Thursday, July 31, 2008
It's the penultimate book in the series although the last book, The Deathly Hallows, is apparently to be broken into two parts for its appearance on the big screen.
I didn't take to the Potter tales when they first came out, and I ignored the films for some time too. In a way I'm glad that I did- I was able to read them all basically one after the other. They really are nicely written, the world is well developed and Harry, Ron, Hermione are great characters- along with a brilliant supporting cast. I've got to say that I'm pleased with the film adaptations too- and I'm very much looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen. So, after all that, here's the first trailer for Half-Blood Prince.
The Iraqi Interior Minister, on the other hand, made the time to go visit wounded servicemen at Walter Reed where he had this to say-
Jawad al-Bulani told reporters that he wanted to convey his country’s “gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these great warrior-soldiers, in the freeing of the Iraqi people and in helping us in Iraq to recover from tyranny and dictatorship.”
Bulani also praised U.S. servicemembers’ families, noting their sacrifices are equally important and appreciated by his nation.
So the Iraqi minister refers to freeing the Iraqi people while visiting wounded US servicemen- but the man who wants to be President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief blows off the troops and slanders their sacrifice and their honour by calling them occupiers rather than liberators.
Which one sounds like he respects the US Armed Forces more?
Perhaps someone needs to remind Obama that words do matter- and that he will be judged on his deeds.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
When I was in New York last year, one of the American presidential candidates told me, ‘I wish to advance in this country the very statements that you make there.’ And when I asked him why, he said that people here like these words. Your words resonate here and people embrace them. Today the heart of the whole world is with us.
Now, as he points out,we shouldn't accept everything that this guy says- but one has to wonder why he would mention it?
Anyway, I Googled his NY visit and, lo and behold, Obama was in New York City at the same time.
Coincidence? Would Obama really have met with Ahmadinejad- really? I have my doubts but it seems strange that Ahmadinejad would come out with this now- months after his visit.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Nearly one third of Muslim students believe it can be acceptable to kill in the name of religion, according to a survey published yesterday.
While 32 per cent justified killing in the name of religion if the religion was under attack, 60 per cent of students active in Islamic societies did so. Four per cent thought killing to promote religion was permissible.
Next time you hear some politician talk about poverty or ignorance as a cause of extremism, bear these results in mind.
Despite this, and that it's a small island, gun crime in the UK isn't going away.
A man shot dead outside a nightclub as he talked to friends was the target of a gangster-style 'execution'.
The 35-year-old was hit at least three times in the head and neck at close range by a man who calmly produced a machine gun from the boot of his car outside Club Red in Limehouse.Apparently it needs to be repeated- gun control laws aren't obeyed by criminals.
Salman Rushdie was once locked in a cupboard for two hours by fed-up police guards who then disappeared to the pub, an ex-special branch detective has claimed.
Former Metropolitan police officer Ron Evans revealed they only released Rushdie from under the safehouse stairs when they returned from a local pub ‘suitably refreshed’.
These were armed police, a supposed elite within the British police force. Luckily for Rushdie he was not being observed by would-be assassins when the police left him alone, abandoning their post in favour of going drinking.
Recounting one particular night spent in the safehouse with two colleagues, he said: ‘One evening, after we had polished off a couple of bottles of red wine, we went looking for more.
Evidently, they didn't see a problem being drunk and armed- with the responsibility of protecting Salman Rushdie from an assassination attempt.
According to Obama, if the US can "solve" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf States to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hizbullah as a way to stir up mischief in the region," he said, "if we've gotten an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon."
So, given that Iran is possibly a year or so away from a nuclear weapon (maybe a few more if Barack's working from the NIE), Obama seems to think he can convince the so-called Palestinians to accept a peace deal, end decades long terrorist aggression against Israel, convince Hamas to abandon their quest to destroy Israel entirely, similarly convince Hezbollah to turn to peace (even though they aren't motivated by the Palestinian issue), miraculously end Syrian-Iranian ties, gain Arab/Islamic acceptance for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and, to cap it all off, stop that pesky nuclear program in Iran.
All of that before Iran develops a nuke?
I'm hoping this is more of his "inartful" and "over-heated" rhetoric because it would be really scary if he actually believed he was capable of doing all of this.
After explaining the problem- my router was picking up the ADSL line but could not connect, and when I switched over to modem it dialled the line but there was no answer on the other end- the trained monkey suggested I turn the router off and on again, is it connected to the socket, what lights are on? Blah, blah, blah. I explained two or three times that I knew what I was doing and, yes, it was turned on and plugged in. He then proceeded to tell me that it was a line problem, the ADSL wasn't working- nothing he could do, call back tomorrow. I explained- again- that it wasn't. My router, for example, has a indicator light to tell you if its picking up ADSL and another for when its connected to the internet. He argued that, no, the ADSL light was to show whether I was connected and so it must be a line fault. Call back tomorrow, no help here. I gave up on him and phoned back later. Before I did though, I went so far as to check my router manual just to make sure I wasn't imagining things- and I was right about that light. That infuriated me even more.
