Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Time Man of the Year

In case you didn't believe the left controls the media, and the media loves the left...

Time announced their man of the year - Czar Putin. Critics have been unavailable for comment...

Time's home page begins their defense with:

At singificant cost to the principles that free nations prize, he's brought Russia roaring back to the table of world power.

Could the editors at Time list any priciples that free nations prize? Hmm?

Picture #1 from Drudge (Nice Hats!), #2 from Time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday Cigar

Three weeks without a cigar is too long! Today we enjoyed a Rocky Patel Sun Grown as we read The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism by Paul Kengor.

Karl's Weekend Reading

Things we saw this week include Putin's next role, his effort to remain unopposed, the long list of accomplishments of the 2007 US Congress, and Huckabee's rise in the polls. Here are some excellent write-ups that expand on each:

The Perils of Putinism, as outlined on the Journal's Opinion page:

Mr. Putin knows that leaving power is dangerous for a Russian politician. Every single previous national leader went out in a coffin (from natural or unnatural causes) or in disgrace. So he is looking for ways to protect himself by holding on to the reins.

This transition could have helped Russian democracy to mature. The country lost an opportunity in this decade of good economic times to build a proper and predictable political system around institutions rather than men. The blame falls squarely on Mr. Putin.

The Daily Mail reports that a Putin opposition leader was force-admitted to a psychiatric hospital prior to a planned demonstration. We wish Artem Basyrov a speedy recovery, and remind him that it could have been worse.

We're sure you'll agree it is too early to judge the performance of Pelosi's congress for 2007. There are two weeks left - more than enough time to do America's work. But, the Journal has already weighed in with their editorial "The Delta House Congress. Great comments on Iraq, AMT, Wiretaps, Schip, and Bush's vetos.

Say what you will about Tom DeLay, at least he knew how to run the joint. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are letting their left-wing troops and interest groups run all over them, with the result that their signal achievement this year is a higher minimum wage. Considering most of their policy goals, this failure is good for the country. But the dysfunction amply shows that Democrats are attempting to govern with an agenda that is too far left even for many in their own party, never mind the country.

Huckabee is gaining steam despite endless attacks in the media. NOT the MSM, but OUR little sliver of conservative media. Here at HQ, we spend 98% of our attention span on the other side because, well, they are both funny and communist. And we usually accept what we hear in the conservative press as, well, truthful. But the comments on Huckabee's agenda, especially James Taranto's excessive criticism of the Fair Tax this week, seems to be a bit over the top. Do our fellow conservatives, and the Journal Editorial Board, require a tax plan to be without assumptions that may not fully pan out in order to support it?

James P. Pinkerton writes a counter-point piece in, "Huckabee, like Reagan, wouldn't be an 'easy kill'". No reference to the tax plan, but a good, feet-on-the-ground assessment of Huckabee's chance at winning if nominated.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bias at NBC? [Comments]

Newt Gingrich is calling for a boycott of NBC.

We don't even know which of our 300+ cable channels is NBC, but if we did, we'd participate!

12.8 Update: Found the video. Talk about out of line!

12.8 Update #2: Well that was quick! Drudge reports the following:
*Under pressure from outraged viewers, NBC has reversed its decision not to air the Freedom's Watch ads thanking troops... Developing...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Let us get this straight... [Comments]

US intelligence lied when they said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they shouldn't be trusted. But they are telling the truth in the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report that Iran has halted its atomic weapons program, and they should be trusted.

The Democrats are outraged that the CIA destroyed interrogation tapes to protect its agents (from the enemy within?), and equally outraged that former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage shared the non-agent, ultra-lib, send-my-loser-husband-on-a-trip, pose-on-the-cover-of-Vanity-Fair CIA employee Valerie Plame's identity with the media.

Could we label this coordinated Democrat & MSM behavior as "partisanship over national security"? I think we'd call that conclusion a slam dunk!

Karl's Weekend Reading

Elections in Russia and Venezuela, the contradicting CIA National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, the familiar Clinton campaign tactics were the topics this week.

WSJ's Bret Stephens reviews the recent elections in Russia and Venezuela, and the benefits and risks of using fear in the pseudo-commie countries.

Plainly the fear factor is central to the politics of both countries. But neither is it the whole story. Russians and Venezuelans alike elected their current leaders with bitter memories of democracy: economic collapse and social chaos under Boris Yeltsin; the incompetent revolving-door governments of Rafael Caldera and Carlos Andrés Pérez. Messrs. Putin and Chávez both came to office promising to reverse the disintegrating trend with what the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden once called "the smack"--he meant the word in its physical sense--"of firm government." Their track records over the past eight years represent, if nothing else, the fulfillment of that promise, and the widespread gratitude that promise-keeping engendered.

The WSJ editorial board responds to the NIE report on Iran:

Mr. Bush's efforts to further sanction Iran at the U.N. were stalled even before the NIE's release. Those efforts will now be on life support. The NIE's judgments also complicate Treasury's efforts to persuade foreign companies to divest from Iran. Why should they lose out on lucrative business opportunities when even U.S. intelligence absolves the Iranians of evil intent? Calls by Democrats and their media friends to negotiate with Tehran "without preconditions" will surely grow louder.

Boy did we miss the Clintons! They're back! Senator Boxer is holding up James Rogan's nomination to sit as a US District Court judge. Wouldn't be for Rogan's role in the impeachment hearings, hmm? "Hillary's Revenge" at the WSJ:

Dan Henniger at the WSJ asks when our presidential candidates will address the real threats in this, "Still a Dangerous World".

Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

Found at The Jawa Report:

Of course, we're dreaming of a RED Christmas...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hats in the News

Where can we get a sexy hat like one of these?

Garry Kasparov explains the recent news in a WSJ editorial:

When I was arrested last April and fined $40, some poked fun at the trivial amount. And five days in a Moscow jail is not the worst fate that can be imagined. Some commentators even suspected I wanted to provoke my own arrest for publicity, a chess player's far-sighted strategy.

First off, the penalty is not the point; the principle is. Are we to have the rule of law in Russia or not? Second, I have no intention of becoming a martyr, or in leading an opposition movement from prison. I had no illusions and now I can confirm it is not a pleasant place to be. And this is not chess, with its cold-blooded calculations. This is about honor and morality. I cannot ask people to protest in the streets if I am not there with them. At the rally on Saturday, I said our slogan must be "We must overcome our fear," and I am obliged to stand by these words.

It is also essential to point out that these arrests are only the tip of the iceberg. Such things are taking place all over Russia on a daily basis. Opposition activists--or just those who happen to be in the way of the administration--are harassed and arrested on false charges of drug possession, extremism, or the latest trend, for owning illegal software.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

MSM, and Today's Kasparov Arrest [Comments]

Kasparov was arrested and given a 5-day sentence today in Russia. The national election in which he is a candidate is in eight days. Today's top story - Homes Burn in Malibu.

"We should overcome the fear that the regime uses to sustain itself," Mr. Kasparov told the crowd. "For the Putin regime, our country is just a source of enrichment."


Why would Kasparov be detained 8 days before the election if Putin and his thugs enjoy 70% support?

Will it also be 2nd page news if Hillary is arrested October 27, 2008 and held for five days?

Is the MSM's priorities for today's news motivated by geography, or ideology?

Thanksgiving: Blessing of the Govt. Taxes

Read the full prayer at The People's Cube. Very creative!

Let me, Dear God, shift the paradigm on this Thanksgiving and blissfully give thanks for the gift of government, and thank the government for the gift of taxes. Bless my taxes, O God! Give me peace of mind as I rejoice in filling out forms and returning money to its rightful owner, the government. Keep me joyous, I pray, as I write out those checks. Yea, Lord, we know that there is little reason to be joyous with this Administration's imperialism and impending rape of the Iranian peaceful energy program, but the thought of a new tax year still brings to us a swelling tear of joy. And whisper to me, Lord, all the good reasons that I send my money to my government every year.


Fixing Venezuela

Found at Townhall:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Planting Questions at CNN?

A great Hot Air video:

But we thought CNN was a legitimate news service...

Karl's Weekend Reading

Here is a two-week dose of reading. Enjoy!

Mark Heminway at the NRO made a couple calls to the Communist Party USA and the American Nazi Party for their reaction to Bush's warning that "History teaches that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake." He mentioned Lenin and Hitler as those underestimated. One organization took it as a compliment, the other as an insult.

So the US has waterboarded one terrorist for every one thousand Americans killed on 9-11. No wonder the Democrats' panties are in a bunch this week over the wreckless use of torture! Deroy Murdock at the NRO explains:

Waterboarding has worked quickly, causing at least one well-known subject to break down and identify at least six other high-profile, highly bloodthirsty associates before they could commit further mass murder beyond the 3,192 people they already killed and the 7,715 they already wounded.

Though clearly uncomfortable, waterboarding loosens lips without causing permanent physical injuries (and unlikely even temporary ones). If terrorists suffer long-term nightmares about waterboarding, better that than more Americans crying themselves to sleep after their loved ones have been shredded by bombs or baked in skyscrapers.

Bret Stephens at the WSJ compares the ends-justifies-the-means of WWII firebombings and atombombing to today's means-focused debate on waterboarding. At this rate, the next generation of America's fighters will be handing out free iPods to our enemies. (Full disclosure: Karl owns Apple stock in preparation for the next war)

Mike S. Adams at Townhall apologizes to communists for his recent speech.

I am sorry that communists actually exist in the United States of America – a nation so great that it must construct walls to keep people out.

I am sorry that these communists would like to turn this great nation into one that must construct walls to keep people in.

Bush Hatred is explained in Peter Berkowitz's WSJ opinion article, The Insanity of Bush Hatred.

Ann Coulter combines criticism of the MSM with a solid summary of recent events in Pakistan in her Townhall article, Musharraf: The Tolstoy of the Zulus.

Now, with the surge in Iraq working, Democrats are completely demoralized. Al-Qaida was counting on them. (We know the surge in Iraq is working because it is no longer front page news.)

In a tape released in early September, Osama bin Laden bitterly complained, "You elected the Democratic Party for this purpose" -- of ending the war in Iraq -- "but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning."

It isn't enough for the media to drop all mentions of the surge or to subsidize ads denouncing Gen. David Petraeus as "General Betray Us." (He IS betraying liberals by winning the war for America, the enemy of liberals.) They need to stir up trouble for the U.S. someplace else in the world.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hillary '08

Don't let anyone tell you that the clan isn't for Hillary! We support her campaign 100%, we salivate at the thought of her nomination, and well, we think she has the most delightful giggle. This video is a bit old, but like Hillary, timeless...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Cigar

A Helix cigar burned on the back nine this evening.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Headlines, or Punchlines?

You be the judge!

Here are a couple headlines from this week. Did they make you laugh as they did us?

The AMT Must Go. By Charles B. Rangel

Putin Commemorates Stalin Purge Victims

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Morning Cigar

The Santa Ana winds and the fires are gone, and the lungs are recovered. Time for a cigar! A hawk came by moments after this picture was taken to tell us that the rabbits should wait until later in the day to come out. That was close!

