May 28, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 05/28/2008

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

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled U.S. on Iraq - Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by President Bush and aimed at "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to... (READ MORE)

McCain Accepts a Hand From Bush, at Arm's Length - SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When President Bush ventured here for a private fundraiser with John McCain on Tuesday night, his first real campaign appearance with the presumptive GOP nominee, the event was closed to the news media and their only joint public appearance was a photo op on the airport tarmac... (READ MORE)

Sadr Urges Followers To Protest U.S.-Iraq Pact - BAGHDAD, May 27 -- Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday urged his followers to stage weekly protests to denounce a long-term security pact being negotiated between the United States and the Iraqi government. (READ MORE)

Punxsutawney Condi - Where's actor Bill Murray when you really need him? On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency released yet another report expressing alarm over Iran's lack of cooperation and candor on its nuclear programs. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice immediately warned that Iran could face more sanctions, while the European Union's Javier Solana announced another trip to Tehran to see if another dozen or so carrots might induce Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stop enriching uranium. (READ MORE)

Congress's Betters - In Congress, rising oil and food prices are leading to all sorts of bad ideas – from new farm and energy subsidies to talk of import controls and higher taxes. The Members should take their next foreign trip to Mexico or Indonesia, where governments are adapting to the commodity price boom with sensible reforms. In Mexico on Sunday, President Felipe Calderon decreed a reduction or elimination of import tariffs on wheat, rice, corn, soy, soymeal and fertilizer. He also cut by half the tariff on powdered milk imports, and he'll allow up to 100,000 tons of beans to enter the country duty free, among other tariff reductions. (READ MORE)

Granholm's Tax Warning - It's no fun to kick a state when it's down – especially when the local politicians are doing a fine job of it – but the latest news of Michigan's deepening budget woe is a national warning of what happens when you raise taxes in a weak economy. Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. (READ MORE)

Airman missing for 36 years to be laid to rest today - U.S. Air Force Sgt. Jimmy Caniford took one final flight this Memorial Day weekend. The last time he flew, 36 years ago, his AC-130 gunship was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Laos. Sunday was Jimmy's flight home. Today, the last unaccounted-for military service member who served in the Vietnam War from Frederick County will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
C.J. Grisham: 9/11 Is A Crutch - You know, I’m getting a little fed up with 9/11 being used as an excuse for idiotic policies and behavior. Not long ago, when I was stationed in the DC area, I took my father in law to the Pentagon with me. I wanted to show him where the plane hit the building and the memorial they had inside. My FIL is a retired Army Sergeant First Class and an outstanding patriot in the true sense of the word. He served his country with honor and allowed me to marry his daughter – the most beautiful woman in the world, by the way! (okay, maybe that counts against him) What does he get for that sacrifice? They wouldn’t let him into the Pentagon!! The reason? 9/11!! Since 9/11, they don’t allow retirees - with military identification by the way - into the Pentagon. Now tell me: what part did an honorably retired SFC play in the 9/11 attacks? (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Obama: The Gaffe-maker UPDATE: CBS Gaffes? Confirmed - Sen. Barack Obama is a walking gaffe-maker. It seems every day he's making a verbal blunder or some other malaprop that would make even President G.W. Bush blush. That's right folks, Obama's even more prone to factual errors than the sitting President. Now, that's an achievement. His latest? Well, Obama was talking about his family's military experience, and mentioned that his uncle was involved in the liberation of Auschwitz . “Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz . He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic.” Interesting. Did Obama's uncle serve in the Soviet Red Army? (READ MORE)

