January 14, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 01/14/2009

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

On the Web:
John Ziegler: Reaction To My Palin Interview Proves The Point - Unless you were hanging out with Joe the Plumber in Gaza this past week, you probably heard that I did an exclusive interview with Governor Sarah Palin for my forthcoming documentary, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared.” The reaction to the interview excerpts has been far more intense and far more deranged than I expected. Quite simply, the media response has done more to prove the basic point of the documentary than just about anything I could have produced in the film. Here are just a few ways in which this episode felt like I had suddenly become Alice in Wonderland (without the dress or blond hair). (READ MORE)

Soldiers in the Blogosphere: Strategic impact of Soldier blogs - Back in November, I posted some thoughts about how Soldier blogging fits into the fundamentals of information. Now, I'd like to investigate how it meshes into strategic communication principles. Some may think it's a bit of a stretch to take the blog of an individual Soldier and expect to gain anything strategic from it. But hear me out ... and weigh in on it! Strategic communication (SC) is a term for which it is difficult to find an agreed upon definition. Joint Publication 5-0 defines it as “focused US Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences in order to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of US Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of power.” (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: From Gaza to Guantanamo - A Strange Contrast - If one can endure the creepy, multifarious Hamas recruiting videos of Gazan children with suicide belts, camouflage uniforms, and toy AK-47s shouting to “kill the Jews”, and then collates all that with the images of young Hamas males with hoods and masks, RPGs and rocket launchers, screaming about the death to come to Israel with the now boilerplate “Day of Death” and “Day of Punishment”—with all the bizarre use of the vocative (“O Israel, you will see your rivers of blood” or “O Olmert, we will cut your head off!”)—then it is hard to comprehend the switch to a sudden victimization mode, in which weeping Hamas operatives appeal to Europeans, the news agencies, and other Arabs for relief from the suddenly militarily competent and fierce Jews. (READ MORE)

Chicago Boyz: Why California is No Longer a Paradise - People are leaving California and the once golden land has begun to decay. What happened? “‘We’ve lived off the investments our parents made in the ’50s and ’60s for a long time,’ says Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. ‘We’re somewhat in the position of a Rust Belt state in the 1970s.’” California has followed the grim path of the Great Lakes states. As I wrote before, those states where once the industrial dynamo for the entire Earth, yet they destroyed that enormous economic dominance by political policies hostile to economic creativity. Likewise, California had a golden era as an economic and cultural dynamo. Well up until the late 1980s California was the place to go to make it big. People moved from other states to California. Now, internal migration has reversed. California looks less like a dreamland and more like basket case waiting to happen. (READ MORE)

Melissa Clouthier: The Left's Obsession With Guantanamo - What do you do with murderous and suicidal terrorists intent on killing prison guards or killing themselves? What do you do with a bunch of crazies who wish to spread a virulent ideology to any discontent who will listen? What do you do with dangerous people possessing dangerous secrets where the secrets, if leaked in a court battle, would endanger those in the court, the local populace, and the world at large? What do you do enemies who would provide a target-rich environment for those who would "save" them from prison? How do you keep those around these targets safe? Why didn't Barack Obama consider these questions while proclaiming that he would close the Guantanamo Bay detention center during his campaigning? (READ MORE)

GI Kate: Blue Days, Long Nights - I've been contemplating writing about my personal relationships from the time I was in Iraq to the present. I can't be the only female veteran who has lost love, found love, lost love again, dated, fell in lust, and done it all over again…right? Aside from the awkwardness of dating, things have only gotten more interesting with men after I tell them I’m a veteran. I’ve seen how women react to male veterans…women are intrigued, they lean in close to hear all the stories these brave guys have to tell, they run their fingers up and down their arms as if they are soothing them, panties practically fly off, and then…well, there’s the reaction I get: “Oh, that’s cool”, “You got a girlfriend?”, “You don’t look like a veteran”, “You carried a gun?” And then for the most part, it’s just back to figuring out how to get into my pants. Which leads to me going home alone…and pulling out my vibrator. (READ MORE)

