October 1, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 10/01/2007

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Terror Database Gets Plenty of Hits - The Terrorist Screening Center has detected more than 40,000 people trying to gain entry into the U.S. who either associated with terrorist groups or were known terrorists themselves, and the database is only going to get better, says the agency's chief. (READ MORE)

MoveOn Ad Raises Cash for GOP - Capitol Hill Republicans are getting a much-needed fundraising boost from a newspaper advertisement in which the liberal group MoveOn.org accused Iraq war commander Gen. David H. Petraeus of lying, strategists say. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Christians Forced to Leave - Nabil Comanny and his family endured the dead bodies in the streets, the roaming kidnap gangs and the continuing power failures. The Christian family stayed in their southern Dora neighborhood after their Muslim neighbors fled the daily fighting between Sunnis and Shi'ites. (READ MORE)

Obama Revises Plan on Tax Cuts - Sen. Barack Obama has already retreated on his pledge to undo part of President Bush's tax cuts, four months after the Illinois Democrat made the promise as part of his method for funding his health care plan. (READ MORE)

Taxes, Health Lead Hill Agenda - Out of a political stalemate over Iraq, domestic policy is surging to prominence on Capitol Hill, with Republicans and Democrats preparing for a time-honored clash over health care, tax policy, the scope of government and its role in America's problems at home. (READ MORE)

Sudan Rebels Kill 10 Darfur Peacekeepers - HASKANITA, Sudan, Sept. 30 -- Rebel forces stormed a small African Union base in northern Darfur and killed at least 10 peacekeepers, leaving behind charred armored vehicles and bombed-out barracks in an unprecedented attack on the beleaguered mission. More than 30 peacekeepers were still missing by late Sunday, indicating the death toll from the attack could rise significantly. (READ MORE)

Gitmo Detainees on Supreme Court Docket - The Supreme Court begins its new term Monday with the justices expected to announce they declined to intervene in hundreds of cases. The court, which by law convenes the first Monday in October, also will hear arguments in two cases, a Washington state dispute over its political primaries and an appeal from New York that asks when taxpayers must foot the bill for expensive private school for special education children. (READ MORE)

Candidates to Reveal Fundraising Numbers - Presidential campaigns aggressively competed for dollars up to the last minute of the third quarter, eager to build their bank accounts for an expensive stretch of media advertising and voter outreach. Candidates were poised to begin revealing their fundraising numbers Monday, leaving the details for later, when they must file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. The first votes of the presidential contest are scheduled to be cast in January. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Sgt Hook: I Have Arrived - Film at eleven… or whenever I get another chance to log on here. Sgt Hook out. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: ¿Senor, es que un toro en su asno? - I feel like the guy in this photo. Every BOOM and every POP makes me wonder just how long I can be lucky. I had some close calls in 2004-05 and now that I am back I think a lot about my own mortality. Back then we laughed and joked and called it "Mortar Bingo" but we really thought it would not happen to us. Most of those folks have left and are home safe. Hearing the Phalanx ripping out ungodly numbers of 20mm shells to tear apart rockets in mid air makes me feel better but I hate the "Big Voice". (READ MORE)

LTC Richard Phillips: As I sit here in Afghanistan, I wonder how many people truly appreciate . . . - As I sit here in Afghanistan separated from my son, my family, and boyfriend, I wonder how many people truly appreciate the sacrifice that we as American soldiers and airmen make. With so many people arguing that we need to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, you'd think they've forgotten what caused us to be here in the first place. We are here trying to make sure that 9/11 never happens again. (READ MORE)

