Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nick Cohen: An Upside-Down World

From todays's column in OpinionJournal,
....the crucial point is the pervasive European attitude to the Iraq catastrophe. As al Qaeda, the Baathists and Shiite Islamists slaughter thousands, there is virtually no sense that their successes are our defeats. Iraqi socialists and trade unionists I know are close to despair. They turn for support to Europe, the home of liberalism, feminism and socialism, and find that rich democrats, liberals and feminists won't help them or even acknowledge their existence
[***]
Beyond the contortions and betrayals of liberal and leftish thinking lies a simple emotion that I don't believe Americans take account of: an insidious fear that has produced the ideal conditions for appeasement. Radical Islam does worry Europeans but we are trying to prevent an explosion by going along with Islamist victimhood. We blame ourselves for the Islamist rage, in the hope that our admission of guilt will pacify our enemies. We are scared, but not scared enough to take a stand.

I hope conservative American readers come to Britain. But if you do, expect to find an upside-down world. People who call themselves liberals or leftists will argue with you, and when they have finished you may experience the strange realization that they have become far more reactionary than you have ever been.
I don't think it's happend to a lot of the left here yet. But I see it coming.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gore-Obama in 2008

Kristol thanks Obama for taking Clinton down a few notches and lays out the Democrats future,
Obama is running an impressive campaign. But if he ultimately falters because voters think him too inexperienced--then the experienced, antiwar-from-the-start, and environmentally prophetic Al Gore is waiting in the wings. It was a bad week for Hillary.
Bruce Dixon said VP is Obama's real goal anyways.

Obama 1995

A Chicago Reader story from 1995 What Makes Obama Run? and a LA Times story from last week with some of Obama's early history Would Obama be 'the black president'? Keep in mind Obama was having dinner with Tony Rezko a few times a year when reading his words the Reader.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Albright says next president must `restore goodness of American power'

Albright with Carter by her side,
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday that through the war in Iraq the United States has lost its moral authority, and it will be up to the next president to restore the "goodness of American power."

"I think that Iraq is going to go down in history as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy," Albright said, with former President Jimmy Carter at her side in one of a series of "Conversations at the Carter Center."

"We have lost the element of goodness in American power, and we have lost our moral authority," she said. "The job of the next president will be to restore the goodness of American power."
She's really old enough and smart enough to know better. From Pipes review of Gary Sick's All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter with Iran (Now back in print)
When news of the hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran reached President Jimmy Carter in November 1979, he responded with emotions similar to those of most of the American public. According to Harold H. Saunders, Carter's assistant secretary of state in charge of Middle Eastern affairs, "President Carter in his initial reactions may simply have been acting as Jimmy Carter—an outraged and concerned American who happened to be President."[1] The White House adviser on Iranian affairs, Captain Gary Sick, notes that a similar reaction was widespread in the government. "When President Carter said, as he did on many different occasions both publicly and privately, that the fate of the hostages was on his mind at every waking moment, he was . . . expressing what a daily reality for almost all of us who were caught up in the crisis."[2] Sick then relates his own reaction:

I remember discussing the crisis with my family shortly after the hostages were seized and telling them until the hostages were freed, their welfare would take priority over everything else in my life. It was almost like taking religious vows, and that sense of personal dedication remained vivid and strong until the Algerian plane carried the hostages safely out of Iranian airspace many months later.

When these men say that for 14 and a half months, from 4 November 1979, until the very last moments of the Carter presidency on 20 January 1981, the issue of the American captives in Iran dominated the Carter administration's concerns, they are admitting to one of the most bizarre developments in the history of American government. That the president of the United States, the chief executive of the federal government, the commander in chief of the military forces, the head of the Democratic Party, and the leader of the free world devoted his "every waking moment" to the fate of 52 persons almost defies belief. It is only somewhat less preposterous that for 444 days the president's specialist on Iran concentrated with near-religious intensity on the welfare of the hostages, to the detriment of all other issues connected with Iran—the rebellions that threatened the central government, the tripling of the price of oil, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraqi attack.

The United States paid in many ways for the emotionalism of its leaders, as these two books indicate. American government officials devoted so much time to this issue that their attention to matters of greater significance was much reduced. "As the agenda for dealing with the hostage crisis jelled," Saunders notes, "other important issues were gradually crowded off the agendas of each of the principals involved." For almost a year, a large portion of the cabinet met almost every day to keep up with developments in Iran, the president frequently joining them. Warren Christopher, Carter's deputy secretary of state and the official in charge of the final negotiations, estimates that as many as ten of the most important officials in the executive branch were diverted each day from their other duties for one to two hours or more. . . . Take two hours out of the morning of the most important Cabinet secretaries to met on an almost daily basis on any specific problem, and you will see a government so highly focused on that issue that other issues may be neglected.
Carter made huge mistakes in those years and we're still paying the consequences today.

Count me with Ralph Peters on the middle east today.
...we've entered a new age when all the great faiths are struggling over their identities. As the religions most-immediately besieged, Shi'ism and Sunni Islam are the noisiest and, for now, the most-violent. But all faiths are in crisis--even as every major faith undergoes a powerful renewal.