George Neumayr: The Cavalcade of Cant - Protecting the country from non-existent threats while exposing it to real ones is likely to define the incoming administration. So it is appropriate that Hillary Clinton, in her opening remarks before the Senate on Tuesday, identified as an "unambiguous security threat" something that doesn't even exist -- catastrophic global warming. A hectoring phrase like "unambiguous security threat" is supposed to dispel all doubts. Instead, it should create them, foreshadowing an administration that will treat the nation's security and economy frivolously. Fiddling around with the economy for the sake of nothing more than advancing chic conjecture is the last thing an America in recession needs. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: “We forgive differences and our adversaries do not” - To recognize the outward manifestation of love in any given society is to understand the fundamental pillar upon which successful societies are built. In successful cultures and societies, the manifestation of love itself is forgiveness- not necessarily for the forgiveness of sin, against God or against one another for trespasses, but rather, a healthy culture or society for whom forgiving differences is a defining characteristic. With the ‘forgiveness’ of differences, comes the allowance for the equal participation in society of those who are ‘different’ from the prevailing majority, irrespective of their race, religion and culture. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: VFP begs for coward - Remember Robin Long? Back in August he was sentenced by a military court to 15 months in jail for deserting and absconding to Canada. Long was the first deserter to be deported from Canada. In November, after the election, Long wrote a long, windy letter to Barack Obama asking for clemency and to avoid the remainder of his sentence, just like he avoided the service he committed himself to when he joined the Army. In his letter to the President-elect, he demonstrated his ignorance of laws, both domestic and international by claiming that the war in Iraq is illegal because we didn’t declare war on Iraq using some nebulous steps required by the Geneva Conventions. Typical shit-house lawyering we here from the Left all of the time. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: Iranian ship turned back by Israel and Egypt - The Israelis turned back an enemy nation’s ship from entering Gaza. Watch this get spun as an anti-humanitarian move by Israel. “An Iranian aid ship tried to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for the second time Wednesday. Israel Defense Forces sources confirmed that Navy ships contacted the boat’s crew and ordered them to turn back.” Funny, the AP report doesn’t include this information at all: “The boat was making its way to Gaza through the Suez Canal. It docked at Egypt’s Port Said on Tuesday evening and the crew attempted to unload the goods on the deck, but the Egyptians turned them down. The ship then continued towards Gaza.” But the AP does spin this anti-Israel in the lead. (READ MORE)

HughS: Incredibly Wild Hollywood Style Speculation - There have been reports that president elect Obama is having a dinner tonight with several not so left wing types such as William Kristol and David Brooks. Hot Air speculates that the most evil one himself may be attending because of a late cancellation of today's broadcast. So what to make of this? Is Obama turning even more solidly center than his appointments have indicated? Is he going to completely irrigate the far left base that, pardon the choice of words, carried water for him against the forces of Clinton? Forget all of that. There is something else at work here and I sense more than the usual head fake of a Big Media or Hollywood style "meet the other side" story here. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: The utility of nuclear weapons - My last post discussed David Sanger’s New York Times piece about the Bush administration’s refusal to assist an Israeli air strike on Iran’s nuclear complex. If Mr. Sanger’s reporting is accurate, it reveals that Israel lacks the military capacity to significantly damage Iran’s program with conventional munitions. It also indicates that Israel’s policymakers know this. Based on the requests the Israeli government made to the Bush administration (and which President Bush refused to grant), the Israeli Air Force lacks the proper bunker-busting bombs, enough strike aircraft with sufficient range, and sufficient refueling capacity to extend the range of its strike aircraft. In addition, Israel requested permission from the U.S. to overfly Iraq in order to get to Iran. This not only highlights Israel’s aircraft range problem, it also indicated that Israel has considered and rejected alternative flight paths for the hypothetical strike, including paths over either Turkey or Saudi Arabia. (READ MORE)