Andrew Lubin: The Surge – 6 - With all the excitement, recriminations, and bombast of the recent Petraeus – Crocker Hearings, there was a simple question that many of the Congressmen and Senators neglected to ask: Is the military aspect of The Surge actually working? To answer this question, OnPoint talked with three of the senior officers leading the action on the ground, and will be presenting their answers in today’s and Monday’s Features. BrigGen Mick Bednarik is the Deputy Commanding General for MNFI – North, which has the responsibility for Diyala Province. This area, north of Baghdad, includes the city of Baquoba and the surrounding agrarian Diyala River Valley. Monday’s feature will present reports from LTC Ken Adgie, MND-Central, and Col Ricky Gibbs, MNFI – Baghdad. (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Dry Skies and Thunder - You are looking at Iraq, from on high, a birds-eye view (but the bird is a satellite, so you've got a great view...) Let's zoom in a bit and see what we can see... look - over there... Coalition forces positively identified a foreign terrorist killed in an operation Tuesday in Musayyib as a senior al-Qaeda in Iraq member. Abu Usama al-Tunisi was in the inner leadership circle of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and was a likely successor to him. Al-Tunisi was the military emir of Baghdad’s southern belt and took over the role of emir of foreign terrorists when al-Masri became the overall leader. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: The Peace Corps with Muscles - RAMADI, IRAQ – Now that major combat operations are finished almost everywhere in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the United States Army and Marine Corps are more like a United Nations peacekeeping force with rules of engagement that allow them to kill if they have to. “We’re like the Peace Corps with muscles,” is how one soldier put it when I left with his unit at 4:00 in the morning to deliver food stuffs and toys to needy families in the countryside on the edge of the desert. (READ MORE)

The Landlocked Sailor: Spring ahead, fall back ... sort of ... - Okay, I promised to tell you how the Government of Iraq (GOI) is trying to drive us insane through confusion. It all concerns the seasonal time change that so many of you will go through in about three weeks. You all probably remember that the U.S. used to change time this weekend during the year, but moved the spring and fall time changes, for some strange reason, by three weeks. This is no big deal if you live in the U.S. and you know the new time change date. In Iraq, however ... it's a nightmare of biblical proportions. (READ MORE)

Fightin'6th Marines: Pardon the Interruption... - Apologies to ESPN (or whomever) for stealing the entry title there. I chose that because it's been 3+ weeks since we posted anything. I wish we had some great excuse, like we've been training for our final parachute jump into Berlin or something equally melodramatic. The reality of the situation, however, is that the weather's been great, we're transitioning into the autumn period here in Iraq, and we've been outside staring at the sun for hours every day. At any rate, here is the long-overdue update I'm sure everyone's been fretting over. It's an article about 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "America's Battalion." Well, it's not actually about them, it's more about some of the great progress they've been enabling in their area of responsibility. Pfc. Brian Jones reports. “Be optimistic and you will find the good things.” (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: Paranoia... - OK so with my leave coming up just right around the corner, I figured I would talk about a phenominon of paranoia that seems to go around right before people get ready to head home on leave. Its something that I always laughed about, and even though I know its wrong, slightly played on peoples fear during this time! I know, I’m a horrible person, but I guess Karma is a bitch and has come to stake its claim on me. Basically heres the deal. Right before people are about to go on leave they try everything they possibly can to get out of heading outside the wire. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Captured Iranian agent identified, 15 Special Groups operatives captured in Iraq - Multinational Forces Iraq and the Iraqi military continue to attack the Iranian-backed Special Groups while interdicting weapons flowing from the neighboring country. Fifteen members of the Special Groups were captured in Baghdad on Sunday. The US military has disclosed the identity of the Qods Force officer captured in the northern Kurdish province of Sulimaniyah on September 20, and has stated Iran is sending portable surface-to-air missiles to Shia insurgents. During a Sunday press briefing in Baghdad, Rear Admiral Mark Fox identified Mahmudi Farhadi as the Iranian Qods Force officer captured in Sulimaniyah. Farhadi is the sixth Qods Force officer that the US has announced is in custody. Five senior Qods Force officers were captured in Irbil in January 2007. (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith Jr.: Hezbollah is Secretly Building Battle Positions - JUBAL LUBNAN (east of Beirut) – I write this with some acceptance of risk (everything is a risk here). But it's something that must be published. I know for a fact that Hezbollah is building defenses and fortifications from which they can launch attacks in the south (where I was two days ago), in the Bekaa Valley, and in Al Dahiyeh (the Hezbollah security square in Beirut, which we covertly entered and moved through twice during our photo-reconnaissance a few days ago). This is not hearsay: This is reality. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Ben Ryan: Trigger-Happy Journalists - "They are immature shooters and have very quick trigger fingers," says an anonymous lieutenant colonel. "Why are we creating new vulnerabilities by relying on what are essentially mercenary forces?" asks a nameless intelligence officer. "They often act like cowboys over here," says an unidentified commander. Ever since a recent shootout in downtown Baghdad, newspapers have been ablaze with charges that private security contractors in Iraq are trigger-happy. (READ MORE)

