political parties and religion. The finding that is getting the most press is that only 29% of respondents view the Democrats as religion-friendly, down from 40% just a year ago....

[Furthermore, t]he public is equally divided on the question whether conservative Christians "have gone too far in trying to impose their religious values on the country." But in answer to the slightly more specifically worded question whether liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of schools and government, 67% answer "yes," and only 28% "no." This amounts to a national consensus.

It is noteworthy, too, that the numbers are even more stark among black respondents: 75% think liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of schools and government.

These numbers have to be very troubling to the Democrats, but, given the centrality of these issues to the party's activists and donor base, it's hard to see the Democrats making much of a change. [emphases added]

The White House GWOT policy is adrift, the President is stubbornly out to lunch on immigration, and he is as unwilling to sell his Administration's accomplishments as he is apparently incapable; and congressional 'Pubbies are hiding under their desks. The GOP is all but begging to be removed from power next November.

But Democrats are doing all too good a job of selling themselves as a party that no reasonable voter can possibly take a chance on.

It would seem that Republicans are fated to be the nation's caretakers until such time as the Democrats collectively recover their marbles. And as we've already learned, there is a vast difference between ruling and just taking up space.

But even the latter still beats raving moonbattery.

"Tomorrow's Flood-Aid Blogburst"

"And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?"

The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."

-Matthew 25:38-40

Here's the deal, straight from Instapundit's mouth:

I'd like each blogger participating to put up a post recommending a charity, or other action to help, and linking back to this post where I'll keep a comprehensive list of both bloggers and charities. Basically, a Carnival of Hurricane Relief. That way readers of any blog will have ready access to recommendations on all the blogs.

So it was said, so shall it be.

We've selected Samaritan's Purse, "a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ."

Guess this constitutes a sneak-preview....

Looters, Physical & Spiritual

These two Hurricane Katrina aftermath stories run neck and neck for the bottom of the loathsomeness barrel:

Children's Hospital Under Siege

Late Tuesday, Governor Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher described a disturbing scene unfolding in uptown New Orleans, where looters were trying to break into Children's Hospital.

Bottcher said the director of the hospital fears for the safety of the staff and the 100 kids inside the hospital. The director said the hospital is locked, but that the looters were trying to break in and had gathered outside the facility.

The director has sought help from the police, but, due to rising flood waters, police have not been able to respond.

Bottcher said Blanco has been told of the situation and has informed the National Guard. However, Bottcher said, the National Guard has also been unable to respond. [emphasis added]

What the bloody hell is there of any value that could be stolen from a children's hospital? With all due respect to Glenn Reynolds, these are the looters who should be shot - or at least be at the front of the line for the firing squad.

Speaking of shooting (of the "off her mouth" variety)....

Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego , so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana , Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.

And a double-extended-middle-finger-salute to you too, Cindy. Are you going to protest Children's Hospital on your way to D.C.?

[HT: Double H]

UPDATE: This story reminds me of something that Dwight Eisenhower said when he inspected the first liberated German concentration camp: "They've made me ashamed my name is Eisenhower."

Environmental Minister Juergen Tritten doesn't represent all Germans (and soon won't be in office at all), but he has done much to make me less enthusiastic about my ethnic heritage.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin notes the same old crapola coming from the usual gang of idiots:

Meanwhile, over at the Daily Kos, one diarist and some of his commenters are going absolutely insane with their Bush hatred and blaming him for wanting to kill off black residents of New Orleans.
I offer my comments in this post as a most appropriate rebuttal.

UPDATE III: This is a better one:

The Pentagon late Tuesday ordered five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations as worsening conditions overwhelmed the initial response.

The New York Times plans to report later tonight: One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used
for search and rescue missions.

The ships will carry food, fuel, medical and construction supplies, as well as hovercraft that can be used for evacuation and search-and-rescue missions.

The Navy was also considering sending the hospital ship Comfort.

Bill Clinton was all lip-quivering and no action; George W. Bush is all action and no lip-quivering. For all that the latter hurts himself by his neglect of public relations, which combination is going to do more for the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama?

UPDATE IV: Rush Limbaugh suggests what else the President could do, which amounts to little short of finally dislodging the entrenched greenstremist regulatory hegemony inside and outside the Beltway that is trying to, in the late Bill Simon's words, "shut down the dynamo":

What is the major problem facing America today? We've had - what is it? - 85 or 90% of the oil production in the Gulf shut down. We've got refineries down there that are flooded, not going to be able to work....The President is considering making a speech on conserving energy, conserving fuel use. The President has made the decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which I think - well, I disagree with it. I don't think it's time to do that. I don't think it's necessary. We don't have a shortage here. We have a distribution problem we have to deal with. We've got refineries down; we've got production down in the Gulf, and who knows how long it's going to be down. Hopefully they will be up much sooner than a lot of people think. But for the solution to come from an expert author, saying the only way to fix this is to get off of fossil fuels?

Folks, do you realize the golden opportunity that is presented by this? You know what the President could do? The President, instead of releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he could by executive order, eliminate all gasoline taxes for a short period of time, a temporary period of time. He could, by executive order, eliminate, temporarily eliminate, all of these different regulations on the formation of gasoline that cause all kinds of distribution problems, even in normal times - and he could illustrate that one of the real problems we have here is brought on by militant environmentalists.
Heck, why not? (1) It would do immense good for energy supply and prices in both the short- and long-term; (2) it would expose to full public view the true crypto-Marxist motivations of the greenstremist movement; and (3) it would boost the President's visibility as being "engaged" and "on the job" in meeting this crisis head-on, and throw the watermelon brigade (green on the outside, red on the inside) on the defensive for a long-overdue change.

I mean, seriously, people in the affected areas on the Gulf Coast don't give a rat's ass about caribou and otters and ducks; you stop caring about such things when you have no place to sleep, no clean water to drink, no food to eat, and no electricity by which to attain the preceding. Let the greenies stand in the way of restoring a basic level of living in the face of the Administration trying to carry out that restoration, and who is going to look worse? Really, what are GDub's enemies going to say? The tired old "Bush is throwing more boodle to his Big Oil buddies" twaddle? More Halliburton doggerell? God Almighty, scroll back up to see what they're saying about him already. What in the frakking world would he have to lose?

NRO's the Corner is all atwitter this afternoon with mass pannings of the President's speech on disaster relief this morning. In classic Republican fashion they're panicking that he'll be perceived as "being out of touch" by "not doing enough fast enough." And, without coming right out and saying so, because he hasn't gone down to New Orleans and thrown a few symbolic sandbags and engaged in, you guessed it, lip-quivering.

Let him take Limbaugh's advice, and I will guarantee that spin of Bush's supposed "inaction" would vanish like a belch in a hurr....well, it would vanish, anyway. And Dubya could be a national hero once again.

The Left is trying to extract political gain from Hurricane Katrina. If the Right can do that by augmenting and accelerating the Gulf Coast's recovery as well as doing something about high energy prices, what is Dubya waiting for?

Logic Has Nothing To Do With It

Here's another logical deconstruction of the Democrats' non-existent substantive case against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts:

The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have requested all documents relating to the role that John Roberts played in 16 cases before the Supreme Court during his tenure as deputy solicitor general from 1989-93.

And, perhaps a bit surprisingly, they aren't gonna get them. But if they did, here is the jist of what they'd find:

*Roberts was not even listed on the solicitor general's brief in 3 of the 16, which indicates that he is unlikely to have played much of a role....

*Of the 13 remaining cases, the position for which Roberts argued was adopted by the Court in 9 of them. This means, among other things, that not only did Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas vote for Roberts' position, but also the following justices: Kennedy, White, Souter, and, of course, the sainted Justice O'Connor....

