Friday, June 29, 2007

IDF Busts "Moderate" Fatah Bomb Lab in Nablus

Now that Gaza is Hamasistan, the United States State Department and the Olmert Government of Israel tell us that we must distinguish between the bad terrorists of Hamas and the "moderate" forces of Fatah, lead by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Occasionally, however, reality intrudes on these fantasies, and reveals the true face of Fatah. For example, YNet reports today that Israel Defense Force troops, in a large operation against terrorist infrastructure in Nablus, exposed a large explosives factory:
"Three prepared explosive devices, each weighing roughly five kilograms, were found in the laboratory, along with numerous weapons, magazines and materials used to manufacture bombs. ... Wednesday afternoon soldiers discovered another weapons cache containing a pipe bomb, a Kalashnikov rifle, a hand gun and two grenades. At another location in Nablus troops found an M-16 rifle and a telescopic sight. The weapons were confiscated and the grenades were detonated in controlled explosions."

Nablus is a city in the Shomron, the so-called West Bank, which still is under the control of Fatah, the "good" or "moderate" terrorists. It is the site of the Biblical city of Shechem.

Good Week for the Right

Mark Tapscott, Editorial Page Editor of the San Francisco Examiner, explains in his blog why this past week was an incredible week for American conservatives. He begins by quoting Winston Churchill, "God takes care of drunks and the United States of America," and then enumerates three landmark successes of the past week:

1. Defeat of the Immigration Bill, largely at the hands of the conservative New Media, who based their efforts not on nativist demogoguery (as some Republican Senators charged), but rather on thorough examination and analysis of the legislation;

2. Commencement in earnest of the Roberts Era in the United States Supreme Court, with important 5-4 decisions upholding conservative positions on political speech (FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., which invalidated provisions of the McCain-Feingold Bill that prohibited certain broadcast ads in proximity to an election); and the use of race to assign students to public schools; and

3. Defeat in the Democrat-led House of Representatives of an attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which was a bullet aimed squarely at the aforesaid conservative New Media, particularly talk radio.

So even as the fortunes of the George W. Bush Administration continue to wane, the conservative movement is alive and well, and, to give credit where due, in no small part due to the excellent Supreme Court nominations made by President Bush. (H/T Instapundit.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Palestine Death Watch Update

In the New Republic, editor-in-chief Martin Peretz asks, "Is this the end of Palestine?", and reaches the same conclusion as Bret Stephens, in the post referenced immediately below this one.
Peretz notes that "Palestine" was always a nationalist movement, never a nation state:
So what is Palestine? It is an improvisation from a series of rude facts. Palestine was never anything of especial importance to the Arabs or to the larger orbit of Muslims. Palestine was never even an integral territory of the Ottomans but split up in sanjaks that crossed later postWorld War I borders, a geographical and political jumble. When General Allenby captured Jerusalem, it was a great happening for believing Christian Europe, not a tragedy for Islam. When the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine was passed, envisioning a "Jewish" state and an "Arab" (not, mind you, Palestinian) state, even the idea of a separate Arab realm was met at best with a yawn. Though almost no Arab wanted Jewish sovereignty in any of Palestine, virtually no Arab seemed to crave Arab sovereignty, either. Foreign Arab armies did the fighting against the Haganah, and foreign states sat for the Palestinians at the cease-fire negotiations, as they had sat for decades at the international conferences on Palestine convened by the powers. Palestine was being fought over to be divvied up by Cairo, Amman, and Damascus. The Syrian army was overwhelmed by the Israelis. No rewards there. It was different for King Farouk and Abdullah I, who got land in reward for their soldiers' combat.

Indeed, from 1949 through 1967, what was the West Bank of Arab Palestine was annexed--yes, annexed--by Jordan, and what was the Gaza Strip was a captive territory of Egypt, unannexed so that Gazans had no rights as Egyptians (whereas the West Bankers had rights as Jordanians). The Palestine Liberation Organization, founded in 1964, was not founded to liberate these territories. It was founded to liberate that part of Palestine held by Israel.

After reviewing both history and the current situation, he concludes:
Would that there were a mature national will among the Palestinians. It might even be able to temper the rage of the Arabs against one another. Not until their sense of peoplehood conquers their rage against one another will they be in the psychological position to think of peace with Israel. I doubt this will happen any time soon. This is the end of Palestine, the bitter end.

In a post entitled "Palestinian History as Tragedy and Farce," Rick Richman of Jewish Current Issues writes:

Palestinian history is a kind of tragedy: formally offered a state at least five times (in 1937 by the Peel Commission, in 1947 by the UN, in July 2000 by Israel at Camp David, in December 2000 by the Clinton Parameters, and in 2003 by the Quartet’s Road Map), the Palestinians rejected it five times, always continuing to “fight” for a state they could have had by simply stopping their fight.

Assuming a state was what they wanted. But the history of the many attempts to give Palestinians the state they say they wanted may be coming to an end, as Gaza is turned into an Islamic enclave and the weak remnant of the ancien regime is kept on life support by an international community that thinks Mahmoud Abbas is the hope for peace (just as it previously thought Arafat was).

