7 (L) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
"[Republicans] don't realize that Reaganomics is dead, that the Reagan philosophy is dead…The old Reagan theory which dominated – 'Government is bad, it's out of touch, chop off its hands as soon as it moves.' – is over."-Chucky Schumer to the New York Daily News
Clearly, the Radical Left believes it has a mandate to enact all of their pet schemes to take away our freedom. In fact, their new coalition – they call themselves Change America Now – recently met at AFL-CIO headquarters to plan a 100 hour assault to start the New Year. Leaders from unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Sierra Club, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America plotted our nation’s future. They plan a massive grassroots effort to move vulnerable Republican votes, including a major Internet and phone campaign.Will it work? After the way November 7th turned out, there's no reason to think it won't. Remember, as I've always said: for Democrats, the campaign never ends. They never stop pushing, never stop agitating, never stop attacking. And now that they've got their long-sought power back, they're going to get even more shrill, more intense, more obsessive, and more extreme.
- Do we need “soak the rich” tax hikes, or should we defend reforms that would permanently repeal the death tax and maintain lower tax rates?There's another dual question he left out: Do we need to endanger American national security interests by surrendering Iraq to al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahs, guaranteeing its collapse andIsrael's destruction? And do we need to imperil the lives of countless American civilians by dismantling the tools of homeland security like the NSA terrorist surveillance program (on ostensible "civil liberties" grounds), guaranteeing inevitable terrorist WMD attacks against our homeland?
- Do we want to expand the power of union leaders, or should we empower workers to keep more of their own hard-earned money?
- Do we need Social Security “reform” based on tax hikes and benefit cuts, or should we continue to push for individual ownership that protects retirement savings from congressional appropriators?
- Do we need Al Gore’s radical proposals to tax energy, or should we seek independence through exploration and production?
It is against that backdrop [of the most violent and deadly century by far in human history, the twentieth] that Iran's thrust for nukes must be understood. All of the carnage of the previous century was completed with the only uses of a WMD at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Project forward the same level of violence of the last century into the new one, but imagine even four or five of the aggressors or factions possessing WMD, and the picture of what is ahead in the next 93 years is bleak beyond description.
There is no persuasive reason to believe the world will be a better place over the next 100 years than it was in the past 100. Indeed, given the willingness of some to erase the past in order to better prepare to repeat it and the rise of a suicidal fanaticism among large numbers of industrial-age, educated people, there are many reasons to expect that their will be many people eager for the violence of the 21st century to far outstrip that of the 20th.
Thus history compels the United States to deny WMD to those most likely to use them in wars or civil wars. Saddam was one such tyrant, and Iraq even in its chaos and its toll in American lives is much less dangerous to the world and the U.S. than Saddam's Iraq or the Iraq of his sons when they succeeded him.
Iran is another such country, its leaders tyrants with intentions of piece with the worst of the last century's murderers. They want nukes and are moving very quickly and publicly towards that goal. Because the Soviets, the Chinese, the Indians and the Pakistanis have never used their deadliest weapons does not mean that Iran and those to whom it transfers these weapons will not. Reading [Niall] Ferguson's litany ought to remind people that Americans live in splendid isolation from the awful realities of the world, but 9/11 ought to have done that for at least a period of decades. The latter failed to impress, so the history lesson is unlikely to do so either.
That won't excuse the political leadership of the United States and the West though. The Security Council's resolution isn't going to stop Iran. If that is going to occur, the U.S. and its allies will have to do the stopping.
The Islamist forces who have controlled much of Somalia in recent months suddenly vanished from the streets of the capital, Mogadishu, residents said Wednesday night, just as thousands of rival troops massed 15 miles away.Cap'n Ed grasps the lesson of the Ethiopian blitzkrieg:
In the past few days, Ethiopian-backed forces, with tacit approval from the United States, have unleashed tanks, helicopter gunships and jet fighters on the Islamists, decimating their military and paving the way for the internationally recognized transitional government of Somalia to assert control.
Even so, the Islamists, who have been regarded as a regional menace by Ethiopia and the United States, had repeatedly vowed to fight to the death for their religion and their land, making their disappearance that much more unexpected.
