Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thugs of a Feather...

(Presidents Hugo Chaves of Venezuala and former Honduran president--as of now--Manuel Zelaya, pictured above).

Ray Walser rolls-in on the recent "coup" in Honduras.

A 'COUP' TO PROTECT A CONSTITUTION

By RAY WALSER

June 30, 2009 --


ON Sunday, the citizens of Honduras woke up with one president and went to bed with an other. Manuel Zelaya was forced out of the country -- replaced, with full backing from the Congress, the nation's courts, and its military with Interim President Robert Micheletti.

Some have denounced this dramatic change as a "coup d'etat" and an assault on democracy. In truth, it was much more of a last-ditch effort to protect Honduras' constitutional order and rule of law from a reckless populist.

Honduras and the United States have a long history of friendly relations. We signed a free-trade treaty in 2005; Honduras was an early contributor to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But relations chilled, and chilled hard, after Zelaya won election nearly four years ago.
Zelaya sees Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro as beacons for the future. As president, he tried to steer Honduras hard left -- but succeeded mainly in boosting corruption and cronyism. The independent monitors at Transparency International now give Honduras the same ranking for corruption as Libya and Ethiopia.

Honduras is a poor nation, and got worse on Zelaya's watch. But rather than blame the global downturn or his own failures, Zelaya sought to rally the masses behind him by fingering the nation's elites as behind the nation's woes.

He sought vindication by ordering a national referendum that, he said, could alter the Constitution and allow him to run for re-election. And when every free, democratic institution from the Electoral Tribunal to the Supreme Court said no to his proposal, Zelaya pushed ahead anyway.

Last week, he called the military on the carpet, demanding it support his referendum. Gen. Romeo Vasquez, the head of the armed forces, considered this an illegal order, and refused to play ball -- so Zelaya fired him. (He accepted the defense minister's resignation, too.)
The next day, the Supreme Court ruled the firing unjustified. Zelaya refused to obey its decision. The court, he declared, worked only for the rich and caused problems for "democracy."
At every step, Zelaya's chief international backer, Hugo Chavez, cheered him on.

He'd set Sunday as the day of his contra-constitutional referendum. Instead, the Congress, the courts and the military stepped in and pulled the plug on Zelaya's maneuverings.

They sent him packing on a plane to Costa Rica. Then, in a deliberate, bipartisan manner, they selected a civilian president to serve through scheduled elections in November.

This was no coup, but a desperate act to protect the nation's constitution and its institutions from presidential excess and a descent into misrule Chavez-style.

Chavez, of course, is outraged, vowing to do everything short of landing Venezuelan marines in Honduras to restore Zelaya. If his ally doesn't recover power, "el Loco" will lose face at home and throughout the region. Sources report Venezuelan agitators and operatives are already on the ground in the Honduran capitol of Tegucigalpa and elsewhere. Trouble can be expected.

Utopians in Washington believe that the Organization of American States, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, the European Union and the State Department will be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Let Ze laya back in power, they urge; defend "democracy."

This simply ignores the fact that restoring Zelaya would undercut every free institution in the nation -- green-lighting every extra-legal move he might take in the name of the people.
Washington realists recognize this fact and fear a return engagement. If Zelaya achieves his ambition and returns to power, he could condemn Honduras to years of vendetta politics and populism of the worst sort -- delivering a weakened nation into the eager embrace of Hugo Chavez & Co.

Letting a friendly country fall into the Chavez camp does no one any good. The new government of Honduras wants to preserve peace and the constitutional order. Warts and all, it deserves the chance.

Ray Walser is senior policy analyst for Latin America at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).

Meanwhile our own president has taken side with the ousted dictator-wannabe. This along with his near-silence about the Iranian protest makes me wonder who's side Obama is on.

Comrade Carla rolls-in with his "Clueless Comment of the Week":

We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there," Obama said in Washington. "It would be a terrible precedent if we start moving backwards into the era in which we are seeing military coups as a means of political transition rather than democratic elections."

No, but violating Honduras' constitution and engaging in fraudulent voting practices is apparently just fine--"authentic," even.

This initiated the following message traffic:

He called the coup illegal, too, which is odd given the Democrats' habitual deference to the courts.

I didn't know you could have a "legal" coup....

This one came pretty close. When the supreme court rules that the president is violating the constitution and he barrels ahead anyway, and the congress is in agreement, not having a coup would be illegal, too.

Comrade Karla: I think they just can't envisage a situation where the military is in the right--it just never computes for them.

Meanwhile, the UN ("Useless Nobodies"/Dictator's Club), demands Honduras reinstate el-presidente:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090630/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_honduras_coup

Movin' Outta Mesopotamia--Sort of...


For the past couple of days Ralph Peters has appeared on FOX News commenting about the US military's withdrawal from Iraqi cities. Here' s what he has to say in the New York Post:


BYE-BYE, BABYLON

By RALPH PETERS

June 30, 2009 --

OUR effort in Iraq passed a major milestone today: Our troops are leaving the cities.
Advisers remain in place. Joint patrols will still occur. And our forces will wait nearby to respond to Iraqi calls for support. But the last of the bases and US-only outposts within Iraq's urban centers will be vacated.

Terrorists have already begun testing the new security arrangements. Iraqi forces won't always pass with flying colors.

Yet this situation seemed a pipe dream not so long ago: Iraq's security forces, serving an elected government, assume primary responsibility for the good order of their own country.

We all recall the delighted leftist claims that Iraq had entered a hopeless civil war. Wrong. That Iraqis preferred al Qaeda to us. Wrong. That Shia militias represented the people. Wrong. And that Iran would seize control. Wrong again.

Looking back over six years of good intentions, tragic errors, generosity, arrogance, partisan vituperation, painful deaths and ultimate vindication, two things strike me: the ever-resisted lesson that human affairs are more complex than academic theories claim, and the simple truth that most human beings prefer a measure of freedom to immeasurable repression.

