Archive for February, 2007
23 Feb 2007

Liberals Love Opinion Polls

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And have been recently been equating some opinion polls showing high percentages of opposition to the War in Iraq with an electoral mandate.

Let’s see how they like this poll by Public Opinion Strategies (POS).

reported by New Media Journal:

57% of those polled agreed with the statement, “I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for their people.”..

57% of those polled believed that Iraq was central to the War on Terrorism and our struggle against global Islamofascist aggression…

53% believe the Democrats are going too far in pressing the president to withdraw troops.

56% believe that even if they harbor concerns about the president’s policies that Americans should stand behind the president in Iraq because we are at war.

59% believe that it would hurt American prestige more to pull out of Iraq immediately than it would to stay there for the long term, until the job was finished successfully.

and the New York Post:

53 percent to 43 percent… believe victory in Iraq over the insurgents is still possible…

Only 25 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “I don’t really care what happens in Iraq after the U.S. leaves, I just want the troops brought home.” Seventy-four percent disagreed…

When given a choice of four policies, an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops was the least popular (17 percent).

23 Feb 2007

70 Year Old Ex-Marine Kills Mugger With Bare Hands in Costa Rica

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AP reports that a mugger in Costa Rica picked the wrong group of seniors, one which obviously included a retired American with expertise in hand-to-hand combat.

A tour group of U.S. senior citizens fought off a band of muggers in eastern Costa Rica, sending two of the assailants fleeing and killing a third, police said Thursday.

One of the tourists — a retired U.S. serviceman whom officials estimated was in his 70s — allegedly put Warner Segura in a headlock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of San Jose.

The Americans had arrived in Limon on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Carnival Liberty.

“It was a group of 12 senior citizens from the United States who were going to spend a few hours in the area, but their tour bus entered a dangerous sector known as Cieneguita”, Hernandez said.

The tourists drove Segura to the local Red Cross branch but he was declared dead, Hernandez said. He declined to give the names or hometowns of the tourists.

The Red Cross also treated one of the tourists for an anxiety attack, Hernandez said.

Costa Rican authorities said they did not plan to file charges against the tourists, who left on their cruise ship after the incident.

“They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said Segura had previous charges against him for assaults.

It certainly sounds like he broke the mugger’s veterbrae, not his clavicle.

An elderly man would be likely to be pessimistic about his chances in a contest of speed or strength with a significantly younger opponent. Consequently, the American retiree must have resorted to a lethal attack. If he were younger, doubtless, he would have incapacitated and not killed the mugger.

The New York Post identifies the American hero as Allan Clady, a 70 year old retired Marine.

22 Feb 2007

Sandy Berger’s Raid on History

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The Washington Post reports that House Republican inquiries have revealed that Sandy Berger’s removal of Clinton Administration secret memos from the National Archives was treated with surprising incuriosity by certain elements in the Justice Department.

A report last month by the Republican staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said for the first time that Berger’s visits were so badly mishandled that Archives officials had acknowledged not knowing if he removed anything else and destroyed it. The committee further argued that the 9/11 Commission should have been told more about Berger and about Brachfeld’s concerns, a suggestion that resonated with Philip Zelikow, the commission’s former executive director.

Zelikow said in an interview last week that “I think all of my colleagues would have wanted to have all the information at the time that we learned from the congressional report, because that would have triggered some additional questions, including questions we could have posed to Berger under oath.”

The commission’s former general counsel, Dan Marcus, now an American University law professor, separately expressed surprise at how little the Justice Department told the commission about Berger and said it was “a little unnerving” to learn from the congressional report exactly what Berger reviewed at the Archives and what he admitted to the FBI — including that he removed and cut up three copies of a classified memo.

“If he took papers out, these were unique records, and highly, highly classified. Had a document not been produced, who would have known?” Brachfeld said in an interview. “I thought [the 9/11 Commission] should know, in current time — in judging Sandy Berger as a witness . . . that there was a risk they did not get the full production of records.”

In an April 1, 2005, press conference and private statements to the commission, the Justice Department stated instead that Berger had access only to copied documents, not originals. They also said the sole documents Berger admitted taking — five copies of a 2001 terrorism study — were later provided to the commission.

Those assertions conflicted with a September 2004 statement to Brachfeld by Nancy Kegan Smith, who directs the Archives’ presidential documents staff and let Berger view the documents in her office in violation of secrecy rules. Smith said “she would never know what if any original documents were missing,” Brachfeld reported in an internal memo.