In my years as an intelligence analyst, I consistently made my best calls when I trusted my instincts, and I was less likely to get it right when I heeded the arguments around me. Today, those surrounding arguments damn Iran.

My instincts tell me our long-term problem is with Arab Sunnis, whose global aspirations have veered into madness. We have a problem with the junta currently ruling Iran, but not with Persian civilization. Meanwhile, the Bedouin fanaticism gripping so much of the Middle East has no civilization.
That President Bush can sit down and hold a Press Conference with the Leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and hear these words from him, tells me the United States is on the right path,
We have gone a long way to establish a democratic and pluralistic society in Iraq. We have given a great deal of sacrifice to achieving the objective. We cherish all the sacrifices that took place for the liberation and the freedom of Iraq, sacrifices by the Iraqi people, as well as friendly nations, and on top of that list, sacrifices by the Americans. We have now an elected government in Iraq, a government that is so determined to combat both violence and terror, a government that it is -- strongly believes in the unity of that government and of that country and the society, a government that deals and will deal with all the sources of terrorism regardless where they come from.

We will work very hard and seek all forms of cooperation at the international level and the regional level in order to defeat terrorism that it is trying to use Iraq as a base in order to sabotage the future of that nation.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, for allowing me this opportunity to meet with you. I would like to take this opportunity also to thank the American people and their sympathy toward Iraq, those who helped Iraq to get rid of a brutal dictatorship and to enjoy freedom and liberties.

Democrats campaigning as the party of the bamboozled

From Debra Saunders column Democrats' Dilemma on Iraq. I've listened Biden over the years and always appreciated and agreed with many of his thoughts on Foreign Affairs. It's a big reason why I'm flummoxed he now runs as a professed fool. He's amazing.
Biden and Dodd also said they were wrong to vote for the war. That didn't stop Biden from warning Democrats that they need to pick someone with his credentials because President Bush will leave the country in such a mess that the next president will have "no margin for error."

No margin for error? So vote for the guy who wrongly voted for war? Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, glibly observed, "You know, it must be really tough for candidates for president to come before the American people and to complain that they were tricked, deceived and misled by George Bush.

"Well," he deadpanned, "here's one person who wasn't." Kucinich noted that he saw "the same information all these other candidates saw," and he voted against the war resolution.

Kucinich may call the war "the occupation," and his proposal for America to pay reparations to Iraqi families isn't likely to play well with the average voter, but at least he's not saying: I wrongly voted for the war, make me your leader.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also argued against the war. And while I disagree with their position -- I still support the war -- I can respect their clarity on the issue.

I cannot respect senators who voted for a war, then walked away from it when public support deflated. At a press meeting after he made his formal remarks, Edwards told reporters, "We have too many politicians and not enough leaders."

Stroger's Budget Victory

Stories today in the Trib, and Sun Times. Trib writes,
But late Thursday, when it become obvious that Stroger had the votes he needed, the Claypool camp called their proposal for a vote doomed to defeat. That gave each commissioner the chance to explain their position on the budget in front of a standing-room-only crowd that included sheriff's deputies, nurses and other county workers.

Claypool and commissioners Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago), Tony Peraica (R-Riverside) and Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett) voted against Stroger's budget.
And the Sun Times tells us those who lended Stroger a hand here,
Though a formal vote by the County Board had not been cast by 12:30 a.m., it appeared Stroger had locked up 10 of the 17 votes necessary, including winning the support of Republicans Peter Silvestri, Gregg Goslin and Liz Gorman, along with surprise support from Mike Quigley.
Makes you wonder about the GOP in Cook County that they can't unite around fellow Republican Peraica allied with a Progressive Dem like Claypool. Silvestri, Goslin, and Gorman all candidates for the Carl Davidson triangulator par excellence award.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Obama for both six-party and bilateral talks with N. Korea

Sounds like Obama was for both which I guess is as multi-latereal as a Senator can get. MTP Transcript for Oct. 22,
MR. RUSSERT: Would you have direct negotiations between the president of the United States and Kim Jong Il?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, what I would do is, at this point, given the provocation of the recent nuclear test, I think let’s try to get these sanctions to work. I think the administration—which had not done a very good job on the North Korea issue, partly because it had been bogged down in Iraq—right now is taking some of the right steps. Let’s reconvene the six-party talks. China and South Korea are central to those efforts. But I think that in time it would make sense for us to initiate some bilateral conversations on—in parallel with the six-party talks, partly because it would strengthen, I think, the commitment of China and South Korea to really put some pressure on North Korea.

Bruce Dixon on Clinton and Obama's manufactured "tension"

Bruce Dixon comments over at Skeptical Brotha on Rush's Obama endorsement.
The manufactured “tension” between the Obama and Clinton camps is a joke, IMHO, something put out there for the rubes to believe. Folks close to Obama have been talking about and aiming at a run for VICE president ever since 1993. That’s VICE. But the way you run for VP is to run for prez. Obama and Hillary have already cut their deal. Obama is running so as to be valuable to Hillary as an eventual running mate. Just my guess. If I was as flush as I am confident, I would be talking bets.
My gut tells me Dixon's right.

