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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2010
WHEN JOHN KERRY SPEAKS, NOBODY LISTENS – AT 8:20 P.M. ET: Is there a duller man in politics than John Kerry? Is there a man whose timing is worse? The man just shines with distinction.
Now, apparently speaking for his party, Kerry takes on Dick Cheney. Just at the time when Americans are becoming concerned again about terror, and the former vice president speaks the words Americans agree with, Kerry attacks him. What great strategy. From The Politico:
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) went after former Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday for leading Republican “hysteria” in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.
Did you see any hysteria? I didn't.
“Unfortunately, too many Republicans have treated this episode as a political opportunity,” Kerry said in a statement. “Led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, they have resorted to partisan denunciations that serve no legitimate purpose and have no place in the nation’s vital debate over how to fight terrorism.”
Yeah, right. Like all that bipartisanship that Kerry gave us during the Bush administration. The Republican criticisms have been entirely appropriate, and often constructive.
“The hysteria of Mr. Cheney and some of his fellow Republicans is sadly reminiscent of the days when the previous administration substituted fearmongering for sound policy and led us into an unnecessary and tragic war in Iraq while starving a necessary conflict in Afghanistan,” Kerry added.
Would you get that? Has Kerry noticed that the "necessary conflict in Afghanistan" does not have the support of the base of his own party? And at a time when Americans are starting to realize that President Bush kept the country safe in the years after 9-11, Kerry attacks...BUSH (!!).
Oh, and Big John: We're winning in Iraq. It's tough, nothing certain, but Bush's surge policy, developed by David Petraeus, has paid off. What do you read every day, Senator?
THIS IS PATHETIC – AT 7:48 P.M. ET: Chicago is overwhelmed with crime. The south side, home to Barack and Michelle Obama, is a shooting gallery. And what brilliant idea is being put forward to improve law enforcement? From NBC News in Chicago:
The Chicago Police Department is seriously considering scrapping the police entrance exam, sources tell Fran Spielman.
Dropping the exam would bolster minority hiring and avert legal battles, according to one source, while others confirm that the exam could be scrapped to open the process to as many people as possible.
However, the lack of an exam would make Chicago the lone major city without one, and experts contend that the exam is integral to eliminating unqualified applicants.
The CPD has tried in recent years to boost minority hiring by offering the police exam online and turning to minority clergy to help in the recruitment effort.
What an insult to minorities, as if there aren't enough minority men and women who can pass the exam. But how can you recruit minorities for the police department when you have the likes of Rev. Wright, and pastors like him, preaching hatred against authority and against the nation? The lack of minority recruitment is a function of social attitudes. New York has an extremely diverse police department, and one that is multilingual, and it hasn't cancelled exams.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said the plan "sounds ridiculous."
"With this, you're taking away one of the steps that attempts to legitimize the (hiring) process," he said.
Asked about plan Wednesday morning, Mayor Daley said he was unaware of any plans to do away with the exam.
"I never heard anything about that," he said.
But the city's Department of Human Resources didn't deny it. In a statement, the department said the city is "reviewing all options right now on how to handle the application process."
COMMENT: Barack Obama's interest in Chicago, since becoming president, has been essentially limited to trying to get the Olympics for the city. I would hope he'd have one of his Chicago-based aides pick up a phone and read the riot act to the dudes who came up with this crazy plan, the effect of which would be to make the city an embarrassment.
GERSON NAILS IT – AT 5:58 P.M. ET: A distinguished scholar, who prefers anonymity, writes to alert us to today's superb column by Michael Gerson on the Obama view of terrorism. This is about the best analysis of the subject that I've read: From the Washington Post:
A president can't be held responsible for every mistake at every level of government. But every level of government takes its cues from the president and his main advisers. And it is difficult to argue that the Obama administration has even attempted to create an atmosphere of urgency in the war on terror. The listless, coldblooded and clueless response of the Hawaii White House to the Christmas Day attack was only the most recent indication...
...Add to this the Holderization of the war on terrorism. Attorney General Eric Holder began his work not with a high-profile assault on al-Qaeda but with a high-profile assault on the CIA -- making clear to every ambitious officer that counterintelligence is a dead end of recrimination and legal bills. And now both the mastermind of Sept. 11, 2001, and the underwear bomber are headed toward celebrity trials.