Fortified checkpoints across the city — in front of the radio station, at the airport, at the main roads leading into Mogadishu and outside police stations — were abruptly abandoned Wednesday night, residents said.
This shows the result of a full military response to Islamist provocations. After watching half of their comrades torn to pieces by combat helicopters, one deserter told the Times that the Islamists assumed that the war would be fought like the others in their experience, which meant hardly fought at all. Ethiopia had no intent to allow the Islamists to give tit-for-tat terrorist responses to measured military action, and the Islamists quit when they started dying in droves....
This loss crushes the reputation of the Islamists as dedicated to fighting to the death. They will if they see an advantage in it, and that advantage has been gained by Western reluctance to fight an all-out war against them. Ethiopia, after having been threatened by both a traditional attack from Somalia and a guerilla/terrorist war, responded with overwhelming force, and they crumbled.
Somewhere there is a lesson for the West.
20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, "(D) Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been [b] conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was (G) spoken by the LORD through the prophet:
24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the LORD commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 [c] but kept her a virgin until she (K) gave birth to a Son; and (L) he called His name Jesus.
House Democrats in the first weeks of the new Congress plan to establish a dedicated fund to promote renewable energy and conservation, using money from oil companies. That's only one legislative hit the oil industry is expected to take next year as a Congress run by Democrats is likely to show little sympathy to the cash-rich, high-profile business.The likely consequences of this latest anti-"Big Oil" jihad?
Whether the issue is rolling tax breaks - some approved by Congress only 18 months ago - pushing for more use of ethanol and other biofuels instead of gasoline, or investigations into shortfalls in royalty payments to the government, oil industry lobbyists will spend most of their time playing defense.
Oil lobbyists...are preparing to fight another proposal that would raise taxes on their inventories, a change that could cost oil companies billions of dollars. The inventory tax provisions cover the entire industry and some lawmakers want to repeal them only for the biggest companies.
"That would significantly raise the cost of holding inventory" and cause companies to reduce the amount of oil they keep in storage, said Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, the industry trade group. If that happens "prices will go through the roof" if there is even a modest disruption, he predicted....
The Interior Department also has said it wants to work with Congress to find ways to deal with the royalty issue, but is worried the proposal to bar companies from future leases could throw the federal offshore leasing program into lengthy litigation.
"Our fear is our (leasing) program would shut down. That would have a multibillion-dollar impact on federal revenues," Assistant Interior Secretary Stephen Allred recently told reporters. [emphases added]
Counting on the support of the new Democratic majority in Congress, Democratic lawmakers and their Republican allies are working on measures that would place millions of illegal immigrants on a more direct path to citizenship than would a bill the Senate passed in the spring.
The lawmakers are considering abandoning a requirement in the Senate bill that would compel several million illegal immigrants to leave the United States before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.
The lawmakers are also considering denying financing for 700 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico, a law that Republicans wrote this year.
Forget Soccer Moms and Security Moms; now it's going to be all Moms all the time - with Hillary as the biggest Mom of all.
The "Mom Strategy" is key to presenting the latest iteration of Hillary. She needs to move out of the center space that she populated in her last reincarnation as a moderate. That's over. Because democratic primary voters are squarely at odds with her positions on the war in Iraq, she needs to move on. The "Mom Strategy" gives her a credible way to tack to the left on the war. She's already begun. Last week, she told an NPR audience that she would have voted against the war if only she had known then what she knows now. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
In furtherance of the new Mom strategy, she has re-released her best-selling book It Takes A Village. This time, she is pictured surrounded by adoring, well-groomed and respectful children on the cover. Just like Mom. This is no coincidence; it's an element of the strategy. The subliminal message: I'm a Mom and I'm running for president. Moms take care of people, they're compassionate and don't want wars. The fact that the book isn't selling well in its re-release - Amazon ranks it at 5,000 - doesn't matter. It's the cover photo that resonates.
Hillary the Hawk may ultimately be the way to win the centrists who dominate the general electorate. But Hillary, the Mom, another Mother for Peace, is the way to capture the left that runs the Democratic primaries. And that's exactly what she's doing.