The Wide Awake Cafe: Are We A Nation Of Pigeons? - The question in the title asks, are we a nation of pigeons? According to the dictionary, the second definition: Slang. One who is easily swindled; a dupe. As January 20th approaches, Wall Street’s investing in mattresses, flyover America is stocking up on guns, while the pigeons of America are elbowing their way to Washington D.C. to get their share of Obama’s pie. The citizens of Edwardsville, Alabama may as well rename its town Pigeonsville. Still, Obama talks down the economy. No optimist is that one. Perhaps he has his reasons. When people feel panicky, they are not apt to think logically. Perhaps Rahm and company want to take advantage of that. Supposedly Rahm already took care of Howard Dean. But to give the president elect credit, he knows a pigeon when he sees one. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: They Walk Amongst Us.... - The Princess didn't think it was possible to surpass her reigning fave Craigslist post; This, however, comes close: “An ovary for a ball: Fair trade, no? A 27-year-old Cleveland lawyer and Barack Obama enthusiast thinks so. On Tuesday, Lisa F. posted a Craigslist ad offering her ovary—and that of a friend—in exchange for two tickets to an inaugural ball. ‘We’ve exhausted all my legitimate means of finding a ticket by begging our campaign staffer friends, so we thought we would try this,’ says Lisa. ‘Also, neither of us are currently using an ovary.’ The ovaries, which range in age from 26 to 27 years, come with no strings attached. ‘Today, you can get an ovary from two separate, progressively minded women who are willing to part with their internal organs for a chance to wear a party dress in the same room as President Elect Obama,’ Lisa wrote in a posting under Craigslist’s ‘for sale’ section. ‘These women . . . will not require an explanation of your purpose. Do you wish to procreate? Use them for science? Macabre hackey sack?’” (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: Public Relations, Propaganda, Call It What You Will - A story from the Toronto Star looks to tell the story of increased Israeli communications efforts, this time actively engaged in the real-time InfoWar aspect of the hot conflict at hand. Unfortunately - and predictably - the writer from the newspaper's Middle East bureau conveys his observations with healthy doses of skeptical eye-rolling. “Call it public relations, call it propaganda, call it what you will - in the brutal conflict now unfolding, Israel seems to be making a far greater effort to tell its side of the story, and to do so convincingly, than it did during its last war, waged against Hezbollah militants in neighbouring Lebanon in 2006. Granted, the country's public relations performance during that inconclusive conflict was widely regarded as a disaster.” (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: A short note on the perils of engaging Iran - Yesterday, the topic of engaging Iran was back in the news. Two items seem relevant. “Hillary Clinton told the Senate that the Obama administration will follow the precedent of the Carter, Reagan, and Clinton administrations and try -- again -- to ‘engage directly with Iran.’ Clinton said flatly yesterday that Bush's effort has ‘not worked’ and that President-elect Barack Obama's team is ‘very open to looking to a positive, effective way of engaging with Iran.’ She acknowledged that the effort represents a gamble and insisted that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to Obama, but she added: ‘We won't know what we're capable of achieving until we're actually there working on it.’” Meanwhile, undoubtedly orchestrated "demonstrators" in Iran were "welcoming" Barack Obama with the usual courtesy: Burning him in effigy. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Unions Decide THEY Should Say Who Gets Taxed - In the military it’s called “mission creep.” That is when you start out doing one thing and end up doing something that has nothing at all to do with what your main function is supposed to be. Unions in New Mexico have just shown mission creep, once again, because, for some reason, labor leaders in that state imagine it is their duty to tell government what sort of taxes should be invented for the citizens of Santa Fe. These so-called labor leaders have decided to urge government to institute a “transfer tax” on houses that they deem “too big” to be allowed to be sold without confiscatory taxes imposed upon them. Now, why a labor union imagines it is in its purview to discuss tax policy… well, that is anybody’s guess. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: United under the swastika in Canada - Critics of Israel are often quick to insist that they’re not anti-Semitic-just anti-Zionist, anti-”occupation,” or something along those lines. But not these guys: at a protest against Israel in downtown Calgary on the weekend, the Nazi group, the Aryan Guard, showed up to march alongside the Muslims. Of course, the Aryan Guard is honest enough to admit they just plain hate Jews, not bothering to strain themselves with arguments of nuance. They fit right in on Saturday with their posters of Israeli flags defaced with the accusation “Terror State.” As Darcey at Dust My Broom notes, the 150 “anti-racists” who came out in force to protest an Aryan Guard march in downtown Calgary last year didn’t complain this time. In fact, they marched right along with the Aryans, united under the swastika: the Arabs and Communists labeling the Jewish State a “Nazi” regime; the skinheads hoping to resurrect the Real McCoy. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Kindling II - Understanding societies through analogy is always imperfect yet can offer useful means for increasing our understanding of often intractable problems. The concept of kindling applied to a specific aspect of the current crisis in the Middle East is worth considering. Earlier today I posted a note sent to Barry Rubin by a friend who was deeply concerned about Turkey's intensifying anti-Semitism. We should all be concerned about Turkey going down the path of anti-Semitism, a path that has facilitated tyranny, death, and destruction whenever it has been trod. Consider the comment of the Turkish Prime Minister in today's Jerusalem Post: “Turkish Prime Minsiter Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday reiterated his harsh criticism against Israeli Operation Cast Lead aimed at restoring calm to the south of Israel. Speaking to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara in a session carried by local television, Erdogan said his words were ‘less harsh than the white phosphorous shells used by the Israeli army.’” (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: Israel in Gaza: Now is Not the Time to Stop - From today's Jersusalem Post: “Israeli ministers were told on Sunday that at least some of Hamas's leaders in Gaza are desperate for a cease-fire, on almost any terms. Hamas has sustained significant losses. Some of its fighters are going AWOL. Others have been captured. Amir Mansi, Gaza City's Kassam commander, was reduced to firing his own rocket at Israel on Saturday, and was killed by the IDF in the process.” Indeed we read in a different article from the same newspaper the leadership of Hamas is almost begging for a ceasefire: “For the first time since the beginning of the IDF military operation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas on Monday openly signaled its willingness to accept a cease-fire with Israel. The message from Hamas was issued by its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, who has been in hiding since the beginning of the offensive.” Clearly the leadership of Hamas is worried. Gone is the bravado. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Free the Nuremberg 24! - In his Impromptus column yesterday, Jay Nordlinger remarks on the success of the mainstream media in inverting reality. Jay offers as examples the widely promulgated images of Bush as stupid, Cheney as evil and Sarah Palin as a bimbo. With respect to Governor Palin, Jay asserts: "In a nation full of bimbos, Governor Palin is one of the few who aren't." Democrats and their media adjuncts have worked an inversion of reality with respect to essential components of the war on terrorism, such as the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo. The Bush administration meticulously adhered to existing legal and historical precedent in crafting its actions. Nevertheless, Barack Obama picked up the theme of Bush administration lawslessness and peddled it to at will during the campaign. (READ MORE)

