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6/22/2005
THE LEFT IS RIGHT…FOR THE WRONG REASONS
CATEGORY: Moonbats

The liberal website Crooks and Liars, in a childish effort to tweak the Young Republicans, tried to place an ad in the group’s convention program calling on members to volunteer for the military and go to Iraq. The ad is part of the latest stupidity from the left called “The Yellow Elephant Campaign.” It was refused by the Young Republicans because in their opinion, it was “too negative.”

I disagree with the action taken by the Young Republicans not to put this ad in their Las Vegas Convention program. If the ad as it appears on Daily Kos is the same ad submitted by the moonbats, the only thing I’d change would be the word “infantry” to “military.” Of course, the moonbats would have to agree to drop their childish logo of a yellow elephant. But if the liberals are serious about helping recruit for the military, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be willing to make the appeal as non-partisan as possible.

We’re familiar with the “chickenhawk” tune that the lickspittle left has been singing these past couple of years. The “Yellow Elephant Campaign” is another manifestation of it. Of course, the moonbats never give an answer to the flip side of that question: If they’re so dead set against this war and have the courage of their convictions, why aren’t they in jail? A true, patriotic anti-war American would involve himself in the honorable practice of civil disobedience and, as both Ghandi and Martin Luther King taught us, (and Thoreau considered to be equally important to the act itself) go to jail for their beliefs. After all, how much worse can jail be than combat?

The act of civil disobedience is extraordinarily powerful. It drove the British out of India and started African Americans down the road to equality here in this country. The fact that so many on the left are unwilling to go to jail for their beliefs only proves that they aren’t the only ones who can be accused of political hypocrisy.

My own experience at the end of the Viet Nam war was typical of my generation. In January, 1972 the last draft lottery was conducted by the Selective Service. Since all deferments had been taken off the boards, if you were healthy you were going in. There was a group of us that met during school hours informally to talk about what we’d do if we got a low number (the lower the number, the more likely you were to be inducted).

Looking back on these conversations I’m amazed at how brainwashed we were. Of course, we read nothing except anti-war literature, immersing ourselves in the latest rants from activists like the Berrigan Brothers and Tom Hayden. And the attitude of the media toward the war has been well documented. We even had the brother of one of our little group come in and tell us how evil the war was and if you didn’t want to kill Vietnamese babies, you shouldn’t go into the military.

We even thought that communism seemed like a pretty cool idea! Almost to a man we decided that if our number was called, we’d go to Canada. For myself, I’d decided I wasn’t going to fight a war just so that Coca-Cola could open new markets, that being the one of the favorite themes of the anti-war left in those days.

I realize now that we were wrong. Even though my attitude toward the war changed later, at the time I made the decision to go to Canada I realize that this was the cowardly way out. There were thousands of young men who didn’t go to Canada, refused military service, and ended up in jail for their beliefs. While I now disagree strongly with their choice, you can’t help but admire that kind of dedication to one’s personal beliefs. I’m glad they ended up being pardoned by President Carter, one of the few truly decent things he did.

I also find myself questioning whether or not I would have had the guts to join the military and go to Viet Nam if I was a supporter of the war. It would have involved a tremendous personal sacrifice, not to mention going against the wishes of my parents. It would have meant putting my life on hold and radically altering my plans for the future.

Would I have done it? I’m somewhat ashamed to say probably not. The urgency to go fight a war that was winding down just wasn’t there. And given the general selfishness that permeated the times, I doubt whether I would have had the guts to buck my parents, my friends, and most of my generation and join up.

Are things different today? What advice would I give a young person who believes strongly in our mission in Iraq and the middle east?

If asked, I would encourage that young person to think very carefully about any commitment to the military. The sacrifices involved not only entail personal danger. There are other sacrifices necessary including family, career, and financial considerations. Then there’s the time factor. It appears that even after one’s active duty stint is completed, one’s availability in the reserves for duty should also enter into the decision making process.

Not everyone who’s 18 and supports the war should volunteer for service. But I think they should seriously consider it. You do a disservice to yourself not to.

So there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the left encouraging people to enlist. Of course, that’s not their intent. Their intent is to play political games and, like a bunch of 5 year old little girls, be able to point their finger at Republicans and accuse them of hypocrisy.

Perhaps they should remember the old Chinese proverb about living in glass houses.

UPDATE

Mad Dog Vinnie from Vince Aut Morire is filling in admirably for Beth at MVRWC and takes a …um…shall we say a little different tack with the Kossaks on the chickenhawk response:

Hey, Kos, since you hate this war so much, why don’t you do something about it? It doesn’t matter how old you are, why aren’t you strapping on a belt full of Semtex? Why don’t you drive a car into a crowded restaurant in Baghdad? Chicken?

Why aren’t you terrorist sympathizing bleating leftist f**ktards strapping suicide belts on your children to be martyrs for the jihad you love so much?

Send your children to die, if you’re so brave and we’re so chicken, asshats. Personally, I have and will encourage my 7 year old son to join the military to defend his country when he reaches the proper age, too bad you won’t send your child to try and destroy it, hard as you’re trying with your words.

Why won’t you encourage your sons and daughters to join Islamic Jihad, or the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades? You’re on their side, you know. I’ll bet Zarqawi and Bin Laden would love the help, real help, not the hiding behind the computer help you provide. Die for your cause, Kos.

