Thursday, November 5, 2009
Small doings on Tuesday with some elections. The Republicans won a couple of governor spots while the Democrats won a couple of House seats. Which was more important?
As much as I hate to agree with the idiots over at DailyKos, I think that the Democrats came out bigger nationally, at least in the short term.
As far as I'm concerned, Corzine losing in New Jersey wasn't terribly surprising. I think that results were more anti-Corzine than it was pro-Republican. And time will tell whether Chris Christie will actually be conservative (my immediate guess is no).
As for Virginia, come on, it's...Virginia. We should be whuppin' ass in Virginia. The fact that the Democrats have done as well as they have kinda scary.
But these are mostly local issues. Governors don't really have any power to influence national aspects. But the House of Representatives does.
I think there was a seat in California that was won by Democrats...no shocker there. From what I understand, Democrats heavily outnumbered Republicans in that district and it traditionally sends the former to represent them.
NY-23, however, is a much different story. Once again, the RINOs decided that they're going to suck Democrat balls rather than even try to reconciliate with conservatives. That race made me sick because I really do think Hoffman should have been the winner there, particularly since about 5% voted for Scozzafava anyway. But then, that's the RINOs for you. If they don't get their way, they just vote Democrat (funny how everyone always portrays us conservatives as being narrow-minded). Congrads RINOS, you just added another "yes" vote to radical health care.
I mean, with "friends" like the Scuzzy backers, the Maine sisters and a host of other "let's toss salad the Democrats" RINOs, who needs enemies? Seriously, why don't the RINOs just slap a fucking D next to their name and be done with it? It's obvious that you guys agree very much with Democrats, so just take the next logical step and switch parties. And yes, I'm not afraid to say that I want to see the Republican purified a bit. If purified means getting rid of backstabbers and Meghan "like oh my god" McCain twits, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Purify the party and improve on the message (and yes it needs improving) or at the very least make it clearer. In the long term we'll be better for it.
Monday, May 11, 2009
One thing that caught my attention was what has been going on in the Northwest Frontier region of Pakistan. From what I've seen in the mainstream media, they aren't covering this important news anywhere near the level that they should. In a nutshell, Pakistan is much worse than what is reported, and it's not improving. The media makes a point to herald various Pakistani army offensives against the Taliban, and then leaves it hanging. What generally happens is that the army or security forces move against the Taliban, take a town or a small amount of territory, declare victory and then withdraw. That's assuming that they aren't thrown out of their gains by Taliban counterattacks, which has happened frequently.
Even the US military is skeptical about Pakistani military claims in its latest offensive, which is spanning the Northwest Frontier districts of Buner, Shangla, Dir and Swat. If our own military is saying that the Paks are full of shit, I think it's time to get worried. God help us if the Taliban actually gets ahold of some of the nuclear weapons.
And from Afghanistan, there's this "cute" article about the Afghan lawmakers (I use that term loosely) wanting to restrict our soldiers there. Yeah, anything to help the Taliban out...
In a nutshell, these guys are pissed off that civilians are getting killed by our soldiers (which may or may not be true, since they could easily be getting killed by their own people) and so they want to put restrictions on our troops to make sure no civilians are hurt in the future. They say that if it doesn't happen, there will be uprisings.
Well, my call on this to pull that quote out by William Tecumseh Sherman: "War is all hell." People do get killed in war, it's unavoidable. Our soldiers are being put between a rock and a hard place. They're told to fight a war, then have restrictions put on them telling them how they can fight, where they can go, etc. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the "winning of hearts and minds" mindset of warfare. I think it's bullshit. The way to win is to smash the enemy up and do as much damage as possible. Beat them into submission. In the long run, you take much less casualties. But of course we won't do that, and I'm sure there are many people who would tell me that I'm full of shit. Perhaps, but we'll see what the national mindset will be when (not if) the enemy sets off a nuclear or biological device in this country and coldly exterminates thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of American citizens. Unfortunately, that's the enemy we're up against. Ignore it at your peril.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
" 'In addition, the president said he will seek "somebody with a sharp, independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity.' That person must honor traditions, respect the judicial process and share Obama's grasp of constitutional values, he said."
So essentially, it'll be a left-wing fruit-loop that'll replace Souter (who will probably look downright rightest compared to his successor). The last part in the above statement is pretty much the only thing that counts. Obama's "grasp of constitutional values" means that someone who believes the Constitution is an activist document will be placed on the Court. And given the situation in Congress right now, it's a certainty that the candidate will sail through with no problems.
"The president said he intends to consult with people in both political parties as he makes his choice to replace Souter."
Yeah, I'm sure he'll fete good RINOs who just want to get along. Of course, if Republicans get too feisty, he can just say "I won."
"Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican who led the Senate Judiciary Committee when President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer to the court, said Republicans needed to be fair and not seek 'a big fight that is ideological.' "
This coming from a guy who has no problems pissing all over the Constitution a couple of months ago regarding making the D.C. representative a voting member of Congress. The Constitution is quite explicit about the District of Columbia being a distinct and separate entity from the other 50 states. This is mainly due to the idea that the center of federal government should not be directly involved in political decisions. Now, Hatch was a big supporter of this because it added another representative (temporarily) to Utah (which Hatch represents). However, when the Census is finished next year, then Utah could very well lose that representative again, which means that Hatch's scheme will fail dismally. Once again, short term interests trump the long term. By the way, the way things are going, it had better damn well be ideological because the Democrats see this battle as nothing but. But of course, the RINOs still haven't figured it out yet. They're too busy trying to make nice.
Here's the overall situation. Souter was center-left already, so this does not change things much. He'll most likely be replaced by a much more leftist judge, but that doesn't really change the equation for the Court, which is roughly 4 liberal, 4 conservative and 1 fence-sitter. And given the Democrats' hold on both Houses of Congress, there will not be any real problems in the nomination process. Oh, I'm sure a few Republicans will piss and moan about it, but for the most part I expect that the RINOs will act like they always do and help the Democrats in order to be "cooperative." Of course, the RINOs are still irrelevant since the Democrats don't really need them.
In fact, the next two eldest judges are both liberals: Ruth Bader-Ginsburg (76) and John Paul Stevens (89). Steven Breyer, also a liberal, is 70. The former two are the most likely judges to leave the Court. Since these two are both leftists anyway, replacing them will not change the balance in the short term. What it will do is keep several leftists in the Court for a long time. Three of the four conservative judges are relatively young: John Roberts (54), Samuel Alito (55) and Clarence Thomas (60). Only Antonin Scalia is getting on in years (73). That leaves one judge that teeters constantly back and forth: Anthony Kennedy, who is 72.
However, as Souter has shown, age isn't necessarily the only factor in determining when a judge will leave the court. However, consider this. If Obama wins re-election in 2012, he could conceivably nominate as many as five judges before he's out, based on the age criteria. The average SCOTUS nomination number for presidents has been two per administration. With Souter leaving, Obama is halfway to that average and he's just over 100 days in. That is significant to say the least.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I'm referring to our glorious Vice-President's remarks last night regarding the swine-flu epidemic. This is part of what he said.
" 'I would tell members of my family -- and I have -- I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now. It's not that it's going to Mexico in a confined aircraft where one person sneezes, that goes all the way through the aircraft,' Biden said on NBC's 'Today' show."
Ok, let's look at the absurdity of this sentence. He won't go anywhere in confined places. Now, for example, a bathroom is a pretty confined area. Does this mean that Biden will start using diapers because he won't go into a restroom? Yeah, that would be a real interesting image... I also guess that Amtrak option is a no-go now...
" 'I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway,' he said. 'From my perspective, this relates to mitigation. If you're out in the middle of the field and someone sneezes, that's one thing. If you're in a closed aircraft, a closed container, a closed car, a closed classroom, that's another thing' "
Who the hell would be in a closed container? Ok, so if Americans were to actually follow this mental giant's advice, we would not be driving to work, kids wouldn't be going to school (although it seems like schools are starting to overreact as well), or traveling. Now, let's really think about that for a moment. Kids would not be going to school, which impedes their education (and given the way public schools are now, kids need all the education they can get). But more serious is how not driving (or taking the bus or subway) to work or traveling would impact the economy. If you're not going to work, then you're not getting paid. If you're not getting paid, then how can one stimulate the economy? Same thing with traveling. If people aren't traveling and going to see places, then they aren't spending their money, which also impacts the economy. So essentially, if Americans were to take Hoof in Mouth's advice, the American economy would come to a screeching halt in a matter of weeks. Super brilliant there, Joe.
Of course, in the following paragraphs, the travel industry essentially made the same argument as I, probably because they understand more about economics than our esteemed VP.
"When asked by ABC New, press secretary Robert Gibbs replied: 'I think ... what the vice president meant to say was the same thing that again, many members have said in the last few days, that is, if you feel sick, if you are exhibiting flulike symptoms -- coughing, sneezing, runny nose -- that you should take precautions, that you should limit your travel.'
Gibbs apologized if anyone was 'unduly' alarmed but did not elaborate.
'Jake, I'm telling you what he meant to say,' he said to laughter."
No Gibbs, I'm pretty sure that Biden opened his mouth without thinking, which is generally par for the course. Gibbs last line was kind of bizarre. He replied to laughter? It conjured up a mental image from one of the Glen Larson shows I used to watch back in the 80's (Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica) when at the end of each show, someone would tell a joke, and the end would freeze up in the middle of them laughing and then the credits would come out. I kinda imagined Gibbs making that comment, and then all of the press started to laugh, the screen freezes and then the credits would start rolling out. It pretty much shows how chummy our 4th estate has gotten with the Obama Administration.
