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