Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crisis at Fannie & Freddie, Straight from the Horses' Asses

According to the New York Times, (House Rejects Bailout Package, 228-205; Stocks Plunge) after yesterday's failure of the bailout bill,

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat, said the measure was vital to help financial institutions survive and keep people in their homes. “There’s plenty of blame to go around,” she said, and attaching blame should come later.

She could well speak about putting the blame off until later, considering her own role in this mess.

Her comments, and the posturing of the Democrats for the past week, simply must be accompanied by a few minutes watching this video, in which Maxine plays an important starring role: "Memory Lane: 'Lynching' Franklin Raines and How Fannie Mae Isn't 'Broke'".

Take 8 minutes. It won't sound the same the next time Pelosi or Obama condemn the Republicans for this mess.

And here are some things you may like to know about Franklin Raines, Obama's economic adviser, and the former CEO of Fannie Mae: "Obama adviser spun Enron-like accounting scandal".

Sarah Palin May Be Overqualified

All you folks getting wobbly about our Sarah Palin, here’s something you need to keep in mind.

According to famed Vaginologist Eve Ensler, Sarah “has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.”

Someone who can nail 40 caribou at a clip a heartbeat away from being Commander-in-Chief?

Perfect!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gas Prices Explained

More and more of that conventional wisdom is going around that the reason we have to give up oil and ride bikes to work is that even if we return to exploring America for our own oil, it will be "years" before it does any good at the gas pump. The idea is there is so little oil left, and the technical problems involved with getting it out of the ground are so great, that it's hardly worht the effort. By then, as we're being promised, taxpayer money can easily solve the much simpler technical problems of coming up with an alternative to petroleum in maybe 10 years.

But the slow process of getting our own oil has nothing at all to do with any technical problems in finding oil or recovering it. The problem lies somewhere else entirely.

The following news article highlights the key factors explaining higher gas prices in the United States, and why getting the oil we need from our own resources is such an uphill battle.

WASHINGTON -- The welcome sign is going out to oil and gas companies off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

A quarter-century ban on offshore exploration expires in this coming week, but don't expect to see a chain of drilling platforms from the beaches anytime soon.

It will take a couple of years, at least, before any oil or natural gas leases are issued, years more before any oil is found and perhaps a decade before any of it begins to flow to refineries.

And what if Congress, after completing a bill Saturday that removes the freeze, changes its mind next year and again puts some of the coastal waters off-limits?

For 26 years, Congress has issued an annual directive barring the Interior Department from issuing any leases for oil and gas drilling in federal waters on both coasts. It omitted the directive this time after public opinion swung in favor of drilling in response to $4-a-gallon gasoline this summer.

The prohibition has blocked access by energy companies to what the government estimates to be 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the country's Outer Continental Shelf.

While the freeze ends Wednesday, the start of the new budget year, oil and gas companies won't be revving up their seismic monitoring boats -- much less their drilling rigs.

"We do think ... the reserves are significant, so we're very interested in having those areas open for exploration," said Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co., a dominant player in deep-water oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

The available data "shows good resources on both coasts," Odum said in a recent meeting with reporters, adding that other companies as well as his own would be interested in pursuing those areas. But he also said he is "keeping a close eye" on what the government does next.

Where the oil might be is one big question.


The government's estimates are 30 years old. Modern 3D seismic studies pinpointing where the oil lies will not be possible until the Interior Department establishes leasing plans that include the newly available areas, industry executives say.

Democrats already are saying they will try next year to carve out coastal buffers and other areas such as the Georges Bank off New England for special protection. Republican leaders promise to fight any new bans on drilling, but also want to assure states they will get a share of the billions of dollars in royalties.
###

"Where the oil might be is one big question."

I don't see how that's the big question. In all these years, I've never seen an article reporting that the latest studies show there's less oil out there than we thought before. The government has simply forbid oil companies from getting it. It sounds to me like the only big question that matters is how to get the government out of the way to let the energy companies do what we all need them to do.

Iranian Clerics Adopt Obama-Style Diplomacy

This was reported in today's Detroit Free Press:

U.S. ambassador: Iran toying with Iraq security talks

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDAD — U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is criticizing Iran for trying to block a new security agreement between the United States and Iraq.

In an interview today, Crocker said a steady stream of public statements from clerical and political figures in Tehran make it clear that Iran is interfering in the bilateral negotiations between Iraq and the United States. The talks must conclude by the end of 2008.

The ambassador said Iran wants to keep Iraq "off-balance" to be able to control events in its Arab neighbor to its satisfaction.The new agreement would govern the long-term status of U.S. forces in Iraq and replace a temporary UN Security Council resolution.

###

Who do these Iranians think they are? Barack Obama? (“Two-Faced Obama Tries to Slow Iraq Withdrawal, While Telling Voters We Need to Get Out Now”).

Bush Doctrine Shows Up in Pakistan

Here is a hopeful piece of news from Pakistan, where things haven’t been going so well for the good guys lately.

It seems that Al Qaeda, (though the McLatchy article refuses to call them by that name), and their Taliban pals, have been making new enemies among the Pakistani tribes who’ve been providing them safe haven in their region since 2001. The situation sounds very similar to the situation in Iraq when Al Qaeda brutalityconvinced local Sunni leaders in Anbar that AQI had to be driven out.

In northwest Pakistan, the elders of tribal elders got together and decided to raise their own armed defense force. Of note: “Among the decisions was that anyone sheltering Taliban in the area would be severely punished.”

You’d almost think they’d been studying up on the “Bush doctrine” circa 2001.

Pakistani tribes take on militants

With little faith in government, they defend themselves

BY SAEED SHAHMCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

WARI, Pakistan -- A popular resistance movement is emerging in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province to challenge Islamic extremists, who exercise control over whole districts and maintain a stranglehold over the local population.

The movement in both the province and the lawless tribal territory bordering Afghanistan relies on fierce tribal customs and widespread ownership of guns in the northwest of the country to raise traditional private armies, known as a lashkar, each with the strength of hundreds or several thousand volunteers.

The movement arose after local tribal leaders decided that the government can't or won't come to their aid as a radical, outside form of Islam seeks to impose itself on them down the barrel of an assault rifle.

