...here's why I think they're dangerous—they're acting like we're still in Vietnam when we're in a real war of civilizations.and says in reply:
Look, guys: if you think we ought to use military force to fight terrorism, I'm with you. But if you think we ought to use that same military force as part of a war of civilizations, count me out. Way, way out. That's not any kind of liberalism I'm familiar with.First, Kevin (and Matt) it's not a schtick, it's a movement. And the fact that the Democratic leadership, like you, doesn't see that is why I won't be booking big bets against Bush in 04. That's not the only place where Kevin and I part company. I don't think we are in a war of civilizations...yet. I don't doubt that the other side thinks and hopes that we are, and that our response to them, over the last few decades, has been mistaken on a number of fronts. A real war of civilizations, as I have pointed out over and over again, only has one result. We'll be here, they won't. I believe there is still time to avert that war, through a balance of force, diplomacy, self-sacrifice in a number of arenas, and careful consideration of our relationships with the Islamic and Arab world.
Paul Krugman began his Tuesday column for the New York Times - inevitably, about the blackout - with one of the few truthful statements I can ever recall him uttering: "We still don't know what started the chain reaction on Thursday."And it seems like pots should be careful about calling kettles black, no matter that the pot has been careful to tread - barely - on the side of the line which divides actionable from exceptionable behavior. And pundits who use slings ought to be able to take a stone or two, and the fact that Mr Luskin can't - the fact assuming that the letter Atrios posted was genuine (and the lawyer's name does check out on the firm website) - certainly drops him a few kilometers below credible in my view. Free speech - even hurtful speech - is something the folks at NRO (and others) have championed for some time. It appears that they neglected to mention that it only matters when someone else's ox is being gored. Personally, I'm hoping it's some kind of prank. In that case, I'll personally email Mr. Luskin an apology. Watching and waiting...
The suicide bomber had packed his 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser well in preparation for his journey Monday to martyrdom. He had taken out the back seat and piled explosives and rockets from floor to roof. He lined the door panels with dynamite. Police would later say his lethal load weighed more than 2 tons - enough to blow up the police station, the primary school next door, the crowded outdoor market on the corner and most of the neighborhood as well.
The driver of the white Land Cruiser was Syrian, Iraqi authorities later said, and at 10:15 a.m. he drove slowly through the police station's back gate. There he was blocked by a barricade of sand-filled barrels and a $120-a-month policeman who ordered him to retreat.Now, I'm sure that $120 a month is an OK salary in Iraq right now, but what matters here is that the Iraqi police officer did what he was supposed to do. He was attentive, and he reacted - he defended himself and his police station against an attack by a foreigner - not an American military attack, but a terrorist attack by a foreign Arab.
The vehicle hit the outer wall of the police station with a grinding thud. Then there was the briefest moment of silence. No explosion. No gallant martyrdom. The Syrian jumped from the vehicle and hurled a grenade at Arshad as a bullet tore into the would-be bomber's stomach. Before he passed out, he managed to shout: "Arabs are cowards! Iraqis are traitors! I am an Arab, you cowards! Allahu akbar [God is great]!" Police officers said they found a Syrian passport in the pocket of his blue, robe-like dishdasha. On the passenger's seat was a police shirt and police armband that might have enabled him to pass through checkpoints.I don't know. If Syrian Islamists are the drivers in this round of suicide attacks, and if Iraqis are starting to successfully defend against them, I'll take that as a) some measure of proof that the 'flypaper' theory might not be completely specious, and b) as proof that something significantly good is happening over there. I've said in the past that the two keys to winning this war are an iron butt - the simple willingness to sit it out - and the adaptability to learn from our mistakes and the opponent's tactics. We may be showing both. I'll add Instapundit's great comment here, and second it:
Because if the White House -- by which, in this case, I mean George W. Bush -- decides to drop the ball on this, I'll probably vote Democratic, even if Kucinich is the nominee. A half-hearted war is the very, very worst kind. I think that Bush understands that. He'd better.
A pair of rabbits are put in a field and, if rabbits take a month to become mature and then produce a new pair every month after that, how many pairs will there be in twelve months time?
Somewhere around 1200 A.D. an Italian mathematician who went by the pen-name Fibonacci pondered this very problem, a task made a bit easier by his pioneering adoption of the Hindu-Arabic numeric system. The 1,1,2,3,5,8... sequence which resulted is known as the Fibonacci Sequence, and it's connected to both the critical artistic concept of the "golden section" and the "propagating spiral."
Hmmm. Breeding like rabbits, Hindi-Arabic enablement, propagating spirals, game theory. These days, the concepts remind us of nukes, not numbers. Fundamentalist regimes in Iran and North Korea are entering the final phases of their race to atomic weapons, while reports surface of Pakistani exchanges with North Korea and now a weapons program in collusion with Saudi Arabia.
The civilizational death-wish of some on the Left has never been on clearer display than in the demented assertions of the "rights" of governments like these to possess nuclear weapons. As if this was a matter of no import, whose awful and predictable consequences could be wished away by delusional legalisms. As if the mere existence of these tyrannies created "rights" we should respect.
Yet the truth stares us in the face, and will not go away: Fibonacci's sequence lives on today in the nightmare form of nuclear proliferation, and all current indications point to the conclusion that nothing of consequence will be done to halt the relentless addition of its sums. Parapundit drives this point home in a series of 2 excellent articles, covering the work of Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center on the broken non-proliferation process, and UPI Editor in Chief Arnaud de Borchgrave's report on nuclear agreements between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (see also our Aug. 8, 2002 piece). Not to mention the connections to Iran's nuclear efforts, which are breeding further proliferation as other countries in the region notice that nothing is being done to stop them. Both features are typically thorough, with a lot of additional background and links. Their conclusions are depressing. At best.
Taken in aggregate, these developments constitute the most profound indictment to date of our progress in the War on Terror. The prospect of The Bush Doctrine's (key speech | Winds summary & analysis) utter failure within 5 years of its proclamation raises issues that go far beyond the question of Iraq. They speak to the conduct of the war from its very inception, and deserve serious, knowledgeable scrutiny of the highest order. Since the odds of that coming from the Left range from nil to negative, people on the Center and Right need to step back from the immediate fray and begin thinking about our options and limitations very, very seriously. We won't have many chances to change our course and get this one right. If, indeed, we still retain any chance at all.
UPDATE: Armed Liberal offers some further thoughts in Thresholds.
"All that is left to us by tradition is mere words. It is up to us to find out what they mean." -- ibn al-'Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, in The Mystics of Islam, translated by Reynold A Nicholson
"Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment, he said: "The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received."Read the rest of Court's post to find out what happened next...
A new nationwide poll, released yesterday by Harvard University's Institute Of Politics, finds she is far from alone: Of the 1,200 student respondents, 31 percent identified themselves as Republicans, compared with 27 percent who said they are Democrats. The largest number, 38 percent, called themselves Independent, or unaffiliated.The Academy doesn't live in a dewar; it is refreshed every year with new students who come in, go through it, are changed and change it in turn. Eventually, they will run departments...and it won't be in geologic or even historic time. Porphy and I'll be around to see it. Plus I owe him a response to his funny "You Know You're a Liberal" post. Next, Marc Brazeau, in Portland Oregon (Michael Totten, have you had dinner with him yet?) has a damn interesting set of policy prescriptions for the Democratic Party in the next few years. It's a long list, I agree with some but not all, but it sets out an interesting place to start talking about liberal strategy. My alltime favorite:
Democrats should be striking a bargain between business and the organized constituencies that act as countervailing forces. The bargain is this: Less regulation - More enforcement. Simpler, less nitpicky laws in exchange for bigger budgets for enforcement and real penalties for non-compliance - ball busting fines and in appropriate cases: jail time.Ties in nicely with this, doesn't it? I'll dig in, but I'm also shamed; I need to stop doing cute op-eds and start being prescriptive. Scott Talkington has a cool blog called Demosophia; what got my attention there was a damn good post on "Totalitarianism 3.0" Here's a sample:
But it seems that, ironically, the most virulent and world-threatening forms of the malady have coincided with the rise and spread of liberal democracy. I would almost suspect that the mere presence of a system seeking to institutionalize the optimization of liberty gives rise to an opposing ideal that seeks to control every thought and act through terror. And the first manifestation of this ancient rivalry may have been in the epic Peloponnesian Wars between Athens and Sparta.Go hang out and learn something from these folks; you may not agree, but I can guarantee you won't be bored. Sometime soon I'll dig in and complement and criticize in detail - I promise!! (corrected deeply embarassing misspelling of Scott's blog; thanks to Mitch for the correction)
"Secretary Rumsfeld's comments are an illustration of the concern that they have about the failure of their policies in Iraq so far. There can be no other description of those words than that."Personally, I was damn happy to see it.
The success of the American economic model is built largely on failure. It is built on our willingness as a people to try things and to risk failing; built on the fact that we accept failure as part of the price of ultimate success; and ultimately on our willingness to accept displacement and change as a natural part of our social and economic lives.Our military success is founded on the incredible logistical and technological advantages that our economy has given us - and also on our willingness to apply the same principles to our warfighting; to learn, to adapt, to change. If Rumsfeld hasn't written this memo, he should have been fired, and I hope to God that the fact that so many Democrats are seizing on it is so much political spin, rather than sheer naive stupidity - which is what it is if they aren't spinning.
