June 12, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 06/12/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
U.S. Web services misused by oppressors - Congress yesterday considered how to resolve the dilemma of U.S. Internet companies that try to serve their customers but end up serving repressive foreign governments. (READ MORE)

Twister hits Boy Scout camp, kills 4 - BLENCOE, Iowa (AP) – Frightened Boy Scouts huddled in a shelter as a tornado tore through their western Iowa campground, killing four people and injuring 48 others who had little to no warning of the approaching twister. (READ MORE)

Hacking on Hill traced to China - Two Republican congressmen revealed Wednesday that China-based hackers had broken into their office computer networks, stealing files and data that included information on dissidents critical of the Beijing regime. (READ MORE)

Court backs rights for Gitmo detainees - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts. (READ MORE)

U.S. denies 'unprovoked' strike - KABUL, Afghanistan U.S. coalition officials are disputing charges that the United States made an "unprovoked" attack inside Pakistan that killed 11 troops from that country. (READ MORE)

Chemical Law Has Global Impact - Europe this month rolled out new restrictions on makers of chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, changes that are forcing U.S. industries to find new ways to produce a wide range of everyday products. (READ MORE)

Comedians Of Clout - The Onion newspaper jokingly dissects how Barack Obama calculates his every facial expression to convey the countenance of Inspirational Leadership. Jon Stewart jests that Obama strikes poses so evocative of the forefathers on our currency, he's not campaigning merely for president but rather is... (READ MORE)

U.S., Pakistan at Odds Over Strike in Tribal Area - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 11 -- U.S.-led forces dropped more than a dozen bombs in and near Pakistan's tribal regions Wednesday in an attack that dramatically exacerbated tensions along the Afghan border and, according to authorities here, killed 11 Pakistani paramilitary troops. (READ MORE)

Parties Do Battle Over U.S. Forces' Future in Iraq - Congressional Democrats yesterday opened fire on comments from Republicans -- including presumptive GOP nominee John McCain -- that equate the U.S. military's future in Iraq to the presence of U.S. bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea. (READ MORE)

U.S. Enlists And Arms Patrols in Sadr City - BAGHDAD, June 11 -- Young men armed and paid by the U.S. military took to the streets of the Iraqi capital's Sadr City area for the first time Wednesday to guard their neighborhoods, part of a new strategy designed to recruit former Shiite militiamen to American-created security groups, U.S.... (READ MORE)

$4 Gasbags - Anyone wondering why U.S. energy policy is so dysfunctional need only review Congress's recent antics. Members have debated ideas ranging from suing OPEC to the Senate's carbon tax-and-regulation monstrosity, to a windfall profits tax on oil companies, to new punishments for "price gouging" – everything except expanding domestic energy supplies. (READ MORE)

Ex-Friends of Barack - It turns out that Jim Johnson was not the man Barack Obama thought he knew. The presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee threw the former Fannie Mae CEO over the side as his Vice Presidential vetter yesterday, only a day after he'd said that Mr. Johnson was only "tangentially related" to his campaign and that criticism was a "game that can be played." (READ MORE)

FCC Foot-Dragging - The satellite radio companies XM and Sirius asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to merge in March of 2007. Four hundred and fifty-one days later, they're still waiting for an answer. We wonder if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin realizes that the Iran hostage crisis was settled in less time. (READ MORE)