*That leaves only four cases in which Roberts did not win. In two of them, Justice O'Connor — the Democrats' gold standard for an acceptable Republican justice — agreed with Roberts. In one of those two, the government actually got some of what it asked for, and lost the rest by only 5-4. In the other, also a 5-4 decision, not only did Justice O'Connor agree with Roberts, but so did the other swing justice, Anthony Kennedy; furthermore, in that case the Court reversed itself five years later and adopted the Roberts position....
Of the remaining two....

*One of the cases presented the rather technical question whether a damages remedy is available for a claim under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Roberts lost here, to be sure, but he may have had only limited choice in the position he took....

*The [other case] was whether a school principal could invite a rabbi to give a nonsectarian invocation at a graduation ceremony. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that this was an unconstitutional establishment of religion; while neither O'Connor nor Kennedy agreed with Roberts, he did get the vote of Justice Byron White, a Democrat who had been appointed to the Court by John Kennedy.

Hard to argue convincingly that any of the above puts Judge Roberts "outside the mainstream," even if his professional qualifications weren't exemplary. Which is why we're still getting, and will continue to see, crap like this.

Also this from the Congressional Black Caucus. But you have to love how Gerard Bradley turns around their "Roberts is unqualified because he didn't grow up in an African village" canard:

A bigger problem, though, is members of Congress whose "only knowledge" of Northern Indiana seems to be gleaned from Norman Rockwell paintings and from Knute Rockne: All American....

None of the Black Caucus members actually live in northern Indiana, as I do. Maybe some have driven through on the highway. If so, they might have noticed that a short drive past LaLumiere — Roberts's high school — is Gary, Indiana, where, even in Roberts's youth, lots of black folks dwelled. And not just Michael Jackson, who has been on the Six O'Clock News quite a bit lately.

And still Roberts will be filibustered, whether over too much disclosure or too little, his ultimate confirmation hanging on the loose thread of Senate Republican resolve.

GB also adds a bigger picture take that doesn't lean toward the side of the optimistic:

[I]f John Roberts does sail through it will most likely be because the liberals conceded the battle in order to win the war. They will have successfully used Roberts to define conservatism down. They will have made the strategic choice to christen him by their votes as an "acceptable" or "mainstream" or "moderate" conservative, much like they now say O'Connor was. The thing is, they will have also used Roberts to marginalize those "extreme" conservatives — Bork, Scalia, Thomas, and the other nuts enamored of what they (the liberals) call "the Constitution in exile." [emphasis added]
An intriguing possibility. But still highly unlikely. I could see the Clintons calculating this strategically, but the Democrat Party of 2005 is incapable of not thinking with its glands and leading with its angry, petulant prejudices. They'll never deem John Roberts "the best we can do"; they'll never accept John Roberts at all. They absolutely insist that George Bush pick the judges John Kerry would have and won't stand for anything less. And they've got their elected officeholders by the financial shorthairs.

It may be an exercise in futility, but there's no such thing in the mind of a True Believer - no matter how many times he head-butts the brick wall.

And The Beat Goes On

Just when you think you've heard it all, here comes RFK, Jr. with his take on Katrina. Of course, it's Bush's fault, with Barbour at his side.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is blaming Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, along with President Bush, for causing Hurricane Katrina.

"As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, it’s worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2," Kennedy blogged Tuesday on

You know, I'd love to see these people be honest, just one time. I'm beginning to think the Democrats are completely incapable of honest discussion. Everything is political, everything is power. Kennedy knows as well as most other people that Bush had nothing to do with Katrina, that there is nothing that would have stopped it, that global warming has nothing to do with it. No matter. He sees an opportunity for some political points, and he's going for it, character and truth be damned.

The influential Democrat's enviro-conspiracy theory had the sinister Gov. Barbour engineering Bush's energy policy on behalf of "the president’s major donors from the fossil fuel industry."

Ah, there it is. The official moonbat line. Still wondering where the Democrats get their marching orders?

Kennedy charges that in March 2001, the former Republican National Committee chairman issued "an urgent memo to the White House" on CO2 emissions.

Care to produce the memo? We're just supposed to take a partisan hack's word for it? Not likely.

Because of Bush and Barbour's CO2 folly, said Kennedy: "Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged."

Did you catch that? Katrina is Bush and Barbour's fault, period. This kind of stuff belongs at the Democratic Underground or Daily Kos, not out of the mouth of a "prominent Democrat." And these guys want the reigns of power to the country? Thankfully, a majority of Americans understand how devastating that would be to America.

RFK, Jr. even suggested that Katrina's last minute detour through Mississippi was a bit of Divine payback, declaring:

"Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast."

Imagine, if you will, the firestorm that would have ensued if a Republican, or a prominent evangelical Christian, had even hinted that Katrina's path was directed by God as payback for a memo. Just imagine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pray For New Orleans

There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

-Luke 21:25-26

Wizbang dispenses with sugarcoating and tells it to us straight. The Big Easy hasn't been scraped off the face of the Earth, but most of it has been rendered uninhabitable. To even begin rebuilding - if they even bother to rebuild in such a vulnerable area, as Hurricane Katrina just exposed - will take not weeks, but months.

You want to know how bad it is? Just watch this interview of Mayor C. Ray Nagin recounting the damage assessment given to him by FEMA. Look at his face, his demeanor. Can you blame him? I've just spent the past hour watching one video after another of the devastation, and sitting 2,500 miles away it's overwhelming. I can't begin to fathom what he and his city's residents must be feeling right now, and wouldn't feign the conceit that I could.

Michelle Malkin, as usual, is Grand Link Central. And Hugh Hewitt, as usual, is mobilizing the blogosphere for relief efforts.

See the Hurricane Katrina Help Wiki for comprehensive links/info on relief/aid agencies, fundraising events, helpline numbers, missing persons info, and breaking news.

UPDATE: Statement from the RNC:

Hurricane Katrina has passed and now the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama must begin the process of rebuilding. Our thoughts are with those who were affected by this powerful storm. During times like these, there is no room for politics and partisanship. This is a time when we all come together to help our neighbors.

Due to the size of this storm and the area of impact, the cost for recovery will be staggering. For that reason, we are asking you, our supporters, to make a donation to hurricane relief efforts. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army provide shelter, food, water, blankets and clothing to those who have lost everything.

It'd be nice if Ken Mehlman's "no room for politics and partisanship" sentiment was mutual on the other side of the aisle, but we know better than that.

ONE MORE UPDATE: Red State elaborates on this thought:

We interrupt your previously scheduled shrieking of "Blame Chimpy McBushitlerCo!" and "We can blame this all on global warming!" to bring you this much-needed dose of reality:

We don't want to ruin your little view of the world, but America's corporate giants are stepping up in a big way to help those in need.

Just a quick summary:

Ford Motor Company is allowing customers affected by the Katrina to defer payments for the next two months, penalty free.

For those with two and four-legged friends, Petco is holding a national fundraiser through their stores, asking customers to "round up" their purchase to help those critters in need.

Anheuser-Busch is sending more than three hundred thousand cans of clean drinking water.

Lowe's is not only matching customer donations to the American Red Cross up to $1 million, they're on the case with trucks and supplies.

The company that the Left loves to hate is taking the lead. Wal*Mart 1) already gave $1 million to the Salvation Army, 2) is using all 3,800 stores to raise money, 3) is sending trucks and trucks of supplies (many of which they don't even account for) as we speak, and 4) have already gotten a store in Kenner, LA open for supplies.

And many more to come… Right now, in conference rooms and offices across the country, executives are meeting not to discuss whether or not to help - but how much to help, and how to effectively help those in need.

You tell me which is "the reality-based community" - to say nothing of the fount of genuine compassion.

