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3/21/2011
OUTLOOK ON LIBYA

My latest is up at FrontPage.com and its about what Micah Zenko at Foreign Policy.com, placing the major problem with our Libya intervention directly on the horns of the dilemma, writes “[E]veryone who supports this maximalist objective [regime change] has approved only minimalist tactics.”

A sample:

In fact, the only way to “protect civilians” in Libya will be to create a physical buffer between Gaddafi’s army and innocent civilians who may be targeted in any post-civil war crackdown. No-fly zones and bombing alone won’t be effective against the kind of brutality already shown by the Libyan leader, as his forces have moved back into towns and cities that were once occupied by the rebels.

Strategy Page reports that, as the army recaptures these areas, foreign mercenaries move in and begin a systematic cleansing of opposition to the regime. It is unknown how many Libyans have already been killed, but the promise from Gaddafi to “show no mercy” to residents in Benghazi who oppose him gives us a taste of what would be in store for the Libyan people unless the dictator is dethroned.

Zenko argues that the UN strategy is “playing directly into Gaddafi’s hands” because the Libyan dictator doesn’t need his air force to defeat the rebels in Benghazi and he needn’t worry about a UN-led ground force moving in and assisting the opposition. Early reports suggest that the coalition has had some success in halting the offensive of Gaddafi-loyalists on Benghazi, and the rebels have resumed an advance on a key junction 60 miles from the unofficial rebel capital.

But trouble is brewing within the rickety coalition of Western nations and Arab governments. Amr Moussa, former chairman of the Arab League, issued a statement decrying the deaths of civilians as a result of the bombing, saying, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.” He has called for a meeting of the Arab League on Monday to discuss the matter.

The administration is apparently hanging its hopes on the idea that Gaddafi’s inner circle will become so terrified of what the UN will do to them that they will take it upon themselves to overthrow the dictator and surrender.

On what planet this notion was hatched, I have no idea but it was nowhere near our solar system.

Why should they take the chance of certain death if they fail when there is no chance that any UN troops will enter the country to depose the regime? Eventually, Obama is going to have to go it alone with France and Great Britain holding our horse as we threaten ground action. Same thing happened in Kosovo. There will be no UN resolution authorizing ground troops, and the Arabs will issue their own condemnation of any unilateral western action.  Obama will be faced with the stark choice of leaving Gaddafi in power to slaughter his own people (there’s no way any UN buffer force can protect the Libyan people), or going in and taking him out without international approval.

Will Obama risk the political fallout of failure? With an election year coming up, not a chance.

By: Rick Moran at 9:23 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/18/2011
FINALLY - ACTION AGAINST LIBYA

My latest at FrontPage.com is up and it’s about the UN action taken yesterday authorizing military action against Gaddafi.

A sample:

At a contentious G-8 meeting on Monday in Paris, Clinton was reduced to a sideline observer as diplomats tried to hash out a course of action on Libya. Repeated urgings from participants for a stronger U.S. response in the near term was met with silence from the U.S. Secretary of State. One diplomat told Foreign Policy Magazine, “Frankly we are just completely puzzled,” the diplomat said. “We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States.” Later, in a private meeting with President Sarkozy, Mrs. Clinton could only say repeatedly that “there are difficulties,” when queried about a stronger U.S. response. It is unclear whether she was referring to difficulties caused by Russia at the UN or difficulties at the White House with getting Obama to make a decision.

Indeed, a Clinton “insider” told Joshua Hersh of The Daily that Mrs. Clinton was “fed up” with “a president who couldn’t make up his mind,” and was looking for a way out. Clinton told Wolf Blitzer that she had no desire to serve in a second Obama administration, nor did she express interest in running for president again. The source described to Hersh the Obama foreign policy shop, saying, “It’s amateur night,” and that Clinton had grown tired of the administration’s waffling. She had opened the State Department to the former staff at the Libyan embassy, giving them an office and worked hard to get the Arab League to back the no-fly zone.

And yet, by Wednesday afternoon, the administration had completely abandoned its previous somnolent stance on Libya, and came out strongly at the United Nations for a no-fly zone and what is being referred to as a “no-drive zone” to prevent Gaddafi’s tanks and armored personnel carriers from attacking the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Both actions will involve air strikes. And given the nature of the battle zone, only precision weapons and stealth technology will be effective against Gaddafi’s forces while sparing the civilian population as much as possible. That means that the burden for any military action will necessarily fall on America.

The obvious question is, what had happened in the 48 hours between the G-8 meeting on Monday and the administration’s flip-flop on Wednesday?