And remember this quote well:
The reality here is simple and shocking: A terrorist with current knowledge of al-Qaeda operations in Yemen has been told he has the right to remain silent.
Gerson was one of President George W. Bush's speechwriters, and that is a great campaign line.
And granting Abdulmutallab that privilege only because he tried to commit murder on American soil is an incentive of disturbing perversity.
The president has occasionally talked of a war on terrorism. But lip service is different from leadership. In the war on terrorism, 2009 was not a year of urgency and vigilance. It was a year of lullabies, hot toddies and Ambien -- though it nearly ended with a bang.
COMMENT: Very well said. The fact is, the president's heart isn't in it. This is a president nurtured on the hard left, a man who believes that terrorism is the result of poverty and oppression – oppression by us, that is – when in fact it is the fruit of an ideology taught in schools and training camps, much as was the Nazi ideology, or the ideology that produced Japanese kamikazes in World War II.
We hope that the president is learning, but I doubt if the wing of the party that he represents will ever learn much of anything, for it is devoted to those same myths. The head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barbara Lee of California, is a fan of Fidel Castro, and was the only member of Congress to vote against military action following the 9-11 attacks.
We will have a difficult year coming up. Jack Kennedy improved dramatically during his second year in office. The jury is assembling to judge Barack Obama.
A BREAK IN THE LINE – AT 10:07 A.M. ET: One thing you look for in democracy movements that are mounted against a dictatorship is any break in the solidarity of the regime. Iran may have had one. From the Jerusalem Post:
The Iranian consul in Oslo resigned from his post to protest the government-sponsored violence against opposition protesters in Teheran last week, according to a report in The Norway Post Wednesday.
The report cited an interview that the consul gave to a public radio station in which he confirmed his resignation. He has held the position for three years.
"It was the Iranian authorities' treatment of demonstrators around Christmas which made me realize that my conscience would not allow me to continue in my job," he was quoted as saying.
The Norway Post went on to quote Rahman Saki, who heads the Norwegian-Iranian support committee voicing concern about the Iranian official's safety if he were to return to his home country. His family may also be at risk, Saki added.
Let's see if the Norwegian government – they're the Nobel Peace Prize guys – shows the slightest interest in this. Norway and Sweden tend to be for peace and freedom until it's inconvenient. They'd rather bash the U.S. and Israel.
Planet Iran, a great website, is predicting a new round of demonstrations in Iran:
Following the successful demonstrations of Ashura (December 26th & 27th), the next official wave of protests has been slated for February 11th which marks the 31st year of the establishment of the Islamic revolution lead by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Of course, the demonstrators will get passionate support from President Obama. That is a joke.
THE CHICAGO WAY – AT 9:11 A.M. ET: We keep warning here that Republican victories in 2010 are not in the bag. Any number of things can happen that will improve Democratic fortunes. One of them is rarely reported – a coming attempt to change the voter registration system, making it more Chicago-friendly. American Thinker has the story:
It's called universal voter registration. The Wall Street Journal's John Fund described the Democrat plan recently at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum.
"In January, Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank will propose universal voter registration. What is universal voter registration? It means all of the state laws on elections will be overridden by a federal mandate. The feds will tell the states: 'take everyone on every list of welfare that you have, take everyone on every list of unemployed you have, take everyone on every list of property owners, take everyone on every list of driver's license holders and register them to vote regardless of whether they want to be ...'"
And then drag them to the polls.
Leftist groups are already arguing that universal voter registration will solve all the problems with our voting system. But the left created most of these problems. The radical leftist Nation Magazine, for example, absolutely loves the idea of universal voter registration. This is the same magazine, however, that advanced Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven's Manufactured Crisis strategy. The Cloward/Piven strategy was designed to undermine government institutions by overwhelming them with impossible demands for services. Cloward and Piven focused on welfare, housing, and voting as the main targets of this strategy, and the radical group ACORN was specifically created for the purpose of executing it.
The problems with universal voter registration are numerous and obvious. Many states' lists include vast numbers of illegals, including some states which allow illegals to obtain drivers licenses; because many homeowners have more than one home, there will be duplicates; because so many people are on so many separate federal and state government agency lists, there will be duplicates; and because so many lists exist with little or no cross-checking capability, all of these duplicates are likely to go uncorrected. Add to this the fact that Dems hope to extend voting rights to felons, and the whole thing begins to look like a nationwide Democrat voter registration drive facilitated by taxpayers.