Normally, I'm quite a reserved character- but technical support people like this flick a switch somewhere deep in my brain. Especially when they are conditioned to treat everyone they speak to as complete idiots who can't be trusted to find the "on" button and don't listen to what you tell them. Three or four times I explained to the next tech support that, no, I was picking up the line- my modem was dialling but not getting a response. I even have a little utility on one of my machines which monitors the line- when there's no ADSL, it shows a little red light- and won't dial and wait for an answer. Would this one listen? Not a chance.
What's worse than the not hearing anything you tell them is the "have you tried unplugging it?". No matter how you answer (i.e. I've tried two different PCs, one with modem, one with router- same problem, my system's are working fine) they still tell you to unplug it again. A while back I had issues with a router- it stopped functioning completely. Wouldn't even turn on. No power light, nothing. It was an ex-router. The idiot monkey told me to turn it off and then on again- I told him I'd checked it out already, made sure everything was plugged in, etc, etc but he kept saying it. Over and over. I refused on the grounds that it was a pointless exercise- "It won't turn on at all. There's no power light at all. It's not working in any way, shape or form." Response- "Turn it off and then turn it on again. What lights are coming on?" He refused to do anything until I obeyed his instructions. First time I've ever had tech support cry out and hang up on me. To my ISP's credit, when I complained about that incident they sent me new hardware immediately.
Anyway, back to today- late in the evening I tried again and it dialled up and connected. But no pages were displayed. Information was going out and coming in, but no joy. I tried to ping an address and the result came back positive. After a few attempts at disconnecting and reconnecting, everything suddenly started working again.
Thank goodness- the world is at my fingertips once again and I don't have to shout at some poor, unsuspecting tech support drone tomorrow.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?
What he, and I'm sure a great deal of Americans too, might not be aware of is that John McCain and his wife, Cindy, have already done so- by adopting a child from Bangladesh and raising her in America as their own.
(I)n 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about. Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband. Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget. ...(T)here was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back. She ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife.
"We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care.
No lofty rhetoric or bids for glowing publicity, just an act of incredible compassion. While Obama makes demands for others to create "change" - he "will require you to work" and "will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed"- the McCains have already saved an infant from death and raised her as their own.
While Barack spouts this airy hope-and-change nonsense- and talks of forcing high school and college students to perform government approved community service whether they want to or not- it's interesting to highlight the differences between the McCains and the Obamas. Cindy not only saved this girl but she's also involved in a charity called Operation Smile- and given the terrible treatment John McCain endured in Vietnam it's pretty impressive to see her there doing what she can to help Vietnamese kids. This video is well worth watching- in fact, I'd go so far as to say that's it's heart-warming-
As you'll see Cindy McCain also flew a child from Vietnam to America, paid for her surgery and looked after her in her own home. While she's doing that, Michelle Obama's lamenting the cash she spends on activites for her own kids-
“I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth.”
Not to mention her complaints about the terrible cost of fresh fruit for her children.
It's also worth noting that while Barack complains about needing to do more for the poor and the needy, his own charitable contributions are notoriously low-
The average American household donates 2.2% of their income to charity, while the Obama's gave less than 1% between 1997 and 2002 (0.2% in 1998). In 2002, when their income was in the top 2% in the US, they donated a mere 0.4% to charity. They gave $1,050 to charity, compared with the average American household's gift of $1,872.
In fact, to mention another Gateway Pundit catch, Obama hasn't even bothered to donate or help to raise any money for a school in Kenya named in his honour- after promising he would help them.
"I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so."
I guess there was no tangible political benefit for Obama to make good on his word. We already know that he's not particularly concerned with the welfare of others if he can't turn it into a good photo-op. No, he would rather legislate that others are forced to help.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I already pointed out that Obama cancelled a planned visit to military hospital facilities in Germany, where he would have seen troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. At first it seemed that he had cancelled because of time limitations but then a member of the media let it slip that Obama told them that he had some "down time" and wanted to go sightseeing.
Hot Air has a follow up post and it appears that Obama cancelled simply because he couldn't use the visit as a campaign prop- the press weren't permitted to accompany him. With no personal benefits to his lust for power, he ditched the visit.
And he wants to be Commander in Chief?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more -- not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.
He seems to be unusually keen on requiring people to do the things he thinks they ought to, regardless of whether or not they want to- in Obama's world apparently, there is no choice.
The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
Good luck with that whole Muslim-Jewish thing, Barack. Any hint has to how you're going to change centuries long anti-Semitism in the Muslim world? Note too how he's opposed to walls between natives and immigrants- open borders if he's elected President.
This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
I'd like to see how he goes about this considering that Russia seems intent on retaining its nuclear arsenal and that Iran refuses to stop its nuclear program. Does he think that unilaterally disarming will make the rest of the world suddenly have warm, fuzzy feelings about the US?
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably.
This is a gem- free trade has made numerous countries wealthy but now is the time to stop that and start taking the money from those who have earned it and giving it away. A little bit of communism to ruin it all. Brilliant.
Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.
He's going to stop the weather? There is no end to his divine abilities.
Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?
Again with the open borders talk- twice in one speech. Somehow I can't see him securing America's porous borders despite the national security threat it poses.
Oh yeah, and there was some hope mentioned too, not just any old hope though, "improbable hope".
The press corps rebelled, demanding an on-the-record briefing since Obama is in the middle of a presidential campaign and that campaign must be held accountable for what it does and what Obama says about his meeting with world leaders.
The senior Obama advisers refused. One, a former high-ranking official in the Clinton White House, said the briefing had to be on background because “in all my years with the White House I never read-out a meeting on the record.”
Numerous reporters said Obama wasn’t the president and this isn’t a Whiter House trip.
Obama's own presidential seal was a lesson that evidently hasn't been learned
It's an odd stance, in my opinion, acting like the Cold War is still in full swing. Couldn't have anything to do with Russia siding with Iran in this particular horse race?
Iran is set to receive an advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft system by year-end that could help fend off any preemptive strikes against its nuclear facilities, senior Israeli defence sources said on Wednesday.
First delivery of the S-300 missile batteries was expected as soon as early September, one source said, though it could take six to 12 months for them to be deployed and operable -- a possible reprieve for Israeli and American military planners.
Another sign that any action Israel is going to take may happen very soon. It also begs the question of how a certain US presidential candidate thinks he can swing a Russian vote for sanctions against Iran in the UN.
Mere months ago, left-wing bloggers and demonstrators were wailing Support our troops, bring them home! seven days a week. Now their presidential candidate has announced that he won't bring all those troops home, but will simply transfer combat forces from Iraq to Afghanistan - expanding that war.
And the left's quiet as a graveyard at midnight.
It's good stuff and Ralph Peters seems to be exactly correct about the astonishing hypocrisy of the Left- the only problem with toppling Saddam and overthrowing the Taliban was that Bush got to do it instead of Gore.
Next, we have Obama in Germany. The schedule's apparently been packed too tightly and something has to go. Barack obviously can't do without basking in the adoration of thousands of swooning fans so he ditched the US troops. You know, the kind of guys he thinks are "occupying" Iraq-
SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Anyone surprised by his priorities? Mmm, let me see- visit wounded troops or talk to a bunch of Germans. I'm sure it took him a long time to make that decision. And you know, as bad as that is- it gets worse! No, really, you see Obama even told the press he had some time off on the hectic schedule. And even then he couldn't be bothered to visit those wounded troops.
Obama noted that in a break from his whirlwind schedule, “we’ve got some down time tonight. What are you guys gonna do in Berlin? Huh? Huh? You guys got any big. plans? …I’ve never been to Berlin, so…I would love to tour around a little bit.”
And there are some Americans who want to vote this into the highest office in the land?
Obama’s decision to sponsor the Games in print and television ads after criticizing Bush’s plans for attendance belies the moral posturing Obama took on the Beijing Games. It supports the same false show by the Chinese that Obama demanded Bush reject. Sponsorship doesn’t just imply support, it explicitly demonstrates it with large amounts of money.
Not a huge deal you might say and, were it a one off, I would be inclined to agree with you- the problem though is that this is now an established pattern for Obama. The Dem convention hasn't even taken place yet and I think he's out nuanced John Kerry already.
Finally, one for all the liberals who howled with anguish about George Bush's Christian beliefs, fearing he was trying to establish some kind of totalitarian theocracy. As you look at this picture think of Barack's own words -
“Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me,” he said of his walk down the aisle of the Trinity United Church of Christ. “I submitted myself to his will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth.”
"I am a Christian.… So, I have a deep faith. I'm rooted in the Christian tradition."
So, where's all the Leftist wailing and gnashing of teeth over this self-confessed Christian's deep faith?
Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon.
The problem being, of course, that it isn't his committee, he's not even on the Banking Committee and he had absolutely nothing to do with the legislation. Oops. This takes the "inartful" statement to a whole new level.
Perhaps Barack isn't aware of this but we have this thing called "the media" who tell other people the things he says at these local events. They then use this special kind of magic called "technology" to broadcast his words and even moving pictures of him around the globe. As a result audiences other than the one he's talking to at the time can actually find out what he's saying. It can even work the other way around too- the people he makes these claims to can actually use technology (a magical web called the internet) to verify what he's telling them.
So when he lies about being on a committee that passes certain legislation which he's not involved with it at all, it's just possible that someone might be able to catch him out.
I think maybe someone on the campaign team needs to sit him down and explain this to him.
"I can assure you," he said, speaking at the local police station against a backdrop of Kassam rockets, "if someone was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
How long will he be back in the US before he has to start flip-flopping on all these aggressive statements?
Asked about concerns that the Iranians would abuse his stated readiness for "tough diplomacy" to play for time and keep moving ahead toward the bomb, Obama said that his "willingness to negotiate" had "very clear and direct goals" and "a sense of urgency." So "if the Iranians fail to respond, we've stripped away whatever excuses they may have, [and] whatever rationales may exist in the international community for not ratcheting up sanctions and taking serious action."
