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7/24/2006
THE RICK MORAN SHOW - LIVE

Join me this morning from 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM Central Time for The Rick Moran Show on Wideawakes Radio.

Today we’ll take on the growing violence in Iraq. We’ll look at some thoughtful contrarian views on what some observers are already saying is a civil war. We’ll also take a hard look at anti-semitism on the left - where it comes from and why.

And we’ll have the news and the ever popular “Today in History.” Plus “Blog of the Week.”

You can access the stream by clicking on the “Listen Live” button in the left sidebar.

By: Rick Moran at 6:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

KERRY: US SHOULD HAVE INVADED LEBANON
CATEGORY: Politics

He didn’t come right out and say that, of course. But how else would you accomplish what he said about Hizbullah yesterday in Michigan:

Hezbollah guerillas should have been targeted with other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida and the Taliban, which operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kerry said. However, Bush, has focused military strength on Iraq.

“This is about American security and Bush has failed. He has made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq.…We have to destroy Hezbollah,” he said.

The only way to “destroy Hezbollah” is to do exactly what the Israelis are doing; invading Lebanon. And the fact that Bush has pretty much green lighted Israeli actions in doing so calls into question the rest of Kerry’s critique:

“If I was president, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John’s bar and grill in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.

Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said.

“The president has been so absent on diplomacy when it comes to issues affecting the Middle East,” Kerry said. “We’re going to have a lot of ground to make up (in 2008) because of it.”

So if Kerry was President he would have destroyed Hizbullah but at the same time prevented the Israelis from doing so by stopping the current conflict before it started? That leaves one of two ways to get rid of Nasty Nasrallah and his bully boys; invade Lebanon with US troops or curse the terrorists and turn them into pillars of salt.

The advantage of the latter is that Lebanon is in need of more products to export and salt is in high demand in desert areas. The problem with the former is that if Kerry were President and he sent troops into Lebanon, our guys would have to fight with straitjackets on and wear great big wristwatches so that they would always be aware of the time and stick strictly to the timetable for withdrawal our Commander in Chief would set.

Since Kerry has made it plain this is how he would have fought the Iraq War, we have to assume this is how he would have conducted operations in Lebanon. How many terrorists this would have killed is beside the point. The important thing is our men would have fought the way liberals want to fight; not really hurting anyone while making sure the troops are home for Christmas.

God its going to be fun watching this guy run for President again.

By: Rick Moran at 4:08 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

7/23/2006
CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS: THE “WAR IS HELL” EDITION

This week’s Carnival is mostly about war; phony wars, blog wars, civil wars, and just plain old garden variety shooting wars. War seems to be the one endeavor that most of us humans excel at. It certainly seems to be one of the only things governments are able to get halfway organized to carry out. And there are apparently many humans who prefer engaging in it to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Unlike deep thinkers, I find nothing revealing in those truths. We are, after all, naked apes, proud members of the Vast Mammalian Conspiracy that has dominated this planet for nearly 30 million years. If it be the way of our kind to fight, to kill, to war, then the best we can do is recognize that fact and work within ourselves to reduce the urges that lead to conflict.

Please note I did not say that we can eliminate those urges. As that great philosopher James Tiberius Kirk once reflected from his perch from the future overlooking the past, mankind rid itself of war by “waking up determined that we wouldn’t kill..today.” This kind of 12 step program for warmongers - one day at a time denial of our baser instincts - sounds practical but is inevitably doomed to failure. It fails to recognize that not everyone belongs to Warmongers Anonymous and that until they do, it is best to keep one’s powder dry and eyes sharp.

This week’s Cluebat of the Week was not a hard choice. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Spiritual Leader of Hizbullah was a close second last week and takes top honors this week for his continuing cluelessness in the face of an Israeli military action that is systematically stripping his terrorist army of its ability to do the one thing it does extremely well; kill helpless, innocent civilians suddenly and without warning. The Israeli Air Force has destroyed about 40% of the more than 12,000 rockets and missiles he had aimed at women and children. It has gotten so bad for Nasty Nasrallah that his Syrian and Iranian patrones are begging the United States to step in and stop the killing.

