Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain for President,Part 2

Charles Krauthammer
Friday, October 31, 2008

Last week I made the open-and-shut case for John McCain: In a dangerous world entering an era of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, the choice between the most prepared foreign policy candidate in memory vs. a novice with zero experience and the wobbliest one-world instincts is not a close call.

But it's all about economics and kitchen-table issues, we are told. Okay. Start with economics. Neither candidate has particularly deep economic knowledge or finely honed economic instincts. Neither has any clear idea exactly what to do in the current financial meltdown. Hell, neither does anyone else, including the best economic minds in the world, from Henry Paulson to the head of the European Central Bank. Yet they have muddled through with some success.

Both McCain and Barack Obama have assembled fine economic teams that may differ on the details of their plans but have reasonable approaches to managing the crisis. So forget the hype. Neither candidate has an advantage on this issue.

On other domestic issues, McCain is just the kind of moderate conservative that the Washington/media establishment once loved -- the champion of myriad conservative heresies that made him a burr in the side of congressional Republicans and George W. Bush. But now that he is standing in the way of an audacity-of-hope Democratic restoration, erstwhile friends recoil from McCain on the pretense that he has suddenly become right wing.

Self-serving rubbish. McCain is who he always was. Generally speaking, he sees government as a Rooseveltian counterweight (Teddy with a touch of Franklin) to the various malefactors of wealth and power. He wants government to tackle large looming liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. He wants to free up health insurance by beginning to sever its debilitating connection to employment -- a ruinous accident of history (arising from World War II wage and price controls) that increases the terror of job loss, inhibits labor mobility and saddles American industry with costs that are driving it (see: Detroit) into insolvency. And he supports lower corporate and marginal tax rates to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

An eclectic, moderate, generally centrist agenda in a guy almost congenitally given to bipartisanship.

Obama, on the other hand, talks less and less about bipartisanship, his calling card during his earlier messianic stage. He does not need to. If he wins, he will have large Democratic majorities in both houses. And unlike Clinton in 1992, Obama is no centrist.

What will you get?

(1) Card check, meaning the abolition of the secret ballot in the certification of unions in the workplace. Large men will come to your house at night and ask you to sign a card supporting a union. You will sign.

(2) The so-called Fairness Doctrine -- a project of Nancy Pelosi and leading Democratic senators -- a Hugo Chávez-style travesty designed to abolish conservative talk radio.

(3) Judges who go beyond even the constitutional creativity we expect from Democratic appointees. Judges chosen according to Obama's publicly declared criterion: "empathy" for the "poor or African American or gay or disabled or old" -- in a legal system historically predicated on the idea of justice entirely blind to one's station in life.

(4) An unprecedented expansion of government power. Yes, I know. It has already happened. A conservative government has already partially nationalized the mortgage industry, the insurance industry and nine of the largest U.S. banks.

This is all generally swallowed because everyone understands that the current crisis demands extraordinary measures. The difference is that conservatives are instinctively inclined to make such measures temporary. Whereas an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Barney Frank administration will find irresistible the temptation to use the tools inherited -- $700 billion of largely uncontrolled spending -- as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to radically remake the American economy and social compact.

This is not socialism. This is not the end of the world. It would, however, be a decidedly leftward move on the order of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The alternative is a McCain administration with a moderate conservative presiding over a divided government and generally inclined to resist a European social-democratic model of economic and social regulation featuring, for example, wealth-redistributing growth-killing marginal tax rates.

The national security choice in this election is no contest. The domestic policy choice is more equivocal because it is ideological. McCain is the quintessential center-right candidate. Yet the quintessential center-right country is poised to reject him. The hunger for anti-Republican catharsis and the blinding promise of Obamian hope are simply too strong. The reckoning comes in the morning.

Security Should Be the Deciding Issue


As the scale of the economic crisis becomes clear and comparisons to the Great Depression of the 1930s are tossed around, there is a very real danger that America could succumb to the feeling that we no longer have the luxury of worrying about distant lands, now that we are confronted with a "real" problem that actually affects the lives of all Americans. As we consider whether various bailout plans help Main Street as well as Wall Street, the subtext is that both are much more important to Americans than Haifa Street.
One problem with this emotion is that it ignores the sequel to the Great Depression -- the rise of militaristic Japan marked by the 1931 invasion of Manchuria, and Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933, both of which resulted in part from economic dislocations spreading outward from the U.S. The inward-focus of the U.S. and the leading Western powers (Great Britain and France) throughout the 1930s allowed these problems to metastasize, ultimately leading to World War II.

Is it possible that American inattention to the world in the coming years could lead to a similarly devastating result? You betcha.

When Franklin Roosevelt replaced Herbert Hoover in the White House, the country's economy was in shambles but its security was not threatened. No American forces were engaged in significant military conflict; America faced no threats. The U.S. was largely disarmed militarily and disengaged internationally.
[Security Should Be the Deciding Issue] Corbis

Yet within a decade, American territory had been attacked for the first time in 130 years, a massive rearmament program was underway, and the U.S. was fighting a desperate struggle that spanned the globe and ultimately cost the lives of nearly half a million American service members. The seeds of that global conflict, unimaginable in 1933 given the relative weakness of Germany and Japan, were planted in the first years of the Roosevelt administration as FDR focused on the American economy.

Hoover had the distinction of being the last American president who did not command American troops in important conflicts. After FDR, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower led the war in Korea that ended up shaping East Asia and the global economy profoundly.

John F. Kennedy's ill-fated efforts in Cuba shape Central America and the Caribbean to this day. He also made key decisions regarding Vietnam, followed, of course, by Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. These decisions had major effects on American security and also helped launch a social revolution within the U.S.

Jimmy Carter's disastrous hostage rescue operation in Iran had profound implications for the U.S. there and throughout the region, as did his reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan's failed policies in Lebanon in the early 1980s, leading to the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983, shaped the nature of American involvement in that key region, and also the perception of the U.S., for two decades. His attack on Libya, on the other hand, effectively ended a significant terrorist threat to the U.S. It also laid the basis for the elimination of Libya's WMD program after 9/11.

George H.W. Bush fought in Panama and Iraq. Bill Clinton, who took office promising to focus "like a laser beam" on the economy, led U.S. forces to humiliation in Somalia, ineffective, pinprick responses to al Qaeda terrorism and to Saddam Hussein's provocations, and to large-scale conflict in the Balkans. The current administration inherited ongoing military operations in the Balkans and almost immediately confronted the consequences of President Clinton's policy failures in Afghanistan on 9/11.

The next president will not break this string of fighting presidents. He will inherit two ongoing wars involving more than 180,000 troops. He will face two global enemies -- al Qaeda and Iranian terror networks, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Quds Force and Hezbollah.

It is important to note here the distinction between an enemy and a threat. Threats are problems to be concerned about in the future; enemies are organizations trying to kill Americans right now. Al Qaeda and Iranian agents are both killing Americans on a regular basis and have proclaimed their determination to kill more. They are enemies, not threats, and they will confront the next president from day one.

There are threats too, such as Pakistan's instability, combined with its inability and unwillingness to confront the al Qaeda safe havens on its territory. The growth of al Qaeda organizations in Algeria and Somalia poses another. Russian adventurism on the borders of states to which the U.S. has already given security guarantees is still another. The dangers of nuclear proliferation if the North Korean regime collapses -- or if it does not -- are still another.

Lastly, the next president will almost certainly face Iran's arrival at the threshold of nuclear-weapons capability. This, combined with Iran's efforts to develop long-range (and ultimately intercontinental) ballistic missiles and its global terrorist networks, is a threat to America's allies and to Americans at home.

Whatever the parallels between the current economic situation and that of the early 1930s, the current international environment is by any comparison more dangerous for the U.S. than the one that led to World War II. This is not hyperbole, particularly considering a last factor. When France and Britain ignored developing dangers while handling them would have been possible and relatively inexpensive, America was able to bail them out, if at terrific cost. There is no one to save us if we make similar mistakes in the coming years.

The current economic crisis is extremely grave. It is hurting many Americans today and will hurt many more as it unwinds. It will end, however, as economic crises always do. The question is how long the recovery will take and how bad things will get before it takes hold.

This question should be at the forefront of voters' thinking as they consider the economic proposals of the two candidates for president, but not necessarily as they decide whom to vote for. Better policies can speed the recovery; worse ones can slow it -- but none are likely to prevent it.

The presidential impact on foreign-policy problems is much more direct. Skillful approaches can avoid or mitigate conflict; foolish ones can lead to cataclysms. And make no mistake -- mistaken policies will lead to the unnecessary deaths of Americans, and not just our soldiers. Any American who wants to travel outside the U.S. can be directly affected by the wisdom or folly of our foreign policy. Even those who never leave their own state must be concerned, as residents of New York, Arlington and Pennsylvania can attest.