Now the symbolism of our troops withdrawing from Iraq's cities is richer than Washington grasps. Mesopotamia created urban culture: Ur, Babylon, Nineveh and countless lesser-known sites are where humans first worked out ways to live together in close quarters in large numbers. The coming wave of terror will strike cities that make Baghdad seem a youngster.
The "cradle of civilization" is rising from the grave again.

Yes, sectarianism, old grievances and the greed for power may deliver future crises -- even an eventual civil war. An unnatural state with grossly flawed borders, Iraq has more obstacles to overcome than any of its neighbors except Lebanon.

But our achievement remains profound: We gave one key Arab state a chance at freedom and democracy. We deposed a monstrous dictator who butchered his own people and invaded two foreign countries. And we didn't quit, despite the scorn of the global intelligentsia.

Human events aren't linear, nor do they conform to political programs. In Iraq, the unintended consequences ultimately gave us an unexpected victory.

We botched the occupation early on, which seemed to create an opportunity for our enemies. As a result, al Qaeda declared Iraq the central front in its war on civilization.

Thus, it set itself up for a massive strategic failure, alienating the people of Iraq and exposing itself as a fraud. Al Qaeda may limp along for decades, lashing out now and then -- but its high watermark occurred in 2006 in Anbar Province.

That single development made Iraq worthwhile.

But other gains, too, emerged from the vilified Bush administration's actions: As we just saw in Lebanon and Iran, democracy now seems possible to populations that had almost given up.
Iran will be free one day, the only question is when. And it won't be because of President Obama's grotesque Cairo apologia.

The problem for presidents is that great changes don't conform to our political calendars. Derided for his "axis of evil" remarks, Bush now looks far wiser than Obama in the wake of North Korean threats of nuclear devastation and Iran's savage crackdown following a wildly fraudulent election (and Tehran's attack on Obama's "interference," even though our president initially defended the election results).

There is evil in the world. No matter how resistant Obama may be to learning that basic lesson, our enemies will hammer it into him.

As our troops leave Iraq's cities today, their commanders know that still more bloody trials lie ahead. Now and then, the Iraqis will "shoot the red star cluster," calling for our help. But today isn't just a day for Iraqis to celebrate -- it's a good day for us, too.

And it's a day of vindication for a former president who saw clearly, but spoke poorly (to the delighted mortification of the media).

Now we have a president who expresses himself beautifully, but seems blind to international reality. And it's up to him to determine whether Iraq was a new beginning or a dead end.

Ralph Peters is Fox News' strategic analyst.

I loved his comparison of Bush and Obama.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Events by Any Other Name...

...really are the same.


One of my favorite commentators is Victor Davis Hanson, or "VDH" as we call him. He's admired by many of us for his incisive narratives and scholarly grasp of history. Normally he's not known for his tongue & cheek style, the way Mark Steyn is.

However, today on his Private Papers website, he posted a satirical piece about what's "changed" during these first 6 months of Obama's presidency. Maybe Mark's rubbing off on the good professor...

http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson062509.html

In case you didn't read the whole article, here's my favorite excerpt--

True, I was a bit taken back when the Somali pirates were killed. But I am sure that before their heads exploded someone at least text-messaged them their Miranda rights in a way never accorded the poor three who were waterboarded at Bush’s Guantanamo concentration camp.

We Tried Telling Him...


...but he wouldn't listen.

History proves you can't be nice to tyrants.

Apparently Ahmadinenutjob hasn't been swayed by our Community Organizer-in-Chief's messianic appeal:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090625/wl_nm/us_iran_election

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barney Frank: Still working hard to ruin the American housing market.

From Reuters, thanks to Comrade Karla who also used the exact phrase titled above:

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Housing/idUSTRE55L39120090622

"Both Fannie and Freddie are preparing a response to the lawmakers, according to the paper."

Okay, how long does it take to draft a letter saying: Are you out of your f-#$%-ing mind!?

Still Triangulating Over Iran

(Cartoon from Adam Smith at Wordpress)



While violence continues in Iran, our Community Organizer-in-Chief tries to stay above the fray.

Mark Steyn rolls-in again, this time on the some of the mainstream press, who're awed by Obama's awesome noncommittal awesomeness:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MTQyNmJjYzAxYTE3ODNmMjI0MjA3YzViYTRhMzVjNjA=

Meanwhile, Christopher Hutchings rolled-in a couple days back on the Iranians overactive conspiracy theories in Slate:

http://www.slate.com/id/2221020/?from=rss

More Threats by Mini Jong Ill Me

Not wanting to be left out of the Armeggeddon Biz, the North Korean Central News Agency warned that if the US starts another war, they will "...wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all."

Hmm. Where have we heard that before? Sounds like the junior partner in the Axis of Evil wants to flex his muscles.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Ahmadinejad should be flattered indeed. That is, when he's not too busy dodging rocks heaved by angry protesters.

Full story from Yahoo News:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_koreas_nuclear

And since we're comparing Imso Ronery with Ahmadinanutjob, here's some of 'jad's best party conversation-starters, courtesy of the Jerusalem Post:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1145961353170&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Obama's Wishy-Washy Iranian Policy

The above phote, from Mandel Ngan of Getty Images; which could be titled "See ya!" to the protesters in Iran.

According to CNN, Obama has been "moved" by the images of the protesters. But not moved enough to actually come out and support them against their theocratic and tyrannical regime.

Fouad Ajami rolls-in on what Iran is teaching our "coolest" president:

Obama's Persian Tutorial

The president has to choose between the regime and the people in the streets.

By FOUAD AJAMI

President Barack Obama did not "lose" Iran. This is not a Jimmy Carter moment. But the foreign-policy education of America's 44th president has just begun. Hitherto, he had been cavalier about other lands, he had trusted in his own biography as a bridge to distant peoples, he had believed he could talk rogues and ideologues out of deeply held beliefs. His predecessor had drawn lines in the sand. He would look past them.

