Carnival Of Revolutions
There has been some big news from the Axis of Evil this week, as good cop North Korea announces plans to renounce its nuclear weapons, while the International Atomic Energy Agency is referring bad cop Iran to the UN Security Council for its intransigence over its nuclear programs. Look for terrorism partners North Korea and Iran to swap the good cop/bad cop role severals times over the next few months - the two seem quite adept at coordinating their activities.
Also, check out the Handbook for Cyber-Dissidents from Reporters Without Borders. This is a must-read for the novice democratista anywhere in the world rebelling against the idea that it is the right of the government to tell you what to think.
Armenian activitist are torn over whether to support a referendum on November 20 regarding amendments to the constitution. The amendments, which would limit the authority of the presidency, particularly the President's ability to fire the Prime Minister at will, would smooth the way for integration into Europe. However, Onnik Krikorian states that many feel that "the present government lacks the legitimacy to amend a constitution that does not function not because it is flawed but because there is the lack of the rule of law in Armenia."
There is more on the constitutional referendum here.
Iran is not the only country of late facing referral to the Security Council. Burma, one of the most repressive states in the world, and a sponsor of terrorism as well, may be up for referral also, according to Publius Pundit.
The Bad Hair Blog introduces us to 'Universidades sin fronteras'(Universities without boundaries), a dissident movement within Cuba seeking freedom of association and expression for Cuba's college students. This movement is sponsored by Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, who was recently arrested for his activities and then released a week later by Cuban authorities. That is a remarkably short time for incarceration in the Gulag that is Cuba, and Fausta states that "Lobainas release from prison, only a week after his arrest gives credence to the power, passion, and conviction of the growing international youth network outside of the island, aspiring for recognition of human rights and educational reform in Cuba. The quick mobilization and response to Lobainas detention by groups such as 'Raices de Esperanza'and 'El Comité Internacional de Jóvenes por la Democracia en Cuba' raised enough eyebrows to sufficiently concern the communist regime, and proves that the voices and actions of Cuban sympathizers outside of the island are being heard and making a difference."
Global War On Terror
Al-Qaeda issued a broadcast lauding the "defeat of the Zionist occupation" in Gaza, and stated that Hurricane Katrina was Allah's wrath upon New Orleans, a 'city of homosexuals.' The statement also praised Zarqawi's work to "defend the honor of the pure Muslim women in the robbed land of Iraq." Via the indispensable MEMRI.
A Daily Briefing On Iran has a roundup of articles regarding Iran's imminent referral to the UN Security Council.
European military attaches walked away in protest from a military parade in Tehran. The EU members agreed that, if the parade including any slogans that attacked their allies, they would walk out. Sure enough, Iran marched Shahab-3 missiles by them with banners saying 'Death to America' and the Europeans walked.
A large explosion of rockets killed during a Hamas demonstration killed 15 this week. Hamas blames Israel, naturally, but the PLA blames Hamas. The Head Heeb points out that the PLA would have given kneejerk support to the claim Israel was behind the blast if it were true. The fact that the PLA blames Hamas' own negligence belies the truth of the matter.
The IDF has engage in air strikes and arrests to root out the sources of Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.
H. Sowell warns us that the PLA is tattered and in disarray, and has authority
over virtually nothing and no one. To quote the Jerusalem
Post, "The Palestinian Authority is crumbling, its leader Mahmoud Abbas
is too weak to enforce law and order, his Fatah party is in disarray and Hamas
is taking control of the Gaza Strip, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said on Wednesday
during a rare on-the-record briefing with military reporters...
Preaching a message of doom and gloom for the prospects of a positive times ahead, Diskin said the Palestinians were making enormous efforts to acquire rockets and other weapons in the West Bank, smuggled in from the Sinai. He also said the Shin Bet believes Islamic extremists who follow an al-Qaida ideology were still targeting the Sinai resorts and that Israelis should stay out of there... "
Kirk's blog also presents excellent weekly roundups of events throughout the middle east.
