October 29, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 10/29/2007

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)
In S.C., Obama Seeks a Spiritual Reawakening - CHARLESTON, S.C. -- As a man not only of God but of politics, the Rev. Joe Darby is an outspoken observer of the campaign scene. Reclining in his cluttered office at Morris Brown AME Church here, he witnesses the union between the pulpit and the polls. (READ MORE)

U.S. Promises on Darfur Don't Match Actions - In April 2006, a small group of Darfur activists -- including evangelical Christians, the representative of a Jewish group and a former Sudanese slave -- was ushered into the Roosevelt Room at the White House for a private meeting with President Bush. (READ MORE)

U.S. Guns Behind Cartel Killings in Mexico - TIJUANA, Mexico -- Assassins blasted Ricardo Rosas Alvarado, a member of an elite state police force, with a blizzard of bullets pumped out of AK-47 assault rifles. (READ MORE)

Argentina's First Lady Wins Presidency by Wide Margin -BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 28 -- The presidency of Argentina was handed from husband to wife Sunday, as first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner crushed 13 opposition candidates on the promise of adhering to the political principles that made President Nestor Kirchner one of Latin America's most popular leaders. (READ MORE)

Gunmen in Iraq Kidnap Eleven Tribal Leaders Allied With U.S. - BAGHDAD, Oct. 28 -- Eleven tribal leaders who had banded with U.S. troops to fight the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq were kidnapped Sunday morning, the latest in a string of such attacks, fellow tribesmen said. (READ MORE)

Torturing Mukasey - Just when you thought someone might be confirmed in Washington without a partisan fight, Senate Democrats are suggesting they may not approve Michael Mukasey as Attorney General after all. The judge's offense is that he's declined to declare "illegal" an interrogation technique in the war on terror that Congress itself has never specifically banned. (READ MORE)

Israel puts squeeze on Gaza Strip - Israel began scaling back fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip and closed a key crossing for humanitarian provisions — sanctions seen by observers as a last-ditch attempt to squeeze the economy of the coastal strip before a more aggressive military offensive is ordered. (READ MORE)

Huckabee stirs up third-party fear - Influential conservatives are clashing over whether Mr. Huckabee is capable of keeping evangelicals from fleeing the GOP to form a third party or if he's too liberal fiscally for the Republican electorate. (READ MORE)

U.S. territory hits 'amnesty' as threat - A U.S. territory in the Pacific is battling to stop Congress from imposing federal guest-worker rules and an "amnesty" for current temporary workers, saying aliens could then use the territory as an entry point to get into other places in the U.S. (READ MORE)

Argentine first lady claims victory - BUENOS AIRES (AP) — First lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed victory in Argentina's presidential election yesterday, with early results and exit polls suggesting she had avoided a runoff and become the first woman elected to the post. (READ MORE)

AARP magazine targets 'new 50' - While it was founded a half-century ago for retirees, the post-millennial AARP is busy aiming its publications, products and services like never before at the millions of baby boomers who are not only active, fit and career-minded, but who are rocking the demographics in nearly every consumer market nationwide. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Badger 6: Authentic Iraq - In the great tradition of Soldiers since time immemorial I have looked for things to bring home from the war zone. In the past Soldiers brought home all sorts of militaria; today most of that has already been brought home or is forbidden from being retained as a war trophy. I have turned in several AK variants and Dragunov rifles that I would have liked to retain. In the more mundane, I can get a variety of T-shirts and the like commemorating the places you have been. I must admit when I saw someone with a baseball cap with Operation Phantom Fury – the November 2004 Battle for Falluja – emblazoned across the front, I had to pause… (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: Welcome Back to "The Suck" - Time warp. I'm back in Afghanistan, arriving at a little after 0100 local time last night. Ouch. Miserably long flights, a night in lovely Kuwait, and then a typically monumentally uncomfortable C-17 flight back into Bagram. I was secretly hoping my team would be out in The Valley and would have to come and get me in their own good time so that I could sleep forever. Alas, twas not to be. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce On The Loose In Iraq: Wonderful memories in an amazing land... - The last week that it has been since I last posted has been pretty eventful for me. I have been quite busy with friends and family and just truly having a great time while being back home. As expected the time has been going by quicker and quicker, but as the time draws near I feel I am more mentally prepared to leave again than when I first arrived on leave. In many ways I'm actually looking forward to it. My close friends with whom I have spent all day every day with in some of the most trying days of my life are where I will be heading and I do miss them. (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: Relative Poverty and Absolute Poverty - One project our team is working on is determining how to define relative poverty in our section of Baghdad. We know what absolute poverty is: it is when you do not have sufficient income to eat, put a roof over your head, or have money for adequate clothing. One of our team occasionally talks with a woman and her young daughter who are homeless and live on the street. We hope to obtain a few oral histories from her and others on the street to better understand how they got there and what life is like for them and what, if anything, can be done to alleviate their situation. (READ MORE)