Vince, you’ve got to learn to say what you mean. All this pussyfooting around will only confuse the Kossaks. Please be a little more specific.

This post is also available at Blogger News Network.

6/21/2005
DON’T CRY FOR ME DICKY DURBIN
CATEGORY: Politics

Now I feel ashamed…

I’ve reduced a grown man to tears. Well, not me specifically. Dick Durbin doesn’t know me from Bugs Bunny. But the way he was trying to wiggle out from underneath his slanderous comments about the military, one would think he had some familiarity with another Loony Toons character.

Perhaps the skunk Pepe Le Pew.

“Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line,” the Illinois Democrat said. “To them I extend my heartfelt apologies.”

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

“They’re the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them,” he said.

Now why would anyone think that comparing our interrogators at Guantanamo to the minions of the most murderous trio of cutthroats in history would somehow “cross the line?” We know that SS interrogators routinely blasted polka music to torture our Glenn Miller loving GI’s. And who could forget the insidious torture invented by Stalin himself? The devilish “drink it or wear it” water torture. It must have driven Stalin’s opponents insane.

It turns out that Mayor Daley may have been the catalyst for Durbin’s mea culpa.

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley — a fellow Democrat — added his voice to the chorus of criticism, saying, “I think it’s a disgrace to say that any man or woman in the military would act like that.”

Durbin said in his apology: “I made reference to Nazis, to Soviets, and other repressive regimes. Mr. President, I’ve come to understand that’s a very poor choice of words.

I would have loved being a fly on the wall in Daley’s office when that telephone conversation was going on. His Honor does not suffer fools gladly. I imagine Daley did most of the talking and Durbin did most of the crying.

I’m glad Senator Durbin’s education about what is and isn’t a “poor choice of words” has been completed. Now perhaps we can get on with winning the war in Iraq without any more foolishness from this empty headed galoot of a Senator who brought shame to my home state with his calumnious charges.

UPDATE

Predictably, the right side of the Shadow Media is not satisfied with Dicky’s tearful “non-apology” apology:

The Captain:

Color me unimpressed. His fellow party members will now ask us all to move along. I’ll consider doing that if they now will admit that Durbin’s original statement slandered the military and debased the memories of those millions of victims that truly experienced what genocidal maniacs do with their innocent captives. If not, then they are just playing word games until they discover the right combination to climb out of the box in which Durbin has put them.

Don’t hold your breath, Ed.

Ace of Spades:

A genuine apology would disavow the Nazi-Khmer Rouge-Soviet comparisons. A genuine apology would distinguish between those hellish regimes and our own. A genuine apology would actually confess true error, not just in clumsy phraseology (an error of happenstance). A genuine apology would confess that his words were intentionally grandstanding and slanderous, and that these words were deliberately chosen for effect, not blundered into by some sloppy draftsmanship.

Ace hit the nail on the head. The remarks were not accidental. They have been part of a Democratic strategy on the Hill in the last couple of weeks to tar the military and bring them down in the eyes of the American people. Charlie Rangel comparing what’s going on in Iraq with the Holocaust was well as other remarks by Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi lead one to come to the conclusion that this is a grand political strategy.

Guess they better be looking for a new tack. How about supporting the President?

Well…it could happen.

The Political Teen has the video.

LaShawn Barber is thinking Dr. Suess instead of Bugs Bunny.

This post is also available at Blogger News Network.

CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS #2

I played with the idea of subtitling this installment of the Carnival the “Dick Durbin Pol Pot Memorial Edition” but frankly, that’s entirely too limiting. After all, why place a boundary on our horizons? As intrepid explorers of the intellectual wasteland of the clueless, we must be prepared to scale altitudeness heights of stupidity, cross expansive rivers of ignorance, and traverse the seared and forsaken landscape of witlessness to find the Nirvanic bliss of true cluelessness.

Or, we could read the on-line edition of the Nation.

Thankfully, none of our fearless adventurers had to Narfle the Garthok to find enough cluelessness to satisfy our wanderlust and fill this week’s quota of jaw dropping, head shaking, side splitting cluebats.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
Robert Browning
Hah! Browning never saw me reaching for the last piece of Sue’s Dutch apple pie.”
Me

Daisy Cutter has a warning for Democrats who think that “Blogs for McCain’s Opponent” will assist them in their nefarious plans to actually win an election. Judging by the activities of Howard Dean, John Conyers, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, et. al. I don’t think we have anything to worry about on that score.

Northstar at the People’s Republic of Seabrook, and once again our lone (lonely?) left of center blogger highlights the cluelessness of the President’s brother and his quixotic quest to keep the Terri Schiavo case alive. Those who are pushing Jeb Bush for President in ‘08 should note what is written on this post and ask yourself a question: What utility is served by raising issues that have already been decided in the courts and that 95% of the country have moved on from?

Giacomo at Joust the Facts questions the sanity of ABC News. While it may seem that this is too easy a target, the jaw dropping stupidity highlighted proves that one should never underestimate the media when it comes to them making total asses of themselves.

Minh-Duc at State of Flux takes on The Cunning Realist and his ill-conceived comparison of Iraq to Vietnam. When will they ever learn?

