The Tragic Courage of John McCain

The Tragic Courage of John McCain
No political surge.

By Rich Lowry

A funny thing happened to convention-defying political courage, at least in the case of Sen. John McCain. It used to be that McCain’s willingness to boldly follow his principles was considered the gold standard of selfless political principle. Now, the media portray the same boldness as primarily a drag on McCain’s political ambition.

For the press, courage in the pursuit of regulations on “express advocacy” advertisements paid for with soft money apparently counts much more than courage in the pursuit of victory in the Iraq War. The former launched a thousand glowing McCain profiles; the latter is launching only the question: “How will it play in New Hampshire?

Thus, there’s yet another layer to what, at the moment, is the tragic irony of John McCain. He is exhibiting just the sort of go-it-alone bravery the media pine for — at a time the media are uninterested in celebrating it, either because they consider the war lost or are obsessed with the primary-season horse race. He finally is getting the additional troops for Iraq that he has long advocated — at a time when it might be too late and when support for the war is collapsing. He is winning over the Republican establishment that once loathed him — at a time when the GOP brand is significantly degraded.

There is no justice in any of this. McCain began calling for more troops almost immediately after the invasion and criticized Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld back when he was still a GOP icon. President Bush has come to see the merit of McCain’s view on the conduct of the war, but belatedly.

This has created the most tragic irony of all. After a long period of being distant from or hostile to President Bush, McCain is closer to him than ever, just as Bush is at his lowest ebb of public support. Bush sank McCain’s presidential hopes in 2000 with his enmity; he might sink them in 2008 with his amity.

McCain’s attitude has been that the political considerations don’t matter. Whether he has been bucking an administration of his own party (originally) or public opinion (now), McCain has been standing like a stone wall for the proposition that the war must be won and that our effort must be commensurate with the high stakes.

The political world might yet turn in McCain’s favor. He’s losing support among independents and the press, but you can’t win a Republican presidential nomination with just their support, as McCain learned in 2000. With Republicans, his support for the surge isn’t hurting and might be helping. Perhaps the surge eventually will work, vindicating McCain. Even if it doesn’t, he will be able to argue that the tactic could have worked had it been implemented back when he first called for it, and he still might be the kind of tough leader voters will want in the more dangerous international environment created by a failure in Iraq.

But none of this is guaranteed. One of McCain’s likely primary opponents, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — who is nothing if not shrewd — issued a pro forma statement supporting the surge when it was first announced but has avoided getting too close to it. GOP opponents think that Republican-primary voters will look at McCain and see not the fresh “straight-talker” of 2000, but potentially another Bob Dole circa 1996 — a candidate who gets the nomination because it’s his turn, about whom the GOP base is unenthused and who will carry baggage not of his choosing (in Dole’s case, the government shutdown; in McCain’s, Bush’s management of the war).

All that will be sorted out during the next year. In the meantime, as the windy Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel congratulates himself for his bravery in sponsoring a nonbinding resolution representing an anti-surge position supported by almost 70 percent of the public, and as poll-conscious Republicans flee from Bush, John McCain is steadfast, and the very picture of courageous political leadership

Democrat or Republican, this is wrong! Shocking Senatorial Votes

Democrat or Republican, this is wrong!

Shocking Senatorial Votes “Never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ~ anonymous

The following senators voted against making English the official language of America :    Akaka (D-HI)

   Bayh (D-IN)

   Biden (D-DE)

   Bingaman (D-NM)

   Boxer (D-CA)

   Cantwell (D-WA)

   Clinton (D-NY)

   Dayton (D-MN)

   Dodd (D-CT)

   Domenici (R-NM)

   Durbin (D-IL)

   Feingold (D-WI)

   Feinstein (D-CA)

   Harkin (D-IA)

   Inouye (D-HI)

   Jeffords (I-VT)

   Kennedy (D-MA)

   Kerry (D-MA)

Kohl (D-WI)
   Lautenberg (D-NJ)

   Leahy (D-VT)

   Levin (D-MI)

   Lieberman (D-CT)

   Menendez (D-NJ)

   Mik ulski (D-MD)

   Murray (D-WA)
    Obama (D-IL)

   Reed (D-RI)

   &nb sp;   Reid (D-NV)

   Salazar (D-CO)

 Sarbanes (D-MD)
   Schumer (D-NY)

   Stabenow (D-MI)

   Wyden (D-OR)
Now, the  following are the senators who voted to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits.They are grouped by home state. If a state is not listed, there was no voting representative. Alaska

:              Stevens (R)
Arizona:             McCain (R)

