Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Oh, well...at least I'm still rich."

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., takes the stage before an election night rally in Manchester, N.H., on Jan 8. Edwards, a distant third in the primary, vowed to stay in the race.
By Steven Senne, AP

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The Freedom Agenda at Work in Afghanistan

Jan. 31: Afghans demonstrate against a death sentence given to reporter Perwiz Kambakhsh in Kabul. A three-judge panel sentenced Kambakhsh to death for distributing an Internet article to journalism students questioning why men can have four wives while women can have only one husband.
Ahmad Masood - Reuters

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The State of the GOP

"Obamamania is Running Wild, Brother!"


Train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins, Barackamaniacs, 'cause the Hulkster just endorsed Barack Obama.

"What'cha gonna do, when Obamamania runs wild on you?!"


WWE pro-wrestlers, Kane and Val Venis endorse Ron Paul. Nothing quite like having professional wrestlers in your corner to add prestige and credibility.

Chuck Norris may deliver roundhouse kicks, but the "Nature Boy" Rick Flair body-slams Huck opponents: "And like I always say, to be the man, you've got to beat the man and Mike Huckabee is the man. Whoooooooo!"

Today, the last action hero and California Gubernator, Arnold Schwarzenegger is slated to endorse McCain.

Another screen-acting tough guy, Sylvester Stallone: “I like McCain a lot. A lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there’s something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that’s being written and reality is pretty brutal and pretty hard-edged like a rough action film, and you need somebody who’s been in that to deal with it.”


Roseann Barr blasted Oprah's endorsement on her blog. Here's part of the original entry:

Obama votes with Bush constantly funding this terrible endless war. Oprah, you play the race card and the gender card too. You are a closeted republican and chose Barak Obama because you do not like other women who actually stand for something to working American Women besides glamour, angels, hollywood and dieting! When Americans find out that Obama backs right wing corporate racist anti worker bullshit, they will not vote for him, and the victory will go to the most racist right wing republican ever.... Mccain, who is a fascist! That the culinary service workers in vegas have promised barak their vote,( he is anti union in his votes) over edwards, who is a pro-union man, just proves how stupid americans are and how they can be tricked so easily by the color of a person's skin...exactly what MLK hated!

Obama doesn't even back reproductive rights for any woman! It is historical that Oprah Winfrey, beloved of women, chooses a flashy man with small credentials over a seasoned woman politician with 35 years of experience...and sells that to the female demographic who look to her for inspiration!
After a Huffington Post backlash, she backpedaled with this:
"I am just so worried about another Republican getting in, my stomache hurts and I can't sleep, and I go over the top sometimes!"
On a sidenote; I found this rather humorous, from a comment section:

Out of curiosity, I wandered on over to Daily Kos to catch the reaction to Obama’s smoking victory over HRC. One very enthusiastic Obama supporter announces:

“IT’S AN OBAMANATION!!!”

Another commenter suggests he come up with a better term! LOL!

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Who Will Be America's Next Top Presidential Nominee?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

60 Minutes Watch: Saddam Hussein's "Friend"

"It was a three-minute decision, and the first two were for coffee."
- Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, December 16, 2003, on the initial decision to hand interrogation matters regarding Saddam Hussein, over to the CIA.

That decision was soon redacted:
And the three-minute decision was reassessed within weeks as the Federal Bureau of Investigation took the interrogation reins for the reason described in a January 2004 article:

The F.B.I. involvement reflects C.I.A. reluctance to allow covert officers to take part in interrogations that could force them to appear as court witnesses. In contrast, F.B.I. agents are trained to interview suspects in preparation for prosecutions.

In 2008, the two themes expressed in those sentences — C.I.A. aversion to public spectacle and F.B.I. experience on interrogation matters — are still being reinforced as a long-running rivalry continues to play out.

George Piro (former partner of Kenneth Williams), one of only 50 or so Arabic speaking F.B.I special agents out of 10,000, was assigned the task of being Saddam Hussein's interrogator.

This past Sunday, saw 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley interview George Piro.



The interview is even the "top story" featured on the FBI website.

I was hoping it would reveal something new that has not already been covered in Ronald Kessler's Terror Watch. Oddly enough, the interview reads almost verbatim, the chapter in the book which covers George Piro and Saddam Hussein. Much of the 7-month's worth of interrogation is still classified, of course. But what is revealed, is still pretty interesting, if not particularly revelatory, as we've heard before about Saddam's pretense of WMDs, for fear of Iran. It is interesting to note, that in Kessler's book, he does not close the door on the possibility that Iraq did still possess WMD:
every time inspectors came, Saddam gave them the runaround, reinforcing for Iran's consumption the notion that he had WMD. And that explains why, if there were no WMD, he acted as if he did have them.
Notice the big "if"? My emphasis.

It might just be the partisan in me, but I could have sworn I saw Pelley's eyeballs begin to salivate when he came to his "gotcha" question, regarding what Saddam says he thought of bin Laden, and the question of connections between Saddam and al Qaeda.
Among the most important questions for U.S. intelligence was whether Saddam was supporting al Qaeda, as had been claimed by some in the Bush administration:

What was Saddam's opinion of Osama Bin Laden?

"He considered him to be a fanatic. And as such was very wary of him. He told me, 'You can't really trust fanatics,'" Piro says.

"Didn't think of Bin Laden as an ally in his effort against the United States in this war against the United States?" Pelley asks.