The answer is a massive counterattack by pro-Gaddafi forces over the past 10 days that now threatens the rebels’ hold on their unofficial capital city of Benghaizi.

Read the whole thing.

By: Rick Moran at 7:57 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/15/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: JAPAN: A RISING OR SETTING SUN?

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, Tom Lifson of the American Thinker, and Monica Showalter of Investors Business Daily. We’ll look at the situation in Japan and discuss the politics of nuclear power in this country.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/11/2011
‘ATTENTION: THE FOLLOWING DISASTER IS BEING RECORDED’

In my youth, it was popular to say, “The revolution will be televised.” At that time, it seemed magical that we could witness unrest in countries from around the globe almost in real time, not to mention videotape of riots and demonstrations here in the states.

The technology of recording video at the time was laughably primitive. The professional grade video recording equipment may have been “portable” in the grossest sense of the word, but it was still bulky and was awkward to handle. More importantly, home videotape recording equipment was in its infancy and few thought to walk around with a video camera hoping to catch history as it happened.

Perhaps the shocking video of Rodney King being beaten by LA police officers was a seminal moment in history. It was purely by accident that a citizen witnessed the confrontation, was able to grab his home video camera, and in just a few minutes of recording, impact politics, race relations, and history itself in such a way. People still weren’t walking around town and putting themselves in position to capture the moment as it happened. But the potential to do so was there when technology would be able to catch up with history.

Welcome to the future. As we sit glued to our TV’s watching the disaster unfold in Japan and elsewhere, I am struck by the quantity and quality of video that is streaming on TV networks, websites, and an iPhone near you. Truly remarkable, frightening, wrenching images all brought to us largely by cellphone and flip cameras so small they can fit in your shirt pocket.

No one consciously walks around waiting for history to unfold so they can record it. People turn from being spectators of history to chronicling events in the blink of an eye. It is one of the most remarkable, consequential, and, in the end, frightening developments in my lifetime. Historians 500 years from now will be reviewing videos of the various uprisings, disasters, accidents, and probably the foolishness that has been and will be recorded by the omnipresent, all seeing eye of the video camera. It will give them background and context to events that historians from generations prior to the advent of this technology were denied. Will it color their findings in any way? I wonder.

You might ask why this is frightening? The ubiquitousness of this technology when combined with the human frailties inbred in all of us, threatens our personal space in a way that no other technological development in history has been able to do. Government has sophisticated surveillance devices that could easily threaten our privacy if the microphone would be pointed our way. But it is unlikely that the Justice Department would post any videos of you committing crimes (or no) to YouTube, U-Stream, or other video sharing sites. However, your nosy neighbor could take a stealth video of you sunning nude in your backyard and it could go viral before the day was out.

Other, more sinister uses for this great leap forward in telecommunications could easily be imagined. The only thing that constrains the misuse of this technology is the individual’s personal ethics. As usual, the law is behind the curve in catching up to the impact of new technology on our liberty. But since this is, in a very real sense, personal technology and thus, an extension of our own freedom, how can the law deal with the use of private video recordings violating the personal space of someone without impinging on rights like freedom of expression? There are already laws on the books that prohibit some violations of our personal space, but not everything can be foreseen when writing such laws and it is possible that some scenarios would slip through the cracks.

Perhaps it would be helpful to redefine privacy. In an age when your neighbor is as much of a threat to your privacy as the government, we may need broader definitions of what personal space is. This would cover not only cell phone cameras but also security cameras. red light cameras, and other surveillance devices that are proliferating at an alarming rate in cities around the world. It’s bad enough that the state can mail you a ticket for running a red light. But surveilling citizens who have done nothing wrong and present no evidence that they are about to do wrong throws the entire notion of innocent until proven guilty, not to mention “just cause” on its head.

At some point, a clarifying moment will occur and we’ll have a serious discussion of these and other issues regarding the right to privacy. If we are going to err - and that is very likely considering we are all human and prone to it - we should err on the side of more privacy and less intrusion. That goes for both the gargantuan state using awesome technologies to watch our every move and our nosy neighbor armed with a flip camera.

By: Rick Moran at 11:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/9/2011
KING HYSTERIA GRIPS THE LEFT

Reading commentary from liberals and Muslim groups like CAIR on the King hearings regarding the radicalization of Muslims in America, one is shocked by the over the top, exaggerated, hysterical rhetoric being used to describe it.

