Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tonight's Music

Here's another set from Off Kilter. Unfortunately they will not be at the Grandfather Mt. Highland Games this year as they have a long term contract to appear at the Canadian pavilion at Epcot.

Shedding some light on Che

One thing I have noticed every time I went to New Orleans is that there are posters and T-shirts with that famous Alberto Korda photograph of Che Guevara everywhere in the Vieux Carré. On my last trip there (about 5 months before Katrina) I asked the guy behind the counter at Rev. Zombie's Voodoo shop what the deal was with all the pictures of Che.

The answer that I received, delivered with a straight face and serious tone of voice, was that Che was beloved because he had fought for the freedom of New Orleans. What can you do when something so utterly stupid and obviously wrong is dropped on you with the matter of factness of an observation that it is going to be a hot day or that it looks like rain?

For those of you who don't know Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a communist revolutionary who worked with Fidel Castro in overthrowing the government of Cuba and establishing that island as a communist stronghold and Soviet client state just 90 miles from the US coast.

Among Che's accomplishments as a high ranking member of the Cuban government were his efforts directed at destroying any element of a free press or opposition political parties. His arrest, torture and sometimes murder of dissidents and, perhaps best of all, his rounding up and jailing (and again sometimes murdering) of homosexuals. The guy behind the counter at Rev. Zombie's looked like he was the type to have been a bit put off by that. But I guess that left-wing American gays are not put off by what happens to gays in other countries as long as those other countries are hostile to George W Bush.

All of this leads us to Humberto Fontova's new book Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him . Here is an exerpt from a review by David Forsmark on today's Front Page Magazine:

Basically, everything most people think they know about Che Guevara is wrong. Okay, maybe not everything, since Frontpage readers at least, who have seen Fontova’s work, are likely to include "bloodthirsty, Communist thug" in their description. But most of the details are wrong, as the story perpetuated by The New York Times, CBS News and Time are drawn from propaganda put out by the Castro organization, much of it made up from whole cloth — including everything Time said about him in its century-end profile.

In fact, Dorfman’s gushy ode to his vicious hero serves as a perfect outline for the myths of Che and the dose of reality Fontova deals to each of them.

Time: "(T)he story of the obscure Argentine doctor who abandoned his profession and his native land to pursue the emancipation of the poor…"

Fontova: There is no proof that Guevara ever actually earned a medical degree, much less had a profession to abandon. As we will see later, Guevara’s only effective military campaign was against poor campesinos in the Cuban countryside.

Time: "After a guerrilla campaign in which Guevara displayed such outrageous bravery and skill that he was named commandante, the insurgents entered Havana and launched what was to become the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas."

Fontova: Che had a particular talent for being nowhere around when any skirmish broke out. In fact, many of the pitched battles trumpeted in The New York Times and other MSM outlets of the time never took place. In one battle that the NYT proclaimed deaths of over a thousand, Fontova writes convincingly that total casualties on both sides probably numbered around five. Talk about creative math.

Fontova shows that Che was responsible for more deaths of non-communist anti-Batista fighters than of soldiers fighting for the regime — most of whom were bribed to flee. After the revolution, Che oversaw not only the executions of tens of thousands of innocents, but he also was in charge of forcibly collectivizing thousands of small farms. In fact, Che Guevara conducted the longest counter-revolutionary campaign in the Americas, with a brutal 6-year war against Cuban peasant farmers.

Time: "Che the moral guru proclaiming that a New Man, no ego and all ferocious love for the other, had to be forcibly created out of the ruins of the old one."

Fontova: When mothers or wives came to plead for the life of their loved one, he would show his "ferocious love for the other" by picking up the phone and ordering that man or boy’s immediate execution in front of the sobbing woman.

As Fontova points out, the 14,000 executions by firing squad and other Cuban deaths attributed to the Castroites are dwarfed by the numbers killed by Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot, but, as a percentage of the population, the Cuban communists are right up there with the other moral gurus who were also trying to create a "New Man."

Time: "Che the romantic mysteriously leaving the revolution to continue…, the struggle against oppression and tyranny."

Fontova: Che was run out of Cuba by Castro who tired of the competing cult of personality, and was a spectacular failure in Africa and South America where he rallied no one to his cause and was ignored-- or mocked—by guerillas on the ground there.

Time: "His execution in Vallegrande at the age of 39 only enhanced Guevara's mythical stature. That Christ-like figure laid out on a bed of death with his uncanny eyes almost about to open; those fearless last words ('Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man') somebody invented or reported;"

Fontova: "Invented," indeed. The only place Che’s defiant last words appear are in Cuban accounts. Every eyewitness tells a different tale — of a Che Guevara trying to ingratiate himself to every guard, officer or CIA agent at the scene, spinning the notion constantly that he would be "worth more alive."

Go read the rest then follow the link above and order a copy of the book. It is worth your time, but be aware when you read the customer reviews on's website. There are only a couple of negative reviews there now, but there is an organized effort by leftists to harm the sales of books which tell the truth about any aspect of the left or prominent leftists by flooding the website with bad reviews.

A good rule of thumb is that the more negative reviews any book written from a conservative perspective gets the better it is.

Do I believe that the moron at the voodoo shop will read this book and give himself a dope-slap and start using his Che T-shirts for cleaning rags? Nope, but the more people who know the truth the fewer of those stupid shirts they'll sell.

The Republican Party needs illegal aliens like a drowning man needs an anchor

Heather Mac Donald eviserates Jeb Bush and Ken Mehlman today in NRO:

Proposition 187 drove Hispanics from California’s Republican party! So argue Jeb Bush and Ken Mehlman in today’s Wall Street Journal, recycling one of the most cherished myths of the open-borders lobby. According to this nostrum, had Californians, fed up with the costs of providing free public services to illegal aliens, not voted to require legal residency to receive those services, California would today, in Bush and Mehlman’s phrase, still be “Reagan country,” its burgeoning Hispanic population reliably pulling the lever for Republicans.

Too bad they didn’t read their own op-ed. No Republican presidential nominee has won California since 1988, they report. Prop. 187 must be one powerful toxin, if it can alienate Hispanics six years before it even exists.

In fact, California’s transformation from “Reagan country” to labor-union country is the far more likely consequence of the growing Hispanic population per se and the corresponding outflow of white Republicans to other states. In 1990, California was one-quarter Latino and 57-percent white; in 2000, it was 32-percent Latino and 47-percent white; in 2005, Latinos constituted 35 percent, and whites 43 percent, of the population. Those shifting demographics have been accompanied by the growing clout of the Democratic party, and of California's public-service unions, not because of some vestigial memory of 187, but because they appeal to low-wage, low-skilled Hispanics. Los Angeles politics are now closely intertwined with the unionized Left, now that Latinos in 2005 made up 47 percent of the population and whites, 30 percent. The idea that Prop. 187, now 12 years old, is driving this massive shift is fanciful. California provides a glimpse of the likely political future if poor Hispanics continue to be the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

Exactly! The weird fantasy that all we need to do to make Mexicans into Republicans is give the alien criminals among us amnesty for their crimes is a break with reality so profound that I have to suspect some kind of Red Chinese Manchurian Candidate style mind control.

I know why Democrats are pushing this legislative abortion on us. It would give them perpetual control of the country so that they could happily set about destroying it. But what in the name of all that's holy are the Republicans playing at?

I know that some of them really are stupid enough to believe this bullshite about how the hard working family oriented Mexicans are a natural Republican constituency (idiots like Lindsay Graham come to mind here), but George W Bush and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and Rudy Giuliani have to be smarter than that. Don't they?

Well George W Bush might really believe it. Not because he's stupid but because he's the kind of man who, once he gets an idea in his head believes it with a stubborn tenacity which is immune to any fact or logic.

But not the rest of them. All the Senate and House Republicans who are supporting this thing (other than the Lindsey Graham short bus crowd) must have some ulterior motive. But what can it be? What can be so important to them that they would destroy not just their own political careers and their own political party but their own nation over it?