Douglas V. Gibbs: Losing Objectivity - When you love someone, you lose objectivity. When the neighbor kid does something wrong, he's a bad kid - but if it is your child, there are all of these benevolent reasons for his actions. Barack Obama is that kid that can do no wrong. Have you ever seen in the news when a young man is in court for murder, or another crime, and the camera flashes to the parents and they are defending the child to the end, even in the face of insurmountable evidence? If it was my child, I am sure I would do the same. When it comes to one's child a parent's love is immense. Sometimes, however, that love is so great that the parent loses all objectivity to the point that it could be dangerous: (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Making predictions about the economy—or much of anything else - Are these guys correct, and is the worst of the recession behind us? I certainly don’t know—but neither does anyone else. It would, however, be a wonderful thing to have the answer, because we are being asked to act in drastic ways to forestall a cataclysmic event that may or may not occur without such intervention. And, unfortunately, since the proposed cures could be worse than the disease, it would be awfully good to know that the diagnosis is correct before we start the treatment. But isn’t this always the way? For example, it’s the situation with global warming (or climate change, or whatever is the proper term de jour). The state of our analytic and predictive powers is poor, but the voices of doom cry out for immediate and sometimes drastic remedies. (READ MORE)

La Shawn Barber: Montgomery County Changes Sanctuary Tune - You don’t know what someone’s really like until you live with him/her, as the saying goes. Residents in left-leaning Montgomery County, Maryland, are dealing with something Northern Virginians learned the hard way. Illegal aliens bring crime (and lower property values?). As Northern Virginia cracked down on illegal immigration (checking immigration status of arrestees, for example), lawbreaking aliens fled to places like Montgomery County, a well-known unofficial “sanctuary” county. Pro-enforcement folks in Virginia were called xenophobes for their trouble, as liberals declared themselves open and “tolerant” toward our border-jumping friends. Now, they’re singing a “racist” tune of their own. I do love it so. (READ MORE)