It’s “McCarthyism.” It’s “Islamophobia.” It’s Hitlerian, bigoted, racist - it’s every hand wringing, frothing at the mouth adjective you care to use to describe an effort to discover why young Muslim American men have traveled to Pakistan or other countries to receive terrorist training from al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups — and why some of them have turned to violent jihad.

Counter arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny, as I point out in my latest article at FrontPage.com:

In fact, the list of radicalized, home-grown terrorists is a long one. The question isn’t why we are looking at the problem, but why anyone in their right mind would oppose the effort in the first place?

The attacks on Rep. King are as vicious as they are unfair. The New York Times, in an editorial dripping with self-righteousness, blatantly calls him a bigot. Says the Times: ”His refusal to tone down the provocation despite widespread opposition suggests that he is far more interested in exploiting ethnic misunderstanding than in trying to heal it.”

In fact, the Times won’t even grant King the benefit of the doubt regarding any radicalization of Muslims in America. It editorializes, “Mr. King, a Republican whose district is centered in Nassau County on Long Island, says the hearings will examine the supposed radicalization of American Muslims.”

The “supposed” radicalization of American Muslims? This is the CAIR position lock, stock, and barrel. The unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial promote the idea that Americans mistake extremists for devout Muslims and that preaching jihad against the West doesn’t necessarily mean that violence is being promoted. Any effort to say otherwise is met with cries of “Islamophobia” or “racism.”

In an article in the New York Daily News on February 28, CAIR accused King of all sorts of vile offenses, including “hold[ing] hearings on the alleged ‘radicalization’ of American Muslims” and lying about the lack of cooperation between the Muslim community and law enforcement when it comes to terrorism investigations.

Despite CAIR’s caterwauling, police and federal agents confirm King’s assertion. A New York Daily News article quoted local and federal law enforcement officials declaring that King was right about the lack of cooperation from Muslims in terror investigations, although they also point to similar attitudes toward tipping police from other ethnic communities. The point being, CAIR is wrong and they know it. Their goal is not to improve communication between Muslims and the FBI, but rather to stoke the flames of distrust so that their people see a greater need for a “Muslim civil rights group” to protect them from the police and the Feds.

What marks the rhetoric of the left as they seek to bury King (who has done himself no favors by playing fast and loose with some of the facts), is the blizzard of straw men they set up portraying King in the most unflattering ways, and then heroically knocking them down, cheering themselves all the way.

One day, I’d like to have an argument with a lefty where Eugene McCarthy and Adolf Hitler don’t make an appearance.

By: Rick Moran at 10:12 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/8/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: POLITICAL POTPOURRI

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, Doug Mataconis of Below the Beltway, and Jeff Dunetz of Yid with a Lid to discuss several topics making news today.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/5/2011
THE TURN OF THE SAUDIS
CATEGORY: PJ Tatler, Politics

Another Tatler post for you, this time on the paralyzing thought that the Arab revolution is about to break out in Saudi Arabia:

The turn of the Saudis

Coming to a nightmare near you; a Shia revolt in Saudi Arabia. A “Day of Rage” is scheduled in the Kingdom for next Friday and the Saudis are mobilizing 10,000 security troops to deal with it.

The UK Independent:

Although desperate to avoid any outside news of the extent of the protests spreading, Saudi security officials have known for more than a month that the revolt of Shia Muslims in the tiny island of Bahrain was expected to spread to Saudi Arabia. Within the Saudi kingdom, thousands of emails and Facebook messages have encouraged Saudi Sunni Muslims to join the planned demonstrations across the “conservative” and highly corrupt kingdom. They suggest – and this idea is clearly co-ordinated – that during confrontations with armed police or the army next Friday, Saudi women should be placed among the front ranks of the protesters to dissuade the Saudi security forces from opening fire.

If the Saudi royal family decides to use maximum violence against demonstrators, US President Barack Obama will be confronted by one of the most sensitive Middle East decisions of his administration. In Egypt, he only supported the demonstrators after the police used unrestrained firepower against protesters. But in Saudi Arabia – supposedly a “key ally” of the US and one of the world’s principal oil producers – he will be loath to protect the innocent.

So far, the Saudi authorities have tried to dissuade their own people from supporting the 11 March demonstrations on the grounds that many protesters are “Iraqis and Iranians”. It’s the same old story used by Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt and Bouteflika of Algeria and Saleh of Yemen and the al-Khalifas of Bahrain: “foreign hands” are behind every democratic insurrection in the Middle East.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr Obama will be gritting their teeth next Friday in the hope that either the protesters appear in small numbers or that the Saudis “restrain” their cops and security; history suggests this is unlikely. When Saudi academics have in the past merely called for reforms, they have been harassed or arrested. King Abdullah, albeit a very old man, does not brook rebel lords or restive serfs telling him to make concessions to youth. His £27bn bribe of improved education and housing subsidies is unlikely to meet their demands.