Ordinarily, our Presidents and Secretaries of State would jump at the chance to play a little “shuttle diplomacy,” scooting from capitol to capitol in the Arab world while threatening Israel with a cutoff of weapons shipments unless they stopped short of total victory. But George and Condi aren’t playing by the rules, damn them! George is solicitous enough regarding civilian casualties but appears to be fairly relaxed about this whole war thing as Israel strips Hizballah naked before the entire Arab world.

And Condi? It appears she picked a helluva week to develop a fear of flying. While Syria is begging her to fly to Tel Aviv and save Hizballah’s ass, Condi instead has decided on the proverbial slow boat to Damascus, moving like a tortoise against the hare. This has enraged liberals who have a cow if an American President tries to interfere in the internal affairs of any nation on the planet - except those that liberals want him to interfere in. In this case, the left believes that George can call up Israeli PM Olmert and order him around like some kind of recalcitrant schoolboy. This would come as a huge surprise to both men - especially the proud Olmert, who has apparently determined that if the least he can do is buy peace for his people for a couple of years, he will do so regardless of the cost to Israel’s ever shrinking international standing.

But Nasrallah, in the biggest miscalculation of any leader so far in this young century - bigger than Saddam, bigger than John Kerry, bigger even than Stephen Spielberg in making Munich - is now paying for his stupidity. And a lot of dominoes in the Middle East may fall because of it.

So for exhibiting unbelievable cluelessness in starting a war that could lead to his destruction, Hassan Nasrallah is this week’s Cluebat of the Week.

And below, for your viewing pleasure, are 14 more slices of true cluelessness, guaranteed to give you a chuckle or make your jaw drop. Start clicking!

“War is based on deception.”
(Sun Tzu)

“Hey Sunny! You talkin’ about war or politics?”
(Me)
****************************************************

Fred Fry has a redesigned blog but the same old brilliance. He takes down Cluebat Hall of Famer Hillary Clinton for her advocacy of some unnecessary equipment. And check out Fred’s analysis of what our fighting men really need to be effective. First rate stuff.

Fausta has an excellent take on a starry eyed London Times reporter who gives a glowing account of his trip to Cuba. They got chickens and everything!

Tom Bowler has an excellent piece detailing the about face by Senator Voinovich on the nomination of John Bolton for UN Ambassador. What, no tears this time Senator?

Adam Graham has a curious post about a blogger who seems a might confused about who’s running for what in his native Idaho. Now that’s clueless.

Colorado Right points out the cluelessness of scientists regarding global warming predictions. We call global warming a “target rich environment” for stupidity.

From our “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio” department, today’s peace activists should really learn how to draw the peace sign. Cao has one who is apparently dyslexic.

A RETURN OF THE CARNIVAL SATIRE SECTION!

Potfry picked up some notes from unhinged child threatening lefty Deb Frisch’s psychiatrist. Note: Do not drink liquids while reading.

Buckley F. Williams has some sage advice for Joe Lieberman in “Top 9 Things Joe Liebermann Finds Preferable To Bill Clinton’s Campaign Support.”

Vox Poplar has the hilarious “Hezbollah’s-A-Poppin.”

DON’T MISS OUR UNSTABLE STABLE OF CARNIVAL SATIRISTS EVERY WEEK!

Bill Teach has the jaw dropper of the day; the “Pedophile Party” in Holland has just been granted standing to run candidates in elections.

Miriam has some good old fashioned bureaucratic cluelessness that everyone will recognize immediately.

DL at TMH Bacon Bits has some head scratching cluelessness on the part of the left regarding their contention that they are “strong on defense.” Defense of Spotted Owls, maybe…

From our friend Lecentre north of the border, some thoughts on the cluelessness of those who complain about “proportionality” in Israel’s response to aggression.

Here’s my singular contribution to the Glenn Greenwald blog war.

By: Rick Moran at 6:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

WHO WILL “DISARM” HIZBULLAH?

There is a growing realization that the Israeli-Islamist War now well into its second week will not alter the basic realities in the Middle East that led to the conflict in the first place.