Karl's Weekend Reading

Mike S. Adams defines hate speech in his Townhall article: Why Islamic Fascists Get Away With Hate Speech.

Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener’s inability to offer an intelligent response.
Islamic advocacy of violence is not classified as “hate speech” because it induces fear, not anger.

This, of course, explains the failure of speech codes (and probably multi-culturalism in general). Since the enforcement of the codes relies largely on the emotional reaction of the listener rather than the content of the speech, the codes create insurmountable problems within both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Michael Barone, in his Townhall article, provides analysis that runs counter to the 'The GOP is doomed to fail' blather of late. "We're Not in 2006 Anymore".
Mainstream media types tend to think that, while rising casualties from Iraq are legitimate news, falling casualties are not. But even so the word got out: The surge strategy was producing results. Anbar province, given up for lost in 2006, turned peaceful and cooperative in 2007. U.S. casualties and Iraqi civilian casualties were down. Brookings scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, no fans of the administration's conduct of the war, announced on July 30 (in the pages of The New York Times, no less) that this was "a war we might just win."
Democrats are coming face to face with the fact that there's a war on -- and that Americans prefer success to failure. If the choice is between stalemate and withdrawal, as it seemed to be in November 2006, they may favor withdrawal; but if the choice is between victory and withdrawal, they don't want to quit -- or to undermine the effort.

Last week, Democrat Niki Tsongas won a special election with only 51 percent of the vote, in a Massachusetts district where John Kerry won 57 percent in 2004 and would have run much better in 2006. History doesn't stand still -- we're not in 2006 anymore.

Victor Davis Hanson, in his Townhall article "So Who's Afraid of an Iranian Bomb?", explains the answer "No one and everyone" and the posturing by two of our favorite Communist powers.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy is nursed on grievances about a lost empire, America as the sole superpower and the independence of cocky former Soviet republics. In the thinking of oil-exporting Russia, anything that causes America to squirm and world oil prices to soar is a win/win situation. That’s why Russia supplies Iran with its reactor technology and stirs the nuclear pot.

China, like Russia, is a large nuclear power and doesn’t fear all that much Iranian missiles that it thinks are more likely to be pointed westward anyway. True, it would like calm in the Gulf to ensure safe oil supplies, but thinks it still could do business with a nuclear Iran.

And, as in the case of Russia, anything that bothers the United States can’t be all that bad for Beijing. While Ahmadinejad ties the U.S. down in the Middle East, China thinks it will have more of a free hand to expand its influence in the Pacific.

The Main Stream Media is in Larry Elder's sights again in his Townhall article, "Why So Many Americans Believe We Are In A Recession". Here are just some of the highlights, the first a measurement that is new to us. Thanks Larry!
Since President Bush took office, real after-tax per capita personal income has increased more than 12.5 percent -- an average of $3,750 per person. More than 30 percent of the country's net worth has been added since the president's 2003 tax cuts.
What, then, accounts for the pessimism? Well, take a look at the mainstream media.
Here's a typical example of how the media shapes moods. Support for the Iraq war increased from 22 to 30 percent -- a 36 percent increase -- right before Iraq operations commander Gen. Petraeus testified before Congress. MSNBC described this as an "uptick." Meanwhile, a major paper described a 36 percent increase in home foreclosures as a "surge."

And last, Oliver North finishes his Townhall article, "Real American Heroes" in the manner he opens it. No further questions your honor!

Quick: Name a movie star, a noted celebrity, a great athlete and a radio or TV personality. When I posed these queries to some nice Americans this week, I got answers such as: "Russell Crowe," "Paris Hilton," "Britney Spears," "quarterback Tom Brady," "Curt Schilling of the Red Sox," "Tiger Woods" and "Rush Limbaugh."

Now: Can you name a contemporary American hero? Only two of the dozen or so people I challenged came up with, "Navy SEAL Michael Murphy." That says a lot about what our mainstream media thinks is important.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Now, with all the facts, the WSJ reviews the Haditha story in Friday's editorial: What Happened at Haditha. Should Murtha have waited for the facts too?

Victor Davis Hanson shares his opinion, as only VDH can do, in his Townhall article: Congress' New Role: Undermining U.S. Foreign Policy.

And too often we see frustrated senators posture in debate during televised hearings, trying out for the role of chief executive or commander in chief. Most could never get elected president — many have tried — but they seem to enjoy the notion that their own under-appreciated brilliance and insight should supersede the collective efforts of the State Department.

So they travel abroad, pass resolutions and pontificate a lot, but rarely have to clean up the ensuing mess of their own freelancing of American foreign policy.

James Taranto reviews the Washington Post's biased coverage of the Gen. Sanchez comments in his Monday Best of the Web.

The Post could have mentioned Abu Ghraib in the first or second paragraph; it might have led the story: The former commander in Iraq who was forced to retire amid revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration yesterday . . .

Instead, the article tells us, in paragraphs 1-9, that a former commander in Iraq criticized the Bush administration, and in the remaining paragraphs that the guy who was forced to retire amid Abu Ghraib revelations criticized the media. Very subtle editorializing--very impressive if you like that sort of thing.

Today's Post carries an article titled "Al-Qaeda in Iraq Reported Crippled." It's a generally upbeat report, though with significant caveats. What's interesting is the absence from the story of one word: surge.

And in James' Wednesday report, he covers an interesting change in Syria's version of the Israeli air strike.