In a letter to House lawmakers last week, Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Hertling did not address the issue of why the department told the commission so little. But Hertling wrote that in numerous interviews, “neither Mr. Berger nor any other witness provided the Department with evidence that Mr. Berger had taken any documents beyond the five.”

There must have been something very damaging in there. Possibly some very conspicuous failure to deal with Osama bin Laden during the late 1990s, well before 9/11, which was sufficiently embarassing to William Jefferson Clinton that Sandy Berger was willing to take some serious risks to remove from the record.

The Clintons apparently have dodged another bullet. You almost have to admire their adroitness at doing exactly as they please, and then baffling their opponents with brilliant and brazen maneuvers when in danger of being called to account. Remember the missing Rose Law Firm records which turned up in the White House finally, very shortly after the Statute of Limitations had expired?

22 Feb 2007

“America’s Not at War”

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says Virginia blogger SWAC Girl:

America is not at war.
The Marine Corps is at war;
America is at the mall.”

Hat tip to F22Strike.

22 Feb 2007

Email Joke of the Day

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Hillary Clinton goes to a primary school in New York to talk about the world. After her talk she offers a question time.

One little boy puts up his hand. The Senator asks him what his name is.


“And what is your question, Kenneth?”

“I have three questions: First – whatever happened to the medical health care plan you were paid to develop during your husband’s eight years in the office as President? Second – why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? Third – whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House?”

Just then the bell rings for recess. Hillary Clinton informs the kids that they will continue after recess.

When they resume, Hillary says, “Okay, where were we? Oh, that’s right, question time. Who has a question?”

A different little boy put his hand up. Hillary asked him what his name is.


“And what is your question, Larry?”

“I have five questions: First – whatever happened to the medical health care plan you were paid to develop during your husband’s eight years in the office as President? Second – why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? Third – whatever happened to all thosethings you took when you left the White House? Fourth – why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? Fifth – what happened to Kenneth?”

22 Feb 2007

House of Representatives Supports US Troops, 182-246

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AP reports: House votes to “support troops,” but opposes sending additional troops to complete the mission.

Hat tip to Roger de Hauteville at Maggie’s Farm.

22 Feb 2007

Can You Believe They Tore It Down?

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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
– “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

Hat tip to The Barrister, who writes:

There was a fervor for tearing down old buildings in urban American during the 1960s and early 70s. Many historic, but dilapidated, downtowns were bulldozed, as were countless wonderful “Union Stations” – and anything else that seemed “old”.

Today, we cherish towns like Savannah which were left untouched by the government scourge of “urban renewal.”

19th century housing was replaced by “modern” Soviet-style planned and government-subsidized housing projects (which finally are beginning to be dynamited themselves, for good reason). And the buildings were replaced with parking lots and sterile semi-high rises, and malls – that horrible concept which turns its back on the town in an effort to create an unreal, soul-less consumer paradise for the masses.

When you drive through downtown Bridgeport, CT, Hartford, or Nashville, you will be hard put to find an old building. Lucky towns escaped this frenzy of “modernization,” which I term “dehumanization.” Nobody wants to be in those sorts of downtowns.

Pennsylvania Station on the West Side of Manhattan – one of the masterpieces of the beaux-art movement – did not escape the epidemic of destruction. Grand Central Station escaped – but only barely. Just tell me – where would you rather wait 40 minutes for a train to meet your girlfriend or boyfriend – the new Penn Station, or Grand Central?..

Who would have the nerve to knock this thing down and replace it with the new (and truly terrible in every way) Madison Square Garden?

22 Feb 2007

“Unparalled Perfidy”

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Investors Business Daily condemns the House democrat leadership’s “slow bleed” strategy

As chairman of the House panel that oversees military spending, (John) Murtha plans to advance legislation next month attaching strings to the additional war funds Bush requested on Feb. 5.

Murtha plans to stop the Iraq War by placing four conditions on combat funds through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The Pentagon would have to certify that troops being sent to Iraq are “fully combat ready” with training and equipment, troops must have at least one year at home between combat deployments, combat deployments cannot be longer than a year, and extending tours of duty would be prohibited…

It’s not that the Democrats think we’re losing or that the war is unwinnable. They simply don’t want to win it. As House Minority Leader John Boehner said of Murtha’s proposals: “While American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away, it is unthinkable that the United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely.”..

