Friday, February 29, 2008

When "Anti-War" Becomes Synonymous with Being "Pro-Peace"

"They have not wanted peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war- as though the absence of war was the same as peace."
- Dorothy Thompson


When the goals of an anti-war humanitarian and the pro-victory movement are one and the same: Peace and stability for Iraq.....by staying the course and completing the mission.

Angelina Jolie, who does not share her father's conservatism, nevertheless, is an anti-war proponent whom I can respect. She has come to the realization, through her experience, that the path to peace will be paved not by a hasty retreat, but by a committed resolve to remain until the task is complete. From The Washington Post, Angelina Jolie writes:

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- and the potential consequences for our national security -- are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money -- but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Angelina Jolie, an actor, is a UNHCR goodwill ambassador.


Hat tip:
The Strata-Sphere

Also Blogging:
Flopping Aces

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Press: Incurious and Slow

What has George Bush done lately?

I know I've posted on this topic, before; but am too incurious to dig it up. He's done more than people are willing to give him credit for, when it comes to humanitarian projects and expressions of compassion for people.

I know some conservatives don't like to see financial aid "wasted" on ungrateful countries and believe that the AIDS crisis is overblown. And that "compassionate conservatism" is merely liberalism by another name. Maybe so. But then why won't liberal critics embrace and acknowledge the "good deeds" this President has done during his tenure?

This is what the media thinks of the actions of George Bush (Hat tip: The Media Report):
So what U.S. President has done more on behalf of Africa?

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William F. Buckley Jr.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If he's going to behave like shark bait, treat him like one


On my drive this morning, I was listening to Mark Taylor hosting for Dennis Prager. He relayed the following:
After his campaign rally in Cincinnati today, Republican presidential candidate John McCain apologized for remarks by conservative WLW talk show host Bill Cunningham that McCain said he thought were offensive to Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
Apparently us right-wingers are waxing indignant, using this as another proof-positive example of Senator McCain sticking his finger in the eye of conservatives. I call BS.

I haven't followed the whole shebang, but if Mark Taylor's description is accurate, I side with him and McCain on this one. McCain is turning this negative into a positive by demonstrating class. What Cunningham said is fine for low-browed blogs and talk radio and Free Republic. It's fine for DU and Daily Kos and Air America and Huffington Post. But I expect a presidential candidate to behave presidential. This is exactly what John McCain did. Remember when John Kerry failed to pass the "Sister Soldjah moment", and repudiate disparaging remarks about President Bush, said in his behalf by Hollywood know-nothings? I expect more from my side.

In my opinion, Bill Cunningham is behaving like a whiny bitch because he deservedly got rebuked for the same criticism we dish out to limousine liberals who use inappropriate venues for their brand of discourse.

Childish.

Kind of like my lowering the bar by name-calling Cunningham.



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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Sermon

The following story is paraphrased from memory, and originally found in Dan Millman's "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior", a book I treasured (you hippies out there would probably love it!) when I was growing up as a gymnast (one of my future college roommmates and teammates was coached by the author, fyi):
There once was a beloved king, whose castle stood on a high hill, overlooking the shire. So popular was he, that the nearby townsfolk brought gifts to him daily; and his birthday celebration was enjoyed throughout the kingdom.

The people loved him for his renowned wisdom and fair judgments.

One day, tragedy took the town: The water supply became polluted and quite poisonous. Every man, woman, and child went insane. Only the king, who drank from a private spring, was spared.

Soon after the tragedy, the mad townspeople began speaking about how strangely the king was acting and how his judgments were poor and his wisdom a sham. No longer did the people come pay him visits, or celebrate his birthday. The lonely king, high on his hill, received no company at all.

Eventually, the king decided to leave his high hill and pay a visit to the town below. It was a warm day, and so he drank from the village fountain. That night, a great celebration took place, for all the people rejoiced that their beloved king had regained his sanity.
Inspired by Seth's post regarding liberal ideology made law in California school systems.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Let the Man Speak!!!


We're all eagerly listening.

(Excellent comment stream, including drive-by lefties who don't bother to read what's been said, prior; hope you'll do different).

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Venice Blvd, Culver City, California: Check this out!


video


Saw this moonbat mobile loitering along Venice Blvd, on my way in to work.

Notice the seat cover, riding shotgun? This isn't the worst I've seen: I've seen a couple where the front end was also plastered with political messages and stickers. But still....the owner of this vehicle is one seriously disturbed "progressive" mental degenerate.

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Cuban Leadership Crisis?

I wonder what the Black Kennedy thinks about this development?

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Requires the Willful Suspension of Disbelief


Let's repeat it again:

POLITICAL PROGRESS in IRAQ:

GEN Petraeus told Wolf Blitzer on Jan 27, 2008 that the Iraqi government:

  • Passed a pensions law that extends pension rights to tens of thousands of individuals who were left out in earlier arrangement several years ago.
  • they passed the Iraqi flag law in the council of representatives. Now, you might think that’s purely symbolic. It’s not. It has been a contentious issue for several years. The current flag does not fly in portions of the Kurdish regional government are in Iraq. And so this is an important step forward.
  • The de-Baathification reform bill, so-called accountability and justice law, has passed
  • The 2008 budget is being debated right now in the council of representatives, and it distributes oil revenues in a way that is in line with the oil revenue-sharing bill that could be debated later in the year
  • So, again, all of a sudden, it’s as if there’s a new dynamism in the council of representatives.

