A Decline in Public Support For Suicide Bombing

A Decline in Public Support For Suicide Bombing

Ed Lasky
This is welcome news:

According to a Pew Global Attitude survey based on polling date from 47 countries reported by Reuters, Muslim support for suicide bombings has fallen sharply. In Pakistan, it has dropped from 33 percent to 9 percent. In Lebanon, it has dropped from 74 percent to 34 percent. It is down from 2002 in Bangladesh and Indonesia by at least half. But, reports Reuters, “support for suicide attacks remained at a high 70 percent among Palestinians.” This is their suicide, too.

Yet…this poll (the headlines which feature prominently in today’s media), without the qualifier, prompts the LA Times to publish an editorial advocating outreach and seemingly justifying (and certainly not criticizing the apporval rates for bombings against Americans and Israelis):

Can Western leaders drive a deeper wedge between extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Muslims around the world? One person who has clearly decided to try is British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He has forbidden his ministers to use the inflammatory phrase “war on terror” and pointedly avoided calling the Glasgow airport attack “Muslim” or “Islamist.” Instead, he simply branded it “criminal.”

British Muslims were overjoyed. Critics mocked Brown’s political correctness, rightly noting that linguistic self-censorship will not inspire similar self-restraint by the terrorists setting off the bombs. The question, however, is whether British police will now receive more cooperation from Muslim citizens on whom they depend for information to thwart the next bombers.

That’s right, Gordo. Stick you head in the sand. After all, the absolute last thing we want to do is offend anyone by hiding the nature of the enemy in the War on – well, as soon as the left in Europe and here tell us what the politically correct term for what to call the conflict against those who wish to destroy us actually is, I’ll let you know.

Possible Clinton-Obama Presidential Clash Has Senate Abuzz

For Now, an Unofficial Rivalry

Possible Clinton-Obama Presidential Clash Has Senate Abuzz

By Charles Babington and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 8, 2006; A01

On Wednesday night, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hosted the nine Democratic members of his health and education committee at an intimate dinner in his home in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. The surroundings were stylish, the food home-cooked and tasty.

And then there was the entertainment.

The gathering included a former presidential candidate, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, and a close friend of Kennedy’s, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. But the star attractions were Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, two junior committee members who may be duking it out for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination in a matter of months.

The air was thick with ambition. “I don’t know why we’re here, Bernie,” Rep. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) quipped to a fellow senator-elect, Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), as the guests walked into the dining room.

Neither Clinton nor Obama has formally declared a candidacy, but their rivalry is already the talk of the chamber, an amusing sideshow for Democrats and Republicans — at least the handful who aren’t weighing their own White House bids.

Kennedy (Mass.) tried not to play favorites on Wednesday, seating the two superstars on his right and left at dinner. But the dais of his committee will be another matter next year, after Obama joins the panel in January: According to seniority rules, the two are likely to be seated next to each other, toward the end. There they will vie for prominence on major issues such as stem cell research, the minimum wage and college tuition subsidies.

In the fishbowl of the Senate, interactions between Clinton and Obama are frequent and closely scrutinized. During a routine vote yesterday morning, Obama and Clinton brushed past each other on the Senate floor. Obama winked and touched Clinton on her elbow. Without pausing, she kept walking.

The 100-member Senate has never run short of presidential wannabes, but this time, Democrats worry that the clash of titans will overshadow their legislative agenda, leaving mere mortals grasping for notice and potentially compromising the party’s efforts to expand its Senate majority.

“Everybody’s going to be fighting for oxygen at a very high altitude,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Colleagues say Clinton and Obama appear to genuinely admire each other. So far, they claim to see zero evidence of public rancor. “Everybody gets along just fine,” Harkin said. Kennedy described the pair as “extra-dimensional individuals” and asserted in an interview: “There’s no sort of pettiness or jealousy that I see. They understand the momentous nature of what the search for the presidency is all about.”

Behind the scenes, of course, it’s a slightly different story. “Don’t tell Mama, I’m for Obama” has become the Obama campaign’s unofficial motto. It’s a reference to Clinton’s nickname as first lady and an example of the conflicted loyalties of many Democratic political aides. Some are talking to both camps about possible jobs in the presidential campaigns. Meanwhile, Democratic senators who are not considering presidential bids of their own are remaining neutral.

Some Obama allies suspect that Clinton supporters generated recent rumors that former vice president Al Gore is weighing a 2008 bid, hoping to discourage donors from signing up with Obama just yet. On Monday, Obama tiptoed onto Clinton’s turf, traveling to Manhattan to talk with big-time Democratic donors such as George Soros.

Speaking later to reporters, he made a point of praising Clinton. “I think she is tough, I think she is disciplined, I think she is smart, and I’m not one of those people who believe she can’t win,” Obama said. “I recognize it’s fun to set these things up as a contest between the two of us.”