"No. No. He didn't wanna be seen with Bin Laden. And didn't want to associate with Bin Laden," Piro explains.

Piro says Saddam thought that Bin Laden was a threat to him and his regime.

Saddam's story was verified in interrogations with other former high-ranking members of his government.
Such as Khalil Ibrahim Abdallah, an Iraqi intelligence officer
told U.S. interrogators that Saddam ordered his intelligence service in July 1999 to refrain from all contact with al-Qaeda.
I can see Saddam not trusting bin Laden, but not having sought some form of an alliance? Numerous documentation seems to speak otherwise. This includes recovered internal Iraqi Intelligence Service documents. Just click on the FA category, Iraq-al-Qaeda connections. This post is a good place to start. I think the George Piro interview only enriches the complexity of the picture, and does not disqualify previous documents and evidence of an al-Qaeda presence, and a relationship sought, at one time or another. It was a CIA assumption that a secular Saddam would never work with a religious terror group. And it is to the CIA's discredit, that their analysts at the time refused to look "outside the box" (linking because of the citation of Feith, not Think Progress' rebuttal) and lacked the imagination to conceive of this as a possibility. They basically expressed disinterest and left stones unturned that should have been examined.

A bit of background on how Ronald Kessler came to obtain the interview for his book and the decision by the F.B.I to allow George Piro to speak.

Also blogging:
Bottomline Upfront
From Sea to Shining Sea
Pondering Penguin

More...

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

Related:
Flopping Aces
NewsBusters

02/01/2008 Update at
Flopping Aces
No Runny Eggs

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good Rudence!

The Obligatory Pro-Rudy Post



Former N.Y. mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani walks from the podium after speaking during a campaign stop in Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
Joe Raedle - Getty Images

I'm leaning toward Romney. If Florida does not go to the Rude One, then I'm casting my absentee for the Mitt

~UpDaTe~

And....he's gone!

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Scenes from President Bush's State of the Union Address

Sen. Hillary Clinton reaches out to shake Sen. Edward Kennedy's hand as lawmakers arrive in the House chamber for Bush's speech. Kennedy surprised many observers by publicly endorsing Clinton's rival, Obama, in the 2008 Democratic presidential race.
Tracy A. Woodward - The Washington Post


I caught the replay on MSNBC, plus the talking heads giving their after-action report. I cannot tell you how painful it was to listen to Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews interview Joe Biden and offer their professional opinions and perspective. It's now after 2am, and I'm too tired to write anymore.


President Bush delivers copies of his final State of the Union speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Getty Images

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Caption These (Collectively, or Singly)

01/29/2008 02:13 Thanks to all who participated in this rigged contest. Winners are anonymous, for his captioning all of them with "two famous liberals confer"; and Tom, for his captioning of the first two photos:


I've got your back, Barack. Do whatever you can to set her up, and I'll take care of the rest.



I've got your back, Hill... And here's a coffee to show my sincerity.



Greetings: Sen. John McCain., left, and Sen. Barack Obama greet one another prior to testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on global warming. (AP)


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Message to Party Purists and Angry-as-hell Conservatives

“When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn’t like it.

“Compromise” was a dirty word to them and they wouldn’t face the fact that we couldn’t get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don’t get it all, some said, don’t take anything. I’d learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: ‘I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.’ If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that’s what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.“
Who said it? (No fair staring at the label for this post)

Compromise, cooperation, and diplomacy are not betrayal and appeasement. It's smart politics.

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On the Battlefield, in the Media, and in Washington

"The Americans will exit soon, God willing,"
-Ayman al-Zawahiri, in an intercepted letter to al-Zarqawi, dated July 9, 2005


Bill Roggio maps out and details the ever-shrinking territory of operations from al-Qaeda in Iraq.



"Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief."
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator from NY and presidential aspirant,
to General Petraeus on 9/11/07

“Changing the definition of success to stay the course with the wrong policy is the wrong course for our troops and our national security. The time to end the surge and to start bringing our troops home is now – not six months from now."
-Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois and presidential hopeful,
to General Petraeus on 9/11/07



"I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma."
-Ayman al-Zawahiri, in an intercepted letter to al-Zarqawi, dated July 9, 2005


Iraqi Officer Challenges Media Misinformation about Coalition Forces




Senator Clinton takes credit for the "Surge", on Meet the Press:
MR. RUSSERT: If General Petraeus says, "Senator, in September you called the surge the suspension of belief. It has worked, and you know it's worked"--let me finish--"you can see on the ground. I'm saying to you, Senator, or president-elect Clinton, don't destroy Iraq. It's working, the surge is working. Keep troops there just a few more months to get this reconciliation complete."

SEN. CLINTON: ...The point of the surge was to quickly move the Iraqi government and Iraqi people. That is only now beginning to happen, and I believe in large measure because the Iraqi government, they watch us, they listen to us. I know very well that they follow everything that I say. And my commitment to begin withdrawing our troops in January of 2009 is a big factor, as it is with Senator Obama, Senator Edwards, those of us on the Democratic side. It is a big factor in pushing the Iraqi government to finally do what they should have been doing all along.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wag the Finger

Former President Bill Clinton campaigns on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, in Independence, Mo., on Saturday. Of Obama's South Carolina win, he said, "He won fair and square. We went there and asked the people to vote for us. They voted for him. We congratulate him."
Charlie Riedel - AP

When that finger gets going....watch out!