Far From Perfect: Healing - So, I have been healing up for the past week or so. I have been working at our BAS, and off the patrol schedule. Its been a good time, and I have been really productive. I live for patient care and I have treated more people in the past 8 days then I have in the past two months in the field. I guess thats a good thing. The lack of serious trauma patients from enemy contact is yet more proof that the surge is working. I actually heard on the news yesterday that there were no casualties last month for the first time, but I haven’t seen the report myself. I wish I could just ride out the last bit of our deployment working in the BAS, but alas my platoon needs me still. They are still being slammed with patrols and the other night they brought in several IA that had been wounded in a rollover. (READ MORE)

Iraq Pundit: Who's Afraid of al-Qaeda in Iraq? - Osama Bin Laden didn't get much response from Iraqis when he told the country's resistance fighters to unite against the enemy, which he defines as the U.S. and the Shiites. Sounds like something we should learn more about the audiotape aired recently on Al Jazeera. You'd think so, right? His tape on the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV station admitted some errors and pleaded with the fighters to join together. Here's what happened next. (READ MORE)

LTC Phillips: Heeere’s SSgt Morris (another TEXAN) - LTC Phillips drafted, oops, requested another Sgt to the blog. My name is SSgt Brien Morris and LTC Phillips asked me to prepare a post for the blog. I'm not really familiar with blogging but here goes. I'm 29 years old and originally from the GREAT STATE OF TEXAS!! (San Antonio to be exact). I am currently stationed at Langley AFB in Hampton, VA, and have been there for almost 8 years (way too long!). (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Change in the Weather - October has been a fine month in Iraq. The heat of summer has gone and the rains and mud of November are still a ways away. Oddly enough, while that's good weather for combat there's been very little of it thus far. Hot spots have gone "warm", and warm spots have grown cold - I suppose it's that time of year... Cheers erupt on the Left side of the Blogosphere*, as after months of no notice the Washington Post finds an Iraq story worthy of their front page. 'I Don't Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier's Life' - it's a quote from an actual sergeant on the ground in Iraq. And he's talking about one of the shittiest little corners of Baghdad. Though like everywhere else in Iraq, before the invasion it was a place of butterflies and rainbows... (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John Fund: 'Fairness' Is Foul - It wasn't that hard for Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence to build media and congressional support for his Free Flow of Information Act, which would protect the confidentiality of contacts between reporters and sources. It passed the House this month by an overwhelming vote of 398-21. His next battle will be a lot harder--to permanently ban the Fairness Doctrine, the regulation many liberals are now actively trying to revive in an effort to silence their critics. (READ MORE)

Mike Huckabee: My Proud Record - John Fund's view of my 10 1/2-year record as governor of Arkansas and my vision for America's future ("Another Man from Hope: Who is Mike Huckabee?") calls for me to set the record straight. It's important to note that every living Republican in Arkansas who has been elected to either a statewide or a federal office has endorsed my candidacy. I'm grateful for their support and proud that in 1998, I received the largest percentage of votes ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and that Arkansans re-elected me to another four-year term in November 2002. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: Who Wants to Kill Bhutto? - Benazir Bhutto, back in Pakistan following eight years in exile with plans to tour the country seeking voter support, is holed up in Karachi after the near-miss attempt on her life. The government has declined to provide her minimal security against renewed assassination attempts on the former prime minister. That points up the shadowy new partnership between Bhutto and Gen. Pervez Musharraf, re-elected president of Pakistan by the electoral college on Oct. 6. (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: When There's No Life in the Party - "Pray take away this pudding," Winston Churchill commanded one night at dinner. "It has no theme." Our two political parties, facing the first election in 80 years in which neither the incumbent president nor the incumbent vice president is running, are similarly bereft of themes. Or, to put it more precisely, neither has a convincing narrative of where we are in history and where we should be headed next. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Understanding Atheism - I declared myself an agnostic in 1983 and stayed that way until I declared myself an atheist in 1992. The road from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity was – with my apologies to Beatles fans – long and winding. It took many years to travel. The decision to major in psychology was one of many factors that led to my decision to leave the church. Not many psychology departments have more atheists than the nearest philosophy department. But many come close. And the way the discipline of psychology approaches religion is likely to lead some students astray. (READ MORE)