The health of our economy rests on its fundamentals, and on the way the entire government -- the president, the Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the courts -- approach the problem. The lives of American citizens rest on the way the president interacts with our enemies. When people feel relatively safe, they vote their pocketbooks. When they feel endangered, they vote for security. The world today offers no reason for Americans to feel safe. If we want safety, we have to be ready to fight for it.

Mr. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of "Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power" (AEI Press, 2008).

All Charisma, No Heart

INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Character: Barack Obama would "spread the wealth" as president, but until lately the Obamas were giving less than 1% of their own high incomes to the needy and neglecting even poverty-stricken blood relatives.

Sen. Barack Obama is apparently quite a cheapskate when it comes to giving to charity. From 2001 to 2004, the tax returns for Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Obama show less than $8,500 in donations out of the nearly $1 million they made.
In 2005 and 2006, with book royalties making them millionaires, their charitable contributions rose to about 5% of income. But how "charitable" are some of the causes Obama supports? In 2006, for instance, he gave more than $20,000 to the notorious Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Imagine that. Giving tens of thousands of dollars to someone who preaches "not God Bless America; God damn America!" from the pulpit. It remains incomprehensible that John McCain chose not to hammer home Obama's close association with Wright. The Wright issue has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with radical ideology.

Another supposed charitable donation was the more than $13,000 Obama gave to the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC last year confirmed that it is a hard-core segregationist organization. When white liberal Democrat Steve Cohen ran in a majority-black House district in Memphis in 2006, he pledged to become the first white CBC member. But once he won, caucus members told him that whites need not apply.

Juxtapose that with the South Carolina state Republican Party chairman feeling compelled last month to resign his 12-year membership in an exclusive whites-only country club. Imagine the uproar if McCain, like Obama, had given a $13,000 "charitable donation" to a group that restricts membership based on race.
How can Obama spare thousands for Chicago's Muntu Theater of African dance, while allowing his 56-year-old Aunt Zeituni, about whom he reminisces fondly in his best-selling "Dreams From My Father," to live in a South Boston slum, as exposed by the Times of London this week? While Obama was swimming in well over $600 million in cash contributions, his underprivileged Kenyan-born auntie actually sent his campaign a modest donation.

A 2003 Associated Press story profiling poor people who buy lottery tickets at check-cashing stores apparently quotes Obama's Aunt Zeituni, describing her as unemployed and cash-strapped.

Obama's Uncle Omar, also described affectionately in his book, was apparently evicted from his Boston home in 2000 after losing his job. Then there is Obama's 26-year-old half brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama, discovered by the Italian edition of Vanity Fair to be living in a hovel near Nairobi, claiming to earn "less than a dollar a month."

It's funny how Obama can sell his memoir exploiting his relatives and humanize himself for voters, yet be too busy getting ready to change the world to be there for them when they need a hand.

© Copyright 2008 Investor's Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.

Iran Early Bird-Friday

The 'tsunami waves' of the global economic crisis strike Iran – and its president

Until recently, the global economic crisis failed to concern the Iranian leadership. Iranian President Ahmadi-Nejad and senior members of his government and political camp even stressed that Iran was "immune" to the crisis due to the fact that it was not tied to the global market; and they expressed their satisfaction with the economic troubles that had befallen "the bastion of world arrogance." Conservative media outlets (Kayhan) heralded the "end of Imperialism" and the "beginning of the end of the United States and liberal democracy." Ahmadi-Nejad, for his part, spoke of two main reasons for the crisis – "the plundering of the energy sources of other countries [and the transfer of the money to the Zionists and other criminals] and a deviation from the sacred principles of religion."

Reality bites

The sharp drop in oil prices brought the Iranian leadership back down to the ground of reality in light of the potential implications of the loss of oil revenues on the 2009 Iranian budget (the Iranian fiscal year begins March 20) – and it appears the issue is set to play a central role in next year's presidential election campaign.

In his Friday prayer sermon of a week ago, Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian president and current chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council and Assembly of Experts, harshly criticized the euphoria in the Ahmadi-Nejad camp, warning that "the tsunami waves" of the economic crisis were set to reach Iran, too. Considered one of Ahmadi-Nejad and his government's most outspoken critics, Rafsanjani said that Tehran should not be happy or express satisfaction about the global economic crisis or believe that it could play into the hands of Iran, stressing that the country had already been hit by the crisis in the form of the sharp drop in oil prices that had "caused Iran heavy losses" and was likely to have an influence on the weaker sectors of the Iranian population. Masoud Nili, head of the faculty of Economics at Sharif University, concurred, urging Iranians not to adopt an emotional attitude towards the crisis, and not to be encouraged by the U.S. predicament.

Rafsanjani also commented on previous global economic crises, warning that some had led to wars and that the United States may seek to externalize its problems in the form of "another adventure," and urging Iran to demonstrate caution and be on the alert (Basij Forces – IRGC volunteers – have been conducting extensive maneuvers in Iran's various provinces recently in preparation, inter alia, for such an eventuality). Meanwhile, other Iranian officials have also commented on the possibility of a U.S. strike on Iran, assessing that such an attack is unlikely in light of the economic crisis and the United States' previous commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hassan Ruhani, who heads the Expediency Discernment Council's Strategic Research Center, said that "the Iranian economy suffered a shock" in that it lost $54 billion due to the fall in oil prices; and Rafsanjani added that in light of the current situation, the Council had dedicated half of its recent session to a discussion on the implications of the economic crisis on the Iranian economy. In mid-October, the Council's secretary, Hosseyn Rezaee, sent a letter to the Majlis, urging an urgent convention of the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial) for a discussion on the severity of the economic crisis.

'Why shouldn't we be happy?'

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of the Conservative-affiliated Kayhan daily, Hosseyn Shariatmadari, published an article under the headline, "Why shouldn't we be happy?" in which he criticized Rafsanjani for his wavering opinions. Shariatmadari asserted that the Iranian economy was not dependent on the West and was therefore not affected by the crisis; and on another occasion, the newspaper expressed similar sentiments, determining that the "entire world has witnessed the defeat of Capitalism." As for Iran's economics minister, he went as far as to say that the crisis constituted an opportunity for the country in that capital was flowing from neighboring countries affected by the crisis "to the safe shores of Iran." And for his part, Ahmad Janati, the ultra-Conservative Friday prayer leader commented that "God has punished the United States because of its selfishness, its desire for strength and power, and its arrogance."

Nothing put aside for a rainy day

In contrast, the Reformist newspaper, Kargozaran, came out in support of Rafsanjani, slamming what it defined as the "government that chose to isolate itself from the crisis." According to the daily, the government now stands in "disbelief" in light of the sharp drop in oil prices, and is being forced to cope with a budget that was calculated and based on a price of $100 per barrel and is likely to have to deal with a budget deficit next year. The newspaper also criticizes the government vis-à-vis the rising inflation and the mishandling of Iran's foreign currency reserves, charging, too, that it failed to take advantage of the period in which oil revenues were at a high. Another Reformist daily, Aftab-e Yazd, also voiced criticism of the government on the backdrop of the drop in oil prices, stressing that "Iran has been left without sufficient foreign currency reserves for a rainy day."

The answer – committees to review the implications of the crisis

Meanwhile, Ahmadi-Nejad (the sickly?), who is facing increasing criticism from within, including from his own camp (there have even been calls not to name him as a candidate in the presidential elections), has ordered his economics minister to set up special taskforces to review the implications of the global crisis on the Iranian economy. Ahmadi-Nejad's move comes on the backdrop of the increasingly heated domestic debate and criticism surrounding the issue of the economic crisis and the drop in oil prices, but primarily in light of the response elicited by Rafsanjani's statements. "The crisis that has struck the West, due to its substandard performance, is getting worse by the day, and is influencing all functions and operations… Therefore, [the economics minister] would be well-advised to set up a taskforce that includes the governor of the Central Bank, the foreign minister, the deputy president for strategic planning affairs and the trade minister to review the effects of the global crisis on Iran's economy and coffers," read the order published by the president.

At the same time, another eight work groups have been established and charged, too, with reviewing the effects of the global economic crisis on the Iranian economy. Hamid Pur-Mohammad, deputy economics minister, outlined the committees: A monetary committee (comprising the Central Bank governor, and representatives of government and private banks and the Economics Ministry); an investments committee (comprising representatives of the stock exchange, the Economics Ministry and various companies); an oil and energy committee (comprising the oil minister and representatives of the Energy Ministry); housing, tourism and services committees; and another committee responsible for presenting Iran's position on the global economic crisis. The work carried out by the committees will culminate in a convention entitled "The global economic crisis – challenges and opportunities," which will take place shortly and at which the conclusions of the various work groups will be presented.

