Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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In his slim book on Churchill, Paul Johnson unearthed a highly instructive quotation to highlight the foundation of some of Churchill's greatest strengths as a wartime leader: He didn't worship, defer to, and otherwise treat military men as the Oracle at Delphi and Solomon combined.

Churchill, Johnson notes

benefited from a change of national opinion toward the relative trustworthiness of politicians and service leaders - "frocks and brass hats," to use the phrase of his youth.  In the first World War, reverence for brass hats and dislike of frocks made it almost impossible for the government, even under Lloyd George at his apotheosis, to conduct the war efficiently.

I.e., sack the generals. Johnson continues with Churchill's own words: "As Churchill put it: "The foolish doctrine was preached to the public through innumerable agencies that generals and admirals must be right on war matters and...

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Wen Jiabao taking in a little Hamlet in Stratford-on-Avon this week. Or: To censor or not to censor; that's not the question....

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It's not that anyone believes Chinese dictator -- sorry, "premier" -- Wen Jiabao when he says, as in London this week, "tomorrow's China will be a country that fully achieves democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice."

Obviously, this is just the sugar to make the medicine go down. But the economic prostration of the West to the Chinese totalitarians, cushioned by our piles of "Made in China" belongings, feels better if we also convince ourselves that our concept of human rights is part of the Grand  Exchange: Flatscreens for us; Freedom for them.

Dream on. The Danish paper Information published a scoop of all scoops this week, a series of stories based on a most unusual...

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"There Goes the Neighborhood," Shariah Finance Watch reports today. What does that mean?

From the must-read story:

In downtown Washington, there is a major real estate development known as CityCenterDC. This $700 million development is described as a combination of office space, retail space and residential space.

The owner of this development, which will be one of the biggest in all of the District, is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. This is the real estate investment arm of the emir of Qatar himself, who rules the Gulf nation.

At this point it may also be worth mentioning that the emir of Qatar has also been involved in funding other projects here in the US. For example, in 2009, he granted $576,000 to the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), the non-profit operated by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, the primary promoters of the controversial Ground Zero mosque project. The $576,000 grant from the ruling regime of Qatar was...

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Ordinary or extra-ordinary, our elected officials should explain this (with thanks to Marine Mom).

The Army Times reported on May 25,  2011:

More than 7,170 soldiers will deploy to Iraq beginning in mid-summer -- despite a security agreement that requires U.S. forces to depart the country by Dec.31.

The deployments are part of the regular rotation of forces and will include a division headquarters of 775 soldiers and two brigade combat teams totaling 6,400 soldiers, according to a Defense Department announcement Tuesday.

The soldiers will begin deploying in mid-summer and continue through the fall.

The deploying units are:

• 3rd Infantry Division headquarters, Fort Stewart, Ga.

• 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

• 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.

...

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This week's syndicated column:

We have watched, rapt, as Barack Obama deliberated over exactly how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. The White House mission, as I see it, was to present the illusion of winding down an unpopular war without also disavowing or halting the disastrous Bush-Obama brand of nation-building -- which continues, we are told, until 2014. Life-and-death troop movements came to resemble a contest to guess how many jellybeans are in the jar. Distracted, no one seemed to notice the ground shifting ... in Iraq.

While we were looking the other way, the Iraq of anyone's lingering "surge" dreams vanished. But not under the drifts of rubble from the latest car-bombings to further bury the "fragile" security once secured by U.S. troops. Dream Iraq -- the "ally in the war on terror," the veritable Switzerland of Sunni-Shiite cooperation surge-improved security was supposed to enable -- completely disappeared (if it was ever there) in the hardened, U.S.-won corridors...

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After a long, long, long court process, Geert Wilders has been acquitted of "inciting hatred" of Muslims by speaking with fearless clarity about Islam.  

Rejoice, sons and duaghters of liberty.

But keep your poweder dry. As Reuters reports:



 Minorities groups said they would now take the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, arguing the ruling meant the Netherlands had failed to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination.









"The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.," said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans.











Wilders, who has received numerous death threats and has to live under 24-hour guard, argued that he was exercising his right to freedom of speech when criticizing Islam.









