Wednesday, June 30, 2004

IF FOX IS SO SLANTED, THEN WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

The newest Nielsen ratings show that Fox News continues to clean the clocks of its competitors, by a substantial margin.

Could it be that people really do want "all the news, fair and balanced?"


KERRY/CLINTON??

Drudge is saying it's the buzz in DC.

That would certainly get any fence-sitters off their fence since Hillary is as polarizing a person as we have.


CHOKE POINTS

Choke points are confined, congested passageways through which you must pass in order to get where you're going. A subway turnstile, the front door to your house and Strait of Mallaca are all choke points.

In the world of anti-terror planning, choke points are a big deal.


MAYBE IT WAS LOST IN THE NOISE

I don't remember hearing this story about "Visa Express", a program instituted to expedite nonimmigrant visa applications from citizens of Saudi Arabia. This wonderful program ensured that the 15 Saudis who came here to kill Americans weren't questioned about very much at all.


I CAN SEE THE PROTESTS NOW

I'm sure a lot of these guys and gals thought their days of service were behind them. I'm also sure that 99.99% of them will get a haircut, put on the uniform and do their duty.

Unfortuately, the 0.01% who protest being recalled will get all the news coverage.




A VIEW FROM THE STREET

Here's an enlightening view of Iraq from a guy who knows what's up.

I'm glad that there are more stories coming out of Iraq than the ones being promulgated by the major electronic and print media. Those who argue there's no bias in their reporting are in denial. Those who rely on it are deceived.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

"WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THINGS AWAY FROM YOU . . .

. . . on behalf of the common good."

- Hillary R. Clinton

(First indication of things to come if Kerry is elected President.)


ROCKETS? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING ROCKETS!

As crazy at it might have sounded in 1945 to say that rockets like the German V-2 would lead to men walking on the moon, you have to look at this proposal (video link) and say "why not?"


THE WAR OF POLITICS

Is hurting us in the politics of war.

We've heard about Kerry voting against various and sundry weapons systems.

How about this example of congressional "oversight"?


MISERY LOVES COMPANY

For all my friends and family in Canada, sounds like things will be "interesting" politically for awhile.

The Liberals won, but it appears there's the kind of schism we face here in the US.

Enjoy.





Monday, June 28, 2004

SURF'S UP!

.

Spectacular photo of storm surf in Japan.


WANT TO COUNTER MOVEON.ORG?

After waiting too long, conservative supporters of President Bush have established a 527 organization to run ads to counter the clap trap being run by moveon.org and others.

If you're interested in contributing (as much as you want -- there's no limit), click here.

I personally don't believe these funds should be legal, but our good friends at the Democrat Party have ensured they do, so if you aren't troubled by them, go for it. The Dem-supporting funds have already spent about $35 million in negative ads, so it's unlikely this fund will equal that, but it's worth a shot.


Friday, June 25, 2004

MY LAST WORD ON MICHAEL MOORE (FOR AWHILE)

Saw the first showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 at noon today (an extended lunch hour on a rainy day). Reality check -- this movie isn't a documentary. Even Moore himself has described Fahrenheit 9/11 as an "op/ed" piece -- it is not unbiased journalism. If you insist this a documentary, then I will agree with you provided you agree that Ron Popeil is the single greatest documentarian in US history. Let's just call Fahrenheit 9/11 an infomercial for Moore's political viewpoints.

I had seen Roger and Me years ago, a clever "gotcha" piece. It was an expanded version of what 60 Minutes was in the early days, when Mike Wallace would show up after they got somebody to do or say something bad on hidden camera and then try to get that oh-my-God-deer-in-headlights look that the bad guys always had when they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Clever, but also a bit dated these days as a tactic.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is more sophisticated, but at the same time pretty transparent in its overwhelming desire to make Bush look like a moron. There were no surprises, probably because a tremendous amount of what's in the movie has been "out there" on the Internet for months. If we didn't have Iraq and Afghanistan 24/7 on many cable channels for months and another couple of months of hype about this movie, maybe it would have had more impact on me, but I wound up being quite bored.