A 'So-Called' Attorney General - Lawsuit legend and admitted felon Dickie Scruggs is headed for the Big House, but his methods are continuing to tarnish his partner in lawsuits, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. Last week, Alabama federal Judge William Acker gave Mr. Hood a well deserved whack for colluding with the trial kingpin to evade a court order in a case regarding Hurricane Katrina claims. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
CJ: Stop Loss Ignorance - It’s about time I set the record straight - again - about this whole “stop-loss” business since the media, Hollywood, and anti-war advocates like to use it at every opportunity. Many call the stop loss program a “backdoor draft” when that simply isn’t true. Now, Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has introduced legislation that would pay Soldiers affected by stop loss $1,500 per month beyond their ETS date. This is WRONG!! So, get comfortable, sit back, relax, and prepare to be educated. Let’s get the boring legal stuff out of the way since this is the cornerstone of how the whole stop loss policy is possible (and legal!). I’ve said this before, but apparently people just aren’t listening to me. Every servicemember, regardless of branch of service, signs a DD Form 4/1, Enlistment/Reenlistment Document, Armed Forces of the United States. In very direct and unconfusing words, the document states in paragraph 10: (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Bush's America: 100% Al-Qaeda Free Since 2001 - In a conversation recently, I mentioned as an aside what a great president George Bush has been and my friend was surprised. I was surprised that he was surprised. I generally don't write columns about the manifestly obvious, but, yes, the man responsible for keeping Americans safe from another terrorist attack on American soil for nearly seven years now will go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents. Produce one person who believed, on Sept. 12, 2001, that there would not be another attack for seven years, and I'll consider downgrading Bush from "Great" to "Really Good." Merely taking out Saddam Hussein and his winsome sons Uday and Qusay (Hussein family slogan: "We're the Rape Room People!") constitutes a greater humanitarian accomplishment than anything Bill Clinton ever did -- and I'm including remembering Monica's name on the sixth sexual encounter. (READ MORE)

Larry Elder: Warming Up to Obama's Message of Hope and Change - For Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the stars certainly seem aligned. Seventy percent of Americans consider the economy in a recession. Two-thirds consider the war in Iraq a bad idea. A new Gallup Poll shows Obama leading presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain 46 to 44 percent. And the ratings for "American Idol" fell 10 percent. Given all this, plus a swooning, pro-Obama media, what's a Republican to do? Guess it's time to look on the bright side, and find something positive about the possibility of a President Barack Obama. I called Margaret, a Republican friend who lives in Chicago. Do me a favor, I asked her, and attend a prayer service at St. Sabina -- the church led by Father Michael Pfleger. YouTube star Pfleger, as a guest of Trinity United Church of Christ, called Sen. Hillary Clinton a white supremacist, resentful of the ascension of Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: Do the Right Thing: Start Drilling! - The other day in southwestern Fresno County, a poor part of Central California, I talked with a number of folks at a rural gas station. Most drove second- and third-hand pickups, large cast-off sedans or used SUVs. Their general complaint was twofold: They didn't have the cash to buy a new fuel-efficient Honda or Toyota. And they were now spending a day or two of their wages just to fuel their cars for their long rural commutes. But I also fill up three hours away on the San Francisco peninsula near Stanford University, where I work. High-priced hybrid cars and new more-efficient SUVs are everywhere. Mass transit is available and crammed. After listening to these quite different motorists, I can confirm an obvious rule about energy use: The wealthier and better educated seem less concerned about the price of gas. Indeed, from my informal conversations at two very different gas stations, I would go even further: (READ MORE)

Ken Blackwell: Deregulation Works - At this week’s G8 Summit, the cost of gasoline is one of the main topics of discussion. With the price of crude oil hovering around $136 a barrel, the industrialized world is looking for answers. But none seem to exist right now. Some blame the skyrocketing costs on increased demand. However, the International Energy Agency does not expect the demand for diesel and heating oil to grow by much — only 0.9 % in 2008. Others are blaming low oil reserves. OPEC says otherwise. In fact, it increased its production. Its secretary general, Abdullah al-Badri, told Reuters on Tuesday, “The situation is unbearable as far as we are concerned. I want to say, ‘there is no shortage now and in the future.’” He blamed investment banks and speculators for artificially driving up the cost of oil. In the presidential race, both candidates seem quick to grab for bumper sticker solutions to the rising cost of crude oil and its adverse impact on customers and commerce. (READ MORE)