 



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Believe me, they're celebrating at the Weekly Standard over this "get":

Matthew Continetti writes:

In a speech tonight, President Obama is expected to announce the staggered withdrawal, over the course of the next year, of the surge troops in Afghanistan. Don't expect Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to praise his decision. Here's what Bachmann had to say on Afghanistan during a recent interview with me:

On Afghanistan, I firmly believe that we are a point where we've got ot stay the course, and we've got to finish the job. Reports coming out of Helmand right now are positive. ... David Petraeus, who wrote the book on counterinsurgency and on the surge strategy, ...

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More evidence (not) that the Iraq "surge" was an epic success, ready for fabulous replication throughout the Islamic world.

First, Iraq's clerics are saying US forces mission will be "haram" after 2011; now, Iraq's parliament is accusing "US institutions" of stealing  $17 billion.

(Please,  pretty please, can our troops remain in Iraq forever?)

The Australian reports:

Iraq says $US17 billion is missing, and was stolen by corrupt US institutions.

"Nujaifi [speaker of Iraq parliament] is visiting the United States to discuss several issues, including...

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Grand Ayatollah to US troops: Here's your turban, what's your hurry?

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One of the strangest national spectacles ever is that of the US apparently begging Iraq ro allow US troops to remain in Iraq after the 2011 deadline for withdrawal.

As I've written before, this seems to be a naked ploy by the Obama re-election campaign to prevent the country from unravelling completely during the 2012 campaign. But it's not going over well with "religious authorities" according to a poll of sorts of Sunni and Shiite leaders conducted by Moqtada al Sadr.

According to Iran's Fars News Agency, there's also a fatwa against US troops -- I mean, "infidel occupiers" -- remaining past the 2011 deadline.

Senior Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Kazzem...

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Photo by Paul Avallone

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The debate over Afghanistan -- which this week comes down to how many troops Barack Obama will announce he is withdrawing from that wretched country beginning in July through 2012  -- is being conducted with a blindfold and earplugs on.

The discussion centers  on, obsesses over whether the promised "drawdown" will be "only 5,000 troops," the token withdrawal that Afghanistan-hawks want,  up to an "aggressive" plan to withdraw over the next year all of the 30,000 troops ordered by Obama into Afghanistan as...

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Above is an oil painting of former NY Gov. George Pataki, 66, the measured, trad-con, sunny-skies image he apparently hopes will endure on history's canvas.

Below is a word picture of former NY Gov. George Pataki, 66, that is rather more vivid. It is from the closing paragraph of a report in the Sunday New York Times on the recent nuptials of Christopher Nixon Cox, grandson of the former president, and Andrea Catsimatidis, daughter of the owner of Gristides supermarkets "and other holdings." It was a cosy affair for 700 guests at the Waldorf Astoria....

“I’m so happy,” said Ms. Catsimatidis, in a dress by the Lebanese designer Reem Acra. As she spoke, George E. Pataki, New York’s former governor, grooved behind her on the dance floor, pumping his arms to the orchestra’s rendition of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

The cultural Jeckyll meets the cultural Hyde.

...

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WND.com picks up today on a story that didn't exactly splash onto frontpages across the country when it occured on June 10, reporting:

A U.S. congressional delegation was kicked out of Iraq after the leader of the group, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki if a portion of future oil revenues could be used to pay back the United States for money spent over the course of eight years following the 2003 U.S. invasion to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The ouster came amid efforts by U.S. officials to get al-Maliki to request an extension of U.S. troops in Iraq past the Dec. 31 deadline when all U.S. troops are supposed to be out of the...

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TEN CONGRESSMEN led by Reps. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) filed suit today against "Defendant Barack Obama" in federal court charging that the war in Libya is unconstitutional, in violation of the War Powers Act, and calling for it to come to a halt.

Besides Jones and Kucinich, the lawsuit is signed by a bipartisan group of members of the House including Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), John Duncan (R-Tennessee), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland), John Conyers (D-Michigan) Ron Paul (R-Texas), Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts), Tim Johnson (R-Illinois) and Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

Kudos and thanks.

Link to 36-page suit here.

ABC reports:

The Kucinich lawsuit is just the latest in a series of headaches for the administration related to Libya.

Kucinich had worked to push a resolution through the House...

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News Flash: Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration has engaged in a trust-building effort with Pakistan....

I'm trying to be calm.

What this means after the US zeroed in on OBL living in plain Pakistani sight, the US has addressed the yawning chasm of suspicion by reaching out to Pakistan with intelligence....

It's difficult.

