January 10, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 01/10/2008

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)
Bush Hopes for Mideast Peace in '08 - President Bush arrived in Israel yesterday to an enthusiastic welcome and said he was optimistic that a peace agreement could be reached this year. (READ MORE)

Dad Hails Security Firm - Three young women have returned home to Michigan after being rescued from an orphanage in a remote village of strife-torn Kenya by Blackwater Worldwide. (READ MORE)

S.C., Michigan Last Stand for GOP Candidates - Yesterday became line-in-the-sand day for Republicans, with Mitt Romney declaring that he is making his stand in next week's Michigan primary and Fred Thompson saying South Carolina's Jan. 19 primary is his do-or-die state. (READ MORE)

Did Hillary Win N.H. Crying Game? - It's been dubbed the "Comeback Cry," and like many things related to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, it has incited conspiracy theories, accusations and strong reactions from voters and the press. (READ MORE)

Hillary Win Revives Race, Stirs Donors - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cashed in on her come-from-behind New Hampshire primary victory, raising more than $1 million in less than a day as her rejuvenated campaign vowed to capture the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. (READ MORE)

Sky's The Limit for Claims of Katrina Damages - Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering, and it is staggering — including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion. (READ MORE)

For U.S., The Goal Is Now 'Iraqi Solutions' - In the year since President Bush announced he was changing course in Iraq with a troop "surge" and a new strategy, U.S. military and diplomatic officials have begun their own quiet policy shift. (READ MORE)

Turning It Around - In a campaign run by conference calls, this one stood out. It was Dec. 2, just a month before the Iowa caucuses, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was furious. She did not yell, but her voice, serious and deep, bristled with irritation over how things were going for her in Iowa. (READ MORE)

Blast Kills 6 as Troops Hunt Iraqi Insurgents - FORWARD OPERATING BASE NORMANDY, Iraq, Jan. 10 -- The explosion of a booby-trapped house killed six American soldiers on Wednesday during an offensive against Sunni insurgents in Diyala province, making it the deadliest day for U.S. troops in Iraq since November. (READ MORE)

Border Fence Cases Appear Court-Bound - The government is readying 102 court cases against landowners in Arizona, California and Texas for blocking efforts to select sites for a fence along the Mexican border, a Department of Homeland Security official said yesterday. (READ MORE)

U.S. to Bolster Forces in Afghanistan - The U.S. military is planning to deploy about 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan this spring to counter an expected offensive by Taliban insurgents, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday, citing NATO allies' failure to provide additional combat troops. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Desert Dude: just a side note - I wanted to take some pictures of all the different sights and “normal” stuff on the road trip the other day but the weather was so bad I didn’t want to break out my camera…but, lucky for us, my next door neighbor and fellow blogger posted some cool pictures of all the “jingle” trucks and cars and whatnot…so, check out his latest post with all the pictures… (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: In Fair Anu al-Verona - In deference to all things OPSEC, allow me to introduce Anu al-Verona – a nom de plume for a town like many others in modern Iraq. Much like its’ Italian namesake, Anu al-Verona exudes an aura of fading hope radiating through a hazy cloud of violence and blood-soaked eruptions. Simply multiply the households involved tenfold, and introduce the guerilla tactics of the people of the crescent moon, and Anu al-Verona evolves into being. The players have changed with time, but the theme remains the same and everlong – a fluid and unending struggle for power. These are the players at this moment in time, participating in said historical game. (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 10 JAN 2007 A fistful of dinar - It’s the wee hours of my waning call night. Soon I’ll get the list of new admissions from Patient Administration and I’ll be able to prepare my morning clinical openers talk for the boss. I’ve had a bit of a breather since midnight. I lay down on the couch in the swamp for a while and drifted off as “Donnie Brasco” played on the TV. So far it has been a reasonable call day as call days go. During daylight hours we were running around like chicken heads because there was a rush of casualties. We finally got them squared away. After that we could resume the scheduled operations for the day, and I finished the last one at 2200. Forget about it! (READ MORE)