Not only that, but the Iraqi Parliament has been more effective than the U.S. Congress:

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs compares Bills Signed Into Law:

  • Democratic Congress – 48
  • Iraqi Parliament – 53

Progress Report on Iraqi Parliament

Reconciliation Continues…

Reconstruction progress via the US Army Corps of Engineers

Desperate Al-Qaeda Resorts to Using Retarded Women in Attacks

Al-Qaeda Car Bombs Decrease Dramatically in Iraq

Iraqi Officer Challenges Media Misinformation about Coalition Forces

U.S. To Transfer Authority of Anbar Province Back to Iraq

Soldiers Celebrate Safest Christmas Ever in Iraq

Sunni, Shia March Together in Baghdad for Peace

Inflation Drops 90% In Iraq (and other good news)

  • Year-to-date inflation as of October 2007 is 4.2%, compared to year-to-date inflation through October 2006 of 42.7%
  • The continued appreciation of the Iraqi dinar went from 1,475 dinars per U.S. dollar in late 2006 to 1,218 dinars per U.S. dollar currently.
  • Electrical output/production is up 14% from this time last year.
  • The postwar electricity production record for one day (123,000 MWh) was broken on October 12, 2007 with the production of 125,000 MWh.
  • Violence and casualties are down
  • Security is up
  • Sectarian deaths have plummeted
  • In NOV 2006 there were 6 Iraqi Division Headquarters, 30 Brigade Headquarters and 91 Battalions.
  • In NOV 2007 there are 10 Division Headquarters, 34 Brigade Headquarters and 108 Battalions.




Updated with
Iraqi Police Impress U.S. Troops
More good news for Pelosi to deny
The Real State of Iraq

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The Children are Out to Play

Monday, February 18, 2008

Caption This

Former President Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife at The Temple of Praise Church in Southeast Washington, D.C. on Feb. 10. Clinton addresses the church service, as Rev. Jonathan L. Weaver watches and Terance Hare doses off.
Richard A. Lipski - The Washington Post




Last week's photo caption winner:

Gayle of Dragon Lady's Den
!!! Congratulations (sorry, Mike):

"I YAM WHAT I YAM!"

It's perfect for McCain who is who he is, and can't help being anything but. Others made the Popeye comparison as well for the former Navy pilot who has a reputation of sticking his finger in the eye of conservatives....."Stickeye the Sailor Man"?

Thanks to Curt for the swell photoshop.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

George Bush Out of America and into Africa

President Bush takes part in a ceremony upon his arrival at Cadjehoun International Airport in Cotonou, Benin, February 16, 2008.
REUTERS/Jim Young



Double meaning?Tanzanian women wear outfits bearing the image of U.S. President George W. Bush during his arrival ceremony at the State House in Dar es Salaam February 17, 2008.
REUTERS/Jason Reed



I don't know about Tanzania, but here in California, you'd be a laughing stock if you wore something like this:Images of President Bush make up the fabric of dresses for Tanzanian women as they await Bush's arrival at Julius Nyerere Airport in Dar Es Salaam February 16, 2008.

REUTERS/Jason Reed




9/11 didn't begin on 9/11....

President George W. Bush observes a moment of silence during a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial for victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 17, 2008. Bush is joined by first lady Laura Bush (L), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (3rd L) and family members of the victims.
REUTERS/Jim Young




Well, isn't this nice:

A sign promoting the visit of President Bush is seen in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 17, 2008.

REUTERS/Jim Young



A sign promoting the visit of President Bush is seen in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 17, 2008.
REUTERS/Jim Young


"Feel at Home"..........?!?!

Tanzanian Muslims hold placards as they demonstrate after Friday prayers on the streets of Dar es Salaam, February 15, 2008.
REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

Why...yes. I'm sure George Bush feels quite at home....





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PBS Frontline: What Really Happened in Haditha?


Haditha in my judgment is a metaphor for how the press unconsciously, being in opposition to the war, will take an incident and simply by reiterating it and reiterating it and reiterating it build it into something that it wasn’t.
-Bing West, former Marine, warrior-scholar, and Iraq analyst


Feb. 13: Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, center, arrives for his motions hearing at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Wuterich is being charged for his alleged involvement in the death of Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq in 2005. Mike Blake - Reuters


The program airs this Tuesday night. Bruce Kesler received an advanced copy, and gives a great review of the contents, here.

Curt has followed the story since its inception, and you can see his previous 41 blog entries here.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Breaking: U.S. Soldiers (*gasp*) blindfold Iraqi prisoners!

January 21, 2008: An Iraqi soldier guards suspects arrested during a joint U.S.- Iraqi military operation near Baqouba. AP

The New York Times has broken another important story that is just outrageous: Our soldiers are actually blindfolding Iraqis captured on the battlefield! Forget abu Ghraib. That's yesterday's news.
What, exactly, did these men do to justify blindfolding them and forcing them to their knees on a concrete floor, their heads pressed against the wall? In the United States, kidnappers, rapists, and mass murderers are not treated this way. Timothy McVeigh was not treated this way.
Read the rest.

