Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Quiet Road

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so His disciples came to Him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. 36 Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."

37 But He answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to Him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages [a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"

38 "How many loaves do you have?" He asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five — and two fish."

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray.

-Mark 6:30-46

Central Command News (10/31/07)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another See, I Told You So

In a statement issued last night, the senator was somewhat guarded [about President Bush's nomination of federal judge Michael Mukasey to be his next Attorney-General]. "For sure we'd want to ascertain his approach on such important and sensitive issues as wiretapping and the appointment of US attorneys, but he's a lot better than some of the other names mentioned and he has the potential to become a consensus nominee," the statement said.
-Chucky Schumer, six weeks ago
To me, that translates to, "We're going to put Mukasey in a hammerlock and tell him the facts of life if he ever expects to get a single one of our votes." Basically, more of the same partisan abuse that was heaped upon Oh, Boy, Alberto, except that Judge Mukasey doesn't have the job yet. And if he doesn't give the wrote left-wing answers that will be expected of him, he'll be attacked and dismissed as "partisan" just like Olson pre-emptively was, and the White House will have precisely the "big fight" they didn't want.
-Me, same day
Senate Democrats who had previously praised Michael Mukasey, President Bush's nominee for attorney general, are now threatening to vote against him because he has declined to opine on whether waterboarding constitutes torture and is therefore illegal. Joe Biden, a key member of the Judiciary Committee, has said he will not vote for Mukasey unless Mukasey states that waterboarding is illegal. And Chuck Schumer has declared through a spokesman that he "is waiting for Judge Mukasey's answer before passing any judgment." Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy has postponed the vote on Mukasey's nomination pending the nominee's answers on waterboarding and other issues.
-Powerline, last Saturday

The White House tried to duck the "big fight" they didn't want over Alberto Gonzales' replacement with this nomination instead of sending up former Solicitor General Ted Olson, as they should have. Now, just as I predicted, they've got their "big fight" anyway, and are instructing Judge Mukasey to duck their insufferably predictable "torture" gotcha instead of taking it head on, as Brother Deacon urges.

Water-boarding is not "torture." It does no physical harm to its recipients. It is used to train our own special forces personnel. It got Khalid Sheik Mohammed to spill his guts after 9/11, leading to the thwarting of a number of al Qaeda plots and doing significant damage to bin Laden's network. It may one day soon (if it hasn't been already) be the only means of preventing the incineration of an American city. If Vice President Cheney can remember this and say so, how can George W. Bush have possibly forgotten it? And why is he telling his A-G nominee to punt, making his confirmation less likely by the day?

Sure, Bush could always recess appoint Mukasey. But he could have done that with Ted Olson as well. The point of this nomination, as I wrote over a month ago, was precisely to have a "big fight" over the issues of "torture," counter-terrorism policy, and separation of powers that the Democrats were inevitably going to bring up (again). These are winnable issues for the White House AND the GOP, on which a majority of the public will be on the side of sanity and common sense if they will only argue for them with clarity and passion. Good grief, they're most of the reason the United States hasn't been attacked again in the past six years.

In Bush's place Bill Clinton would have been trumpeting that fact ever since, and probably wouldn't have bothered with confirmation hearings at all but just recess appointed Ted Olson and dared the Dems to do anything about it. But not "Gelatinous George," as I once described him; he's too preoccupied with his accursed "New Tone," and trying to make prostrative amends with his political enemies for his "sins" of safeguarding American lives.

Apparently, these are the only sins that success will not cover, multitudinously or otherwise. 'Tis a pity it is Michael Mukasey who is being crucified for them.

Bon Voyage

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

-2 Timothy 4:1-8

Hillary's Slot

So now we have a little irrelevant but time-passing, pixel-occupying boomlet about how Hillary Clinton polls the same high-forties-ish numbers in hypothetical matchups with Republicans from Rudy, Fred, and Romney all the way down to Ron bleeping Paul.

Leaving aside the operative adjective in this premise - "hypothetical" - which renders the entire notion moot is something that The Incontrovertibly Neato Jim Geraghty and Patrick Ruffini were incapable of making themselves do:
Patrick sees Hillary's inability to get over 50% even against as weak a candidate as Ron Paul as good news. It means that we are "back to the 50-50 divide that marked our politics from 2000-2006. Basically, Republicans can run a stuffed animal against Hillary and still get 48% of the vote." Further, in Patrick's view, "Hillary not breaking 50% against a guy who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve is a leading indicator of her fundamental weakness in the general election."
It was left for Brother Deacon to point out the obvious caveat to Ruffini's gushing optimism:
In many of the head-to-head polls, 10% or more of the respondents say they are undecided. Thus, for Hillary to be at 46-48% isn't bad for her.
Particularly since the only 'Pubbie to "beat" her in these prospective matchups was Giuliani, and then only by a couple of points, well within the margin of error.

Personally I see zero value in polling matchups that don't exist yet and won't for at least another three months. Ditto all these numbers purporting that Mrs. Clinton has intractibly high negatives. Once she officially has the Donk nomination in her purse, and the Enemy Media goes to work building her up as a bizarro hybrid of Mother Teresa, Rambo, and Afrodite rising naked from the ocean surf, while ripping the GOP survivor into random fragments of biomatter for the former first lady to gnaw on for the ensuing nine months, her polling numbers will blast through her supposed "cast iron ceiling" like it was tinfoil.

But if you want to take the more optimistic route and claim that she'll stay in the mid to high forties, allow me to remind you of the ingredient that always accompanies Clinton elections: a strong third candidate. Bill Clinton never did better than 49% in either of his elections, thanks to one H. Ross Perot, whose second run in 1996 as much as confirmed the "divide & conquer" strategy. Perot is (presumeably) gone from the political stage, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be backpedaling from a presidential run, but allow me to remind you of the name that I have always believed will be the spoiler in 2008: John "Sailor" McCain. The Arizona "maverick" has considered the Republican nomination to be his birthright ever since George W. Bush had the temerity to shove him out of the way in 2000. It's why he made himself an iconoclastic pariah in the GOP ever since, it's why he's running this cycle when it's clear that he's too old and his day is past, and it's why he'll bolt the party next year after he's denied the nomination a second time to ensure that if HE can't be president of the United States, NO Republican will. That vintage line about being "tied up" during Woodstock notwithstanding.

Either way, the once and future Miss Rodham is, indeed, "virtually unbeatable." And in my humble opinion, you can remove that modifier. Nobody ought to need dunselesque polling hypotheticals a year in advance to recognize that bitter handwriting on the wall.

So Where Are The Headlines?

I just wanted to expand on the new release Jim posted below regarding the transfer of security responsibility in Karbala Province to the Iraqis.

The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq welcome the transfer of security in Karbala Province to Iraqi responsibility as a positive step on the path to Iraq’s self-reliance.

Karbala is the eighth province to be transferred to Iraqi security responsibility as the Government of Iraq and its security forces continue to develop and assume greater responsibility for governing and providing security for the citizens of Iraq. The first province transferred to Government of Iraqi security control was Muthanna in July 2006, followed by Dhi Qar, An Najaf, Maysan, and most recently Irbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Dahuk in May 2007.