The Blond One writes an obituary for America

Ann isn't even trying to be funny here. She is simply telling the plain truth and if anything understates the case:

Americans – at least really stupid Americans like George Bush – believe the natural state of the world is to have individual self-determination, human rights, the rule of law and a robust democratic economy. On this view, most of the existing world and almost all of world history is a freakish aberration.

In fact, the natural state of the world is Darfur. The freakish aberration is America and the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world.

The British Empire once spread the culture of prosperity around the globe – Judeo-Christian values, tolerance, equality, private property and the rule of law. All recipients of the British Empire's largesse benefited, but the empire's most successful colony was the United States.

At the precise moment in history when the U.S. has abandoned any attempt to transmit Anglo-Saxon virtues to its own citizens, much less to immigrants, George Bush wants to grant citizenship to hordes of immigrants who are here precisely because they are fleeing cultures that are utterly dysfunctional and ruinous for the humans who live in them.

Yes, this country has absorbed huge migrations of illiterate peasants in the past – notably Italian immigrants at the turn of the last century. But also notably, half of them went back. We got the good ones. America was not yet a welfare state guaranteeing room and board to the luckless, the lazy and the incompetent from cradle to grave.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, immigrant and first Jewish member of the Supreme Court, said that Americanization required that the immigrant adopt "the clothes, the manners and the customs generally prevailing here" and that he adopt "the English language as the common medium of speech."

But, Brandeis said, this is only part of it. "(W)e properly demand of the immigrant even more than this – he must be brought into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations and cooperate with us for their attainment. Only when this has been done will he possess the national consciousness of an American."

Or as George Bush would call it, "empty rhetoric." And as Linda Chavez would call it, "racist."

I wish our new immigrants had come to America back when the foundations of civic society and patriotism were still inculcated in all immigrants (and when half of them went home). But traitors who are citizens have destroyed all acculturating institutions. Traitors who are citizens have also destroyed all incentive for the poor to work or even keep their knees together before marriage.

Until the recipient culture is capable of doing an effective job of Americanizing immigrants, it's preposterous to talk about a massive influx of Hispanic immigrants accomplishing anything other than turning America into yet another Latin American-style banana republic. And it is simply a fact that no one is trying to turn immigrants into Americans.

To the contrary, Democrats are trying to turn new immigrants into wards of the state – and with some success! – so they will be permanent Democratic voters. Rich Republicans and their handmaidens in Washington are trying to turn immigrants into a permanent servant class.

In an astonishing exchange on Fox News last weekend, Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal responded to Heather MacDonald's point that Hispanics in this country have a 50 percent illegitimacy rate, the highest teen pregnancy rate of any group and the highest high school drop-out rate of any group, by asking: "Why don't we feel we are under cultural assault in New York City? You have no sense of this at all here."

You also have no sense of the existence of a middle class in New York City. The rich have hidden the evidence, transplanting all but the massively wealthy to the suburbs. Manhattan is white and getting whiter, while the boroughs are noticeably less white and more dysfunctional.

What evidence is there for the proposition that American culture will leap like a tenacious form of tuberculosis to today's immigrants? Americans display no evident desire to defend their culture, much less transmit it, and immigrants show no evident desire to adopt it.

To the contrary, immigrants are replacing American culture with Latin American culture. Their apparent constant need to demonstrate is just one example.

As Mac Johnson wrote in Human Events last year, these immigrant protests represent "the colonization of America by the Latin style of politics." He listed just some of the demonstrations drawing thousands – sometimes hundreds of thousands – of protesters over the last few years in Mexico alone. Among the targets of the protests were a new regional trade pact, plans to allow private investment in the state-owned electricity industry, energy and tax reforms, and support for the mayor of Mexico City.

In 1993 – long before 9-11, before the USS Cole bombing, before the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania – the eminent Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington predicted that the greatest threat to Western civilization would come from a clash of civilizations, noting with particular concern the "bloody borders" of the Muslim world.

So it ought to be of some interest that Huntington is now predicting, in his book Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, that America cannot survive the cultural onslaught from Latin America.

American Hispanics responded to Huntington's book with a flurry of scholarly papers and academic debates to counter his thesis that Mexicans were not assimilating.

Just kidding! They called for national protests against Huntington, his publisher and Harvard University.

The most contemptible man to ever sit in the White House

Thompson makes it official, almost

From The Washington Post:

Fred D. Thompson will offer himself as a down-home antidote to Washington politics in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, running a campaign out of Nashville while promising leadership on a conservative agenda that will appeal to his party's base, advisers said yesterday.

Thompson's entry will have an immediate impact on the battle for the GOP nomination, adding a fourth candidate to the field's top tier, which includes former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

All three have struggled to win the confidence of conservative Republicans. Thompson will attempt to make the case that he is the true heir to the mantle of Ronald Reagan and, if successful, would become a formidable candidate for the nomination. But Republican strategists cautioned that Thompson will need a more refined message and an error-free start to live up to the publicity surrounding his all-but-certain candidacy.

Thompson will be aided in his efforts to assume the mantle of Reagan because he consistently denies being another Reagan.

By tomorrow, aides said, the actor and former senator from Tennessee will incorporate a committee called Friends of Fred Thompson and will begin actively raising money for a White House bid. He launched the fundraising effort this week in a conference call with more than 100 supporters, whom he has dubbed his "First Day Founders."

Within the next few weeks, advisers say, a real campaign will take shape, even without a final decision or formal announcement. A Web site will be posted, campaign headquarters will be selected, and a staff will be hired. The signature red pickup truck from Thompson's Senate campaigns will be dusted off.

A senior adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Thompson has not formally announced his intentions, said he is confident about the future.

This is good news. If we can just manage to kill the amnesty legislation making its way through congress this could mean the salvation of the nation. However if amnesty passes it will not matter who is elected in 2008 because that will be the last time it is even possible for a Republican to gain the White House or a Republican majority has any hope of being elected to congress.

Republican strategists predicted yesterday that Thompson will get an immediate boost in the polls by entering the race. "I think overnight he becomes the [conservative] alternative," one strategist said.

But his celebrity and relatively late start in the contest mean that Thompson will face immediate challenges that a less-celebrated candidate might not. Questions about his viability would arise if there should be anything less than strong performances in his first debates, in his ability to raise funds quickly, or in rapidly assembling organizations in states with early contests next year.

He is sure to face sharper criticism from those who say that his eight-year Senate record was undistinguished and that his credentials as a conservative are marred by his support of campaign finance reform. Some also say he is a lackadaisical campaigner, pointing to his sometimes rambling maiden speech last month in Orange County, Calif., as evidence that he is overhyped.

He will have problems due to his late entry. The biggest of them will be that he will be starting with less money than the others. One of his problems will not be "lackadaisical" campaigning. The only problem with the Orange County speech was that those attending had heard a rumor that Thompson would use the occasion to announce his candidacy. They felt let down when he did not.

The greatest asset Thompson will have is the extreme dissatisfaction that conservatives have for the other "Republicans" in the race. Many conservatives, like myself, have already reached a settled conclusion that they will not vote for Rudolph Giuliani even to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House. McCain has made his career on insulting the Republican Party's conservative base in exchange for favorable press coverage and Romney, while he is saying the right things, has had too many changes of position on important issues which were too precisely timed to aid his political career to be regarded as trustworthy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tonight's Music

This is Off Kilter, a Canadian Celtic bagpipe rock band. I've seen them at the Grandfather Mt. Highland Games once or twice and they always put on a good show.

Samuel Colt's firearms

In 1836 Samuel Colt brought to market the world's first fixed barrel, revolving cylinder firearm. Built at the Patent Arms Company of Paterson, New Jersey the revolvers gained fame when they were adopted by the Texas Rangers. Over the years the Colt Paterson was credited with saving the lives of everyone from individual Texas Rangers to entire wagon trains from Indian attack.