Which it is. The key objective is to register as many people as possible who are dependent on government programs. They are reliable Democrats.
The same people pushing universal registration originally pushed the Motor Voter law, which has created cesspools of corruption:
The Motor Voter law was correctly identified as a facilitator of vote fraud. One of the few legal issues Barack Obama actually participated in as a lawyer was a 1995 suit against the State of Illinois, which he brought on behalf of ACORN. Then-Republican Governor Jim Edgars saw the newly passed Motor Voter act as creating the potential for massive vote fraud and refused to implement it. With the assistance of the Clinton Justice Department, Obama's legal team won that suit...
...It is not surprising that the Democrats are now choosing to push this new initiative, for universal voter registration will be Motor Voter on turbochargers. And who better to sign it into law than the president from ACORN?
COMMENT: I'm afraid it's all true. There are George Soros-funded organizations that are working specifically to manipulate the voting system. One aspect of this is to elect secretaries of state in the various states who are "ACORN-friendly." Secretaries of state normally control election machinery. It was a Soros-backed secretary of state in Minnesota who was enormously helpful in getting Al Franken his Senate seat. (You'll recall that recounts were required, and the real election was razor-close.)
Even though this may be a "Republican year," many election can turn out to be very close. Loose registration rules and friendly secretaries of state may do for the Democratic Party what the party could never, based on merit, do for itself.
THE GREAT COMMITMENT TO OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE – AT 8:25 A.M. ET: The Dems are talking tough about terrorism, at least this week, but they were prepared to cut the guts out of a major anti-terror unit...before the Christmas bomber struck. From The Atlantic:
The highly touted intelligence fusion center at the heart of the nation's counterterrorism establishment was preparing for deep budget cuts across 2010, senior intelligence officials said. According to one official, who asked not to be identified because intelligence budget matters are classified, the administration and Congress slashed the budget for the National Counterterrorism Center by at least $25 million. Those affected, the official said, included employees responsible for maintaining the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) system, which contains the list of about 550,000 known or suspected terrorists.
Who needs it, when you can give the money to ACORN?
Both the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, and the head of the NCTC, Mike Leiter, pressed to have the funding restored well before the Christmas Day attack exposed potential problems.
"Without question, recent events will cause those proposals to be re-considered," an intelligence official said.
The funds will probably be restored, for appearances' sake. But the planned cut reflects the Democratic Party's true attitude toward counterterrorism. The party's base just doesn't care. They're interested in their social programs and in taking care of their interest groups. This was once a great party. Harry Truman must be spinning.
OFFICE AVAILABLE, FULL MEDICAL PLAN – AT 8:03 A.M. ET: A second Democratic senator, up for reelection, has chosen to retire.
Yesterday it was Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, running far behind in the polls, who announced he would not seek reelection in 2010. Today, it is one of the most powerful men in the Senate. From The Politico:
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) plans to announce Wednesday that he will retire from the Senate at the end of the year, capping a 30-year career where he rose to become one of the chamber's most influential members, several Democratic sources told POLITICO Tuesday night.
Dodd’s decision to retire is, at first glance, a blessing to Senate Democrats who worried they would have trouble holding the seat with the embattled senator in the race. Now Democrats expect that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will run in Dodd’s place, giving the party a stronger nominee in a race that was widely believed to be a toss-up.
Blumenthal, it is reported, will announce his candidacy today, before the corpse is even buried.
The Dorgan retirement in North Dakota provides Republicans with an excellent chance for a pickup. But it would be crazy for the GOP to write Connecticut off. Yes, it's a blue state, and Blumenthal is popular. But Connecticut also reelected Joe Lieberman, a moderate, after he'd lost the Democratic nomination to a leftist insurgent. A moderate Republican, a Rudy Giuliani, could give Blumenthal a run for his money in a state where political surprises are fairly frequent.
Next door, in blue Massachusetts, the Republican challenger is only nine points behind the Democrat in the special election, to be held January 19th, to succeed Edward M. Kennedy. This is a time for Republicans to fight.
We also learn that the Democratic governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, will announce that he, too, will not run for reelection. Another great GOP opportunity.