Where is Senator Dick Durbin on this? Where is Cindy Sheehan? We need to demand accountability! Heads should roll!

Meanwhile, in other news not as noteworthy (after all, it didn't appear at all in the NYTimes, so it can't be news), 12 year old Taliban boy saws off the head of a hostage.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Water bottle.....woman fainting....Barack Obama: What do these three things have in common?

A supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) cries as she listens to him at the Tulane University during a campaign event in New Orleans February 7, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)


One of the embarrassing episodes of Rudy Giuliani's campaign was being interrupted in the middle of delivering a speech, by cell phone, supposedly from his wife. I say "supposedly", because this happened around 15 times, apparently. You see, the whole thing was staged to make Giuliani look...like a dotting husband, maybe? I don't know. All it did was deliver another torpedo to his presidential run.

Then of course, Hillary was caught planting questions in the audience. None of this is unique to just these two; but what it reminds us, is that they are first and foremost, politicians.

While on my drive to work, I heard the same Medved hour that this blogger did:
A radio talk show host uncovered the story and I heard it on Michael Medved today. Apparently, Barack Obama, in a variation of Groundhog Day (or James Brown), has a woman faint, asks for help, and then offers her a water bottle at most of his rallies. Kind of amazing, isn't it? I'm sure if somebody asked him and Barack Obama were honest, he'd say: "Yeah, chicks dig it."
Mike's America mentioned about how Barack Obama's supporters behave as if they were attending a religious revival, or bearing witness to the Rapture.

A supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) cries as she listens to his speech during a campaign rally at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington February 8, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)


Apparently, just like some televangelist laying on hands, Senator Barack Obama has a godlike effect upon some of his true believers....or does he?

The number of incidents where a woman in the front row faints at his campaign rallies, is suspect; as is the manner in which Barack Obama responds, as if it were a unique, first-time occurrence.

I will periodically update this post as I (or readers help me) find incidents on YouTube or newspaper articles on this. Here's one for starters:
The Barack Obama water bottle incident, Feb. 4, 2008, at the XL Center in Hartford.

Commenters on this YouTube link are saying they've found as many as 7different videos so far, of different campaign stops, with the same "woman fainting" sketch.

James Taranto at WSJ, citing James Vicevich, the Connecticut radio talk show host who seems to have broke the story:
  • Montecito, Calif., Sept. 8, 2007. "A woman standing in front of the stage appeared to faint as Obama spoke about Iraq," the Associated Press reported. "The candidate paused and asked the crowd to make way for firefighters. One supporter shouted, 'You're a good man,' leaving Obama momentarily at a loss for words. 'Well, I'm not the only one stopping to help her,' he said, sounding almost embarrassed."

  • Madison, Wis., Oct. 22, 2007. "This excitement mirrored the aura in the room that grew throughout his speech," reported WISN-TV. "Before the senator arrived, students were tossing around an inflatable cow above the crowd. Three people fainted in the midst of all the enthusiasm."

  • Hanover, N.H., Jan. 8, 2008. "Barack Obama's first and only rally on election day came to a sudden and lengthy stop when a young woman in the Dartmouth College gym fainted, and was eventually rolled off on a gurney by emergency medical technicians," the Los Angeles Times reported. "At first Obama half-narrated the episode, saying soothing things like, 'She's OK,' 'She's talking.' But the longer she lay on the floor, the quieter Obama got, standing on the podium, arms folded, looking worried as the medical crew worked." Minneapolis's WCCO-TV has video showing Obama handing a bottle of water to the Dartmouth damsel in distress.

  • Hartford, Conn., Feb. 4, 2008. "And when a woman appeared to faint in the standing-only VIP section in front of the podium, Obama paused his speech for over a minute as he directed the crowd to make way for an EMT team and tossed a bottle of water from the stage," reported the Yale Daily News.

  • Seattle, Feb. 8, 2008. "Climate change, the Iraq war and Obama tossing a bottle of water to a woman about to faint all received big cheers," MSNBC.com reported. "As Obama told the crowd to part so that the woman in question could leave and called for help, a young girl in the crowd shouted out, 'What a man!' The audience roared with laughter (although the press that has seen this happen before rolled its eyes)."



Updates will be found at my cross-post, Flopping Aces

Hat tip: The Michael Medved Show.

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The Truth About McCain Voting Against the Bush Tax Cuts

Not a unique charge amongst conservative critics:
McCain abandoned Bush on tax cuts as 1 of only 2 Republican senators that did so,
Which is why I feel that it is important to illuminate this fact.
This is one of those issues where the whole story and context is important. From Kevin Stach of the Wall Street Journal:
In 2001, with the bitter primary battle still fresh, Mr. McCain voted against the final Bush tax-cut package. Why would he deviate from a pro-growth, tax-cutting position, built up over 17 years in Congress and dozens of votes, even after running on a tax-cut plan himself in 2000?

Mr. McCain's protest that he wanted spending cuts to accompany the Bush tax cuts has persuaded few conservatives. But what is not remembered is that, two weeks earlier, Mr. McCain voted to approve the final version of the Budget Resolution -- the blueprint used by congressional committees for spending and tax bills -- which included $1.35 trillion in tax cuts (the Bush proposal) coupled with a $661 billion cap on discretionary spending. When the promised spending cap never materialized, Mr. McCain denounced the wasteful earmarks and pork-barrel spending that he felt jeopardized the budget, and lodged the now famous protest vote against the tax cuts.
To not recognize the reason why, is to distort his record when it comes to tax cuts. In his 25 years serving in the Senate, he has never voted for a tax increase. And he has pledged to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Nothing in his record should indicate he is untrustworthy on this.