As for his editing style, I'd bet (as he was accused of doing in Bowling for Columbine) Moore did a bit of rearranging of footage to make certain people look foolish -- some things seemed disconnected, though you were led to believe they were all part of one continuous flow. As one journalist said, the difference between a credible journalist and Michael Moore is Moore just rearranges things to suit his purposes -- a credible journalist will insert an ellipsis (. . .) between words to indicate they've edited for brevity, not content. With Moore, you don't get the ellipsis.

So, Moore gets two thumbs up for being clever, again. But just being clever isn't enough anymore. I suspect this movie will do well financially. It can't have cost much to make. Those who hate Bush will line up to pay their admission to see Bush look like a bumbling hick and they won't be disappointed. Those who subscribe to various and sundry right wing conspiracy theories will also be thorough entertained.

Here comes the tough critique:

Others have written books or produced news stories that have unseated politicians, even Presidents. Moore's use of his films hasn't caused a single material change in the World. I think it's because he's too hung up on making people look foolish and less interested in using his considerable skills to investigate and report on real stories. But that sort of work won't make you quite as wealthy as Moore has become. He's created his own genre and is becoming ever more wealthy with each project. In that regard, you have to admire him as a financial success. But if his true motive is to change the world, he's an abject failure.

TASTE TEST

OK, simple question:

You have $25 to spend on an imported red wine. Do you buy:

1. Australian
2. French
3. Italian

The French have their panties in a bunch because they're losing market share to the Aussies and Italians. They're worried about the way it's labeled, the French grading system, etc.

Gee, so you really think that's the problem?

How about, we're making a political statement? We buy Aussie and Italian wines because they've proven to be allies.


THE NEW YORK TIMES AT THEIR BEST

(Meaning: at their worst.)

Before, during and after the convening of the 9/11 Commission The Times trumpeted the "no connection between bin Laden/al Qaeda and Saddam" story, even when the commission and commission members said there were some connections.

So, today (and not on the front page) they say there was a connection. They reference a document that they received "...several weeks ago, before the commission's report was released."

Their excuse for reporting it now? "Since obtaining the document, The Times has interviewed several military, intelligence and United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad to determine that the government considered it authentic."

OK, sure, I understand. It's OK to report the connections didn't exist while you have a document proving they did exist. Your sound journalistic rationale is you hadn't fully vetted the document.


CLICK VIC

Click on the Victor Davis Hanson on NRO link. Good post today -- sort of a sum-up of the GWOT. His take: we're winning.


WHAT WAS REAGAN'S MOST ENDURING ACCOMPLISHMENT?

Defeat of Communism? Probably.

But what about this?

.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

HAVE THEM LEARN MANDARIN

Nine years ago, I attended a banking conference in San Diego. Investment guru Jim Rogers spoke about his world travels and investment philosophy and, as he usually does, made some fairly sweeping pronouncements. One of them was "if you have children under the age of 5 (I had two at the time), make sure they learn Mandarin; failing that, make sure they learn Spanish; and it would be great if they learned both."

So why the encouragement to learn those languages? Rogers stated that "in 30 years, the largest economy on the face of the earth will be China. Get used to it." He also said that Latin America has the potential to be a major player once they create a truly democratic form of government with the people (not the wealthiest families) in control. He went on to tell everyone how they could profit, recommending specific industries and companies to invest in (I bought shares in one company he recommended -- a Chinese auto manufacturer -- and made a 500% return over the next four years).

Was Rogers right? Well, yes and no. The Chinese banking system, and the push it gave to expansion, is in "pause" mode right now as billions in problem loans get worked out, but I believe he was mostly spot on. Here's an example why. You can learn more about Dalian here.

PS My kids speak Spanish.


BEWARE THE MULLAHS

David Warren expands a bit on Iran in his recent post.

When is everyone going to wake up and realize the Iranians are behind a lot of what's wrong in Iraq?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

KERRY STRATEGY -- S-T-E-A-L-T-H

He's not very likeable. He bores people when he gives speeches. He won in the primaries because people didn't like the other guys.

So, how does he do it?

Ask Dick Morris.


CLIFFS NOTES VERSION OF CLINTON'S BOOK

Want to save $21.00 (Amazon price)?