October 23, 2003: In today's world, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that one man can make a difference. Paul Ray Smith is on the way to becoming the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart fought their last battle in Mogadishu on October 3, 1993. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, SFC (Sergeant First Class) Smith was a platoon sergeant/acting platoon leader in the 1st Brigade's B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion attached to the 2-7 Task Force. Bravo Company was in contact with Saddam's forces nearly every day during the second phase of the campaign. After a pause below As Samawah and Karbala, the drive on Baghdad from the south carried the 2-7th into Saddam International Airport. On the morning of April 4, the Task Force was inside of the airport and several enemy soldiers had been captured, so a containment pen had be to quickly built. There was a wall 10 ft tall paralleling the north side of the highway, on the battalion's flank just behind the front lines. Smith (whose callsign was 'Sapper 7') decided to punch a hole in it, so that the inside walls would form two sides of a triangular enclosure and the open third side could be closed off with rolls of concertina wire. Smith used an armored combat earthmover to punch through the wall and, while wire was being laid across the corner, one of the squad's two M113s moved toward a gate on the far side of the courtyard. The driver pushed open the gate to open a field of fire, revealing between 50 and 100 enemy soldiers massed to attack. The only way out was the hole the engineers had put in the wall and the gate where the hardcore Iraqis were firing. What happened next was equal to Audie Murphy's legendary World War II heroism. Iraqi soldiers perched in trees and a nearby tower let loose with a barrage of RPGs and there were snipers on the roof. A mortar round hit the engineers' M-113, seriously wounding three soldiers inside. Smith helped evacuate them to an aid station, which was threatened by the attack as well. Smith promptly organized the engineers' defense, since the only thing that stood between the Iraqis and the Task Force's headquarters were about 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics. A second M113 was hit by an RPG, but was still operational. Dozens of Iraqi soldiers were charging from the gate or scaling a section of the wall, jumping into the courtyard. Smith took over the second APC's .50-caliber machine gun and got the vehicle into a position where he could stop the Iraqis. First Sergeant Tim Campbell realized that they had to knock out the Iraqi position in the tower and after consulting with Smith, led two soldiers to take the tower. Armed only with a light machine-gun, a rifle and a pistol with one magazine, the trio advanced behind the smoke of tall grass that had caught fire from exploding ammunition. Smith yelled for more ammunition three times during the fight, going through 400 rounds before he was hit in the head. Shortly before taking the tower and gunning down the Iraqis inside, Campbell noticed that the sound of Smith's .50-caliber had also stopped. Campbell figured Smith was just reloading again. The medics worked on SFC Smith for 30 minutes, but he was dead. According to the citation, his actions killed 20 to 50 Iraqis, allowing the American wounded to be evacuated, saving the aid station and headquarters (as well as possibly 100 American lives). Fellow soldiers credit Smith with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well-equipped soldiers from the Special Republican Guard, which was headed straight for the 2-7 Task Force's headquarters (Tactical Operations Center), less than a half-mile away. The battle captains, commanders and journalists huddled at the operations center were trying to protect themselves against tank fire and snipers in the nearby woods They had no idea about the possible onslaught of Republican Guard from the nearby complex. Smith, a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, was a 33 year old from Tampa, Florida. He left behind a wife, a son and a daughter. Memorials to SFC Paul Ray Smith, online at: · http://www.fallenheroesmemorial.com/oif/profiles/smithpaulr.html · http://www.sfcpaulsmith.com/
Both current and past senior civilian defense officials reportedly have grown increasingly frustrated with the conventional mindset of many strategic level military officers. In their view, too many senior leaders are too cautious, lacking the "fresh thinking, creativity, and ingenuity" to engage in the "out-of-the-box" thinking required to fully understand the new asymmetric threats and challenges posed by the global war on terrorism.and
This article seeks to identify the adaptive linkages that exist between strategic leader competencies and the mental readiness for asymmetric and more conventional warfare. Fortunately, the writings of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz seem to offer a framework to help guide the needed adaptation in strategic leader thinking with regard to asymmetric approaches to warfare. An identification of these characteristics in the writings of both Sun Tzu and Clausewitz offers the opportunity to adapt their concepts to the present and anticipated challenges of asymmetric approaches to warfare. However, it is also important to recognize that while "asymmetry is important to strategy . . . not everything is asymmetry."Take a look, as I think I'll be commenting on this and the Rumsfeld memo in more depth in the next little while. To get a glimpse of how I feel about this, go read this old post on risk.
The average speed on the 110 freeway (except during rush hour congestion) is over 80 miles per hour. The speed limit is 55; this means that the enforcing officer can select from a huge population of violators at will. Is he a racist? Then black drivers may get cited. Is she mad at her red-haired ex-husband? Red-haired drivers will get red lights in the mirror. This kind of law gives incredible unlegislated discretion and power to the enforcers, and makes the average citizen into the average lawbreaker. But our political system runs on it...But that's not all. Somehow many liberals have become lost in a fog in which legislation is a meaningful substitute for action. I don't want legislation, I want change, and somehow I'm being handed a bill of goods by my legislators who somehow believe I can't tell the difference.
I've always believed that one of the key problems in our system of government is that we all confuse passing laws with making changes. As anyone who's ever managed people knows, there's a world of difference between sending memos (or policy and procedures documents) and changing employee behavior.Look, if you're a liberal - and I hope that at least a couple of the people rewarding this are - when you petition the State to act on an issue, what do you want? Do you want better schools, or a thicker book of regulations and an entire bureaucratic armada to (selectively) enforce them? And in so doing, neither accomplish the goal (which is supposedly why you want something done) and arm the opposition with another host of arguments for why liberalism is ineffective, intrusive, and immoral? And for both liberals and conservatives, because it attacks legitimacy, that critical web that ties us together into a polity. Reynolds talks about how " the law loses prestige." I don't think that's a strong enough statement (although he's a law professor, so maybe it means more to him than to me). Legitimacy is critical, and sadly in short supply these days. To sum up:
So ... pass a law ... get a photo op ... accomplish nothing. This is worse than just ineffective. It is worse because the presence of this vast body of unenforced law both breeds contempt for the law (decline in legitimacy) and creates a kind of bureaucratic leverage over each of us, as we are caught in a web of selectively enforced laws.
"Also, watch your own email. An email account I've used for posting comments here and at related blogs has sustained multiple virus attacks with Islamic slogans in the last few days. Anyone else having similar attacks? It would be interesting to know if the email address was harvested with a script (in which case others were probably attacked too) or by hand in response to someone who took exception to an opinion I wrote." [Posted by rkb at October 22, 2003 08:22 PM]If she's not alone, this is important. Use the comments below to let us know... but don't use your real email address!
"For Internet Haganah to have a fighting chance of surviving such attacks we need to mirror our site at multiple locations, on different backbones, in different datacenters. This costs money, money we don't have. Contributions to Internet Haganah at this time will go towards securing additional servers, domain names, DNS services and other expenses related to making our presence on the internet more resistant to future attacks."You can see As-Sahwah's official gloating here. That's all the explanation you need for why this is a worthy cause, and contributing helps us all by giving us a template and testbed for better blog defenses. As our reader 'Paul' noted: bq. "I think when he finally gets back up we should all send Aaron 25 bucks so he can mirror his sites. He is doing his part to keep our sorry butts from being blown up by terrorists." Yes, he is. Jonathan Galt of the Yahoo! Terror Web group chimes in with the donation links:
You don't have to wait until he's back up to send him the $25. There are several mirrored sites on free web servers which have PayPal buttons -- it looks like he's more than half way to the goal: * Geocities 1 * Geocities 2 * Geocities 3 * 150m 1 * 150m 2 * Tripod 1If you've ever wondered how you could make a personal contribution to the war effort, this is one such opportunity. The Winds of Change.NET team strongly encourages our readers to give to this worthy cause, and keep Internet Haganah standing watchful guard on behalf of us all.
Electing him will be a slap to the face of the political class, which it badly needs.From the SJ Mercury News (probably the best paper in California, by the way) today:
Some prominent Democrats read the election as a rebellion against partisan gridlock in general, not a repudiation of their party. The recall election was a "hell of a wake-up call" for all political leaders across the state, Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson said Tuesday.
"Californians said: `Business as usual is not cutting it. We are sick and tired of partisan bickering. Get the job done,' " said Wesson, D-Los Angeles.And this:
In a memo distributed to Democratic Assembly members three days after the election, their chief campaign strategist, Darry Sragow, had this advice: "While voters continue to support Democratic ideals, they need reassurance that Democrats also grasp and are prepared to deal with the public's concerns about jobs and pocketbook issues -- the state's and their own." The Democratic caucus, he added, should "put aside whatever differences it may have with the governor-elect and enter into good-faith negotiations regarding the budget."Not that I'm smug about it or anything...
"If the DOS attack that nailed Hosting Matters was from the same source as the one that took out Haganah a few days ago, then it is coming from a number of Malaysia-based websites and internet forums frequented by al-Qaeda supporters from the Gulf. I'm looking around the various forums for more information, but here is the claim of responsibility for the Haganah attack that crippled their website. As-Sahwah has been used in the past as a means of disseminating al-Qaeda propaganda to its supporters the Arab world - and the board administrators, per Haganah, are said to be in contact with member's the terrorist network's media committee. I thought I'd bring this to your attention not just because if this is them then what happened to Hosting Matters may well be a test run to see how much they could get away with. You might want to consider a friendly warning to other major warbloggers to start backing up data in preparation for such an event."Indeed. --- UPDATES --- * Dan Darling has more information and updates in the Comments section. * N.B. The kind of people who do things like this are called "crackers," NOT hackers. * Jeannie at Dodgeblogium wonders if this is what Malaysian PM Mahathir had in mind in his recent speech. Answer: probably. Brace yourselves...
magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri. (Large buttocks are pleasing to me, nor am I able to lie concerning this matter.) quis enim, consortes mei, non fateatur, (For who, colleagues, would not admit,) cum puella incedit minore medio corpore (Whenever a girl comes by with a rather small middle part of the body) sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos (Beneath which is an obvious spherical mass, that it inflames the spirits) virtute praestare ut velitis, notantes bracas eius (So that you want to be conspicuous for manly virtue, noticing her breeches) clunibus profunde fartas(*1) esse (Have been deeply stuffed with buttock?) a! captus sum, nec desinere intueri possum. (Alas! I am captured, nor am I able to desist from gazing.)Some people prefer the original Sir Mix-A-Lot version...
The newspaper said it had given a team of reporters three months to interview officials, pore over ministry budgets and make calculations. The exercise was filled with frustration, but the conclusion drawn is that since 1967, Israel has spent roughly $10 billion on the settlements. Currently, the annual amount spent on settlements' civilian needs is more than $500 million.