Budget deficit

The continued fall in the price of oil, or even its stabilization at its current level ($65 a barrel), is likely to have a negative effect on the Iranian budget for 2009 and further increase criticism of Ahmadi-Nejad's government. Former finance minister Ashak Jahangiri, who served under then-president Khatami, said that if oil prices were to remain below $70 a barrel, the government would be faced with a number of serious problems – first and foremost, a budget deficit. Jahangiri added that already today, as noted by the transportation minister, the government was struggling to pay contractors in the infrastructure sector. Problems with paying the wages of teachers, bankers and others were also expected, he added.

Even the Javan newspaper, which is affiliated with the Conservative camp and the IRGC, wrote that "the sharp drop in the oil prices have turned the dreams of the oil exporters into a nightmare," suggesting a series of measures that appear to contradict pre-election economics – a cutting back on imports, the planning of next year's budget based on the new oil prices, and the scrapping of budget-intensive projects.

Unfinished business

As aforesaid, Ahmadi-Nejad and his government are coming under fire from within their own camp too; however, the most significant, and perhaps most threatening, criticism is coming from the sources of emulation in Qom who still have accounts to settle with the president on a number of issues – the rising inflation that is harming the Iranian people; his decision to allow women to attend public sporting events; statements made by Deputy President Mashaee in favor of ties with the Israeli people and, this week, about the United States; and his tendency not to involve them in the running of the country.

How will Ahmadi-Nejad escape the political-economic-religious thicket in which he finds himself on the eve of the presidential elections? The answer may lie in the intensive training operations of the Basij Forces, who rounded up voters for Ahmadi-Nejad in the previous election and are likely to recruit the masses for the upcoming vote too – as another layer in the process of the IRGC's takeover of Iran. The British Guardian newspaper reported this week that even the residents of Ahmadi-Nejad's native city no longer believe in him and his promises.

Or perhaps the Mahdi who shows Ahmadi-Nejad the road to follow, as he claims, has mysterious ways of rescuing him from the mess in which he finds himself.

Obama's Redistribution Plan a Taxing Fantasy

Donald Lambro
Friday, October 31, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Joseph Biden recently blew the whistle on Barack Obama's specious claims that he would cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans by raising them for people earning more than $250,000.

The Obama's gaffe-prone running mate, who has become the loose cannon of his campaign, said in an unscripted interview with a TV station in Scranton that the real soak-the-rich tax threshold in Obama's plan would start with incomes at $150,000.
Biden later tried to revise his remarks by saying that anyone earning between $150,000 and $250,000 wouldn't get a tax cut but their tax rates wouldn't rise, either. Sure. Or as Sarah Palin would say with a wink and a nod, "You betcha."

But Obama's draconian income-tax rate on the top 5 percent of income earners would not produce nearly enough federal revenue to pay for his so-called "tax cuts" for 95 percent of the nation's taxpayers and the rest of his social-welfare spending.

"Those 5 percent don't make enough money, or at least they won't after they find ways to shelter more of their income when their tax rates rise," the Wall Street Journal editorialized Wednesday.

Biden was revealing what has long been suspected among economic analysts who have crunched the numbers on his income transfer tax plan. Obama's tax-the-rich plan to send checks to the 47 million lower-income tax filers who pay no income taxes belies his specious 95 percent claim, since he does not cut their income tax rates.

Biden's uncontrolled bout of candor pokes one more hole in Obama's tax plan to expand the number of working Americans who pay no income taxes to nearly 50 million. Indeed, his campaign Web site boasts that his income-redistribution plan would wipe another 10 million people off the tax rolls.

It also exposed one more claim in a long line of falsehoods the Obama campaign has told about his shifting tax scheme. An Obama TV ad running in battleground states says, for example, that his plan has won support from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, when nothing could be further from the truth.

On the contrary, a recent analysis by the foundation's Center for Data Analysis concludes that John McCain's economic recovery plan would stimulate more economic growth than the Obama plan. Among its chief findings:

-- Job growth over 10 years is more than twice as high under McCain's tax plan than Obama's.

-- Total employment grows an average of 915,800 jobs under Obama, and by 2.13 million under McCain.

-- Economic growth, as measured by the country's gross domestic product, would be "nearly three times higher than under Obama."

-- A typical family of four "would see an average of $5,138 more in disposable income under McCain plans compared with $3,631 more under Obama's."

A strategic weakness in Obama's income-redistribution plan stems from his decision to give low- to middle-income taxpayers a refundable tax credit, instead of cutting their tax rates, said Heritage analyst William Beach, who led the study.

"Because Sen. Obama relies largely on tax credits to achieve his redistribution, his plan does not find a large economic benefit from lower tax rates, nor a more efficient tax structure," Beach wrote.

"This lower economic performance stems in large part from the modest decreases in marginal tax rates on taxpayers earning less than $250,000 and increases in those rates above that level," he said.

Obama has sold his plan as something it is not: a plan that will grow the economy when, in fact, it would grow the government at the economy's expense.

At the core of his plan is the belief that renewed growth depends first and foremost on income transfers to low- and middle-income people and a mountain of "infrastructure" spending on roads, bridges and other public-works projects, and grants to state governments to spend as they please.

McCain's plan is rooted in the belief that economic growth, job creation and higher incomes can only be fueled by lower tax rates to stimulate business expansion, entrepreneurial risk-taking and capital investment that will grow the economy, not the government.

Even Democrats, some of whom are now advising Obama, have raised questions about his pump-priming infrastructure spending and his rigid opposition to McCain's proposal to cut the 35 percent corporate income tax.

"It's going to be very hard to compete for jobs if we keep high corporate tax rates," David Rothkopf, a trade official in the Clinton administration, told the Washington Post last week.

Notably, two other economists in Clinton's administration wrote earlier this year that spending on infrastructure, as Obama proposes, is among the "less effective options" to combat looming recessions because the money usually trickles down into the economy when it is too late to do any good.

The authors of that study: Douglas W. Elmendorf, now an adviser to House Democrats, and Jason Furman, who is Obama's chief economic adviser.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Running Against Bush


In recent months, conservative commentators have devoted countless words to the American media's open bias in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama. Although there is no question that their criticism is accurate, it is wrong to root that bias merely in the media's leftist sympathies.

The American media's pro-Obama bias is also the consequence of their misrepresentation of outgoing President George W. Bush's record in office. And that misrepresentation, too, cannot be ascribed merely to the leftist sympathies of the media. For the media are not the source of that misrepresentation, Bush is.
Bush's record in office is the key issue in the campaign. The outgoing president's abysmal approval ratings in his last two years in power caused both parties to recognize that to win the election, their candidate had to distinguish himself as much as possible from the current occupant of the Oval Office.

In selecting Sen. John McCain as their party's nominee, the Republicans adopted this approach. Throughout his long career in Congress, McCain has served as the consummate party outsider. Yet, in his own way, and now to his detriment, he has also been loyal. And so until recently he avoided attacking Bush outright, preferring instead to ignore him.

But by ignoring the president, McCain gave Obama full freedom to define Bush's presidency in the manner that best advanced his electoral prospects. And Obama's success in defining Bush has enabled the Democratic nominee to set the terms of debate on the central issue of the campaign: how America finds itself in the situation it now finds itself, and what policies should be adopted to improve it.

Obama has successfully cast Bush's presidency as a repeat of Ronald Reagan's. Obama has portrayed Bush's foreign policy as a reenactment of Reagan's muscular, pro-American foreign policy, which was based on Reagan's belief in American exceptionalism and his willingness to disregard what America's enemies and erstwhile allies thought of US actions. Obama has also portrayed Bush's economic policies as a reenactment of Reagan's policies of free market capitalism characterized by deregulation and tax cuts.

Obama has claimed that European and Muslim estrangement from the US; the increased strength of the insurgency in Afghanistan; Russian aggression; the resilience of the insurgency in Iraq; Iran's unimpeded drive toward nuclear weapons; and every other major US foreign policy problem are the consequences of Bush's embrace of Reagan's foreign policy approach. Obama claims that the financial crisis, too, is a consequence of Bush's Reaganesque tax cuts and his general embrace of supply-side economics and the conservative preference for limited government.

By so defining Bush's record in office, Obama has been able to make a case for his own policies, which are diametrically opposed to those he ascribes to Bush.

THERE IS only one problem with Obama's description of Bush's record. It is utterly false.