Bruce Dixon: Barack Obama: Hypocrisy on Health Care

Welcome Obama 2008 readers.

From Bruce Dixon writing in The Black Agenda Report on Obama flips,
By June 2003, when Obama was a candidate for his current job in the Illinois Democrat primary, we were impolite enough to ask him a direct question about whether he'd support single payer legislation if elected to the U.S. Senate. We asked him: "Do you favor the adoption of a single payer system of universal health care to extend the availability of quality health care to all persons in this country? Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?" Obama's answer was:

"I favor universal health care for all Americans, and intend to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end in the U.S. Senate, just as I have at the state level."
but....
By the following year, Obama was newly elected to the U.S. Senate, and in an interview with BAR's Glen Ford he was asked whether he planned to sponsor the kind of single payer legislation he'd been identified with as a state senator.

Glen Ford: "Are you going to introduce single payer legislation?"

Barack Obama: "No, I am not. Which isn't to say that I'm not interested in the conversation about moving in a direction that expands affordability and accessibility. But my point is that, along that spectrum there are many points that people may arrive at, all of whom affirm the notion that we have a health care crisis that hits our communities much harder than anybody's, but it's everybody's crisis, and we've got to have an agenda in terms of both general health care issues as well as issues like AIDS that are ravaging the African American community."
And further into it Dixon notes,
Rather than "moving the conversation" on health care toward any practical solution, Senator Obama seems intent on keeping it vague and unfocused.
Vague and unfocused kind are kinds words. Watch out when a Pols starts using words like spectrum and affirm. There are some other words that come to mind about what's coming down.

Obama's letter to The Black Commentator, June 19, 2003: Not "Corrupted" by DLC

Obama's letter here and The Black Commentator's challange in response interesting. No idea if Obama responded to it.
I read with interest, and some amusement, Bruce Dixon's recent article regarding my campaign, and his suggestion that perhaps my positions on critical issues facing this country are somehow being corrupted by the influence of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Given that Bruce [and I] worked together back in 1992 to empower communities through organizing and the ballot box, I wish he'd taken the time to give me a call and check out his facts.

To begin with, neither my staff nor I have had any direct contact with anybody at DLC since I began this campaign a year ago. I don't know who nominated me for the DLC list of 100 rising stars, nor did I expend any effort to be included on the list beyond filling out a three line questionnaire asking me to describe my current political office, my proudest accomplishment, and my cardinal rules of politics. Since my mother taught me not to reject a compliment when it's offered, I didn't object to the DLC's inclusion of my name on their list. I certainly did not view such inclusion as an endorsement on my part of the DLC platform.

As for Bruce's larger point -- that I've begun to water down my criticisms of the Bush administration during this early phase of my campaign -- I'd invite him to join me on the campaign trail here in Chicago for a couple of days. I'm proud of the fact that I stood up early and unequivocally in opposition to Bush's foreign policy (and was the only U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois to do so). That opposition hasn't changed, and I continue to make it a central part of each and every one of my political speeches. Likewise, I spend much of my time with audiences trying to educate them on the dangers of both the Patriot Act, Patriot Act 2, and the rest of John Ashcroft's assault on the Constitution. The only reason that my original anti-war speech was removed from my website was a judgment that the speech was dated once the formal phase of the war was over, and my staff's desire to continually provide fresh news clips. The "bland" statement that Bruce offers up as an example of my loss of passion wasn't an official statement or speech at all, but a 30 second response to a specific question by Aaron Brown on CNN about the mood of Illinois voters a few days after the war started.

In sum, Bruce's article makes nice copy, but it doesn't reflect the reality of my campaign. Nor does it reflect my track record as a legislator. In the last three months alone, I passed and sent to Illinois governor's desk 25 pieces of major progressive legislation, including groundbreaking laws mandating the videotaping of all interrogations and confessions in capital cases; racial profiling legislation; a new law designed to ease the burden on ex-offenders seeking employment; and a state earned income tax credit that will put millions of dollars directly into the pockets of Illinois' working poor.

As Bruce may tell you, I've always preached the need for elected officials and candidates to be held accountable for their views. I don't exempt myself from that rule. I'd simply ask that folks take the time to find out what my views are before they start questioning my passion for justice or the integrity of my campaign effort. I'm not hard to reach.

In the meantime, I'll talk to my staff about sprucing up the website!

Sincerely,

State Senator Barack Obama

Candidate for U.S. Senate
The speech delivered on 26 October 2002 in Chicago at Federal Plaza at an anti Iraq war rally organized by the ANSWER coalition may be read here.

