Saturday, June 24, 2006

Desperate Strategy

Blue Crab Boulevard blogged The Washington Post has a report on a series of speeches made yesterday by a number of Democratic party presidential hopefuls. The theme they have decided to use is, 'We have no unity, are in complete disarray, but still are much better than the Republicans who can actually unite!' At least I'm pretty sure that's what they said. Hard to decipher with all the disarray and all.

One day after suffering a pair of defeats on the Senate floor, Democratic leaders argued yesterday that their internal divisions over Iraq will help push the country toward a change in policy
Which will help turn Iraq over to the insurgents and jihadists.
and accused Republicans of blindly following President Bush on a path that
the Democratic party has been trying so hard to convince people
has been disastrous for the nation.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said Democrats emerged from this week's Senate debate more united than critics contend around a policy aimed at forcing the new Iraqi government to take responsibility for suppressing the insurgency. Party unity is important, she said, but not as valuable as an open debate about how best to change course.
The difference between the parties on this issue is that the Republicans have figured out how to work out their differences behind the scenes and unite on the most important issues. The Democrats have not. I don't see that as a strength.
The aggressive Republican rhetoric throughout the debate caused considerable consternation among Democratic politicians and strategists. For several days, the Republicans enjoyed the upper hand in the political warfare on the Senate floor, with Democrats privately lamenting that they were losing the message battle despite what polls show is an unpopular war. By yesterday, however, Democrats were saying that the Levin proposal demonstrates party consensus and reflects public opinion more clearly than do the president's policies.
The Kerry approach is what the Angry Left Blogs want, but Clinton knows that would never get her elected. She hopes that the Levin solution would let her pretend to be a centrist, and not frighten people worried about the Islamoterrorists, and yet retain as much of her base as possible.
Democrats said Republicans have now embraced an open-ended commitment in Iraq and predicted that
they hope
the GOP will suffer at the ballot box in November unless there is a dramatic change for the better in Iraq. "They're united in a failed policy," Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said of the Republicans on NBC's "Today" show yesterday.
It is better than being disunited between two policies that are even worse.
Biden would not answer the question of whether the Kerry-Feingold proposal for a fixed timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops would hurt the Democrats. "We don't agree with John Kerry," he said. "The vast majority of Democrats don't think we should set a date of a time certain."
At least the vast majority of Democrats that have to stand for election. The Angry Left Blogosphere does not agree.
But Clinton said she is not disturbed by talk of Democratic divisions. "When people say, 'Gee, the Democrats seemed not to have a unified position,' I can very straightforwardly say I'm proud of the debate that we're having," she said. "We are trying to fulfill our responsibilities, in contrast to our friends on the other side, who have abdicated theirs."

Republicans dismissed the Democratic arguments, saying leaders such as Clinton and Biden are mischaracterizing the Democrats' proposals. "People want the troops out, but they want the troops out after the success has occurred," said Republican pollster David Winston. "What the Democrats were putting forth had nothing to do with success; it was just about getting out."
Clinton, Biden and whatever gaggle of strategists/pollsters who came up with this idea of how to present the Democratic party are, once again, demonstrating the monstrous tin ear that has plagued the Democrats in recent years. The new motto should be: "We know how to bicker. They know how to win. Who would you rather have leading the team?"

That's how it sounds to the average voter, folks. Stunningly desperate strategy.


Saddam Ends Hunger Strike after Missing One Meal

Outside The Beltway blogged Saddam Hussein’s hunger strike is at long last over.

Saddam Hussein ended a brief hunger strike after missing just one meal in his U.S.-run prison, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday. The former Iraqi leader had refused lunch Thursday in protest at the killing of one of his lawyers by gunmen, but the spokesman said he ate his evening meal.
No sense in belaboring a point, I guess.
He liked what they were serving for dinner; he did not care for the lunch menu. And he certainly did now want to be fed through a tube.


Muslims 'Still in Denial' About 9/11, Pew Survey Finds

NYT reports Non-Muslim Westerners and Muslims around the world have widely different views of world events, and each group tends to view the other as violent, intolerant, and lacking in respect for women,

If they believe that we are more violent and intollerant than they are, they are insane. In terms of lacking respect for women, we do exploint their sexuality while the Muslims keep them hidden, but we give them a lot more rights than Muslims give their women, and they have equal treatment in the law (unlike in Sharia Law).
a new international survey of more than 14,000 people in 13 nations indicates. In what the survey, part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project for 2006, called one of its most striking findings, majorities in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Turkey — Muslim countries with fairly strong ties to America — said, for example, that they did not believe that Arabs carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
They are insane.
The findings, illustrating the chasm in beliefs, follow another year of violence and tension centered around that divide. In the past 12 months, there have been terrorist bombings in London, riots in France by unemployed youths, many of them Muslim, a global uproar over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and no letup to the war in Iraq.


TNR vs Kos

Martin Peretz, Editor in Chief of TNR, wrote Forgive me. But I never read Daily Kos until today.

You are a wise man. A Liberal, but still a wise man.
Well, now that I've read it, the first thought that came to me is how illiterate Kos is, just plain illiterate.
See how wise Martin is. It did not take him long to figure that out.
There has been other not-with-a-pick-axe-but-with-a-bludgeon left-wing journalism in the English speaking world, the American PM, for example, or the British Tribune. If you look them up (they must be some place on the Web), you'll see how elegant surgical argument can be. OK, that's not what the Daily Kos is. Daily Kos is actually a rant, Kos's own rant and then his comrades.