Read this.


LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS . . . THE PROOF

In a manner of speaking . . .

Written nine months ago, this academic piece scores the major media outlets in the same manner politicians are scored to determine whether they are "liberal", "moderate" or "conservative."

No surprise here.


A LOOK BACK

Edmund Morris writes a thoroughly readable retrospective on the life and humor of Ronald Reagan. Some great mini-stories in this one.


IT SUCKS TO BE IN IRAQ

What with all the daily bombings and killings, people must be afraid to go out of their houses, right?

Or maybe not.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

WHAT TO DO?

Tony Blair is in the spotlight now.

With the mad mullahs seizing British Navy boats and their crews and threatening to put them on trial, Blair gets to make some tough decisions.


AT LEAST WE'RE HONEST

I participate just about every week in one of the Rasmussen polls, a "scientifically selected sample of Americans" invited to participate in an on-line survey that's currently focused on the presidential race. Last week, amongst other stuff, they wanted to know where I got most of my news.

So it was no shock when the results were released.


HE'S RIGHT!

Wretchard writes today about the frustration and angst of the left. He puts in words in one post what I've mentioned in multiple posts over the past year or so.

The American left (especially the "baby boomer" left) is in agony. It's in mourning for what Wretchard calls the "coup de etat directed against the carefully constructed edifice of their historical achievements." They see George Bush (the anti-Christ) as the crusader who has taken away or reversed everything they think they fought for in the sixties.

Their hate for him transcends everything. It's not just about the war in Iraq. It's much broader and deeper.


WITH THE PROBLEMS AT ABU GHRAIB, GUANTANAMO MUST BE A HELL HOLE

Or is it a resort?


WANT TO SEE A COMET, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL?

Even if you don't, see and read this.


KERRY'S DISDAIN FOR CUBAN-AMERICANS

I have a special feeling toward Cubans. In 1959, living in south Florida, we first began to see newly-arrived immigrants from Cuba. These were the first to see that Castro's Revolocion was a stage show facade. They got sold a bill of goods by the bearded one and exchanged one dictator (Batista) for another. They got out early. They were the lucky ones.

But they still wanted to go back. In subsequent years feelings ran high. Castro was militarily stretched and it was believed he could be overthrown. Then along came Kennedy and his failure to provide the last minute needed military support for the CIA-led Cuban-Americans at the Bay of Pigs.

Since then, and especially after the "Cuban Missle Crisis", Kennedy further guaranteed Castro's survival by agreeing never to support any insurrection against him.

So, fast forward forty years and what does Kerry say about voices of dissent within Cuba who are trying to change Cuba within its corrupt system? "Counterproductive."

This should lose him the Cuban-American vote. And anyone else who believes in democracy.


YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP

In Europe, everyone seems to have a cell phone. I guess that's a good thing, what with communciation being so important. But Europeans also have a respect for the environment, especially the "visual" look and appeal of their towns and cities.

This creates a conundrum. Where do you put all the necessary antennas?

In Germany, they've found one solution that is, well, just a bit sacreligious in my estimation.


HITCH BODY SLAMS MICHAEL MOORE

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

Chris Hitchens has decided to nail the poster boy for the extreme left, Michael Moore, by writing a review of Fahrenheit 9/11, his diatribe about the Bush administration. It's a masterfully written review of Moore's movie and his message. Hitch begins with:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

And ends with:

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD.


BUBBA BLOWS UP ON BBC

You'll probably see excerpts on the news tonight.

Bill Clinton apparently doesn't really want to answer any serious questions about his credibility. A BBC interviewer apparently asked him too many questions that weren't soft balls, so he lost it.

Stay tuned . . .


Monday, June 21, 2004

SURE, IT MAY HAVE BEEN FUNNY

But the absurdity of randomly selecting an ex-Vice President of the US for "additional security screening" makes me crazy.

Random screening will provide a statistically-valid sample of passengers. What we need is targeted screening to identify all violators.

Otherwise (statistically), most violators will slip through.


YEE-HA, THEY DID IT!

Burt Rutan and his privately-funded Scaled Composite team have done something most countries haven't even tried.