John Fund: Rude Giuliani - A lot is going well for Rudy Giuliani's campaign. His fund raising is strong. He outstrips his GOP rivals in national polls. His speeches on taxes and health care were solid. He picked up some foreign-policy gravitas with a successful trip to London. But there is a fly in the ointment. Even members of Mr. Giuliani's own staff are appalled at how he handled the incident in which he answered a phone call from his wife, Judith, right in the middle of a nationally televised speech to the National Rifle Association. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Liberals and the Woman Who Hates Them - My career has been 'finished' so many times, I've practically made a career out of ending my career. I don't know how else to get this message across to right-wingers: Liberals aren't that scary anymore! Please stop apologizing. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: The New York Times' Left-Wing Discount - Imagine if the New York Times gave half-price ad space to the National Right to Life Committee or the National Rifle Association. It would never happen, of course, but if it did, you can envision the left-wing clamor. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Rather's Revenge - I assume that 75 year old Dan Rather doesn't play golf or collect stamps or knit. Because, obviously, if he had a hobby, he wouldn't have decided to spend a major portion of his golden years pursuing even more gold than he already has. (READ MORE)

Carol Platt Liebau: Hillary's baby bounty - Call her Mrs. Santa Claus - or Ms. Santa Claus, perhaps. Just last week at a forum hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, Hillary Clinton proposed that each baby born in the United States receive a $5,000 ?baby bond? from the federal government.(READ MORE)

The Radio Patriot: A Hobson's Choice: Newt Bows Out - Newt is out. Am I surprised? No. Disappointed? Yes. He's a brilliant thinker, a man with sound, rational, common sense solutions and ideas, who isn't afraid to assemble other bright thinkers to tackle the mounting problems that face us as a nation. (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: In the Meantime... - So a fair bit happened while I was gone: Bill Roggio reported from Iraq on the spread of tribal movements similar to the Anbar Awakening. He touches on the story from Baghdad province- similar things are happening in Salad al Din and Diyala provinces, to the northwest and northeast. In Diyala, the tribal council includes 80% of the major tribes, and involves Sunni, Shia and Kurds. I wrote shortly before I left Kuwait about the murder of Sheik Sattar, the leader and primary founder of the tribal movement in al-Anbar province. His brother has stepped up into the role, while US Special Forces captured his murderer. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Who Controls the Present, Controls the Past, Who Controls the Past Controls the Future - The ghost of Stalin is alive and well in modern day Europe. The British Culture Secretary, James Purnell, is being criticized after it emerged that his image had been digitally inserted in a group photograph a short time after he had railed against news media for fauxtography. James Purnell found himself in an embarrassing situation over the disclosure just two weeks after he warned broadcasters of the danger of losing the trust of viewers. The controversy centred on a photocall at Tameside general hospital, Greater Manchester, to mark the start of work on a new unit. Mr Purnell was among four local MPs invited to the event, but he arrived after the photograph been taken and the other MPs had left. (READ MORE)

Bear Creek Ledger: Not Welcome in Oakland - The more things change the more they seem the same. Marines are refused entry to the terminal at the Oakland airport. From Michael Ledeen at The Corner - Spitting on the Marines: On September 27th 204 Marines and soldiers who were returning from Iraq were not allowed into the passenger terminal at Oakland International Airport. Instead they had to deplane about 400 yards away from the terminal where the extra baggage trailers were located. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Combat Deaths Drop To 14-Month Low - The use of aggressive tactics and a larger footprint has resulted in a drop in combat deaths for American troops in Iraq. The number of those lost in combat operations fell to a 14-month low in September. Meanwhile, the US and Iraqi forces continue to hold the momentum, killing almost as many al-Qaeda terrorists and insurgents this weekend as American forces lost all month: (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: The Peace Democrats and the Party of Lincoln - Mobilizing the nation in defense of America and our ideals is the #1 issue of our times. This conviction was the basis for the following essay, documenting lectures by Professor Gerald Matacotta that I wrote for the latest issue of Queens Village Eagle, invoking Lincoln and the Civil War as an appropriate parallel narrative for our times. It will be sent along with a memo from Professor Matacotta, from America’s oldest Republican Club, to the GOP presidential candidates to utilize a unique historical perspective in their campaigns and debates. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: MoveOn ad helps Republicans - The Washington Times reported that MoveOn.org now is a major fund-raiser for Republicans. Money is coming in as the public is repulsed by the Betray Us ad that MoveOn ran in the New York Times at half-price. Mind you, this ad ran before General David Petraeus even testified and already MoveOn called him a liar. (READ MORE)