And his rant against us, well, borders on a nut case's. When a high-minded or, rather, high-strung moralist is accused by The New York Times of journalistic hanky-panky and then by TNR of running an ideological censorship bureau, reminiscent of the old Catholic Legion of Decency, he will go off the rails. And he did. "This is what The New Republic had evolved into--just another cog of the Vast RIGHT Wing Conspiracy." An old professor of mine once warned me against writers who use capital letters for emphasis. Good advice she gave me. Capital letters suggest some imbalance in the mind of their employer. In whose interests has TNR
Hummm. Capital Letters. Oh well, they are the initial letters in The New Republic's name.
sought "to destroy the new people-powered movement"? Kos answers his own question: "for the sake of its Lieberman-worshipping neo-con owners; that it stands with the National Review and wingnutosphere in their opposition to grassroots Democrats." Don't look at Kos's grammar. He's ranting.
He is always ranting. He is the focus for the Angry Left.
It feels a bit demeaning to defend oneself against Kos. But I am one of the neo-con owners, and I am titular editor-in-chief. So here goes: The New Republic is very much against the Bush tax programs, against Bush Social Security "reform," against cutting the inheritance tax, for radical health care changes, passionate about Gore-type environmentalism, for a woman's entitlement to an abortion, for gay marriage, for an increase in the minimum wage, for pursuing aggressively alternatives to our present reliance on oil and our present tax preferences for gas-guzzling automobiles. We were against the confirmation of Justice Alito.
All facts that indicate why I seldom read TNR.
And, institutionally, TNR was against several policies that I favor, including allowing the government more rather than less leeway in ferreting out terrorists and allies of terrorists
I favor them too.
From today's newspapers: I see nothing wrong with the feds scrutinizing international monetary exchanges in the dragnet for enemies of not just our civilization but civilization. But TNR is a heterodox institution, a concept Kos surely cannot fathom.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Krazypuppy is crazy

Right Wing News Over at the Daily Kos, there's a recommended diary at krazypuppy, that explains that the terrorist ring down in Miami was busted -- get ready for this -- in order to distract people from John Kerry's attempts to cut'n'run in Iraq. No, REALLY! He believes this and worse yet, so many Kossacks agree with him that they turned this into a recommended diary. Just take a look

Chicago's Sears Tower is a beautiful building & Chicago is a great town. I know. I lived there for a short time & fell in love the Windy City. The people are goregous and friendly and it's good hard-working BLUE city. So when crazy people talk about blowing the Sears Tower up, I take it personally. Shit, I've got friends working there right now! So the story of the Miami group of black militants that converted to Islam and want to blow up the Sears Tower really hits home with me. A mission "just as good or greater than 9/11?" They ran their group like "a military boot camp?" "Kill all the devils we can??" & worse of all: They're black and Muslim! Perfect! I mean, errr, well, keep reading. Did I mention 9/11? These are pretty serious charges and in a post-9/11 world, we need to take seriously militant forces who go beyond talk & threaten our security. But this stood out to me about the story:
There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations," said Richard Kolko, spokesman for FBI headquarters in Washington. He declined further comment.
Wait. Stop. There was NO imminent threat? Then why did you bust them now??
Because it is safer to take them out, once you have enough evidence to bust them, than to wait until they had a truck full of explosives prepared that would blow something up, even if not their objective.
Here's why: TO SHUT YOU UP AGAIN. In the same week that two Democratic resolutions forced the Bush and the GOP into the defensive by focusing attention on their incompetent management of the Iraq war, can we at least not be skeptical that this isn't an attempt by the Bush Administration to to change the focus away from Iraq?....
You mean changing the focus away from the Demcrats embarrasing Kerry with their vote against his proposal. That would have been something to milk for all it was worth.
Yeah, I know the group got video camera equipment from an FBI agent posing as an Al Qaeda member and that they guarded their warehouse. And yes, they swore an "oath of loyalty to Al Qaeda." So what? So they are a bunch of angry nuts who did a secret handshake and have a tree house. Sounds like a fraternity so far!
A pretty dangerous fraternity.
Big friggin deal! No Bling Bling But wait. They "attempted" to buy items like, um, guns and ammonium nitrate which can be used in explosives.
One source said the suspects had been trying to buy weapons and other things needed to carry out attacks. Ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer compound that can also be used as an explosive, was reportedly among the items.
"Attempt?" How can you "attempt" to buy guns? You can go down to the pawn shop and get guns - even machine guns.
Not if you don't have identification, and if you are willing to wait for the police to check you out.
And do you know what ammonium nitrate is? It's fertilizer - in other words SHIT. You can get that SHIT at most landscaping and rock companies
Fecal matter is used for fertilizer, but it is not ammonium nitrate, and you are not going to get the quantities needed to take down a building like the Sears tower at a landscaping and rock company.
The mind just reels. There are so many bizarre assertions in this post, that it's hard to know where to start. To begin with, arresting terrorists has now been reduced to some sort of political trick? Why? Because the threat wasn't "imminent." Does that mean that the FBI should have waited until they were driving a truck bomb towards the Sears Tower and screaming, "Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!," out the windows to react? In the minds of Kossacks, I guess so. And the point of this "distraction" is supposed to be to keep people from noticing that John Kerry is self-immolating in the Senate by offering a politically motivated proposal to cut and run from Iraq?


Congress to Kerry: Oh, shut up

New York Daily News editorialized The U.S. Senate yesterday made short work of John Kerry's crackpot demand that American troops be out of Iraq by a date of his choosing,

I like that headline "Congress to Kerry: Oh, shut up". I guess that means Kerry's chance at the nomination is not very high.
and the senators then went on to dismiss even a far more moderate proposal for "phased redeployment" on a nontimetable basis.
I guess that means telling the insurgents we are going to pull out, but it is a secret when, and if they kill a few more people we may decide to do it sooner than otherwise.
And so both chambers of Congress are now unmistakably on record as recognizing fixed withdrawal to be folly.