There are parallels with the so-called Sunni Awakening in Iraq, in which tribesmen took on Al Qaeda militants in Anbar province and elsewhere. While the movement is in only a few pockets so far in northwest Pakistan, its existence could mark a turning point in Pakistan's battle with violent extremism.

'The people versus the Taliban'

"There's going to be a civil war. These lashkars are spreading," said Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the Awami National Party, which controls the provincial government in NWFP. "It will be the people versus the Taliban."

Dir -- a long, narrow valley in the province -- is sandwiched between Taliban strongholds in Bajaur and Afghanistan to the west and more militants in the valley of Swat to its east.

This month, about 200 elders from the Payandakhel tribe met in Wari, a small town in the north of the region. In the dusty front yard of a high school, they held a traditional tribal meeting, or jirga, and made rousing speeches that resulted in a resolution to assemble their own lashkar. Among the decisions was that anyone sheltering Taliban in the area would be severely punished.

"The government forces cannot even save themselves -- what good will they be to us? They are just silent spectators," Malik Zarene, a tribal elder, told the crowd. "We will rise for our own defense."

Many of the men at the jirga arrived with machine guns, some dating to the 1980s Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The meeting was called in response to a scare a few days earlier, when members of the Taliban tried to seize a local school and take 300 children hostage. Without waiting for the authorities to act, tribesmen successfully tackled the assailants.

In Dir, the local tribes have demanded that the federal army not deploy, to which it has agreed.

"Once the army comes in, these Taliban fire at the army, and the whole thing escalates," said a senior security official in Dir who spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to speak to the media. "It is best this is tackled in the traditional way."

###

Saturday, September 27, 2008

NUTS! to Taxpayer Bailout to Benefit ACORN

Were you aware of any of the following based on a week of breathless reporting on this situation? I happened to hear Lindsay Graham's remarks about ACORN reported on Neil Cavuto's program late yesterday afternoon. From HotAir.com:

The Democratic ACORN bailout;
posted at 7:55 am on September 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

House Republicans refused to support the Henry Paulson/Chris Dodd compromise bailout plan yesterday afternoon, even after the New York Times reported that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson got down on one knee to beg Nancy Pelosi to compromise. One of the sticking points, as Senator Lindsey Graham explained later, wasn’t a lack of begging but a poison pill that would push 20% of all profits from the bailout into the Housing Trust Fund — a boondoggle that Democrats in Congress has used to fund political-action groups like ACORN and the National Council of La Raza:


In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican
betrayal.


“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up,
it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”


Graham told Greta van Susteren that Democrats had their own priorities, and it wasn’t bailing out the financial sector:


And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.

Here’s the relevant part of the
Dodd proposal:

TRANSFER OF A PERCENTAGE OF PROFITS.
DEPOSITS.Not less than 20 percent of any profit realized on the sale of each troubled asset purchased under this Act shall be deposited as provided in paragraph (2). USE OF DEPOSITS.Of the amount referred to in paragraph (1) 65 percent shall be deposited into the Housing Trust Fund established under section 1338 of
the Federal Housing Enterprises Regulatory Reform Act of 1992 (12 U.S.C. 4568);
and 35 percent shall be deposited into the Capital Magnet Fund established
under section 1339 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 4569).
REMAINDER DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY.All amounts remaining after payments under paragraph (1) shall be paid into the General Fund of the Treasury for reduction of the public debt.

Profits? We’ll be lucky not to take a bath on the purchase of these toxic assets. If we get 70 cents on the dollar, that would be a success.

That being said, this section proves that the Democrats in Congress have learned nothing from this financial collapse. They still want to game the market to pick winners and losers by funding programs for unqualified and marginally-qualified borrowers to buy houses they may not be able to afford — and that’s the innocent explanation for this clause.

The real purpose of section D is to send more funds to La Raza and ACORN through housing welfare, via the slush fund of the HTF. They want to float their political efforts on behalf of Democrats with public money, which was always the purpose behind the HTF. They did the same thing in April in the first bailout bill, setting aside $100 million in “counseling” that went in large part to ACORN and La Raza, and at least in the former case, providing taxpayer funding for a group facing criminal charges in more than a dozen states for fraud.

It’s bad enough that taxpayers have to pay the price for Congress’ decade-long distortions of the lending and investment markets. If we realize a profit from the bailout, that money should go to pay down the debt or get returned to taxpayers as dividends from their investment — not to organizations committing voter fraud, and not to restarting the entire cycle of government meddling in lending markets. I’d support a rational bailout package, but anything that funds the HTF needs to get stopped.
###

"Absolute ill-run organization"? "Housing program that doesn't work"?? Lindsay Graham is far, far too kind to ACORN, where Barack Obama cut his community-organizing teeth as an ACORN lawyer, see ("Inside Obama's Acorn"), and ("The Danger of Vote Fraud in the 2008 Election").

ACORN is a criminal enterprise that uses tax subsidies to finance its voter-fraud campaigns, and to get like-minded politicians like Barack Obama elected to office. Why should they be getting any benefit from any financial bailout?

The Wall Street Journal described in July how ACORN benefited from the homeowner bailout bill the President signed just a few weeks ago:

One of the biggest likely beneficiaries, despite Republican objections: Acorn, a housing advocacy group that also helps lead ambitious voter-registration efforts benefiting Democrats.

Acorn -- made up of several legally distinct groups under that name -- has become an important player in the Democrats' effort to win the White House. Its voter mobilization arm is co-managing a $15.9 million campaign with the group Project Vote to register 1.2 million low-income Hispanics and African-Americans, who are among those most likely to vote Democratic. Technically nonpartisan, the effort is one of the largest such voter-registration drives on record.

The organization's main advocacy group lobbied hard for passage of the housing bill, which provides nearly $5 billion for affordable housing, financial counseling and mortgage restructuring for people and neighborhoods affected by the housing meltdown.

A third Acorn arm, its housing corporation, does a large share of that work on the ground.
###

Remember Iraq?