Obama Statement on Iraq Spending Package Vote October 17, 2003

From his campaign press release back in 2003. Words with new meaning now that we know the Tony Rezko connections.
I fully support our troops and would do anything to protect their safety. But the President has cynically tied the military funding to the $20 billion for reconstruction, effectively holding our troops hostage to an aid package rife with patronage and overspending. That may be good politics, but it is meant to mask bad policy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rudy Giuliani watch

The Guardian
Back in Miami, Giuliani milks the crowd. He talks at length about Iraq and the challenges that America faces in the world. He appeals to Democrats and Republicans alike with a muscular optimism that will surely form the core message of any coming campaign. It is brave talk and it is honest talk. He even raises the prospect of American defeat in Iraq. 'We have to stop obsessing about Iraq. The day after we win in Iraq, or the day after we lose in Iraq, the war on terror will go on... We have been in wars before where we have lost battles of great significance. We lost the Vietnam War but we won the Cold War,' he says.

Then Giuliani starts to talk about fear. His audience listens patiently, but are most likely unaware that he is quoting the words of his father. As Harold Giuliani lay dying of cancer, Rudy asked if he was ever afraid in his life. His father replied with what would be his last words to his son: 'Always. Courage is being afraid but then doing what you have to do anyway.'

Now Giuliani is preaching those poignant words back to the audience of entranced executives. 'Because you have fear it does not make you a coward or a non-courageous person... We should be afraid, but the real question is what we do with that fear,' he tells them.
Kevin Rennie at Courant.Com,
The other candidates talk about social issues and seek to placate suspicious conservatives who've heard their sweet songs before. Giuliani showcases pelts on his belt. The most sumptuous comes from his 1999 battle with the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The museum, which enjoyed some public funding, booked an incendiary exhibit that featured a portrait of the Virgin Mary caparisoned in elephant dung and vulgar photos. Giuliani cut off the museum's public funds. That's something religious Republicans in South Carolina can understand. And who can forget Giuliani's rejection of a $10 million donation to a 9/11 fund from an Israeli-hating Saudi?
Richard Baehr in The American Thinker: The Chicago Tribune's Pre-emptive Strike on Rudy Giuliani
The New York Times never drew blood on him in 8 years as Mayor, and they tried pretty much every day. Andre Zajac's hit job in the Tribune won't faze Rudy either.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Washington Post on Murtha's alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq

Final three paragraphs from WaPo's Editorial,
Mr. Murtha has a different idea. He would stop the surge by crudely hamstringing the ability of military commanders to deploy troops. In an interview carried Thursday by the Web site MoveCongress.org, Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to "stop the surge." So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill -- an action Congress is clearly empowered to take -- rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. "What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with," he said.

Mr. Murtha's cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to "bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in Saddam Hussein's palace"; could he be unaware that the zone's primary occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Murtha does not represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party or the thinking of its leadership. Yet when asked about Mr. Murtha's remarks Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support. Does Ms. Pelosi really believe that the debate she orchestrated this week was not "the real vote"? If the answer is yes, she is maneuvering her party in a way that can only do it harm.

Sen Lieberman on Senate Iraq resolution

From Lieberman's website: Lieberman Warns of Potential Constitutional Crisis over Iraq. Urges Unity in War Against Islamist Extremism
Senator Lieberman argued that the non binding resolution, "proposes nothing. It contains no plan for victory or retreat... It is a strategy of "no,"while our soldiers are saying, "yes, sir" to their commanding officers as they go forward into battle."

Illinois Blogs weekend review

Tom Roeser has a good post on the GOP Prez Primaries: HOW TO PICK A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Start Off by Asking Yourself Whether You’re an Idealist or Realist. Call me realist.

Proviso Probe reviews Cook County's Budget mess: For all those people who bad-mouthed Stroger's Republican opponent Commissioner Anthony Peraica, it now looks like more clinics in the hood would have stayed open under Peraica.

Backyard Conservative: Hirsi Ali Speaks Up

Anne of Backyard Conservative made it over to hear Hirsi Ali speak. I wish I could have been there too. Thanks to Anne for a long post about Hirsi Ali's speech.
Q.Why do Leftists ally themselves with jihadists?

A. They confuse faith with race. People on the Left fought for blacks, and present Islam as race, so those who criticize are called racists and Islamophobic, and they have grown up with multiculturalism which does not make judgements about culture, so they view all cultures as equal. She finds this very curious, to suggest that a culture which champions life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be viewed on the same level as a dogmatic culture incapable of self-reflection.

Ralph Peters: not since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery

Ralph Peters on America hitting a new political low point.
The "nonbinding resolution" telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.

The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq's Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias.

The message Congress just sent to them all was, "Hold on, we'll stop the surge, we're going to leave - and you can slaughter the innocent with our blessing."

We've reached a low point in the history of our government when a substantial number of legislators would welcome an American defeat in Iraq for domestic political advantage.


Update: Reverse Spin quotes JFK in response.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Marathon Pundit: Pelosi clueless on diplomacy




Marathon Pundit writes a post: Nancy Pelosi says President Bush lacks the authority to use force against Iran.

Guess that means we wait for Ahmadnejad to strike first; like Jimmy Carter did. Then maybe wait some more, like Jimmy Carter did; until Iran released the hostages for fear of Reagan's strike.

