May 29, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 05/29/2009

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

Meryl Yourish: The debate about armed struggle - This article strikes me as utterly typical of the rejectionist problem. The Palestinians are battling to compromise, but not in the way you and I understand the word: “The Palestinian Authority ‘will do everything in its power’ to advance peace with Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed this week during an official visit to Canada. The armed struggle against Israel has emerged as one of the key issues being dealt with by Fatah members ahead of the organization’s committee convention.” Everything in its power to advance peace? And yet, Abbas and the PA leadership will not acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state. And here is what the Palestinians consider a “compromise”: (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: Sotomayor's "Latina Judge's Voice" Speech Revisited - After some consideration, I have decided that Sonia Sotomayor's 2001 speech, "A Latina Judge's Voice" deserves more extensive analysis than I gave it in a previous post. I still believe that the speech shows that Sotomayor thinks that judges can often legitimately base decisions in part on their racial or ethnic backgrounds. I especially think that that interpretation is by far the most plausible reading of Sotomayor's statement that she hopes that ""a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." However, it would be foolish to overlook the fact that many people, including serious commentators such as University of Texas lawprof Frank Cross and Reason's Kerry Howley believe that the relevant part of the speech is actually innocuous. I can't ignore the possibility that the speech is unclear, or that I just got it wrong. (READ MORE)

AJStrata: Did Politics Play A Role In Which Car Dealers Were Shuttered? - If there is one issue the Democrats and the Obama administration will be skewered on in 2010 it is the job situation. Right now we already know the ’shovel ready’ stimulus pork spending bill is a woeful failure. But if in addition to this job busting disaster is not enough, we may have the makings of what could be a legitimate legal investigation into the biggest case of bribery since Saddam Hussein bribed the UN with oil contracts in order to dodge international scrutiny of his WMD program. I am speaking of the breaking news that the US government mandated closing of Chrysler dealerships with an eye to which ones where democrat fundraisers vs GOP fundraisers. From Gateway Pundit: “Earlier it was reported that the Obama Administration may have targeted GOP donors in deciding which Chrysler dealerships would have to close their doors. Last night it was discovered that a Big Dem Donor Group was allowed to keep all 6 Chrysler dealerships open…. And, their local competitors were eliminated by Obama’s task force!!” (READ MORE)

Endre Balogh: Will the Last Terrorist to Leave Gitmo Please Turn Out the Lights? - Last week, Congress soundly rejected (at least for now) President Obama’s ill-conceived idea to precipitously close the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Although there is not a shred of real evidence to indicate that the facility at Gitmo is anything other than the best run and most high-tech facility available to house the vicious monsters incarcerated there, a lot of liberal Democrats feel that it should be closed - just because. It’s amusing to read left-wing blog articles like this one at the Huffington Post, that report with all seriousness that Democrats are mystified about how it’s possible that a Democrat controlled Congress and Presidency can’t mange to gather enough votes to fund the closure of Gitmo. Well, maybe it’s because closing Gitmo is just a really bad idea! Anyone who has read Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Cucullu’s fascinating and meticulously documented book “Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind The Myths Of Guantanamo Bay” easily understands the merits of keeping Gitmo open. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Craig T. Nelson: I'm Not Paying Taxes Until Politicians Take Responsibility and Begin Representing Me, and I Encourage Others to do Likewise - On Glenn Beck, encouraging Beck to promote the idea of a statewide California tax strike (or a national tax strike? He's not clear), stating he's seriously considering not paying taxes anymore. He's more trying to push the idea and get a movement behind it rather than being the guy who actually does this first and gets carted off to tax-jail. Pretty wild. I'm sure there'll be video later, which I'll post. I had no idea he was a conservative. He's not saying he is, but he seems to be of that ilk. I wonder what the legality of this is. I believe there are (largely unenforced) laws about agitating to defy, say, the draft; I wonder if the US Code contains any similar law about agitating for tax defiance. (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: On the Moral Failures of the Left: Kamm meditates on the dangers of identity politics - A friend of mine who lives on the West coast remembers a trip I made out there in early 2002. “All you could say was ‘Where’s the outrage?’” And, of course, I was talking about the suicide terror campaign against Israel and the eery silence, not only from the “left” — which, it turns out, was celebrating the terrorists — but the liberals, the people who should have been most indignant at the appalling sight of a culture that does blood sacrifices of its own youth in order to act on its hatreds. What I eventually learned was that the they had been taken in by the “yes it’s indefensible… but…” position. All told, I became rapidly convinced over the course of the early years of the aughts (’00s) that the year 2000 — from Camp David’s failure in August to the outbreak of the Intifada in October, marks a major failure of the modern, liberal world. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Promises - The Telegraph reports that “Barack Obama has reassured Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, of Washington’s support for Palestinian statehood during his first visit to the White House.” “Following their Oval Office talks, Mr Obama said he was ‘confident’ of moving the Middle East peace process forward and said freezing the expansion of settlements was now a public priority for the US. Mr Obama said that ‘time is of the essence’ in securing Arab Israeli peace and that it is ‘in US interests to do so quickly’. … After years of being shut out the White House during the Bush Administration, the Palestinian delegation was encouraged to find a President prepared to push back against Israeli positions that conflict with the ‘road map’ for peace. Mr Obama declared that Israel had the obligation of ‘stopping settlements,’ but warned that Palestinians must also crack down on anti-Israel violence and incitement in schools, mosques and public places.’” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: No Fundamental Right To Possess A Gun - Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s stance on gun ownership: “Judge Sonia Sotomayor could walk into a firestorm on Capitol Hill over her stance on gun rights, with conservatives beginning to question some controversial positions she’s taken over the past several years on the Second Amendment. Earlier this year, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee joined an opinion with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Second Amendment rights do not apply to the states. A 2004 opinion she joined also cited as precedent that the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right.’” This is disturbing. This is a pretty clear definition of Sotomayor’s legal beliefs about what the Supreme Court just affirmed as a fundamental right, isn’t it? (READ MORE)