Northern Disclopsure: A quick here is, WHY I MiL-BLOG - That past couple days I have recieved alot of emails about my blog and why I do it. I as you can imagine stay relatively busy over here and in an attempt not to be rude will field the question here so not to forget anyone and to perhaps answer it preemptively for those about to ask. My last tour I was surrounded by amazing guys and saw things that inspired me and changed me. (READ MORE)

On Point: How many Marines does it take to secure Baghdadi? - Last year, it took an entire company. Then, as the situation improved, that number dropped to a platoon. And now, with the onset of 2008, the grand total is zero. The Marines of 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, have completely pulled out of Command Outpost Baghdadi. To the pleasure and pride of the local citizens, their replacements are already hard at work. (READ MORE)

Tragically Famous: And the defendants have been found... lacking - Imagine this. Here you are with your best friend. The person closest to you, the person you know in and out, through and through who will be your future best man, or maid of honor. This trustworthy, steadfast, solid person has seen you at your best, has seen you at your worst, and continues to accept you for the person you are. Now imagine you’re about to embark on a highly stressful fifteen month tour through a combat zone with this person. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Snow blind - I returned to a different Afghanistan than I left. Afghan boys deal with the cold.The new Afghanistan is pristine and pure. The rough edges have been smoothed. What was once nearly all beige is now mostly white. Snow has changed this country - at least its appearance. Today, Afghanistan literally glistens. But looks can be deceiving. As we traveled from Kabul to Ghazni, the landscape was a sea of white. (READ MORE)

Iraq Pundit: Changing the Chants - Each time my relatives in Baghdad tell me over the telephone: "Thanks be to God, things are better and God willing, they will continue to improve," the morning paper hits me like a slap across the face. It tells me basically: "Your family is wrong; their life sucks." I get annoyed when the story starts: "One year after President Bush announced his politically unpopular plan to send thousands more troops to Iraq, Democrats are struggling to counter the administration's argument that the buildup succeeded." Hmmmm. Is it the Iraqi life that sucks more or the Democrats' life that sucks more? (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Entertaining the Troops - U.S. AIR BASE, Kuwait – Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Guffey was assigned to the distinguished visitors just arriving to the airbase in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert. The 27-year-old native of Pangburn, Ark., with 10 and a half years of military service was on his first tour of the Middle East and assigned the duty of looking after members of the press. The occasion was the USO tour just before Christmas hosted by Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Guffey had the photographers and military media under control so he would have the time to enjoy the concert himself. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Soccerdad: Shavit’s prescription - One of the most consistently interesting Israeli columnists, is Ari Shavit from Ha’aretz. Though a member of the Left and of the peace camp, he has consistently demonstrated an intellectual honest that makes him readable even if I don’t agree with everything he writes. But today’s “On a Divine Mission” is just about perfect. At first he sounds a bit condescending. “The man standing at the window this morning is a very lonely man. He is vilified in his own country and almost a leper in the international community. The America that he tried to save has turned against him, and the West that he wanted to defend is dismissive of him.” (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Get Your Popcorn: Rathergate Trial Moving Forward With Discovery – “It looks like former CBS News anchor Dan Rather will indeed get his day in court. On Wednesday evening Justice Ira Gammerman of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan made a preliminary ruling denying the TV network's motion to dismiss Rather's $70 million lawsuit.” The article is clearly biased towards Rather, because discovery is a two-way process. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Baghdad Book Market Endures - One of the signs that things are becoming safer in Iraq, are the number of marketplaces that are beginning to flourish. Initially, after the invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi citizens were afraid to leave their homes, for fear of being caught in the middle of a firefight. Once the insurgents moved into their neighborhoods, shop owners were afraid to open their shops, due to the constant threat from the insurgents, who often demanded high fees from the shop owners in order for them to continue to keep their businesses open. There was also the threat from the insurgents, if they were seen talking with American and Coalition Troops. (READ MORE)