Arkansas:              Lincoln (D)   ;            Pryor (D)

California:             Boxer (D)                Feinstein (D)

:              Salazar (D)
Connecticut:          Dodd (D)                Lieberman (D)

Delaware:            Biden (D)                Carper (D)

Florida:               Martinez (R)

Hawaii:                 Akaka (D)              Inouye (D)

Illinois:              Durbin (D)              Obama (D)

Indiana:   ;                 Bayh (D)                 Lugar (R)

Iowa:                   Harkin (D)

:             Brownback (R)
Louisiana:            Landrieu (D)

Maryland:            Mikulski (D)          Sarbanes (D)

Massachusetts:     Kennedy (D)          Kerry (D)

Montana:    Baucus (D)

Nebraska:    Hagel (R)

Nevada:    Reid (D)

New Jersey:    Lautenberg (D)      Menendez (D)

New Mexico:            Bingaman (D)

New York:    Clinton (D)              Schumer (D)

North Dakota:     Dorgan (D)

Ohio:                        DeWine (R)            Voinovich(R)

Oregon:    Wyden (D)

Pennsylvania:    Specter (R)

Rhode Island:    Chafee (R)              Reed (D)

South Carolina:   Graham (R)

South Dakota:          Johnson (D)

Vermont:                   Jeffords (I)             Leahy (D)

Washington:       &nb sp;      Cantwell (D)          Murray (D)

West Virginia
:    Rockefeller (D), by Not Voting
Wisconsin:                 Feingold (D)          Kohl (D)

“Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfill God’s orders”

“Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfill God’s orders”

Fjordman sends us this item, along with this comment: “These Taliban people must suffer from Islamophobia or something, since they believe there are numerous calls for violent Jihad in the Koran.”

Indeed. Note Baitullah Mehsud’s words: “Then we will attack them in the US and Britain until they either accept Islam or agree to pay jazia (a tax in Islam for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state).”

But try asking a self-proclaimed moderate leader in America about whether or not the Qur’an really calls on Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and subjugate them, imposing a tax upon them. He will either not give you a straight answer or call you an “Islamophobe,” or both.

And then there will be the inevitable charges that by calling attention to this jihadist use of the Qur’an, I am helping those jihadists instead of the moderates I should be helping. Fine: I invite any moderate to explain what he or she would say to Baitullah Mehsud to try to convince him that the Qur’an does not actually counsel war, and to alert him to the existence of a mainstream Islamic tradition that teaches peaceful coexistence with nonbelievers as equals on an indefinite basis.

“Pakistan Taleban vow more violence,” from the BBC:

Pro-Taleban militants have been strengthening their hold in Pakistan’s tribal areas following controversial peace deals with the authorities. Haroon Rashid of the BBC’s Urdu service is one of the few reporters working for a Western media organisation with access to the area.[…]

After visiting the site of the bombing, we were done with the basic purpose of the trip. I asked the militants if I could see their leader, Baitullah Mehsud.


Baitullah’s private army along with other militant groups have imposed a strict Islamic code in North and parts of South Waziristan.

They run a parallel government here. Music and videos are banned while militants claim people approach them for settlement of their disputes.

With a black-dyed beard, 34-year-old Baitullah greeted us in a big room with several of his armed men beside him. We sat on a new colourful quilt spread on the ground.

Baitullah seemed a man with only jihad (holy war) on his mind. During the interview he quoted several verses from the Koran to defend his stance that foreign forces must be evicted from Islamic countries.

“Allah on 480 occasions in the Holy Koran extols Muslims to wage jihad. We only fulfil God’s orders. Only jihad can bring peace to the world,” he says.

The militant leader on several occasions in the past had openly admitted crossing over into Afghanistan to fight foreign troops.

“We will continue our struggle until foreign troops are thrown out. Then we will attack them in the US and Britain until they either accept Islam or agree to pay jazia (a tax in Islam for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state).”

Suicide bombers

Baitullah predicted an even bloodier year for foreign forces in Afghanistan.

“The mujahideen will carry out even more severe attacks. If they [the West] have air power we have fidayeen [suicide bombers]… They will leave dishonoured.”


Before we left, Baitullah gave us perfume and a book in Urdu on ‘Why Jihad is a must‘. On our way back, we saw newly built white graves on the roadside

Antiwar Movement, Spread Too Thin, Forced to Consider Draft


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Antiwar Movement, Spread Too Thin, Forced to Consider Draft

WASHINGTON – After a bare few thousand protesters showed up in Washington on Saturday for an antiwar rally promising a turnout of hundreds of thousands, the movement’s leaders are being forced to admit that its aging personnel are spread too thin, not gaining new recruits, and are being sent into demonstrations inadequately equipped with outdated slogans and incoherent political concepts. Sources close to antiwar leaders confirm discussions with key Congressional Democrats about restoring the movement to Vietnam-era levels by instituting an antiwar draft.

