April 9, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/09/2008

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)
Frustrated Senators See No Exit Signs - Asked repeatedly yesterday what "conditions" he is looking for to begin substantial U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq after this summer's scheduled drawdown, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said he will know them when he sees them. For frustrated lawmakers, it was not enough. (READ MORE)

Memo Proves Detention Is Illegal, Attorneys Say - An accused "enemy combatant" told an appellate court yesterday that a controversial Justice Department memorandum exploring the legal boundaries of military interrogations proves that his detention was illegal. (READ MORE)

Sadr Cancels Million-Man Rally in Baghdad - BAGHDAD, April 8 -- Moqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric whose militia has been battling Iraqi and U.S. soldiers over the past two weeks, said Tuesday he was calling off a million-man rally because he feared it would lead to further bloodshed. (READ MORE)

Petraeus warns of Iraq backslide - Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker yesterday warned lawmakers that "fragile and reversible" security gains in Iraq would be shattered by Democrats' pullout plans and stressed the urgency of keeping Iran in check. (READ MORE)

Presidential candidates hear what they want - The three presidential candidates emerged from yesterday's testimony by Gen. David H. Petraeus each armed with what they wanted: justifications for staying in or getting out of Iraq. (READ MORE)

GAO questions millions charged to U.S. - Federal employees charged millions of dollars for Internet dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie, lavish dinners and other questionable expenses to their government credit cards over a 15-month period, congressional auditors say. (READ MORE)

Price at the pump likely to reach $4 - Gasoline prices could break the $4 barrier in some places this summer despite falling demand in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, the government's energy forecasting agency said yesterday. (READ MORE)

Envoy urges U.S. to be patient, use sway - Iraq's ambassador to Washington, Samir Sumaida'ie, yesterday called on the United States to be patient and use its influence to push the country's fractious political parties together. (READ MORE)

Maryland's downhill slide - The Maryland General Assembly ended its regular 2008 session Monday night with confetti, and Gov. Martin O'Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch all congratulated themselves on their accomplishments. But only a half-hearted thank you is in order. (READ MORE)

The Petraeus Effect - As General David Petraeus briefs Congress this week on Iraq, it's clear his surge has achieved remarkable results. The most crucial is that the U.S. can no longer be defeated militarily in Iraq, which could not be said a year ago. The question now is whether Washington will squander these gains by withdrawing so quickly that we could still lose politically. (READ MORE)

The New Liberal Taboo - What a spectacle. It is now respectable for Democrats to assert, even to welcome, military defeat (see here). But if a Presidential campaign functionary so much as hints at support for free trade, he's banished to policy exile. That's the meaning of Sunday's sacking of strategist Mark Penn from Hillary Clinton's campaign. (READ MORE)

Antimissile Milestone - At their joint news conference in the Black Sea town of Sochi on Sunday, President Bush and Vladimir Putin talked agreeably about U.S. plans to provide a missile defense for Europe and U.S.-Russian cooperation even as they acknowledged differences. Earlier in the week, NATO endorsed the missile shield. Somewhere the Gipper is smiling. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Jonah Goldberg: The Genocide Loophole - Last week, Russia's lower house of parliament passed a resolution insisting that Josef Stalin's man-made 1932-33 famine - called the Holodomor in Ukrainian - wasn't genocide. Not even the Russians dispute that the Soviet government deliberately starved millions. But the Russian resolution indignantly states: "There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines." It notes that victims included "different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas of the country." (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: Political Loathsomeness - Do any of the prospective nominees of either party deserve respect from the American people? The answer partially depends on your knowledge, values and respect for the U.S Constitution. When either Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain take office, they are going to place their hand on the Bible and take the oath, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." (READ MORE)

John Stossel: Bullies - "We cannot use force." That was my response last week when a lawyer shouted at me, "You media types are bullies, too!" We were arguing about my Wall Street Journal op-ed that called class-action and securities lawyers bullies and parasites who enrich themselves through extortion. It's legal extortion, but extortion nonetheless. These aggressive lawyers and their Naderite defenders don't get it. Or they pretend they don't. There are only two ways to do things in life: voluntarily or forced. (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: Petreaus' Anaconda - It's a shame Sen. Carl Levin failed to take the time to call public attention to Gen. David Petraeus' "Anaconda Strategy" chart. Petraeus briefly referred to the chart during his initial testimony this week before Levin's Senate Armed Services Committee. The Anaconda Chart is a complex graphic that depicts an intricate, multi-dimensional war. It's tough to describe even with a copy in front of you. However, the strategic concept behind Petraeus' chart (titled "Anaconda Strategy versus al-Qaida in Iraq") is dirt simple: Squeeze and keep squeezing. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: The Dead Speak - There are some names in the obituary columns that say more than the voices of the living. Such is the name of Dith Pran, who died in New Brunswick, N.J., last Sunday at the age of 65. He was the Cambodian photographer who somehow survived the collection of killing fields that his country became after the Americans abandoned it. And who somehow made his way to the United States to tell the world about it. Millions of his countrymen would lose their lives after the Khmer Rouge swept into Phnom Penh and began rounding up unreliable types - i.e., just about anybody who could read and write.(READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Senate Payout Plan for Builders Lobby - Under the radar of high-profile foreign policy hearings, the Senate is close to giving an $11 billion cushion to the housing lobby that said it would hold their campaign contributions hostage for a bailout. Unhappy with the economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year and faced with a lagging housing market Brian Catalde, president of the National Homebuilders Association, said his industry would quit contributing to federal races unless their friends in Congress gave homebuilders an economic stimulus package of their own. (READ MORE)