In Denial

"Syria's ambassador to the United Nations confirmed on Tuesday that Israel's air strike on September 6 in northern Syria did indeed target a nuclear site, marking the first time the country has acknowledged its nuclear efforts," reports Israel Insider.

Oh, wait.

"Syria denied Wednesday its representatives to the United Nations had confirmed that an Israel Air Force strike last month targeted nuclear facility, and added that such facilities do not exist in Syria, state-run news agency said," Ha'aretz reports.

There's no word yet on whether Syria's representative to the United Nations confirms or denies Syria's denial of his confirmation. But stay tuned.

Oliver North reminds us about the new Russia in his Townhall article: Putin the Puppet Master.

Almost no one noticed that the new strategic synergy between Moscow and Tehran goes well beyond Bushehr.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Cigar

A Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 was incinerated as we made our way through Chapter 2 of Robert D. Kaplan's latest book, "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts". If you love America and appreciate the efforts of America's Best deployed around the world, you'll love this book.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Serious stuff first. Bret Stephens discusses the "moral bullying" from the New York Times and the Economist in their argument for a strict definition, and outlawing of, torture. WSJ, Oct. 9.

Taken seriously, it says that the civilized world would be better off sustaining a nuclear 9/11 than tarnishing its good name, that righteous victimhood is a finer thing than an innocent life saved through morally compromised methods, and that self-preservation is not the most fundamental requirement of democratic life.

For fun, three suggestions:

Eugene Volokh, also at the WSJ on Oct. 9, responded to B. Hussein Obama's decision to cease wearing the flag lapel pin. His question, "What if Barak Obama told his wife he wouldn't say "I love you" anymore?"

...if you used to say this and then you stopped, the symbolic message is pretty powerful. And that's true even though many people say "I love you" without meaning it (just as there are some who wear the flag pin but are just opportunists, not patriots). Even if this abuse of the phrase weakens its symbolism, an outright renunciation of the phrase retains its symbolism just fine.

Same paper, same date: James Taranto, our hero, had this gem when comparing the 100 Iranian students that chanted "Death to the Dictator" during a recent Ahmadinejad speech at Teheran University to America's 'protestors':

It's a reminder, too, of just what phonies and blowhards our American "dissenters" are. They know it takes no courage to oppose a democratic government that holds freedom of speech sacrosanct. So they spin lurid fantasies of authoritarianism in order to convince themselves of their own bravery.

And last, Ann Coulter lectures her fellow conservatives about losing focus in the presidential election in her Townhall article, "Fred Sawyer and Huckabee Finn".

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Cigar

A Rocky Patel Edge burned slowly in the warm Southern California breeze today, as we both celebrated the patriotism of a US veteran in Oregon in the video below, and pondered: which of the presidential candidates would do the same.

UT: Mikhail

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Cigar

Another Rocky Patel Sun Grown burst into flames today. The arson investigators are on the job!

Update 8pm:

Found this through a haze of smoke. Enjoy! (UT: LGF). (update 10.3 - orig video pulled from YouTube. Here is a link to another, lower quality, version):

Also, sorry to see Cox & Forkum taking their final bow. Go to their site to get their latest, and last, book.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Is it a flag...

...or is it a list of the goals they've committed to in their first term?

Seen at Townhall:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

James Taranto discusses the media's coverage of the recent anti-war protest in Washington DC in his Monday Best of the Web post, and includes these thoughts:

The Times gives away the game when it says, in its lead paragraph, that the event "evoked the angry spirit of the Vietnam era protests of more than three decades ago." But that era's protests drew huge numbers of people, many of them young men who didn't want to get drafted and young women who didn't want the supply of men curtailed by the draft.

Many of those baby boomers grew up to be journalists, and many of them wish to keep alive the idea that their motives back then were idealistic rather than selfish. So it's no wonder that the press describes today's Potemkin "antiwar" movement as if it were the real thing.

Many of those boomers also became professors at California State University in Northridge (CSUN), both James' and Karl's alma-mater.

Karl Rove outlines the conservative solution to the so-called health-care crisis in Tuesday's WSJ: "Republicans can win on health care".

Did Israel bomb the s**t out of Syria on September 6? Possibly the greatest story never told... until Bret Stephens reviews the evidence in his Tuesday WSJ editorial: "Osirak II?"

What's beyond question is that something big went down on Sept. 6. Israeli sources had been telling me for months that their air force was intensively war-gaming attack scenarios against Syria; I assumed this was in anticipation of a second round of fighting with Hezbollah. On the morning of the raid, Israeli combat brigades in the northern Golan Heights went on high alert, reinforced by elite Maglan commando units. Most telling has been Israel's blanket censorship of the story--unprecedented in the experience of even the most veteran Israeli reporters--which has also been extended to its ordinarily hypertalkative politicians. In a country of open secrets, this is, for once, a closed one.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Eara Levant at the Calgary Sun summarizes the new Putin Russia in his article, "Putin Longing for USSR Importance"

Under Putin, civil liberties have been restricted, independent newspapers and TV stations have been shut down, outspoken businessmen have been arrested or exiled, and others -- including journalists and political troublemakers -- have been killed, as was Alexander Litvenenko, a former KGB agent who became a critic of Putin. He was assassinated in London with radioactive poison, KGB-style.

Even heads of state are not exempt.

When Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian president, ran an anti-Moscow campaign, he was poisoned, KGB-style, with dioxin that turned that man's once-handsome face into a pock-marked scar, and almost killed him.

Life expectancy for Russian men is an appalling 59 years; there are now more abortions than live births in Russia.