He provides links to other analysts as well.

As stated below, and to extend the monster movie metaphor started there, my own view is that the monster of "Palestine," if dead, will not stay dead; it has received neither the stake through the heart nor the silver bullet. "Palestine" always was less a positive Arab national movement, and more of a weapon to be wielded, by other Arab nations and by the enemies of the Jewish people, against the notion of Jewish national rights and their positive, tangible national expression in the form of the 59-year old State of Israel. While the people of Israel have build a modern, economically vibrant, prosperous, democratic nation, the Arabs have expended vast blood and treasure not in building their own nation in Palestine, but in trying to destroy the Jewish State.

It follows that so long as there is a State of Israel, there will be a "Palestinian" movement dedicated to its destruction. "Palestine" is the successor to Hitler and Nazi Germany as the modern manifestation of "Amalek," the nation that wars against Israel in a terrestrial surrogate for its war against God. With God's help, the State of Israel will survive that struggle, as the People of Israel have survived and outlived their past mortal enemies, until the final redemption of the Jewish people, and all humanity, with the coming of Mashiach, may it be soon and in our days.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who Killed Palestine? And is it Really Dead?

Bret Stephens, a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, and a former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, asks and answers the question "Who Killed Palestine?" in today's Opinion Journal. He concludes that the leadership of the Palestinian Arabs, especially the late unlamented Yassir Arafat, may his name be erased, never made a serious attempt at state building, despite unprecedented international good will and largesse. Instead, "Palestine" remained a dream state, and the dream is now dead. The coup d'grace, ironically, was the Gaza pullout, which left the Palestinian Arabs with no one to blame but themselves for their disastrous civil administration of unoccupied Gaza. "Nothing has so completely soured the world on the idea of a Palestinian state as the experience of it." Stephens concludes:

"Palestine," as we know it today, will revert to what it was--shadowland between Israel and its neighbors--and Palestinians, as we know them today, will revert to who they were: Arabs.
Whether there might have been a better outcome is anyone's guess. But the dream that was Palestine is finally dead.
Unfortunately, Mr. Stephens underestimates Israel's critics. Already the "talking points" on the pro-Palestinian left are circulating widely, in columns and interviews, where apologists for Hamas insist that Israel has turned Gaza into "the world's largest prison" for 1.5 million people. Somehow these critics miss the fact that Gaza has a southern border with Egypt, with crossings through which trade may flow and people may come and go. If the Israelis are a tad reluctant to open border crossings to potential suicide bombers, how does that make Gaza a prison?

Jimmy Carter has said that the refusal of the U.S. and Israel to accept and deal with the elected Hamas government is "a crime." Apparently Israel is required to continue negotiations with a government that has as its stated purpose the conquest and destruction of Israel. Presumably the issue to be negotiated is the time and manner of Israel's demise.

Well, given the shameful past performance of Israel's government, perhaps that is not too much for Carter and his ilk to expect. Israel already is the only nation in history to supply water and electricity to a neighboring people expresssly bent on its destruction. This was necessary because the Palestinian Authority, whether led by Fatah or Hamas, never found enough cash to spare from weapons purchases, outfitting militias and stuffing Swiss bank accounts to build a power plant or water treatment facility.

Israel is also the only nation in history to tolerate daily rocket attacks from across its border. Were Israel to respond with the necessary military force to stop the attacks, the world would react predictably to condemn Israeli war crimes.

The Palestinian dream truly became a nightmare. Stephens concludes that the dream is finally dead. But one can't be too sure that, like Freddy in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the dead in this nightmare wouldn't come back to kill again.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Romney's Progress

The Washington Post's Dan Balz has a long piece today summarizing the strategy that has put Mitt Romney where he is today. Balz puts into print what every honest observer already knows:

[Romney's] standing in the states that will kick off the nominating process has risen dramatically.
In New Hampshire, Romney leads both McCain, who won there in 2000, and Giuliani, who leads virtually all the national polls. In Iowa, his campaign's organizational depth recently drove Giuliani and McCain to drop out of an August GOP presidential straw poll -- seen as a trial run for next year's first-in-the-nation caucuses -- rather than risk a costly and embarrassing defeat at the hands of their lesser-known rival.
The entire piece is well worth reading.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fred Thompson, Conservative Lion?

The Washington Times, not exactly a liberal rag, has the story. Read this and tell me why Fred is so intoxicating to some conservatives.

Interestingly, Fred's current position on McCain-Feingold (which, the Times reports, Thompson often called "McCain-Feingold-Thompson") is essentially that "it seemed like a good idea at the time." I wonder if his the folks who are so ardent about Thompson's candidacy will ever consider him a flip-flopper on that issue?