But there’s still time for a Tet II. Victory in Iraq is years away yet. This even as Afghanistan is heating up and a July ABC News/Washington Post poll found 45 percent of Americans think the conflict not even worth fighting. And that’s the “good war,” remember?
--Michael Fumento


What with all of the excitement of the nation seriously considering if Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, and Harry Reid should be given total control of the American economy, it may be a good time to catch up on some other pressing issues that have fallen off--way off--the media screens, like the War in Iraq. From Townhall.com:

"Remembering" When al-Anbar Was "Lost"

Michael Fumento
Monday, September 15, 2008

How strange! I spent all three of my Iraqi embeds in western Al Anbar because that’s where the war was worst. Birthplace of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and cradle of the Sunni insurgency, graffiti declared it “Graveyard of the Americans.” Indeed, I was in combat with the first two SEALs to die in Iraq, including the first to win the Medal of Honor (posthumously). I talked strategy with Army Cpt. Travis Patriquin, designer of “The Awakening” that turned enemy Sunni tribes into allies against AQI, while none of this was possible without tremendous help from chief Anbar Marine Public Affairs Officer Maj. Megan McClung. An IED blast killed them both.

So how can it be that last year AQI fled the province and now we’ve handed military control of a pacified al Anbar to Iraqi forces, in what the AP properly called “a stunning reversal of fortune?”

Further, how could this have occurred just two years after the Marines themselves, who were in charge of Anbar military operations, admitted in a classified report that “there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation” and we were “no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency” or “counter al Qaeda's rising popularity . . .”


The answer is they didn’t.

What we knew of the report, by Marine intelligence office Col. Peter Devlin, and which instantly became “the conventional wisdom” on al Anbar, came via essentially a single source. That was Washington Post reporter Thomas E. Ricks, in a Sept. 2006 article “Situation Called Dire in West Iraq: Anbar Is Lost Politically, Marine Analyst Says,” and a follow-up in late November, “Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker.” It’s obvious now that either the report itself or the Ricks’ presentation of it missed the mark worse than an F-16 bombing Baghdad and hitting Basra.

Yet even at the time, articles from Al Anbar itself (not Ricks’ roost in D.C.) contradicted the Post’s presentation. These included my November 2006 Weekly Standard article Return to Ramadi (My original title: “Retaking Ramadi”) and an extensive piece in Britain’s most prestigious newspaper, the Sunday Times, titled “Fighting Back: The City Determined Not to Become al Qaeda's Capital.” Both appeared over a week before the “Clearer and Bleaker” Post story. Milbloggers like Bill Roggio interviewed officers who’d seen the report and said Ricks’ presentation was essentially false. Maj. McClung couldn’t discuss the report with me, but her father tells me she, “thought it was a hoot that Anbar was lost.”

In “Return,” I relyied in part on my own experiences as contrasted with those
reported from my Ramadi trip the previous April, when AP reporter Todd Pitman, with whom I was embedded, observed the "sheer scale of violence in Ramadi is astounding.” I observed both morale and tactics. I also conducted countless on-site interviews with non-politicized military.

My conclusion: “I believe we are winning the Battle of Ramadi. And if the enemy can be beaten here, he can be beaten anywhere.”

As to Ricks, he admitted to NPR “I haven't actually read [the report],” rather “I've had many people describe it to me.” You’d hardly guess that from his articles though, such that supporters of the war effort were just as likely to claim the report was “leaked” to Ricks as were opponents.

Instead what we got was a report as seen through two filters: First, Ricks selected his interviewees who, since by definition they agreed to discuss a classified document, probably held a grudge against current military actions. The second filter was Ricks himself, hardly the epitome of even-handedness as author of the best-selling book about Iraq whose title says it all:
Fiasco.

Much of what Devlin did write was certainly meaningless to readers without background knowledge. “If you're thinking this doesn't reflect doomsaying media interpretations of [Devlin’s report] indicating there's no functioning government in the Anbar, you're right,” I wrote in “Return to Ramadi.” They have no EPA or Department of Education certainly. We're not going to change that system soon and there's little reason to do so.”

Perhaps Ricks was trying to pull off an Iraq version of the media’s Tet Offensive offensive, a battle that crushed the Viet Cong and yet the media declared it a terrible U.S. defeat. Life imitated art as portrayal sucked the life out of our war effort. In any case, others in the mainstream media seemed to have that idea.

NPR relied on Ricks to pronounce “we’ve lost the fight” in Anbar. “The message is, stay the course,” MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann declared, “But in the huge Anbar Province, word from our military is that we've already lost there politically.” Jim Miklaszewski told NBC Nightly News viewers that "The top secret report . . . says there's no chance the U.S. military can end insurgent violence in al Anbar” and “the U.S. is preparing to eventually concede a large piece of Iraq to the enemy . . . ” CNN’s Michael Ware used Ricks’ “revelations” to opine “we only have a third of the troops there that are needed to even begin to make a dent in al Qaeda.”

Democratic Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D.-NV) embellished the myth. “We have had, this week, the colonel in charge of Anbar Province say that it's a civil war; it's been lost,” he said during the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, thereby giving Devlin a huge promotion and tossing in “civil war,” which nobody claimed was in the report.

Most important, Reid suggested that had there been a Senate Democratic Majority (as there is now), it would try to force withdrawals that year. It would indeed have been Tet déjà vu.

But there’s still time for a Tet II. Victory in Iraq is years away yet. This even as Afghanistan is heating up and a July ABC News/Washington Post poll
found 45 percent of Americans think the conflict not even worth fighting. And that’s the “good war,” remember? Ricks’ rotten reporting and the slavish devotion to it in the mainstream media dare not be forgotten.
###

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arabic the Language of the Future in Dearborn?

Grant helps Arabic program

Feds give $1.5 million; parents applaud effort to teach language at two elementary schools.


Tanveer Ali / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Dearborn Public Schools was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to develop an Arabic program at two elementary schools beginning this year, as a part of a yearslong push by parents to expand the district's instruction of the language.

The grant to Miller and William Ford elementaries is one of eight awarded nationwide as a part of a U.S. State Department push to teach children certain languages.

It will set up a five-year program at the schools, adding to existing programs at Becker Elementary and Salina Intermediate.