Obama wins in South Carolina.

Taken from Matt Lewis, South Carolina exit polls:
More from Time and CNN.

Per the network/AP early exit poll results:

African-Americans: Obama 81%, Clinton 17%, Edwards 1%

African-American women: Obama 82%, Clinton 17%, Edwards 0%

Whites: Edwards 39%, Clinton 36%, Obama 24%

Edwards winning white men, Clinton white women.

I think the Clintons can't help being who they are. And with all their attacks on Obama, it turns off voters, and that may be sabotaging their presidential candidacy among Democrats.

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Saturday Night at the Movies

I'm not a Heath Ledger fan; nor am I an anti-fan. I just seldom get out to the movies these days, and I only know of his work from reading about it on the printed (i.e., pixelated) page (although, I think I just may see the new Batman movie, just around the bend). The following video is by Scott Malensek, and is only peripherally related to Heath Ledger. I mourn his passing, only from the perspective that a fellow human being, influential and taken too soon from this world, has passed on into the next, leaving behind friends and fans, including his 2 year old daughter, far too soon, when he had so much more he could have done in this life. I suppose we can only be grateful for what he accomplished in the time that he was given. May he rest in peace, and may his daughter grow up, knowing the love of her father lingers in the hearts of many adoring fans, to comfort her in his physical absence.



Oh, and as a bonus....just can't resist:



Frankly, I really dig this fan-made trailer.

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Time for Some Straight Talk

"John McCain....a great American, lousy Senator, and a terrible Republican"
-Hugh Hewitt

The new Rambo movie opens this weekend, and Sylvester Stallone endorsed John McCain. Perhaps Rambo and Delta Force Norris can square off in a no-holds-barred fight?


One of the things that has been bugging me of late, is the toxicity on the right. I've been guilty of participating and perpetuating it myself. But it's getting to be absolutely ridiculous. What am I talking about?

I am talking about this need amongst conservatives (especially in the blogosphere) to demonize Republicans like John McCain.

Sure, I've been angry at him at various times over the same issues that many conservatives have found fault with him on. But the level of anger is approaching a hyperbolic level of rhetoric that brims over into the realm of dishonesty and spin.

Purists love distancing themselves from Bush, Huckabee, and McCain; for not being conservative enough for them, these Party purists feel the need to disown Republican leaders who fail to remain immaculately conservative on issues, in a country where half the country is not conservative.

Sometimes, I think the anger being expressed by some, is not genuine anger, but vague resentment by those merely regurgitating the mood of the conservative 'sphere. Which leaves conservatives baffled and scratching their heads when someone they anoint as a "true conservative", like Duncan Hunter, turns around and endorses Mike Huckabee (much ridiculed as inept on foreign policy, and derided as a Democrat in sheepdog's clothing). Or how about Fred Thompson's friendship with John McCain, along with the rumors of a McCain endorsement, in the event that Fred endorse anyone at all? Would Ronald Reagan be "conservative enough" for the harsh crowd today, who populate the "angry-as-hell" fellowship of right-wingers (many claiming to be "Reaganites")? How does one rationalize away, the number of prominent military generals who have given their endorsement to McCain's candidacy (most recently, General Norman Schwarzkopf)? Are these all RINOs? Have they "sold us out"? We scratch our heads, not understanding, but I believe this is because we conservatives somewhat live in our own echo chamber, within the blogosphere. 67% support of Fred Thompson amongst bloggers gives us the impression that Fred's got "Joementum"; when in reality, it's McCain who's got the "Joementum" on his side.

As Michael Medved points out, many prominent members of the "Reagan Revolution" in the Senate leadership have come out in support of McCain:
– Jack Kemp, Senator Phil Gramm, Senator Dan Coats, General Alexander Haig, George Shultz and many more – proudly back Senator McCain. The conservative Senators who know McCain best – John Kyl, Tom Coburn, Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott – support his presidential campaign after working with him in the Senate for years and seeing his commitment to Reaganism. During the six years he served in Congress under President Reagan, McCain supported the administration as one of its most effective “foot soldiers.” Unlike many of his critics, McCain echoes the Reagan approach – not the Buchanan approach – to free trade and immigration reform.

John McCain is worthy of criticism. He's worked hard for it, and has deservedly earned it. But he is still a Republican, with a lifetime conservative rating of 83 by the American Conservative Union, for his Senate voting record (I believe Lieberman, interestingly enough, scores a 17). To paint him as being something other than a true red-blooded conservative Republican is to ignore this fact, and focus on hyperbolically ventilating the hot-button issues for which we have not forgiven him for: campaign finance reform, immigration, "the Gang of 14"...and yes, much more. The criticisms have merit; of course they do! But, angry conservatives have also muddied the issues, by over-exaggerating some of the indignation and outrage, misrepresenting the other side of the facts. These issues are not always so black-and-white as the demonizers want to make them out to be. I suppose it's easier to be angry at someone if you can demonize him, further than the actual facts will allow.

As Victor Davis Hanson reflects in regards to the "conservative ownership" of Ronald Reagan,
When a candidate today says, “Reagan would have done this or that,” he apparently has a poor memory of what Reagan — the often lonely, flesh-and-blood conservative in the 1980s — was forced to do to get elected, govern and be re-elected. While in office, he proved more often the pragmatic leader than the purist knight slaying ideological dragons on the campaign trail.
I believe that similarly, right or wrong, McCain's maverick positioning, often going against the conservative grain, and rubbing us all the wrong way on a number of levels, should be understood, with respectful disagreement on substance; not just knee-jerk soapboxing demagoguery, twisting his actual position, to make it all seem worse so as to be more palatable to lay into him.

