Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who gives more?

From PoliPundit about who gives more, conservatives or the compassionate all-caring liberals;
To test what types of people give more, “20/20″ went to two very different parts of the country, with contrasting populations: Sioux Falls, S.D. and San Francisco, Calif. The Salvation Army set up buckets at the busiest locations in each city — Macy’s in San Francisco and Wal-Mart in Sioux Falls. Which bucket collected more money?

Sioux Falls is rural and religious; half of the population goes to church every week. People in San Francisco make much more money, are predominantly liberal, and just 14 percent of people in San Francisco attend church every week. Liberals are said to care more about helping the poor; so did people in San Francisco give more?

It turns out that this idea that liberals give more…is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above average percent of their income, 24 were red states in the last presidential election.

The people in S.D. outside of Wal-Mart gave twice as much. What a shock!

A crazy man with a crazy idea...

Ya think maybe this guy is a racist? Hmmmm....

Iraq Study Group - this took how long?

So after months of breathless reporting by the media the Iraq Study Group headed up by James Baker is ready to drop their big report on December 6. The NY Times, doing what it does best, leaks some of the major points;

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 — The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.

The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.

A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”

The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year.

The report leaves unstated whether the 15 combat brigades that are the bulk of American fighting forces in Iraq would be brought home, or simply pulled back to bases in Iraq or in neighboring countries. (A brigade typically consists of 3,000 to 5,000 troops.) From those bases, they would still be responsible for protecting a substantial number of American troops who would remain in Iraq, including 70,000 or more American trainers, logistics experts and members of a rapid reaction force.

So basically they are saying we should start to leave when the Iraqis are ready and capable of handling the security themselves, definitely no timetable. They do not say where they should be redeployed to.

I am underwhelmed.

But...they promised!

You get what you voted for!
Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion
Neither Party Has an Appetite for Overhauling Congressional Oversight of Intelligence
By Jonathan WeismanWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, November 30, 2006; A07

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board impressed by privacy protections.

Wonder if the NY Times will splash this bit of news all over the front pages of its circulation-dwindling newspaper? I think not...

Oversight board told of privacy protections

By John Solomon, Associated Press November 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- After a delay of more than a year, a government board appointed to guard Americans' privacy and civil liberties during the war on terror has been told the inner workings of the government's electronic eavesdropping program.

Members say they were impressed by the protections.

The briefing for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board had been delayed because President Bush was concerned -- after several media leaks -- about widening the circle of people who knew exact details of the secret eavesdropping program.

The board, created by Congress and appointed by Bush, focused on other classified work since it was named in spring 2005, but continued to press for a formal briefing by the National Security Agency.

A breakthrough was reached in recent days, and the five members were briefed by senior officials last week.

Board members said that they were impressed by the safeguards the government has built into the NSA's monitoring of phone calls and computer transmissions, and that they wished the administration could tell the public more about them to ease distrust.

"If the American public, especially civil libertarians like myself, could be more informed about how careful the government is to protect our privacy while still protecting us from attacks, we'd be more reassured," said Lanny Davis , a former Clinton White House lawyer who is the board's lone liberal Democrat.

Alan Raul, a former Reagan White House lawyer and the board's vice chairman, said he also was impressed.

"We found there was a great appreciation inside government, both at the political and career levels, for protections on privacy and civil liberties," said Raul, author of a book of civil liberties. "In fact, I think the public may have an underappreciation for the degree of seriousness the government is giving these protections."

Bet you haven't heard about this...

So Michael Richards goes on a racist tirade and now is all over the place apologizing. Alright already, I accept your apology. Now go away.

But I bet you haven't heard about this, I wonder why?

Race has no place in Irvin's analysis

By Peter Kerasotis, FloridaToday.com


Why is Michael Irvin still employed?

And why am I typing that sentence?

If you haven't heard, you're not alone. Many in my business, people who pride themselves on knowing all and being, you know, know-it-alls, still haven't heard.

So let me bring you up to speed.

Eight days ago -- yes, eight days -- Michael Irvin joined fellow ESPN employee Dan Patrick on Patrick's national radio show.

Irvin is supposed to be ESPN's version of a football analyst, but he is really a lit match they hold in their hand, waiting to see how low he can go before singeing their fingers.

On Patrick's radio show, the topic turned to Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, and Irvin, a former Cowboy star, offered the type of racially incendiary remarks you'd think would start a firestorm of outrage.

It didn't.

Opining on Romo's athleticism and how, the day before, Romo outplayed Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Irvin said this:

"He doesn't look like he's that type of an athlete, but he is. He is, man."

And here's why.

"Somewhere there are some brothers in that line," Irvin added. "I don't know who saw what, where. His great, great, great, great grandma ran over in the 'hood, or something went down."

Through all this, while saying that the reason behind Romo's athleticism is because there must be African blood in his lineage, Irvin is laughing. He thinks this is funny.

Patrick cut in, "That's the only way to be a great athlete?"

"No," Irvin replied, "that's not the only way. But it's certainly one way. Great, great, great, great grandma pulled one of them studs up outta the barn. 'Come here for a second.' You know, they go out and work in the yard. You know, back in the day. Something like that."

Eight days ago.

On a national radio show.

Raise your hand if this is the first you've heard of it.

Raise your hand even higher if you think there's a double-standard here.

If a white analyst would have uttered this kind of racial rubbish, it goes without saying that he'd be fired by now. Still, we'll say it anyway. If a white analyst uttered this kind of racial rubbish, he'd be fired by now.