H. Numan: The Dirty Little Secret of the Left - Right now the oppressive regime in Myanmar, or Burma, is once more featuring prominently in the news. The hated regime represents everything that left wing political parties abhor: excessive brutal force used to suppress the poor population, widespread censorship, strict military rule. You name it, the Burmese government does it. But… the government isn’t a right wing dictatorship at all. It is a socialist dictatorship! (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Sign Me “Human” - It appears that a modern EU version of the Nuremberg Laws is being formulated in Europe. A 21st century bureaucratic Brussels equivalent of the Ministry for Racial Purity is under construction. But this time Europe is following the American model, instead of the Nazi one: instead of the purity of the Herrenvolk, a fair distribution of racial spoils will be the goal. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Murdered Monks Dumped - Daily Mail reports thousands of Buddhist clergy and lay Burmese protestors murdered, dumped in the jungle. “Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma’s ruling junta has revealed. The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: ‘Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.’” (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: A very exceptional trap - Is the Jewish people capable of defending itself properly? This may seem an absurd question to ask when Israel has created a formidably armed society in an explicit renunciation of the powerlessness of the Jewish diaspora. But with Israel under internal and external pressure over its decision to designate Gaza a ‘hostile entity’ and the prospect that it may cut off its fuel and electricity, we might ponder the absurdity of it not doing so. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Spook’s Law - I think he may be on to something: “If you don’t see a spate of stories on U.S. casualties at the end of the month, then there must be some good news the MSM is ignoring… (The) September numbers from Iraq are good news, no matter how you analyze it. Not only did the overall military death toll continue its decline, the number of troops killed by hostile fire was at its lowest level in fourteen months. So far this month, a total of 36 U.S. troops have been killed by enemy fire, the lowest total since July 2006, when 35 died.” Now, it’s hard to label good news the fact that any soldier has died overseas. But if the numbers were getting worse and not better, we’d for damned sure been reading about it in the newspapers rather than on Spook’s blog. (READ MORE)

The Oxford Medievalist: Soros, the Clintons, and "Battlespace Preparation" - It's a busy morning for me, and I have to be at work early, so a deeper post will have to wait till this afternoon. In the meantime, check out NewsBuster's Noel Sheppard on the George Soros propaganda machine Media Matters' smear campaign against Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and it's connection to the Clintons. Glenn Reynolds says: “IT'S NOT A ‘SMEAR’ -- it's better understood as "battlespace preparation." And the target is the traditional media; the intent is to limit the ability of people like Limbaugh or O'Reilly to drive stories in the mainstream news as we get closer to the election. Expect more of this, with more targets.” (READ MORE)

McQ: GOP sends its thanks to MoveOn.org - Seems the organization was an effective fundraising tool for the GOP: “Capitol Hill Republicans are getting a much-needed fundraising boost from a newspaper advertisement in which the liberal group MoveOn.org accused Iraq war commander Gen. David H. Petraeus of lying, strategists say…” Of course this isn't unusual. Both parties use gaffes and outrageous comments by the other side to help in their fundraising efforts. But they usually don't have the legs this particular bit of stupidity by MoveOn seems to have. Methinks the GOP will be using this for quite some time to raise much needed cash. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Fred Thompson, Not McCain-Feingold, Actually Killed Newt's Run - Newt Gingrich announced last week-end that he has decided not to run for President, but his reasoning seemed to puzzle a lot of people: “Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said Saturday that Gingrich opted out of the race, a crowded one with nine candidates, after determining he could not legally explore a bid and stay as head of his tax-exempt political organization.” Many people heard that, scratched their heads and tried to figure out why Newt didn't realize six months ago that he couldn't, "legally explore a bid and stay as head of his tax-exempt political organization." (READ MORE)