Our friend Jane Novak of Armies of Liberation certainly seems to be getting under the skin of the Saleh regime of late. Jane has been blogging regularly on the tyrannical nature of Yemen's government, and the press there is attacking her, calling her a Zionist, as well as "a Mason, a Yemeni man in disguise, a Hashemite, working for the CIA, working for the Socialists, residing in al-Arabait, and a Docile Student of a Monkey Monk." If one can be judged by the enemies one makes, Jane is a fine upstanding citizen of the world. It is also a testament to the power of blogs that now even hidebound reactionary states feel the need to respond to them.
Yemen too has a part to play in the Global War on Terror, and has not endeared itself to neighboring Saudi Arabia, which complains that "all weapons and explosives used by the Qaeda fighters were bought and smuggled from Yemeni arms markets. Confessions of those arrested shown that they use Yemen as a source of arms and transfer them over the border.
Moreover, the evidence is piling up that Yemen is a major transit point for terrorists infiltrating into Iraq.
And President Saleh supports Iran's nuclear program.
The Carnival of Revolutions Home Base can be found here, at WILLisms.com. Thanks Will!
Hamas Facing Reality?
Hamas leader Mohammed Ghazal stated that the Hamas charter "is not the Koran" and indicated that the terrorist group might some day amend its charter to remove language calling for the destruction of Israel.
This is a stunning development, the single sole tiny indication of moderation of any kind by this murderous cabal.
The Case For Permanent Bases In Iraq
The United States has 120 FOBs, or forward operating bases in Iraq, and plans to build 14 permanent bases there, including airbases (there is even an alleged 'Camp Bushwhacker' somewhere in Iraq). Via GlobalSecurity.org we can see the major bases already established there:
Take a look at the powerful strategic position Iraq possesses on the world map. Historically Iraq has been strategic not just for the middle east, but for the whole world - it is literally the crossroads of the ancient world. Alexander crossed here on his way to India, and at the height of its power the Roman Empire extended down the Tigris and Euphrates right to the Persian Gulf itself.The silk road had its terminus here.It was just about impossible to travel east or west through the fertile crescent without crossing through what is now Iraq:
Iraq remains just as geographically and politically strategic today. Axis of Evil senior member Iran is pinned between Afghanistan and Iraq - both held by American troops. On Iraq's flank is junior associate member of the Axis of Evil, Syria. This puts a tremendous incentive upon both of these regimes to be on their best behavior. While protecting the critical oil fields of Iraq, American and Coalition troops are well-poised to quell any mischief in oil rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well, thus stabilizing the major energy resources of the entire world and putting them beyond the machinations of terrorists. Moderate and weak Jordan enjoys shade from this umbrella of protection, as do the Gulf States.
Its location also makes Iraq great piece of flypaper. If you had to pick one country in the middle east to serve as the center of gravity for jihadism, Iraq would serve nicely. Lodged between the respective headquarters of shia and sunni jihadism, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraq would be the absolute perfect locus to tie down terrorism if we could somehow pick up Egypt and place it right next to Iraq as well. The symbolic value of controlling Baghdad, seat of the ancient caliphate, and Najaf, theological center of shi'ite Islam, should not be underestimated. Granted, this is not the type of strategic advantage one looks for - the Pentagon would prefer not to fight any insurgency at all obviously. And the argument that if we don't fight them in the streets there, we will be fighting them in the streets here is quite a stretch. If al-Qaeda ever obtained an air force or navy powerful enough to force its way to our shores - which is what it would take to deliver sufficient numbers of jihadists to wage an insurrection here - then car bombs will surely be the least of our worries.
But,let's try to squeeze whatever possible lemonade we can out of this lemon . . . having lots of jihadists dying while fighting experienced American and Iraqi forces is arguably better than having jihadists spread all over the middle east causing mischief in places not expecting violence, or subverting, co-opting or forming partnerships with the tyrannies still at large there. Or planning attacks against the U.S.