Robert H. Scales: The Sergeant Solution - Today Gen. David Petraeus testifies in front of Congress. He will note the progress being made in Iraq thanks to his new counterinsurgency strategy and the "surge." He will also remind everyone that much remains to be done, as the recent battle in Basra demonstrated. But no matter what he says, it is clear that the writing is on the wall. The bulk of American ground forces will be leaving Iraq. The only question is how many and how fast. (READ MORE)

John F. Cogan and R. Glenn Hubbard: The Coming Tax Bomb - As the presidential campaign enters its final stages, there will be increased debate over budget priorities and how they will be paid for. Many commentators and political leaders, including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, believe that tax increases are needed to restore near-term budget balance and finance longer-term entitlement growth. These claims fail budget arithmetic and economics. Worse, they raise serious questions about the nation's broad fiscal policies and its commitment to economic growth. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Palestinian War Against Israel Continues - Once again, the Palestinians continue to show that they have no interest in peace with Israel. Terrorists infiltrated into Israel and killed two Israelis at the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. At least four terrorists infiltrated from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Two were killed in a firefight with Israeli security and one more terrorists were killed in Israeli airstrikes. The two were employed at the terminal, which supplies the Gaza Strip with most of its fuel. (READ MORE)

Ace: Presidential Candidate Makes Monumental Gaffe On Iraq At Today's Hearings - No, not McCain's spit-second misspoken word, immediately corrected. I mean Obama confusing Iraq and Iran. “U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ RYAN CROCKER: ‘Senator, as I said in my statement, we have no problem with a good, constructive relationship between Iran and Iraq. The problem is with the Iranian strategy of backing extremist militia groups and sending in weapons and munitions that are used against Iraqis and against our own forces.’ OBAMA: ‘Do we feel confident that the Iraqi government is directing these -- this aid to these special groups? Do we feel confident about that, or do we think that they're just tacitly tolerating it? Do you have some sense of that?’” (READ MORE)

Deebow @ Blackfive: My Dad Always Told me... - Things can only stay out of balance so long... Just like the Dot Com bubble, the Housing Bubble, and last year's NFL Season; everything in this world seeks balance... The situation with the Old Media and their continued leftard moon-battery, apologist, libtard attitudes that are so far out of whack with regular American citizens is reaching a critical mass. Newspapers are going the way of the Stegosaurus. Mainstream News Broadcasts are about to start being outsourced and who knows what is going to happen when the entire country goes to digital TV. And the fact that they couldn't even bring themselves to honor a true American Hero today, nor give credit to the man who invented the strategy that is carrying us toward victory in Iraq should tell those who are not paying that much attention what is really going on. (READ MORE)