The major distinguishing feature of the Paterson was the trigger which folded up into the frame when the hammer was not cocked and the lack of a trigger guard. The cylinder held five chambers and there was no safe way to carry the pistol with all of the chambers loaded, although many did by relying on the half-cock position of the hammer.

The first models of the revolver were difficult to load, even by cap and ball revolver standards, in that the barrel and cylinder had to be removed and the lead ball had to be rammed into the chamber with a separate ramrod. Later models incorporated a loading lever under the barrel which made loading much faster.

The gun was supplied with extra cylinders and cylinders could be purchased so some people would load and cap spare cylinders and use them for reloads in a gunfight.

Calibers of the Paterson ranged from .28 to .36.

The Patent Arms Company failed in 1842, possibly due to the high price of the Paterson revolver (around $50.00) and the fact that in the pre-Civil War days the need for a higher firepower hand weapon was not widely appreciated.

In 1846 Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker of the Texas Rangers paid for his own transportation to meet with Samuel Colt in New York City. Walker had used the Paterson revolver in numerous encounters with Indians and Mexicans and had ideas for several improvement's. He was able to talk Samuel Colt into designing a new pistol incorporating his innovations.

Among the improvements in the new Walker Colt revolver were the addition of a sixth chamber in the cylinder, a fixed trigger protected by a trigger guard and the increase in caliber to .44. The guns were larger and heavier to accommodate the larger sized bore diameter and the larger powder charge needed for the heavier .44 caliber ball.

In 1847 the Mexican-American War generated a US government order for 1000 of the new Walker Colt revolvers. Since his factory in Paterson had been closed Colt enlisted the help of Eli Whitney Jr. Whitney manufactured 2000 of the Walkers with Colt making $10.00 per gun.

Colt was able to use his profits to establish the Colt's Patent Firearms Company in Hartford, Connecticut. Colt continued to innovate and in 1873 produced what is probably his most famous handgun, the Single Action Army. The Single Action Army, was one of the most prevalent firearms in the Old West and earned the nickname "The Equalizer".

A poem from the era sums up the feelings about the Colt SAA and its place in the culture.

Be not afraid of any man
No matter what his size
When trouble rises
Call on me
And I will equalize

If you want an explanation of why America has a love affair with firearms you need look no further than this. Firearms are quintessentially democratic. This is why they are loved by free men and women and hated and feared by tyrants. In Japan the Samurai warriors used to test the sharpness of their swords by carving up peasants (it would have dishonored the blade to use a condemned criminal) then with firearms a peasant could kill a Samurai. So firearms were outlawed. That pattern holds true wherever there is a repressive society.

Sometimes they screw up and tell the truth

I believe that it's called a Freudian slip, from The Opinion Journal:

'We Are the Only People Preventing Them From Telling the Story'

In a Memorial Day column, David Carr of the New York Times complains about a U.S. military rule requiring that embedded reporters "obtain a signed consent from a wounded soldier before the image can be published. Images that put a face on the dead, that make them identifiable, are simply prohibited."

Why is it so important to show images of hurt and dead Americans? A fellow Timesman gives away the game:

James Glanz, a Baghdad correspondent who will become bureau chief for The New York Times next month, said that although he and others had many great experiences working with the rank-and-file soldiers, some military leaders seem determined to protect something besides the privacy of their troops.

"As the number of reporters there dwindles further and further because of the difficult conditions we work under, the kind of work they are able to publish becomes very important," Mr. Glanz said. "This tiny remaining corps of reporters becomes a greater and greater problem for the military brass because we are the only people preventing them from telling the story the way they want it told."

Hmm, we thought the job of a reporter was to tell stories, not to prevent others from doing so. Furthermore, is it even possible to imagine a Times correspondent saying his job is to prevent the enemy from telling its story?

Like I, and so many others, have been saying for so long the mainstream media is not an observer and reporter of the facts. They have become partisan players and are on the opposite side from the United States, at least as long as a Republican sits in the White House.

We need to understand that as far as anything political goes the New York Times and the Washington Post and other mainstream newspapers, and cable news shows like CNN and MSNBC are no different than the Völkischer Beobachter in WWII or Pravda during the Cold War. In other words enemy propaganda.

It was a terrorist probe (if you had any doubts)

Remember the incident where the group of Middle Eastern men disrupted a commercial airline flight by engaging in suspicious behavior, leading fellow passengers to believe that they might be Islamic terrorists? Intelligent commentators (like myself) at the time said that what was going on was a dry run for a terrorist hijacking operation. Today there is support for that conclusion, from The Washington Times:

A newly released inspector general report backs eyewitness accounts of suspicious behavior by 13 Middle Eastern men on a Northwest Airlines flight in 2004 and reveals several missteps by government officials, including failure to file an incident report until a month after the matter became public.

According to the Homeland Security report, the "suspicious passengers," 12 Syrians and their Lebanese-born promoter, were traveling on Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on expired visas. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services extended the visas one week after the June 29, 2004, incident.

The report also says that a background check in the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, which was performed June 18 as part of a visa-extension application, produced "positive hits" for past criminal records or suspicious behavior for eight of the 12 Syrians, who were traveling in the U.S. as a musical group.

In addition, the band's promoter was listed in a separate FBI database on case investigations for acting suspiciously aboard a flight months earlier. He was detained a third time in September on a return trip to the U.S. from Istanbul, the details of which were redacted.

The inspector general criticized the Homeland Security officials for not reporting the incident to the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), which serves as the nation's nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management.

The report comes three years after the incident, which was not officially acknowledged until a month later, after The Washington Times reported passenger and marshal complaints that the incident resembled a dry run for a terrorist attack. After reviewing the report, air marshals say it confirms their earlier suspicions.

This incident was the first such terrorist probe. The most recent one was the case of the Flying Imams. There have been others and the government has been covering them up:

An air marshal who told The Times that he has been involved personally in terror probes that were ignored by federal security managers, called such behavior typical.

"Agency management was not only covering up numerous probes and dry-run encounters from Congress and other federal law-enforcement agencies, it was also hiding these incidents from their own flying air marshals," said P. Jeffrey Black, an air marshal stationed in Las Vegas.

Homeland Security officials initially denied the complaints and blamed passengers who reported the incident to the press as behaving hysterically. However, the inspector general report shows that air marshals had the group of men under surveillance before they boarded the plane.

The federal government is deathly afraid of looking "racist" so screeners at airports have been ordered not to subject Middle Eastern looking persons to any scrutiny above and beyond what a Caucasian "little old lady" would receive. Not unless there is some overwhelming reason to suspect them and then several ordinary looking white people have to be pulled aside for special attention as well so that there will be no appearance of singling out Muslims.

Since they are not allowed to pay special attention to anyone who actually looks suspicious they are instructed to pick non-Middle Eastern persons at random and subject them to special attention so that the public will get the message that "something is being done" and that it is safe to fly.

The truth is that anyone who uses commercial airliners must be prepared at any time to have to face a terrorist situation. If fellow passengers are "acting Muslim" in an "in your face" manner and frightening other passengers people on the plane should not just assume that it is all going to be alright. To take that attitude is to invite a situation where the last thing you see is the Sears Tower looking really big and coming on really fast out the window, before you have the very brief sensation of being engulfed in flames.

It is far better for a few Muslims to spend the flight duct taped to their chairs (or even be stomped to death by their fellow passengers, after all Muslims out to have a little joke and scare the stupid Americans need to remember the old adage about how if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and its duck season. . .) than for another 9/11 to happen.

It's about time

The USA Today has some good news:

The average price of gasoline fell nearly a penny the past week to $3.209 a gallon, the government reported Tuesday, the first drop in its nationwide average in five weeks.
The decline tracks recent drops reported separately by travel organization AAA, which said the U.S. average Tuesday was $3.201, down from the nominal record of $3.227 that AAA posted Thursday. The government says the inflation-adjusted record is $3.292, today's equivalent of $1.417 in 1981.