Clinton has been less effusive. She rarely comments publicly on Obama, and when she does, it’s often in snippets. She declined a request to be interviewed for this article. In October, she said “it’s great” that he is thinking of running for president. And Democrats credit her for letting Obama and a first-term senator, Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), headline a Capitol Hill media event last year while other senior Democrats grumbled about their nonspeaking roles.

Some of Clinton’s chief supporters, however, have been less charitable. John Catsimatidis, a supermarket magnate and Clinton donor, said yesterday of Obama: “He might be ready for prime time, but I think it’s too early.”

Clinton and Obama were unusual senators from the start. They hired established, high-level staffers such as Pete Rouse, who was chief of staff for former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and took the same job in Obama’s office, and Tamera Luzzatto, the former top aide to Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), who now runs Clinton’s staff.

Both senators maintained low profiles, at least at first, restricting most public activities to home-state events. Despite their megawatt qualities, both were deferential to older colleagues, and both made friends and co-sponsored legislation with Republicans.

Because Clinton spent eight years in the White House, she is a particular anomaly, escorted through the corridors by a security detail and rarely engaging in hallway banter with reporters before and after votes. On Tuesday, Obama lingered by the elevators near the Senate floor, feeding quotes on Medicare and tax cuts to a gaggle of scribes. Clinton rushed by a few minutes later, flanked by staff members, and headed straight onto a waiting elevator.

“She likes to stand alone,” said one senior Senate staffer.

Clinton’s colleagues were surprised when she teamed up with former GOP House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) on health-care initiatives, and when she staked out a moderate stance on abortion in a prominent speech in January 2005. But her reluctance to hog the spotlight has earned her considerable goodwill — to the extent that some of her colleagues have speculated that she might become the top Democratic leader someday, should her presidential bid falter.

Obama, only two years removed from the Illinois legislature, initially stirred jealousy among some colleagues for the rave reviews of his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. But he earned loads of gratitude and goodwill by campaigning doggedly for fellow Democrats this fall, often drawing the largest crowd of each campaign.

Senators say Obama’s explosive rise has startled Clinton and her advisers, who are mulling how to react. With Obama planning a trip to the early-primary state of New Hampshire on Sunday, they may need to decide soon.

“Hang on tight,” advised Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), an Obama fan. “They ain’t seen nothing yet.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

In this sixth (or 1385th, depending on your starting point) year of the defense against the global jihad, it is easy to succumb to a certain bleakness. After all, the fog of disinformation, misinformation, and willful ignorance is extraordinarily thick, and it is only by chance and accident pierced through here and there. The government and the national informational mainstream still dare not name the enemy (the global jihad) or stand up to the pressure groups in the United States that are effectively advancing the cause of that jihad through manipulation of our societal proclivities and weaknesses — as has been vividly illustrated again this week by the case of the six imams removed from the airplane. CAIR and its minions are skillfully playing the race card and manipulating national phobias over race to call for Congressional hearings in the hope that any scrutiny of Muslims in airports will hereafter be illegal or at least functionally out of bounds. And the media generally abets this, with one talking head even comparing the “humiliated” imams to Rosa Parks.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to be thankful today. Here are just a few:

1. The fact that I am writing this at all, and that you are reading it, indicates that the fog is not all-encompassing. The Internet has broken the stranglehold of the mainstream media, at least until they find some way to regulate it into submission, and the truth is getting out on this site and many others. Also, the fauxtography scandal is just the latest blow to an industry that is already reeling, and beginning to collapse.

2. The jihadists’ every victory is also a defeat. Every time they srike militarily, more people wake up from their Religion-of-Peace slumber to the reality and magnitude of what we are facing. Likewise, even as CAIR and Co. successfully mau-maus and intimidates the media (even the “conservative” media), it sows the seeds of the undoing of its own campaign: witness Tucker Carlson’s unwillingness to take any race-hate nonsense from Arsalan Iftikhar. Will they succeed in criminalizing scrutiny of Muslims before enough of the public wakes up in time to stop it? Maybe. But each of their victories will bring them closer to defeat.

3. The truth is on our side. Those who claim that Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, and that therefore any examination of the elements of Islam that may be inciting violence and preaching supremacism is unnecessary, are proven wrong by every day’s headlines. Those headlines show that such an examination is needed more than ever. Myopia about this is hindering our national and civilizational defense, and thus it must be challenged — and every day makes that challenge easier, for it simply involves telling the truth and reporting on events as they occur.

So: Happy Thanksgiving to all American Jihad Watchers, and I hope that all those elsewhere will join us in gratitude for these and other things, and continue to struggle with us against the jihad and for the dignity of all human beings.