An indication of the seriousness of the revolt against the Saudi royal family comes in its chosen title: Hunayn. This is a valley near Mecca, the scene of one of the last major battles of the Prophet Mohamed against a confederation of Bedouins in AD630. The Prophet won a tight victory after his men were fearful of their opponents.

Iran is having a field day in the Gulf – unrestrained by any fear of reprisals by Obama or the west for their fomenting revolt, they merrily stir the pot of resentment and hatred by Shias for the dominate Sunni governments in the region.

If Saudi Arabia is vulnerable to real destabilization, the west’s supply of crude oil is at risk. That means the spike in oil prices we witnessed this past week might be seen in a month or so as “the good old days” when oil was at $100 bbl.

By: Rick Moran at 6:17 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/4/2011
CONFIRMED: MEN WHO LEER AT WOMEN’S CHESTS ARE HEALTHIER (Updated: A Hoax)
CATEGORY: General

No, I’m not sex obsessed - lately anyway. It’s just that these last two blog posts just sort of happened.

This one is on The Tatler:

Confirmed: Men who leer at women’s chests are healthier

Not that most of us males need any encouragement.

Guys, listen up. A study says it is actually healthy to stare at a woman’s breasts.

Five-hundred men participated in the German study. Half were told to refrain from looking at breasts for five years, the other half were told to ogle them daily.

The study found the men who stared at breasts more often showed lower rates of heart problems, a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

The authors of the study recommend that men stare at breasts for 10 minutes a day.

First of all, I would question the sanity of those men who refrained from ogling bodacious ta-ta’s for 5 years. Five years? Whatever possessed those men to deny themselves one of life’s simple, albeit naughty pleasures? The money must have been spectacular.

Then again, is there a man out there who actually believes they honestly followed the parameters of the study? The poor guys probably got elevated blood pressure and a higher heart rate worrying about breaking the rules. Everytime some well-formed female passed them on the street, the fight to control their natural urge to ogle no doubt almost gave them a heart attack.

Imagine the lascivious joy of the other group, however. They had permission to do something that if most of us, if tried in broad daylight, would get us whopped upside the head by our wives. “Sorry honey, but in the name of science, sacrifices have to be made.” My Zsu-Zsu would not understand, nor would most women I imagine.

Don’t tell your wife, but you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure by walking 20 minutes a day. Not as fun, I’ll admit, as admiring nature’s handiwork on the female form, but at least you avoid the whop upside the head.

UPDATE:

Well, egg on the face has its pluses; you don’t have to go far to find breakfast in the morning.

From Snopes:

Watching busty females may indeed be good for a man’s health and add years to his life (by giving him something to look forward to, if nothing else), but men who want to make the case for engaging in this behavior to their wives or girlfriends will have to do so without relying on the imprimatur of the medical community. The article referred to above was not printed in The New England Journal of Medicine or any other major medical journal. It is, in fact, a slight reworking of a piece that has run on at least two occasions in that celebrated tabloid Fountain of Truth, the Weekly World News (13 May 1997 and 21 March 2000) and has escaped into the wild. Although the Weekly World News occasionally slips up and prints a true story, we suspect this one belongs in the “HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG WORSHIPS SATAN!” and “NEW REMOTE-CONTROL DEVICE GIVES WOMEN ORGASMS — AT UP TO 80 YARDS AWAY!” class.

One more example of “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”

Apologies for getting your hopes up, guys.

By: Rick Moran at 5:07 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/3/2011
MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR SEX TOYS
CATEGORY: Ethics

I sometimes surprise myself with my prurient attitudes. After all, my formative years were spent being terrorized by the Sisters of Mercy whose beliefs regarding human sexuality in pre-teens bordered on the pathological. Fundamentalist Muslims had nothing on the good sisters as far as separation of the sexes, and attitudes toward boy-girl romance is concerned, and the resulting fear of God they instilled in all of us about sex in general should have scarred me for life.

Thankfully, there was Playboy to save me. That, and the gradual realization that it wouldn’t fall off if I did it by myself, nor would a bolt of lightening strike me down if I tried to cop a feel from some particularly well-endowed high school hottie.

