Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Ich Bin Ein Beginner!"

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JFK: "I am a Berliner", which is hillbilly code for ‘I feel your pain.’ Result: left tens of millions suffering behind the iron curtain, because he presented no credible threat to the Soviet Union.

Ronald Reagan: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Result: soon the wall fell as tens of millions of people began to enjoy the fruits of liberty.

B. Insane Osama: “I want to see a change in the wall, change is everything.” Result: nothing, as he tries to gain the presidency simply by looking like JFK...T

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Suggested Alternate New Yorker Cover

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I tried to get them to reconsider. This one would have been more appropriate, and more accurate. But, they wouldn't listen. They just had to be P.C....T

The Audacity of Vanity

Krauthammer eviscerates the Obamessiah. This is, I think, the issue that can bring down Barack Insane Osama. Not his foolishness about Iraq, not his plethora of proposed radical Tax hikes, and not his refusal to drill for oil. Not even, to be sure, his skin color.

No, it's his elitism. He makes Michael Dukakis look like a Pennsylvania coal miner. His campaign is dripping with contempt for the average American, and this column is devilishly witty in pointing it out...T

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?

Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.)

Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.

It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history -- "generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment" -- when, among other wonders, "the rise of the oceans began to slow." As Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, "Moses made the waters recede, but he had help." Obama apparently works alone.

Obama may think he's King Canute, but the good king ordered the tides to halt precisely to refute sycophantic aides who suggested that he had such power. Obama has no such modesty.

After all, in the words of his own slogan, "we are the ones we've been waiting for," which, translating the royal "we," means: " I am the one we've been waiting for." Amazingly, he had a quasi-presidential seal with its own Latin inscription affixed to his lectern, until general ridicule -- it was pointed out that he was not yet president -- induced him to take it down.

He lectures us that instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish" -- a language Obama does not speak. He further admonishes us on how "embarrassing" it is that Europeans are multilingual but "we go over to Europe, and all we can say is 'merci beaucoup.' " Obama speaks no French.

His fluent English does, however, feature many such admonitions, instructions and improvements. His wife assures us that President Obama will be a stern taskmaster: "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism . . . that you come out of your isolation. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when "our planet began to heal." As I recall -- I'm no expert on this -- Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama's Lack of Historical Knowledge Clouds His Iraq Position

Exactly. I couldn't agree more. This is the distillation of the left wing's view: We don't care who wins in Iraq, or, more to the point, "we can't wait for America to lose! We are an evil people!"...T

For a searing analysis of Barack Obama's current position on Iraq, you can't do better than this editorial from the Washington Post. The final sentences sum it up:

Indeed: The message that the Democrat sends is that he is ultimately indifferent to the war's outcome—that Iraq "distracts us from every threat we face" and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences. That's an irrational and ahistorical way to view a country at the strategic center of the Middle East, with some of the world's largest oil reserves. Whether or not the war was a mistake, Iraq's future is a vital U.S. security interest. If he is elected president, Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.

"Ahistorical" is a good word, for Obama seems surprisingly lacking in his knowledge of history for a man educated at Columbia University and Harvard Law School. At one point in the campaign, he cited Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman as presidents who met with enemy leaders. In my reading, I have missed the descriptions of the Roosevelt-Hitler summit and the dialogue between Truman and the leaders of imperial Japan. Perhaps Obama had in mind the pictures of Roosevelt sitting next to Josef Stalin at Tehran and Yalta or of Truman sitting next to him at Potsdam. But the Soviet Union was our ally at the time of those meetings. Is it possible that Obama doesn't know this?
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate moves against the 38th Parralell...T

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final Thoughts on Tony Snow

Final thoughts on the passing of Tony Snow from the incomparable Michael Barone. He knows politics better than anyone alive, and his ranking of Snow is to be taken seriously. I know I do...T

"Future historians will do right to wonder whether the repute of George W. Bush and his administration would not have been a lot higher if Tony had been offered and taken the job back in 2003, when Ari Fleischer left. I don't think it's hyperbole to say that Tony may have been the best White House press secretary ever"...

... He didn't hesitate to challenge, good-humoredly, the premises of reporters' questions. I assumed that Tony resigned from this job he obviously loved because of the disease threatening him and the need, genuine in his case, to spend more time with his family and provide for them while he could. We have lost an absolutely first-rate human being, and I have lost a friend who was always brimming with curiosity, learning, and good cheer.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

God Bless Tony Snow

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God Bless Tony Snow. I awoke to see the initial report and was sure it had to be a hoax. I've been a fan of Tony's since the early 1980's when he was the Detroit News Editorial Director, and he blew me away then. Then, first at the Washington Times, which I would buy every week at Barnes & Noble, and soon as the excellent guest host behind Rush Limbaugh's golden EIB microphone, finally kicking the cr*p outta Helen Thomas the last few years, he always saw the world in perspective. It is a sad day. He will be missed...T

From The American Mind, today: It was sad enough when we found out Tony Snow had cancer. It got worse after learning it came back. Now, we find out the energetic, passionate, entertaining conservative voice has left us.

More than being the White House press secretary when the Bush administration really needed communications help I’ll remember Snow for being the best fill-in for Rush Limbaugh. His smooth voice and humor were perfect for radio. Snow made you want to listen for the full three hours and only sort-of miss Rush.

Rush Limbaugh on his dear friend Tony Snow:

Vice President Cheney eulogises Tony Snow on Fox News Sunday:

Here’s a great speech that gave many conservatives hope from CPAC 2008.