Thus a man who had been uneasy with his middle name (Hussein) during the presidential campaign would descend on Ankara and Cairo, inserting himself in a raging civil war over Islam itself. An Iranian theocratic regime had launched a bid for dominion in its region; Mr. Obama offered it an olive branch and waited for it to "unclench" its fist.

It was an odd, deeply conflicted message from Mr. Obama. He was at once a herald of change yet a practitioner of realpolitik. He would entice the crowds, yet assure the autocrats that the "diplomacy of freedom" that unsettled them during the presidency of George W. Bush is dead and buried. Grant the rulers in Tehran and Damascus their due: They were quick to take the measure of the new steward of American power. He had come to "engage" them. Gone was the hope of transforming these regimes or making them pay for their transgressions. The theocracy was said to be waiting on an American opening, and this new president would put an end to three decades of estrangement between the United States and Iran.

But in truth Iran had never wanted an opening to the U.S. For the length of three decades, the custodians of the theocracy have had precisely the level of enmity toward the U.S. they have wanted -- just enough to be an ideological glue for the regime but not enough to be a threat to their power. Iran's rulers have made their way in the world with relative ease. No White Army gathered to restore the dominion of the Pahlavis. The Cold War and oil bailed them out. So did the false hope that the revolution would mellow and make its peace with the world.

Mr. Obama may believe that his offer to Iran is a break with a hard-line American policy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In 1989, in his inaugural, George H.W. Bush extended an offer to Iran: "Good will begets good will," he said. A decade later, in a typically Clintonian spirit of penance and contrition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came forth with a full apology for America's role in the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

Iran's rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact. There is a Persian pride and a Persian solitude, and the impact of three decades of zeal and indoctrination. The drama of Barack Obama's election was not an affair of Iran. They had an election of their own to stage. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a son of the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary order, a man from the brigades of the regime, austere and indifferent to outsiders, an Iranian Everyman with badly fitting clothes and white socks -- was up for re-election.

The upper orders of his country loathed him and bristled under the system of controls that the mullahs and the military and the revolutionary brigades had put in place, but he had the power and the money and the organs of the state arrayed on his side. There was a discernible fault line in Iran. There were Iranians yearning for liberty, but we should not underestimate the power and the determination of those moved by the yearning for piety. Ahmadinejad's message of populism at home and defiance abroad, his assertion that the country's nuclear quest is a "closed file," settled and beyond discussion, have a resonance on Iranian soil. His challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, a generation older, could not compete with him on that terrain.

On the ruins of the ancien régime, the Iranian revolutionaries, it has to be conceded, have built a formidable state. The men who emerged out of a cruel and bloody struggle over their country's identity and spoils are a tenacious, merciless breed. Their capacity for repression is fearsome. We must rein in the modernist conceit that the bloggers, and the force of Twitter and Facebook, could win in the streets against the squads of the regime. That fight would be an Iranian drama, all outsiders mere spectators.

That ambivalence at the heart of the Obama diplomacy about freedom has not served American policy well in this crisis. We had tried to "cheat" -- an opening to the regime with an obligatory wink to those who took to the streets appalled by their rulers' cynicism and utter disregard for their people's intelligence and common sense -- and we were caught at it. Mr. Obama's statement that "the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as had been advertised" put on cruel display the administration's incoherence. For once, there was an acknowledgment by this young president of history's burden: "Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons." No Wilsonianism on offer here.

Mr. Obama will have to acknowledge the "foreignness" of foreign lands. His breezy self-assurance has been put on notice. The Obama administration believed its own rhetoric that the pro-Western March 14 coalition in Lebanon had ridden Mr. Obama's coattails to an electoral victory. (It had given every indication that it expected similar vindication in Iran.)
But the claim about Lebanon was hollow and reflected little understanding of the forces at play in Lebanon's politics. That contest was settled by Lebanese rules, and by the push and pull of Saudi and Syrian and Iranian interests in Lebanon.


Mr. Obama's June 4 speech in Cairo did not reshape the Islamic landscape. I was in Saudi Arabia when Mr. Obama traveled to Riyadh and Cairo. The earth did not move, life went on as usual. There were countless people puzzled by the presumption of the entire exercise, an outsider walking into sacred matters of their faith. In Saudi Arabia, and in the Arabic commentaries of other lands, there was unease that so complicated an ideological and cultural terrain could be approached with such ease and haste.

Days into his presidency, it should be recalled, Mr. Obama had spoken of his desire to restore to America's relation with the Muslim world the respect and mutual interest that had existed 30 or 20 years earlier. It so happened that he was speaking, almost to the day, on the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution -- and that the time span he was referring to, his golden age, covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the American standoff with Libya, the fall of Beirut to the forces of terror, and the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Liberal opinion would have howled had this history been offered by George W. Bush, but Barack Obama was granted a waiver.

Little more than three decades ago, Jimmy Carter, another American president convinced that what had come before him could be annulled and wished away, called on the nation to shed its "inordinate fear of communism," and to put aside its concern with "traditional issues of war and peace" in favor of "new global issues of justice, equity and human rights." We had betrayed our principles in the course of the Cold War, he said, "fought fire with fire, never thinking that fire is quenched with water." The Soviet answer to that brave, new world was the invasion of Afghanistan in December of 1979.

Mr. Carter would try an atonement in the last year of his presidency. He would pose as a born-again hawk. It was too late in the hour for such redemption. It would take another standard-bearer, Ronald Reagan, to see that great struggle to victory.
Iran's ordeal and its ways shattered the Carter presidency. President Obama's Persian tutorial has just begun.


Mr. Ajami, a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq (Free Press, 2007).