A Newt One: War News: The Troop Surge...News Hated By Liars and Anti-Americanists Alike - Seeing that a Democrat has recently revealed and let the proverbial cat out of the bag, admitting that the democrats lied their way into Congress in 2006, I wonder how many other lies a Democrat will "accidentally" own up to. I say accidentally because a Democrat Party leader hasn't the moral fortitude to actually fess up and tell the truth about anything. If some one knows of an instance, please let me know. I won't hold my breath. In a recent quarterly report on Measuring Stability and Security In Iraq, it was noted that the lie from the left in regards to the much self-vaunted Iraqi Benchmarks as issued by the American pathetic congress not being met is a sham. The reports can be located and read here and if one takes the time to actually read them, one would, should they have a moral fiber in their being, see that due to the Troop Surge, the Benchmarks are in the process of being 100% completed. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: A Debate I'd Pay To See - Czech President Vaclav Klaus wants to debate global warming junk science proponent and former Vice President Al Gore. Gore is ducking him thus far. I can't imagine why. “Klaus was speaking a the National Press Building in Washington to present his new book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles - What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?, before meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday. ‘My answer is it is our freedom and, I might add, and our prosperity,’ he said. Gore a former US vice president who has become a leading international voice in the cause against global warming, was co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Gore's effort was highlighted by his Oscar winning documentary film An Inconvenient Truth.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Soldier/Cowboy Launches Army’s Wounded Warrior Sports Program - On February 11, 2007, SPC Jake Lowrey was in Fallujah, Iraq when he and a fellow Soldier were hit by an IED that left his fellow Soldier dead and left Lowrey severely injured. Lowrey lost his right eye, sustained a massive head injury from the explosion and suffers from PTSD. Less than a year after being injured, Lowrey, who’s been a cowboy all of his life, was back atop a horse and roping steers. “‘This pretty much keeps me going - it’s the only thing that does,’ Lowrey said. ‘Without it, I’d just be hanging out in my room somewhere.’” On May 10th and 11th, Lowrey officially launched the US Army Wounded Warrior Sports Program, by participating in a team-roping performance at Denny Calhoun Arena in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The program was designed to provide active-duty Soldiers who have sustained life-altering injuries, the opportunity to compete in a sporting event. (READ MORE)

Drew M @ Ace of Spades: Meet The Newest Darling Of The Left…Former Bush Spokesman Scott McClellan - They loved to hate him when he was working in the White House but now that McClellan has written a book that knocks the President, well it’s Countdown appearances all around! The Politico has his book and excerpts... Rove was on Hannity tonight and basically said McClellan was a second rate player he doesn’t remember seeing much in important meetings. I am sure there will be a lot of that soon. The fun part is the left is naturally licking their chops to embrace McClellan. Olbermann said he will have McClellan on next week. Maybe Scott should remember what Olbermann used to think of him. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: All the Views They Spit Into Print - Traduce:v.t.; to cause humiliation or disgrace to by making malicious and false statements; to make defamatory statements about: asperse, backbite, calumniate, defame, malign, slander, slur, tear down, vilify. It's a vile word. It combines slander and vilification, the essence of what the Bible calls "bearing false witness." A traducer is a person without a conscience, without a chest; a hollow, soulless spirit. Stitching together the worst segments of a harpy and a demon, traducers are sociopaths who literally feel absolutely nothing for their fellow men and women but contempt. They are unable to conceive of other human beings as persons; lives and reputations are tools to be manipulated for the day's desire. But it's not quite strong enough to describe the editorial board of the New York Times. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Jimmy Carter Does the Unthinkable; Again - It is no secret that Jimmy Carter, America’s worst president, has a distaste for Israel and that he spends his time on unsanctioned missions of appeasement with terrorists. His actions go directly against the goals of the current administration and he harms not only our goals but his meddling is a direct threat to Israel. Carter recently stated that the US needed to negotiate [Doug Ross] with Iran and that Iran had rational leaders. Carter also suggested that the US should give Iran nuclear material to use for its peaceful purposes. Carter lamented that the Bush administration has not done what every other administration has done and that is to engage in dialog with countries with whom we differ. Carter has now done the unthinkable and certainly something that no other administration has done. He has divulged one of Israel’s secrets. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: "See you in court" - Here's the opening of Mark Steyn's speech at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver on the subject of the hate speech charges brought against him by British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for criticizing Islam. It's a Gangbusters type curtain raiser, but the longer we read the more apparent it is that the speech is less about radical Islam than something else. […] Steyn's insight -- that the War on Terror is essentially the consequence of a Western disease that manifests itself in the newly found power of medieval madmen -- is the key point. All September 11, Iraq, Afghanistan have done is focus attention on a silent struggle that has been going on within Western culture for last hundred years. (READ MORE)