Roy Innis: Drill Now For Energy in America - America’s energy situation is becoming more untenable and intolerable by the day. The cost of keeping our jobs, heating and cooling our homes, driving our cars, and putting food on our tables and clothes on our backs is increasing daily. Small businesses, energy intensive industries like manufacturers and airlines, and poor, minority and fixed-income families are getting hammered. The employment and fiscal security of our nation is at risk. We are sending more than a half-trillion dollars a year to unfriendly, often dictatorial regimes, to pay for the oil and gas we need to keep our economy running and maintain decent standards of living. For minorities the situation goes beyond economics. Their civil rights are being trampled on, because access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy is the single most important determinant of whether they will ever achieve the constitutionally protected rights that they finally won, thanks to the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. (READ MORE)

Peter J. Wirs: For Those of Us Who Care, Saturday is Flag Day - It may not be much of a deal to most Americans, but to we Philadelphians, Saturday is Flag Day. Betsy Ross was once a member of my church, Old St. George’s (America’s first and world’s oldest Methodist Church). Contrary to what the National Park Service contends, there is concrete proof she crafted the first American Flag. Philadelphians will gather for an observation in front of her home on Arch Street. Another tradition is the annual radio broadcast "I am Your Flag" by Bob Nelson, aired on KYW 1060 AM, Philadelphia’s All-News station. KYW NewsRadio and its anchors are an institution matched perhaps only by its sister station, 1010 WINS in New York City, but that is a column for another day. You can listen to the famed broadcast by going to KYW1060.com. For all Americans who believe that patriotism is more than a four-letter word, here is "I am Your Flag." (READ MORE)

Robert Knight: Media Ignore That Gagging Sound from Canada - Usually, when a journalist is censored in a Western nation, American news organizations respond with collective outrage. But as a major attack on press freedom unfolds in Canada, America’s mainstream media are silent. Neither the TV networks nor the major newspapers have reported on hearings last week at what amounts to a Stalinesque show trial in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mark Steyn, a Canadian journalist who now lives in New Hampshire and whose column appears in National Review magazine as well as several U.S. and Canadian newspapers, is facing charges before British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal. His crime? Spreading “hatred.” The evidence? A 5,000-word excerpt of Steyn’s book America Alone that was carried as an article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” in October 2006 by the Canadian magazine Maclean’s, which is also a defendant. (READ MORE)

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: The Energy Crisis: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go - President Reagan liked to say, "There are no easy answers, but there are simple ones." This principle applies to America's energy woes. Since the Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, the price of a gallon of gas has soared from $2.33 per gallon to over $4. Furthermore, over the next two decades, global demand for oil is expected to rise by 50%, meaning that further price escalation is almost inevitable. When confronted by these facts, the energy solution - as President Reagan would say - is simple. We need more energy! We should be increasing our production of oil, natural gas, clean coal, and nuclear power – and those resources should come from America, instead of foreign dictatorships. Unfortunately, enacting this agenda won't be easy. The Democratic Leadership in Congress is determined to "punish" energy companies with new taxes, even if the greatest victim of those taxes is the American consumer. (READ MORE)

Paul Weyrich: The Delicacy of Correct Terminology - I have obtained a document prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, which is not posted on the DHS website. It is an internal handbook telling employees what they should and should not say when speaking about our enemies. The document does say that these guidelines are not mandatory but it is clear throughout the paper that failure to make use of these guidelines would be frowned upon. Some of the views in this document are right on target. I regard others as an effort to evade the truth. For example, the guidebook says when Osama bin Laden or others try to draw the US Government into a debate we should offer only minimal, if any, response to their messages. When we respond loudly we raise their prestige in the Muslim world. And what al-Qaeda and its affiliates do is damning enough without ascribing to al-Qaeda and its affiliates motives or goals they have not articulated. (READ MORE)