A few days ago, Mark Steyn rolled in with his piece on how great powers don't have the option of being neutral. From the NRO:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDlhMmZmY2I1MjI0MTZlNDBhZmI3N2Y3ZDk2ZGZlYjA=

An on-line discussion followed--

Comrade Karla:

Very interesting….the sad thing is that the long-serving DOS [Department of State] realists have almost exactly the same perspective he does. So he's probably not being challenged very much by the diplomatic establishment

Regarding Karla's comment on DOS:

They're so desperate to talk with Iran that they are falling into the standard Realism trap, the same one that made Bush 41 publicly call for Ukraine and other states to not break from the USSR (one of many examples of where Realism misses the bigger picture).

Obama is trying to have it both ways (show some lukewarm support for the protestors while not overly antagonizing the current regime) and will end up by pissing off both sides. When in doubt, go with the more morally correct course!


Comrade Karla:

I don't know if this guy (for all his supposed intelligence) has any real foundation for understanding how foreign policy works.

There may well be a time for "realism," especially during the Cold War where sometimes we had two bad choices and had to choose one.

But now? Even the Euros (who will do nothing but talk) are supportive of the protestors. Obama seems genuinly irked that his attempt to outreach to Achmalandslide is being messed up by those ungrateful protestors who don't understand that they have "authentic" rulers.

Carter talks a lot of similar nonsense, so there are disturbing paralells.

And another thing…all those progressives who hate and detest dictatorial regimes….where are they? I only hear crickets. Must be because Halliburton doesn't feed the Pasdaran.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

According to the infamous Wikipedia, Father's Day is celebrated in nearly 100 countries--including Iran. Although I think this year's homage to dear ol' dad was postponed (18 June 09).

Not every country celebrates Father's Day on the 3rd Sunday in June. So there's still time to plan that father-son expedition up Mount Everest! (Nepal--18 September 09).

In Bulgaria Father's Day falls on 26 December. Oh boy! Twice as many neckties!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father's_Day

Friday, June 19, 2009

USN Shadowing NoKo Ship


FOX News has been running this story for a couple of days. A North Korean ship, suspected of carrying contraband--even WMD material--is under surveillance by the US Navy.

The full FOX story is here:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/19/military-set-intercept-north-korean-ship-suspected-proliferatin-missiles-nukes/

This situation easily brings to mind one of the Nightmare Scenarios posted on Hot Air by "Doctor Zero":

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2009/06/17/the-nightmare-scenario/

Obamacare Propaganda (Humor)

Despite how poor state-run healthcare is in Canada, the UK and Western Europe, Obama still wants to charge ahead and follow these nations down the same dreary path. As of now it appears that some Democratic lawmakers are having second thoughts about rationing-out medical services and its enormous cost.



I found this on Michelle Malkin's website. Only one news agency was allowed in the White House to discuss Obama's healthcare plan: ABC (the American Broadcasting Corp.)

Or as Michelle calls it: The All Barak Channel.




Thursday, June 18, 2009

Europe: (Goose)stepping to the Right?

Right-wing political groups, some would say fascist, are making gains in both national and the European Union elections. The most recent being the British National Party winning seats in the European Parliament earlier this month.

So far such groups hold less than 20% of the seats in various legislatures across western and central Europe--so far.

Here's Mark Steyn's assessment on why Europe is taking a hard-right turn:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/06/18/why-the-fascists-are-winning-in-europe/

Hungarian Redux?

As Iranians continue to protest, Obama issues bland statements of "concern." If violence in the Iranian Islamic Republic escalates, the most likely reaction from the US will be nothing--just like what happened when the Hungarians revolted in 1956.

Ralph Peters rolls-in on Obama's lack of enthusiastically supporting Iranian protesters:


http://www.nypost.com/seven/06182009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/green_light_for_a_crackdown_174811.htm?page=0
Meanwhile here's what Mark Steyn had to say about Obama's "realist" approach to Iran's mullahs:

Schmoozing with Thugs (Humor)

With all the trouble brewing in the world it's time to take a lighthearted look at some of our worries.

From the Iowahawk---

Hail to the Victors
A Special Message to the People of Iran
By Barack ObamaPresident of the United States

Greetings.
As president of United States -- or, if you prefer, the Great Satan -- I have have been following with keen interest the vigorous post-election debate and vibrant political dialogue which has been taking place in your great and noble Islamic Republic of Iran over recent days. It has been both educational and fascinating, and as a sports fan I have thrilled to the pageantry, the suspense, and the fast-paced, hard-hitting action. I have to say It's been as exciting as a double overtime game seven NBA final between the Lakers and Celtics! Like millions of others around the world, I can't wait for the exciting conclusion of your distracting nail-biter so I can finally focus on my big health care project at the office. (Now that's what I call a real crisis!) But no matter who prevails in your hard-fought contest, you can rest assured that I will be out there in the stands watching, and ready to congratulate the team who brings home Tehran's coveted Golden Centrifuge Cup.

Now, I know that our two nations have had our differences in the past, and so it would be totally understandable if some of you were possibly upset my previous statements expressing "troubled concern" and "measured consternation" over your current situation. Please, do not interpret those statements as somehow taking one side or the other. I was not trying to be provocative or inflammatory, and far be it from me to interfere or play favorites. As we say over here in the Great Satan, "I don't have a dog in this fight," and so I was merely "calling 'em like I see 'em." Frankly, if America is going to regain respect as a geopolitical superpower, we need to make the tough call to sit quietly on the sidelines. That's why I have instructed my diplomatic team remain strictly neutral and to "let 'em play." With time and patience, I hope you will come to think of us as a bigger, flatter version of Switzerland. With less yodeling.