But maybe none of that matters when we've got Arthur Branch is running for president.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kosher Hedgehog in the GOP, Bloomberg Out

Yesterday, the Kosher Hedgehog announced his registration as a Republican ("Today I am a Republican"). This evening, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently decided that he would not remain in any political party that would have me as a member. (Apologies to Groucho Marx.) Mayor Bloomberg announced that he is switching his party registration from Republican to "unaffilated." The good Mayor seems to be a bit of a party crasher, since he switched from Democratic to Republican just back in 2001. Pundits speculate that Bloomberg made the move in preparation for a bid for a run for the United States Presidency on an independent ticket. Mayor Bloomberg is a good man and an able executive. My new party will miss him. I, however, will neither forgive, nor forget this snub.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dry Bones' King Solomon Saw the Future in Gaza

According to Jewish tradition, prophecy ended with the generation of the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. However, Yaakov Kirschen of Dry Bones, if not a prophet or a son of a prophet, is at the very least one heck of a prognosticator. Above is a cartoon that Yaakov first published in May of 2006. Thirteen months later his prediction becomes history. Well, what do you expect of a cartoon strip named after the most famous prophecy of Ezekiel?

For those who are not long-time Dry Bones fans, the character of "King Solomon in our times" is Kirschen's wry personification of the government of the State of Israel, whose wisdom only too often proves to be folly. The typical "King Solomon" strip portrays, as does this one, a courtier breathlessly reporting the latest news dispatch to the King.

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Today I am a Republican . . .

... or at least I will be one once the registration form I mailed today is received and filed by the Los Angeles County Clerk. After nine years of voting GOP and seven years of donating GOP, I finally took the plunge and changed my party registration. And, yes, the sounds you are hearing are my liberal Jewish Democratic parents rolling in their graves. My heartfelt desire not to disturb their rest is the main reason that I hesitated until now.

But Mom, Dad, please believe me, the Republican Party of today in many ways bears a far closer resemblance to the Democratic Party of Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy, and maybe even of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, than do the current politics and policies of the Democratic Party. It's the Republicans who now stand for a strong national defense; a foreign policy that supports freedom and democracy throughout the world, and realistically recognizes the threat posed by our enemies; equality before the law and equal opportunity, regardless of race, color or creed; free speech; and, yes, unfaltering support for Israel. You always liked George Romney, even though he was a Republican. Well, I think you would like his son, Mitt, as well, and that is who I am backing for the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination. So rest in peace, Mom and Dad, my ideals haven't changed, only my political party registration.

"My Israel Top 12"

Given the turmoil that seems, based on media reports, to constantly rock Israel, the Hedgehog Blog reader might well be inclined to ask, "why live there?" As good an answer as I have recently come across appears at the Israel21c website, in an article by Avi Hein, a recent immigrant to Israel, entitled "My Israel Top 12."

Mr. Hein's decision to live in Israel is not an isolated case. Indeed, immigration from North America and Western Europe to Israel is at an all-time high, and most of those new immigrants are young families and young single adults, often highly educated, in large part because the high tech booming Israeli economy is well able to absorb them.

Which may in turn lead the reader to ask, "Alright, Kosher Hedgehog, why don't you live in Israel?" A good question, reader, but one requiring more time and thought to answer than I have today.

I only just discovered the Israel 21c website and I am still exploring it. Here is how Israel 21c describes itself:

ISRAEL21c is a not-for-profit corporation organized under the laws of California that works with existing institutions and the media to inform Americans about 21st century Israel, its people, its institutions and its contributions to global society. ISRAEL21c creates, aggregates and broadly disseminates high-quality information to the American public about the Israel that exists beyond the pervasive imagery of conflict that characterizes so much of western media reporting. Our goal is to strengthen the vibrant and enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, and between Americans and Israelis.

Now that is a goal that the Hedgehog Blog wholeheartedly supports!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Arafat's Children

In one of many ironies of the mayhem in Gaza this past week, Hamas gunmen looted the home of the late and unlamented President of the Palestinian Authority and founder of Fatah, Yassir Arafat, may his name be erased. As reported by Israel National News, among the booty taken was his Nobel Peace Prize. The Hamas terrorist who currently has the Prize in his possession is certainly as equally deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize as was Arafat.

Which brings one around to the excellent op-ed piece in Saturday's Wall Street Journal online, entitled "Arafat's Children Gaza's mayhem is the bitter fruit of terror as statecraft. " Noting that, only too predictably, less than 24 hours elapsed before pundits began to blame the Hamas takeover of Gaza on Israel and the Bush Administration, the column suggests that blame might more appropriately be attributed to a 40-year history of the world treating Palestinian terrorism as a legitimate tool of statecraft.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hamas Seizes CIA Files, U.S.-Supplied Weapons from Fatah in Gaza

Congratulations, U.S. taxpayers! Your tax dollars have armed and equipped Hamas.

The conquest of Gaza by Hamas represents a major foreign policy, intelligence and defense policy disaster for the United States. On Wednesday, Hamas gunmen seized the Ansar Compound, the last major Fatah stronghold in Gaza, which housed Fatah's security forces. As reported by World Net Daily:

The U.S. in the past year has given large quantities of weapons to bolster Fatah in clashes against Hamas. Hamas officials repeatedly told WND they would seize any American weaponry provided to Fatah in Gaza.

Hamas' Al Aqsa Television broadcast footage of Hamas gunmen brandishing American assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, rocket launchers and ammunition the U.S. reportedly provided to Fatah over the past few months. Hamas fighters also showed what they said were 10 American-provided armored personnel carriers the terror group said it seized from Fatah security compounds it took over yesterday.