Hillary's new strategy echoes the 1996 Bill Clinton strategy in pushing a "fatherhood" agenda. Embracing the idea of taking responsibility, enforcing child support, promoting school uniforms and curfews, and fighting against teen smoking and sex and violence on TV, President Clinton promoted the idea of his fatherhood in his bid for re-election. He began his political career as Arkansas' boy Governor. When he ran for president, he was everyone's buddy - eating at McDonalds and jogging in baggy shorts - but as president he needed to grow up and project the subtle image of America's father. In carefully choreographed photos, he was deliberately surrounded by adoring children looking up at him as he pushed his new message.
Now Hillary is seeking to run for president as America's Mom - pro-peace, pro-family, pro-children.
Hillary Clinton has hired an "evangelical consultant” to help woo Christian conservatives in her likely 2008 presidential campaign. The move comes after a similar political operative successfully aided Democratic candidates in several states in the midterm elections.
More than one-quarter of the nation’s voters identify themselves as evangelical — a voter bloc that has long been courted by Republicans.
Clinton’s new hire is Burns Strider, an evangelical Christian who directs religious outreach for House Democrats and is the lead staffer for the Democrats’ Faith Working Group, headed by incoming Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the group last year when Democratic strategists observed that the party lost ground in the previous election in part because candidates failed to reach centrist and conservative voters in rural areas, who tend to be churchgoers concerned with moral issues, according to the Washington, D.C.-based publication The Hill.
Strider was an aide to Pelosi when the group was formed and joined Clyburn’s staff as policy director of the Democratic Caucus earlier this year, the paper reported.
"Observers of Clinton’s expressions of faith say religion has always been important to her, that she attended prayer group meetings while first lady, and that she joined a Senate prayer group shortly after winning election in 2000,” The Hill reports.
"Reporters anticipating Clinton’s ’08 presidential run wrongly discount her expressions of faith as cynical political maneuvering," the observers add.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So in this simple yet profound statement, we have the answer to human suffering. Our LORD's Incarnation took place through a miraculous conception performed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin named Mary. The manner of the Incarnation circumvented the problem of sin, which is the core issue in human suffering. God's answer meant becoming a man in order to identify with a suffering mankind; yet a sinless man, so that the solution would not be corrupted nor undermined by our fallen humanity.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the LORD through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with Child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."
Narrowly defeated in his bid for a fourth term, Montana Senator Conrad Burns turned his anger on the National Republican Senatorial Committee and commercials it had run months before the election.
"The ads hurt me more than they helped. I wouldn't have spent the money," he said, his comments characteristic of the season of second-guessing now unfolding among Republicans.
President Bush's low approval ratings, the unpopular war on Iraq, voter concern about corruption and Democratic fundraising all figured in the GOP loss of Senate control in last month's elections. But among Republicans, long-hidden tensions are spilling into view, with numerous critics venting their anger at the GOP Senate campaign committee headed by North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole.
Santa has lots going against him — school-yard rumors, older brothers who think they know the deal and tattle to the young ones, errant price tags, the tell-all Internet and so many Made in China labels it seems the North Pole has outsourced to Asia.
Humbuggers everywhere. But no worries. It's a wonderful life for Santa.
An AP-AOL News poll finds him to be an enduring giant in the lives of Americans.
Fully 86% in the poll believed in Santa as a child. And despite the multiethnic nature of the country, more than 60% of those with children at home consider Santa important in their holiday celebrations now.
Irrespective of the outcome of the James case, the mere suggestion that Iran should be seeking to recruit someone with access to the innermost counsels of NATO's high command is indicative both of Teheran's intense interest in NATO's activities in Afghanistan, and its determination to ensure that the West is not allowed to succeed in transforming the country from Islamic dictatorship into stable democracy.
It also makes a mockery of the recent suggestion, advanced in both Washington and London, that the only way to resolve the region's difficulties is by engaging in a constructive dialogue with Teheran. Whether it be in Iraq or Afghanistan, the over-riding priority of the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is to ensure the coalition's efforts at nation-building end in failure.
