Sunday, April 29, 2007

Socialism and Education

I read George McGovern and few days ago responding to VP Cheney about war.

People call McGovern the peace candidate now. I voted for him but by campaign-time Nixon had started withdrawing from Vietnam, and McGovern's issues were domestic rather than war. A key one being a guaranteed national income. I remember arguing for McGovern's ideas in my economics classes at Grinnell College.

Now we have Colin Hitt over at Illinois Policy Institute offering this worthy proposal,

If their rhetoric is believable, if they’re serious about reforming public education, then Illinois lawmakers should consider creating an ‘earned education tax credit’: an annual $4,000 refundable tax credit for every student under the age of 23. The credit would count towards books and materials, but also towards the tuition costs of preschool, private school and college. A $4,000 tax credit – a scholarship in effect – would instantaneously deliver on promises from politicians on both sides of the aisle, and it would dramatically improve public education in Illinois.
My wife is a follower of Mike Ryoko and thinks higher education a waste and kids better off investing their college nest eggs in down payments on a two-flat.

So if we tweak Hitt's proposal here to a $4k credit to every Illinois young-adult for the four years between 18 and 22, that can be invested in education, or a business, or a two-flat; don't we have a program here worthy of Norman Thomas? Not exactly a guaranteed income, but a nice start in life, and without need of a bureaucracy too manage it.

Sounds progressive to me. In fact downright Red. I wish McGovern would have latched onto some of the ownership society ideas conservatives have taken from him, and mentioned those in that letter to Cheney.

xp Prairie State Blue

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Something Springfield should consider

via Publius Pundit
Iranian Secularist Movements applauded an historic bill which was passed unanimously by the California Assembly. The bill, proposed by Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon), "would prohibit California's public retirement funds from investing in foreign owned companies that do business in Iran."

According to Iranian freedom fighters, this is one of the best options the US has to effectively act against the Islamic Republic.

Moral Police

Taken: 27 April 2007 Location: tehran, Islamic Republic of IranA girl is being taken away by police for, probably, having un-islamic dress and showing her hair in public

via The Spirit of Man


Detention of a woman in Tehran
Uploaded by winston80

Iranian Teachers Protest in front of Iran's Parliament.

Via PJ Media. Education International
More than 45 teachers were arrested in Hamedan on 7 April. Other teacher union leaders were also arrested, notably the Superintendent of the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran, Aliakbar Baghani, who was taken away at his workplace at the Roshd Middle School in Tehran on 16 April.
AKI Italian
Most schools in northwestern Iran remained closed on Monday due to a teachers' strike to protest against the arrest of dozens of their colleagues in the past few days. The two-day protest which started Sunday was almost unanimous in the northwestern Kurdish cities of Sagghez, Marivan, Sanandaj and Bukan. "If our colleagues will not be freed, schools will probably remain closed in the coming days," said Davood Rouhani, a spokesman for teachers in Sanandaj.

Iranian teachers have been staging protests across the country for the past 11 weeks and many leaders of teachers' unions have been arrested. Teachers are demanding pay hikes - their salaries have not been raised for years - and protesting against the government's decision to fire teachers who are not 'loyal' to authorities.

About one thousand teachers believed to be too secular or belonging to ethnic minorities have been fired or induced to retire early in the past few weeks.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lawrence J. Haas's message to Democrats

From The Journal of International Security Afairs.

I think Haase gets it wrong on Bush's failure to meld national and economic security. 911 was an attack on America's economy -it was the World Trade Center they struck at twice- and while bringing the towers down the second try, they economy has rebounded.

Otherwise Haas nails the Democrat's failure they must overcome to survive as a party.
Iraq, in other words, has given the Democrats an opening—but only an opening, not a guarantee of future political success. As the 2008 presidential campaign approaches, Democrats must embrace and successfully navigate the new politics of national security. Gone, for the foreseeable future, are the days when Democrats could win, as they did in 1992, largely by shifting the national conversation to domestic issues on which they held a considerable advantage. Gone are the days when, also as in 1992, the GOP incumbent’s greater comfort with foreign than domestic affairs (as President George H. W. Bush acknowledged about himself) could hurt him.

Today, at a time of terrorist threats and at the early stage of a generational war against militant Islam, Americans view national security in a new light. It is now an unavoidable political hurdle that a presidential candidate must clear. To win in 2008 and beyond, a candidate must convince Americans that he or she will keep them safe. Only then will the public seriously weigh the candidate’s proposals to protect Social Security, expand health care, and improve education.

For Democrats, this is about something more basic than a strategy to confront militant Islam (a complex endeavor that will require an appropriate mix of military power, traditional diplomacy, grassroots outreach, covert operations, and economic and humanitarian assistance). Clearing the national security hurdle is about a change of mind-set, about discarding 30 years of post-Vietnam discomfort with the military, reluctance to use and sustain force, and cynicism about American ideals. It also is about assuming and exuding an eagerness about national security, about welcoming the solemn opportunity to fulfill the President’s most sacred obligation—to keep America safe.