"We're on the verge of real relief," says Tom Kloza, senior analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "We need to bury, at least for now, the notion of $4 gasoline and the notion that we just keep marching higher."

Retail gasoline prices follow wholesale prices, and those have been dropping, he says.

How about we build some refineries and see what that does to gas prices.

Fred to make it official

The Politico is reporting that Fred Thompson is definitely entering the race for the White House:

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing this week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Thompson, the "Law & Order" star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.

Thompson's formal announcement is planned for Nashville. Organizers say the red pickup truck that was a hallmark of Thompson's first Senate race will begin showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire as an emblem of what they consider his folksy, populist appeal.

A testing-the-waters committee is to be formed June 4 so Thompson can start raising money, and staffers will go on the payroll in early June, the organizers said. A policy team has been formed, but remains under wraps.

Over on The Corner they're speculating that Thompson will make his announcement on July 5th because Thompson is too much the patriot to use the 4th as a political prop. Either way it is good news, except that I'm worried that July may be too late.

Quarantined! It's not just for computer viruses any more

From The Washington Post:

The federal government last week detained and quarantined an Atlanta man who had spent nearly two weeks traveling in the United States, Canada and Europe with "extensively drug-resistant" tuberculosis, a rare and often fatal form of the infection, officials said yesterday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed an "order of isolation" on Friday after catching up with the man, who had flown into Montreal the day before and then driven to New York City. He was flown in a government plane on Memorial Day to Atlanta, where he is now undergoing treatment.

Although states occasionally use their authority to forcibly detain and treat patients with infections, this was the first time since 1963 the federal government has done so. The last case involved suspected importation of smallpox, a disease eradicated in the 1970s.

Some thoughts, in no particular order, about this:

1. If the public health authorities had been this proactive in dealing with HIV/AIDS thousands upon thousands of lives could have been saved. It is a good thing that TB doesn't have its own civil rights lobby (nobody tell the ACLU or it will).

2. These new drug resistant forms of old diseases are our fault. Doctors who over-prescribe antibiotics and patients who do not follow directions and stop taking antibiotics when they feel better have bred these little monsters.

3. There are no new "miracle drugs" on the horizon.

4. America, and the world, was better off when its public health agencies worried about controlling infectious disease and improving sanitation. The current focus on "lifestyle issues" like obesity and smoking reflect a truly bizarre ordering of priorities.

5. A measure of how bizarre the public health authorities priorities are is seen by the fact that when smallpox was finally declared to be eradicated the doctor who had directed the international effort was a virtual pariah at the World Health Organization and WHO was treating the whole smallpox eradication program as an embarrassment to live down, rather than a model to be copied.

6. When a new disease or a more dangerous form of an old disease shows itself where to the WORLD'S eyes turn seeking the cure? To the socialized medical establishments of Canada or Old Europe? To the communist medical establishments of Cuba or the People's Republic of China? To the nations of Africa or Central or South America? Of course not. To ask the questions is to invite hysterical laughter. The world looks to the United States, the last industrialized and technologically advanced nation on the surface of the earth with anything like a capitalist free market in health care. And the left wants to destroy that free market.

7. If the left does manage to destroy the American medical system through socialism who will find cures for the new drug resistant diseases. Who will identify and develop treatments for the new sexually transmitted diseases constantly being incubated by the libertines of the left? Who will step up and take our place?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Too late for Europe? Probably.

In a post on today's Front Page Magazine Fjordman discusses the fact that there are signs that the European public may be waking up to the danger imposed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants making up ever higher percentages of their nations' populations. But then he makes these observations about the current leadership in Europe:

So, what to do next? What are we waiting for? For some decent leader to step forward, perhaps? Well, where is he, or she? During the appeasement of the late 1930s, Churchill was already there, ready to step in when called for. The problem is, I just can't see anyone of his stature now. Tony Blair? Apart from the Iraq war, absolutely everything he has done related to Islam, both in the UK and abroad, has been wrong. In some ways, he is a worse appeaser than Chamberlain ever was. I doubt Gordon Brown will be better. Chirac is a corrupt crook, de Villepain is a pompous, Eurabian clown with a Napoleon complex, Sarkozy isn't too bad, but not good enough, and France is in too much trouble of her own to do anything for the rest of Europe. Besides, it was France who created Eurabia in the first place. Count them out. Spain has forgotten everything of her past and has Zapatero, an appeasing Socialist weasel, as PM, brought to power by al-Qaeda. Italy recently ousted their right-wing government in favor of a Leftist, super-Eurocrat, Romano Prodi, as PM, and Communist ministers who want open doors for Muslims from North Africa to enter. Which actually leaves Germany's Angela Merkel as the least bad leader among the larger nations. But Ms. Merkel is no Thatcher, and certainly not a Churchill. Her support for the awful EU Constitution should be enough to discount her as a potential leader of a de-Eurabization of Europe. The only Western European leader in power with something resembling a spine is Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Denmark, but Denmark is too small to lead this. I hope we are waiting for a Churchill to step forward, but I sometimes fear we are waiting for Godot.

I believe that he is correct. In order for Europe to get the leadership which it needs to escape the trap which it finds itself its people will have to be willing to go to the polls and vote for candidates who their elites - in the academy, the entertainment industry, the news media, the church (what there still is of it), the labor unions, and government - tell them are racist, xenophobic, intolerant, stupid and fascist.

I frankly don't see the Europeans doing that. Not in large enough numbers to make a difference any way. The European "man in the street" is too addicted to various government subsidies to give them up for individualistic free-market capitalism. Europeans are also unlikely to embrace the kind of belief in serious Christianity which is the only thing that can counter the certitude offered by fundamentalist Islam (well Judaism could do it too, but does anyone see Europe converting any time soon).

There is a great deal to this article than the paragraph I quoted, go and read the rest.

Tonight's Music

This is Kilter a popular Ceilidh band from the UK. A Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) is a lively party involving dancing to Celtic music and, if done in the traditional Irish and Scots fashion, lots of drinking.

Fun with black powder

I confess that I am fascinated with the old cap and ball revolvers. Notice how long the process of loading the thing is. This is why Josey Wales carried about six of them.

Speaking of Josie Wales, how many of you know that the movie was based on a book called "Gone To Texas" and that there was a sequel called "The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales", both by Forrest Carter?

Both books are currently in print as a combined edition available here. Clint Eastwood bought the film rights to both novels and made the first one into the film The Outlaw Josie Wales. He planned on making the second book into a movie, but other projects kept getting in his way.

Eastwood's movie making talents today are directed toward making politically correct films which can win Oscars, rather than good movies which are fun to watch so it is unlikely that the second movie will be made unless Eastwood decides to sell the rights.

It has been reported that Eastwood has told friends that he will never sell the rights to Vengeance Trail out of fear that another director might make a movie which would be regarded as superior to Josie Wales, which is widely regarded as his finest work.

Fact of the day

From The Scotsman:

King Charles II is restored to the English throne today in 1660. He had previously been crowned King of Scotland on 1 January 1651 and had attempted to reunite the kingdoms by attacking Cromwellian forces in England. This led to a resounding defeat at the Battle of Worcester where, according to legend, he hid in the 'Royal Oak' until the coast was clear. Upon restoration, Charles acknowledged his thanks to his Scottish soldiers by making The Royal Scots the first regular regiment of the modern British Army. To read more about Scotland's past visit

Torchwood: Fun with guns

Just so you'll know that Captain Jack also likes women:

Fits, if you read this do not watch this video. You could suffer deep psychological damage from watching this kind of firearms "training".

Notice their teeth. John Barrowman is an American actor so he spent the money to have perfect set. Eve Myles, on the other hand, is British so she (to put it kindly) doesn't. Apparently among the British it is somewhat disreputable to have one's teeth worked on.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tonight's Music

Loreena McKennitt performs She Moved Through The Fair live at Alhambra, Spain. This video is from her new DVD: Nights from the Alhambra.