After the guns fall silent in Gaza and Lebanon, Hamas will still be leading the Palestinian Authority and far from being chastised, may in fact become more radicalized. President Abbas, trying desperately to broker a cease fire, is finding that his authority does not extend throughout the territories as several armed groups seem hell bent on continuing the fight with Israel:

The Egyptian-initiated plan consists of freeing abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, a joint cease-fire and the cessation of IDF assassinations in the Gaza Strip. The release of Palestinian prisoners would be part of the deal, but come at a later stage.

It is not clear, however, whether the Hamas political leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, would agree to such a deal.

Representatives of several military factions in Gaza denied Saturday reports of a unilateral cease-fire. Palestinian sources stated that they are only willing to accept a joint truce that would include an end to Qassam fire in return for a halt in IDF actions in Gaza.

While continued resistance will result in a further weakening of Hamas in its ability to inflict damage on the Jewish state, the fact is that any respite Israel achieves in its war with the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas will be relatively brief. The Palestinian people have shown no desire to kick Hamas out of power and given time, the terrorists will have the opportunity to regroup and rearm until they once again, pose a grave threat to the security of the Israeli people.

But the Israelis never expected to do anything to Hamas except degrade their ability to harm civilians. Did they expect anything different when going to war against Hizbullah?

Clearly, the Israelis realized that by not only attacking Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut where much of Hizbullah’s infrastructure is located but also by destroying much of the tiny nation’s infrastructure that they would be scrambling Lebanese politics in hopes of getting a political solution to the problem of disarming the terrorists. Under United Nations Resolution 1559, Hizbullah was to be disarmed and the Lebanese government was to reestablish sovereignty over all of Lebanon, including the south where Hizbullah had established a state within a state.

The Israelis believed that by making the war extremely painful for other Lebanese factions - Christian, Druze, Sunnis - that the Lebanese government and their majority of anti-Syrian reform minded politicians would finally take the bull by the horns and take the initiative in disarming the terrorists while sending the Lebanese army to occupy positions in the south formerly held by Hizbullah.

But while little is clear at this point (Lebanese politics being an obtuse study to say the least) the chances of the Lebanese government attempting to disarm Hizbullah after the war appear to be somewhere between slim and none. As I pointed out yesterday, the war has placed Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah in a clearly ascendant position in government - so much so that the terrorists have maneuvered successfully to co-opt the government on everything save negotiating prisoner exchanges. The reason for this is simple; the Lebanese government is just too weak to stand against a determined armed group whose power and popularity grows daily. In fact, Prime Minister Siniora has said that if Israel invades southern Lebanon, he will send the army to fight side by side with Hizbullah, thus further legitimizing Hizbullah “resistance.”

If the Lebanese government will be unable or unwilling to disarm Hizbullah, will the Israelis be able to do it for them? Not hardly. While the IDF will be able to weaken their striking power by substantially reducing the number of rockets and missiles in Hizbullah’s possession as well as making it much more difficult for the terrorists to hit civilian targets by creating a buffer zone in southern Lebanon that would put most of the remaining missiles out of range, the major problem for both Israel and the Lebanese government will remain; who is going to disarm Hizbullah?

For in the end, when the shooting stops and the negotiators are sitting around the table, the fact of the matter is that Hizbullah will still have several thousand armed men whose allegiance to the Lebanese government will be an open question. And believing that Nasrallah can be convinced to give up his guns is a chimera. He will fight before he disarms. His power and the political juice of Hizbullah comes not in their ideas as a political party but out of the barrel of a gun. Without arms, Hizbullah is just a minority party representing a minority faction in Lebanese politics. Those who have watched Hassan Nasrallah since the end of Syrian occupation last year realize that this is something he (and his patrons in Iran and Syria) will never settle for.

Would the United Nations force Hizbullah to give up its arms? Forget for a moment that the UN would have no desire to get into a shooting war with anybody. The sad fact is that the United Nations doesn’t have the capability to force anyone to do anything.

What if an international force was constituted to occupy southern Lebanon as a buffer between Israel and Lebanon? Could they force Hizbullah to give up their arms? On the surface, this may be a promising solution. It may, in fact, be one of the calculi used by Israel as it denudes Lebanon of its infrastructure, making them an international basket case and forcing Europe and the United States to do what the Lebanese government is incapable of doing with regards to Hizbullah’s weapons.

