October 26, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 10/26/2007

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)
Strike on Iran Would Roil Oil Markets, Experts Say - A U.S. military strike against Iran would have dire consequences in petroleum markets, say a variety of oil industry experts, many of whom think the prospect of pandemonium in those markets makes U.S. military action unlikely despite escalating economic sanctions imposed by the Bush administration. (READ MORE)

Giuliani's Policy Professor - Late in March, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was not at the time known as a zealous supply-sider, held a news conference in Midtown Manhattan to announce that the conservative activist and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes would become his campaign co-chairman. (READ MORE)

Burmese Refugees Recall How the Protests Evolved - MAE SOT, Thailand, Oct. 25 -- The young Buddhist monk arrived here by boat last week from Burma, exhausted and disheveled, with no passport, the stubble of his hair dyed blond for a disguise, and wearing a traditional Burmese longyi wrap instead of his saffron-colored robe. (READ MORE)

Trillion-Dollar Baby - You can't say Charlie Rangel lacks for ambition. The House Ways and Means Chairman has been saying he wants to pass "the mother of all tax reforms," and even that doesn't do justice to the trillion-dollar tax baby he delivered unto Washington yesterday. No one thinks his plan has a chance of becoming law this year, but its beauty is as a signal of Democratic intentions for 2009. In proposing what would be the largest tax increase in history, Mr. Rangel is showing the world what he wants the tax code to look like if Democrats run the entire government. (READ MORE)

Rangel Pitches Tax 'Relief' - The Democrats' top tax-writer yesterday introduced a massive plan to give tax relief to 90 million working families, a long-anticipated tax-code overhaul that Republicans criticized as the largest proposed tax increase in U.S. history. (READ MORE)

Traveler With TB Did Not use Alias - Key senators said a Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis did not use a fake name to enter the country 76 times and take numerous flights, as Homeland Security spokesmen had previously stated. (READ MORE)

Rice: Guards not 'Above the Law' - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress yesterday that the State Department had "appropriate oversight" of security contractors in Iraq before a Sept. 16 incident in which Blackwater USA guards are accused of killing as many as 17 Iraqi civilians. (READ MORE)

Law of Sea Treaty Draws GOP Focus - The Law of the Sea convention, a relic of the 1970s, could become the next fight of this year's Republican presidential campaign, with some of the candidates trying to push it to the front of the debate. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Michael Yon: Beauchamp and the Rule of Second Chances - The story of General Petraeus getting accidentally shot in the chest is a case in point. One of his own soldiers had pulled the trigger. Normally, something very bad would have happened to that soldier and his commander. Instead Petraeus sent that soldier to Ranger School, and his Captain (Fred Johnson) was promoted early. In June, I witnessed LTC Fred Johnson helping to restore security and rebuild Baqubah. Fred Johnson is a believer in second chances. Some months ago, a soldier in Baghdad wrote a piece on the way war can degrade the morals and affect the judgment of combat soldiers. His story was published at face-value in The New Republic magazine. In it the soldier wrote terrible things about his unit, making the article sensational. (READ MORE)

Michael Totten: House to House: An Epic Memoir of War - We've all heard and read about how terrorists and insurgents hide behind civilians and use human shields, but it's hard to grasp what that really means without at least a little dramatization. Here is Bellavia describing one of these incidents in the town of Muqdadiyah, Diyala: “The angst-filled scenes on the street cannot compare to what we find inside these battle-scarred houses. Yesterday, my squad kicked in one door and stumbled right into a woman wearing a blood-soaked apron. She was sitting on the floor, howling with grief. She looked to be in her mid-forties and had Shia tattoos on her face. When she saw us, she stood and grasped Specialist Piotr Sucholas by the shoulders and gave him a kiss on the cheek.” (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Inside Saddam's 'Lion' mega-base - Most flights coming into the Anbar province go through one of Iraq's biggest air bases. Al Asad serves as a hub for troops to board convoys or helicopters en route to their final destination. When a tour is finally over, troops "rip out" through al Asad, while their replacements "rip in" to begin their time in country. In some ways, every Marine in Iraq knows airbase al Asad. But even those who have never physically been to the base have heard of it from reputation. Fallujah, Ramadi, Habbaniya, Haditha – everywhere I've been in the Anbar province, I've heard tales of the "mega-base." (READ MORE)