This is the best rendition of She Moved Through The Fair that I've ever heard.

Yeah, these are the guys who'll be running the thing

From The Washington Post:

Last June, U.S. immigration officials were presented a plan that supporters said could help slash waiting times for green cards from nearly three years to three months and save 1 million applicants more than a third of the 45 hours they could expect to spend in government lines.

It would also save about $350 million.

The response? No thanks.

Leaders of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rejected key changes because ending huge immigration backlogs nationwide would rob the agency of application and renewal fees that cover 20 percent of its $1.8 billion budget, according to the plan's author, agency ombudsman Prakash Khatri.

Current and former immigration officials dispute that, saying Khatri's plan, based on a successful pilot program in Dallas, would be unmanageable if expanded nationwide. Still, they acknowledge financial problems and say that modernization efforts have been delayed since 1999 by money shortages, inertia, increased security demands after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the disruptive launch of the Homeland Security Department.

As the nation debates whether, and how, to legalize as many as 12 million illegal immigrants living here, the agency that would spearhead the effort is confronting its reputation as a broken bureaucracy whose inefficiency encourages more illegal immigration and paradoxical disincentives to change.

How on earth does congress expect an agency which cannot manage its responsabilities now to cope with the dramatic increase in workload which would come with their new immigration "reform" (ready amnesty) legislation?

Before congress worries about any new programs let them get the current immigration and border security services running properly. As things stand now the proposed guest worker program would be nothing more than an open invitation for tens of millions of Mexicans to come in on temporary guest worker visas then dissappear into the underground economy.

Memorial Day

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tonight's Music

Flook, with Michael McGoldrick, from eariler this year.

SF for the 21st Century

A clip from the season one finale of the BBC's Sci-Fi series Torchwood, a spin-off of Dr. Who. Definitely not your old man's science fiction:

This series will be airing on BBC America later this summer on Saturday night.

UPDATE: Youtube has removed this and all the other Torchwood episodes. I guess someone at the BBC complained that entire episodes of their most popular series were being given away on the 'net.

Memorial Day

Lunching on Pluto

In an unsigned editorial in The New York Times which does an excellent job of illustrating the nature of the bubble which the left lives in:

Never mind how badly the war is going in Iraq. President Bush has been swaggering around like a victorious general because he cowed a wobbly coalition of Democrats into dropping their attempt to impose a time limit on his disastrous misadventure.

By week’s end, Mr. Bush was acting as though that bit of parliamentary strong-arming had left him free to ignore not just the Democrats, but also the vast majority of Americans, who want him to stop chasing illusions of victory and concentrate on how to stop the sacrifice of young Americans’ lives.

And, ever faithful to his illusions, Mr. Bush was insisting that he was the only person who understood the true enemy.

Speaking to graduates of the Coast Guard Academy, Mr. Bush declared that Al Qaeda is “public enemy No. 1” in Iraq and that “the terrorists’ goal in Iraq is to reignite sectarian violence and break support for the war here at home.” The next day, in the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush turned on a reporter who had the temerity to ask about Mr. Bush’s declining credibility with the public, declaring that Al Qaeda is “a threat to your children” and accusing him of naïvely ignoring the danger.

It’s upsetting to think that Mr. Bush believes the raging sectarian violence in Iraq awaits reigniting, or that he does not recognize that Americans’ support for the war broke down many bloody months ago. But we have grown accustomed to this president’s disconnect from reality and his habit of tilting at straw men, like Americans who don’t care about terrorism because they question his mismanagement of the war or don’t worry about what will happen after the United States withdraws, as it inevitably must.

People who actually bother to find out what is going on in Iraq (one can not do this by reading DailyKos or Democratic Underground, or The New York Times or watching CNN) know that the violence is being caused by foreigners for the most part. They know that fanatical jihadists from other nations in the Middle East who are loyal to the Whahabbist strain of Islam championed by Osama bin Laden are supplying the manpower and agents of the Shiite Iranian government are supplying money and sophisticated explosive devices.

It is as though Mexico were sending thousands of Catholic terrorists into the US to attack Protestant targets while Canada was sending Protestant terrorists into the US to attack Catholic targets and the European media was sitting on the sidelines screaming that the US was experiencing a "civil war".

Apparently it fails to occur to the Times editorialised that if the public really was all that eager to surrender in Iraq and leave in humiliating defeat that the offices of senators and representatives would have been buried under an avalanche of letters, emails and phone calls demanding that they hold tough on the issue of timetables. That did not happen. That kind of public outpouring of concern over a piece of legislation has been reserved for opposition to the immigration reform bill.

As an aside, is it not odd that the Times demands that the president bow to the supposed "will of the people" and surrender to al Qaeda in Iraq while at the same time demanding that Congress ignore the clearly expressed "will of the people" and pass the amnesty/guest worker bill now on the table. One could at least ask for consistency from the left, but consistency implies things like settled moral convictions and a logical outlook on life. Neither of which is possessed by the left.

Finally the Times editorial writer makes the claim that those who favor cutting and running from Iraq are just as concerned about terrorism as those who wish to stay the course. But people who talk like this never bother to explain how they will induce al Qaeda, along with ever other of Americas current and potential enemies, not to take this as just another sign that America is a "paper tiger" and is ready for the final push (which will come in the form of massive numbers of terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11) to collapse like the Soviet Union.

After all it was America's cut and run from Vietnam and Somalia and our anemic response to the first World Trade Center bombing, among other things, that convinced Osama bin Laden that he could get away with 9/11.

The left can accuse the president of being delusional all they want to, but it is they who cannot see reality. To think that the US could leave Iraq in its current state without igniting the civil war which they fantasise is already going on or without bringing back terrorism to our own shores borders on the kind of disconnection from the real world that usually lands people in mental hospitals.

Bush derangement syndrome indeed.

Of course there's a double standard

From The Scotsman:

SOME would call it the Devil's work. Two ancient religions have locked horns in a bizarre "freedom of speech" row that is echoing around the corridors of one of Scotland's oldest academic institutions.

The University of Edinburgh has granted permission to the Pagan Society to hold its annual conference - involving talks on witchcraft, pagan weddings and tribal dancing - on campus next month. Druids, heathens, shamans and witches are expected to attend what is a major event in the pagan calendar.

But the move has enraged the Christian Union, which accuses the university of double standards after banning one of its events on the "dangers" of homosexuality.
Notice the scare quotes around the word "dangers". I guess The Scotsman doesn't consider the vastly higher rates of sexually transmitted disease, including but not limited to HIV, in the homosexual community and the sharply higher suicide rate and the higher rates of domestic violence to be "dangerous".

Matthew Tindale, an Edinburgh-based Christian Union staff worker, claimed some faiths and beliefs appeared to be more equal than others on campus.

"This seems to be a clear case of discrimination," he said. "It's okay for other religions, such as the pagans, to have their say at the university, but there appears to be a reluctance to allow Christians to do the same. All we are asking for is the tolerance that is afforded to other faiths and organisations."

The Union has won strong backing from the Catholic Church in Scotland, whose spokesman, Simon Dames, felt that allowing the pagan festival to go ahead while barring the Union meeting was an example of "Christianphobia".

"This appears to be a clear case of double standards," he said. "The principles of a pluralistic democracy revolve around an acceptance of competing ideas and universities should be enshrining this principle. Anti-racism groups would never be asked to put up posters saying there are alternative views."

Of course they wouldn't and if you really believe that your arguments will actually carry any weight inside a European Union member state you are an idiot. The EU is considering sanctions against several member states because of their supposed "homophobia" which is defined as the failure to promote homosexuality in schools. More on the EU's attempts to bludgeon member states into compliance on the "party line" on homosexuality can be found here.

If the Christians want to stop the pagans from being able to use the university campus they're going to have to do more than point out the unfairness of the situation. I know they should start a rumor that the pagans are Islamophobic! That will get them shut down.