Unanswered Questions, Disturbing Thoughts

Unanswered Questions, Disturbing Thoughts
November 2nd, 2006

Bob Herbert was, in a bygone age, tough-minded yet passionate, a doggedly objective reporter who seemed to embody the best traits of those incorruptible newshounds of the silver screen. Once capable of making sharp distinctions, of offering his readers the occasional penetrating insight, he has undergone a dreadful mutation into the single most tiresome and predictable hack in the New York Times stable of tiresomely dreary and predictable hacks.

Possibly the strain of operating within the confines of the paper’s stultifying orthodoxy sapped his creativity and blighted his capacity for nuance, but the result is a sad one. The same column gets endlessly recycled, its theme relentlessly unvarying. Bush is always wrong and ordinary human error is inadequate to account for the blunders, the miscalculations, the outright failures. No, this singularly disastrous administration is animated by malevolence, innate and irremediable, unprecedented in American politics.

Liberals gobble up this pap. They ought to know better, that such shallow, one-sided junk is Happy Meals for the mind. The total exclusion of nutritious food from the diet leads to stunted growth and premature loss of brain cells. In its promise of understanding without the necessity of acquiring knowledge, its projection of righteous anger unrestrained by logic, unthinking sanctimony is symptomatic of the malaise afflicting mainstream culture. Still, such a simplistic worldview, so smugly devoid of introspection, so grotesquely uncharitable and intellectually dishonest—is it any wonder that nowadays Herbert seems to embody the worst traits of the ideologized frauds currently passing for newshounds?

With the mid-term elections drawing close, and the Democrats braying incessantly about a Republican “culture of corruption,” what is certainly a wonder is that the campaign will end without anyone breathing a word about Hillary’s New Square shenanigans. As a sort of anti-homage to Bob Herbert, I will quote myself writing two years ago about a defining incident from her first run.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton began her protracted presidential campaign four years ago by claiming a Senate seat from a state she didn’t live in. Her pro-Palestinian sentiments caused problems with New York’s large Jewish population, and in particular, allowed her opponent, Rick Lazio, to trounce her in Hasidic communities. Except for one.

“New Square Community, in Rockland County, contained four prominent men who got very rich by applying for and receiving Federal scholarships for 1500 students. The students didn’t exist and the four men picked “Go Directly to Jail” cards. The Smartest Woman Who Ever Lived visited New Square in August of 2000. In November, she won that district by the tidy margin of 1400 to 12 (a cool 99.15%). In December, a delegation from New Square journeyed to Washington, D.C. and visited with America’s first Jewish President, who bit his lower lip and felt their pain. In January 2001, the four naughty Hasids were pardoned.

“All of this has a familiar ring. True, it’s the most spectacularly unambiguous example of vote-buying to come along the pike in a hound’s age, but the Clintons do lots of crooked things. There is much huffing and puffing; they dare anyone to do something about it; nobody does nuthin’.”

Unlike Herbert, when I take a shovel to an old piece, I feel honor bound to alert the reader through the use of quotation marks. The urge to revisit this sordid business is very strong, though; I feel the tug. That nobody gives a damn (apart from Dick Morris, whose scathing expose Rewriting History served as my source) about a crime so brazen simply amazes me.

Does anyone imagine that the obvious vote-trading was the extent of the wrongdoing, not the tip of the iceberg? I mean, Hillary won by a huge margin. The thousand or so votes involved can’t possibly be the key to whatever arrangement produced four presidential pardons. To lay the cards on the table, to spell it out in alphabet blocks, to—pick a cliché: Could any Clinton lapdog contend, while maintaining a straight face, that no contributions were made to the Bubba fund?

Let’s waste no time with the usual theater, the orchestrated displays of feigned indignation by the eternal First Couple’s professional enablers. We’ll all agree that I’ve made a terrible, awful, mean-spirited insinuation, typical of the right’s politics of personal destruction, and I can’t prove a thing. Of course I can’t. No one can ever prove anything where the HillBillies are concerned. But, purely as an exercise, suppose you’re a Clintonista, whether enthusiastic or merely dutiful, and you want to take a shot at explaining how the four swindlers escaped punishment: what approach looks promising? How would you try to pull this one off without assuming an exchange of beaucoup buckaroos? Take your time. The voters are pretty gullible.

Questions that never get asked of the Clintons—someone should write a book on the subject. Chris Wallace tried to buck the system by serving up a medium-speed breaking pitch to Bill on Fox News Sunday recently, and after the tumult died down, it became fairly obvious that Bill hadn’t missed entirely, but neither had he made solid contact. How would he have done if pressed for details on the four-day bombing campaign he authorized in December 1998? According to Kenneth M. Pollack, who twice served under him as director for Gulf affairs at the National Security Council.