The growing foreign language program, which will be optional this year, drew praise from parents at a meeting with educators at Miller Elementary Friday as a way to tend to the needs of Dearborn families.

"The fact that Dearborn Public Schools is now offering it to our kids is a great incentive for us," said Miller PTA President Zainab Kobeissi, a parent of a first-grader at the school.


Administrators from both schools said response has been positive to adding a foreign language program, with more than 98 percent of students opting into the program, not all Arabs. Other languages, particularly Spanish and Chinese, piqued parents' interest, but only Chinese would be covered under a similar grant.


Those who didn't opt in would be given other alternatives.

"We've heard many requests over the last few years," said William Ford Principal Mahmoud Abu-Rus. "Having a second language is about how we are going to prepare our students for life. We chose the language based on what our community asked us to do."


The classes will take place in 80-minute sessions every week, teaching the language alongside topics covered in core classes. The program will be taught to kindergarteners through third-graders this year and will be extended to fifth grade over two years.


"It's content-based. It's not teaching Arabic in a vacuum," said Shereen Tabrizi, project director for the district. "The research says it expands the students' critical thinking."

###

The original rationale of allocating millions in taxpayer funds to the teaching of Arabic in this heavily-Arabic area was national security and economic competitiveness.

I know that there are Dearborn Arab Americans, patriotic folks, who have put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan as translators, or helping coalition forces hunt down Saddam, and Al Qaeda murderers, or helping domestic law enforcement investigate terrorism.

But that's not what's going on here. These Dearborn parents view the grants “as a way to tend to the needs of Dearborn families.” How come Dearborn families need Arabic speakers so bad?

And the DPS officials, Miller School PTA President Zainab Kobeissi, William Ford Principal Mahmoud Abu-Rus, and project director Shereen Tabrizi, talk about the program with no reference to national security at all. "Having a second language is about how we are going to prepare our students for life. We chose the language based on what our community asked us to do."

So again, (note the names of the officials), we have a heavily Arabic East Dearborn community asking the schools to emphasize Arabic language education for their children. What “life” have these folks got in mind that their youngsters now need to grow up--in Michigan--speaking and reading fluent Arabic? Do they anticipate a Dearborn of 20-30 years from now that is even more heavily Arabic-only than it is now?

Maybe you recall hearing from Muslim leaders how America’s Muslims are being left out of society, passed over for this country’s great opportunities, victims of a simmering Islamophobia. I don’t happen to buy that, to put it mildly. But let’s assume for the moment it’s true. Let’s assume that today’s Arab Americans and Arabic immigrants, like the immigrant Irish, Italians, Poles, Russians, Germans, etc. of decades past, are facing social and economic barriers because of prejudice against their obvious cultural and ethnic differences from the majority population.

That being the case, just how are their disadvantaged children going to become better integrated into the greater American society by studying Arabic as a second language?

My concern is less that taxpayer money is being thrown into Dearborn’s predominately Arab schools, which is basically carrying coals to Newcastle, so much as that Arabic-language instruction has been linked with indoctrination in pan-Arabic and Islamist worldviews.

You can read about that here, here, and here.

Project director Shereen Tabrizi even promises that the district’s Arabic students will be studying a “content-based” language curriculum, not learning Arabic “in a vacuum.”

Except there is no vacuum in the Dearborn Public Schools. There simply is no lack of Arabic culture, language, religion, or other social and ethnic markers in Dearborn that calls for some kind of total immersion in the classroom. Certainly not the vacuum there would be if a Dearborn student were studying, say, Chinese. An East Dearborn Arabic child is immersed in everyday Arabic at home, reads it in Arabic newspapers, hears it on Arabic cable channels, sees it on Arabic stores signs, smells it coming from neighborhood kitchens and restaurants, hears it shouted on sidewalks and street corners, and hears it spoken in the mosque, and--of course--he sees it in the Koran.

And we already know from other, similar, grant programs, that the overhwelming majority of students taking Arabic are Arabic themselves. “Approximately 90 percent of Star International Academy's students come from an Arabic background, but is not a requirement to get into the school.”

So what will the content be in this content-based Arabic program?

I’m only asking.

The Terror of Trig

Okay, you Democrats. I’m not buying it that you’re all terrified of a McCain-Palin victory because Sarah Palin lacks foreign-policy experience.

For one thing, you’re Democrats, remember? You’re the party that doesn’t take foreign policy seriously. You abandoned victory in the Vietnam War, embraced the nuclear-freeze movement, and wanted us to give up and get along with the Reds. You either treat foreign policy as political theater, or else limit it to adopting policies that make the Europeans like us better. But you long ago abandoned--and then forgot--how the first priority of foreign policy is to guarantee the national defense. The last time you people produced someone who took foreign policy seriously, it was Joe Lieberman, and you ended up throwing him right out of your party.

As a case in point, your current candidate has already said he plans to invade Pakistan, escalate the war in Afghanistan, possibly invade Iran, but under absolutely no circumstances does he intend to allow the war in Iraq to continue on the successful course it's followed since the surge began. Obama’s idea of foreign policy is to lobby the Iraqi government to prolong the war until after he gets into office so he can cheat the Bush administration of the victory.

And I haven’t forgotten how hard you all tried to put John Kerry in the White House, (he of the “global permission slip”). Had he won in 2004, we’d now be in the third year of living down America’s second Vietnam-style rout.

Then of course, there was Kerry’s VP pick in 2004—John Edwards—a guy even you people never pretended had any qualifications in foreign policy, nor domestic policy, nor, for that matter, qualifications to be seated in polite company at all. In fact, the only qualifications he did possess were a cynical agenda dictated by the trial-lawyers association and a history as a call-girl for Big Labor. Yet you all thronged to the Kerry-Edwards banner. Don’t bother denying it: you’re still all driving around with your Kerry/Edwards 'o4 bumper stickers.

And now there’s Joe Biden. You tell us Sarah Palin can’t possibly stand on level ground with the immense foreign-policy credentials of Senator Biden. But a few months ago, you all were so unimpressed with him he didn’t even pull 1% support in your party primaries. He's taken a stand on every major foreign policy issue for 30 years, and for 30 years he's been getting it wrong.