But it is highly unlikely that the French, the Germans, or any NATO country would shed blood in the Middle East for this or any other reason. There doesn’t seem to be the international will to fight a continuous guerrilla war with Hizbullah in order to disarm them.

So the question of who will disarm Hizbullah doesn’t have an answer. Israel can only weaken, not destroy them. And the Israelis will not repeat their occupation of southern Lebanon that cost them so dearly in the 1980’s and 19990’s. The Lebanese government can only deal with Nasrallah in a political sense not as an enemy to be destroyed. That road leads to civil war, something no sane Lebanese wants. The UN is helpless. The international community paralyzed. And the United States does not have the political will at home to fight a never ending war against Hizbullah while we are already struggling in Iraq and Afghanistan with insurgencies.

So Hizbullah will keep its guns. Some deal will be brokered that will please none of the parties. And a few years from now after both Hamas and Hizbullah have had a chance to rest, refit, and rearm, we will probably go through this entire exercise again.

I guess that’s why they call it a “cycle of violence.”

By: Rick Moran at 8:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

7/22/2006
WAR RADIO ALERT: THE “BUNKER BLOGGER” LIVE ON THE AIR

Coming up during the 3:00 PM Central hour, Ric Ottaiano will have the newest blogging sensation on a special edition of Release the Hounds.

Eugene, the new 17-year old Pajamas Media Special Correspondent from Haifa who has become known as “the Bunker Blogger” for his posts from a bomb shelter will be on live with Ric in just a few minutes.

You can access the stream by clicking on the “Listen Live” button on the left sidebar or you can go to the WAR Radio site.

You can call into the show during the broadcast at 1-888-407-1776.

By: Rick Moran at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

NASRALLAH BELIEVES HE’S IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT
CATEGORY: General

In an interview with Al-Jazeera late Thursday night, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made it absolutely clear who was calling the shots in Lebanon - and it isn’t the Lebanese government.

Speaking more like a head of state than the leader of a minority political party and terrorist organization, Nasrallah emphasized that it was Hizbullah that would determine the length and intensity of the conflict with Israel and that the Lebanese government would be allowed to negotiate prisoner exchanges - under the right conditions.

He also threatened prominent Lebanese politicians who have criticized Hizbullah’s unprovoked aggression against Israel and dismissed the negative comments of Arab governments toward him and his organization.

It is clear from the interview that Nasrallah feels Hizbullah is in the ascendancy:

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s interview with Al-Jazeera late Thursday night must have reassured his constituents that his leadership continues to function. At lease that was the impression of several ministers and politicians who saw the interview. These observers said Nasrallah appeared confident that Hizbullah will be triumphant in its fight against Israel. It was seen as perfectly normal for Nasrallah to try and boost the morale of his supporters. Nasrallah claimed Israel’s failure to realize its “overt and covert” goals as a Hizbullah victory.

The government and those parties that disagree with Nasrallah had warned the international community of this possibility, arguing that military operations by Israel would likely strengthen Hizbullah more than weaken it.

It was this reality that explains Nasrallah’s firm resolve while discussing the ongoing clashes with Israel.

While some of Nasrallah’s claims are sheer bluster, there is no doubt that he feels his organization has supplanted the Lebanese government as the final arbiter of war aims and war policy in that he says the military clashes with Israel will continue “for the foreseeable future” and he has outlined the role that the Lebanese government will play in any negotiations:

[B]y agreeing to conduct negotiations through the government (specifically Speaker Nabih Berri), Nasrallah consolidated an agreement made between Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Berri and Hizbullah last week. Nasrallah also said the government was relaying proposals from the international community and that the resistance was commenting on them.

The ministerial sources said that while approving the government’s role, the conditions set by Hizbullah did not allow either the government or Berri a free hand.

Nabi Beri, the Shia Speaker of Parliament and member of the Amal party, is a close ally of Nasrallah. If Prime Minister Siniora recognizes a Hizbullah veto over any proposals for a prisoner exchange that ostensibly would lead to an end to the fighting, this makes Nasrallah (for the moment) the de facto head of government.

And to illustrate this, Nasrallah has called for the release of the longest held Lebanese prisoner in Israel - Samir Qantar - held since he was 17 years old in 1979 for the murder of 3 Israelis including a 4 year old girl. The Israeli government insists it will never release the terrorist. So by making an impossible demand of the Israelis to start with, it is clear that Nasrallah wishes to tie the hands of the government in any prisoner exchange negotiations.