Blogbuddy The Maryhunter at TMH Bacon Bits has a story that defines cluelessness so well it should be placed in the Cluebat Hall of Fame. It’s about two employees of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) being arrested for…what else? Cruelty to animals. I wish I could have made up a story like this but unfortunately, this sublimely doltish reality has outpaced any fantasy I could possibly come up with.

Our first Dick Durbin entry comes to us courtesy of moonbat slayer Van Helsing of Moonbattery. Van has a picture display for my home state Senator on torture – assuming anyone that has made the statements Durbin has must have some difficulty with the printed word. (Caution: Disturbing images)

Mark at Decision ‘08 had…well, a decision to make this week. He figured that everyone would be submitting posts on Durbin so instead, he picked an equally worthy jackass, Howard Zinn. Mr. Zinn is perhaps best known for his deterministic, revisionist People’s History of the United States in which he makes the people of the United States unrecognizable. This time. Comrade Zinn takes on American exceptionalism with equally obscure results.

Bill Teach at Pirates Cove proves that cluelessness is an equal opportunity disease striking both liberals and conservatives (although recent studies have shown that the former far outnumber the latter in both frequency and severity). Anyway, Representative Walter Jones calling for a “timetable” to withdraw from Iraq had the terrorists in Baghdad clapping their hands in anticipation of America cutting and running.

Duncan Avatar of Parrot Check asks if former Bush Administration economist turned 9/11 conspiracy nut Morgan Reynolds is really from his Alma Mater? “Fraid so, Duncan. It could be worse. Just think if you actually had to take a class from this screwball.

Satire Blog has a post entitled “Larry King - a Serial Husband, a Monogamous Polygamist and the Joys of Multiple Fatherhood ” with a picture of Larry from 1970! Actually, it’s a mugshot and I’m sure that Larry won’t mind. After all, everyone’s forgotten about all those checks you bounced so many years ago…

More Durbin Droppings from GM Roper who wonders if Dandy Dick knows that he’s energized Americans who “know bullcrap when they see it.” If he didn’t before, he sure as hell knows now.

All Durbin all the time here at the Carnival with American Warmonger taking Durbin apart piece by piece. Hey guy! Leave some for the rest of us, huh? You picked over the Senator’s carcass so thoroughly that the pitiful mouthfuls you left us wouldn’t feed a sated moonbat!

Had enough, Dicky? Hah! Cao of Cao’s Blog, blogmama extraordinaire, turns her poison pen on Durbin and makes a mish mash of the Senators ill conceived diatribe against the military. Don’t mess with mothers who have loved ones fighting in Iraq, Senator!

More PETA poop from AJ over at Strata-Sphere. It’s got to be a shocker for people who drop their unwanted but still loved pets off at PETA and be told a home will be found for them only to discover later that they’ve been euthanized in the back of a van and dumped in a shopping center garbage dumpster. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “ethical.”

Gorgeous Pamela of Atlas Shrugs has the inspiring story of Iranian women standing up to the most clueless males on the planet; the Mullahs and holy men who are currently running Iran.

Dave of Short Final, Cleared to Land has a host of targets for his ” Jackson Reaction” action figure doll. Hard to pick one but my choice would be Elizabeth Taylor.

Orac at Respectful Insolence fisks Charlie Rangel’s less noticed but equally outrageous assertion to Durbin’s idiocy that the war in Iraq can be equated with the holocaust. I predict Charlie will be a regular Carnival entrant as not only is he a partisan hack of the first order, he also can’t count.

My own entry in the Dick Durbin sweepstakes takes us back to a time when there were fistfights on the floor of the House and the people’s representatives came armed with pistols to the House chamber. Do you think Durbin would have been so quick to diss the military like that if he knew 2 or 3 of his colleagues were packing heat? Doubt it.

By: Rick Moran at 6:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)

Blog Carnival linked with CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS #2
Watcher of Weasels linked with Weekly Roundup of Weekly Roundups
Number 2 Pencil linked with Another Carnival
Joust The Facts linked with The Carnival Of Classiness At WILLisms.com
Pirate's Cove linked with Carnivals
Decision '08 linked with Don't Miss the Second Carnival of the Clueless
6/20/2005
DURBIN KEEPS SPINNING: LEFT KEEPS DIGGING
CATEGORY: Politics

What is it about Senator Dick Durbin’s remarks that is so difficult to understand? Did 8 years of having a President parse even the word “is” so inure us to not taking words at face value that, like living a nightmare existence in a world created by Jacques Derridia, all meaning in language has been lost?

One more time. Here’s what the Senator said:

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.

Does “This was the action of Americans…” mean something other than what was said immediately prior to this phrase was “action of Americans.” What am I missing here?

This is deliberate self-delusion on the part of the left to try and claim that Durbin was saying anything other than our soldiers act like Nazis. Even Durbin himself is now trying to get out from under the mess by saying that “Americans” didn’t necessarily mean soldiers…it meant civilian contractors:

I called Senator Dick Durbin’s office this morning at (202) 224-2152 and, after being on hold for a while, laid out the reasons why I think Durbin should resign from the Senate. His staffer told me that as of this morning, he is standing by his statement comparing American soldiers to the Nazis, the Communists and the Khmer Rouge. There was one caveat, however: the staffer told me that Durbin never actually said “American soldiers,” and that there are also contract interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. I asked whether Durbin was trying to claim that everything bad about Gitmo was the fault of civilians, and the army has nothing to do with it. She backtracked quickly and denied that this was Durbin’s theory—it would, of course, be an absurd claim since the military runs Guantanamo Bay and sets the policies there. Her evasion shows, though, how deeply dishonest Durbin’s position is.