To clarify, my only real concern is over sportsmanship. In democracies like ours elections can sometimes be difficult and messy. "Politics ain't beanbag," as we also say over here. As I learned on the basketball courts and ward precincts of Chicago, the birthplace of modern Democracy, a hard fought game sometimes involves a little trash talk, an occasional sharp elbow, or a mysteriously malfunctioning scoreboard. But this doesn't mean we always have to resort to flagrant fouls, or angrily shooting our opponent in the parking lot, just because he showboated after a layup. Let's all remember the lesson of Ron Artest -- charging into the stands and savagely beating a heckler might feel good at first, but in the end it just might mean losing that big shoe contract with Nike.

And so I encourage both sides in this exciting contest to "keep it cool," and "play within yourself." Whether you are a "shirt" or a "skin," let's all respect the game. Are you a member of the Revolutionary Guards who just laid out a student demonstrator with a vicious, bone-jarring hit? Instead of taunting him, offer your hand to help him back to his feet. This will be a polite sign of mutual competitive respect before your next vicious, bone-jarring hit. Are you the student demonstrator? After collecting your teeth, congratulate the Guard on his his awesome hit. This will let the Guard know that you are a good sport, and committed to continue your dialogue without preconditions. At the end of the day, we need to leave our differences on the court and start focusing on the dangerous enemy who threatens all of us: Dick Cheney.

Let's also remember a good sport is gracious in victory and defeat. If you find yourself way ahead, don't run up the body count just to impress the UN poll voters. Act like you've been there before! If you're on the losing side, don't try to prolong the inevitable with ticky-tack fouls and time-outs and Hail-Allah trick protest formations. You gave it your best shot, but the fat lady is beginning to sing. So let's cue up Queen on the stadium PA, pass out the commemorative t-shirts, and get ready to douse the winning mullahs with Gatorade. After the victory parades, I'd love to host the winners at the White House for some sort of ceremonial diplomatic photo-op.
In the final tally, the only thing that matters in the diplomatic arena is sportsmanship. As we say here, "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." I am certain that the best team will prevail, because as we also say, "winners never cheat and cheaters never win." And in the words of Raiders legend Al Davis, "just win, baby." The most important thing is that you get this distracting sudden death shootout over with, because it's really screwing with my legislative agenda. Not to mention my sleep schedule.

Until then, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the eventual winners, and best wishes in your upcoming playoff series with the Tel Aviv Fightin' Zionists. I've already programmed it on my TiVo!
The Iowahawk website:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Protests in Terhan, Narcissism in DC

As protestors took to the streets in Tehran, our president did--what? Anything?
(The photo above is from Getty Images on the BBC website).

Peter Ferarra of The American Spectator discusses "Obama's Iran Blunder":

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/06/17/obamas-iran-blunder

Meanwhile Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh of the New York Times discuss how Iran's current government came into being:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/opinion/17pletka.html?_r=1

Most of us like-minded folks aren't holding our collective breaths over the possibility of real reforms occuring in Iran. Twenty years ago, it looked like China was on the verge of a such a revolution. Back then the student protesters gathered Tianamen Square hoped for real reforms too--until the tanks rolled in.

Tianamen Square Protests of 1989:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Lying Terrorist

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed now claims he lied to his interrogators in order to avoid further abusive questioning.

Or so he says.

His statement, or course reinforces the liberals' view that harsh interrogation methods don't yield accurate information and not only inhumane but a complete waste of time.

Comrade Karla sent us the LA Times article on this story:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cia-detainee16-2009jun16,0,316330.story

My response to this was:

I have to hand it to our enemies, they really know how to play to the liberal crowd.

Yes, let's believe everything an enemy leader has to say but consider our own troops liars when they state they came under enemy fire and then charge them with murder.

One friend replied:

Well, you have to consider what kind of crazed, mercenary, right-wing extremist murderous whackjob would ever consider volunteering to serve in our oppressor military. Once you've done that it's easy to figure out that freedom fighters the world over are paragons of virtue by comparison...(sigh)

To which Comrade Karla chimed in:

Remember, third world thugs are "authentic." Real, pro-western reformers are just lackeys for Halliburton or something.

For more on the Life & Times of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed

Any bets on how long before we start seeing Khalid/Che Guevara-esque T-shirts?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mount St. Helens: Supervolcano?

Concern has arisen once again about Mount St. Helens, seen in the above photograph by the US Geological Survey during the initial explosion on 18 May 1980.

A summary of this historic eruption can be read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_eruption_of_Mount_St._Helens

But now there's concern brewing over what lies beneath Washtingon State's most active volcano:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227124.700-supervolcano-may-be-brewing-beneath-mount-st-helens.html

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Trouble in Tehran


While N. Korea is pursuing it plutonium program, the other Nuke Wannabee is having some "domestic issues." Seems like not everyone's happy with Ahmadinejad's re-election. (Photo of above of street fighting in Tehran from AFP).

Prior to the outbreak of violence, Obama & Hillary expressed "excitement" over Iran's "democratic process":

http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed1/idUSTRE55B4SG20090612

This story generated this on-line exchange:

It is disturbing to watch Obama and Hilary talk about how wonderful iranian democracy is...

To which Comrade Karla responded:

I wonder if they're "excited" about rioting in the streets after nutjob claimed a landslide victory? Like Jimmy Carter, I don't think they really care as long as there's a figleaf of "democratic process" for them to ooh and aah over, regardless of how much of a sham it is.


Speaking of said rioting...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090614/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iran_election

So Obama & Hillary may not be all that excited after all. (Most of us who've studied the histories of dictatorships could have told them to hold back on the excitement):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090614/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_iran

Where's "Otis"?

A strange Search and Rescue (SAR) mission occurred this evening. Mason county was looking for a homeless man that had been missing for 10 days.

How did anyone know he was "missing"? Was he a fixture in town like Otis of the Andy Griffith Show?

Two other counties provided 3 bloodhound teams for the search.

In the end the SAR folks couldn't find him.

And if the authorities did find him, then what?

Friday, June 12, 2009

California: The Canary in the Coal Mine?