Democrats must seize the opportunity and adopt a mind-set about national security that reflects three basic themes:

a firm belief in the superiority of U.S.-style freedom and democracy over all other alternatives,

a clear-eyed understanding of the dangers that our enemies pose to our safety and well being, and

an eagerness to grab the reins of national security and serve as America’s commander in chief.
Read the whole thing.

via Euston Manifesto Blog

Durbin's memory loss on Iraq

Durbin in today's Washington Times,
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat says he knew that the American public was being misled into the Iraq war but remained silent because he was sworn to secrecy as a member of the intelligence committee.

"The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it," Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Wednesday when talking on the Senate floor about the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002.

"I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."
From Thomas,
S.AMDT.4865
Amends: S.J.RES.45 , S.AMDT.4856
Sponsor: Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] (submitted 10/9/2002) (proposed 10/10/2002)

AMENDMENT PURPOSE:
To amend the authorization for the use of the Armed Forces to cover an imminent threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction rather than the continuing threat posed by Iraq.

TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S10229

STATUS:

10/10/2002:
Amendment SA 4865 proposed by Senator Durbin to Amendment SA 4856. (consideration: CR S10265-10272; text: CR S10265)
10/10/2002:
Amendment SA 4865 not agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 30 - 70. Record Vote Number: 236.

America's Dunkirk

Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton on pulling out of Iraq,
If you don't plan that very carefully, you could end up with an operation that looks like Dunkirk."
And Bill Clinton's Bill Flourney in the same link,
Following the U.S. withdrawal from Somalia, the country quickly descended into chaos and a civil war that drew in its own neighbors. Michele Flournoy, a Pentagon official in the Clinton administration who helped to manage the Somalia mission, looks to that example today.

"As we contemplate withdrawing from Iraq, we'd better think through what happens if there is wholesale slaughter and genocide, with Shiite militias going into Sunni areas and killing every man, woman, and child," said Flournoy, who is president of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan think tank.

If the commander-in-chief at that time believes that the United States has a moral obligation to intervene in the face of such slaughter, she said, then that, too, will shape the decision on how many forces to leave inside the country and in the region.

"Everyone had better understand that this period of withdrawal from Iraq will be a time of very high risk, with difficult choices and operational challenges, and no good options," Flournoy said. "I fear our most challenging days in Iraq are still ahead of us."
Questions that should have been posed to these eight last night.

xp Prairie State Blue

The Democrat's plan for Peace

This is the gibberish supporters of yesterday's vote really believe. From a comment by NBT over at Illinois review. It's going to be a harsh cold reality for Democrats and the tragedy is others will pay with their lives for this naive and arrogant misjudgement of our foes resolve to destroy us.
Best approach is to get troops out and the following will take place:

1. Iran and Syria will get serious and will do everything they can to bring an end to violence because neither of them want to see a chaotic Iraq.

2. Iraqi army and police will have to step up to the plate and stop hiding behind our boys to defendant their country.

3. Al Aaeda will lose its support--no more common enemy and without local support they become a meaningless entity.

4. with the violence having being reduced, rebuilding the infrastructure will be easier and faster--this is the single most important issue and one of the main reason why US is viewed as a failure.

All is all, it will not be bigger. It will not be costlier and it will not be bloodier for our boys (and girls of course).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Democrats debate: their Dukakis moment

I can't find a transcirpt yet. Obama really rambled in his response. Here is how Hotline captured it.
Obama is asked about his response to a hypothesized catastrophe. Two nukes. We're sure it's Al Q.

Obama: He'd make sure the recovery and response was solid. "What we can't do is then alienate the world community based on false intelligence based on bombast.:" He says he'd talk to the international community.

Edwards: "The first thing I would do is be certain I would know who is responsible, and I would act swiftly and strongly and hold them responsible for that."

Clinton: "Having been a senator during 9/11, I understand the horror ... of that attack. I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate. If we are attacked and we can determine who is behind that attack and if there were nations that supported or gave mateiral aid to those attack. I believe that we should quickly respond. But that doesn;t mean we go quickly looking for other fights."
Obama's response reminded me of Dukakis's response to Bernard Shaw back in 1988,
Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?

DUKAKIS: No, I don't, Bernard. And I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.
And Dukakis went on and on, just like Obama responding with talks with the International Community. Richardson to his credit responded later with an unequivocal Military retaliation.

RIP Moaaid Hamid

via Labour Friends of Iraq,

A statement issued by the General Federation of Iraqi Workers

24 April 2007

The Executive Committee of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers mourns the martyr Vice President of the General Federation of Iraqi workers of the province of Nineveh and his martyred wife on the 9th of April 2007.

A statement issued by the General Federation of Iraqi Workers: said we mourn our martyred trade union leader, brother Moaaid Hamid, the Vice President of our Federation in the province of Nineveh and his martyred wife following clashes between forces of the Iraqi army and terrorist elements in the province.

The deceased was one of the first trade union leaders who contributed to the creation of the IFTU after the fall of the former dictator in 2003 and has played an active role in building a genuine democratic trade union movement despite all the difficult circumstances.