Peace deal offers Iraq insurgents an amnesty

Times Online The Iraqi Government will announce a sweeping peace plan as early as Sunday in a last-ditch effort to end the Sunni insurgency that has taken the country to the brink of civil war. The 28-point package for national reconciliation will offer Iraqi resistance groups inclusion in the political process and an amnesty for their prisoners if they renounce violence and lay down their arms, The Times can reveal. The Government will promise a finite, UN-approved timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq;

A "UN approved timeline"; boy we really trust the UN, don't we. And if they get us to remove our troops, and then go back on the deal, is the UN going to step in to protect Iraq?
a halt to US operations against insurgent strongholds; an end to human rights violations,
On one side, or both sides?
including those by coalition troops; and compensation for victims of attacks by terrorists or Iraqi and coalition forces.
That is stupid.
It will pledge to take action against Shia militias and death squads. It will also offer to review the process of “de-Baathification” and financial compensation for the thousands of Sunnis who were purged from senior jobs in the Armed Forces and Civil Service after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
That is also stupid.
The deal, which has been seen by The Times, aims to divide Iraqi insurgents from foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda. It builds on months of secret talks involving Jalal al-Talabani, the Iraqi President, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Ambassador, and seven Sunni insurgent groups. Mr al-Talabani told The Times that after a “summit” in Baghdad about a month ago the groups made clear their willingness to commence talks with the Iraqi Government, although he was awaiting a formal response. But one big potential obstacle is whether the US would be willing to grant an amnesty to insurgents who have killed US soldiers but who are not members of extreme groups such as al-Qaeda. The Bush Administration is thought to be split on the issue.
I can't imaging anyone being stupid enough to favor it.
“This is very hard for us, particularly at a time when American servicemen are facing prosecution for alleged war crimes — and others are being captured and tortured,” a senior US official said.

With 2,500 US soldiers having died in Iraq, to grant an amnesty would be a “huge political football” before the November mid-term elections in the US, he said. But he added: “This is what we did after the Second World War, after the Civil War, after the War of Independence. It may be unpalatable and unsavoury but it is how wars end.”
Really? Did we apologize for the DeNazification process in Germany, agree to pay all of the high ranking Nazis back pay for the jobs they lost, and did the Nurenburg trials never happen?
The Government intends to form a committee to distinguish between groups that can be considered legitimate resistance and those that are beyond the pale. “For those that defended their country against foreign troops, we need to open a new page . . . They did not mean to destabilise Iraq. They were defending Iraqi soil,” said Adnan Ali, a senior member of the Dawa party of Nouri alMaliki, the Prime Minister.


Interesting things in Huffington-land

Guardian reported Influential

At least they would like to think they are
website the Huffington Post tried to ban one of its bloggers after he discovered an anonymous heckler on his blog was actually the Post's technology manager. In his Huffington Post blog, Peter Rost exposed the identity of the heckler - known as a "troll" in blogging parlance - which prompted the Post to temporarily block his access.
Don't mess with the tech that controls the servers.
He recounted the incident on a new blog site he created separately to the one co-founded by journalist Arianna Huffington. "This is a sad day for online journalism," Dr Rost wrote on his new site. "I was terminated without any investigation of the statements in my blog post, all of which were referenced using independent sources. "I presented facts and made no allegations. Arianna Huffington's newspaper decided to shut down the whistleblower and proved that her online magazine is no more ethical than the people and organisations she criticises on a daily basis." Dr Rost, a former vice-president of drug company Pfizer, became suspicious after his blogs were persistently attacked by a poster called yacomink. One comment by yacomink - "This thing reads like a sixth grader's first attempt at a research paper" - was voted a "readers' favourite comment" within half an hour of its posting, the speed of which aroused Dr Rost's suspicions. Dr Rost had blogged at the Huffington Post for about three months and written over 60 blogs.
I suspect they mean blog posts. Or is Rost pretending to be 60 different bloggers?
He was also suspicious of the incident because, out of 1,278 responses, only 18 comments had ever been popular enough to be voted a "readers' favourite". He found yacomink's IP address and, after a further search, found a web page for Andy Yaco-Mink, which included the following: "Andy Yaco-Mink is the Huffington Post's technology manager.
Did he sign his posts with his real name, Yacomink? If not, it is not real bright to post from an account with a static IP address if you don't want people to know who you are.
He lives in Brooklyn." Dr Rost wrote a Huffington Post blog exposing Andy Yaco-Mink as the troll, suggesting that he had probably manipulated the Post's systems to get his comments placed in the readers' favourite comments. He wrote: "In order for the Huffington Post to maintain its credibility, the site needs to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest or rigged rankings." This prompted the Post to block his access to the site. "You have not been 'fired' but rather asked to refrain from posting as our editorial staff felt that your recent blogs were not in line with the mission of our site," the Huffington Post wrote in a letter to Dr Rost. "This was not an Arianna call. Ultimately, the decision was an editorial one - not one person to be held responsible - really," concluded the letter. Dr Rost was later reinstated to the Huffington Post (click here to see his blog)
I note that a commenter said
Isn't it lovely to know that the technology guy for huffpo is a snarling, rabid right-winger.
Just because he said that Rost's post "reads like a sixth grader's first attempt at a research paper"
Huffpo started to lose all credibility with me a few weeks ago when the most obnoxious mouth-breathers' comments kept getting ranked as reader's favorites. Now we know why. I don't have a problem with huffpo emplying someone who is rabidly anti-american (as all right-wingers are)
I have heard a lot more anti-American statements from the Angry Left than I have from any on the right.
but when their position allows them to bully others and to change ratings... I do have a problem with that.
, but the incident has occurred shortly after another Huffington Post controversy - when it was forced to admit faking a blog by George Clooney.


Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Guardian reports Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.