Laura Bush: What I Saw in Afghanistan - This week has been a study in contrasts. On Sunday, I was in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan – where unpaved roads are lined by tin-roofed shanties, and most people live without running water or electricity. Today, I am in the City of Light. Yet while the circumstances of these visits could not be more different, their purpose is the same: to reaffirm the world's commitment to the people of Afghanistan. This morning, a delegation representing 80 countries and multilateral organizations will gather here for the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan. This event is a chance for developed nations to learn more about the challenges facing Afghanistan – and to offer the political and economic assistance it needs to recover from decades of war and oppression. (READ MORE)

Melanie Kirkpatrick: The U.N.'s North Korea Chutzpah - Cindy Adams, the New York Post's doyenne of dish, ends her gossip column with a signature sign-off: "Only in New York, kids, only in New York." I thought of this tag line recently in an unlikely context – a report issued last week by the latest group of investigators charged with reviewing the United Nations Development Program's operations in North Korea. The program was so rife with scandal that the U.N. agency last year took the unprecedented step of withdrawing from the country. Listen to the UNDP and the report is an exoneration of its work in North Korea and an indictment of the U.S., which first went public with charges of gross mismanagement a year and a half ago. Read the report, however, and a different picture emerges. The findings are consistent with the U.S. allegations: (READ MORE)

Karl Rove: Obama Is Right, Words Matter - "Don't tell me words don't matter!" Sen. Barack Obama thundered at a Wisconsin Democratic Party dinner in February. He should have remembered that at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference last week. There, Mr. Obama defended the outrageous promise he made last July to meet, during his first year as president and without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Mr. Obama's eagerness to undertake a "World Tyrants Tour" is both naive and foolhardy, and how he dealt with those concerns at AIPAC raises the question of whether he's done his homework. Mr. Obama knew the audience was wondering what could come from such meetings, except propaganda victories for thugs and a loss of prestige for America. (READ MORE)

David B. Rivkin Jr & Lee A Casey: Every War Is a Choice - Claims that the Iraq War was a reckless "war of choice" – rather than a prudent war of "necessity" – are a standard element of the anti-Bush narrative. The latest critic to make this claim is former White House spokesman Scott McClellan. But a close look at American history shows that this distinction makes little sense. All wars are wars of choice, because it is almost always possible not to fight. The real question is whether the price of peace outweighs the costs of war. Although the U.S. has resorted to armed force hundreds of times, it had engaged in only 10 major conflicts before 9/11, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War. (READ MORE)

Daniel Henninger: Drill! Drill! Drill! - Charles de Gaulle once wrote off the nation of Brazil in six words: "Brazil is not a serious country." How much time is left before someone says the same of the United States? One thing Brazil and the U.S. have in common is the price of oil: It is priced in dollars, and everyone in the world now knows what the price is. Another commonality is that each country has vast oil reserves in waters off their coastlines. Here we may draw a line in the waves between the serious and the unserious. Brazil discovered only yesterday (November) that billions of barrels of oil sit in difficult water beneath a swath of the Santos Basin, 180 miles offshore from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The U.S. has known for decades that at least 8.5 billion proven barrels of oil sit off its Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, with the Interior Department estimating 86 billion barrels of undiscovered oil resources. (READ MORE)