In a perfect world where the news media were actually pulling for their own country rather than trying to undermine it, this would be splashed all over the front pages. But...have you seen it anywhere else? This is what they and their Democrat handlers keep saying they want, isn't it? So where are the accolades for our military and our President? Hear those crickets?

They are not going to do it, so President Bush and his staff need to start touting their successes a lot more. Most people don't even know this positive stuff is going on, they still believe the press and the Democrats that we're *losing*. We are NOT, despite the best efforts of the Left.

I still say it is our military and their victories that is going to carry the day for the Republicans in 2008.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Only A Rivet

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

-James 3:13-18

The Rice Dagger

If you had any lingering doubts in your mind that the Bush Doctrine, and therefore U.S. national security, is dead, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has delivered the unmistakable coup de grace:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sought the advice of former US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton ahead of a planned Middle East peace parley scheduled to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in November or December.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Saturday that Rice met with Carter this week. The two reportedly discussed the peace talks Carter brokered between Israel and Egypt in the late 1970s. The White House called the meeting with Carter positive and "to the point."

Rice has also spoken with Clinton, who led the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s. "[Secretary of State] Rice is trying to learn from others what can be done and how their experience can be adapted to today's situation," McCormack said, adding that Rice placed great emphasis on "learning from the past."

The State Department also reported that Rice has recently conferred with former UN Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, as well as her predecessors James Baker, Henry Kissinger, and Madeline Albright. [emphases added]

This is a little like getting back your oncology test results and seeing that they turned out positive. Or finally screwing up the courage to ask out the pretty girl you've been worshipping from afar only to have her laugh in your face and go tell all her friends that "Pruneface" actually thought she'd want to be seen with a "dork" like you. Moments of tragedy and/or humiliation that you suspected were the case all along, for which you thought you were prepared when they finally happened, but which still floored you when they did.

I'm still coughing and gagging at this revelation, myself.

George W. Bush sent his SecState to grovel at the feet of Mr. Peanut? The goober plenopotentiary who's made it his business to aid and abet every enemy of the United States for the past twenty-seven years, the seditious buttinsky who has made contemptuous hash of the Logan Act by butting into U.S. foreign policy-making at every opportunity, the hapless boob who surrendered strategic nuclear superiority to the old Soviet Union and nearly lost the Cold War in the process, and the bitter, old piece of gutter-sniping Demotrash who has had the unmitigated temerity to sit in high moral dudgeon over the current president's former efforts to safeguard the nation and its people from far more horrific sequels to 9/11? His, and that of his Arabist, dhimmized fellow-travelers, is the "experience" from which Dubya sent Condi to "learn"?

Here's a news flash, Mr. President: you ALREADY "learned from the past" by abandoning the weak-assed, terrorist-appeasing foolishness of these failures and quislings when you formulated the Bush Doctrine in the first place. That you now debase yourself by sending your foreign minister to, in effect, supplicate for their forgiveness....Well, I'm sure it made THEIR respective days, and then some. Can appointments with bin Laden and Ahmadinejad be next?

Oh, yes, certainly, I know this is in the context of yet another attempt to bulldoze Israel into another Holocaust, but do you really think it stops there?

To quote the noted philosopher "Diamond" Dallas Page, "I don't THINK so":
Yesterday, the Bush Administration announced a broad package of sanctions against Iran in an attempt to boost its campaign to stop Tehran's nuclear program by non-military means.
Do I need to quote any further? Okay, how about this:
The [Washington] Post's reaction is to commend the imposition of new sanctions as "the best way to avoid military action."
Y'know, I bet the WaPo said the same thing when FDR placed that oil embargo on Imperial Japan in 1941.

As Brother Deacon notes, negotiations by the Europeans, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and weak multilateral sanctions have all been ineffective. But what that ineffectiveness has cost us more than anything else is time. This confrontation with the mullahgarchy over its pursuit of nuclear weapons has always been a race against time, and each feckless flinch from taking the only steps capable of preventing the mullahs from attaining their unshakable goal has improved their position and damaged our own.

Could Iranians have once liberated themselves by their own efforts if we had lent them moral and material assistance, as voices like Michael Ledeen and Ed Morrissey, and Iranian dissidents like Akbar Ganji, relentlessly urge? I'm personally dubious of the efficacy of home-grown revolutions to overthrow vicious totalitarian dictatorships; history shows that upheavals of that magnitude typically require a lot more assistance than clandestine checks and cheerleading from the sidelines. But with time, that's certainly an option that could, and should, have been pursued. It'd have probably been to no avail, but at least we'd have exhausted that avenue of attack, leaving military action to be undertaken with no residual doubts.

Of course, we never did even that much, preferring instead to wallow in self-inflicted fictions and delusions of "moderates" in the mullahgarchy with which we could "do business," "negotiate" endlessly, dick around with this "sanctions regime" or that one, anything to avoid facing the reality of this crisis head on: the mullahs want nukes, nothing is going to persuade or intimidate them from getting them, and when they have them, they will use them - including against us. That is the basic, distilled, bluster-filtered message that their frontman, Adolph Ahmadinejad, has been delivering for the past two years. We just don't want to listen.

And that's why the chastened, neutered, and now, with Condi Rice's penultimate "pilgrimmage," castrated Bush Administration persists in letting the storm clouds of disaster gather, the world's most dangerous regime develop and obtain the world's most dangerous weapons, and thus hastening Armageddon, by ducking the only possible means of averting this hideous fate in favor of more of the same failures of the past.

The "cowboy unilateralist warmonger" has been broken, my friends.

The punchline is that the Bushophobes are incapable of realizing it.

Central Command News (10/29/07)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I Don't Feel Like It

28 "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'

29 "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go.

31"Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

-Matthew 21:28-32

A Duck With Legs, & No (Im)Peaches In Sight

Alrighty, then. Between my latest excursion into blogcast adequacy yesterday morning and the not entirely unrelated lecture I delivered to my son beforehand, I managed to vent enough of my pent-up irritation at the relentlessly berative thirty-five hours I put in at the office the last three days of the workweek to spare myself the pre-emptive need to grace this august, underappreciated page with any additional literary follow-ups. I will add my regrets to the two visitors to my Blog Talk Radio chatroom yesterday that my multi-tasking abilities do not extend to delivering maundering monologues and watching the switchboard window at the same time, much less monitoring the chatroom besides. I made mention of said chatroom because the link to it from my switchboard window appeared for the first time yesterday, and I get moderately giddy when a new bell or whistle gets added. Now if BTR could only provide me a stronger phone connection and a headset that didn't periodically spit static into my ears, I'd be in blogcast heaven.

Jenber probably is waiting for a crack about "another conspiuous absence" or some such, which will be entirely unnecessary as I received her exculpatory email. As my kids' baby bibs said, "Spit happens." And as that metaphor suggests, it evidently happens just about as often. The offer to migrate to a different weekend time slot still stands if it'll enhance your availability, Jen.

Speaking of my lovely and gracious co-contributor, I see where she has a post up this morning echoing Bill Buckley's essay on why the impeachment of George W. Bush - which I frankly expected to be the Democrats' first order of business last January - is growing less likely with each passing day.