“Altogether, the United States and Britain flew 650 aircraft sorties and fired 415 cruise missiles at Iraq. The ostensible goal of the attack was to ‘degrade’ Iraq’s WMD programs and ‘its ability to threaten its neighbors.’ However, the fact was that only eleven of the ninety-seven targets attacked were WMD facilities because the administration generally did not know where Iraq was concealing its WMD programs. This, of course, was why UNSCOM still has a job to do. Instead, for the first time, the United States principally struck a set of targets related to Saddam’s control over the country, including eighteen command-and-control facilities, eight Republican Guard barracks, six airfields, and nineteen sites related to the concealment mechanism—which actually consisted largely of Special republican Guard garrisons, internal security facilities, and other sites that were key components of Saddam’s police state.” [The Threatening Storm, Random House 2002, pp. 92-3]

Maybe I’m a little dense, and possibly I’m missing something obvious, but what Pollack presents so matter-of-factly should raise a few eyebrows. For starters, if the goal was to degrade Saddam’s WMD programs, can’t we reasonably conclude that, uh, they existed?! At the very least, we can conclude that everyone assumed they did, right?

Now, I find the part about bombing Republican Guard barracks troubling. Please don’t misunderstand: Saddam’s regime was loathsome and I strongly supported its overthrow. But the idea of slaughtering soldiers in their barracks when they are completely unaware that they are in a war—can someone explain why leftists, for whom everything Bush does constitutes a war crime, found themselves with absolutely nothing to say

As a conservative, I am extremely hesitant to condemn an American President’s use of force against a genocidal monster, but for people on my left, who can seriously claim that putting a bag over a prisoner’s head to humiliate him is a war crime, shouldn’t killing hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi troops in a series of punitive strikes be recognized as more like the genuine article?

There is a gigantic hole in the ongoing disingenuous debate over the Iraq War. Weapons that everyone had reason to believe were being concealed by the Iraqis could not be found. So, the immediate reaction of the Democrats and their water carriers in the media was to scream that those weapons never existed. But no one, not one of the shrillest congressional Bush-bashers, held that opinion before the invasion. Imagine you call the police to report that your house has been burglarized and your television is missing. They set out to prove that you are delusional and you never owned a television. In a sane world, that’s where the investigation might end up. Surely, it’s not the place to begin.

Surely you remember the following?

An American military action receives the name, Operation Desert Fox. Several psychiatrists and pop psychologists make the rounds of the talk shows and write articles pointing out the hidden Nazi symbolism: Erwin Rommel, one of Hitler’s greatest generals was, after all, called the Desert Fox. Several newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times editorialize about the tone-deaf administration that, either through sheer ignorance or a darker design, evokes the memory of a hero of the Third Reich.

Nothing of the sort happened, you insist. The thought of such a feeding frenzy over an implausible, hopelessly strained Nazi message is madness. Hinting at connections between an American President and Nazis is beyond the pale, shameful.

You’re half-right. Nothing of the sort happened. Propriety, rationality, elementary fairness, and common decency, however, have nothing to do with the reason why this media firestorm didn’t occur. It didn’t occur because the commander-in-chief during Operation Desert Fox was Bill Clinton, and not George Bush.

Ronald Wieck today returns to American Thinker as an occasional contributor.

Hillary Clinton and socialism’s “common good” path to communism in America

  Hillary Clinton and socialism’s “common good” path to communism in America

Jan Ireland
July 6, 2004

The Bush tax cuts enabled America to climb out of the Clinton recession despite the financial devastations of 9/11 and stock market downturns. Ten straight months of economic progress and job creation have made the economy robust.So it is incongruous that Hillary Clinton would tell a San Francisco audience recently that Democrats will rescind the Bush tax cuts for the “common good.”

Mrs. Clinton’s plan is not only wrong, it’s socialist.

Ronald Reagan defeated communism, but we are still being leeched by creeping socialism. The 45 communist goals read into the Congressional Record in 1963 linger, and they were supposed to be for the “common good” also.

The phrase itself a few decades ago was anathema. It does not appear in the 1945 United Nations charter, though that institution is about nothing if not socialism. Mrs. Clinton’s rarely-mentioned very radical mentor, Saul Alinsky, revered it. “The radical is that unique person to whom the common good is the greatest personal value.”

The inscription on the Liberty Bell exhorts “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” And Ronald Reagan reminded “…the guiding hand of Providence did not create this new nation of America for ourselves alone, but for a higher cause: the preservation and extension of the sacred fire of human liberty.”

In the coming presidential election America has a clear choice: Mrs. Clinton and universal socialism versus Ronald Reagan and universal freedom. George Bush has Ronald Reagan’s fire of freedom. John Kerry must bow to the Clintons, though his personal record certainly is socialist.

The rapacious Mrs. Clinton wants to empower the government to take what it wants. We see her proclivities in the monstrous HillaryCare attempt (“It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals”), in the idea that the “village” (state) should raise the child, in the greedy timing of the eight million dollar book advance, in the shrill escalating rant similar to Dean’s and Gore’s. (Socialists always exempt themselves from the restrictions they place on others.)