Pete Du Pont: The Big Chill - Two years ago a Time magazine's cover warned us about global warming: "Be Worried . . . Be Very Worried." We should be even more worried about the supposed global warming legislation the U.S. Senate debated last week, then rejected without a vote. It would have replaced markets with government controls over the economy and Americans' personal lives. So different would be a Boxer-Lieberman-Warner America, and so likely it is that the same legislation will be back in Congress next year, that it is worth thinking through what it would do and how it would affect us. First, though, does the world's climate change from time to time? Of course it does. Sometimes it warms, and sometimes it cools. Is it rapidly warming now, threatening our way of life? No. It is neither warming nor cooling. (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Dear Senator Obama - Dear Readers, there is some rather rough language in the article below, sorry, but I'm a working class guy, from a working class family. I grew up learning early, and often, that when someone is full of shit, you call them on it. I'm calling Senator Obama on that fact. Dear Senator Obama, Out of curiosity, I thought I'd write this and ask; in all seriousness; has anyone ever told you that you are full of shit? Not in a joking, two guys in the bar telling stories sort of way, but instead in a serious, you can't believe that I'd believe that crap sort of way. First, you want us to believe that those questionnaires, with your notes on them from your Illinois Senate days don't mean anything, because your staffers answered them for you. Come on, you've got to be full of shit if you think any sane person believes that. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: The Democrats Are Very Unhappy People - It doesn't matter how much funding the Democrat Party gets from the One World Socialist Government proponent George Soros, they have lost the information war. They have lost their seditious America Sucks campaign. They underestimated the Conservatives. Although the Republican Party was once upon a time the bastion of Conservative Thought and is no longer, it doesn't mean that we conservatives have crawled under a rock. We don't retreat like liberals do. It is a well known fact for even the casual observer that the Anti-Military and Anti-Americanist activities has been exposed for what it is and it doesn't matter the amount of or the volume of the whining from the left. The absolute screeching from the left reminds of the song Get Over It. Yes. Please do. Their insignificance is resoundingly ever present. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Obama’s code is pink - Code Pink founder and friend of Hugo Chavez is a money bundler for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. Jack up the tires to make room for the next one to be thrown under the Obama Sweet Talk Express. Her name is Jodie Evans and she helped found Code Pink, which has worked to kick the Marines out of Berkeley, Calif., among other things. Jonathan Martin of Politico reported today: “According to research being circulated by GOP sources, Evans has a record of inflammatory statements such as saying that women were better off in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, ‘Men are dying in their Hummers in Iraq so you can drive around in yours’ and, my favorite, that the invasion of Iraq amounted to ‘global testosterone poisoning.’” Martin sees trouble ahead for Obama. (READ MORE)

Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee: MSM confirms Michael Yon's observations - From The New York Observer " 60 Months In The Red Zone" “Five Years Later, the American Press Corps in Iraq Is War-Weary and Depleted—Also Committed, Engaged and Desperately Seeking a Narrative to Wake Up Readers; ‘The Press Redeemed in Baghdad,’ Says George Packer, ‘What It Missed in Washington’” From John Burns, NY Times: “‘War is surprisingly easy to cover,’ Mr. Burns said. ‘I always said this. The story dictates itself. There’s never one morning when you get up and wonder what you’re going to do today.’” Richard Engel of NBC News acknowledged the recent drop in violence, and said it gave reporters more room to report. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: What the Johnson interlude says about Barack Obama - Jim Hoagland deconstructs this week’s stumble by Barack Obama on his VP selection committee chair, Jim Johnson. The former Fannie Mae CEO and recipient of millions from a lender Obama personally demonized on the campaign trail exemplifies Beltway scandals, Hoagland writes, in the same manner that sexual peccadilloes do for London and secret wealth does for Paris. It also says quite a bit about Obama himself, on which Hoagland focuses in the second part of his piece: “But what is important here is what this incident says about Obama, not about Johnson. The senator’s initial reaction was to portray himself as too busy to keep up with the obscure financial doings of people who are not significant to the campaign and to belittle the media for asking him to ‘vet the vetters.’” (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Concerning the Peril of Negotiating with the Taliban - In Competing Strategies in Afghanistan we documented the push by Hamid Karzai, Secretary Miliband and Secretary Des Browne to negotiate with the Taliban. The Canadian liberal Senators have now put their weight behind the same plan, with the Tory Senators waffling over the idea. “The wide-ranging report also calls for the military to extend tour lengths to between nine and 12 months from the current six-month rotation, something that is being actively considered by Canada’s war planners. ‘We’re aware this is a very contentious issue related to families,’ Kenny said. ‘But it will have significant advantages in terms of creating a better relationship in Afghanistan.’” TheStar.com even showed a nice picture of what reconciliation looks like with a picture of Taliban surrendering their weapons. But a different picture has been painted of the Taliban intentions. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Who can you trust? - When graduating students attend campus presentations by prospective employers, a few may find themselves at the somewhat embarrassing session where those in attendance are reluctant to look at each other; where the main briefer is a tweedy, faintly Ivy Leaguish sort of man at whose elbow is an Eastern European man in a cheap suit, horn rimmed glasses and a pocketful of calling cards with a telephone number good for two weeks only. In some Third World city the setting for the same process may be different. An extended conversation at a cocktail party with an embassy official that goes on for an extraordinarily long time. Or maybe at a private dinner following long acquaintance where the atmosphere turns somewhat muted and charged at the same time. To be or not to be. This is the question that crosses the minds of many an adventurous person in his life. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Democrats Block Attempt to Open Up Offshore Drilling Fifty+ Miles Off Coast - They... did vow to reduce gas prices before 2006, right? Back when they were at the discount price of $2.55 per gallon, right? Fifty miles off coast. Over the horizon. Invisible. But we can't drill there. Just because. Accountability. It's for the Little People. Question that seems over-the-top but is actually seriously posed: Are the Democrats actively trying to drive the country into recession to increase their control of government? Consider that current oil prices are high due mostly supply and demand, but also due to speculation/fear. There is ever increasing demand and yet no additional supply coming on line in the near future. Most oil-rich countries are pumping as much as they realistically can, or have decided to to not pump so much in order to drive up prices. And the US, meanwhile, flatly refuses to increase its own production. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Latest and Lamest Attack on McCain - Politico reports that Democrats, in a coordinated attack, are once again attacking McCain -- based upon a tendentious, and deliberate misunderstanding of McCain's clear words. It is, without question, the lamest attack yet. (It would have been second lamest, except that no Democratic heavy-hitter jumped aboard the attack that McCain couldn't be president because he was born in the Canal Zone... where his active-duty American naval-officer father was stationed.) Really? The lamest? See for yourself; here is what McCain said during a television appearance:
The exchange that has Democrats licking their chops began when co-host Matt Lauer asked about the surge strategy in Iraq: “If it's working Senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?” McCain replied: “No, but that's not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw; we will be able to withdraw. General [David] Petraeus is going to tell us in July when he thinks we are.” (READ MORE)