So does this mean that Obama agrees that the time for tough sanctions and- if they fail to materialise in the toothless UN- direct action is now? After all, Bush sent diplomats to engage in direct negotiations with Iran and the result was-
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on Wednesday that Tehran would not “retreat one iota” from its atomic work.
This would suggest, by Obama's own stated position that if tough sanctions aren't possible from the UN, then it's time to stop talking endlessly with Iran while they carry on regardless and actually do something about their project.
I wonder if all those "No war with Iran" crowd we've seen around will begin to protest Obama and this war-like talk. You know, from people like Bill Richardson? Oh wait, no, threatening military action against Iran is bad when George Bush does it, but good when Barack Obama does it. Right?
Obama supporters- do you actually know what your candidate of choice stands for?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama claims that a "history of weak sanctions" on countries like North Korea and Iran has created "this slow drift towards nuclear weapons becoming a fact of life."
"Iran is a big country. They have dispersed their nuclear capabilities in a way that you're not going to see smooth, surgical strikes solving the problem entirely the way that Israel was able to deal with Iraq's nuclear threat. And so what we have to do is avoid that choice by applying the tough diplomacy that makes the calculus for the Iranians different," he said.
Is that the same Iran that he once described as tiny?
"Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama said.
And now, given that Iran has categorically stated- again- that they refuse to stop enriching uranium, what will Obama do?
As world powers await Iran’s reply to proposals concerning its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on Wednesday that Tehran would not “retreat one iota” from its atomic work, which includes the enrichment of uranium.
How exactly will that tough diplomacy work when he's already admitted that weak sanctions are the norm- is he going to magically make Russia and China fall into step at the UN? Maybe he has one of John Kerry's famous plans lying around somewhere.
As I pointed out, Obama wants the military to go fight Al Qaeda- while at the same time admitting that the US is already fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. He doesn't seem to see the conflict between stating that Al Qaeda in Afghanistan are a long term threat to the safety of the USA and that Al Qaeda in Iraq pose no long term threat to the USA.
Iraq was today massing 30,000 troops in advance of an assault on one of al-Qaeda's surviving strongholds that will be a litmus test of the country's growing security forces.
Obama claims he opposed and still opposes the surge because a continued US presence in Iraq won't help the Iraqi government and forces to step up to the plate. He says this at a time when the surge has enabled an operation like this one to be carried out-
Officials said a major clearing operation of the troubled central province of Diyala would be launched on Aug 1, spearheaded by Iraqi army and police personnel and backed by 10,000 American troops.
Has he not learned on his visit to Iraq that not only are the Iraqi security forces doing much better post-surge but that Al Qaeda has been driven to the brink of annihilation? You wouldn't think so because his positions before the visit and now appear not to differ at all. According to Obama the surge hasn't helped to defeat terrorists in Iraq, provide security for the Iraqi government to stabilise and leave the state more secure so that US forces are no longer required there in such huge numbers.
I wonder what the odds are of the MSM actually asking Obama why America should fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but he believes they shouldn't fight them in Iraq?
Either that or he's bought into the whole "rock star" thing- first this big German event and next his convention speech in the football stadium. Given his previous form, I tend to think that this is more about his ego than anything else.
Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.
It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history -- "generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment" -- when, among other wonders, "the rise of the oceans began to slow." As economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, "Moses made the waters recede, but he had help." Obama apparently works alone.
One last question- anyone else hoping that the big event fizzles out? I mean, why does Barack Obama think that thousands of Germans will turn out to see a no-experience US Senator, with no ties to Germany, give a speech aimed at an American audience?
UPDATE - Note too, that the Obama campaign is trying to keep tight control over the event, dictating what German citizens can and cannot bring to a German landmark-
No signs or banners permitted.
Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons could be deployed to Cuba in response to U.S. plans to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, a Russian newspaper reported Monday, citing an unnamed senior Russian air force official.
Of course, my first thought was- can you imagine Barack Obama dealing with another Cuban missile crisis? And second- does Putin not realise that the Cold War is over? Anyway, today another news item caught my attention. Put them together and it doesn't look too good.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday that he hopes military ties between the countries will strengthen.
On arriving in Moscow, Chavez called for Russia and Venezuela to become strategic partners in oil and defense, something he said would "guarantee Venezuela's sovereignty, which is currently being threatened by the United States."
Recently British intelligence placed Russia as their number three threat to national security after Al Qaeda and a nuclear Iran. The top three Russian spy agencies (presumably the FSB, GRU and SVR) have apparently ramped up intelligence operations in the UK and, in addition, Russia seems to be experiencing a renaissance in military muscle flexing.
Whoever the next President is, he may have more on his plate to deal with than just jihadist terrorism and a nearly nuclear Iran.
He restates his opposition to the surge.
Couric: Before the surge, as you know, Senator, there were 80 to 100 U.S. casualties a month, the country was rife with sectarian violence, and you raised a lot of eyebrows on this trip saying even knowing what you know now, you still would not have supported the surge. People may be scratching their heads and saying, "Why?"