Just to show the “civilian contractor” theme was not an isolated remark by some idiot staffer, another Powerline reader also called the Senator’s office and got a similar response:

My husband, who is Jewish, lost family members in the Holocaust. We have a niece now serving in Iraq with the US Air Force and a nephew soon to be deployed to Iraq with the US Army. I phoned Senator Durbin’s office today to tell him, in light of this background, how deeply offended I was by his comments equating Guantanamo with Nazi death camps and US troops with Nazi thugs. The staffer with whom I spoke claimed that the Senator wasn’t REALLY maligning US troops … the problems at Gitmo are all the fault of civilian contractors. Like you, I asked whether that means the Senator believes civilians – as opposed to the US military – are in charge of Guantanamo. Quick backtracking and dissembling for the remainder of the call. The Senator has backed himself into a corner. But will there be consequences? Will he lose his leadership position or be censured? Not likely, IMHO.

This referencing civilian contractors is no accident. On Tuesday evening, PBS will broadcast a Frontline Special that will absolutely savage the military, the Pentagon, the Bush Administration, and the private security companies employed by the military and others in Iraq. Entitled “Private Warriors,” the synopsis is sure to raise the hearts and spirits of lefties everywhere:

FRONTLINE returns to Iraq, this time to embed with Halliburton/KBR, and to take a hard look at private contractors like Blackwater, Aegis and Erinys, who play an increasingly critical role in running U.S. military supply lines, providing armed protection, and operating U.S. military bases. These private warriors are targeted by insurgents and in turn have been criticized for their rough treatment of Iraqi civilians. Their dramatic story illuminates the Pentagon’s new reliance on corporate outsourcing and raises tough questions about where they fit in the chain of command and the price we are paying for their role in the war.

Haliburton! Corporate Outsourcing! What isn’t there to gladden the soul of the anti-American left. And cannily, Durbin is tapping into this support as you can be sure the program will be the talk of the lefty Shadow Media on Wednesday.

And you can always tell when the left is starting to lose an argument; they suddenly switch tactics and take the moral high ground:

Remember, this is not an ideological issue. Liberals are always against torture (and were consistently against Saddam’s torture when the US was financing him). Conservatives are against torture as well. Remember, it was one of their justifications for this war.

What we have are not conservative trying to justify the torture—or even celebrate it—it’s blowhard partisans.

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum (whose hilarious “8 Questions for Conservatives About the Iraq War” was his earnest attempt to understand conservatives) has once again challenged conservatives to come up with an analogy other than Nazi Germany to describe what’s going on at Gitmo. Is he kidding?

The Commissar:

Kevin asks for Conservative input on what to compare the abuses at Guantanamo to? He specifies “which evil regime,” and if phrased that way, his otherwise legitimate question turns into choosing your poison. “Would you rather we compare Gitmo to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Torquemada, Genghis Khan, etc.?”

How about these comparisons? To a Cook County jail. To a Mossad interrogation center? How about to Connecticut’s infamous Newgate Prison, where we kept British POWs during the American Revolution (and not a very pleasant place)?

Perhaps those seem minor and small-scale, lacking the news impact of comparison to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia? Well, yes, and that is exactly the point of this response. On any reasonable scale of atrocities and brutality, the problems at Gitmo are “minor and small-scale.” Just because al Jazeera and Dick Durbin liken them to Auschwitz does not make it so.

This is the real difference between the left and right. How is it possible to confuse turning off the air conditioning with dunking captured pilots into ice water to see how long it would take them to die? Or turning up the heat compared to putting 6 million people in gas chambers? The left’s complaint is that there “is not enough difference” between us and the Nazis hence calling the US murderous thugs on par with Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot is perfectly rational.

With that kind of stupidity, I see no hope for dialogue. Therefore, the Durbin issue not only won’t die, it will grow in intensity as Durbin and his apologists seek to find some way to justify their outrageous statements.

It will be interesting to see if more Republican Senators actually start calling for Durbin’s resignation from his leadership post as Trent Lott was forced to after his ill concieved remarks praising former Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond’s run for the Presidency in 1948 on a segregationist platform.

The difference, I imagine, is that Republicans saw that what Mr. Lott said was wrong. Liberals see nothing wrong with comparing their country to the most murderous regimes in history. Nor do they see anything wrong in those words giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

So much for the “Reality Based Community.”

By: Rick Moran at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

HILLARY ‘08! (NOT)
CATEGORY: Politics

The next time someone spouts off about a National Health Care plan, refer them to this article by Mark Steyn: (HT: Polipundit)

As [Canada’s] chief justice, Beverley McLachlin, put it, “Access to a waiting list is not access to health care” — and in Canada you wait for everything. North of the 49th parallel, we accept that if you get something mildly semi-serious it drags on while you wait to be seen, wait to be diagnosed, wait to be treated. Meanwhile, you’re working under par, and I doubt any economic impact accrued thereby is factored into those global health-care-as-a-proportion-of-GDP tables. The default mode of any government system is to “control health-care costs” by providing less health care. Once it becomes natural to wait six months for an MRI, it’s not difficult to persuade you that it’s natural to wait ten months, or fifteen. Acceptance of the initial concept of “waiting” is what matters.