I heard one Al Aksar Brigate (Fatah) terrorist in a radio interview who said, based on what he had seen of the captured ammunition, "Hamas could fire at us and you [Israel] continuously for a year and not run of ammunition."

So the folly of the U.S. State Department and the Bush Administration in heavily arming Fatah has been fully exposed. Since the Olmert government of Israel fully cooperated with this project, it shares responsibility for this debacle.

World Net Daily also reports that the Hamas capture of the Ansar Compound has serious consequences beyond the capture of the weapons supplies by Hamas. The CIA, other U.S. intelligence agencies and Israeli intelligence heavily cooperated with Fatah. All of the Fatah intelligence files on this relationship have now fallen into the hands of Hamas, and therefore Iran.

Iran and Syria are clearly the big winners here. It is Iran that purchased weapons for Hamas, trained Hamas fighters in their use and arranged to smuggle the weapons into Gaza from Egypt.

It must also be said that this disaster is a direct result of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005. When the Sharon-Olmert government announced their plan to expell 7000 Israeli settlers from their homes, businesses and farms, and withdraw the Israel Defense Forces from Gaza, critics such as Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy and Daniel Pipes, predicted that the result would be a new terrorist state, "Hamasistan." That is exactly what has occurred.

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What Joe Lieberman Saw in Iraq

In today's Wall Street Journal, Senator Joe Lieberman reports on what he found on his most recent trip to Iraq.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dennis Miller: What I think of Harry Reid

The Problem with The Iraq War

Victor Davis Hanson:
Our soldiers are fighting brilliantly, and history will record they are defeating the enemy while suffering historically low casualties. But if the sacrifice of American youth is not tied — daily, hourly — to larger strategic and humanitarian goals by eloquent statesmen who believe in the mission, then cynicism follows and, with it, despair.
Never have I been more distressed by, and disappointed in, a Republican president's inability to communicate about a critically important matter.

Hanson concludes:
We can quibble and fight about tactics on the ground, manpower numbers, strategic postures toward Iran and Syria, the need to prod the Iraqis, but our problem is more existential. Either stabilizing Iraq now is felt critical to the United States and the West or it isn’t. If the Left is right that it isn’t, then we should flee; if they are wrong, and I think they are, then we must start using our vast cultural and media resources to explain what is at stake — in a strategic and humanitarian sense — and precisely what it is costing America and why it in the long run is worth it, and how we have adjusted to counter our enemies who in the last four years have not won in Iraq or anywhere else either.

John McCain: What a Candidate Looks Like When He's Behind And Worried

This CNN story shows us a candidate who's throwing mud and seeing if he can make it stick. In this case, the "mud" is a clear and purposeful distortion of Romney's Massachusetts record on abortion and related life issues -- and not just a twist of that record, but turning it upside down and inside out. It's pretty cynical stuff coming from the founder of the "Straight Talk Express."

Update: Patrick Ruffini has more. And so does Politico. McCain's not even trying to hide what he's doing. Yet.

Update 2: Thomas Edsall observes that McCain's tendency to think with his viscera has caused him problems in the past:

Seven years ago in South Carolina, McCain, then leading in the polls, was goaded into attacking George W. Bush. The results were disastrous. At a veterans' rally for Bush in 2000, Thomas Burch, head of a group called the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, charged that after McCain was elected to Congress, McCain "abandoned the veterans. He came home from Vietnam and forgot us."

A furious McCain charged that Bush "twists the truth like President Clinton." McCain ran an anti-Bush ad asking, "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?"

Bush accused McCain of violating Reagan's 11th Commandmen. At a debate, he told McCain: "You can disagree with me on issues, John, but do not question my trustworthiness and do not compare me with Bill Clinton." McCain lost the high ground in South Carolina. Then he lost the primary.
Maybe Bush supporters unfairly maligned McCain back in 2000. But McCain's angry response probably hurt him more than the attacks did.

Update 3: Dean Barnett has more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Meanwhile Back in the Apartheid State of Israel...

Meanwhile, in the Jewish State of Israel, labeled by Jimmy Carter and left-wing activists everywhere as an apartheid state, 440 Moslem Sudanese refugees have found refuge, working on Israeli farms and in hotels, as reported here by AP and the Los Angeles Times. Many of these refugees literally walked from Sudan to Israel, seeking a sanctuary that the Arab and Moslem nations they crossed would not offer them. Isn't it ironic that they knew that they would not be turned away by the Jews in Israel? In the photo above, a Sudanese girl at a youth center in Beersheva examines with curiosity the hair of a young volunteer from an Israeli Zionist youth organization, the very personification of the Israeli apartheid system. I suspect this little girl would be more wary of the Moslem Arab horsemen who raided her village in Darfur. Well, it's very nice that you are volunteering, young lady--just don't apply to a British university!