We need permanent bases to properly house our troops and improve operations, and to avoid the utter disaster that befell South Vietnam once it collapsed. Losing Vietnam allowed the genocide in Kampuchea to begin. Who knows what equivalent horrors (or worse) would be unleashed if Iraq falls.
Permanent bases will go from being the anchors that keep Iraq stable and free, to being powerful projection points throughout the entire region once the insurrection is quelled. In time, I suspect the average Iraqi will no more resent a permanent American presence on their soil any more than the average German or Japanese does. Far from being the neocon imperialist nightmare envisioned by the overly-imaginative Left, permanent bases in Iraq will be tangible evidence of our continued commitment to a free and prosperous Iraq, and don't let the symbolic value of that for Iraqis and all the peoples of the region be underestimated either.
Linked to Outside the Beltway's Beltway Traffic Jam - thank you!
North Korea Says 'No Nukes'
North Korea has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons, in return for an affirmation by the United States that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, and that the U.S. has no intention to invade North Korea.
Is the North serious? Who knows.
It should not matter. The MSM should trumpet George Bush's phenomenal and unprecedented foreign policy triumph here--though of course they won't. Even if the agreement unravels (as it most likely will) the press habitually focuses on the image of success rather than the substance of it, and so the editorial pages of major newspapers across the land should be lobbying for Bush to get the Nobel Peace Prize. The Left wing should be patting Bush on the back for this major victory in the War on Terror.
Does that sound ridiculous? Just imagine if Bill Clinton had achieved something like this.
Perhaps though, in the most optimistic scenario, this is two members of the Axis of Evil down, one to go. Keep hope alive!
Palestinian Troglodytes In Action
Speaking of 'tolerance', here is a picture of Palestinians burning an abandoned synagogue in Gaza (via Powerline).
They destroyed three other synagogues as well.
Touching--isn't it?--the respect and toleration these muslims have for other cultures and peoples? Isn't it marvelous to see this religion of PEACE and LOVE serving mankind?
May I throw up now?
The Liberal Tolerance Myth
Alright, this is perhaps an odd way to bring up this topic, but bear with me.
Greg Gutfeld's latest bombshell over at HuffPo really has a lot of commenters in an irate lather. One commenter in particular said that he hoped to meet Greg in a dark alley. Greg responded in his DOUBLE SECRET HIDDEN BLOG (in his bio) that he didn't know whether he should bring a knife or a condom to the alley. Better bring both just in case!
Anyway, clearly this commenter is addled with hatred for Greg Gutfeld, and I am curious as to why a HuffPo commenter, no doubt with his liberal bona fides in order, would express a desire to do violence to Gutfeld.
Where is that vaunted liberal tolerance?
Don't liberals bleat endlessly about how tolerant they are? Aren't we supposed to be tolerant of everything, including those we disagree with?
Including conservatives? If not, why not?
After all, if tolerance only means toleration for those things which you already accept, that is not tolerance. That is agreement. Tolerance, properly, means putting up with those things with which you disagree. For example, if you are a liberal democrat who thinks civil unions are a great thing, you are not tolerating homosexuality. You are accepting of it, and perhaps even condone it. You do not earn liberal brownie points for being 'tolerant' of homosexuality if you see nothing wrong with it.
Yet look at how vituperative liberals get when confronted with those things they actually do disagree with. The ire directed at evangelicals, Republicans and of course George W. Bush has reached dreadful lows never seen before in American political life. If you merely voice support for the administration in any way, you too like Greg Gutfeld have joined the evil and criminal cabal that runs this country. You have blood on your hands. You are a Bushbot.
You deserve to be beaten up in an alley.