One example of the rhetoric that I have found personally distasteful, is in relation to his personal history as a war hero. I've heard him maligned by conservatives for him having been captured, and breaking under torture. That he was a failed pilot for having been shot down; and a failed POW, for not having been killed. Read the details of his POW years, and you tell me again that John McCain is not a hero. I may disagree with him over the waterboarding issue; but I absolutely respect his perspective, based upon his war experience. My disagreement is in distinguishing that there is a difference between, say, sleep deprivation, and gouging someone's eyes out with a spoon. If it's true that we have only used waterboarding twice, and used it on the worst of the worst with successful results, then I'd say "never say never" on whether or not we should ever use the tactic. Michael Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down", wrote a couple of articles that I think are two of the best cases put forth on why waterboarding should be illegal, but used under certain extraneous circumstances for the greater good. Read:
Excellent pieces, with an example of an actual instance of a German police officer who saved the life of a buried child by threatening the kidnapper with torture. Time was of the essence, because the child was suffocating.

Because of all the hoopla surrounding the waterboarding issue, we've essentially ruined that tactic in dealing with terrorist scum like Abu Zubaydah.

Sorry to sidetrack on the torture issue; I had meant to do a post on the two articles weeks ago, but got sidetracked; otherwise I could have just linked to the previous post, instead of elaborating a bit, here.

Anyway...

American Power is a strong McCain supporter, so anyone who wants to see "the other side" of the McCain argument, should go look at his McCain posts.

Well-worth a read, whether you agree or not: Michael Medved 6 Big Lies on John McCain

And in case you think I am shilling for John McCain, here is Hugh Hewitt Do Conservatives Still Care About the Courts?

John McCain is not my candidate of choice. But if he ends up being the nominee, we had all better rally behind him and band together against the kind of America that Democrats wish to have us living under. My biggest issue is in regards to who can keep us safe. It's the reason why a liberal such as Joe Lieberman, has crossed-over party lines, and thrown in his support of John McCain. It's not because he supports conservative causes; it's a matter of prioritizing the issues. And the current war with Islamic militants, with staying on the offense, trumps all.

I don't know how much John McCain "gets it", in regards to the overall war against Islamic terror; but he has been unwaveringly steadfast on Iraq. He stuck his political neck out on the surge, delivering a stellar speech last year. Don't ever forget that. John McCain is John McCain, and sometimes we can roll our eyes over that; and other times, he does deserve respect and admiration; and our gratitude.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

Noteworthy post complimenting my own:
Pondering Penguin





"That person who agrees with you
80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally; NOT a 20 percent traitor."

Ronald Reagan, quoted on KCBS radio in 1972 by Reagan's gubernatorial chief of staff

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10 years ago today....

...Gateway Pundit remembers.

And now the wife of her boyfriend desires to become President of the greatest country on God's green earth.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Famous Celebrities and Unkown Heroes

TGIF: Happiness Hour with Dennis Prager

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Florida or Bust?

AP:

The enthusiasm had Giuliani unusually animated. He seemed to argue, without saying it directly, that the polling is bogus.

"We're going to surprise everyone," he shouted into a microphone, standing among the restaurants' outdoor tables. "And we're going to win big here. Florida is going to catapult us to the nomination because Florida is going to vote in a way that I think people don't even realize."

*Polite applause*

Even if Rudy beats the polls and takes Florida, It's hard for me to feel enthused. Why is that?

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Grim Fairy Tales

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Swallowing the Bias, Hook, Line, and Sinker

AP writer:
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Center for Public Integrity funding = George Soros and Bill Moyers.

Want details? Click here.

Also blogging
A Soldier's Perspective

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why the 2008 Election will be a matter of life and death



I am a former fetus.

Born in Phoenix Arizona, February 1968. If I had been conceived 5 years later, I might not be here today. You see, I was put up for adoption in 1968. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court decided that Roe v. Wade established that any state laws restricting or banning abortion was a constitutional violation of "right to privacy".

I don't know who my birth parents are. I do not know the circumstances surrounding the decision to give me up for adoption; whether it was a selfish or a selfless act. Perhaps, both. All I know is that if I hadn't been given life, and given up for adoption, I would not be who I am today; nor have been blessed with two loving parents who provided me with a stable home, values, and the opportunity to become whatever I wanted to become.

In truth, I'm not a hardcore pro-lifer. But I do find myself strongly aligned with most conservative causes.

Regardless of whether or not I am pro-life or pro-choice, one thing I do believe: Roe v. Wade was a flawed, incoherent decision, and a prime example of judicial activism. Which brings me to the issue of appointing Supreme Court Justices.

I believe with utmost confidence, that President Bush 43's legacy will go the way of Harry S Truman- a president who was unpopular when he left office, with even lower approval ratings than our current president, yet who is today, consistently ranked as one of our top 10 U.S. presidents by most historians.

How Iraq turns out, will play a big role in how President Bush will be remembered by later generations; and it is far too early to know what the ripple effects will be, as it is still a "story without an ending".