True, they’ve not yet reached the stage of a ten-month waiting list for the maternity ward, but consider the experience of Debrah Cornthwaite, who last year gave birth to twin boys at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. That’s in Alberta. Mrs. Cornthwaite had begun the big day by going to her local maternity ward at Langley Memorial Hospital. That’s in British Columbia.

They told her, yes, your contractions are coming every four minutes, but sorry, we don’t have any beds. And, after they’d checked with the bed-availability helpline “BC Bedline,” they brought her the further good news that there was not a hospital anywhere in the province in which she could deliver her babies. There followed seven hours of red tape and paperwork. Then, late in the evening, she was driven to the airport and put on a chartered twin-prop to Edmonton. In the course of the flight, the contractions increased to every two-and-a-half minutes — and most Lamaze classes don’t teach timing your breathing to the turbulence over the Rockies.

Would you want to do that on your delivery day? You pack your bag and head to your local hospital in Oakland, and they say not to worry, we’ve got a bed for you in Denver.

This waiting phenomena is true for every single country that “enjoys” government financed health care. It’s the way government keeps costs down. By rationing health care, the government can determine where and when and who as it relates to your health.

Helluva deal, eh?

By: Rick Moran at 9:21 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

LEBANESE OPPOSITION ROLLS TO VICTORY
CATEGORY: WORLD POLITICS

The final round of parliamentary voting is over and the ghost of Rafik Hariri is smiling. Hariri’s son Saad and his anti-Syrian coalition captured nearly 75% of the remaining seats that were up for grabs in the North of Lebanon, giving them an outright majority in parliament:

Lebanon’s anti-Syrian opposition looked set to win outright control of Parliament last night in the decisive final round of the country’s first elections free of Syrian control in almost 30 years. Early indications from North Lebanon showed the united list of Saad Hariri, the son of murdered former Premier Rafik Hariri, had won enough seats to secure a majority in Parliament for his united opposition grouping.

Leading opposition politician Boutros Harb said: “According to incomplete results, we are heading for a total victory.”

The anti-Syrian opposition needed to secure at least 21 of the 28 seats up for grabs in yesterday’s poll to have a parliamentary majority. But it remains unclear whether the opposition will have the two-thirds majority required to end to the term of Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, who still has a further two years in office after a controversial Damascus-inspired extension last September which was the catalyst for the uniting the country’s opposition groupings.

Hariri’s candidate lists went head to head with Free Patriotic Movement’s charismatic leader Michel Aoun who’s success during last week’s voting in the south almost upset the opposition’s applecart. Hariri was able to garner support that crossed sectarian and even clan lines by appealing to widespread anti-Syrian sentiment in the small towns and villages that dot the countryside. In addition, Hariri cannily aligned himself with popular opposition politicians like Strida Tawk Geagea, wife of imprisoned Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea as well as Sunni religious leaders such as Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Qabbani. The resulting coalition overwhelmed Aoun’s candidate lists which brought out some bitterness in the former Prime Minister:

Aoun accused Hariri of buying votes and playing on sectarian differences to secure victory in northern Lebanon, ruling out any chance of teaming up with him in parliament.

“We will be in the opposition. We can’t be with a majority that reached (parliament) through corruption,” he said.

As for vote buying, this from a European politician:

European legislator Jose Ignacio Salafranca said he took note of allegations of vote buying. He added: “Competition is high, which is a healthy sign.”

Reminds me of some places in rural America – especially in the South – where vote buying is still a grand old tradition. It usually takes the form of a a five or ten dollar bill pressed into the hands of voters on their way to the polls and many voters simply will not vote without the token bribe.

Aoun’s opposition was to be expected as he’s trying to carve out an independent niche for himself – something he couldn’t have done if he had joined the anti-Syrian opposition. By aligning himself during the elections with mainly pro-Syrian candidates, this anti-Syrian icon proved himself to be something of an opportunist, although Aoun apologists point to his strong anti-corruption stand as the reason for his alliance of convenience.

In addition to Aoun’s 23 seats, the Hezbullah-Amal alliance and their 35 seats will also be in opposition. And that grouping could prove much more problematic as the opposition seeks to form a government. No doubt the pro-Syrian militias will want some kind of internal security positions in the new government. If Aoun joins them, they could prove to be a powerful opposition voice.

Not to mention that theirs are the only militias that are armed.

Passions ran high during this round. But the people seem hopeful:

“I have never seen such participation at elections before,” said Anwar Chidiac, a 56 year-old Qobeiyat resident. “It’s such a phenomenon.” The North Lebanon polls, in which over 100 candidates fought for the remaining 28 parliamentary seats, was definitely the most heavily attended and competitive of all four voting districts, with sectarian tensions running high.

“I think that such a large number of voters is a healthy sign,” said 50-year-old Hakim Bakhos. “It really demonstrates how the current elections are taking place in a totally democratic atmosphere with no foreign interference, whatsoever.”