Probably the most surrealistic moment came when Nancy "Bimbette" Pelosi remarked on Slow Joe's advice.
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also had a different message. She said she would not tell her family to stay off planes and public transportation, but would recommend to them the 'common-sense' approach, washing hands and covering sneezes or coughs.
'They are living their lives and, again, practicing common sense, good practices. And so it's not a question of not encouraging, not to travel. It's also a question of encouraging them not to leave home ... just because their states ... are the most, shall we say, suspicious in this case,' Pelosi told reporters."
You know, when Pelosi sounds like a comparative fountain of wisdom, the world has truly turned upside down.
You want to know the kicker? This swine flu epidemic has been blown completely out of proportion. It's actually milder than most forms of the flu. The reason why people are dying of this (cough, Mexico) is because of abyssmal hygiene levels. If you take basic precautions like washing your hands (which should be an automatic anyway, especially in this country), you should be fine. However, the administration and the media, has good reasons to keep this story going. The media loves to put people into a panic over the dumbest things (remember SARS?). The administration loves the political cover that this flu gives, because they can quietly push more crap legislation through Congress and no one would notice. And since the media is essentially acting like Pravda to this administration, it's a double bonus for them. They get a good story that they can trumpet to the heavens while giving political cover to their Messiah. As Rahm Emanuel said, never let a crisis go to waste.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi marked President Barack Obama's 100th day in office with some unsolicited advice for Republican voters, telling them to "take back" their party."
Yeah, because the GOP needs more Democrat-Lites to infiltrate the party...I'm assuming she's been emboldened by Specter's defection.
"The California Democrat offered her own analysis of the political environment for her political opponents, asserting Republicans across the country are more willing to work with Democrats than their leaders on Capitol Hill."
Uh, I don't know what she's looking at, but I saw Republicans mostly trying to fight the Democratic initiatives. But let's break this sentence down. She said that Republicans are more willing to work with Democrats. The same people who are pushing huge government and massive debt through massive spending. True Republicans are really willing to work with these initiatives? Really? Republicans may be unwilling to work with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill because the leaders in the Beltway have no idea what they stand for. I would say that the opposite is true. RINOs are wanna-be Democrats. They're not really Republicans. They certainly aren't conservative.
" 'Yes, there is -- shall we say -- a 'radical right-wing' element with whom they identify. But by and large, I say to Republicans in America: Take back your party. The party of protecting the environment. The party of individual rights. The party of fairness. This is not the Grand Old Party.' "
Yes, we should say it. We conservatives are right-wing, but hardly radical. The Republican Party is not the party of environmental-nuts. Those are your peeps, the leftists, Nancy. And we're not the party of fairness. We'll leave the uber-egalitarianism/socialism with you guys. You're the lockstep Marxists, remember? What is really fair in nature? Nothing. People move up in station in their lives because they're capable, not because of some overarching idea of "fairness." And speaking of lockstep, Bimbette is right about one thing. We are the party of individual rights. I do believe that the individual should be allowed to develop themselves to the best of their ability. But not by enacting laws designed to supposedly level a playing field by giving groups special rights and privileges. And that's really the heart of the matter. Republicans stand for the individual. Democrats stand for the group, or community, which is where Communism comes from. BTW, how would Nancy know what the GOP is and isn't? She should stick to worrying about what her own party does.
"Pelosi concluded her long riff about the GOP by saying, 'Our country needs a strong, diverse Republican Party.' Without missing a beat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chimed in, saying 'not too strong.' "
Yuk, Yuk, Yuk, those Democrats, what a bunch of comedians... What they mean by diverse is a party that is either tied to the asinine values of the Democratic Party (hence the RINOs) or one that is so multi-dimensional that it stands for nothing. With enough "diversity," one eventually finds the substance lacking because it's been so watered down. And of course Reid comes in with his comment. I'm still laughing it up here. Ok, no I'm not...
"As Pelosi, Reid and other Democratic leaders ticked off a list of legislative accomplishments passed largely without Republican support, the speaker insisted she's tried to reach out to Republicans in Congress, but said it hasn't been easy."
Wow, they really got the mutual admiration society down pat, don't they? Yeah, as McCain said in one of the presidential debates last year, 'it's hard to reach out when you're that far to the left.' So let me get this straight: after patting yourselves on the back for all of the "wonderful" legislation passed in the last 100 days, you then get contrite about getting Republican support? Wow, talk about ballsy...
"Republicans in the House of Representatives 'are difficult to deal with, let's put it that way,' she said.
Asked about Pelosi's comment, House Republican Leader John Boehner responded curtly, 'She hasn't tried.' "
Yeah, because Republicans are such retards that they can't possibly understand your level of sophistication, eh, Nancy? Here's an idea. Perhaps lose the "tude," and maybe you'll find Republicans more responsive, assuming that was ever your intention to begin with. I'd agree with Boehner. She never tried to. But then, since she has the House locked up, she doesn't really need to.
Overall, I think Nancy tried to get cutesy, but it doesn't really come out that way. What it does look like is blatant patronizing. "Oh, if only you stupid Republicans could be as awesome as we are..." The fact is that Nancy, like Obama has a nasty inferiority complex. She didn't like it one bit when the Republicans are in control, and for the next two years (probably more than four), she's going to rub the Republicans in the shit as much as she can. How...mature...
Let me reiterate. Republicans are not losing because they are becoming right-wing extremist. They're losing because they still, at this late hour, have no coherent message. There is a conservative message and there's a RINO message. One eventually has to dominate the arena. Given how RINOs have done in the last decade, I'd rather it be the conservative message that wins out. It may take a while for the message to resonate, but it can win elections. Case in point, Barry Goldwater was unabashedly conservative and got utterly hammered in the 1964 presidential election. It was the worst presidential defeat until Mondale in 1984. But then, that's my point. Sixteen years after Goldwater's defeat and the "death of conservatism," the conservative movement won big in 1980 with Ronald Reagan. The key to victory is to embrace conservatism, not Democrat-Lite.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Not really surprising...Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter changes from a passive to an active Democrat
"Veteran Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties Tuesday with a suddenness that seemed to stun the Senate, a moderate's defection that pushed Democrats to within a vote of the 60 needed to overcome filibusters and enact President Barack Obama's top legislative priorities."
This was hardly stunning. Specter has been essentially liberal for a long time. This move simply changes Specter from a pseudo-Democrat to an actual one. And with Franken gaining the Minnesota Senate seat with near certainty, it will give the Democrats the magical 60 votes needed to "bust" the filibuster. This will also unfortunately make the Republican Party essentially irrelevant until at least late next year. I certainly hope the RINOs are satisfied now.
"Specter, 79 and seeking a sixth term in 2010, conceded bluntly that his chances of winning a Pennsylvania Republican primary next year were bleak in a party grown increasingly conservative. But he cast his decision as one of principle, rather than fueled by political ambition as spurned GOP leaders alleged."
Yeah, and Specter is pretty much full of shit. His entire career has been one of political ambition. This is the jackass who gave us the "magic bullet" theory when JFK was assassinated. This guy was a Democrat until he switched parties in 1965 (running for the attorney general). Interestingly enough, he switched because he was about to lose in the Democratic primary. Specter has always been a total douchebag and this pretty much reinforces it. Of course he's doing it to stay in power! He's 79 years old, what else can he do with his life?
"Specter called the White House on Tuesday to notify Obama of his decision to switch. The president called back moments later, according to spokesman Robert Gibbs, to say the Democratic Party was 'thrilled to have you.'
Several officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said discussions of a possible switch had reached into the White House in recent days, although Gibbs said he had no details."
From what I read in other articles, VP 'Hoof in Mouth' Biden had a major hand in bringing Specter over. The idea of Obama "calling back" reinforces that, since if Specter called the White House, don't you think the President would talk to him? Again, this goes against the 'bolt from the blue' statement uttered elsewhere in this article. And why wouldn't Obama be thrilled to have Specter? After all, he just gave Obama a literal filibuster instead of one in the hands of a few RINOs.
"At his news conference, Specter grew animated as he blamed conservatives for helping deliver control of the Senate to Democrats in 2006, making it impossible to confirm numerous judicial appointees of former president George W. Bush.
"They don't make any bones about their willingness to lose the general election if they can purify the party. I don't understand it, but that's what they said," he added."
Huh? How is it that conservatives are to blame? The RINOs have been running this party for almost a decade now. They pushed their candidates in 2004, 2006 and 2008. And what was the outcome? A party that had no message whatsoever, increased spending and a party that was essentially Democrat-Lite. And we're to blame? Please Arlen, do a better job of covering your ass.
"Ironically, Specter had spoken recently about the importance of a strong Republican presence in the Senate.
'If we lose my seat they have 60 Democrats, they will pass card check, you will have the Obama tax increases, they will carry out his big spending plans. So the 41st Republican, whose name is Arlen Specter, is vital to stopping tax increases, passage of card check and the Obama big spending plans.' "
So... let me get this straight. To deny the Democrats the magical 60th Senate seat, you decided to head over and become the 60th seat. Wow, Arlen, you really are a fucking numbnut, if you actually believe anything you say, which is doubtful. After all, you did go along with the big spending plans and you are for the budget (i.e. tax increases) so how is keeping you as a RINO Republican going to change that? However, I will say that you answered your own question by speaking of yourself in the third-person by somehow being the savior of the GOP. So it's not really about the Republicans so much as really helping yourself (wow, talk about narcissism).