Ann Coulter is firing on all cylinders again in her Townhall piece this week, "Cruising While Republican".

And why is it "homophobic" for Senate Republicans to look askance at sex in public bathrooms? Is the Times claiming that sodomy in public bathrooms is the essence of being gay? I thought gays just wanted to get married to one another and settle down in the suburbs so they could visit each other in the hospital.

Liberals have no idea what they think about homosexuality, which is why their arguments are completely contradictory. They gay-bait Republicans with abandon -- and then turn around and complain about homophobia.

They call Larry Craig a "deviant" based on accusations that he attempted to solicit sex in a public bathroom -- and then ferociously attack efforts to prevent people from having sex in public bathrooms.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Lets start the three-day weekend off right!

You know it is election season when liberals start caring about the poor. Robert Rector at NRO offers some hard-to-swallow facts about America's "poor" in his Monday article, "Poor Politics: Edwards Poor "Plague" Examined".

46 percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Larry Kudlow reviews the $127 BILLION spent on the Katrina recover ($425,000 per resident), and the differing philosophies, left vs. right, of disaster recovery in his Thursday Townhall article, "The Big Easy's Billion Dollar Boondoggle".

Think of this: The idea of using federal money to rebuild cities is the quintessential liberal vision. And given the dreadful results in New Orleans, we can say that the government's $127 billion check represents the quintessential failure of that liberal vision. Hillary Clinton calls this sort of reckless spending "government investment." And that's just what's in store for America if she wins the White House next year.

Remember President Reagan's line during the 1980 campaign about how LBJ fought a big-government spending war against poverty, and poverty won? Well think of all this Katrina spending as the Great Society Redux. And it failed. I suppose the current Bush administration would like to label this "compassionate conservatism." But guess what? That failed, too.

Right from the start, New Orleans should have been turned into a tax-free enterprise zone.

Kimberley A. Strassel has a must-read for every GOP candidate - for president, congress, and dog catcher. "What Women Want" is THE conservative approach, tailored to women. As always, Kimberly makes it simple. Lets see if anybody is listening...

Most married women are second-earners. That means their income is added to that of their husband's, and thus taxed at his highest marginal rate. So the married woman working as a secretary keeps less of her paycheck than the single woman who does the exact same job. This is the ultimate in "inequality," yet Democrats constantly promote the very tax code that punishes married working women.

You go, Kimberley!

Friday Night Cigar

Nothing goes better than starting a three-day weekend with a fine cigar. Tonight's cigar: A Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve. Like the Anniversary cigar earlier this week, the OWR is a nice smoke, but doesn't rise to the level of our favorites. Which is good, because its expensive.

For the guys out there, a question. Do you find yourself hesitating before walking into a men's restroom these days? Comments are open.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hillary Wins!

We haven't seen a blowout like this since Reagan unseated that Georgia fella! Here is the result of our most recent Comrade Survey:

A Glimpse of Middle America...

...and the Senator Craig misunderstanding...

Found at The Jawa Report

The Symbol Lives On

Found at Townhall:

Monday, August 27, 2007

FairTax Smear (Comments)

Bruce Bartlett, Bush Sr's Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, tries to smear the Fair Tax in Saturday's WSJ editorial. It justifies a response:

Smear Rule #1: If you want others to dislike something, tie it to the Church of Scientology. Para. 2:

For those who never heard about it, the FairTax is a national retail sales tax that would replace the entire current federal tax system. It was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s as a way to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service, with which the church was then at war (at the time the IRS refused to recognize it as a legitimate religion). The Scientologists' idea was that since almost all states have sales taxes, replacing federal taxes with the same sort of tax would allow them to collect the federal government's revenue and thereby get rid of their hated enemy, the IRS.

As if only the Scientologists would be happy to see a 100% layoff at the IRS...

Smear Rule #2: Use phrases like "so and so asserts" or "so and so claims". This makes your audience think the other side is lying. But, don't offer a counter clarification or, in the case of the FairTax, a counter calculation. Para. 3:

They assert that a rate of 23% would be sufficient to replace federal individual and corporate income taxes as well as payroll and estate taxes. Mr. Linder's Web site claims that U.S. gross domestic product will rise 10.5% the first year after enactment, exports will grow by 26%, and real investment spending will increase an astonishing 76%.

Mr Bartlett continues with his guess that the FairTax will instead be closer to 30%. This argument is refuted in the Fair Tax Book (available one click away at the Book Club to your left), but Mr. Bartlett ignores the author's argument.

He also misses one big point here - 23%, 30%, 40%, whatever. IT. IS. FAIR. Fair for the 50% of Americans that pay tax today, but also fair for those who don't pay taxes today. Get it?

Smear Rule #3: Talk about the burden on the government. Liberals eat this up! Paras. 8 & 11:

...state and local governments would have to pay the FairTax on most of their purchases. This means that it is partly financed by higher state and local taxes. It's also worth remembering that state sales taxes now average 6%, which means that the total tax rate will be 36% on retail sales.

Since sales taxes are regressive--taking more in percentage terms from the incomes of the poor and middle class than the rich--some provision is needed to prevent a vast increase in taxation on the nonwealthy. The FairTax does this by sending monthly checks to every household based on income.

Mr. Bartlett, do you mean the government will have to be more selective on how it spends our money? Do you also ignore the possibility that the government may receive higher revenues now that our 12 million illegal immigrants and the tens of thousands of tourists will start paying taxes? Have you not heard of technologies called "database" and "direct deposit" that could support monthly payments to the, so called, American poor?