Jukes Crittenden: About That Torture Thing - There’s a lot of fretting over whether Obama will do the right thing about Guantanamo, and whether the CIA will barred from using harsh interrogation methods in the GWOT.* Greenwald’s having a snit. Now a Guantanamo judge comes forward, says she barred a trial for one terror suspect because his unkind treatment was torture. By that definition, the United States military has been torturing its own soldiers for decades, but never mind that. Anyone foolish enough to sign their life away and commit war crimes for the military-industrial complex or whatever they call it these days probably has it coming. We probably shouldn’t even talk about the war crimes committed in frat houses across America. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Can Bush un-pardon someone? - Earlier, I wrote about George Bush’s reluctance to issue pardons and whether he’d start making more controversial calls in his six remaining days. George Lardner wonders whether Bush will get away with rescinding one of his few pardons. Lardner looks at the embarrassing case of Isaac Toussie, whose pardon kicked off a firestorm of criticism and an attempt to undo it: “The most important step George W. Bush has taken with the presidential pardon power came last month, when he repudiated it. On Dec. 23, he granted clemency to a sordid Brooklyn developer, Isaac R. Toussie, who had pleaded guilty to real estate fraud, and when details of the case came to light — Bush had acted on the recommendation of the White House counsel, without the knowledge of the Justice Department’s pardon attorney — the president washed his hands of the situation and withdrew the pardon one day after signing it.” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Obama Chameleon - Seeing this cartoon in a friend’s e-mail reminded me of the Gerson column I mentioned in my previous post. I seemed a sign I should finally, put pen to paper fingers to keyboard and write a piece that had been kicking around in my head since I had first read that column last month. Just as that Kool-Aid changes flavors to reflect the latest polling data, so does Obama change to reflect his surroundings. As Gerson noted, his cabinet picks showed the “audacity of moderation.” Maybe he realized that he won his election because of certain circumstances during the campaign (i.e., the financial meltdown) rather than the ideology of his party. Or maybe he realizes that his more moderate general election campaign rhetoric resonated with the American people. If he shifted his ideology to reflect those around him, it would be entirely consistent with his past record. (READ MORE)

Ft. Hard Knox: The Battle Is On - They haven’t even sworn in the pretender yet and his comrades are already proposing to bring down any resistance to their annihilation of your rights and this Country. Former member and founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, now a Representative to the US Congress, Bobby Rush, has proposed a mandatory licensing bill for all semi-automatic firearms, HR 45. Rush is a radical, racist politician from Chicago who has proved over and over that race to him is more important to him than friendship or ability. A product of the Chicago Democratic Machine he has repeatedly demonstrated his penchant for creating victims who owe their handouts to him and his ilk. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Al Gore kills - London Daily Mail: “Woman, 91, dies after becoming stressed over £16,000 council bill to make her home eco-friendly.” Dorothy Hacking at 91 was forced to take a second mortgage in order to reach the ridiculous and unscientific call to reduce Britain’s carbon dioxide “emissions” by almost a third over the next decade, the London Daily Mail reported. There is no Global Warming. And what these fascists call “emissions” I call exhaling. I am really angry over this. A sweet old lady killed by these bullies — hypocrites who leave a bigger “carbon footprint” than any of us and then plant a tree in Kenya and say that makes it all better. They are phonies. This cause is phony. And unfortunately, the death of Dorothy Hacking is all too real. (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: Signs of Diversity in Gaza: Alas! Extremist and Beyond - When I make generalizations about the Arab and Muslim world – e.g., they believe the existence of Israel is a humiliation which must be washed away with blood – I am often criticized for being an “essentialist” and denying the “variegated” nature of Arabic Muslim culture. They have many points of view. I normally quip that “Yes, indeed, there’s a major debate in the Arab world today: Is the US a pawn of Israel? Or vice-versa? — with the prize for paranoia going to the latter side. Now, from MEMRI, we get a new wrinkle in the variegated nature of Muslim society: Should Salafis (Muslims who believe that they – and all Muslims – should live according to the principles of Muhammad, closely allied with al Qaeda) support Hamas in its war against Israel? Or is Hamas insufficiently Muslim because it has failed to institute Sharia as soon as it took power? (READ MORE)

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