WFB notes that there are no "serious" people urging impeachment, which is a not-all-that-subtle swipe at the vast bulk of the neoBolshevik Democrat Party. I think that is a function of the success of the Petraeus "Surge" strategy that has made such great strides in turning the tide against Iran and al Qaeda in pacifiying and stabilizing Iraq. Indeed, had the "Surge" been the "failure" that Dirty Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Chisler, pre-emptively, wishfully, and ignorantly pronounced clear back in April, I think the Conyers Committee would be armpit deep in an impeachment inquiry at this very moment, with the political objective being either the removal of George Bush AND Dick Cheney, or (more likely) laying the groundwork for flaying the GOP alive in 2008 based upon their "obstruction of justice".

At any rate, the latter did not happen, the former did, and Bushophobes don't know how to handle it. Their tactics finally got them Congress back, and yet all this year they haven't been able to DO anything with it. Not get rid of Dubya, not "end the war," not enact huge new entitlement programs, nothing. Well, okay, they did get their minimum wage hike through, but only by attaching it to their spring surrender to Bush on forced-withdrawal-strings-free Iraq/Afghanstan war funding. A "victory" that redefines the adjective "pyrrhic".

Their latest agonizing defeat at their feared, hated, & loathed enemy's hands was his sustained veto of their attempt to turn the SCHIP program into a Trojan horse for HillaryCare v. 2.0, a little piece of obstruction that actually enjoyed majority public support. And now, with a showdown looming over all the appropriations bills they haven't completed on time despite promising last year that they would, it looks like they're facing another inter-branch ass-kicking from a duck whose lameness has been greatly exaggerated:
The White House and Congress are heading for what President Bush predicts will be a "fiscal showdown" at a time when the nation's financial health has actually improved for the moment.

After years of record-high deficits, both parties are now projecting that the budget can be balanced by 2012. But as each side seeks to outmaneuver the other politically heading into next year's elections, the rhetorical battle between Bush and lawmakers over spending has never been more heated.

Bush used an appearance here [October 15] to chastise Democratic leaders for failing to send him even one of the twelve annual spending bills more than two weeks into the new fiscal year, and he eagerly vowed to veto what he deems excessive spending. Democrats fired back by highlighting the one veto Bush has exercised: the rejection of a dramatic expansion of a popular children's health insurance program.

The backdrop for this confrontation belies its intensity. Just last week, the Office of Management and Budget reported that the deficit in the 2007 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, fell to $163 billion, barely half of what it was two years ago and the lowest in five years. While still a hefty chunk of money, the deficit now represents just 1.2% of the overall economy, lower than the average rate over the past four decades.
How it must have pained the scions of the WaPo to have to admit even that much. The part they couldn't bring themselves to also acknowledge is that this deficit reduction is the product of the blizzards of tax revenue being thrown off from the booming economy at the lower income tax rates enacted by a Republican Congress at a Republican president's behest. I don't have to wonder if they realize there's a connection there; their silence fairly bellows it.

Indeed, the tenor of the above quote is more than a little down-playing, as if the Post is whispering between the lines to their fellow-travelers on the Hill to back off and not force a highly public confrontation with the White House that they will most likely lose both tactically and strategically.

This implicit cousel is, of course, predicated on the assumption that the public would back President Bush in defending frugality and fiscal restraint over the Donks' unabashed profligacy and fiscal irresponsibility. Ed Morrissey takes that line, arguing that the Dems "misinterpreted" the 2006 election results to mean that the American people wanted even more of overspending and corruption than the GOP was already giving them, rather than a "punishment" administered to Republicans for "acting like Democrats" by an electorate that wishes "an end to spending and corruption."

Ironically, I've been solidly on the Democrats' side of this argument, for a very logical, straightforward reason: it is inconceivable, at least to me, that an electorate that wanted to see "an end to (over)spending and corruption" would replace the party that ostensibly stands for those principles with the one that loudly and garishly champions their opposite. You simply cannot convince me that voters hung their chads for the party of pork and Big Government and expected honesty, integrity, frugality, and "clean government" to be the result. Not even so dumbed-down a populace as ours can be that irrationally obtuse.

But perhaps the secret of Dubya's 2007 resurgence is that he doesn't dwell on disputes that the march of time has rendered academic. Whichever 2006 theory is the more correct, in the here & now the Democrats' indiscrete overreaching, whether on the war, federal spending, or their blatant partisan harassment, has handed Bush and the GOP the means of a quick return to their first principles of strong national security, limited government, and fiscal responsibility, and thus the ability to resume actively advancing those principles with some minimum threshold of credibility.

It is a historical fact of the past four decades that when Republicans run under what has come to be known as the "Reagan mantle" - i.e. as conservatives - they win national elections, and when they don't, they don't. How ironic it would be for what many have called the biggest spending president since LBJ to restore that mantle to his party with the veto pen he has heretofore used so sparingly. How much moreso for the man whose ostensible "repudiation" a year ago to be the catalyst fueling his party's comeback a year from now.

No wonder the nutters are so desperate to impeach him.

VBC Missionaries Of The Week: Alfredo & Stella Pinzon

The Pinzons serve Assisting Christian Individuals International in the pastorate in Bogota, Colombia at Community Bible Church of Bogota. Alfredo is also the president of In Ministry to Children of Colombia. This Christian ministry provides an alternative wayof life to Colombia's youth whose lives are in constant danger.

Central Command News (10/28/07)

Buckley on Impeachment

Great column by William F. Buckley regarding the rumbles about impeaching George W. Bush. He briefly goes through the history and circumstances of those who have been impeached (or probably would have been, as in the case of Nixon), and hits on crackpots like Ramsey Clark who are now calling for Bush's impeachment. Here are the last few paragraphs:

What stands out this time around is that there are no serious people urging impeachment. By "serious" is here intended, men and women of sobriety who weigh conscientiously what constitutes impeachable presidential behavior.

Mr. Bush is swimming in very low political tides. Although he beat down with ease the outrageous and insulting charges of Rep. Pete Stark of California, it is striking that a member of Congress felt free to indulge in that level of public obloquy. There was enough of that for Bush in the election of 2006, which was interpreted, reasonably, as a repudiation of his leadership.

If ours were a form of government patterned after that of the Europeans, Bush would probably have been replaced as leader of his party. But the majority of the American people still think of him as a man of good will and very stout heart who is pursuing his duties as he sees them, a man, moreover, of conspicuous incorruptibility. Let the people pronounce on his stewardship in November 2008.

I agree with Buckley, I think the American people recognize that Bush is a decent, honest man and a credit to the office, unlike the last occupant. The stark difference between the two men and they way they govern is clear to all but sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Unfortunately, that malady has become an epidemic among the Democrat Party. Common sense and decency have flown the coop of the Democrats, replaced with dishonesty and malice. As stated in the article, it is a sad thing when a member of the House of Representatives feels free to make a floor speech such as the one Pete Stark made. The level of hatred and disrespect in that despicable display was astounding, yet he was praised and nearly sainted by the ranks of the leftist blogosphere...then cast back down into the muck where he belongs by the same twits when he apologized.