[HT: George Meredith]

"Aim High" No More

The paganizing of the U.S. Air Force Academy continues apace:
The Air Force released new guidelines for religious tolerance Monday that discourage public prayer at official functions and urge commanders to be sensitive about personal expressions of religious faith.

The document directs chaplains to "respect the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, including the right to hold no beliefs."

In short, evangelical Christians are to be, without coming out and saying so, muzzled. Certainly "strongly encouraged" to keep their faith "in the closet".
The guidelines do not ban public prayer outright and say short, nonsectarian prayers may be included in special ceremonies or events, but only to "lend a sense of solemnity" and not to promote specific beliefs. [emphasis added]
Define "promote". Something tells me it's interpreted in a verrrry broad sense. Also sounds like prayer without praying.

Either way, don't try to tell me that this will placate the godless zealots (see below).
Nor do they bar personal discussions of religion, including discussions between commanders and subordinates.

Which, of course, is what genuine "proselytizing" really is. But then again, where is the line between "personal" and "official" to be drawn? Will there even be any room for the former?
They caution Air Force members "to be sensitive to the potential that personal expressions may appear to be official expressions."
Another way of saying that is "the Big Chill." The practical effect will be to "officially" intimidate believers into erring on the side of caution by not making any "expressions" at all.
The guidelines state that members of the Air Force "will not officially endorse or establish religion, either one specific religion, or the idea of religion over nonreligion."

"Members of the Air Force" cannot "endorse or establish [a] religion." Only Congress can, and it is that, and that only, that Amendment I prohibits. And certainly the Establishment Clause does not demand government neutrality between "religion and [ir]religion." Particularly when the practical effect of such a policy is to repress religious liberties on behalf of tender atheistic "sensibilities".
They also say that "abuse or disrespect" of Air Force members based on their religious beliefs, or lack of such beliefs, is unacceptable.

Given that the Great Commission has already been equated to "anti-Semitism" (see below), haven't evangelical cadets already been "abused and disrespected"?

Just look at some of the public reactions:
The guidelines, which apply to the entire Air Force, were drawn up after allegations that evangelical Christians wield so much influence at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive. [emphasis added]

Quite a deference paid to these "allegations," huh? So much so that the Air Force is dignifying a detestable smear.

Suppose that the targets of these "guidelines" "allege" that the "guidelines" constitute religious harassment and an unconstitutional infringement upon their right to religious expression. Think the Air Force would pull a hamstring backpedaling in the other direction?

Hardly. And this is probably just the beginning.
Rob Boston, spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, welcomed the guidelines, saying they make it clear that chaplains "are not supposed to be proselytizing on the government dime."
Bull, Robbie. Proselytizing is a key part of what clergymen (as well as laity) are supposed to do. Maybe if you understood that process a little bit better, you wouldn't be so paranoid about it.

Note his own "allegation":
"This has been a consistent problem. We've had complaints since the Gulf War," he said. An April 28 report by Boston's group said the academy forced cadets to pray at certain functions and urged cadets to evangelize.

Christ-haters are good at complaining. Also spouting nonsense. It isn't possible to "force" a person to pray. Prayer is spiritual communion and communication with "the invisible God." If said person is agnostic or atheist, no true prayer can take place because no such spiritual relationship exists.

Most likely this was a reference to a non-sectarian recitation not unlike the one that the Supreme Court banned at Madeliene Murray O'Haire's behest back in 1963 - or the ones the "guidelines" nominally allow. That it aggravated Robbie so much is an indication not of "overzealousness" on the part of evangelicals but his own Christophobic intolerance. Which ought to tell you that these "guidelines" are in for some near-term tightening.

But he's not the biggest Devil's Advocate:
Mikey Weinstein, an academy graduate and persistent critic of the school's handling of religion, criticized the new guidelines, saying they fail to control "evangelical zealots." He said the guidelines are "dead on arrival" and said he is contemplating a lawsuit to block them.

"The Air Force's official policy remains that the Air Force reserves the right to evangelize anyone in the Air Force that it determines to be unchurched," Weinstein said in an interview from his home in Albuquerque, NM. [emphasis added]

That's right, the Air Force is bending over and grabbing the ankles for people like "Mikey," yet he still isn't satisfied. His problem appears to be that evangelicals are even allowed into the Air Force Academy at all. His real demand, properly understood, is that they be forced into practical atheism or be expelled outright. And to get 100% of what he wants he's willing to obstruct the 80% the USAF is offering.

Well, Mikey, by all means, sue. Block this official persecution of the brethren. Do our bidding and overreach on your own bigoted ends in the process.

Or, to borrow a Shakespearean adage, "Whom gods destroy they first make mad."

The biblical version is, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling."

You'll be in our prayers.

I hope you're within earshot when it happens.

Allen-Warner Deferred For Two Years?

It has been practically an article of faith in Virginia that outgoing Donk governor Mark Warner would be challenging the state's junior U.S. Senator, George Allen, for the latter's seat in 2006. The thinking was that this clash of the Old Dominion titans would be the proving ground and launching pad for a presidential bid for the winner in 2008.

Apparently Governor Warner didn't share that thinking, or maybe didn't fancy being known as "the OTHER Senator Warner," because he has announced that he's skipping a senate bid to go straight for the White House gusto:

Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner (D) plans to announce Tuesday that he will not challenge Sen. George Allen (R-VA) next year, leaving the popular Democrat free to explore a presidential bid, several close associates said Monday.

Warner, who leaves office in January, will announce his decision on his monthly radio show on WTOP, said Virginia Democratic Party Chairman C. Richard Cranwell, a Warner confidant.

"He is not going to run for the Senate," Cranwell said. "He really wants to finish out his term strong. He doesn't want anything to distract from that."

A senior political aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because Warner wants to make his own announcement said: "He is not going to run. He is going to announce it tomorrow."

The boon this development is to Senator Allen is the more obvious. Now he won't have to spend a fortune in financial and political capital that a knock-down drag-out with Governor Warner would have required. He can coast to a second senate term, continue cultivating a "positive" public image, and become the serious (as opposed to faddish media favs like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain) frontrunner for the 2008 Republican nomination.

I would have thought that Warner had more to gain from challenging Allen than ducking him. Sure, if he lost his presidential ambitions would be moot, but if he was victorious he'd add to his track record as a winner (and in a "red" state to boot) and gain added national attention by being in the Senate. In essence, he would become the Democrat version of what Senator Allen is now - a popular senator and former governor from Virginia.

However, Cap'n Ed suggests a big, fat, hurking fly in that ointment - Hillary Clinton:

Warner - even if he were to beat Allen - could only hope for a #2 position against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. In order to beat Allen, he would have to campaign to the left as a serious alternative to Allen and his center-right politics. That would put Warner on the left of Hillary for the primary campaigns, which might garner him some support but likely would cost him more in the end. Hillary will win the Left, anyway, based on her pre-Senate history. She has vulnerabilities from the DLC center even though she mostly espouses their positions now, but Warner could not hope to carry that banner less than two years removed from the kind of campaign he would have to wage against Allen to convince Virginians to change horses.

I don't buy the notion that Warner would have had to run against Allen by tacking hard Left. That's not how he ran when he won the Virginia governorship four years ago. You might argue that not doing so would hurt his fundraising, but I can't believe the DSCC wouldn't have made that race a top priority, or that Dem rank & file would have failed to recognize the value of running a perceived moderate in a heavily "red" state.

Meanwhile, ducking George Allen and not going to the senate is going to deny the one thing that Governor Warner will need to go with his centrist credentials: public notoriety. The '08 Dem primaries will not be a truly "open" nominating process because Mrs. Clinton will come into them as almost a de facto incumbent. Without her as the blue whale in the swimming pool, Warner could have made a run to the nomination similar to the one her husband made back in 1992. As it is, he'll be paved over by the Clinton machine with narry a backwards glance.