Hamas and Fatah Fight Over Gaza

Having turned Gaza into Hell on Earth, Hamas and Fatah now battle for control of the netherworld. Reuters reports that prisoners captured by one side or the other have been shot execution style or thrown to their deaths off building rooftops. The Los Angeles Times reported that Hamas militia stopped an ambulance carrying a wounded Fatah leader, Jamal abu Jidian, to the hospital, and riddled him with 40 bullets.
The British academic unions who last week called for a boycott of Israel are silent, but probably not for long. They no doubt soon will pass a resolution blaming "Israel and the occupation" for the Palestinian civil war, even though the only Israeli solider in Gaza is kidnapped hostage Gilad Schalit.
For those who advocate the replacement of Israel with a binational state, this is a foretaste of what would occur if anyone were foolish enough to put such an utopian concept into effect. Palestinian Arab militias are murdering their fellow Palestinian Arabs, their fellow Muslims, in an armed struggle for political and financial control of Gaza, a veritable kingdom of the damned, where the fight is only over who receives millions of dollars of international aid. Would such people live in peace with the affluent Jewish population of a binational state? Not bloody likely.

Monday, June 11, 2007

George Will Captures the Essence of the Fred Thompson Craze

This is an excellent and perceptive read. Mr. Will notes that perhaps the emperor is wearing no clothes. Excerpt:
"Some say he is the Republicans' Rorschach test: They all see in him what they crave. Or he might be the Republicans' dot-com bubble, the result of restless political investors seeking value that the untutored eye might not discern and that might be difficult to quantify but which the investors are sure must be there, somewhere, somehow.

"One does not want to be unfair to Thompson, who may have hidden depths. But ask yourself this: If he did not look like a basset hound who had just read a sad story—say, "Old Yeller"—and if he did not talk like central casting's idea of the god Sincerity, would anyone think he ought to be entrusted with the nation's nuclear arsenal?"

The Kosher Hedgehog dissents: Of course, George Will was also one of the strongest critics of the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court, for which Lowell was an enthusiastic advocate. If I am not mistaken, Lowell, you accused Mr. Will at the time of elitism and snobbery, suggesting that the basis of Will's opposition was that Ms. Miers did not come from the right schools or socialize with the right crowd. You were right then, and I think the Will article you are citing approvingly today has the same whiff of elitism.

Thompson's experience includes having been an assistant U.S. Attorney; the campaign manager in 1972 for the successful re-election campaign of Senator Howard Baker; co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate committee; counsel in a Tennessee Parole Board case that ended the political career of Democratic Governor Ray Blanton, whose office was found to have sold pardons; and a term in the U.S. Senate. That resume is far more lustrous than that of a small-town Illinois lawyer, undistinguished one-term member of Congress and failed Senate candidate who received the GOP Presidential nomination in 1860, a fellow named Abraham Lincoln. I don't think the likes of George Will would have been much impressed by Lincoln at the time either.

On the other hand, we had another President who in his U.S. Navy career became a qualified command officer for a nuclear submarine, armed with nuclear weapons. He did post-graduate work in nuclear physics and nuclear reactor technology. Why, to use Mr. Will's phrasing, anyone would think that such a person is fit to be entrusted with our nation's nuclear arsenal! That former President's name is Jimmy Carter, and I believe that Mr. Will and Lowell (and I as well) were rather harsh critics of his actual performance in office.

Like Lowell, I am backing Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. I feel that he is hands down the better candidate. But that does not mean we need to tolerate or join in mud-slinging against his Republican rivals, one of whom we may find ourselves backing in the general election if Governor Romney fails to win nomination. Fred Thompson is a movie and television actor. While that alone does not qualify him to be President, the rest of his life experience does, and, as Ronald Reagan proved, the acting experience doesn't hurt.

The Hedgehog responds: Ralph is right, George Will has annoying elitist tendencies (and history). But I am not adopting an elitist stance towards Fred Thompson; I simply can't explain his appeal to conservatives, other than to attribute it to a visceral wishfulness. I may be proven wrong, but Fred hasn't had time to do that yet. Right now, I am disposed to be an enthusiastic supporter should Fred get the nomination. But I'd rather have Romney as the nominee.

Digital Campaigning, 2008-Style; Or, Better Said, Romney-Style

Take four minutes and watch this video report on Mitt Romney's use of the internet -- and YouTube:

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fallen Soldier

Do not fail to read Fouad Ajami's column about Scooter Libby in today's Opinion Journal, entitled "Fallen Soldier Mr. President, do not leave this man behind." With far more eloquence than I could muster, Ajami makes the point that many of us have believed from the beginning of the prosecution against Scooter Libby: "The better part of wisdom was to see the matter for what it was--a policy difference over the war, a matter that should never have been criminalized."

More on Prague Conference on Democracy & Security

President George W. Bush reaches out to shake the hands of Jose Maria Aznar, left, former Prime Minister of Spain, and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, after speaking Tuesday, June 5, 2007, to democracy advocates in Prague. (White House photo by Eric Draper).

For more on President Bush's June 5th, 2007 address at the Conference on Democracy and Security, held at the Czernin Palace in Prague, Czech Republic, go to Jewish Current Issues.