I don't know who first coined the term "the Clinton effect" when referring to the plummet in the level of decency, honesty, and decorum in politics today, but it is certainly appropriate. He lacked respect for his own office, and his fellow Democrats found it necessary to abandon their principles and honesty in order to continue to support him. That has continued and grown to the point where party is everything on the Democratic side, and no amount of corruption (Jefferson, Pelosi, Clinton....) is enough to make any of them stop in their tracks and say, "Wait a minute!" National security isn't even enough of a concern to put the brakes on the "Take Bush Out No Matter What" train.

The Democratic leadership is beneath contempt, and those who continue to follow them are the same.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Giving Others A Push

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the LORD Jesus. 21 The LORD's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the LORD.

22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the LORD with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the LORD.

25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

-Acts 11:19-26

Central Command News (10/27/07)

True Colors

In another show of his lack of integrity and class, the Edwards Campaign is demanding that a student's story on his plush campaign headquarters be killed.

A University of North Carolina professor said Friday that John Edwards' campaign demanded that he pull a student reporter's television story that focused on the upscale location of the campaign's headquarters.

C.A. "Charlie" Tuggle, an associate professor at the school, said the Edwards campaign contacted the reporter, second-year master's degree student Carla Babb, asking for a video of her report to be removed from the Internet. When that failed, the campaign demanded in three calls to Tuggle that the TV story be killed, he said.

And doesn't this sound like a bit of a threat?

Tuggle said the campaign had complained that the reporter misrepresented the story she planned to do. He also said the Edwards campaign warned that relations with the school could be jeopardized.

Guess they feel like it might be a little embarrassing for people to see the luxury the Golden Boy surrounds himself with while at the same time pretending to care about "poverty." He probably can't even spell it.

The bigger issue, though, is his trying to bully this newspaper into doing his will. Guess he just doesn't get the whole free speech thing. Notice they're not saying that the student misrepresented any facts, they just don't like the "spin" of the story and therefore want to SHUT IT DOWN. Talk about showing your true colors.

Amen, Brothah!

...and a high five to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) for his floor speech regarding the hype and lies of global warming. Check out this story and video.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hope In God

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God. My [c] soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs His love, at night His song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"

10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

-Psalm 42

Environmentalism Kills

While I was out running around delivering to my clients today, I was listening to Rush's show, which is today being hosted by Jason Lewis. He was making some very good points about how dangerous extreme environmentalism is. For example, the wildfires in California right now. One reason they are so out of control is the lack of thinning and the underbrush, which the environmentalists have been blocking the lumbar companies from clearing. That dry underbrush turns a regular fire into an inferno. Also, the CAFE standards. As Lewis was pointing out, the only way car manufacturers can make a car get 40 mph. is to make it smaller and lighter.

Do you think the wacko greenies even *care* about that? Nope. As Rush has said, the environmental movement is the new home of the anti-capitalist, anti-progress, anti-production, anti-AMERICA socialists. They want to stick it to the producers any way they can. Honestly, if Al Gore was all that fired up about the environment, he wouldn't be living in an energy-sucking mansion, flying around on fuel-guzzling jets as he lectures all of us on how we should be driving Priuses. It's a control issue. He's a liberal Democrat, which means he wants as much government control over our lives as possible.

I'll tell ya, the more they talk about global warming, the more energy I want to burn. The more they complain about SUVs, the more I want an Escalade. The more...well, you get the picture.

Central Command News (10/26/07)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Growth Persuasion

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

-Hebrews 12:7-11

Central Command News (10/25/07)

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

Bush Presents Medal of Honor to Parents of Navy SEAL.aspx

Posted: 23 Oct 2007 09:56 AM CDT

WASHINGTON (NNS) - President Bush today posthumously presented the Medal of Honor earned by Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in an attempt to save fellow SEALs during a fierce battle with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Paratroopers Sign Up for Another Tour.aspx

Posted: 23 Oct 2007 09:35 AM CDT

BAGHDAD, Oct. 18, 2007 — One hundred forty-one paratroopers decided to stay Army in a mass re-enlistment ceremony held on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Oct. 14.

Doing What They Do Best

Well, we knew the old coot was going to try and raise taxes once he got the chairmanship of the Ways & Means Committee, and he doesn't disappoint:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said he would propose paying for curbing the alternative minimum tax this year with a $48 billion tax increase on executives of buyout firms and hedge funds.

The New York Democrat said the proposal would more than double the tax rate on so-called carried interest, the compensation that executives at buyout and venture-capital firms, as well as real estate and oil and gas partnerships, receive for managing investments. It would also require hedge- fund managers to pay tax on income they defer in offshore accounts, he said.

Read the rest of the article, what Rangel wants to do is staggering...but not surprising. He keeps talking about raising taxes to "pay" for cutting somewhere else. It never occurs to these people to curb spending rather than continually raising taxes. It doesn't matter how many times tax CUTS work to stimulate the economy and bring more revenue into the government coffers, they still refuse to "get it." Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear a Democrat come up with something that might actually work?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Turn On The Lights

13 "You are the salt of Earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 5:13-20

Mental State

I never thought I would ever say this about an Israeli leader, but I guess the adage really is true - some people never learn:
A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that his government would support a division of Jerusalem, which is reportedly a key component of an Israeli-Palestinian declaration to be made at a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference next month.

As part of recent negotiations between the sides, Deputy Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon has proposed turning over many of the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Ramon said the Palestinians could establish the capital of a future state in the sector of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.

In return, Israel would receive the recognition of the international community, including Arab states, of its sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods and the existence of its capital there, Ramon said.

On Monday Ramon said even hawkish elements of Olmert's coalition, like Cabinet Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party, would back such an Israeli concession. The centrist Labor Party would also support the proposal, Ramon said.
Gotta point out a few details the AP typically omitted:

1) The Jews captured East Jerusalem in the Six Day War, but only after being attacked by all their Arab/Muslim neighbors combined. If the IDF hadn't struck pre-emptively, Israel would probably have been overwhelmed, if the Yom Kippur War of six years later is any guide.

2) When IDF forces reached the Wailing Wall, they wept along with their commander, the famous Moshe Dyan. "We have returned to our holiest of holy places, never to leave her again," he vowed tearfully. The Temple Mount, where the last vestige of Herod's temple is located, is in East Jerusalem.

Whether it's being included in the Arab neighborhoods referenced in the quote above is unclear. One would suspect not if even "hawkish elements" of the Israeli government are willing to buy into Ehud Olmert's appeasenik insanity. But at the rate the will of that little country is deteriorating, it wouldn't surprise me if it was.

3) Since when is the Labor Party "centrist"?

4) Of what value would "international recognition" be to a Jewish State that had let itself be pruned back to the very indefensible borders that necessitated their having to strike pre-emptively in June 1967 to avoid annihilation, which gave them all of Jerusalem and the West Bank in the first place?