Founder James Wilson wrote “Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression.” It is irrefutable. Government taking from one group to give to another approved group is socialism, Marxism, and/or communism.

The words “common good” are not of themselves evil of course. A group called Common Good works to reform the lawsuit culture in America. Bayer relaxed its Cipro patent during the anthrax scare for the “common good.”

But a religious group wants “…to develop religiously and politically informed advocates for the common good.” Another has a vote litany. Libertarian Socialist Noam Chomsky wrote about The Common Good. The European Union demands to manage markets for the “common good” despite the incomparable success of America’s capitalism and the obvious decline of socialist and communist systems in recent decades. Right under our noses in Congress is the Progressive Caucus, a group of about 50 legislators who are openly socialist.

Libertarian Ilana Mercer writes “The common good piety should raise as much suspicion as Hillary Clinton’s reference to ‘our children’ ought to. What is paraded by government and its lapdogs as the common good very often conceals an intention to override individual rights and interests.”

Objectivist Ayn Rand said “America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices for ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men …”

Socialism reaches into our pocketbooks and lives incrementally, always cloaked in some “common good” guise exhorting us to make America better, fairer, more equal. Life is not fair and equal. Socialism takes from producers what it cannot and will not produce itself.

George Washington warned “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

Mrs. Clinton courts socialism. We’ve defeated communism once in our lifetime, but “common good” socialism could revive the scourge. Patriotic Americans must actively reject the shill — at the ballot box this November. For the real common good.

Suggested Further Reading:

  • Albert Herlong, Jr., 45 Communist Goals read in to Congressional Record, 1963
  • Protestants for the Common Good
  • Baptist Editorial, “Support Common Good, but Keep State Out of Church”
  • BFW, “A Litany for an Election”
  • Noam Chomsky, “The Common Good”
  • Eliot Van Buskirk, “MP3 Insider: Preserving the common good to accelerate progress”
  • John Blundell, “Friend or Foe? What Americans should know about European Union”
  • Thomas Lenz, “Building a Force for the Common Good”
  • Ronald Reagan, 1991
  • Rush Limbaugh, June 29
  • Saul Alinsky, “Reveille for Radicals”
  • Barbara Olson, “Hell to Pay”
  • Common Good
  • Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”
  • Ilana Mercer, “Business Has its Hand out to Government, Too”
  • www.newswithviews.com
  • www.conservativeforum.org
  • www.stophillarypac.com
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • www.un.org

The Defeatocrat Agenda

The Defeatocrat Agenda
By Peter Brookes
New York Post | October 31, 2006

If the “Defeatocrats,” er, Democrats, triumph next week, taking the majority in Congress, expect U.S. foreign and defense policy to veer sharply left, with little guiding philosophy beyond ABB – Anything But Bush. For many Democrats and liberals, this vengeful approach may provide much-needed therapy after 12 bitter years in the minority. But it’s no basis for a defense or foreign policy.

Other than attacking what the Bush administration is doing, Democrats have done little to articulate foreign and national-security policies of their own. But here are some of the possible outcomes if the majority changes hands on Capitol Hill:

On Iraq, many Democrats – led by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) – have said they’d push for an immediate “redeployment” (i.e., withdrawal) of U.S. troops, leaving who-knows-what kind of nightmare behind.

A premature withdrawal would cause unimaginable instability in the Middle East. And there’s no doubt that jihadists would chalk up Iraq as proof positive that terrorism works – adding it to other “successes” in Lebanon (1983) and Somalia (1993).

Worse, an ignominious U.S. retreat would prove to countless other troublemakers that America is nothing more than a paper tiger.

A liberal majority would also drastically change course on North Korea, pushing for direct U.S. talks with dictator Kim Jong Il – despite his recent missile tests and nuclear blast. Caving in to Pyongyang’s demands for one-on-one negotiations would reward its nuclear brinkmanship and blackmail. The lesson wouldn’t be lost on its nuclear kindred spirit, Iran.

Speaking of Iran, it’s not clear what a liberal congressional leadership would do. They don’t seem to say much about it – other than carp about the White House’s multilateral efforts to curb the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.

But you could clearly forget about missile defenses to protect the homeland and troops deployed overseas. Liberals see such defenses as provocative. (In fact, leaving ourselves deliberately vulnerable to ballistic missiles is truly provocative – and foolhardy.)

What would a liberal Congress propose regarding the terrorists/terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay? Some of these prisoners are so dangerous even their own countries won’t take them back. What of the Patriot Act, Terrorist Surveillance Program or the terrorism-financing surveillance efforts that have been so successful in preventing another attack on the homeland for more than five years?