On the economy, I believe that Senator McCain is to the right of President Bush.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Playing Russian Roulette with National Security

Buwahahahaha!!!!!!

"No She can't....no she can't....no she can't!"

No wonder her campaign's tanking:




Good God! That is just plain awful! If I were campaigning for Obama, I'd use this video in his campaign and give it plenty of airplay. The melody itself sounds like an expensive rip-off of the Jackson 5.

Now, compare that to the ultra-hip and slick "Yes We Can" video:




Not to leave McCain out, this is actually pretty cleverly done:

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Romney to endorse McCain at 3:30pm today

Meaning, his delegates will go to the maverick straight shooter, all but securing the Republican nomination at 75 delegates shy.

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The Bottomline Upfront on Iraq: Progress!

February 12, 2008: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William Lambert, 30, of Plainview, Ark, shows photographs of his children to Iraqi children in Beijia, south of Baghdad. By Maya Alleruzzo, AP

Amy Proctor:

Call From Baghdad: Iraqis Rejecting Al-Qaeda

My husband, MSG Proctor, called me from Baghdad this afternoon. He’s excited about his mission with Multi-National Force-Iraq and they’re accomplishing a lot.

I was glad to hear him say that the biggest change he noticed since he was there for a year in 2003-04 was that Iraqis are overwhelmingly rejecting al-Qaeda and the insurgency. Muslim clerics are now preaching against acts of terrorism from the mosques, whereas they used to preach against Coalition Forces. They condemn the recent al-Qaeda suicide attacks using 2 mentally retarded women from their pulpits and openly call al-Qaeda and groups like them “taqfari” or false Muslims, a very important distinction in Islam. Al-Qaeda’s disgusting tactics continue to backfire on them, and backfire BIG.

He says Iraqis have profoundly turned against al-Qaeda and terrorism. They want their country to function and be unified more than ever. He also said this endeavor will take longer than the rest of the Bush presidency and it’s crucial to VOTE REPUBLICAN. We cannot afford a Democrat in the White House if we want Iraq to continue on the road to freedom and self-sustenance.

Amy also blogs foreign fighters in Iraq are down by 50% (I guess one reason why they are down to recruiting children). And in light of the recent passage of 3 new laws by the Iraqi Parliament, Nancy Pelosi might learn a thing or twelve:

POLITICAL PROGRESS in IRAQ:

GEN Petraeus told Wolf Blitzer on Jan 27, 2008 that the Iraqi government:

  • Passed a pensions law that extends pension rights to tens of thousands of individuals who were left out in earlier arrangement several years ago.
  • they passed the Iraqi flag law in the council of representatives. Now, you might think that's purely symbolic. It's not. It has been a contentious issue for several years. The current flag does not fly in portions of the Kurdish regional government are in Iraq. And so this is an important step forward.
  • The de-Baathification reform bill, so-called accountability and justice law, has passed
  • The 2008 budget is being debated right now in the council of representatives, and it distributes oil revenues in a way that is in line with the oil revenue-sharing bill that could be debated later in the year
  • So, again, all of a sudden, it's as if there's a new dynamism in the council of representatives.

Not only that, but the Iraqi Parliament has been more effective than the U.S. Congress:

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs compares Bills Signed Into Law:

  • Democratic Congress – 48
  • Iraqi Parliament – 53

Progress Report on Iraqi Parliament

Reconciliation Continues…

Reconstruction progress via the US Army Corps of Engineers

Desperate Al-Qaeda Resorts to Using Retarded Women in Attacks

Al-Qaeda Car Bombs Decrease Dramatically in Iraq

Iraqi Officer Challenges Media Misinformation about Coalition Forces

U.S. To Transfer Authority of Anbar Province Back to Iraq

Soldiers Celebrate Safest Christmas Ever in Iraq

Sunni, Shia March Together in Baghdad for Peace

Inflation Drops 90% In Iraq (and other good news)

  • Year-to-date inflation as of October 2007 is 4.2%, compared to year-to-date inflation through October 2006 of 42.7%
  • The continued appreciation of the Iraqi dinar went from 1,475 dinars per U.S. dollar in late 2006 to 1,218 dinars per U.S. dollar currently.
  • Electrical output/production is up 14% from this time last year.
  • The postwar electricity production record for one day (123,000 MWh) was broken on October 12, 2007 with the production of 125,000 MWh.
  • Violence and casualties are down
  • Security is up
  • Sectarian deaths have plummeted
  • In NOV 2006 there were 6 Iraqi Division Headquarters, 30 Brigade Headquarters and 91 Battalions.
  • In NOV 2007 there are 10 Division Headquarters, 34 Brigade Headquarters and 108 Battalions.
And of course, Hillary would like to take credit, on behalf of Democrats, for all of this "no success" happening. I suppose "if it's not covered by MSM", then it's not happening.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

Related recent posts:
The Two Bills and the Two Michaels

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The Problem is Not America....Nor President Bush

"We want to be able to love America again,"
-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl , in an editorial for Die Zeit newspaper.