During his first term, Bush's foreign policy was raft with internal contradictions and intellectual confusion. Books have been written about the two competing factions in Bush's inner circle. Vice President Richard Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld championed a Reaganesque model of statecraft. And opposing them, secretary of state Colin Powell pushed for a UN-centered, European-style foreign policy more similar to the one adopted by Bush's father.

Throughout his first term, Bush refused to side with one or the other of the factions. Instead he tried to simultaneously implement two mutually exclusive foreign policies. His indecisiveness rendered his foreign policy intellectually incoherent and doomed much that he did to failure. Bush's speechwriters were evidently more sympathetic to the Cheney-Rumsfeld view and so many of his speeches during his first term echoed Reagan's soaring rhetoric. But on the ground, Bush's policies adhered much more closely to Powell's program.

This intellectual disarray was perhaps nowhere more evident than in Bush's refusal to define the enemy in the war. The men who attacked the US on September 11, 2001, were more than simply terrorists. They had a plan and a cause: They were Muslim jihadists. And they were not the ideological fringe of the Islamic world. Their beliefs are propagated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and are advanced in the most prestigious academies in the Islamic world.

By claiming that the enemy in the war is generic "terror" rather than a worldview embraced by millions of people throughout the Islamic world, Bush made it impossible for his advisers to develop a coherent strategy for war. He also denied the American people the tools necessary for understanding either the meaning of the struggle or the necessity of fighting it. He deprived the public of the basic intellectual framework for understanding for instance why he decided to imprison terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Bush's two-headed foreign policy made it difficult for the public to recognize that the war being waged against the US and its allies in Iraq is not simply an Iraqi struggle, but a battlefield in a regional war fueled by neighboring regimes. His intellectual confusion blinded him to the fact that his democracy agenda was harmed, not advanced, by holding popular elections in which jihadists - whose views and aspirations are inimical to the notion of human freedom - were permitted to participate.

In Bush's second term in office, and particularly since the Republican defeat in the 2006 Congressional elections, Bush abandoned the intellectual incoherence of his first term in favor of a full embrace of Powell's policy preferences now championed by his successor, Condoleezza Rice. Throughout his entire first term, and due to his refusal to adjudicate between two contradictory foreign policy visions, Bush failed to adopt any policy toward Iran. After the 2006 Congressional elections, Bush embraced the Powell-Rice policy of European style appeasement. This has been demonstrated most recently by his stated plan to open a US embassy in Teheran.

Bush's wholesale adoption of the Powell-Rice appeasement policy is also reflected in his policies toward North Korea and the Palestinians. And this week, according to statements by White House officials, he stands ready to apply it toward the Taliban, with whom he is considering opening ties.

In Bush's last two years in office, the only surviving remnant of the Cheney-Rumseld Reaganesque foreign policy has been Bush's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. And in spite of its military success, the fact that this policy is contradicted by the president's policy everywhere else casts doubt on the durability of America's victories on the ground.

BUSH'S ACCEPTANCE of the Powell-Rice foreign policy doctrine has not been widely recognized. In large part this has been due to Bush's own refusal to tell the public that he has in fact embraced appeasement. Moreover, his reluctance to come clean with the public has been exacerbated by the media's denial of the change.

Whether due to blindness fed by an underlying hostility toward the president, or to ignorance of the significance of Bush's policies, the media have failed to report that Bush's policies today are a repudiation of the ideals and policies Bush gave voice to in his speeches during his first term. Those effectively repudiated speeches were the embodiment of Reagan's foreign policy doctrine.

The same pattern has been followed in popular characterizations of Bush's economic policies.

Aside from his tax cuts in his first term - cuts that include a "sunset" provision rendering them temporary measures rather than enduring tax reforms - Bush's economic policies during his two terms have been anything but Reaganesque. Bush has vastly increased the size of the federal government, and he has introduced massive new regulation into the US economy.

Emblematic of Bush's eschewal of Reagan's legacy on both foreign policy and economic levels is his newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The establishment of this new position - and the large bureaucracy supporting it - was how Bush chose to contend with US intelligence agencies' failure to foresee and prevent the September 11 attacks.

But like most failures in governance, the failure to anticipate, uncover and prevent those attacks was not due to an absence of bureaucracy. Rather, the failure stemmed from the ideologically-driven unwillingness of the directors of the FBI and the CIA to recognize the threat of al-Qaida and focus their efforts on tracking and capturing al-Qaida members and sympathizers. The proper response to that failure would have been to fire the heads of those agencies and replace them with people who understood the nature of the threat and were capable of contending with it.

Instead Bush decided to increase the size of the government, add a new layer of bureaucracy to the failed intelligence community and staff it with people of the same mindset as those who had failed to anticipate, expose and prevent the September 11 attacks. Not surprisingly, the newly appointed, ideologically uniform bureaucrats continued to underestimate the threats of jihadists and to fail to pay attention to any new significant trends in other areas.

It was this failed bureaucratic groupthink that produced the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapons program last year. That report, with its demonstrably false assertion that Teheran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, scuttled all of Bush's efforts to use economic sanctions to dissuade the Islamic Republic from building nuclear bombs and pulled the rug out from under any plan to take military action against Iran's nuclear installations in the event of the sanctions' failure.

So, too, led by officials of limited intellectual curiosity and blinding ideological cowardice now sitting atop a new bureaucracy, US intelligence agencies failed to anticipate or prevent Russia's invasion of Georgia.

Bush's establishment of the behemoth Department of Homeland Security was yet another attempt to solve a personnel problem by creating yet another department. And just as the National Intelligence Directorate has failed to solve the problems it was created to contend with, so the Department of Homeland Security has simply continued the same failed immigration policies and domestic intelligence policies that caused the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI to fail to identify and arrest the September 11 hijackers.

In short, both in foreign and domestic affairs, Bush's record is completely at odds with Reagan's record in office. Indeed, his policies have been far more similar to those that Obama - who runs as the anti-Reagan - promises to advance than to those that Reagan adopted.

AND THIS is the great irony of the campaign season. By failing to accurately represent his policies to the public, Bush invited Obama to misrepresent his record and so wrongly ascribe Bush's failures to policies he never adopted - much less implemented. By failing to correct Obama's misrepresentation of Bush's actual record, McCain has allowed Obama to characterize him as the candidate who would continue the Bush presidency, when the fact is that the small-government policies and the relatively robust foreign policy positions that McCain has adopted render him the candidate most unlike the sitting president.

If Obama wins the elections on Tuesday, his victory will find its roots not in media bias, but in Bush's insistent misrepresentation of his record as president.


This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1225199612962&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull



The sad thing about it, you can see it coming.

I have always heard about this democracy countdown. It is interesting to see it in print. God help us, not that we deserve it.

How Long Do We Have?

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government'

'A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.'

'From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who
promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that
every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is
always followed by a dictatorship.'

'The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning
of history, has been about 200 years'

'During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the
following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
3. from courage to liberty;
4. from liberty to abundance;
5. from abundance to complacency;
6. from complacency to apathy;
7. from apathy to dependence;;
8. from dependence back into bond age'

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul,
Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000
Presidential election:

Number of States won by:
Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29

Square miles of land won by:
Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by:
Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
Democrats: 13.2 Republicans: 2.1

Professor Orson adds: 'In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican
won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great

Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in
government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the 'complacency
and apathy' phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some
forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the
'governmental dependency' phase.

If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
invaders called illegal's and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA
in fewer than five years.

If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message. If you
are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at
stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.

ON NOV. 4, 2008

Condoleezza: The Middle East is a Better Place?

Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
Asharq Alawsat

During a television interview, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed that the current US administration will leave behind a Middle East that is in a better situation than it was when the administration first took over power. This is a controversial conclusion that requires scrutiny and it does not take much to see how mistaken Condoleezza Rice is as the region is in a worse state today even if each one of us has a different interpretation of what “better” actually means. Let us look at each case individually. As the presidency of Bill Clinton drew to a close to be succeeded by that of George W. Bush, the Palestinian issue was close to being resolved. Despite the violence at the time, the general feeling was that a solution was in sight. Bush’s presidency began optimistically as he announced that he could help with the founding of two states side by side, one Palestinian and one Israeli. However over seven years, the Bush administration neglected this issue based on the pretext that it was preoccupied with pursuing Al Qaeda. If it had directed its efforts towards solving the conflict at the same time as its war on terror then it would have been welcomed by the Arabs and Israelis because America was at the height of its anger and power and people looked towards it positively to strike a balance. All we can say is that the administration wasted valuable years in which it could have ended the Arab-Israeli conflict especially that George W. Bush was known for his strong personality at the beginning of his tenure.

As for the terrorism issue; we cannot blame Bush’s government for the continuation of this crisis because it is widespread, deep-rooted and will take a long time [to solve]. What we should say in fact is that its blunders in Iraq strengthened terrorism and caused it to spread even further.