RARE COMMON SENSE IN ACADEMIA – AT 8:29 P.M. ET: How often do you read a story of mature common sense in the academic world? The rhetoric is nonsense, but this is history:
BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts pharmacy college instituted a ban on clothing that obscures the face, including face veils and burqas, weeks after a Muslim alumnus who is also the son of a professor was charged with plotting terror strikes.
The policy change at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services, announced in a campus-wide e-mail last month, went into effect Friday.
Well, it's pharmacy and health. If they taught anthropology, they could never do this.
Michael Ratty, a college spokesman, said the policy was developed in the fall during the school's annual review of its public safety procedures and was unrelated to the arrest of 2008 graduate Tarek Mehanna.
Oh come on. All right, we'll give them this little fib since they're doing the right thing.
"It is not directed to any group or individual. It applies to all students and faculty," Ratty said.
Okay, we'll include that fib, too.
Ratty said the school believed everyone entering the small Boston campus should be able to be properly identified. He said the college discussed the policy with Muslim students and officials at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, and all understood the need for the change.
If it isn't directed at "any group or individual," why check it out with the Muslims and Saudis?
Not all Muslims are sanguine:
Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said he has contacted school officials about providing a religious exemption, and said it's required because the policy makes a medical exemption.
He said the revision was aimed at two female Muslim students who wear face veils due to their religious beliefs. Hooper said a minority of Muslims believe that covering the face is required, but that stopping them from practicing their faith is "un-American."
Hooper said strong security can be maintained at a college without sacrificing religious freedom.
I love it when a front man for Arab countries talks about religious freedom.
CSPAN CHALLENGES DEMS – AT 7:05 P.M. ET: Reader Claire Weber-Klein alerts us to a challenge by CSPAN to congressional Democrats: Go transparent on health care. From Fox News:
The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.
C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb wrote to leaders in the House and Senate Dec. 30 urging them to open "all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings," to televised coverage on his network.
"The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of the sessions LIVE and in their entirety," he wrote.
This didn't sit well with Nancy Pelosi:
In a Tuesday afternoon press conference on health legislation negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to object to the premise behind the request.
"There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who’s served here’s experience," she said.
Is she serious? The Dems have just made plans to finalize the health-care "reform" bill behind closed doors, in sessions closed to both Republicans and the public.
President Obama made transparency on health-care legislation a point in his campaign for president:
"That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are," Obama said at a debate against Hillary Clinton in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2008.
Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi missed that debate. I guess "Desperate Housewives" was on.
OUR IRAN POLICY A SHAMBLES – AT 5:48 P.M. ET: The only way we can get tough sanctions on Iran is to bring China and Russia on board. Both have veto power in the UN Security Council. China has given its answer. From AP:
China does not plan to hold debates on more sanctions on Iran's nuclear program during its Security Council presidency this month, despite US demands for tougher sanctions, the Chinese ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday.
Ambassador Zhang Yesui told reporters Tuesday "this is not the right time or moment for sanctions" and that diplomats need "more time and patience" to try to bridge differences.
He said his January agenda will focus on Afghanistan, Somalia, Nepal, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Sudan and the Middle East.
The Obama administration and its international partners had imposed an end-of-2009 deadline for Teheran to accept a UN-drafted deal to swap most of its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. Iran dismissed the deadline.
COMMENT: What precisely is our Iran policy? Is anything left of it? The deadline passed, we ignored it, and our rhetoric got dramatically softer. If Iran gets the nuclear bomb, it will make our current terrorism concerns seem trivial. And Iran is moving toward the bomb. Nothing serious is being done about it.
YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS UP – AT 5:44 P.M. ET: Just read this, please:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department says it has revoked the U.S. visa of the Nigerian man suspected of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas Day.
Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's visa was one of several the agency has revoked since the Dec. 25 incident as the result of a review into security procedures ordered by President Barack Obama. Crowley would not say when the decision on Abdulmutallab's visa was made or how many others had been withdrawn.
THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS – AT 5:01 P.M. ET: President Obama has just addressed the nation on the failed Christmas day airline bombing, and its aftermath.
It was a pretty good statement. The president, as TV pundits pointed out, sounded angry. Whether he was or not is an open question. He conceded that we had all the information needed to block the guy who got on the plane with a bomb, but did not use the information skillfully. In effect, he contradicted his own terrorism adviser, John Brennan, who'd said on Sunday that there was no "smoking gun." There were several guns that were smoking.