Well, I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this move. To be honest, Specter was essentially a Democrat and he will continue to vote that way in the future. Therefore, I don't believe that this is as big a loss as many might fear. Yes, this gives the Democrats the filibuster-proof Senate that they've been drooling over for several months now and I do think that he will beat Toomey in the general election next year. If anyone still thinks Pennsylvania is a battleground state, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. It's a blue state, so let's just acknowledge that fact.
Secondly, I really do have to wonder how this will play out for other "moderate" Republicans? Firstly, Specter's defection really makes the Maine sisters irrelevant, and in fact I think they realize it .
" 'You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words about how [the GOP] views moderates,' said Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate. "
Uh, that's because you moderates are essentially spineless and worthless. You "moderates" are closet Democrats, so you might as well openly acknowledge that. After watching the 2008 election results and how the RINOs destroyed the Republican Party, I don't feel all that warm and fuzzy either. And Lindsay Graham, a GOP Senator, didn't make much sense either.
" 'I don't want to be a member of the Club for Growth,” said Graham. “I want to be a member of a vibrant national Republican party that can attract people from all corners of the country — and we can govern the country from a center-right perspective.' "
Um, yeah...vibrant like, what, 2006 and 2008? Yeah, the GOP looked like a friggin' juggernaut then, didn't it? It seems your idea of center-right is to act Democrat-Lite. That's not center-right. It's not even center. It's left, so just admit it.
" 'I happened to win with 74 percent of the vote in a blue-collar state, but no one asked me, 'How did you do it?'” [Snowe] said. “Seems to me that would have been the first question that would have come from the Republican Party to find out so we could avoid further losses.' "
Hey Olympia? You won because Maine is a northeastern liberal state and elects liberals. That's why no one asks you. When you vote like a Democrat for big budgets and even bigger government, then conservatives could care less how you won. You whored yourself out to the left, end of story. But I'll let you in on a little secret, ok Ms. Snowe? We'll avoid further losses if the GOP grows a spine, gets a clear message to counter the leftist-Democrats and actually practices what it preaches. See, pretty simple, wasn't it?
Senator Snowe is indeed worried, as is her state counterpart Susan Collins (I don't think I'm too far off here). And they have good reason to be. With Specter's defection, their bargaining power just diminished considerably. With Franken coming in and Specter basically playing along, the Democrats will have little need of courting these two in upcoming votes. Will the Maine sisters continue to vote Democrat? Probably, since their state is pretty liberal and they have to represent them. But they won't be getting any future goodies (well, at least not as much) that they probably got when they voted for the other Democratic packages earlier in the year (I'm really interested to see how Maine benefited from their votes).
So now the Republicans really are politically irrelevant until at least 2010. I hate to say it, but a third party built entirely around conservatives is looking better every day (which means the GOP will dissolve).
So now the RINOs really have to make a decision with regards to their "party." Either they can join in with the conservatives in at least symbolically opposing the Socialist Democratic agenda (in which case, they may regain some of their honor) or they can continue the way they have. If the former, welcome back. If the latter, then just follow Specter's lead. We conservatives don't want the RINOs. Now if only we could get those pesky Maine sisters to switch now...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
While brown-nosing all Muslim extremists, Obama declares that those who disagree with him are a national security threat
I have stated before that I believe this president will do anything to stay in power and that includes overstepping the boundaries of the Constitution. The bill for an expanded "youth corps" has essentially passed through Congress. Among other things in this bill, the youth corps also includes a shadowy "National Service Reserve Corps" whose only function is to deal with national emergencies or crisises (which is generally the territory of the National Guard).
And apparently, he has taken the next step. The Department of Homeland Security has issued this cute little report on "right wing extremists."
"The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific
information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,
but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about
several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first
African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and
Now bear in mind that this Office has no actual evidence that anything will happen. Of course, Hitler and the Nazis kinda thought the same thing about the Jews. Although the report initially specifies white supremists and anti-government groups (probably militia), there is a disturbing footnote at the bottom of page 2 attached to these examples.
"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and
adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups),
and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or
rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a
single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
Ok, I can understand the hate-oriented stuff, but antigovernment? So the idea that I'd like to see a reduced federal government suddenly makes me a terrorist? This is a key question because the note puts an "or" instead of an "and". You may be a terrorist if you are rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority OR rejecting government authority entirely. I love the last sentence. I admit that the abortion issue isn't really high on my list of priorities, but you're telling me that I can't say anything about an illegal immigration problem without being connected to terrorism? And the left said Bush Jr. was bad???
"Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans
likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups,
as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for
violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and
stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation
of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary
concern to law enforcement."
Newsflash, people are buying tons of guns because they're afraid that Obama will eliminate the right to bear arms. They're also afraid that if the country does go south (literally and figuratively), they have some way of protecting themselves. So all of a sudden, these people are now right-wing extremists and terrorists.
"Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are
attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing
extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to
boost their violent capabilities."
And of course since the military isn't particularly flipped about the Messiah, they're thrown into the mix as well. After all, when one who has served the country honorably through military service, he/she can look forward to being seen as a potential terrorist. Who said the left has reneged on their Vietnam-era hatred of the military? After all, they're just "baby-killers" waiting to overthrow the government, right? Of course, if you look at the fine print of the Obama Youth act, there are several references to wanting "veterans" in the NSRC. Kinda intriguing...
"DHS/I&A assesses that a number of economic and political factors are
driving a resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity.
Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small
terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of
an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a
driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization."
Now, is this "rightwing extremist recruitment" meaning (partly, of course) increased enrollment in the Republican Party? If so, I'm guilty as charged. I liked the touch about the "historical election" of an African American president. Did MSNBC write some of this report? The next paragraph is fun.
" A recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing
extremism may be found in the shooting deaths of three police officers in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 4 April 2009. The alleged gunman’s reaction
reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in antigovernment
conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a
Jewish-controlled “one world government."
Ah yes, one incident and it's all a vast right-wing conspiracy. Of course, the report is strangely silent about the five cops who were killed by an African American in Oakland several days previously. I believe there was a march supporting the killer there. But apparently, the Chosen One missed that headline...
"Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception
that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to
work at significantly lower wages. They also opposed free trade agreements, arguing that
these arrangements resulted in Americans losing jobs to countries such as Mexico."
Wow, so not being flipped about illegal immigrants pouring over our southern border constitutes extremism? I guess I'm guilty as charged there. Do I hate Mexicans? Nope. Do I ask that they not turn this country into a Greater Mexico, with all of the problems inherent in their politics and society? Yes. Sorry, that's not racism.
"DHS/I&A notes that prominent civil rights organizations have
observed an increase in anti-Hispanic crimes over the past five years.
— (U) In April 2007, six militia members were arrested for various weapons and
explosives violations. Open source reporting alleged that those arrested had
discussed and conducted surveillance for a machinegun attack on Hispanics.
— (U) A militia member in Wyoming was arrested in February 2007 after
communicating his plans to travel to the Mexican border to kill immigrants
crossing into the United States."
Ok, while this is serious stuff, how about the Americans who are killed by Mexicans? They're saying it doesn't happen? There's incidents along the border virtually every day that most Americans don't even hear about. How about La Raza, whose Hispanic organization constantly calls for a militant takeover of the Southwest by their brethren? I hear crickets chirping...
" Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and
have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability
to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to
pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and
corporations as a part of subversion strategy."
Well, tell me none of that is the truth. We have lost a large amount of manufacturing capability in this country. That's a reality that we'll have to deal with. Our unionized industries cannot compete against global competitors. I hardly think voicing that truth is "extremist." As far as Russia is concerned, I'm not as concerned about their energy sources as I am, say, the Middle East. Russia lives or dies on its energy industry. Right now, they're economy is crippled because of low oil prices. As for China, they are investing in real estate. They hold a royal shitload of our government and personal debt. If they decide to cash in, it would ruin us since we don't have the money to pay it back. We're sinking further and further into debt and sooner or later the party will end. That's not extremism, that's pragmatism.
Of course I "bemoan" a lack of American stature. Being a superpower has enabled us to live the good life for so many years. We don't have the luxury of Europe in having someone else to protect us while we live high on the hog. Our economic strength has enabled us (with backing of our military) to wield tremendous influence globally to the point where American culture is world reknown. The Department of Homeland Security seriously thinks that me voicing this absolute fact makes me an extremist? Hey Janet, listen up! Once we lose our superpower status, China will take over in that status, whether we like it or not! Simply putting your fingers in your ears and humming loudly does not change that fact one iota. Without our economic power, we will not influence anyone. And without economic power, we will not be able to field the type of powerful military that we've enjoyed for over 60 years. China will call the shots the way it wants to and I can guarantee you that we won't like some of those calls. It's not extremist, it's called the future. Get used to it. Yeah, it irritates me.
The rest of it deals with white supremist groups. While I have no love for those groups I do wonder why only they are being targeted. So, once again, only whites are capable of violent behavior? Everyone else is a victim. Newsflash, that attitude will unfortunately give these idiots more rhetorical ammunition to use to attract whites. To conclude, I sometimes wonder if the Obama administration is actually trying to provoke a response from some of these people.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"Flying unannounced into a still-dangerous war zone, President Barack Obama told U.S. troops and Iraqi officials alike Tuesday it is time to phase out America's combat role in a conflict he opposed as a candidate and has vowed to end as commander in chief.
With violence diminished but hardly disappearing — a car bomb killed eight Iraqis just hours before Obama's arrival — the president met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and emphasized that "we strongly support" steps to unite political factions, including integrating minority Sunnis into the government and security forces."