Obama: Well … because … what I was referring to, and I've consistently referred to, is the need for a strategy that actually concludes our involvement in Iraq and moves Iraqis to take responsibility for the country.
She presses him on the point that successfully defeating American enemies in Iraq will inevitably lead to America troops drawing down in Iraq, which would seem to be precisely what he wants. He adds-
What happens is that if we continue to put $10 billion to $12 billion a month into Iraq, if we are willing to send as many troops as we can muster continually into Iraq? There's no doubt that that's gonna have an impact. But it doesn't meet our long-term strategic goal, which is to make the American people safer over the long term. If that means that we're detracting from our efforts in Afghanistan, where conditions are deteriorating, if it means that we are distracted from going after Osama bin Laden who is still sending out audio tapes and is operating training camps where we know terrorists' actions are being plotted.
If we have shifted away from the central front of terrorism as a consequence of enormous and continuing investments in Iraq, then that's a poor strategic choice. And ultimately, what we've got to do is - we have to recognize that Iraq is just one of our … security problems. It's not the only one.
So, can someone point to those who claim that Iraq is the only security problem America faces? He seems to be trying to say that Iraq isn't an important security threat which is why he opposed and still opposes the Surge- because to his way of thinking, defeating terrorists in Iraq won't help end the war in Iraq. No, in his mind, it's much more important to retreat from Iraq and try to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan-
the fact that I didn't visit Afghanistan doesn't detract from my accurate assessment that this has been the central front on terror.
Got that? Obama believes that the central front in the war on terrorism is in Afghanistan where the US has to focus on Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda training camps. Which is why it amazes me that while uttering that Barack Obama can also come out with this-
There is no doubt that the extraordinary work of our U.S. forces has contributed to a lessening of the violence, just as making sure that the Sadr militia stood down or the fact that the Sunni tribes decided to flip and work with us instead of with al-Qaeda - something that we hadn't anticipated happening.
Does he know what he's saying? Can he hear those words or is he just regurgitating something he's been told to learn? Because he's just admitted- though not to himself evidently- that Al Qaeda is in Iraq. US troops have fought, and pretty much defeated, Al Qaeda (and other terrorists who share the same murderous ideology) in Iraq. The surge helped them- and he admits that here too.
But Obama still opposes the surge that helped to defeat Al Qaeda, because he just wants to leave Iraq behind and go and fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He seems to believe that killing them in Afghanistan will make America safer in the long term- but leaving Al Qaeda alone in Iraq will also make America safer.
Is there any logic to that at all?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The cover features an "Airborne Special" of the guns of D-day.
If you can't find it locally, head here to order online.
If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge?
Simple question, right? Obama's response- No, because, keep in mind that…
Q: You wouldn’t?
A: Keep in mind… These kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. Hindsight is 20/20. But I think that, what I’m absolutely convinced of, is that at that time we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.Let me see if I can get this straight- he's asked that, had he known that the Surge would be the success story it is today, would he have supported it. He says, clearly and without doubt, NO.
Now, Hot Air points out that there is more to his answer to come but what he just said was unequivocal. It's crystal clear that Obama's position is that victory in Iraq is not his prime concern. In fact, he goes so far as to say that, even knowing the success of the Surge, that he is more concerned about opposing the Bush administration.
Mull this over for a few moments - Barack Obama has just admitted that his disagreement with a matter of foreign policy is more important to him than an American victory. Than the lives of American troops. Than defeating mass-murdering terrorists. He clearly values his opinion over all of these things because he knows that the Surge has transformed Iraq, reducing deaths among American troops and innocent civilians alike- and yet still he would have opposed that winning strategy because, no matter the success of it, he was against the views of Bush.
That matters more to him than the increased American and Iraqi civilian casualties that would have occurred without the Surge? That alone is enough, I would have thought, for the vast majority of Americans to immediately dismiss him as a serious contender for the post of President.
Of all the telling insights into his character that have slipped out when he's not reading prepared speeches, I think that this is the most chilling.
Barack Obama has just admitted that the lives of American troops, that defeating terrorists who are massacring innocent civilians, that winning a major front in the war on terrorism- all those things come secondary to his personal objections to the successful policies of the Bush administration. He's "absolutely convinced" of it.
Despicable doesn't even begin to cover it.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Now, George Bush is well known for his stumbling style of speech but no one claims he's a super-eloquent speaker. Obama, on the other hand, makes these mistakes and it seems to me that it's not so much that he's a poor public speaker but that he is apparently- how can I put it- bewilderingly ignorant of the most basic of facts.
Today on CBS's Face the Nation, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in Afghanistan, told the paparazzi-pursued correspondent Lara Logan that "the objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like President Karzai or Prime Minister Maliki or President Sarkozy or others who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years.
He's campaigning to be President of the United States of America. Surely- surely- he knows what term limits are?
He can't really be that clueless can he? Note too how ABC tries to cover for Obama in trying to explain the slip- either he's planning on changing those limits or "he was speaking casually and just meant two terms."
So they think Barack's incapable of simple mathematics? That's the best excuse they can come up with for this?