Iraq is the most controversial of issues in the world when it comes to the Bush administration. Unlike many others, I believe that it was essential to bring down Saddam Hussein's regime as it had become difficult to cooperate with Saddam. His downfall was inevitable. However, the claim that Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction was unfounded and this is where the administration took on a major project and committed mistakes from the very beginning. Bush’s team continuously made mistakes in administrating Iraq from the day Baghdad fell when it dissolved the army, security forces and the [ruling] political party. Its biggest mistake lies in the kind of government that it created. As Washington battled religious extremist groups all over the world, at the same time, it handed them Iraqi governance on a golden platter and this has had disastrous results in the present and will continue to do so in the near future.

The result is that the administration’s failure in governing Iraq encouraged more extremist wings of Iran to gain power, which caused extremism to spread in the region to an extent that had never been witnessed before, even during the conflict with the Soviet Union. Extremism in Iran encouraged extremism in Syria. It built a large arsenal for Hezbollah and made it possible for Hamas to sabotage the peace process in Palestine. Moscow returned to the region and Beijing became involved as well.

We cannot forget Somalia and Sudan that both endured their worst periods of violence and extremism. The Bush administration was not able to control the situations in those countries or have an impact on them.

Although Bush’s administration was the only one in American history that really sought to promote democracy in the Middle East, which failed because though the plan was good on paper, it was impractical, theatrics began to appear in the region making false claims of interest in popular participation. There is not one real democratic system today in the region with the exception of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, yet America did move to support it especially in face of the heinous practices of Israel that undermined the government of Mahmoud Abbas.

Today, Bush’s presidency is coming to a close, Iran is on the verge of creating a nuclear bomb, China is protecting Sudan, Russia is backing Syria, Hamas is occupying a third of the new Palestine, Iraq is in the hands of extremist religious figures and Al Qaeda is present all over the world.

Syria deploys more troops along Lebanese border

Lebanon says military move designed to limit smuggling, prevent illegal migration following talks between army chiefs on both sides

Syria will deploy more troops along its border with Lebanon in an effort to stop smuggling, the Lebanese army said on Thursday.

The deployment along Syria's side of Lebanon's eastern border follows the stationing of hundreds of Syrian troops on Lebanon's borders in the north – a region where Damascus has warned of a threat from Islamist radicals. Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji and his Syrian counterpart Ali Habib discussed the deployment of Syrian army units "along the length of the eastern border in the coming few days", the Lebanese army said in a statement. It did not say how many troops would deploy.

The Syrian army had completed its deployment on its own side of Lebanon's northern border, the statement said, adding that the two commanders had discussed the new steps in a phone call.

"This deployment comes in the framework of measures to stop smuggling and prevent the movement of people illegally across the borders", the statement said. Witnesses in Lebanon said Syrian troops had already started to deploy.

Syria's deployment in the north was a cause for concern among anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians, who feared that Damascus might be planning to intervene in its smaller neighbor.

Syria controlled politics and security in Lebanon until 2005 when the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri triggered international pressure that forced it to end its 29-year military presence in the country.

Northern Lebanon has been the scene of a series of recent attacks on the Lebanese army. The public prosecutor this week accused 34 Islamists, including Lebanese, Saudis, Syrians and Palestinians of carrying out the deadly bombings.

Syria has said a vehicle used in a suicide attack in Damascus last month had crossed into the country from an Arab neighbor. It has not said which country.

Jack Straw: "Muslim courts will ALWAYS remain subservient to English law"

Dhimmi Watch

And this from Dhimmi Jack! Of course, he gets himself off the hook by explaining to Muslims that "the arguments against creating a parallel system of Sharia law in Britain were 'overwhelming.'" Read: "It's not my fault!" Still, he did say the right thing; good for you, Jack. "Jack Straw: Muslim courts will ALWAYS remain subservient to English law," by James Slack for the Daily Mail, October 30:

Muslim courts will always remain 'subservient' to English law, Jack Straw declared last night.

In a speech to an Islamic conference, the Justice Secretary said the arguments against creating a parallel system of Sharia law in Britain were 'overwhelming'.

His remarks come less than a week after one of his junior ministers, Bridget Prentice, appeared to clear Islamic courts to deal with family and divorce disputes, including how a Muslim couple divide their money and property and who gets the children.

Mr Straw said that - while courts could consider a Sharia ruling - they would make their own judgments on the welfare of the children.

Mr Straw, who is also Lord Chancellor, added: 'It is ultimately up to the court to decide whether the agreement complies with English law. No court will endorse an agreement which conflicts with English law.'

In the strongest passage of last night's speech, he continued: 'There is nothing whatever in English law that prevents people abiding by Sharia principles if they wish to, provided they do not come into conflict with English law.

'There is no question about that. But English law will always remain supreme, and religious councils subservient to it.'

Mr Straw earlier told the audience that 'many dreadful things have been done in the name of mainstream religions. Barbaric practices such as stoning have been – quite wrongly – justified by reference to Islam, for instance'.

But he added: 'Crucially, any member of a religious community – or indeed, any other community – has the right to refer to an English court, particularly if they feel pressured or coerced to resolve an issue in a way in which they feel uncomfortable.'...

Nice in theory, hard to implement in practice -- especially for already subservient, broken women, terrified of questioning their men, let alone dragging them before infidel courts to reassess a sharia court ruling.

Comment: Jack lived up to his last name. this kind of cowardly behavior by national leaders is precisely what the West does not need.

Gates Woos Obama

Robert Spencer
Human Events

Is Robert Gates hoping that if Barack Obama is elected president, he will keep him on as Secretary of Defense?

It sure looks like it. Last week, while speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Gates tacitly endorsed Obama’s famous identification of Afghanistan as the central front in the war on terror. After a few brief and perfunctory remarks about Iraq, Gates spent most of his address talking about Afghanistan, which he proclaimed to be “the test, on the grandest scale, of what we are trying to achieve when it comes to integrating the military and the civilian, the public and private, the national and international.” Nor was that the only indication that Gates is extending a virtual CV in Obama’s direction. In his address, Gates noted that “in the wake of the end of the Cold War, a new threat has emerged to menace peace-loving people of all nations and all religions.” That threat? “Violent extremism,” which Gates said “seeks to eject all westerners and western influence from the Middle East and Southwest Asia, to destroy Israel, and overthrow all secular and western-oriented governments in the region.” He explained that these “violent extremists” have “unlimited ‘ideological zeal,’” but he never even came close to explaining the content of that ideology, which would of course have required him to talk about Islam. This politically correct tack is sure to endear him to those who may soon be deciding who will oversee Obama’s Pentagon.

Gates’ analysis of this “violent extremism” echoed Obama’s: he said that the threat emanated from “failed and failing states, from ungoverned spaces.” In this, he hewed closely to Obama’s statements in an interview last summer, when the candidate attributed the rise of “extremist elements” to “a shift in Islam that I believe is connected to the failures of governments and the failures of the West to work with many of these countries, in order to make sure that opportunities are there, that there’s bottom-up economic growth.” (The refutation of the idea that economic growth will end support for jihad terrorism is staring Gates and Obama in the face, and its name is Saudi Arabia -- but neither seems to have noticed.) And Obama would approve of Gates’ pious admonition that “our own national security toolbox must be well-equipped with more than just hammers” -- i.e., it needs to be filled with goodies for regimes that tell the State and Defense Departments what they want to hear.

One would think that Gates would know better by this time, especially after recent revelations of how the Musharraf government in Pakistan was for years taking American money to fight against jihad terrorists and simultaneously aiding those same jihad terrorists. Indeed, less than three weeks before his address to the Institute of Peace, Gates was asked during an appearance at the National Defense University in Washington how the incoming President might smooth over the tense situation between the U.S. and Iran. Gates’ reply was telling: “I have been involved,” he said, “in the search for the elusive Iranian moderate for 30 years.” Then Gates recounted an incident from a 1979 meeting between then-National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and officials of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran. Gates, who was there, said Brzezinski told the Iranians that the U.S. would recognize the Khomeini government and even sell Iran weapons, but that the Iranians demanded that the U.S. hand over the Shah to them. When the U.S. refused, they stormed the American Embassy in Tehran, thus beginning the hostage crisis. Mideast analyst Barry Rubin commented: “Had the United States been a mean bully in its treatment of the new Islamist Iran? On the contrary, Washington did everything possible to negotiate, conciliate, and build confidence. We’ll do almost anything you want, Carter and Brzezinski offered, just be our friend. Far from being appeased, Iran demanded such a total humiliation -- turning over the fatally ill, deposed Shah for execution -- even that administration couldn't accept it.”