Here’s a clue: 90 percent of House Democrats voted against the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program; 80 percent voted against the terrorist interrogation bill. All these counterterror programs are at risk if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gets the speaker’s gavel next year . . .

OK, some will say: Don’t worry about Congress. The president holds the real power in foreign affairs and national security. Sure, the prez controls the State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community – the key tools of national security. But don’t constitutional checks and balances give Congress the almighty “power of the purse?”

Through the appropriation process, Congress can fund – or defund – our foreign-policy and national-security efforts, including wars, law enforcement, intelligence, defense and other counterterrorism programs.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem), who’d become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, gave us a sneak preview of what the Dems might do: “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?” You get the picture: No money – no war.

Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman hit the nail on the head: “America faces a critical question, will it elect leaders who recognize we’re at war and want to use every tool to win it, or politicians who would surrender important tools we need to win?”

The Liberals’ plan for our foreign affairs and national security has been to have no real plan at all, other than categorically opposing whatever the administration is doing to protect us. But having no strategy or policy for conducting our international affairs is certainly no way to keep us safe at home – or advance and protect our interests abroad.

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Fear the Terrorists, Not President Bush — On the left, my former party of choice, feels that the biggest issues confronting America are corporate greed, “the culture of corruption” (as if this does not occur on both sides), Wal-Mart, “big business,” churchgoing Christians, global warming and an assault on the civil liberties of us and terrorists. To deny this would be scandalously untrue — The “Drive-by” big city media feels the need to rant about how we “torture” terrorists, keep “secret prisons,” check phone records of suspected terrorists, regress back to Katrina whining, yada, yada and yada. The ACLU, “peace organizations,” the legal world, academia and Hollywood, not surprisingly, fall for this flawed, inane logic too. History has always proved these acrimonious fools wrong, and will again this time… if we’re not killed first by our enemies because of their devious behaviors.

Fear the Terrorists, Not President Bush
October 31st, 2006

Next Tuesday is midterm election day. When you cast your vote – if you choose to partake in this most honorable American tradition – please remember what is at stake.

On the left, my former party of choice, feels that the biggest issues confronting America are corporate greed, “the culture of corruption” (as if this does not occur on both sides), Wal-Mart, “big business,” churchgoing Christians, global warming and an assault on the civil liberties of us and terrorists. To deny this would be scandalously untrue.

On the right, my current “fearmongering” party of choice feels the biggest issue (singular) is to eliminating and freeing the world of Islamo-fascist Nazis. There is no denying this, and the sooner we, as in all other world wars, are free to do this, the better. My party wants to save the non-Muslim world, America, Israel and especially “liberal values” like sexual and gender freedoms (not just libertinism, but the freedom of women) freedom of religion, speech and of the press.

Unfortunately, aside from Radical Muslims, we have many domestic factors working against us:

The “Drive-by” big city media feels the need to rant about how we “torture” terrorists, keep “secret prisons,” check phone records of suspected terrorists, regress back to Katrina whining, yada, yada and yada. The ACLU, “peace organizations,” the legal world, academia and Hollywood, not surprisingly, fall for this flawed, inane logic too. History has always proved these acrimonious fools wrong, and will again this time… if we’re not killed first by our enemies because of their devious behaviors.

President Bush, sadly as of late, has fallen prey to dangerous political correctness and multi-cultural balderdash as he tries to unite this country. He has attempted to make good on his promise to be the great uniter, and the man has undeniably been more liberal than conservative the past year.

There is no need to do this, Mr. President.

This country was divided long before President Bush took office, and he has done his best to unite it. But many who hypocritically seek “redistribution of wealth” spend their weekends picking up wheatgrass at Whole Foods on their way to Nantucket, do not want to be united with Americans who attend church on Sunday, wave the flag, and enjoy Nascar, Applebee’s and saving money at Wal-Mart. Too bad for them. These arrogant, misguided folks have chosen to regressively look back, to sacrifice their platform to go after Mr. Bush (who is not up for re-election, by the way).

Fatuous liberals like Paul Krugman — who saw nothing wrong with comparing the backlash against the Dixie Chicks to the rise of Nazism — or the countless jabberers who have over the years denounced William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, Sean Hannity et al. as fascists are difficult to respect, much less take seriously. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in September,

“One gets the sense that today’s liberals — beyond their phobia of offending the coalition of the oppressed (in this case, the Muslims of CAIR) — are reluctant to let Bush use “Islamic fascism” because they don’t want to give up their monopoly on the F-word.”

George Bush needs to stop trying so hard to make “peace” with those who despise us within our nation and are more concerned with meaningless impeachment than saving our world. His efforts have never been appreciated, but someday, like Reagan and those before him, perhaps they will. 

Thankfully, by the grace of G-d, the patriotic men and women of the military will save this nation as they always have. They will not get thanks from the coastal elites, but this is expected.