Maybe we'll be lucky and Ahmadnejad will attack Israel and leave us alone.

Thirty million Iranians want to be America's friends and handfull of Ahmadnejad's thugs prevent that, and instead Ahmadnejad threatens the world with nuclear strikes. All Pelosi can do is threaten President Bush. Can't she mention Iran Freedom and Support Act too at least?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Night Illinois Blog round up

The Beachwood Reporter on Dear Leader
"What we need right now is a leader," Michelle Obama says, citing Obama's eight years under the thumb of Emil Jones as leadership beyond that of anything - as Lynn Sweet points out - that, oh, Bill Richardson showed as U.S. Secretary of Energy, ambassador to the United Nations, a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 14 years in Congress, and governor of New Mexico.
Obama video at Rogers Park Bench.

Backyard Conservative on the economic realities of 1976. The year I started looking for that first real job too.

It's My Mind links a story on Chicago's Black Political Families.

A Todd Stroger blog!

Finally, a comment by Third Generation Chicago Native over at Rogers Park Rake on why Todd Stroger (sadly) will be a gift to Illinois bloggers.

Maryam Namazie: Nazanin Fatehi has been Released!

Sometimes petititions work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PJM: Giuliani criticizes Gore for not going far enough on Global Warming (by not offering solutions)

Giuliani on video over at PJ Media making sense about Gore's film and global warming. I like Giuliani more and more.

Ralph Peter: Sunni vs. Shi'a: It's Not All Islam

Peter's concludes,
...we've entered a new age when all the great faiths are struggling over their identities. As the religions most-immediately besieged, Shi'ism and Sunni Islam are the noisiest and, for now, the most-violent. But all faiths are in crisis--even as every major faith undergoes a powerful renewal.

In my years as an intelligence analyst, I consistently made my best calls when I trusted my instincts, and I was less likely to get it right when I heeded the arguments around me. Today, those surrounding arguments damn Iran.

My instincts tell me our long-term problem is with Arab Sunnis, whose global aspirations have veered into madness. We have a problem with the junta currently ruling Iran, but not with Persian civilization. Meanwhile, the Bedouin fanaticism gripping so much of the Middle East has no civilization.
My instincts exactly too.

The Economist: An odd marriage of Muslims and secular socialists, united against America

The Economist on Islamic-leftist compact and it's critics.
This leftist-Muslim partnership exists not just on the streets, but in the protest movement's heart. Britain's Stop the War coalition, which has organised more than 15 nationwide protests and hundreds of smaller events, was largely forged by two small, intensely committed bodies—the far-left Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Muslim Association of Britain, which is close to the international Muslim Brotherhood. These tiny groups have co-ordinated street protests by up to 1m people.

With its combination of an American-aligned foreign policy and a large, angry Muslim population, Britain is an unusual case among Western countries. But in many other places, too, Muslim grievance has been yoked to a broader anti-capitalist or anti-globalist movement whose leitmotif is loathing of the Bush administration and all its works.

An Italian Marxist involved in the “Social Forum” movement, which organises large, disparate gatherings of groups opposed to the existing world order, puts it this way. Almost everybody in the movement shares the belief that “capitalism and militarism” (both epitomised by America) are the main challenges to human welfare. If political Islam can blunt American triumphalism, then so much the better—even from the viewpoint of those who would never dream of donning a headscarf or upsetting a sexual minority.
And some referecnes to Nick Cohen and Paul Berman,
Nick Cohen, a peppery writer for Britain's centre-left media, has put flesh on the Euston manifesto's bones by listing the sins of the Islamic-leftist compact. Political Islam, he says, is not just a disaster for many causes (like feminism and gay rights) that the left cherishes; it also overturns the Enlightenment idea that diversity of opinion is desirable.

Paul Berman, a professor at New York University, is one of several Americans of liberal background who have joined the British denunciation of Islamofascism. He says the left's refusal to take sides in the internal battles of Muslim countries (between dissidents and oppressors) reflects an “angelic blindness” which mistakes violent reactionaries for charming exotica.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Global Warming and Snow Days in Springfield for Balgojevich's Global Warming kickoff

Rich Miller stuck in Springfield and,
Madigan Spokesman Steve Brown has confirmed that House session has been cancelled all week due to the winter storm.
Someone should let the Gov know Feb is a tricky month to predict the weather in Illinois. He should have waited for August to announce this,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich sets goal to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Illinois

Climate Change Advisory Group meets to address the serious and urgent issue of global climate change

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a statewide goal to slash the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020 and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The GHG goals are part of a long-term strategy by the state to combat global climate change and builds on steps the state has already taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the environment and public health.

The announcement comes as Gov. Blagojevich’s Climate Change Advisory Group prepares to meet to address the serious and urgent issue of global climate change. The Governor charged the advisory group with recommending strategies to meet these GHG reduction goals. The advisory group, comprised of business leaders, labor unions, the energy and agricultural industries, scientists, and environmental and consumer groups from throughout the state, will meet over a six-month period to identify measures to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gases.