They put a man in space this morning. Mike Melville, a close friend of Rutan's and probably one of the best test pilots on the face of the earth, had the honor of piloting SpaceShipOne. Lucky guy!

Where can I sign up?

PS, for those who wonder just how high Melville went, the typical commercial airline flight cruises at 32-33,000 feet. Melville cruised up to 330,000 feet, just a tad higher.

PPS, Rutan and company have probably spent about the same amount to put a man in space as NASA did to design the toilet on the Space Shuttle. OK, I lied. NASA spent way more.


READ THIS

You must read this. It's fairly long and the authorship of it might be disputable, but that isn't the point. The point is it's worth reading, no matter who wrote it. It's key thesis:

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel had joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine had existed for 100 years.

PRIORITIES

In James Lileks' post this morning, he includes the following:

I ask my Democrat friends what they’d rather see happen – Bush reelected and bin Laden caught, or Bush defeated and bin Laden still in the wind. They’re all honest: they’d rather see Bush defeated.

I have no doubt a national poll would say the same thing. Nice that they have their priorities.


GOOD ACTOR, DREADFUL WRITER

See Bubba on TV last night? I TiVoed it (so I could fast forward through all the right-wing conspiracy rhetoric). Glad I did.

Emmy nominations are assured. Example: When Rather asked him his most proud moment as President, he said "his daughter's graduation from high school." That comment deserves no further comment. If that's as good as it got for eight years, what else can you say?

While his book is numero uno on their bestseller list, the reviewer for the NY Times thinks it's 957 pages of drivel.


Friday, June 18, 2004

WHOA . . . TIME OUT

I just had another BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious).

How many of you are married to someone who was married before? (Me)

How many of you are married to someone who kept their maiden name, or hyphenates their last name. (Not me)

How many of you are married to someone who also kept their dead husband's last name? (Not me) Uh, only John Kerry?

Why does she use "Theresa Heinz Kerry", rather than "Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Kerry?" Could it be . . . fear of people's inability to pronounce Portuguese properly? or enhanced name recognition by using "Heinz?" Methinks the latter.


NEWS FLASH: CLINTON FAVORS THE DRAFT

Well, sort of.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

ANGRY CROWD AT THE FRONT DOOR? ZAP 'EM!!

Just get one of these puppies.


BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Michael Moore's audience seems to be expanding.

The boys at Hezbollah like his new movie and want to help.

Help with what?




HE ALMOST HAD ME . . .

I guess I'll have to wait to see it, but published excerpts from Clinton's interview on 60 Minutes this Sunday indicate he still doesn't get it.

Though he admitted his tete-a-tete with M. Lewinski was a "terrible moral error", he went on to say "I don't see it as a stain, because it was illegitimate." What the f**k does that mean??

Uh, Bill, it wasn't a deposition, you got $10 million to tell your story, stop using the weasel words.


IS THIS GOOD NEWS, OR JUST THE END OF THE FIRST CHAPTER?

Moqtada al Sadr has told his gang to go home, but is it just for awhile or to regroup?


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

DON'T TELL MY KIDS

In that upside-down world called Washington, the US Department of Agriculture has classified batter-coated french fries as a "fresh vegetable."

I suppose next week they'll add onion rings to the list, if it isn't there already.


DID YOU SEE SAFIRE'S INTERVIEW WITH NIXON TODAY?

You didn't? Read it. It's pretty funny.


WHY DID TIME FIND IT NECESSARY?

The editors of Time have found it necessary to track down and report the location of the secure site where VP Cheney spent a lot of time after 9/11.

The question is why?


D'YA THINK?

I'll be honest. I'd never heard of him before the past few days, but that might be his most attractive attribute.

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack might just be much more widely known in a couple of weeks. If you read his bio, it sounds like a Horatio Alger story waiting for the last chapter.

This would be way more trouble for Bush than Edwards.


HOW DO YOU SPELL DUMBASS?

So this guy goes into a bank and says "give me all your fifties and hundreds, FAST".

And he winds up with a single fifty. And he leaves . . .


DOES GOD EXIST? WANT TO SEE THE MATHEMATICAL PROOF?

Stretch your mind a bit with this one.