The president promised greater effectiveness and accountability. There were no details and no questions were allowed. Of course, Mr. Obama had to get in one dig at President Bush – that's required in all Obama speeches – by asserting that Guantanamo was one of the reasons that Al Qaeda got started on the Arabian peninsula. And, of course, there was no specific mention of who we're fighting. Words like "jihadism" or "Islamo-fascism" were missing. It would be like President Roosevelt, in 1944, refusing to name the country we were fighting when we landed at Normandy. Just anonymous hostiles.
Some pundits felt that there now has to be a personnel shakeup in the administration. We'll see. Terror incidents tend to outrage us, but they're quickly forgotten, as we're advised to "move on." However, Mr. Obama had praise for no one.
The sheer number of terror incidents recently, including the successful attack at Fort Hood, certainly suggests that there will be more in 2010. The president, and his people, are surely aware of the political costs. And they must surely be aware of the perception that this is an administration weak on national security. The president's angry statement today was a good first step. The question, as always with the Obamans, is whether there'll be a second.
STUNNING - AT 9:34 A.M. ET: I believe this is the first poll among likely voters for the special election in Massachusetts on January 19th to fill the Senate seat vacated by the death of Edward M. Kennedy.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley holds a nine-point lead over her Republican rival, state Senator Scott Brown, in Massachusetts’s special U.S. Senate election to fill the seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Coakley ahead of Brown 50% to 41%. One percent (1%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.
That is stunningly close in Massachusetts, a very, very blue state. The national Republican Party, in another fit of imagination, is giving no help to Brown, having written off the seat. And it is unlikely that Brown can pull it off. But even a close loss would be a dramatic political statement.
The special Senate election will be held on January 19 and special elections typically feature low turnout. That’s one reason the race appears to be a bit closer than might typically be expected for a Senate race in Massachusetts. Kennedy carried 69% of the vote when he was reelected in 2006.
There are still two weeks to go. Brown should pour it on. The GOP, from around the country, should start writing some checks. Concede nothing this year.
ONE SIXTH OF THE ECONOMY – AT 8:49 A.M. ET: The Democratic health "reform" plan will take over one sixth of the nation's economy. Nothing this large has been adopted without bipartisan support since the 19th century. And how are the Dems proceeding? It's hard to accept this. From AP:
WASHINGTON - House and Senate Democrats intend to bypass the traditional joint conference committee when they negotiate a final compromise on health care legislation, officials said yesterday, a move that will exclude Republican lawmakers and limit their ability to force votes that might delay action.
Democratic aides said the final compromise talks would essentially be a three-way negotiation involving top Democrats in the House and Senate and the White House, giving unusual latitude to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
Those officials said there are no plans to appoint a formal House-Senate conference committee, the method Congress most often uses to reconcile differing bills. The plan is to skip the formal meetings, reach an agreement, then have the two bodies vote. A 60-vote Senate majority would be required for final passage.
This is pretty outrageous. It's machine politics at its worst. It tends to confirm the theory discussed in a previous post today, that the Democrats are obsessed with ramming through as much left-wing legislation as they can before taking losses in the November election.
The unofficial timetable calls for final passage of the measure to remake the nation’s health care system by the time President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, probably in early February. GOP leaders have vowed to try to block a final bill from reaching Obama.
COMMENT: I doubt if this bill can be defeated. The "moderate" Democrats have all but collapsed, although they could put up a fight on public funding for abortion in the House. In the end, though, the moderates tend to fold and vote with the liberals, to keep their ability to function in Congress.
A MYSTERY IN YEMEN – AT 8:29 A.M. ET: I don't think we'll be adopting "In Yemen We Trust" as a motto anytime soon. From Britain's Telegraph:
Fears of a terrorist strike against Western embassies in Yemen have grown amid claims a convoy of lorries laden with explosives had been smuggled into the country's capital city, Sana'a.
In an apparently botched surveillance operation, militants driving six trucks filled with weapons and ordnance succeeded in giving security forces the slip as they entered the city, according to local media.
SANAA (Reuters) - The American embassy in Yemen reopened on Tuesday after a raid near Sanaa that killed two al Qaeda militants dealt with specific security concerns which had forced U.S. and European missions to close, the embassy said.