As for criticism of Hizbullah’s actions by other Arab states, Nasrallah dismisses them out of hand:

Nasrallah said he did not care about Arab criticism of Hizbullah. Commenting on the issue, Nasrallah said, “We forgot them as if they [Arab states] do not exist,” and advised the Arabs to “leave us alone.” Some observers said the latter comment had a “harsh and negative” tone.

Perhaps most ominously, he is threatening more moderate Lebanese politicians who have criticized Hizbullah for attacking the Jewish state and taking Lebanon to war without consulting the legitimate government:

Nasrallah said his party would “hold some accountable and forgive others,” in response to MP Saad Hariri’s accusations that “adventurers who banked on the situation in Lebanon will be held accountable.”

The ministerial sources saw in this statement an “open threat without clear consequences.”

Hariri, son of the slain Prime Minister whose assassination galvanized the country into throwing off the yoke of Syrian occupation, is leader of the Future Movement, the largest bloc in Parliament. Other prominent members of FM who have harshly criticized Hizbullah include Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Prime Minister Siniora, a secular Sunni with close ties to the Hariri family.

The assassination of any one of those politicians by Hizbullah would probably result in a civil war. If Nasrallah believes that his militia is in danger of losing their arms, he may think that initiating another civil war would be his only option in maintaining his position. A disarmed Hizbullah would simply be a minor party in Parliament, scrambling for scraps from the table while the larger parties enjoy the feast. It is doubtful, therefore, that he will give up his guns without a fight. It would be best if the international community understand this before establishing any kind of force in southern Lebanon to act as a buffer between Israel and Hizbullah. Not only will the terrorists refuse to give up their guns but they may feel it necessary to fight to regain their positions in southern Lebanon if it comes to that.

One wonders if it will be possible after the war to contain Hizbullah unless they are almost totally destroyed by Israel. But that would take a long time and would probably require a full scale invasion of Lebanon - something the Israelis appear reluctant to do. And with so much of the post-war shape of politics in Lebanon up in the air at the moment, one must also wonder if anything at all of Lebanese democracy can be salvaged from the wreckage that Hizbullah has wrought.

UPDATE

Coming up during the 3:00 PM Central hour, Ric Ottaiano will have the newest blogging sensation on a special edition of Release the Hounds.

Eugene, the new 17-year old Pajamas Media Special Correspondent from Haifa who has become known as “the Bunker Blogger” for his posts from a bomb shelter will be on live with Ric in just a few minutes.

You can access the stream by clicking on the “Listen Live” button on the left sidebar or you can go to the WAR Radio site.

You can call into the show during the broadcast at 1-888-407-1776.

UPDATE

I would like to register a complaint about my accomodations at the Lubyanka. While awaiting my trial,, the food served here isn’t fit for a pig, much less an enemy of the state. And one of my KGB guards smells like a wet dog. Not only that, he keeps whistling The Internationale off key. And to top it all off, my lawyer is now ensconced in the cell next to me and will have trouble defending himself much less anyone else.

I’d register a formal complaint but I don’t have anything to write with and I must save my toilet paper for emergencies. All I ask is that you put me out of my misery soon.

By: Rick Moran at 8:03 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

7/21/2006
A LAZY FRIDAY AFTERNOON MILLENNIAL INTERLUDE
CATEGORY: History

Pat Curley had a great idea for a lazy summer’s day; compile a list of the 10 Most Influential Human Beings of the Second Millennium:

A friend asked me to put together a list of the ten most influential people from 1000 AD to 2000 AD. They did not themselves have to live in the second millennium, just have influence. Here’s my list:

1. Jesus Christ
2. Galileo
3. Sir Isaac Newton
4. George Washington
5. Napoleon
6. Karl Marx
7. Adam Smith
8. Aristotle
9. Muhammad
10. John Locke

I love these kind of thought experiments for a variety of reasons. First, no matter who you come up with, someone is going to get mad at you for leaving out one of their favorites. And since Glenn Greenwald is ignoring me lately, I miss having people mad at me.