LIFE IMITATING ART . . . ER, DUSTIN?

On Monday, a lot of liberals had their panties in a bunch over Meryl Streep's character in the re-make of The Manchurian Candidate. The inference was she was made up to look like Hillary Clinton. (I don't think she's a good enough actress to pull that off.)

Today, we have the suggestion that Theresa Heinz (Kerry) may be looking and acting like, well, just look at this picture.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

STILL A REAL JERK

It's usually a pleasure to read P.J. O'Rourke. Especially this piece he wrote for The Weekly Standard.

What's interesting about it is Kerry is trying to paint a picture that he was asked by Reagan to monitor the presidential voting in the Philippines in 1986 (like, you know, he and Reagan were buds). At the time, P.J. was a foreign correspondent, writing for Rolling Stone.

The article is excellent, especially the last sentence:

Just as today Kerry is brave sailor/bold war protester; foe of Saddam/friend of Hans Blix; political underdog/entitled nominee; big government liberal/corporate tax-cutting conservative; rider of Harleys/marrier of Heinz; and, incidentally, still a real jerk.


Monday, June 14, 2004

IS BUSH TRYING TO SOUND REAGANESQUE?

Reagan always had a rep for being a "nice guy" at his core and that came through a lot. It was a big part of his broad appeal.

Is that what Bush was thinking when he said kind things today about Clinton, or is he really a nice guy, too?

I think the latter. On one level, he's as big a "bubba" as Bubba.


AL QAEDA IN OHIO?

Yep, just down the road they've indicted al Qaeda operatives who planned on bombing a shopping mall in Columbus.

So, if you live in any city large enough to have a sports stadium, concert hall or shopping mall, you're at ground zero.

Get used to it.


MYSTIC NATIONALISM?

Sounded a little out-there, but read David Gelertner's article and you might agree it was the right approach, given the times.

Maybe it still is (see below).


HOW SHOULD WE HONOR THE MEMORY OF PRESIDENT REAGAN?

VDH suggests a second Bush term is the only logical answer.


BRIEF THIS!

Here's the standard set by the Office of the Attorney General, defining what is/isn't torture under the law.

You decide.


Friday, June 11, 2004

POLLS, SCHMOLLS

In the popular vote, it's probably a dead heat (statistically). But that has nothing to do with who's going to win. See the Rasmussen poll results for the past month -- not much has really changed.

It's still Bush's to lose. I don't think Kerry is capable of firing any silver bullets.

Kerry will hedge his bets in the "debates", which will be a mistake. He will continue to complete a portrait he has painted of a man "absent without leave." No big ideas. No vision. Just a moderately competent, party-loyal legislator with a rich wife. The leader of the free world? I don't think he fits that suit. This won't win him any votes.

Bush will probably come up with another couple of Bushisms. You know, made up words that everybody understands, but the intellectual elite will indulge in self-congratulation that he is empty-headed. (Pause: if I went to Yale and Harvard, would you consider me to be amongst the intellectual elite? Yes? So why isn't Bush?) This won't lose him any votes.

As Kerry continues to try to paint a more middle-of-the-road picture, he will encourage his most radical supporters to become disillusioned and vote for Nader in protest. The degree to which this happens will be critical in some states, as it was in Florida in 2000 -- Gore would've slam-dunked Florida if the Nader voters voted for him.

Whatever Kerry or Nader do, though, if Bush screws the pooch between now and November 2nd, it's back to the ranch.

UPDATE: Looks like they've figured out the relatively small number of "undecideds" will determine who wins.


WAS IT ALL A DREAM?

I lived through it. In the early 1950's I remember looking up at the sky and seeing what could only have been military jet bombers at 30-40,000 feet. I always crossed my fingers and hoped they weren't Russian.

In the 1960's, while living in south Florida, I remember the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis, when a few thousand troops were bivouacked a couple of miles from my house and there were missile launchers set up on the beaches from just south of Miami all the way to Key West.

I remember my first visit to Berlin in the mid-1970's, gazing across The Wall at people who were living in tyranny, with an empty, hollow look in their eyes.