But all that is smoke and mirrors, anyway. Your hatred of Sarah Palin has nothing to do with foreign policy, nor what you call her lack of experience, or anything like that.

You hate her because she’s the loving mother of Trig Palin, the most famous Down Syndrome baby in the world.


Not only that, you hate the way she keeps referring to Trig as if he’s a real human child, just like any other baby, with a right to live and everything, in callous disregard for all those mothers who wrestled with the “moral issue” of pre-emptively aborting their defective babies, but then did it anyway.

It’s very simple. If McCain wins, you’re facing a minimum of four years, and probably eight years, of having to watch baby Trig growing up in awkward proximity to national exposure. If President McCain dies in office, Sarah and her product of conception could be around even longer, especially if you Democrats keep expanding the variety of Americans you’re willing to insult.

And all those years of VP Palin means that every time someone raises the issue of special needs children, there will be Trig, the accidental poster child for the issue, instead of some faceless resident of a group home. And Trig's biggest spokesman, his charismatic mother, is just going to keep talking about why she loves to have him around. Now every time some well-meaning expert with a grant from the Guttmacher Institute tries to make a point on NPR about “preventing birth defects,” and “avoiding a bad outcome," there will be Trig, spoiling it all, the Vice-Presidential birth defect who wasn’t prevented.

And every time you pro-abortion advocates hold your hands up and swear how much you actually hate abortion, except that you're duty-bound to defend a woman’s “reproductive freedom,” there will be Sarah Palin, who exercised her reproductive freedom, and whom you promptly labeled with a scarlet “A” –an “A” with a slash through it--for the Abortion she refused to have. For exercising her choice, you’ve called her filthy names, and denounced her as not even being a woman.

So much for your defense of “reproductive freedom.”

Statistics run something like this. 80% of Down Syndrome babies are being killed in the womb. I would venture special-needs babies are closer to extinction than the Polar Bears. And one-third of black babies in America are being aborted: and not by Klan members or Don Imus.

Granted, that’s a significant reduction of humanity’s carbon footprint; hell, that’s a significant reduction of human feet in general. And can't you just feel those grateful ice caps thickening back up?

And I can well imagine, if you’re an abortion-supporting utopian optimist, that you’d see that 80% Down Syndrome death-rate not as a moral tragedy, but as a positive sign that America has only 20% more wombs to go before we have a retard-free nation. Yes We Can! With progress like that, can absolutely free health care be far behind?

And then out of no place comes this attractive, life-affirming state executive from way to hell up north and back again, for whom the “potential life” inside her doesn't represent a moral wrestling match at all, but a new child to be welcomed into the family and loved. If there was any wrestling for Sarah and Todd when they learned the hard news of their child's condition, it was a match that didn't last long.

So you despise this upstart Sarah for her selfish disregard for society's new consensus view about birth defects and lives not worth living. And because as a governor she was already a public figure, then suddenly a much bigger public figure, her decision about Trig very publicly gave the lie to all those years you yapped about "choice" when you meant something else entirely--something that wasn't a choice at all--because how could it be about choice after you told millions of women they had no choice, except to strike down the little beings that threatened to take their happiness away--and after all those years of scolding young girls, from elementary school onwards, that their own lives would be ruined except for that awful choice.

You see, I don't believe that the mothers of 80% of those lost Down Syndrome babies are all so selfish that they got abortions without lots and lots of pressure from family and girlfriends and unworthy sex partners who should have loved them better than that, from doctors who should have treated them better than that, and from spiritual advisers who should have pastored them better than that. (Not to mention the pressure from the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and the Style section of every newspaper in America.)

So now you people rail at Sarah for being the anti-woman, and anti-choice because she didn't make the only choice you, in your bastions of tolerance, will tolerate from someone in her position--the choice for death.

You even go beyond blaming Sarah for Trig to blame the Palins as parents for not forcing their daughter to have an abortion.

So for Sarah choosing to bring her baby into the world, to be loved and raised by her, to be supported by her family, she must suffer the attacks of moral imbeciles like your Cintra Wilson, who accused Sarah of being "not just pro-life, [but] anti-life. She is the suppression of human feeling and instinct. She is a slave to the compromises dictated by her own desire for power and control." Right. Sarah Palin suppresses human feeling. Otherwise, I'm sure she'd have had the damned abortion--which we all recognize is the pinnacle of the human instinct of a mother for her child. (Or maybe it is--in Cintra Wilson's Hell, or in Obama's Utopia).

What a betrayal Sarah is guilty of! What a betrayal of Women, of the Planet, of the Polar Bears!

No wonder you’re all having “Sarah Palin nightmares.”

But don’t try and kid us this has anything to do with her qualifications to be Vice President.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eve Ensler's Polar Bear Monologues

The following article attacking Sarah Palin, written by Eve Ensler, appeared in The Huffington Post. WARNING, if it doesn't offend you, then my following remarks almost certainly will.

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

###

I thought I had a phobia about dentistry.

If you read this kind of thing head-on, the anger and irrationality of it make the idea of dialogue awfully hopeless. But then the creator of the Vagina Monologues isn’t welcoming every vagina to have a say, and I haven't got one anyway.

On the other hand, Ms. Ensler may simply be engaging in extremely heavy irony. For years I’ve been noticing how people whose career choices have put them seriously enough in debt to the Left can thereafter communicate with outsiders only by the most oblique form of code. Could this be Ms. Ensler’s anti-abortion manifesto in disguise?

Anyway, it goes without saying that Ms. Ensler would not be having her play produced on almost every campus in America (including Catholic campuses--AAARRRRGGHH!!), if she weren’t a champion of that most vagina-affirming and sacred activity known to womankind--of course I’m talking about going knees-up for a stranger in a lab coat while he excavates the womb of its unwanted contents, bills you, and disappears from your life forever, or until next time.

Because Ms. Ensler is someone widely recognized as an expert on the female organ, and who has conversed so widely with so many of them, I’m surprised at how shallow is her grasp of how, most of the time, babies come to be. (For example, “I imagine [Sarah Palin’s] daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.” None, actually. It’s not practicing abstinence that makes babies.)