Neville Chamberlain’s naivete may have helped bring on World War II, but at least he supported his country when war began. Norway’s Vidkun Quisling and France’s Vichy government under Marshal Petain may have collaborated with the Nazi enemy, but after their countries’ defeats, not before.

We’d have to go back to Benedict Arnold to find Americans as eager as Murtha & Co. to see an American defeat on the battlefield.

Read the whole thing.


But Robert Farley argues that these kinds of accusations have serious implications.

IBD seems to be claiming that the vast bulk of the Democratic Party (and no small part of the Republican) are the equivalent of the most notable traitor in American history, a man who undoubtedly would have been hanged or shot if he had been caught. The editorial has been linked to approvingly by Captain’s Quarters, Powerline (sic), Instapundit, and the Gateway Pundit. Reynolds further notes:

To some people, Vietnam wasn’t a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they’re happy to repeat the experience.

Undoubtedly, the Perfesser and his ilk will claim that they aren’t actually calling for treason trials and executions of members of the Democratic Party. But why not? If Democrats really are the equivalent of Benedict Arnold, and if opposition to the war and the Surge is traitorous, then why shouldn’t we be tried and executed, or at least imprisoned? The rhetoric leads only one place. Either Glenn Reynolds believes that Democrats are traitors, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, he should tell us why, and should explain why he so often suggests that Democrats have committed treasonable offenses. If he does believe that Democrats are traitors, then he ought to step up and start calling for arrests. Treason is a capital offense; there’s not really a middle ground. We’re guilty, or we’re not.

Sadly, but perhaps fortunately, Reynolds et al are too gutless to pursue the logical consequence of their accusation. So far, anyway..

The problem is that the current administration has tried to make war while neglecting this particular line of logic. America’s Vietnam experience demonstrated the capacity of the radical peace movement to use its relations with the academic clerisy and the media to turn treason and defeatism into a de rigeur fashion statement of membership in the American elite.

During WWI and WII, the wars which America won during the last century, preaching defeatism and rendering aid and comfort to the enemy were simply not tolerated.

The US Government has the obligation to the members of its armed forces whom it sends into harm’s way to prevent their service and sacrifices being made futile by the domestic demoralization of the American public by a defeatist minority of radical leftists and pacifists.

22 Feb 2007

Who’s Really Guilty?


Victoria Toensing, who in 1982 as chief council to the Senate Intelligence Committee played a key role in the drafting of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, believes the law was never violated in the case of Valerie Plame, and suggests a number of persons and entities she considers more worthy of charges in the Plame Affair than Scooter Libby.

22 Feb 2007

Coming Back Up

I found this morning that I’d had another of the SQL database corruption incidents overnight.

The last backup, it turned out, was done in the midst of an upgrade, and was consequently defective. And my support guy is out of town at a conference.

I’m lucky that I was able to get things fixed myself.

I need to restore some posts, and then we will be back in normal operation again.

My apologies to readers for the inconvenience.

18 Feb 2007

John McCain Campaign Advertisements

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The McCain campaign has some very professionally produced videos on its website, which are worth a look. Some of the left blogs are screaming in indignation about them.

The tribute to Reagan (and to Goldwater) is very nice indeed. Pity that John McCain is not a Reagan and Goldwater Republican after all.

18 Feb 2007

Celebrating WWII in the Burbs

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Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University, has a son who wanted a WWII-themed birthday party last Fall, and some of their suburban neighbors were not amused.

His wife, Brigid Schulte, described the responses in the Washington Post last December 11th:

How do you explain to your neighbors in Alexandria that you’re hosting a war party? More, why are you hosting a war party? I wasn’t sure myself. I only knew that Liam had his heart set on it.

One mother said no right away. “We’re trying to get him away from guns.”

Others were wary. I assured them that the Germans would be an imaginary enemy. We’d have boot camp, a map-finding activity — granted, for a sniper’s nest, ammo dump and secret war plans — and have them jump off picnic tables for the parachute drop.

I promised it would be an, uh, “educational experience.” I had Liam write a short “Road to D-Day” history that he would read to his troops in the ratline. We wrote up the military alphabet, cleaned up the words to the airborne infantry song, downloaded Glenn Miller tunes to play in the mess hall and even printed out a program for the party.