And for those who suggest, as Mr. Morrissey also does, that Warner is really running for veep, he's got two other handicaps working against him: a dearth of skin pigmentation and a name that doesn't rhyme with "Garak Lobama."

It is ironically to the Democrats' long-term loss. A Warner candidacy (and presidency) could have been a chance for that party to wipe the slate clean, start fresh, and leave both the Clinton kleptocracy and Sorosian/Moore-on/Cindy Sheehan insanity in the rear-view mirror. Or, in other words, what the Clinton ascendency advertised. As it is, Hillary will win the Donk nomination, probably the '08 election, but the Democrats will remain mired in permanent minority status.

And maybe, just maybe, a George Allen-Condi Rice ticket will prevent that unhappy historical detour from repeating itself.

If so, we may well have Mark Warner to thank for it.

John Roberts, McCarthyized

"John Roberts takes off his pants every day. Do you believe in an America full of male flashers?"

"John Roberts occasionally blows his nose. Do you believe in an America awash in mucous?"

"John Roberts sometimes discretely scratches himself. Do you believe in an America where all citizens must undergo regular anal intrusion?"

"In 1991, John Roberts argued for public school-sponsored prayer at graduations, claiming that ceremonies shouldn’t be considered mandatory. Do you believe in an America where Christian students in Dearborn could be forced to read from the Koran, Muslim students in Brooklyn could be forced to pray from the Torah, or Jewish students in Utah could be forced to recite Mormon prayers?"

Question: which is the copy of the new anti-John Roberts ad?

(No fair cheating by following the link....)

[HT: Powerline]

Sharpton Evades Police for 9 Miles

Could there be a more entertaining title than that?

Sadly, the actual story isn't quite that literal, but it still reads like something straight out of the sort of situation comedies that networks don't make anymore:

A driver for "the Revrund" Al Sharpton led Ellis County sheriff's deputies on a nine-mile chase at speeds up to 110 mph before state troopers stopped the car, authorities said.

The driver was rushing Sharpton to the airport after his visit with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Sunday at her camp outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford....

The car ignored deputies' attempts to stop it and continued speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before it was stopped, [Lieutenant Danny] Williams said.

What was Sharpton's infernal hurry?

Calls Monday to Sharpton's spokeswoman were not immediately returned. A spokesman for his attorney, Michael Hardy, referred inquiries to the spokeswoman.

Ah, the perfect circle of evasion. Maybe Revrund Al just didn't want to be recognized, which would be a first. Personally I picture the scene from the Jetsons where George takes his dog, Astro, on this dog-walk treadmill and it gets set on "overdrive" and as he's desperately trying to maintain his footing by running like a maniac he bellows, "Jane, stop this crazy thing!!!"

Dunno if the former Democrat presidential aspirant said that, but the story does add this:

Williams said his officers offered Sharpton and the other, unidentified passengers a ride to a hotel across the highway, but they declined and walked there instead.

Cue laughtrack....

I Love Antonin Scalia

....for lines like this one:

Scalia . . . railed against the principle of the "living Constitution," saying it has led the Senate to try to appoint so-called politically "moderate" judges instead of focusing on professional credentials and ability.

"Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a 'moderate' interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?" he said, to laughter and applause.

Dinna be too sure (based on some of his Reagan-era memos) that good ol' JR won't end up as a "smoother" version of the possible next Chief Justice.

[HT: NRO Bench Memos]

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Wages Of Appeasement

....are death:

Twenty-one people were wounded Sunday, two seriously, in a suicide bombing at a central bus station in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Israeli officials said. ...

Wasn't abandoning Gaza supposed to bring peace?

I have to take issue with Cap'n Ed's conclusion:

The Israelis performed a concrete act of compromise in abandoning the Gaza settlements this week. All they got in return is more attacks. Abbas and the appeasers at State had better start thinking what lesson that will teach the Israelis. They will not allow themselves to get pushed into the Mediterranean just to satisfy the moral relativists in the West, and their patience may soon run out. Binyamin Netanyahu stands ready in the wings to change the entire military strategy of the Israelis regarding the Palestinians. If the US wants to avoid anyone getting pushed into a body of water, then they had better tap Abbas on the shoulder and remind him of the proximity of the Jordan River.

I would have agreed with that before the Gaza pullout. Now I'm not so sure. The momentum behind Palestinian terror and Israeli retreat will not be so easily reversed, or even slowed. Just look at how CNN phrases the story:

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place three days after Israeli troops killed five Palestinians. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has vowed retribution for that incident. ...

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called a "terrorist attack" and called for "calm and restraint in spite of the Israeli provocations, the most recent being the killing of five Palestinians," in a statement carried by Wafa, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority.

The Extreme Media basically regurgitates the Pal press release, deliberately omitting, as Mr. Morrissey points out, that this "Israeli provocation" was "the killing of an Islamic Jihad leader who had orchestrated two suicide bombings of Israeli civilians," and who was (natch) hiding in amongst civilians in order to facilitate just such dishonest propaganda.

The bottom line on all of this is that nobody cares. The whole world is against the Jews, as has been the case for thousands of years, and after initially correcting Bill Clinton's hideously pro-Pal tilt, even George Bush is trodding down the same false "peace" path. And then Ariel Sharon, the King David of modern Israel, knuckled under and as much as publicly blurted, "We are all Shimon Peres clones now!"

And the result? Another suicide bombing, and twenty-one more maimed Israeli civilians.

But that doesn't matter. They're used to that by now. So are we.

Besides, "peace" is worth a little national suicide.


Something For Everyone, But The Sunnis Want It All

This just in...the Iraqis are writing a Constitution, have finished it, and decided to stop letting the recalcitrant Sunni rump faction stall a final vote on it:

Iraqi leaders completed a draft of a permanent constitution Sunday after three months of negotiations that left Sunni Arabs unsatisfied, setting up a potentially divisive nationwide referendum on the document to be held by October 15.

Members of the committee that convened in May to write the document ended their official duties by signing the draft and sending it to the National Assembly, where it was read aloud to members. Some Sunnis, who had unsuccessfully sought the elimination of a clause allowing power to be devolved from the central government to autonomous regions, walked out while the draft was read.

Well wah, wah, wah. The Sunnis could have participated in last January's election of the National Assembly, which would have provided them with representation in this process, but they boycotted that, too. And still the Shia and Kurds offered them a seat at the table, oil revenue concessions, reinstatement the Ba'ath Party (subject to de-Saddamization), and postponement any motions for federalism.

It wasn't enough, apparently, because the Shia and Kurds (GASP!) actually get some goodies as well. The Kurds get local autonomy, and the Shia get a ceremonial declaration of Islam as "the official religion" of the state, which Mark Steyn analogizes to Anglicanism in Great Britain - an observation more apt than it may first appear, since article 151 of the Iraqi constitution stipulates that "No less than 25% of Council of Deputies seats go to women." That's, BTW, 11% better than the U.S. Senate has ever managed. Expect to see feminists start agitating for an even bigger quota here.

Here's something I found particularly amusing in Cap'n Ed's post on this development:

[T]he Guardian reports that the Sunnis have asked other Arab nations to step in and block the draft from going to the voters, along with the UN and other international organizations. That end-run around democracy will not please their fellow Iraqis in the Kurdish and Shi'ite territories. The Kurds especially will resent Arab League interference, especially since they've run their own democracy in the north for over a decade while the Arab League tried to force the Coalition to leave Iraq to Saddam during the entire time since Gulf War I. No one in either group trusts the UN to do anything beneficial for anyone but the Sunni complainers, either, but the likelihood of UN action will remain nil with the US and UK pushing for a vote.