Which just proves being nice to them does not guarantee they will be nice to you, if they have extremist clerics preaching hatred in the mosques.
The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain. The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year's London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice.
Maybe the next attack will wake them up; otherwise Londinistan may become a reality.
Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France. Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%). By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a "notable exception" in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral.
And is there no selfishness, arrogance, greed, or immorality in Islamic countries?
Just over half said westerners were violent.
But how many westerners blow themselves up to kill others, and how many of them behead people they don't like?
While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.


FBI detains 7 in domestic terror probe

CNN reports Seven people are in custody after a sweep by law enforcement authorities in connection with an alleged plot against targets that may have included the Sears Tower, officials told CNN....

Congratulations to our law enforcement and Homeland Security people. Despite continued efforts by the NYT and other news media to expose national secrets in a time of war, we seem to be getting some of the terror cells in our own country.
Law enforcement sources told CNN that the arrests disrupted what may have been the early stages of a domestic terrorist plot to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, the FBI building in Miami, and possibly other targets.


Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror

NYT Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials. The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database. Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said....

The program is limited, vital to our national defense, and save guards have been implemented. Why did the NYT feel that it had to print a large expose of this secret program in the middle of a war? Does Al Qaeda own the NYT?
Several people familiar with the Swift program said they believed that they were exploiting a "gray area" in the law and that a case could be made for restricting the government's access to the records on Fourth Amendment and statutory grounds. They also worried about the impact on Swift if the program were disclosed.....
Several people familiar with what the NYT has published believe that they are committing treason by printing national secrets in a time of war, and they believe the reporters, editors, and publisher should be tried and imprisoned.
Officials realized the potential for abuse, and narrowed the program's targets and put in more safeguards. Among them were the auditing firm, an electronic record of every search and a requirement that analysts involved in the operation document the intelligence that justified each data search. Mr. Levey said the program was used only to examine records of individuals or entities, not for broader data searches.
But even with the safeguards, the NYT decided to publish it.
CQ blogged The New York Times Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have exposed yet another clandestine method used by American intelligence to track terrorists at home and abroad. This time, the pair has revealed a complex surveillance system in the international banking system that traced financial transactions of people suspected of terrorist ties. The system, called Swift, has resulted in at least one capture of a high-value target, al-Qaeda's leader in Southeast Asia.... The White House sent a bipartisan team of officials to ask the Times not to print the story....

The administration has told us on many occasions that one of the main fronts in the war on terror would be the financial systems. We have seen plenty of coverage on how the US has pressured various banking systems into revealing their records in order for us to freeze terrorist assets. If anyone wondered whether our efforts had any effect, all they needed to read was the stories of Hamas officials having to smuggle cash in valises in order to get spot funding for the Palestinian Authority. Their neighboring Arab nations pledged upwards of $150 million in direct aid, which banks would not transfer lest the US discover the transactions and lock them out of the global banking system.

Did no one read that and understand that the US has an extensive surveillance system on financial transactions around the world? Perhaps Keller, Lichtblau, and Risen need facts spelled out for them using crayon and words of two syllables and less, but the thinking world already understood that American intelligence had thoroughly penetrated global finance -- exactly like we said we would do in the wake of 9/11.

This story is only good for one thing, and that is an attempt to blow the program and stop our ability to follow the money. The New York Times apparently wants to stage itself as a publication written by traitors for an audience of idiots.

Bryan Preston blogged Call me crazy, but since the program is legal and since the administration argues it has helped stop terror attacks, isn’t the weight of the public’s interest in this story on the side of keeping the program under wraps so that it can continue to stop terrorists? When the terrorists finally do succeed, will the Times rush out with an apology for having outed two major anti-terror programs that just might have helped stop it–if they had remained secret? Of course not. We all know what the Times will do–blame Bush.

StopTheACLU blogged Tracking the finances of terrorist organizations is one of THE best tools we have to cut at the roots of terror. The NY Times doesn’t care. After specifically being asked not to release this information by our government because it might jeapordize its effectiveness. The NY Times doesn’t care how it effects National Security, they are leaking it to the public. Classified information? What’s that? We are in a transparent nation. Too transparent.

Michelle Malkin blogged Dammit. These people don't know when to stop. The anonymous leak-addicted NYTimes tag team of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen is at it again. Their front-page, splashy piece posted on the web tonight and top-linked on Drudge

All Things Beautiful blogged The "Bush Spied Privacy Died" Hysterics At The NYT Are Back.... It is transparent that these two newspapers are out on the loose, motivated only by a combination of greed and Bush hatred, reaching dizzying new heights in journalistic and civic contempt, for the traditions of our nation and their once proud heritage. It seems that they really do hate the President more than they fear al-Qaeda, relentlessly working for the enemy's detestable cause. Keep telling yourself that they are protecting your civil liberties. "We are a transparent nation". Yeah right. And finally, they belong in jail...there...I said it, I feel better now.

Macker blogged One of these days, it’s gonna happen where America’s Pravda (there, that’s much more fitting, don’t you agree? After all, in Truth there is No News) will be forcibly shut down for leaking too damn many secrets. And I, for one, wouldn’t even shed a tear.

IowaVoice blogged Damn it! Will someone PLEASE find the person responsible for these leaks to the press and have them arrested for violating national security???


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Islam will conquer US and Britain

Palestinian Media Watch reports A Hamas video just released on their web site focuses on the broader Palestinian Islamic ideology, promising the eventual conquering and subjugation of Christian countries under Islam.

Islam, the "religion of peace" as described by the elected leaders of some people that want a state of their own: not a state in peace with neighboring Israel, but a state that replaces Israel.
The way Israel "ran" from Gaza
withdrew to more defensible borders
after terror is presented as the prototype for future Israeli and Western behavior in the face of Islamic force.... "We will rule the nations, by Allah's will, the USA will be conquered, Israel will be conquered, Rome and Britain will be conquered…
He does not just want Israel's land, he wants to dominate the West.
The Jihad for Allah... is the way of Truth and the way for Salvation and the way which will lead us to crush the Jews and expel them from our country Palestine. Just as the Jews ran from Gaza, the Americans will run from Iraq and Afghanistan
only if the Democrats have their way
and the Russians will run from Chechnya, and the Indian will run from Kashmir, and our children will be released from Guantanamo. The prisoners will be released by Allah's will, not by peaceful means and not by agreements, but they will be released by the sword, they will be released by the gun".