Counterterrorism Blog: HLF Judge Imposes Long Sentences - DALLAS - A federal judge imposed what could amount to life sentences on three former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) on Wednesday for illegally routing more than $12 million to Hamas. "The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas," said U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis. He sentenced former HLF Chief Executive Officer Shukri Abu Baker and co-founder Ghassan Elashi to 65 years in prison. Longtime HLF chairman Mohamed El-Mezain, who was convicted only on one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, received the maximum 15-year sentence. While appeals are being prepared, the sentencing hearings end the largest terror financing case in the United States, one which closed the largest Muslim-American charity in 2001. (READ MORE)

Bob Owens: Sotomayor: Obama’s End Run on the Second Amendment - Long before he was the president of the United States or even the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama made his opposition to the Second Amendment of the Constitution painfully clear. As a director of the Joyce Foundation for eight years (1994-2002), Obama participated in the creation and funding of prohibitionist-minded anti-gun groups to the tune of millions of dollars. This fact does not surprise the millions of Americans who have responded to the threat by purchasing millions of firearms since the president was elected and who purchased at least 1.5 billion rounds of ammunition in December alone. What far fewer Americans know about Obama is that he was one of the Joyce Foundation’s directors when they embarked on a plot to undermine the Second Amendment by targeting the Supreme Court of the United States: “The work began five years into Obama’s directorship, when the Foundation had experience in turning its millions into anti-gun ‘grassroots’ organizations, but none at converting cash into legal scholarship. The plan’s objective was bold: the judicial obliteration of the Second Amendment.” (READ MORE)