One of the reasons the Haaretz study was so difficult to carry out is that the Israeli government's budgets have purposefully hidden spending on settlements within other costs, bundling them with subsidies to border communities and those in the Negev Desert, areas where people need to be induced to live either because of risk or limited economic opportunities. This cover-up is part of an unhappy pattern. Look at any government map of Israel, and you will find no border demarcating the occupied territories. Although Israel has never officially annexed the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it has treated them, in many ways, as if it had. This means that those seeking to establish Jewish towns and villages in the captured lands have benefited from generous government subsidies: personal income tax breaks, grants and loans for house purchases, bonuses for teachers. The Jewish settlers, who now number 230,000, have been granted special bypass highways, water supplies and health clinics. Even the cheery red-roofed bedroom settlements a few miles from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are treated as if they were distant depressed towns. Teachers who settle in them, for example, get four years' seniority, an 80 percent housing subsidy and 100 percent reimbursement for travel, and more. The result, according to Haaretz, is that the average settler family benefits from about $10,000 more per year of government spending than a family living within Israel proper.Here's the deal. Pretty much every one of us - regardless of whether we live in the Americas, Europe, Asia, or Africa, lives on land taken from other people by conquest. That's pretty much the basic story behind our history as humans. The question becomes: When do we stop the clock? In 1967, Israel took by force of arms the territories known as the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. They held them, originally, as a defense against conventional military invasion, as had been attempted in 1948, was imminent in 1967, and was tried again in 1973. With those territories, came a population of Arabs - many displaced in the conflicts of 1948, and loosely Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian at first - but now and forever Palestinian. The question is simple: Did Israel hold those territories as conquest, with the intent of expanding into them? Or were they a military buffer and political bargaining chip? As a military buffer, events, history, and military technology appear to have passed their usefulness by. As a political bargaining chip, Israel seems to find itself in the predicament of the kidnappers who took Bette Midler in 'Ruthless People'...no one wants them back. So what we're left with is conquest. Morally, many (including me) find that repugnant. And the official claim is that Israel doesn't intent to take over ("colonize," for lack of a better term) the Occupied Territories; Israeli efforts to negotiate some kind of 'land for peace' deal would support that. But... ...by building an increasingly dense network of civilian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, what happens on the ground looks like a creeping colonization. So as much as I'm happy to bust the Arab world for talking peace and diplomacy in English and bombs and bullets in Arabic, I have to wonder how it is that we're talking diplomacy and ceding control of the Occupied Territories in English, and budgeting for new construction in Hebrew. Let me note one thing: I haven't changed my opinion that offering statehood to the Palestinian people, as things stand today, would be a fool's errand. Either there is no government capable of containing the violence of the various sects, or the government is duplicitously claiming that it cannot. In neither case has anyone these shown me that they deserve the keys. But while we figure out how to deal with the charmingly erratic nature of the Palestinian polity, we need to do so from a position that is sustainable - militarily, economically, politically, and morally. And I've gotta question whether the current policies - of quietly burying a huge budget to subsidize people to move into the settlements, while talking about handing them back to the Palestinians - are sustainable on any of those grounds. Militarily, the original justification for settlements was they would provide 24/7 sets of Israeli eyes to assure that there would be no pre-invasion buildup. Between satellite imagery and Predators, that justification seems pretty much evaporated at this point. I have to believe that in the face of constant, low-intensity attacks such as we are seeing now, the settlements cost a great deal more in readiness than they provide. Economically, the Haaretz articles seem to speak for themselves. Politically, I used to think that the slowly growing settlements were a ploy to induce the Arab world to hurry up and negotiate - if they waited too long, there wouldn't be any land left over to make into Palestine. It may be that we're hitting that point now (back to 'Ruthless People' again). But the fact is that Israel has to figure out what to do with the population in the West Bank- having done too little over the last 20 years has created the conditions we see today, in which crazed leaders can make strapping on a Semtex belt seem like a sensible thing to do. I have come to believe that Israel should either annex the Territories and deport anyone who objects - and take the political conseuences, which I believe would be catastrophic - or find a way to give them up. Neither of those processes is helped by this current policy of accretion. And morally, it's hard to look at the policy of settlements while negotiating to give it back without a certain level of repugnance. It's duplicitious at best, while a public and absolute freeze on settlements - and even a meaningful rollback of some of the less-defensible ones - would at a time of profound Arab weakness, should be seen as a sincere act and demonstration of good faith. M. Simon emailed the following in response to my intial snippet of a comment:
To Armed Liberal, Since the comments are broken I have this reply about settlements. If Arabs and Muslims living in Israel are no obstacle to peace please explain how Jews living in the Palestinian territories are an obstacle to peace? If that is not good enough then you might consider that for a peace deal that was real Israel has dismantled settlements in the past. Why wouldn't they do it again? Settlements are an imaginary obstacle. Land is not being taken from Arabs. Land which once belonged to the Jordanian government (which they have long since renounced) is being used. SimonAnd I owe him a reply. First, and foremost, the Arabs who live in Israel do so freely as members of the Israeli community - they are subject to israeli laws, participate in the israeli economy, and do so with the free and full consent of the Israeli government. Settlers live in enclaves, subject to Israeli law rather than what passes for Palestinian law, and do so over the protest of much of Palestinian society. If Arab governments bought or expropriated (as Israel has done to property once owned by the Jordanian or Egyptina governments) land and built enclaves for Palestinians within Israel, subject to Jordanian law, the people of Israel would be rightly outraged. Why is it different for the Arabs? Yes, they can be dismantled for a peace deal, but I've got to believe that as they and the people who live in them get more and more entrenched it will be less and less possible to do so every year. And personally, I'd rather see the $500 million/year spent more constructively by being offered directly as a bribe to the Palestinians for peace. Fred Lapides also blogged this at Israpundit
The Sunrise Ruby In the early morning hour, just before dawn, lover and beloved wake and take a drink of water. She asks, "Do you love me or yourself more? Really, tell the absolute truth."
He says, "There's nothing left of me. I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise. Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness? It has no resistance to sunlight." This is how Hallaj said, I am God, and told the truth! The ruby and the sunrise are one. Be courageous and discipline yourself. Completely become hearing and ear, and wear this sun-ruby as an earring. Work. Keep digging your well. Don't think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there. - from Coleman Barks' "The Essential Rumi"So... what's Rumi telling us? Use the Comments section to offer your thoughts!
"The combination of the personal computer and the Internet is the ultimate in empowerment for the masses, right? The technology defies borders, routes around censorship, and allows the voices of individuals to be heard on the same stage as the rich and powerful, right? That's what John Walker, founder of Autodesk, used to think too. Now he's not so sure, and in a sobering mongraph titled "The Digital Imprimatur: How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle," he explains why...
"The Net is not the peaceful little village of academics and hobbyists it once was; now it's a metropolis, with serious money to be made, serious power to be wielded and serious nastiness to be warded off. Walker's contention is that the very mechanisms now available and in development to manage life in such an environment - the walls we need to protect ourselves, the authentication of identity that we need to trust each other - could gradually create a structure of choke points and authority that would leave government and corporate powers in control of Net use, and all in the name of protecting the user. Before you say it could never happen, read the full treatise - it's long, but clearly written, and it's an eye-opener."I'll second that recommendation, and add one of my own. For a longer-range view that looks at the underlying potential in both directions, David Ronfeldt's 1992 paper Cyberocracy is Coming remains the most perceptive single piece I've yet read.
"Yesterday (almost like manna from heaven for the purposes of this essay), there was a fire in the apartment block across the street from mine. I was walking back from buying vegetables at a nearby market and saw a gathering crowd and the unmistakeable scent of ash. The fire engines hadn't arrived yet, but I could predict what was going to happen: people would come running to stare, point, and laugh, but certainly not to help.... If you see someone else in pain, stare, amuse yourself, but never ever do something to help because if you help someone then you become responsible for that person and that is completely against your narrow self-interests. This idea is sometimes taken to its logical, but most grotesque end. At accidents that occur at places and times where there are no witnesses, but one of the drivers is injured, the other driver sometimes intentionally hits the other person again to kill him. Why? Because if he stayed alive the other driver would be responsible for his medical bills, but if he's dead then he doesn't have an impact on the other driver's life or pocketbook. Pause and consider the twistedness of that. Then pause again to consider that such stories are common enough to make it onto CCTV."* JK: Hmm, this actually sheds new light on Team Agonist blogger Sean-Paul's recent China experiences during his Silk Road Journeys. Sean-Paul's reaction was pretty off-the-scale (see also this follow-up), but perhaps Andres' writings will help add some perspective on the whole incident for both Sean-Paul and his readers/critics. * JK: Sean-Paul deserves criticism, but so does the culture he observed. Unless you're a member of the Holy Postmodern Leftist Church, of course, in which case perspective is the last thing you want and other cultures' immunity to criticism is an article fo faith. Should you find this faith challenged, chastise yourself for reading the scribblings of patriarchal racist lackeys instead of Derrida's holy texts. 3 Chomsky speeches, a Monibot column and alms to Indymedia should suffice for pennance, and help restore perfect belief. * In Hong Kong, Phil at Flying Chair reports on the sparsity of Chinese virginity. * Local blogger BWG does a star-turn on CNN, as Asia's first blogging celebrity * On the lighter side, Hemlock continues to corner the Hong Kong stock market, suggests Jackie Chan as Chief Executive and discovers he suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder.
"Toward the end, a kind of hysteria gripped the newsroom. I witnessed a deep-seated, irrational need to get something on this guy [Schwarzenegger]. By Wednesday before it was published, I counted not fewer than 24 reporters dispatched on Arnold, and this entire enterprise was directed by John Carroll himself." "Carroll launched the project with the words: 'I want a full scrub of Arnold.' This was fully and completely and daily driven by Carroll. He's as good as his word on being balanced and trying to make this paper more balanced, he really is. But not when it came to Schwarzenegger. Carroll changed completely. It was visceral, and he made it clear he wanted something bad on Schwarzenegger and he didn't care what it was." ... "It all happened amidst a poisonous atmosphere here against Schwarzenegger---a blatant political undertone that was everywhere in the newsroom. These are people who have been in the building a long time and have formed a culture together. It's easy for all of us to start thinking very much alike." "The reporters probed everything they could think of about Schwarzenegger: his health, his businesses, his charities. They couldn't find out anything horrible about his charities, but they tried very, very hard. His business empire made him look good---so the business empire story was buried in the paper. It ended up on something like, I don't know, Page A36. And as these issues got abandoned because they produced no dirt on Arnold, as desired by Carroll, the team going after him got more and more focused on sex and steroids." "It was awful to watch Carroll. It became a Capt. Ahab and Moby Dick thing where they felt an increasing need to nail those points that could most hurt Schwarzenegger. At times, it made me physically uncomfortable to be in the newsroom."As they say, read the whole thing. Here's my take: I'm met Jill once or twice (we're certainly not friends), and she doesn't seem suicidal. For her to lay this directly on the Times, and to do so publicly, means she believes in what she's saying, and believes that when push comes to shove, she'll get backed up. Because if she's not... I'm making popcorn. Oct. 20 Update: If you scroll to the bottom of Jill's column, there's a correction; it appears that her source got the betting pool wrong.