So why is Michael Irvin still employed?

The social landscape is littered with white commentators who have been handed pink slips for what they've said regarding race. But how many blacks?

You might be thinking about one white analyst in particular: Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder. It was almost 19 years ago that CBS fired "The Greek" for offering the opinion that black athleticism is a byproduct of selective slave breeding.

Sound familiar? Sound a little like Michael Irvin? So where's the outrage now?

And while we're at it, where is ESPN when it's time to report on itself? Isn't this the type of junk food its TV shows like "Around The Horn" and "PTI" feed off?

Wilbon, is there a double-standard here?

Good luck trying to find the story about Irvin's remarks on any of ESPN's various and sundry networks, or on its Web site. Its national online columnists have yet to weigh in, and it's doubtful they ever will. After all, didn't ESPN sack columnist Jason Whitlock earlier this year after he was critical in an interview of another ESPN employee, Mike Lupica?

Little by little, ESPN has cherry-picked our newspapers and cornered the market on some of sports journalism's best and brightest voices.

Eight days later, those voices remain mute.

And what of the rest of the country, and the mainstream media? Well, they've obviously been infatuated with another Michael, Michael Richards, and the comic's recent raging racial rant at a comedy club. Richards, Seinfeld's wacky neighbor Kramer, is white. Thus, he's been busy making the mea culpa rounds with all sorts of news outlets, including Sunday on Jesse Jackson's syndicated radio show.

Jackson called Richards' rant a "hate speech," while Al Sharpton clamored on various news shows, demanding an apology.

Eight days later, and neither Jackson nor Sharpton has said a peep about what Irvin insinuated.

As for Richards, he is beginning psychiatric counseling.

Meanwhile, the other Michael, Irvin, is still performing his normal analyst duties for ESPN, pausing just long enough Sunday to offer a half-baked apology via USA Today.

"It's clear I was joking around," Irvin said, adding, "I need to learn how to better draw the line between bringing people into the locker room and the boundaries I should not go past as a broadcaster."

In other words, he needs to learn better how to edit and mute how he really feels about race. And he is also saying, by implying that this is locker-room talk, that he isn't the only African-American who harbors these views.

ESPN had to know this is what it was getting when it ignored Irvin's cocaine-dusted résumé and hired him anyway. The self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports hired the Worldwide Leader in Snorts.

And we're surprised at the outcome?

ESPN likes the edge Michael Irvin brings, even when he goes over the edge. He is the class clown, court jester, village idiot, moron with a microphone.

And, like it or not, he is still employed.

About those "praying" Imams

It seems they were not merely praying as they claim, from the Washington Times;
Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.

According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

The imams who claimed two first-class seats said their tickets were upgraded. The gate agent told police that when the imams asked to be upgraded, they were told no such seats were available. Nevertheless, the two men were seated in first class when removed.

A flight attendant said one of the men made two trips to the rear of the plane to talk to the imam during boarding, and again when the flight was delayed because of their behavior. Aviation officials, including air marshals and pilots, said these actions alone would not warrant a second look, but the combination is suspicious.

“That’s like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You just can’t do that anymore,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal.

US Air should be commended for their reaction to all of this!

John Edwards book signing

John "PS3" Edwards is refusing to have his book siging at Walmart because he says they don't pay their employees enough. He instead will be at the Barnes & Noble signing his book.

Walmart pays $7.50/hr.
B&N pays $7.00/hr.

John? Any comment?

John Edwards' folly: A book signing gone wrong

Monday, Nov. 27, 2006

Former Sen. John Edwards is to spend an hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble tonight promoting his new book. We find his choice of venue very interesting.

In Manchester, the local Wal-Mart store sits right behind the Barnes & Noble. It has more floor space, a parking lot several times the size of Barnes & Noble's, and is easier to access by car or public transportation.

But Edwards would not be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. Saying that the company pays its employees too little, Edwards has embarked on an anti-Wal-Mart crusade. He instructs his staff members and all Americans not to shop at Wal-Mart.

"Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well," Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.

So naturally Edwards is holding his book signing at Barnes & Noble instead of Wal-Mart. Which is too bad for his anti-low-wages campaign, because in Manchester Wal-Mart pays hourly employees more than Barnes & Noble does.

The Barnes & Noble where Edwards will hawk his book pays $7 an hour to start. The Wal-Mart that sits just yards away pays $7.50 an hour.

Oh, the humanity!


From 7 to 8 p.m., Edwards will bring business to a retailer that pays wages he thinks are so immorally low that they should be illegal. Meanwhile, right behind him, thousands of Granite Staters will be supporting a business that pays an Edwards-approved starting wage, but which Edwards wants everyone to boycott.

Asked back in January what he thought would be an appropriate minimum wage, Edwards told The New York Times, "My view is it should be $7.50 an hour, and I can make a great argument for it being a lot higher than that."

Seven-fifty an hour? Why, that's what Wal-Mart pays! And without a federal mandate, too.

Unfortunately, people who want to support a company that pays at least $7.50 an hour cannot go to Wal-Mart to buy Edwards' book and then take it over to Barnes & Noble for him to sign it. Wal-Mart doesn't carry it. Wonder why.

Of course, Barnes & Noble is no less virtuous than Wal-Mart because it pays 50 cents an hour less. And Wal-Mart is no less virtuous than other companies that pay more. Both businesses provide useful, productive employment at competitive market rates. That in itself is virtuous.