Murtha's Second Act

Robert Novak wrote on RealClearPolitics On NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday, Rep. John Murtha repeated his call for "redeploying" U.S. troops from Iraq with something new -- and disturbing to fellow Democrats. Asked by moderator Tim Russert about sites for redeployment, Murtha replied: "We can go to Okinawa. ... We can redeploy there almost instantly."

For a very funny response to this, see this Hot Air video by Michelle Malkin
When Russert expressed doubt about "a timely response" from Okinawa to meet a Middle East crisis, the 16-term congressman from western Pennsylvania and new national security spokesman for his party stumbled: "Well, it -- you know, they -- when I say Okinawa, I, I'm saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And -- and -- when they don't know we're coming." In fact, a Pentagon spokesman says it would take "under a month" to prepare and send a 4,500-man Marine Expeditionary Force 6,000 nautical miles from Okinawa to Bahrain and then 600 more miles to Baghdad.
That is fast enough for Murtha, who does not want us there in the first place.
.... Jack Murtha proves there are second acts in American politics. I had forgotten that federal prosecutors designated him an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam investigation 26 years ago.
Glad you reminded us; this should come in handy when the Dems start talking about the Climate of Corruption again.
I was reminded of it after Murtha became a candidate for majority leader, not by a Republican hit man but a Democratic former colleague in the House. In a long political career, Murtha has made bitter enemies inside his party who are alarmed by his new stature.


Bill Gates' piracy confession

Computerworld Blogs If you read way down to the bottom of a Wall Street Journal interview with Bill Gates that ran yesterday, you'll discover that the Microsoft executive admitted to watching pirated movies on the Internet. The confession came as he was talking about content he had viewed on YouTube. Here's part of the exchange:

WSJ: You watch physics lectures and Harlem Globetrotters [on YouTube]?

Gates: This social-networking thing takes you to crazy places.

WSJ: But those were stolen, correct?

Gates: Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes.
The Internet's biggest social failure has been that it has served as enabling technology for rampant cheating and theft - and the rationalization of it. The Internet makes stealing so easy that most people don't even think about it.

Bill Gates' comments would appear to be a case in point. You can hear the wheels turning as Gates thinks through the reality of his actions before finally admitting that he has indeed downloaded and consumed copyrighted content.



Rep Won't Let Customer Quit AOL An incredible video from CNBC shows an AOL customer trying to cancel his account, but a phone rep won't let him do it. What customer Vincent Ferrari got when he tried to cancel his account was a lot of frustration. It took him 15 minutes waiting on the phone just to reach a real, live person. And, what happened next was recorded by Ferrari on audio and lasted about four minutes:

This is typical. AoL does not want to let people cancel their accounts. And if they do the same thing to him that they did to me, they will keep on charging his credit card, and if you call them to tell them to stop, they will say you need to send us that message online, and if you reinstall the software and send the message online, they will say you are still using your account, so the charge is valid. And if you just call by phone each month they will say they will cancel it, but will not, and when you get mad and demand a refund for the past 6 months of charges, they will say they can only refund one or two months charges.

Be smart. Dont use AoL.


Report: Boutique fuels do not raise gas prices

Jim Snyder wrote in The Hill A draft Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report contradicts President Bush’s suggestion that boutique fuels, designed to cut pollution from cars and trucks, have contributed to higher gasoline prices. While they could complicate gasoline distribution when a hurricane or pipeline rupture disrupts supplies, the various fuel types used by states have provided “significant, cost-effective air-quality improvements,” the report states.

The Bush Administration never said that they caused higher prices in the long run. It is in the Spring when these boutique fuels suddenly become required, and the pipeline is full of the old fuels, and the limited refining capacity in this country has to switch over to the new fuel blends, and fill the pipeline with them, that shortages can occur, just as you admit that a hurricane or pipeline rupture could disrupt supplies, causing a short term price spike.
The report was written by state and federal officials who were brought together at the direction of the president as he searched for solutions to high gasoline prices, which spiked to over $3 a gallon in the spring.


Thinking Outside The Blog

David Broder wrote in WaPo Judging from the amount of publicity they gleaned, the liberal bloggers who gathered in Las Vegas recently for the first annual YearlyKos convention represent the cutting edge of thinking in the Democratic Party.

They surely think they are, and I hope they are right, because they will destroy the Democratic Party.
But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought.
Precisely. They know nothing but hate, and that does not win elections.
The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention's leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle -- as was the case with Howard Dean in 2004 -- or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California.
Fortunately, there are others than these "net roots" activists working on the challenge of defining the Democratic message. I do not include the Democratic congressional leadership in the hopeful camp. The new legislative "agenda" that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week was as meager as it was unimaginative.
But if the Loud Left is not going to do it, and if the elected leaders are not, then the others don't stand a chance.
But a covey of relatively new Democratic think tanks in Washington are sponsoring conferences and lectures where more substantial policy ideas are being aired and debated.
The rabid left will shout them down.
And this past week two new publications appeared -- one online and the other in print -- that promise to push the thinking of the opposition party even further.


If Necessary, Strike and Destroy

Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry (from the Clinton Administration) wrote in WaPo North Korean technicians are reportedly in the final stages of fueling a long-range ballistic missile that some experts estimate can deliver a deadly payload to the United States. The last time North Korea tested such a missile, in 1998, it sent a shock wave around the world, but especially to the United States and Japan, both of which North Korea regards as archenemies. They recognized immediately that a missile of this type makes no sense as a weapon unless it is intended for delivery of a nuclear warhead.