BTY, check out the picuture of the witch up top. Why is it in Asheville the witches tend to look more like Janet Reno?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tonight's Music

Steeleye Span - All Around My Hat from an appearence on the children's program Crackerjack.

Memorial Day

Worth special attention:

Happy Birthday John Wayne

Today marks the 100th birthday of Marion Robert Morrison, better known to the world as John Wayne.

Wayne had a career in films which began in the 1930s and went through the 1970s. He was nominated for the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the People's Choice Award and won all three. He defined the role of the "man's man" on film. For me to attempt to provide a fair summation of his character and contribution to American popular culture would tax my feeble command of the English language.

Suffice it to say that he was one of the rare few whose very name became an icon.

John Wayne was a true patriot whose love of this country touched everything he did.

He is and always will be remembered with love and respect.

Birds of a feather. . .

From The Washington Post:

For the past four years, the Clintons have jetted around on Vinod Gupta's corporate plane, to Switzerland, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico -- $900,000 worth of travel. The former president secured a $3.3 million consulting deal with Gupta's technology firm. His presidential library got a six-figure gift, too.

Gupta, whose big donations to the Democratic Party earned him a Lincoln Bedroom overnight when Bill Clinton was president, has emerged as a key benefactor of Clinton's post-presidency -- and Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential candidacy.

Gupta's generosity toward the Clintons has proved so controversial within his firm -- a major provider of database-processing services -- that it prompted a shareholder lawsuit complaining that hiring the former president was a "waste of corporate assets."

The dispute over Gupta's bankrolling of the Clintons offers new detail about how successfully Bill Clinton has leveraged the inner circle of donors he cultivated during his tenure in the White House to his personal financial benefit since he left office. In addition, it suggests the degree to which Hillary Clinton's political career is also benefiting from those connections.

In the lawsuit, filed this year in Delaware, some investors in the company, InfoUSA, challenged Gupta's decision to direct his firm to pay the former president the consulting fees for the "extremely vague purpose" of providing his "strategic growth and business judgment."

The Clintons are not parties to the lawsuit, nor are they accused of any wrongdoing. In fact, the lawsuit refers only to a "former high-ranking government official" and his wife. But company officials, shareholders and aides to the Clintons confirmed that they are the couple in question.

The jet travel for the Clintons was charged to the company as "business development" expenses, the lawsuit said. The company jet took them to vacation spots, whisked the former president to an international conference in Geneva and to a commemorative speech in Oklahoma City, and shuttled Hillary Clinton to a campaign fundraiser in New Mexico.

Later the Post article gives some details of Gupta's largess to the Clintons:

Gupta is a well-known figure in the high-tech world in India who met Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s and quickly became a generous patron. He and his company donated at least $1 million to help underwrite a lavish millennium New Year's Eve celebration at the White House and on the Mall, and he paid the former president $200,000 to deliver a speech to InfoUSA executives in Papillion, Neb.

Gupta also gave a six-figure gift to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, $250,000 to the former president's global charity, and more than $220,000 to the Democratic Party during Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign. In December, Gupta gave the maximum $5,000 to the senator's political action committee, which was helping to lay the groundwork for her 2008 presidential bid.

[. . .]

The company spent $146,886 to fly the Clintons with Gupta to Acapulco, Mexico, on New Year's Day 2002 for a vacation.

What the post article does not delve into is the fact that Gupta and his company have been implicated in government investigations of telemarketing fraud. The New York Times has the details:

The thieves operated from small offices in Toronto and hangar-size rooms in India. Every night, working from lists of names and phone numbers, they called World War II veterans, retired schoolteachers and thousands of other elderly Americans and posed as government and insurance workers updating their files.

Then, the criminals emptied their victims’ bank accounts.

Richard Guthrie, a 92-year-old Army veteran, was one of those victims. He ended up on scam artists’ lists because his name, like millions of others, was sold by large companies to telemarketing criminals, who then turned to major banks to steal his life’s savings.

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say.

InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.”

As Mr. Guthrie sat home alone — surrounded by his Purple Heart medal, photos of eight children and mementos of a wife who was buried nine years earlier — the telephone rang day and night. After criminals tricked him into revealing his banking information, they went to Wachovia, the nation’s fourth-largest bank, and raided his account, according to banking records.

[. . .]

“Only one kind of customer wants to buy lists of seniors interested in lotteries and sweepstakes: criminals,” said Sgt. Yves Leblanc of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “If someone advertises a list by saying it contains gullible or elderly people, it’s like putting out a sign saying ‘Thieves welcome here.’ ”

[. . .]

Records also indicate that infoUSA sold thousands of other elderly Americans’ names to Windfall Investments after the F.B.I. had accused the company in 2002 of stealing $600,000 from a California woman.

Between 2001 and 2004, infoUSA also sold lists to World Marketing Service, a company that a judge shut down in 2003 for running a lottery scam; to Atlas Marketing, which a court closed in 2006 for selling $86 million of bogus business opportunities; and to Emerald Marketing Enterprises, a Canadian firm that was investigated multiple times but never charged with wrongdoing.

[. . .]

The Federal Trade Commission’s rules prohibit list brokers from selling to companies engaged in obvious frauds. In 2004, the agency fined three brokers accused of knowingly, or purposely ignoring, that clients were breaking the law. The Direct Marketing Association, which infoUSA belongs to, requires brokers to screen buyers for suspicious activity.

But internal infoUSA e-mail messages indicate that employees did not abide by those standards. In 2003, two infoUSA employees traded e-mail messages discussing the fact that Nevada authorities were seeking Richard Panas, a frequent infoUSA client, in connection with a lottery scam.

“This kind of behavior does not surprise me, but it adds to my concerns about doing business with these people,” an infoUSA executive wrote to colleagues. Yet, over the next 10 months, infoUSA sold Mr. Panas an additional 155,000 names, even after he pleaded guilty to criminal charges in Nevada and was barred from operating in Iowa.

By now it should come as no surprise that Gupta is a friend of the Clintons. He is obviously very comfortable dealing with liars, con-men and every other assorted low-life. In other words the same sort of people that the Clintons are and who they surround themselves with.

InfoUSA's share price is down 12.3% over the past year and its 10-year compounded annual return was an anemic 0.7%, meaning that it has not even kept pace with inflation. The investors would have done better to place their money in a passbook savings account at the local bank. This also should surprise no student of the Clintons. It has always seemed that even as they rise to ever higher levels of power and wealth that they radiate waves of ruin which touch everyone and every thing around them.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tonight's Music

Steeleye Span performs Cam Ye O'er Frae France, a song of violent disposition from the Scottish wars of independance.

I have something I would like to say

to Rosie on her departure from The View.


H/T: Blue Star Chronicles


From The Brussels Journal:

A quote from Paul Belien in The Washington Times, 23 May 2007

Europe is in the middle of a three-way culture war, between the defenders of traditional Judeo-Christian morality, the proponents of secular hedonism and the forces of Islamic Jihadism. […] Since one cannot fight something with nothing, the European secularists are no match for Islam. Meanwhile, the dark forces of secularism, such as the European Union (EU), are waging war in Central and Eastern Europe, where they target countries such as Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states.

On April 25, the European Parliament (EP), the EU's legislature, adopted a resolution condemning “homophobia.” With 325 votes against 124 and 150 abstentions, the EP warned Poland that it will face sanctions if it adopts a law barring the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Churches, too, were reprimanded for “fermenting hatred and violence [against homosexuals].”

In 1954, Karl Popper warned that the “moral framework” is the most important safeguard of a society because it “serves as a basis which makes it possible to reach a fair or equitable compromise between conflicting interests where this is necessary. It is, of course, itself not unchangeable, but it changes comparatively slowly. Nothing is more dangerous than the destruction of this traditional framework, as it was consciously aimed at by Nazism. In the end its destruction will lead to cynicism and nihilism, i.e. to the disregard and the dissolution of all human values.”

The truth about those "jobs Americans won't do"

There are no jobs that Americans will not do. There are only wages so low that Americans will not work for them and working conditions so wretched that Americans will not endure them.