American Ranger: Iranian Boats Should Have Been Destroyed - When Iranian boats approached our ships with threats that “the ships would explode”, such imminent danger to our warships and service members was all our naval commanders needed to send the likely members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to “paradise”. Dangerous and unpredictable countries like Iran only understand and respect strength. Indecision and a hesitancy to react could very easily be interpreted as weakness. Perceived weakness will only increase the confrontations, not reduce them. (READ MORE)

America's North Shore Journal: How Many Civilians Have Died Due to Violence in Iraq? - The New England Journal of Medicine presents the findings of an Iraqi study of the number of civilian deaths due to violence since the Liberation. It’s not 601,027 as the Lancet study proposed. It’s not 500,000. Or 400,000. Or… well, you get the idea. “ABSTRACT Background Estimates of the death toll in Iraq from the time of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 until June 2006 have ranged from 47,668 (from the Iraq Body Count) to 601,027 (from a national survey). Results from the Iraq Family Health Survey (IFHS), which was conducted in 2006 and 2007, provide new evidence on mortality in Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Katyusha Fire Meant As Another Message to Bush - Tuesday’s Katyusha strikes on the northern Israeli town of Shlomi were likely an Iranian/Hizbullah muscle-flexing meant to coincide with Bush’s visit. The incident should be viewed in relationship with the bizarre Iranian behavior in the Straits of Hormuz over the weekend. These small incidents are intended to remind Bush that Iran remains influential and can destabilize the region at its whim, whether by disrupting oil shipments or re-igniting the northern border of Israel. Thus far on his visit, Bush has been tough rhetorically on Iran, saying that Iran was a threat, remains a threat, and will be a threat so long as its uranium enrichment continues. (READ MORE)

DrTony: Vote Early, Vote Often - I agree with the points elaborated by ALa. Why don't the opponents of Voter ID protest that laws requiring a photo ID to fly discriminate? What about buying beer? Driving? Because they don't give a shit who flies, buys beer or drives. They care who gets to vote. And the Democrats know that the bottom dwellers who are too stupid or too lazy to get an ID are probably going to vote Democrat. Plus it's a lot harder to cheat when you have to show an ID. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: ID to Vote - I know we've discussed this here before, but this debate continues to baffle me. Isn't it the Dems that are ALWAYS kvetching about "voter fraud"? Why wouldn't they embrace something that could end that...wait, unless THEY are actually the ones committing the fraud and accusing others! Isn't is racist and ageist to imply that because someone is Black, Hispanic or old they won't have ID? How does anyone not have ID? If you're poor, don't you need ID to access your public assistance or to cash checks? ID doesn't just mean Driver's License...you can have a state identification card...right? (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Michigan Will Be - Ah - Interesting - Let's start with (you'll pardon the obscene language) the polling... At the moment, the RCP average for MI has Mitt Romney up over John McCain by 0.8%, over Mike Huckabee by 1.3%, over Rudy Giuliani by 10.0%, and over Rip Van Thompson by 15.0%. In other words, the top three candidates are tied. That includes polls from December; however, even if we only look at polls this year, the top three are just as tight: McCain at 23.5, Romney at 21.0, and Huckabee at 20.5. The span from top to bottom is still within the margin of error. (READ MORE)