A year later North Korea agreed to a moratorium on further launches, which it upheld -- until now. But there is a critical difference between now and 1998. Today North Korea openly boasts of its nuclear deterrent, has obtained six to eight bombs' worth of plutonium since 2003 and is plunging ahead to make more in its Yongbyon reactor. The six-party talks aimed at containing North Korea's weapons of mass destruction have collapsed.

Should the United States allow a country openly hostile to it and armed with nuclear weapons to perfect an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons to U.S. soil? We believe not. The Bush administration has unwisely ballyhooed the doctrine of "preemption," which all previous presidents have sustained as an option rather than a dogma.

You did not like us doing it in Iraq, which was in violation of 18 UN ammendments, and which was shooting at our warplanes almost daily, and yet you want us to commit an act of war on North Korea, and just blow up one missle, when if we do anything, it should be to totally destroy all of its nuclear facilities and the conventional facilities it would immediately use to destroy South Korea.
It has applied the doctrine to Iraq, where the intelligence pointed to a threat from weapons of mass destruction that was much smaller than the risk North Korea poses. (The actual threat from Saddam Hussein was, we now know, even smaller than believed at the time of the invasion.) But intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.

Hot Air blogged A couple of points worth noting. First, there’s no indication that I’ve seen that North Korea has miniaturized any nuclear weapon to the point that they can arm their Taeopodong-2 or any other missile with a nuke. The vehicle currently on the pad is a test fire and a threat in that its range is sufficient to hit Hawaii and Alaska. Second, Clinton-era officials have been entirely duplicitous on the Iraq war; many of them were hawks in the 1990s only to become doves once the actual shooting started (including Clinton himself, Gore, Albright, Berger and several others). The two quoted above, William Perry and Ashton Carter, display some of this Democrat duplicitousness in a passage flagged by Austin Bay:
The Bush administration has unwisely ballyhooed the doctrine of “preemption,” which all previous presidents have sustained as an option rather than a dogma.
In other words a threat, that is never carried out, except possibly with cruise missles.
It has applied the doctrine to Iraq, where the intelligence pointed to a threat from weapons of mass destruction that was much smaller than the risk North Korea poses. (The actual threat from Saddam Hussein was, we now know, even smaller than believed at the time of the invasion.) But intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.
Within one paragraph, they contradict themselves re preemption, or rather, they’re typical Democrats in the sense that they’re for it when they’re for it and against it when it’s politically easier to be against it in retrospect because things didn’t work out peachy. Advocating striking North Korea now is pretty much cost-free for them. If we don’t do it, the missile fires and our interceptors miss, they can say “We told you so.” If we don’t do it, the missile fires and we hit, they can say “But what about the telemetry?” and they’ll have a point. If we do hit the missile on the pad they can take credit, until things go south and at that point they’ll make a quiet exit. No one paid attention to them before this article appeared, and they’ll be forgotten along with Al Gore’s 2002 speeches praising President Bush and egging on war with Iraq. The media will never make them justify this article.

Blue Crab blogged Well, now we know where the Clinton administration got it's penchant (bordering on a fetish) for launching cruise missile attacks. Carter and Perry go on to blithely dismiss the chances of some sort of negative consequences from pulling this little prank. You know, like a war starting or anything.

Is this an attempt by some Democrats to prove how warlike they are? Could be. Is this a smart move politically or militarily? To quote the estimable authors, "We think not". Generally launching missiles at a foreign power with an enormous standing army right next door to one of our allies would be considered, how shall I put this, idiotic? Insane? Dumb as a box of rocks? All of the above, I think.
OTB blogged Andrew Olmstead thinks this is “nuts,” though, given that our forces are stretched so thin with our deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.
I don’t like the idea of a North Korea with nuclear missiles. But then, I’m not fond of the idea of China or Russia with nuclear missiles, either, but it’s an imperfect world. Launching an attack on North Korea opens up too many potentially disastrous outcomes for it to be a viable plan. Much as I dislike the thought, living with a nuclear North Korea seems like the least bad outcome available to us at the moment.
Were a ground war with the DPRK a likely outcome of a preemptive strike, I’d be inclined to agree. That outcome, however, seems incredibly remote. The nuclear threat is the only plausible one North Korea poses. We could topple Kim’s regime in less than two weeks and he knows it. And, unlike Iraq, we’d have no reason to occupy and risk fighting guerrillas.

USS Neverdock blogged I find it interesting to hear the Washington Post sounding so hawkish and unilaterlist, the very things they constantly criticize Bush for.
The hope that Bush will do it, and then they will jump on him afterward.
It's true something must be done, but what? The Post is calling for another Cuban missle crisis. Are we ready for that? North Korea might not be so easily isolated and Cuba wasn't divided north and south with two large armies facing each other.

And why isn't the Post calling for Iran's nuclear facilities to be attacked?

If you really want to get North Korea's attention, move three aircraft carriers into the area (two on one side, one on the other). You don't have to do anything, but you might want to have some spare underwear handy, because the Glorious Leader is likely to soil his.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

AT&T rewrites rules: Your data isn't yours

SFGate reported AT&T has issued an updated privacy policy that takes effect Friday. The changes are significant because they appear to give the telecom giant more latitude when it comes to sharing customers' personal data with government officials. The new policy says that AT&T -- not customers -- owns customers' confidential info and can use it "to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."

I am not concerned about responding to legal processes, but what is this about "legitimate business interests"
The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service -- something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing.
I thought telco's video service was satellite.
Moreover, AT&T (formerly known as SBC) is requiring customers to agree to its updated privacy policy as a condition for service
That is certainly one way to get it.
a new move that legal experts say will reduce customers' recourse for any future data sharing with government authorities or others.
I am not upset at them providing it to the government, but it its the others that concerns me.