Bear in mind that he went there to talk to troops after announcing some pretty hefty cuts in the military budget. Talk about first class...
The bombings alone show that Iraq is mostly won, but hardly subdued. We're leaving too early...
"Iraqis 'need to take responsibility for their own country,"'Obama told hundreds of cheering soldiers gathered in an ornate, marble palace near Saddam Hussein's former seat of power.
'You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement,' he told some 600 troops, saluting their efforts during six years of American fighting and losses."
While I totally agree that Iraqis need to take responsibility for their country, the question is whether they're ready to do it or not. It's a fledgling democracy. It could be a success or it could dissolve in a bloody civil war. I'd rather that it be concrete and not a fleeting 'opportunity.' It won't be any kind of achievement if Iraq collapses into civil war. What it will be is a waste of American lives for absolutely nothing. I don't understand why liberals are so clueless on this.
Have we made major strides in the last year and a half in Iraq? Absolutely. However, Iraq at this point could be likened to a brittle, fragile crystal. If rapped hard enough, it'll shatter into hundreds of pieces. A withdrawal from Iraq will give a green light to the Iranians, who have been watching with bated breath just across the border. They're patiently waiting for us to leave and they'll go right back to interfering with Iraqi internal politics. The Sunnis, who are still very much distrustful of the Kurds and Shiites, will watch warily for any signs of revenge.
Personally, I think it'll happen. It is entirely possible that the Kurds will break away, causing problems for not only Iraq, but also Iran and Turkey, which have significant minorities of Kurds. The Shiites will undoubtedly be supported by the Iranians if they decide to take over the government. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have already said that they would support the Sunnis in a civil war. This has the potential to get out of control very quickly.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
"Declaring the future of mankind at stake, President Barack Obama on Sunday said all nations must strive to rid the world of nuclear arms and that the U.S. had a "moral responsibility" to lead because no other country has used one."
Once again, the Messiah declares that us Americans are pieces of shit and he lays the guilt trip pretty hard. Yeah, it would be nice if all the countries in the world just got rid of them, but it's not realistic. I mean, how would Iran create it's "sea of fire" if it ended its nuclear quest? They sure couldn't do it with conventional weapons.
What pisses me off is that the Dear Leader made it sound like we just woke up one day and decided to drop atomic bombs on Japan. I mean, I could just picture President Truman sitting in the Oval Office with a dartboard with a number of countries names on it. He throws the dart and it magically lands on Japan.
Unfortunately, schools do not teach history very well (if at all) anymore. Therefore they neglected to mention that Japan started the war by launching a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941 that killed thousands of American servicemen. However, by late 1945, American military casualties were starting to mount and with the defeat of Germany, many wanted the war to end. The battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa didn't help in this respect. Although they were both American victories and they enabled the Air Force to get into closer and closer range of Japan with the bombers, it also cost tens of thousands of American lives as well as hundreds of thousands of Japanese. To put it in perspective, the garrison at Iwo Jima was almost 23,000. How many willingly surrendered? A little over a thousand. The Americans committed 110,000 men to this battle and over 25,000 were casualties (over 6800 dead). Okinawa was far worse. Over a half-million Americans participated in the invasion, and over 50,000 were casualties (over 12,500 dead). Out of a garrison of 140,000 Japanese, only 10,000 were captured. Perhaps another 100,000 Japanese civilians died as well.
American commanders figured that if the Japanese were willing to lose so many in the outer islands surrounding Japan, then what would the resistance be like if the Allies actually invaded the heartland itself? Well, the Allies had a plan to invade Kyushu, south of Honshu. The southern part of the island, once secured, would have become essentially a massive Allied airbase. This operation would have been called Olympic. The second part, Coronet, would have mounted the actual invasion of Honshu itself.
While this was going on, the Americans built two atomic bombs. They were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we all know what the results were. Japan surrendered shortly after.
However, what if we decided not to use the bombs? Well, post-war, American officers were able to come ashore at Kyushu to see what the defenses looked like. What they saw absolutely horrified them. The Japanese military had built a vast network of bunkers, entrenchments and hidden airfields that had thousands of kamikaze planes. The Japanese anticipated our invasion and built massive defenses to thwart it. If we had invaded, there is no doubt that American casualties would have run into the hundreds of thousands (this for just Olympic). Operation Coronet would have consumed an even greater amount of Allied lives.
For the Japanese, however, it would have been much worse. Literally millions (yes, I mean plural) would have been killed in the final assault. The Japanese High Command had no intention of surrendering, and was quite willing to annhilate Japan to avoid that.
The Allied commanders were not enthusiastic with Olympic, so they had a backup plan. They would blockade Japan into submission with their navy. Although relatively few Americans would have lost their lives in this (there would have certainly been kamikaze attacks), it would have probably destroyed Japan. The Japanese Islands had (and still have) few natural resources, and a blockade would have slowly starved tens of millions of Japanese civilians to death.
So weighed against those options, we decided to drop the bombs and get it over with. Over 220,000 Japanese died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yes, it was horrible. But was it more horrible than the options that were available at the time? I'd have to say no. It's real easy to play Monday morning quarterback.
"A North Korean rocket launch upstaged Obama's idealistic call to action, delivered in the capital of the Czech Republic, a former satellite of the Soviet Union. But Obama dismissed those who say the spread of nuclear weapons, 'the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War,' cannot be checked. "This goal will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime,'he told a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 in the historic square outside the Prague Castle gates. We 'must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can.' "
Ah, so wishful thinking is going to trump reality? Wow, talk about arrogance (he dismisses us). So who's going to make sure that every nuke is destroyed? Who's going to make sure no one else will build them? Who's going to tell North Korea and Iran not to build them? These are valid questions that the Messiah needs to address. I suppose he'll just get rid of them with his sheer force of personality.
"Few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. Even backward nations such as North Korea have shown they can develop bombs, given enough time."
That's because you can't get rid of all of them. You can't uninvent science. The knowledge is out there and someone who wants it bad enough will try to make one.
"But a program to drastically cut the world atomic arsenal carries support from scientists and lions of the foreign policy world. Obama embraced that step as his first goal and chose as the venue for his address a nation that peacefully threw off communism and helped topple the Soviet Union, despite its nuclear power."
Uh, the Russians, for all their ideological nonsense, were quite rational. They fought two world wars in the 20th century and lost something like over 50 million killed in both of them. They didn't want a repeat of that. You honestly think they'd lob nukes in order to keep Czechoslovakia? They left the former Warsaw Pact countries because they were gutted internally. They lost the will to keep their empire together.
"But he said his own country, with its huge arsenal and its history using two atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, had to lead the world. He said the U.S. has a "moral responsibility" to start taking steps now. "
Like I said above. Why do we alone have the moral responsibility? Doesn't Russia have responsibilities? Doesn't China? Wow, talk about being a arrogant, guilt-tripping piece of shit.
" 'To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year,' he promised."
Why Russia? Shouldn't our Dear Leader be more concerned with other countries developing nukes?
"The nuclear-free cause is more potent in Europe than in the United States, where even Democratic politicians such as Obama must avoid being labeled as soft or naive if they endorse it. Still, Obama said he would resubmit a proposed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification. The pact was signed by President Bill Clinton but rejected by the Senate in 1999."
That's because the Senate was controlled by Republicans then. Maybe this time it'll work for the Unicorn in Chief. I doubt the Democrats could be that stupid, could they?
"While espousing long-term goals, Obama took care to promise that America would not lower its defenses while others are pursuing a nuclear threat. He warned both North Korea, which has tested a nuclear weapon, and Iran, which the West says is developing one, that the world was against them."
I'm pretty sure the North Koreans and Iranians understand that the world is against them (at least a good portion is). So what's his point? Either he keeps our defenses up and he deep-sixes his idea for a nuke free world, or he gets rid of nukes and...well he isn't get rid of nukes, so that point is moot...wow, talk about rhetorical nonsense.
"Obama gave his most unequivocal pledge yet to proceed with building a missile defense system in Europe, so long as Iran pursues nuclear weapons, a charge it denies. That shield is to be based in the Czech Republic and Poland. Those countries are on Russia's doorstep, and the missile shield has contributed to a significant decline in U.S.-Russia relations."
Ok, build it or don't build it, make up your mind. One does not gain respect with constant indecision...
"In the interest of resetting ties with Moscow, Obama previously had appeared to soft-pedal his support for the Bush-era shield proposal. But he adopted a different tone in Prague.
'As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven,' Obama said, earning cheers from the crowd."
Yay. But hey, we're in the Czech Republic, not Russia. Those pesky Russians won't listen in outside their country...we sure done fooled them...yeehaw...
"Hours before the address, an aide awoke Obama in his hotel room to tell him that North Korea had make good on its pledge to launch a long-range rocket. By lunchtime, the president had addressed it publicly nearly half a dozen times."
But what is he going to do about it? With this guy, talk is not only cheap but damn near free...
" 'Rules must be binding," he said. 'Violations must be punished. Words must mean something."
'Now is the time for a strong international response,' he said."
In other words, we'll do nothing. He's right when he says that rules are binding, violations should be punished. Words must mean something? Don't they usually? That's what words do: they describe. His teleprompter must have gone off for a split second there. But now is the time for a strong international response...so when was the last time that happened? Obama's trying to talk a lot of shit, but when push comes to shove, he hides behind the "mighty" UN.
"After the speech and a round of private meetings with foreign leaders, Obama arrived in Turkey, the final stop of his trip."
Being a muslim country, I'm sure he saved the best for last...