The gist of this article from Politico is that Obama's tax & spend plan is similar to California's tax and healthcare plan.

But with California facing a financial meltdown, is such an example good for the country as a whole.

Most of my like-minded friends don't think so.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23637.html


Here's what the sponsor of the original e-mail had to say:

One of my favorite things to hear from both East Coast liberals and conservatives is the liberal diatribe about how Prop 13 doomed the state. I particularly love how supposed conservatives around here by into that when they should know better.

Still, and all the article is accurate about high-wage earners leaving the state. I am also particularly bemused by liberals...of the boomer generation who are upset that their materialistic quests for dominance have been limited by the liberalization of California(?) Can they not put two and two together? Especially in regard to the implications on a national level?

And here's Comrade Karla's 2 Rubles:

The joke used to be that it was mostly just northern CA that was right of center...the ascendancy of the Princess Pelosium agenda is making everybody outside of LA/SF look like dynastic Tories....OK, apart from maybe Solvang or Santa Barbara.But still.

I don't think you'll EVER hear serious news coverage about (1) what the D legislature has done over and over again for decades or (2) how the illegal problem is a drain on not only services, but infrastructure (500 families living in areas with utilities/services to handle say 200) or (3) how much $$ the prison system would save if it would (a) execute even a fraction of those on death row and/or (b) deport illegal felons.

Nah, it's all Bush's fault.

Our "Coolest" President...

...is too cool for our our allies.

Obama makes empty statements like "grave concern" about North Korea and allowing Iran's nuclear ambition to go unchecked as he warms up to dictators from autocrats from Saudi Arabia to Venezuala. Meanwhile he acts frosty towards our traditional allies in Europe.

Here's what Ralph Peters had to say about Obama's attitude towards Europe, from the NY Post:

BAM'S EURO FREEZE
By RALPH PETERS

June 10, 2009 --


WHEN Europeans wish upon a star, they get an American president with a huge Third World chip on his shoulder.

Those "sophisticated" Europeans dismissed "cowboy" Bush as a rube beneath their contempt. If the continent's opinion-makers could've changed their voter registrations, they would've flown to Chicago to vote for Barack Obama last fall.

They got what they wanted. But it isn't what they expected.

President Obama may be the least Europe-friendly occupant of the White House since James Monroe (the guy who put up a "Keep Out!" sign on our hemisphere). Bam clearly doesn't like Europeans.

A big chill has hit the trans-Atlantic atmosphere. Beyond the perfunctory grip-and-grins at Saturday's D-Day commemoration, there was no bonhomie between European leaders and our celebrity prez.

Nor can the somber setting -- or even the raw sea breeze -- be blamed for the dour mood in Normandy. The president and first lady maintained their own self-absorbed bubble, enchanted with being the Obamas. President George W. Bush may have been inarticulate, but the Obamas were ungracious.

The new ice age was also evident during Bam's stop in Germany. Walking or standing side by side, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel looked like a couple going through a brutal divorce who got caught in the same elevator on the way to meet their lawyers.

In France, Obama brushed off Nicolas Sarkozy, the most pro-American president to occupy the Elysée Palace in my lifetime. Sarkozy had to beg for a meeting.

And Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been treated as though the British just burned the White House -- or a Kenyan village -- last week.

One of the left's high-pitched battle cries during last year's election was: "Restore our good relations with Europe!" Welcome to reality.

The Obamas remain celebrities among some European populations. But "Old Europe's" elected leaders are the canaries in the coal mine. And their beaks look ashen.

Even in his blame-us Cairo speech, Obama's mention of women's rights was aimed not at Middle Eastern savagery, but at France -- where headscarves can't be worn in public schools.
That's rich. Our president praised the "wisdom" of King Abdullah, ignoring Saudi Arabia's hideous treatment of women, but whacked Europeans for insisting that heads -- and identities -- should go uncovered in free societies.


If scarves, hijabs and chadors are so great, why didn't our first lady go to Saudi Arabia and give us a fashion show?

Our president also noted that European imperialism did great harm to the Middle East. He neglected to mention that Muslim imperialism butchered Balkan Christians up to the eve of World War I.

Anyway, Bush's problems weren't really with Europe -- only with Germany and France, both of which had been profiting hugely from business deals with Saddam. Most of Europe stood with us. France and Germany then voted in conservative governments.

Where are the complaints about Obama slighting Europe? He's stiff-armed every major European leader except Russia's new czar, Vladimir Putin -- the one quasi-European figure the administration hastened to embrace.

Our relations with Europe were better in Bush's second term than today. The Obama administration bullies allies on economic policy, favors Muslim immigrants in internal disputes, insists (against the wishes of Europe's voters) that Turkey be admitted to the European Union and excludes traditional partners from foreign-policy initiatives.

In the past, our policy often has been too Euro-centric. But we need a useful balance, not a trans-Atlantic Cold War.

Obama just seems to have it in for Europe on a personal level.

Much of our president's youth was spent in the Third World; his closest relatives viewed events through a wacky leftist lens -- and he sat for decades in a church whose pastor ranted against Jews, "racist" America and our foreign policy. It would be astonishing if Obama hadn't internalized such views by sheer osmosis.

The evidence of our president's preferences is on the video record: Compare his upbeat body language and smiles as he embraces Venezuela's Hugo Chavez or the Saudi king with the scowls he offers European leaders.

Our president not only identifies with the Third World, but with a romanticized Third World whose failings are all the West's fault. It's the typical view of an undergraduate leftist -- in 1979.
Europe is going to miss George W. Bush.

And what about our ally in the Middle East--Israel? According to Dick Morris, that nation is in store for a "Czech '38 Treatment." That is, will be open for destruction.