Last week, the U.S. Navy sent a message, and conducted some anti-missile training, as two Aegis warships (one off the coast of Israel, and the other in the Persian Gulf) practiced defeat a combined missile attack, from Syria, Lebanon and Iran, against Israel.
Followed by this news-
Iran now has something else to worry about. Recent Israeli Air Force exercises near Greece, using over a hundred aircraft, apparently also involved Greek S-300 surface-to-air missile systems...Although the S-300 systems the Iranians have are of more recent design, the Greek systems provided the Israelis with practical experience in dealing with the S-300. Combine that with what Israeli espionage may already know about Iranian air defenses, and the Iranians have to consider the possibility that the Israelis now have the ability to blow right past the S-300 defenses.
Combine that with the the US's latest attempt at more direct diplomacy with Iran, which has proved to be a disastrous failure, and it looks like Israel may have to take matters into her own hands.
In a statement released by Downing Street, Mr Brown said: 'Clearly this is a very distressing development. We are taking this very seriously.
'There are many people working behind the scenes trying to find a solution.
'I raised the case of these men with Prime Minister Maliki. We both share a desire to see them returned safely to their families. I call on those holding the hostages to release them immediately and unconditionally.'
Or what, Gordon? What are you going to do now that you haven't been doing for the past year? The Foreign Secretary elaborated-
'As in the case of previous messages from the hostage takers, the Government emphasises the humanitarian appeal of the families for the men's release...Our officials in Iraq continue to be ready to work with anyone prepared to help in this case...There is still a long way to go. We will continue to work with all those who seek peace and reconciliation.'
In short, the British government is apparently doing nothing other than asking nicely. It seems they have not realised that humanitarian appeals have little effect on murderous terrorists in the kidnapping business. I would have thought that an approach more like this would show quicker results.
It's a great concept.
In the latest example of what one can only assume is the result of an "us vs them" culture, we have this-
A householder who took photographs of hooded teenagers as evidence of their anti-social behaviour says he was told he was breaking the law after they called the police.
But when Mr Green left his £1million London flat to take photographs of the gang, who were aged around 17, he said one threatened to kill him while another called the police on his mobile.
In a sane and rational world you might think that the thug youth would have been the target of law enforcement's ire for threatening to kill someone. But wait, we're talking about 21st century Britain-
And he claimed that a Police Community Support Officer sent to the scene promptly issued a warning that taking pictures of youths without permission was illegal, and could lead to a charge of assault.
Presumably the photography leading to an assault charge is some holdover from the primitive belief that cameras can somehow steal souls?
Last night Mr Green, a television cameraman, said he was appalled that the legal system's first priority seemed not to be stopping frightening anti-social behaviour by aggressive youths, but protecting them from being photographed by the concerned public.
And another member of the public becomes aware of the unsettling focus of Britain's police...
Friday, July 18, 2008
New York tax filers reporting more than $375,000 a year in earned income may end up paying nearly 60% of their wages in taxes to the government under a Barack Obama presidency, economists who have analyzed his plan said.
The Democratic presidential candidate is proposing not only raising the federal income tax, but also adding a Social Security tax for those Americans earning more than $250,000 a year. For New Yorkers, that could mean that if the current Social Security rate is applied, the marginal tax rate, or rate on every extra dollar earned, could rise to 58%.
And I'm guessing this increase won't include the $500 billion to pay for his
Does it bother anyone that a guy with political ambitions for his entire adult life has not left a paper trail?
Can someone explain to me why anyone thinks he's suitably qualified to run a dog pound let alone the United States of America?
Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, former Chief Rabbi of the IDF, who was present during the transfer of the fallen soldiers yesterday, said that "the verification process yesterday was very slow, because, if we thought the enemy was cruel to the living and the dead, we were surprised, when we opened the caskets, to discover just how cruel. And I'll leave it at that."
Although it's thought that Goldwasser was killed during the inital attack, there is some doubt about just when Hezbollah killed Regev. It may be that he was murdered after being kidnapped.
And the bodies of the dead Hezbollah terrorists which Israel returned to Lebanon? Well, the UN peacekeepers there saw fit to salute them. And the freed terrorists vowed to continue fighting Israel. One of those terrorists is Samir Kuntar, guilty of murdering five Israelis. Two of his victims were a father and his daughter- he shot the father in front of the four year old girl and then crushed her skull with the butt of his rifle.
This monster was given a celebratory welcome by thousands of cheering supporters.
Rather bizarrely both Ban Ki Moon of the UN and an EU spokesperson both consider the exhange to be a success. Perhaps they are not paying attention. Kuntar had this to say on his return to Lebanon-
"We swear to God...to continue on your same path and not to retreat until we achieve the same stature that Allah bestowed on you," said Lebanon's longest-held prisoner in Israel, Samir Kuntar. He refered to Mughniyeh's "martyrdom."
"This is our great wish. We envy you and we will achieve it, God willing," Kuntar said.