Robert Bluey: Congress Reaches the Wrong Milestone - For the first time in history, the House of Representatives hit the 1,000-vote mark. It’s a thoroughly meaningless milestone, yet liberals proclaimed it a monumental accomplishment. “Our job is to take America in a new direction, and we are working hard to do that,” a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the Associated Press. A closer look at the numbers tells a different story, however. The House could literally vote all day on measures such as motions to recommit and motions to adjourn. But lawmakers are busying themselves with other “priorities” as well -- such as naming post offices. (READ MORE)

Tuesday Update: Get your tissues, I am getting super sappy here - not too long ago I wrote a post about "what not to say to a wife of a deployed soldier"....Tuesday Update....if this doesn't link it correctly, it is the July 5, 2007 post... Tonight I got this email from my Husband's boss's wife.....I have to admit I broke down in tears. yes, I am WAY emotional this week....those of you being visited by aunt Flo know the feelings. But in total opposition to what NOT to say, this is what TO say to a wife who hasn't seen her husband in 15 months....(okay you totally cannot count the two weeks we had in March!!) I am adding my comments in crimson..... Dear Military Wife, I am an American woman that has no idea what is going on in the military other than what I hear on the news. ***I don't watch the news, so I don't know much either, welcome to my world.*** (READ MORE)

Winter's Soldier Story: All's Quiet on the Iraq War Front, So Let's Leak Defense Secrets - Again - Shhh. Did you hear that? Neither did I. The news is not reporting anything out of Iraq this week because there is plenty of good news and it is hard to find bad news, so why give the American public anything to rejoice about? There were some anti-war protests around the country, with the usual over-inflated numbers and hate-America rhetoric. That got a lot of coverage, even on the Internet where my service provider, Comcast, trumpeted the anti-war protests on its home page headline service, but not a word of military successes. Looks like its time to switch providers. (READ MORE)

Wolf Pangloss: Democracies at 4GWar - Counterinsurgency and Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) are two ways of saying the same thing. War compels an enemy to submit to your will. 4GW is a form of warfare. It is still a technique for compulsion. However, it does not focus directly on the enemy military force but directs a narrative (a storyline which may bear little similarity to the facts) at the enemy population in order to convince them to do something, for example to stop supporting their military. Gunplay, bombing, and other kinetic operations (including security operations, a free press, and free elections) are useful in a 4GW so far as they fit into and reinforce the chosen narrative. (READ MORE)