Arizona Senator and U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain gave an interview with Der Spiegel. Although Hugh Hewitt found something in it to be encouraged by a McCain presidency, Laura Ingraham (who has a serious case of McCDS and conservative elitism) pointed out the other day the same fault that I see in the interview: the unwillingness on the part of John McCain, the straight shooter, to repudiate or challenge the premise of the questions. I found them rather flawed and insulting. I boldened the parts in this excerpt that really made me squirm:
SPIEGEL: Senator McCain, Europe is reserving a lot of hope for the next president of the United States. Will you try to win back trust in America around the world?

McCain: I know most of the leaders in Europe and other parts of the world and I have a long record of my positions and my ability to work together with our allies. I think I will start out with a level of credibility.

SPIEGEL: America has lost a lot of friends because President George W. Bush angered, indeed outraged, them. He allowed human rights to be violated at Guantanamo Bay, and he dismissed the joint effort to combat global warming. Under a President McCain, could we expect a change of course?

McCain: Yes. I would announce that we are not ever going to torture anyone held in American custody. I would announce that we were closing Guantanamo Bay and moving those prisoners to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and I would announce a commitment to addressing climate change and my dedication to a global agreement -- but it has to include India and China.

SPIEGEL: So is America coming back to renegotiate the Kyoto Protocol?

McCain: I believe America is going to enter into negotiations to try to reach a global agreement. But, as I said, that agreement must include India and China, two of the emerging economies of the world. We would be foolish not to do so.

SPIEGEL: Will America attempt to go it alone less frequently in the future?

McCAIN: Well, we all hope that America will be multilateral again in the future. There were times when the United States acted unilaterally, but I think we would all prefer to work in concert with our friends and allies.

SPIEGEL: What role will the United Nations play? Bush always ignored the UN.

McCain: The United Nations always plays an important role. But right now we are having to deal with a Russia that is clearly intent on blocking action. That's why the UN must act in a league of democracies that share our values and our common principles.
I suppose it wouldn't be very presidential for McCain to give the interviewer the middle finger and begin with, "Listen dipstick..."; nor realistic to hope for it from any U.S. politician. But for someone who fancies himself a straight talker with a reputation for being hot-tempered, it certainly would be nice to see him exercise some of that on behalf of conservative America, rather than against it.

He could have been polite about it, and challenged the premise of the question. The fact that he wasn't and didn't, is telling.

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Making the Right Choice

Some Fredhead radical left a comment on an earlier post. One of his blogs is nothing but a gathering of mostly smear links. There's no discernment between serious and legitimate criticism and silly and frivolous spin charges. There's one post per each of the GOP "RINO" candidates. Comments are off, and are merely a repository for whatever smut is out there on the candidates.

I picked this out from the deranged McCain post:
Abortion:

John McCain Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research (Audio)

McCain Softens Abortion Stand
(The Washington Post)

"But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations." - John McCain
Hmmm....it certainly sounds like McCain is not the staunch pro-life candidate he says he is. I wonder what Planned Parenthood Action Fund has to say on the matter:


Throughout his entire public career, Sen. McCain has voted consistently against women’s health, and he supports overturning the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade.

“Sen. McCain believes government has the right to interfere with the most personal and often the most difficult decisions affecting a woman's health,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Most Americans believe just the opposite and, as more voters realize Sen. McCain’s ardent anti-choice position, this will be an issue for him in the general election.”

As Sen. McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, his record and rhetoric on abortion will come under further scrutiny. As NPR reported last week, many Republican voters incorrectly believe that Sen. McCain supports abortion rights. However, Sen. McCain’s voting record and statements put him out of the mainstream of voters.

According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll (August 2007), 62% of voters support Roe v. Wade, with 64% of independent voters supporting Roe v. Wade. In the same poll, by a 20-point margin, voters believe abortion should be legal (57–37); among independent voters, that margin increases to 26 points (59–33).

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is launching an aggressive effort to educate voters about Sen. McCain’s anti-choice record, using Sen. McCain’s own words in the radio ad.

“We will make clear to voters that Sen. McCain is anti-choice and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Richards. “The more voters learn about Sen. McCain’s ardent anti-choice record, the more resistance he will face from the majority of voters, especially among moderate Republicans and independents, who support Roe v. Wade.”

Sen. McCain has received a zero percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the lowest rating in the U.S. Senate. He opposed commonsense measures to avoid unintended pregnancies and thus reduce the need for abortion. He opposed ending the “global gag rule,” an anti-family planning restriction that reduces access to contraception and abortion services and information in poorer countries.


Hillary? 100% in the eyes of Planned Parenthood. Obama:? 100% pro-choice rating, in both the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate. Or McCain? Zero percent pro-choice rating:
Let’s go to their records, to the very time-period opponents of Senator McCain cite in their indictment of him.

McCain voted to defund Planned Parenthood last year, Clinton didn’t and would likely expand Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding.

McCain voted to ban partial-birth abortion, Clinton didn’t and would likely reverse the partial-birth abortion ban.

McCain voted for Roberts and Alito and made the case for them in the media, Clinton didn’t.
Those are the choices right now. And to me, that choice is clear. I will support the anti-choice candidate come November.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thank you Senator DeMint!