Outlaw 13: Ted Rall...Worthless POS - Ted Rall is the piece of shit that drew the cartoon above. In a lame reference to Mike Judge's film, Idiocracy...he labels all soldiers as idiots and goes downhill from there. I can not believe this guy is still employed...besides being tasteless, this cartoon is not funny either. Real irony would be Ted Rall being put into the hospital after a traffic accident on the highway with an eighteen wheeler carrying CONEXs coming back from Iraq… (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: I Wasn't Prepared For... - I had to hurry to get to Atlanta by 1300 today so that I could in-process for a flight that boards at 1815 this evening. Typical. Hurry up and wait. God bless the United States Army. The wonderful people of the USO provide free wireless internet, which I am now gratefully using to post to the Adventure as I wait for my flight back to the war. I had prepared for saying goodbye to my children. I set a calm and cheerful example, and being prepared for it kept my emotions more manageable. My kids did pretty well with it, and I'm pretty sure that being calm myself really made a difference for them. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Remember Iraq? Who can forget? - Remember when Paul Krugman worked for Enron, Maureen Dowd was a pouty little girl, and Thomas Friedman was a respected writer? Me too. Then the New York Times created Times Select and those of us unwilling to fork over money were then deprived of their musings. Sadly Times Select was apparently a colossal failure and they are back and available to us, the unwashed masses. During that two year public hiatus Mr. Friedman must have started channeling Ms. Dowd as his column today demonstrates. It is a temper tantrum worthy of her if not a five year old. The problem with the column is Mr. Friedman's failure to really have a grasp of the situation in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Omar: A Tale of al-Qaeda Tow Tribes and a Militia, Contd. - For some time I've been hearing some debate, that in many cases involved warnings, about the possible negative consequences of US troops and Iraqi government allying with Sunni tribes in fighting al-Qaeda. Honestly I wasn't inclined to comment on this since I thought it was a no-brainer—those tribal fighters are fighting al-Qaeda like no one else did and the change in Anbar testifies for their effectiveness. But then someone sent me this video and asked for feedback; so here it is… Now believe it or not this video talks about the very same part of Iraq where an earlier story we reported was taking place. Small world, isn't it? the significance of that story and the sequence of development does not arise from the magnitude of the local course of events but from the fact that these have close resemblance to many other situations in spots with mixed populations cursed by the presence and activity of both al-Qaeda and Shia militias. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John Fund: Another Man From Hope - Republicans have won five of the last seven presidential elections by running candidates who broadly fit the Ronald Reagan model--fiscally conservative, and firmly but not harshly conservative on social issues. The wide-open race for the 2008 GOP nomination has generated two new approaches. Rudy Giuliani, for example, isn't running away from his socially liberal views, although he has modified them. But he is campaigning as a staunch, even acerbic economic conservative. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: Apocalypse No - "I love chicks that have been intimate with EDS's," he announced to his fellow soldiers sitting in the chow tent in Camp Falcon in Baghdad. "It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses." The soldiers laughed so hard they almost fell from their chairs. They enjoy running over dogs in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, luring them in and then crushing their bones as they whelp. When a soldier comes upon a mass grave, he picks up a human skull, places it merrily on his head, and marches around. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The End of America As We Know It - "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper." -- T. S. Eliot Like most conservatives, I am an optimist with an unshakable faith in the United States of America and the benevolence of a just God who looks down upon us. Yet and still, the lack of seriousness our politicians and much of our populace display towards the grave issues we face as a nation has grown to such an extent that it may become a threat to this country's very survival...(READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Lebanon Inching Closer to War - Lebanon – one of the most critical fronts in the war on terror – is on the brink of a full-blown shooting war. Few Americans living or traveling outside of that country seem to have any prescient understanding of this: Perhaps it is because Americans are so keenly focused on the bloodier, more immediate twin fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our own forthcoming general elections here at home. Maybe it is because the Lebanese media seems to spend more time and energy reporting to itself than to the international press. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Real American Heroes - Quick: Name a movie star, a noted celebrity, a great athlete and a radio or TV personality. When I posed these queries to some nice Americans this week, I got answers such as: "Russell Crowe," "Paris Hilton," "Britney Spears," "quarterback Tom Brady," "Curt Schilling of the Red Sox," "Tiger Woods" and "Rush Limbaugh." Now: Can you name a contemporary American hero? Only two of the dozen or so people I challenged came up with, "Navy SEAL Michael Murphy." That says a lot about what our mainstream media thinks is important. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: Taking Reagan Out of the Race - Major grumbling among conservatives about the Republican field. So many candidates, so many flaws. Rudy Giuliani, abortion apostate. Mitt Romney, flip-flopper. John McCain, Mr. Amnesty. Fred Thompson, lazy boy. Where is the paragon? Where is Ronald Reagan? Well, what about Reagan? This president, renowned for his naps, granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants in the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill. As governor of California, he signed the most liberal abortion legalization bill in America, then flip-flopped and became an abortion opponent. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: The Borking of American Politics - If you think American politics have gotten nastier, crueler and more symbolic over the last 20 years, blame Ted Kennedy. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the borking of Judge Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan’s failed Supreme Court nominee. And it was Ted Kennedy’s bilious bugle blast that brought the man down. Almost immediately after Reagan nominated Bork, Kennedy pulled himself off his barstool and proclaimed: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of the government ...” (READ MORE)