Described by many North residents as “emotional,” Sunday’s battle was extremely heated, as villagers left their homes to reach the stations – some heading there on donkeys. This round determines whether or not the 128-seat assembly would have an anti-Syrian majority for the first time since the 1975-90 Civil War.

The Captain sums it up nicely:

The course of the next four years appears to be set, as the Hariri-led government will pursue policies which pull away from Syrian influence—and Lebanon has its own elected government for the first time in decades. It’s an amazing and dramatic result for a country who appeared to be prostrate under the Syrian thumb until the US/UK-led Coalition “destabilized” the Middle East and parked itself on Syria’s eastern border. May this lead to even more “destabilization” and the furtherance of the wave of democratization to a region parched of freedom.

Can a multi-sectarian, anti-Syrian coalition government emerge when the politicians sit down and try and form a stable government? The people seem hopeful and the politicians themselves appear ready to do the heavy lifting necessary to make the people’s hope a reality.

By: Rick Moran at 7:09 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

TAKE BACK THE MEMORIAL
CATEGORY: Politics

The group “Take Back the Memorial” will hold a rally today at Ground Zero to publicize the hijacking of this sacred ground by zealots who wish to turn the memorial into a “Blame America Pavilion” rather than a tribute to those who died. (HT: Little Green Footballs)

For three long years we have played by the rules as set forth by Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. It got us nowhere.

We want a proper, fitting and respectful September 11th Memorial for the 3,000 innocent souls who perished that day. Not “a history lesson about tolerance.”

The planners of the World Trade Center Memorial have been put on notice that we are going over their heads to make our case to the American people. Please join us for a press conference to kick off our national campaign to enlist the American people in a Fight for Ground Zero. Our loved ones deserve no less.

The planners of the memorial include some pretty powerful movers and shakers. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is responsible for all aspects of the Memorial at Ground Zero, has a list of Board Members that reads like a Who’s Who of Wall Street and government. The professional staff is large and the entire enterprise is funded with both private donations (mostly from Foundations and other not for profit groups) and grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Therein lies the problem with any effort to stop plans for this travesty. This is a huge undertaking. The LMDC is not only rebuilding Ground Zero, they’re changing the face of the entire lower part of the island. Their list of projects is awesome. They’ve integrated the rebuilding efforts into a revitalization program for neighborhoods. They’ve got plans to promote business development throughout lower Manhattan. And they’ve been charged with restoring transportation infrastructure in the area.

In short, Ground Zero hasn’t just been hijacked by the moonbats. The entire effort has also been hijacked by a bunch of blue bloods who are feeding at the government trough by piggybacking plans for the Memorial on top of a massive effort by local and state government to rebuild this devastated part of New York city.

I have no doubt that much of what the LMDC is doing is necessary, especially as their mission relates to neighborhoods destroyed by the after effects of the collapse of the towers and transportation issues like rebuilding infrastructure. Like most urban renewal projects, it is promising much. What remains to be seen is whether or not it can deliver.

The real question is why the heck the Ground Zero Memorial is under the direction of this crew in the first place. Why not set up something totally independent of the rebuilding effort?

The answer lies in the second rule of government spending (The first being “Why build one when you can build two at twice the price?”): “Wherever possible, bring politicians along for the ride.”

Every New York politician of note is connected to the rebuilding effort and the Memorial lends a patina of respectability to the endeavor. Instead of the usual grasping for contracts and the tug of war between competing interests, the Memorial is a symbol of altruism that cleanses the motives of the politicians, bankers, business people, and other moneymen that are all digging in and feeding on the federal largess.

While we should all support the efforts of “Take Back the Memorial,” I’m not very optimistic about getting anything changed at this point. The momentum behind the project is awesome. They’ve been dithering for months over a design for the Memorial and now that its almost finalized it will take a herculean effort to stop it.

It’s going to be up to the families of victims themselves to stop this monstrosity. Only their efforts, along with the efforts of the rest of us who support them, will be able to stop the rolling tide of money and power that threatens to overwhelm what should have been a simple, dignified place of remembrance for those who lost their lives that tragic day,

By: Rick Moran at 5:51 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

6/19/2005
NEW DEFENSE BY THE LEFT OF DURBIN
CATEGORY: Moonbats

I didn’t think it was possible but, when talking about the Democratic left, I should know by now that nothing is beyond their fertile, feverish, and febrile imagination.

In the past few days, I’ve chronicled the left defending the indefensible as they sought to downplay Senator Durbin’s words. “He never said it!” was their response to my home state Senator’s remarks on the Senate floor comparing American soldiers with the most murderous thugs in history.

Once it became apparent that they couldn’t hide from the fact that the Senator actually made these slanderous comments, their refrain became “You’re misunderstanding what he’s saying!” Well, of course we were. How were we to know that when Senator Sniveler made his comments that we should have asked him what he really meant. The only problem there is that Senator Blabbermouth’s own statement on the matter didn’t apologize for anything or to anybody; unless you call apologizing for his remarks being “misused” by terrorist news organs like al Jazeera making amends.

Now we have a new refrain from Kos and his diseased minions who inhabit the fever swamps and nuthouses (small “n” please) in the land of Shang-Ri-La where fake but accurate minutes from a meeting at 10 Downing Street have become grounds for impeachment. This new tune the Kossaks are singing recognizes that Durbin did indeed use his backstabbing historical analogy. But their excuse is priceless.