First the Sunnis get overrun in three weeks. Then they wage a terror war to try and drive out Iraq's liberators, and fail miserably. And now they're reduced to whining to their neighbors, who have anything but the Sunnis' interests at heart, and the same international organizations that were only too happy to profit from Saddam's systematic plundering of the Shia and Kurds. My, how the mighty have fallen.

And all the while, Mesopotamian democracy marches on - with or without the Sunnis.

They'd be well advised to grab that metaphorical train pulling out of the station - they're not going to get a better one, and it may be the last one coming through for a long, long time.

Dems Waking Up to The Ultimate Wedge

Don't look now, fellow Pachyderms, but the other side is beginning to pick up on the GOP's biggest political liability:

President Bush should know he's not doing us any favors by offering to enforce the nation's immigration laws. It's already his job. Yet that's the deal in his new guest-worker proposal: Keep the cheap labor flowing to business, and maybe I'll start going after employers who hire illegal aliens.

This mindset is making Americans crazy, and Democrats have taken notice. The public sees illegal immigration as its No. 1 international worry, according to a recent survey. Long afraid of the issue, Democrats are beginning to tackle it in a serious and politically potent way.
Or, more accurately, pretending to. Hillary Clinton has made noises about better border controls, but her bluff was called months ago. Similarly, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (along with his equally phony-baloney neighbor, Janet Napolitano) has declared a "state of emergency" along his state's border with Mexico, but it wasn't even two years ago that he "showed up at a rally for the 'Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride' and told them, "¡Viva la raza! . . . Thank you for coming to Santa Fe. Know that New Mexico is your home. We will protect you. You have rights here." Not long after that he issued an executive order that "prohibit[s] state and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal authorities to detect or apprehend people based solely on immigration status." And even earlier this year Richardson "signed legislation giving some illegal aliens the right to in-state tuition rates at public universities."

But none of that will matter in 2008, since (1) though it will be an open presidential field (no incumbent president or vice president heading either ticket) on both sides (the first since 1952), the Dems will still be in the roll of challenger after eight years of GOP rule, and that means nobody will be scrutinizing Mrs. Clinton's record on the issues she chooses to emphasize (least of all the Extreme Media, which will be her campaign propaganda auxiliary); and (2) public anger at President Bush's refusal to address this issue, particularly in a homeland security context, will be an anchor around the neck of whomever emerges as the GOP nominee to succeed him.

[Democrats like Hillary] should take an educational trip to some carpentry shops on Long Island. There, [t]he[y]'ll find legal immigrants being put out of business by illegal aliens working at competing shops down the street. The story repeats itself across the nation. The conflict isn't just between immigrants and natives. It's between illegal immigrants and legal immigrants.

The class-war aspects of uncontrolled immigration have begun to register with other Democrats. Consider the weird argument that illegal immigration is good because it keeps down the cost of lettuce, hotel rooms and restaurant meals. Of course, it does. It's odd that everyone expects to pay the going American rate for the services of lawyers and doctors. In this view, only the sweating classes are supposed to keep prices low....
This angle could generate some heat if the economy is slowing down a couple of years from now. But in tandem with the following, it could become lethal for GOP hopes of a dynasty at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue:

The border patrol is picking up increasing numbers of non-Mexicans, many from the Mideast countries we worry about. Polls show that homeland security remains a weak spot for Democrats, so a plan to stop the chaos at the border could help them. Here's the plan: Enforce employer sanctions. That would curb the market for illegal labor. Fewer economic migrants would come here illegally. The border police could then concentrate their resources on terrorists and criminals.
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? And that's all Democrat really have to do, especially if Bush refuses to get serious about border control and enforcement of all the immigration laws - sound reasonable. Once in office Mrs. Clinton can forget all about whatever "centrist" promises she makes in this area (and any other, for that matter). She'll have years until she has to put on her moderate mask again. And if lax border security facilitates another mass casualty terrorist attack, "Madame president" will have a free pass on the entire national security issue just from fingerpointing at George W. Bush.

It's ironic that the president who has staked out a reputation for doing what's right regardless of the political consequences - and been rewarded handsomely at the polls for it - can have such a blind spot about an issue that ties so directly into his greatest strength and which would pose so comparitively little political risk to engage. And how tragic it would be for that blind spot to open the door back to power for an opposition that would proceed to undo all the progress that has been made to make America safer and more secure by transforming a strategic part of the world for the better.

For all the ridicule that has been directed at Bill Clinton's endlessly search for a "legacy," perhaps that's a subject to which his successor should begin giving a bit more thought. Because right now it isn't looking all that promising.

Donks To Blame For High Gas Prices

So says Hugh Hewitt, and he's absolutely right:

If [hurricane] Katrina takes refinery capacity off-line, the effect at the pump will be immediate. Ther is no more capacity available to up output within the counry. Shortfalls will have to be made up from imported gasoline suppliers. They are unlikely to be moved by complaints of gauging from American congressmen.

At this point Americans may ask why no new refinery has been built in the United States since 1976. (There is one on the drawing board for Yuma, Arizona.)

There were 315 refineries operating in the United States in 1981. There are 144 operating today....

Bottom line: High gasoline prices are the result of decisions made by legislators. It is that simple. Congressmen decided to put in place the laws that have led to these prices, and to the higher ones ahead. They have chosen to cripple refinery construction and domestic oil exploration.

The "they," by the way, are overwhelmingly Democrats....

[T]he ANWR vite will be coming up soon. You may want to call your elected representatives and ask how they will be voting and what they will be doing to get new refineries under construction.

This can be a huge issue for Republicans in next year's mid-term elections. Public sentimentality over fish and otters and ducks and caribou won't last very long in the face of $3-4 a gallon at the pump and drastically higher prices for any petroleum-related product (think plastics...), which means the vast majority of the marketplace. And the old "Big Oil/price-gouging" demagoguery can be made to wilt quickly in the face of genuine factual evidence, as Double-H asserts above.

The greenstremists and their Donk catspaws set us up for this predicament. They should absolutely not be allowed to escape primary responsibility for it.

But will the majority party act like the majority party?

The Congressional switchboard: 202-225-3121.

Like Pavlov's Dogs

....So is the port side of the blogosphere:

A handful of liberal bloggers have wasted no time politicizing the Hurricane Katrina disaster, alleging that the Iraq war has stripped New Orleans of National Guard protection and blasting President Bush for not dealing with global warming.

"So far today, I've looked at Global Warming and Katrina and the crisis resulting from Louisiana's National Guard being in Iraq instead of defending their state," complains the "Swing State" blog.

"Will Bush stay on vacation? At this point, it doesn't really matter. Because Bush has been asleep at the wheel for four years."

Over at the [ironically named] "American Blog," they've started a "Hurricaine [sic] Bush Vacation Watch," which is "keeping a tab on whether Bush is going to return to Washington to deal with this historically devastating hurricane, or whether he's going to stay on vacation while a major American city faces imminent disaster."

"Can't you just see Bush staying on vacation while all this happens THEN touring the damage like he's some kind of concerned hero?" the American Blogger griped.

Would it be impolite of me to break the news that the President's "vacation" (which wasn't and never is one in the commonly understood sense, since, with the exception of Bill Clinton, presidents haven't truly "gotten away from it all" since the days of FDR) ended last week?

On the other hand, perhaps I should laud them for their neo-moderation. When I saw the headline I thought there'd be long screeds on how the Bush Administration had contracted with Halliburton to create a giant weather machine to direct killer storms against countries targeted for U.S. imperialist neocon conquest, and then bungled the aim on the first volley (aimed at Hugh Chavez and Venezuela, of course) and sent it slamming into New Orleans instead.

Maybe they didn't want to, er, "rain" on Cindy Sheehan's parade.

Breaking News....

....John McCain is running for president in 2008 - and here's the proof.

And here is the proof that he knows the identity of at least one of his GOP primary rivals.