In Ensler's view, the remainder of babies, (when they don’t come from abstinence) come into being as the result of rape, or, in an odd verb choice, because of women being violently “incested.”

In this kind of emotional approach, where babies are always only the fruits of violence, it’s only fair they die by violence, n’est-ce-pas? Doesn’t it follow (speaking emotionally, that is), that if your father’s a rapist, it’s only simple justice that you deserve to die without mercy, not to mention without due process? It’s not as if you’re a cop killer or a terrorist, or some other practitioner of political speech, in which case you’d at least be entitled to the advocacy of an ACLU lawyer and a runway’s worth of Hollywood starlets.

Ms. Ensler’s precious self-image allows her to lecture the rest of us from the vantage of a person who is unimpeachably good (as in, “The people who made this choice [selecting Palin] count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists”). Elsewhere, she casts herself as guardian of “saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.” (This kind of smugness does have an explanation, as I see it. Evolution, to compensate the liberal mind's diminished capacity to process facts, has provided for a defense mechanism a complete immunity to moral self-awareness.)

As one manifestation of Ms. Ensler’s goodness, she partakes mystically in the exquisite suffering of dumb nature at the hands of Republican enemies—for example, she feels for the ozone, for the seabed, for the peaceful Iraqi oil deposits that never did anything to us.

And then there are the Polar Bears, a relationship second only in bizarreness to her relationship with drills. “I have a particular thing for Polar Bears,” she writes. “Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one.”

(Maybe. Or maybe you don’t know a damned thing about polar bears, and you’re just a self-indulgent poseur. But I digress.)

Ms. Ensler actually thinks that telling you she has a thing for Polar Bears ought to convince you to vote Obama in 2008. (On second thought, I’ve heard lesser reasons to vote for him.) But, she continues, “If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, ‘Drill Drill Drill.’ I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape.”

That’s funny. I think of teeth when I think of Polar Bears. I think of being eaten. I think of running.

But we’re talking about Ms. Ensler’s hang-ups, not mine. Drills make her think of teeth, and rape, so let’s work with that. Or better yet, let’s just leave that one for the Freudians, and whoever handles risk management at her dentist’s office. Still, I did hear the RNC speech myself, and was pretty sure Sarah Palin wasn’t calling for mandatory tooth fillings. Under the Obama health plan, however, mandatory anything can never be ruled out. . . .

When she’s not autohagiographizing as a lover of bears and the planet, Ms. Ensler shows a preference for harrowing, violent imagery:

“ripped open”

“forever uninhabitable for humans”


“violence through invasion”

“I think of destruction.”


“emptying the brain”


“I think of pain.”


“more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life.”


Now, combining these harsh images with Ms. Ensler’s lifelong study of both her own and other women’s vaginas, I have to conclude it’s no accident that her writing brings to mind the mayhem of abortion—the mayhem that Sarah “Nightmare” Palin and people like me want so much to see banned. It may be unconscious on Ms. Ensler’s part, I wouldn’t pretend to know. I do think she’s got some psychological issues, you know, like with the drills.

Take for example her jeremiad about a future of “more holes”: “More holes in the ozone. . . . more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life.” Taken along with her remark about “emptying the brain,” she’s just painted a fairly vivid picture of how a partial-birth abortion works. (A picture, by the way, that is kept a strict secret from the Feminist solidarity). In this perfectly legal procedure, a doctor pokes a hole in the back of the all-but-delivered baby’s skull before “emptying the brain,” thereby making it much easier to crush the head for final extraction from the cervix, safely dead, and no longer a threat to its mother’s lifestyle.

I ask you: Is she really talking about oil exploration? Are we really to believe it's drilling a hole in desert rock that harms the fabric of this precious thing called life?

Ms. Ensler's images also call forth other, more acceptable [sic] abortion procedures, the ones that still entail “violence through invasion,” like the “ripping” apart of the unborn in the womb and its removal piece by piece. Or abortions done in the earlier stages of pregnancy, where a "woman's physician" renders her uterus chemically “uninhabitable” for the human being innocently needing to inhabit there. All of which procedures, in their tens of millions, make me, and I’m hardly alone in this, “think of destruction,” and “think of pain.”

But Ms. Ensler doesn’t want us to think her hatred of Sarah Palin is based on her abortion views. She wants us to believe she’s been too busy having night terrors over the Alaskan caribou population to stoop to hating Sarah Palin for that. No, what has her tossing and turning on her bed of goodness and solidarity at night are images of those brutal Bush-Cheney Manbits ripping and penetrating the soft, dark she-thatch of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. For Ms. Ensler, oil-drilling, like dentistry, is “rape.”

Rape? Well, you know what they say. If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And come to think of it, I don’t know what Ms. Ensler’s got that makes everything (even teeth) look to her like a vagina, and I guess I don’t want to know. (But I still think someone needs to take a closer look at her dentist.)

My point is that Eve Ensler is either kidding herself, or kidding you and me, when she tries to convince us her only motive in writing these screeds is her love of the Planet and her anxiety over drowning Polar Bears. Ms. Ensler’s white-hot anger at Sarah Palin has nothing to do with her imaginary love affair with Polar Bears she's never met or even seen, or with her psychotic fear of drills. What it has everything to do with is Sarah Palin’s opposition to abortion, an opposition lived out in both Sarah Palin’s own life and that of her pregnant daughter’s. Like every moral imbecile who brags about his virtue, the more Ms. Ensler actually credits herself as standing for “deepening tolerance,” the more intolerant her attacks become.

Even Sarah Has To Take It Underground

Funny who turns up underground.

Even as prominent a person as Sarah Palin has to find ways to get her message out.

In her case, it’s because she was scheduled to speak yesterday at a rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to protest the appearance at the UN and elsewhere of President Ahmadinejad of Iran, but then she was disinvited at the last minute, “two days after U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) canceled her longstanding plans to address the rally.”