"On the broader anti-nuclear issue, more than 140 nations have ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But 44 states that possess nuclear technology need to both sign and ratify it before it can take effect and only 35 have do so. The United States is among the holdouts, along with China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan."
Yeah, look at that list and ponder...But of course it's exclusively our fault for not signing it because...come on, say it with me...WE'RE AMERICANS...and we should always be ridden with guilt.
"Ratification was one of several "concrete steps" Obama outlined as necessary to move toward a nuclear-free world. He also called for reducing the role of nuclear weapons in American national security strategy and seeking a new treaty to end the production of fissile materials used in nuclear weapons. "
Yeah, why don't we wish the moon was made of cheese while we're at it? Well Messiah, what are you waiting for? Use your towering oratory skills to ratify that bad boy so we can't be guilty anymore. As for reducing the role of nukes in our security, didn't he mention that he wasn't going to lower our defenses? So which one is it? I'll bet on him gutting our national security, thanks...
"Obama said the U.S. will seek to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation treaty by providing more resources and authority for international inspections and mandating "real and immediate consequences" for countries that violate the treaty. "
Like what? Draw a line in the sand, watch them step over it and draw another line? And another? And another? And another?...BTW, his oratory skills (the one thing he has in overwhelming abundance) should not be considered resources.
I really want to see the details in this plan...
"He offered few details of how he would accomplish his larger goal and acknowledged that'"in a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.' "
Yes, well, it's all in the details, isn't it? It's hardly a strange turn of history. The threat of global nuclear war was at its high point during the Cold War (Soviet Union vs. US). We both had enough to ensure annhilation if one or the other started it. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 80's, our conventional military power was unmatched. In order to equalize it, other countries have looked to nuclear weapons to prevent us from going after them. It's not strange, it's quite natural (even though it's frightening).
Looks like more of the same foreign policy bullshit coming from the Teleprompter in Chief. I shudder to think what will happen when someone actually does something concrete against us.
Friday, April 3, 2009
"Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich skewered both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush for their mishandling of the economy in a talk with students on Tuesday, but it was his warning to Republicans that raised eyebrows.
"If the Republicans can't break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012," Gingrich said at an event hosted by the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo., TV station KY3 reported. A loss of small-government conservatives would be an enormous blow to the GOP."
Like I said before, I don't like him, but he knows what he's talking about. Up to this point, Republicans have continued to act as if being RINOs will suddenly vault them back into power. It was precisely this attitude that gradually wore away their power and then got them decisively bounced out.
"Gingrich said last month that he is seriously considering a run for president in 2012, and many pundits have said that he would be a strong contender."
Yeah good luck to that. I say to the pundits that they're full of shit. The left would have a field day with this guy if for some reason he got the nomination. His personal life alone would turn most people off (it did me). Sorry, but I don't know how you could fend off the news that he wanted to divorce one of his wives while she was recovering from surgery. I'm not saying I'm an angel, but that's pretty goddamn low. Another problem is his mouth. He just can't shut up about anything and it's one of the major reasons why the Republicans couldn't capitalize on Clinton's low ratings in the 1996 presidential campaign. He turned a lot of people off and then got knocked out in his own district.
"In a question and answer session with students, Gingrich took aim at Obama's fiscal policies, blasting the bank bailouts, stimulus package and proposed $3.5 trillion dollar federal budget as part of 'the most destructive agenda in modern history.' "
That part is true. I think long term, Americans are going to pay a steep price for "unicorn economics."
"But he also laid into Bush's free-spending ways. 'Remember, everything Obama's doing, Bush started last year,' Gingrich said. 'If you're going to talk about big spending, the mistakes of the Bush administration last year are fully as bad as the mistakes of Obama's first two, three months.' "
This is also true. I said back in September that this bailout was a horrendous idea and that it would backfire spectacularly in the future if Obama was elected. They can't exactly attack him on his spending policies when they spent like Democrats themselves for six years.
I think Gingrich is more suited to being a political analyst at this point than being a presidential candidate because he's already had his shot in politics. It's very difficult to regain credibility when you were bumped out previously.
However, I do think he's prophetic when he said that there could be a third party. I think that's what will ultimately happen. I don't think conservatives are going to wait while the RINOs keep losing (even when they're winning) political battles that further undermine Republican credibility (people such as Megan "like, oh my god" McCain and her nonsense).
In fact, I think that's what conservatives ultimately should do. Create a third party and see what happens. Now, short term, it may not look good, but they should stay the course. There needs to be a clear alternative to the current Democrat-Lite attitudes of the Republican Party, since the actual Democratic Party is swinging hard to the left. The Republican Party has lost an awful lot of credibility in the last 10 years. Maybe a new party can restore lost honor.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Last July, our Messiah made a speech (there are YouTube videos online on this as well, but I wanted something in text) about having a national security force. The American Thinker article has the quote in full: " "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." (emphasis added)"
Now bear in mind that this is exactly what Obama said. It wasn't taken out of context, he wasn't mistaken, this is what he stated (off the teleprompter of course). It received a pretty negative reaction from conservatives at the time. And of course, came this news (note: I linked to the actual bill because I really do think people need to take a good look at what they'll be getting soon).
Several conservative bloggers have written about this, notably Cassy Fiano, Gateway Pundit and Michelle Malkin. I guess I'll throw my two cents in, though I'm not as illustrious as the said bloggers. This thing scares the shit out of me. It is very vague in its applications and it could get out of control very quickly.
A good portion of it essentially adds major portions to the original AmeriCorps bill under President Bill Clinton. However, it is the latter additions that make this monstrosity truly frightening.
SEC. 119. CAMPUSES OF SERVICE.
‘(a) In General- The Corporation, after consultation with the Secretary of Education, may annually designate not more than 25 institutions of higher education as Campuses of Service, from among institutions nominated by State Commissions.
In other words, 25 different campuses of service may be designated by the executive office to carry out these activities. This section explains that the states may nominate colleges and universities, but the ultimate choosing is done by the Secretary of Education (and hence Obama). Now, most campuses in this country are already very liberal in nature and I can easily see the Messiah choosing some of the most leftist ones for this assignment. I will bet even money that one of these campuses will be Berkeley. Bear in mind that most of this will be from Federal funding.
‘SEC. 120. INNOVATIVE DEMONSTRATION SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH.
‘(2) YOUTH ENGAGEMENT ZONE- The term ‘youth engagement zone’ means the area in which a youth engagement zone program is carried out.
I don't know about you, but this has military connotations. But let's delve further...
‘(3) involve students in service-learning projects in emergency and disaster preparedness
‘(5) involve high school age youth in the mentoring of middle school youth while involving all participants in service-learning to seek to meet unmet human, educational, environmental, public safety, or emergency disaster preparedness needs in their community;
‘(B) for community-based service-learning projects that--
‘(I) meet unmet human, educational, environmental (including energy conservation and stewardship), emergency and disaster preparedness, and public service needs; and
An awful lot of emergency and disaster preparedness in here. What am I getting at? Let's keep going.
‘(1) ELIGIBLE PROGRAMS- National service programs under this subsection shall be known as ‘Opportunity Corps’ and may include the following types of national service programs:
‘(F) A program that engages citizens in public safety, public health, and emergency and disaster preparedness, and may include the recruitment and placing of qualified participants in positions to be trainees as law enforcement officers, firefighters, search and rescue personnel, and emergency medical service workers, and may engage Federal, State, and local stakeholders in collaboration to organize more effective responses to issues of public safety and public health, emergencies, and disasters.
Fantastic, some of these people will be law enforcement...I'm not against police, mind you. Quite the opposite. But I do have a problem when this sort of thing is nationalized (like paramilitary?).
‘SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
‘(a) Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:
‘(1) Attempting to influence legislation.
‘(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
‘(3) Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing.
‘(4) Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.
‘(5) Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.
‘(6) Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
I have to admit that this is pretty ingenious. Since all of these organizations are going to be run by the federal government and more or less answerable to the President, why would they do any of this stuff. Pray tell why they would protest against the government?
"Subtitle E--Amendments to Subtitle E (National Civilian Community Corps)
SEC. 1501. PURPOSE.
Section 151 (42 U.S.C. 12611) is amended to read as follows:
‘It is the purpose of this subtitle to authorize the operation of, and support for, residential and other service programs that combine the best practices of civilian service with the best aspects of military service, including leadership and team building, to meet national and community needs. Such needs to be met under such programs include those related to--
‘(1) natural and other disasters
Still more of the disaster stuff. One thing that does give me the creeps here is the part about the best aspects of military service, leadership and team building. Is this going to be run on military principles? To meet national needs?
" SEC. 1509. PERMANENT CADRE. "
Now that's a phrase that makes me feel better. Are we sure we're not in the Soviet Union?
"STUDY OF INVOLVEMENT OF VETERANS- The Corporation shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress, not later than 3 years after the enactment of this section, on--
‘(A) the number of veterans serving in national service programs historically by year;
‘(F) how to improve utilization of veterans as resources and volunteers
Why this interest in veterans? Seriously, I'm really curious.
‘SEC. 198B. SERVE AMERICA FELLOWSHIPS
‘(E) improve disaster preparedness and response
It's a recurring thread in this bill.
SEC. 198E. NATIONAL SERVICE RESERVE CORPS.
‘(1) On a biannual basis, the Corporation shall certify organizations with demonstrated experience in responding to disasters, including through using volunteers, for participation in the program under this section.
‘(2) The Corporation shall ensure that every certified organization is--
‘(A) prepared to respond to major disasters or emergencies;
‘(B) prepared and able to utilize National Service Reserve Members in responding; and
‘(C) willing to respond in a timely manner when notified by the Corporation of a disaster or emergency.