How bass-ackwards is this "peace at any price" mania? Read this and weep:
Arab nations had approached the US peace conference with some skepticism. Several have hesitated to attend, claiming that a conference with no practical results would be worse than no conference at all. Condoleezza Rice and Olmert needed to show some significant potential for progress to convince them to attend. [emphasis added]
Does anybody besides me understand what a favor "moderate" Arab regimes were doing ourselves and the Israelis by this skepticism? Does anybody besides me realize how thoroughly our SecState and her Foggy Bottom stooge have squandered that favor? And doesn't this show how utterly the Arabs are in the driver's seat for this so-called "peace conference," and how much they know it? What's left to be negotiated if your enemies are so desperate for a piece of paper to wave around that they'll give up almost everything just to get you to show up?

This quote from another AP blurb hammers the point home gratuitously:

Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday it was "time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," and described Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as the most serious in years.

An international peace conference expected to take place in Annapolis, MD, in November has to be substantive, Rice said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op," she said.

Israelis and Palestinians, Rice added, are making their "most serious effort" in years to resolve the conflict.

"Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," she added. [emphasis added]

Sounds to me like she's already delivered the goods to "President" Abbas. Makes me wonder why the Israelis are even bothering to attend, as their resemblance to Czechoslovakia in 1938 grows ever more striking. Tell me again how Secretary Rice and the government for which she speaks is serving as an "honest broker" in this shindig?

It looks to me like the ultimate Palestinian "triangle offense," in the form of this past summer's "civil war" between Hamas and Fatah, is working like a charm.

In case you think I'm being too cynical, I refer you to this story:
Israel views the plot by Palestinian militants to kill Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and especially the fact that the potential assailants were released after their initial arrests, with utmost severity, a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday.

The source added that the Prime Minister's Bureau has submitted a harsh protest to Abbas' office, and Israel expects the PA to take action on the matter. Labor Party minister Ami Ayalon said that, in response to Diskin's report, he had decided to cancel a scheduled meeting with PA Prisoners' Affairs Minister Ashraf Al-Ajrami in protest of the PA's conduct....

National Religious Party Chairman Zevulun Orlev called on Olmert to "immediately halt his contacts with Abu Mazen [Abbas] and announce the cancellation of the summit as long as Abu Mazen continues to provide cover for terrorists."

National Union MK Aryeh Eldad added that, "Olmert must recite the traditional blessing, for having been saved from an assassination. Abu Mazen should recite a blessing for having a partner like Olmert, because anyone else would have cut off negotiations long ago, and the State of Israel should say a blessing for getting rid of Olmert."

National Union MK Zvi Hendel said that Olmert should be examined "by the best professionals, because a situation in which the prime minister is willing to meet with those who freed terrorists that tried to assassinate him, is not politics but rather insanity."

Kadima MK Zeev Elkin urged the prime minister to "freeze all talks on gestures to Abu Mazen until the members of the cell are taken back into custody and tried."

National Union MK Effi Eitam said "Olmert must awaken from the pointless dream of a moderate partner in Abu Mazen."
But, frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Looks like even the "doves" are backpedaling now.

How I wish I could believe that it'll stay that way.

Central Command News (10/24/07)

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

Bush Presents Medal of Honor to Parents of Navy SEAL.aspx

Posted: 23 Oct 2007 09:56 AM CDT

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- President Bush today posthumously presented the Medal of Honor earned by Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life in an attempt to save fellow SEALs during a fierce battle with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Paratroopers Sign Up for Another Tour.aspx

Posted: 23 Oct 2007 09:35 AM CDT

BAGHDAD, Oct. 18, 2007 — One hundred forty-one paratroopers decided to stay Army in a mass re-enlistment ceremony held on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, Oct. 14.

US CENTCOM Press Releases


Posted: 23 Oct 2007 07:45 AM CDT

Mental Midget

Here is an article regarding the California wildfires, what various people think needs to be done, strategies, etc....then along comes Harry Reid, that pillar of intelligence, with this remark:

“One reason why we have the fires in California is global warming,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Tuesday, stressing the need to pass the Democrats’ comprehensive energy package.

This guy is a total moron. The reporter asked him to clarify his remark, you know, back it up with something, and he comes up with this:

Moments later, when asked by a reporter if he really believed global warming caused the fires, he appeared to back away from his comments, saying there are many factors that contributed to the disaster.

Wow, what a deep thinker. I can't describe how distressing it is to me that this man is in a position of leadership in the United States Senate.

JASmius adds: Reid is like a trained seal. Just feed him campaign contributions, remind him of what the nutroots will do to him if he deviates from their script, and he'll wax ineloquent of the flatness of the planet, a geocentric universe, or any other of the discredited primitivist myths of which "global warming" is but the latest.

If you were a homeowner in southern California this morning beholding the smoldering rubble that used to fit that description ("home", that is), wouldn't Dirty Harry rhetorically recruiting you as a Donk PR prop for their ruinous blizzard of new energy taxes and regulations just, er, warm the cockles of your heart?

Yeah, mine neither.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keep Laughing

1 When the LORD brought back the captives to [a] Zion, we were like men who dreamed. [b]

2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, [c] O LORD, like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.

6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

-Psalm 126

Pete Stark-Raving-Mad Apologizes

Awwww...isn't this sweet?

And wouldn't it have been even sweeter if he meant even one word of it?

UPDATE: I was reading over at Little Green Footballs and he linked to this, a Daily Kos diary weeping and lamenting over Stark's apology. Oh, there are some *gems* in there. One says that for all intents and purposes, there are no terrorists, another says Bush executed people in Texas after they had been proven gotta see it to believe it. No wonder they love(d) Stark, they're as nutzoid as he is.

JASmius adds: Maybe Crazy Nancy had a talk with him....

Central Command News (10/23/07)

Fortune Cookies

Not that any of this matters, you understand, since Hillary Clinton is above the law and always has been, but the criminal racket that is her fundraising apparatus that she is allowing her friends in the Enemy Media to expose like an open house documentary is almost as remarkable as her evident lack of concern over its exposure:
A search of Chinatown donors yesterday by the [New York] Post found several bogus addresses and some contributions that raised eyebrows.

Shin K. Cheng is listed twice in federal records for giving $1,000 donations to Clinton's campaign on April 17.

But the address recorded on campaign reports is a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, hemorrhoids and skin disease.

No one at the address knew of a Shin K. Cheng.
No "Shin K. Cheng"? How about "One Hung Lo"?

Sorry, couldn't resist. But an STD clinic as a Clinton fundraising front? Could YOU resist that?

Another donation came from a Shih Kan Chang on Canal Street. But the address listed is a shop that sells knock-off watches and other pirated goods. The sales clerk there did not know the donor.

Hsiao Yen Wang, a cook in Chinatown, is listed as giving Clinton $1,000 on April 13. Contacted yesterday, she told the Post she had written a check.

But it was on behalf of a man named David Guo, president of the Fujian American
Cuisine Council, and Wang told the Post that Guo had repaid her for the $1,000 contribution.

Such "straw donations" are strictly prohibited by federal law.
But then, of course, Hillary Clinton is above federal law.

Alright, Rupert Murdoch's newspaper doesn't count as Enemy Media, I'll give you that. But the Los Angeles Times certainly does:

All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate - Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown. . . .