"Note: In a previous version of this interview, the source stated that betting pool of 113 journalists conducted at the Times showed about 25 percent thought Schwarzenegger would win and recall would win. However, reporter Ken Reich, who conducted the pool, says this information is wrong and offers the following correction: 'Of the 113 participants, 74 picked both the recall to pass and Schwarzenegger to win the replacement race.... Of the 113, by the way, 101 picked Schwarzenegger to win the replacement race, 11 Bustamante and one McClintock.' "Kind of a significant fact to get wrong; but as noted, I'm buttering the popcorn waiting to see how this develops.
Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist v1.0 is ready and released! This is a must-install plugin for anyone affected by or concerned about blog comment spam on their Movable Type blogs. Despite Jay's marathon sleepless programming session, the documentation is pretty clear and installation is simple for anyone with FTP and a browser. If you have trouble, Jay is asleep but email joe, at windsofchange.net and I'll do my best to help.
We have a few tests to run on our install and one more antispam measure to nail down, and then comments will re-open again. Meanwhile, if you have a Moveable Type blog, get this plugin!
For other measures you can take on Movable Type blogs and beyond, see our (updated & expanded) Sunday post: "Dealing With Comment Spammer Infestations."
His concept seems to approximate that of "Progressives" - being "fair" means taking sides and treating others differently based on whose side they are on. Those on the Progressive side can and should be cut some slack, because they mean well, while those opposing Progressivism must be held to more exacting standards as a matter of course because they are not advancing the cause of justice, equality, and social change anyhow.I took it slightly differently. I think of what he meant as being a good Little League coach, called on to umpire the game. You clearly want one side to win, but you follow certain norms - in order to see that you, as well as both sides are playing by the rules (it's not too different than what I talk about above). Sadly, as I note, I think they're making all the calls one way. That may well mean that Porphy's definition is better (more accurate) than mine. End Update... All links as of Sunday night/Monday morning Al Martinez: Oct. 10
Once upon a time in the land of Col-lee-forna, a village elected an idiot named Serios Gropper to run things. The villagers all knew he was an idiot, but he was strong and had the widest grin anyone had ever seen and was always on stage lifting things and grinning whenever there was an opportunity, so everyone knew who he was. Familiarity counts. The leader ousted in favor of Gropper was a 90-pound weakling named Maxim Dul who was always getting sand kicked in his face at the beach and who hardly had any grin at all. Gropper, everyone said, had substance and a bold face, and that's what Col-lee-forna needed. Nice hair too, perfectly colored and sprayed.Ronald Brownstein Oct. 6
If Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante becomes governor or if Gov. Gray Davis retains his seat amid the charges against Schwarzenegger, Republicans are sure to consider their candidate the victim of dirty tricks from Democrats and the media. Imagine the howls of outrage from talk radio - or the resistance from Republicans in the Legislature - that Davis would face if he survives under these circumstances. Every day after a date with the hangman is a good day - but Davis would be at war every moment for the rest of his term. If Schwarzenegger holds on to win, the hostilities might be even more intense. Even before the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, Schwarzenegger was unlikely to win support from a majority of voters; it's always been possible that fewer Californians will vote to make him governor than to keep Davis in office. Under the best of circumstances, that meant Schwarzenegger was likely to start with a precarious base if he won.Patt Morrison: Oct 7.
Like your average Californian, I'm interested in just one thing in this election - me. Where does all this leave me? If Arnold wins, it leaves me in deep, that's where. So let me say right now: All that stuff I wrote about Arnold before? About him not being able to remember meeting with energy villain Ken Lay? About him being able to balance the budget but maybe costing the state big in sexual harassment suits? About his going AWOL from the Austrian army for a bodybuilding contest? About his not voting in six of the last eight state elections? I was just making statements that were ludicrous and crazy and outrageous because that's the way I always was. I knew they would get headlines. We were promoting bodybuilding - I mean newspapers. I was always outrageous. Otherwise I wouldn't have done the things I've done in my career. Hey, if the voters can believe it from him, they can believe it from me too.Oct. 6
The California Governor's Conference for Women, the 17th annual, is still scheduled for Oct. 22 - but with which governor? Both First Lady Sharon Davis and her husband are scheduled to speak at the event - as is actor and children's book author Jamie Lee Curtis, a Schwarzenegger co-star who in 2001 joined three of his other co-starring women to protest a Premiere magazine article alleging Schwarzenegger's boorish conduct on movie sets. Since a Times story last week on the same subject, Schwarzenegger has acknowledged that he acted inappropriately toward some women and apologized.Sept. 30
Why did I have this dream, now? Ask me a hard one. It was about the recall. If Arnold Schwarzenegger is a week away from being elected governor of the fifth-largest economy in the world, if comedian Dennis Miller's name can be seriously bruited about as our next U.S. senator, then I can become a Supreme.Sept. 22
"I'm not quite sure if he's a Republican, conservative. I'm not sure what he is. As you know, he's pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-orgy, pro-hashish Let me tell you if Arnold Schwarzenegger ever would win, I would love to go to a Republican Governors Assn. What a party this could be - he could light up that group." Terry McAuliffe, head of the Democratic National Committee.Sept 16.
McClintock, the man who's been on the radar screen for 20 years, suggested acidly, on a different cable news show, that Robertson and his flock "take a closer look at the positions that Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken on a wide ranger of social issues. I think they'll be appalled." The social issues - abortion, gun control, gay rights - the dirt swept under the carpet, the unmentionable topics of the campaign, which is saying a lot in an election that's had to discuss group sex. The social issues the national GOP used to divide and conquer are the same ones that have derailed them in California, which is why everyone's keeping his mouth shut about them this time, lest it run the GOP off the rails again. The Schwarzenegger faction desperately wants McClintock to bail out before he becomes a Naderesque spoiler. But none of them wants his fingerprints to be found on McClintock's back. So all they can do is hope that someone, in political-Becket fashion, will rid them of this turbulent candidate - because McClintock is not the type to oblige them and step aside.Sept 15.
"He is a great film star. But I find his idea to run for governor absolutely insane America should be governed by people who have a clue. I hope he doesn't win." ? Dixie Chicks banjoist Emily Robinson, quoted in the German newspaper Abendzeitung about Arnold Schwarzenegger. After Dixie Chicks lead vocalist Natalie Maines announced in March that they were all ashamed that George Bush hails from Texas, their CDs were slammed and stomped on in a vivid demonstration of free speech vs. free markets.Sept. 9.
Arnold Schwarzenegger enlisted in Austria's army, not its air force, but he's an ace at flying the missing-man formation. Schwarzenegger went AWOL from the army to compete in a bodybuilding contest, winning a title that got him his start - at the price of a few days in the stockade. Maybe going AWOL in the debates will work to his advantage, too. This morning's gubernatorial debate will go on without him, just like all the others, save for the one invitation he has accepted, for Sept. 24. This RSVP record may be bad democracy but it's brilliant politics: Put your guy in one debate and one debate only - the one where the candidates get the questions in advance - so there's only one set of video clips, one set of sound bites of your guy at the top of his game, for the press to use over and over again.Sept. 8.
"For $1 million in California, I could get enough signatures to put a proposition on the ballot to outlaw ice cream." ? Walnut Creek electrician Donnie Snyder, demonstrating against the recall outside the first gubernatorial debate.Aug. 26.
The state budget, the state government, aren't a film script, with a straw-man villain who is easy to set up and, ultimately, a cinch for the hero to knock down. Nobody is pro-taxes; anyone thinking of running on a pro-tax platform would be better off starting up a theme park called "Root Canal Land." But please, Mr. S., in spite of the temptations to cinematic chest-beating, don't tease us by invoking some no-tax paradise, unless you also plan on having each of us go out and boil our own drinking water, pave our own roads, pour our own sidewalks, and dig our own sewers. In that case, I'll be over to borrow a shovel.Aug. 25.
" 'Dianne, what's happening out in California? It's like you turned the United States on its side and all of the nuts fell to California.' " ? California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, telling a group of West Los Angeles business leaders about being teased about the recall by a fellow member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The quote is a variant of one often attributed to architect Frank Lloyd Wright.Dana Parsons Oct. 5.
I could have asked at that moment about Arnold's original denials of boorish behavior around some women - before he 'fessed up last week - but that would have killed the festive mood. This is a weekend to celebrate what recall supporters say is democracy at its finest. Let's all join the parade and anoint Arnold Schwarzenegger - this man we trust and know so well - to turn our fortunes around.Tim Rutten Oct. 8.
According to Carrick, "the way the entertainment press clustered around this campaign actually subverted the efforts of the serious press to be substantive. It allowed Schwarzenegger to pursue a strategy of inaccessibility and to get away with it." So was the recall itself so novel and Schwarzenegger's presence so unexpectedly overwhelming that there are no lessons to be drawn about future campaigns and their news coverage? Not in Carrick's view: "At the end of the day, I think we can conclude that, when it comes to covering politics, more is not better - if it's not of higher quality."Sept. 27.
Martin Kaplan, of USC's Annenberg School for Communication, agrees. "In some sense, we were auditioning all five of the candidates Wednesday night. After what we saw, it would be difficult to imagine wanting to spend the next three years with any of them. "To many viewers, this debate may have confirmed a suspicion that the recall itself has become a great waste of time and money. Rather than the great experiment in public engagement that it once seemed to be, it's become about as edifying as mud wrestling. People are saying it isn't even entertaining anymore, which - as we all know - is the greatest sin of all."Sept. 20.
