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Archive for August, 2006

August 31st 2006

He’s Back!

The WSJ reports:

OSLO, Norway — Police recovered two paintings they believe are the Edvard Munch masterpieces “The Scream” and “Madonna,” two years after masked gunmen seized the priceless artworks from an Oslo museum in a bold, daylight raid, authorities announced Thursday.

Both paintings, stolen from the Munch Museum in August 2004, were in better-than-expected condition, police said at a news conference.

“The pictures came into our hands this afternoon after a successful police action,” said Iver Stensrud, head of the police investigation. “All that remains is an expert examination to confirm with 100% certainty, that these are the original paintings. We believe these are the originals,” Mr. Stensrud said.

“I saw the paintings myself today, and there was far from the damage that could have been feared,” he said.

Good news for art lovers. It’ll be interesting to learn the story behind this story.

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August 31st 2006

War, Transformed

On Monday, ChicagoBoyz carried an excellent piece by Steven den Beste. Here’s the last three graphs of SDB’s short but excellent analysis of how war has transformed and how countries like Israel can benefit from the maturing of terrorist groups:

Israel botched this war, but that’s not the question I wanted to address in this discussion. The question I began with was, why did so many people demand “proportionate” responses from Israel, and condemn Israel’s bombing campaign as being “disproportionate”?

It’s because Israel refused to play the game. Israel opened up an offensive which ran at a logistically unsustainable rate for Hezbollah, which Hezbollah could not avoid fighting. The code word “proportionate” really meant, “Israel, you have to limit yourself to fighting at a level that Hezbollah can sustain. Otherwise it’s just not fair!”

Of course that’s idiocy; war isn’t about fairness. But that’s what they were really saying. Hezbollah did make a major mistake in that attack, because they had developed to the point where they actually presented a target Israel could fight against at a tempo Israel could sustain but Hezbollah could not. Israel had the opportunity to crush Hezbollah, but Olmert lost his nerve.

That’s just the last three paragraphs. You should read the 11 that precede them.

Hat-tip: Jim
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August 31st 2006

The Candidate As Avatar

Dem Prez hopeful Mark Warner is going politicing … as an avatar.

Warner’s PAC, Forward Together, worked with the creators of the virtual world Second Life. We’re told by Second Life:

Mark Warner’s avatar seems presidential, too—tall, stern, and statesman-like. And [today] at 12:30pm Second Life Time (i.e., PDT), in a public event sponsored by Forward Together and produced by Millions of Us, I’ll be interviewing him, in a brief conversation that’ll touch on national security, foreign policy, the Democratic Party– and, of course, future plans for the Governor and his team in Second Life.

Forward Together staffer Nancy Mandelbrot expounds:

“Well, we were sitting in our offices one day and kind of goofing around, just geeking out about social technologies, gaming, that sort of thing, as we’re wont to do. Someone made a joke about how great it would be if we brought an avatar of Governor Warner into Second Life.

“When we all quit laughing, we kind of looked around and said, ‘Hey, that’s not a bad idea.’

“One of Governor Warner’s operating principles is to go where the voters are,” she continues, “not make them come to you. We saw how rich an environment [SL] was. I mean, you can sit next to someone’s avatar, strike up a conversation, and forget that you’re not in the same room. We started to see that in Second Life, people can get together and talk politics with other folks without the obstacles of real life.”

From Bubba playing the sax on TV, to MoveOn.org’s Internet-based activism, to Warner as a virtual candidate in a virtual world, the Dems certainly are bold in their political efforts to reach the wired youth. With the exception of Bubba it hasn’t won them a spot in the oval office yet, but they continue to think the young will fall for them if they’re hip enough.

If you’re hip enough, here’s how to play:

ATTENDANCE DETAILS

Direct portal to the 12:30pm SLT event here.

To reserve a seat at the Thursday event, send an Instant Message to Millions of Us’ staffer Green Fate. Seating is extremely limited, but text repeaters which will broadcast the interview throughout Second Life are also available: contact Green Fate for a copy.

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August 31st 2006

Multipolarism And Progressive Realism

Here they are, the picture children of a “multipolar” global vision: the thug who is systematically destroying the economy and democracy of Venezuela, and Daddy’s Boy Assad, showing that no special gifts are necessary to carry on a bruttalitarian regime.

Chavez’s tour of world despots continues his quest for a seat on the UN security council — as if we needed more evidence of the failure of that organization. His ticket is multipolarism, which is a brilliant concept: Put all the dictators, nuke-hiders, terrorist-abettors, rights-killers and election-stealers in one pot, stir them up with some spicy anti-American rhetoric, and set them loose on the world with a cloak of dark legitimacy.