Pam Meister: When Ideology and Science Collide: Iraq Casualty Study Debunked - When it comes to politics and ideology, all bets are off – even when reputable scientific journals are concerned. Back in 2006, three weeks before America’s midterm Congressional elections, a report published in the British medical journal The Lancet claimed that more than 650,000 casualties resulted from the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. The media pounced quickly, and many reactions to the study are what you would expect for such a horrific number: (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Hillary Quote of the Week - This is from Hillary Clinton as she was mustering up a few fake tears for the folks: “I just don't want to see us fall backwards.” Some might believe she meant the country or its people in the “collective” us but in reality she meant that she did not want to see “us Clintons” fall backwards. She was lamenting on the powerful political machine losing a few steps as a result of Iowa and seeing the dreams of both her and Bill being shattered. She was talking about the grand plan unraveling before her eyes, the inability to pull out the last step in the plan they have both worked on for decades. His turn and then hers. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: An al-Qaeda offensive against Musharraf? - Just after CNN reported that terror bombings in Pakistan had reached "unprecedented" heights; and not long after Bill Roggio reported security services had arrested the leader and five members of a Lahore-based suicide cell another suicide attack killed 22 people outside a high court building. “At least 22 police and civilians were killed and 70 wounded in the attack. The blast was described as ‘powerful.’ Geo News reported the attack was conducted by a suicide bomber wearing a vest. The police were standing guard preparing for a protest by lawyers.” (READ MORE)

Bear Creek Ledger: Here’s the Blackwater story you never hear about - Most of the stories about Blackwater depict a company of rogue paramilitary contractors out of control. But who do you call when you need help in a war torn country? BLACKWATER! “Three young women have returned home to Michigan after being rescued from an orphanage in a remote village of strife-torn Kenya by Blackwater Worldwide. Dean VanderMey, executive director of Set Free Ministries International, a nondenominational Christian ministry in Grand Rapids, Mich., that operates throughout Africa, said daughters Brittanie, 21, and Aubrie, 19, and their friend Jamie Cook, 20, owe their lives to Blackwater’s ‘dedicated professionals.’” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Getting It Right In Iraq - John McCain and Joe Lieberman publish an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal that details just how wrong the opponents of the surge strategy in Iraq have been. They caution that the changes in Iraq are not yet permanent, nor is ultimate victory yet assured. But unlike the Democrats running for president, they are able to acknowledge real progress. They offer some things we must do to keep making progress in Iraq: “First, it is unknown whether the security gains we have achieved with the surge can be sustained — and deepened — after we have drawn down to 15 brigades. Until we know with certainty that we can keep al Qaeda on the run with 15 brigades, it would be a mistake to commit ourselves preemptively to a drawdown below that number.” (READ MORE)