There were some anxious moments in college when my sexual inexperience and admitted hang ups about sex before marriage mystified the first few women I dated. But nature eventually triumphed - as did reason and rationality as I abandoned my Catholic faith - and I have been a happily, mal-adjusted, perpetual adolescent in my sexual attitudes just like any other red blooded American male since.

I don’t exactly possess the burning passion of the born again free love advocate, but I roll my eyes and look in askance when puritanism rears its ugly head to spoil everyone’s good time. Such is the case at Northwestern University where a popular professor’s Human Sexuality class were treated to an after-lecture bit of fun that made me wish I could go to college all over again:

Northwestern students and administrators are defending an explicit after-class demonstration involving a woman being publicly penetrated by a sex toy on stage in the popular Human Sexuality course last week.

The optional presentation last Monday, attended by about 120 students, featured a naked non-student woman being repeatedly sexually stimulated to the point of orgasm by the sex toy, referred to as a “fucksaw.” The device is essentially a motorized phallus.

The 600-person course, taught by psychology Prof. John Michael Bailey, is one of the largest at NU. The after-class events, which range from a question-and-answer session with swingers to a panel of convicted sex offenders, are a popular feature of the class. But they’re optional and none of the material is included on exams.

Last Wednesday, Bailey devoted six minutes of his lecture to addressing mounting controversy regarding the incident and articulating his educational intent. He told the class he feared the demonstration would impact the after-class events, which are sponsored by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and he explained the educational purpose of the events.

“I think that these after-class events are quite valuable. Why? One reason is that I think it helps us understand sexual diversity,” he said, according to an audio file obtained by The Daily.

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but watching naked people on stage doing pleasurable things will never hurt you,” he said to loud applause at the end of his speech.

Bailey declined to comment for this article due to class preparations that he said last until Friday.

Chicago sex tour guide Ken Melvoin-Berg, who operated the device, emphasized the instructional value of the hour-long session, which also included a question-and-answer period.

“Talking about it doesn’t always lend itself to this sort of thing,” Melvoin-Berg said. “We’re not just talking about it. We’re actually doing it.”

Reading this, I am struck by the fact that every single person who attended the “demonstration” could watch even more risque and explicit demonstrations of how the toy worked on the internet. Thousands of free sites devoted to the subject are available with a click of the mouse. The idea that this would be controversial is a little mystifying when you think about it.

Wisely, the administration ruled immediately that the after class demonstration was a question of academic freedom and they wouldn’t intervene. In fact, given that the lecture was completely voluntary and that students were warned several times before the demonstration began that it would be “intense,” one wonders what all the hub-bub is about.

The educational value of such a “demonstration” is, like all other experiences at college, up for debate. A case can be made that many college age women would benefit from seeing another women reach the “Big O” since about 10% of all women have never experienced it. There is also value for men and women to see how a loving couple shares such intimacy (although how “intimate” they can be while 200 pairs of eyes are on them might stretch the point a little). Also, given that most men believe that foreplay is a dirty word, the idea that seeing a couple share love and intimacy without sexual intercourse might be a boon to women.

If the purpose of the class was to discuss all aspects and mysteries regarding human sexuality, Bailey was well within the boundaries set by the curricula in arranging this voluntary demonstration. With 58% of women reporting dissatisfaction in their sex lives and 36% of men, a little information and live demonstration shouldn’t hurt in improving those figures.

The key, as the therapists tell us, to a satisfying sexual life is partner communication. If the demonstration did anything, it got the kids talking. Helping to remove the restraints in sexual communications is enough of a justification for this unusual “lecture” to be conducted on most college campuses.

As far as I can determine, there were no complaints registered by anyone about the demonstration, although the article mentions “offended parties.” The question then becomes why is it “controversial?” Even the representative of a Christian group on campus was blasé about it:

“Personally, I probably wouldn’t want to witness that, but a student can take or not take the course,” said Christine Woo, a member of NU’s Christians on Campus chapter. “It’s their choice.”

The chances are some NU parents heard about it and may have become upset. But given that attendance was entirely voluntary and that nothing discussed or seen would be subject to an exam, it would seem that anyone who objected to the demonstration either was unaware of the conditions or is uncomfortable with the idea of any sexual activity happening on campus.

Can’t wait for the video…

By: Rick Moran at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

3/1/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: WISCONSIN SHOWDOWN

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, American Thinker’s News Editor Ed Lasky, and AT contributor Elise Cooper for a discussion of public unions in America. We’ll also look at the budget maneuvering on Capitol Hill.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)