One sees that President Bush realized his speech would likely be ignored by the mainstream media. At a press conference, after a reporter told the President that he loved the speech, this exchange followed:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Say that in your stories.
Q I'll say it anywhere. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: What did he say?
Q I'll say it anywhere.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. How about in print? (Laughter.)
Q Oh, well --
THE PRESIDENT: That may be taking it too far. (Laughter.)

Gee, that would be funny if it were not true. Perhaps if the President had put in an opinion about the Paris Hilton case....?

Senator Joe Lieberman also spoke at the conference. This quote from his speech will no doubt bring his standing in his former party even lower:

"We have been blessed throughout American history with leaders who have recognized these powerful truths. A generation ago, it was Ronald Reagan and Senator Scoop Jackson who came to the side of the dissidents in their fight against Soviet totalitarianism. Today, as well, we are fortunate to have a president, George W. Bush, who has given voice to the cause of freedom fighters from Iraq to North Korea to Cuba to Iran and beyond."

Praising Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush--the man never learns! Read Senator Lieberman's entire speech here.

The only newspaper account of the President's speech, an opinion piece by Daniel Johnson in the New York Sun, appears here. Here is an excerpt from that column:

He came, he saw, he humbled himself. Never before has the president of America gone out of his way to pay tribute to a gathering of dissidents. The most powerful man on earth acknowledged that these otherwise powerless individuals from five continents possess what he rightly called "an even greater power — the power of conscience."

What had brought President Bush to make this pilgrimage to Prague, en route to the G-8 summit? The answer echoed through the noble vision outlined in his speech — a speech that several seasoned observers of presidential oratory who attended the conference judged to be among the best that Mr. Bush has ever given.

This man, beset by his foes and abandoned by friends, still cares passionately about the love of liberty that inspires men and women to extraordinary self-sacrifice, even if the vision he set out in his second inaugural speech is as far from reality as ever. At one point, he made a wry reference to his own isolation, both among the leaders of the free world, and even within his own administration. Former chairman of the defense policy board advisory committee to George W. Bush, Richard Perle, had earlier reminded us that the president was "coming here to meet with his fellow dissidents." "If standing up for liberty makes me a dissident," Mr. Bush said, "I wear that title with pride."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Conference on Demoncracy & Security produced a declaration, "The Prague Document," which President Bush has endorsed. The Prague Document is both an high-minded declaration of human freedom and a practical program for futhering human freedom in less-than-free societies.

I believe that President Bush's Prague speech and the Prague Document will be read and studied long after the names of the President's critics are forgotten.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

If President Bush Gave an Important Speech in Prague, and the MSM Didn't Report It, Did It Happen?

What if I told you that President Bush gave the keynote address in Prague on Tuesday June 5th, at a major symposium, the "Conference on Democracy and Security?" Suppose I told you that the conference was organized by, among others, former Soviet prisoner of conscience, and later Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Natan Sharanksy? What if I claimed that the attendees included such champions of freedom as former Czech dissident and President Vaclav Havel, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Anzar, and former world chess champion, and current critic of the Russian authoritarian regime, Garri Kasporov? What if I told you that the President's address was entusiastically received by those attending the conference, including an international group of political dissidents, who filled the first five rows of the auditorium for the President's speech?

Perhaps you would say, "That could not have happened, or I would have read something about it in the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times! It would have been covered on the network nightly news!"

Wrong. It did happen. And I would not know about it were it not for the blogosphere, and for my friend, Professor Allan Levine, who forwarded to me an e-mail from Si Frumkin, which appears below. For the full text of the President's address, go here. The speech was not ignored by The Weekly Standard, which discussed it here. For the best coverage I have found on the conference, go to Gateway Pundit, including this post and this one.

For a fitting commentary on the priorities of the American mainstream media, here is the text of an e-mail circulated by Si Frumkin, a hero of the movement for freedom for Soviet Jewry:


I don't. The event demonstrated the continuing leadership of President George W. Bush on the critical issues of freedom facing the world today. For the American mainstream media, that was reason enough to ignore the event.

Edwards Calls for U.S. To Address the Cause of Terrorism

In a preview of what will be a major, if not the major issue, of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, John Edwards attacked former Rudy Giuliani in New York on Thursday, for backing the anti-terror policies of President George W. Bush. According to Reuters, Edwards said that it was not enough to talk tough on terrorism without addressing its causes.

It is possible, perhaps likely, that neither Edwards, nor Giuliani will represent their respective parties in the 2008 election. [As anyone who regularly reads this blog already knows, we are backing Mitt Romney in his quest for the GOP nomination.] However, there is no question that Edwards has correctly framed the inter-party debate, regardless of who the candidates will be. And Edwards has framed it in a way that demonstrates why this nation cannot afford to have a Democrat in the White House.

Addressing the causes of terrorism? The causes of Islamist terrorism are Islamic terrorists! To advocate that we must examine the underlying cause of Islamist terror is the same old tired refrain of the Left, the suggestion that this plague is somehow the fault of the United States, Israel and the West, that it is punishment for our sins.