This disgraceful decision by the rally organizers to disinvite Palin was almost certainly the result of Democratic pressure. So overpowering, apparently, would have been the appearance of the fluffy former Mayor of Nowhere, Alaska, that the only way to keep things fair to the Democrats--and Hillary Clinton--was to tell Palin just to stay away. Democratic organizers didn't dare risk casting an advantageous light on the Republicans. That would have been tough to avoid, given that it’s been the Bush administration, and people who share much of his foreign policy, like John McCain, who have the vastly stronger record of standing up to Iran than the Democrats could ever claim to have.

So the speech Palin intended to deliver in New York on Monday was released as a column through the New York Sun. (Okay, the New York Sun’s not exactly underground. But running as a column, Palin's message won't get the coverage—especially the TV coverage-- it would have had if she’d been allowed to speak at the rally).

So we’re posting her speech in full below, guaranteeing at least three more Americans will see it.

By the way, it seems that in spite of the efforts of the rally organizers to keep “politics” out, some of the participants didn’t read the memo. Check this out:

Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin and Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar also spoke at the event.

Fakhravar thanked Israel and the United States for not recognizing and doing business with the Iranian regime. He also made his preference in the U.S. presidential election clear, criticizing “those who want to go to the White House to have unconditional talks with the Islamic Republic”—an apparent reference to a remark Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made in a debate last year about being willing to meet with Ahmadinejad.


Yes, that would be an apparent reference to Obama, wouldn't it?

Palin on Ahmadinejad: 'He Must Be Stopped'

By SARAH PALIN September 22, 2008
Governor Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, was scheduled to speak today at a rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to protest the appearance here of
President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Her appearance was canceled by rally organizers who sought a nonpolitical event. Following are the remarks Mrs. Palin would have given:

I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country — leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.

Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York — to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan — and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.

Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him.

He must be stopped.

The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation."

Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.

The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.

The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.

So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.

If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.

But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. It sponsors the world's most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran's desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.

Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran's official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government's threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.

It is said that the measure of a country is the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. By that standard, the Iranian government is both oppressive and barbaric. Under Ahmadinejad's rule, Iranian women are some of the most vulnerable citizens.

If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.

If she walks down a public street in clothing that violates the state dress code, she could be arrested.


But in the face of this harsh regime, the Iranian women have shown courage. Despite threats to their lives and their families, Iranian women have sought better treatment through the "One Million Signatures Campaign Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws."

The authorities have reacted with predictable barbarism. Last year, women's rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 20 lashes and 10 months in prison for committing the crime of "propaganda against the system." After international protests, the judiciary reduced her sentence to "only" 10 lashes and 36 months in prison and then temporarily suspended her sentence. She still faces the threat of imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Senator Clinton said that "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is in the forefront of that" effort. Senator Clinton argued that part of our response must include stronger sanctions, including the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. John McCain and I could not agree more.

Senator Clinton understands the nature of this threat and what we must do to confront it. This is an issue that should unite all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!

Only by working together, across national, religious, and political differences, can we alter this regime's dangerous behavior. Iran has many vulnerabilities, including a regime weakened by sanctions and a population eager to embrace opportunities with the West. We must increase economic pressure to change Iran's behavior.


Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.

We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran's allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran's refined petroleum imports.

We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran's economic influence.

We must target the regime's assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.

President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.


We must sanction Iran's Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization.

Together, we can stop Iran's nuclear program.

Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain's promise and it is my promise.

Thank you.

Peace Through Oatmeal

Remember this guy?

“Nothing is better for thee than me.”

Not so good on the grammar, but we all got the point. Quaker Oats were wholesome, nutritious, warm. Pacifist.

Now the pleasant man in the shovel hat is going to get us all killed.

I say that that’s because nothing is worse for all of us on Planet Earth than this guy:






But they still want to treat him like he's a serious partner in religious dialogue.

It's not just the Quakers. The Mennonites want a piece of this, too. And the usual left-fringe church groups.

Take a look at this:

ADL: Religious groups' plan to break bread with Ahmadinejad is a 'betrayal'

By Shlomo Shamir and Natasha Mozgovaya,
Haaretz Correspondents

Five American religious organizations have announced plans to host a dinner to break the Ramadan fast with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the United States.

The Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee are sponsoring the meeting with President Ahmadinejad on September 25 in New York City.

The dinner to break the Ramadan fast, called an Iftar, is being billed as "an international dialogue between religious leaders and political figures" in a conversation "about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies."

National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham H. Foxman, issued a response to the announcement, calling the planned event "a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values."

"It simply defies belief that five organizations with a mission of promoting peace through dialogue would choose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from among the hundreds of world leaders and ambassadors who will be in New York this month, as an appropriate and legitimate interlocutor on world peace," Foxman said.

Foxman continued, "In extending an invitation to Ahmadinejad, the religious organizations sponsoring this dinner have tarnished their reputations as peace seekers and bridge builders. Their breaking bread with President Ahmadinejad is a perversion of the search for peace and an appalling betrayal of religious values."

Ahmadinejad has caused international uproar with his continued denial of the Holocaust and his frequent anti-Israel tirades, in which he has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
###

(Thanks to Christopher Logan at IslamInAction. )

So the Quakers want to have a sit-down the President of Iran and have a nice talk "about the role of religions in tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies."

The Iranians are on record already on this point. As far as the role of Islam in building a peaceful world, which means a peaceful Islam, it all starts with with the destruction of Israel and the Jews:

From yesterday’s Iran News Roundup on NRO, I select only this:

--Vice President Mashayee writes an open letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei immediately after the Supreme Leader's Friday prayer sermon in Tehran: "...I am convinced about the annihilation of world Zionism and find it within our reach."

--Speaking on the [VP] Meshayee affair, Ahmadinejad says:

"Our position with regard to the Zionist regime is crystal clear. We have never recognized this regime. This regime is the root of corruption in the region and was created as a threat to the nations of the region, and the nations of the region do not recognize this regime...

--Our attempts in the Holocaust issue serve the purpose of showing the true Holocaust [in Palestine]...