Durbin was right because we’re “not different enough” from Nazis.

That’s right. By using the double-secret, super-duper, all American, all original moonbat yardstick for behavior on the part of our troops, the left has now been able to pronounce judgement on the actions of American interrogators at Guantanamo. “Enough” difference just doesn’t exist between the guy who gassed 6 million Jews and us.

Perhaps they could enlighten the rest of us as to how much more difference there would need to be before there would be “enough.” But that would spoil their fun now, wouldn’t it? After all, the only way you can defend Senator “Turban” Durbin’s remarks is not by raising the bar, not by lowering the bar, but by making the bar magically disappear and telling people “Oh, it’s still there, it’s just that I’m the only one who knows where it is.”

This new defense is couched in a condemnation of the Jihadist nutballs who tortured the 4 Iraqi soldiers I wrote about here:

Inhuman. Destestable.

And no justification whatsoever for use of torture by the United States. Period.

We are better than that. We must be better than that.

The question should not be ‘are we like these despicable torturers?’ The question must be why are we not different enough from these inhuman monsters?

This is just too good.

Notice how they free themselves up to make any historical comparison they want to now because whatever analogy they come up with only they know how much “enough” difference constitutes the accuracy of the similarity.

It’s effin’ brilliant!

As something of a polemicist, I’ve really got to hand it to the lefties on this one. This kind of tactic is sure to be picked up and run with by all the moonbats over the next few days. There literally can be no response made to this argument. After all, how can you respond logically to something so moronic? How can you counter an argument whose basis lies in the netherworld of the interlocutor’s imagination?

The only thing to do is laugh at them. With their “Downing Street Minutes” Tea Party being made into a national joke and now this idiotic way to defend their outrageous rhetorical flights of fancy regarding Hitler, Stalin, and any other murderous thug in history, the left is rapidly deteriorating into the punchline of a very bad joke.

By: Rick Moran at 7:02 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)

The Shape of Days linked with Omnibus Camp Delta blog post of 2005
“OPERATION SPEAR” ROLLS ON
CATEGORY: War on Terror

The joint US-Iraqi Operation “Spear” is rolling and taking a toll on terrorists in Karabila, a town near the Syrian border:

The heaviest fighting was in Karabilah, a desert outpost of low-slung buildings where Marines said insurgents had taken refuge after a U.S.-led assault in early May.

Marines have launched four offensives since early May in restive Anbar province, which military officials have described as a haven for foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria. Most of the region’s residents are Sunni Muslim Arabs, who are believed to make up the bulk of Iraq’s insurgency.

Marine aircraft bombarded Karabilah on June 11 and returned to the town when intelligence showed a strong insurgent presence, said Col. Bob Chase, operations chief for the 2nd Marine Division. The current offensive, dubbed Operation Spear, began with airstrikes and light ground clashes Friday.

In additon to these successful combat operations, the Marines rescued four Iraqi hostages who, unlike the terrorists being detained at Gitmo, were not being “tortured” by turning off the air conditioning or playing rap music. They were instead, being tortured , like ya know, for real:

But inside this complex, they found something even more sinister—four Iraqis who were handcuffed, their hands and feet bound with steel cuffs. They’re now being taken away for medical treatment, one being borne away on a stretcher.

The man in intense pain that they’re trying to get into a vehicle, has been tortured, he says, and has all the marks of being tortured with electricity. His back is crisscrossed with welts. The other man is even … in worse shape. Their crime was to be part of the border police.

One of the other men, the other border police, was too weak, really, to tell us what had happened. But he obviously was in very, very bad shape.

They were rescued this morning as Marines and Iraqi forces came into this complex, which included an underground bunker, weapons stockpiles and other things, and found them here. Their captors have fled.

Are these the same Marines that Dick “The Prick” Durbin is saying routinely abuse prisoners at Gitmo in the manner reminiscent of Nazi thugs and Pol Pot’s Cambodian Genocide and Happy Bottom Riding Club?

You betchya! And, of course, Marines are much more familiar with killing the torturers than they are with doling out torture.

That said, our guys have evidently killed about 50 terrorists and rounded up about 100 others. And I sure hope Baby Assad in Syria can hear the bombs dropping in Damascus. Unless he gets serious about closing the border to these fanatical foreign fighters who are pouring across to help Zarqawi and his al Qaeda fanatics kill Iraqis and Americans, he may get an up close and personal look at the way the Marines perform in combat.

UPDATE

The Captain makes a similar comparison with Durbin’s myopia regarding real torture:

If Senator Durbin wants to get up on the Senate floor and rail against torture, perhaps he could start with these torture houses, where real cruelty took place, not the humiliation tactics at Gitmo that tried to save American lives. What Fathil experienced was the same torture as that given out by Saddam Hussein and his Ba’athists during his decades-long reign, only Fathil had the good fortune to survive his encounter with the Islamofascists outside of Gitmo. Others, as the Times notes, did not fare so well.

By: Rick Moran at 7:53 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

Tramadol. linked with Tramadol....
WHAT’S TO BE DONE WITH DURBIN?
CATEGORY: Politics

Should Senator Durbin be censured for his outrageous comments comparing American soldiers to Nazi, Soviet, and Pol Pot’s murderous thugs?