The Times examined the cases of more than 150 donors who provided checks to Clinton after fundraising events geared to the Chinese community. One-third of those donors could not be found using property, telephone or business records. Most have not registered to vote, according to public records.

And several dozen were described in financial reports as holding jobs - including dishwasher, server or chef - that would normally make it difficult to donate amounts ranging from $500 to the legal maximum of $2,300 per election....Like many who traveled this path, most of the Chinese reported as contributing to Clinton's campaign have never voted. Many speak little or no English. Some seem to lead such ephemeral lives that neighbors say they've never heard of them.

Admiral Ed gives us a hilarious recapitulation of the obvious:
What does that say about the Hillary Clinton campaign? Once could have been a mistake. Twice looks like a pattern. Taking into account 1996 and the same kinds of criminal activity in her husband's re-election effort, three times is a bad habit and not a mistake at all.

Nominating Clintons to the White House three times doesn't qualify as a mistake for Democrats, either. This demonstrates a lack of ethical oversight on the part of their party that reflects the kind of governance they represent. If Hillary wins the nomination after having her campaign conduct these kinds of criminal and ethical violations, then that tells Americans quite a bit about their threshold for corruption in pursuit of power.
It doesn't tell me anything about the Hillary Clinton campaign that I didn't already know. The Clinton Machine is a corrupt, ruthless, mercenary, traitorous criminal racket driven by a single imperative: the will to conquer, by any means necessary. It's been in or around the national stage since 1991, and it's no less filthy now than it was then. Hey, I don't call them La Clinton Nostra for nothing.

And will any of it get investigated by the Bush FBI? Nope. Will the voters care any more than they did eleven years ago? Nope. Her Nib knows this, and isn't even taking the trouble to conceal it; hell, she's proud of it. She's raised more dough than any other presidential campaign in American history, and the primaries are still three months away. She may as well steal the Capital One catch-phrase as her campaign slogan and produce a series of ads with Asian dishwashers and bellhops exclaiming, in stereotypical Charlie Chan accents, "What's in YOUR wallet?!?"

To all those on this side of the aisle who still think that Hillary is "unelectable" or in any other fashion "just another presidential candidate," are you beginning to understand why she is, indeed, inevitable? And that it has nothing to do with persuasion?

My political cynicism is part of the Clinton legacy, after all. I can't imagine how hard-boiled I'll be nine years from now.

You know, when Chelsea is busy shaking down Chinatowns all over the country....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Iranian Kremlinology

Much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I refer not to the resignation of Iran's chief "nuclear negotiator," Ali Larijani, but to the hyperventilating speculation as to "what it means".

First, the particulars:
Iran's chief negotiator with the West over Tehran's nuclear programme, Ali Larijani, has resigned.

A government spokesman said Mr Larijani had repeatedly offered his resignation and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had finally accepted it.

Mr Larijani had differences with the president over how to proceed with the negotiations, correspondents say. ...

Mr Larijani has favoured further negotiations with the West over Iran's uranium enrichment programme, as opposed to the president's more hard-line approach, our correspondent says.
Seems rather yawn-inducing to me. It's not as though there was any genuine difference of opinion at work, here. Both Larijani and Ahmadinejad serve at the pleasure of the mullahs; and "approach" taken by Iran is ultimately theirs. Whatever their underlings do is about as autonomous as the rhetoric of a ventriloquist's dummy.

Think this through: what purpose to negotiations serve for the mullahs? Time. Keep stringing the gullible West along with the flickering hope of a perpetually elusive "diplomatic breakthrough" while building their nuclear arsenal until they're ready to use it, after which they can break off negotiations citing "American intransigence" or "imperialism" or some such, accuse us of "plotting to attack them all along," and start "deploying" the fruits of their far-from-clandestine labors. All these years of pointless "jaw-jaw" have ever been for Tehran is a cloak for their prelude to Armageddon.

Some believe that Larijani's departure "signals a hardening of position on the part of the Iranians and a move away from engagement." Others even harbor the naive hope that "the illusion that negotiations can dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons will be difficult to preserve."

Michael Ledeen's take is far more cynically prosaic, and thus far more likely to be on target:
Whatever Larijani’s job change may mean, it doesn’t represent a change in policy. The differences between Larijani and Ahmadinejad were only tactical. On the basic question — should Iran suspend its enrichment program — you couldn’t get the tip of a scimitar between the two. Both said repeatedly — as they had to, since the Supreme Leader had laid down the law — that Iran would never abandon enrichment. Theirs was a debate over style. Ahmadinejad wanted to tell the West to go to hell, while Larijani charmed them. Indeed, Larijani was the West’s favorite interlocutor. From EU Solana to a parade of foreign ministers and secret back channels (including Secretary of State Rice’s personal emissary, former Spanish President Felipe Gonzales), Larijani was universally liked. To be sure, he never gave a centimeter, but he was popular. I suppose President Bush would consider him “a good guy,” in the mold of, say, Vladimir Putin.
Speaking of whom....
The personnel shift may also be related to the mysterious meeting between Khamenei and Putin a few days ago, about which very little has become public. I am told, in fact, that the Russian president memorized his key message in Farsi, and delivered it in a private meeting with the Supreme Leader, with not even an interpreter present. If you think that is a foolish way to conduct diplomacy, I’m inclined to agree, but then I’m not a former high official of the KGB. Perhaps Putin made some interesting proposal that requires the talents of a Larijani. In that case, Larijani would need more time to devote to the Putin project. It’s not as if his successor at the Supreme National Security Council is a dominant figure in the Iranian political world. Indeed the new guy is generally considered a nobody, which further reinforces the view that we are not witnessing a fundamental political shift in Tehran.
Vlad reportedly emerged from that meeting blusteringly disavowing that the mullahs had any intention of seeking or constructing nuclear weapons. An attempt at reassurance that might be, well, reassuring, if it wasn't coming from the autocratic ruler of a former global empire with ambitions of re-igniting the Cold War. Such a man would find a gang of crazed theocrats a useful pawn to manipulate on the world chessboard in order to distract and "bleed" the planetary hegemon he seeks to bring down and replace. And if they go nuts and let fly with a few atomic salvos? That's easy - he hides behind his previous admonitions of a "diplomatic solution" and blames U.S. "provocations" for the Iranian attacks, whether direct or indirect via terrorist infiltration.

At any rate, Ledeen is right - Larijani's resignation is no watershed event. Indeed, if it "means" anything, it is that the Iranians have reached the point in their nuclear quest where they no longer need to maintain the fiction of negotiating.

If that's the case, the window of opportunity for the U.S. to crush the mullahgarchy's dreams of global dominion - and the mullahgarchy itself - without the price tag in lives and destruction rising to catastrophic levels will have officially closed.

The "beginning of sorrows," indeed.

The Casket & The Jewel

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18 if you know His will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth — 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." [a]

-Romans 2:17-24

Unknown Victory

The good news continues to roll out of Iraq - and straight down the Enemy Media black hole....

Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites are reaching out to each other as the "chaos" in their country continues to dwindle:
Aboard the seventy-mile flight from Baghdad to Ramadi was a top Pentagon envoy and a leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite political party. They were paying a visit to Sunni sheiks who have joined the U.S. battle against extremists.

