January 9, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 01/09/2009

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)
Geithner Preparing Overhaul Of Bailout - Confronted with intense skepticism on Capitol Hill over the $700 billion financial rescue program, Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner and President-elect Barack Obama's economic team are urgently overhauling the embattled initiative and broadening its scope well beyond Wall Street, so... (READ MORE)

Virginians See Bridge Closings As Dose of Northern Hospitality - Never mind that Virginia was the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents. Or that it was here that representative democracy took its first fledgling steps in the New World. When Virginians learned that the U.S. Secret Service and other top officials had decided to bar personal vehicles from every bridge... (READ MORE)

Online, Sarah Palin Has Unkind Words for the Press - Sarah Palin, still smarting over coverage of her vice presidential run, calls the media's reporting on her family "very scary" and says there may be "a class issue" that explains the more sympathetic treatment of Caroline Kennedy. (READ MORE)

Obama Taps CIA Veteran As Adviser On Terror - Barack Obama has picked John O. Brennan as his top adviser on counterterrorism, a role that will give the CIA veteran a powerful voice on the government's use of security contractors and on other sensitive issues in which he recently has played a private-sector role. (READ MORE)

Obama Cites Grim Economy At Start, as Past Presidents Have - President-elect Barack Obama warned yesterday that the nation is sliding into the deepest economic crisis since World War II and urged Congress to pass a stimulus package quickly or risk an entire generation of Americans losing any hope of prosperity. (READ MORE)

Bush Praises Results of 'No Child' Law - Before he was a war president, George W. Bush fashioned himself as an education president. He campaigned as a school reformer and held his first policy speech at a Washington elementary school, where he began laying the groundwork for the controversial No Child Left Behind education law. (READ MORE)

Panel Urges Keeping U.S. Nuclear Arms In Europe - The United States should keep tactical nuclear bombs in Europe and even consider modernizing older warheads on cruise missiles to maintain credibility with allies who depend on the U.S. weapons for security, according to a report released yesterday by a high-level task force appointed by Defense... (READ MORE)

Jan. 1 Attack By CIA Killed Two Leaders Of Al-Qaeda - A New Year's Day CIA strike in northern Pakistan killed two top al-Qaeda members long sought by the United States, including the man believed to be behind September's deadly suicide bombing at a Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital, U.S. counterterrorism officials confirmed yesterday. (READ MORE)

Secrets of Solis - California Representative Hilda Solis visits the Senate today for her confirmation hearing to become Barack Obama's Secretary of Labor. One question we'd like to hear asked is what Ms. Solis really thinks about secret ballots in workplace issues. It seems she's been on both sides of the question. (READ MORE)

Trial Lawyer Bonanza - Well, that didn't take long. Democrats are planning to kick off the legislative portion of the 111th Congress as early as today with two big donations to one of their most loyal retainers: the plaintiffs bar. Higher labor costs will result from a pair of bills designed to create new lawsuit possibilities in cases of alleged wage discrimination. (READ MORE)

New Mexico Vindication - Governor Bill Richardson says it's all a matter of timing -- that if only the feds had wrapped up a corruption investigation into his New Mexico Administration by now, he'd be cleared and would be winging his way to Washington confident of Senate confirmation as the next Commerce Secretary. Instead, he withdrew his nomination earlier this week. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Richard Landes: Meditations on Moderation and Demopathy - One of the major themes in CNN and BBC early coverage of Operation Cast Lead, is the issue, will this conflict encourage Arab moderation as the Israelis say they hope will happen, or, instead, will it backfire on the Israelis and strengthen Arab solidarities around Hamas. Indeed, one might argue, this is one of the Palestinian talking points that the media has fully embraced (see next article). In order to understand what’s at stake here, I lay out some of the key issues involved in defining “moderation.” First let’s just sort out the difference between moderation and pragmatism: Moderation means taking a “reasonable” approach that renounces violence as anything but a last resort, a willingness to negotiate, to come to a positive-sum solution. Moderation depends on being able to treat one’s foe with reciprocity, to see their point of view and make compromises to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the hostility. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Democrats Put Up The Whites Only Sign - Democrat Harry Reid has refused to allow Roland Burris, the man selected by Governor Blagojevich to fill Obama’s Senate seat, to enter the Capitol. Burris arrived today and was not allowed to enter and therefore was not allowed to swear in. Burris was legally selected to fill the slot but the Democrats do not want to seat anyone selected by Blagojevich. Perhaps this runs a little deeper. Burris is a black man and Harry Reid is reported to have contacted Blagojevich and told him that the three blacks in consideration for the job (prior to all the pay to play stuff) were not desired and he recommended two non blacks for the position. Once the pay to play scam was exposed Reid said that anyone selected by Blagojevich would be unacceptable. Reid has also stated that Blagojevich is lying about the conversation but I bet that Reid became a little worried when he found out that Blagojevich was being recorded. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Calling UNIFIL, calling UNIFIL - The NYT reports that 3 rockets have been fired into Israel from the North. This raises a number of questions: is Hezbollah opening, or threatening to open a second front? Has UNIFIL been effective in preventing the reoccupation of the border towns and Hezbollah’s rearmament? Is the real “answer” to the question ‘do you want a ceasefire’ both a verbal yes and an actual no? “JERUSALEM — Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza threatened to broaden on Thursday as at least three rockets were fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon. The rockets, presumably launched in support of Hamas, could presage the opening of a second front. The Israeli Army, in a brief statement, said it “responded with fire against the source of the rockets,” which landed near the town of Nahariya. Two Israelis were slightly wounded, the police said. Lebanese security sources told Reuters that they believed it was unlikely that the rockets were fired under instructions from the militant group Hezbollah. But there was no confirmation or denial from Hezbollah itself.” (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Reuters-Come-Lately to Khyber Pass and Georgia Story - In addition to original reporting, sometimes blogs owners contribute to review and analysis of existing data and information that isn’t otherwise performed within the main stream media. Myra MacDonald with Reuters has landed on the story of the Khyper Pass and the potential strategic partnership between the U.S. and Russia (while still not discussing the alternative via Georgia) to create new logistical lines of supply to Afghanistan. She links to some well worn articles with the Washington Post, New York Times, IHT, a Robert Gates commentary for Foreign Affairs, and several other sources, and then asks some salient questions about the price of the partnership with Russia to provide a line of supply into Afghanistan, concluding with the following promise: “This is one I’m going to watch closely and I would appreciate comments and links to stories that illuminate the subject both before and after Jan 20.” (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Another Leftist/Islamist Lie Up In Smoke - It doesn't seem that we can have a conflict in the Middle East without pro-terrorist Islamists and Leftists in the world declaring that white phosphorus (WP) is a chemical weapon, and that the military force using WP is guilty of a "war crime" or "atrocity" for firing white phosphorus shells—never mind that that Islamist force targets civilians, uses their own population as human shields, and commits rape and torture with barbaric impunity to those they suppress. Such apologist claims, almost without exception, based upon either radical politics, gross ignorance, or a combination of the two. In either event, these shrill claims are decidedly false. A typical case of ignorance is the one I cited several days ago in the Pacific Free Press where the headline called the use of White Phosphorus by Israeli forces in Gaza the " War Crime du Jour." (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Vets Sue CIA Over Mind Control Tests - For two decades or more, the CIA and the military allegedly plied the unwitting with acid, weed, and dozens of psychoactive drugs, in a series of zany (and sometimes dangerous) mind-control experiments. Now, the Vietnam Veterans of America are suing the agency and the Pentagon for perceived abuses suffered under the so-called "MK-ULTRA" and other projects. Six veterans are suffering from all kinds of ailments tied to this "diabolical and secret testing program," according to a statement from the vets' lawyers, passed on to SpyTalk's Jeff Stein. The experiments allegedly included "the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances, and ... the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in ... mind control experiments that went awry, leaving many civilian and military subjects with permanent disabilities." (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: On the Importance of Strategy in War & Politics - In between researching for my dissertation and writing this blog, I try to take some time each day to read a book related to my latest intellectual interests. Currently, fascinated by the similarities one period in classical history, the fall of the Roman Republic, and my favorite period in American history, the founding of our republic, I am alternating between books on each period. What amazes me is the sheer level of talent present at both those periods. Just as there was a greater concentration of some of the most gifted American leaders in the revolutionary period than at any other time in our history*, so was there a similar concentration of wise (but not always noble) Romans in the last years of their republic–and the first of their empire. Of course, the contrast is that one nation saw its republic extinguished as it gained strength in the world while the other saw a republic born in circumstances adverse to the development of a new nation. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Team of failures - Let us review that cabinet that President Obama built. In order of importance, with my grade on the choice. Vice president — Sen. Joe Biden. Bob Uecker, except he does not realize it. Wanted to divide Iraq into 3 parts. Are the hairplugs on too tight? F. Chief of staff — Rahm Emanuel. A knee-capper, which I like. You want an enforcer in the White House so that the president may preside. But the taint of the Blagojevich scandal may touch him. What am I saying? Patrick Fitzgerald is a bungler who wants to keep his job. There will be other scandals. B. Defense — Secretary Robert Gates has done a good job and I hope he is able to rebuild the military and make it less dependent on reservists and National Guardsmen. I am not knocking the reserves or the National Guard. But we lean on them way too much. A. State — Sen. Hillary Clinton may just be man enough for the job. I trust she learned from her husband’s mistakes. Better to be feared than loved. She knows it. Bill didn’t. B. (READ MORE)

Gribbit’s Word: Model Aims to Upset Blogosphere - There is a lot of back-biting that goes on in the blogosphere. I for one know this first hand as I have a couple of other so-called bloggers who attack me on a regular basis. Kevin the Chimp, Meat for Brains, pay some attention to this story. You too Insane Dan aka Republican Vet - thought I forgot about your psychotic arse didn’t you. A former Vogue model named Liskula Cohen is suing Google because of a few tasteless posts on a site called Skanks in NYC. She is suing to get the name of the anonymous blogger who authors the blog hosted on Blogger.com as well as the commenters. Cohen doesn’t know it but if her suit is successful, it will stifle free speech on the net. I’m not going to go so far as to claim that this is a deliberate effort by Cohen to effect free speech, she is merely attempting to protect her reputation. A reputation that is seemingly tainted might I add. (READ MORE)

Media Lizzy: No Drama Obama - Remember 2008? The political world was shaken to its core with the arrival of Barack Hussein Obama as a Man in Full… The skinny kid with a funny name went from unknown, to State Senator, to Democratic National Convention speechifier, to US Senator… to transisitional figure… to Democratic nominee for President, then President-elect…and now he is poised to take his place as the 44th President of the United States. A million promises are made in any election cycle, in that respect - 2008 wasn’t different at all. The only real difference is that Obama’s cool, calm, collected, baritone voice convinced an awful lot of folks that he could deliver on the campaign trail promises. His campaign had few leaks, none of any significance. It showed a top-down message leader for the first time in at least a generation. No backstabbing consultant stories. Just the Big Man, leading the way. Ah, how easy it once seemed. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Gaza, Trash Heap of Moral Authority - History’s running update on moral myopia, Gaza edition, kicks off with Jimmy Carter, who never failed to not stand up to a terrorist he didn’t like, says none of this needed to happen and it could all be over tomorrow. If Israel would just trust Hamas. Washington Post: “… this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.” Jimmy noted at the outset it was deplorable of Hamas to fire rockets, but his subsequent accusatory chronology neglects to note the truce, “partially broken” by Israeli action on a “defensive” military target, was entirely broken by Hamas rockets on Israeli residential neighborhoods. “ The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.” (READ MORE)

La Shawn Barber's Corner: California Supreme Court to Hear In-State Tuition Case - How much do people really care that in California, illegal aliens are not only not kicked out of the country, but they receive in-state tuition to tax-supported colleges and universities? At the very least, it’s something to blog about. As you may know, illegal aliens are in the U.S. illegally. That is, they’ve broken the law to get here and their continued presence is a violation of that law. In 2001, the California legislature passed a law that allowed in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens who attend a California high school for at least three years and graduate. American citizens who live outside the state and wish to attend school here must pay out-of-state tuition. A group has sued, calling the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it unlawfully discriminates against out-of-state students. The California Supreme Court will hear the case: (READ MORE)

Douglas V. Gibbs: Stealing is not Okay, Unless It's The Government - One absolute moral truth is that stealing is not okay, or at least that is what I thought. Apparently, I am wrong on that, because it seems to be okay to steal if you are the government. Could you imagine if I was a volunteer for a charitable organization that provides to the poor, and donations were low, lower than usual, so rather than finding ways to reduce some of the administrative costs to hopefully free up some money, I decided to go into a rich neighborhood and break into the homes of these people? I walk into their homes and take their money and valuable items. What do you think the response would be? Would there be an outcry? Of course in my defense, in the liberal tradition, I would cry out, "But they don't need what I took. They've got more than enough! Don't you understand? It's going to go to the poor. That makes it okay! It is a beneficial thing! Don't you have a heart?" (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: Best Behavior? - Generally speaking, I don't think internet conservatives have succeeded in "keeping the mainstream media honest." On the contrary, I think the MSM in general have become more nakedly partisan in recent years. Still, the news agencies appear to have been stung by the exposure of fakery that took place during and after Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon. This time around, both the Associated Press and Reuters seem to be trying to avoid scandal. I've been watching the international news photos pretty closely, and so far, the conflict in Gaza does not appear to have given rise to any incidents of fauxtography. Nor have we seen the kinds of obviously staged photos (e.g., of terrorists in heroic poses) that characterized not only the Lebanon conflict but years of reporting on Iraq. To be sure, AP and Reuters have flooded us with photos of injured Palestinian children and elderly Palestinian women standing on top of piles of rubble: (READ MORE)

McQ: Carter’s version of the War in Gaza - Jimmy Carter starts his article in the Washington Post this way: “I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided. After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism.” To that point, Mr. Carter and I were in agreement. Of course knowing it was Carter writing this piece, I knew there had to be a huge "but" coming soon. And, of course, I was right. As usual, Mr. Carter presents a rather contextless one-sided view of what what happening at this time and ignores the recent (and inconvenient to the thrust of his article) past. He much more subtle in his accusations than usual (he’s apparently learned from the criticism he’s received and adapted his style). This time he crafts his fiction carefully so as to lead the reader to conclusion that it is all the Israeli’s fault. But there are plenty of red flags which pop up that give away the game. (READ MORE)

Michael W: Propaganda - There’s really no other word for what is passing as "news" out of Gaza recently. On my way into work this morning, for example, I was treated to "reporting" of Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent, who happens to be one of the few journalists in the besieged territory. The interview was conducted on NPR’s Morning Edition program and purported to bring us a look at what’s actually happening on the ground. Instead I was informed that the Israeli’s have acted almost indiscriminately in their campaign against Hamas terrorists, and that within Gaza "there is no safe zone." Most striking in what was an otherwise standard anti-Israel biased report was the comparison by Mohyeldin of the early-warning systems available in Israel to the lack thereof in Gaza. Mohyeldin exasperatedly informed listeners that Gazans were essentially sitting ducks for the Israeli attacks because (a) there was no warning infrastructure (sirens, etc.), and (b) the Israelis have assaulted every square inch of the territory without mercy. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: Max Boot’s strategic dilemma has more than two horns - In my post from yesterday, I referenced Max Boot’s essay in the Wall Street Journal to discuss Israel’s options regarding Gaza. Mr. Boot made the point that Israel is caught in a difficult strategic dilemma. Israel cannot ignore Hamas’s rocket bombardment of its territory. But neither can Israel obliterate Gaza by inflicting a World War II-level of destruction, the amount of pain that might be required to permanently change the behavior of surviving Gazans. Mr. Boot’s essay gets a double-ration from me because his point about strategic dilemmas in the modern age applies not just to Israel but to any Western power, especially the United States, which finds itself in similar circumstances. The West’s ability to respond to threats, provocations, and attacks is limited by what its electorates, informed by the mainstream media, are willing to bear. In today’s world, the political limits on responses provide significant constraints on policymakers. (READ MORE)

Winds of Change: Proportionality - I Do Not Think Tha' Word means Wha' You Think It Means - There's a massive amount of crazy talk about 'proportionality' right now, centering on criticism of Israel for their bombardment and invasion of Gaza. I instinctively was quizzical when the issues was first raised, and want to take a few moments to talk it through and suggest why I think it's an absurd notion - as it is frequently misused in the blogs and newspapers. International law seems pretty clear on it (and shockingly reasonable). Proportionality also came up during the Iraq war when the issue of Iraqi dead vs. US dead in the 9/11 attacks was raised. “Okay, Mr. Bush...NOW are we even for 9/11? Or whatever reason you went into Iraq?” And somehow it felt very Old Testament to me; kind of well, you killed my brother, raped my sister, and stole 50 sheep. So I'll kill your brother, rape your sister, and steal 50 sheep and we'll call it even. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: The Road To Gaza: Paved With Deceit - Over the last few days, we have been looking at a blog, Teach The Masses, a minor and rather useless effort at distorting and attempting to rewrite history. The author is reluctant to publish comments he disagrees with (we left a few remarks that provided clarity. He published one or two and refused to post the other, more clarifying remarks)- that of course is his prerogative. What is more interesting is the lengths he goes to deny and rewrite history. Of course, he may simply be ignorant (education levels in the Muslin world are not particularly noteworthy. According to the UN Human Development Report for example, the Arab world is virtually at the bottom of the global educational barrel, despite obscene wealth) as opposed to being deceitful. In either case, the result is the same- he only highlights his own lack of knowledge. (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Deconstructing a Dipshite - Well, we have a new friend. He can’t shoot an azimuth, cries a lot, and doesn’t know that an NCO’s job is to stop troops from stealing gold coins. But, he is a prolific writer, as you may have noted from the gazillion comments he has thrown down today. Anyway, I decided that since Gilligan clearly wanted attention, I would let fellow Milblog of the Year finalist , Blackfive, (and theoretically thus our adversaries) the opportunity to take him out. I’m just kinda busy. As irony would have it, Gilligan and I were in A-stan at the same time. While he cries about his service, I appreciated both what I did, and the country that allowed me to do it. Anyway, he was an engineer who called in fire support from “Hueys”, while I was just a lowly infantryman earning my way in this crazy world. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrrr Express: Israel and the Disputed Territories - I am in shock as I write this, but a liberal actually brought up a point on my blog that was nothing short of brilliant. I began blogging to provoke thought. I take great pride in being the conservative blog that liberals feel welcome to visit. When people step back and listen to each other, constructive dialogue can take place. As war rages in the Gaza Strip, I maintain that Israel is jusitifed in using as much force as possible, and that any collateral damage should not be a deterrent. Yet comments I made about the Gaza Strip and the West Bank brought a comment that had me thinking very deeply, which again is what dialogue should do. The issue came up when I mentioned the myth about the “occupied territories.” (READ MORE)

Big Hollywood: Hollywood’s Peculiar Relationship to Profit - As a classical musician, I can claim a certain connection with the Hollywood creative industry as I’ve performed the solo violin tracks for a number of film projects. At the same time, I remain enough of an outsider that I can also claim a to be a dispassionate observer or, better yet, a somewhat savvy consumer of Hollywood’s product. With that introduction mind, I want to bring up a question that has puzzled me for some time. Why does the Hollywood entertainment industry continually place products into the public domain that are virtually guaranteed to fail? Of course, you could never get the movers and shakers that inhabit the studios and offices of the “entertainment capital” to admit that that’s what they do. In response, they always unleash a smokescreen of assorted rationalizations having to do with “artistic” rights or the lack of sophistication of the audience. They may simply ignore the issue entirely, since like-minded “artistes” are busy praising them for their unbounded “courage.” (READ MORE)

AJ Strata: Democrats And Media On Senator Burris: “Never Mind” - Talk about your major screw ups. It is only now just dawning on the Democrats, and their liberal media puppets, that they are not all powerful and beyond the law and can decide the guilt or innocence of someone. We have laws and courts for those matters. We The People are beginning to see with much more clarity (and ever less ties to anyone one party) that political leaders play games for personal benefit. They all do. Some go to extremes and others just dabble in their egos. The thinking behind the Democrats’ reactions to Illinois Governor Blagojevich’s selection of Burris to be the replacement Senator for the seat being vacated by President-Elect Obama is one of those painfully clarifying moments. AP does an extraordinary job of emphasizing how dumb this whole sequence of events has been, in a lame attempt to make it seem like a simple mistake instead of the Clouseau level blunder it has been: (READ MORE)

Philip Klein: Panetta the Spy - Barack Obama's choice of Leon Panetta, the former congressman who went on to serve as chief of staff for President Clinton, to head the Central Intelligence Agency has members of the intelligence community scratching their heads. To defenders of the choice, Panetta's reputation as a competent manager and loyalty to Obama may help to shake up the agency and keep it from undermining the White House. But several ex-CIA officials contacted by TAS greeted the pick with trepidation. "Everybody is shocked and concerned about his lack of any intelligence experience," a former senior officer at the CIA told TAS, asking that his name be withheld because he still does some work with the agency. "What kind of signal is this sending?" (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: How We Got To Gaza: The Emperors Of Hate Have No Clothes - Palestinian refugees came about as they fled a war of their own making. Had the Arab world not insisted on a genocide of the Jews, there would have been a Palestinian state and no Palestinian refugees. It is also true that nearly a million Jews fled Arab nations- not as a result of war but as a result of systematic and state sanctioned persecution, racism bigotry and hate. As a result, communities that were 3000 years old and predated Islam were eradicated. Jews were evicted from their ancestral homes, their property seized. The State of Israel absorbed the majority of those refugees. No Arab state has integrated the Palestinians into their midst. If for no other reason, Israel’s absorption of those refugees are reason enough to legitimize her existence. (READ MORE)

Soccerdad: Diehling with Iran - The Washington Post has dueling op-eds about Israel’s war against Hamas. Jackson Diehl predictably tells Israel that it’s on the wrong path in Hard Lesson for Israel. Charles Krauthammer disagrees. “Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip is failing, but there may be a silver lining. The war against Hamas is proving — once again — that the Middle East’s extremist movements cannot be eliminated by military means. If the incoming Obama administration absorbs that lesson, it will have a better chance of neutralizing Iranian-backed groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and of eventually brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.” This opening paragraph is rubbish. For example here’s Hanan Greenberg from Yedioth Ahronot: “According to figures collected thus far by Israel’s defense establishment, Hamas’ military infrastructure has sustained a serious hit, but their rocket capabilities still exist. A number of Hamas commanders have been killed or wounded during fighting, making it increasing difficult for their military wing to function properly.{READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Mindset I - Obama Versus the System - Most fair-minded people, whatever they think of his politics, hope that Barack Obama will be able to make his Hope/Change/NewLogo Administration all that he promised. After all, the fate of the free world and hundreds of millions of taxpayers depend to some degree on him. But President Obama is about to discover what Presidents Bush, Clinton, and even Reagan learned before him - that even the best ideas will be opposed by opponents unwilling to open their minds to the concept. The first real test for President Obama will not be with foreign leaders, but in getting his policies a fair hearing and getting public support for specific plans. Republicans, understandably, are reluctant to show any interest in Obama's proposals. They politely say they will look at them, but there is no active desire to support a man commonly seen as a political enemy, not only to Republican ideals but a threat to the personal ambition of leading Republicans. (READ MORE)

David Bernstein: The USSR's Role in the Middle East Goes Down the Memory Hole - One thing I find interesting in reading various authors who discuss the history of the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflict is how the role of the USSR in exacerbating the conflict, and the role of its demise in providing an opportunity for a potential settlement of the conflict, is generally completely, or almost completely, ignored. [A few sentences only tangentially on point deleted, perhaps a subject for a separate post.] Consider, first, that Israel could have bought itself quite a bit of security if the U.S. had allowed it, France, and the UK to triumph in the Sinai War in 1956. But Eisenhower and Dulles were afraid this would drive Arab public opinion into the pro-Soviet camp. Then consider that the East bloc secret services recruited, trained, and financed Yasser Arafat to create the violent Palestinian nationalist movement that became the PLO, starting around 1964. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: The experience this week of a London Jew - I wrote below about the frightening thuggery on display at the anti-Israel demonstrations in London. Here is what a reader tells me of his recent experiences as a British Jew, including what happened to him after attending the pro-Israel counter demonstration, and how he feels therefore about the way in which the Gaza conflict and its implications are being reported in Britain: “It was shocking to hear on Radio 4 at about 7:15am a Muslim woman called Fatima supposedly representing some 'moderate' Muslim organisation who basically said that the threat of Muslim radicalisation should force Britain to shift its foreign policy direction in the Middle East. This was followed by a poor rabbi in Paris speaking about the awful situation with attacks on Jews and their property. What shocks me most is that the BBC is prepared to recognise that these things are happening in European cities but not right here at home!” (READ MORE)

Sister Toldjah: Eye-opening stories for Friday - Got two of ‘em on tap. First, the biggie: The Guardian is reporting that Team Obama is preparing to start “low level” talks with Hamas (via Memeo). AllahPundit reminds everyone here what Obama said last April about negotiating with terrorist groups like Hamas (in response to Jimmy Carter’s meeting with them): "'We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction. We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements. Hamas is not a state. Hamas is a terrorist organization,' he said." That was then, this is now - in spite of Hamas’ intentions, which have been made clear over and over again. I guess we can chalk this up as being one of many expired promises made by Obama over the course of the last year or so (and one that most of us didn’t expect him to uphold anyway). But no worries. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: MSM Malpractice and the Journalist as Perpetual Adolescent - If the Palestinians behave like hostile-dependent adolescents, enraged that their fantasies of Utopian peace and genocidal conquest have been continually thwarted by the hated, devalued (and unconsciously idealized) Jews, what are we to make of the behavior of the international community? Certainly there is a large part of the international community that is primarily motivated by tribal considerations. For those who identify with the Umma, there is quite literally nothing that Israel could do short of surrender that would meet with their approval; likewise there is nothing a co-religionist could do that would elicit more than the merest suggestion of concern as long as the victims included hated Westerners and, especially, Jews. (READ MORE)

McQ: Disproportionate my A** - It is well known that Hamas has dug tunnels under the border between Egypt and Gaza through which they smuggle weaponry. As an aside: imagine how much "food and humanitarian aid" could have come through that same route had they decided to spend their money on that instead of weapons - and, most likely, they would have been able to bring it in overland vs tunnels to boot. Anyway, the estimate is that there are about 300 tunnels in use. Additionally it is well known that the tunnels lead to houses near the border where the weaponry is stored for later use. Now if you were a ruthless and immoral enemy, what would you do? Well, my guess is you’d attempt to strike the tunnels and the housing without warning hoping to catch at least some Hamas weapons smugglers in the act and essentially write off any civilian casualties as the price of their complicity, no? (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: Hamas Supporters In US Call For Completion Of Holocaust - Not only calling for genocide, but the national organization that is sponsoring the pro-terrorist demonstration refuse to condemn the call for genocide. “Like many other protests of Israel's campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly — police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse. But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel — and of Jews. But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population. ‘Go back to the oven,’ she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust. ‘You need a big oven, that's what you need,’ she yelled.” (READ MORE)

Little Green Footballs: A Staged Scene in a Gaza Hospital? - Update: CNN Yanks Video - Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, a radical Marxist who openly supports Hamas and the 9/11 hijackers, is seen once again in this CNN video about the death of a “freelance cameraman’s” brother in Gaza — and the footage in the hospital room was very likely staged for propaganda effect. A closer view of the scene in the hospital room is here at CNN: Toll of conflict strikes home as cameraman finds brother dead - CNN.com. LGF reader “Last Mohican,” a doctor, makes a strong case that this is an obvious fake. “I’m no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers.” (READ MORE)

Stix @ Heading Right: Where is the outrage? - My friends Sammy Benoit from Yidwithlid has a great post over at The American Thinker on thehypocrisyin the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. The Palestinians have never held true to the peace treaties,and if they do it is only to re-arm themselves. But when the Israelis defend themselves; the UN, MSM and Eurabia go into a total conniption fit over Israel defending themselves. Meanwhile the Palestinians fire rockets from school yards and heavily populated places so the Israelis will have to go after places that civilians will get caught in the cross fire. Then we have the willing accomplices in the MSM will display the dead children for the whole world to see and castigate Israel for barbarian tactics. This has been going on for years, and this does not even take into account the staged events that Pallywood puts out that those on the Left eat up like candy. Sammy’s post is about how the Palestinians use children and civilians for cover, and the less than forthcoming so-called Human Rights organizations look the other way and blame Israeli for all of the death and destruction. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: The Opportunity Bush & DeLay Gave Obama - For the past few days, I have been contemplating a few posts offering a kind of retrospective on the Administration of George W. Bush. The more I think about this project, the more I realize how complicated it is. The incumbent is hardly the caricature his opponents paint, yet he has blundered badly on a number of issues, particularly on domestic issues in his second term. On the issue which will (likely) most define his term, particularly in the years immediately after he leaves office, he exhibited characteristics which reveal his greatest weaknesses and greatest strengths. He stubbornly adhered to a failing strategy from 2004 through the end of 2006, then against widespread opposition from the political class (and even the military brass), shifted course, showing incredibly resolve in adopting a new –and ultimately successful–strategy. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Burris story changes, but too late? - Harry Reid may want to bar the Senate door again after a new detail emerged from the Illinois House impeachment panel yesterday. Earlier, Roland Burris had denied ever speaking to any representatives of Rod Blagojevich before December 26th. Now, however, Burris has apparently changed his story: “A potentially troublesome new detail emerged about Roland Burris’ controversial U.S. Senate appointment Thursday after a state House panel voted unanimously to recommend Gov. Blagojevich be impeached. For the first time, Burris indicated that he asked Blagojevich’s former chief of staff and college classmate, Lon Monk, to relay his interest in the Senate seat to the governor last July or September. ‘If you’re close to the governor, you know, let him know I’m certainly interested in the seat,’ Burris said he told Monk.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: 7.2% unemployment - Dude, here’s our recession. Well, we talked ourselves into that one, didn’t we? The unnecessary $150 billion tax stimulus in the spring signaled to people that they had better start hunkering down. The money was used to pay bills. And the $750 billion bailout (i.e. raiding the Treasury for politically connected financial failures) signaled a recession. Which followed. Now trillion-dollar-a-year deficits forever signal a depression. At this rate, we’ll be the Union of Socialist States of America in 3 years. President Obama already is talking in terms of a 5-year plan. The new jobless figures come in at 7.2%. But if you add retirees, the disabled, college students, the homeless and stay-at-home moms to the mix, I am sure you can come up with a scarier number. (READ MORE)

Blue Star Chronicles: Sarah Palin on Media Malpractice - Sarah Palin was interviewed for an upcoming documentary on media malpractice. Documentary filmmaker John Ziegler interviewed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as part of his documentary on ‘Media Malpractice’. In this interview, she talks about the media coverage of her 2008 campaign for the vice presidency. She touches on the political nature of the negative coverage of herself and her family. She talks about sexism and class-ism in the politics and media today. She talks about Caroline Kennedy, Tina Fey and Katie Couric. I particularly liked one of her responses to Katie Couric’s whining about her interview with Palin. “She also expressed frustration with Couric’s characterization of her since the interviews. After being shown a clip of Couric complaining to David Letterman that no post-election interviewer has asked Palin why she would not tell the CBS anchor what newspapers she reads, the Alaska governor responded: ‘Because, Katie, you’re not the center of everybody’s universe.’” (READ MORE)

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