Secondly, it makes you think and (depending how much beer you’ve drunk or Oaxacan ditch weed you’ve inhaled) your writing takes on the patina of profundity; reason enough for any blogger to jump at the chance of sounding, well, smart.

Finally, what else is there to blog about on a Friday afternoon? There are only so many posts you can do about what you believe is happening in the Middle East. Or what a douchebag Glenn Greenwald is. Or how badly the Republicans are screwing things up. Or what a bunch of poopy heads the Democrats are.

Obviously, I need a little more of that ditch weed. Fire up that bowl!

Okay, here is my list of the 10 Most Influential Human Beings of the Second Millennium:

1. Johann Gutenberg
2. Martin Luther
3. Isaac Newton
4. Galileo
5. Mao Zedong
6. Muhammad
7. Napoleon
8. James Madison
9. Karl Marx
10. Albert Einstein

Honorable Mention: George Washington, Adam Smith, James Clerk Maxwell, William Shakespeare, Robert Goddard.

A couple of notes before you rip me to shreds.

First, there is a difference between most popular and most influential. The popularity of Jesus Christ may have been profound but judging by the bloodletting on the planet in the 20th century alone, one would have to sadly relegate him to the second tier because his influence on world events (his teachings) was not that great.

You’ll notice there are 4 scientists in my top 15. The reason is simple; the modern world would not be possible without Newton, Galileo, Maxwell, or Goddard. We’d still be living in mud huts and flinging pig feces at each other if those gentlemen hadn’t made their illuminating contributions to our general knowledge of How Things Work.

Here now is where I justify my picks (and enrage you further):

1. Gutenberg. No Johann, no mass literacy. No mass literacy, no protestant reformation. No reformation, we’re still buying indulgences and the finger bones of St. Peter.

2. Martin Luther. With many of my choices, one can make a strong argument that “if not this guy, then someone else.” Indeed, this entire exercise would be dismissed out of hand by most historians for that reason. They tend to downplay the role of individuals and singular events in history preferring to look at the vast and powerful undercurrents that drive history forward. Their reasoning goes something like this: There was a need for reformation ergo if not Luther, someone else would have taken on the Roman church.

There may be something to that. But the romantic in me doesn’t buy it. Luther’s towering intellect and tortured personality as well as a divinely inspired logic swept Europe off its feet and led directly to the formation of independent nation states. When historians find someone else living at that time or even a few decades later who could have done what Luther did, then I’ll buy their relativistic view of history.

3. Newton, enemy of everyone condemned to take integral calculus in order to get a degree (he was one of the inventors of it), not only contributed to our understanding of the universe, his theories on optics and light made much of modern technology possible.

4. Galileo. Only because he may have been the smartest human who ever lived. We still find him looking over our shoulder when we turn around.

5. Mao. Ranked higher than Marx because his teachings influenced about 3 times as many people. And he may be the greatest mass murderer in history. And his influence in China (and leftist moonbats here and in Europe) is still being felt today. And also because he was something of a military genius. That enough for ya?

6. Muhammad. Not only his teachings but the fact that he conquered most of Arabia.

7. Napoleon. Hard to overstate his impact on Europe and the world in the 19th century. Can’t get more influential as the fall out from his life and career carries through to today.

8. Karl Marx. 40-60 million dead as a result of his ideas. And that’s not counting people who died in wars of “national liberation.” That’s the body count from domestic upheavals in countries where communism was imposed.

9. James Madison. Wrote the Constitution of the United States. Nuff said.

10. Einstein. His contributions may have been more in the theoretical than the practical sphere of science except for one, small exception; the atomic bomb.

Honorable mentions are pretty self explanatory. Washington invented the Presidency of the United States as well as keeping the country from flying apart the first 8 years of its existence. Adam Smith didn’t invent capitalism but he explained it so well his writings still influence people today. Maxwell’s equations are the reason you can read this on your computer - they made every modern device from radio to Diebold voting machines possible. I put Shakespeare in there because of his profound influence on the spoken words of everyday people. And if you look inside the rockets that power the Shuttle, you’ll still see Robert Goddard’s basic design.

Okay - have at me. Check back often as I skewer your choices with my perspicacious wit and devastating logic. Or, I may get lazy this weekend and ignore you.