The Discerning Texan: Dealergate: Federal Bankruptcy Law and Profits be damned, Obama friends stay open, Republican Contributors Closed - The Obama Administration continues to BLATANTLY violate Federal Law, while the Democrats in Congress get away with unheard-of corruption with nary a discouraging word from the Dem-run "show trial" kangaroo courts (aka "Congressional Investigations"). They are running this country like Mayor Daley runs Chicago. Only on a more massively corrupt scale. Where is the #@$%!*%#! outrage??? This President is trampling on the Constitution and our laws. I find myself agreeing with Mark Levin that Barack Obama is the closest thing to a dictator (or at least a dictator wannabe) that America has ever had. Meanwhile, the media, led by General Electric-owned NBC/MSNBC, continues to march to Obama's beat, and (other than Fox) has pretty much ignored or else laughed at every single violation of American law to date, as evidenced by this bit via Michelle Malkin: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Name them - A liberal group contends that global cooling, er, global warming, er, climate change kills 315,000 people a year. Given that there are 6.3 billion people on Earth, that really is not that many deaths. Over a 70-year period — the three core and ten lifetime in the Bible — that would be 22 million people or 1/3rd of 1% of the population. Put another way, only 0.35% of all people would die from this. So why are we preparing to spend trillions saving 0.35% of the population when malaria kills 3 times as many children under 5 alone? The trillions would be better spent on cancer research instead of capturing carbon dioxide. But I doubt the 315,000 figure. I want this group to name those 315,000 people. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: "LEFTISM AIMS LOW AND ALWAYS REACHES ITS TARGET" - Gagdad Bob writes in one of his many excellent posts (this one titled "The Stone Age Economics of the Left: Who Would Jesus Bail Out?): “But one of the things that never changes is the hysteria of the left. The hysteria results from the conflation of existential and economic realities. In other words, when it comes to existence, there is always something to bitch about. But if you shift this to the plane of economics, then you can imagine that otherwise insoluble existential problems are susceptible to solutions. For example, you can give ‘free college’ to everyone, but this won't alter the fact that 50% of human beings are of below average intelligence.” As they say, read it all. At any rate, his words got me to thinking about why it is that the left, whose policies as Bob suggests, always end up enabling and exposing the worse aspects of human nature, are the same people who are always coming up with these utopian schemes that promise a veritable paradise of human love, compassion, kindness and brotherhood and deliver a toxic brew of hate, envy, and discord? How can they be so completely clueless about something as obvious as the reality of human nature? (READ MORE)

Fjordman: Europeans As Victims of Colonialism - In my book Defeating Eurabia I have included a chapter entitled Fourteen Centuries of War Against European Civilization, which deals with Islamic colonization of and attacks on the European continent since the seventh century AD. This part of history, when Europeans were victims of colonialism and slave raids, deserves much more emphasis than it currently receives, when the focus is almost exclusively on the briefer European colonial period. In 2008, demands were made that France must make reparations for its colonial past in Algeria. I’m not an expert on French colonial history, but if I recall correctly, the French were at least partly motivated for establishing themselves in Algeria due to the Barbary pirates, who continued their evil activities well into the nineteenth century. (READ MORE)

Heading Right: Conservative or Libertarian - That is the Question?? I guess it is very hard to actually pinpoint where I lie on the political spectrum. I think I am a Libertarian Conservative as my friend Snooper has posted about. As many of us on the Conservative/Libertarian side see the GOP going more and more left every day and getting farther and farther away from the basic principles that had drawn us to the Grand Old Party. I agree a lot with what Snooper posted, to a certain extent, I am not a really big fan of Ron Paul and his minions. But there is much the GOP needs to address to get back many of the Libertarian wing of the party. I do not think that in this day and age, a third party is a viable option, there is too many obstacles put upbut both the RNC and DNC. So where does that leave us, the ones that tend to be a little more Libertarian and not as much just Republicans, but believe in principles and the Founding Father’s intent. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: What’s a picture worth? - You need to know Jim Spiri. Jim is a combat photographer but he is not a member of the media elite. The elite offer us sympathy to sell ad space. Jim offers us empathy to soothe the soul. The difference is more than faint. Read on. The old adage goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s a great parallelism that illuminates two things: 1) A picture can tell the content of a story faster and more complete sometimes than a thousand words crafted by even a gifted writer, and 2) A picture can evoke an emotion (affect) that a writer may have to write a thousand words to evoke (and may still not fully capture). I find this angle to picture taking interesting since the parallelism is drawing on two components of communication — content and affect. In my past-life I had to study many models of human behavior and relationships. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Former Gitmo Detainee/Taliban Leader Agrees with Obama on Gitmo - Former high ranking Taliban leader and Guantanamo detainee Mullah Zaif spoke to CNN in an interview agreeing with the Obama position that Gitmo should be closed and the treatment there is cruel. After his release, Zaif returned to Afghanistan to support the Taliban’s war against U.S. troops and says the U.S. owes the released detainees an apology. Here’s some of what he had to say in broken English: “ZAIF: ‘They are released with shackled hand, returning to the (home country) government, which is more cruel than American, without any charge of court and for 5 years, 7 years, 6 years, spending time with American, and after that, that’s the time that they are losing everything after (his release) house, money and property, and they have nothing after that.’” (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Finding the truth behind the photo: a German spy story - The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Over forty years after the fact, documents have been unearthed that turn on its head the common understanding of a seminal event in German history: The killing in 1967 of an unarmed demonstrator [Benno Ohnesorg] by a police officer in West Berlin set off a left-wing protest movement and put conservative West Germany on course to evolve into the progressive country it has become today. Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany. Here’s the photo that accompanied the tragic event, one that those of us who were around during the 60s will immediately recognize as similar to the famous one of the Kent State killings that occurred during the same era, in May of 1970: (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: The wages of fighting campus complacency... and of campus complacency itself - The Washington Examiner has published a piece by our friend Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, about Dartmouth College's deplorable decision to sack Todd Zywicki from its board of trustees. Anne ties this move to similar, though less drastic measures taken against trustees at other colleges -- she names Princeton and the University of California system -- when they have questioned the status quo. She writes: “Perhaps the surfeit of complacent trustees isn't surprising when you consider what happens to those who think independently. Their questions provoke outrage, and they're labeled threats to institutional autonomy and academic freedom by those who tend to view themselves as the only stakeholders on campus--namely, the faculty and administrators.” The consequences of the resulting complacency are what one would expect. (READ MORE)