To be more specific, as the Washington Post reports today, "twice in recent weeks, the United States provided Pakistan with the specific locations of insurgent bomb-making factories, only to see the militants learn their cover had been blown and vacate the sites before military action could be taken, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials."

And:

The incidents are expected to feature prominently in conversations between Pakistani officials and CIA Director Leon Panetta, who arrived in Pakistan on Friday....

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This week's syndicated column:

My best guess is the sun is hot. I feel its heat. I see by its light. I understand its role in the growth of crops and other living things. If I were to come across scholarly data attesting to its high temperatures, I would probably look at the fiery pictures (if there were any) and turn to something else.

On one level, I approach a new study on violence and Islam in the Middle East Quarterly in much the same way. That is, I've lived through 9/11 and the 17,298 Islamic terror attacks since (as tabulated by the website thereligionofpeace.com). I've seen pictures of Muslims rampaging around the world over a cartoon. I also understand Islam's animating role in the terror and subversion designed to extend Islamic law (Shariah) to a point where an Islamic government, or caliphate, rules the world.

But there is something transfixing about the new study, "Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques."...

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Over the weekend, Drudge posted an alarming story from CNSNews.com high on the page: "China Divests 97% of Holdings in US Treasury Bills."

What does that mean? I checked with financial hawkeye George Ford for his take. As I read it, there's good news and bad news in his analysis (below). The good news is, China is not our worst financial enemy after all. The bad news is, we are. In fact, the real story isn't China's divestiture of 97 percent of its holdings in US treasury bills, but rather what will happen next to those holdings.

George Ford writes:

The easiest way to explain it is by extending the original Drudge headline: "China Divests 97% of Holdings in US Treasury Bills; Bernanke Will Buy Them -- With Ease."

The US Fed holds much more US debt than China. Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has added about $800 billion in US Treasuries to its balance sheet, for a total as of last month of $1.4 trillion. China holds about $850 billion, or 9.5% of the total. Japan holds about the same amount as China....

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Boy Scouts from Troop 95 (left to right) Zac Wright, 12;, Nathan Peters, 11; and leader Scott Peters help set flags along the route that Lance Cpl. Peter Clore’s cortege will follow on its arrival today in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Photo by Times-Reporter.

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This week's syndicated column is dedicated to Lance Cpl. Peter Clore (1988-2011).

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The Karzai Ultimatum story is entering national consciousness in three parts. (1) U.S.-led airstrike on May 28 kills Afghan women and children in Helmand Province. (2) Afghan President Hamid Karzai delivers ultimatum on U.S. airstrikes -- stop, or else Afghans will revolt against U.S. “occupation.” (3) US-led forces (ISAF) apologize.

...

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Back in March, I couldn't quite believe the Libya Hawks would morph from science fiction into policy but they did. Now, we enter a new dimension of horror as they cement an alliance between the GOP leadership and the Obama White House to extend this unlawful war for no American interest and plenty of American cost.

From the AP:

The House postponed a vote on a resolution demanding an end to U.S. involvement in Libya amid fears that Democrats and Republicans would unite in backing the measure and hand President Barack Obama an embarrassing foreign policy defeat.

The GOP leadership had scheduled a vote Wednesday on the resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that “directs the president to remove United States Armed Forces from Libya ... not later than 15 days after the adoption” of the measure. The vote was delayed as the leadership and Obama administration realized frustrated lawmakers likely would support it.

Nearly three months after Obama launched air strikes to...

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AP photo: A Marine carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Lance Cpl. Peter J. Clore Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base.

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The Karzai Ultimatum Story is entering national consciousness with only three parts:

1) US Air Strike on Saturday May 28  Kills Afghan Women and Children;

2) Karzai Delivers Ultimatum on US Air Strikes

3) ISAF Apologizes.

There is another part, an all-important prequel: The Marine who was killed by small arms fire, also on Saturday May 28. Neither Karzai, nor, come to think of it, ISAF are paying much attention to him. Turns out the 23-year-old Ohio native was a dog handler, just six weeks in Afghanistan, who was leading a patrol to clear IEDs, making way for still more patrols, just the way Gen. Petraeus likes them. After the Lance Cpl. was hit, his fellow Marines pursued five attackers...

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Two recent Big Stories the MSM is either confused, dishonest or silent on concern tthe British government  reaffirmation of its 2009 decision to ban conservative radio host Michael Savage from entering Britain, and the arrest of Serb leader Ratko Mladic after fifteen years in hiding.