John Edwards should take the virtuous path and stop his anti-Wal-Mart demagoguery. Anyone can see that it is nothing more than a populist ploy to make him look like a champion of low-income people. But those very people he is trying to help end up saving hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at Wal-Mart. Its efficiencies provide them with low-cost items they might not be able to afford otherwise.

We'd bet that if America's poor could choose between Wal-Mart and John Edwards, they would choose Wal-Mart. They understand that Wal-Mart has done more to improve their lives than John Edwards ever will. Which is why, as Edwards signs copies of his coffee table book inside Barnes & Noble tonight, hundreds of people will continue to shop at the Wal-Mart just a stone's throw away, never knowing that a millionaire former senator is sitting nearby secretly disapproving of their behavior.

SCOTUS to NY Times: "Nope, don't think so!

The NY Times, trying to run out the clock on this case, got the answer they did not want yesterday;
The Supreme Court, without noted dissent, refused on Monday to block the forced disclosure to federal investigators of telephone records of two New York Times reporters. Those records are being sought by a federal grand jury in an investigation of a suspected leak about freezing of the assets of two Islamic charities soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

What a shame!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rangel continues his lies...

Charlie Rangel continues to lie and ignore the facts about those who join the military, and the media continues to let him get away with it. Rangel said on Fox News Sunday;
“[N]o young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very high unemployment. If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life he would not be in Iraq.”

But here is a sample of what the Heritage Foundation found;
Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pen­tagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.

The whole thing is here.

2006 Hurricane Season? Nevermind...

Remember this prediction?
STATE COLLEGE, PA, May 15, 2006-The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi, today released its 2006 hurricane season forecast. An active hurricane season appears imminent, which could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy and the one in six Americans who live on the Eastern Seaboard or along the western Gulf of Mexico.

For the 2006 Hurricane Season-which traditionally runs from June 1 through November 30-Bastardi and his team are forecasting that six tropical cyclones will make landfall in the U.S. Five of these landfalling storms are likely to be hurricanes, with three being major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.


"The 2006 season will be a creeping threat," said Bastardi. "Early in the season-June and July-the Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire. As early as July, and through much of the rest of the season, the highest level of risk shifts to the Carolinas. From mid-August into early October, the window is open for hurricane strikes to spread northward to the more densely populated Northeast coast. At the very end of the season, southern Florida also faces significant hurricane risk."

"There are few areas of the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico that will not be in the bull's eye at some point this season," said Ken Reeves, AccuWeather's Director of Forecast Operations. Ironically, though, the region that was hammered the hardest last year-the central and eastern Gulf Coast-has one of the lower probabilities of receiving another major hurricane strike in 2006."

Added Reeves, "This is not to say that hard-hit New Orleans has nothing to worry about. Because the city's defenses have been so compromised by Hurricane Katrina, even a glancing blow from a hurricane elsewhere could spell trouble for the city."

Oh well...
Hurricane Predictions Off Track As Tranquil Season Wafts Away

By NEIL JOHNSON The Tampa Tribune

Published: Nov 27, 2006

It was not the hurricane season we expected, thank you.

With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade.

Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

Still, Florida was hit by two tropical storms, Alberto and Ernesto. But after the pummeling of the previous two years, the storms barely registered on the public's radar.

So what happened? Lots.

Storms were starved for fuel after ingesting masses of dry Saharan dust and air over the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists say the storm-snuffing dust was more abundant than usual this year.

In the season's peak, storms were curving right like errant field goals. High pressure that normally hunkers near Bermuda shifted far eastward, and five storms rode the clockwise winds away from Florida.

Finally, a rapidly growing El Nino, a warming of water over the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifted winds high in the atmosphere southward. The winds left developing storms disheveled and unable to become organized.

As they say about the stock market: Past results are no indication of future performance.

This year's uneventful season provides no assurance that next year will be as calm:

•The Atlantic remains in a 20- to 30-year cycle of high hurricane activity that started in 1995. Water temperatures are above normal.

•El Nino probably won't be around to decapitate storms.

•There's no promise that the Saharan dust will be as abundant.

BY THE NUMBERS
9: The number of named storms this year

17: The number of named storms predicted May 31 by a team at Colorado State University led by Professor William Gray

45 mph: The wind speed when Tropical Storm Alberto hit the Florida Panhandle near Adams Beach on June 13, the strongest winds over Florida all season

56 percent: The average homeowner rate increase Citizens Property Insurance Corp. requested even after no hurricanes struck Florida

27 percent: The Citizens rate increase approved to start Jan. 1

$100 million: Estimated damage in the United States from Tropical Storm Ernesto

0: The number of storms that formed in October, the first time since 2002 that no storms formed that month. Also, no Category 4 or 5 storms formed this year for the first time since 1997.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good thing he's not running again...

This picture would do for Bush...


...what this picture did for Kerry.

Wages increasing at 1990s levels...

Those dems are so good, they don't even have to be in power and things get better...
A brisk rise in American wages

Pay rose faster than the cost of living for the first time in years.

By Mark Trumbull | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

American paychecks are rising again at a pace not seen since the 1990s.
The pay increase amounts to 4 percent on average over the past 12 months, and it comes at a very helpful time for millions of households.

For three years, pay increases haven't kept pace with the rising cost of living. Then came this year's housing slowdown, which has further squeezed family finances.

Those setbacks, however, are now being offset by rising income. Four percent may not sound like much, but you have to look back to 1997 to find a calendar year with a gain that big.