‘(1) IN GENERAL- If a major disaster or emergency designated by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) occurs and the Corporation, in consultation with the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, determines is an incident for which National Service Reserve Corps members are prepared to assist, the Corporation shall--
‘(A) deploy interested National Service Reserve Corps members on 30-day assignments to assist with local needs related to preparing or recovering from the incident in the affected area, through organizations certified under subsection (c);
‘(B) make travel arrangements for the deployed National Service Reserve Corps members to the site of the incident; and
I believe that if any of the organizations has the possibility of evolving into something like a national paramilitary police corps, this one is it. I would advise people to pay attention to this particular group since this one will be most involved in "emergency and disaster" situations. Time will tell on this development.
Will this end up being a Presidential Guard? It's too soon to tell. My guess is that it'll be a gradual buildup and not rushed. The government won't try to alarm people too much. You can already hear Democratic supporters saying that this bill is a great idea because it puts kids to work in a positive way.
Perhaps, but in a representative republic that values individual freedom why should kids become the ward of the government rather than parents? Every time the government increases power, even incrementally, individual liberty loses correspondingly. Alexis de Toqueville was prophetic when he wrote about the small tyranny that could be the bane of this country.
Is the fear that a paramilitary that's answerable to the executive branch frightening? Yes it is. We have a law (Posse Comitatus Law) in this country that prevents the military from interfering in internal affairs. The founding fathers had a huge argument about the powers of a standing army. On one side, the Anti-Federalists, argued that there should be a part-time militia whose loyalty was beholden to the states. They were wary of a standing professional army. The Federalists, headed by Alexander Hamilton, felt that a strong standing army and powerful central government was the only guarantee of liberty as well as an effective national defense.
President Bush tried to do away with the Posse Comitatus act in 2007 but there was such an outcry that it was reinstated early the following year. He did not abuse it and never called up troops. But it concerned many people and gave the liberal nuts ammunition to scream that the president was going to make a power grab.
This bill is potentially much more insidious, because it goes around the Posse Comitatus law. Think about the actual name of this: The National Service Reserve Force. What's it a reserve to? The other organizations listed in the bill? Not really, because it has little in common with the others (they sound like they are pretty specialized). Only the NSRF is vague with its actual intentions, and it deals with national emergencies and disasters. The problem with is that emergency and disaster can be open to all sorts of interpretation. Can't use the military to enforce the government's will? No problem, it has a paramilitary force answerable only to the President, to take care of an 'emergency." What I cannot understand is how people cannot fathom that this could be a major problem. But then the government counts on the populace to be rather dense.
We have a president who is accumulating considerable power at a growing and alarming rate. What's his next move going to be?
Monday, March 16, 2009
However, our foreign policy is looking pretty pathetic. I think we're going to have to resign ourselves to watching the Russians take pot shots at us for a few years. However, short of economic retaliation, there was and still is very little chance for us to do anything to support Georgia militarily in the near future (I stated this when the Russians invaded Georgia last year). However, this seems to be another move by the Russians to test the resolve the Messiah.
" The Russian General Staff has chosen the small town of Bombora outside Gudauta to be an air force base. In Soviet times a paratroopers' regiment was based there. Now about 20 aeroplanes are proposed to be stationed there: Su-27 fighters, Su-25 low-flying attack aircraft and some An-26 transport aircraft."
Probably elements of several squadrons, I'm assuming? It's a pretty balanced mix: interceptor/air superiority, ground attack and transport/supply. However, the base could be used to house much larger numbers in the future (as the article implies). It's possible that the Russians are moving a small force to see how we'll react, and then slowly build up as needed later on.
And how is the West reacting to this?
"An official NATO spokesman James Appathurai explained at a press conference in Brussels that the alliance and its allies had determined their positions on Georgia's territorial integrity - on the basis of accepting 'll recognized borders' Therefore they view reports appearing in the press that Russia might build military bases in South Ossetia and Abkhazia with some concern. 'he Secretary-General of the alliance Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,'assured Appathurai, 'ill raise this question at the February meeting with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov.'
ou may agree that this is quite a mild reaction. The alliance - for the time being, at least - has avoided making any vociferous demands or protests. While Moscow has found its 'nternational levers' As a result of which Appathurai spent more time talking about the fact that NATO and Russia had reached an agreement over the transit of civilian cargo for the alliance's contingent in Afghanistan. Which might very well explain why we have heard what almost amounts to a willingness from them to resign themselves to Russian bases on the 'recognized borders of Georgia'."
Well, naturally, the spineless Europeans aren't going to do anything about this. What is surprising is that there is not a peep from the US. However, our supply corridor through Central Asia is vulnerable and the US is dependent on the goodwill (or at the very least hefty bribes) of the Central Asian countries, many of which still have strong ties to Russia. My guess is that this is how the interceptor missile question in Eastern Europe will eventually finish: We'll remove them so that Russia won't strangle our supply lines into Afghanistan.
Georgia isn't the only area where the Russians are aggressively pushing. Apparently, the Russians are once again very interested in Caribbean airbases to land their long-range bombers.
"The Russian military has reached a contingency agreement to land long-range supersonic bomber aircraft in Venezuela, according to reports from Moscow on Saturday, which analysts cast as a nuisance rather than reason for alarm.
U.S. Defense and diplomatic officials told The Miami Herald they were aware of the report by the at-times unreliable InterFax agency but downplayed its significance."
While it is nothing more than posturing by the Russians, it could have long-term significance. It's another example of someone else looking at the long-term future while we blithely look five minutes ahead. Russia only has 16 Tu-160 Blackjack bombers (their most modern long-range bomber) and its production rate is abysmal. Other potential aircraft include the Tu-22M Backfire (mainly a naval bomber) and Tu-95 Bear (recon and apparently once again a strategic bomber). Tu-16 Badger bombers were retired in the 90's.
My favorite part of this article was at the end where the Miami Herald quoted an anonymous military analyst.
"An American military analyst who has studied Latin America for 20 years questioned whether the Cuban airstrips were maintained well enough to handle anything more sophisticated than cargo aircraft.
Absent details from the Kremlin, he said, the general may have exaggerated the arrangement or 'may have gotten ahead of this.'
'I would have to wait for more information or confirmation from Moscow,' said the analyst, who was skeptical of the report and declined to comment with his name attached. 'It surprises me because we're pressing the reset button on Russian-U.S. relations and for the Russians to say this at this point seems out of whack.' "
Ok, the part regarding Cuban airstrips is a valid point. It is also possible that the Russian general spoke out of turn. However, the last paragraph made me very suspicious because the "analyst" sounded like an Obama hack. It surprised this person because "we're pressing the reset button on Russian-U.S. relations"?
First of all, the "reset" crap is entirely a diplomatic game (and judging from the screwup by Clinton when she actually coined it, not a very good one). Why on earth would this military analyst be so shocked that the Russians are doing this? Because it doesn't fit into the Messiah's preconception of the world bowing to him because of his "oratory" genius? Is the analyst serious? Russia is going to look after its own interests, however the US feels. Russia is looking to regain some of their power, and while they probably aren't a high priority threat, they can be a vicious nuisance. This administration has, on several occasions already, looked at foreign affairs like a deer looking into the headlights of an oncoming car. It had better wake up before something drastic does happen.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The shape of things to come or, let's just raise the Green Banner of Islam over the Capitol right now
"Pakistan's Swat valley is quiet once again. Often compared to Switzerland for its stunning landscape of mountains and meadows, Swat became a war zone over the past two years as Taliban fighters waged fierce battles against Army troops. No longer, but only because the Pakistani government has agreed to some of the militants' key demands, chiefly that Islamic courts be established in the region. Fears abound that this means women's schools will be destroyed, movies will be banned and public beheadings will become a regular occurrence."
Ok, this is pretty much standard reporting (at least what goes for reporting these days).
"The militants are bad people and this is bad news. But the more difficult question is, what should we—the outside world—do about it? That we are utterly opposed to such people, and their ideas and practices, is obvious. But how exactly should we oppose them? In Pakistan and Afghanistan, we have done so in large measure by attacking them—directly with Western troops and Predator strikes, and indirectly in alliance with Pakistani and Afghan forces. Is the answer to pour in more of our troops, train more Afghan soldiers, ask that the Pakistani military deploy more battalions, and expand the Predator program to hit more of the bad guys? Perhaps—in some cases, emphatically yes—but I think it's also worth stepping back and trying to understand the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism."
Uh, to say that this stuff is bad is a prize understatement. So the gist of the article at this point is that we're fighting the enemy...but (alarm bells should be going off at this point)...
"It is not just in the Swat valley that Islamists are on the rise. In Afghanistan the Taliban have been gaining ground for the past two years as well. In Somalia last week, Al-Shabab, a local group of Islamic militants, captured yet another town from government forces. Reports from Nigeria to Bosnia to Indonesia show that Islamic fundamentalists are finding support within their communities for their agenda, which usually involves the introduction of some form of Sharia—Islamic law—reflecting a puritanical interpretation of Islam. No music, no liquor, no smoking, no female emancipation."
Ok, I've been actually stating this problem for several years. Islam is at odds with certain Western values. Always has been, always will be. They are not compatable, no matter how much the leftist elitists wish otherwise. This should also be a bit alarming because all of this crap is happening in areas that have either a majority population of Muslims or at least a substantial majority. This does not bode well for Western Europe in the near future. And make no mistake, they are winning on a number of fronts.