While dissimilar in obvious respects, these two cases both reflect the dangers of double standards and anti-democratic, arbitrary power in the hands of bureacrat-ideologues.

Don't miss Aaron Klein's reflections on Savage, or Julia Gorin's essay on the meaning of Mladic's arrest.

I greatly appreciate this blog (below) by British commentator Nile Gardiner on the president's crummy decision to get in a golf game after fufilling his presidential duties at Arlington on Memorial Day. It's not that anyone begrudges the president his recreation; it's not even that most Americans don't use the day for recreation themselves. But there is an unseemly symbolism is the decision to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown in the morning and hit the links in the afternoon. Barack Obama is, after all, a symbol himself, despite himself, and there are just too many fresh graves at Arlington for a commander-in-chief with 100,000-plus troops in harm's way  to feel like playing a game -- and to let mourning Americans and the world know he feels like playing a game -- on the day we set aside to remember them. As Gardiner writes,...

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The Washington Post reports:

KABUL--President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday issued an ultimatum to NATO forces to stop airstrikes on Afghan homes and warned that if they don’t, the Afghan people would drive them out as they have occupying armies in the past....

The New York Times reports:

KABUL, Afghanistan —President Hamid Karzai warned NATO on Tuesday that Afghans will no longer tolerate airstrikes that result in civilian casualties. If they continue, he said, “we will be forced to take unilateral action in this regard.”....

See Telegraph video here. to get the gist. And...

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This week's syndicated column:

The Army honored a fallen hero of the Ft. Hood Jihad Massacre with a medal this week. Not, of course, that the Army describes the November 2009 attack in such meaningful terms. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan may have shouted "Allahu Akbar"; (Arabic for "Allah is great") as he killed 14 and wounded more than two dozen; may have been in contact with jihad cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and frequented jihadist websites; may have had business cards proclaiming himself a "SoA" (Soldier of Allah); and may have created and presented an Islamically correct PowerPoint brief outlining reasons for jihad by Muslims within the U.S. Armed Forces, but no matter. His actions remain a total mystery to the U.S. Army.

To wit: "Although we may never know why it happened, we do know that heroic actions took place that day," Brig. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo said in presenting the Secretary of the Army Award for Valor to Joleen Cahill, widow of Michael Grant Cahill. Cahill is recognized as the first person to have tried to stop Hasan and the only civilian to have been killed by Hasan that day. "He will forever be a source of inspiration."

...

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Here is an update on the trial of a US soldier diagnosed by the US military as suffering from PTSD and schizophrenia whom the US military nonetheless put on trial for murdering a Taliban commander in US custody. New details below include some of the factors that just might have contributed to his battle stress -- seven fellow soldiers who were killed around him, including his chaplain.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The fate of an Indiana soldier accused of murdering a Taliban commander in U.S. custody has been decided in a plea deal with the U.S. Army.

Army Pfc. David Lawrence of Lawrenceburg, Indiana will be sentenced to 12 ½ years with a minimum of ten years at Leavenworth. He could be eligible for parole in four years. The deal was just reached with the judge at Fort Carson, Colorado this afternoon.

I-Team 8 launched an investigation into case after Lawrence was diagnosed with PTSD...

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How's this for (twisted) mirror images?

Pfc. David Lawrence  shot and killed a Taliban commander shackled in a US prison cell in Afghanistan in October 2010. Army-appointed psychiatrists determined Lawrence

suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia and therefore lacked the mental capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.



Still, Lawrence was charged with premeditated murder in the Oct. 17 slaying of Mullah Mohebullah.... The shooting happened shortly after Lawrence was returned to his unit following a visit he requested to a combat stress clinic.



Despite the diagnosis, the US Army scheduled a court-martial on a murder charge. This morning, right about now, Lawrence is expected to plead guilty in a deal that will lead to a shortened prison sentence. In other words, instead of life in prison or the death penalty, he'll get a mere 15 or 20 years, I'm guessing. [Update: He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years.]Meanwhile, of course,...

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"The trial," of course, is that of Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders for offending and inciting hatred of Muslims through factual discussions and warnings about Islamic jihad and Islamization. And on it must go, the Dutch authorities have ruled, despite gross examples of bias and even apparent witness-tampering. Expert witness Hans Jansen sent a  statement on the trial to Jihadwatch, which concludes with the following prediction:

The trial, hence, goes on where it got derailed in the fall of 2010. From now on, someone who speaks in the Netherlands about Islamic theology, law or religious practice will have to be extremely careful. Librarians will have to clean their shelves: books from whatever period may have to be removed. Tourists who bring books or newspapers with them from the outside world must hope for the best. Publishers and bookshops will surely spontaneously understand their patriotic duties. The multicultural state shall have its way.