And I remember it all coming down when Gorbachev finally threw in the towel and admitted that totalitarian communism couldn't survive. I knew when that happened why it had happened and I knew who made it happen.

Since last weekend, I have heard pundits say Reagan was "at the right place at the right time" or "just lucky" or "had nothing to do with it". I've got to believe that those who say that still hold steadfast to the belief that Reagan was a wind-up toy with as much gray matter as Buzz Lightyear.

For those who may still hold on to those "beliefs", read this, this and, for a different perspective, this. The last is a link to an article by the founder of "Solidarity", Lech Walesa. In it, he says:

I distinguish between two kinds of politicians. There are those who view politics as a tactical game, a game in which they do not reveal any individuality, in which they lose their own face. There are, however, leaders for whom politics is a means of defending and furthering values. For them, it is a moral pursuit. They do so because the values they cherish are endangered. They're convinced that there are values worth living for, and even values worth dying for. Otherwise they would consider their life and work pointless. Only such politicians are great politicians and Ronald Reagan was one of them.

Amen.

PS My favorite picture of the week.


B.F.O. (Blinding Flash of the Obvious)

The Pew Research Center finally provides some useful survey data.

Of course, it really provides no surprises since it indicated that "old" media outlets (print, TV networks -- not cable or the Internet) were dominated by liberals in their newsrooms, by a 5 to 1 margin.

Their credibility is slowly circling the drain. For a quick test as to their impact ask yourself how often you watched the national news at 6:30 (or whenever it airs in your market) ten years ago compared to today. For me the answers, respectively, are "every day" and "never." How about you?


Thursday, June 10, 2004

DENIAL MAY BE A RIVER IN GERMANY

Steven den Beste points out the necessary steps for Germany to take to rejoin those of us here in reality.


SANCTION THIS!

Just as we've lifted sanctions on Libya, it appears Moammar is up to his old tricks.


NO "REAGAN LIFT" FOR BUSH

Polls are showing Bush the same or weaker. Some prognosticated the death of Reagan would be a "positive" for Bush in the ghoulist world of politics.

I don't believe so. In fact, it may be a negative as many remember a time when Reagan won with many, many, many Democrats supporting him. He was much less divisive than Bush and I think Reagan's death will reinforce that.


I'M SHOCKED . . . NOT!!!

A new survey shows most Republicans don't trust the media. No surprise.

The same survey shows even some Democrats beleive CNN and others are too biased.


REASON #465 TO TAKE YOUR KIDS OUT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS

When the schools have the right to make you give your kids drugs, and if you don't do so have you jailed, pull them out.


ISN'T FREE SPEECH WONDERFUL?

Last year, it was the banning of the display of the American flag on UC Berkeley's campus "because it was a political symbol".

Now, anti-Semitism is rampant.

What's next?


I'LL BET YOU HAVEN'T HEARD THIS 9/11 STORY

Taking nothing away from them, we've all heard the line that the only people running toward World Trade on 9/11 were police and firemen.

That isn't completely true. At least one "civilian" did the same thing.

This is a guy I'd want on my side in any war.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

DISGUSTING PILE OF SHIT

Ted Rall, the ever-demented political cartoonist said the following: "(Ronald Reagan is) turning crispy brown right about now".

I'm speechless at the insanity that has been displayed in this past few days. I don't understand.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

IS IT POSSIBLE?

Chirac has a human side?


THE REAL DEAL?

I'm still holding back on the champagne, but it is beginning to look more and more like a real authority level is being established in Iraq -- by Iraqis.

This is the worst fear of al Qaeda.


Monday, June 07, 2004

DISSED BY THE POPE

David Warren wrote a rather stinging article over the weekend, using the occasion of Bush's meeting with the Pope to point out the Pope's criticism of the US as an example of the post-modern European "sickness".

He went on the say . . .

The extraordinary thing about the West that was exposed, in the lightning of 9/11/01, is that it is one country, in an advanced state of decadence, turned against itself.


THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR

Not in my lifetime (starting with Truman) has there been a President like Reagan. He had vocal detractors, for sure; many of those who are at the front of the "Bush-hate" parade felt the same about Reagan. They were in a small minority.