Equally significant, tamer energy prices mean that the "real" wage gains, after inflation, are above 3 percent for the past 12 months. That, too, hasn't happened since the 1990s, even though the economy has been expanding over the past five years
.

Rangel says draft = no wars

I am at a loss to follow this logic but Rep. Charlie Rangel has again brought the idea of reinstituting a draft as a way to deter future wars.

Huh?

He says that if there were a draft which would put congressmen's sons and daughters (I am sure he means Republican congressmen) at risk of being sent to war that this would some how prevent the president from initiating wars such as the Iraq War.

Huh?

I am not sure how this would affect enemies of the US but it can't be anything positive. In fact it might embolden them to attack sooner if they think we would have an unwilling military.

Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer don't seem to enthused by the idea;
Top House Democrats to bar military draft plan
Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:46pm ET

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A reinstatement of the military draft, being pushed by a senior Democrat, will not be slated for consideration in the House of Representatives, the chamber's newly elected top leaders said on Monday.

"We did not include that" in legislative plans for early next year, said Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who will be House majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January under Democratic control for the first time in 12 years.

New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, who is in line to chair the House Ways and Means Committee next year, has renewed his call for the draft, saying the war in Iraq is being fought by American soldiers who disproportionately are from low-income families and minorities.

Over the weekend, Rangel said he would seek passage next year of the universal draft legislation he has long sought. "If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft," Rangel said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

No big surprise, even Rangel voted against his own plan back in 2004 when the vote was 402-2 against.

The big "O"

I can't stop laughing!
CBS/AP) SAN FRANCISCO Two peace activists have planned a massive anti-war demonstration for the first day of winter.

But they don’t want you marching in the streets. They’d much rather you just stay home.

The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace.

“The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it,” Reffell said Sunday. “Your mind is like a blank. It’s like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change.”

His mind is like a blank? I think we knew that already!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Murtha LOSER

Steny Hoyer wins House Majority Leader over John "total crap" Murtha!

Oh my...smack down!

From today's hearings;

Senator Rodham: “...hope is not a strategy...”

General Abizaid: “I agree that hope is not a strategy but despair is not a strategy either

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Now they tell us!


The NY Times on the front page today!

Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say

By MICHAEL R. GORDON
Published: November 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 — One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.

This is the case now being argued by many Democrats, most notably Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who asserts that the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should begin within four to six months.

But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

“The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this,” General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. “Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence.”

Instead of taking troops out, General Zinni said, it would make more sense to consider deploying additional American forces over the next six months to “regain momentum” as part of a broader effort to stabilize Iraq that would create more jobs, foster political reconciliation and develop more effective Iraqi security forces.

Remember all those generals that the media loved because they wanted Rumsfeld to resign? Those same generals are now saying more troops are needed. I wonder if we will hear a steady drumbeat for more troops, more troops, MORE TROOPS!!!!!

Yeah, sure we will....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dean Demands Recount in VA....

Really...he did! What you don't believe me? See here.

Pelosi already out for blood...of her own party!

If she can't work with her own party how will she work with the Republicans. Not very well I should think;
Rep. Nancy Pelosi plans to sideline colleagues who are hawkish on national security in the Democratic leadership in the House.

Democratic Party sources said as House Speaker, Ms. Pelosi plans to block moves that would place hawks into important chairmanships. The sources said a key casualty would be Rep. Jane Harman, a six-term member of Congress who has cooperated with Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.


So what will she do instead? Appoint Alcee Hastings as committee chairman, an impeached former federal judge.


Just beautiful.

“If Nancy Pelosi’s apparent determination to deny Jane Harman the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee to appease the Black Caucus is any indication, Democratic control is not going to be good news for those who believe in competent oversight of the national-security apparatus,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute.


You get what you voted for!

The new Democratic party...

...sounds a lot like the old Democratic party;
“It’s not just committees — our influence within the House Democratic caucus will grow enormously,” Mr. Rangel said in an interview.
To that end, he sketched out an expansive federal agenda: Teaming up with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on gun control, passing new tax incentives for urban job programs, and redirecting federal money to New York in return for the outsize tax collections that the federal government makes here.

“Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?” Mr. Rangel said.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What happened to all the election fraud?

Funny but all the howls that there was voter fraud, technology failures and voter intimidation, suppression and scare tactics to keep voters away from the polls are now GONE! Wonder why?

I guess when Dems win its a perfectly legitmate election.

No matter.

There's always tomorrow. The dems had better get some things done in these next 2 years or they will be out just as fast as the blue wave broke yesterday. Mark my words.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The fix is always in agfainst the Dems...

Its always Dems that are being suppressed at the polls, intimidation at the polls. Not enough voting machines, the software doesn't work right. Votes being recorded for the other Republican candidate instead of the Democratic one.

It's easy to make accusations, lets see some actual proof. I am guessing there will be none!

Problems in PA
Trouble in Indiana
Denver too.
Wrong Ballots in FL.

Dems already blaming everyone/everything...

...but themselves.

When you see stories like this, it can't be good for Dems...
Dems will go to court this afternoon to ask for polls to stay open

By ANITA WADHWANI
Staff Writer

Lawyers with the Tennessee Democratic Party will file suit early this afternoon asking that voting hours be extended due to reports of infrastructure problems, a party spokesman said.

The party has received reports that some precincts lacked enough voting machines, voting machines that are not working, long lines and delays in the openings of polling paces, said the spokesman Mark Brown.