Fighting the real war

From Front Page Magazine:

Few today are receptive to the idea of a “war on terror.” From a war-weary public, to a political commentariat impatient with such supposedly simple-minded slogans, the country seems determined to move beyond the notion that the fighting underway in Iraq is in any significant way connected to the global terrorist threat to national security. So it is to President Bush’s credit that he used his commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy this week to reacquaint a disaffected nation with a stubborn fact: Iraq remains the central theater in the fight against al-Qaeda and its jihadist brethren.

To illustrate the point, Bush adduced newly declassified intelligence that confirms what many are disinclined to hear: that al-Qaeda views Iraq as the ultimate showdown between its brand of fanatical Islam and the Western world, and that it seeks to turn the country into a staging ground for further attacks against the United States.

By way of example, Bush pointed to a 2005 plot, apparently hatched by Osama bin Laden himself, to coordinate attacks against the U.S. with al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq. According to details presented by the president, bin Laden instructed an intermediary, Hamza Rabi, to relay plans for such attacks to al-Qaeda’s then-senior leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. “Our intelligence community reports that a senior al-Qaeda leader, Abu Faraj al-Libi, went further and suggested that bin Laden actually send Rabia, himself, to Iraq to help plan external operations,” Bush explained. "Abu Faraj later speculated that if this effort proved successful, al-Qaeda might one day prepare the majority of its external operations from Iraq.” Reflecting on the import of these findings, Bush sensibly concluded that “war on terror” remained a useful concept: “This notion about how this isn't a war on terror, in my view, is naïve,” he said. “It doesn't reflect the true nature of the world in which we live.”

Where the president erred is in assuming that his critics -- especially among the Democratic Party’s leadership -- actually live in the same world. In reality, at the level of foreign policy, Democrats and their allies on the anti-war Left have long inhabited an alternate universe.

Go read the rest.

It isn't that the Democrats don't understand what is at stake in Iraq. It is, rather, that they consider the domestic political calculation to be of more importance. They want their party to win elections more than they want their nation to win the war.

Even prissy George Will gets it - for the most part

From Jewish World Review:

Compromise is incessantly praised, and it has produced the proposed immigration legislation. But compromise is the mother of complexity, which, regarding immigration, virtually guarantees — as the public understands — weak enforcement and noncompliance.

Although the compromise was announced the day the Census Bureau reported that there now are 100 million nonwhites in America, Americans are skeptical about the legislation, but not because they have suddenly succumbed to nativism. Rather, the public has slowly come to the conclusion that the government cannot be trusted to mean what it says about immigration.

In 1986, when there probably were 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants, Americans accepted an amnesty because they were promised that border control would promptly follow. Today the 12 million illegal immigrants, 60 percent of whom have been here five or more years, are as numerous as Pennsylvanians; 44 states have populations smaller than 12 million. Deporting the 12 million would require police resources and methods from which the nation would rightly flinch. So, why not leave bad enough alone?

Getting rid of the alien criminals among us would not require police state methods. It would just involve cutting off their chances for employment by strict enforcement of laws against hiring illegals, eliminating all types of welfare for illegals except for emergency medical care (to be followed by a trip back to Mexico) and the detention and deportation of any illegal who crosses the path of American law enforcement. This will cause the great majority of illegals to self deport.

Concentrate on border control and on workplace enforcement facilitated by a biometric identification card issued to immigrants who are or will arrive here legally. Treat the problem of the 12 million with benign neglect. Their children born here are American citizens; the parents of these children will pass away.

Children of illegals are arguably not citizens, but if the price of no amnesty and a closed border is recognising them as such I will pay it.

Under current immigration policies, America is importing another underclass, one "with the potential to expand indefinitely," according to Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. To sentimentalists who cling to "the myth of the redeeming power of Hispanic family values, the Hispanic work ethic, and Hispanic virtue," she says:

From 1990 to 2004, Hispanics accounted for 92 percent of the increase in poor people. Only 53 percent of Hispanics earn high school diplomas, the lowest among American ethnic groups. Half of all children born to Hispanic Americans in 2005 were born out of wedlock — a reliable predictor of social pathologies.

The legislation supposedly would shift policy from emphasizing family unification to emphasizing economic criteria (skills) when setting eligibility for immigrants. Critics say this will sunder families. But the sundering has happened; it was done by illegal immigrants who left family members behind and are free to reunite with their families where they left them.

This simple recognition of reality on Mr. Will's part earns him a pass on a whole lot of prissiness.

Anyway, the supposed shift from emphasizing family relations — the emphasis that results in "chain migration" — to economic merit may be diluted to nothingness. It is highly suspicious that there was a rush — fortunately stymied — to pass this legislation through both houses and get it to conference, where the majority of participants will be Democrats eager to court Hispanic votes.

Some Democrats argue that liberalism's teetering achievement, the welfare state, requires liberal immigration policies. The argument is: Today there are only 3.3 workers for every retiree. In January, the first of 77 million baby boomers begin to retire. By the time they have retired, in 2030, there will be 2.2 workers for every retiree — but only if the workforce is replenished by 900,000 immigrants a year.

OK, that explains the Democrats but that is no surprise. If they weren't traitors they wouldn't be Democrats. But what I want to know is why are the Republicans signing on to this abortion? What do the Dims have on them?

On Monday, however, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation stunned some senators who heard his argument that continuing, under family-based immigration, to import a low-skilled population will cost the welfare state far more than the immigrants' contributions to the economy and government. He argued that low-skilled immigrants are costly to the welfare state at every point in their life cycle and are very costly when elderly. Just the 9 million to 10 million adults already here illegally will, if given amnesty, cost an average of $300,000 — cumulatively, more than $2.5 trillion — in various entitlements (Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, housing, etc.) over 30 years.

How in the name of all that's holy could the senators have been "stunned" by this news? It has only been out there since at least last year. Are they really that out of touch? I guess so.

To those who say border control is impossible — often these are the same people who said better policing could not substantially reduce crime, until it did — one answer is: It took just 34 months for the Manhattan Project to progress from the creation of the town of Oak Ridge in the Tennessee wilderness to the atomic explosion at Alamogordo, N.M. That is what America accomplishes when it is serious.

In an attempt to anesthetize people who sensibly say "border control and workplace enforcement first," important provisions of the legislation would supposedly be "triggered" only when control of the border is "certified" by the president. But in what looks like a parody of the Washington mentality, certification would be triggered not by border control but by the hiring of border control agents and other spending. So, the supposedly hardheaded aspects of the legislation actually rest on the delusion that spending equals the achievement of the intention behind the spending. By that assumption, we have long since tranquilized and democratized Iraq.

But to a politician passing a law and spending our money is the whole of the matter. Then they can move on to the next excuse to steal our freedom and our money.

Use every means of communication at your disposal to contact your senators and congressman and tell them to drive a stake through this abomination's heart. Otherwise America is dead.

Cox & Forkum

A little of the truth comes out

From The Washington Post:

Two new books on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York offer fresh and often critical portraits of the Democratic presidential candidate that depict a tortured relationship with her husband and her past and challenge the image she has presented on the campaign trail.

The Hillary Clinton who emerges from the pages of the books comes across as a complicated, sometimes compromised figure who tolerated
Bill Clinton's brazen infidelity, pursued her policy and political goals with methodical drive, and occasionally skirted along the edge of the truth along the way. The books portray her as alternately brilliant and controlling, ambitious and victimized.

The Clinton campaign has nervously awaited publication of the books for fear they would include a bombshell revelation or, at the very least, revive memories of less-savory moments in the couple's rise to power. The books, both by longtime journalists and both obtained by
The Washington Post yesterday, include a number of assertions and anecdotes that could confront her campaign with unwelcome questions.