The low turnout on Saturday is a dramatic reminder that today’s activists, kept busy demonstrating for Palestinian rights, homosexual rights, partial-birth abortion, the Kyoto treaty, and military intervention in Darfur, have completely failed to win over the hearts and minds of young, protest-age Americans, who view them as a nuisance and would rather watch American Idol.

“How can we have a self-respecting Vietnam-style antiwar movement if the nation isn’t prepared for sacrifices?” complained one peace-movement strategist. “Is it too much to ask that more of the nation’s young people be forced to serve on the front lines of the peace movement? If they’re in college they’re already used to being pushed around by their professors, and if they aren’t in college they’re probably too stupid to get real jobs anyway—even the Army won’t take them—so they may as well be forced to join us. I think that’s a small price to pay for being born into a nation that’s the world’s worst terrorist state, and an international pariah.”

Representative Charlie Rangel, who stayed away from the rally, responded to questions at his office about a possible antiwar draft, saying that the new Congress would not rush into any decisions, but would not take it off the table. He agrees in principle that the country needs greater sacrifices wrung from it in addition to higher taxes, and being drafted into the ranks of the antiwar movement would be one solution.

“We all know that only poor people without any other choices join the Army,” Rangel explained, “so it makes sense that the privileged, educated brats who are getting the world handed to them on a platter need to have their choices taken away, too. If the American people think they’re going to see one of their own kids on TV walking around dressed up like Uncle Sam on stilts, they’ll think twice about going to war.”

Critics of the antiwar movement’s strategy have long contended that its leaders rushed into opposition to the war in Iraq with faulty intelligence, and with too few committed protesters. Even while coalition forces in Iraq stubbornly continue to kill and capture terrorist insurgents, the number of news-grabbing antiwar publicity stunts has fallen to all-time lows. At one point, Cindy Sheehan was the lone representative of the movement, yet the monthly number of her ejections from public events has dropped nearly 50% from ejections of only one year ago.

Actor Tim Robbins admitted that the antiwar movement has been straining to meet its commitments. “Susan and I (referring to wife, Susan Sarandon) do as much as we can, but our busy schedules as Hollywood actors mean we have to appear only at those events where the amount of press attention, quality of cameras, and proper lighting are guaranteed to show the best possible side of our message.”

Sean Penn agrees with Robbins, pointing out that celebrities have been required to return repeatedly to the spotlight since the invasion of Iraq to solve difficult problems of war, famine, and injustice, including Penn’s recent heroic intervention in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Penn’s wife was at the rally, brandished a sign that said “Send My Husband Home.”

Even if the antiwar movement weren’t failing to meet projected recruitment goals, leaders would still be leery of a surge of new, untested protesters out on the streets, where they become easy targets for pro-war TV commentators who ridicule them for their shallow reasoning and overall lack of seriousness.

Critics have also noted how protesters lack training, and are sent out with only poor-quality equipment.

Protester Seagull Spoonerman, 59, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, felt that this rally was the least effective one he has attended in his long, antiwar career. “Just look at this sign they gave me,” he said, indicating where he had flung it onto the pavement. “It’s talking about ’Hey, Hey, LBJ!’ I mean, c’mon, we all know this is Nixon’s war!”

But organizer Julia Wungtott thought that criticism of the signs was unfair. Says Wungtott, “We couldn’t know that all our ‘Saddam Was Innocent!’ signs would become obsolete before we could get enough ‘Saddam Was Murdered!’ signs printed. You go to war protests with the equipment you’ve got.”

Schuyler Van Potz, 22, a student at Brown University, and a veteran of at least three violent rallies protesting the World Trade Organization, also was unimpressed by Saturday’s turnout. “I’ve been here since, like, last night, and I’ve only had like, maybe two, or maybe three chances to hook up, and like one of these totally old ladies keeps texting me. She’s like a hundred year old! It’s like, Jane! Dude! Lose the helmet and maybe find some guy your own age.”

Even local police were unimpressed, encountering only one act of suspected civil disobedience, when 300 protesters trespassed on the grounds of the US Capitol, shouting “Our Congress,” and, “We want a tour,” and trying to force their way into a side door. Subsequent investigations indicated the gang—consisting mostly of AARP members—really did just want a tour, thinking they may return with their grandchildren during summer vacation. Others reportedly just wanted to use the rest rooms.