THE DEATH OF ISRAEL

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANNPublished on DickMorris.com on May 24, 2009

From Caroline Glick, deputy editor and op-ed writer for the Jerusalem Post, comes alarming news. An expert on Arab-Israeli relations with excellent sources deep inside Netanyahu's government, she reports that CIA chief Leon Panetta, who recently took time out from his day job (feuding with Nancy Pelosi) to travel to Israel "read the riot act" to the government warning against an attack on Iran.

More ominously, Glick reports (likely from sources high up in the Israeli government) that the Obama administration has all but accepted as irreversible and unavoidable fact that Iran will soon develop nuclear weapons. She writes, "...we have learned that the [Obama] administration has made its peace with Iran's nuclear aspirations. Senior administration officials acknowledge as much in off-record briefings. It is true, they say, that Iran may exploit its future talks with the US to run down the clock before they test a nuclear weapon. But, they add, if that happens, the US will simply have to live with a nuclear-armed mullocracy."

She goes on to write that the Obama administration is desperate to stop Israel from attacking Iran writing that "as far as the [Obama] administration is concerned, if Israel could just leave Iran's nuclear installations alone, Iran would behave itself." She notes that American officials would regard any harm to American interests that flowed from an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as Israel's doing, not Iran's.

In classic Stockholm Syndrome fashion, the Obama administration is empathizing more with the Iranian leaders who are holding Israel hostage than with the nation that may be wiped off the map if Iran acquires the bomb.

Obama's end-of-the-year deadline for Iranian talks aimed at stopping its progress toward nuclear weapons is just window dressing without the threat of military action. As Metternich wrote "diplomacy without force is like music without instruments."

By warning only of possible strengthening of economic sanctions if the talks do not progress, Obama is making an empty threat. The sanctions will likely have no effect because Russia and China will not let the United Nations act as it must if it is to deter Iranian nuclear weapons.All this means is that Israel's life is in danger. If Iran gets the bomb, it will use it to kill six million Jews. No threat of retaliation will make the slightest difference. One cannot deter a suicide bomber with the threat of death. Nor can one deter a theocracy bent on meriting admission to heaven and its virgins by one glorious act of violence. Iran would probably not launch the bomb itself, anyway, but would give it to its puppet terrorists to send to Israel so it could deny responsibility.

Obama, bent on appeasement, would likely not retaliate with nuclear weapons. And Israel will be dead and gone.

Those sunshine Jewish patriots who voted for Obama must realize that we, as Jews, are witnessing the possible end of Israel. We are in the same moral position as our ancestors were as they watched Hitler rise but did nothing to pressure their favorite liberal Democratic president, FDR, to take any real action to save them or even to let Jewish refugees into the country. If we remain complacent, we will have the same anguish at watching the destruction of Israel that our forebears had in witnessing the Holocaust.Because one thing is increasingly clear: Barack Obama is not about to lift a finger to stop Iran from developing the bomb. And neither is Hillary Clinton.

Obama may have held the first White House cedar, but he's not planning to spend next year in Jerusalem.

Obama's too busy with his program to ruin America's dynamic economy and society to be bothered with something like international crises and aiding our allies. Especially allies he doesn't personally like.

Getting Attention in the World

North Korea is throwing another temper tantrum.

North Korea would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive"

Associated Press
Tuesday, 9 June 2009


North Korea today said it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked — its latest bellicose rhetoric apparently aimed at deterring any international punishment for its recent atomic test blast.

The tensions emanating from Pyongyang are beginning to hit nascent business ties with the South: a Seoul-based fur manufacturer became the first South Korean company to announce Monday it was pulling out of an industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong .

The complex, which opened in 2004, is a key symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas but the goodwill is evaporating quickly in the wake of North Korea 's nuclear test on May 25 and subsequent missile tests.

Pyongyang raised tensions a notch by reviving its rhetoric in a commentary in the state-run Minju Joson newspaper today.

"Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means...as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit," said the commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It appeared to be the first time that North Korea referred to its nuclear arsenal as "offensive" in nature. Pyongyang has long claimed that its nuclear weapons program is a deterrent and only for self-defense against what it calls US attempts to invade it.

The tough talk came as South Korea and the US lead an effort at the UN Security Council to have the North punished for its nuclear test with tough sanctions.

Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported today that South Korea had doubled the number of naval ships around the disputed sea border with the North amid concern the communist neighbor could provoke an armed clash there — the scene of skirmishes in 1999 and 2002.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to confirm the report, but said the North has not shown any unusual military moves.

Relations between the two Koreas have significantly worsened since a pro-US, conservative government took office in Seoul last year, advocating a tougher policy on the North. Since then, reconciliation talks have been cut off and all key joint projects except the factory park in Kaesong have been suspended.

Some 40,000 North Koreans are employed at the zone, making everything from electronics and watches to shoes and utensils, providing a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped North. The park combines South Korean technology and management expertise with cheap North Korean labor.

A total of 106 South Korean companies operate in the park. That number will go down by the end of the month when Skinnet, the fur-maker, completes its pullout.

A Skinnet company official said the decision was primarily over "security concerns" for its employees, and also because of a decline in orders from clients concerned over possible disruptions to operations amid the soaring tensions.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

The industrial park's fate has been in doubt since last month when North Korea threatened to scrap all contracts on running the joint complex and said it would write new rules of its own and the South must accept them or pull out of the zone.

The companies have also been concerned by the detention of a South Korean man working at the complex by North Korean authorities since late March for allegedly denouncing the regime's political system.

The two sides are to hold talks on the fate of the park Thursday.

Intensifying its confrontation with the US , North Korea handed down 12-year prison terms to two detained American journalists on Monday.


And what's the Obama Administration doing about this? Several days prior to this latest outburst, Mark Steyn asked a similar question in the Orange County Register.


Steyn on the World

Saturday, 06 June 2009

What does a nuclear madman have to do to get America's attention? On Memorial Day, the North Koreans detonated "an underground atomic device many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki," as my old colleagues at The Irish Times put it. You'd think that'd rate something higher than "World News In Brief," see foot of page 37. But instead Washington was consumed by the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, who apparently has a "compelling personal story."