Is the NSA spying on U.S. Internet traffic?

This Salon News article asks the question Is the NSA spying on U.S. Internet traffic?

My answer to that question is I certainly hope so.

Tom Clancy sort of predicted 9/11 at the end of Debt of Honor, when a plane crashes into Congress during a joint session of Congress, killing the President, most of the Cabinet and the Congress, the Supreme Court and the Joint Chiefs. Executive Orders describes what the newly appointed Vice President Jack Ryan does to help the country to recover.

Tom Clancy also has an entire series called Net Force, and I hope that we have something like Net Force in operation right now.
In a pivotal network operations center in metropolitan St. Louis, AT&T has maintained a secret, highly secured room since 2002 where government work is being conducted, according to two former AT&T workers once employed at the center.

In interviews with Salon, the former AT&T workers said that only government officials or AT&T employees with top-secret security clearance are admitted to the room, located inside AT&T's facility in Bridgeton. The room's tight security includes a biometric "mantrap" or highly sophisticated double door, secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners. The former workers say company supervisors told them that employees working inside the room were "monitoring network traffic" and that the room was being used by "a government agency."


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Discrimination against Christian

The Observer It is only a band of silver, imprinted with a Bible verse, worn by a schoolgirl. But the decision by one of the country's top state schools

In the UK
to ban American-style 'purity rings' - increasingly worn by Christian teenagers to symbolise a pledge not to have sex before marriage - has prompted not just a standoff with local parents, but a debate over religious expression and sex education. Heather and Philip Playfoot have spent almost two years in dispute with Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, over their 15-year-old daughter Lydia's ring. While the school's uniform rules forbid jewellery, they argue that the rings - given to teenagers who complete a controversial evangelical church course preaching sexual abstinence - hold genuine religious significance.
I wonder if they are allowed a crucifix.
'The ring is a reminder to them of the promise they have made, much the same as a wedding ring is an outward sign of an inward promise,' said Heather Playfoot.
If they were married, would they be allowed to wear a wedding band?
'There are Muslim girls in the school who are allowed to wear the headcovering, although that isn't part of the school uniform, and Sikh girls who are allowed the wear the bangle although that isn't part of the uniform. It's a discriminatory policy.
But it is OK to discriminate against Christians, because they know that they are not likely to riot, burn down buildings, and behead people like the radical Muslims might if they felt their faith was offended. As as far as the Sikh's the school really does not understand they are not Muslims.
'We don't want her education to be disrupted because of it but we do want her to feel free to wear something that is very significant.' The family claim that Lydia and up to a dozen other pupils wearing purity rings have been forced to take lessons in isolation as punishment for breaking the rules, threatened with detention and that - in Lydia's case - the school governors intimated she could be expelled for repeatedly defying the rules. Heather Playfoot said the school had told them it was a health and safety issue.
It is, but not the way the school thinks. If the girls engage in premarital sex they run the risk of spreading a number of STDs (as well as possibly getting pregnant).
Lydia has now stopped wearing the ring in school. 'It makes me feel quite upset and angry as well, and in a way betrayed a little, because the school are always teaching us to be safe and we are trying to stand up for something,' she told The Observer. 'We get picked on and called out of lessons to see if we have got [the rings] on. I do actually keep to the school rules and I don't like stepping out of line or anything, but I just think this is really unfair.'
It is.
Her ring came from the Silver Ring Thing, an evangelical initiative recently introduced to Britain from the US, with which her parents' local church is involved.


Taleban cowards

Times Online reported Taleban fighters used women and children as human shields as they tried to escape into the mountains of Afghanistan, British troops claimed yesterday.

That is because they are cowards. They may try to convince others that it is a great honor to die during Jihad, and that there will be 72 virgins waiting for a fighter that dies in battle, but deep down they know that such fighters are really headed to Hell, and there will be no virgins waiting for them, and they want to put off as long as possible their journey there.
The tactics were revealed in the first account by those who fought in one of the main battles faced by the men of 3 Para and the Royal Gurkha Rifles in Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are stationed. The Taleban’s use of human shields happened during a six-hour battle that began when British troops arrived in a remote area to flush out a suspected Taleban hideout.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

How an Al-Qaeda Cell Planned a Poison-gas Attack on the N.Y. Subway

Time reported Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the New York subway system with a lethal gas similar to that used in Nazi death camps. They were stopped not by any intelligence breakthrough, but by an order from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri.

Wasn't that nice of him.
And the U.S. learned of the plot from a CIA mole inside al-Qaeda.
And you don't think that is an intelligence breakthrough?????
These are some of the more startling revelations by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, whose new book The One Percent Doctrine is excerpted in the forthcoming issue of TIME. It will appear on early Sunday morning.

U.S. intelligence got its first inkling of the plot from the contents of a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia early in 2003. It contained plans for a gas-dispersal system dubbed "the mubtakkar" (Arabic for inventive). Fearing that al-Qaeda's engineers had achieved the holy grail of terror R&D — a device to effectively distribute hydrogen-cyanide gas, which is deadly when inhaled — the CIA immediately set about building a prototype based on the captured design, which comprised two separate chambers for sodium cyanide and a stable source of hydrogen, such as hydrochloric acid. A seal between the two could be broken by a remote trigger, producing the gas for dispersal. The prototype confirmed their worst fears: "In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot – and then kill everyone in the store."

The device was shown to President Bush and Vice President Cheney the following morning, prompting the President to order that alerts be sent through all levels of the U.S. government. Easily constructed and concealed, mass casualties were inevitable if it could be triggered in any enclosed public space.