Gates, with his talk of diversifying our current alleged hammers-only approach to “violent extremism,” and his apparent politically correct unwillingness to delineate the true motives and goals of those who would destroy us, seems determined to go down this road again. As far as Obama is concerned, that may be just fine and spare him the trouble of finding a new Secretary of Defense. But will America be able to pay the cost of still more politically correct myopia and appeasement?

Mr. Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)", "The Truth About Muhammad" and the forthcoming"Stealth Jihad" (all from Regnery -- a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

SUNY-Binghamton: An unwitting admission

Robert Spencer

One of the most striking elements of the response to the talks that I have been giving on university campuses all over the country is the never-yielding unwillingness of Muslim questioners to admit even the smallest point. They will dismiss the evidence that I bring from authoritative Islamic sources of the jihad imperative to subjugate non-Muslims under the rule of Islamic law as the ravings of a few extremists, not hesitating to repudiate any authority, no matter how influential it may be in the Islamic world. This may seem to be a canny tactic, as most of the non-Muslims in any given audience have no idea who is an authoritative voice in Islam and who isn't, and so it gives the impression that I am quoting marginal people to whom the vast majority of Muslims don't listen. But as an approach it carries with it some serious risks: anyone in the audience who does know anything about Islamic theology and law, and about who the authoritative voices are in the Islamic world, will know they are lying. Also, anyone who is reasonably well informed about the extent of jihad activity worldwide, from Europe to Indonesia, will wonder just how tiny this Tiny Minority of Extremists™ really is.

Another hazard of the policy of deception, rooted as it is in Muhammad's dictum that "war is deceit" and the Qur'an's mandate to deceive unbelievers when under pressure, is that not all Muslims in attendance may have gotten the memo. So it was at SUNY-Binghamton, where I spoke Tuesday night. One questioner asked me specifically about the Islamic doctrine of religious deception. I explained that it was founded upon the words of the Qur'an itself: “Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers. If any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah; except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them” (Qur’an 3:28).

The Sunni Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir explains that in this verse “Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers.” However, exempted from this rule were “those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, 'We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.' Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, 'The Tuqyah [taqiyyah] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.'"

This practice is also sanctioned by the Qur’an warning Muslims that those who forsake Islam will be consigned to Hell — except those forced to do so, but who remain true Muslims inwardly: “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters unbelief — except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith — but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty” (Qur’an 16:106). Ibn Kathir explains that “the scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation, or to refuse.”

Moreover, Sahih Bukhari, the hadith collection that Sunnis consider the most reliable, records three times Muhammad's statement that "war is deceit." Another hadith in a collection considered reliable by Sunnis has Muhammad saying that lying is permissible "in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them)" (Sahih Muslim 6303). Muhammad also gave the killer of Ka'b bin al-Ashraf permission to lie in order to deceive Ka'b and lure him to his death.

Another venerable Sunni commentator on the Qur'an, as-Suyuti, says that "it is acceptable (for a Muslim) to eat the meat of a dead animal at a time of great hunger (starvation to the extent that the stomach is devoid of all food); and to loosen a bite of food (for fear of choking to death) by alcohol; and to utter words of unbelief..."

Anyway, after I had explained all this, a Muslim questioner started talking about Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and how they persecuted Muslims and forced them to convert to Catholicism, such that many Muslims feigned conversion while remaining Muslim inwardly. Did I think that the doctrine of religious deception, he asked me, was revealed in view of that situation? In reply I told him that the doctrine of religious deception was found in the Qur'an, as I explained above, and that it was therefore considerably older than the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Yes, he replied, but asked me again: didn't I think that the doctrine of religious deception was revealed by Allah to Muhammad in order to provide for the situation that Ferdinand and Isabella would create, far in the future? Being somewhat slow on the uptake, it was only then that I realized that his question assumed the divine origin of the Qur'an, and I told him that I declined to make a statement of faith in Islam. But his question was inadvertently revealing: he was not, unlike other questioners, full of wounded indignation and hotly denying that Islam had a doctrine of deception at all. He was assuming that Islam does have a doctrine of deception, and trying to get me to see the divine wisdom of this doctrine.

But that was the only crack in the facade. Otherwise the hostile questioners resorted to their usual tactic of charging that what I was saying was false without ever being able to pinpoint any actual inaccuracy in anything I said. One girl tried valiantly, explaining that in Islam there were four -- well, she couldn't quite remember what they were, but there were four of them, and they were sort of like sects, and why hadn't I said anything about the diversity among them? I explained to her that she was probably thinking of the four major madhahib, schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and that they did not differ in any significant particular on the Islamic community's obligation to subjugate unbelievers under the rule of Islamic law.

Significantly, no one in the audience challenged that assertion -- in fact, after eight college speeches during this round of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, no one ever did. Which is not to say that some didn't hesitate to lie: one man claimed falsely that I had never referred to Muhammad as a prophet during my talk (since I am not a believer, I had referred to him during the talk as "the prophet of Islam") and asked me, in a tone of reproach, what people were going to think of Muhammad after hearing what I had said. He then proceeded to note that I had said nothing about how kind Muhammad was to his neighbors, how gentle, how beloved of his friends. I acknowledged that this was true -- I discussed these traditions in The Truth About Muhammad -- but pointed out that Muhammad had also commaded, in ahadith Muslims consider equally authentic, warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers. Was he denying the existence of such traditions? He did not answer the question.

And so it went. It's really fairly obvious that if Muslims at these campus talks really rejected the ideology of jihad and Islamic supremacism, they would not charge me with "hate" for discussing its existence, or traffic in denial and obfuscation about the existence of this ideology. Every one of these talks has been, or should have been, instructive for non-Muslims in the audience who may have assumed that the Vast Majority of Peaceful Muslims™ actually rejects the Islamic supremacist agenda. But I doubt that very many of those non-Muslims have had their eyes open to what was going on right in front of them, in Binghamton and elsewhere -- and for me the worst was yet to come, at a virtual Islamic supremacist storm-trooper hate rally at East Tennessee State University the next night. But that will be the subject of another post.

Al-Qaeda top dog prays: "O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him"

Not that he is endorsing any party, Reuters hastens to assure us. "Qaeda wants Republicans, Bush "humiliated": Web video," from Reuters, October 30 (thanks to Sr. Soph):

DUBAI (Reuters) - An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing a party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to an Internet video posting. "O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.

Libi, a top al Qaeda commander believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God's wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.

The remarks were the first from a leading al Qaeda figure referring, albeit indirectly, to the U.S. elections. Muslim clerics often end sermons by calling on God to guide and support Muslims and help defeat their enemies....

Funny thing. Now, why is that? Reuters doesn't tell us, of course, about the sharp division between the believers -- the "best of people" (Qur'an 3:110) -- and the unbelievers -- the "most vile of created beings" (Qur'an 98:6) -- that runs through Islam. Nor does it discuss the geopolitical and supremacist implications of these prayers for the "defeat" of their enemies.

Some posters have also argued over the merits of trying to attack the United States before the election or waiting until later, the report said....

And indeed, although of course there still are a few days left, those who have counseled that it is best not to mount a violent jihad attack against the U.S. before the election seem to have won out.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has been portrayed as likely to allow "the continuation of Republican control and aggressive policies toward the Islamic world."

Thanks Jihad Watch

In case you forgot this story:Obama Keeps Hiring Anti-Israeli Advisors

Ed Lasky
April 25, 2008 (first posted-American Thinker)

Commentary Magazine's Gabriel Schoenfeld has noted that another Obama adviser, Joseph Cirincione, seems to have anti-Israel views. His senior aide on nuclear non-proliferation had denounced reports that North Korea had been helping Syria build a nuclear reactor and said such reports were nonsense and were, in part, promoted so as to derail talks with Syria.

Cirincione had written after Israel's strike against the suspected Syrian nuclear plant that stories about it being a North-Korean designed and built plutonium reactor were a lie -- a fiction being spread just as reports had been spread before the Iraq War that misled the press regarding Iraq's program. Shcoenfeld writes: Who was behind this nefarious manipulation? It appears, wrote Circincione, “to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda.” What exactly was that political agenda? “[I]t appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement.” There was also a dose of Zionist mischief thrown in: “Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria.”

Based on evidence shown to Congress yesterday, there is now incontrovertible proof that the building bombed by Israel was a plutonium-producing reactor that was geared toward the production of material for nuclear weapons -- exactly what Cirincionne had previously dismissed as lies, in part, cooked up by Israelis trying to influence America's foreign policy.
This tendency to blame and castigate Israel was not the first time phenomenon for Joseph Cirincione. He seems to have a penchant for targeting Israel for opprobrium.