"The groups that advocate these policies are ugly, reactionary forces that will stunt their countries and bring dishonor to their religion. But not all these Islamists advocate global jihad, host terrorists or launch operations against the outside world—in fact, most do not. Consider, for example, the most difficult example, the Taliban. The Taliban have done all kinds of terrible things in Afghanistan. But so far, no Afghan Taliban has participated at any significant level in a global terrorist attack over the past 10 years—including 9/11. There are certainly elements of the Taliban that are closely associated with Al Qaeda. But the Taliban is large, and many factions have little connection to Osama bin Laden. Most Taliban want Islamic rule locally, not violent jihad globally."
Well, that's merely a matter of perspective. It's a no-brainer that these lunatics will "stunt" their countries because they want to bring their world back to the 7th century. However, I continue to hear about how these are just little extremist groups and not the whole. Well, if they are such a small segment of the population, then why do they have such enormous influence. Zakaria said in the previous paragraph that these people have the support of their communities. Therefore they're either a small group that's fanatical enough to enforce their view on the rest of the population or they are actively getting much more support from those people than we care to admit.
And let's take this "local" rule argument to its logical conclusion. If enough countries want Islamic rule locally, is it really all that absurd that they will start thinking globally? I mean, didn't the original Muslims just want Arabia back in the 630's? And didn't it just kinda move into Persia and the rest of the Middle East, and then into North Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia and finally into India, Asia and Europe? History shows very clearly that once anyone, religious or otherwise, consolidates their power, they start expanding.
I don't believe for a moment that the Taliban wasn't in cahoots with Al Qaeda. They sheltered them and fought with them after 9/11. Maybe their goal was to stay in Afghanistan, but we'll never really know that.
"How would you describe Faisal Ahmad Shinwari, a judge in Afghanistan? He has banned women from singing on television and called for an end to cable television altogether. He has spoken out against women and men being educated in the same schools at any age. He has upheld the death penalty for two journalists who were convicted of blasphemy. (Their crime: writing that Afghanistan's turn toward Islam was "reactionary.") Shinwari sounds like an Islamic militant, right? Actually, he was appointed chief justice of the Afghan Supreme Court after the American invasion, administered Hamid Karzai's oath of office and remained in his position until three years ago."
I would describe Mr. Shinwari as a tad barbaric. End of story. What else could I say? If you honestly think we're going to usher in a Golden Age for Afghanistan, you're kidding yourself.
"Were he to hold Western, liberal views, Shinwari would have little credibility within his country. The reality—for the worse, in my view—is that radical Islam has gained a powerful foothold in the Muslim imagination. It has done so for a variety of complex reasons that I have written about before. But the chief reason is the failure of Muslim countries to develop, politically or economically. Look at Pakistan. It cannot provide security, justice or education for many of its citizens. Its elected politicians have spent all of their time in office conspiring to have their opponents thrown in jail and their own corruption charges tossed out of court. As a result, President Asif Ali Zardari's approval rating barely a month into office was around half that enjoyed by President Pervez Musharraf during most of his term. The state is losing legitimacy as well as the capacity to actually govern."
Actually, it seems that Mr. Zakaria is finally, after a number of years, unveiling himself as he's truly meant to be seen. That of an Islamic apologist. The fact that he stated that radical Islam has a "powerful foothold in the Muslim imagination" pretty much guarantees that we're not dealing with a small band of extremists. So why continue to believe that we are?
"Consider Swat. The valley was historically a peaceful place that had autonomy within Pakistan (under a loose federal arrangement) and practiced a moderate version of Sharia in its courts. In 1969 Pakistan's laws were formally extended to the region. Over the years, the new courts functioned poorly, with long delays, and were plagued by corruption. Dysfunctional rule meant that the government lost credibility. Some people grew nostalgic for the simple, if sometimes brutal, justice of the old Sharia courts. A movement demanding their restitution began in the early 1990s, and Benazir Bhutto's government signed an agreement to reintroduce some aspects of the Sharia court system with Sufi Muhammed, the same cleric with whom the current government has struck a deal. (The Bhutto arrangement never really worked, and the protests started up again in a few years.) Few people in the valley would say that the current truce is their preferred outcome. In the recent election, they voted for a secular party. But if the secularists produce chaos and corruption, people settle for order."
Ah yes, Swat...a peaceful place for peaceful people with a peaceful religion.
So the moral of the story is that democracy will never take hold in Islamic regions. I'm truly shocked...didn't see that one coming...
"The militants who were battling the Army (led by Sufi Muhammed's son-in-law) have had to go along with the deal. The Pakistani government is hoping that this agreement will isolate the jihadists and win the public back to its side. This may not work, but at least it represents an effort to divide the camps of the Islamists between those who are violent and those who are merely extreme."
Mr. Zakaria makes it sound like this is a bad deal for the militants. I would have to disagree completely. Since the Pakistani army is no longer making an effort to retake it, those troops can redeploy elsewhere. Yeah, I'd agree that there's a lot of hoping, but I see the conquest of Swat as more of a consolidation before pushing southwards again. It's obvious that Mr. Zakaria knows little of military strategy. If it is an effort by the Pakistani government, then it's a desperate gamble. The fact is that the army has been beaten pretty badly recently. Any plan to enable your opponent to dig in is unwise to say the least. That would be akin to Stalin asking for a six-month ceasefire after the Germans overran European Russia in World War II.
"Over the past eight years such distinctions have been regarded as naive. In the Bush administration's original view, all Islamist groups were one and the same; any distinctions or nuances were regarded as a form of appeasement. If they weren't terrorists themselves, they were probably harboring terrorists. But how to understand Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the countries "harbor" terrorists but are not themselves terrorist states? "
And should be continued to be regarded as naive because it is appeasement. You don't stop an opponent by offering more territory or goodies. The Romans tried to buy off barbarian hordes in the Late Imperial period, but it only postponed the inevitable. This is a piss poor long term strategy to have and pretty much guarantees that we will lose this war. As for the last question, I think it's just silly American diplomacy that's making it difficult. We're at war. We need to know if they are on our side or not. If not, engage them. If not, then start acting like an ally.
"To be clear, where there are Qaeda cells and fighters, force is the only answer. But most estimates of the number of Qaeda fighters in Pakistan range well under a few thousand. Are those the only people we are bombing? Is bombing—by Americans—the best solution? The Predator strikes have convinced much of the local population that it's under attack from America and produced a nationalist backlash. A few Qaeda operatives die, but public support for the battle against extremism drops in the vital Pashtun areas of Pakistan. Is this a good exchange? "
Well, those are numbers that we know of. My guess is that they are much stronger than that. One has to remember that Al Qaeda changed after 2001. It became more of a "franchise" than an army. They welcome anyone who wants to engage our troops, whether they're actually Al Qaeda or not. It's this sort of circular logic that totally pisses me off. Look if Al Qaeda is there, and they are only a "few thousand", the question (once again) is why they are able to exert such a tremendous influence in that region? In terms of square miles, it's enormous. There's a large population there. So who else are we bombing? I would say Al Qaeda sympathizers. In order to get at these guys we have to fight them. My guess is that we'll probably end up fighting Pakistan eventually. Once again, we just don't want to admit it. Mr. Zakaria doesn't really give any solutions at this point, though I believe that leaving that region is a good idea in his opinion.
"We have placed ourselves in armed opposition to Muslim fundamentalists stretching from North Africa to Indonesia, which has made this whole enterprise feel very much like a clash of civilizations, and a violent one at that. Certainly, many local despots would prefer to enlist the American armed forces to defeat their enemies, some of whom may be jihadists but others may not. Across the entire North African region, the United States and other Western powers are supporting secular autocrats who claim to be battling Islamist opposition forces. In return, those rulers have done little to advance genuine reform, state building or political openness. In Algeria, after the Islamists won an election in 1992, the military staged a coup, the Islamists were banned and a long civil war ensued in which 200,000 people died. The opposition has since become more militant, and where once it had no global interests, some elements are now aligned with Al Qaeda."
Well, that's because it is a clash of civilizations, silly. The fundamentalists have figured this out pretty early. We're just naive enough still to not understand this basic concept. We've just decided to try the messiest approach to this problem.
"Events have taken a different course in Nigeria, where the Islamists came to power locally. After the end of military rule in 1999, 12 of Nigeria's 36 states chose to adopt Sharia. Radical clerics arrived from the Middle East to spread their draconian interpretation of Islam. Religious militias such as the Hisbah of Kano state patrolled the streets, attacking those who shirked prayers, disobeyed religious dress codes or drank alcohol. Several women accused of adultery were sentenced to death by stoning. In 2002 The Weekly Standard decried "the Talibanization of West Africa" and worried that Nigeria, a "giant of sub-Saharan Africa," could become "a haven for Islamism, linked to foreign extremists."
Sounds pretty bad, but Zakaria is going to throw a curve ball here...
"But when The New York Times sent a reporter to Kano state in late 2007, she found an entirely different picture from the one that had been fretted over by State Department policy analysts. "The Islamic revolution that seemed so destined to transform northern Nigeria in recent years appears to have come and gone," the reporter, Lydia Polgreen, concluded. The Hisbah had become "little more than glorified crossing guards" and were "largely confined to their barracks and assigned anodyne tasks like directing traffic and helping fans to their seats at soccer games." The widely publicized sentences of mutilation and stoning rarely came to pass (although floggings were common). Other news reports have confirmed this basic picture."