The martyred was subjected to persecution and prosecution by the repressive machinery of Saddam's regime.

Two years ago, he was abducted by terrorist elements and was subjected to severe violence at the hands of terrorists before he was freed by Iraqi security forces.

Glory and eternity to our fallen comrade trade union leader Hamed and his wife.

Glory to the martyrs of the Iraqi working class.

Shame on the murderous terrorists.

The Executive Office of the General Union of Workers of Iraq March 16 April 2007

White Feathers for Durbin and Obama

Malkin suggests sending White Feathers to the Copperheads who voted for a surrender deadline.

You can buy 'em here.

Obama's one signature away

What naive arrogance from this sad Chicago partner of the slum lord. He's foolish enough to think Al Qaeda will stand down simply because majorities in Congress have turn away from our allies.
“We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.”
This vote's escalated war. It will bring no peace; only more misery.

Reid and Schumer: Grave responsibility before God, conscience and history


History will find these two small men failed the Pope's test for war.
Russert: There are many in the world asking for more time for negotiations, for diplomacy -- the Vatican -- the pope issued this statement: "Whoever decides that all peaceful means available under international law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his own conscience and history."

Rumsfeld: It's true.

Russert: And you accept that?

Rumsfeld: Indeed. It is a fair statement. War is the last choice. President Bush has said that repeatedly, and he has made every effort humanly possible to avoid it.

Russert: Yesterday in New York City and across --

Rumsfeld: Indeed, he gave a final ultimatum to avoid war: leave in 48 hours -- after exhausting every other step. He is -- I am sure very people could disagree with what the pope said.

Russert: Yesterday in New York City, some 200,000 Americans took to the street and protested -- there's video -- across the world. What would you say to those protestors?

Rumsfeld: Well, I -- this is a free country -- people can have their own views, and they always have. In every war, there have been protestors. The American Firsters filled Madison Square Garden repeatedly with thousands of people before World War II while Europe was in flames, while millions of Jews were being killed, and the chant was, "Don't get involved in a war in Europe." It's a natural human reaction for people to want to avoid war.
From Lieberman's speech today. Lieberman the only Democrat not to disgrace the party. It's a failure of will the party will never recover from.
When we say that U.S. troops shouldn't be "policing a civil war," that their operations should be restricted to this narrow list of missions, what does this actually mean?

To begin with, it means that our troops will not be allowed to protect the Iraqi people from the insurgents and militias who are trying to terrorize and kill them. Instead of restoring basic security, which General Petraeus has argued should be the central focus of any counterinsurgency campaign, it means our soldiers would instead be ordered, by force of this proposed law, not to stop the sectarian violence happening all around them--no matter how vicious or horrific it becomes.

In short, it means telling our troops to deliberately and consciously turn their backs on ethnic cleansing, to turn their backs on the slaughter of innocent civilians--men, women, and children singled out and killed on the basis of their religion alone. It means turning our backs on the policies that led us to intervene in the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the principles that today lead many of us to call for intervention in Darfur.

This makes no moral sense at all.

It also makes no strategic or military sense either.

Al Qaeda's own leaders have repeatedly said that one of the ways they intend to achieve victory in Iraq is to provoke civil war. They are trying to kill as many people as possible today, precisely in the hope of igniting sectarian violence, because they know that this is their best way to collapse Iraq's political center, overthrow Iraq's elected government, radicalize its population, and create a failed state in the heart of the Middle East that they can use as a base.

That is why Al Qaeda blew up the Golden Mosque in Samarra last year. And that is why we are seeing mass casualty suicide bombings by Al Qaeda in Baghdad now.
If Democrats succeed, this will haunt them forever.

Amir Taheri: Who's winning Harry?

In today's NY Post,
It's possible that Reid imagined that his analytical problems are over simply because he has identified the war's loser. The truth is that his troubles are only beginning. He must tell Americans to whom they wish their army to surrender in Iraq.

That Reid is desperately trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory isn't surprising. His party requires an American defeat in Iraq in order to win the congressional and presidential elections next year.
What an awful time to be a Democrat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kevin Drum looks at Obama and Clinton's response to Giuliani

Drumb blogs,
So I was curious: how would the Dem candidates respond? With the usual whining? Or with something smart? Greg Sargent has today's responses from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over at his site and the verdict is in: more whining. Obama: "Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low blah blah blah." Clinton: "One of the great tragedies of this Administration is that the President failed to keep this country unified after 9/11 yada yada yada."

Unbelievable. Neither one of them took the chance to do what Rudy did: explain in a few short sentences why the country would be safer with a Democrat in the Oval Office. Is it really that hard?
Drum doesn't try and at 113 comments as of 3:44 CST, there aren't many offering any. Just stuff like,
1)Redeploy troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, where Al-Qaeda is actually based.
2)Protect American citizens from unlawful invasions of their privacy by their government
3)Actually take steps to protect our ports, bridges, chemical plants, and nuclear reactors
So yes, I'd say for today's Democrats save Lieberman, it is that hard.