To emphasize just how silly the liberal myth of tolerance is, let us properly apply it. We are supposed to be tolerant of those things with which we disagree. Are we then supposed to be tolerant of al-Qaeda? Nazis? Child molesters? Murderers? Liberals will quickly find ways to extract themselves from being bound to these examples. After all, they don't really believe this tolerance crap any more than conservatives do.
The liberal tolerance myth is emblematic of liberalism itself. Liberals don't extend the hand of tolerance really, they merely pat themselves on the back with it. It isn't important to actually be tolerant, it is only important to be perceived as tolerant. That, my friends, is liberalism in a nutshell.
Corruption Killed New Orleans?
How corrupt is Louisiana? Billy Tauzin once observed that "half the state is under water, the other half is under indictment."
This history of corruption may be the proximate cause of the unravelling disaster that ultimately destroyed New Orleans. Policemen participating in looting rather than stopping it is merely the tip of this iceberg.
Senator David Vitter had called for federal investigations into several Lousiana public utilities, among them the Orleans Parish Levee Board.
The Levee Board was supposed to provide repairs and oversight of the levees. And so to further that end, they invested in, guess what . . .
That's right. Rather than raising taxes or floating municipal bonds to secure the levees, the Levee Board invested in a myriad of projects having nothing to do with flood control, with an eye towards feeding the patronage machine and rewarding political supporters.
Where did the revenues go? No one seems to know.
The Canada Free Press asks an interesting question regarding this:
Could New Orleans’s descent into quasi-revolutionary chaos be an indirect result of racketeering, kickbacks and procurement fraud by Democrat insiders with ties to a fast-growing organization called `La Francophonie’?
And get this:
CIDA [which funds La Francophonie]was founded in 1968 by the ex-president of Power Corp. of Montreal, Maurice Strong, a paranoid, billionaire depopulationist who claims "rich, industrialized countries (America and the Anglosphere) are the greatest threat to the survival of the planet and therefore he, Maurice Strong, has a duty to force them into line. In the 1990s, Strong went on to become the godfather of the $trillion Kyoto trading scandal, with the financial clout to execute his dreams for La Francophonie.Via the invaluable John Batchelor show, featuring journalist Charles Gasparino of Newsweek.
Fixing The Katrina Memes
I have to hand it to Hugh Hewitt, he was right. The Left's reaction to Katrina, rather than being a bounteous outpouring of that famous liberal compassion, was instead the Wellstone Memorial redux.
Hugh advised that if your opponent is making a fool of himself, don't interrupt, so to speak. While of course there is wisdom in that, it is also prudent to amplify for all to see the foolery in which your opponent engages.
I think the blogs have taken the lead in seeing that the odious memes cropping up about Bush's handling of this disaster have by and large not taken root. In fact, Wes Pruden tells us that the disaster fallout has not harmed the President's standing with the American people.
An ABC News Poll tells us that
Americans are broadly critical of government preparedness in the Hurricane Katrina disaster -- but far fewer take President Bush personally to task for the problems, and public anger about the response is less widespread than some critics would suggest:" Two-thirds of those polled say the federal government should have been better prepared to deal with a storm this size, and three-quarters say state and local governments in the affected areas likewise were insufficiently prepared.It is now becoming apparent that the Feds responded in a timely and appropriate fashion. The levee is already repaired, and engineers are now pumping water out of New Orleans. FEMA seems to be the exception however, apparently the feds here waited until after the storm hit to call up homeland security agents.
It has also become clear now that Governor Blanco, in her failure to call up the National Guard, or really do anything other than break down and cry, is the main cause of the looting and savagery that befell New Orleans.
As for Mayor Nagin, I think the picture of the buses sitting empty in flooded parking lots pretty much demonstrates in graphic fashion his culpability.
There are rumors that Nagin has resigned.
Neil Boortz demonstrates how assigning blame is far more important to the Left than actually fixing the problem.
Ben Stein shows how ludicrous it is to blame President Bush for the largest catastrophe to ever hit the United States.