Yeah, 'cuz the NYT is that bastion of balanced and unbiased reporting. Bear in mind that this reporter went there in 2007, which was during Bush's tenure. Given the way the NYT acted towards him for eight years, I doubt they would have considered backing him by reinforcing his "warmonger" stance. Funny thing is that journalists always portray the extremists as being pretty reasonable. Have these journalists ever heard of a Potemkin Village? I seriously doubt that these people are going to trot out people to be stoned or mutilated right in front of a journalist. That's just the height of stupidity. Most likely these people were quietly killed after the reporter left. I'm curious how long Ms. Polgreen actually stayed in the area. I doubt it was for very long.
"Residents hadn't become less religious; mosques still overflowed with the devout during prayer time, and virtually all Muslim women went veiled. But the government had helped push Sharia in a tamer direction by outlawing religious militias; the regular police had no interest in enforcing the law's strictest tenets. In addition, over time some of the loudest proponents of Sharia had been exposed as hypocrites. Some were under investigation for embezzling millions."
More of the same BS. Of course it's entirely possible that the loudest opponents had been already silenced by this time. I personally think that Mr. Zakaria is stretching a bit if he has to go back two years and use a central African country as the cornerstone of his argument.
"We have an instant, violent reaction to anyone who sounds like an Islamic bigot. This is understandable. Many Islamists are bigots, reactionaries and extremists (others are charlatans and opportunists). But this can sometimes blind us to the ways they might prove useful in the broader struggle against Islamic terror. The Bush administration spent its first term engaged in a largely abstract, theoretical conversation about radical Islam and its evils—and conservative intellectuals still spout this kind of unyielding rhetoric. By its second term, though, the administration was grappling with the complexities of Islam on the ground. It is instructive that Bush ended up pursuing a most sophisticated and nuanced policy toward political Islam in the one country where reality was unavoidable—Iraq."
And with good reason. When someone says they want to martyr themselves by killing a bunch of infidels, I'd be a bit leery of being around them as well, at least without having some kind of weapon to defend myself with. I'm not sure that Iraq is necessarily a good example because we don't know how that will end up (and the fact that Obama will get out of there by 2010 does not bode well).
"Having invaded Iraq, the Americans searched for local allies, in particular political groups that could become the Iraqi face of the occupation. The administration came to recognize that 30 years of Saddam—a secular, failed tyrant—had left only hard-core Islamists as the opposition. It partnered with these groups, most of which were Shiite parties founded on the model of Iran's ultra-religious organizations, and acquiesced as they took over most of southern Iraq, the Shiite heartland. In this area, the strict version of Islam that they implemented was quite similar to—in some cases more extreme than—what one would find in Iran today. Liquor was banned; women had to cover themselves from head to toe; Christians were persecuted; religious affiliations became the only way to get a government job, including college professorships."
Ok, but how does that relate to what's going on throughout the Muslim world? After all, Mr. Zakaria stated that radical Islam has a powerful hold. Therefore, is simply blaming Saddam for the hard-core element necessarily true? I think it's deeper than that. If anything, this serves as a warning of things to come for the West.
"While some of this puritanism is now mellowing, southern Iraq remains a dark place. But it is not a hotbed of jihad. And as the democratic process matures, one might even hope that some version of the Nigerian story will play out there. "It's hard to hand over authority to people who are illiberal," says former CIA analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht. "What you have to realize is that the objective is to defeat bin Ladenism, and you have to start the evolution. Moderate Muslims are not the answer. Shiite clerics and Sunni fundamentalists are our salvation from future 9/11s."
Ok, great for southern Iraq, but here's my question. A lot of Muslims are immigrating into the West, be it Europe or North America. They are also having a lot more babies than the Westerners are. Does this mean we'll have a bloodbath here and then a "mellowing out" phase? I don't believe that's particularly reassuring. And I believe that the CIA guy's logic is tragically warped. Maybe that'll be the case in the short term, but long term after they consolidate? Well, if the Muslims outbreed us here in the West, then it'll probably be a moot point because they'll be in charge.
"The Bush administration partnered with fundamentalists once more in the Iraq War, in the Sunni belt. When the fighting was at its worst, administration officials began talking to some in the Sunni community who were involved in the insurgency. Many of them were classic Islamic militants, though others were simply former Baathists or tribal chiefs. Gen. David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy ramped up this process. "We won the war in Iraq chiefly because we separated the local militants from the global jihadists," says Fawaz Gerges, a scholar at Sarah Lawrence College, who has interviewed hundreds of Muslim militants. "Yet around the world we are still unwilling to make the distinction between these two groups."
Hmmm, that's because there's a distinction between short term and long term damage. The local militants of today could very well become the global jihadists of tomorrow. Jesus, does anyone actually read Islamic history??? Once again, Iraq is not finished and we won't know the result until it happens. They're trying to foretell a future that is uncertain at best.
"Would a strategy like this work in Afghanistan? David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who has advised Petraeus, says, 'I've had tribal leaders and Afghan government officials at the province and district level tell me that 90 percent of the people we call the Taliban are actually tribal fighters or Pashtun nationalists or people pursuing their own agendas. Less than 10 percent are ideologically aligned with the Quetta Shura [Mullah Omar's leadership group] or Al Qaeda.' These people are, in his view, 'almost certainly reconcilable under some circumstances.' Kilcullen adds, 'That's very much what we did in Iraq. We negotiated with 90 percent of the people we were fighting.' "
Well, that's the million dollar question. I'm not sure how much I'd rely on Mr. Kilcullen's sources, since they're talking to an infidel. But time will tell. It seems that we're adopting a strategy that doesn't see the forest for the trees. It sounds like we're not looking at the big picture.
" Beyond Afghanistan, too, it is crucial that we adopt a more sophisticated strategy toward radical Islam. This should come naturally to President Obama, who spoke often on the campaign trail of the need for just such a differentiated approach toward Muslim countries. Even the Washington Institute, a think tank often associated with conservatives, appears onboard. It is issuing a report this week that recommends, among other points, that the United States use more "nuanced, noncombative rhetoric" that avoids sweeping declarations like "war on terror," "global insurgency," even "the Muslim world." Anything that emphasizes the variety of groups, movements and motives within that world strengthens the case that this is not a battle between Islam and the West. Bin Laden constantly argues that all these different groups are part of the same global movement. We should not play into his hands, and emphasize instead that many of these forces are local, have specific grievances and don't have much in common."
Wow, didn't see this coming...what did I say in the first paragraph again? I cringe when I see the word "sophisticated." It generally is a masking word for retreat or defeat or at the very least a lack of political will. What I fail to understand is why we should stop using "sweeping declarations" when Islamic media continually portrays the West as evil and even sub-human? This is simply horseshit.
"That does not mean we should accept the burning of girls' schools, or the stoning of criminals. Recognizing the reality of radical Islam is entirely different from accepting its ideas. We should mount a spirited defense of our views and values. We should pursue aggressively policies that will make these values succeed. Such efforts are often difficult and take time—rebuilding state structures, providing secular education, reducing corruption—but we should help societies making these efforts. The mere fact that we are working in these countries on these issues—and not simply bombing, killing and capturing—might change the atmosphere surrounding the U.S. involvement in this struggle."
Ok, this is why I get so annoyed with this Islamic apologist crap. Zakaria is all over the place with his argument. The fact is that the extremists do burn girls' schools, they do stone criminals. They do all sorts of nasty shit that should shock a Westerner to the core. That should be enough to mount a desperate (yes, desperate) defense of Western Civilization. Mr. Zakaria wants us to mount a "spirited defense of our views and values," but his entire argument up to this point is to do exactly the opposite. And where exactly does he think we're going to pony up the money to do all of this wonderful stuff in the Islamic world that he wants? We're in the middle of a deep recession. We don't have enough money to help ourselves much less a bunch of people who, let's face it, hate our guts.
"The veil is not the same as the suicide belt. We can better pursue our values if we recognize the local and cultural context, and appreciate that people want to find their own balance between freedom and order, liberty and license. In the end, time is on our side. Bin Ladenism has already lost ground in almost every Muslim country. Radical Islam will follow the same path. Wherever it is tried—in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in parts of Nigeria and Pakistan—people weary of its charms very quickly. The truth is that all Islamists, violent or not, lack answers to the problems of the modern world. They do not have a world view that can satisfy the aspirations of modern men and women. We do. That's the most powerful weapon of all."
Ok, that's fine but there's a fine difference between people wanting to find their own balance and imposing it on another culture. Unfortunately, that's what Islam does. And I don't necessarily agree with him about time being on our side. In fact, I would argue the opposite. We are incredibly short-sighted as a culture. Islamic history shows that it is far more patient in the long term. I think Mr. Zakaria is grasping at straws. Things are way too uncertain right now to say that bin Ladenism is gone. We said that several years ago. We were proven wrong. Every time we even consider that, we have to revise it. Therefore I can't really accept that radical Islam is going away anytime soon. Mr. Zakaria is right in that Islam cannot create solutions to the modern world. It's a 7th century religion and has not made much in the way of progress since then. It has gained "progress" by riding the backs of other civilizations, be it Persian, Indian, Chinese, European or American.
I find Mr. Zakaria's stance a bit bizarre. On one hand he's essentially telling us that we should just radical Islam run its course as if it's no big deal. At the end, he tells us that we need to fight. Well, which one is it? Do we need to fight, or not? I lump him into the group of Muslims who are unsure of how to resolve their issues with residing in the West. On the one hand, the West has given Muslims a lot of benefits that they take advantage of. On the other hand, the West is well, not Muslim (well, not yet anyway). My guess is that Mr. Zakaria does not believe in the militant aspects of Islam and yet does have a private wish that Islam, in general, be victorious. Unfortunately for Muslims (and they really don't understand this at all) is that once the West is gone and attached to the Islamic world, those benefits will stop.