Hot Air: Reid vows not to believe Petraeus if he reports progress in Iraq

Hot Air links the video of Reid telling us Reid will just refuse to believe Gen Petreaus about Iraq.

HT Reverse Spin who wrote,
In other words, a man who has been on the ground in Iraq, leading our brave soldiers in battle, is a liar, according to Harry Reid. The Democratic Party has sunk to its lowest level yet.
Indeed it has Dan.

Obama and Rezko (again)

The Sun Times following up on the Obama-Rezko saga. Maybe we have to know Chicago our politics to understand how ridiculous Obama sounds here.
Responding to the story on Monday in Chicago, Obama said he took political contributions from Rezko not knowing he was a slumlord with troubled buildings in his district.

Tuesday in Washington, Obama was asked about a "crisis of affordable housing here in the United States" by an audience member during a presidential forum sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Obama said as part of his reply, "I have experience in this area, having worked at the community level."

Danny the Red's advice to Ségolène Royal

Conh-Bendit from The Guardian,
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the German Green MEP and hero of Paris's student protests in May 1968, said a leftwing campaign would be "hopeless" for Ms Royal. He held crucial talks in the early hours of yesterday morning at the Socialist party headquarters to convince Ms Royal, whose campaign has been a mixture of leftwing economic policy and conservative social values, to move away from the traditional left. He told the Guardian: "If she tries to play it on the traditionally socialist card, she will lose, because France has veered right."

He said she must convince France she would change the way the elitist political class govern. She must also show she would push through change by acting as a mediator between politicians, unions and street protesters and that she is unafraid to update France's social model. "It's not a case of stopping people taking to the streets. There will always be street demonstrations in France. It's genetic, it's part of democracy. The key question is getting beyond that confrontation and reforming the country."

Giuliani vs the Democrat's we've lost the War

If Democrats say we've lost the war, you've gotta wonder who they think has won. Here's Roger Simon on Giuliani. I can't think of an election that's going to offer Americans a clearer choice than what's shapping up for 2008,
“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”

He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”

After his speech to the Rockingham County Lincoln Day Dinner, I asked him about his statements and Giuliani said flatly: “America will safer with a Republican president.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Today is the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide

We still can't call it genocide. Via Norm's Blog

Reid, Pelosi, and Murtha's plan for redeployment

James Kitfield and Brian Friel write Withdrawal from Iraq would prompt new challenges. How about a look at the Reid, Pelosi, and Murtha plan for redeployment. It's time we started grasping. We've protected Iraqi Kurdistan since the first Gulf War. Where will redeployment leave them?
What U.S. military experts know about those discordant timelines, but what many of their fellow Americans seem to hardly grasp, is that regardless of when it occurs, the expiration of the political clock will not be the end. Rather, it will mark the beginning of the most challenging and potentially calamitous phase of the Iraq war.

"There's an old military adage that the most dangerous and hazardous of all military maneuvers is a withdrawal of forces while in contact with the enemy. That's the operation all of us soldiers fear the most," retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a former commandant of the Army War College, told National Journal.

Some experts argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will remove a major irritant and thus facilitate a resolution to the conflict, Scales noted, and others believe that a U.S. pullout could prompt chaos, massive bloodletting, and even genocide.

"And if anyone insists that they know which it will be," he said, "they are lying. The truth is, we don't have enough understanding or insight into the thousands of intangibles to know what forces will drive the dynamic inside Iraq once we begin pulling out."

Charlie Cook: Underestimating Giuliani

Cook did and is reconsidering. I think he'll get the nomination.
I have long joked that I would win the Tour de France -- without benefit of steroids -- before the former New York City mayor would win the Republican nomination. Putting aside your mental image of a portly Charlie Cook in black spandex, am I wrong?
My current favorite Web site, which is the home page on my computer, is causing me to rethink my dismissal of Giuliani. That site, pollster.com, is a collaboration of Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) who started politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com, and Mark Blumenthal, a Democratic pollster better known as Mystery Pollster. Blumenthal's site, mysterypollster.com, demystifies the profession and provides great answers and explanations about all things polling.
Since October, Giuliani's trend line has been rising at about a 45-degree angle. Sen. John McCain's has been dropping at a roughly comparable angle. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's line showed a gradual increase until September, then leveled off. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's trend line has shown a gradual but consistent increase dating back to late 2004. In state-level polling, Giuliani is in first place -- or tied for first -- almost everywhere.
McCain's VMI speech caused me to recondiser Giuliani a bit. I'm with Kristol about it,
Now we are at a moment of truth. There is McCain's way, a way of difficulty and honor. There is Reid's way, a way of political expediency and dishonor. McCain may lose the political battle at home, and the U.S. may ultimately lose in Iraq. But some of us will always be proud, at this moment of choice, to have stood with McCain, and our soldiers, and our country.
It's hard choice but I think 2008 mayb be Giuliani's year.