Of course they need the polls open late, they must be losing in Tenn.

Monday, November 06, 2006

John Kerry, this is how you apologize;

Last week a photograph of Amy Gutmann the president of University of Pennsylvania made its way across the internet. The photo was of the UPENN president at a Halloween party with a student dressed as a suicide bomber and she took a lot of heat for it. She posted an apology on the university website and has gone one step further;
As many of you have heard or seen by now, there was a photograph from our annual Halloween party that has taken flight over the Internet. The photograph is embarrassing for the University and me alike. I posted a formal response on our website last week. However, I wanted to provide more context.

Following a long standing Penn tradition, I host an annual Halloween party at the President’s House. Hundreds of students show up dressed in every imaginable costume — witches and warlocks, Jasons and Michael Myers, ax murderers and Frankensteins. In keeping with the spirit of the event, I appeared as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. In this context, it’s hard to imagine that someone could create an actually offensive costume, but at least one of our students did.

Part of the Halloween party tradition is the opportunity to be photographed with the President. This year, one student holding a toy gun was photographed with me before it was obvious to me that he was dressed as a suicide bomber. As soon as I realized the full extent of his costume, I refused his request for additional photographs.

Some have mistakenly interpreted the photograph as my support for terrorism. Nothing could be further from the truth. I abhor terrorism, suicide bombers and everything they do. My record is unabashedly clear on this point.

The student has since apologized, and I accept his apology. I too apologize for the offense this photo has caused. Some images are too horrific even for Halloween.

That is how you apologize.

Pew Poll has some interesting numbers...

According to the Pew Poll released yesterday the generic ballot, would you vote for a Democrat or a Republican, has decreased significantly. One month ago that number was a 11% lead for the dems and now it is only 4% in the Pew Poll. Other interesting tidbits as outlined by Ed Morrissey of Capt's Quarters;
The last Pew Research poll was taken in early October. In a month, the Democrats have lost non-minorities altogether. The gap among all whites went from +5 Democrats to +5 GOP, a ten-point swing. White females had supported Democrats by a 15-point margin and a majority (55-40), but now give the GOP a 2-point lead. The Democrats have also lost the middle class, a big problem in this election.

Households earning between $50K-$75K and $30K-$50K have both slipped to the GOP. The former switched from a 14-point margin for the Democrats to an eight-point Republican lead, while the latter has had an even more dramatic shift. Those earners had favored Democrats by 22 points, but now go Republican by 3. The Democrats even lost the tie they had with earners above $75K, and now trail there by seven. They did extend their margin for earners below $30K from 25 points to 30.

In the religious demographics, where the Democrats have tried mightily to find some traction, they also have problems. They held a thin lead (5 points) among all Protestants, but now trail by 9. Their ten-point lead among white mainline Protestants has dissipated into a tie. They lead among all Catholic, having lost three points off of an eight-point lead, but non-Hispanic Catholics now favor the GOP by 5 points, a ten-point shift.

Even in areas where Democrats maintained their leads, they have cause for some nail-biting. They lost part of their margin among self-described moderates, going from a whopping 44 points to 27. They had led in all regions of the country a month ago, but now have lost the South altogether in a 16-point shift, and a 26-point gap in the Northeast has narrowed to nine points -- a remarkable comeback for Republicans in a liberal stronghold. The GOP also cut the Democratic lead among urban voters from 32 points to 10.

The Gallup/USA Today(7%) and the ABC News/Washington Post Polls(6%) are showing the same generic ballot numbers. Should be an interesting day tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Even though he apologized, he's not really sorry at all...

John Kerry's official website has linked to the Seattle Times editorial titled "Right Either Way" so he obviously is not sorry at all for what he said and believes what he said to be 100% accurate.

John Kerry's Official Website

Saddam verdict expected on Sunday

Judgment day looms for Saddam

By Ibon Villelabeitia and Ahmed Rasheed
Fri Nov 3, 7:59 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three years after he gave himself up to American soldiers without firing a shot, Saddam Hussein may be condemned to hang on Sunday if an Iraqi court finds him guilty of crimes against humanity.

The final act of Saddam's year-old first trial, the verdict is the high point of a historic, U.S.-sponsored experiment in international justice intended to unite Iraqis in exorcising three decades of rule by the former president, accused of mass killing and torture to keep power over Iraq's disparate peoples.

Yet the country's descent toward civil war since Saddam was overthrown has blighted proceedings. Three defense lawyers were killed, the judge quit over political interference and Iraqis, who a year ago gasped in wonder to see the former strongman in court, have lapsed into distracted indifference to his fate.

Saddam, 69, and seven co-accused have been charged with crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers after an attempt on his life in the town of Dujail in 1982.

If convicted, Saddam faces death by hanging, a prospect Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with some disregard for judicial independence, has said cannot come soon enough.

But a death sentence -- which Saddam with typical bombast has demanded in court should instead be by military firing squad -- may be many months, even years, away. He is due back in court on Friday in a separate trial for genocide against Kurds in the 1980s and could face up to a dozen other cases.

Since the trial opened in the heavily fortified Baghdad courtroom in October last year, three defense lawyers have been killed in attacks that the defense team, dominated by Saddam's fellow Sunnis, blamed on Shi'ite Muslim gunmen. The first chief judge, a Kurd, resigned in protest over government interference.

"LOST OPPORTUNITY"

"This is a lost opportunity to promote the rule of law," legal observer Richard Dicker from Human Rights Watch said.