Walid Phares: Usama's Message: Good Jihadists v. Bad Jihadists - In his latest audio released by as-sahab (media arm of al Qaeda), the organization’s Zaeem (supreme chief) elaborates on the difference between the pure Jihadists and those Islamists who lost their way and determination to continue the fight in the path of the founding fathers, which he calls the "Salaf of Islam." This complex speech (by Jihadist standards) can be only understood -- and thus explained to decision-makers and the public if the listener-analyst is able to grasp the multi-layered world of Jihadism. But this task has been made unnecessarily difficult for most citizens and certainly impossible to those who in the US bureaucracy are supposed to do the job. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Dumber Than Bush, Dumber Than Quayle - I pretty much ignored political news this weekend, only to find out that the top story on this morning was of a gaffe Barack Obama made regarding Memorial Day. “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes—and I see many of them in the audience here today—our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.” As you may imagine, "I see dead people" is a crack being used in blog posts with a great degree of derision and amusement as the freshman Senator's opponents have a field day with his chronically gaffe-prone campaign. Obama's latest unintelligent statement behind us, Jimmie at the Sundries Shack accurately snipes: (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Where's The Revenue? - The Wall Street Journal has a great piece up on how well raising taxes raises revenues. Governor Jennifer Granholm's package of income and gross receipts tax hikes, and new real estate transaction fees were supposed to fill the coffers for the state, raising $1.3 billion. Instead, it's going into the next budget cycle with a $350-550 million hole in the budget. As is always demonstrated, and contrary to those who sell tax hikes, the folks who pay those taxes don't keep their behavior the same as the taxes go up. More companies are leaving Michigan, more residents are leaving that arriving, by a 2:1 margin, and consequently less revenue is being generated. Home prices in Michigan, according to the article, are falling the fourth fastest in the country, and Granholm blames that crisis for her budget issue. (READ MORE)

Sharon Weinberger: Is Bigger Better? Current Ops Reignite Bullet Controversy - Few things elicit stronger views in the military than debates about small arms. Whether it's the merits of the M4, or in this case, the size of the rounds, there are some very strong opinions on the subject. The Associated Press today takes an interesting look at how recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have given new ammo (yes, a bad pun) to those who argue that the 5.56mm M855 is the wrong round. "The smaller, steel-penetrating M855 rounds continue to be a weak spot in the American arsenal," AP reports. "They are not lethal enough to bring down an enemy decisively, and that puts troops at risk, according to Associated Press interviews." The M855, as the article explains, was developed to penetrate Soviet armor at longer distances than the types of battles today's soldiers are seeing. "Much of today's fighting takes place in close quarters; narrow streets, stairways and rooftops are today's battlefield..." (READ MORE)

Don Surber: To err is Dean - Democrats declare they cannot “legally” count the votes in Florida and Michigan. Democrats decided that only 4 states could hold primaries or caucuses before Feb. 5. The legislatures of Florida and Michigan decided they decide when primaries will be held. Democrats chose to ignore those primaries. The thinking was, well, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the nomination anyway; let’s punish the usurpers. Now the DNC is walking around on crutches from shooting holes in its feet. Dr. Howard Dean is showing once again what he would be like as president. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Daily Kos Caught Again Trying to Erase Their Own History [Reader Post] - Last week those paragons of tolerance and harmony at Daily Kos published an image of the KKK torturing Michelle Obama. When the blowback became too much to bear, they pulled it. It’s like a suspect eating the telephone number of his drug dealer when the police arrive. The problem is, there is no paper on the internet and the guys at Little Green Footballs captured the evidence. Well, they have been at it again. According to Kos, if you don’t vote for Obama, you deserve to be mutilated and die in the war. “If you’re going to help McCain get elected, you need to take responsibility for your actions. This election is bigger than you. It’s bigger than Barack Obama. It’s bigger than Hillary Clinton. Lives will be saved or lost depending on who is elected in November, and if you’re going to willfully help prolong the war, it’s time to do the honorable thing and enlist.” (READ MORE)

Average Gay Joe: What Is Obama Afraid Of? - In a very savvy move the other day, John McCain “sharply criticized Democratic rival Barack Obama for not having been to Iraq since 2006, and said they should visit the war zone together”. In his support for the war effort McCain has been remarkably stalwart as Obama has been in seeking defeat at all costs. When it comes to the war against Islamofascists, Obama’s ‘plan’ appears to be nothing more than retreat and appeasement - neither of which he has been very good at disguising in rhetoric for “change” and “hope”. “‘Look at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost,’ the GOP nominee-in-waiting told The Associated Press in an interview, noting that the Illinois senator’s last trip to Iraq came before the military buildup that is credited with curbing violence.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: American Wienie - I didn’t really expect Obama to go for a walk with McCain in Baghdad. The fact is, he’ll never walk in McCain’s shoes, there or elsewhere, but who would expect a political rival to accept a rhetorical challenge of that sort? The fact is, if Obama does decide it serves his interest to show the American public how clued in he is, and maybe also that he has balls — as much as a United States senator needs them for a shielded stroll through an Iraqi marketplace and a frontup with the troops whose mission and sacrifices he wants to throw away — the likelihood is he will only end up showing exactly how small a shadow he casts in the arena of foreign policy. For that matter, in anything related to our nation’s most pressing current concern, which is not energy policy or global warming or health care or race relations or even the economy, but war. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Isolationism you can’t afford - The Asia edition of the Wall Street Journal rips Barack Obama’s efforts to block the US-South Korea free-trade agreement today. The editors openly wonder whether Obama has bothered to read the agreement, noting that he seems ignorant of several of its provisions, as well as lacking understanding of the benefit to American consumers and manufacturers. They conclude that Obama is “the most protectionist U.S. presidential candidate in decades”: “Here’s one ‘change’ presidential candidate Barack Obama apparently believes in: higher prices. Witness his letter last week urging President George W. Bush not to submit the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement to Congress for ratification. Mr. Obama’s objection, as stated in his letter, is that the deal ‘would give Korean exports essentially unfettered access to the U.S. market and would eliminate our best opportunity for obtaining genuinely reciprocal market access in one of the world’s largest economies.’” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Obama rejects McCain’s proposal for a joint trip to Iraq - Even more amusing than Maverick’s savviness in forcing this choice on him is TPM straining to spin it as some sort of manifestation of principle — a standard Obama reaction whenever he weasels out of some tough decision, belied most recently by his pathetic reclamation of the flag lapel pin just in time for the general election. Spokesman Bill Burton: “John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don’t want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer.” (READ MORE)

Patterico: Revealed: Exclusive New Details Regarding (Different) Allegations of Bribery of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson - A civil complaint filed yesterday in a Louisiana federal court reveals new details of an alleged bribery scheme involving Rep. William Jefferson. The alleged bribe is different from the ones for which Jefferson has been indicted. The new details are revealed exclusively here on for the first time. The background: last month, guest blogger DRJ and I reported on a motion by indicted Louisiana attorney James G. Perdigao. Perdigao’s motion leveled serious accusations of wrongdoing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana — and raised new accusations of bribery of then-U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan and U.S. Representative William Jefferson. (READ MORE)

McQ: What went wrong in Iraq - An al Qaeda perspective - How about waaaay too many "involuntary martyrs"? According to the Strategy Page, there's a discussion taking place on AQ websites about why they've lost Iraq: “This defeat was not as sudden as it appeared to be, and some Islamic terrorist web sites have been discussing the problem for several years. The primary cause has been Moslems killed as a side effect of attacks on infidel troops, Iraqi security forces and non-Sunnis. Al Qaeda plays down the impact of this, calling the Moslem victims ‘involuntary martyrs.’ But that's a minority opinion. Most Moslems, and many other Islamic terrorists, see this as a surefire way to turn the Moslem population against the Islamic radicals. That's what happened earlier in Algeria, Afghanistan, Egypt and many other places. It's really got nothing to do with religion. The phenomenon hits non-Islamic terrorists as well (like the Irish IRA and the Basque ETA).” Or said another way, it is a common problem among terror groups. They lack the numbers and ability to successfully attack hardened sites and armed and trained troops. So they're reduced to finding other ways to make their presence both known and feared. That, of course, involves killing innocent civilians, or, as AQ calls them, "involuntary martyrs". (READ MORE)

Gregory S. McNeal: Internet Warrior Rallies Women to Support al-Qaeda - Tomorrow's New York Times features a story about Malika El Aroud, who distinguishes herself by browbeating "Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause." This type of activity — encouraging others to fight, but not actually fighting — is one of the most difficult challenges facing counterterrorism officials. Where does one cross the line from advocate or supporter (of a cause) to material supporter or terrorist? Apparently Belgian authorities tried to shut down Ms. El Aroud before, but they had to release her after failing to bring charges. So now she's back on the Internet continuing to encourage (and perhaps facilitate) terrorist acts. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: The Inside Scoop on "Solitary Confinement" at Gitmo - Well, well, well... as Scott McClellen reveals how the President cleverly used propaganda to manipulate public opinion to his advantage (thank God we learned of this sinister plot in time to foil it!) we finally learn about the true conditions inside Guantanamo Bay. You know... the inhumane and unconscionable solitary confinement that has driven prisoners like Salim Ahmed Hamdan incurably insane? “Next month, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was once a driver for Osama bin Laden, could become the first detainee to be tried for war crimes in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. By now, he should be busily working on his defense. But his lawyers say he cannot. They say Hamdan, already the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, has essentially been driven insane by solitary confinement in a tiny cell where he spends at least 22 hours a day, goes to the bathroom and eats all his meals. His defense team says he is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of Guantánamo ‘boil his mind.’” (READ MORE)

Eugene Volokh: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Unit Cohesion, Lesbians, and Gays in Mixed-Sex Units - A common argument in favor of "don't ask, don't tell" — or of broader exclusion of homosexuals from military service — is that sexual tensions within a unit can seriously disrupt unit cohesion. I think that's a serious argument, which might indeed justify even what would otherwise be improper or even unconstitutional discrimination (though I stress the "might," since much depends on factual issues that I'm not confident about). And that's true not just about exclusion of gays and lesbians, but also about exclusion of women from combat units, something that indeed would be unconstitutional outside the military (though I agree there are other concerns supporting such exclusion as well, for instance the risk of sexual abuse of women who are taken prisoner by the enemy). But what explains the exclusion of lesbians? (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Hillary's Kennedy Comment Shows It's Not the COLOR of Obama's Skin; It's the THINNESS of His Skin - Yeah, it's all Obama, all the time. It's always about him, and even if it isn't he'll make something up so he can squirm his way into the headlines and make believe it is. This guy is either way too sensitive or way too paranoid to be president. Or both. And the media is right there to cater to his sensitivities and paranoia. What am I yammering about? Hillary Clinton's comment at an editorial board interview today in which she made a couple of references to Democratic primary races in relatively recent political history that went well into June, not just hers. She mentioned how her husband was still fighting well into June back in 1992, and how Bobby Kennedy was in a tight primary race in June 1968 when he was assassinated. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Blue Means Danger - I'd really, really appreciate it if someone could put forth a cogent argument why the United States should remain in the UN -- let alone continue to fork over more than 20% of its annual budget year in and year out. Let's set aside the rules that, in the general assembly, every single nation is treated exactly the same -- so the dictators of Myanmar, the genocidal thugs of the Sudan, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, and the mullahs of Iran have precisely the same say as Australia, Japan, Germany, Kenya, and the United States. Let's ignore the grotesque accounting practices that cost billions of dollars lost to fraud, waste, embezzlement, and outright theft (they could teach the swine from Enron a few lessons). Instead, let's just look at one aspect of the UN -- often the one its supporters tout as "proof" that they are, indeed, relevant and important in today's world: The United Nations Peacekeepers. (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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