Cheney's response today to Reid's Defeatism

The full text of Cheney's remarks. Also can be viewed here.
I usually avoid press comment when I’m up here, but I felt so strongly about what Senator Reid said in the last couple of days, that I thought it was appropriate that I come out today and make a statement that I think needs to be made.

I thought his speech yesterday was unfortunate, that his comments were uninformed and misleading. Senator Reid has taken many positions on Iraq. He has threatened that if the President vetoes the current pending supplemental legislation, that he will send up Senator Russ Feingold's bill to de-fund Iraq operations altogether.

Yet only last November, Senator Reid said there would be no cutoff of funds for the military in Iraq. So in less than six months' time, Senator Reid has gone from pledging full funding for the military, then full funding but with conditions, and then a cutoff of funding — three positions in five months on the most important foreign policy question facing the nation and our troops.

Yesterday, Senator Reid said the troop surge was against the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. That is plainly false. The Iraq Study Group report was explicitly favorable toward a troop surge to secure Baghdad. Senator Reid said there should be a regional conference on Iraq. Apparently, he doesn't know that there is going to be one next week. Senator Reid said he doesn't have real substantive meetings with the President. Yet immediately following last week's meeting at the White House, he said, "It was a good exchange; everyone voiced their considered opinion about the war in Iraq."

What's most troubling about Senator Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week, he said the war is already lost. And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat.

Maybe it's a political calculation. Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics. Senator Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election. It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.

Hitchen's review of Ali Allawi's book: The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace

Hitchen's writes a review of Allawi's new book and concludes,
I think I could pass an examination in the failures of our post-2003 policy and even add a few observations from experience. But I have never been able to overcome the feeling that Iraq was our ward and responsibility one way or another, and that canceling or postponing an intervention would only have meant having to act later on, in conditions even more awful and dangerous than the ones with which we have become familiar. Whether Ali Allawi now agrees with this I could not say, but his excellent and lucid book makes it a case that is extremely difficult to dispute.
I had a insigth on one of those failures in Bremer's book. Early on, Bremer writes his amusement with the Iraqi Communist Party's geriatric leadership (one of them was unaware Breshnev had died) and Bremer simply included them because the Brits asked Bremer too. The party may have been small and insignificant but Communists have built Trade Unions. Secular institutions which we should have supported and maybe armed for self-defense.

Trib: Obama and Rezko

This is more of Democrats running as the party of the easily bamboozled.
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said Monday he never received complaints about poor living conditions from residents of deteriorated properties owned by one of his early and prominent political supporters, Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

Obama, a Democratic presidential contender, also said "nobody's been more disappointed than me" in learning of the controversial history of Rezko, who pleaded not guilty after being indicted last fall on federal influence-peddling and fraud charges.

"One of the perils of public life is that you end up being responsible for, or you're held responsible for, associations that you didn't necessarily know were a problem," Obama told the Tribune after making a major address to outline his foreign policy goals.
Democrats claim Bush misled them on Iraq. Obama claims Rezko misled him on slums. What a pit the party has dug for itself.

Sun Times: Obama and Rezko

Day one and two. From day one,
Obama's friendship with Rezko began with a telephone call.

It was 17 years ago. Obama had just become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Newspapers wrote about him. One story caught the eye of David Brint, a vice president of Rezmar, a new company that had become the Daley administration's favored developer of low-income housing.

"I just cold-called him," Brint said in an interview.

Brint said he wanted to know if Obama would come work for Rezmar, developing housing for the poor -- something Obama had expressed interest in, according to the story Brint had read. Brint arranged for Obama to meet Rezko, but Obama didn't take the job.

Obama, who has a law degree from Harvard, subsequently returned to Chicago to lead a voter-registration drive in 1992.

The next year, Obama joined Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a 12-lawyer firm that specialized in helping develop low-income housing. The firm's top partner, Allison S. Davis, was, and is, a member of the Chicago Plan Commission, appointed by Mayor Daley. Davis was also a friend of Rezko. Davis and Rezko would eventually go into business together, developing homes.

Another firm partner, Judson Miner, ran the city Law Department under Mayor Harold Washington, one of Obama's political idols.

Asked what Rezko cases Obama worked on, Miner told the Sun-Times, "We'll put together a list of the cases he worked on involving Rezko/Rezmar in the next day or two.''

That was March 13. He never provided the information.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Iraqis Assume Control of Maysan Security

Pictures of today's handover of security in Maysan province by the Brits to the Iraqi Army in the struggle the Democrat's leader tells us is lost,
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told President Bush that the surge is failing and the war has been lost during a White House meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday.

"This is the message I took to the president," Reid told reporters in a press conference Thursday

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Slow Bleed starts

The Democrat's slow bleed starts,
The U.S. Army will defer spending and slow repair work on any equipment not needed for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan due to Congress' failure to approve $100 billion in extra war funding, the largest branch of the armed forces said on Monday.

The Pentagon also will ask Congress to allow the Defense Department to use $1.6 billion in funds meant for the Navy and Air Force to pay the Army's operating expenses, the Army said.

If funds are not approved by May, further spending restrictions will be made. That, the Army warned, could hurt its ability to take on a new fight.