As in Iraq, the history of Iran's involvement in Afghanistan has been complex, but rarely benign. During the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, the Iranians supported one of the fiercest Mujahideen groups. More recently, the Iranians helped hundreds of al-Qa'eda fighters to escape from Afghanistan following the coalition's military campaign to remove the Taliban from power in 2001. Recent intelligence reports have indicated that many senior al-Qa'eda leaders — including two of Osama bin Laden's sons — are still living in Teheran under the protection of the Revolutionary Guards, where they are being groomed for a possible takeover of the al-Qa'eda leadership. [emphasis added]
As protests broke out last week at a prestigious university here, cutting short a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Babak Zamanian could only watch from afar. He was on crutches, having been clubbed by supporters of the president and had his foot run over by a motorcycle during a less publicized student demonstration a few days earlier.
But the significance of the confrontation was easy to grasp, even from a distance, said Mr. Zamanian, a leader of a student political group.
The Iranian student movement, which planned the 1979 seizure of the United States Embassy from the same university, Amir Kabir, is reawakening from the slumber of recent years and may even be spearheading a widespread resistance against Mr. Ahmadinejad. This time the catalysts were academic and personal freedom. ...
The protest, punctuated by shouts of “Death to the dictator,” was the first widely publicized outcry against Mr. Ahmadinejad, one that was reflected Friday in local elections, where voters turned out in droves to vote for his opponents.
The Iranian electoral ritual doesn’t tell us what the people want; it tells us what the tyrants have decided. This time, the decision had to do with the very intense power struggle going on inside the regime, catalyzed by the recent evidence of the worsening health of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In considerable pain from his cancer, for which he consumes a considerable quantity of opium syrup, Khamenei recently was forced to spend 2-3 days in a Tehran hospital after complaining of a loss of feeling in his feet and breaking out in a cold sweat. His doctors told him several months ago that he was unlikely to survive much past the end of March, and he seems to be more or less on schedule.
[T]he position of president of the Islamic Republic doesn’t bestow much in the way of executive power. It’s always gone to a person who can play a largely deceptive role in world affairs. Prior to the current holder, we had Khatami-the-reformer-who-never-reformed-anything, a man who gave politically correct speeches calling for a dialogue among civilizations and whispering soft words to Western intellectuals and diplomats at the same time he ruthlessly purged anything free anywhere in the country, and presided over the murders of students, professors, and other dissidents. That was a period when Iran sought to lull the West into the arms of Morpheus, distracting attention from the real horrors of the regime and its preparations for war against us, including the nuclear program.
With Ahmadinejad, the mullahs bared their fangs to us. Convinced they were winning in Iraq, foreseeing the destruction of Israel, the domination of Lebanon, a jihadist reconquista in Afghanistan and the expansion of their domain into the Horn of Africa, they gave us the face of the unrepentant conqueror. He’s played his role well, and he will continue to play it. Just yesterday he proclaimed that Iran has become “a nuclear power,” leaving us to wonder exactly what that means. Is it the bomb? Or is it a technical advance that will lead to a bomb? Whatever it means, it’s an act of defiance, a reassertion of Iran’s will to prosecute the twenty-seven year old war they have waged against us ever since Khomeini’s seizure of power.
The war policy is not in dispute among the rulers of Iran, whether they call themselves reformers or hard-liners. Nor is the decision to use the iron fist of the regime against any and all advocates of freedom for the Iranian people. What is decidedly at the center of the current fighting within the regime - a fight that has already produced spectacular assassinations, masqueraded as airplane crashes, of a significant number of military commanders, including the commander of the ground forces of the powerful Revolutionary Guards - is the Really Big Question, indeed the only question that really matters: Who will succeed Khamenei? [emphasis added]
The United Nations security council is finally expected to pass a resolution [Fri]day to impose international sanctions on Iran for the first time since the 1979 revolution, a punitive move that will heighten diplomatic tensions and risks a military confrontation in the Gulf.
Iran has threatened immediate retaliation, even though the proposed sanctions have been significantly watered down this week. Tehran's options include withdrawal from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, which would mean Iran would conduct its nuclear programme free from international monitoring, and possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the channel for 20% of the world's oil supplies.
