Saturday, November 12, 2005

White House's Iraq Argument

WaPo President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence. Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

But both are substantially correct.
The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.
Glad you at least admit that.
But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers,
Not the chair and vice chair of the intelligence committees.
who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.
What about when Clinton was in the White House; he had access to the same things Bush did.
.... But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers.
Considering how much congress leaks, I am happy he does not.
Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.


Hotel Bombings in Jordan Fuel Anger at Exiles

WaPo reports As new details emerged Friday about the bombings of three hotels that killed nearly 60 people, tension appeared to be mounting between Jordanians and the Iraqis who have streamed into this country by the thousands in recent years, Amman residents said. Their presence has both boosted Jordan's economy and inspired resentment, while complicating already thorny relations between the neighboring countries.

I am not surprised they are ticked off at people who would bomb three of their hotels, and particularly focus on a wedding party in one, but merely being mad at foreign nationals is not the answer (neither is blaming Israel, as some are doing. The need to focus on the Islamofascists that want to impose a Taliban style government over all the area, replacing the peaceful Jordanian government and other governments in the area. They need to identify the Islamoterrorists in their country, and let the government deal with them.


Hearts Voting

Aaron ammounces voting for the Queen of Hearts, a favorite female blogger, is open.

Currently two favorites of mine, Anchoress and Michelle Malkin are in first and second place, and LaShawn is in the list. I nominated Greta from EIMC, so I voted for her.


Friday, November 11, 2005

"War" on Christmas

Media Matters blogged In the November 9 broadcast of his television show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said "I don't believe most people who aren't Christian are offended by the words 'Merry Christmas.' I think those people are nuts."

I am not sure whether O'Reilly ever said that, but certainly Media Matters is distorting things by saying "O'Reilly opens new front in "war" on Christmas". The war on Christmas (and Christians in general) was declared by the ACLU and the left wing MSM. O" Reilly is just coming to the defense of the large number of Christians who are tired of the continual efforts to get any recognition of Christianity out of the public market place, and instead to hype the desires of people of minority religions.
Later, when guest Philip Nulman, an advertising and marketing executive, said that using the phrases "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" does not offend Christians, O'Reilly disagreed. "It absolutely does," he said. "And I know that for a fact."
It certainly offends me. I would not be offended if they said Happy Hannukah on that holiday, or even Happy Ramadan when that period ends, but December 25 is Christmas (not Winter Holiday), and 85% of US Citizens say they are Christians, so the Christian Holiday should be recognized for what it is. And that recognition should include Nativity Scenes. Have images of Santa Claus if you want, but honor the true meaning of the celebration.
O'Reilly's comments occurred during a discussion about his "decision to look at some retail policies this year" in light of the purported fact that "some department stores even tell employees to avoid saying 'Merry Christmas.' " Introducing the segment, he described various retailers' policies on using the term:
O'REILLY: Here's what we found out: Sears/Kmart would not answer our questions.
Subsequently I have heard that they are one of the Happy Holiday companies. And if you want to let them know what you think of their policy, and that you are considering a boycott because of it, leave them a message. Another Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas company is WalMart. Let them know what you think. Last year I recall Home Depot just celebrated Happy Holidays. Ask them what they plan this year.
Spokesman Chris Braithwaite simply ducked the issue. Their website banners: "Wish Book Holiday 2005." They were the worst we had to deal with. OK? Sears/Kmart. JCPenney says its catalog is always called "Christmas catalog." Federated Department Stores -- Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Burdines -- says the words "Merry Christmas" will be used in most advertising. Same thing at May, Filene's, Lord & Taylor, and Marshall Field's. But Kohl's refused to define how the company will deal with Christmas. Dillard's, however, will use the slogan "Discover Christmas, Discover Dillard's." So there you go. Shop where you like the atmosphere. Just remember, Kohl's and Sears/Kmart, basically, not all right.

The segment was part of an ongoing series of reports on Fox News highlighting a purported "Christmas Under Siege" by "secular progressives," which O'Reilly promoted along with Fox News host Sean Hannity before Christmas 2004. In recent weeks, O'Reilly has renewed the campaign, including, for example, an October 20 discussion on his TV show in which he blamed the "loony left" for the "war" on Christmas while promoting Fox News host John Gibson's new book, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought (Sentinel, October 2005). In addition, during the November 1 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, he claimed that, like the country's Founding Fathers, Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. does not "want all mention of Christmas stricken from the public arena."