“No matter how strong the American empire becomes and no matter how much force it uses, it will be defeated,” Mr. Chavez told the crowed. “We and Syria as well as other countries will be an army of tigers, struggling and strong.” Pipsqueak piped in that Syria and Venezuela reject “international hegemony.”

Isn’t “international hegemony” a definition of Syria in Lebanon?

Of course, but my point is this: the American Left is a sucker for a good turn of phrase, a sweet rhyme, a new word. They’ve already embraced the silly concept of “a world without borders” and now they, too, are going to begin the multipolar talk. After all, they decry US imperialism and cry out for a new world.

In doing so, they will join Russia and France, big supporters of anything that diminishes US power, and they’ll be comfortable with that. They’ll also be in league with Chavez, Assad, Kim Il Jong and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad … and I fear that they’ll be comfortable with that, too.

Here’s evidence, from Sisyphus:

Disenchantment with Bush foreign policies is an important step for the public but it isn’t enough. There need to be alternative frameworks of foreign relations presented. Joseph Nye suggests the Democratic Party follow the recommendations of Robert Wright and others to have come to call “progressive realism.” He writes,

… how should America use its unprecedented power, and what role should values play? Realists warn against letting values determine policy, but democracy and human rights have been an inherent part of American foreign policy for two centuries. The Democratic Party could solve this problem by adopting the suggestion of Robert Wright and others that it pursue “progressive realism.” What type of foreign policy would ensue?

It would start with an understanding of the strength and limits of American power. The US is the only superpower, but preponderance is not empire or hegemony. America can influence but not control other parts of the world. Power always depends upon context, and the context of world politics today is like a three-dimensional chess game. The top board of military power is unipolar; but on the middle board of economic relations the world is multipolar; and on the bottom board of transnational relations – comprising issues such as climate change, illegal drugs, avian flu, and terrorism – power is chaotically distributed.

Military power is a small part of the solution in responding to these new threats on the bottom board of international relations. Resolving these requires cooperation among governments and international institutions. Even on the top board (where America represents nearly half of world defense expenditures), the military is supreme in the global commons of air, sea, and space, but more limited in its ability to control nationalistic populations in occupied areas.

A progressive realist policy would also stress the importance of developing an integrated grand strategy that blends “hard” military power with “soft” attractive power, creating “smart” power of the sort that won the Cold War. America needs to use hard power against terrorists, but it cannot hope to win the struggle against terrorism unless it gains the hearts and minds of moderates. The misuse of hard power (as at Abu Ghraib or Haditha) produces new terrorist recruits.


Multipolarism is already being used by leftist thinkers to justify a Clintonian view of the military — a cruise missile here, a bluster there — and deny the viability of a concerted “hard” military reaction to global Islamofascism and the threat of a global alliance of bad guys. It is a governing philosophy that still clings to economic incentives and diplomatic negotiations with the idea that we can win hearts and minds.

It does not recognize that we have tried that approach since the 1940s in the Arab world, but have accomplished nothing — terror grows, Islamic states do not or cannot control it, or willingly support it. When an Islamic state supports terrorism, as Iran and Syria do, does Progressive Realism think incentives and diplomacy will work?

The American electorate will not be comfortable with the idea of willingly letting our brief shining moment as the world’s only superpower quickly fade. But the American Left is not afraid of the American electorate; they are afraid of the concept of America, so they will push these concepts, and candidates like John Kerry, who see themselves as the intellectual wing of their party, will parrot them.

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August 30th 2006

Evidence Of Ancient SUVs In Antarctica

Giant, prehistoric SUVs roamed the frozen Antarctic continent between 12 and 14 million years ago. It must be true because:

A 30-mile maze canyons [right] in Antarctica was carved out of bedrock by the catastrophic draining of subglacial lakes during global warming between 12 million and 14 million years ago, according to university researchers who warn a similar event today could have serious environmental consequences.

Although scientists have previously theorized that the Labyrinth region in southern Victoria Land was created by water released from lakes that had formed under glaciers, researchers at Syracuse University and Boston University say they found geological evidence to bracket the timing of the last major flooding and link it to a global warming trend at the time. (source)

Warmies tell us incessently that it’s our oil-fired lifestyle that’s the problem, so we now can conclude that odd as it seems, there must have been prehistoric gas-guzzlers.

Remember, we can lick global warming! All it takes is adopting a less oil-consuming, less warm in the winter, less cool in the summer lifestyle … and waiting out the current planetary temperature cycle.

hat-tip: Best of the Web via Jim
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August 30th 2006

Unneeded News Of The Day

Seen in the SacBee’s afternoon political news round-up, this news that Hil may just be coming out:

AP Blog: Clinton makes a pitch for women

The apple doesn’t fall far from the serpent, eh?