Steinberg faults the conventional political press for not finding more aggressive ways to pose tough questions. He pointed out that while most of the candidates were debating in Hollywood this week, Schwarzenegger was virtually across the street taping Larry King's show at CNN's Sunset Boulevard studios. "None of the reporters and camera crews there for the debate even bothered to go across the street and hassle him with shouted questions," Steinberg said. "Schwarzenegger's strategy requires a docile news media, and he's getting one."Sept 17.
Johnson argued that "under an elective system the recall should be applied to all officers. It will make no judge weaker, nor a strong judge less strong. It will be a warning and a menace to the corrupt only." But state Sen. Charles Wheller, also a progressive Republican, denounced the concept as a threat to "judges with courage to decide against the majority" and as a "strike at the very foundation of the government in which I live." Judicial recall's enactment, he warned, would overturn "the last of the republic of our fathers.... We will pass from a constitutional democracy built by them to a pure democracy and all its dangers." Sound familiar?Sept. 13.
In an interview, Kaus said, "It fits in with Arnold's line that the Oui interview also was a lie to promote a film. In both cases, Schwarzenegger is treating his audience as a bunch of marks who he can con. One senses that maybe he approaches politics this way, as well.... The other, more revealing, thing is that he thought this sort of story about conning people was appealing." It's a distinctly Hollywood contribution to contemporary politics. No more bothersome second thoughts or tiresome contrition. Confronted with the failings or indiscretions of the past, simply deny it ever happened; just say you lied and then get on with it. That's publishing and politics, Hollywood style. All that's required is that you lose the capacity to blush.Sept. 10.
Field's findings regarding Schwarzenegger are interesting on two counts: One is that the action film star and former bodybuilder is struggling to increase his base of support among those Californians pollsters deem likely to cast a ballot. (Campaigns that somehow energize people who have not previously voted regularly are the sort that give pollsters nasty shocks; Schwarzenegger partisans are hoping this, like the first gubernatorial contest between the late Tom Bradley and former Gov. George Deukmejian, is one of them.) Second, this latest survey confirms the findings of the most recent Times Poll in reporting that Schwarzenegger has a significant problem with women voters, who make up 50% of California's total electorate and 52% of its likely voters. The Times Poll found that fully 50% of the women inclined to vote hold an unfavorable impression of Schwarzenegger, while 41% see him in a positive light. Field reports that Bustamante now leads his chief Republican opponent by 13 points among likely women voters.Sept. 6.
There are few rules in life that admit no exceptions. Here is one: The pursuit of identity politics ends in an intellectual swamp that inevitably drains into a moral sewer. That's why Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is wrong not to speak more clearly to the issues raised by his one-time membership in a Chicano student organization whose founding credo is a mind-numbing amalgam of quaint revolutionary rhetoric and pseudo-mystical racialism. It's also why the mainstream media's off-handed treatment of this issue is one of the avoidable shortcomings in their coverage of the recall campaign.David Shaw: Oct. 12.
Nothing seemed to stain his image or stem his advance. Instead of being hurt because his experience was in movies, not politics, he was helped by it. His on-screen persona made him so familiar that some newscasters even called him "Arnold" in their on-air stories, thus playing directly into his campaign effort to depict himself as a regular guy, the nonpolitician, the overgrown boy next door. By its very existence, early media coverage legitimized Schwarzenegger's candidacy and, over time, made him seem a likely winner. People like to side with a winner - especially against a loser like Davis. It makes them feel smart. So voter sentiment began to show a shift in his favor. That turned the polls around, and ultimately, it all became self-perpetuating - and self-fulfilling.Sept. 28.
To be fair, the recall is something of a farce, and many of the candidates are worth a guffaw or two. I mean, when was the last time a candidate for the governorship of anything used the slogan "Finally, a governor you can get drunk with"? Even California news organizations - The Times among them - have been unable to resist pointing out, in various ways, that this campaign more closely resembles the theater of the absurd than an election for the leader of the world's sixth-largest economy.Sept. 21.
Fortunately, even in a time of growing media consolidation, there is still enough variety in our news sources that a diligent citizen can get different images from different venues and, with some effort, gather enough information to triangulate and approximate what a public figure might really be like. It's difficult work, especially in politics, entertainment and professional sports, where the images of public figures are so tightly controlled by highly skilled, highly paid spinmeisters. But it's both possible and necessary. If you do seek information from several sources - and ignore rumor and gossip - you should be able to decide what you think Schwarzenegger is really like, how much his sexist behavior reflects his true character, and whether you want him for your governor.Aug. 24.
At a time when the national news media are enjoying an enormous collective laugh at California's expense, both suggestions are likely to be difficult to follow. With a Terminator, a HuffenPuffington, a pornographer and a self-described "ageless" billboard model among the 85,000 candidates for governor, the opportunities for online digression and vilification may be irresistible.George Skelton: Oct. 9.
Arnold Schwarzenegger won a historic election with ease. Now he has a historic opportunity - because of a rebellious public and a charismatic personality - to bring landmark change to California. That will be much tougher than getting elected to replace a despised governor, especially when his principal rival was a weak-running lieutenant governor falsely linked, in voters' minds, to the guy being bounced. (Gov. Gray Davis and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante probably didn't have five minutes' total conversation in five years.) But making big change won't be as tough as pundits are predicting, if Schwarzenegger takes the right steps.Oct. 6.
Sacramento--The campaign trail isn't what it used to be. Especially a trail trod by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It used to be - a few governors ago - that political reporters and campaign advisors would spar over issues. Like taxes, spending, education, the environment. Just what does candidate Schwarzenegger mean by his promise to freeze spending? To restructure debt? There's no such sparring these days, not in a recall revolt that's not only historic but often histrionic and hysteric. Especially not with this substance-light front-runner.Oct. 2.
Davis' strategists are seasoned pros and they're realists. Privately, they acknowledge the governor is on political life support. His chances of surviving the recall are very slim. All these major polls continue to deliver bad news for Davis. Each brand is different, with its own polling method. Yet, all have one thing in common. For months, none has shown support for the recall dipping below 50% of likely voters. In fact, considering the margins of error, nothing much has changed since early summer. The polls, on average, have been showing recall support in the mid-50s and opposition in the low 40s. If nothing has changed in months, why would it in the next week?Sept. 29.
Huffington, 53, may be annoying, but she's articulate. Most important, she's articulating and accentuating an issue most candidates don't dare touch: the corrupting influence of California's political contribution system and the need for public financing of campaigns. Viewers and party partisans may wince when she accuses another candidate - Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, for example - of "legalized bribery" for accepting barrels of money from special interests, like Indian casinos. But that's the most honest, cut-the-baloney description of it. You've got to be very naive not to recognize the relationship between special interest donations and a governor's bill signings and political appointments, or a legislator's votes.Sept. 26.
Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the leading contenders, walking right into some nasty exchanges with independent Arianna Huffington that they had no hope of winning. Sure, Huffington goaded them, but so what? We teach our kids to avoid such fights. Schwarzenegger acted like a blunderbuss and looked like a bully, interrupting Huffington in a collision of booming and shrill European accents that was hard on the ears.Sept. 25.
Sacramento is a fiscal basket case and there are plenty of people at fault. Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature certainly share the blame - and so do California voters. Yes, we should all take a long look in the mirror. We've stripped the governor and - especially - the Legislature of the power they need to govern, tying their hands.Sept. 22.
Sacramento--Look, I'm no lawyer, let alone a constitutional scholar. But you don't need a JD degree to recognize simple errors of fact in that court opinion ordering a delay in the recall election. Little errors, to be sure. But it's annoying when a three-judge panel of a U.S. court of appeals produces a piece of work that, in some places, is just plain sloppy. Granted, the mistakes undoubtedly are irrelevant to the court's conclusion: that the recall election scheduled for Oct. 7 should be delayed - most likely until the March 2 primary - because some people using faulty old punch-card voting machines could be denied their equal protection rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.Sept. 18.
The California Republican Party is missing something. At least, I couldn't find it at the GOP's state convention last weekend in L.A. Neither could others I talked to. Missing was the roar of social conservatives, the right-wing zealots who fight abortion, gay rights and gun control - and get their heads handed to them by Democrats in general elections. I listened to Saturday's speeches and didn't hear the words "abortion" and "pro-life" once. Nor "guns" and "2nd Amendment." Nor "homosexuals" and "traditional marriage."Sept. 15.
There is a familiarity to this movie. I keep thinking I've seen it before. Actor runs for governor. Star-struck crowds get excited. Rivals claim the actor's a political amateur, totally devoid of government experience. Moreover, he speaks - or script-reads - in generalities; he doesn't offer specifics. Toward the end, opponents think - wishfully - that voters will come to their senses, be leery of the unknown and retain the status quo. Choose the devil they know. Back then it was Gov. Pat Brown. Today it's Gov. Gray Davis. Naw.Sept. 11.
Proposition 54 is seen differently by different folks. Backers behold it as another death blow to racial preferences. Democratic pros, although opposing the measure, welcome it as a tool to prod the party faithful into voting in the recall and saving Gov. Gray Davis. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is treating it like a casino jackpot. He's using it to launder Indian gambling donations - too large to legally handle in his gubernatorial campaign - into anti-54 TV ads intended to energize Latino voters and elect him.Steve Lopez: Oct 12.
What in the world are we up to now? the rest of the country always wants to know. We sneeze, and they wonder if it's contagious. Now we've really done it. We fired Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with an action hero who doesn't know a parcel tax from a pig in a poke, and we're already being treated to jokes like this one: Arnold's first health care proposal? Free breast exams.Oct. 10.
"You tell the locals to pass parcel taxes in order to keep the library open," Cain says. "The problem is we're talking about police and fire services too, so this is going to be a dangerous game." I'm not buying any such rabble. I refuse to believe the new guv would have led us down this path if he didn't have answers. C'mon, Arnold. The cigars are trimmed, the beer is cold and the car is running. Don't let me down.Oct. 9.