French Fried

Mona Charen wrote in Townhall French socialists have set the table for the current crisis. Yes, the rioters are all Muslim youths from North Africa and the Middle East. And the racism of French society may fuel the flames to some extent, but the most important factors in this story are economic. The French have accepted wave after wave of immigrants with no prospect of employing them. In the U.S., the unemployment rate among natives and immigrants is the same. Not so in France.

The unemployeed stay in France because it is a socialized country, and while they may not be able to find a job, they make more money from socialistic doles than they could working for a living elsewhere. That is the way the Democrats kept blacks in America on welfare, and completely dependent on the state, so they could threaten them with what would happen to their welfare if Republicans were elected.
The French have enacted all of the economic policies that liberals would like to see implemented in this country. So, for example, jobs are protected. If a French company employing more than 600 people wants to fire someone, it must endure administrative procedures that last an average of 106 days. Because it is so difficult to fire employees, French companies are less willing to take risks in hiring.
And they don't want to hire people that can't speak French.
This hurts young, inexperienced workers disproportionately. Once unemployed, 40 percent of French workers can expect to remain so for more than a year. Not only are jobs hard to find, but joblessness is softened by generous benefits. Unemployment benefits range from 57 to 75 percent of the worker's last salary and can last as long as three years (with a cap of 5,126 Euros per month).

Diana West wrote in JWR At least the once-Western world is consistent: Like the terrorism that has engraved the blood-drenched anniversaries of 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 into collective memory, and has transformed Amman, Amsterdam, Baghdad, Bali, Beslan, Davao, Hadera, Haifa, Jakarta, Jerusalem, Nairobi, New Dehli, Sharm al-Sheik, Tel Aviv and Tunisia into hallowed outposts of mass murder, the rioting that has convulsed France has nothing to do with Islam. At least, that's the agreed-upon narrative. It's Our Story, the subtext, the thread to which we cling. The problem driving "youths" to incinerate lines of parked buses or immolate the occasional grand-mere on crutches is French racism, institutional neglect, failure to integrate. It's also snobbery, and don't forget George W. Bush. But not Islam. Not anything to do with Islam and its non-assimilable legions in the heart of Europe.

That's the word from intelligentsia all over. Even before the riot's last fires have been kindled, let alone cooled, The Washington Post editorial page, for example, said — no, it insisted: "Islamic ideology and leaders have played no part in the disturbances and many of those who are participating are not Muslim." Writing in The New York Times, Olivier Roy ruled Islam out with equally categorical and doctrinal confidence.
Socialism may have spawned the riots rather than Jihad, but as France shows how weak it is, Jihadist demands will not be far behind
How do they know? Yes, the thugs we see depicted through the smoke of burning civilization aren't dressed for the part by Central Casting — either in the beards and robes of the mosque, or the mask and scimitar of the jihad. They look like urban punks, "scum," as French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called them before diving under the covers with the rest of the Gallic government. They are, we hear tell, unemployed toughs and secular criminals, devoted not to Allah so much as to what you might call, loosely and very grimly, French "culture" — French pop culture, that is.... These are the motifs, at least, of brutal conquest, patterns and expressions familiar to students of jihad for having repeated themselves over the centuries as non-Muslim lands — Dar al Harb (Land of War) — were conquered and subjugated as Dar al Islam (Land of Islam). Is that what's going on in France? Without doubt, such music prefigures a state of war, although no one but the rioters seems to have been listening. Too bad no one is listening still.


Hug a veteran

EIMC blogged If you see a soldier or veteran today - thank them for their service and give them a hug (not too hard)!

Thank you to all who have served.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Alaska Drilling

NYT House Republican leaders were forced to jettison a plan for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on Wednesday night to save a sweeping spending bill

That sounds like Republicans today; throw away a needed part of the country's energy survival for an opportunity to spend more money. Actually it was not quite that bad, because they were trying to save spending cuts, but still why could we not have both.
.... In dropping the drilling plan and a second provision, on coastal exploration, the leadership was trying to win over moderates in the party to enhance the chances of winning initial approval on Thursday of more than $50 billion in spending cuts demanded by House conservatives.
Let us not have drilling OR $50B in spending cuts. Let us instead have drilling AND $150B in spending cuts. And if the moderates can't accept that, then settle for drilling AND $100B in cuts.
But the decision is likely to meet objections from the Senate, where senior lawmakers are insisting on the drilling plan, a priority for President Bush.