Kim Priestap: In Praise of Congressman Tom Lantos - There's very little that Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos and I agree on, but Mr. Lantos deserves heaps of praise for standing up to Dutch politicians who came to Guantanamo Bay to tell us what we are required to do with it. Don Surber has the story: "The Dutch are threatening to remove their 1,600 troops from Afghanistan to protest Gitmo. Dutch politicians face growing problems with Islamic youths and likely fear a L'Intifada like France suffered in 2005." (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: "How Can There Be A Problem? We Passed A Law!" - One of Mitt Romney's last little gifts to the people of Massachusetts was a plan that required every single resident of the Commonwealth to carry health insurance under penalty of law. I think P. J. O'Rourke would call it the "Take Care Of Your Health Or We'll Kill You" plan. As I understand the way the plan works, if you have health insurance, you're fine. If you don't, your employer is "encouraged" to offer you some sort of plan, even if they don't offer to pick up part of the tab. And if all else fails, you sign up for some state plan. No matter what, you're GOING to be covered. (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: The Real War on Children - On Thursday, Congress attempted to override President Bush's veto of the S-CHIP debate. S-CHIP? Isn't that something to do with healthcare for children? Absolutely. And here is Representative Pete Stark (Democrat, California) addressing the issue with his customary forensic incisiveness: "The Republicans are worried that they can't pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war on children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people? If he can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement." I'm not sure I follow the argument here: President Bush wants to breed a generation of sickly uninsured children in order to send them to Iraq to stagger round the Sunni Triangle weak and spindly and emaciated and rickets-stricken to get their heads blown off? (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Was Today “National Moonbat Day?” - Did somebody forget to tell me that it was “National Moonbat Day” today, or something? It seems like they were out in full force at various places across the country today. I guess while I was taking part in what’s supposed to be, National Make A Difference Day, and taking donations to the local Domestic Violence shelter, some of the moonbats decided that they’d stage some anti-war protests, and behave in the typical fashion moonbats worldwide…. making total fools of themselves. In the Washington DC area, those protestors were to be met by a group of Moms, whose children are currently Active Duty Soldiers, in a counter demonstration, to show their support of the mission that their children are currently involved in. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The Invulnerable Networked Insurgency (Part 1) - Armed Liberal at Winds of Change takes on what he describes as the myth of the invincible "networked insurgency". The futility of fighting al-Qaeda has often been compared to fighting the mythical Hydra and the capture or death of each al-Qaeda "high value target" in Iraq was discounted as being as futile as cutting off the head of the legendary Lernaean serpent since each severed head was immediately replaced by two more. And when the words "network" and "insurgency" are juxtaposed, the public automatically associates the vastness and power of the Internet, the world's best known public network, with the traditional potency of insurgencies to create the nightmare image of an invulnerable al-Qaeda, at once omnipresent and invincible. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Mutiny on the Pelosi? - ‘Last week was a bad week for the House Speaker and she didn’t seem to even know it.’ American Spectator today explained why the House is cutting back its workweek: To regroup and maybe oust House Speaker Pelosi. When you are mired at 11% job approval, you try something different. American Spectator said the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, called the shorter workweek. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: France Back In NATO? - With Nicolas Sarkozy at the helm of government, relations between the US and France have warmed considerably. Sarkozy has adopted the American position on Iran and now leads European efforts to demand accountability from Teheran on their nuclear program. Can a French return to NATO be far behind? Not according to Ronald Asmus, who oversaw a close-run attempt ten years ago: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated his willingness to bring France back into NATO." (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Pew study: Election coverage thus far light on policy, heavy on crap - You’ll find the full-sized version of the front page screencap here, but I recommend skimming the version of the report at Journalism.org — especially the part on how different media sectors favor different parties. That’s the red meat section of this supermarket. Quick and dirty, how newspapers cover the race…ersus how network news covers it…versus the all-important cable news breakdown. Do you have any idea how favorable most of MSNBC’s coverage of Republicans must be to lead the field in that category notwithstanding Olbermann’s DNC Hour of Power every night? (READ MORE)

McQ: Pogo’s revenge - poll and pander - I always enjoy reading Michael Barone because his articles are usually pretty insightful. Today's is no exception. Barone looks at the two major political parties and concludes they have no real themes going into the '08 election. Barone claims that domestically Democrats are reacting to polls that say "the voters are once again ready for more government". Heck of a way to run a railroad but pretty consistent with what politics today have become - a struggle for power in which parties try to determine what scheme will garner them the most votes whether or not, in the long run, it is a sustainable scheme or one that is even good for the country. What that means, essentially, is that there are no principles, such as those embodied in the Constitution or the founding of the country, driving the political process anymore. It is pandering for power and whatever it takes is what will be proposed, whether it eventually bankrupts us (both culturally and financially) or not. (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: The Brits Pig out on Anti-Zionism: How Europe Commits Suicide - I have argued repeatedly that Antizionism acts in the 21st century as a form of cultural auto-immune deficiency syndrome. By appealing to the moral Schadenfreude that anti-Zionism seems to offer (especially) to the Europeans, it makes it virtually impossible for the consumer of this discourse to identify and defend against their real enemy: global Jihad. It’s so much fun to see the Israelis as cruel colonizing oppressors of a plucky Palestinian national liberation movement (PCP2), that acknowledging the forces of global Jihad behind the secular (Marxist) facade, would just spoil the fun. After all, if you admit that the Israelis are fighting a monstrous and implacable enemy that has genocidal intentions, how could you dump on them so vigorously for defending themselves? Definitely no fun. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Homecoming! - A son comes home from war, a crucial campaign has been won in Fallujah, and the homecoming of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Golf Company, a unit which has performed heroically in Iraq, is as remarkable for who didn’t show up as who did. In answer to ten thousand prayers, our son, who has earned the Combat Action Ribbon, has come home safely from Fallujah. 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Golf Company, arrived home on Tuesday, October 16th, from Fallujah, Iraq. Families were ecstatic to see the busses finally arriving at Camp Lejeune from Cherry Point. I had what I believed to be a reliable offer to embed with the Marines and report from Fallujah, but this offer dried up, and I was left with the wonderful reporting by Jim Spiri and Bill Ardolino, along with some of my own research, all of which was better than any report from the main stream media. It has been a hard ride for me as father of a warrior. Upon the inevitable reports of deaths of Marines in Anbar (without names being released as is the practice), I found myself unable to sleep many nights, and I spent some amount of time at the front door waiting on that visit from Marine officers that thankfully never came. I will find a way to embed with 2/6 the next time they deploy, God willing. (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: Need A War Crime Story? Call Dahr Jamail - I've read many stories and articles from Iraq by "independent" reporter Dahr Jamail. For some reason, he's flown under the radar on the right while leading the charge against American Imperialist Occupiers for the left. Don't believe me - google "war crimes" and "american military in Iraq". Most of the items will either have a Dahr Jamail byline or have a statement from him in the story or will have a trail of crumbs leading back to this rat's lair. Take for instance the Fallujah White Phosphorus debunked claims - this was the "journalist" that beat the hell outta that dead horse and continues to do so. In fact, Jamail drove the damn bus on the Fallujah massacre claims - and not one single tinfoil hat wearing minion questioned his claims. If a bomb went off in Iraq and civilians were killed, you could count on a dispatch from Dahr Jamail pointing out America's complicity in the act. (READ MORE)