Monday, April 16, 2007

McCain's Petition





Sen McCain's VMI Speech

From McCain's VMI speech which is a very good speech indeed.
In Washington, cynicism appears to be the quality most prized by those who accept defeat, but not the responsibility for its consequences.

Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted.

What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender?

In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning, not celebrating. And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders, not the giddy anticipation of the next election.


Also, a link to the same speech at McCain's website.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stuart Gottlieb: Will Iraq Be the Next Rwanda?

Gottlieb writing in today's WaPo,
Remember Rwanda? The history books have not treated kindly America's inaction while more than 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by their Hutu compatriots in the spring of 1994 after a plane crash killed the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

Now consider a scenario in which the decisions and actions of the United States were the primary reasons for a country's descent into chaos and sectarian violence, yet instead of doing everything possible to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, America chose to walk away. What would the history books say about that?

Should the Democratic leadership in Congress succeed in forcing the hasty withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, we may well find out.
Some in the anti-war movement will just call that another cruel necessity,
Before Christmas, Robert Taylor argued for troops out of Iraq and his article included the following paragraph: "It will be argued an Anglo-American evacuation from Iraq could not be done overnight. But a strict timetable of June or July next year could be set for the process to end. There is a precedent, although admittedly not one that suggests such a departure would be trouble-free. The exit from India and that country's partition in 1947 cost the lives of millions but it was a cruel necessity. The same can be said for Iraq."

RIP Najim Abd-Jasem

Harry Barnes writes
Exactly a year ago today I sat near the centre of a long and crowded table at a meeting in Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Sitting almost opposite to me was Najim Abd-Jasem, the General Secretary of the Mechanics, Printers and Metalworkers Union in Baghdad.

I have just discovered that Najem was kidnapped last Tuesday, brutally tortured and then murdered because of his non-sectarian Trade Union work. His body was found on Monday. It is a sad and shattering anniversary of what had been one of the most telling meetings I have ever attended.

“Greetings to the Working Class and Toilers of our People” and “Long live the 73rd anniversary of the Iraqi Communist Party”


The surge is working.

From the Communist Party USA's Peoples Weekly World (They deserve credit for posting on their Iraqi Comrades when many in the Peace Movement would call Iraqi Reds CIA Communists for participating in the current government.)
Some 10,000 Baghdad residents packed a sports stadium March 31 to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the Iraqi Communist Party. It was the first mass event in Baghdad in years by any secular democratic group.

Similar events took place around the country. In Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, 2,000 overflowed a cultural center for a celebration featuring music, poetry and dance.

The response in Baghdad was so great that the party issued an apology to those who could not get into the filled stadium. The throng, including many families, children and youth, was mobilized on three days’ notice due to security precautions. The party, seasoned in organizing through decades of repression, distributed invitations carefully via e-mail, printed notices and word of mouth.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who heads one of the main Kurdish parties, and Speaker of Parliament Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front, sent representatives who read greetings. Representatives of a wide spectrum of political parties and civil society organizations also participated. Well-known poets and singers performed, including the head of the Iraqi Writers Union.

As crowds arrived outside the stadium, a jubilant atmosphere prevailed, with traffic policemen helping participants snap photos of each other. The event “had a tremendous uplifting impact on the political mood,” said ICP spokesman Salam Ali.


xp Prairie State Blue

Update: The ICP posts more photos here.

Update: A Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjay for War points to this for comparison.

The Independent: Communist Party people: The secret history of Red America

History's dustbin finds a new home, open to the public.

Michael Nash, the director of New York University's Tamiment Library on the Party's donation of their archives to the Library.
The joke, anyway, is that the communists have always been in town, it's just that few people realised it, not even Nash. "I didn't know they were still around, until they called me." That happened in February last year. The party that America has loved to demonise was not only still alive (if not quite kicking) but housed barely a mile away in its own handsome, if dilapidated, building on West 23rd Street.

But they did have a problem. Because of a shortage of funds - Moscow stopped sending their American comrades cash in 1989 - they were being forced to rent out some of their floors to commercial tenants (capitalism eventually catches up with everyone) and that was where their enormous archives were. Would Tamiment take them, look after them, and, after cataloguing, make them accessible to the public? Those who consider Tamiment's acceptance of the archive - crammed in some 12,000 cartons - treasonable, may also want to consider this. While it includes some titbits that will only confirm them in their view that the party was a slavish proxy of Moscow bent on revolution in America, the broader picture is rather different. It reveals to a greater extent than ever before the party's role in effecting social change in America in the last century, whether it was helping grow the union movement and labour protections or, less predictably, laying the groundwork for the black civil rights struggle in the South.
Speeches by CPUSA leaders on the donation can be found here.

The Arabist: Syrian Cyber-Dissident Ibrahim Zoro arrested

Via The Arabist. I wish Pelosi's Road to Damascus included words on behalf of Ibrahim Zoro.
Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of arrested human rights activist Ibrahim Zoro, who regularly posts material on foreign-based opposition websites. It noted that two other people were in prison in Syria for posting similar material.