Blue Star Chronicles: Al-Qaeda Threatens Jay Leno’s Wife and Laura Bush - In the video that was recently released by the American Al-Qaeda Member Adam Yahiye Gadahn, he lashed out against Jay Leno’s wife, Mavis Leno and First Lady Laura Bush. He called them hypocrites and warns that they, along with other Americans, will be punished. Mavis Leno’s wrongdoing? She has worked to help the women of Afghanistan who have suffered under the Taliban. He threatens the First Lady for the same reason. He says we are in a fight to the death with islam. Once again, the islamist tell us what their intentions are. Once again they tell us that they intend to kill us all and that they view this as a global war with their ideology. Once again, we don’t listen. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Iraqi Jihadis Analyze Coalition Strategy - Pretext and Thesis: Abdul Hameed Bakier of The Jamestown Foundation gives us an interesting review of Iraqi jihadis and their analysis of the surge and security plan in Iraq. The analysis is posted over jihadi web sites and forums from multiple individuals, but the focus of the analysis is what they find to be three strategic phases. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: If It's An Election, There Must Be A Conspiracy - After watching the Democrats spin wild conspiracy theories about how they lost the 2000 and the 2004 elections, it shouldn't surprise that similar paranoid thinking has arisen in 2008. However, this time the target of the conspiracy thinking isn't Republicans, but other Democrats. Progressive bloggers have begun launching accusations of fraud and vote-rigging in the wake of Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in New Hampshire's primaries: “The results weren't even in when the blogosphere started to hum with a theory that sharply divided Democrats online: Barack Obama lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire because the vote was rigged.” (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Liberal Math - I don't often go after individual bloggers, but statements made yesterday by "dday" at Hullabaloo were so idiotic as to warrant direct comment. Discussing a new report that places the number of Iraqi's killed since the start of the war at roughly 151,000, "dday" wrote: “NPR was trying to spin this as somehow a LOW number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the last three and a half years, because it comes in lower than the Lancet study. But it remains 150,000 human lives, dead, senselessly, for an unnecessary war of choice. And that only goes up to June 2006, and the authors of the study admitted they were unable to reach certain areas that were ‘too violent.’ Not to mention the 3,900-plus soldiers, including 9 in the last two days. And the numbers of wounded are incalculable.” (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Iraq Insurgents Tipped Off to U.S. Attack - In September, I watched as hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi troops assaulted the small city of Tarmiyah, to capture the Sunni extremist leaders there. The problem was, nearly all of them had skipped town; the jihadists knew the attacks were coming. According to the New York Times, the same thing happened this week, as American forces went in, heavy, to Diyala provience, not far from Tarmiyah. “With extraordinary secrecy, and even an information blackout aimed at most of their Iraqi Army comrades, American troops began a major offensive on Tuesday to drive Sunni insurgents from strongholds in Diyala Province. But many insurgents still managed to flee the first villages the Americans went into, showing just how difficult it is to trap the elusive militants.” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Strains of the Rollercoaster Jig - Do you hear the strains of the Rollercoaster Jig? No? A little background then. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a sign of the Apocalypse, but famed Historian Victor Davis Hanson and NY Times Columnist Maureen Dowd are of the same mind about Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Hanson notes the “just in time” emergence of “the teary, compassionate Hillary” as part of her “crying game” candidacy, and Dowd complains bitterly that Clinton plays LBJ as the “heroine of a Lifetime movie, a woman in peril who manages to triumph.” Here, Dowd wins on the more indelible imagery, but Hanson has the better grasp of history. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: A NOT SO INEXPLICABLE ANGER - Glenn Reynolds notes that a "prophecy" uttered by Jonah Goldberg is already coming true. From an email he quotes: “‘Watched the NH returns with some friends last night, and something quite unexpected happened when the AP called it for Clinton -- inexplicable ANGER. I was surrounded by people in their early 30's, registered Democrats, receptive to the Clintons in the 90's, and I swear I thought someone was going to throw their wine glass at the tube during her “victory” speech.’ And that's just one primary! All is proceeding as Jonah has foreseen.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Bush repaired the damage to America - ON June 27, Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke at the Center for a New American Security. “‘We can repair the damage that has been done to our security and our standing over these past six years. We can rebuild our alliances and restore our moral authority, and reestablish our leadership in the world. And by doing so, we can forge a new American security for this new century,’ Mrs. Clinton said.” What in the devil was the woman talking about? The idea that our allies abandoned us is more Clintonian spin. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: 2008 Election Resonance - The overwhelming lessons of Iowa and New Hampshire are ones that shouldn’t be a surprise to any American, but clearly are to the political power elitists and their old media symbiotes: Americans are tired of the angry political partisan divide. The point is that the American people have been deliberately divided by political partisanship. Republicans are not innocent, and only fools don’t try to identify and accept the Democrats’ sins as well. Average Americans are people who normally don’t care, aren’t interested, or just don’t have the time to pay attention to politics. They are RINOs, DINOs, independents, centrists, or some other labeled demographic. When they see political reporting, they see name-calling, spin, half truths, and misleading statements; politics. As this has steadily increased over the past 10yrs, more and more Americans have become apathetic in disgust and despair. (READ MORE)