Michael Reagan: Playing the Blame Game - It was inevitable – a huge swath of Southern California was ablaze in one of the worst wildfires in the state's history, yet all that gasbag liberals could do in the face of this disaster was to go looking for someone to blame. While hundreds of heroic firefighters risk life and limb to save as many homes as possible, and state and federal disaster officials bend every effort to put in place all the firefighting assets available to them, the likes of Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and their allies scurry to use this immense tragedy to make political capital out of it. (READ MORE)

Paul Weyrich: A Dangerous Precedent Abuilding in California - There is terrible news from California. On October 12, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law three bills which, the opposition argues, introduce the radical homosexual agenda into educational institutions. Unquestionably the traditional purpose of public education is to teach reading, writing, mathematics and other fundamentals necessary for well-rounded intellectual development. Instead, these institutions apparently will become miniature laboratories for redefining nature, implementing “gender theory” and experimenting with the effects of sexual lifestyles. (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: Eurofada: The Frantifada spreads northeast to Benelux - I haven’t been paying much attention lately, so it came as (only something) of a surprise to find out that there’s rioting in Amsterdam and Brussels which have not (another suroprise) been covered by the MSM. (Hat tip fp.) Try finding riots in the NYT over the last week and you’ll find articles on Hungary (right wing), Venezuela (students against Hugo Chavez), Iran (students against the government), Israel (Palestinian prison riot), Bolivia (regional against socialist government), but nothing on Europe. Apparently, not mentioning the riots in France in the fall of 2005 for over a week, while the blogosphere was all over it, has not made our MSM more willing to report these things more readily. And not surprisingly, the dextrasphere is all over it, led by the usual suspects, LGF who got it from Digital Journal, Jihadwatch et alia. This is not promising for the MSM’s “learning curve.” (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Jihad, Islamism, and the Challenge of Anti-Freedom Ideologies - As previously discussed, large segments of America and the West have a continuing dangerous denial on Jihad. But what of political Islamism itself? How does it factor into a blueprint strategy in addressing our national security issues? In the documentary "Islam versus Islamism", anti-terrorist Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser states: "a majority, I believe, look at the lens of politics through an Islamist lens... if we hand them the mantle of religion that they seek to exploit for their own geopolitical issues all over the globe, then we are going to really lose this war." (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: In The Valley Of Ennui - Hollywood came under criticism since 9/11 for ignoring the war on terror, going out of its way to avoid making films that tell stories of American fortitude. With a few exceptions like United 93 and World Trade Center, the cinema remained devoid of any meaningful representation of the war. That changed this year, but not for the better, as Hollywood instead began churning out politically-motivated anti-war films. Given the supposed anti-war mood of the nation, it sounded like a sure bet for financial success and a critical slap at the military and Bush administration. Fortunately, Hollywood appears to have lost its bet (via Instapundit): (READ MORE)