Of course, I also believe it to be true that the world is such that bad decisions can end with good results, and good decisions can still go badly. This is because no one person controls the course of history, and there are just far too many variables involved in how things play out.

To go back to my point on the Bush legacy, one thing should be clear, that vindicates President Bush in the eyes of conservatives who have been critical of President Bush's brand of "compassionate conservatism", thinking President Bush has taken us off the cliff: in the appointment of judges, President Bush has been outstanding.

As David G. Savage wrote in the Los Angeles Times, almost 3 weeks ago,
After nearly seven years in the White House, President Bush has named 294 judges to the federal courts, giving Republican appointees a solid majority of the seats, including a 60%-to-40% edge over Democrats on the influential U.S. appeals courts.

The rightward shift on the federal bench is likely to prove a lasting legacy of the Bush presidency, since many of these judges - including his two Supreme Court appointees - may serve for two more decades. And despite the Republicans' loss of control of the Senate, 40 of Bush's judges won confirmation this year, more than in the previous three years when Republicans held the majority.
For those who have been harsh upon Republicans in Congress, when they were the majority that didn't behave like a majority in the House and Senate,
"Republican senators have voted in lock step to confirm every judge that Bush has nominated. The Democrats have often broken ranks,"
According to Simon Heller, a lawyer for the liberal advocacy group, Alliance for Justice.
They say the ideological makeup of the courts has grown into a major issue on the right, and it has brought Republicans together, whether they are social conservatives, economic conservatives or small-government libertarians. "This issue unites the base," said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, a group that lobbies for Bush's judicial nominees. "It serves as a stand-in for the culture wars: religion, abortion, gay marriage and the coddling of criminals." Nothing irritates conservatives more, he said, than having unelected judges decide politically charged issues that some believe should be left to voters and legislators. "Conservatives tend to blame judges for the left's success in the culture war," Levey said.

While Republicans find themselves somewhat divided heading into the election year, Bush is widely praised for his record of pressing for conservative judges.

"From Day One, President Bush made the judiciary a top priority, and he fought very hard for his nominees," said Washington attorney Bradford Berenson, who worked in the White House counsel's office in Bush's first term. "He was less willing to compromise than President Clinton. As a result, in raw numbers, he may end with somewhat fewer judges than Clinton had."
When Republicans lost the majority in the 2006 mid-term elections, so too, did President Bush's chances diminish, in getting judges through.

(Update 2/09/08) Rich Galen writes:
Democrats in the Senate holding up - according to the Wall Street Journal - 208 nominees: 180 nominees to executive branch positions and 28 nominees to the Federal bench.

If Rush, Sean, Laura and the rest wanted to really do a favor for America, they would get their tens of millions of listeners amped up about the nominees who are being held up - some for as long as two years - by Senate Democrats who will not allow the President to govern and will not allow the Judicial Branch to function.
As Hugh Hewitt writes, in responding to those who defend John McCain over "the Gang of 14", claiming that the Arizona Senator was right since it supposedly gave us Justices Roberts and Alito, as well as Judges Brown, Owens, and Pryor (Hewitt contends that they would have been confirmed, anyway, once the filibuster ended):
They lost many fine nominees as well. And the confirmation machinery didn't even improve for the rest of the session. Numerous judges were left dangling at the end of 2006 when the Gang of 14 "deal" expired, and most of them like Peter Keisler, nominated to the second most important court in the country, the D.C. Circuit, are hostage still to the Democrats. The Gang of 14 got the GOP nothing.
Majorities matter. This is why, in a general election, it is vital to vote a straight Republican ticket. Sticking to party is a principled position.

So why are the next 4 to 8 years so critical? Because the appointment of Supreme Court Justices can last for decades, and affect generations. It can affect the course of our history and culture in a major way that is rather frightening. On the Supreme Court appointments, Steven M. Warshawsky at American Thinker, in making the case for Rudy Giuliani, writes,
After the president, the most powerful citizens in the country are the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. They make decisions that define our most basic rights and freedoms. When these decisions are clothed in the language of the Constitution, they cannot be overturned except by a constitutional amendment or by a later decision of the Supreme Court itself. I hardly need explain how crucial it is - to conservatives and liberals alike - that judges sharing their worldviews are appointed to the Court. In the balance hangs whether there is a right to abortion or whether affirmative action is unconstitutional or whether gay marriage must be recognized by the states, and numerous other issues central to American life. As a result, there are few events in American politics more momentous, and more contentious, than the selection of Supreme Court justices.
In the next four to eight years, we can anticipate that there will be at least two and perhaps as many as five new appointments to the Court. As of November 2008, when the next president will be elected, the ages of the current justices will be as follows: John Paul Stevens (88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), Antonin Scalia (72), Anthony Kennedy (72), Stephen Breyer (70), David Souter (69), Clarence Thomas (60), Samuel Alito (58), and John Roberts (53). The good news for Republicans is that the three youngest justices are solid conservatives, while the two oldest are strident liberals. These two, Stevens and Ginsburg, almost certainly will leave the bench during the next president's tenure in office. By 2016, Kennedy, Breyer, and/or Souter (not to mention Scalia) also may succumb to age or infirmity. Replacing these justices with solid conservatives may finally accomplish the conservative counter-revolution on the Supreme Court that Republicans have worked tirelessly to achieve for decades.
It appalls me that there are conservatives out there, so hell-bent-out-of-shape angry because their uber-conservative dream candidate of choice is not running, or dropped out of the presidential race, that they plan to sit out the election (as if doing so in '06 advanced the conservative movement) and not vote for the GOP candidate, because the candidate is not "pure" enough.