I thought there was supposed to be a stampede from Chico to Chula Vista - crazy populists running through the streets in a rage over an increase in car license fees. After enduring Darrell Issa and Mary Carey, a Taco Bell poll, a seven-page ballot of candidates, several debates starring Arianna Huffington, 5,500 "I'll Be Backs," 7,000 "Hasta la Vistas," and cameos by Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Rob Lowe, Dennis Miller, Oprah, Larry King and Jay Leno, was 60% too much to ask? Actually, maybe it was all those things that made people sit this one out.Oct. 8.
Perfect. A campaign that began with the late-night comedian may be notarized by him. And so we've had our little revolution and the new emperor is Der Gropenfuhrer, which, in Austrian, means: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.Oct. 7.
I've now found three actresses who say they were not molested by gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, I'm telling you this for a self-serving reason - I'm hoping to save my job by preventing more people from canceling their subscriptions because of all our stories about Arnold groping women. But there's more to it than that. On this election day, I'm doing it out of a sense of fairness.Oct. 6.
On Tuesday it probably won't matter that the economic bust, term limits that stack the Legislature with amateurs, and state initiatives that devour the budget have done as much as Davis to create California's problems. What will matter is that Schwarzenegger has promised 30 pieces of silver and a clear conscience, regardless of who gets hurt.Oct. 5.
I've been harder on Schwarzenegger than Davis lately because the challenger hasn't made the case for why he deserves the job, and I offer no apologies. I offer no apologies for this newspaper, either, for publishing stories in which a growing parade of women claim to have been bullied, pawed and humiliated by him. The purpose wasn't to derail his campaign. The purpose was to tell readers what was learned in a two-month investigation about the character of a man who wants to serve as both governor and role model. You don't have to believe that, and you don't have to buy the newspaper. But read something, will you? The quality of this country's conversation is sinking faster than Davis's numbers, and I don't think the problem is too much reading.Oct. 4.
Arnold's Army came to Arcadia Friday morning, and the scene was like nothing I can remember in recent political history. As I tried to park, and realized that one lot after another was jammed, the teeming masses streamed by me on foot, marching, marching, marching, trance-like, as if to a revival. Old folks, young folks, moms and dads pushing strollers. Arnold Schwarzenegger, great terminator of evildoers, was coming to the Los Angeles Arboretum to vanquish sorrow, discomfort and the car tax.Oct. 3.
Reports of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual mistreatment and humiliation of women drew outrage here Thursday on the campaign trail. Outrage at the Los Angeles Times, not at Arnold. I would have thought that at a gathering of conservatives, who rightly vilified President Bill Clinton for his raunchy scandal and nationally televised lies, there'd at least be some finger-wagging at Arnold. Not a chance with the Teflon Terminator.
The O'Neill lawsuit also cites an account of al-Qaida training from a former member of the Saddam Fedayeen, a special Iraqi paramilitary unit. "A trainer at Unit 999, Abu Mohammed, who had escaped Iraq, confirmed that such training was under way on how to lay bombs and how to use chemical and biological weapons in operations in the Middle East and West. Unit 999 ran a course for a number of extremist Middle Eastern groups, including al-Qaida," the suit states.That got me thinking about Unit 999 and as a result I decided to look more into it, relying on the the FAS description of the Iraqi al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyyah or Military Intelligence, of which Unit 999 was a part of. I found this: bq. "Unit 999: This "deep penetration" unit, responsible for domestic and international clandestine operations, is headquartered at the army base at Salman Pak southeast of Baghdad. Unit 999 activities have included infiltratration of opposition militias in the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, a planned effort by the unit to kidnap the US commander General Schwarzkopf from Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm, and sabotage attacks on Iranian oil installations in the 1990s." Initially Unit 999 had five battalions of 300 men apiece, and more recently another battalion was formed to counter Iraqi opposition groups. * 1st "Persian" Battalion [Iran] * 2nd "Saudi Arabia" Battalion * 3rd "Palestine" Battalion [Israel] * 4th "Turkish" Battalion; * 5th "Marine" Battalion [sea-borne operations, mine warfare, etc] * "Opposition" battalion In 1994, following the founding of the Iraqi National Congress [INC] opposition group, the Istikhabarat was assigned the role in monitoring and countering the opposition to the Saddam regime. The "Opposition" includes comprises sections dealing with Kurds in the north and Shias in the marshes of the south. Most of these battalions can be linked up with known Iraqi-sponsored terrorist groups: * Persian = Mujahideen-e-Khalq * Palestine = Palestine Liberation Front/Abu Nidal Organization * Turkish = PKK/KADEK That accounts for all of the groups of foreign terrorists except one: the Saudis. What Saudi terrorist group was training at Salman Pak? Well, according to the testimony of an Iraqi lieutenant general and Sabah Khodada, I think that we can draw a fairly straightforward conclusion.
1. Standards for admissions to universities, fire departments, etc. should be lowered for people of color. 8. It is good that trial lawyers and teachers unions are the two biggest contributors to the Democratic Party. 9. Marriage should be redefined from male-female to any two people....you get the flavor. My first response on reading it was to suggest a mirror-image 'conservative' test, equally BS-laden, that involved 'maintaining Jim Crow, supporting corporate looting, pollution', etc. but that seemed cheap even for me. And it occurred to me at Brian Linse's party - when Howard Owens busted me yet again for agreeing with him on so damn many issues - that I ought to set out some foundational issues that I believe define me as a liberal.
Democrats also need to tend to their own garden and take very seriously the decision of California voters -- who still decisively tilt Democratic in party identification and overall policy views -- to support what began as a nutty right-wing crusade and ended as a popular movement. They need to regain their centrist, problem-solving reputation, and must absolutely reverse the recent perception that they don't give a damn about anybody who doesn't belong to a reliable Democratic constituency group.Good for them.
"Oct. 10 — Shirin Ebadi became the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize today, in recognition of her work promoting the rights of women and children in Iran over the past three decades. In awarding the prize to Ms. Ebadi, the Nobel committee said it wished to prod the Muslim world into recognizing that Islam and human rights, particularly those of women and children, can go hand in hand. The committee also said it hoped to advance a moderate, nonviolent path toward reform in Islamic countries, one in which religious and cultural differences are rewarded rather than punished during this time of turbulence and upheaval."What's the matter - did the Nobel Committee run out of terrorists and poseurs with availability on awards night? Whatever the reason for this fluke of good judgment, my sincere congratulations go out to Shirin Ebadi - and to the cause she fights for. You can find more information over at Freethoughts.org. I'll leave the last word to team member Iraniangirl, in Tehran: bq. "I don't know what this regime is going to do with this one.... Now she is the lawyer of all of us, & has the duty to fight for our rights, more than before...I'm so happy, it’s the first time I feel so proud of being an Iranian girl."
DW: How are you feeling? KUEHL: I am really sad. I'm more angry than anything. And I haven't even started thinking about what the Senate will need to do in order to save the state. DW: Save the state from what? KUEHL: From ignorance. This guy has no idea how to run a state. One of two things will happen. He'll have his own ideas and no way to carry them out. I mean he has already proposed three things that the governor cannot do. He wants to roll back the car tax on his own by fiat, which he can't do. He wants to tax the Indians, which he can't do. He doesn't know anything about running the state. So either he will propose a lot of stuff he can't do and we'll have to govern, or he'll be pretty well manipulated by people who have an agenda, very much the way I think the president of the United States has been handled by people who are really telling him how to do these things. In which case we may have to counteract things that are worse than things he proposed on his own. His handlers will probably be more conservative than he is, or in the Republican Party line. Convince him he'll bring businesses back to the state by cutting more benefits to workers, by unraveling anti-discrimination statutes which they call job killers. DW: Will he be received civilly by the Democrats in the Legislature? KUEHL: He will be received civilly. We have received everyone civilly. I don't know if everybody is going to go to the State of the State (speech). Because frankly I don't think there is going to be a lot of content that anyone’s interested in. What’s this guy got to say to us about the state of the state? Nothing.I've had a few other interactions with the more-liberal part of my team, and one characteristic I've noted is a certain...arrogance. The conservatives are arrogant too, but they simply think that we liberals 're delusional or traitorous. They give liberals the respect of being people responsible for their own actions The Democrats have this kind of sad, kindly, 'we know better than you and we're gonna make you do the right thing' attitude. I've been burned by it twice in my old blog: First, in a post commenting on an email by Avedon Carol I said:
I’ve talked in the past about the ‘liberalista’ (I'm looking for a word for the high-profile liberals who I believe have hijacked the leadership of the liberal movement and the Democratic Party - that will do until I come up with something better) attitudes, and the underlying position of obnoxious superiority.Then there was this, in response to a post by Dave Yaseen:
Avedon Carol posted a couple of times a response to my MESS OF CRACKPOTTAGE post below; I noticed that there were multiples, and that she had clarified her point and wasn't trying to link me to Ann Coulter (ick), and thanked her.
I was too quick on the ‘send’, because this is the email that crossed mine: (here's the money graf:)BTW, if the kind of support I was getting for my writing was of the caliber of the comments you got to this post, I'd definitely ask myself what I was doing wrong.Gosh, there are so many things to talk about here…
…the first is that my team, the Democrats does in fact elect fools as well.
Cynthia McKinney, anyone?
…the second is that marvelously perfect tone of self-righteousness in the last paragraph.
Dave Yaseen, of the usually smart blog A Level Gaze, posts what I pray to Woodie Guthrie is a slip of the liberal tongue. His post concludes:Well, damn. That's the way to reach the poor uneducated voter and get them onto your side...I've seen the problem elsewhere. I'm back helping out a prominent charity here in L.A. (one of the two that I actively - too actively, sometimes, given the state of my calendar and checkbook support), and met with the board president and executive director the day after the election. Their attitude was sadly an exact mirror of Sen. Kuehl's; the lumpenproles had been suckered. I gently suggested that until the Democratic leadership could learn to respect that lumpenproletariat - even when disagreeing with on matters of policy - we had a lot of time outside on the porch to look forward to. Here's the deal; I think that facing reality is the way to go. You can ignore it for a long time, but eventually it catches up with you. Up in Alaska, we've all read about how it just happened:Yes, this debacle of an election is the media's fault. But it's our fault as well, and we need to drastically change the way we do things in the Democratic party, not diddle around with how to phrase things to make them palatable to the electorate. If we have to drag American voters, kicking and screaming to chose their own interests, so be it.