It said the state security service, whose agents arrested Zoro on 5 April 2007 in Damascus, were “as always, acting quite illegally” and his family had not been told why he was picked up or where he was being held. “It is more like a kidnapping than an arrest,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Zoro, who belongs to Syria’s Kurdish minority, was helping to organise a seminar called “The Philosophy of Lies.” He has posted many articles in Arabic on websites such as the blog Tharway and Mengos.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Molly Bingham's Meeting the Resistance


Al Gore's official photographer from the 2000 campaign helped direct Meeting the Resistance, which premieres this weekend at the Full Frame Festival in Durham, North Carolina.

MEETING RESISTANCE is a fascinating journey through a tumultuous period with diverse members of the Iraqi resistance. Their personal stories as well as their ideological ones are at once dramatic, eye-opening, and concerning - and they challenge the notion that those opposing the occupation are simply "dead enders," "common criminals," "Al-Qaeda operatives" and "die-hard Ba'athis."
Wonder what's Bingham's notion of what they really are.

via IraqSlogger

Obama's Policy for Foreign affairs: Respect

Samantha Powers spins Obama's upcoming speech on Foreign Policy with The Politiker,
"When he talks about restoring America's standing in the world," Power said, "it's born of a very clear-eyed, almost cold understanding that in these international bodies we will not get what we want -- we will not get the solutions we need if we do not have respect."
When the foe buys mentally ill children as suicide bombers, Obama and Powers really owe us a full explanation of how respect yields solutions. If respect is what's passing for realism in Foreign Affairs, well, it just doesn't seem very realistic.

Iraq Slogger: Mentally Handicapped Children Used in Attacks

For those who wonder why we fight, (via IraqSlogger)
The dreams 13-year-old Barak Muhammad (not his real name) had of leading a normal teenage life were dashed when his father sold him to al-Qaeda militants. Being mentally handicapped, he said he was considered a burden by his family and was told he would be better off sacrificing his life for his country.

“I don’t have a mother and never went to school. I was dreaming of a day that I would go to school like my other brothers, but I was considered different. My father was always telling me that I was a mistake in his life, a boy that was just bringing expenses and problems,” Barak said.

Barak's father sold him to al-Qaeda in Iraq for US $10,000 to support his remaining five children. Now, Barak is in training to fight US and Iraqi troops.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sandhill Cranes


The past two days a Sandhill Crane a spitting image of the one here, has been visiting the corn field across the road from my house. It's an amazing creature to watch and then watch it fly away.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Gen McCaffrey on the surge

From the Wash Times OpEd
As Gen. McCaffrey made clear, a major reason why this has been going so well has been the performance of U.S. armed forces. American combat forces "are simply superb. The Army and Marine brigade, battalion and company commanders are the most experienced and talented leaders in our history. Re-enlistment rates are simply astonishing," he wrote. "The command and control technology, training, contractor support and flexibility of Marine and Army combat formations are magnificent."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

DM Register's Yepsen: With Giuliani in it to win it, don't be surprised if he does

Iowa news on Giuliani,
Ted Sporer, the Polk County Republican chairman, who is neutral in the 2008 presidential race, said it's too early to predict winners but "right now, Giuliani and (John) McCain are the strongest in Iowa."

He said while there are small groups of vocal social conservatives who criticize Giuliani, "I think the level at which social conservatives control the Republican Party is really exaggerated. As a party leader, I can tell you I don't see that to the extent people believe that it's true.

"Giuliani will compete here and will do very well. He will be one of the high finishers in Iowa, barring something unforseen."

Diane Crookham-Johnson, a GOP leader from Oskaloosa who had been helping George Pataki before he faded, is now neutral in the presidential race, but said, "Giuliani has struck a chord with people in Iowa. There are issues beyond social issues that people are concerned about, and they see some of those in him. They see his approach to crime in New York and taxes. I hear people say he really is a Republican on those issues."

Tom Roeser: Tom Cross to Lead Giuliani State Campaign; Ron Gidwitz to Co-Chair as Well as Raise Funds

Two good picks to lead Giuliani's campaign in Illinois.

Pelosi to Assad: We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace

The final two paras from WaPo's Editorial on our foolish Speaker,
Ms. Pelosi was criticized by President Bush for visiting Damascus at a time when the administration -- rightly or wrongly -- has frozen high-level contacts with Syria. Mr. Bush said that thanks to the speaker's freelancing Mr. Assad was getting mixed messages from the United States. Ms. Pelosi responded by pointing out that Republican congressmen had visited Syria without drawing presidential censure. That's true enough -- but those other congressmen didn't try to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.