At any rate…have fun!

By: Rick Moran at 4:01 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (28)

SITE DOWN - WORLD ALMOST ENDS
CATEGORY: Blogging

It was a close one.

The universe hung in the balance there for a little while as my site was down from 5:15 AM - 10:50 AM central time this morning. I understand that there were several mass suicides and not a few riots (especially in Bangkok where the sex trade depends heavily on my site judging from the number of Google searches that end up here for “gay boy massages”). But all is well now. God is in his heaven. The universe is still spinning counterclockwise. And Glenn Greenwald is still a douchebag.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

By: Rick Moran at 1:36 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

LEBANON’S AGONY
CATEGORY: Middle East

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

When Hizballah launched their unprovoked attack on the Jewish State 9 days ago from southern Lebanon, they very well may have destroyed any hope for democracy to take root in the tiny country for the foreseeable future. Responding as they felt they must, Israel may also be contributing to the hopelessness that Lebanese democrats must be feeling at this point as those who struggled over the last year at great risk to their personal safety are watching as their efforts literally go up in fire and smoke.

Fragile as Lebanon’s budding democracy was, it nevertheless was making progress over the last few months in sorting out the tangle of issues which stood in the way of genuine democratic reform. All they needed was time and perhaps some international pressure on Iran and Syria to compel Hizballah to comply with United Nations Resolution 1559 which among other things called for the disarming of all armed groups and the establishment of “sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon.”

This was easier said than done. Syria’s meddling in the Presidential election of 2004 in Lebanon led to the passage of a constitutional amendment extending President Emile Lahoud’s term of office until 2007. This and the assassination of the beloved ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Valentines Day 2004 and the widespread belief that Syria was responsible galvanized the nation as the Lebanese people rose up almost en masse to throw off the yoke of their Syrian occupiers. As inspiring an event the “Cedar Revolution” was to the eyes of the world, the country’s leaders knew full well that that the hard part was yet to come. Kicking the Syrian secret police out of Beirut was one thing; cobbling together a coalition that could govern their fractious society was quite another.

But the effort would be made nonetheless. Led by men like Said Hariri, son of the slain leader, the old Druze warlord Walid Jumblatt, current Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, and ex-President Amin Gemayel, a kind of council of wise men was constituted by Parliament. Calling itself The National Dialogue, these Lebanese patriots were joined by some who may not have had Lebanon’s national interests at the forefront of their concerns. Hizballah’s “Spiritual Leader” Hassan Nasrallah led this group along with the Amal (Shia) Speaker of the House Nabi Beri and the larger than life personality of ex-President and Maronite Michel Auon. The Hizballah-Amal alliance was causing problems thanks to their dual loyalties, seeing Syria as a patron and paymaster. And Aoun stood aloof from the March 14th Forces (the Future Movement) that coalesced in the aftermath of the Hariri assassination and carried off a stunning victory at the polls last summer due to his personal ambition to replace President Lahoud.

This diverse, quarrelsome group nearly collapsed into chaos several times over the intervening months as one faction or another felt slighted or thought that their concerns were being given short shrift. In the end however, they managed to find consensus on several pressing issues including normalizing relations with Syria (contingent on the United Nations completing its investigation into the Hariri assassination) and disarming the Palestinian militias outside of the refugee camps.

These were not insignificant achievements given the circumstances of Syrian influence and the personal ambitions and agendas of some of the participants. There was even agreement that President Emile Lahoud should be replaced. But the Future Movement, fearing General Aoun’s rank sectarianism, refused to back him. And in one of the more cynical political moves in his career, Aoun then made a deal with Hizballah stipulating that Hizballah disarmament be discussed “within the framework of a national dialogue” and contingent on the liberation of the Shebaa Farms (claimed by Israel, Lebanon, and Syria) and the release of Hizballah prisoners from Israeli jails. This basically left the sticky issue of Hizballah disarmament up in the air for the foreseeable future. No possible agreement on Shebaa could be made with Syria until relations were normalized. And the problem with freeing Hizballah terrorists from Israeli jails wasn’t even addressed.