Longtime peace activist Melody Cowsill resists calls to draft more and younger protesters into the movement. “The all-volunteer peace movement we have right now includes some of the smartest, best-educated, and most ideologically committed protesters we’ve ever had,” she said. “More than half of them have PhDs, and almost 90% of them have defaulted on multiple student loans.”

With such a diverse and often contradictory set of issues to protest, the peace movement is stretched to the breaking point. Organizers such as Wungtott and Cowsill are stung by accusations that they never should have started protesting the war in Iraq at all, as it only shifted focus off the movements’ protests of the war in Afghanistan.

But Cowsill takes heart when she thinks of how the Baathist insurgents and Al Qaeda in Iraq have stepped up to push the democracy in Saddam’s former dictatorship to the brink of failure.

As she gazes out over the lines of people on the Capitol Mall waiting to use the Porta-Potties, she says, “America has elected us to take the country in a new direction, and with any luck, what we did for the poor country of Vietnam, we will do next for the poor country of Iraq.”

The Infamous Traitor: “Hanoi Jane” then – now “Baghdad Jane”

The Infamous Traitor: “Hanoi Jane” then – now “Baghdad Jane”

Jane Fonda is still at it.  I will never for one understand how she on one hand apologized to Vietnam Veterans for her treasonous acts during the Vietnam war,  yet on the other hand is out there doing the same dirt all over again.  Today along with other protesters rallying at the Capitol building in Washington demanding  that Congress block President George W. Bush’s new plan to send more troops to Iraq and take steps to withdraw those already there.

Fonda spoke at the rally saying:

“I haven’t spoken at an anti-war rally in 34 years because of lies about me that were used to hurt the anti-war movement,” Academy Award-winning actress and fitness guru Fonda told the cheering crowd. Fonda was referring to the criticism that dogged her for decades for speaking against the Vietnam War from Hanoi in 1972 and being photographed seated at a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
`Vengeful Administration’
“But silence is no longer an option,” Fonda said. “Thank you so much for the courage to stand up to this mean-spirited and vengeful administration.”

Lies told about her?  Vying for sympathy Jane?  Not here-not then-not now.  She was a traitor then as she is a traitor now.  She aligned herself with the enemy is 1972 – had a photo op to brag of, but says she has not spoken because of lies told about her.  What a selective memory Jane has and truly what a sick woman she is – not to mention ungratefulshe is to the country that houses her or the men and women that have died to allow her useless voice any credence whatsoever.

“Hanoi Jane”  then, but “Baghdad Jane” now!

McCain: An up close view

McCain: An up close view

In recent interview with John McCain, Salena Zito asked him what kind of a Republican he thought he was.  A Goldwater, Rockefeller or Reagan?

I am definitely a Reagan Republican,” McCain said during an exclusive interview with the Trib last week, “but I always revere the fact that it was Barry Goldwater that made it possible for Ronald Reagan.”

More from the interview:

So, if he becomes the 2008 Republican nominee for president, does that mean McCain will exploit fellow Sen. Hillary Clinton’s past as a “Goldwater girl”?

“I will continue to express my deep appreciation,” he dead-panned, “and then ask her where she went wrong.”

McCain left no doubt as to whether he is running for the presidency. He also left no lingering doubts as to why Republicans were defeated last November.

“We lost our way,” he said. “Spending went completely out of control and we abandoned one of our fundamental principles … that less government is better government, less spending is better.” Fiscal conservatives felt betrayed.

McCain is impressive; his larger-than-life personality is best captured in person. His talk with the Trib last Monday was in stark comparison to the previous day’s interview with Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

McCain knows you cannot lead without listening. So, while he spent last summer and fall campaigning for Republicans who were up for re-election in the 2006 midterms, he also paid attention to what people told him.

While some expressed frustration or sorrow over the war, all of them asked McCain to “tell us how we can succeed.” Recalling those exchanges, his own frustration over the war seems obvious.

McCain’s candor is no urban legend. Just ask him how, when the Republican Party is in a struggle to define itself, he reconciles himself with those who litmus-test his conservatism on issues like immigration reform.

“And stem-cell research,” he chimes in before the question is finished, making it abundantly clear that he can take it when someone questions his ability to be a card-carrying conservative.

“I think that a conservative has to share certain principles,” he says, “because we should be a big-tent party; we can disagree on specifics but we agree on overall principles as best articulated by Ronald Reagan – belief in family values, less government is better government, government closest to the people is the most effective government, lower taxes and less regulation.”