Laughing_Wolf: Challenge To Foer/TNR - In consequence of transparency and potential conflicts of interest, I need to state up front that I have in the past done work for and with DoD PAO operations. It is, in fact, one of the reasons that I have a low opinion of many DoD PAO activities, operations, and even people. I have indeed met Scott Beauchamp, corresponded with his wife, and have met Major Luedeke and others mentioned in the reports and articles. With one exception, I do not plan to say anything about any of these people at this time. I note yet again that my goal in doing my embed was not to deal with this issue or the people involved; but, rather to talk about the reality of day-to-day life at COP Ellis and allow our readers to meet some of the outstanding soldiers there. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Taliban suicide bomber targets police in Swat; kills 30 - Just days after the Pakistani government deployed additional paramilitary troops to Swat in the Northwest Frontier Province, the Taliban attacked police in the town of Mingora. The attack, which hit a convoy of Frontier Constabulary police forces, killed at least 30 and wounded 17. Over ten shops were destroyed, likely due to the secondary explosions cause by the ammunition of the truck detonating. “Police officer Amjad Khan told the Associated Press the blast hit a platoon of 43 Frontier Constabulary troops in a truck near the police district headquarters,” CNN reported. AFP stated the likely cause of the explosion was a suicide bomber. The Pakistani Interior Ministry appears to be willing to chalk the explosion up as a munitions accident. (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: Truth is still a hostage of the BBC - Alan Johnston, the BBC's Gaza correspondent who was held hostage for nearly four months by Islamic terrorists before being freed in July, is probably the first kidnap victim to develop Stockholm syndrome before being abducted. His solidly pro-Palestinian reporting made him an unlikely target for the militants, and as Melanie Phillips has written, his kidnapping was very likely staged as a prelude to Hamas’s takeover of Gaza a few weeks later. That’s not to belittle Johnston’s ordeal. But the way the BBC has milked the episode to wallow in self-importance, and generally promote its global brand, leaves a nasty taste in the mouth – to say nothing of its kid-gloves approach to the terrorists of Hamas in the months since. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Condi Wins the Battle of the Broads - It was a clash between class and the ass as another deranged Code commie-Pinko assaulted the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice yesterday as she testified on the Hill on foreign relations. Condi stared down the Code Nutcase with an "oh, give me a break" look, but this confrontation was scary. The question here isn’t about the right to free speech, it’s about security and public law. How close to a national incident are we willing to let these fruitcakes, who do not deserve to be in the same room as a Condoleeza Rice, get before something violent happens? How can security be so lax at these meetings with our national leaders? (READ MORE)

Fern Sidman: And Then There Were Three... - The voices of truth can never be diminished or drowned out, be it by the rain that fell in New York City or by the zealousness of truth’s adversaries. On Wednesday evening, October 24th, the electricity in the air was palpable on the campus of Columbia University. In a packed classroom in the mathematics building, a panel discussion was held as part of an ongoing series of lectures in a weeklong event being held on over 100 university and college campuses. This nationwide event is entitled Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and is the brainchild of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. David Horowitz is a former left-wing academic whose politics have now taken a giant step to the right. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: The other Scott Thomas Beauchamp - Everyone knows the story of the “Bagdhad Diarist” who embellished what could not be woven out of whole cloth, thereby staining the honor of those who served alongside. People are increasingly aware that, under pressure from a clearly self-interested editorial staff at The New Republic to corroborate his own calumnies, he refused to cave in even when Franklin Foer gracelessly brought his journalist wife into the discussion. Beauchamp said he had done with all that, that she was a journalist and he was a soldier. What I did not realize was that Beauchamp had been offered the opportunity to leave Iraq and instead chose to stay, serving in a dangerous part of Baghdad. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: The Canaries in the Coal Mine - The Jewish people have earned their role as the "canaries in the coal mine" the hard way; whenever tyranny has reared its ugly head, scapegoating (externalization) the Jews has been a popular device whereby the tyrants solidify and legitimize their rule. With the existence of the state of Israel, it is not even necessary for a country to actually contain Jews in order for anti-Semitism to flourish. Along with its important role in traditional anti-Semitism, the state of Israel seems determined to blaze new trails in its role as the "canarie in the cola mine" amongst the Nations. (READ MORE)