At the moment, my candidate of choice is Rudy Giuliani. That could change; I will probably hang onto my absentee ballot, until after Florida primaries.

One of the criticisms against Rudy Giuliani is that he is not pro-life. Rudy says he will nominate strict constructionists. That is good enough for me. He has been straight-forth on his position here, and has not pandered to the pro-life conservative base, by "flip-flopping". What he maintains, is that the decision on abortion should be left up to state, and out of the hands of the federal government. Furthermore, Giuliani likes to point out that abortions went down 16% & adoptions went up 133% when he was NYC mayor.

Regardless of whether a president is pro-life or pro-choice, there is no guarantee that they will nominate judges who will end up being strict constructionists, despite the well-intentions to do so.

Warshawsky points out that Giuliani, Romney, and McCain all
promise to nominate "strict constructionist" judges, meaning judges who (in words taken from Giuliani's website) "will follow the text of laws and of the Constitution and will not make policy from the bench." There is no reason to believe that one of these candidates will appoint "better" judges than the others. All of them will select judges from the same broad pool of potential nominees. Nevertheless, as we have seen, for example, with Kennedy (appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988) and Souter (appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1990), it is impossible to predict how a judge will decide cases once appointed to the Court. So a little humility is in order when evaluating candidates on this issue.

Few Republicans question whether Romney and McCain will appoint solid conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Because Giuliani personally holds liberal views on abortion, gay rights, and gun control, however, many Republicans do not believe him when he promises to appoint strict constructionists to the bench. I do not share this concern. Giuliani is an experienced lawyer and a sophisticated student of the American legal system. He understands the fundamental principles of rule of law, separation of powers, and enumerated rights. It is perfectly consistent for him to believe that the Constitution should be interpreted narrowly, while believing that the people and the states retain the right to pass laws of their own choosing (which may include, for example, laws authorizing abortion). Moreover, in general, Giuliani is more committed to individual freedom and limited government than either Romney or McCain. The idea that he is going to appoint more Ginsburgs and Breyers to the Supreme Court is absurd.
I find great relevance in Hugh Hewitt's 2004 book, If it's Not Close, They Can't Cheat, to this day. Chapter 36, Pg 189 on "Abortion":
The only way for the issue to be returned to legislative control, however, is for the federal courts generally, and the United States Supreme Court specifically, to be populated with genuine constitutionalists- jurists who understand and abide by the principle that our government cannot endure unless elected representatives decide all of the major issues of our society [as opposed to the activist judges usurping that role and legislating from the bench].

The appointment of such judges requires the election of Republicans at every level of the government, but especially in the presidency. Thus, the real pro-life voter will always vote Republican and will do so without threats and demands and loud condemnation of nominees who are insufficiently attentive to their causes.

Pro-choice absolutists cannot expect to control the Republican Party. As a matter of math, the GOP is a pro-life party. If abortion rights is the only issue of import to you, you ought to leave the GOP for the Democratic Party if you believe the issue must be decided by judges. If you are a pro-choice advocate who trusts in the legislative process, by all means stay.

That would be Rudy.

Regardless of how one feels about Giuliani's candidacy, regardless of who the GOP nominee winds up being, I hope the conservative base understands what the stakes are in this election. Aside from the war controversy, all conservatives should rally behind the GOP pick, on the strength of Supreme Court appointments alone.

The Courts will chart the course of American culture and history, for generations to come.

"Look at the Supreme Court today, and you can say the next president will decide its future for the rest of our lives."
- Jay Sekulow




Also blogging 35 years under Roe V Wade:
Bottomline Upfront
Freedom Eden
This ain't hell, but you can see it from here

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Winning is as Easy as Flipping a COIN

It's commonly said that the foreign fighters who have poured into Iraq have made up a minority of the insurgency. This may be, but it's been al-Qaeda's goal to foment chaos, and fan the flames of sectarian violence. Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower, has said that as much as it's been al-Qaeda's desire to bog the U.S. down in Iraq, they, in turn became bogged down in Iraq, unable to gather the strength and the resources to put forth another terror attack on American soil.

I've also read that even though the majority of al-Qaeda in Iraq had its foot-soldiers recruited from the local Sunni population, its leadership is primarily made up of foreigners. Furthermore, 90% of the suicide bombers are foreign hirabahists and are responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in Iraq.

In today's NYTimes
, the headline reads, Suicide Bomber Kills 17 at Ceremony Near Capital. As Dennis Prager noted in his radio program today, the real headline grab should have read something like, "Become a suicide bomber, and we will punish your family". This in regards to a "homegrown" homicide bomber- one of the ten percenters- in Fallujah the previous day:
Meanwhile, in the wake of a suicide bombing on Sunday near Falluja in Anbar Province, local tribesmen burned the house of the young suicide bomber’s family and prevented a female cousin from collecting the bomber’s head for burial.
This is not about punishing the family for a wrong committed by a family member whose actions they may not have any kind of control over; but it sends the deterrent message out to future would-be terrorists that crimes have consequences. After all, it's not like you can punish the homicide bomber with capital punishment.