In 2002, he wrote that Israel's possession of three diesel nuclear power submarines that can launch nuclear missiles complicates American efforts to restrain a nuclear arms race. He also claimed that the US Navy monitored the Israeli testing of a new cruise missile from a submarine in 2002 off of Sri Lanka, according to unnamed "former Pentagon officials".

There is no verifiable proof that Israel launched such missiles, just a claim by Cirincione. He also blamed Israel for stoking an arms race that is creating a difficult situation not just for the United States, but also for preventing other nations that have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty from breaking away.

Israel's has followed a principle of ambiguity regarding its nuclear program. Surrounded by an array of enemies that dwarf its own resources, Israel -- a nation founded after the Holocaust -- might reasonable be seen as needing such a nuclear force to protect its existence. It has been rumored that when Israel was on the brink of defeat during the Yom Kippur War , it made known that it might be forced to resort to a nuclear option. Cirincionne looks in askance at Israel's possession of such a deterrent and sees it as a problem for America and for the world.

In 2006, he declared that Israel's raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor was a "failure". This was despite the stunning success of the daring raid (only one man died) in derailing Iraq's program. Years later, Dick Cheney thanked Israel for disabling Iraq's nuclear program, for if Osirak had been allowed to be completed, Iraq might well have had a nuclear arsenal during the Gulf War in 1991. Instead, Cirincione held that it sped-up the Iraqi program and led to a more devoted effort to secretly build nuclear capabilities. This, of course, paradoxically conflicts with his other belief that Iraq did not have such a nuclear program and that America should not have invaded Iraq absent such proof!

He also is firmly against any type of strike against the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
He is in favor of persuading Israel to give up its nuclear program which, as noted above, might be the only thing that can prevent Israel's destruction. One book reviewer noted that Cirincione's believes (as shown in his book, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons):

Quite significantly, Cirincione thinks that Iran would also be encouraged to give up nuclear weapons building if it does not face a nuclear threat from what it considers to be its biggest enemy in the Middle East -- Israel. The nuclear balance in the Middle East is always going to be contingent on the political atmosphere in that politically and historically volatile continent, and Israel is a key player in these developments. While Israel giving up its nuclear program may sound utopian, Cirincione is optimistic that Israel with its vast and superior conventional forces could be encouraged to incrementally reduce or even eliminate its nuclear capability, perhaps starting by shutting down its production reactor at Dimona.

Cirincione states:

"The world does well to remember that most Middle East weapons programs began as a response to Israel's nuclear weapons," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nonproliferation at the liberal think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-author of its recent study, "Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.

"Everyone already knows about Israel's bombs in the closet," he said. "Bringing them out into the open and putting them on the table as part of a regional deal may be the only way to prevent others from building their own bombs in their basements."

If this were not enough to give one qualms about the views of this important adviser to Barack Obama, Cirincione has expanded on these themes in a short article for The Globalist. He criticizes America for not publicizing Israel's weapons programs. He calls for an end of this practice.

If you do not know much about Israel's programs, it is not surprising. Israel is never mentioned in semi-annual reports the U.S. Congress requires the intelligence agencies to prepare on "the acquisition by foreign countries during the preceding six months of dual-use and other technology useful for the development or production of weapons of mass destruction."

The agencies provide their assessment of programs in Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan and others, but Israel (and Egypt) are omitted. This pattern is repeated across the board.

For example, the 2003 report on the ballistic and cruise missile threat from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center lists 18 nations with missiles, including U.S. allies Bulgaria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Egypt — but not Israel.

Yet, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and an array of medium-range missiles that could deliver them.

He wants to put U.S. muscle behind a plan for seeking a nuclear-free Middle East region. This, of course, would be flexed against Israel. He wrote (in 2005) that Israel was never more secure from external threats and has less need for nuclear weapons than any time in its history. He calls for an "even-handed" approach toward nuclear weapons programs and calls for Israel's nuclear program to be "put on the table" as part of a regional deal to prevent nuclear proliferation.

There are more such policy pronouncements by Joseph Cirincione. They all reveal a stunning naiveté regarding the nature of the regimes that are engaged in nuclear proliferation in the region. Pakistan and North Korea have engaged in a nuclear bazaar to sell nuclear technology; Iran has spent billions to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal; Syria is cooperating with North Korea (and probably Iran) on weapons of mass destruction . They all have monetary or geopolitical reasons to do so. Iran wants to be a hegemonic power in the region-and also may very well have theological "reasons" for developing nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein was a megalomaniac who wanted nuclear arms to expand his power.

Yet somehow, Cirincione blames Israel for nuclear proliferation and seemingly wants to pressure Israel to shut down its nuclear program and strip itself of any nuclear weapons it may or may not have in its inventory. This man was chosen by Barack Obama to be one of his top advisers in the area of nuclear proliferation. He is also another in a disconcertingly long line of Obama advisers, who seemingly have an anti-Israel bias and who would be very willing to apply American pressure on our tiny ally to disarm itself in the face of its mortal enemies.

Page Printed from: at October 31, 2008 - 12:56:40 AM EDT

Denial runs through American Jewry

Mona Charen

From the Palestinian Authority Daily: "Twenty-three-year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp (in the Gaza Strip) trying to call American citizens in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama..."
Like many Palestinians, Abu Jayyab is excited about the prospect of an Obama presidency. (By the way, the Gaza Strip is completely under the control of Hamas. Why then do they persist in speaking of "refugee camps"? But of course, we know why.) If Abu Jayyab and many others in the Palestinian areas are delighted, why are so many American Jewish voters feeling the same way? One side or the other has the wrong man. Which is it?

I've heard from some American Jews that they do not believe Obama is sincere in his leftism. They believe/hope that the anti-Israel sentiments and associations of his past were purely opportunistic; that once in the White House he will shed them like yesterday's fashions. That's quite a leap of faith.

Many politicians have distanced themselves from positions and associations of their youths. But in Obama's case, he is distancing himself from positions staked out as recently as 2003. The Los Angeles Times is apparently sitting on a videotape showing Obama's remarks at a farewell dinner that year for Rashid Khalidi, the one-time PLO spokesman who now heads the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia. (Columbia University's shame is a subject for another column.) Khalidi is not distancing himself from his past. Consistent with what you'd expect from someone who justified PLO attacks on civilians in Israel and Lebanon from 1976 to 1982, Khalidi routinely refers to Israel as a "racist" and "apartheid" state, and professes to believe in a "one-state" solution to the conflict. Guess which country would have to disappear for that "one" state to come into existence?

The Khalidis and Obamas were good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, the brainchild of Rashid and Mona Khalidi. According to an L.A. Times account of the dinner, Obama mentioned that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home (just another guy in the neighborhood?) and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls. Like William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama in their living room when he unsuccessfully sought a House seat. At the farewell dinner, according to the L.A. Times, Obama apparently related fondly his "many talks" with the Khalidis. Perhaps that's where he learned, as he told the Des Moines Register that "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." Obama told the crowd that those talks with the Khalidis had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation — a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table" but around "this entire world."

Even less attention has been paid to the man Obama appointed as his emissary to the Muslim community in the U.S., Mazen Asbahi. Asbahi, it turned out, had ties to the Islamic Society of North America, which in turn was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. The Holy Land Foundation was accused of being a front group for Hamas. When news of these associations became public, Asbahi resigned from the campaign to "avoid distracting from Barack Obama's message of change." And don't forget hope!

Many American Jews preparing to pull the lever for Obama have never heard of Asbahi. But they surely know about Jeremiah Wright. They know that he gave a "lifetime achievement" award to Louis Farrakhan; that he supported efforts to get U.S. businesses to divest from Israel; that he gave space in the Trinity Church bulletin to Hamas; and that he has accused Israel of "genocide" against the Palestinians. They are preparing to vote for a man who tamely tolerated all of that (and more) for 20 years.

Someone is making a big mistake — and it isn't Abu Jayyab.

This is just the half of it, when you look at his advisors it gets pretty obvious that no matter what he says; anyone with this history can't be a true friend of Jews or Israel.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Threat Of A Jewish Army

Caroline B. Glick

Over the past two weeks, the Israeli media have renewed their witch hunt against religious Zionists in the IDF. These assaults have become seasonal affairs. Usually there is a proximate cause, such as anticipation of a deal with the Palestinians, to spur their attacks. But sometimes the assaults on religious soldiers come on more like a twitch, or a flexing of muscles. With the Olmert-Livni-Barak government on its way out and no agreement with the Palestinians on the horizon, this latest assault is of the muscle-flexing variety. It began with a three-page spread in Yediot Aharonot's Simchat Torah supplement. Under the headline, "After Me, God Willing," the paper's military commentator, Alex Fishman, set out the ominous details of the narrative: Religious Zionists today make up about seven percent of the total population of the country. But their sons comprise twenty percent of IDF combat soldiers, nearly a quarter of the IDF's junior officer corps, and fifty percent of its company commanders.