The meeting Sunday was part of budding contacts between Iraq's rival Muslim groups that has shown promise where the nation's political leadership has stalled: trying to find common ground among Shiites and Sunnis.

The exchanges — which have bypassed the stumbling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — are supported by Washington as part its evolving strategies to tap the influence of religious authorities and tribal chiefs.
Hard not to notice the AP's bias in that third graf; the Maliki regime is hardly "stumbling," and has made significant progress in its own right in unifying Iraqis across sectarian lines, as exemplified by the recent visit of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi to Najaf - i.e. Shia Central - to meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. This reconciliation process is the product of the progress achieved, and momentum created, by the Petraeus "Surge" strategy over the course of this calendar year. Now that Iraq is being pacified, more and more Iraqis are discovering an interest in keeping it that way, and embarking on more constructive avenues of activity than killing each other.

Things have improved so much, in fact, that one of the most cautious and pessimistic of Middle East observers is ready to publicly broach the "V" word:
Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq?

The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, General Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.

These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead, and even those who believe that al Qaeda is crashing and burning in a death spiral on the Iraqi battlefields say that the surviving terrorists will still be able to kill coalition forces and Iraqis. But there is relative tranquility across vast areas of Iraq, even in places that had been all but given up for lost barely more than a year ago. It may well be that those who confidently declared the war definitively lost will have to reconsider.

Almost exactly thirteen months ago, the top Marine intelligence officer in Iraq wrote that the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate unless an additional division was sent in, along with substantial economic aid. Today, Marine leaders are musing openly about clearing out of Anbar, not because it is a lost cause, but because we have defeated al Qaeda there.
Michael Ledeen is not given to overstatement, gentles. If he says that victory is at hand, you're betting with house money, as it were.

I can't help noting, as an aside, the last graf of the Ledeen quote: "...the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate unless an additional division was sent in." This illustrates what has always been true about Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and the larger War Against Islamic Fundamentalism: the question of victory or defeat is entirely up to us. al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahgarchy cannot defeat us unless we choose to let them win by quitting the field(s) of battle. If we maintain the will to "fight through to absolute victory," to quote FDR, the only question is when we triumph, not if.

That just emphasizes all the more that the American Left is not lamenting "another futile military quagmire," but rather actively seeks its own country's defeat for its own pernicious, seditious reasons. A "crusade" being made more and more of a, well, "futile quagmire" itself by the "Surge's" successes in changing the reality and direction of events on the ground in Iraq.

Thus, the increasingly frantic desperation of the Enemy Media's so-called "war coverage," of which intrepid war correspondent Michael Yon has had enough:
I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.

No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public. ....

Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic. But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe.

I wasn’t back in Iraq three days before this critical disconnect rocketed up from the ground and whacked me in the face. There I was with British soldiers, preparing for a mission with a duration of more than ten days in the southern province of al Basra, when someone asked me about the media reports alleging that Basra city had collapsed into violent chaos. Not wishing to trust solely to my own eyes and ears, I asked around and was able to quickly confirm what I’d already noted: conditions in this region had improved dramatically in the months since my previous embed with the Brits. ...

No one who’s actually been to this area in the last month could honestly claim it was swarming with violence. I’ve been with the Brits here for more than two weeks, during which time there have been only a few trivial attacks that could easily have been the work of an angry farmer with extra time on his hands and a mortar in his backyard. As to serious attacks on British forces, in the last eight weeks, there have been exactly zero. So, any stories that make it sound like Basra is in chaos are shamefully false.
This goes to show that those who make their living counting their "legacy media collapse" chickens before they hatch are talking out of their hats. At the very least, they're wildly premature in pronouncing the Enemy Media's demise. As I have written on numerous occasions, the EM is not the monopoly it once was, but it's still vastly more powerful and influential in framing and shaping the context of American political debate than talk radio, the handful of center-right newspapers and magazines, and the blogosphere. Indeed, the factor that began ponderously turning around American public opinion on the war didn't come out of the "new" media at all, but rather from two prominent Bush critics in the New York Times. And still the EM continues to try and bury any and all good news out of Iraq, even when there is now scarcely any other kind. If they can't tell the version of the war that they want to tell, they won't report on it at all.

What does it say about the press' Ameriphobic fanaticism and utter dearth of journalistic integrity that a genuine reporter like Mr. Yon has to offer his reports for free to members of the National Newspaper Association in order to have a chance of getting the truth of what's actually happening in Iraq onto the pages - much less the front pages - of American newspapers? What does it also say about them that the only beneficiaries of their defeatist distortions would be the enemy and their fellow-travelers in the Democrat Party?

Or, rather, America's "enemies, foreign and domestic."

Kinda gives the term "home front" a whole other meaning, doesn't it?

Central Command News (10/22/07)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's Right?

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices — what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before Me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of My courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to Me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations — I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts My soul hates. They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; 16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of My sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. [a] Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

-Isaiah 1:11-18

The Turning Point?

In any competitive endeavor, whether athletic or politic, there comes a point where momentum shifts, and the tide that had been going one direction pivots and starts moving the other way. Usually that turning point is obvious in retrospect; the trick is to recognize it at the time it happens, and not mistake it for simple wishful thinking.

The Republican Party has been on a losing skid for almost three years now. Ever since the triumphal 2004 election was in the can, the GOP has floundered beneath self-generated waves of timidity, profligacy, complacency, and the suicidal fratricide such shortcomings always precipitate from the party's conservative base. Those "rogue waves" demolished the Pachyderms' congressional majorities a year ago, and have given every appearance of carrying the Democrats back to total, unchallengeable power a year from now.

Understandably, we on the center-right are looking for something, ANYthing to grab hold of as a life-preserver of hope that such a disastrous fate for the country itself can somehow be averted. And on Saturday night in, of all places, the state that was ground zero for Hurricane Katrina, a turning point may have been reached:
Republican Bobby Jindal won election as Louisiana governor Saturday, setting a string of firsts and leaving no doubt that the state's voters strongly desire new leadership two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Jindal, 36, will be the nation's youngest sitting governor. The son of Indian immigrants, he will also be the first Indian American governor in U.S. history, and the first nonwhite to hold the job in Louisiana since Reconstruction.

The election of Jindal, who is a conservative, underscores the fast-fading fortunes of the Democratic Party in Louisiana after the hurricanes. ...

Democrats make up about half of the 2.8 million registered voters in Louisiana, outnumbering Republicans by nearly 2 to 1. But the number of registered Democrats has dropped by nearly 57,000 since the 2005 hurricanes. Residents have criticized the state government, which is dominated by Democrats, as incompetent and corrupt.