And Hamas said this-
"Hamas considers the exchange of prisoners between Hizbullah and the Israeli occupation to be a great victory for the resistance and Hizbullah," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement. "It proves that a useful way to liberate prisoners from the jails of the occupation is to capture Zionist soldiers, since the occupation refuses to release prisoners and keeps arresting more of them," it added. That's supposed to be a positive step forward for peace in the region?
"Hamas considers the exchange of prisoners between Hizbullah and the Israeli occupation to be a great victory for the resistance and Hizbullah," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
"It proves that a useful way to liberate prisoners from the jails of the occupation is to capture Zionist soldiers, since the occupation refuses to release prisoners and keeps arresting more of them," it added.
That's supposed to be a positive step forward for peace in the region?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Calling 999 could soon mean a three-hour wait to see a policeman.
Extraordinary new Government guidelines say that 180 minutes represents a good response time for emergencies and that victims should be seen by an officer within three days.
A retired police officer, he left the service in 1994, points out that in those byegone days (a mere 14 years ago) the police were expected to react not in hours but minutes.
“Normally we could get people on the scene within two or three minutes of a call and often more than one unit.
“We would have expected a complaint if it had taken longer than 10 minutes to respond to an emergency call. There would have been questions to answer.”
It doesn't take long for things to change, does it? He then relates an incident he was recently involved in-
When he heard two women screaming in the street outside his son’s home in Watford a few years ago he did what every ex-policeman is schooled to do. He ran after the knife-wielding maniac who had threatened them.
As he did so he instructed his son to call the police, expecting a rapid response to a violent, predatory criminal armed with a knife. He did manage to stop the criminal- younger and stronger than he- and he held him at bay for some time.
A squad car did finally arrive at his son’s home – two hours later. “By the time the police turned up the man had gone and one of the girls had found his knife.
And the result?
As it was they didn’t deal with any of it and everyone was left vulnerable.
Par for the course in Britain today. One last point to make- the article quotes an officer who makes the point that the police force is being overwhelmed by a rising tide of crime.
“We no longer have sufficient numbers of officers to keep up with the rate at which crimes are committed,” admits the inspector, who prefers not to be named.
“Resources are stretched so thinly that when I come on shift it is a question of being forced to choose which violent crime to prioritise.
Really? Because according to Home Office statistics, overall crime in Britain is going down-
All police recorded crime down 9% to almost 5.0 million crimes
Violence against the person down 8%
Most serious violence against the person down 12%
Etc, etc. Only drug crimes are reporting an increase but not enough to cancel out the decreases- hence the overall reduction.
And yet despite this- if the Home Office figures are accurate that is- the police are no longer able to respond to emergency calls in minutes but in hours. Interesting to note that the other 999 services, the Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service, are still able to treat emergencies as emergencies.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One of the reasons there is no comprehensive campaign plan for Afghanistan is because we have violated one of the cardinal rules of any military operation: unity of command. Today there are no less than three different American military combatant commands operating in Afghanistan, as well as NATO, some of whose members have national restrictions on where their troops can go and what they can do. This is no way to run a war.
He is absolutely correct of course- and this kind of fragmented policy is getting troops killed needlessly-
Two British soldiers died in a fierce firefight with the Taliban after an astonishing one-hour delay while officers discussed different rules of engagement, an inquest was told.
Bizarrely two British units on the same mission were apparently operating under two different rules of engagement.
Confusion arose when Major Jamie Nowell, leading the operation to destroy Taliban vantage points, told his air support to open fire on four militants spotted in a trench.
Maj Nowell told the hearing in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, that his men were under "429 A" rules of engagement, allowing them to engage identified enemy.
But the men in the air were on "Card A" - permitting them to fire only in self-defence.
Whatever happened to simply killing the enemy when they are spotted? And how on Earth did it ever become policy to restrict fighting the enemy when they are engaged in combat with your comrades but not actually shooting at you directly? That's no way to fight a war.
And British soldiers are dead as a result of this preposterous policy.
The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence.
“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence in Anbar Province.
The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.
Obama’s campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an “improved security situation” paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007. It praises G.I.s’ “hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice.”That would be the American troops he accuses of occupying Iraq- he sure does know how to honour their service.
It's also interesting to note that on his Iraq page he still has the following under the heading of "Judgement You Can Trust"-
In 2002, as the conventional thinking in Washington lined up with President Bush for war, Obama had the judgment and courage to speak out against going to war, and to warn of “an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs, and undetermined consequences.”
Note too his continued reference to the liberation of Iraq and the US military presence there to fight bloodthirsty terrorists who slaughter the innocent an occupation.
There's no mention whatsoever of his self-declared "judgement" in declaring the surge a failure last year-
"Here's what we know. The surge has not worked. And they said today, 'Well, even in September, we're going to need more time.' So we're going to kick this can all the way down to the next president, under the president's plan."
Or what about his judgement here-
I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.
My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now.
Judgement you can trust- really?
After a brief bout of Obamamania, some Capitol Hill Democrats have begun to complain privately that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is insular, uncooperative and inattentive to their hopes for a broad Democratic victory in November.