One mother worried that her daughter would be left out. No, no, I assured her, she was going to be a medic, and a friend was building a cool field hospital and ripping up sheets for bandages.

“In that case,” she said, “I’ll bring the blood.”

Turley reflects on the reactions in USAToday this week.

As soon as the invitations went out, a couple of parents politely declined to let their children come to a war-themed party. Afterward, Brigid — a Washington Post reporter — wrote a short piece about the party, and the response from outraged readers was fast and furious. Describing the whole affair as deeply disturbing, one reader chastised Brigid for giving into the base, violent inclinations of her son: “Here’s a novel idea: Say no. Tell him that war is sad and horrible and should never be a cause for celebration.”

There is a palpable sense among such playground objectors that boys harbor some deep dormant monster that, once awakened, inevitably ends with the invasion of Poland or a massacre at My Lai. Of course, millions of men played war games as kids without becoming war criminals. To the contrary, playing war was for most men an early type of morality play, defining values of sacrifice and selflessness. George Orwell once observed that a war-weary parent “who sees his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do.”

To teach that all war is immoral is to deny the absolute values that frame a truly moral life. Arguably, the view of all war as immoral is itself amoral. Whether it is World War II or the first Gulf War, there are wars worth fighting and causes worth dying — and yes, killing — for. The failure of the world to fight in Rwanda and Darfur are, in my view, amoral acts of omission.

Read the whole thing.

17 Feb 2007

Scary Thoughts

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Jonah Goldberg has fun scaring himself, and the rest of us, thinking about a democrat winning in 2008, and being in charge of defending America against Islamic terrorism. Hillary is certainly ruthless enough, but still…

There is an idea out there. Perhaps not a fully formed one. Perhaps more like the whisper of one gusting like a sudden draft through the rafters of the conservative house, causing some to look toward the attic and ask fearfully, “What was that?”

This wisp of a notion is simply this: Maybe a Democrat should win in 2008…

The idea goes something like this: If you believe that the war on terror is real — really real — then you think it is inevitable that more and bloodier conflicts with radical Islam are on the way, regardless of who is in the White House. If the clash of civilizations is afoot, then the issues separating Democrats and Republicans are as pressing as whether the captain of the Titanic is going to have fish or chicken for dinner…

..if you really think that we are in an existential conflict with a deadly enemy, there’s a good case for the Democrats to take the reins. Not because Democrats are better, wiser or more responsible about foreign policy. That’s a case for Democrats to make about themselves and certainly not one many on the right believe. No, the argument, felt in places we don’t talk about at cocktail parties, is that the Democrats have been such irresponsible backseat drivers that they have to be forced to take the wheel to grasp how treacherous the road ahead is.

Try sleeping tonight after thinking about that!

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to David Larkin.

17 Feb 2007

Leftwing Democrats Plan “Slow Bleed” For US Armed Forces in Iraq

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Too cowardly to take an open stand insisting upon American defeat and withdrawal, which might have political consequences, the democrat leadership in the House of Representatives has devised a strategy in which John Murtha, now Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee, will bring to bear the same low cunning which served him so well during theAbscam investigation, when he declined to accept a bribe (while being taped) “at this point.”

At this point, Murtha will not try to defund the US military effort in Iraq, he will simply attach a variety of restrictions on spending and troop deployments, threatening Republicans with a complete cutoff of funds if they try to oppose such restrictions.

The Politico reports:

new restrictions on how the president can deploy combat forces from the United States to Iraq, allow combat veterans to have at least one year stateside before returning to the frontlines and prevent the Pentagon from keeping soldiers and Marines already in Iraq in uniform after their enlistments expire.

“This vote will limit the options of the president and should stop the surge,” Murtha predicted of next month’s floor fight over the wartime supplemental appropriation. “We’re trying to force redeployment [of troops outside Iraq], not by taking money away but by redirecting it.”

Murtha is not pushing a total cutoff of funds for the war in Iraq…

The strategy being employed by Murtha and other House Democratic leaders would force Bush and Republican congressional leaders to accept the new troop restrictions, or face the possibility the supplemental spending bill would falter, thus cutting off all funding for the war.

Democrats are betting that Bush and the Republicans won’t take that risk and will go along with the Democratic proposals. And Republican leaders are not taking Murtha’s threats lightly.

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