Newt Gingrich thinks so. The former Speaker sent a letter to all Senators:

By his statements equating American treatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay with the behavior of the evil regimes of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Senator Richard Durbin has dishonored the United States and the entire U.S. Senate. Only by a vote to censure Senator Durbin for his conduct can the U.S. Senate restore its dignity and defend American honor.

Senator Durbin’s statement of “regret” on Friday has only compounded the need for the Senate to act. In it, Senator Durbin said that “I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings…” Incredibly, Senator Durbin is sticking to his original assertion that there is indeed, in his own words, an “historic parallel” between U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo Bay and the killers under Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. In other words, his only regret is that Americans don’t understand his misreading of history and that he has caused us to misunderstand him. Offering no apology for the original slanderous statement itself, Senator Durbin has chosen instead to actually defend his comparisons. This defense makes his original speech all the more revolting.

There is historic precedent for censuring Senators whose words bring dishonor and disrepute on the Senate and impair its dignity; Senator Durbin’s words fit that precedent.

In this case, expressing outrage is not enough. It is time for the Senate to act. Senator Durbin must be censured now.

Gingrich claims to be something of an historian. If this is true, he didn’t research the subject of censure very diligently. In fact, in the entire history of the Senate, only one Senator has been censured for what he said in a floor debate. .

If Durbin had an ounce of decency, he’d resign. Since decency in the Democratic party lately can be measured in milligrams rather than ounces, it seems improbable that anyone could shame my home state Senator into doing the decent thing. But censure?

The closest historical precedent for censure goes all the way back to 1811 and Thomas Pickering. Pickering served in the second Washington Administration as both Secretary of War and Secretary of State. He was elected to the Senate in a special election in 1803. In 1811, Pickering read confidential documents in open Senate session before the ban on secrecy was removed. He was the first of 9 Senators to be censured. The last was Minnesota’s Dave Durenberger who was censured for unethical conduct.

Pickering is the only Senator to be censured for anything he said in open debate. Every other case of censure involved some kind of personal malfeasance on the part of the Senator who was censured. And while Durbin’s remarks were despicable, they probably don’t rise to the level that would require Senate action.

Besides, the internal dynamics of the Senate make censure problematic. They don’t call it “The Club” for nothing. Notice that even many Republican Senators have refused to comment on Durbin’s disgusting remarks. These people have to work together on a daily basis. And while the intense partisanship of late has damaged the traditional camaraderie in the Senate, the fact is that there are many unwritten rules of conduct in that august institution. One of those rules is: “Do not speak ill of thy colleague lest the shoe be on the other foot someday.”

So despite the former Speaker Gingrich’s claim, there is no historical precedent for censuring a Senator whose words bring “dishonor and disrepute” to the Senate. But that doesn’t solve the problem of what’s to be done with this jackass of a Senator who, when given the opportunity, turned his chance at an apology into another partisan attack on the Administration.

Do you recall the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton? Senators were so desperate to rid themselves of the task that they were grasping at all sorts of straws to find a solution short of an impeachment trial. One of the straws that they latched onto for a brief time – until shot down by a confident White House – was the idea of a letter of reprimand signed by Senators from both parties.

Could such a letter, signed by the leadership of both parties, be issued to Senator Blabbermouth? Yes it would be informal and not really part of the record. But it would certainly be given enough publicity. And it would put both parties on the public record as condemning these ridiculous and increasingly harmful comparisons to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and any other thug of the week that the Democrats seem willing to equate with George Bush and the Republican party.

As creatures of precedent, Senators are extremely unlikely to push for censure of a colleague whose remarks, even though they gave aid and comfort to our enemies, were said in open debate on the Senate floor. However, a strongly worded letter of reprimand, signed by the leadership of both parties and a majority of Senators, could accomplish pretty much the same goal of undoing some of the damage done to both the Senate and the image of the United States around the world.

UPDATE

For once, John Cole and I agree on something. As usual, Mr. Cole, in his understated and gentle manner, makes his case:

Put down the kool-aid for a second. Do ill-received remarks really rise to the level of censure?

Of course not. Newt Gingrich and anyone who approves of this is an idiot. I am really sick and tired of the curent impulse driving the Republican party to criminalize or punish anything they disagree with. If there is a punishment to be meted out, it will be at the polls when Durbin runs for election. Otherwise, unless you find Durbin really doing something wrong, knock off the censure crap.

Some people better get control of themselves. And it ain’t Dick Durbin, as much as I think he is a political hack. I can understand how good folks are pissed about this, even if I don’t think he was saying our troops are Nazi’s. But censure?

And just in case you are wondering- if anyone had suggested that any of the Republicans above be censured for their remarks, I would be just as pissed.

I disagree that Durbin wasn’t saying our troops are Nazis. He may have misspoke. He may have let his mouth run away from his brain. But he said what he said. And his “apology” was crap. He had the opportunity to clarify his remarks and ended up defending his “historical analogy.”

Censure? No. But when the #2 Democrat casually posits the notion that American soldiers can be compared to murderous thugs, some recognition by his fellow Senators of this is necessary. Hence, the idea for a reprimand.

Cross Posted at Blogger News Network

By: Rick Moran at 6:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)