“The impact of global warming in Illinois and around the globe could be devastating, and we can’t wait for the federal government to act because scientists worldwide have warned that we must address climate change within the next decade to avoid serious and irreversible consequences,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “The international community recognizes that rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and unusual weather patterns are warning signs telling us that climate change is a reality. Now, despite inaction by President Bush, we must deal with it. By committing ourselves to action in Illinois, we can help minimize the effects of climate change and ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy world full of opportunity.”

[the rest of it here....]
Wonder if they'll have to cancel their meeting.

Iraqi MP: God Bless America

MEMRI TV via HotAir. HT Backyard Conservative

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Don't anger Apollo

Nigel Calder writes An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change telling us
Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate.
It seems presumptous to think people have that kind of impact on the world global warming activists tell us. Calder I suspect has it right when he concludes
...humility in face of Nature’s marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.
but read his whole column.

The Austrialian: Howard launches attack on Barack Obama

Australia's John Howard on Obama. The Labour party says it's unprecedented interference in American politics but maybe Howard knows it's an unprecedented struggle in today's world.

What we do in Illinois reverberates all over the world.

HT Marathon Pundit.
The man who wants to be the first black US president has pledged to withdraw US troops from Iraq by March 2008, a timetable Mr Howard believes is dangerous.

"I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory," Mr Howard told the Nine Network.

"If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats."

Manzullo, House Res 64, and the case of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

I'll be emailing Manullo's office. An email from Sue Levy,
Dear Friends,

House Resolution #64 in support of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury will be considered in the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week. The good news: The resolution has sixteen co-signers and is assured of passage on the House floor with a large majority.

The bad news: In order to move the resolution out of committee, there must be ten co-signers who are actually members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. At this time, we have only three, and we have only two business days to accomplish this. (We were only given two days notice that the resolution would be on the agenda for this week.) All the co-signers must be onboard by Tuesday afternoon.

The ACJ and the Simon Wiesenthal Center will focus on contacting the committee members in California.

I am listing the committee members whose co-sponsorship is needed below. To make this easier for you, they are listed by states.

1. PLEASE CALL A MEMBER IN YOUR STATE OR ONE OF THOSE WITH ASTERISKS BESIDE THEIR NAMES. THE PHONE NUMBER FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS: 202- 224- 3121.

2. DISCUSSION POINTS: SALAH UDDIN SHOIAB CHOUDHURY, MODERATE MUSLIM JOURNALIST, ON TRIAL NOW FOR SEDITION AND TREASON FOR PUBLISHING A NEWSPAPER WHICH SUPPORTS ISRAEL -ONLY ONE IN ISLAMIC WORLD, FOR PROMOTING INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING AND FOR WRITING ABOUT THE DANGER OF RADICAL ISLAM. SUBJECT TO DEATH PENALTY. NO JURY. NO DEFENSE WITNESSES PERMITTED. RESOLUTION ASKS TO DROP CHARGES. EUROPEAN UNION HAS ALREADY PASSED A SIMILAR RESOLUTION. THIS IS A BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION.

3. WHEN YOU REACH A STAFF PERSON IN A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE, ASK THEM TO CALL YOU BACK THE SAME DAY TO SAY WHETHER THE REPRESENTATIVE WILL CO-SPONSOR.

3. TELL THAT INDIVIDUAL TO BE IN TOUCH WITH JEFF PHILLIPS IN THE OFFICE OF REP. MARK KIRK, 202-225-4835, WHO IS THE POINT PERSON FOR THIS RESOLUTION.

4. LET ME KNOW WHO YOU HAVE CALLED AND THE RESPONSE.

5. PLEASE FORWARD THIS POST TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE HELPFUL

Thank you so much. Wishing you abundant blessings. The list follows:

MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE WHO ARE NOT YET CO-SPONSORS OF HOUSE RESOLUTION #64.

*Arkansas: John Borman

Arizona: Jeff Flake, Gabrielle Giffords

California: Howard Berman, Brad Sherman, Dana Rohrbacher, Elton Gallegher, Edward Royce, Diane Watson, Lynn Woolsey, Linda Sanchez, Jim Costa

Colorado: Thomas Tancredo

Florida: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Connie Mack, Robert Wexler, Ron Klein

*Georgia: David Scott

Illinois: Donald Manzullo

Indiana: Dan Burton, Mike Pence

Massachusetts: Bill Delahunt

*Missouri: Russ Carnahan

*Nebraska: Jeff Fortenberry

New Jersey: Christopher Smith, Donald Payne, Albio Sires

New York:
*Gary Ackerman, Chairman, Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia
Elliot Engle, *Gregory Meeks

*North Carolina: Brad Miller

*Ohio: Steven Chabot

Oregon: David Wu

*South Carolina: Joe Wilson, J. Gresham Barrett, Bob Inglis

*Tennessee: John Tanner

*Texas: Ruben Hinojosa, Ted Poe, Ron Paul, Michael Mc Call

Virginia: Jo Ann Davis

Washington: Adam Smith

Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments and the Internet

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) latest report on blogging in the Arab world.
This report covers 18 Arab countries, providing an overview of how the governments in the Arab world deal with the internet. It includes an update of 11 countries covered in the previous report. It also includes new information with regards to an additional 7 countries that were not previously covered. The report also covers Arab bloggers who have succeeded, over a short period, to play an important role in revealing the conflict between oppression and freedom.