Aloha, Hawaii?

I haven't said much about the Senate bill giving native Hawaiians the same status as mainland Indian tribes. Here are a pair of links that will provide the background on this controversial measure:

Manifest Destiny in Reverse

E Pluribus Unum?

What is devastatingly revealing about the true motivations of the bill's primary co-sponsor, Daniel Akaka (D-HI), emerged in a most freudian of verbal slips:

[Akaka] undermined his own cause August 16 when he was described on National Public Radio as saying tribal sovereignty "could eventually go further, perhaps even leading to outright independence." Said Akaka: "That could be." The senator hastily peeled back August 18 with a statement that he is "not a proponent of independence or secession of the State of Hawaii."
Sorry, Senator, but that cat is out of the bag and ain't going back in. Might as well admit it and follow in the same outrageous footsteps as the rest of your party.

You might at least propose a more candid neo-nationalist motto:

Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death to mainland scum, but leave your money)

China Syndrome

Okay, I admit it: even for all the blogging I've been doing over the past week or two, there are a few topics I meant to get to but let slide. And this topic most egregiously. So we'll catch up on it in round-up form.

Chinese Espionage Vaults To Top Of FBI Priorities

There aren't many of us Sinophobes, but if you're one of the few, the proud, and fear the Red "yellow" peril (and don't think of Hogan Knows Best when you see that reference), you had to be wondering how long it would be before you'd see a story like this:

The FBI is deploying hundreds of new agents across America to crack down on spying by a small army of Chinese agents who are stealing information designed
to kick-start high-tech military and business programmes.

The new counter-intelligence strategy reflects growing alarm at the damage being done by spies hidden among the 700,000 Chinese visitors entering the US each year.
"China is the biggest [espionage] threat to the US today," David Szady, the assistant director of the FBI's counter-intelligence division, told the Wall Street Journal.

Officers said the campaign to close down China's wide-ranging espionage effort was now one of the major intelligence priorities after the struggle against terrorism.
Since losing their top intelligence conduit back on January 20, 2001, it appears that the ChiComms have decided to, as you might have expected, swamp us with sheer numbers. Cap'n Ed points out from the Telegraph article that most of these spies are not "professionals" in the conventional sense, but compensate for that weakness (if you want to call it that) by their ability to disappear into Chinese emigre communities, the vast majority of whose members are legit. Add to that the far greater complexity of the Chinese language and its numerous impenetrable dialects and it makes the task of trying to track all these spooks all but impossible.

An Alarming Alliance: Sino-Russian Ties Tightening

The Butchers of Beijing are busy on a whole bunch of fronts. One equally as alarming as the above is their de facto military alliance with the Russian Federation:

T[wo] week[s ago saw] an ominous precedent: The first-ever joint Chinese-Russian military exercises [that] kick[ed] off [on August 18th] in Northeast Asia.

The exercises [we]re small in scale — but huge in implication. They indicate a further warming of the "strategic partnership" that Moscow and Beijing struck back in 1996.

More importantly, they signal the first real post-Cold War steps, beyond inflammatory rhetoric, by Russia and China to balance — and, ultimately, diminish — U.S. power across Asia. If America doesn't take strategic steps to counter these efforts, it will lose influence to Russia and China in an increasingly important part of the world.

In other words, the part of the world that we are trying to democratize in order to save our own skins from jihadi WMD terror - a phenomenon of which the ChiComms are making very shrewd and subtle use.

The aforementioned joint military exercises "only" involved about 10,000 troops, but had other ominous implications for U.S. strategic interests:

[A]lthough Russia nixed the idea, the Chinese demanded the exercises be held 500 miles to the south — a move plainly aimed at intimidating Taiwan.

Beijing clearly wanted to send a warning to Washington (and, perhaps, Tokyo) about its support for Taipei, and hint at the possibility that if there were a Taiwan Strait dust-up, Russia might stand with China. [emphasis added]
Otto Von Bismarck once said of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire (paraphrased), "In every bilateral relationship there is a horse and a rider. In this alliance it is my determination that Germany should always be the rider." That determination was abandoned after Bismarck was dismissed as chancellor in 1890, and Imperial Germany ultimately ended up the horse, getting dragged into what became World War I by their Austro-Hungarian allies.

It would seem that in the Sino-Russian version Moscow hasn't yet donned the saddle, but Beijing is pulling that piece of equipment out of the geostrategic barn:

The exercise also gives Russia an opportunity to strut its military wares before its best customers — Chinese generals. Moscow is Beijing's largest arms supplier, to the tune of more than $2 billion a year for purchases that include subs, ships, missiles and fighters.

Rumors abound that Moscow may finally be ready to sell strategic, cruise-missile-capable bombers such as the long-range TU-95 and supersonic TU-22 to Beijing — strengthening China's military hand against America and U.S. friends and allies in Asia.

Russia needs money; Red China is awash in it. That is ultimately what makes the ChiComms the rider in this pairing, and what will compel Moscow toward a steadily more belligerent stance vis-a-vie the West on Beijing's behalf.

America Losing Ground To China In Central Asia?

In the meantime, the Red Chinese are busily subverting the former Soviet Central Asian republics (aka "the 'stans") right under the Russians' noses - and threatening a principle staging area for our GWOT:

Kazakhstan's foreign minister [last Tues]day pledged his country's support for U.S. military operations in Central Asia and said his country worked to water down neighboring countries' efforts to evict American troops from the region.

Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev added that the U.S. military presence since the 2001 Afghanistan war and China's emergence as a regional and global power were helping revive the 19th-century "Great Game" struggle for influence in the region. ...

Kazakhstan, a U.S. ally and the only Central Asian nation to contribute troops to the postwar mission in Iraq, startled the Bush Administration last month when it endorsed a communique from the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) widely interpreted as demanding a deadline for shutting down U.S. bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, set up to support the Afghan war.

The increasingly influential SCO includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but is dominated by its two largest members - Russia and China. Both Moscow and Beijing have been unnerved by the prospect of permanent U.S. military outposts in their strategic backyard.

The irony of this particular gambit is one out of which foreign policy "realists" would get a chuckle. Our foreign policy is no longer "amoral" when it comes to the democratization or lack thereof of the regimes with which we are willing to deal, whereas the ChiComms are coming to the 'stans and offering all manner of economic assistance with no such strings attached. The Kazakhs, at least, are nominally sticking with us, but it must be admitted that it's not all that surprising that the SCO is proving to be a beguiling suitor. Dictators, after all, do tend to speak the same language, and hard, cold cash tends to smooth out any lingering problems in "translation."

Cap'n Ed makes a good faith attempt to argue for the maintenance of our current democratization policy. I haven't changed my tune on it, rest assured, but I think Mr. Morrissey's argument has a gaping trap door:

In the short run, that puts us at a disadvantage - but when the tyrannies eventually fall, the people of Central Asia will remember who assisted them in standing on their own two feet and who helped their oppressors keep them down. Our strategy still has the most sound long-term value, and we should not back down from democratization.

"Eventually" is one helluva soft spot. Ed's description sounds most analogous to the old Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe, which, in this context, were noteworthy in that those tyrannies only fell when the bigger tyranny that dominated them fell first. With the PRC moving into the 'stans via this SCO vehicle and attempting to create its own group of adjoining satellite states, that creates an obvious conundrum: if we let Beijing succeed, we'll have to defeat the PRC before Central Asia can be (re-)liberated; but preventing that success would seem to demand at least "greater flexibility" in our "democratize or else" foreign policy paradigm.

China Begins ‘Unrestricted Warfare'

I did say that the ChiComms are, shall we say, "broadly" engaging us. And not just by nibbling 'round the edges, or by old-fashioned means:

Chinese Web sites are being used to target computer networks in the U.S. Defense Department and other federal agencies.