Jindal capitalized on that sentiment, making the fight to root out Louisiana's corruption a central theme of his campaign. One of his commercials portrayed his Democratic rivals as crooked clowns with cash coming out of their pockets.
There are differences between Louisiana and the nation as a whole, of course. Dems have dominated Bayou politics for decades, while on the national level they've only been back in charge of Congress for nine and a half months. Jindal is replacing a hapless Donk machine governor (Kathleen "Babbling" Blanco) rendered politically moribund by the debacle that she, New Orleans mayor Ray "School Bus" Nagin, and her party made of the Katrina aftermath (a telling, if belated, epilogue after the furious media effort to blame all of that on President Bush), whereas nationally it's an unpopular GOP Executive playing out the string while a seemingly unstoppable she-Ass successor waits impatiently in the wings. And Jindal's victory was a re-match of four years ago, when he got narrowly screwed out of the office he will now hold in classic Huey Long fashion.

Still, Jindal made the rampant, institutionalized corruption of the Democrat establishment the centerpiece of his campaign, turning the tables on the "culture of corruption" meme the Dems successfully deployed in 2006, and won big. Given how the pork barrel bread & circuses have intensified rather than abating under Donk congressional rule, and the proliferating fundraising scandals enthicketing Hillary!, a party-wide adaptation of the Louisiana Governor-Elect's Saturday night rallying cry ("They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go.") over the next year - and walking that walk, as it were - would appear to have an at least credible chance of producing similar ballot box results.

Congratulations indeed to Bobby Jindal, for whom the political sky may be the limit if he can make good on this golden opportunity. I just hope the rest of the GOP is paying attention, and remembering that old campaign saying, "Hell hath no fury like voters bamboozled."

Hey, it worked in 1994; it nearly won us a House special election in Ted Kennedy's back yard; why not go for it in 2008?

VBC Missionaries Of The Week: Jerry & Cheri Patrick

The Patricks are part of the regional team that ministers in Eastern and Central Europe for the Association of Baptists For World Evangelism.

They give guidance, encouragement and help where needed within that field. Their two main areas of responsibility are in Hungary where their home and the regional offices are, and Bosnia where they are involved in church-planting and evangelism.

Jerry is also the field administrator for Bosnia, while Cheri runs the missionary guest house in Hungary, which is available for missionaries, national pastors, and missions teams.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Running For Nothing

4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God Who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD will never count against him." [a]

9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." [b] He is our father in the sight of God, in Whom he believed—the God Who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

-Romans 4:4-17

Say It Isn't So!

Wow, what a catastrophe:

Members of Hollywood's film and television writers union have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike anytime after their contract expires at the end of the month.

Considering some of the bilge coming out of Hollywood, I'd say this is a *good* thing.

Big Mama's Listening

Anybody who's surprised by the same Hillary Clinton that decries the NSA terrorist surveillance program on "civil liberties" grounds having overseen an ongoing illegal wiretapping operation as part of her husband's political machine before and during the first Clinton administration, stand on your head:
In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at the New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent thirty years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.

“The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill,” Gerth and Van Natta wrote in reference to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.” ...

Gerth told The Hill that he learned of the incident in 2006 when he interviewed a former campaign aide present at the tape playing. He has not revealed the aide’s identity. Clinton’s campaign has not disputed any facts reported in the final version of his book, which became public this spring, he said.

“It hasn’t been challenged,” said Gerth. “There hasn’t been one fact in the book that’s been challenged.”
I gotta admit, that surprises me. It isn't the Clinton MO to leave damaging exposes and their authors unscathed. Indeed, it's remarkable that Van Natta and Gerth continue to draw breath, much less not exist in a state of financial, professional, and personal ruin. Where, at the very least, are the dismissive toss-offs of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" having "assimilated" two new "drones"? Could it be that the old grey mare is getting soft in her old age, and maybe a tad wiser in realizing that enough time has passed since those days that the American people won't care how many laws her Nib broke back then? Hell, they didn't care even at the time - why would today be any different? After all, as Admiral Morrissey notes, Her Way came out four months ago and hasn't exactly torn up the best-seller lists, at least until this latest little infusion of publicity. Factor in that by this time, Clinton exposes are a dime a dozen, and perhaps their Machine's complacency is not entirely un-understandable.

Then again, they may know something we don't - that the 2008 election fix is already in, and they'll have plenty of time to dish out retribution after the future Ms. Rodham is so securly entrenched in power that it'll take a revolution to get rid of her - and I don't mean figuratively.

One might encapsulate all of the above under the expression, "letting her reputation proceed her." That would certainly does much to explain why her tomato can "rivals" for the Democrat presidential nomination aren't pulling out all the stops to try to reel her back in, and why the Demectorate wouldn't heed them if they did:

When Hillary Clinton first appeared on the national scene in 1992, and abrasively quipped about baking cookies or Tammy Wynette, a lot of rank-and-file Democrats defended her.

Whitewater, the cattle futures, the disappearing and reappearing billing records - on every scandal, most grassroots Democrats came to her defense, and insisted she was the blameless victim of a partisan witch hunt. When health care reform went down in flames, they had to overlook her faults. Chinese fundraising? Renting out the Lincoln Bedroom? Time and again, they looked at emerging facts - or perhaps the proper metaphor is closed their eyes - and declared, "it is not her fault, she has done nothing wrong."

Finally, the women: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky: on each of them, grassroots Democrats told themselves, and the rest of the country, that the charges were false, that this wasn't the public's concern, that each and every one of the tawdry tales was a puritan smear job of the right-wing conspiracy....

Now, these same Democrats are supposed to be persuaded when Obama or Edwards brings up the pardon of Marc Rich? They're supposed to turn on her because one of them reminds them of disappearing White House silverware?

Declaring that Hillary Clinton has done nothing wrong is as instinctive as breathing to many Democrats now. Nominating Obama or Edwards over Hillary now would invalidate all of those defenses over the years. It would mean her critics had a point all these years, and they cannot concede that core belief they've held close to their hearts for a decade and a half.

Democrats aren't just supportive of Hillary Clinton's rise to the presidency: they're emotionally and intellectually invested in it.

J-Ger is absolutely right. It's why all the keystrokes that have been poured into speculation about Hillary "being in trouble with the nutroots" and her nomination "not being a sure thing" have never failed to generate a hail and hearty guffaw on my part. Everybody knows that this was part of the deal sixteen years ago - the "Blue Plate Special" that Medusa announced on Sixty Minutes after Super Bowl XXVII concluded. Everybody knows that this was why she hooked her broom to Mr. Bill all those years ago, and put up with all his crap ever since. For Hillary Clinton, absolute power was always the payoff for a lifetime of scheming and plotting and scandal. It's why she had his political opponents wiretapped, it's why she signed off on the huge influx of ChiComm funny money, and it's why she probably had to be restrained from going Lorena Bobbitt on him when he dribbled his way into impeachment.

I simply take it one step further. Does anybody really believe that Hillary would settle for securing the Donk nomination in 2008 but leave victory in November up to chance? I sure as heck don't. That's why I've said ever since January of 2001 that Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States. One way or another, whatever it takes, she will simply not allow any other outcome. And she's got the power to make it stick.

Those who think that her "high negatives" mean she can't win a general election are in for a rude awakening: they will have no say in the matter.

The Florida Insurrection in December 2000 was a seat of the pants coup de tat, which is why it failed - and at that it didn't fall short by much. Suffice it to say, this time, "fate" will have nothing to do with it.