The report was based on field interviews with activists that have resorted to the web, in addition to an opinion poll prepared by HRinfo. The report referred to several human rights and press reports in addition to communications between HRinfo and volunteers from across the Arab World.

The report was prepared and written by Ehab Zelaky, a journalist at the independent Al-Dostour Newspaper. Gamal Eid, HRinfo's Executive Director and legal researcher, who wrote the chapter on Bloggers in the Arab World and The Introduction. Sally Sami, Program Coordinator, edited the report and prepared it for publication. Dalia Ziada translated the report into English.

Sweet blog scoop: The new Obama website is about You!

It's ok to be a partisan pundit but some of Liberal media types in Illinois getting a little unhinged with a guy who after all ditched Forest Claypool for Todd Stroger.

If Stroger the guy who will hang on Obama's coat tails to the White House, the country really in for a dismal four years.

Zorn (who's kept his head better) wrote back in Nov,

The stench of same-old-same-old from John Stroger's years of cronyism and bloat hung over the process, and Obama had every excuse to distance himself from it.

Instead came this letter--a body blow to Claypool Democrats and the idealists whose fantasy about Obama is that he will transcend the grubby machinations and tawdry favor-swapping of party politics--followed by word from Obama's office that he will appear on stage at a pro-Stroger rally Monday night.
Obama's website is about him and his threat he'll bring Cook County's grubby machinations and tawdry favor-swapping to Washington given the chance.

Obama want's to abandon Liberals in Iraq. He wants to build walls of protectionism around the US. He endorsed the worst kind of government in Cook County. He's no progressive: unless that's what progressivism has become today.

Sweet should offer some analysis to defend all of this instead cheer leading the man.

The 2008 elections not about you or me but about what Americans are called to do. Liberals knew this once.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Try squaring abandonment of our allies in Iraq with those words. But then maybe Sweet's right, Obama's all about telling us what America will do for you. Stroger should be warning enough about believing any of that.

xp Illinoize

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mithal al-Alusi: Can There Be a Liberal Iraq?

In OPJ today.
Spend an afternoon in his company and you might yet be persuaded that many Iraqis do, or at least might. Mr. Alusi is in Washington, D.C., to impress his views on administration officials and observe the debate in Congress over additional troop commitments in Iraq. What does he make of that debate? "To be honest, we enjoy how beautiful this democratic system of yours can be, and we might learn from it," he says. Beyond additional U.S. soldiers, economic aid and the equipping and training of Iraq's military, what he most wants from America is intangible: "We need to transfer the values from your society to ours."

More easily said than done, you might think, given the general drift of Iraq's politics over the past four years. Yet the polling data bear him out. Between 2004 and 2006 the number of Iraqis who supported the idea of an Islamic state fell to 22% from 30%, while those agreeing that religion and politics ought to be separated rose to 41% from 27%, according to surveys conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Even in Baghdad, site of so much of the sectarian killing, the number of respondents who put their Iraqi identity ahead of their Muslim one doubled to 60%. (By contrast, only 11% of Cairenes saw themselves as Egyptian first, Muslim second.) And 65% of Iraqis agreed that it was "very important" for Iraq to be a democracy, up from 59% two years before.
What a shame if we let this man and others like him down.

Universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society.

Timothy Ball writes Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts? at Canada Free Press.
Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.
And I pay to put two through them this year.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hadi Said Al-Matif: defaming Prophet Muhammad

A petition from The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Too many liberals ignore Arab liberals.
Arab human rights organisations, journalists, and activists call upon Saudi King to release a Saudi citizen in jail since 15 years ago

Cairo - 3 February 2007

Arab human rights organisations, journalists, bloggers, and activists who participated in the training workshop "blogging and human rights" in Sana'a, Yemen on 26-28 January 2007, call upon King Abdullah Ben Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia to release the prisoner Hadi Said Al-Matif who was Jailed in Negran since 1992 for being accused of "defaming Prophet Muhammad".

The undersigned urge the king to find the fifteen years he spent in prison sufficient, especially that his health and psychological status are deteriorating to the extent that Al-Matif has frequently attempted to commit suicide.

The petition filed by human rights organizations, journalists, and activists is below:

His Majesty, King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz Al Saud
King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Royal Diwan
Riyadh 11111
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Your Majesty,
Human rights organizations, journalists, and activists meeting in Sana'a, Yemen urge your majesty to release the Saudi prisoner Hadi Said Al Matif. Al-Matif was charged for a statement that was misunderstood to be defaming the Prophet Muhammad in 1992. He was 18 years-old, then. This case is marked by significant violations against the accused in respect with his basic human right to have a fair trial. We urge you to employ your power to release him and find the fifteen years he served in prison to be satisfactory. Such respectable action by your majesty shall be a continuation of the role you played when you declined to approve the retribution ruling in 1999.