France Must Respond

NYT reports France must draw the consequences of two weeks of riots and respond quickly to the problems raised by the rioters

You should have drawn the consequences of the riots when they first started, and you should have called out the army immediately. To cowtow to the demands of the rioters just shows your weakness that much more, and increases the probability that the Jihadists will target France.
, President Jacques Chirac said on Thursday as a police chief warned of possible unrest in the heart of Paris. Violence in urban areas around France dropped for the third straight night following the adoption of emergency powers that allowed local officials to impose night curfews on youths behind a wave of firebomb attacks. The riots began two weeks ago after the accidental deaths of two youths apparently fleeing police, but grew into protests by poor white youths and youngsters of North African and African origin against police treatment, racism and poor job prospects. Speaking after talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Paris, Chirac said the government must do more to ensure all citizens received equal treatment.
That is just not going to happen. As Richard Chesnoff wrote in The Arrogance of the French "it was French, not English or German, that was the language spoken by all of the ruling families across Europe" and the French just can't stand people who do not speak French, and speak it correctly. And the Muslims from former French colonies in North Africa and Black Africa are not interested in learning French or becoming French. They don't want to go home to Africa, because they like living off the dole in Socialized France.
``We will have to draw all the consequences of this crisis, once the time comes and order has been restored, and with a lot of courage and lucidity,'' Chirac, who has said little about the crisis in public, told a joint news conference with Zapatero.

As Jack Kelly wrote in JWR As the French intifada spreads into its second week and across the country, the French government has a dilemma. To whom does it surrender?
A very good question. Surrender is all the French know. But I suspect they will learn that as bad as things might have been when the Nazis took over in WWII, living under Sharia Law will be much less pleasant.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin — whose name may one day be as synonymous with appeasement as Petain's is with collaboration — would like to make a deal.

His problem is finding Muslim "community leaders" who can stop the rioting. In communities where law and order are absent, it is thugs with guns who are in charge, not the voices of moderation, such as they are.... The news media have gone to considerable lengths to avoid mentioning the rioters are mostly Muslim, or to report that there is an anti-Western component to the violence. The rioters typically have been described as "French youths" who are upset by high unemployment and racial discrimination. But these youths are French only in the sense that most were born there. Many don't even speak French. Their alienation from the culture and mores of the country in which they live could hardly be greater.

Unemployment is high in France. At ten percent, it is double what it is in the United States, and is especially high among young people with little education who speak French with difficulty. This would seem to suggest that France's welfare state model is less desirable to follow than many American liberals believe.... "Some are even calling for areas where Muslims form a majority of the population to be reorganized on the basis of the millet system of the Ottoman Empire," wrote Amir Taheri, who lives in Paris. "Each religious community (millet) would enjoy the right to organize its social, cultural and educational life in accordance with its religious beliefs."
But they would still want all of the freebies of the Socialist French economy.
A de facto millet system already is in place in parts of France, Taheri noted: "In these areas, all women are obliged to wear the standardized Islamist hijab while most men grow their beards to the lengths prescribed by the sheiks." Unless the invertebrates in charge can grow spines, France seems poised to become what Spain was before Ferdinand and Isabella, a patchwork of principalities where Moors ruled some communities, Christians others, with constant tension between them.
The difference is that France is very secular. They are not quite as antagonistic toward Christianity as the ACLU is here, but it is close, and I can't imagine them yielding major parts of their country to an Islamic rule.
It seems inconceivable that a civilized Western nation would bargain away to a handful of thugs its democratic principles and sovereignty over much of its territory. But the Islamists may well succeed. For though what the Islamists believe in is vile and reactionary, it is something. The French believe in nothing.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Happy Two-Year Blogiversary

Happy Two-Year Blogiversary to La Shawn Barber


Happy Million

Happy millionth visitor to The Politburo Diktat


Blair defeated over terror laws

BBCreported Tony Blair says his authority is intact despite suffering his first House of Commons defeat as prime minister. He said he hoped MPs "do not rue the day" they rejected his call to allow police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charging them.

That is a very valid concern. The immediate problems in France and elsewhere in Europe are caused by failures of socialism, not jihadism, but as the jihadists see how week France and the others are in suppressing the riots they will quickly become emboldened to attack there as well, and the bombs in Jordan, and the discovered plot in Australia are certainly jihad, and they will exploit any percieved weakness.
MPs voted against by 322 votes to 291, with 49 Labour MPs rebelling. Tory leader Michael Howard said Mr Blair should resign. Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy warned Mr Blair could become a "lame duck" leader.
Gee, things in Britain are not that different from in the US. Power hungry people in the leaders own party are prepared to stab him in the back to get more power for themselves, and the opposition party is even more interested in doing him in. Hope Britain survives these long knives trying to stab Blair and the country at the same time.
Following the defeat MPs backed by 323 to 290 votes a Labour backbench MP's proposal to extend the detention time limit to 28 days, from the current 14 days.
So they recognize that they need more than 14 days, the question is only how long. I wonder if they are tieing Blairs hands on how he can treat the jihadists during the 28 days, since he does not have 90 days to sweat them.