Proceedings have taken place against a backdrop of growing sectarian violence.

Many people in the Shi'ite town of Dujail refused to speak to a Reuters reporter this week out of fear of reprisals and several said they were concerned Sunni insurgents might launch attacks in the area to coincide with the verdict.

Far from being a catharsis for Iraqis scarred by Saddam's rule, many feel the trial has deepened animosities between rival communities 3-1/2 years after the U.S.-led invasion.

Some international legal experts and human rights activists have said the trial would be better held in a third country.

In the village of Awja, Saddam's birthplace in the Sunni heartland of Salahaddin province, many asked for his release.

"If they want peace in Iraq, we demand they stop this farce trial run by Bush and his aides," said Ahmad al-Nasiri, standing next to the village mosque, which was built by Saddam.

Saddam's chief lawyer has warned a death sentence against the former leader, who is being held in a U.S.-run prison, would plunge Iraq into "full scale civil war."

Security in the fortified Green Zone, where the courtroom is located, has been tightened ahead of the verdict, which U.S. and Iraqi officials close to the court say should be announced on Sunday -- though a delay cannot be ruled out.

Saddam has been defiant during televised proceedings. He has staged hunger strikes, dismissed the Iraqi High Tribunal as a U.S.-orchestrated farce, and said the verdict has been rigged.

As President Bush faces mounting criticism over the war, a guilty verdict announced two days ahead of tight U.S. congressional elections on November 7 could reflect positively on him as a vindication of his policy to overthrow Saddam.

U.S. officials deny Washington had any say over the timing of the verdict or the court's decisions, saying the American role was limited to logistics and security.

Throughout the Dujail case, Iraqi court officials have been consulting closely with -- and, sources close to the court say, firmly guided by -- American lawyers from a U.S. Embassy department known as the Regime Crimes Liaison Office.

The unit has been the conduit for $140 million in U.S. funding for the court, and the driving force in the sifting of tons of documents and advising prosecutors.

In a recent briefing, a U.S. official close to the court said the Saddam trial had more historical significance than past trials against former strongmen, including Liberia's Charles Taylor and Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic.

"Saddam is being tried by his own people and in his land," the official said. "That is what this trial is about."

Saddam gave himself up?

Dems again trying to suppress the military vote

Yeah, they support the troops!
E-Mail Ballots for Military Questioned

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A New Jersey congressman raised questions Thursday about a new military voting program that lets service members request and submit their ballots by fax or e-mail.

The Defense Department, however, said the program is as secure as possible, and any risks are detailed for the military members when they access the e-mail system.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Democratic Rep. Rush Holt said the electronic registration and voting service is well-intentioned, but could expose troops to identity theft, or allow hackers or others to tamper with the ballots when they are in transit.

"After the Defense Department was stopped from implementing a program like this two years ago because it was full of security holes, I'm angry and astonished that they're doing it again without review, scrutiny, and oversight," said Holt.

He said that while U.S. military personnel should participate in the political process, "no one is served by introducing possibilities for error, insecurity, and fraud."

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the Defense Department has set up a secure absentee voter program that will allow military members to request and receive absentee ballots. The new program, she said, lets people vote without relying on the regular mail system.

As part of the program, many states allow military members deployed overseas to return their completed ballot via fax or the Internet. Those ballots, Smith said, will not pass through the hands of any government officials until they are received by a local election authority.

"The e-mail-to-fax operation does have risks, but we have taken every precaution to limit those risks," said Smith. She said U.S. service members have been told of the potential privacy concerns with the system, so they can make an informed choice about whether to use the program.

The Steele Wave

From the Washington Times;
Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin yesterday tried to rally support among black Democrats in Prince George's County, while Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele campaigned with county Democratic leaders who broke ranks this week to endorse him.
Mr. Cardin appeared with Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and about 30 other lawmakers in Hyattsville, aiming to keep a diminishing lead in the polls...

...But the rally turned sour later. State Sen. Nathaniel Exum, Prince George's Democrat, berated Mr. Cardin for excluding him and other local delegates from speaking or being mentioned.

"You do the same [stuff] over and over again, just ignore us," Mr. Exum yelled at Mr. Cardin after the rally, which was held in Mr. Exum's district. Mr. Cardin shrugged off the incident.

Kerry's words do matter - from OpinionJournal.com

Shame on Him

John Kerry picked the wrong people to insult.

BY RONALD R. GRIFFIN
Friday, November 3, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

I missed the joke. You must forgive me, for there just is not a lot of room in my life for even good jokes--and there is absolutely no room for "botched jokes"--when the subject of the joke is my son who was killed in Iraq. I know exactly what came out of Sen. John Kerry's mouth, and in those words there is no interpretation required. His attempt to convince us--and, I believe, to convince himself that that there was really a botched joke buried deep within his insult is in fact a reaffirmation of his ever-present condescending nature. He actually believes that we are stupid enough to agree with him and start laughing simply because he said it was a joke. Mr. Kerry said exactly what he meant and meant exactly what he said. In those words Mr. Kerry did in fact wash completely away the facade of his support of our magnificent troops and revealed for all to see his true colors.

All one had to do is look into the face of Mr. Kerry as the last word came out of his mouth, and it was painfully obvious that he knew that he had just disparaged the entire military. As the firestorm grew, the calls for an apology filled me with unease. It is not up to him to determine if an apology is in order. That decision most certainly rests with the millions of individuals he offended, and then they would decide if they were going to accept one or not.