The hackers have successfully penetrated hundreds of unclassified networks, according to officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

Thus far no classified systems have been breached.

But authorities are concerned because even seemingly innocuous information can yield useful intelligence to an enemy when pieced together from various sources.

"The scope of this thing is surprisingly big," said a government official who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post about the incidents, which stretch back as far as three years and have been code-named "Titan Rain" by American investigators.

Some analysts in the Pentagon believe the attacks constitute a coordinated effort by the Chinese government to spy on U.S. databases.

Also, the Chinese published a military manual in 1999 entitled "Unrestricted Warfare." The book calls for "computer" warfare against the United States, the nation China has identified as its likely enemy in a future war.
To borrow from another analogy, if Red China is Nazi Germany, then we're in about 1935, with our enemy's power and influence waxing, their aggressive intent overtly telegraphed, and now just as seventy years ago, the West is taking little note of any of it.

The big difference is, the ChiComms are in no hurry, and are perfectly willing to let surrogates (Islamic fundamentalists, North Korea, and "eventually" the Russians) wear us down until they decide the balance of forces is sufficiently in their favor to make their bid for global domination.

Doesn't mean that outcome is inevitable - far from it. But averting a Pax ChiCommica - or nuclear Armageddon - will require a great deal more pro-activity on our part in slowing Beijing's various and sundry projects before they can metastasize into something that we would rather not face.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Biden The Number-Fudger Strikes Again

Of all people, it was Bill Clinton's ex-drug czar that blew the whistle on Senator Hairplugs' latest Bushophobic Iraq fib:

Retired General Barry McCaffrey said Sunday that claims by [Democrat] Senator Joseph Biden that U.S. forces in Iraq have trained just 3,000 Iraqi troops to fight without U.S. help are flat out wrong.

Asked about Biden's contention, General McCaffrey told NBC's Meet the Press that the actual number of self-sufficient Iraqi troops was far higher.

"My judgment is today there are probably 110 battalions fielded, probably 36 of them are capable of taking a lead in active operations."

Each Iraqi division is comprised of 600 troops, McCaffrey said, putting the full number of self sufficient Iraqi troops at 21,600 - more than seven times what Biden claimed.

"That's a huge force and it's going to start to make a difference," he added, explaining that he based his information on personal discussions with "General George Casey in country and Dave Petraeus, a guy who's actually in charge of trying to build the Iraqi security forces." [emphasis added]
Nothing like going to the actual horse's mouth - something the Delaware Dissembler apparently didn't bother doing.

McCaffrey isn't the only "man who wore the star" to call Biden's dishonest bluff:

Retired General Wayne Downing also challenged the credibility of Senator Biden's pessimistic Iraqi troop estimates, telling "Meet the Press" that the Iraqi army had "36 good battalions now."

"A year ago, we only had one," Downing explained. "[We'll have] maybe three times that, maybe 108, 110 battalions ready by next summer."

"That would indicate that there's a possibility that you could start pulling U.S. forces out at that time," Downing said.
Every episode of the new Battlestar Galactica begins with an opening sequence that culminates in the tagline that the Cylons "have a plan." So, too, does the President. I don't personally think that its scope is nearly big enough, but for what it does include, it appears that that plan is right on schedule.

No matter what myths Joe Biden prefers to spin.

Charlie Rangel's Hateful Hope

Read this excerpt and then ponder the questions of mine that follow:

House Democrat Charles Rangel suggested Friday that Vice President Dick Cheney may not be healthy enough to continue in office.

"He [Cheney] is a sick man, you know," Rangel told the Manhattan news network NY1. "He's got heart disease."

In quotes picked up by the New York Post, Rangel insisted, "Sometimes I don't even think Cheney is awake enough to know what's going on. [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld is the guy in Washington . . . running the country."

The Harlem Democrat claimed that Cheney's heart disease "is not restricted to that part of his body. He grunts a lot, so you never really know what he's thinking."

-Is this not an overt insult against the Vice President?

-Is this not an even bigger overt insult against the President, since it's people like Rangel that have insisted that Dick Cheney has been "the guy in Washington...running the country"?

-Is this also perhaps both a gambit to try and drive Cheney from office as well as a bit of wishful thinking that his "heart disease" might just do that job for Rangel "permanently"?

One more question after this last blurb:

Rangel offered no specific evidence to counter a pronouncement from Cheney's doctors last month, who gave the VP a clean bill of health.

Might it not be the Prince of Harlem who is the "very sick man"? Only about a foot northward of the cardiac region?

Six Flags & Two Sore Feet

Since the !#$%^&* Blogger server ate my first post, here's the short version:

Spent all day at a nearby amusement/water park yesterday. Wiped me out.

Further bulletins as the !#$%^&* Blogger server allows.

Cindy & The Nazis

I don't use the word "Nazi" lightly. However, follow this link and you'll see the White Supremacists at National Vanguard embracing Cindy Sheehan and her "message." Truly sickening.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

More Leftist "Tolerance"

I am not surprised at this. The Left's tolerance only extends as far as you agree with them. Found this at the Focus on the Family web site:

A man punished for his belief that marriage is between one man and one woman is taking it to court.

An Orange County, California, computer technician demoted by his supervisor after expressing his personal belief in traditional marriage has filed a lawsuit in federal court.

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) agreed to represent the man, whose name has not been disclosed, based on what it says is the basic issue of whether people in the workplace can be demoted for being in support of defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

His offense? According to Brad Dacus, president of PJI, the employee had posted a bumper sticker in his cubicle that said, "Marriage = man + woman." When his supervisor demanded that he take it down, he did so without incident.

Apparently after this, he was demoted:

Dacus said even though other employees were permitted to have personal, religious and even political messages in their cubicles, the supervisor made it very clear that she would not accept that employee's point of view.

"She saw this as offensive and she demoted him and felt justified in doing so," Dacus said. "If the tables had been turned and the employee had had a pink triangle at his private work cubicle—or a statement supporting homosexual marriage or domestic partners—and the supervisor had told him to take those down and demoted him you would be seeing the ACLU and other organizations not hesitating to take on this case."

Are you kidding? They would already have tarred and feathered the supervisor, then they would have tried to link him/her to John Roberts.

Dacus said it is important for those who hold traditional values to demonstrate equal resolve to ensure that people who hold those values and beliefs are not treated as second class citizens and are getting the same representation.

"Tolerance is a two-way street and one-way tolerance isn't tolerance at all—it's tyranny," Dacus said. "And that is exactly what we see being exhibited by this intolerant lesbian supervisor."

Yep. No doubt she is one of those "people of peace" who screech about the intolerance of the Right and how we're trying to shove our views down other peoples' throats. I'd love to get a background on this wench. Let's hope justice prevails.

American Legion On Our Side

From GOP Bloggers:

HONOLULU, August 23, 2005 - Delegates to the nation’s largest wartime veterans organization meeting here in national convention today vowed to use whatever means necessary to ensure the united support of the American people for our troops and the global war on terrorism.

"Warriors, above all other people, pray for peace, for they must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war," said Thomas P. Cadmus, national commander of The American Legion referring to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s quote. "We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens: public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies. We understand that the terrorists they are engaging there would slit the throats of every American, adult and child, if they could."

The resolution passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates to the annual event states: "The American Legion fully supports the President of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women, and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism." (emphasis added)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Preying On The Wounded

This is obscene:

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House.

Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

This is the mainstream of the Democrat Party, folks. And Cindy Sheehan is its poster-gargoyle.

Of course, that makes the Base-Closing Commission's decision to shut Walter Reed's doors bitterly ill-timed. Here's hoping President Bush reverses that one.