Western diplomats think that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his colleagues are bluffing but, just in case, the US announced this week it is reinforcing its fleet in the Gulf.
The British government is also increasing its naval presence. Two minehunters arrived in Bahrain on Tuesday but the Ministry of Defence said their deployment was mainly for training with Gulf states and "not to counter any increased threat". Tony Blair, on a visit to the Middle East this week, portrayed Iran as a major threat.
As a clean-living, church-going father and grandfather, Governor Mitt Romney has a natural appeal among conservative Christians.
The Massachusetts Republican, though, faces a delicate dilemma: How does a devout Mormon woo religious activists critical to winning the GOP presidential nomination when many of those same activists are openly hostile to a faith they consider no more than cult?
For his all-but-announced presidential bid to succeed, Romney must win primary votes across the Bible Belt from people whose churches have a historical antagonism with his own Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The rhetoric between evangelicals and Mormons has been almost abusive," said Richard Mouw, president of the Fuller Theological Seminary in California, the largest evangelical seminary in North America.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is taking what he learned during three days of meeting with military and political leaders here directly to President Bush.
Gates, due back in Washington from Iraq on Friday night, was scheduled to see Bush at Camp David first thing Saturday morning, said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen Hadley and deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch, who has been coordinating Bush's review of Iraq policy, were also to attend the discussions at the Maryland mountain retreat where Bush was spending Christmas.
As the President weighs a course correction in the increasingly unpopular war, the White House also announced that Bush would convene a meeting of his full National Security Council next Thursday while spending a few days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. That session was not designed to arrive at final decisions, but to continue to whittle down the options, Perino said.
Eager to show he heard the message of voters who stripped his party of majorities in both the House and Senate in the November elections, Bush said he'll work hard on what he called "an interesting new challenge" — trying to find common ground with Democrats who will lead Congress for the first time in his presidency.
"I don't expect Democratic leaders to compromise on their principles, and they don't expect me to compromise on mine," he said. "But the American people to expect us to compromise on legislation that will benefit the country."
He said initial consultations with incoming Democratic leaders revealed openings for cooperation in several areas. One was an immigration policy overhaul, including a way for some illegal workers to move toward citizenship. That was stymied this year primarily by conservative Republicans who favored a get-tough-only approach.
Other openings Bush saw for cooperation were increased federal spending on alternate energy sources; reform of Congress' appropriations process that has made it common for lawmakers to slip pet projects into spending bills, and giving American workers new skills and businesses help investing in new innovations.
"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen - the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq - are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.
Zawahri calls on the Democrats to negotiate with him and Osama bin Laden, not others in the Islamic world who Zawahri says cannot help.
"And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate," he said.
The leader of an al Qaeda-backed group offered to refrain from attacking U.S. forces if they withdrew from Iraq within a month and left their heavy weapons behind, according to an audio tape posted on the Internet on Friday.
"We call on (President George W.) Bush not to waste this historic opportunity which insures you a safe withdrawal," said the speaker, identified as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, head of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, which was announced in October by al Qaeda and groups linked to it....
"We are awaiting your response within two weeks of this announcement," said the speaker in the tape, which was dated December 22. He said insurgent groups would refrain from attacking withdrawing U.S. forces if they left within a month.
Okay, I'll say it: Who the frak is Abu Omar al-Baghdadi to be giving the President of the United F'ing States of America ultimatums? Answer: a jihadi who saw our mid-term election results, added two plus two, and didn't come up with five. And, once again, it is an entirely reasonable and rational expectation for him to have.
On November 7th, the American people signaled retreat to the world and waved the white flag to our enemies. And our enemies are reacting, and planning, accordingly. Even if we don't fulfill their fullest expectations, the task of winning the war has now become grievously more difficult and will be far more costly and elusive.
There's an old saying: "In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve." It calls to mind a line from an old Beetle Bailey cartoon. Beetle and Plato are talking politics and Plato quips, "If you don't like the government, wait an election and you'll get one you like even less."
Do the American people deserve to die? I refuse to answer that question.
But that's how they voted. God willing, it's a deathwish that will remain unfulfilled.