It goes without saying that Christianity, Judaism and Atheism cannot receive similar protection from the multicultural state – because if that were the case, the Koran and all handbooks of Mohammedan law would have to be forbidden because of the offensive and abusive language these religious texts employ when discussing non-Muslim religious viewpoints. And, as we all know, to forbid Islamic books would be a very unmulticultural thing to do indeed.

...

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The Army honored a fallen hero of the Ft. Hood Jihad Massacre with a medal yesterday. Not that the Army describes or even permits itself to understand the attack of November 5, 2009 that way. Maj. Nidal Hasan may have shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is great) as he fired, killing thirteen and wounding more than two dozen, may have been in touch with jihad cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and frequented jihadist websites, had business cards printed proclaiming himself to be a "SoA (SWT)" or "Soldier of Allah (Glory to Allah)," created and presented a full and frank brief for jihad by Muslims within the US Armed Services, but his action remains to this day a Total Mystery to the Army.

To wit:

"Although we may never know why it happened, we do know that heroic actions took place that day," Brig. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo said at the ceremony Monday afternoon in presenting the Secretary of the Army Award for Valor to Joleen Cahill, his widow. "He will forever be a source of inspiration."

With those words, the general stripped away all context from 62-year-old civilian Michael Grant Cahill's valorous act of charging Hasan with a chair as Hasan fired on the crowd, during which Cahill was himself slain. In honoring Cahill's courage, the general balked at its significance in Islam's war on the West. This omission takes nothing away from Cahill and his courageous, bold response to the horrific assault. It does, however, wrongly release the nation from its debt to him. In treating Hasan's rampage as no more purposeful than a flood or a cougar attack, the general renders Cahill's ultimate sacrifice to the most personal level; exemplary, admirable, but of no further consequence beyond the scene, outside the circle. This is morally wrong. It was the general's duty to place Cahill's death in perspective, to impress upon the rest of us that he died not only for his fellows, but in defense of our liberty, which is under jihad attack.

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This week's syndicated column:

One feature that marks a totalitarian regime is media that serve as the government's information service. TASS, Radio Berlin, Voice of Hanoi -- these were all government entities that conveyed what the dictatorship wanted. The handout comes, the handout is published. The real danger point arrives when propaganda no longer rankles, but flows naturally. That's when authority carries more weight than evidence, and peer pressure suppresses independent thinking. It's also when captives become subjects.

Watching our free, First-Amendment-protected media react to the surprising release of President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate, I have to wonder: What exactly is the difference? I exaggerate, but not much. It's been three weeks since Obama first made his long-form birth certificate public on April 27, 2011. Why, suddenly, did he do this, and not in 2008, 2009 or 2010 when this first of the missing bona fides became a focal point of deep national consternation?...

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How's this for a "conspiracy theory": The Obama 2012 Re-Election Campaign moonlights as author Jerome Corsi's publicity agent. I don't know how else to explain the bizarro decision by Obama campaign officials to launch a fund-raising drive specifically targeting Corsi's brand new book  Where's the Birth Certificate?

Yesterday, WND.com (whose affiliated WND Books is Corsi's publisher) wrote (links from the original):

Why is the White House in full defense mode against a book by a small publisher contending Barack Obama is not legally eligible to be president?

Today, the Obama re-election campaign launched an all-out attack on a brand new book critical of Obama,...

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Today is Michael Behenna's 28th birthday, his third birthday beind bars in prison at Ft. Leavenworth where he is serving a 15-year sentence for killing a known terrorist in self-defense in Iraq.

This is a national shame.

His parents Scott and Vicki Behenna write:

Though his spirits remain high, life in prison takes its toll on even the strongest of men and that includes our Michael who waits patiently for a decision on his appeal. The truth is we really don’t know when such a decision will be handed down.  Michael's appeal was filed in December 2009, the government responded in July 2010, and the argument before the Army Court of Appeals occurred in December 2010. We have heard nothing since.  Michael's remarkable attitude remains upbeat...