Some Soldier's Mom: Love you, too, Mom... I will. - My cell phone rang... Actually, the area of my cell phone was vibrating just as we were walking into The Kingdom (more on that later). I was originally going to ignore the fuzzy buzzing, but as I was just inside the doorway, I looked to see who was calling. I didn't recognize the area code, but there were those last four numbers telling me it was coming through a DoD switching station. We'd become accustomed to those last four numbers when Noah and Our Guys were in Iraq the last time. (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: More on the Judge Samuel B. Kent Case - Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey has a good article on the Fifth Circuit investigation into the sexual harrassment claims against Judge Samuel B. Kent. Casey makes two important points. First, federal law requires the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to keep secret the evidence obtained in its investigation. For this reason, it is wrong to infer that the Fifth Circuit judges are keeping the information secret in order to somehow help Kent cover up his misconduct. If you want to study the details of relevant statute for yourself, it is 28 U.S.C. 360. Second, there actually isn't very much that the Fifth Circuit can do to punish Kent. (READ MORE)

Kim Priestap: Michigan State Government Approves Higher Income Tax, Sales Tax Expansion - Michigan already has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, and with the state income tax going from 3.9% to 4.3% and an expansion of the sales tax, it's now only going to get worse. From Fox News: “The state Legislature agreed early Monday to raise the income tax and expand the sales tax to services in a historic deal with the governor that quickly ended a partial state government shutdown.” The reason Michigan has such a terrible budget shortfall is that its taxes are already so ungodly high that people and businesses are moving out of the state, which is costing the state revenue. But the state legislature is too stupid to understand this and continues to raise taxes in an effort to raise more revenue. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Who Gives A SCHIP? - Yeah, I know I just wrote about the S-CHIP re-authorization and expansion (and Bush's veto of same) a couple of days ago, but there's enough crap flying around about it to merit a followup. First off, "herewegoagain" challenged my number, and cited a Census Bureau report that pegged the number at $48,201. I admit my initial "research" was casual when I came up with the figure $58,832, so I did some digging of my own through the Census Bureau's own site. It turns out we were both pretty right. According to this page, median HOUSEHOLD income was $48,451, while median FAMILY income was $58,526 -- both figures within spitting distance of the numbers we cited. (READ MORE)

Paul: Millionaires Living in Public Housing - It is hard to tell which is more incredible... The fact people are making almost a quarter million a year and still living in public housing or the conclusion the WaPo's Amy Gardner makes in this story. “Hundreds of families living in housing subsidized by Fairfax County taxpayers exceed income caps designed to ensure that only the neediest receive assistance, a review of county records shows. In the most extreme cases, Fairfax is underwriting rents for families making well into six figures: The fact that higher-income families choose to remain in subsidized housing illustrates the critical lack of affordable housing in Fairfax....” That's not what it illustrates at all. What it illustrates is another failure of big government. That someone making almost a quarter of a million dollars a year is living off the dole is simply appalling. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: The Road To Recovery - The road to recovery, whether it be from a major illness to a community recovering from a disaster of some sort, is a road that while at times tenuous and challenging, can bring some very real results that are visible for everyone to see. The road to recovery in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, is one example of that. Since the surge into the area in July, things have been changing in the community and pointing to the fact that the citizens are ready to take their community back from the insurgents and return their lives to normal as quickly as possible. They’ve been able to accomplish this, with help from Soldiers assigned to Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Stories like this always make me wonder where the media is, when this type of progress occurs… It definitely gives you something to think about. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Darfur Peacekeeper Base Attacked; 12+ Killed, Dozens Missing - The African Union has been trying to restore peace to the Darfur region of Sudan, but the Sudanese government in Khartoum continues to provide support to militias, and opposition groups aren't taking too kindly to the AU presence either, believing that the AU is supporting the government position. It's a no-win situation for the AU, which now finds itself in the middle of a conflict on the heels of the Darfur genocide. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Thomas Friedman: 9/11 Is, Like, Soooo 2001 - CJ tipped me to this last night. I didn't want to link it as it's mind-scorchingly stupid and a deliberate attempt to outrage to get attention for the now-available-NYT columnists (yawn). But my embargo isn't going to do much to dent the NYT, so it's here. Here's a sample. “Like all good satire, the [Onion parody about how dumb we were after 9/11] made me both laugh and cry, because it reflected something so true — how much, since 9/11, we’ve become ‘The United States of Fighting Terrorism.’ Times columnists are not allowed to endorse candidates, but there’s no rule against saying who will not get my vote:” (READ MORE)