Having discovered the device, exposing the plot in which it might be used became a matter of extreme urgency. Although the Saudis were cooperating more than ever before in efforts to track down al-Qaeda operatives in the kingdom, the interrogations of suspects connected with the Bahraini on whose computer the Mubtakkar was discovered were going nowhere. The U.S. would have to look elsewhere.
Or perhaps use harsher interrogation techniques.
Conventional wisdom has long held that the U.S. has no human intelligence assets inside al Qaeda. "That is not true," writes Suskind. Over the previous six months, U.S. agents had been receiving accurate tips from a man the writer identifies simply as "Ali," a management-level al-Qaeda operative who believed his leaders had erred in attacking the U.S. directly.
And now that Ime has outed him, he probably will be killed soon.
"The group was now dispersed," writes Suskind. "A few of its leaders and many foot soldiers were captured or dead. As with any organization, time passed and second-guessing began."


U.S. Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground

NYT reported Most American mosques import their clerics from overseas — some who preach extremism, some who cannot speak English, and most who cannot begin to speak to young American Muslims growing up on hip-hop and in mixed-sex chat rooms. Mr. Yusuf, 48, and Mr. Shakir, 50, are using their clout to create the first Islamic seminary in the United States, where they hope to train a new generation of imams and scholars who can reconcile Islam and American culture.

This sounds very promising.
The seminary is still in its fledgling stages, but Mr. Yusuf and Mr. Shakir have gained a large following by being equally at home in Islamic tradition and modern American culture. Mr. Yusuf dazzles his audiences by weaving into one of his typical half-hour talks quotations from St. Augustine, Patton, Eric Erikson, Jung, Solzhenitsyn, Auden, Robert Bly, Gen. William C. Westmoreland and the Bible. He is the host of a TV reality show that is popular in the Middle East, in which he takes a vanload of Arabs on a road trip across the United States to visit people who might challenge Arab stereotypes about Americans, like the antiwar protesters demonstrating outside the Republican National Convention.

Mr. Shakir mixes passages from the Koran with a few lines of rap, and channels accents from ghetto to Valley Girl. Some of his students call him the next Malcolm X — out of his earshot, because he so often preaches the importance of humility.

Both men draw overflow crowds in theaters, mosques and university auditoriums that seat thousands. Their books and CD's are pored over by young Muslims in study groups. As scholars and proselytizers of the faith, they have a much higher profile than most imams, as Muslim clerics who are usually in charge of mosques are known. Their message is that both Islam and America have gone seriously astray, and that American Muslims have a responsibility to harness their growing numbers and economic power to help set them straight.


Where is the Outraged Muslim Mob?

A blood stained and partially burnt Koran lies on the floor of the Shi'ite Buratha mosque after a suicide bombing attack
Tammy Bruce blogged Here is a burned and bloody Koran. And yet, no hysterical, murderous Muslim riots over the "offense" and "insult" to Islam. Funny enough, this outrage did not come from Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. And no, it's not the latest result of a supposed Marine-Gone-Wild, or Islamophobic Americans destroying the "holy book" of Islam. In fact, with all we have faced since September 11, through the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq, there has never been one single case of American soldiers destroying a Koran.

Instead, this Koran was defiled by Muslims during an act of Muslim cold-blooded murder.
And cold-blooded murder, of Muslims on other Muslims, seems to be a regular occurrence.
The Great Satan America has gone out of its way to be respectful of Islam (for increasingly inexplicable reasons. Note the handling the bodies of the Gitmo terrorist suicides with the "utmost respect."), but Muslims haven't been. Quite regularly, with today bringing the latest instance of a mosque bombing, offending, insulting, and murdering Muslims is an exclusively Muslim business.
There does not seem to be any reluctance to insulting the Christian faith or the Jewish faith, but everyone seems worried about offending Muslims, even though they don't even respect their own faith.
We've known for quite some time about the Islamic tactic to consume nations from the inside. The use of rumor and claims of being offended and insulted is indeed a clever way to capitalize on the civilized world's capitulation to the Left's political correctness and multiculturalism. The West's social abdication to the left for the past few decades has become the equivalent of leaving our cultural front door unlocked after taking a sleeping pill, allowing savages to do as they please.
That is because the only response is to confront violence with greater violence, and the Left is incapable of understanding that.
The nations that bend over backward (or forward as one could argue) appeasing Islamist complainers, should stop worrying right now. Until the world sees some equal riotous outrage over the reality of the destroyed Koran from the shoe-bombed mosque as we did with Newsweek's fake Koran-in-a-toilet story or the absurd Muhammad cartoon jihad, any Muslim who expresses offense or insult about anything is a hypocrite and should be summarily laughed out of the room.
That is a very good point.
For Muslims have been, are now and remain the most severe and continual offenders of Islam worldwide.

USS Neverdock blogged Remember how the Muslim world erupted in riots and killings over the bogus Newsweek story alleging US troops desecrated a Koran? Where's the outrage and riots over Muslims buring the Koran? What's the difference here? We're infidels.


Ayatollah's grandson calls for US overthrow of Iran

Telegraph reported The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the inspiration of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, has broken a three-year silence to back the United States military to overthrow the country's clerical regime.

I don't think a military invasion, like Iraq, is a good idea, but we definitely should do whatever we can to support people like this inside Iran to topple it from within.
Hossein Khomeini's call is all the more startling as he made it from Qom, the spiritual home of Iran's Shia strand of Islam, during an interview to mark the 17th anniversary of the ayatollah's death. "My grandfather's revolution has devoured its children and has strayed from its course," he told Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language television station. "I lived through the revolution and it called for freedom and democracy - but it has persecuted its leaders."

Blue Crab Boulevard blogged al Arabiya Does not have an English language version of the interview, but here is the MEMRI translation. This is pretty startling. One cannot help but wonder how long until the Iranian government tries to silence him. Let's hope other in the MSM now begin to notice something is going on over there.