Blackfive: Media is Absent on Medal of Honor Awardees - Google News shows that no one, other than local news in San Diego, is covering the awarding of the Medal of Honor to US Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor. This is quite evident of the MSM's bias. I don't know how you can argue in favor of them today. This story is one that should be told across the nation. I wasn't going to blog about this today or even post the New York Times and AP's embarrassing report on US Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor. The New York Times printed 78 words about the pending MOH for Mike Monsoor and had to correct the story. Three sentences for a man like Mike... I checked my frustration because I hoped that they might print something today about the Navy SEAL who sacrificed himself to save his teammates. I thought, maybe, it would make for a nice front page story this morning. "The Paper of Record" did not print one word. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: When Does Parental Responsibility End? - I am not an excitable person, but an easy way to send me right over the edge is give me examples of the complete lack of self-accountability and responsibility in this country... For example, why should I give a flying ____ about people that entered into adjustable rate mortgages they couldn't afford? Or why should my tax dollars pay the college tuition for a 'reformed' heroin junkie? Or worse than that, pay for infant formula when breast milk is free? Not to sound callous --I'm sure I'd have too much sympathy on an individual basis, but federally mandated? No. BUT, that being said, the line blurs for me when it comes to enabling parents. When does the parental responsibility end and the "child's" begin? (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: A Tale of Two Veterans' Groups - Jonn from This Ain't Hell is Superman! He and his camera are everywhere! Today he attended the Vets for Freedom Rally at the Capital and captured the incredible images for us all to see. The entire post is a must read as are all his videos and pics. But the pictures got me to thinking in terms of comparison. So many times we have been subjected to the images cherry-picked by the media of blood painted hands, pinkos in pink and upside down flags that the pics just end up being "same-same". You see one picture of a protester with a F&*# Bush sign, you see a dozen. We end up being jaded and thinking that's how all protesters/ralliers look. Jonn's pictures prove that there is an opposite end of the spectrum. Case in point.... (just so people don't get their drawers in a wad - the IVAW pics are not from the same rally but they are indicative of the rallies and the attendees) (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Breinholt: More Lessons from Watergate - What is at stake in the debates over telecommunications company liability, and the foreign surveillance bill? If the plaintiffs suing the telecoms have righteous cases worthy of a judgments of liability, immunity might not be such a good idea. If not, the surveillance authority is arguably being delayed needlessly. The best answer to this question might come from Watergate and the abuses of the Nixon Administration. After all, American law is based on precedent, and the principle of stare decises. What does the precedent of the Watergate scandal indicate about telecom liability for national security cooperation today? (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: As Sadr Collapses... - It becomes increasingly more amusing to watch the "impartial" international news media attempt to spin away unmistakable signs of progress in Iraq. The latest example of this sad phenomena is Reuters' account of Muqtada al Sadr's threat to end a ceasefire: “Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Tuesday to end a truce he imposed on his militia last year, raising the prospect of worsening violence just as top U.S. officials prepare to testify on Iraq in Washington. Sadr urged his Mehdi Army to "continue your jihad and resistance" against U.S. forces, although he did not spell out if this was an explicit call for attacks on American soldiers...” al Sadr's Madhi Army suffered hundreds of KIAs—some estimate place as a high as 1%-2% of his entire militia—in operations across southern Iraq in recent weeks. The failure of the militia and the success of Iraqi forces has encouraged top Sunni, Shia and Kurdish members of the Iraqi government to form a unified front that has demanded that al Sadr disband the Madhi Army, or run the risk of having his party being disbarred from Iraqi politics. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: The Myths That Continue to Fuel the Democrats' Denial - I made the mistake of watching some of the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on Capitol Hill yesterday, with the subsequent questioning by many posturing senators who seemed indifferent to anything the General or the Ambassador might have to say since they were already committed to their own agenda. It was, for the most part, a rather pathetic performance. I was particularly unimpressed with Presidential candidate/ Senator Obama's questioning which while not confrontative like some of his Democratic colleagues, was significantly underwhelming in its content and direction. The usually slick Obama appeared to be completely out of his depth when not appealing to those abstract concepts of 'hope' and 'change'. (READ MORE)

Freedom Eden: China's Human Rights Record a Surprise? - As the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing approach, concern over China's human rights violations is snowballing. Where have these outraged people been? What planet have they been living on? Have they been preoccupied with other matters for the past DECADES? From the Washington Post: “Zheng Enchong is a self-taught lawyer and a dogged human rights activist. In many countries, he would be considered a gadfly. But in China during this Olympic year, he is treated like a threat to national security.” (READ MORE)

Euphoric Reality: EXCLUSIVE: Pendleton 8 Exposed–The Real Story, Part 1 - Two years ago the nation was shocked to hear of Marines coming home from the battlefield in shackles. This is not how we treat our heroes, not when they are highly decorated, highly trained, and even more experienced. It was preposterous, we said, to charge Marines with murder for shooting the enemy. Isn’t that what we train them to do? Yet that is exactly what we did–and the seven Marines, together with their Navy corpsman, became known as the Pendleton 8. For the last two years, these men have seen their families disintegrate, their careers vaporized, and their freedoms taken, all because their government decided to turn its back on the men who fight to preserve it. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Coup de pork - 15 Democrats want to push Byrd from his roost as appropriations chairman. Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd made it through his 80s unscathed but now that he’s turned 90, can barely walk and has been hospitalized twice, some of his colleagues want him to step aside as appropriations chairman. Byrd’s spokesbot denies this. “Once again, it appears that Washington insiders are practicing what they do best — petty rumor mongering,” Byrd Communications Director Jesse Jacobs told Fox News. “The fact is the 12 individual Senate Appropriations subcommittees are moving forward reviewing the budgets under their jurisdictions. That is the job they are tasked to do. And when it is time, the Senate Appropriations Committee will move forward with the supplemental appropriations bill.” (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Petraeus to America: Iraq is Worth It - GEN Petraeus said today in his anticipated briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iraq is worth the fight, America is safer as a result and that it is a privilege to command in Iraq. Bonus footage: Senator Joe Lieberman saying the Democrats “hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq and speak of no progress in Iraq” and that factually speaking “the Iraqi political leadership has achieved more reconciliation and progress than the American leadership.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Memo to McCain - And the snarking classes. Hamas Iraq accuses al-Qaeda in Iraq of ties to Iran, and gets specific. “The U.S. is our main enemy but a more dangerous enemy is Iran.” MEMRI: “…[In conclusion,] Salah Al-Din stated, in the name of Hamas-Iraq: ‘The U.S. is our main enemy, but a more dangerous enemy is Iran. The U.S. wants [our] oil, and possibly it wants to establish military bases [on our soil], or to remain [in Iraq] for many years to come - while Iran wants to rule, [and] to eradicate and change [our] beliefs and ideas, [and] aspires to alter the demography of the Sunni regions, particularly Baghdad.” That’s very interesting about an Iran-AQ link. McCain was getting razzed about that the other day. While al-Din’s thinking re Iran seems to be quite advanced, he’s a little behind the curve on the U.S. part. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Are Muslim Paedophiles Incurable? - It’s an important question. The evidence supports the assertion, since Islam prohibits Muslim child-molesters from receiving psychological treatment. Actually, this whole story reads like a dystopian fantasy by Kafka or Orwell. Muslim prisoners may not be treated for paedophilia because their religion forbids it. But denial of parole for failure to undergo treatment is — wait for it — religious discrimination against them. The UK has definitely moved into first place in the world “You Can’t Make This S**t Up” sweepstakes. According to The Daily Mail: (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: False Assumptions of Statism, 2008 version - In June 2004, Hillary Clinton outlined the statist philosophy in a speech to a San Francisco audience when she explained that “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” In 2008, that task has fallen to Michelle Obama. In an appearance in Charlotte yesterday, Mrs. Obama made it just a little more specific (via Instapundit): Should she become first lady, she said she’d focus on family issues. “‘If we don’t wake up as a nation with a new kind of leadership…for how we want this country to work, then we won’t get universal health care,’ she said. ‘The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.’” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Jimmy Carter to meet with … Hamas? - The left’s senior statesman, sitting down for a photo op with this degenerate in the heat of an election? After having only just recently quasi-endorsed a guy who, thanks to his associates, is already suspect on Israel? It’s too good to be true. Memo to JC: As an icebreaker, ask him how many Jews really died in the Holocaust. Gingrich once compared Bush to Carter in how completely each managed to lose the public’s confidence. Another similarity: Each is willing to follow his principles with an almost total disregard for the political consequences. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Texas student attacked for her anti-illegal immigration homework - I don’t know why the hell a teacher is assigning “political protest signs” as homework, but that aside, the open-borders mob reaction to one girl’s project is absolutely unacceptable. Take a look, via KLTV: “Melanie Bowers, 13, and her parents walked into Athens High School Monday afternoon to talk to campus police. They were hoping to get some answers. ‘It never should have happened in the first place. The whole assignment was a silly assignment and they should have contacted us immediately after it happened,’ said J.R. Bowers, Melanie’s father. It was an assignment for history class–to make a protest sign for or against an issue, and Melanie said she chose illegal immigration.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: "Stupidity Should Be Painful" - I saw that slogan years ago -- I dunno if it was online, on a T-Shirt, on a bumper, or somewhere else -- and it stuck with me. It, like all great aphorisms, summed up an essential truth in a few concise words. So many people do stupid things precisely because they aren't painful. Or, in a few rare cases, aren't painful enough. Ever feel a muscle that's on the verge of painfully cramping? The temptation to tense it right up to the point of spasm is tremendous. Everyone picks at boo-boos. And that's just the literal interpretations. That thought kept coming to me as I read several articles recently in the Boston Globe. None of them quite triggered enough interest in me for a full posting, but after a while I had enough pieces that they qualified for this little themed round-up. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: General Betray Us Redux? That's HuffPo Class! - Here's an excerpt from Robert Scheer's latest screed at the HuffPo that just drips with contempt for David Petraeus: “General Betray Us? Of course he has. MoveOn.org can hardly be expected to recycle its slogan from last September, when Gen. David Petraeus testified in support of escalating the U.S. war in Iraq, given the hysterical denunciations that worthy group received at the time. But it was right then--as it would be to repeat the charge now. By undercutting the widespread support for getting out of Iraq, Petraeus did indeed betray the American public, siding with an enormously unpopular president who wants to stay the course in Iraq for personal and political reasons that run contrary to genuine national security interests. Once again, the president is passing the buck to the uniformed military to justify continuing a ludicrous imperial adventure, and the good general has dutifully performed.” (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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