He was an unlikely President. An actor?? A union leader?? A Republican?? How many people do you think meet all three of those criteria?

He was a fervent anti-Communist and he proved the strength of his character (and ours) when he led us into a war that was won without a shot being fired.

His critics said he was just an actor, speaking words written by someone else. He was an "empty suit". If you read the stories written afterwards by his speech writers you'll discover how far off base that comment was. And you'll discover his brilliance.

A word I heard more than any other over the weekend was "leader". No word better sums up Ronald Reagan. Since his departure from the Presidency, we have seen no one who had the ability to lead as he did.

It is easy to say he'll be missed. He has been missed for the past 15 years.


Friday, June 04, 2004

I'D BET YASSIR ARAFAT WOULD BE WELCOME

(Sorry to all my Canadian friends, but . . . )

The Canadian government refused to allow a former PLO terrorist (who now lives in the US) to enter the country to deliver a speech. Their excuse was his past (as a PLO terrorist).

Read this story about him and decide yourself whether he would be a risk.


QUESTION: ARE YOU A MUSLIM OR A CHRISTIAN?

Hint: answer wrong and you're dead.

That was the question the Khobar terrorists asked each of their victims last weekend.

How would you have answered? And if you thought about answering "I'm a Muslim" (and you aren't), how would you have answered the questions that followed? Could you even recite "The Opening", the first chapter of the Koran (see below -- verse 1.6 sets the tone)?

More importantly, how many more times does this have to happen before we acknowledge that this is not a war on terror, but a war on a relatively small number of Muslim extremists (compared to the billions of Muslims in the World)?

It isn't like the "good old days" when there were loose coalitions of terror groups -- Palestinian extremists, Bader Meinhof, the IRA -- who sometimes collaborated with one another and had different political agendas. No, not even close. Today the enemy is extreme Islam in the form of different groups, but with the same driving message -- kill all infidels, especially Jews and Americans.

And though many blame the Saudi-financed Wahabi movement, the seeds of this deep hatred took root long ago.

==================
"The Opening"

[1.1] All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
[1.2] The Beneficent, the Merciful.
[1.3] Master of the Day of Judgment.
[1.4] Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
[1.5] Keep us on the right path.
[1.6] The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.


ABU GHRAIB = 9/11??

George Soros, billionaire hedge fund manager and major financial backer of John Kerry has announced that "The Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal was "a moment of truth" for the United States as severe as the September 11 terrorist attacks."

Humiliating Iraqi prisoners is the equivalent of the murder of 3,000 people?

Stack Soros' comments next to Al Gore's and you have to question whether Kerry's "friends" are doing him more harm than good.


WHICH ARE YOU?

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell writes a poignant article about the war on terror and makes a simple distinction between two groups of Americans:

I believe there are two very distinct groups of Americans now: the Sept. 10 Americans, who are in denial, and the Sept. 11 Americans.

Which are you?


Thursday, June 03, 2004

VDH SUGGESTS AGGRESSION IS A GOOD THING

Opportunities missed -- Patton wanting to finish off the Russian Army; Bush, Sr. failing to press on to Baghdad. If only . . .

Victor Davis Hanson suggests (my words) we stop pussy footing around and just keep kicking ass.

You go Vic!


I'LL BE WATCHING

I think I was in the eighth grade when Alan Shepard was blasted into space. Living in Florida, our school told everyone to go outside to watch. Of course, there was about 99% cloud cover, so we didn't see a thing until we got home that afternoon to watch it on TV. That's when I decided to become an astronaut. Of course, poor eyesight trashed that dream a few years later. But I've never lost that 14-year old's fascination with space.

I've been following the exploits of the brothers Rutan for more than 20 years. They are the modern day version of Wilbur and Orville Wright, though they are by no means backyard engineers. Burt Rutan became fairly well known when he and Jenna Yeager piloted his bizarre aircraft called Voyager around the world without refueling.

In a little over two weeks, Burt's newest design will do what would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. SpaceShipOne will make its attempt to win the "X Prize". In order to do so, they must launch to an altitude of 100 kilometers, return home and re-launch to 100 kilometers within the following two weeks.

Having seen Rutan's work up-close for many years, I have no doubt he'll do it.