The undersigned while calling for releasing Hadi, confirm that the basic standard of justice is the principle of proportionality between penalty and crime. In Al-Matif's case, saying one sentence- regardless of its grossness - can never lead to accusing him of apostasy. The fifteen years which Al-Matif served in prison is thus a cruel punishment and should be eliminated.

His imprisonment for so many long years has led to the deterioration of Al-Matif's psychological state, necessitating his release, especially according to witnesses he has attempted suicide four times. With the deterioration of his health conditions, the undersigned believe that his ongoing imprisonment may discredit the Suadi Justice, particularly that reports confirmed the absence of neutrality and fair trial regulations during the trial of Al-Matif at the end of the last century.

Your Majesty,
The signatories on this petition urge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately take the following measures:
Release Hadi Said Al Matif immediately by ordering your satisfaction of the term Al-Matif served in prison
Provide Hadi Al Matif with necessary health care and respect his right to life.
Allow his family members and lawyers to visit him
Not to broaden the use of apostasy charge to any person according to mere interpretive judgments away from clear legal stipulations.
We would like to thank you in advance for showing interest in this important case.

Sincerely, Signatories:

Name
Organization
Country

1- Nabil Abdul Rab Al-Ewidy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom Yemen
2- Samia Al-Aghiry Journalist from Al-Wahdawy Newspaper Yemen
3- Mohamed Sadek Al-Oudainy Center for the Rehabilitation and Protection of Press Freedom
4- Radia Al-Motokel Yemeni Organization for the Defense of Democratic Rights and Freedoms Yemen
5- Waleed Abdul Hafeez Majed Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights Bahrain
Marwa Yousif Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rasha Ali Human Rights Activist Bahrain
Rabab Mansour Human Rights Activist Bahrian
Rehab Abdul Rahman Human Rights Activist Yemen
Mohamed Al-Othman Journalist Bahrain
Mastoor Mohamed Ali Al-Gerady Shura-Net newspaper Yemen
Mohamed Mosed El-Saleh Mareb Press Yemen
Said Hary Al-Mansour Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Saada Ghalaya Journalist Yemen
Ghida'a El-Sabry Journalist Yemen
Shaimaa Mahmoud Awad Journalist Yemen
Nawal Mousa Al-Yousif Editor-in-chef of Saudi-Net newspaper Saudi Arabia
Gamal Eid The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Egypt
Saleh Ali Amer Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Ali Mohamed Al Hilla Human Rights Activist Saudi Arabia
Ali Mahdi Khattab Human Rights First Saudi Arabia
Morad El-Gharatty Civil Observatory of Human Rights Yemen


CC: His Excellency, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Cairo/ Hisham Mohey El-din Nazer

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Spinney

Frank Spinney as I remember him when I worked for the DoD IG from 1983 to 86.

He's interviewed in Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight and Jason Vest tells us,
For most of his 26-year career as an analyst in the Tactical Air Division of the Pentagon's Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation, Spinney was a formidable force in the service of anyone seeking to decipher the complexities of Defense arcana. Indeed, says Jarecki, "I think anybody who's decided to make a study of the inner workings of the Pentagon hasn't done his homework if he hasn't talked to Chuck - so many roads lead to him, which is why I knew it was essential to have him in the film."

First, however, Jarecki had to track down the analyst - no small task. There was a time when it wouldn't have been a challenge. After Spinney landed on the cover of Time magazine in 1983 - for congressional testimony in which he critically parsed the systematic problems and excesses of the Defense budget - a wrathful Caspar Weinberger, then Defense secretary, wanted Spinney fired. Though a bipartisan crew of congressmen (including then-Rep. Dick Cheney) successfully stayed Weinberger's hand, he attempted to mete out a punishment of sorts by not only freezing Spinney at the GS-15 level, but even going so far as to order a plaster cubicle built around him (colloquially known as the "Spinney Wall"), lest his fiscally conservative influence corrupt younger, more impressionable analysts in earshot.
It's in that cube as I remember him. Auditors have time to kill between jobs and we'd wander and take a look at him out of curiosity. I can't remember him saying anything of consequence other than I was sympathetic to his low-tech warfare views (all badly wrong in hindsight now).

I don't know why he was hard to find as you find him writing in Counter Punch and he has a website.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Trade Unions in Iraq

Duncan McFarlane from Harry Barne's Reply to Duncan on Iraq. That SEIU could be so successful.

It is difficult to judge the total Trade Union Membership in Iraq, but since the invasion it seems to have topped the million mark. Terrorism and sectarian pressures are likely to have taken some toll. But as Iraq has a population of 27 million and has many young people, only some 15 million fall in the 14 to 65 age group. With high unemployment and women in fundamentalist areas being discouraged from working outside of the home, those with employment (including those moving in and out of jobs) could be no more than 5 million. To have organised so many into Trade Union membership (at least 20% of those feasible) is a massive achievement. The number of UK workers in Trade Unions is under 30% and look at the comparatively favourable conditions.