The Islamist jihad is a war against modernity, a war against secular democracy, and a war against Christianity and Judaism. The "underlying causes," therefore, are modernity, secular democracy, Christianity and Judaism. If we are willing to surrender our modernity and our secular democracy, and abandon our Christianity and Judaism, we will have peace with the jihadists. In those sad and benighted nations where the Islamist philosophy prevails, such as the Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and any area unlucky enough to be governed by the Palestinian Authority, there is no modern economy (except, in Iran, for the rapidly decaying remnants of pre-Islamic Revolution economy; and, in Saudi Arabia, for what can be purchased and imported with petro dollars); no secular democracy; and certainly no Christianity or Judaism.

Which party do you trust to continue the war on terroism?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Republican Debate

You know, if I did not have such a trusting nature, I would accuse CNN, intentionally or not, of skewing that debate toward Rudy Giuliani. Wolf Blitzer seemed very inclined to toss the easiest softball follow-ups to Rudy. Romney, my guy, was almost shut out of the second half of the debate. Or at least it looked that way to me.

As I noted over on Article VI Blog, Dean Barnett's comment is important:
I wonder how many of these engagements John Kerry won in 2004. And I know how many George W. Bush won in 2000 – 0. My point is that while we political junkies groove on these things, the rest of America has better ways to spend its time.
Update: This YouTube video from Fox this morning is, in a word, fascinating:

Romney won? Wow. From what the pundits wrote, who'd a-thunk it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

British Anti-Zionism Reveals Its True Anti-Semitic Face

Vocal critics of Israel, espeically on the Left, always take pains to reject any charge that their criticism is anti-Semitic. "We are anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish, they will avow." As Professor Alan Dershowitz, Dennis Prager and Michael Medwed, among many others have pointed out, when someone holds Israel to a standard of behavior that he or she does not apply to any other nation on earth, one may justifiably conclude that the critic is indeed anti-Semitic.

However, recently in the British Left all pretense of respectable anti-Zionism seems to have fallen away. As columnist Leo McKinstry (photo right) observes in the Daily Express of London, in a column entitled "SHAME ON THE LEFT AND ITS VICIOUS HATRED OF ISRAEL," the vocal supporters of recent boycotts of Israel by British academic and journalism unions revealed the true face of their Jew-hatred. Here are some excerpts from McKinstry's column:

Dressed up as criticism of the state of Israel, anti-Semitism is becoming not just tolerated but even fashionable in some of our civic institutions, including the universities and parts of the media. ...

What is particularly disturbing is the way opposition to the Jewish state descends into vicious antagonism against Jews themselves, as shown by this sickening recent outburst from writer Pamela Hardyment, a member of the National Union of Journalists, which in April voted to boycott Israeli goods.

Explaining her support for the NUJ’s stance, Ms Hardyment described Israel as “a wonderful Nazi-like killing machine backed by the world’s richest Jews”. 

Then, like some lunatic from the far-Right, she referred to the “so-called Holocaust” before concluding: “Shame on all Jews, may your lives be cursed.” ...

While they [Left-wing intellectual critics of Israel] scream about the Jewish state, they remain silent about human rights abuses carried out by brutal regimes across the world.

And it is ironic that, on the day the lecturers debated a boycott of Israel, they also voted to refuse to co-operate with any attempt to crack down on radical Islam on campuses, claiming such a move would be an infringement of free speech. 

Given some of the lecturers’ enthusiasm for silencing Israeli opinion such a position is laughable in its hypocrisy. 

United by anti-Semitism, the bigots of the academic Left and Muslim fundamentalism are destroying freedom of thought in this country.

Please read the entire column. (HT: Jewish Current Issues.)

Fred Thompson: For Those Who've Drunk the Kool-Aid

This piece by Charlie Cook might be a good chaser. Excerpt:
Christopher Cooper in the Wall Street Journal [reports] that Thompson advisers hoped to use technology such as video uplinks so he wouldn't have to campaign as extensively as his rivals to get the nomination. Cooper writes that there are "signs that Mr. Thompson may adopt an unconventional campaign style -- limiting in-person appearances by making extensive use of blogging and online video."

In addition, an ABC News piece quotes a Thompson aide stating, "because of his name ID, he doesn't have to go diner to diner and church to church."

For folks who have been around politics for a while, statements and strategies such as these are flashing lights and warning signals that these folks think they've found a shortcut to the White House.

What a truly ridiculous notion.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bill Clinton As Specimen: Another Quote of the Day

[T]his suggests the biggest distinction between candidates like Kerrey and McCain versus candidates like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. It’s true that both have the same front-stage and backstage personas. But for people like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the front-stage persona is the person backstage. Clinton especially: Even when the cameras aren’t rolling, he’s always performing. The fantasy about Clinton is that he’s exactly like you or me. But he’s nothing like you or me. After I followed him around Africa for seven days in 2005, this, to me, was the most startling revelation. Even in the most solitary circumstances, he lit up like a Christmas tree. He enjoyed performing in these quiet circumstances, often repeating the same jokes and anecdotes, including ones that had already appeared in his autobiography. It was like an imaginary camera was always rolling. Everything he said seemed meant for a dais.