Fortress of Solitude: Gun Control By The Numbers - In the wake of recent school shootings, there have been more than a few people who had knee-jerk reactions. Sadly, their first inclination was to say that stricter gun laws are needed. Gun ownership must be further limited, and we must make it extremely difficult to own and/or carry a firearm. It amazes me that these individuals never consider the possibility that strict gun laws, and the vilifying of those who carry firearms, are the reason that these events were allowed to take place. Criminals are much more likely to carry out an attack on a group of people that they know will not be armed. Accordingly, they are less likely to carry out an attack if they believe that their potential victim is also carrying a firearm. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Christian Ministers at Risk in Turkey - As has been noted here previously, Christian communities in Muslim countries are more at risk now than they have been since the Middle Ages. The war in Iraq made the situation for that country’s Christians worse than it had been under Saddam. For Christians living as dhimmis under a Muslim majority, the protection offered by a sadistic despot is better than no protection all. The remaining Christians in Turkey have been under attack in recent years during a resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkish culture. The increasing incidence of violence against Christians is not random, but is focused mainly on Christian ministers from various denominations. There seems to be a deliberate effort to weaken and demoralize Christian groups by taking out their central figures. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: That woman who’s challenging Indiana’s voter ID law? Registered to vote in two states - Your delicious irony of the day comes from Florida and Indiana. The litigant who is trying to kill off Indiana’s voter ID law is a walking, talking case of potential voter fraud. She certainly appears to have broken the law by registering to vote in both Indiana and Florida, and by claiming homestead tax exemption in both states. But let’s re-write the law so she doesn’t have to provide proper ID before voting! (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: WHO, Indeed - New Iraqi death estimate, way down from Lancet fantasy report. Iraqi Govt, WHO study estimates 151,000 between 2003-06. So who are they, and who killed them? Washington Post report on as-yet unpublished study doesn’t answer that: “A new survey estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country. Roughly 9 out of 10 of those deaths were a consequence of U.S. military operations, insurgent attacks and sectarian warfare.” This report doesn’t include details to support the ordering above, which tends to suggest the U.S. military has killed more people than Iraqi terrorists have. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda suicide cell leader captured in Pakistan - Pakistani security forces have captured the leader of an al Qaeda suicide cell that was behind the attack on the Sargodha military base last fall. Ahsan al Haq and five cell members have been detained by Pakistani security forces in the city of Lahore, Reuters reported. "We recovered explosives and jackets used for suicide bombings at his house next to a madrassa (Islamic school)," and anonymous intelligence official told Reuters. "All of them admitted they were behind the Sargodha attack and were planning to carry out similar attacks, even against politicians." (READ MORE)

Politics of a Patriot: Lessons I Learned from a Navy Psychologist - All day, I have been upset, though I told no one, over issues with friends and annoying things at work. I took a late lunch, and curled up in a corner chair in a room few people go to. I finished reading Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital by Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft. It was recommended to me by Old Woman Marine, a frequent commenter on this blog. It is the story of Lieutenant Commander Heidi Kraft's deployment to Iraq with the Marine Corps, as she served as a psychologist in the Navy. A female Navy psychologist--exactly what I want to do. As I read this book, a sense of fear creeped in. I kept thinking, I don't know if I can handle what a real military psychologist has to deal with... (READ MORE)

McQ: Ah, the sexism argument finally emerges in full - And all it took was a loss in Iowa for Hillary Clinton: “By losing the first presidential contest, Mrs. Clinton may have succeeded in getting more women to see her as she presents herself: not a dominant figure of power, but a woman trying to break what she has called ‘the highest and hardest glass ceiling’ in America.” How nice - she’s now a "victim". (READ MORE)

Ray Robison: Just a thought - Maybe a prediction, one in which I really hope I am wrong. Maybe it is just a nagging suspicion, but it has been bothering me. It occurs to me that al Qaeda, which is losing its ability as a military/political force is going to try a "Hail Mary" pass soon. Notably, they saw some success with the fiasco they created by assassinating Bhutto in Pakistan. Why wouldn't they want to do that again? Only in the United States this time. A targeted assassination may be impending because one thing that is obvious al Qaeda doctrine is to repeat a success over and over. So what if al Qaeda targeted someone in the US. Who would it be? (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Long Term Threats and Democracy - There are two uncomfortable facts that make it very difficult for democracies to address long term threats and maintain long term commitments. Both are products of the ways in which our minds are structured and organized. First, immediate threats will always have priority over long term consequences. The basic circuitry in our brains that react to threats, our deepest survival programming if you will, are expressly designed to deal with the most immediate needs and neglect the longer term. This worked well on the Savannah back in our distant hunter-gatherer past, but it uniquely ill suited for the modern world. The second issue is that we are extraordinarily poor at risk assessment. (READ MORE)