McCain believes that if the party is not more inclusive, a dangerous trend is on the horizon: the inability to gain ground in some parts of the country while losing ground in traditional “red states.”

He quickly shoots down any question about his physical fitness for the world’s most demanding job: His health is perfect, he assures – and his stamina? “I just did the Grand Canyon, rim-to-rim, a 20-mile hike down and up, with my 20-year-old son, Jack.”

A grueling primary process is just around the corner. He’s preparing to compete with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, considered the other front-runners for the Republican nomination.

Is he ready for that?

Confident, in control, with a hint of a smile, McCain’s answer is one word: “Yes.”

In conclusion Ms. Zito said, “As the interview ends and handshakes are exchanged, you find yourself standing eye-to-eye with a man who wants to be president without compromising the things he has a moral stake in, even if it comes at the cost of his party’s nomination.”

Salena Zito is a Trib editorial page columnist. Ms. Zito has graciously granted me copyright permission to reprint her work here on The HILL Chronicles.

Multi-culturalism is damaging U.S. and U.K.

Multi-culturalism is damaging U.S. and U.K.

The U.S. is made up of many different nationalities ranging from all economic stratas.  The U.S. being called a “melting pot” once was something we as Americans could be proud of.  We opened our doors to all ethnicities and religions.  But in having done so we have circumvented much of our American heritage for a more progressive anti-American society.

Traditionally, when people came to America it was not just to improve their life and their standard of living, but it was to embrace the United States as a whole – learning English, learning American history, adapting to American customs and traditions.  That is not so anymore.

Now we have immigrants, irregardless be they legal or illegal coming into the U.S. and dictating how we Americans must adapt to their language, their history, and their customs and traditions, not limited to in some cases religion.  It behooves me to think that if I were to travel to any foreign country be it to live their or visit that I should expect the red carpet laid out and that the host country should accommodate me.  But this is exactly what is expected by so many foreigners entering the United States and the United Kingdom.

Doctors in the U.S. must now provide bi-lingual staff to deal with the influx of people unable to speak English, otherwise they may be held liable and open to lawsuit for malpractice.  All the American automated systems ranging from telephone companies, electric companies to department stores offer a choice of English or Spanish – sometimes even saying, “to hear this message in English press one.”  In other words, one is given the impression that Spanish is the language of the land.

American University’s Gary Weaver says:

“Some economists argue that the continuing rise in productivity is because of the waves of immigrants,” said Weaver in a live Internet chat September 28.

Immigrants work hard and frequently revitalize run-down neighborhoods, he said. “This has been the traditional pattern in the U.S. No major city mayor wants to stop immigration!”

Weaver, a faculty member of the School of International Service at AU, said many immigrants to the United States “already share many traditional American values and beliefs …. They tend to look toward the future, they want to begin anew, they believe that through their own efforts they can advance economically, and they think they may have a better way of life for their children in America.”

He added that “we need immigrants,” and that Americans are “accustomed to people from other countries coming here and becoming citizens.”

The United States does discourage illegal immigration, Weaver said, and he acknowledged that since the terrorist attacks of 2001 it is more difficult to get a visa.

According to Weaver, the United States has averaged about 1 million new legal immigrants a year since 1964, and some 70 percent to 80 percent of them have been people of color.

“Americans come in all colors, and by 2040 non-Hispanic white people will be a minority. In fact, today, in four of our states [Texas, California, New Mexico, Hawaii] and the District of Columbia, white people are a minority. Two of these states are our largest states!” he said.

This being said Weaver still misses the point of multi-culturalism.  If being white or Hispanic has anything to do with being American – then I would say the common denominator would be that it is we live in the United States of America.  There are a set of traditions we share as Americans – a history – English as the common denominator of our  communications.  Do we trade this in to appease multi-culturalism?  Do we exhault one nationality over another giving precidence to one and not the other?  This is what multi-culturalism has done, though the original intent was for the United States to be a country where all could live and thrive in the American way of life as was in the United Kindgom.

David Cameron of the U.K. said this of multi-culturalism brilliantly:

“The doctrine of multi-culturalism has undermined our nation’s sense of cohesion because it emphasises what divides us rather than what brings us together. It has been manipulated to entrench the right to difference, a unifying concept.”

This perfectly sites exactly what has happened within the United States and United Kingdom.  Multi-culturalism has emphasized what divides us rather than what brought us together in the first place.  To hear many speak of multi-culturalism today it is as if it is some right of passage.  But it is that same right of passage that is destroying the very reasons the United States as well as the United Kingdom exists – the very reason we are to co-exist not alienate one from another.