It’s not just that the wrong party could take power, but this party’s leaders, some of those who would be in charge of essential committees like Ways and Means, the Judiciary, Commerce, etc, are variously on record as not supporting Israel (and being proud of it!), raising taxes, ending free trade, drilling in ANWR (animals are more important than people, usually) and naturally, impeaching Bush. That will surely take our attention away from the Islamic Nazis, North Koreans and by October of next year, as opposed to fraudulent filmmakers who dream of Bush being dead, we all could be in severe peril. I’d personally put it at 50/50.

I hope that most Americans will take a deep breath, realize Bush had noble, correct intentions for freeing tens of millions from a madman and then remember that unemployment is the lowest in five years; the Dow is over 12,000 points. Inflation is 2.1 percent, the deficit is being dramatically reduced, and gas prices are falling. Let’s just hope that if the GOP maintains control, we don’t waste time, effort and money on Democrat protests and recounts. Which state this time? Indiana? Missouri? Do I hear Maryland?

Vote accordingly, and consider whether you want to tell your grandchildren you defeated carbon dioxide emissions or Islamo Nazi Fascists who threatened the free world.

Ari Kaufman is a freelance writer in Indianapolis, regularly contributing to the Indianapois Star and the Jewish Post and Opinion. He’s also the co-author of an upcoming book on educational reform. His archived work can be accessed here.

Ari Kaufman

Conservatives to Spike the Supreme Court? — For several months we’ve been hearing the mantra that most Republican congressmen don’t deserve to be reelected because the party’s record in Congress is far from a conservative one, especially when one considers runaway spending, huge deficits, ignored scandals, successful filibusters, pro-terrorist legislation, and more.

Conservatives to Spike the Supreme Court?
By Henry Mark Holzer
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 31, 2006

For several months we’ve been hearing the mantra that most Republican congressmen don’t deserve to be reelected because the party’s record in Congress is far from a conservative one, especially when one considers runaway spending, huge deficits, ignored scandals, successful filibusters, pro-terrorist legislation, and more.At the same time, we’ve heard sincere pleas from conservative leaders and commentators that, nevertheless, Republican voters should “hold their noses” and return GOP majorities, no matter how narrow, to the House and Senate.

The principal justification given for what some consider to be a compromise with conservative values (but in reality is not), is that no matter how bad the Republican legislative performance has been, the Democrats are going to be far worse. For conservatives, that’s certainly true. Inevitably, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi domestic agenda will be disastrous, especially for the economy (e.g., rescinding tax cuts). Their foreign affairs policies will surely endanger national security (e.g., abruptly pulling the plug on Iraq).

But even worse is that if Harry Reid becomes Senate majority leader, and if 87-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens leaves the bench (actuarially, a real possibility), conservatives can kiss goodbye – for at least two years and maybe longer – any chance of obtaining that one crucial seat on the Supreme Court which, with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, could have a profound effect on both domestic and foreign policy for years to come.

If this double whammy occurs – Reid running the Senate, and Stevens leaving the bench – there will be a battle for Stevens’s seat (and thus for the soul of the Court), that will make the Clarence Thomas confirmation fight of 15 years ago look like a walk in the park.

Like the Thomas fight, the one to fill Stevens’s Supreme Court seat will be a battle that conservatives must win if they don’t want to see more decisions like the following – for which Stevens was largely responsible:

  • Upholding the McCain-Feingold law’s suppression of political speech;
  • Abolishing the death penalty for young killers;
  • Seizing private property for “public purposes” through eminent domain;
  • Approving the use of race as a criterion for higher education admissions;
  • Providing enemy combatants with habeas corpus, due process, and court access; and
  • Invalidating President Bush’s Guantanamo military tribunals.It is a cliché to observe that we live in perilous times. But cliché or not, the fact is that we do. Pakistan’s unstable government already has atomic weapons. Despotic North Korea may be close to having atomic weapons. The Iranian theocracy is feverishly seeking atomic weapons. Al-Qaeda is trying to buy or steal atomic weapons.

    The military and foreign policy implications of atomic proliferation are almost too scary to contemplate. They will present colossally important and difficult questions of constitutional law for the Supreme Court to resolve – such as in meeting atomic threats, how far the president’s Article II powers extend without consultation with Congress.

    Also on the table are other questions of presidential power, of congressional power, and – always – of judicial power, especially in America’s current battle with Islamic terrorists.

    Indeed, the preliminary judicial skirmishes in that battle – the Hamdi, Rasul, Padilla, and Hamdan cases, dealing with enemy combatants, habeas corpus, due process, access to courts, and military tribunals – have been just a warm up for what’s to come.

    Those cases presented questions of presidential power to wage war under Article II of the Constitution, and although the President won a few rounds, he lost a few as well. The cases also examined the power of Congress, and its constitutional role in modern, asymmetrical warfare. And some lawyers believe, with good reason, that the Court’s tilt in those four cases was, on balance, away from presidential power and in favor of Congressional power.