A California author and filmmaker who became famous for trekking to Alaska's remote Katmai coast to commune with brown bears has fallen victim to the teeth and claws of the wild animals he loved. Alaska State Troopers and National Park Service officials said Timothy Treadwell, 46, and girlfriend Amie Huguenard, 37, were killed and partially eaten by a bear or bears near Kaflia Bay, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, earlier this week. ... U.S. Geological Survey bear researcher Tom Smith; Sterling Miller, formerly the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's top bear authority; and others said they tried to warn the amateur naturalist that he was being far too cavalier around North America's largest and most powerful predator. "He's the only one I've consistently had concern for,'' Smith said. "He had kind of a childlike attitude about him.'' "I told him to be much more cautious ... because every time a bear kills somebody, there is a big increase in bearanoia and bears get killed,'' Miller said. "I thought that would be a way of getting to him, and his response was 'I would be honored to end up in bear scat.' ''In politics as well, when you ignore the bears, you are likely to wind up as bear scat. A big part of my hammering away at the Democratic Party is because I perceive a sense of disconnection from reality as strong as Treadwell's, who "routinely eased up close to bears to chant 'I love you' in a high-pitched, sing-song voice." I think that there is an equally strong disconnect from reality within the core circles of the Democratic Party - and that the results will be equally ugly until that changes. --- UPDATE --- I can't believe I forgot to connect this dot as well. Arrogance in place of thoughtfulness figures in another recent post of mine, about Columbia. The key event? the response of the intellectually arrogant managers to the suggestion by some low-level engineers that the Air Force use it's ultra-high-resolution reconnaissance satellites to take a picture of the damage on Columbia's wing - pictures that almost surely would have shown the damage and allowed for the possibility some outcome other than the one spread across the Texas sky. The official position? bq. "A NASA liaison then emailed an apology to Air Force personnel, assuring them that the shuttle was in "excellent shape" and explaining that a foam strike was "something that has happened before and is not considered to be a major problem." The officer continued, "The one problem that has been identified is the need for some additional coordination within NASA to assure that when a request is made it is done through the official channels."
In April, shortly after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, the Qaeda leader convened the biggest terror summit since September 11 at a mountain stronghold in Afghanistan. The participants included three top-ranking representatives from the Taliban, several senior Qaeda operatives and leaders from radical Islamic groups in Chechnya and Uzbekistan, according to a former Taliban deputy foreign minister. He got the details from a Taliban colleague who was there. Bin Laden, in a fiery mood, appointed one of his most trusted lieutenants, Saif al-Adil, to be Al Qaeda’s chief of operations in Iraq. The leader handed the Egyptian-born al-Adel a letter of introduction, asking all religious leaders, businessmen and mujahedin to give him any support possible. Al-Adel left Afghanistan immediately. A few weeks later he was reported to be in neighboring Iran, where he is said to be under house arrest. The Taliban official nevertheless insists, contrary to American intelligence assessments, that al-Adel made it to Iraq and is organizing anti-U.S. operations. At the same meeting bin Laden said he was working on “serious projects,” another ranking Taliban source tells NEWSWEEK. “His priority is to use biological weapons,” says the source, who claims that Al Qaeda already has such weapons. The question is only how to transport and launch them, he asserts. The source insists he doesn’t know any further details but brags: “Osama’s next step will be unbelievable.” The plan was reportedly delayed and revised after the March capture of Al Qaeda’s operations chief, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. U.S. intelligence officials say no one disputes bin Laden’s interest in germ warfare. Nevertheless, they argue, his main priority is to kill Americans by any means readily at hand—and most bioweapons are harder to get and use than many of the alternatives.Now the source behind this information is former Taliban officials and local tribesmen who could easily be lying, nevertheless if one takes it as face value it explains a number of things, especially when read in conjunction with this article from the Washington Post that documents the role that current al-Qaeda military commander Saif al-Adel played in ordering Abu Musab Zarqawi to establish a front in Iraq. One further note to be made about the events of the summit are that the Taliban boast about al-Qaeda wielding chemical or biological weapons isn't half as far-fetched as it might sound. Especially if someone was helping them out in this regard. The New Breed In any case, as we entered into May 2003, the Saudi magazine al-Majallah was contacted by a man named Thabet bin Qais who claimed to be al-Qaeda's new spokesman. According to bin Qais, al-Qaeda has "sidelined" the September 11 team, not all that surprising a move given what happened to them. The nom de guerre of the new spokesman, Thabet bin Qais, also reflects a definite shift within the organization. In Islamic tradition, bin Qais was one of the companions of the Prophet Mohammed and frequently served as his spokesman. Over the course of the last year, a series of audio and written sermons have appeared on a number of websites and internet forums sympathetic to al-Qaeda's cause, allegedly from bin Laden. These have not received widespread notice from the media because they were not intended for general distribution but rather as messages to members or supporters of the organization to reinforce the goals and direction of their global war against the West. The topics of these sermons range from the need for global war against the West and revolution throughout the Arab world to the meaning of jihad, despite the fact that bin Laden is has no recognized religious authority with which to make such claims. The climax of these sermons occurred at the beginning of July 2003, when a bin Laden audiotape declared the terrorist leader as the new Prophet of Islam and announced the creation of five new pillars of the faith. These statements, which are extremely heretical from an Islamic perspective, also illustrates the degree to which bin Laden's meglomania has come since September 11. This is an important thing to be aware of because it illustrates that this is no longer a clash between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb for bin Laden and his followers: this is now a battle between the rest of the world and the new Prophet of God. In any case, Thabet bin Qais was hardly the only al-Qaeda leader to step into the spotlight during this time period. Al-Majallah also received E-Mails from Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, whose rants are wonderfully chronicled over at Alphabet City. Al-Ablaj, who made cryptic references to the Riyadh bombings before they occurred, discussed everything from al-Qaeda's alliance with Saddam Hussein to the organization's position on the American withdrawl from Saudi Arabia. While bin Qais and al-Ablaj were hardly the newest al-Qaeda leaders to be announced since the overthrow of the Taliban (others include Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Hazim, Abdel Azeem al-Muhajir, and Abu Leith al-Libi). Back in the Saddle Again Both Thabet bin Qais and al-Ablaj remain at large to date, but shortly after their E-Mailed statements to al-Majallah, al-Qaeda and affiliate organizations carried out a series of mass casualty terrorist attacks in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Chechnya that put the rest of the world on notice that al-Qaeda was once again a global force to be reckoned with. Similar major attacks during the summer reached Algeria, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Russia, even attacking the United Nations building in Baghdad. The ratio of attacks and attempted attacks inside of Iraq should serve as an indication that the organization now regards the battle against coalition forces in the country to be a holy war of liberation on par with the group's efforts in Chechnya and the surrounding Russian republics. According to Amir Taheri, the late Yusuf al-Ayyeri saw Iraq as the penultimate battlefield within which the organization can defeat the concept of Western democracy much the same way that the Afghan mujahideen (from al-Ayyeri's point of view) defeated the concept of communism. This new strategy appears to have been accepted by the al-Qaeda leadership and may account for two recent changes to the organization's behavior. The first occurred on September 25, when a communique from al-Qaeda stated that it was open to accepting the offer of negotiations with the government of Yemen and even going as far as to praise the Yemeni dictator, declaring that he was the only Arab leader who wasn't an agent of the West. These developments come after an al-Qaeda operative bearing the nom de guerre of Al-Mutaz Biulah al-Qandahari was designated the new al-Qaeda leader in Yemen. Then on October 3, ICT reported that four additional affiliate organizations (the Yemeni Islamic Jihad, the GSPC, and the previously unknown Ahfad al-Sahaba) had formally merged with al-Qaeda much the same way that Ayman al-Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad did in 2001. While this merger is interesting for a number of reasons if for no other reason that much larger affiliate groups like Jemaah Islamiyyah or the LeT were not included in favor of the smaller Yemeni ones, this is likely an attempt by al-Qaeda to shore up its center by drawing fighters away from what had previously been local struggles in order to serve as a force multiplier for the group in its battle against the US in Iraq. This formal announcement of the terror network's reorganization comes at a time when it appears that it has decentralized to the point where it now operates four separate military committees, all of which appear to be in contact with one another with at least some degree of coordination as far as the direction of the global jihad is concerned. * One committee in northern Pakistan, specifically the Northwest Frontier Province, Baluchistan, and Azad Kashmir that coordinates both the Taliban/Hezb-e-Islami insurgency in Afghanistan and terrorist activities across the Indian subcontinent. If bin Laden is alive, this is where he is likely to be. The loss of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Tawfiq Attash Khallad, and Ammar al-Baluchi has likely heavily diminished this committee's capabilities. * One committee located at an IRGC military base in the Kerman province of Iran, allegedly "under arrest." As this committee appears to be the one that is coordinating the insurgency in Iraq, I would take Iranian claims that the al-Qaeda leaders are in custody and unable to communicate with their followers with a whole shaker of salt. * One committee located in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge and in Chechnya whose members include Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, Abu Walid (a relative of three of the 9/11 hijackers), Abu Iyad, and Abu Khabab, the head of al-Qaeda's WMD department. This committee is heavily involved with their counterparts in Iran and has a number of additional members according to Collin Powell's presentation to the UN who were complicit in the attempted plots to use chemical weapons in Europe in late 2002 and early 2003. * There appears to be at least one more committee located somewhere in Africa (Sudan, Somalia, or Niger would be my best bet) that consists of a number of dangerous individuals that include Hassan Hattab, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Abderazak al-Para, and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. Of all the al-Qaeda leaders, these are probably the ones that we know the least about. Implications What can the US expect as a result of this reorganization as far as the future of the war on terror goes? 1. Africa is going to take on an increased role in terms of the war on terrorism. Both Burkina Faso and the former government of Charles Taylor in Liberia had documented ties to al-Qaeda that remained strong even after September 11. Al-Qaeda operatives began arriving in Somalia almost as soon as the Taliban fell in Afghanistan and the organization reputedly established bases in Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Nigeria in June 2002. Additional strongholds were said to have been established or expanded in Sudan, Kenya, and Bangladesh at some point prior to the Riyadh bombings. These bases are going to take on more and more importance for the organization as battle continues. 2. Because of the increasingly decentralized nature of the leadership and the lack of easy communication, coordinating mass casualty attacks on the scale of September 11 are going to be increasingly difficult to coordinate, especially if they are intended to be launched against Western nations. However, the organization has ongoing research in the area of non-conventional weaponry and a crude chemical or biological weapons attack should not be ruled out as a possibility. 3. The current fighting in Iraq is now the central pivot of al-Qaeda's global war against the West. Increasing amounts of resources and operatives are going to be diverted away from regional campaigns in order to fight against coalition forces in Iraq. This turns the fighting in Iraq into a contest of collective wills between the coalition and the terrorists as far as who backs down first. If they succeed in Iraq and force the US to withdraw with its mission unfullfilled, using Iraq as a base from which to destabilize other Middle East states will be child's play by comparison. 4. Tracking down and eliminating each of these leadership committees should take on a top priority as a means of both ending the foreign insurgency in Iraq as well as serving as the ultimate means with which to splinter the terrorist network. That al-Qaeda is now forced to incorporate what had previously been affiliates into the center is ultimately a sign of weakness and a testimony to the success thus far of US-led anti-terrorism efforts. By destroying the entire leadership of the terrorist network, al-Qaeda's remnants and affiliates will splinter apart, enabling each of them to be dealt with in turn. The loss of the leadership, combined with the destruction of any bases that have been established over the last year and the disruption of the financial channels, will be the three blows that nail shut al-Qaeda's coffin once and for all.