Paul Krugman, as expected, has eschewed facts and common sense to reach the conclusion that the whole thing is Bush's fault. Powerline and Rightwing Nuthouse do a tag-team takedown of the worst pundit in America. The title of 'pundit' should be reserved for those with at least a tenuous grasp on facts and reality. Krugman needs to have his title revoked posthaste - he has reduced himself to a sorry self-parody of a frothing liberal hack.
Am I politicizing the issue here? Hardly. Correcting the habitual lies of the Left is not politicizing, but rather de-politicizing the issue.
There is nothing 'political' about the truth.
Linked to Outside the Beltway's Traffic Jam, and to PoliBlog's Longday Linkfest. Thanks!
William H. Rehnquist, R.I.P.
Making a tough week even tougher, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has passed away.
Condolences to his family, friends, and the Court.
Hey, Katrina Crackpots, S.T.F.U.
I am saddened and disgusted by the knee-jerk carping in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Just disgusted. It is absolutely ghoulish to be flinging blame when the recovery has not even really begun yet.
This following parade of clowns has no such excuse:
Kevin Drum says it is the fault of conservatism. I used to respect this guy.
The Huffington Post is of course attempting to corner the market on all obnoxious blather, starting with the Queen Of All Twits herself, Arianna. Her Highness blames the disaster on the Iraq War.
One of her Mediocre Minions chimes in with one of the most vapid and brainless rants ever uploaded to the internet.
Wow, here is a HuffPo blogger you have actually heard of! Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.unfortunately is given a platform simply because of his name, which he sullies by blaming Bush for the disaster.
Meanwhile in Europe, Green Party member Jürgen Trittin blames the disaster on our failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocols.
Wait, it gets worse! Randi Rhodes says that Bush wants to use Katrina to kill Democrats.
I have just one message for these people:
Ken Says: I hereby place this image into the public domain - please copy it and distribute it liberally.
Also, just yesterday I told Will Franklin that it was too early to try and drain this cesspool, but while blog surfing last night my own mental levee just sorta broke. I couldn't take it anymore. Sorry Will for breaking my quasi-pledge to you, but a kind of grief and anger took over. This is not the America and the world I thought I knew.
Update: I see Chrenkoff put together a better list than I did.
Linked to Outside the Beltway's Traffic Jam.
Update II: Patrick Ruffini shows us that the insanity has infected the Democratic National Committee. Not the Democratic Underground, but the DNC itself. Unbelievable.
Update III: Captain Ed is challenging bloggers to hold off from partisan bickering for a while. CQ is my favorite blog right now, and as much as I respect the Cap'n I am afraid I cannot abide. Here is what I wrote in the comments:
As much as I admire the sentiment behind your idea to hold off on any partisanship, I cannot simply stand by and let the other side paint our President as an incompetent--or worse--without fighting back. I refuse to cede the ground to those who would plant this meme. I refuse to go back to the old days when the leftists could put out any dishonest message they liked without having it challenged.
Katrina Wakeup Call
I didn't think I had anything to add to the Hurricane Katrina story, and so I hadn't blogged about it, until now, because a dark thought hit me.
We now know what it is like to lose an entire american city.
I am not comforted by the outpouring of aid and compassion by the American people - I fully expected that. Americans always do this, it is our modus operandi, and so there is nothing extraordinary about it.
I am even less comforted by the sizable segment of the American population that thinks the War on Terror is fake, misguided or wrong. Hurricane Katrina was unavoidable, but weapons of mass destruction purposely destroying an American city is quite avoidable.
If we are vigilant. If we are all vigilant.
Ken Says: Instapundit has posted a wide array of organizations accepting disaster relief funds.
Able Danger Hearings Soon
According to the NY Times, Arlen Specter is going to hold judiciary committee hearings on Able Danger on September 14.
Hat tip here to Just One Minute, which has done a very thorough job covering this story - if you are interested in the many twists and turns this story has taken to get to Capitol Hill, that is the place to start.