Pelosi, Fallaci, and the hajib


Backyard Conservative reminds us of one of Oriana Fallaci's finest moments,
Fallaci continued posing indignant questions about the treatment of women in the new Islamic state. Why, she asked, did Khomeini compel women to “hide themselves, all bundled up,” when they had proved their equal stature by helping to bring about the Islamic revolution? Khomeini replied that the women who “contributed to the revolution were, and are, women with the Islamic dress”; they weren’t women like Fallaci, who “go around all uncovered, dragging behind them a tail of men.” A few minutes later, Fallaci asked a more insolent question: “How do you swim in a chador?” Khomeini snapped, “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it. Because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women.” Fallaci saw an opening, and charged in. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She yanked off her chador.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Obama, Alice Palmer, Bernadine Dohrn, Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko

Trib does a good history of Obama's first race to fill Alice Palmer seat.

She endoresd Obama, but then tried to get her slot back after changing her mind about not running. That caused a commotion but I can't fault Obama for backing off because Palmer changed her mind.

What does bother me though, is Obama says this,

Obama said he has not been in touch with Palmer since 1996. "No, not really, no," he said.
Yet he's had time to dine with Tony Rezko once or twice a year for the past decade.
Q: Senator, when did you first meet Tony Rezko? How did you become friends? How often would you meet with him, and when did you last speak with him?

A: I had attracted some media attention when I was elected the first black President of the Harvard Law Review. And while I was in law school, David Brint, who was a development partner with Tony Rezko contacted me and asked whether I would be interested in being a developer. Ultimately, after discussions in which I met Mr. Rezko, I said no.

I have probably had lunch with Rezko once or twice a year and our spouses may have gotten together on two to four occasions in the time that I have known him. I last spoke with Tony Rezko more than six months ago.
Footnote: Here's a blog with a history a little different from the Trib's including a reference to a party that must have been a hoot.
The fact is the Hyde Parkers whom Obama was courting at the time would've remained loyal to Palmer and many told him as much at the home of Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers in late November of 1995.
I might pick Tony Rezko as a dinner companion given a choice between him and Dohrn / Ayers.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Release Political Prisoners and Open Political Discourse in Syria

Bush's State Department speaks out Thursday for the release of Syrian Communist Mahmoud Issa and Pelosi goes to chat with Assad. I guess without a word about the US Press Release quoted below.
We deplore arbitrary arrest and detention of political prisoners by the Syrian government. We are concerned about the cases of Syrian political prisoners Anwar al-Bunni and Kamal Labwani, who are being tried in criminal court for expressing their opinions. We join others in calling on the Syrian government to immediately and unconditionally release them and other prisoners of conscience, including Mahmoud Issa and Michel Kilo. The continued use of arbitrary arrests and detentions of its opponents demonstrates the Syrian regime's contempt for accepted international human rights standards.

Open political discourse where people do not fear imprisonment simply for expressing their views is an essential element of democracy. The United States stands with the Syrian people in their struggle for universal freedoms and calls on the Syrian government to end its abusive practices.

Speaker Pelosi and Syria's Michael Kilo

And then I wonder if Speaker Pelosi has time to discuss the fate of Syrian Dissident Michael Kilo while she visits with Assad.

From the Blog Free Michael Kilo Before One Year in Jail.
This Blog is created to help release Michel Kilo the Syrian political writer/journalist/analyst who was arrested unjustfully by the Syrian Authority just for writing expressing his moderate opinion. He had always being very patriotic and always looks for the well being of the country.

Other people are being arrested in Syria for no reason except to destroy the internal opposition and terrorize people into not even trying to whisper their views. Syrians are smarter than that and they won’t accept this crackdown, it is time for authorities to realize that we are in 2006 and not in the 70s or 80s.
Lebanon last year succeeded in changing the status-quo and it is time to prepare to do it in Syria.

Syria and Lebanon are inseparable but not like the syrian authorities would like to have it: united in misery and living through permanent Tension and us against the world mentality, thus exploiting the people and blaming everyone else for our problems and weaknesses while the rulers are enjoying Power and Wealth and corruption.

Syria and Lebanon should share the same values of Democracy, free Speech, Education, Free Market, etc not empty slogans but realities. Enough Wars and confrotations and empty rethorics. Time to rise politically like other opressed nations did in the past (Eastern Europe, Latin America), and economically like Europe and the rest of Asia (China, India, the Asian tigers). Syria deservers to be like any other prosperous country in Europe.

Prosperity and Freedom and Time for Syria to become a proud nation again, along with Lebanon and other Arabic nations.

Signed
Fares Al-Hurriya (Cavalier of Freedom), May 18, 2006

Louis Farrakhan interview with Al-Jazeera TV on March 18, 2007

MEMRI translates the video and posts a transcript.
Louis Farrakhan: I believe that my teacher, Elijah Muhammad, came as a warning to America, on account of the evils that it committed for 400 years, against millions of black slaves. He came as a warning to America that its policies around the world will bring upon it the fate of ancient Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah, ancient Babylon, and ancient Rome - that this was coming to America. I am an extension of Elijah Muhammad.

When I said my time is up, I meant that warnings can't go on forever. I have warned President Bush, I have warned his government, I have warned his people, and I have warned my own people. The time for warnings is up, and the time for the chastisement of Allah is here.
Wonder what Illinois's Commisioner on Discrimination and Hate Crimes: Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad has to say on the arrival of America's time of chastisement.