Bar Kochba: Zionism is Judaism - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had the audacity to declare, after his 'Israel-must-be-wiped-off-of-the-map' hatefest and Holocaust denial, that he is a friend to the Jewish People. This is a common tactic of anti-semites, to declare 'Death to the Zionists- but we love Jews'. They try to separate the Jewish People from their state and try to convince the world that their hatred for Israel doesn't mean that they hate the Jews. Actually, as long as the Jews live like good dhimmis in the exile, Ahmadinejad along with his Islamofascist and liberal cronies adore the Jews. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Different Marines...More Charges... - I wonder if we're going to start charging boxers with assault and battery or firefighters with breaking and entering...? “...Nearly three years after the battle of Fallujah earned Marines more Navy Cross medals for heroism than any other action in Iraq, prosecutors are investigating whether members of one squad killed a group of captured insurgents there.” However, getting charges to stick could prove difficult as prosecutors try to assemble concrete evidence from a battle that reduced much of the city to rubble and caused extensive casualties. The identities of the victims are unknown. (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Are the Taliban "The Enemy" or Not? - Once again, another national leader of an American "ally" in the "war on terror" has offered to help the Taliban regain political power. AP has reported that Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai offered "to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan." AP reports that Karzai stated: "If a group of Taliban or a number of Taliban come to me and say, 'President, we want a department in this or in that ministry or we want a position as deputy minister ... and we don't want to fight anymore ... If there will be a demand and a request like that to me, I will accept it because I want conflicts and fighting to end in Afghanistan." This echoes comments this week by the UK Defense Minister that "the Taliban will need to be involved in the peace process". (READ MORE)

Ian Schwartz: (Video) ABC Reported on ‘Phony Heroes’ Days Prior to Limbaugh’s ‘Phony Soldiers’ Comment - Rush Limbaugh has unfairly been attacked for calling people who said they were involved in and/or witnessed war atrocities but really weren’t, phony soldiers. Isn’t that a definition of a phony? Along with liberal “media watchdog” group Media Matters and far-left blogs, the entire media has smeared Limbaugh. However, it was only last week ABC did a story on … “phony heroes”! ABC news anchor Charles Gibson teased the segement as a “closer look” at phony heroes. (READ MORE)

Kobayashi Maru: Thomas Friedman: Free Al Q'aeda Terrorists; Empower Castro - Some days you just can't make this stuff up. Here's Tom Friedman waving his magic wand like Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Sunday NYTimes, declaring with a dazed, hallucinogenic grin that "9-11 is Over". (That's the actual title of the editorial, reminding me, thematically at least, of this). You stupid little munchkins hiding in fear from the Wicked George Bush can all come out now: (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: This is no time for Karzai to go wobbly - The next time someone’s compiling a book of inspiring speeches by wartime leaders, Hamid Karzai’s response to the suicide bombing that killed 30 Afghan military personnel on Saturday is unlikely to feature alongside the words of Churchill, Thatcher and Franklin Roosevelt. Rather than vowing that the terrorists would never again impose their will on the Afghan people, and indeed would be hunted down and killed, the President’s response to the atrocity was to invite the perpetrators of the attack to join his government, and ask exactly how high they wanted him to jump. The Taleban’s response, in addition to dismissing Karzai’s offer out of hand, has been to issue its very own constitution for Afghanistan, lest anyone should be confused as to their intentions towards the country. As the UK’s Telegraph reports, the Declaration of Independence it ain’t: (READ MORE)

MountainRunner: IED as a Weapon of Strategic Influence: Creating the Blackwater Nightmare - Abu Muqawama has a smart post on IEDs as Weapons of Strategic Influence, something I've talked about before. However, what he and others have missed is the role IEDs have had not just on American military force posture -- using armored Humvees and MRAPs (scroll down to find reference) -- but also of the entire Coalition, including private military contractors, highlighted by recent events that have dramatically altered the narrative and focus of the entire mission in Iraq, as well as the tools used in the execution of that mission. (READ MORE)