Poking My Thumb in the Eye of Conservatives for Their Own Good


The commonly held belief amongst self-described Reagan footsoldiers, is that John McCain is a conservative apostate, who enjoys sticking his thumb in the eye of conservatives. Maybe he does enjoy his "maverick" reputation a little too much; maybe his 5 1/2 years as a POW knocked a few screws loose and instilled a certain "mean-spiritedness" in him. Maybe he was born this way.

But a conservative apostate?!

He may not be the conservative we like; nor the kind of conservative we can all trust, on all issues; yet, conservative he is, and the conservative we are all stuck with.

I do not get this need for conservatives to "disown" each other. Who is to say who a true conservative is? According to the Ron Paul Reverists, we are all conservative apostates and betrayers of the original intent of our Founding Fathers if we don't heed the whinings of their Constitutional Pied Piper. Then there are the self-proclaimed Reagan conservatives, who romanticize this notion that they are the caretakers of "true conservatism" and "Reaganism". Today, they criticize those conservatives who aren't sufficiently pure, be it Huckabee, Giuliani, McCain, and even Romney. By their impossible standards, Ronald Reagan would not be Reagan enough. Some of the bandwagon jumpers are the same conservatives who criticized Reagan before America's 40th president was deified. I'm also finding that rather than merely disagreeing with fellow conservatives that were rather well-respected prior to expressing support (Michael Medved) or sympathy (Victor Davis Hanson) for McCain, a lot of emotional, angry conservatives have renounced those conservatives as well.

One has to wonder-before Romney suspended his campaign and before McCain appears to have all but wrapped up the GOP nomination: How is it that at least 17 prominent, staunch conservative Senators have thrown their support to John McCain? How is it, that over 100 Admirals and generals along with Norman Schwarzkopf have endorsed the Senator from the great state of Arizona? They couldn't all be RINOs, could they? How is it that 100 individuals who served in the Reagan Administration have endorsed John McCain?
Many leaders of the Reagan Revolution – 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.
How does one reconcile with the fact that Nancy Reagan privately endorsed McCain, as well? One begins to ask oneself, "Who would Reagan endorse?" And the reality of the response should be, "No one knows." And it's dishonest for anyone to presume to speak for Reagan, and channel his vibes to validate their own personal political views.

If John McCain is not a "true" conservative then how does one explain the fact that his ACU lifetime ranking is 82.3% (for you Fredheads, Fred Thompson's lifetime average is 86%- with his support of campaign finance reform apparently knocking off anywhere from 4%-12% from his rating)? In 2006, yes it was 65%. Putting him in 47th place among Senators, for that year. But for his quarter century service in the Senate, how can people claim he has not been conservative? Maybe not the kind of conservative we wish him to be, but a conservative, nonetheless.

Trent Lott's got one of the most conservative voting records for 3 decades, at 92.4%. He has vigorously come out in defense of McCain. Is he wrong in emphatically defending McCain's conservative credentials, even as he has been in disagreement on issues with the Arizona Senator, through the years?

When Fred Thompson drew out of the race, there was some rumor as to a possible McCain endorsement. It didn't happen until after Romney suspended his campaign; yet the matter remains, Thompson, had he endorsed anyone, probably would have endorsed McCain (he was one of a handful of Senators who did support McCain in 2000). Of course that would have been too much for the Fredheads to swallow had the "one true conservative in the race" endorsed the "conservative apostate". It happened with some of the Giuliani supporters, who saw Giuliani's endorsement of McCain as a "betrayal". It happened with Duncan Hunter supporters when Hunter ended his campaign and endorsed "that other Democrat in conservative clothing", Mike Huckabee.

Recently, at CPAC, John Bolton spoke on behalf of McCain:

Revealing information that he said had never before been made public, Bolton discussed how McCain secretly tried to shepherd his nomination to the United Nations -- a nomination that was held up in Congress over Bolton's controversial anti-UN statements and policies.

"He was very active behind the scenes," said Bolton, who was ultimately sent to the UN via a presidential recess appointment. "He thought I was the type of ambassador that ought to represent the United States at the United Nations."

Addressing an audience already skeptical of McCain's presidential nomination, Bolton offered a defense of the senator.
John Bolton was much adored by the same conservatives who attack John McCain relentlessly for abandoning conservative principles.

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa January 2, 2008.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Working with those across the political aisle to get things done....does that make him "liberal"? Because he calls Joe Lieberman a friend....John Kerry a friend.....Hillary Clinton....does this make him "liberal"? Most of my friends are liberals. I like them. I'm loyal to them. But I am not a liberal. Contrast these Democratic Senators' ACU ratings: Joe Lieberman's ACU lifetime ranking is 16.8%, Ted Kennedy's is 2.5%, John Kerry's is 5.6%, Hillary Clinton is 9%, Barack Obama's has been stuck at 8% since 2005. And yet angry conservatives say there's not a speck of difference between Hillary and McCain? Facts are more important than raw emotionalism, here.

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain listens to a question during a campaign rally at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, January 14, 2008.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


“He stabbed his own president in the back on legislation, a number of times. He doesn’t support his party or his president when the chips are down. He called people who want to protect the border racists, nativists, protectionists, and worse. And what kind of character is it that tries to slide all that through under cover of darkness, in a back room.”
- Rush Limbaugh, in an audioclip posted to "The Page" on Time.com.