But despite the problems, the National Dialogue was proving that it had the ability to discuss the thorniest issues in Lebanese society. Could they ever have come to an agreement about Hizballah’s arms? Could they have reformed the electoral laws to make Lebanese politics more representative, more democratic? Could they have dealt with the issue regarding the thousands of Syrian collaborators during the occupation?

It appears now, we’ll never know. And the Israelis, enduring constant rocket attacks from Hizballah positions in southern Lebanon on civilians as well as the final straw of an attack on their armed forces, may have finally calculated that the Lebanese government was incapable of coming to an agreement with Nasrallah and decided to act in their own security interests and the devil take Lebanese democracy.

For make no mistake. The Israelis know exactly what they’re doing when they bomb Lebanon’s power grid, roads, bridges, water mains, gas works, and other infrastructure in the country. They are making Lebanon an international basket case, forcing the world to help them deal with Hizballah’s threat to the Jewish state. If published reports are true, the Israelis expect to establish a “buffer zone” in southern Lebanon occupied by an international force in order to keep Hizballah from re-occupying positions the IDF has driven the terrorists and their infernal rockets from.

How Lebanon’s internal political situation shakes out in the aftermath of the fighting does not apparently concern the Israelis as much as degrading Hizballahs ability to kill their citizens. While this may sound simplistic, it also makes perfect sense for a state confronted as Israel is with threats to its very existence. Security first must be their ultimate goal when the knife’s edge is held at their throats by people sworn to wipe them off the planet.

But this does Lebanon no good. Israel’s attacks have scrambled the political landscape beyond recognition as it is now unknown how Hizballah will be seen by most of the Lebanese. Will they be seen as heroic fighters against the even more hated enemy Israel? Or will enough Lebanese be angry at Nasrallah for starting the conflict that is now destroying their fragile economy and setting back the democratic process indefinitely?

One thing is clear. Hizballah will still have their guns after the dust settles. Nasrallah cannot make any peace that disarms his fighters and maintain his political position. And the international community will probably not do anything to enforce Resolution 1559 in its entirety since no one wants to get in a shooting war with Hizballah. So Israel will have its buffer. The international community will pat itself on the back for making “peace.”

And Lebanon will still be in agony.

In an emotionally charged speech to the Lebanese people last Saturday, Prime Minister Siniora begged the international community for help during this most trying of times for his country. He ended the speech tearfully saying Loubnan sa yabka, Loubnan sa yabka! (Lebanon is here to stay!)

One can only hope that the Prime Minister is talking about Lebanese democracy as well.

By: Rick Moran at 1:12 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

7/20/2006
THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN: BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL EDITION

Attention K-Mart shoppers! Two for one! Two For One! Get ‘em while they last!

That’s right, in keeping with my recent dereliction of duty when it comes to updating y’all on the goings on with the Watchers Council, I am once again forced by circumstance and by virtue of my utter and complete laziness to post the last two Watchers Council results.

Here, for your edification and amusement, are the results from 7/7:

Council Posts

1. The Wild, Wild West(ern Europe) by Gates of Vienna

2. A 5 way tie for second! Unprecedented! Unheard of! It was me,, Joshuapundit, New World Man, Done with Mirrors, and The Glittering Eye.

Non Council Posts

1. “Declaration of Independence: A Fisking” by Outside the Beltway.

2. “Sometimes Even the Good Ones Lose Their Way” by Shape of Days.

Results for Week Ending 7/14

Council Posts

1. Bleeding Iraq by me.

2. Rant Control by Done with Mirrors.

Non Council Posts

1. Singing Out of the Flock by Iraq the Model.

2. Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Puppies of War by Asia Times Online

If you would like to participate in the weekly Watchers Council vote, go here and follow instructions.

And if you’re a blogger and interested in joining the Council, a seat has opened up with the retirement of one the Council’s stars. Dr. Sanity will be stepping down to write a book. She will be missed by everyone for her extraordinary insights into humanity and her scathing critiques of leftist thought.

What I won’t miss about her is the fact that she beat the tar out of me week after week on the Council votes for best post. Just kidding of course. Most of those weeks she beat me out, I voted for her post as one of the best. She has a remarkable gift and I’m sure her book will be a great success.

If you’re interested in joining the Council, go here and follow instructions.

By: Rick Moran at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)