In 2007, there have been 8,800 terrorists captured with another 2,400 who have been sent to their virgins. Altogether, there are about 24,000 Iraqis who are held in detainment, with an attempt to rehabilitate and purge the extremism out of them. Not all are hardcore true-believers of the death cult branch of Islam. Amy Proctor writes,
In keeping with the current counterinsurgency strategy, the U.S. instructs these detainees in three areas: Religion, education, vocation. The purpose is to rehabilitate and reintegrate these Iraqis back into society once they have proven to no longer be a threat. The success rate is very high.

Why? Because ignorance is the main ingredient in terrorism. Hatred is a close second, but uneducated men who are easily led into misinterpretations about their religion are the ones preyed upon by al-Qaeda. We’ve seen in Anbar Province that it was sheiks and imams, educated religious leaders, who recognized the difference between true Islam and the heresy promulgated by apostates like Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

Those who were cheerleading against the New Baghdad Security Plan, derisively criticized the fact that an olive branch was being extended to former insurgent "dead-enders" who months earlier were killing our soldiers. But turning foes into friends is nothing unique. In fact, it is necessary for the success of any COIN strategy. Did we not win over the "hearts and minds" of those who once served in Japan's imperial army? Should we have exterminated every last German who ever wore a Nazi uniform?

As Michael Totten wrote in Anbar Awakening PtII,

The Iraqis of Anbar Province turned against Al Qaeda and sided with the Americans in large part because Al Qaeda proved to be far more vicious than advertised. But it’s also because sustained contact with the American military – even in an explosively violent combat zone –convinced these Iraqis that Americans are very different people from what they had been led to believe. They finally figured out that the Americans truly want to help and are not there to oppress them or steal from them. And the Americans slowly learned how Iraqi culture works and how to blend in rather than barge in.

“We hand out care packages from the U.S. to Iraqis now that the area has been cleared of terrorists,” one Marine told me. “When we tell them that some of these packages aren’t from the military or the government, that they were donated by average American citizens in places like Kansas, people choke up and sometimes even cry. They just can’t comprehend it. It is so different from the lies they were told about us and how we’re supposed to be evil.”

We will not win the long war against Islamic extremism, simply by "killing them all"; but we will win it, by killing those not worth saving, and convincing the rest, who the real enemy of peace and civilization is. All Muslims who are being seduced by the siren calls for "jihad" in Iraq, should ask themselves:
  • Why have the Sunni tribes turned away from al-Qaeda? And embraced the help of Americans?
  • Who has been building schools and hospitals? And who has bombed mosques?
Sometimes life's complexities and the hand-wringing paralysis of moral relativism really can be cured by the simplicity of, "You're either with us, or with the terrorists." Good and evil. Those who fight on behalf of freedom, and those who are "evil-doers". Why muddy the clarity?

Other related posts:
Hugh Hewitt on Max Boot who just returned from Iraq

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Dennis Prager Endorses Rudy Giuliani


While I listen to Laura Ingraham's daily non-stop Ingra-hammering and rejection of Rudy Giuliani as the nominee-of-choice, Dennis Prager has come out of the closet, and endorsed the Rude One.

Meanwhile, Fred's "dead".

I'm waiting to send in my absentee ballot, until after Florida.



Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt
Also blogging: Conservatism with Heart

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It's a Democrat Eat Democrat World

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama traded attacks at Monday’s debate.

Best exchange of the evening, from last night's televised debate in South Carolina:



“I’m here,” Mrs. Clinton said, “not my husband.”

Mr. Obama snapped, “I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes.” At several other points, he used the phrase “Senator Clinton and President Clinton” to re-enforce his view that he is facing off against a decades-old Clinton machine.

Actually, there's a lot to be entertained, by:




On substance, I wince at everything they have to say; especially in regards to Iraq.



Hat tip for YouTube video: Gateway Pundit

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Caption This (Special Edition)

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (L) talks with actor Chuck Norris during a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, January 1, 2008.


Sorry fellas but I didn't pick a winner for last week's caption contest....I'm revamping, and doing a take on "Chuck Norris facts". You are welcomed to contribute, either a Chuck fact or a Huck fact. Here are ones that I've compiled, many based off of existing ones:

  • Huck to Chuck: "Is it true you are going to sue Fred Thompson, because "Law and Order" are trademarked names for your left and right legs?"
  • Chuck to Huck: "For some, the left testicle is larger than the right one. For myself, each testicle is larger than the other one."
  • Huck: "Did you watch 60 Minutes last night?
  • Chuck: "Sure did! Watched the whole program in under 20 minutes."
  • Chuck to Huck: "Do you know why they didn't find a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq? Because I've never stepped foot over there."
  • Chuck to Huck: "I have to be honest: Your last campaign speech was so boring, I swallowed an entire bottle of sleeping pills...and it actually made me blink."
  • Chuck to Huck: "Did I ever tell you about the time I auditioned for the role of "The Terminator"? James Cameron decided to give the part to Schwarzenegger, telling me that if he had given it to me, they'd be filming a documentary."
  • Huck: "Why is your show called, 'Walker: Texas Ranger'?"
  • Chuck: "Because, unlike you, I refuse to run."
  • Huck to Chuck: "What President Roosevelt actually said, was "There's nothing to fear, but fear itself...and Chuck Norris."
  • Chuck to Huck: "What President Roosevelt actually said, was "There's nothing to fear, but fear itself...and a Huckabee Administration."
  • There are only two kinds of voters: Those who vote for Huck; and those who are killed by Chuck.
  • There is no such thing as a lesbian; just a woman who has never met Chuck Norris.
  • There is no such thing as a RINO; just a Republican who has never met Mike Huckabee.
  • Chuck and Huck agree: There is no such thing as evolution...Just a long list of animals Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
  • Huck: "What was going through Howard Dean's mind when he let out that death-curdling scream?
  • Chuck: "My boot."
  • Huck: "What exactly is a weapon of mass destruction?
  • Chuck: "A Chuck Norris roundhouse kick."
  • Huck: "Is it true that you're hung like a horse?"
  • Chuck: "No; but it's true that horses are hung like me."
  • Huck: "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck Norris?"
  • The only reason Huckabee's campaign has gone this far, is because Chuck Norris kick-started it with a roundhouse.
  • Chuck to Huck: "Did you know that I was born in a round house that I built with my own two hands?"
  • Huck: "Thanks for breathing some life into my campaign."
  • Chuck: "I don't breath! I hold air hostage in my lungs!"
  • Huck: "What if I'm asked in the next debate to explain the 'Theory of Relativity'? What do I say?"
  • Chuck: "Tell them when you get kicked by a Chuck Norris roundhouse, even your relatives will feel it....and that's no theory!"
  • Who can kill the audience quicker? Huck on the bass, or Chuck being a badass?
  • Chuck croons: "These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you....followed by a roundhouse kick!"
  • Huck to Chuck: "Did you have to punch and kick everyone out on the dance floor?"
  • Chuck to Huck: "They were holding up Romney '08 signs."
    Huck to Chuck: "Oh....well, that changes things."
  • Huck didn't win Iowa: Chuck Norris won Iowa. Chuck didn't lose New Hampshire and Michigan: Huck lost New Hampshire and Michigan.
  • Huck to Chuck: "I'm nervous...I have to take a written quiz on Pakistan. What do I do?!"
  • Chuck to Huck: "If it were me taking the quiz, I'd just put "violence" down for each answer."
    Huck to Chuck: "How the hell does that get you an A+?"
    Chuck to Huck: "I'm Chuck Norris. I answer all of my problems with violence."
  • When Chuck Norris wants to see a true conservative, he looks in the mirror. When Mike Huckabee wants to see a true conservative, he looks at Chuck Norris.

Can you guys come up with any?

New ones will be added on here:

  • Huck fact: Huckabee actually does believe in the theory of evolution: in youth, one thinks with his heart, and is liberal; with age, evolves and thinks with his head, and is known as a conservative

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Yasser Arafat Did Not Donate Blood to 9/11 Victims

Photo: Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters

Remember the day after 9/11? No, not the Palestinians dancing in the streets; but this:
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat today donated blood for the victims of the US terror attacks and condemned ‘‘this horrible attack.’’

‘‘We are donating our humble abilities to President Bush and to the American people,’’ Arafat said at Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Arafat, one of hundreds of Palestinians who participated in the blood drive, smiled as doctors drew blood from his right arm.

As he came out of the hospital, about 200 Palestinians started chanting, ‘‘We are ready to give our soul and blood for you.’’

Asked if he had a message for the American people, Arafat said, ‘‘God bless you, God Bless you, God bless you.’’
Well, now it appears it was all a staged propaganda hoax. Noah Pollack at Commentary Magazine reports:

Joel Pollak (no relation) reports on his blog that Charles Enderlin, the France 2 television reporter implicated in the Mohammed al-Dura fabrication, admitted at a talk at Harvard last night that the famous scenes of Yasser Arafat donating blood after the 9/11 attacks were, like the footage of the IDF killing al-Dura, staged:

Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

The blood donation story made headlines around the world. It was reported by esteemed news agencies like the BBC, and photographs of Arafat lying with an outstretched arm ran on many front pages. But the whole scene was staged, Enderlin said. Arafat didn’t like needles, and so the doctor put a needle near his arm and agitated a bag of blood. The reporters took the requisite photographs.

Arafat, it’s worth noting, died in 2005 of AIDS, and it is thus a good thing that he didn’t actually donate blood. Is it possible that the reputation of the international press corps in Israel, especially its European members, could get any worse?

Color me unamazed.

Hat tip: Michael Totten

Also blogging:
NewsBusters

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Michael Yon Honored by the NYTimes


I guess it's that time of the year again, for the broken down clock at the NYTimes:
Published: January 21, 2008

Michael Yon was not a journalist, and he wasn’t sure what a blogger was. He had been in uniform but not in combat, and he wanted to keep it that way. He went to Iraq thinking he would stay for a month, and maybe find a way to write about the war after he got home.

Instead, he has spent most of the last three years in Iraq, writing prolifically and graphically, and racking up more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist, according to the United States military.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit
(also, a collection of some of the latest positive news out of Iraq)

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America's Marines- Extended Version



Hat tip: American Power

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"It took a president to get it done...."

The Biggest Fractured Fairy Tale


It's like a 2-on-1 handicap match....who exactly is it that Obama's campaigning against? Hillary or Bill?

And let's loose..... the Bill of War!!:


“Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, ‘Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn’t know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you’re now running on off your website in 2004 and there’s no difference in your voting record and Hillary’s ever since?’ Give me a break. “This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen…"
-Bill Clinton in New Hampshire last week


Barack counterattacks America's "first black president" this morning, on ABC Good Morning America. (Video at HotAir).

Bill Clinton writing the biggest fairy tale of his own:



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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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