The growing prominence of religious Zionists in all combat arms of the IDF is a consequence of a now two-decade trend among religious Zionists in Israel to serve in combat units - the more elite, the better. A contrary trend among upper middle class secular youth not to serve in the IDF at all renders the contribution of the religious youth all the more noticeable to the general public and all the more crucial for the IDF.

That latter trend has found a sympathetic audience in Yediot's pages. Just last month the paper ran a cover story in its weekend magazine showcasing the daughter of the deputy head of the Mossad. The young woman is now anticipating prison in the wake of her refusal to serve in the army due to her anti-Zionist ideological beliefs.

These countervailing social currents of increased religious participation and decreased secular participation in fighting units was brought to the public's attention in a graphic manner during the Second Lebanon War. In the course of the war, only one soldier from Tel Aviv was killed in battle while over a dozen soldiers from religious communities were killed in combat.

Fishman wrote darkly of the steps the IDF has taken to adapt to its growing religious population. It has built synagogues. It allows rabbis to visit troops. It has introduced lessons on Jewish values in command courses. Cadets in Officer Training School are now required to pass a test on Jewish values to receive their 2nd lieutenant bars.

In his penultimate paragraph, Fishman cut to the chase. With all these religious Jews in the army, how will the Left be able to inculcate soldiers with its post-Zionist values? Or, as he asked rhetorically, "Is the dominance of the religious Zionist sector in command positions - for now in the junior echelons, but in time, in more senior levels - a problem? Is there a danger that the IDF will be mobilized one day to serve a specific ideology? Is there liable to be a problem someday with giving the army certain duties, if they don't suit the religious Zionist ideology and the values of most of the chain of command?"

Fishman's article was not directed against anyone in particular. It served merely as a warning shot across the bow. The direct assault on a specific scapegoat came a week later in Haaretz. Based on allegations by one unnamed "senior officer," Haaretz's military commentator, Amos Harel, accused the IDF Rabbinate of "brainwashing soldiers" by "exposing troops to Jewish heritage and ties to the Land of Israel."

The main villain for Haaretz is IDF Chief Rabbi Brig. Gen. Avichai Ronski. Haaretz attacked Rabbi Ronski for the "crime" of bringing Jewish values and religion into fighting units through the IDF Rabbinate's Jewish Consciousness Department.

The department's motto is "Jewish consciousness for a victorious IDF." It offers programs about historical battles of the IDF and the biblical geography of the Land of Israel. It has published pamphlets for commanders and troops about combat from a Jewish viewpoint. The pamphlets use "motivations and understandings gleaned from the Bible and the heritage of Israel to enhance the army's ability to achieve victory." It also offers units weekend trips to Jerusalem that include visits to the City of David.

Like Yediot, Haaretz considers the rabbinate's activities geared toward providing Jewish soldiers in the army of the Jewish state information about their heritage and their connection to the land they defend an assault on its atheist, post-Zionist value system. Last Friday, Haaretz published an editorial denouncing the IDF Rabbinate for all these activities.

Under the title "Without a Lord of (Military) Hosts," the paper demanded that IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi "put the military rabbinate in its place" and force it to limit its activities to ensuring that IDF grub is kosher and that religious soldiers have what they need to observe religious laws. Haaretz further insisted that the position of chief rabbi be cancelled and that the position of "chief religious services officer" be created in its place. As the editorial put it, "The injection of a religious dimension into the Israel Defense Forces' goals constitutes a serious internal threat."

The real question is, who feels threatened? The Haaretz editorial claimed that Israel "has a secular majority, which would be outraged if anyone tried to change its way of life through religious coercion." But this is untrue and Haaretz's editors know it.

They know it because last November Haaretz published the results of a survey conducted by the Israeli Democracy Institute regarding how Israeli Jews self-identify on the secular-religious spectrum. The results of that survey showed that only twenty percent of Israelis classify themselves as secular. Eighty percent of Israelis view themselves as either religious or traditional.

Rabbi Ronski himself is the most beloved and charismatic IDF chief rabbi since Rabbi Shmuel Goren, who served as chief rabbi during the Six-Day War. Rabbi Ronski, 56, regularly risks his life by accompanying combat units on missions. He doesn't simply show up. The soldiers ask him to join them.

The popularity of leaders like Rabbi Ronski is an unbearable affront to the Israeli Left. The enthusiasm with which young Israelis embrace their Jewish heritage is a direct assault on the Left's demand for cultural supremacy. But what the Left refuses to acknowledge is the simple fact that Israeli society has never accepted their views of what Israel is supposed to be.

Until the mid-1970s, most of today's leftists were Labor Zionists. They believed Israeli society followed them both for their Zionism and for their socialism. But Israeli society never bought into the Left's utopian social theories. Labor Zionists were the cultural avant-garde because they were Zionists.

When, in the late 1970s, the Labor Zionist movement began disavowing Zionism, it became increasingly estranged from the general public. Religious Zionists like Rabbi Ronski are followed while the leftist cultural elites are ignored because religious Zionists today are the most outspoken advocates of values shared by the vast majority of Israelis.

The Left's vision of Israel as an atheistic, multicultural, morally relativist society holds little attraction for most Israelis. So to reassert their cultural superiority, leftists have increasingly taken to bullying and intimidating the rest of the country to toe their line. The seasonal assaults on religious soldiers are simply one aspect of their larger culture war against Israeli society as a whole.

Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month. Her new book, "The Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad," is available at

Copyright 2008

Senator Government

Larry Elder
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants you -- to redistribute your wealth.

In Obamas highly publicized encounter with Joseph Wurzelbacher -- aka Joe the Plumber -- the candidate said he wanted to use taxpayers money to spread the wealth. A gutsy local Orlando television anchor interviewed Democratic vice presidential contender Joe Biden:
Anchor: You may recognize this famous quote: From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. Thats from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?

Biden: Are you joking? Is this a joke?

Anchor: No.

Biden: Or is that a real question?

Anchor: Thats a question.

The none-too-happy Biden denied that Obama wants to spread the wealth -- even though Obama used that exact term. When later given a chance on Good Morning America to retract, refute or moderate the statement he made to Joe the Plumber, Obama stood his ground.

Co-host: Any regrets that you ... said spread the wealth?

Obama: Not at all. Look, if John McCains best argument is that he wants to continue the same Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans it will prevent the economy from recovering.

Now comes a 2001 Chicago radio interview with then Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama. If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, said Obama, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth It didnt break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.

Redistribution of wealth? Essential constraints?

Calling it congressional overreach, the Supreme Court routinely struck down major portions of considered Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal. They considered it an assault on the Constitution. Only when FDR threatened to pack the court with New Deal-friendly justices, did the court crumble and begin to interpret the Constitution through the eyes of Roosevelts collectivist eyes.

The framers of the Constitution expected a limited federal government. They viewed the Constitution as a contract between citizens and government, designed to restrain the fed from undue intrusion into our bedrooms and our wallets. For example, the father of the Constitution, James Madison, vehemently objected to a 1792 congressional appropriation of $15,000 to assist some French refugees. Madison wrote, I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

But rarely does a politician -- even a leftist Democrat -- flat-out say he intends to take money out of Pocket A and put it into Pocket B in order to spread the wealth. Usually politicians justify the money and power grab by calling it an investment. Or they falsely and unconstitutionally call things like health care, education or job training civil rights.

The issue to Obama turns not on whether government exists to redistribute the wealth, but on how it should be done. But he intends for it to be done.

Expect an Obama presidency to try and spread the wealth in two ways -- through Congress and through the courts. He first wants to raise taxes -- income, payroll, capital gains, dividends and estate -- on the so-called rich. After all, he calls this a matter of neighborliness. Biden calls it a matter of patriotism. Second, Obama wants to appoint judges who view the Constitution not as a contract, but as an obstacle to circumvent. We need somebody whos got the heart, the empathy, he said, in describing his standards for Supreme Court justices, to recognize what its like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what its like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And thats the criteria by which Im going to be selecting my judges.

Through the feds so-called bailout of private firms and private actors -- with the approval of both Democrats and Republicans -- we now witness the greatest increase in federal power since the New Deal. More horrifying, America now stands on the brink of electing a filibuster-proof collectivist Democrat Congress with a nakedly collectivist Democrat president leading the charge.

Wurzelbacher told me that he plans to campaign -- at his own request -- for John McCain. Why? He calls Obamas spread the wealth plan scary.

Wish we could say it aint so, Joe.

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