Orin Kerr: What if It Were Justice Scalia? -- A Response to Commenters: - There were many interesting comments to my post on Justice Ginsburg and Legislative Independence. I responded to many of them in the comment thread late last night, but I wanted to add an additional response to the many who thought it was perfectly fine for Justice Ginsburg to use her dissent to try to get Congress to respond by enacting new legislation more to her liking. In particular, I want to switch the politics just to make sure we all have the same position of the merits. Commenters had four basic arguments for why Justice Ginsburg may have behaved properly. First, anyone can try to influence the legislative process, so it's okay for Justices to try to do this as well. Second, Justices are smart people "on the front lines" of the law, so it's good that they are generally interested in sharing their wisdom to improve it. Third, Justice Ginsburg's remarks should be read as really just making a comment on the state of the law, which is something that we generally find unobjectionable. Fourth, it is appropriate for a Justice to take extra steps to inform Congress that their will might have been thwarted, just to let them know so they can take corrective action. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Will You Answer What Congress Won't? The Top 20 Questions pt 1 - Back in late 2004 and early 2005, I sent emails, faxes, and letters to every member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In it, I asked them for their answer to a set of twenty questions which the readers of Polipundit wanted asked. The text of the letter was posted here. 52 Readers in 38 states joined the effort, asking their district Representatives and Senators to answer the questions. Response from our elected Representatives and Senators was poor, predictably so. Most Congressmen and Senators simply ignored the letters, emails and faxes. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Congress, Investigate Thyself - Back when the Democrats were campaigning to take control of Congress in 2006, one of the things they promised was that they would not be a party of perpetual investigations. That promise went much the way of the "most ethical" and "most transparent" Congress -- at last count, they'd broken triple digits into investigations, mostly fishing expeditions. Well, as contrary as it might seem, I'd like to see them start a fresh investigation -- this time into themselves. (READ MORE)

Political Vindication: IslamoFascism Awareness Week - Dennis Prager Stuns Them at UCSB - I made the drive up the coast tonight to see Dennis Prager speak at the University of California Santa Barbara. He was invited by the College Republicans, and he did not disappoint. This week is an emotional one for the college left - the bubble they live in has been punctured by an army of eloquent conservatives fanning out throughout the country to unveil a sensitive topic - Islamofascism. The crowd that packed Girvetz Theatre was amazingly behaved, and much of the credit for that has to go to Prager - he charmed the crowd into submission, and a wry smile came to his face when the last questioner of the night complained that she “didn’t like being manipulated.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: In The Middle Of Two Wars, They Continue To Enlist - Many people in this country wonder why in the world a young man or woman would want to enlist in the Military, knowing that our country is in the middle of fighting two wars and that they’re likely to be deployed at some point during their enlistment period. Parents may question their childs decision making ability, friends may scoff at their decision, others my ostracize them for making that choice, yet military recruiting figures continue to show almost every month that each branch of the military has met their recruiting goals. What would lead a young man or woman to make that decision, knowing what they’re likely to be faced with in a few short months? (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: Dissonance at its finest - There has been a quirk that I developed since my son joined the Army during this time of war and deployment. It's not a "tic" where I yell out random cuss words at unknown passersby, but I must admit that I am more prone to doing that these days than I was 7 months ago -- pardon my digression. This interesting little quirk of mine that has developed is something that I am learning is common with a lot of parents of deployed or deploying soldiers. I am not sure if wives feel this way or not, but it is definitely a hot topic for discussion among the soldiers' parents I am blessed to chat with -- both online and in person. (READ MORE)

Fortress of Solitude: More defeats for Global Warming - The religion of Global Warming has suffered a lot of defeats lately. Earlier this month, a British judge ruled that the bible of the Church of Global Warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is a political work, and cited nine specific errors in the film. The judge concluded that the film should not be shown to school children without being accompanied by a significant warning of the political biases and inaccuracies contained therein. (Yes, many schools, even in this country, are showing the film to students in an attempt to indoctrinate them into the religion of Global Warming.) Now, the Science & Public Policy Institute has released a report which details 35 errors in Gore’s “documentary.” (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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