Animesh Roul: Why Pakistan Fails to Counter 'Suicide' Attacks? - As the investigation into the Oct 18 Karachi blast continues, more terrorist strikes (e.g. Oct 20 Baluchistan car bomb blast and Oct 25 Swat blast), violent street protests and fatal shootouts came thick and fast to haunt Pakistan. Blame games and finger pointing are taking its usual round. The larger question, who is responsible for the carnage, is not important at this juncture. Both Jihadi elements and Bhutto herself should be held responsible for this carnage. The procession with thousands supporters was utterly unnecessary for security point of view and that to in the night. Everybody knows about Pakistan’s internal security situation that has been deteriorated further since July this year. The Karachi suicide attack that ripped the security convoy of former Prime Minister and Pakistan People’s Party leader Bonaire Bhutto, killed over 130 people and left scores of others injured. As many as hundred among those 540 odd injured have been fighting with life and death in various hospitals in and around Karachi. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly; The Ends of Anti-Americanism - Francis Fukuyama concludes that America has created and now will preside over a self-defeating hegemony, in a pre-written obituary appearing at Real Clear Politics. I fully admit that I have not read Fukuyama in the original texts. If that renders my criticism of his opinions moot for some readers, thanks for stopping by, you can move on. Many of us know of Fukuyama only through the academic catch phrase he embraced in his thought and writings, “the end of history,” and synopses of his works. If we end our military involvement in the Middle East or aggressive responses to radical Islamic terrorism, I suppose we can conclude that the end of history would now resume. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: Dear Son, I support your mission! - Dear Mike, I think about you everyday, but some days I think about you in the present and others more so in the past. Today I was thinking about you in a way that paralleled both worlds where my thoughts and memories of you are treasured and contained. I really do have so many tender memories of when you were little. You were such a bright and curious guy, well you still are, but just in different ways now. The memories of you bring a lot of joy to me, and they remind me of how much I miss seeing you and hearing your voice in person. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: US targets al Qaeda's al Furqan media wing in Iraq - Coalition and Iraqi special operations forces continue to target al Qaeda's propaganda capabilities. Over the summer, US forces scored a major victory with the capture of Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud al Mashadani, also known as Abu Shahed. Mashadani was al Qaeda's minister of information and served as the go between for al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al Masri and Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. The capture of Mashadani has shed light on al Qaeda's media operations, and has allowed Multinational Forces Iraq to roll up al Qaeda's media cells throughout Iraq. "Since the surge began, we’ve uncovered eight separate al Qaeda media offices and cells, have captured or killed 24 al Qaeda propaganda cell members and have discovered 23 terabytes of information," said Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Forces Iraq in a press briefing. (READ MORE)

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