James Joyner put together a blogosphere roundup.

Godspeed, Tony.
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

You're Next!

Those Mullahs must be sweatin' these days! US troops to their east, in Afghanistan, and to their west in Iraq - a stable, democratic Iraq with the Middle East's best, US trained armed forces...T

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We're winning this War on Terror - Al-Qaeda and the Taleban are in retreat, the surge has worked in Iraq and Islamism is discredited. Not a Bad Haul

Further conclusive evidence from the Times -View Full Article- We have won an historic and glorious victory...T

"How foolish is the enemy that it might think our grief is really some prelude to their victory? Finally, confidence. We are prevailing in this struggle. We know it. And everywhere: in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and among Muslims around the world, the enemy knows it too."

...The evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier's dictum: “Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let's retreat!” Since it is remarkable how pervasive this pessimism is, it's worth recapping what has been achieved in the past few years.


...Until the US-led invasion in 2001, Afghanistan was the cockpit of ascendant Islamist terrorism. Consider the bigger picture. Between 1998 and 2005 there were five big terrorist attacks against Western targets - the bombings of the US embassies in Africa in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, 9/11, and the Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005. All owed their success either exclusively or largely to Afghanistan's status as a training and planning base for al-Qaeda.

In the past three years there has been no attack on anything like that scale. Al-Qaeda has been driven into a state of permanent flight. Its ability to train jihadists has been severely compromised; its financial networks have been ripped apart. Thousands of its activists and enablers have been killed. It's true that Osama bin Laden's forces have been regrouping in the border areas of Pakistan but their ability to orchestrate mass terrorism there is severely attenuated. And there are encouraging signs that Pakistanis are starting to take to the offensive against them.

Next time you hear someone say that the war in Afghanistan is an exercise in futility ask them this: do they seriously think that if the US and its allies had not ousted the Taleban and sustained an offensive against them for six years that there would have been no more terrorist attacks in the West? What characterised Islamist terrorism before the Afghan war was increasing sophistication, boldness and terrifying efficiency. What has characterised the terrorist attacks in the past few years has been their crudeness, insignificance and a faintly comical ineptitude (remember Glasgow airport?)

The second great advance in the War on Terror has been in Iraq.

There's no need to recapitulate the disasters of the US-led war from the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 to his execution at the end of 2006. We may never fully make up for three and a half lost years of hubris and incompetence but in the last 18 months the change has been startling.

The “surge”, despite all the doubts and derision at the time, has been a triumph of US military planning and execution. Political progress was slower in coming but is now evident too. The Iraqi leadership has shown great courage and dispatch in extirpating extremists and a growing willingness even to turn on Shia militias. Basra is more peaceful and safer than it has been since before the British moved in. Despite setbacks such as yesterday's bombings, the streets of Iraq's cities are calmer and safer than they have been in years. Seventy companies have bid for oil contracts from the Iraqi Government. There are signs of a real political reconciliation that may reach fruition in the election later this year.

The third and perhaps most significant advance of all in the War on Terror is the discrediting of the Islamist creed and its appeal.

This was first of all evident in Iraq, where the head-hacking frenzy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates so alienated the majority of Muslims that it gave rise to the so-called Sunni Awakening that enabled the surge to be so effective.

But it has spread way beyond Iraq. As Lawrence Wright described in an important piece in The New Yorker last month, there is growing disgust not just among moderate Muslims but even among other jihadists at the extremism of the terrorists.

Deeply encouraging has been the widespread revulsion in Muslim communities in Europe - especially in Britain after the 7/7 attacks of three years ago. Some of the biggest intelligence breakthroughs in the past few years have been achieved from former al-Qaeda supporters who have turned against the movement.

There ought to be no surprise here. It's only their apologists in the Western media who really failed to see the intrinsic evil of Islamists. Those who have had to live with it have never been in much doubt about what it represents. Ask the people of Iran. Or those who fled the horrors of Afghanistan under the Taleban.

This is why we fight. Primarily, of course, to protect ourselves from the immediate threat of terrorist carnage, but also because we know that extending the embrace of a civilisation that liberates everyone makes us all safer.

Every death is an unspeakable tragedy. It's right that each time a soldier is killed in action we ask why. Was it really worth it?

The right response to the loss of brave souls such as Corporal Sarah Bryant, the first British woman to die in Afghanistan, is not an immediate call for retreat. It is, first of all, pride; a great, deep conviction that it is on such sacrifice that our own freedoms have always rested. Then, defiance. How foolish is the enemy that it might think our grief is really some prelude to their victory? Finally, confidence. We are prevailing in this struggle. We know it. And everywhere: in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and among Muslims around the world, the enemy knows it too.

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Iraqis lead final purge of Al-Qaeda

Finally some Drive-By love for our total victory in Iraq - From the UK Times of all people. They usually make the NYT look like Human Events! The greatest victory, with the fewest casualties, in the history of warfare...T

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.

A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.

Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Engineering An Empire: China in the Age of Zheng He

This will help flesh out the theory laid out in my previous post. This does not address Menzies' theory either pro or con, but does demonstrate for the record the voyages of the Chinese fleet in the 15th century that history acknowledges did take place, and they covered vast swaths of the globe.There are some discrepancies (the year of Zheng He's death for instance) but you will see how it was done in 1421 & 1434. Fascinating!...T

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