[HT: B4B]

The Squalor Of Rome

Remember last winter's Giuliana Sgrena caper? That seems to be a template of how the Italians "fight" of the GWOT:

Italy's Red Cross treated four Iraqi insurgents and hid them from U.S. forces in exchange for the freedom of two Italian aid workers kidnapped last year in Baghdad, an official said in an interview published Thursday.

Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing chief of the Italian Red Cross, told La Stampa newspaper that he kept the deal secret from U.S. officials, complying with "a nonnegotiable condition" imposed by Iraqi mediators who helped him secure the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, who were abducted on September 7 and freed September 28.

"The mediators asked us to save the lives of four alleged terrorists wanted by the Americans who were wounded in combat," Scelli was quoted as saying. "We hid them and brought them to Red Cross doctors, who operated on them."

They took the wounded insurgents to a Baghdad hospital in a jeep and in an ambulance, smuggling them through two U.S. checkpoints by hiding them under blankets and boxes of medicine, Scelli reportedly said. ...

Scelli told the newspaper he informed the Italian government of the deal and of the decision to hide it from the U.S. through Gianni Letta, an undersecretary in Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government who has been in charge of Italy's hostage crises in Iraq.

"Keeping quiet with the Americans about our efforts to free the hostages was an irrevocable condition to guarantee the safety of the hostages and ourselves," he told La Stampa. He said Letta agreed. [emphases added]
What's that old saying? "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

What made it even more appalling was the bent and antics of the two "aid workers":

When terrorists released the two aid workers last September, Italian dailies published reports of high-priced ransoms being paid. Italian Foreign Minister Francisco Frattini hotly disputed that any deal had been made, saying that the release showed the love and esteem in which the Arab world held Italy. Hardly; now we know that the Italians double-dealt us, and then allowed the two freed women to spout anti-American rants after they abused the Red Cross vehicles and broke with the Geneva Convention to conduct what amounted to an espionage mission. [emphasis added]

This was probably the tip of the iceberg, too.

If the Italians weren't bugging out of Iraq next month, we would need to throw them out.

Turning the "Chicken Hawk" Tables

Ya gotta love how Rich Lowry takes the "logic" of the left-wing "chickenhawk" taunt and, to coin a phrase, "skewers its spewers":

Its logic, if taken seriously, actually would boost the hawks. If only members of the military — who are overwhelmingly conservative — were considered competent to decide the nation’s posture on matters of war and peace, we would have an even more forward-leaning foreign policy. I’m comfortable letting the 82nd Airborne decide what we do about anti-American rogue states. Are opponents of the war? I’m guessing that even if you let only mothers of fallen soldiers in Iraq direct our Iraq policy, the result would be stay-the-course rather than the immediate pullout favored by Sheehan.

The chicken-hawk argument is nakedly partisan. During the Kosovo war waged by Bill Clinton and supported by Democrats in 1999, a cry didn’t go up from the Left that no one could support the war unless they were willing to strap themselves into B-2 bombers for the 33-hour ride from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to Belgrade and back to degrade Serbian infrastructure.

By the same token, we could say to proponents of leaving Saddam Hussein in power: “That’s an illegitimate position unless you yourself are willing to move to Tikrit to live for the duration of Saddam’s regime.” Or to supporters of “containing” Saddam: “You’re a hypocrite until you go help patrol the no-fly zone.” Or to advocates of inspections: “You can’t support them unless you don a baby-blue cap and sniff around his suspected chemical-weapons sites yourself.”

Why should this line of argument be limited to Iraq? “You think we should help fight AIDS in Africa? Well, go work in a clinic in Lavumisa, Swaziland.” “You oppose land mines? Go clear them from the Korean DMZ.” “You think there should be a new U.N. protocol in favor of [insert fashionable cause here]? Then spend interminable hours helping negotiate it yourself.” “Support jobless benefits? Become a clerk at an unemployment office.”

Hey, it's no crazier than The Woman Who Looks Like Prince Charles insisting that if the President is so committed to the war he should "sign up his daughters" even though there's no draft, and the same Mrs. Potato-Head lamenting that she didn't kidnap her son Casey and spirit him away to Canada.

Lowry calls it "juvenile, opportunistic, and irrelevant," and the "'Oh, yeah? Your mama!' of antiwar arguments". I call it the anti-war rhetorical equivalent of unzipping and out-whipping to see whose is longer.

"Small" wonder the President keeps winning that exchange....

Roberts Non-News

The Lavender Lobby is against him, despite his pro bono work on their behalf in Romer v. Evans. At least that might get Ann Coulter to cut him a break.

Annnnnd the Washington Post launched the latest smear job against JR by taking his inclination for avoiding repetition in his prose and twisting it into a cameo appearance on Dukes of Hazzard:

A fastidious editor of other people's copy as well as his own, Roberts began with the words "Until about the time of the Civil War." Then, the Indiana native scratched out the words "Civil War" and replaced them with "War Between the States."

The handwritten document is one of tens of thousands of pages of Roberts files released over the past several weeks from his 1982-1986 tenure as an associate counsel to the President.

While it is true that the Civil War is also known as the War Between the States, the Encyclopedia Americana notes that the term is used mainly by southerners. Sam McSeveney, a history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specialized in the Civil War, said that Roberts's choice of words was significant.

"Many people who are sympathetic to the Confederate position are more comfortable with the idea of a 'War Between the States,' " McSeveney explained. "People opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose."

Guess that document wasn't in my box.

This is so wishfully speculative as to be embarrassing. Certainly more than sufficiently so to put it on the second page of the WaPo above the frakking fold. "Civil War," "War Between The States," what's the difference? If the word parsing and psychoanalysis therein is considered so bloody important, why doesn't this "War Between The States expert" (not the first lib academic hack of that description I've known) know that, as Cap'n Ed Morrissey asserts today and I concur, the preferred Southern reference to the Civil War was "the War of Northern Aggression"?

Let's take a more comprehensive look at this matter, shall we?

War Between the States: This term was never used during the war but was coined immediately afterwards by Alexander Stephens, the former Confederate Vice President. Northerners disliked the term because they rejected the idea that states were fighting states. Confederates at the time thought their new nation was fighting another nation; they certainly never thought it was a war between states while it was going on. Union Loyalists thought the United States—the nation as a whole—was putting down a rebellion. After 1890 the term seemed the least provocative one possible, and so it was common from 1900 to 1940. The USMC War Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery uses this term.
Sounds pretty innocuous to me. Certainly not the preference of a man "opposed to the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s." Which really should read "the 1950s and 1960s," actually, if historical accuracy still means anything. But what can you expect from an ax-grinding "historian"?

By contrast, this is what "Professor" McSeveney should have cited as the semantical choices of a true second coming of Archie Bunker:

War of Southern Independence: While popular on the Confederate side during the war itself, this term's popularity fell in the immediate aftermath of the South's failure to gain independence. It made a comeback in the late 20th century among Confederate heritage groups such as the League of the South and the Sons of
Confederate Veterans

War of Northern Aggression: This term emphasizes claims by Confederate partisans that the North invaded the South.
Except, well, Judge Roberts didn't use those terms. Nor is there any record of him belonging to the League of the South or the Sons of Confederate Veterans, chapters of which are unlikely to have reached as far north as Indiana. Nor is there any record of his supposed "opposition to civil rights," which is not to be confused with reverse-Jim Crow (aka affirmative action).

I don't know why "historians" like "Professor" McSeveney and "journalists" like Jo Becker and "newspapers" like the WaPo, don't just drop the coy "pussyfooting" and just come right out and declare, in true and full-throated NARAL spirit, that Judge Roberts is an honorary Klansman in complete sympathy with the black church-bombers of the 1960s. After all, people who oppose the appointment of constitutionalist judges to the U.S. Supreme Court would undoubtedly be more comfortable with those words.