“They think they know what’s right and everyone else is wrong on everything,” groused one senior Senate Democratic aide. “They are kind of insufferable at this point.” …
If only they had chosen a candidate who wasn't such a complete unknown rookie they might actually have been able to find out some of this before Primary season even began. As it stands I'm sure a lot of Democrats are beginning to become wistful for the days when Hillary seemed to be a shoe-in.
Christian doctrine is offensive to Muslims, the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday.
Makes you wonder why he is part of the church let alone an Archbishop. Nowhere in his letter does he mention that the Islamic notion that Jesus was an Islamic prophet who was not divine is offensive to Christians. Or that the Islamic decrees that Christians be either converted or subjugated is even more offensive. Given that he seems to know very little of what he's talking about, though, this comes as no surprise.
Tony Blair was forced to pull out of a visit to Gaza today in the face of what a spokesman described as a "specific security threat".
The former prime minister had been due to make his first trip to the Hamas-controlled area as the representative of the Middle East "Quartet" - the US, UN, EU and Russia.
And it's virtually assured that this credible threat to his safety will not make him re-think the Quartet's absurd policy of appeasing terrorism. If this is how they treat people holding out the hand of friendship and help, how do they think they can change the way Hamas and their murderous ilk think of Israel?
Mr Blair, whose role is focused on securing the area's economic future, was due to meet with traders and tour a waste water project funded by international investment.All that good will certainly hasn't been wasted, has it?
Monday, July 14, 2008
When communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids, when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel, when all that is happening, the system just isn’t working, and we need to change it.
Of course, as Ed points out at Hot Air, Obama is again complaining about a facet of life that he, as a United States Senator, seems to find unbearable but which he has done absolutely nothing about during his three years in office.
Curfews could be imposed for teenagers in troublespots in a bid to curb knife crime.
Ministers believe sweeping under 16s off the streets after 9pm would help tackle the rising toll of stabbings and knife-point muggings among young people.
MPs on the Commons' influential home affairs committee will this week say a national curfew could reduce violent and anti-social behaviour.
But ministers have rejected this idea. Instead, they will concentrate on trialling it in eight knife 'hotspots' across England.
And the punchline?
most knife attacks are committed by people over 16
What a plan!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
There are some 2,500 non-uniformed Hizbullah fighters in southern Lebanon, and the organization has trebled its pre-war missile arsenal, government sources said Wednesday following a security cabinet meeting on Hizbullah's current strength and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
According to the sources, Hizbullah today has some 40,000 short and medium-range missiles inside Lebanon, and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 - the resolution that put an end to the Second Lebanon War and provided an expanded mandate for UNIFIL - has been completely ineffective in stopping arms from pouring in to Hizbullah from Syria.
Business as usual I see.
“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
A civilian "security force" that's as powerful and as strong as the US military? Does Obama think that the continental US is about to be invaded? Has he been watching Red Dawn over and over on the tour bus? Somehow, I don't think so.
Is anyone else alarmed by the idea of such a force being created? In a less fawning environment, the MSM would have asked OBama why exactly such a massive new group like this was required- and exactly why they needed to be as well-armed as the US Army. But no, in this election cycle the media is even more in the tank for the Democrat candidate and they seem to be completely unwilling to ask even the most obvious of questions- in fact, I'd be surprised if even half of American voters were aware that Barack wants to establish a brand new security force- especially one so well-funded and well armed. In fact, do even Obama supporters know about this? When Barack speaks about mandatory volunteering is this what he had in mind? Because I can't see why so many people who aren't currently signing up to serve in the military would suddenly decide to join this new group.
Why does the US need an additional one and a half million people in a paramilitary force? Who will these people be? What role will they serve? How will they be trained and, perhaps more importantly, deployed? What powers will they have? Why do they need to be so well armed? What threats specificially does Obama see them facing that their budget needs to be the same as the US military ($110 billion for the Army alone or a total of nearly $500 billion for all the military combined)? What job will they do that the National Guard cannot? Who will they answer to? Where in the Constitution does it say that Obama can create such a force?
The media is silent on all of these points. You would think, at the very least, that adding an additional $500 billion to the budget would pique some journalists' interest.
As Larry Correia says, "the very first thing that popped into my head when he said that was the Brownshirts."
Update- link changed from Chicago Tribune to WND for source of Obama quote. Now with video too-
Whose side, ultimately, did they suppose I was really on?
He answers that shortly afterwards-
Yet I found it hard, in the end, not to sympathise with some of their grievances, or to disagree wholeheartedly with their central contention that the West had no business being in their country. Most of all, it was hard to imagine them ever being defeated. There was something genuinely moving about their fervour, however naive or wrong-headed it might be.
We talked into the early hours, and then it was time to pray. The men lined up towards Mecca. I sat alone on the cushions and watched. The mullah's transcendent singing filled the air.
There was spirituality here, a sense of peace, purpose and closeness to death and God seldom experienced in the modern West.
I marvelled how they were able to plug instantly into such serenity. For a brief moment I envied them.Frankly I'm astonished that while British soldiers are fighting and dying at war with the Taliban a major British newspaper publishes enemy propaganda like this.