As Sen. Kerry began his soon-to-be-reversed "I apologize to no one" rebuttal to a call for an apology, I was driving by the memorial built in honor of Kyle, my son, and the other fallen heroes from my town. As I listened, I tried unsuccessfully to make sense of the meteor shower of thoughts that were streaking through my mind. Then came one remembrance that brought all those other thoughts to an instantaneous halt. Last year I had written an editorial and I received a number of written replies. Among those was one postmarked from San Diego addressed simply to "the father of a hero" and my town of Emerson, N.J.

It started off friendly enough then quickly became argumentative and before the first paragraph was completed this individual had written, "I am glad that your son got killed for he probably was an idiot just like you". My first reaction, and really the only reaction I have ever had, was sadness for an individual who is so consumed with anger that he felt it necessary to lash out at me for my beliefs.

That is exactly how I feel about John Kerry. His anger was in full bloom as he tried desperately to control the damage that his words had caused. He knew full well that he could not defend his remarks, so he attacked President Bush. In doing so he reinforced his now fully revealed condescending attitude towards our troops. He talked over them, as he always does, never even beginning to understand that there might be individuals who were truly and deeply offended by his remarks. The explanation for that is quite simple: He firmly and deeply believes that anyone who would be so stupid as to join the military is beneath the high moral perch on which he thinks he sits.

Even in his so-called apology the next day, Mr. Kerry could not bring himself to admit that he had made a mistake. It was not his fault that I might be offended; it is my fault because I "misinterpreted" what he said.

Over these past 3 1/2 years, whenever I have been asked to be interviewed or speak at a function, I purposely do not write anything down. I do not want my emotions to be confined by the words that I have practiced; rather, I want to share with the people I am speaking with the full range of emotions that I live with each day in order that they might understand me in human terms. On the day that he aggrieved so many individuals by his words, that is what Sen. Kerry was doing. He dropped the pretense and revealed to the world what was in is heart, to his never-ending detriment.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with our troops comes away with a sense of awe, attributable not just to their bravery and valor but to their intelligence and character. In one of the many conversations I had with Kyle, I reminded him that as he moved up the ladder in the military, he would have to be ever mindful that the caliber of the individual got better and better and that he would have to work harder and harder. Kyle did not want to go to college; he wanted to be a soldier. He joined and only had one demand and that was to be Infantry. He was airborne qualified and had orders to go to Ranger school, but the war in Iraq came first. I can still recall to this day the astonishment in his voice when he told me of his passing of the 82nd Airborne Pre-Ranger course and the incredible individuals he graduated with. Only four in 10 did so. Little did I know at the time that he was voted by those other graduates as Best Ranger.

Sen. Kerry has really picked on the wrong crowd this time. Not so much the individual soldiers he so clearly insulted, for they are great judges of true manhood, and in him they have found him wanting. When he ran for president, they voted against him by almost 4 to 1.

They will laugh him off, but their loved ones are a different matter. Kyle died with two of his buddies, Spc. Michael Gleason and Spc. Zachariah Long. Ironic in a way, for they came from Pennsylvania, the great state that has given us these two and so many other magnificent heroes--and Rep. John Murtha, who disparages their service just like Senator Kerry. Kyle and Zack were inseparable. They trained together; rode dirt bikes together; one taught the other how to milk a cow; they deployed together; they earned their Bronze Stars together in rescuing a compromised unit; and they died together at age 20, one asleep on the other's shoulder.

In their death and our sorrow, I have come to know and love Zach's mom Karen as Kyle did during those many days spent riding the dirt bikes on their farm in Pennsylvania and eating her out of house and home and probably a cow or two. On Wednesday I called Karen to ask what she thought of Sen. Kerry's remarks. I was shocked that she had no idea what I was talking about, for she hardly watches any news anymore. I read her the quote from Mr. Kerry and shut up as she digested and interpreted the words. She then simply said, "Shame on him for insulting my boy. He just called my boy stupid. Shame on him."

John Kerry can attempt to apologize in as many forms and as many times as has the breath but he can be assured that the pain that he has inflicted upon this wonderful woman will forever be part of the pain that she endures each day and in reality there was no reason for it to happen.

It is in my mind the height of irony that John Kerry, a Yale graduate, would make two other Yale graduates the butt of his supposed joke. One we all knew as President Bush; the other is known mostly to those who have proudly served with and under him. On the day Kyle died, this gallant warrior was to take command of Kyle's parent unit, the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion. Kyle was on his way to the ceremony when he and his buddies were killed. Here is a man who is the epitome of intellect, character and gallantry--an individual that Mr. Kerry does not believe exists.

John Kerry stands alone, to be judged by his words. He has given us the rare opportunity to look into the soul of a politician, and he has shown himself wanting, especially in view of the fact that he asked us to allow him the honor and privilege of leading our gallant military at a time of war. It is rare in life to be able to know the consequences of both sides of a decision. Mr. Kerry has clearly demonstrated what manner of president he would have been. Fortunately the American electorate denied him that high honor.

Mr. Griffin is the father of Spc. Kyle Andrew Griffin, a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star, who was killed in a truck accident on a road between Mosul and Tikrit on May 30, 2003.

NY Times confirms existence of Iraq nuke program

The NY Times has inadvertantly confirmed the existence of Saddam's nuke program in 2002 and said that Iraq was within a year of having a nuke! What they probably thought they were doing was another "Bush is incompetent" hit piece because these documents were available on the internet for all to see and the government had to pull them down due to fears they would aid Iran in there quest for a nuke.
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Enemy Fails...what the media does not report.