Political Pistachio: Islamo-fascism and the Nazis - The Hitleric Connection - We can play games about whether or not Israel belongs in the Middle East all we want. What I mean by this is there are many people out there that argue on the side of Palestine (Jimmy Carter included) accusing Israel of being oppressive against those poor Palestinians. Heck, Israel has even been accused of being guilty of committing apartheid as did South Africa against the native black citizens. Fact is, the Jewish People were a race without a nation, and historically their land is in that region where they are now. The Jewish race was scattered by tyranny after tyranny after tyranny (Rome, Babylon, Assyria), and now, the Left (and Islam) claims that even though there is another tyranny that wishes them genocidally eliminated, this Islamic tyranny should still be able to take their land from the Jews as many tyrannies have before them. The Jews waited 2,000 years for the land to be returned to them. (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Role reversal in Darfur - As you likely know, the Darfur is an even worse mess than most parts or sub-Saharan Africa and the Muslim world, plagued by a truly a particularly nasty race-war and Sunni Muslim fundamentalist butchers on each side claiming divine sanction from Allah - with most Muslims instinctively backing those who claim to be Arabs rather than Nilo-Semitic blacks (American blacks are more heavily Bantu, lowers in the pecking order of the Muslim world). Anyhow, in addition to this story from NPR’s Morning Edition with excellent background, there was this story which presents the usual do-gooders with several thorny conundra in re Darfur. (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: The Mother of All Protest Babes Takes Power in Ukraine - It's getting to be just kind of pathetic how utterly incompetent the New York Times is when trying to report on Russia and the former Soviet bloc. On Sunday, it ran a huge story singing the praises of Kremlin lackey Viktor Yanukovich, assisted by an American political consultant in the parliamentary elections taking place in Ukraine, in his efforts to "remake his image" and thereby dupe the people of Ukraine into moving back into the position of a slave state of Russia. The ink was hardly dry on this "story" before Bloomberg was reporting that "Ukraine's reborn Orange alliance of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko [pictured above] and President Viktor Yushchenko is poised for victory after yesterday's parliamentary election, the latest results showed." (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: Nurse Hillary's Spoonful of Sugar - Our theme for today comes from George W Bush: "Freedom is the desire of every human heart." When the President uses the phrase, he's invariably applying it to various benighted parts of the Muslim world. There would seem to be quite a bit of evidence to suggest that freedom is not the principal desire of every human heart in, say, Gaza or Waziristan. But why start there? If you look in, say, Brussels or London or New Orleans, do you come away with the overwhelming impression that "freedom is the desire of every human heart"? A year ago, I wrote that, "The story of the western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government `security,' large numbers of people vote to dump freedom - the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, seat belts and a ton of other stuff." (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Big Brother Arming Children: Elitism Rages Wrapped in Health Care Hypocrisy - After President Bush's weekly radio address Saturday the Democrats used a 12-year-old kid who needed medical care after being hurt in a car accident to attack Bush's opposition to expanding a federal health care program that serves poor kids. The president is opposed to the expansion, as are most people who can do basic math, or at least use a calculator, because it will use tax dollars to provide medical care for millions of adults and children who are nowhere near being poor, and in many cases already are covered by their own medical insurance. In other words, it is necessary only if you believe in a Big Brother government, not because it will serve people who aren't covered and can't be in any other form. (READ MORE)

Little Green Footballs: The Missing Ramadan Spike - You’d never know it from the mainstream media, but US troop casualties are decreasing rapidly in Iraq—and the infamous “Ramadan” spike has gone missing. "This year, for the first time since our troops have been in Iraq, the Ramadan Spike has failed to materialize. Few events in Iraq were as predictable as the yearly rise in causalities it signified. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, shortly before and during the autumn months in which Ramadan has recently occurred, violence against US forces escalated significantly." Well, what do you know. Pushed out on the newswire 15 minutes ago: US, Iraqi civilian deaths fall sharply. And I don’t even see a “BUT” lurking in here. (READ MORE)

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