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Drudge, correctly, is trumpeting the White House shut out of the Boston Herald from pool coverage of a Boston fundraiser the President is attending today because the tabloid ran an op-ed by Mitch Romney on its front page ON MARCH 8, the date of Obama's last visi to Boston.

Not that the date affects the ugly level of media manipulation on display here; but it does add a touch of the maniacal to this childish but sinister display of White House muscle. "This is taking the control freak thing to new levels," the Herald's Joe Battenfeld wrote.

Strangely, the date of the Romney op-ed didn't make it into the lead of the Herald account: 

The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails...

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Cutest story of the day comea from Iran's PressTV.

Headline: "Iraq to expand military ties with Iran."

Isn't that cute?

Meanwhile, American officials have been in and out of Iraq begging Maliki, pretty please, to let our roughly 47,000 troops stay on past the December 31 deadline, along with those roughly 60,000 US civilian contractors.

WHY?

There are two groups pushing to stay. One group is the Obama administration, which wants to stay not for "empire," as some say, but for re-election.

How would/will it look while Obama and his teleprompter are out on the hustings in 2012 when, say, the Iranian mullahs make Karbala their summer White House, Hezbollah opens headquarters in Sadr City, and the Revolutionary Guard starts an amusement park in downtown Baghdad called...

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April 2011 AP Photo: Afghan Local Police, and villagers listen to a speech during a ceremony presenting new uniforms for ALP officers at Gizab village of Uruzgan province south west of Kabul, Afghanistan.

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On March 15, 2011, Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee about an "important new addition to the overall campaign" in Afghanistan -- the Afghan Local Police Initative (ALP). This week, Oxfam issued a report damning the program for gross abuses including child sexual abuse (including the pedophiliac pratice of "dancing boys"),...

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Not to ruin your weekend with ugly pics or anything, but John Rosenthal is onto something troublesome regarding those bin Laden death pics, which we, the people, are not allowed to see, while our representatives, it seems, are now able to view if they truck themselves over to CIA headquarters. Why CIA HQ, and not, say, Congress itself, or the National Archives or anywhere else a little less associated with hush-hush tradecraft and black ops?

Anyway, as John reported a couple of days ago at Big Peace, last weekend, the Pentagon released soundless video "outtakes" purportedly of  bin Laden that administration sources say were scooped up in the recent raid in Abbotabad and which they date to 2010 at the earliest, but which John has matched to a 2007 video "widely dismissed as fake."

...

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CNN reports:

KABUL -- Two international service members were killed in a shootout at an Afghan police compound, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Friday.

The two who died were part of a mentoring team that was preparing to eat lunch with Afghan police at a compound in southern Helmand province Thursday. A uniformed policeman opened fire at the ISAF troops. The gunman was seriously injured in the incident, ISAF said.

"While this is a serious incident, the actions of this individual do not reflect the overall actions of our Afghan partners," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James B. Laster of ISAF. "We remain committed to our partners and to our mission here."....

The poppy harvest in A-stan is  in; is it time for Thanksgiving? Nah. It's IED-increase-time. As USA Today reports: "Pentagon expexts IED hits to rise"

From the story:

"We're at the front edge of the fighting season," said Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who leads the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). "The poppy harvest has been a little delayed this year. … The overall number of IED incidents will increase. As we know, we can safely say that."

Ironic adverb. We can "safely" say "IED incidents" will increase -- "incidents" that occur mainly because troops are under orders to walk the IED-laced roads and by-ways of Afghanistan. As the story reports:

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the No.1 cause of fatalities and injuries to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The devices have killed 657 U.S. troops and wounded 6,330 since the war began in 2001 through March of this year. Warmer weather and the end of the poppy harvest have generally heralded the beginning of the toughest combat in Afghanistan.

...

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This week's syndicated column::

When (if) future historians look back to early 21st-century America, they should examine two cultural controversies of May 2011 for a quick read on Establishment sensibilities. One involves the bestowal, revocation and re-bestowal of an honorary degree on playwright Tony Kushner by CUNY, and one involves the invitation to Common, a rapper, to perform at a White House poetry reading.

Both controversies set the boundaries of Establishment-acceptable thought -- the span of "settled" debate, and the "correct" set of elite opinions -- and maybe, just maybe reveal one tiny chink.

In the Kushner case, the controversy centered on the objections of CUNY trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld to bestowing an honorary degree on Kushner due to the playwright's very public, very vocal opposition to Israel and support for the Palestinian Authority (PA). For about five minutes, Wiesenfeld actually persuaded fellow board members to withdraw the Kushner honor (Kushner's 16th honorary degree). But soon after, Wiesenfeld, a son of Holocaust survivors, found himself pilloried in the media, called on to resign from the CUNY board, all for having argued the Establishment-incorrect case -- a case, remember, that was then put to two board votes (the second to get the "correct" outcome). With everything "set right," why the vengeful rage at Wiesenfeld?

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In the small newspapers and TV stations around the country, in what are known as "local interest" stories, the national scandal of Afghanistan is being documented, article by article, segment by segment. These are the stories of our returning heroes, our returning wounded, whose fight with and for life, maybe with one limb, maybe without any limbs, is just beginning. What these stories, taken together, demonstrate is one particularly egregious aspect of the flagrant abuse the nation's leaders are subjecting the military to in pursuit of the Bush-Obama Afghanistan "nation-building" fantasy -- something Congress, irresponsibly, doesn't even seem interested in debating.

But here's a possible point of Congressional departure: The Marines 3rd Battalion/3rd Regiment,...

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We are currently forced, subject-nation-style, to take it on authority, literally. that Osama bin Laden is dead (no body, no pics, no proof). The White House says it is so, and we, American minions, must agree. We don't even get a lousy pdf of a photo, a la the great and weird, unexamined and unseen "birth certificate."

Now, we are supposed to conclude that this death of the face (figurehead?) of "al Qaeda" -- the leading, but hardly unique  jihad brand -- is a transformative moment, either as reason to leave Afghanistan (I'll take it), or reason to fight there even longer. Or reason for President Obama to lay out a "new" Mideast strategy.  Such claims could only be made by those who are determined to ignore or cover up the animating role of Islam itself in Islamic terrorism, whether "affiliated," as they say, with al Qaeda (secret handshake? decoder rings?), or unafilliated...

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Daniel Pipes has an excellent piece today at Big Peace focusing on the Iranization of Iraq -- long, long a subject of great interest to me.

Pipes cites the recent massacre of Iranian dissidents (MeK) in Iraq by Iraqi regulars which took place one day after MeK released evidence of Iran's growing capacity to enrich uranium, and during the recent visit to Iraq by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Pipes continues:

On April 11, the advisor for military affairs to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i (according to a news report) “praised the Iraqi Army for its recent attack on the strongholds of [the MeK] and asked Baghdad to continue attacking the terrorist base until its destruction.”

On April 24, despite United Nations insistence that “Camp Ashraf residents be protected from forcible deportation, expulsion...

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Pakistani "ally" driving US stealth helicopter secrets to China?

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This week's syndicated column:

Stirrings of life on Capitol Hill: Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has introduced a bill to stop distribution of $3 billion in aid that Congress appropriated for Pakistan this year until the State Department certifies that Pakistan was not harboring Osama bin Laden.

Unless it were to serve as a rubber stamp, such a bill could be a step toward long overdue accountability on Pakistan. It at least offers a way to call out the pathological inertia that drives the U.S.-Pakistani relationship not forward, but in circles, causing dizzy policy-making. Even after Pakistan appears to have been caught in flagrante delicto with Public Enemy No. 1, House Speaker John Boehner, for example, was still prattling on about Pakistan being "critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida." Like the battered spouse who can't see what's wrong with another shiner, Boehner insisted: "This is not a time to back...

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From AKI (via Andrew Bostom) 

KABUL -- The Afghan Taliban have created a special unit to avenge the killing of Al-Qaeda's leader by US special forces in Pakistan on Monday, a commander in eastern Afghanistan has told Al-Jazeera. "We have created a special unit to avenge the martyr Sheikh Osama Bin Laden," Dawran Safi told the Qatar-based Arabic satellite TV channel. We will take forward his standard and wage war against foreigners and their agents," Safi said in an interview from the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Presidential palace perhaps?

Good thing Obama didn't release the Osama pics and really stir things up.











...

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Sarah Palin has changed foreign policy course. She has traded in the neoconservative bent she entered national politics with, which envisions an apparently unlimited global role for a nation-building United States, for an outlook emphasizing national interest as the criterion for embarking on military adventures. This shift manifested itself in a recently reported change of advisors, from a team composed of Randy Scheunemann and Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb, to the Hoover Institution's Peter Schweizer. (NB: Schweizer edits Breitbart's BigPeace.com, where work of mine appears.) It also may foreshadow what I expect will become -- what I hope will become -- a long overdue debate within the Republican Party as conservatives grow weary (again, I hope) of reckless and feckless power projections into the Islamic world that win us nothing, from Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Libya.

It is early yet in Palin's post-neocon assessment of the world (here is her first policy address),...

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After I watched this ABC report on the secrets which the hulk of the helicopter wrecked and left behind during the bin Laden raid have revealed, I couldn't stop thinking about the situation. Because of the crash, the world now knows that the US is using a brand new, once completely secret stealth helicopter technology. The report shows the hulk, shows children gathering pieces of its special fabric in the grass outside the bin Laden compound, and hints darkly that those same pieces may well be now en route to China, which has close ties to Pakistan's military. It then shows Pakistani officials driving off the remnants of the helicopter to some unknown and, the presumption is, beyond-our-reach location.

...

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I've had a sneaking suspicion that the Obama White House would ultimately nix the release of Dead Bin Laden, and here it comes, the prepatory rumblings: Gates and Hillary, ABC's Jake Tapper reports (via Drudge) are arguing against release. This tagteam pushback, Tapper writes with soothing gentility, is due to "concerns at the Pentagon and State Department that releasing a photograph could prompt a backlash against the US for killing bin Laden where one does not seem to currently exist."

Hmm. Now where would that be? Manhattan? Madrid? Bali? Tel Aviv? Nah. We're talking Umma Central. Our leadership is quaking in their boots (pumps) over the prospect that the sight of dead Bin Laden would set off billions of Hair-Trigger Moderates...

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It never rains but it pours. No sooner had Geert Wilders made his final appeal for the continued existence of free speech in the Netherlands, my good friend and colleague Lars Hedegaard, journalist, author, president of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Society, was declared guilty by a Danish court of violating a deeply pernicious point of the nation's penal code known as 266b. Specifically, Lars was convicted of "[issuing] a pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation." That he committed this "crime" in the privacy of his own home during a Christmas Day luncheon conversation is an extra icicle on this completely chilling verdict.

Unbeknownst to Hedegaard and without his permission, his remarks, which concerned the incidence of family rape in Islam, were recorded and later uploaded to the Internet. This saved him from a guilty...

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... Geert Wilders made his final statement in court yesterday where he is still on trial for telling the truth about Islam. This, as often noted, is a judicial outrage, a public nightmare, and an existential threat to liberty as we have known it which doesn't end because bin Laden is dead. There is a raw, ugly fear of Islam in the non-Islamic world, and the grotesque reflex of the frightened power classes is to side with the raw, ugly power of Islam, which, never let it be forgotten, is derived solely from their own fear. The results are to be seen in the travesties around us from the Netherlands' campaign to silence, penalize and make an example of the courageous Wilders, to the USA's grotesque staging of a dignified, Islamically correct "funeral at sea" for a mass murderer whose corpse should have been disposed of as the human trash that it was.

Reading Geert's words is a sobering...

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Maybe a helicopter like this one brought bin Laden's corpse to the USS Carl Vinson late last night where in the wee hours of Monday morning the bullet-pocked corpse of the terror-mastermind received full jihad honors. Or was that full Islamic honors? I get them confused. Whatever they were, they were accorded by a thoroughly abased and dhimmified US military, as Andrew Bostom explains here.

AFP reports:

US forces administered Muslim religious rites for Osama bin Laden aboard an aircraft carrier Monday in the Arabian Sea, an American official said after the raid that killed the Al-Qaeda leader.

"Today religious rights were conducted for the deceased on the deck of the USS Carl-Vinson which is located in the North Arabian Sea," a senior defense official said.

"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed. The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.

"A military officer read prepared religious...

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Early in 2009, I interviewed Gen. Paul Vallely (US Army Ret.) and learned about the "lily pad" strategy -- a strategy, Vallely explained, that relies on "the maximum use of unconventional forces," such as Navy SEALS and other special forces, who can be deployed as needed from outposts in friendly countries (Israel, India, Philippines, Italy, etc.), or from U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups (as in this well-executed 2009 example). Carrier strike groups, by the way, generally include eight to 10 vessels "with more fire power," the general noted, "than most nations."

Sounds to me as if the helicopter-carried, 40-minute...

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