Smear Rule #4: Incorporate words like "deception", even if you do not know how to use the word correctly. Para. 17:

Perhaps the biggest deception in the FairTax, however, is its promise to relieve individuals from having to file income tax returns, keep extensive financial records and potentially suffer audits. Judging by the emphasis FairTax supporters place on the idea of making April 15 just another day, this seems to be a major selling point for their proposal.

Actually, the FairTax DOES eliminate federal tax returns, the need for extensive records and audits. So far, the only deception appears to be Mr. Bartlett's purpose for writing this article. We suspect Mr. Bartlett will be coming out for a Republican other than Gov. Huckabee, as this is clearly a hit piece on Gov. Huckabee's recent surprise showing in Iowa.

To further use the "deception" word, let's look at what Mr. Bartlett leaves out. There is no mention that employees will now keep every penny of their gross salary, minus any state tax. Like all FairTax opponents, he deceives by painting the picture that you'll pay 23/30% more of your current take-home pay at the cash register. Nor does he address the idea that the reduced tax burden on businesses will result in lower prices for goods and services. And where is the new concept - people will now choose when they pay taxes, and how much they will pay? These missing items were not for a lack of space.

Mr. Bartlett used his previous position in government to grab half of the WSJ editorial page. He wasted an opportunity to apply critical thought to a complex, but popular idea. His article has two target audiences: those who haven't read the Fair Tax Book, and those who remember that wonderful economic boom in 1991-1992 when Mr. Bartlett was serving our country. For everyone else, Mr. Bartlett has shown himself to be an economic non-authority.

We think taxes will rank equal to the war on terror in the 2008 election, thanks to the Alternative Minimum Tax. We hope someone will step up for the FairTax, offer an enhancement of the FairTax, or provide a fair alternative. Here's to hoping...

I'm Karl. Thanks for reading.

Monday Afternoon Cigar (Comments)

We're trying a Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 tonight. Smooth. Pleasant. But probably not in our top 5.

We're not celebrating Attorney General A. Gonzales' resignation. We don't have it out for him like the Dems, and the 'pile on/my-s**t-don't-stink' Reps & otherwise conservative bloggers.

Even if he fired all 93 attorneys like Clinton did (remember?), we'd still support him. Why? Because he fired people that didn't adopt the President's vision. Period. He's a good man who was loyal to his boss. We wonder if other good people will avoid public service after seeing this Schumer/Reid witch hunt. Your thoughts?

Politkovskaya Arrests

Ten were arrested for the murder of Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. [Moscow Times]

So it was the Chechens working with some from the Security Services? We'll update here as the news develops.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Valery Panyushkin

Do a Google News search on Valery Panyushkin, and you'll see that when it comes to Putin-thugs intimidating journalists, you'll only find ONE report.

Gregory L. White, at the Wall Street Journal, explains how Mr. Panyushkin, 38, was detained for no other reason than to harass.
The police used the excuse of the recent law that cracks down on dissident/extremist (ie. Anti-Putin) behavior. Mr. Panyushkin has written critical articles about the Kremlin, and was one of the journalists arrested with Garry Kasparov in a recent protest.

We'll post more as soon as the professional journalists in the US, those who respect their profession and come to defend their fellow reporters, catch wind of the story...

Karl's Weekend Reading

James Taranto analyzes a segment of the anti-war crowd in the first part of his Monday Best of the Web:

...war opponents act as if favoring a precipitous withdrawal logically and necessarily follows from regretting the decision to liberate.

Why? Part of it, we suppose, is a sort of binary simplemindedness: It was bad to go in, ergo it would be good to get out. Real life is more complicated. It may be that it was a mistake to go in but a precipitous withdrawal would compound the error.

But maybe those who argue for withdrawal seek precisely to compound the error. Failure in Iraq would vindicate the position of those who originally argued that the war would be a mistake. Likewise for those who supported the war but later changed their minds--they may be cynical opportunists, but they may also have the zeal of a convert. If America loses the war, they win the argument.

John Fund, also of the WSJ, sheds light on the latest commie elitism. This time, George Soros and company attempting to deny the small Romanian town, Rosia Montana, the right to mine for $10 billion in gold.

...Mayor Virgil Narita supports the mine because it will create 700 permanent local jobs. He was re-elected with 80% of the vote this year. And in late 2004, the Council of Europe sent Eddie O'Hara, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, to Rosia Montana to file an official report. Opposition to the mine, he said, was "substantial," but it was "very much fueled by outside bodies, presumably well-meaning but possibly counterproductively. It seems in part at least exaggerated." Mr. O'Hara concluded the opposition "do not take account of modern mining techniques and in fact the Rosia Montana project will help to clear up existing pollution." He also warned that not allowing the mine "would remove any chance of local development for some time."

Melik Kaylan conducts an interview with Georgia's President, Mikheil Saakashvili, in Saturday's Wall Street Journal. (Georgia is where a Russian bomb landed last week, without exploding, and where Russian military aircraft recently ventured.)

I ask him if the Russians are making a big push now with maximum pressure while they can, realizing that before long, consumer countries will develop alternate supply routes to avoid Russian strategic pressure. "No, I don't think the Russians are calculating logically or strategically," he says. "I think it's an emotional and volatile process for them. Logically, they should realize that stable relations all around will pay off for them more in the long run. Instead they're driving countries to find alternative partners . . ."

For a lighter read, take a look at Mike Adam's piece, at Townhall, on why we should be treating Michael Vick as a hero.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Night Cigar

A smokey evening with a Rocky Patel Edge as we celebrated Bush's reference to Vietnam today in his speech. One can tell by the MSM response that he touched a nerve as he explained surrender leads to genocide. That's a history lesson the MSM'ers choose to forget.