Actually, the story is much less plausible than Hil a-hustlin’. She thinks the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca, NY, should be as popular as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Maybe she’s making a bid to get into the former. She just might make it if they make room, as Cooperstown does, for pitchers. Shameless pitchers in her case.

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August 30th 2006

Europe Raising Security Levels

All across Europe, recognition of the immediacy of the Islamofascist threat is rising. This just in!

The British have raised their security level from “Miffed” to”Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even” A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Surrender” and “Collaborate.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

It’s not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels

Hat-tip: Jim

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August 30th 2006

Bush-Bashing Behind Plame Leak

Christopher Hitchens continues to report on the Plame Game, long after just about everyone but foaming-mouth leftists have left the story behind. And that’s a good thing.

Hitchens’ latest Slate column is a flood of great info, some new, some old. At the top is this picture of Richard Armitage, Colin Powell’s deputy at the State Department, whom Hitchens and others identify as the undisputable source of the original leak to columnist Robert Novak. Why did Armitage leak the Wilson/Plame info? Not to discredit Wilson or out Plame, but to undermine Bush’s Iraq policy. So the scandal that wasn’t, wasn’t for all the wrong reasons.

Further explains Linda Chavez in Town Hall:

The credit for unearthing this information goes to David Corn and Michael Isikoff in their forthcoming book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War.”

Corn’s role is noteworthy because he is the Washington editor of the left-wing magazine The Nation and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. What’s more, he did much to transform the Plame incident into the national scandal it became.

Stand back … the media stampede to cover this news might crush you. Or not.

Hitchens says Justice and Fitzgerald knew of Armitage from the beginning, but played out the Libby/Cheney card to the end. Why?

What does emerge from [the Isikoff and Corn book] Hubris is further confirmation of what we knew all along: the extraordinary venom of the interdepartmental rivalry that has characterized this administration. In particular, the bureaucracy at the State Department and the CIA appear to have used the indiscretion of Armitage to revenge themselves on the “neoconservatives” who had been advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak’s source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing could—and should—have ended right there. But now read this and rub your eyes: William Howard Taft, the State Department’s lawyer who had been told about Armitage (and who had passed on the name to the Justice Department)

also felt obligated to inform White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. But Powell and his aides feared the White House would then leak that Armitage had been Novak’s source—possibly to embarrass State Department officials who had been unenthusiastic about Bush’s Iraq policy. So Taft told Gonzales the bare minimum: that the State Department had passed some information about the case to Justice. He didn’t mention Armitage. Taft asked if Gonzales wanted to know the details. The president’s lawyer, playing the case by the book, said no, and Taft told him nothing more.

Aarrrgh! Can we just fight the war on Islamofascism here, and leave these childish rivalries behind? Of course we can’t. This is a story as old as Caeser, as old as Cain and Able, and nothing’s changed.

Hat-tip: Memeorandum
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August 30th 2006

Quote Of The Day: Ooops Edition

“… assholes. Yeah, I’m very lucky in that regard with my husband. My husband is handsome and he is genuinely a loving, you know, no ego.[unintelligible] you know what I’m saying. Just a really passionate, compassionate great, great human being. And they exist. They do exist. They’re hard to find. Yup. But they are out there.”

CNN anchor [ooops! myself] Kyra Phillips
[I previously reported this as coming from Daryn Kagan's mike ... I've changed the name throughout. Thanks, Kyer.] What’s interesting about Phillip’s quote about her husband is that it was said in a CNN bathroom while she was still live-miked, and it played as a voice-over to President Bush’s Katrina speech yesterday.

Imagine if it hadn’t been Phillip’s mike, but say Wolf Blitzer’s, and he was heard saying, “… bitches. Yeah, my wife’s really great, so I guess great women really do exist. They’re hard to find. Yup. But they are out there.”

NOW and every feminist down to Chelsea Clinton would be outraged and straining 24/7 to muffle their shrieks since CNN is there friend.

Yet another MSM embarrassment — especially in this age, when the full clip instantaneously makes its way across the Internet. (RealPlayer) (Windows Media) (MP3)

hat-tip: NewsBusters via Memeorandum
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August 29th 2006

Quote Of The Day: Islamofascist Pig Edition

“He was absolutely indifferent, no fear, no expression. He was like a zombie.”
Kira, commenting on Omeed Aziz Popal

Here’s Michelle Malkin’s write-up of yet another Islamofascist on a murderous driving spree; this one by a vicious slime named Omeed Aziz Popal in San Francisco who tried hard but managed only injuries and thankfully no fatalities. Update: Unfortunately, that’s no longer true.

A couple interesting points: Two victims were hit outside the Jewish Community Center. And that center is 41 miles from Popal’s starting point.

Is it pre-judging to say “premeditated?”

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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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