Indian Chris: Opposing Sonia Sotomayor - This post contains some language some may be uncomfortable with. Ever since President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court I've heard and read a few pieces talking about how it's a "delicate matter for the GOP". That we need to tread lightly so as not to further alienate Hispanic voters. Bullshit. Oppose this woman at every turn. A judge does not make policy and can not make ruling with their emotions. They're job is to uphold the Constitution. “I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.” So why the hell should we forgo our beliefs just to please anyone? Any Congressman who goes weak kneed and follows the crowd because they're scared of how it will look to opposed a "Latina with a compelling life story" should pack their shit up and leave office because I don't want them there. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Foreign Policy Realism: Iran and North Korea - President Obama famously suggested that engagement with our enemies would be his primary approach to dealing with North Korea, Iran, and the usual gang of suspects. The subtext of the new "Realism" in Washington, DC seems to be that since deterrence worked during the cold war with equally implacable, committed, and far more dangerous enemies, deterrence can be a workable doctrine upon which to base American security. There are many eloquent and persuasive voices being raised in favor of accepting the inevitable and establishing a deterrence doctrine in the face of, especially, Iranian nuclear, genocidal ambitions. Tom Barnett has repeatedly suggested that the idea that Iran is run by irrational twelvers welcoming of martyrdom is a fiction designed to scare people and shore up support for the regime at home. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Feds to Decide What Can be Sold at Your Garage Sale - With the first days of Summer a long standing American tradition emerges anew from yards and garages all across the country. Once again this season we will see the venerable American garage sale bloom everywhere. Homeowners will be seen busily setting up folding tables or bringing picnic tables from back yards to load them up with used clothes, toys, collectibles, and items of all sorts. Couples will once again cruise the neighborhood looking to those bargains. It’s as American as Baseball, and the rest. But a new player has been introduced to the venerable garage sale scheme and this one isn’t looking for a deal. It is a new player that isn’t looking to ask you “how much” but is looking to tell you what you’ll be allowed to sell. It’s the federal government and its iron boot heel come a’calling at your local garage sale. (READ MORE)