Smooth Stone: Muslims don't want peace - Muslims don't want peace with Jews in Israel. They just want Israel's land. If Muslims wanted peace with Jews in Israel, 20,000 Islamists in Gaza wouldn't have protested against "Vampire" Bush's visit, nor would they have launched a rocket attack on the local American International School in protest against President Bush's visit, nor would they call on their fellow Muslims to kill Bush, notwithstanding the fact that those Muslims who call for other Muslims to kill Bush are too cowardly to attempt the assassination themselves. Muslims politically identify with other Muslims, which is why there has been a resounding silence in the global Muslim community, where there should have been resounding global condemnation. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: 'Liberal Europeans' Should be Allowed to 'Vote in U.S. Elections' - They hate us, they love us, but they want us to comply with "Yankee go home," and leave them alone. Yet they crave our cash, our military protection, our cash, our leadership, our cash, our culture, oh, and our cash. Now they want to vote in our elections, too. To that end, a Brussels newspaper called De Standaard has issued the call for liberal Europeans to vote in our elections. And, WHY does Evita Neefs of De Standaard think she should be allowed to vote in our elections? Is it because we have such a great system, one she is dying to be a part of? No, it's because she wants a chance to vote into office candidates that will restrict the U.S. on the international scene, that's why. (READ MORE)

Michael Tanji: Self-Inflicted Ideological Wounds - Readers of ThreatsWatch and related sites are probably not strangers to the controversy surrounding the firing of Stephen Coughlin, late an Islamic law scholar on the Joint Staff. Reportedly he was sacked for his “extreme” opinions on radical Islam, which included such radical ideas as not affiliating with Islamic groups with known, or suspected, ties to terrorist organizations. The impetus of his ouster was apparently triggered by Hesham Islam, advisor to Deputy SECDEF Gordon England. Based on what little we know about Mr. Islam we are hard pressed to label him an apologist for Islamists and his dedication to this nation and its principles is perfectly clear. Still, Mr. Islam is the driving force behind the Pentagon’s Muslim outreach effort, which includes reaching out to some groups with ties to terrorist organizations. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrr Express: Repeal the 19th Amendment - oK, January 9th was my birthday. January 10th it’s back to business. No more warm fuzzies. Time to save America from those that wish to screw it up. Repeal the 19th Amendment. Yes girlfriend. I went there. Talk to the hand if you have a grievance. Yeah, I know this could cost me some Jewish brunette frolicking, but the liberal ones don’t like me anyway and the conservatives will understand. There is no reason for women to vote anymore. Voting is a responsibility, and the female gender, at least in New Hampshire, has proven that it has no interest in this sacred trust. (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: A traitor has died - A traitor has died, which I would regard as good news if the milk of human kindness did not flow through my veins. “Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who exposed its undercover operations in Latin America in a 1975 book, died in Havana, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma said on Wednesday. Agee, 72, died on Monday night, the newspaper said, calling him a ‘loyal friend of Cuba and staunch defender of the peoples' struggle for a better world.’” Somebody should tell Michael Moore about the high quality health care that Agee got in Cuba. (READ MORE)

Celestial Junk: Democracy’s Greatest By-Product - Recently in Cjunk’s own comments, I mentioned the following: “Ultimately Canadians are fighting and dying in a far off country for the freedom of others, a freedom that would never be accomplished without our help. If this isn’t the most noble and wonderful by product of our own democracy and freedom of choice, I don’t know what is.” My own words, typed with little thought, quite suddenly struck me as rather profound. It is certainly not an original suggestion, but I suppose I just hadn’t really put much thought into the idea before. (READ MORE)

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