Busy Saturday Ahead

Boy when you are away for a few days (I was in the hospital) things pile up. I finally got the November issue of the I/O Port Newsletter posted, I am getting close to getting caught up with news items for my Bush Supporter website, and Saturday there will be four people from another Computer Refurbishing project in Nebraska here to work with HelpingTulsa. If you want to see what we will be working on, click here. Additional background information is here, here, and here. If you are interested in meeting the people from Sudan, they should be at my house Saturday by 9am, and will be here all day Saturday, and probably Sunday morning.

I hope to be back in the blogosphere later today, although it will probably be Monday before my level is back to normal.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Unrest in France

Mehrnews reports Iran’s Association of Muslim Journalists (AMJ) issued a statement on Sunday condemning the violation of Muslims’ civil rights in France and calling on the French government to cooperate with them in establishing a fact-finding commission in order to investigate the conditions of French Muslims.

That is the last thing the French need. Having the Iranians tell them how they are mistreating Black French Muslims
The AMJ said that the mistreatment of Black French Muslims over the past two weeks has deeply influenced Iranian public opinion.

“We suppose that the French government has carried out the recent discriminatory and anti-human rights acts under the influence of the Zionist lobby in France
As if there was a Zionist lobby in very anti-semetic France.
to limit the social and personal freedoms of the Muslims residing in the country,
Their social and personal freedoms are limited because they don't want to be French. They want to continue drawing all of the free social services France provides, but they are not interested in learning to speak French, and the French will not have anything to do with you unless you speak French perfectly. They don't even accept a bad accent.
which is quite unacceptable on the part of a country that claims to be democratic
Iran certainly should know about democracy. Not!!!
,” part of the statement read.

Right now, the problem in France does not seem to be Jihadist related (unlike the bombing attempt in Australia), but I would not be surprised of the Jihadists try to take advantage of the French situation.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Thanks for all of the good wishes

I am still at home, but it is taking me longer than expected to document everything that happened to me in the hospital (I am working on a letter which will go to at least ten people in the top administration of the hospital on a variety of points), and then I need to get out the November issue of the TCS I/O Port (which is now a week late)

I have been trying to get at least one blog item posted each day, and will get back to my normal rate in just a few more days.

Thanks to my good friends Amy, Michael, Greta, Danny, and the others in the Blogosphere that have sent their good wishes.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands

Mark Steyn wrote in Sun Times Ever since 9/11, I've been gloomily predicting the European powder keg's about to go up. ''By 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,'' I wrote in Canada's Western Standard back in February.

Very smart. But they don't want to wait.
Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule. As Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported in London: ''French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.''

''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.
And the true French better react quickly and forceably, because they will find the Arabs will not be as nice to live under as the Germans were.
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest.
After all, many French are Anti-Semetic.
They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness. The French have been here before, of course. Seven-thirty-two. Not 7:32 Paris time, which is when the nightly Citroen-torching begins, but 732 A.D. -- as in one and a third millennia ago. By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and, unlike other Christian armies in Europe, this one held its ground ''like a wall . . . a firm glacial mass,'' as the Chronicle of Isidore puts it. A week later, Abd al-Rahman was dead, the Muslims were heading south, and the French general, Charles, had earned himself the surname ''Martel'' -- or ''the Hammer.''

Poitiers was the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe. It was an opportunistic raid by the Moors, but if they'd won, they'd have found it hard to resist pushing on to Paris, to the Rhine and beyond. ''Perhaps,'' wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, ''the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.'' There would be no Christian Europe. The Anglo-Celts who settled North America would have been Muslim. Poitiers, said Gibbon, was ''an encounter which would change the history of the whole world.''

Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It's way too late to rerun the Battle of Poitiers. In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''
Send some troops to Iraq; they can be trained quickly there. Perhaps not as quickly as the Iraqi army, because they are not as likely to give up as the French surrender monkeys
What to do? In Paris, while ''youths'' fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French Cabinet split in two, as the ''minister for social cohesion'' (a Cabinet position I hope America never requires) and other colleagues distance themselves from the interior minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy who dismissed the rioters as ''scum.'' President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for ''a spirit of dialogue and respect.'' As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.

A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark." But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.

If Chirac isn't exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.