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton," by Carl Bernstein, reports that Clinton as first lady was terrified she would be prosecuted, took over her own legal and political defense, and decided not to be forthcoming with investigators because she was convinced she was unfairly targeted. While in Arkansas, according to Bernstein, she personally interviewed one woman alleged to have had an affair with her husband, contemplated divorce and thought about running for governor out of anger at her husband's indiscretions.

Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton," by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., reports that during her husband's 1992 campaign, a team she oversaw hired a private investigator to undermine Gennifer Flowers "until she is destroyed." Flowers had said publicly that she had an affair with Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.

The book also suggests that Hillary Clinton did not read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in 2002 before voting to authorize war. And it includes a thirdhand report that the Clintons had a secret plan after the 1992 election in which he would have eight years as president and then she would have eight years, although last night a key source disavowed the story.

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Unlike many harsh books about Clinton written by ideological enemies, the two new volumes come from long-established writers backed by major publishing houses and could be harder to dismiss. Bernstein won national fame with partner Bob Woodward at The Post for breaking open the Watergate scandal, while Gerth and Van Natta have spent years as investigative reporters for the New York Times.

Their publishers have engaged in a race to the bookstores, moving up publication dates as the presidential campaign heats up. Alfred A. Knopf has printed 275,000 copies of Bernstein's "Woman in Charge," which will be available June 5; Little, Brown and Co. plans to put 175,000 copies of "Her Way" on sale June 8, after June 3 excerpts in the New York Times Magazine. The size of the print runs mean both publishers expect their books to be major bestsellers.

In the works for eight years, Bernstein's 640-page book is the more extensive biography and, while not unsympathetic, includes some damning observations from people once close to the senator.

Bob Boorstin, who worked for Clinton when she was pushing her plan to restructure the nation's health-care system in the early days of her husband's presidency, blamed her for its collapse. "I find her to be among the most self-righteous people I've ever known in my life," he told Bernstein. "And it's her great flaw, it's what killed health care," along with other factors.

Mark Fabiani, who as White House special counsel played a key role in defending the Clintons, said she was "so tortured by the way she's been treated that she would do anything to get out of the situation. . . . And if that involved not being fully forthcoming, she herself would say, 'I have a reason for not being forthcoming.' " Her logic, he said, was: "If we do this, they're going to do this to me. If we say this, then they're going to say this. You know, [expletive] 'em, let's just not do that."

Fabiani said Clinton personally directed the White House defense, telling Bernstein that private attorney David E. Kendall dealt mainly with the first lady and met only rarely with the president until the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal. "He was easy to deal with compared to her," Fabiani said of the first couple. The only time he saw Bill Clinton lose his temper, Fabiani said, was when the president saw his Whitewater partner, Susan McDougal, taken to jail in an orange jumpsuit and shackles for refusing to testify.

At one point, Hillary Clinton was convinced she would be next, worried that Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr would indict her for perjury or obstruction of justice arising from statements she made under oath about her work for Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, the Whitewater investment or long-missing billing records. "When I say there was a serious fear she would be indicted, I can't overstate that," Fabiani told Bernstein.

Bernstein reexamines the most sensational aspects of Clinton's life -- and to his subject the most painful -- namely her decisions to marry and remain married to Bill Clinton. She waited two years before deciding to become his wife and move to Arkansas, and Bernstein points to a little-known factor that may have contributed. Hillary Clinton failed the D.C. bar exam after law school, something she hid from her best friends for 30 years until disclosing it in passing in her autobiography, "Living History." Bernstein suggests that blow to her ego may have played a role in her decision to move to Arkansas, where she had passed the bar.

The women who also figured in Bill Clinton's life in Arkansas make a return appearance in the book, most notably Marilyn Jo Jenkins, a power company executive he fell in love with and almost left his wife over, according to Bernstein. Jenkins has been linked to Clinton before -- she was spirited into the governor's mansion at 5:15 a.m. for a final, furtive meeting with him the day he left for Washington to assume the presidency -- but Bernstein's account makes clear her pivotal role.

Bill Clinton wanted to divorce his wife to be with Jenkins in 1989, Bernstein reports, but Hillary Clinton refused. "There are worse things than infidelity," she told Betsey Wright, the governor's chief of staff. The crisis frayed Wright's relationship with Bill Clinton too, and she told Bernstein that she arranged for the two of them, Wright and Clinton, to see a therapist together.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, turned to her best friend, Diane Blair, obliquely raising the prospect of divorce during a long walk. "She was thinking that they had not made much money," Blair told Bernstein before her death in 2000, and she was concerned about her daughter. "Chelsea was there now. What if she were on her own? She didn't own a house. She was concerned that if she were to become a single parent, how would she make it work in a way that would be good for Chelsea."

The Clintons stayed together, but out of "anger and hurt" she considered running for governor in 1990, when he presumably would step down to prepare his 1992 presidential campaign. The idea ended after consultant Dick Morris conducted two polls showing she had no independent identity with Arkansas voters and compared her to George Wallace's wife, who ran to succeed him in Alabama -- an analogy that offended her.

By the time Bill Clinton was running for president, Hillary Clinton suggested to Blair that victory would be good for the marriage because her husband's sexual compulsions would be tempered by the White House and the ever-present press corps, Bernstein reports -- a flawed assumption, as it would turn out.

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Gerth and Van Natta's 416-page book covers much of the same ground, but it explores Clinton's time in the Senate in greater depth and portrays her legislative career and her presidential campaign as parts of a broad, long-term plan for power that has its roots in the early 1970s.

According to Gerth and Van Natta, even before the Clintons were married they formulated a "secret pact of ambition" aimed at reinventing the Democratic Party and getting to the White House. The authors cite a former Bill Clinton girlfriend, Marla Crider, who said she saw a letter on his desk written by Hillary Clinton, outlining the couple's long-term ambitions, which they called their "twenty-year project."

Crider was first quoted about the letter in a book by a former National Enquirer reporter in 2000, at the time describing it as more about Bill Clinton's infidelities and the "little girls" he had. Gerth and Van Natta, however, report that they re-interviewed Crider and that she said the earlier book's account was "not totally accurate." In this telling, Crider described the note as being more about the couple's political plans, with little discussion of their personal relationship.

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The book looks in detail at Hillary Clinton's Senate vote in support of the Iraq war, suggesting she may have been motivated by a desire to not abandon her husband's tough-on-Iraq policy and a need "to prove that she was tough enough" as a woman. But Gerth and Van Natta suggest that she did not read the National Intelligence Estimate, which included caveats and dissents about reports of Iraq's weapons program.

Reines, Clinton's Senate spokesman, seemed to confirm last night that she did not read the NIE, saying by e-mail that she was "briefed multiple times by several members of the administration on their intelligence regarding Iraq, including being briefed on the NIE."

Gerth and Van Natta portray Clinton as fixated on secrecy and loyalty. She has used her Washington house as a staging ground for her presidential campaign, holding strategy meetings and fundraisers under strict confidentiality. "Visitors are asked to check their bags, cameras and cell phones at the door, pictures are taken by an authorized photographer," they write.

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The book portrays Clinton as constantly seeking the spotlight, pushing her way into Senate discussions without invitation. As Senate Democrats were wrestling with their approach to the Iraq war in mid-2006, for example, Clinton is described as inserting her name into a piece of legislation calling for a phased redeployment of U.S. troops. Although she was not originally a co-sponsor of the bill, she said she was, and after storming the floor of the Senate before her turn, she shifted her rationale for her original war vote, the authors write. Her behavior amazed Senate colleagues, they write.

That both Hillary and Bill Clinton are scumbags is nothing new. What is interesting is that mainstream publishers and left-wing reporters like Carl Bernstein are willing to shine the light of truth on even a part of their deep flaws. That and the fact that the Washington Post, which is little more than a house organ for the Democrat Party, is willing to devote so much ink to a positive review of these books is telling evidence of the fact that Hillary has lost the confidence of the left-wing establishment.

It appears that there is less and less faith in Hillary's ability to win the White House in 2008 and that there is a massive amount of hedging going on.