Michael Laprarie: ACORN document drops reveal damning information - Michelle Malkin, who has done a lot of investigative legwork in order to expose the crooked connection between ACORN, Project Vote, and the Obama Campaign/Administration, has just published a number of emails between ACORN whistle-blower Anita MonCrief and New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom. Strom was working on an investigation of MonCrief's claims last fall, when the Times allegedly spiked her story. Short version: Strom was forced to end her investigation of ACORN due to "unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a rightwing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else" and pressure from her higher-ups at the Times. But she concluded her last email, "One of these days, the truth is going to come out." It finally has, but it will probably take something short of a miracle for the story to ever circulate widely outside the conservative blogosphere. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Unsettling - The Washington Post reported the other day that the United States is pushing Israel to stop all “settlement” activity. And that PM Netanyahu caught flack on the topic from an unexpected source: formerly pro-Israel Congressmen: “During meetings with congressional leaders this week, Netanyahu was stunned by the ‘harsh and unequivocal statements’ with which lawmakers complained about the settlements, according to an account in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The newspaper said that although the prime minister tried to highlight the threat of Iran in his talks, lawmakers instead returned repeatedly to the issue of settlements, leading his entourage to conclude that the message had been coordinated with the Obama administration.” That’s a reasonable conclusion, though I’m surprised it wasn’t reported last week. Regardless, Israel was relying on assurances from the now no-longer-in-power Bush administration: (READ MORE)

Leigh Scott: It’s a Trap!!!!! - Admiral Ackbar is one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars franchise. He still looks more real than any CGI character today despite being brought to life by 1982 technology. He also has the immortal line, “It’s a Trap,” when the rebels discover that the Death Star is “fully armed and operational.” Conservatives have walked into a trap of late, or as Michael Steele might say, “have stepped in it.” Why should the liberals, with their rogues gallery of freak shows and incompetents, even sweat it when the Conservatives are too busy fighting with each other? How much time on blogs, cable news, and Sunday talk-shows is dedicated to Conservatives arguing about the direction of the “party” or challenging each other on the authenticity of their Conservative credentials? There are really only two core beliefs that you need to be considered a Conservative in my book. One, as I’ve stated before, is the conviction that personal liberty is paramount. Two, you don’t look to your enemies for validation. Unfortunately, a few “Conservatives” fail the test. (READ MORE)

Information Dissemination: New Doctrines Without Strategic Foundations - I think zenpundit is onto something, although I don't know that he has fully fleshed it out. I have been in a weird place this week, I've actually had time to do little except read books, which is different for me since I am usually all wired up online reading PDFs, something I am much more comfortable with. One book I was able to dive into this week is the Accidental Guerrilla by David Kilcullen. I am not an expert on counterinsurgency, but ever since the surge and getting turned onto the topic by reading the Small Wars Journal, I have studied it enough to understand when COIN is and is not effective. I don't believe that COIN is a subject anyone will truly master without a great deal of regional centric training, education, and experience, although I really appreciate how many concepts of COIN scale in warfare, in particular the complicated discussions of how to operate military forces in populated environments (like the littoral). (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Compelling BS Line - Still hearing about the “compelling life story” on NPR this a.m. “Well, some people say she blah blah blah … ” “Yes, but what about the compelling life story? Her compelling life story blah blah blah … ” Something like that. Conservative lefty-enrager John Derbyshire, whte male, notes he and Sotomayor share several of the same compelling life circumstances. Raised in public housing, check. Mum was a nurse working late shifts, check. A reader chimes in with a plug for Montana girls of “un-useful ethnicity” who get all the hardship without the benefit of entry to the elite world at age 18. It already seems pretty well established that the “compelling life story” is going to trump the need for any other stellar qualities. Though it isn’t entirely clear whether NYT’s interest in her temperament is an effort to dispense with the issue, or they are getting nervous about the abortion and gay marriage questions. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Health Care Unions Pushing NBC To Cancel Ads Criticizing Obama Health Care Plans - The SEIU is one of the nation's largest unions, and has deep ties to the health care industry - namely that it wants to see its position assured. They oppose anyone critical of the Administration's plans to fundamentally alter the health care delivery system in the nation. They aren't above demanding that an NBC affiliate not run a 30-minute infomercial by a group critical of the health care plans being concocted by the Administration and Democrats in Congress. (HT: Raymond Martins) “Progressive health care reform groups demanded on Thursday that Washington’s NBC television affiliate refuse to air a 30-minute infomercial funded by a conservative group opposed to creating a public insurance plan. The Service Employees International Union sent a letter to NBC4, arguing that the station has a responsibility to pull the documentary-style commercial paid for by Conservatives for Patients’ Rights.” (READ MORE)


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