--Khamenei at the Friday prayers : "The informed and awakened Iranian nation will come to the streets this year at the Qods Day to defend the rights of the wronged innocent people of Palestine along with other freedom seeking Muslim nations...The Hamas government in Gaza is a legal and popular government which has taken office through the ballot, but those claiming to represent civilization and democracy, ignoring this fact, support the crimes and tough actions of the Zionists...The Iranian nation has no problem with the Jews, Christians and followers of other religions, but statements
that we are friends with the people of Israel like all other peoples of the world is wrong, since they confiscate land and belongings of the Palestinian nation are partners in crime of Zionist authorities and confiscators of Palestine. This strong position is the official position of the [Islamic Republic] regime...Such statements are now history..."

He's right, you know. Such statements really are history. So the Quakers shouldn't be lacking for jumping off points for their peace convo.

Maybe it could go something like this. "Mr. President, looking down the road, I mean, after you've destroyed Israel, please share with all of us how you envision Islam tackling global challenges and building peaceful societies? Oh, and could you pass the dinner rolls? No? Okay, then."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"We Are All Mickey Mouse Now!"

If you're planning a trip to Orlando with the grandkiddies, better be prepared for some seriously heightened security. And don't plan on buying any mouse ears, unless you want a suicide bomber to climb in behind you on Space Mountain.

This from an article in Israel Today:

Muslims: "We must kill Mickey Mouse"

A prominent Saudi Islamic cleric has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against Mickey Mouse, whom he characterized as an agent of Satan sent to corrupt young minds.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Munajid told Saudi Arabia's Al-Majd Television that his beef with Mickey is that he is a mouse, a creature that Islam sees as "repulsive and corrupting."

Al-Munajid explained that Islamic law refers to the mouse as "little corrupter" and a creature that is "steered by Satan," and grants permission to all Muslims to "kill [mice] in all cases."

Therefore, according to Islamic law, insisted the sheikh, "Mickey Mouse should be killed."

Last year the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas tried to redeem Mickey by recreating his likeness on a popular children's television program designed to teach Arab children to hate and seek the violent demise of Jews.

The Mickey look-a-like named Farfur was eventually "martyred" by an actor playing an Israeli security agent.

#

All of which leads me to say,

Anti-Jihad bloggers: We are all Mickey Mouse now!


Two-Faced Obama Tries to Slow Iraq Withdrawal--While Telling Voters We Need to Get Out Now

Just when you thought he wasn't that big of a creep after all.

From the extremely credible Amir Taheri writing for the New York Post:

OBAMA TRIED TO STALL GIS' IRAQ WITHDRAWAL

By AMIR TAHERI
September 15, 2008 --


WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.


"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.


Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate.


While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet.


Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.


By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June.

Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law.

Thus, the 2010 deadline fixed by Obama is a meaningless concept, thrown in as a sop to his anti-war base.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration have a more flexible timetable in mind.

According to Zebari, the envisaged time span is two or three years - departure in 2011 or 2012. That would let Iraq hold its next general election, the third since liberation, and resolve a number of domestic political issues.


Even then, the dates mentioned are only "notional," making the timing and the cadence of withdrawal conditional on realities on the ground as appreciated by both sides.


Iraqi leaders are divided over the US election. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (whose party is a member of the Socialist International) sees Obama as "a man of the Left" - who, once elected, might change his opposition to Iraq's liberation. Indeed, say Talabani's advisers, a President Obama might be tempted to appropriate the victory that America has already won in Iraq by claiming that his intervention transformed failure into success.
#

Obama's office tried to talk their way around Taheri's claims, but ended up reiterating the gist of it themselves:

Obama camp hits back at Iraq double-talk claim
2 days ago

PUEBLO, Colorado (AFP) — Barack Obama's White House campaign angrily denied Monday a report that he had secretly urged the Iraqis to postpone a deal to withdraw US troops until after November's election.

In the New York Post, conservative Iranian-born columnist Amir Taheri quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as saying the Democrat made the demand when he visited Baghdad in July, while publicly demanding an early withdrawal.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview, according to Taheri.

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open," Zebari reportedly said.

The Republican campaign of John McCain seized on the report to accuse Obama of double-speak on Iraq, calling it an "egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas."

But Obama's national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri's article bore "as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial."

In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said. [Exactly what Taheri wrote--TRC].

In the face of resistance from Bush, the Democrat has long said that any such agreement must be reviewed by the US Congress as it would tie a future administration's hands on Iraq.

"Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades," Morigi said.

"These outright distortions will not changes the facts -- Senator Obama is the only candidate who will safely and responsibly end the war in Iraq and refocus our attention on the real threat: a resurgent Al-Qaeda and Taliban along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border."

Last Tuesday, Bush announced plans to remove 8,000 US troops from Iraq in the coming months and send 4,500 to Afghanistan by January.

Obama said the president was belatedly coming round to his own way of thinking, but also accused Bush of "tinkering around the edges" and "kicking the can down the road to the next president."
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Safely and responsibly end the war? He's willing to prolong the tours of U.S. troops, and gamble with the lives of Iraqis, just to rob the Bush administration of credit for the win, and gain an edge in the polls in November to get his own sorry ass into a chair he can never fill.

There's no way this President would ever kick this can down the road to the likes of the treacherous Barack Obama. He couldn't trust this clown with an empty can of SPAM™.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Joe Biden's Charity

It turns out that Joe Biden’s years-long pattern of charitable giving is so low a percentage of his income that I can’t even manage the right number of zeroes after 0.0. According to Byron York, this is how the numbers broke down the year Biden declared $120 in charitable giving to the IRS:

To take Biden’s worst year, 1999, one percent of his adjusted gross income would have been $2,100. One half of one percent would have been $1,050. One quarter of one percent would have been $525. One eighth of one percent would have been $262. And one sixteenth of one percent would have been $131 — still a bit more than the Bidens gave.
Joe Biden and American Charity

Biden may explain this by pointing out that he gives at the office. His Senate office, that is. He’s giving somone else's money, taxpayer money, but he gives.

Isn’t that good enough?

The Left is going to be sorely tempted to try to dig up a similar poverty of charity in the Todd and Sarah Palin household, but that will be just another cigar exploding in the media’s face. If I know my evangelicals, her branch believes in tithing, which, strictly applied, starts at 10%–and that's 10% of gross income, not net. Had Biden done that in 1999, he would have donated at least $21,000, instead of $120.