The only question now is will he fly this mission himself or, in his usual humble style, choose the "best" pilot for the job.


CLINTON DIRTY TRICKS, OR JUST BAD TIMING FOR KERRY?

(We report, you decide.)

There's a lot of fear (at worst) and ambivalence (at best) oozing from Kerry's campaign these days. Why?

In case you've been lunching with bin Laden in his cave, Clinton (Bill) is about to seize control of the national spotlight for a couple of weeks or so, probably right up to the Dem Convention, with the publishing of his almost 1,000-page memoir. Every suck-up in the media and Hollywood will want to give Bubba the microphone and let him work his magic.

Does he care that he's hogging Kerry's share of the spotlight? Some are saying it might be intentional. After all, Clinton's man was Wes Clark and from what we know about Clinton, you wouldn't want him as an enemy.


A WARNING TO THE ELITE OF EUROPE

In this LA Times op-ed piece (registration required), Max Boot reminds those in Europe of the price paid for ignoring history.


JUNE 30 COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

There has been speculation after speculation that June 30 was too early to turn over the governing of Iraq to Iraqis. Besides, what with the Sunnis and the Shia and the other factions, how could they work together?

Cleverly, it seems the US decided that June 2nd was good enough. Why wait?

Pray it works.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

MEMO TO OSAMA, PART 2

Yesterday, I linked to Wretchard's "Memo to Osama" (see below). Today he posts part 2.

He mentions an e-mail from one of his readers who mentions a fact I did not know:

"For many months I've been pondering a single, striking fact about Usama bin Laden: in the months before September 11, 2001, he spent a huge sum of money building a lavish mansion close to the airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan--a mansion in which he appears to have expected to live, along with his wives and children. This is one of those small, seemingly isolated facts that succeeds in bringing into focus a larger picture. From this fact, only one conclusion can be drawn: bin Laden is an utter and irremediable fool, lacking even a shred of understanding of those whom he has decided to make his enemies."

I'd never heard this before and he's right. Bin Laden must realize (to quote Yamamoto) that he awoke a sleeping giant.


LIKE A TRIP TO THE DENTIST . . .

Steven Den Beste writes an excellent post today about Bush's upcoming trip to Normandy.

His "fantasy" speech he wishes Bush would deliver is priceless.


THE BEAT GOES ON . . .

Reality check question: where in the world are Muslims committing genocide against Muslims? And, in this case, it is Arab Muslims against African Muslims..

Answer: Sudan.

The U.N. should be dissolved for this alone.

At least some people are doing something.


GET YOUR TIVO READY

Bubba's on 60 Minutes Sunday.


LIFE IN THE FISHBOWL

Remember the flap a couple of months ago about the "other intern"? The one Kerry supposedly had an affair with that turned out to be a non-starter?

She's finally gone fully public and it's an interesting read. What she tells is a story that paints a picture of the media in a light that does not flatter it -- what else is new? Or should I say, what else is news?


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

STUNNING

For some time, I have been awed by the writing skills, political acumen and command of history exhibited by Wretchard, the author of the blog Belmont Club.

Today, Wretchard writes a "Memo to Osama".

Please read it.


CLARKE INFECTED WITH KERRYITIS

Oops, did I say that? No I didn't. Yes I did.

With his 15 minutes already expired, looks like Richard Clarke is trying to re-up for another minute or two by executing a perfect "Kerry flip-flop". In the process, he seems to have scored a perfect '10' in deflating his credibility.

In his congressional testimony he said he refused to approve the request that allowed members of bin Laden's family to leave the US after 9/11 even though all civilian aircraft were grounded. The implication was that those above him (hint-hint: Bush) made it happen (see also Michael Moore's latest political infomercial).

Now he says he approved the request on his own. "It didn't get any higher than me," Clarke told The Hill . "I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again."


REALITY CHECK !!!

Carlos Ball asks a very simple question -- Why is Bermuda richer than Venezuela?

After all, Venezuela is right up there with some of the middle east oil exporters in proven oil reserves, and it's been pumping for years. In reality, the question should be "Why are Venezuelans worse off today compared to twenty years ago?"