Is it just Karl? (Comments?)

Is it just me, or do you notice this too? Both images came from Google News, the first on Aug 2nd, and the other on Aug 22nd. Do the Kos Kids match the images to the stories, or do the MSM'ers?

Updated 8.27: We found this at one of our favorite blogs (see blogroll) several days ago.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

A bit short this week. We were busy putting the finishing touches on our June report.

Here's a quick read from the WSJ editorial page. Is Communism a good idea poorly executed, or is it the tool of the elite to control and suppress the masses?

Victor Davis Hanson shares five thoughts about the War on Terror at NRO.

The White Flags are still flying

Found at Townhall:

A 3-Cigar Saturday

We had a scare the past week when mentor, friend and enthusiast, Mikhail, was diagnosed with a severe coronary issue, obviously brought on the strain of converting so many liberals in such a short period of time. Mikhail is much better now, and we (just Karl) celebrated by smoking out the neighbors and creating our own health issue with three cigars.

Mikhail - rest up. We have work to do in 2008!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bloggers Are Cool

Here are two great posts from fellow bloggers:

From Classic.

From Another poll about the MSM's bias.

Karl's Weekend Reading (Comments)

Propoganda Redux is the latest from Ion Mihai Precepa, the author of Red Horizons. Tuesday's WSJ editorial page. Great graphic too.

I spent decades scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe, and I learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president.
Now we are again at war. It is not the president's war. It is America's war, authorized by 296 House members and 76 senators. I do not intend to join the armchair experts on the Iraq war. I do not know how we should handle this war, and they don't know either. But I do know that if America's political leaders, Democrat and Republican, join together as they did during World War II, America will win. Otherwise, terrorism will win.
For once, the communists got it right. It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies. Let's vote next year for people who believe in America's future, not for the ones who live in the Cold War past.

Bret Stephens writes in Tuesday's WSJ about the arms sale to the Saudis, Kernal of Evil. A bit pessimtic, but he always supports his topics with a large dose of history. And he is right about the stink this arms sale emits.

We're skeptical, however, that the Saudis would use these weapons against the Shia Iraq as Bret discusses. Not because they could, but we served with Saudi officers in the US Army for training, including a prince. We knew US officers that were first in Saudi Arabia in Aug 1990. We knew why Bush Sr. sent them. The Saudis are unable to fight, period. Defense, offense, or out of a wet paper bag. The Saudis won't attack Iraq for the simple reason: their military lacks discipline, seriousness, and the will to fight. Comments?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Che, He's Everywhere

Che, Chavez and Sean Penn (in back) are keeping the faith. Whatever rallies the masses...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Saturday Night Cigar

Karl, Catherine the Great and Mikhail went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. A fun flick. We'd like to think America has guys this tough in the shadows. As for the plot, Debbie Schlussel has an accurate assessment.

Weekend Reading

Start your weekend right with a review of current events in Cuba. Mary Anastasia Grady at the Wall Street Journal provides excellent analysis in her editorial, "Cuban Tremors". Will we see a Romanian-like rebellion?

But the man is desperate. He cannot put the whole island in jail, and with food and milk shortages growing, it may become increasingly difficult to keep the lid on things. As Armando Valladares, a former political prisoner who spent 22 years in Castro gulags told me in an interview last month, terror as a way to control people has its limits. In Mr. Valladares's view, the Cuban people are very near if not over that limit, suggesting that even a small spark could ignite a massive rebellion -- not unlike what happened in Romania.

More Cuba - Mike Adams suggests a memorial for Che in his Townhall article: "Che, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away".

James Taranto hit on all cylinders in his Wednesday Best of the Web column at WSJ. Good catch James with the AP headline:

AP July 31, 2007 - "Employment Costs Rise in 2nd Quarter"
James: If Clinton were President, they'd be called 'Wages'

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Afternoon Cigar

How can one NOT smoke a cigar when one discovers British Airways removed three Arab princesses who demanded to be re-seated away from strangers on a flight from Italy to London, and the passengers refused to abide.

UT: Passengers, and Wizbang.

War Story

Michael J. Totten shares the experience of a night patrol in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne.

This is what it is like most nights during counter-insurgency warfare. “It’s like we’re Baghdad PD,” one soldier put it. It isn’t always open war and explosions and bang-bang. Much of it entails patient police work and the chasing of ghosts.

Do our troops rule, or what?! This story shows that we're fighting a war where most of our effort is spent restraining ourselves. And we're still winning.

Ushanka Tips to Mr. Totten, Mudville Gazette, and to the United States soldiers!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Cigar

We finished Oliver North's "Under Fire" book along with a Rocky Patel Edge this afternoon. The book is out of print, but you can find a reseller at Amazon. It is a great book about North, Reagan, The 80's and National Security. Here is one of the many paragraphs we stopped to re-read (P. 179) where North discusses the differences between CIA head Casey and Secretary of State Shultz and the accomplishments of the Reagan Administration:

The Casey-Shultz conflict was considerably more dignified than the Shultz-Weinberger rivalry, and was more along the lines of the traditional tensions between secretaries of state and national security advisers. While Shultz's view of the world was hard to discern, Casey had already formulated what later became known as the Reagan Doctrine, which encouraged active American support for anti-Communist movements around the world. Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Angola became its most vivid manifestations, but Casey wasn't merely anti-Communist; he was enthusiastically pro-democracy. One of his greatest frustrations was that few Americans seemed to know that many new democracies around the world had emerged (or in some cases, reemerged) during the Reagan years, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Venezuela, Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, the Philippines, and South Korea.