    Now, with the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, new constitutional questions have arisen, chief among them whether the “due process” that Congress has provided enemy combatants is adequate. While there are those of us who believe the Act provided too much – see

“Khalid Sheik Mohammed is Not O.J. Simpson: Military Commissions Act of 2006″ – not surprisingly, there are those like the ACLU who believe it provided too little, and that Islamic terrorist murderers should be treated with the kid gloves afforded defendants in the American criminal justice system.America’s national security has already suffered enough from Justice Stevens. We cannot afford another such appointment. Especially with national security constitutional questions such as warrantless surveillance still to be resolved.

If Stevens leaves the bench in the next two years, even if the president wants to make quality appointments like his of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, George H.W. Bush’s of Justice Thomas, and Reagan’s of Justice Scalia, the president will be stymied if Harry Reid controls the Senate. Indeed, even if Reid doesn’t, the Republicans will need a majority leader who, unlike Bill Frist, has the spine to break an inevitable Democratic filibuster if the nominee is a strong conservative.

That’s why this notion that conservatives should “punish” right-leaning leaders for their real and imagined shortcomings is akin not merely to political suicide, but invites at least one Supreme Court appointment that in national security cases like warrantless surveillance could tip the already closely balanced scales against the country’s war with Islamic terrorists and seriously endanger the survival of the United States.

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Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy — Bill Clinton’s back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. “If Brazil can do it, so can we,” he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil’s need for foreign oil. Once again, he’s telling whoppers.

Clinton Shills For Bad Energy Policy

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 10/27/2006

Energy: Bill Clinton’s back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. “If Brazil can do it, so can we,” he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil’s need for foreign oil. Once again, he’s telling whoppers.

Brazil did achieve independence from foreign oil all right. It happened this past April. But Clinton, true to form, doesn’t quite recall the critical point showing how it was done.

Here’s a clue for the semi-retired former president and policy wonk: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva didn’t celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field.

No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil’s vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil’s oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.

Which is the very thing Clinton, in his Proposition 87 television ads, seeks to pile taxes on.

Clinton is hawking the idea that taxing offshore oil drilling companies, from 1% to 6% — a 600% hike for some — and then turning the spoils into a new government bureaucracy for ethanol development is the way to end California’s dependence on imported oil.

“Imagine if we stop being dependent on foreign oil. Brazil did it. They made a simple switch to their cars. Switched to ethanol, grown from their own crops. And it’s 33% cheaper than gas,” Clinton said, neglecting one key detail: cars must use three times as much ethanol as gas.

“With Proposition 87, we can switch to cleaner fuels, wind and solar power,” he says in a political ad, “and free ourselves from foreign oil. If Brazil can do it, so can California.”

But as a matter of fact, that’s not what Brazil did.

It launched a crash program of offshore oil drilling in the late 1990s, working with a Manhattan Project-like determination to develop its own natural resources.

In 1997, Brazil opened its oil sector to foreign competition, encouraging companies like Royal Dutch Shell to explore and drill for oil in its offshore waters for the first time. It offered incentives — like tax cuts. It also turned its inefficient state oil company, Petrobras, into a for-profit company run like a real business instead of a government cash cow, forcing it to compete on an international-standard level. In short, it got out of the way.

Net result, lots more oil for Brazil — enough to enable the once-oil-dependent country to actually export some, all from fewer energy reserves than the U.S.

Brazil’s new P-50 rig has boosted output to an average 1.9 million barrels of oil a day, a bit more than the 1.85 million Brazil consumes.

By contrast, ethanol output in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer, is only a small share of its energy consumption.

Last year, the country squeezed out just 282,000 barrels a day mostly using sugar, a more efficient and clean-burning energy source than the corn-based stuff produced in the U.S. But sugar-based ethanol still isn’t as efficient as gasoline.

Not surprisingly, Brazil’s ethanol production began as a big government project in 1975, curiously similar to what Clinton is touting. It was run by the military junta, and was costly — the junta pumped in about $16 billion in loans and price supports to sugar companies over two decades. The output still was meager.

Ethanol output didn’t take off until government fetters were lifted in 1989 and the market was free to develop it without government involvement. It became a far more viable energy source after that.

Clinton has had a long history of raising political funds from agri-biz giants — like Archer Daniels Midland — interested in government contracts. As Brazil’s example shows, taxing oil to subsidize ag firms is exactly the wrong way to produce ethanol — or oil. If Clinton were really sincere about ethanol itself, he’d be lobbying for an end to tariffs on cheap ethanol from Brazil.

But it looks like he’d rather repeat Brazil’s decades of energy mistakes instead of cutting to the real reason for Brazil’s success: its decision to drill offshore for oil.

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