John McCain campaigned vigorously for President Bush in 2000 and in 2004.

I understand that many hardliners also want to disassociate themselves from President Bush's brand of conservatism, and avow that Bush #43 is also not a "true" conservative. Party purists who want to go this route will be the death of the conservative movement. If they actually achieved their way, they would keep the Republican Party a "small tent" party, with insufficient numbers in voters to ever win an election and make any kind of meaningful political influence.

To those who are fans of the current U.S. president but not fans of the Senator from Arizona, there really isn't a whole lot of policy difference between the two.

In a well-publicized letter to Rush Limbaugh, who has been relentless in his criticism of McCain, Bob Dole defends John McCain. Among other things, he points out how John McCain has strongly supported President Bush on every issue, over 90% of the time; and for comparative purposes, also shows how often "Mr. Conservative" stalwart Senator Helms (99% ACU lifetime rating) supported the sitting president:
“Presidential Support”






































































































































YEARSUPPORTOPPOSESUPPORTOPPOSE
198765247722
198870236026
19899197128
199074256832
199186148411
199275256215
199327701184
199442531876
199535632076
199631662575
199768294451
199846472553
199938621882
200038623169
2001919964
200290101000
2003919

2004920



Source: CQ Press

President Bush just called John McCain a "true conservative".

John McCain may be a volatile loose cannon, but he is a conservative. More times than not, he has supported conservative agendas; perhaps not always in the manner in which we would have liked. Also, I don't dispell the fact that on some pretty high profile issues, he has let us down, when one or two votes could have made all the difference.

But I do feel that his maverick reputation has taken on a life of its own, giving rise to the McCain Derangement Syndrome that I see spreading throughout the conservative blogosphere....each reinforcing the perceptions of the others.


Ok: Let the mud, the slings, and arrows fly!!!

FLAME ON!

Cross-posted 2 days ago at Flopping Aces

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News from Iraq: The Two Bills and the Two Michaels

photo by Michael Totten
Along with Bill Ardolino’s series, Inside Iraqi Politics, the other excellent read is Michael Totten’s The Final Mission Part III. According to Totten, we are scheduled to hand back security control of Anbar Province over to the Iraqi government, provided all goes well and the violence continues to decline as Iraqi security forces continue to be trained. One would think that if all these insurgents and Islamic holy warriors wanted is to have American and Coalition “invaders” to be expelled from Iraq, they’d just desist with the violence, and it would automatically happen. Hugh Hewitt writes,

Michael Totten has another fascinating write-up, this one of the Marines’ effort to teach human rights to Iraqi police in Fallujah, as well as on the need for journalists and writers of all types to humanize both Iraqis and Americans.

Don’t forget to consider leaving a little something in the PayPal tip jar. Michael Totten could use the support.

Also, Michael Yon: AQI Losing Habitat in Iraq at Alarming Rate

And Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda in Iraq under pressure in Balad, Anbar
Iraqi, US forces capture senior Special Groups operative in Hillah

Read the accounts, and send the links on to your friends and enemies. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Caption This

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain adjusts his collar after telling a joke at the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee's Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in Halethorpe, Maryland February 7, 2008.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

I think I am going to change the format of my weekly "Caption This" contest. I will let the contest stand for a full week. Then include the winning caption with picture with the new caption contest.

The contest is still rigged, of course. I just don't have enough readers/participants to sustain a weekly vote tally as captions come in. So I will simply exercise my extreme partisanly biased expert judgmental opinion on who offers up the bestest captioning.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

John McCain: Republican Apostate?

"I am sure that Senator Clinton would make a good president." -John McCain

That is usually the extent of the quote; supposedly another "proof positive" that Senator McCain is a traitor to the Republican Party; that he would sell out the conservative movement in a New York minute. Yeah, right. Kind of in the same spirit as Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam...President Bush complimenting Nancy Pelosi...all of our elected leaders shaking hands with Saudi royals...proof positive that they are all traitors!

Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa January 2, 2008.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder


The cherrypicked quote alone seems, on the surface, indicting. But what if we broaden the context in which the statement was made? From the transcript, February 25, 2005, Meet the Press interview with Senator Clinton and Senator McCain. In closing the show, Tim Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator McCain, a serious question: Do you think the lady to your right would make a good president?

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, we can't hear you, Tim. We can't hear you.

SEN. McCAIN: Yeah, you're breaking up. I am sure that Senator Clinton would make a good president. I happen to be a Republican and would support, obviously, a Republican nominee, but I have no doubt that Senator Clinton would make a good president.

MR. RUSSERT: Equal time, Senator Clinton. The gentleman to your left?

SEN. CLINTON: Absolutely.

MR. RUSSERT: We may have a fusion ticket right here.

SEN. McCAIN: Thanks for doing that to us. Thanks for doing that to us, Tim.

MR. RUSSERT: A fusion ticket.

SEN. McCAIN: We're both in trouble.

SEN. CLINTON: Yeah. We're in trouble now. Thanks a lot.

SEN. McCAIN: We're both in trouble.

MR. RUSSERT: Be safe, everybody.

SEN. CLINTON: Thanks, Tim.

SEN. McCAIN: Thank you.