Violence flared in the Yemen-Saudi border area, where Shi'ite rebels waging a revolt against the central government said a series of Saudi air strikes on a market had flattened shops and homes, killing two people and wounding three more.
Not a good move. If you're going to close your embassy, keep it closed for a time and beef it up. If the embassy now gets hit, we will have shown irresponsibility in protecting our people, and we will look like fools. Of course, in the Obama administration, looking like a fool seems to be a noble goal.
SANAA, YEMEN -- As the United States ramps up its counterterrorism role here, senior Yemeni officials are publicly playing down the partnership, fearing that the government could pay a heavy political price for aligning with the United States and appearing too weak to control al-Qaeda on its own.
The head of Yemen's national security agency declared over the weekend that the threat posed by al-Qaeda had been exaggerated and that Yemen is not a haven for militants, the state news agency Saba reported. The comments by Ali Muhammad al-Anisi came a day after Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, promised increased U.S. support for Yemen on a visit here. Since Anisi's statement, al-Qaeda threats have forced the U.S., British, German, French and Japanese embassies to close.
While playing down the U.S. role seems designed to prevent a domestic backlash, it also raises questions about the government's long-term commitment and will to fight al-Qaeda in the wake of the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, analysts say.
COMMENT: Hey, no kidding. There are questions. Yemen has always been a problem. It was in Yemen that the USS Cole was attacked in 2000. But our State Department has always underplayed the danger.
QUOTE OF THE DAY – THE SPEAKER STUMBLES – AT 8:21 A.M. ET: Reader Susana Kohan alerts us to Wes Pruden's terrific column in today's Washington Times, in which he ridicules Obama's tendency to define national security in petty, legalistic terms:
Presidents have never before been so reticent on occasions of national peril. FDR knew no better than to say it straight and plain in the wake of Pearl Harbor. He could have, but didn't, tell Congress and the nation that "… yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, a date that will live in controversial memory, the respected empire of Japan, following the dictates of Shinto, a religion of peace, allegedly attacked our naval base at Pearl Harbor …" Other revered figures of history offered no useful precedent, either. John Paul Jones, wreathed in smoke and fire on the deck of Bon Homme Richard, could have, but didn't, rally his men with a cry that "I have not yet begun to see what kind of deal we can get."
There were no apt examples from our friends across the sea. Winston Churchill could have, but didn't, promise England in the grim summer of 1940 that "we shall negotiate on the seas and oceans, we shall parley to defend our island as long as there is no cost attached, we shall bargain on the beaches, we shall dicker on the landing grounds, we shall beg in the fields and streets, we shall make speeches in the hills — we shall never, ever, cease to seek better terms."
COMMENT: The tragedy of Barack Obama isn't that he's no Churchill, but that he doesn't want to be a Churchill.
ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC – AT 8:05 A.M. ET: Hillary Clinton's stunning statement yesterday that there are no hard and fast deadlines with Iran, a complete contradiction of stated American policy, has won applause from one source:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran said Tuesday it welcomes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's comments that there is no hard-and-fast deadline for starting nuclear dialogue.
On Monday, Clinton said the Obama administration remained open to negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, though it will move toward tougher sanctions if Iran does not respond positively. She stressed there was no hard-and-fast deadline for Iran.
Responding Tuesday, Iran's foreign ministry welcomed the comments
''We share the same idea with her. Deadlines are meaningless. We hope other countries return to their natural path, too,'' said Ramin Mehmanparast, a foreign ministry spokesman.
The remarks were a rare positive response by the Iranians to U.S. comments on its nuclear program.
Well of course they were. We've basically just done a Neville Chamberlain. The deadline, widely advertised, had been December 31st. Now that's been cancelled, as earlier deadlines had been.
The sound you hear is the laughter from the mullahs of Iran. The other sound you hear is the hissing from Iran's democracy demonstrators.
We had hoped that the president would come back from Hawaii chastened by the backlash against his lax security policies. Instead, the administration seems to be reaffirming the leftist pattern of its first ten months, including the absurd decision to immediately turn the airline bomber over to the civilian court system, allowing him to lawyer up and shut up.
There is a theory circulating that Obama knows the Dems will lose seats in the midterm elections, now ten months away, and that he wants to get as many leftist policies in place as he can before then. Makes sense, but no one, of course, is confirming that plan openly.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism." - Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, to his son, Douglas.
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