Doesn't Kim Jong-il have a compelling personal story? Like Sonia, he grew up in a poor neighborhood (North Korea), yet he's managed to become a nuclear power, shattering the glass ceiling to take his seat at the old nuclear boys' club. Isn't that an inspiring narrative? Once upon a time you had to be a great power, one of the Big Five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to sit at the nuclear table: America, Britain, France, Russia, China, the old sons of power and privilege. But now the mentally unstable scion of an impoverished no-account backwater with a GDP lower than Zimbabwe has joined their ranks: Celebrate diversity!

Evidently, some compelling personal stories are more compelling than others. In The Washington Post, Stephen Stromberg argued that Kim's decision to drop the Big One on a three-day weekend was evidence of his appalling news judgment. Other blasé observers shrug that it's now an American holiday tradition. It began when Pyongyang staged the first of its holiday provocations on Fourth of July 2006, and, amidst all the other fireworks displays, America barely noticed. No doubt there'll be another Hiroshima on Labor Day or Thanksgiving. Geez, doesn't the hick in the presidential palace get it? There's no point launching nukes when everyone's barbecuing chicken or watching football.

Well, you never know: Maybe we're the ones being parochial. If you're American, it's natural to assume that the North Korean problem is about North Korea, just like the Iraq war is about Iraq. But they're not. If you're starving to death in Pyongyang, North Korea is about North Korea. For everyone else, North Korea and Iraq, and Afghanistan and Iran, are about America: American will, American purpose, American credibility. The rest of the world doesn't observe Memorial Day. But it understands the crude symbolism of a rogue nuclear test staged on the day to honor American war dead and greeted with only half-hearted pro forma diplomatese from Washington. Pyongyang's actions were "a matter of …" Drumroll, please! "…grave concern," declared the president. Furthermore, if North Korea carries on like this, it will – wait for it – "not find international acceptance." As the comedian Andy Borowitz put it, "President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with 'the strongest possible adjectives.' Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test 'supercilious and jejune.'"

The president's general line on the geopolitical big picture is: I don't need this in my life right now. He's a domestic transformationalist, working overtime – via the banks, the automobile industry, health care, etc. – to advance statism's death grip on American dynamism. His principal interest in the rest of the world is that he doesn't want anyone nuking America before he's finished turning it into a socialist basket case. This isn't simply a matter of priorities. A United States government currently borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends cannot afford its global role, and thus the Obama cuts to missile defense and other programs have a kind of logic: You can't be Scandinavia writ large with a U.S.-sized military.

Out there in the chancelleries and presidential palaces, they're beginning to get the message. The regime in Pyongyang is not merely trying to "provoke" America but is demonstrating to potential clients that you can do so with impunity. A black-market economy reliant on exports of heroin, sex slaves and knock-off Viagra is attempting to supersize its business model and turn itself into a nuclear Wal-Mart. Among the distinguished guests present for North Korea's October 2006 test were representatives of the Iranian government. President George W. Bush was much mocked for yoking the two nations together in his now all but forgotten "axis of evil" speech, but the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported a few weeks ago that the North Korean-built (and Israeli-bombed) plutonium production facility in Syria was paid for by Tehran. How many other Iranian clients are getting nuclear subsidies? It would be interesting to learn who was on the observation deck for the Memorial Day Hiroshima re-enactment, but North Korea is one of the most closed societies on the face of the Earth, certainly when compared with the more closely scrutinized corners of the Middle East. In other words, it's the perfect partner for any state that wants to pursue certain projects under the Western radar screen.

It is remarkable in just five years how the world has adjusted to the inevitability of a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran. Nudge it on another half-decade: Whose nuclear ambitions will be unstoppable by 2015? Syria's? Sudan's? Selected fiefdoms in Somalia?


Barack Obama came to power pledging to talk to America's enemies anywhere, anytime. Alas for America's speak-softly-and-carry-a-big-teleprompter diplomacy, there are no takers for his photo-ops. In the ever more pitiful straw-clutching of the State Department, America is said to be banking on a post-Kim era. He's apparently had a bad stroke and might be dead within a decade or three. So what? It's a safe bet that whoever emerges from a power struggle between the family, the party and the military is committed to nuclearization as the principal rationale of the state. Likewise in Iran's imminent election, both "extremists" and "moderates" are pro-nuke. You want an Iranian moderate? Here's Hashemi Rafsanjani, the moderate guy who lost to that crazy Ahmadinejad last time round: He called Israel "the most hideous occurrence in history," which the Muslim world "will vomit out from its midst" with "a single atomic bomb." Nuking the Zionist Entity is as bipartisan as motherhood and apple pie.

More to the point, the feeble bleatings from the State Department that there may be internal change down the road emphasize the central feature of the present scene: the absence of meaningful American power. While America laughed at North Korea, Iran used it as a stalking horse, a useful guide as to the parameters of belligerence and quiescence a nuclearizing rogue state could operate within. In what Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post calls "the post-American world," other nations will follow that model. We are building a world in which the wealthiest nations on the planet, from Norway to New Zealand, are all but defenseless, while bankrupt dysfunctional squats go nuclear. Even with inevitable and generous submissions to nuclear blackmail, how long do you think that arrangement will last? In the formulation of Janet Napolitano, we are on the brink of "man-caused disaster."

The Orange County Register, May 30th 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

65th Anniversary of D-Day

Sixty-five years ago today, our nation and our allies began the liberation of Europe at a great cost of blood and treasure.

Today exemplifies the cliche: Freedom isn't free.

Much, of course, has been written about D-Day but here's a decent place to start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_Landings

One of the best speeches, if not the best speech, commemorating D-Day was given by President Reagan on this day's 40th Anniversary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBeyZAmmJNg&feature=related