McQ: Why we could be oil independent but aren’t (and won’t be) - William Yeatman, an energy policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute asks: "How long can America, on the one hand, say, ’We’re sick and tried of high gasoline prices,’ and on the other hand say, ’We’re not going to do anything about it; we’re not going to tap our own resources?’" Yeatman said. "We’re going to be the only industrialized nation that keeps itself from its own resources.’" Or more succinctly: "We’ve got the supply," Yeatman said. "Why not tap into it?" Well there are all sorts of excuses and they’ve been used to do a number of things over the decades. Stop drilling, derail nuclear power and prohibit the building of new refineries. Here’s an example of argument which claims to explain away drilling in ANWR: (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: LEFT DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE HOW TO SMEAR SOMEONE - This is getting so painful to watch that I just had to write this piece. I would say to my good friends on the left guys, where in all that is good and holy did you people learn how to smear someone? Jesus, Lord you suck at it. Taken as a whole, your efforts are beyond pitiful. Amateurish, disorganized, barely a grade above schoolyard bullying and taunts. Sometimes, you’re not even that good. In the interest of practicing the “new politics,” – which basically means if you smear someone, you’re only pre-empting a “right wing attack machine” effort that only distracts from the issues in this campaign and if the right smears anyone, they are racist pigs who deserve 5 years in a re-education camp – allow me to instruct you in proper smear etiquette as well as show you the ropes on how to make that smear a winner. The trouble is, your efforts to date have been horribly childish and uncoordinated. Allow me to give you some pointers; (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Liberalism and Economic Illiteracy - I was born and raised in a liberal Democratic household. My grandparents were socialists and my parents leaned to the left side of the democratic party. Socialism is the default position for most people growing up, for the best of reasons, which is why young people overwhelmingly support political parties that lean left. Historically and phylogenetically, socialism is the more congenial system because, above all else, it lends itself to the illusion that it is more fair. In capitalist systems, there is enhanced competition and the very nature of the system is to be unfair, as successful people get rewarded and the less successful garner much less material reward. The last century showed, in rather unmistakable terms, that capitalism is the much superior system in terms of generating wealth, but under capitalism, unfairness is impossible to avoid. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Militant Atheism At U of Virginia - The one thing that always makes me wonder about atheists is how upset they seem to get about nothing. After all, they claim that there is no God and that religion is based on myth and foolishness, don’t they? They claim it is all “nothing,” yet many of them are highly incensed by what they believe is “nothing.” Some of them even actively try to destroy “nothing” for everyone else, going about eliminating people’s observance, expression, and belief in “nothing.” Even constantly taking their case against “nothing” to our courts. On one hand atheists claim they are forcibly confronted with religion every time they turn around. Naturally, many atheists base their attack on “nothing” on the premise that they just want to be left alone and that if those who believe in “nothing” would just keep their beliefs to themselves, why everything would be wonderful. With this argument, atheists seem to be telling us that they themselves would not try impose their unbelief on the rest of us. (READ MORE)

Harmless Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: "You Can't Handle the Truth!" - Last summer, all we heard from certain circles was that “Bush’s War” in Iraq was lost, that the conflict there had descended into a civil war, and that we needed to bring “our boys” home immediately. A number of politicians, media outlets and others invested their egos in this drumbeat of defeat laid down by entities with a vested interest in seeing a failure in Iraq; whether for political gain or for some other reason. Everywhere you went for information had a dismal outlook for Iraq and our successes there, except for military blogs or some imbedded reporters actually reporting on the troops. Granted, pre-surge military strategy in Iraq didn’t seem to be getting the job done, but our National leaders did what they needed to do. They asked the experts, they listened to the experts, and they did what the experts advised them to do. The “surge” was the result. (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: Pedantry and Another Hatchet Job from McClatchy - The leftist McClatchy News Service has an article today that tries to prove that China is, in fact, not looking for oil within 50 miles of Key West. The article has a lot of quotes from people who apparently don’t know anything about China doing anything in the water off of Cuba which is offered as proof that there is, in fact, nothing happening. Well, that’s not entirely true. McClatchy is playing a silly semantic game. They take the claims that china is drilling closer to the US than US companies can and are focusing on the word “drilling”. That way they can say, “Hey, we don’t see any drills. How can they be drilling?”. That’s a cheap way of framing the argument and it ignores common sense. When we talk about drilling, no one thinks that you’re just talking about the point at which spinning tube hits sea floor. They expect that you’re talking about the entire process of extracting oil from the Earth: (READ MORE)

Ben Johnson: The Left's Fairy Tale - THE TROUBLE WITH THE LEFTISTS’ VIEW OF THE WAR ON TERRORISM IS NOT MERELY THAT THEY BELIEVE LIES, as we have so frequently and so recently proven they do. The problem is they believe so many lies, errors so ahistorical and counterfactual as to represent an unreality. The leftist’s myths, intricately layered and mutually reinforcing, bond in such a way as to enclose their adherent within an ideologically driven mania. Subject to imprecision or exaggeration, and folded within the subtext that the United States has always been an oppressive nation, this fervor constitutes, not so much an alternate history as a fairy tale: a simplistic morality yarn for children that carefully tailors its narrative to vindicate its own premises. In simple terms, nearly everything the Left believes about the United States for the past eight years is a lie. (READ MORE)

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