Isn't it obvious, that this was just a lighthearted interchange, following a very serious interview? A moment of humor and civility? Why aren't Democrats up-in-arms over Senator Clinton essentially returning the compliment, agreeing that "absolutely" Senator McCain would also make a good president? What would have been a more appropriate response? In-your-face disrespect? Crude and rude discourse? How unpresidential. The full context matters. If you can't accept it, if you insist on seeing only what you have led yourself to believe, then you are suffering from McCain Derangement Syndrome.

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain listens to a question during a campaign rally at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, January 14, 2008.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton



The following isn't an attack against Russ Vaughn. I am just using his post as a springboard for my own. His is not a unique argument and is a sore point for many who have been led to believe that McCain has ever been anything other than loyal to the Republican Party.

Go ahead and Google “McCain switching parties?” and look at the pages of hits which take you to articles from every sector of the media examining whether or not John McCain was preparing to switch parties as far back as 2001 and continuing into the 2004 campaign. The most chilling of all these reports is one from the Boston Herald in which McCain is quoted as responding to ABC’s Charles Gibson’s question as to whether he would even entertain the idea of running as John Kerry’s VP if Kerry extended such an offer,

“John Kerry is a very close friend of mine. We’ve been friends for years. Obviously I would entertain it." (click here for pdf)

That is a very telling quote. In his own words, to further his political ambitions, John McCain would have considered abandoning his party and his supposedly conservative principles to serve on the ticket with one of the most liberal candidates ever to run as a Democrat presidential candidate. Even worse, reading down, one reads that Kerry now claims it was McCain’s people who initiated such a proposal, not that we’d be inclined to lend too much credibility to that particular source.

From Robert Draper's book, Dead Certain, pg242,
when John Kerry pleaded with McCain, throughout the early summer of 2004, to be his running mate- asking more than once, sometimes late in the evening, begging his Republican colleague to at least think about it- McCain's refusal seemed, as with the Daschle gambit, almost a little too polite...as if McCain rather enjoyed the agony that this was putting Bush through.
That reads like a rather honest account. McCain does seem to enjoy himself a little too much in these instances, and could easily have quelled the media buzz a lot more effectively than he did. But the fact remains, he has never left the Party and has campaigned not only for the man who defeated him in 2000, as well as delivered a 20 minute speech on President Bush's behalf at the RNC in 2004, but has also campaigned on behalf of such Senators as Rick Santorum.


Saying he would "entertain" the notion of a VP slot with Kerry was a stupid thing to say. One of those "gotcha macaca" moments, for which politicians suffer an excoriating woodshedding. Given that Senator McCain is friends with Senator Kerry, I believe that his response is only in being polite to his friend; maybe even flattered by the offer. But there is no proof that I have seen, that indicates Senator McCain ever actually, seriously, considered accepting a Kerry-McCain ticket.

And I think the real proof is in the following. It is an example of how a story takes on a life of its own, with people selectively remembering only what they wish to have heard, to reinforce their "McCain bigotry":


McCain on talk of run with Kerry: 'No, no and no'
Arizona senator says Bush deserves re-election


Monday, April 12, 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Trying to stamp out speculation that he might consider joining Democratic Sen. John Kerry's ticket, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona insisted Sunday that he would not do so under any circumstances.

He said he would campaign and vote for President Bush in the fall, despite their policy differences.

"No, no and no. I will not leave the Republican Party. I cherish the ideals and principles of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan," he said on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"I will not be vice president of the United States under any circumstances. I feel that I can be far more effective in helping shape policy in the future of this country as a United States senator."

McCain, who ran a hard-fought and frequently contentious campaign against Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000, is a close friend of Kerry's and like him is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, having endured more than five years as a prisoner.

He raised eyebrows last month in an interview with ABC when he said that if Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, asked him to be his running mate, "Obviously, I would entertain it."

McCain went on to say that he thought such a scenario was impossible because the Democratic Party would never accept his conservative views on abortion, trade and national security.

He tried to quash the speculation raised by his comments by putting out a statement the same day saying he would not run.

Nevertheless, the chatter has persisted, fueled by media reports quoting Kerry advisers saying they think a Kerry-McCain ticket would be an unbeatable combination against Bush.

But McCain said Sunday that he believes Bush "deserves re-election."

"Have we agreed on every issue? Of course not. We didn't agree on every issue when we ran against each other in a primary," he said.

"I am not embarrassed to say that John Kerry is a friend of mine, but I want George Bush to be re-elected president of the United States."

McCain, 67, is running for re-election to his Senate seat.
Michael Medved on McCain's loyalty to the Republican Party:
He has never backed Democratic candidates for president or lesser posts – other than supporting his friend Joe Lieberman in his Independent campaign for US Senate in 2006. Over the years, he has campaigned tirelessly for Republican office-holders in every corner of the country – including vigorous campaigning that helped win elections for his former rival George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004.
The truth, is nowhere near as exciting as the fantasy, that Senator McCain "almost jumped ships"; or that his relationship with the conservative base and the Republican Party is more nuanced and complex than simply believing: "McCain disloyal. McCain bad. McCain liberal. McCain traitor." To believe all that hyperbolic rhetoric requires a willful suspension of disbelief.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

Hat tip: The Michael Medved Show

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