Update 7.30:

So what does Fawn Hall look like? That was our question as we read Ollie's book. We'd flip to all the pictures, and not a one of Fawn. Hmm? How could a major player in the scandal not get a picture in the book? Well, a quick Google Images search answers the question. Yep, as we expected...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hat Sighting

Found at

Weekend Reading

A must-read for die-hards: Bret Stephens reviews the new Russia in an WSJ editorial: 'For the Sake of One Man': Getting the Facts Straight about the Old-New Russia.

Fact No. 2. Russia is acting with increasingly unrestrained rhetorical, diplomatic, economic and political hostility to whoever stands in the way of Mr. Putin's ambitions.

The enemies' list begins with Mr. Putin's domestic critics and the vocations they represent: imprisoned Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky; murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya; harassed opposition leader Garry Kasparov. It continues with foreign companies which have had to forfeit multibillion-dollar investments when Kremlin-favored companies decided they wanted a piece of the action. It goes on to small neighboring democracies such as Estonia, victim of a recent Russian cyberwar when it decided to remove a monument to its Soviet subjugators from downtown Tallinn. It culminates with direct rhetorical assaults on the U.S., as when Mr. Putin suggested in a recent speech that the threat posed by the U.S., "as during the time of the Third Reich," include "the same claims of exceptionality and diktat in the world."

None of these Kremlin assaults can seriously be laid at the White House's feet, unless one believes the lurid anti-Western conspiracy theories spun out by senior Russian officials. And that brings us to Fact No. 3. Russia has become, in the precise sense of the word, a fascist state.

For a little fun, read Fake Steve Jobs' write-up on Global Warming. Our favorite non-political blog, we visit FSJ every day. Another fun read - his write-up of a Hillary visit to Silicon Valley.

James Taranto suggests the Democrats go soft of crimes against humanity in his WSJ editorial, 'It Didn't Happen'.

Garry Kasparov explains the real Russia, in his WSJ [$$] editorial: "Don Putin".

When another prominent Russian journalist is murdered, when a businessman not friendly to the Kremlin is jailed, when a foreign company is pushed out of its Russian investment, when pro-democracy marchers are beaten by police, when gas and oil supplies are used as weapons, or when Russian weapons and missile technology are sold to terrorist sponsor states like Iran and Syria, what needs to be asked is what sort of government would continue such behavior. This Kremlin regime operates within a value system entirely different from that of the Western nations struggling to understand what is happening behind the medieval red walls.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cindy vs. Nancy - It Is Official!

Christmas came early for Karl, and we believe in Santa more now than ever!

Nancy Pelosi missed the generous deadline given to her by Cindy Sheehan. 14 days to do what her party ran on as an agenda in 2006 - to de-fund the war. Nancy failed to deliver. Sleepovers, non-binding resolutions, hot air and excuses is all Cindy got, and she's fed up! Seems she knows a little history about the Democratic Party too, and is sharing with the rest of us:

The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan -- all brought to us via the Democrats.


We have never considered contributing to a campaign before. (Well, there was that one time when we returned from China with some spare change at about the same time Al Gore was running for president. That would have been SWEET.) We'll keep an eye out for a Sheehan donation site and share when we find it.

Two More White Flags

Two more found at

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gen. Wayne A. Downing, RIP

General Downing passed away today at age 67. Our condolences to his family.

Karl will never forget the thumbs-up and smile the General gave him as the General left the Blackhawk helicopter first with his skydiving buddies. We had the honor to work for the General during his SOCOM command. A great American! We could use more like him.

Another Putin Hit?

It appears Boris Berezovski, exiled billionaire and Putin critic, owes MI5 and MI6 big as British authorities disrupt an apparent hit on the Russian dissident.

Recent timeline of events:

July 16 - Berezovski notified of possible threat. Leaves Britain. Unidentified Russian arrives, with child, to Britain, and checked into the "Hilton hotel on Park Lane close to Mr Berezovsky’s offices in Mayfair".

July 17 - Britain expels 4 Russian diplomats as response to Russia's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoy, the primary suspect in Alexander Litvinenko's Polonium 210 poisoning.

July 18 - Unidentified Russian, arrested, interrogated, and deported back to Russia. Royal Air Force intercepts Russian Bombers!

RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again.

The incident, described as rare by the RAF, served as a telling metaphor for the stand-off between London and Moscow over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

While the Kremlin hesitated before responding to Britain’s expulsion of four diplomats, the Russian military engaged in some old-fashioned sabre-rattling.

Two Tu95 “Bear” bombers were dispatched from their base on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic Circle and headed towards British airspace.

Sources: TimesOnline1, TimesOnline2, Washington Post, and CNN.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


We call SHOTGUN! on the bandwagon to expose JetBlue's sponsorship of the upcoming DailyKos convention in Chicago. With a share price 24% under their IPO price in 2002, and with recent bad press such as that 12-hour tarmac wait, we would think JetBlue would avoid endorsing the unhinged, anti-American Kos Kids and offending the silent majority. We must have gone to a different business school than JetBlue CEO David Barger or 10% JetBlue shareholder George Soros.

UT: Curt at Flopping Aces, and Dan at Riehl World View.

Michelle Malkin is hosting a Photoshop contest for a new JetBlue logo. This one is our favorite. Any guesses why?

Hammers, Sickles, and Sicko

A twinkle in his eye?

Found at

This one found at Michelle Malkin's Blog: