Just when it seems we’re putting al Qaeda between a rock and a hard place, we’re seeing talk about leaving Afghanistan. While we may feel we’ve a way to go against the Taliban, we seem to be succeeding against our number one enemy – al Qaeda:
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries, according to government and independent experts monitoring the organisation.
Speaking to the Guardian in advance of tomorrow’s eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, western counter-terrorism officials and specialists in the Muslim world said the organisation faced a crisis that was severely affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters.
Its activity is increasingly dispersed to “affiliates” or “franchises” in Yemen and North Africa, but the links of local or regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous; they enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited.
It is getting harder and harder to recruit “martyrs”. And, apparently, the organization has been so brutal that it is welcome in few areas. Meanwhile drone attacks continue to decimate its leadership. And those they do recruit are all but driven off once they get to their training site:
Interrogation documents seen by the Guardian show that European Muslim volunteers faced a chaotic reception, a low level of training, poor conditions and eventual disillusionment after arriving in Waziristan last year.
In other words, they become disillusioned cannon fodder. And, of course, word gets back and the supply of more cannon fodder slows to a veritable trickle.
This is called having an opponent on the ropes. We now need to do what is necessary to knock them out for good.
The “too big to fail” intervention in the financial realm may have put us in an even worse position:
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize- winning economist, said the U.S. has failed to fix the underlying problems of its banking system after the credit crunch and the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
“In the U.S. and many other countries, the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger,” Stiglitz said in an interview today in Paris. “The problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis.”
A comforting thought.
Stiglitz said the U.S. government is wary of challenging the financial industry because it is politically difficult, and that he hopes the Group of 20 leaders will cajole the U.S. into tougher action.
“We aren’t doing anything significant so far, and the banks are pushing back,” he said. “The leaders of the G-20 will make some small steps forward, given the power of the banks” and “any step forward is a move in the right direction.”
Key phrase – “politically difficult”. I.e. it may cost the Democrats and Obama some political capital. Wouldn’t want them to have to make difficult political decisions, would we – so the hope is they can “outsource” it. Make the decision out to be one that a group of leaders came up with and thus a broad consensus that gives the administration some political cover.
“It’s an outrage,” especially “in the U.S. where we poured so much money into the banks,” Stiglitz said. “The administration seems very reluctant to do what is necessary. Yes they’ll do something, the question is: Will they do as much as required?”
That depends on what that political cost is calculated to be.
“We’re going into an extended period of weak economy, of economic malaise,” Stiglitz said. The U.S. will “grow but not enough to offset the increase in the population,” he said, adding that “if workers do not have income, it’s very hard to see how the U.S. will generate the demand that the world economy needs.”
The Federal Reserve faces a “quandary” in ending its monetary stimulus programs because doing so may drive up the cost of borrowing for the U.S. government, he said.
“The question then is who is going to finance the U.S. government,” Stiglitz said.
Indeed – and here we are set to spend even more money on a pet domestic issue.
Call in number: (718) 664-9614
Yes, friends, it is a call-in show, so do call in.
Subject(s): “The speech” and the 9/12 protests and what each mean for health care reform and the Democrat’s (and Republicans for that matter) future plus anything else that strikes our fancy.
Michael and I will be winging it tonight – Dale’s doing other things. The broadcast will only be available on BlogTalk Radio.
You have to read Maureen Dowd’s column in full to understand how far the left will go to try to make any disagreement with this administration into racism. They still believe that the political correctness they’ve attempted to impose on the country over the least few decades makes that charge into a magic bullet they can use to stifle debate.
No matter how tortured the logic, now matter how spare the evidence, and despite how much evidence to the contrary they have to ignore, if they can swing it, the big “R” card is going to be played.
And of course it all emanates from the liberal premise that the right in the is country is obsessed with the president’s race and therefore all opposition against him is based in racism.
How does Dowd set it up? With her imagination, of course – assuming unspoken but racially charged words:
Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.
But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!
Of course that’s what she heard – she’s the racialist. She hears the word “racism” in the caw of a crow. She’d certainly have no problem imagining that’s what Wilson was really saying, would she?
And naturally, she introduces race immediately in a very subtle way with her description of the Republicans present. The use of “middle-aged white guys” is a sure sign that a racialist is about to pounce.
Then there’s this sweet little move:
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.
I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.
One assumes the “shrieking lunacy” of the past 8 years completely escaped Dowd’s attention (it didn’t – she contributed to it), but her denunciation of what has happened this summer (and yesterday in DC) is he way of calling everyone both a loon and a racist: “I’ve been loath to admit the shrieking lunacy of the summer … had much to do with race.” But the implication is unmistakable – she does consider them to be about race, loath to admit it or not.
So now that she has the “you’re all racists” group tarring done, this is where she again works from some false assumption to bolster the case. She, of course, has the prefect foil for the task at hand – Joe Wilson. She describes him in lovingly racialist terms – member of the Sons of Confederacy (I wonder if she checked to see if he had ancestors that fought for the confederacy), wanted to keep the Confederate flag waiving on the capital, and apparently mistakenly denounced as a “smear” the claim that a black woman was the daughter of Strom Thurmond who she feels obliged to remind us ran as a segregationist candidate for President in ’48 (She conveniently forgets to remind us that Thurmond was a Democrat at the time then as well).
However now having set Joe Wilson up properly, she leverages that to make everything that has happened on the right this past summer to be tinged with race. And then she plays what she believes is the most damning bit of “evidence” to wrap it all up in a neat little Dowdified racist ball.
After extensively quoting James Clyburn of SC – who sees a racist behind every tree – she lays this out there:
For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both.
The state that fired the first shot of the Civil War has now given us this: Senator Jim DeMint exhorted conservatives to “break” the president by upending his health care plan. Rusty DePass, a G.O.P. activist, said that a gorilla that escaped from a zoo was “just one of Michelle’s ancestors.” Lovelorn Mark Sanford tried to refuse the president’s stimulus money. And now Joe Wilson.
Rusty DePass? Who in the heck is Rusty DePass and why is he included with DeMint and Sanford, or even Wilson? Well, quite simply, without DePass Dowd has nothing. A little known political activist in SC, who has never successfully run for office (gee, wonder why?) makes a racist joke on his Facebook page and that somehow links DeMint, Wilson and Sanford to him? Does DePass’ inappropriate joke mean that DeMint’s opposition isn’t based in an understanding of the damage this president’s agenda would do to the country, or Sanford’s desire to not take the money isn’t rooted in his belief state’s rights without federal strings, or that Wilson’s outburst, as inappropriate as it was, couldn’t be about actually believing that he was being lied too?
Nope, they’re all racists trying to bring down the black president. It’s an amazing performance by Dowd, but it is so poorly crafted and unconvincing that even the White House has blown it off.
But this isn’t the last you’ll see this contemptible tactic used, believe me. The side obsessed with race is not the right. The side who makes everything about race is not the right. And, as with this example, the side that looks more and more desperate when it plays the race card is not the right.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of it.
The Daily Mail (UK) carries the story about the Tea Party in Washington DC:
Up to two million people marched to the U.S. Capitol today, carrying signs with slogans such as “Obamacare makes me sick” as they protested the president’s health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending.
The line of protesters spread across Pennsylvania Avenue for blocks, all the way to the capitol, according to the Washington Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
Now perhaps the count is a bit high – Michelle Malkin quotes Parks and Recreation estimate 1.2 million and DC Police 1.5 million.
Other outlets, such as the Washington Post, NY Times, ABC, MSNBC and AP describe the crowd in the thousands or tens of thousands. Fox and CBS used the AP report. CNN merely said the crowd stretched “for blocks” although one of the pictures accompanying the story claimed “thousands” had attended the rally. And ABC has since sent an email out saying it never reported 1.5 million as was misattributed to them, but think the crowd size was only “60,000 to 70,000” based on a report by “the Washington, D.C., fire department.”
It was that email that got me interested in the number because it seemed ABC was really upset about being attributed with saying the rally as big as 1.5 million. And frankly, and I may be wrong, but I’ve never heard the DC fire department quoted previously in crowd estimates. Parks and Recreation? Yes. DC Metro Police? Yes. Fire Department? Uh, no.
Of course you can see where I’m headed with this – look at the line up of those reporting “in the thousands”. Look at those reporting in the “millions”.
I’m just interested to see how this all shakes out, because while I’m not at all good at crowd estimates, the few pics I’ve seen show a pretty large gathering considering some of the protests I’ve seen documented in DC. Perhaps it’s just too early in the news cycle for there to be enough information to make a guess beyond “thousands” or “tens of thousands”, but when an overseas newspaper is talking about “2 million”, it makes you wonder why they’re comfortable with that number and our domestic outlets aren’t.
And given ACORN’s history and recent problems I say none too soon. The plan had been to have the ACORN be an integral part of the Census Bureau effort in 2010. But ACORN’s past has caught up with it (the little sting operation in MD and DC probably didn’t help) and the Census Bureau, bowing to the public’s concern, is cutting the organization loose.
“Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN’s affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts,” read a letter from Census Director Robert M. Groves to the president of ACORN.
“Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership,” the letter said.
Now the next goal ought to be to find a way to defund the organization, i.e. pull all of its federal funding. If it want to engage in “community organizing” let it fund itself the old fashioned way – beg for money.
Meanwhile, it appears MD has decided it may prosecute the filmmaker who exposed ACORN.
A lot is happening, not that you’d know it unless you’re paying attention.
The North Koreans are happily enriching uranium again, as are the Iranians. We’re in the middle of completely screwing over Honduras while ignoring what Venezuela is in the middle of doing.
And what is that you ask? Well the Washington Post fills us in:
But Mr. Chavez has clearly forged a bond with one leader who is as reckless and ambitious as he is: Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The growing fruits of this relationship, and its potential consequences for U.S. security, have not gotten as much attention as they deserve.
Mr. Chávez was in Tehran again this week and offered his full support for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s hard-line faction. As usual, the caudillo made clear that he shares Iran’s view of Israel, which he called “a genocidal state.” He endorsed Iran’s nuclear program and declared that Venezuela would seek Iran’s assistance to construct a nuclear complex of its own. He also announced that his government would begin supplying Iran with 20,000 barrels of gasoline a day — a deal that could directly undercut a possible U.S. effort to curtail Iran’s gasoline imports.
Such collaboration is far from new for Venezuela and Iran. In the past several years Iran has opened banks in Caracas and factories in the South American countryside. Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau, who has been investigating the arrangements, says he believes Iran is using the Venezuelan banking system to evade U.S. and U.N. sanctions. He also points out that Iranian factories have been located “in remote and undeveloped parts of Venezuela” that lack infrastructure but that could be “ideal . . . for the illicit production of weapons.”
“The opening of Venezuela’s banks to the Iranians guarantees the continued development of nuclear technology and long-range missiles,” Mr. Morgenthau said in a briefing this week in Washington at the Brookings Institution. “The mysterious manufacturing plants, controlled by Iran deep in the interior of Venezuela, give even greater concern.”
Big deal. I mean, look at what Honduras has done.
Mr. Morgenthau’s report was brushed off by the State Department, which is deeply invested in the Chávez-is-no-threat theory. State “will look into” Mr. Morgenthau’s allegations, spokesman Ian Kelly said Wednesday. Meanwhile, Mr. Chávez is off to Moscow, where, according to the Russian press, he plans to increase the $4 billion he has already spent on weapons by another $500 million or so. Mr. Chávez recently promised to buy “several battalions” of Russian tanks. Not a threat? Give him time.
And, of course, as a little jab at the US, Chavez recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia and buying tanks in Russia.
North Korea, as mentioned, is back to building nuclear bombs. But don’t worry, all the signs are present that they’re willing, once again, to do a little bartering. They’ve announced they’re open to two-party talks with the US. That means, they’ll talk and the US will pay for them to quit making bombs. And they’ll agree until the next time they need a little cash.
But don’t worry – Honduras is going to pay the price for their constitutional misbehavior. And besides, our president gets to play “King of the World” in a couple of weeks might even have the chance to give Moammar Qaddafi a hug while he is at it.
Yup – it’s looking good out there.
A post I did in September of 2006, originally entitled “September 11th, 2001 – “We Lost David”. It is the ongoing fulfillment of a promise made in the last sentence of the post. This is what 9/11 should be about.
Each week I do a tribute, called Project Hero, about a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman who’s been awarded a medal for valor in combat. Those medals represent their actions above and beyond the call of duty. But, as we all know, valor and courage aren’t exclusive to the military or combat. And no better example of that is what the courageous men and women of fire, rescue and police did that awful day in September of 2001 when terrorists attacked our country by flying commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
A few weeks ago I signed on to an effort called the “2996 Project” organized by a blog to do a tribute to each and every one of those who died on that day. Three thousand bloggers are participating. The names were assigned randomly. When you signed up, you got whoever was next.
I was honored to draw the name of David Halderman Jr.
Of course, I never knew David Halderman. I’d never previously seen his name or if I had, it never registered beyond that of a person who’d died that day in those barbaric attacks. But when I began to research David, I found a man for whom my admiration and respect knew no bounds.
You see, David Halderman was a firefighter with Squad 18 of FDNY.
On that grim day in September, FDNY lost 343 of its finest who, disregarding their own safety, rushed toward the scene of the disaster while others were running away. It is estimated they saved over 20,000 souls that day. In the finest tradition of firefighters everywhere, they never hesitated. David Halderman, Jr. was among them.
Squad 18 is located in Greenwich Village. When the towers were hit, Squad 18 responded immediately. All seven firefighters on duty that morning were lost.
A visitor to New York just prior to 9/11 happened to remember Squad 18 for a particular reason:
This past Labor Day weekend, one of the youngest attendees, my nephew Beau, was walking with his mom and aunt past Firehouse #18 in Greenwich Village. Beau asked if they could stop. Three firefighters took the time to show Beau and his sister the fire truck and posed for some pictures.
Among the three firefighters who so made those visitors feel so welcome was David.
After returning home to Alaska, and following the terrible events of 9/11, Beau asked his mom if the guys in the picture were OK. After checking back with Squad #18, and showing them the picture, my sister in New York learned that “Chris and Harry made it. We lost David.” The photograph was the last picture taken of him.
As I looked further and further into the life of David Halderman, I found a man who was worthy of love, admiration and respect. He was a 2nd generation firefighter, following in the footsteps of his father and namesake who had very recently died. His brother also was with FDNY.
The fact that he’d taken time out of his day to spend with a young visitor from Alaska seemed something completely in character for him. The fact he’d responded immediately to the disaster of the World Trade Center came as no surprise either. His mother remembers the night before:
On Monday night, David Halderman called his mother in Brentwood to comfort her, as he has done regularly since his father died on Aug. 8.
“I asked him to have a good night, to be careful, to be safe, and I told him I loved him,” his mother, Geraldine Halderman, said. “That was the last time I spoke to him.”
“I love you, take care of yourself.” That was how David Halderman always ended his telephone conversations with his mother.
The next day fate and tragedy took David Halderman while performing the duty to which he’d dedicated his life:
On Tuesday morning, Halderman, a firefighter with Engine-Squad 18 in the West Village, entered the World Trade Center to help victims escape. He is now among the missing city firefighters.
“He was in the building when it collapsed,” Geraldine Halderman said. “They found his helmet. That’s all they found.”
The helmet was identified by its badge – No. 10652, the same badge number used by Halderman’s late father.
Where do we get such men? In the face of every human instinct which tells us to flee, they resist that and walk into danger, risking their lives to help others escape and live. Courage and valor are rare commodities. That’s why we revere and reward them. Those attributes were displayed by hundreds of the fire and rescue people who responded with David Halderman Jr. on that grim and horrid day in September of 2001. As a nation watched in stunned horror, men like David were saving lives.
A few days ago, David’s mother left this message on his memorial site:
Dear David, Five Years! My son you are in my thoughts and prayers every day. I have moved from the house where you grew up,it was too much for me alone. I carry all my memories in my heart. I know you are with me always, you are the voice within me that says “don’t be afraid” when I am sad or anxious. The ache in my heart remains, dulled with time but always present even through the laughter and happy times. There have been weddings and a birth since you left us,and you have been missed so much and remembered at those times. I love you forever.
Life goes on but the hurt never goes away, and mothers suffer a special agony which comes with losing their children. But we are all poorer for the loss of David and those like him. It is they who define what is good and right about us. It is they who show us what man can be. It is they who give us hope for the future.
September 11th is the day to remember those, who like David Halderman Jr., gave their lives in the service of others. I didn’t know David Halderman before this year. But I do now. He was a man to both admire and respect. And every subsequent September 11th I will remember and honor his name. It is the least we can do for the heros among us.
What would the left be claiming right now if it was an abortion supporter killed?
State police at the Corunna post have confirmed a well-known anti-abortion activist was shot multiple times and killed this morning in front of Owosso High School.
The victim’s identity has not yet been released but the shooting occurred around 7:30 a.m., after most students were off the buses and safely inside the building, said Owosso schools transportation supervisor Jayne Campbell.
State police also confirmed that a suspect was taken into custody about 8:15 a.m. at the suspect’s home.
Of course we don’t know if this is the result of a domestic problem, a grudge, or something totally unrelated to the dead person’s activism.
But if it is an action precipitated by victim’s activism, it will be interesting to see how it is handled by the MSM which is always ready to talk about right-wing hate groups, militias and gun lovers at the drop of a hat.
I wonder if the Southern Poverty Law Center will be asked for comment.
UPDATE: So is this now a “hate crime” or just plain old murder 1? Terrorism? Or the act of an extremist loon?
Given this reason reported by police, let’s compare and contrast how this guy is labeled by the MSM vs. the guy who shot up the Holocaust museum:
As to the reason for the killing of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon, Harlan Drake has told police that he was “offended” by Pouillon’s anti-abortion messages. Neighbors of Jim Pouillon say that he was a quiet man in recent years but his checkered past was a result of his boisterous protests. They have commented that some might not have agreed with his message or his graphic displays of aborted fetus’ on his protest signs but he was quiet man in his older age.
Mona Charen distills the big lie contained in the version of “health care reform” that the Obama administration is trying to sell:
He also claimed that his plan will 1) extend coverage to all; 2) force insurance companies to cover “at no extra charge” routine check ups and screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies; 3) place limits on how much people can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses; 4) forbid yearly or lifetime caps on coverage — and 5) spend less than we are currently spending!
I touched on that yesterday in my post about Nancy Pelosi in unicorn land – “There’s a cap on what you pay in in premiums. There’s no cap on what you receive back.”
Everyone understands that such thinking is what got us into the mess we’re in now with unchecked government spending piling up huge deficits. The fact that such thinking is still prevalent in the leadership of both the Congress and the Executive branch is what is scaring people more than anything. We know it, but they seem to not realize it yet. And we don’t understand how they can be that clueless.
The majority of the public knows what is being offered is just as unsustainable as Medicare and Social Security. And they recognize that the same entity that has mismanaged those programs is now aiming toward a takeover of the rest of health care. They also know that because what is promised is unsustainable, at some point in the near future new revenue is going to be required to pay for it. Finally, they know that the claim that it “won’t add a dime to the deficit” and “it will mostly be paid for by eliminating waste and abuse” in the present system is a lot of hot air.
In other words, most of the public knows inherently that as presented, this version of reform is all a grand but telling lie. Telling because it underscores the extent to which this Congress and this President are willing to go to pass their agenda. And it has become an issue of trust – or in this case, distrust.
It has also become a test of wills between a petulant president not used to being denied, a Congress run by the extreme left who are determined to pass their agenda while they have a chance and a people who are worried sick about the level of government spending and intrusion.
President Obama’s speech really did nothing to address those rising concerns or to allay those fears. In fact, he most likely increased them. And it was pretty ironic to hear the president lecturing others about lies when in fact he engaged in 45 minute lie.
What is being planned is not and cannot be “deficit neutral”. It will end up costing taxpayers billions if not trillions of dollars. What is being planned will not introduce “competition” or “choice”, but will in fact decrease both. And what is being planned will introduce a governmental bureaucratic nightmare in which privacy concerns will be completely disregarded as the IRS and others trade your information without your consent to ensure you’re not “gaming” the system or failing to follow orders.
As has been said in the past, it is clear that Americans want to see health care reformed. But it should also be clear that what Democrats are offering is not the reform the majority of people want.
A humble public servant dedicated to serving the people would have picked up on that by now. He or she would step back, reassess and, if necessary, start over. He or she would understand that an undertaking this large and complicated can’t be rushed or made to conform to some arbitrary legislative deadline. And, wanting what is best for the country, he or she would take the time necessary to propose, debate and craft legislation that meets the needs of the country and not his or her party.
A party politician would do precisely the opposite – and that’s what we’re seeing now.
There is a path to common sense reform that will, in fact, increase both competition and choice. The problem, of course, is it doesn’t involve much government. I say problem because it seems clear, despite glib assurances otherwise, that any solution this administration and Congress are going to come up with will include government to an extent never before seen – come hell or high water.
More government is not the solution to health care reform. Less government is. And until that is realized by those in power, they will continue to see a push back. They’ll also be called liars for as long as they continue to push the big lie they’re now trying to sell.