THE ENEMY FAILS
IN IRAQ'S BLOODY RAMADAN, THE FORCES OF CHAOS LOSE

by Amir Taheri
New York Post
October 29, 2006
October 29, 2006 -- AMERICAN angst over Iraq typically misses two key points.

First: The United States has already achieved the goals it had proclaimed when it set out to liberate the country in 2003. Saddam Hussein and his war machinery are gone, with a democracy in their place, inspiring reform across the region.

Second: This success threatens countless interests - so the many enemies of the new Iraq are attempting to derail it. Yet their only real hope of victory lies with America public opinion.

Consider the events of the last month.

NEW Iraq's various enemies had designated the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan that has just ended as "The Month of Battle and Victory" (shahr al-maarakah wa al-nasr). Through their various statements, distributed on jihadist Web sites and TV channels owned by Arab despots, they had fixed a number of objectives that they had hoped to achieve with a view to demoralizing the American people and strengthening the cut-and-run party in Washington and London.

The average televiewer in the United States or Europe may well conclude that the enemies of new Iraq have achieved their Ramadan objectives. This has been the deadliest month in well over a year, with at least 600 civilians killed in several dozen insurgent operations. The Iraqi army and police lost more than 180 men, while U.S. forces suffered 98 dead.

The perception created is that of a situation in which the terrorists can strike where and when they want while U.S. and Iraqi forces are murdered without inflicting the slightest harm on the enemy.

Nevertheless, the Saddamites, the jihadists and the militias sponsored by Tehran not only achieved none of their objectives but also suffered their biggest losses since the start of the insurgency in 2004.

HERE are some of the objectives that the Jihadists, the Saddamites and other enemies of new Iraq had fixed for themselves but did not achieve:

* Seizing enough territory in and around the towns of Haditha and Aanah in the al-Anbar province to establish an "Islamic emirate" there. Despite several major attempts they failed, largely because a strong new coalition of Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar has entered the fight to flush the jihadists out of Iraq.

* To gain a foothold in Mosul, Iraq's largest Arab Sunni city, and turn it into a new base as Fallujah had been in 2004. Again, despite several attempts, the plan failed - thanks to the new Iraqi army backed by U.S. forces.

* To blow up the Shiite holy shrines in Karbala and Najaf just as was done in Samarrah last year. At least 12 suicide-bombers were sent to the two cities on the last day of Ramadan. The authorities decided to close the shrines for 48 hours, captured some of the would-be bombers and nipped the plot in the bud.

* Attacking the "Green Zone" in the heat of Baghdad, where most Iraqi government offices and the U.S. embassy are located. The insurgents made at least two attempts but failed, suffering heavy casualties.

* To paralyze the parliament by threatening to kill its members at a time they were discussing such key issues as federalism, a law for foreign investments in Iraq and the terms of an amnesty and national reconciliation. Again, despite several attempts on the lives of parliamentarians, the plot failed.

* To prevent Arab Sunni clerics from traveling to Mecca to sign a concordat with their Shiite clerics, calling for an end to sectarian killings. Again, the jihadist efforts failed, as all key figures in the Arab Sunni clerical elite of Iraq went to Mecca and signed the concordat.

* Muqtada al-Sadr and his Jaish al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army) tried to seize control of the southern Shiite city of al-Amarah with a well-planned attack reportedly designed by Iranian advisers. However, the attack failed and Sadr's gunmen were flushed out of the city.

* Sadr's militia, in alliance with local gangsters, tried to seize control of part of the border with Iran through which crude oil is smuggled from Iraq to the Iranian refinery at Kermanshah. The attempt failed - thanks to the new Iraqi army, which now controls virtually the whole of the border outside the Kurdish areas.

* Despite numerous murders and abductions, the jihadist promise to force the total closure of hospitals, universities, schools, newspapers, TV stations and even barber shops was not fulfilled.

* A plot by Sadr militias to seize the Interior Ministry and reinstate the 1,300 of their members who had been purged by the new minister failed, again thanks to the new Iraqi police.

* Despite explicit murder threats, more than a dozen prominent Iraqi political figures, among them former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and former Deputy Premier Ahmad Chalabi, returned to Baghdad after months spent abroad.

* Attempts at preventing the forthcoming local government elections by destroying voter lists and killing election organizers have failed. The elections will take place on schedule with all Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish and Christian parties already in the field.

* To drive a wedge between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhamamd Sistani, the primus inter pares of the Shiite clergy. The attempt, backed by Sadr and others, failed when Maliki went to Najaf to acknowledge Sistani's position and secure his blessing for planned amnesty measures.

* To prevent the marking of the Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) by threatening people with massive suicide attacks. Again, despite several murder operations, the terrorists failed as countless Iraqis celebrated the feast with greater determination than previous years.

The various enemies of new Iraq murdered a large number of people in Ramadan, but failed to translate their crimes into any political gains for themselves. Politically, the Saddamites, the jihadists and other enemies of new Iraq have passed their worst month ever.

THE only success they have had is in the field of perceptions in the United States and the West in general. They could point to the fact that the "Iraq is a failure" chorus is at its loudest yet in the United States, while signs of a possible British loss of nerve multiply.

It is largely the hope of breaking the will of the American people and its key allies that keeps the insurgency alive.

Tomorrow: The Big Picture


Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.