Fred Thompson: Pundit Quote of the Day

From John Fund:

One obvious shortcoming is that Mr. Thompson hasn't run for office since 1996. After he announces and enters the maelstrom of a national campaign, he will inevitably make mistakes, misspeak and demonstrate a lack of knowledge on issues the other candidates have had months to bone up on. How he handles adversity and crises on the campaign trail will be the true test of his mettle and adaptability.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

MItt Romney: How to Run for President With Class

YouTube video of Governor Romney speaking at the Tennessee GOP Statesman's Dinner.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

If You Don't Read Anything Else This Weekend . . .

Read Hugh Hewitt's piece on why the legacy news media is so hard on Mitt Romney.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fred Thompson: The Cure for What Ails Us

These are reported little-known facts about Fred Thompson (from IMAO via Jonah Goldberg) :

  • Every night before going to sleep, Osama bin Laden checks under his bed for Fred Thompson.

  • Though Fred Thompson left the Senate in 2003, Harry Reid still hasn’t stopped wetting his pants.

  • Fred Thompson once ended a filibuster by ripping out a senator’s heart and showing it to him before he died.

  • Only two things can kill Superman: Kryptonite and Fred Thompson.

  • Fred Thompson once stood on our south border and glared at Mexico. There was no illegal immigration for a month.

  • Fred Thompson vows not only to win in Iraq but also to forcefully free Vietnam from Communism, thus giving America a perfect win/loss record for wars again.

  • Fred Thompson can open clamshell packaging without the slightest trouble.

A Christian Minister Asks, Where is the Outrage Over Sderot?

Israeli students embrace during a rocket attack at their high school in the southern town of Sderot May 17, 2007. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

Brother Mel, a Christian minister ordained through Faith Fellowship Ministries in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wrote Rick Richman at Jewish Current Issues:
When the rockets fall on Israel, I always wonder, where is the outrage? The media is outraged over a theoretical global warming. They are outraged over a racist remark. They are outraged that a prisoner in Guantanamo might not have gotten his choice of cuisine. They weep for disoriented whales in San Francisco Bay.

But when the rockets fall on Israel and the blood flows in the streets and little children hide under their desks in school fearing another attack, the media has no outrage. They just blandly look on, seemingly with the attitude of "More Jews Killed? . . . Ho-Hum. Let's report on the BIG STORY -- Is Jenny going to get back with Brad or not?"

I am one among many Christians that DO TAKE NOTICE, and I do pray frequently for Israel and Jerusalem and for the Jewish people, and so do the other Christians I know. And I vote for leaders who take a public and unflinching stand for Israel.
Brother Mel operates his ministry's website at Brother Mel Dot Com Ministries. I treasure and thank God for his support and for that of so many other Christians, including my brother Hedgehog.

British Academics Betray Britain by Calling for Boycott of Israel

Caroline Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, observes:
Wednesday's decision by Britain's University and College Union to call for a boycott of Israeli universities and colleges was not only hypocritical. It was suicidal.
By calling for a boycott of Israeli universities, Britain's academic establishment is turning its back not only on Israel, but on Britain. When Britain's professoriate rejects Israel's right to exist as a Jewish, democratic nation-state and glorifies Palestinian society which supports global jihad and the destruction of Western civilization, it is rejecting the British state.

They are embracing a culture founded on a rejection of the culture and traditions that have formed Britain since the Magna Carta was issued in 1215.

Please read Ms. Glick's entire column.


Suddently, the story of the new Iranian hostage crisis is breaking into the public consciousness. Today, President Bush demanded that Iran release its four Iranian-American hostages, as reported by AP in the Jerusalem Post. One of the hostages, Haleh Esfandiari, a 67-year old grandmother who is a researcher based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, is pictured at the right.

Interestingly, the President did not mention the one American hostage who is not of Iranian descent, Robert A. Levinson, a former FBI officer reportedly investigating tobacco smuggling on behalf of a private client. According to Michael Ledeen's NRO column, cited in the previous post, he disappeared after he flew to Iran’s Kish Island in March. It is possible that the United States does not have evidence that he is being held by the Iranian government.

Ali Shakeri Update: U.S. Confirms Missing Irvine Man Imprisoned by Iran

From the Los Angeles Times online comes the following update on the arrest and imprisonment of Iranian-American Ali Shakeri the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Regime:
The United States confirmed that a missing Irvine peace activist has become the fourth Iranian American detained by Iran on suspicion of espionage, and warned U.S. citizens against traveling to the country.

"American citizens may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran," the State Department said after confirming that Ali Shakeri, who has been missing in Iran for more than two weeks, is being held at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

"As with the other cases, this is simply ridiculous," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey. "He has no standing with the U.S. government; he is not a U.S. government official; he is not operating or acting on behalf of the U.S. government. He is a private citizen."

As diplomatic pressure builds on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons development program, including increasingly successful financial divestiture campaigns, the mullahs are reacting typically, by taking hostages.

See our original post on this story here.

Michael Ledeen wrote about the emerging new Iranian hostage crisis yesterday, at NRO. [HT: Powerline.]

Just for Friday Fun: The Loch Ness . . . Creature?

Power Line shares the video.