"Fareed Zakaria thinks the sleeping Japanese giant might finally be stirring after a decade-long slumber: "Many economists look at Japan and remain cautious. The economy is growing and the stock market is up, but in the last decade there have been many such false starts. More important, Japan’s reformist prime minister has not tackled the big economic problems the country faces—writing off bad loans, reforming the tax code and finding the right economic stimulus. In short, there has been no economic revolution. But in the last month Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has launched something more important—a political revolution." There's more, and I suggest you read the whole thing to catch all of Zakaria's argument -- but I ain't buying...."Read why not, and get the link to Zakaria's piece while you're at it. Gweilo Diaries takes Vodkapundit's analysis to the next level, giving more details about the obstacles while believing that reform is possible. Probable? Well, that remains to be seen. As for those bad loans, you might be wise to ponder the wider implications of the term "yakuza recession." Meanwhile, I highly recommend picking up some thoughts from the futurists and scenario-planning gurus at Global Business Network - esp. the Economist excerpt from their "Scenarios for the Future of Japan" with Tadashi Nakama.
They're missing a few things when they suggest that. The most important thing is actually the simplest, which is that the genius of the American system is that there certainly are experts on game theory, diplomatic history, and policy who have substantive and valuable expertise in these areas. And they all work for guys like me. Our Congress and our President are typically business men and women, lawyers, rank amateurs when it comes to the hard games that they study so diligently at ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration). And that's a good thing, in fact, it's a damn good thing. It is a good thing because the unique power of the United States comes from our willingness to diffuse power down into the ranks - to act in ways outside what a small cadre of mandarins sitting at a capital can envision.
What we are witnessing is the beginning—the early movement--in the death of the two-party system as we know it. This is a revolt of the pragmatic center. And that is a good thing for the American people because those parties and the media that feed on them have indeed become a form of nomenklatura. They depend on each other. They are the mutual gate keepers of an old and sclerotic bureaucracy from which their jobs flow in a system of patronage as elaborate as the Czar's. No wonder watching CNN tonight I felt as if I were watching a wake. They are threatened by what is going on—as they should be.
Her style got the best of her on day six of the mission, January 21, when at a recorded MMT meeting, she spoke just a few words too many, much to her later regret. It was at the end of a report given by a mid-ranking engineer named Don McCormack, who summarized the progress of an ad hoc engineering group, called the Debris Assessment Team, that had been formed at a still lower level to analyze the foam strike. The analysis was being done primarily by Boeing engineers, who had dusted off the soon to be notorious Crater model, primarily to predict damage to the underwing tile. McCormack reported that little was yet resolved, that the quality of the Crater as a predictor was being judged against the known damage on earlier flights, and that some work was being done to explore the options should the analysis conclude that the Columbia had been badly wounded. After a brief exchange, [Linda] Ham cut him short, saying, "And I'm really ... I don't think there is much we can do, so it's really not a factor during the flight, since there is not much we can do about it." She was making assumptions, of course, and they were later proved to be completely wrong, but primarily she was just being efficient and moving the meeting along. After the accident, when the transcript and audiotapes emerged, those words were taken out of context to portray Ham as a villainous and almost inhumanly callous person, which she certainly was not. In fact, she was married to an astronaut, and was as concerned as anyone about the safety of the crews.Or maybe not...
The story was a sad and unnecessary one, involving arrogance, insularity, and bad luck allowed to run unchecked. On the seventh day of the flight, January 22, just as the Air Force began to move on the Kennedy engineers' back-channel request for photographs , Linda Ham heard to her surprise that this approach had been made. She immediately telephoned other high-level managers in Houston to see if any of them wanted to issue a formal "requirement" for imagery, and when they informed her that they did not, rather than exploring the question with the Kennedy engineers she simply terminated their request with the Department of Defense. This appears to have been a purely bureaucratic reaction. A NASA liaison then emailed an apology to Air Force personnel, assuring them that the shuttle was in "excellent shape" and explaining that a foam strike was "something that has happened before and is not considered to be a major problem." The officer continued, "The one problem that has been identified is the need for some additional coordination within NASA to assure that when a request is made it is done through the official channels."There appear to have been other problems. Go great the magazine and read the story for yourself - you'll understand how it is that large, stultifying bureaucracies, whether in Houston or Sacramento, just seem to be incapable of actually delivering adequate responses to the complex world in which we live. I feel bad for Linda Ham, who with this book will doubtless be publicly hung with the tragedy. But if we are going to hang her, let's at least try and learn something from it.
THE NEWSPAPER STORIES They certainly were stories. A lot of us read them with some level of amusement, and from time to time we have either rolled our eyes or just shaken our heads, wondering what the reporters were talking about. Boy, do they ever dress things up. They also miss the big picture, and apart from interviewing some great guys in the lower ranks also latched onto some to the weird senior people who for their own reasons (not the least of which was obvious self aggrandisement) who gave them a "load" every once in a while. I have learned a lot about reporters over the past few years, including their propensity for a "good story" (hey, even Pulitzer prize winners are being found out now!) but I had no idea they could be so naďve. A couple of the sources used once or twice should have appeared to even the goofiest reporter as class one Ontario grade A, Olympic level story-stretchers. Once or twice when we were gathered around the internet pages reading the various articles, we roared out loud. Never again will I read reports on absolutely anything from at least one of the regular reporters without snickering to myself. Yes, it is dangerous, and we are doing a lot to help people here in terms of security and keeping an eye on events, then reacting as best we can. It is also true that people shoot at us - as recently as last night in fact, but the drama that was put into a lot of the articles was, well, crap. Equally entertaining was the CBC who actually stated in a story that ISAF had not been attacked in 6 months! Wow, so the Norwegians who were shot, the Germans who were blown up, and the Dutch who were wounded, along with the dozens of rocket attacks, bomb detonations at ambushes against troops were all actually imagined. But then, what do you expect from the CBC? If it has nothing to do with Trudeau's vile offspring or some other equally mundane topic, it isn't worth the research. No doubt they will soon produce a series on why we should all feel sorry for the Taliban - just victims of those mean old American oil companies and McDonalds!Yep. Sounds familiar.
"So, Rabbi," I asked, "what if the Boston Red Sox also win, and face the Cubs in the World Series?" -- "Moshiach will come, history will end, and neither team will win."I'm not entirely sure he was joking. Let's just say that now would not be a good time for Syria or Iran to do anything provocative. (Part of miniluv's Positive Blogging Week)
"There's something happening here What it is ain't exactly clear There's a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down There's battle lines being drawn Nobody's right if everybody's wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting so much resistance from behind I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down What a field-day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly say, hooray for our side It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down." - "For What It's Worth", Buffalo Springfield, 1967 (written by Stephen Stills, emphasis mine)i·con·o·clast (n.) One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions; One who destroys sacred religious images. After we got back from the trip, I buried myself in finishing up the latest project, and only got time to spend wandering the blogs this weekend. And today, I find myself, in the jargon of 1967, kinda bummed. I've met "Calpundit" Kevin Drum and his lovely (and tolerant - blogger's partner has to be) wife, and I've corresponded with "Instapundit" Glenn Reynolds, who strikes me as an interesting and more than smart fella; sometimes I've agreed and sometimes not with each of them. But this weekend I went back and looked at the last few week's posts from each of them, and my heart fell a little bit. And then in the gym this morning (I'm rehabbing an injured shoulder so I can go back to martial arts), they played the Buffalo Springfield song above (one of the hits from my high school years). And something hit me. I want to outline what I saw, and toss the question out there as to whether it's an artifact of my own impressions and memory, or something that other people see as well.
"Most people who are reading this literally assume that Moses is asking to know what God looks like, and, in answer, God won't show His face, but lets Moses take a peek at His mighty shoulder blades. That is, of course, absurd.... It is very significant that this passage appears right after God's absolution of the Israelites for the terrible sin of the Golden Calf. God had led the Israelites out of the slavery of Egypt; He had performed astonishing miracles before their eyes; He had spoken to them at Mount Sinai; and then, when Moses went up the mountain, the Israelites repaid all this goodness by rejecting God and building an idol. Yet when they atoned for this great sin, He had not only forgiven them, but also responded by describing His essence as being one of complete mercy and compassion. That is when Moses chose to make his request, as if to say, "If that is true, then will You explain how Your glory is reflected in the suffering of children and in the gloating of the wicked? Can you give me the gift of seeing how that makes sense?" In short, Moses wanted to know why bad things happen to good people. God's answer contains what Moses, as well as all of us reading these words thousands of years later, have the right to know. So let us look very carefully, point by point, at what God is telling us....Rev. Donald Sensing also spent one of his sermons to talking about this issue from a Christian perspective, using Luke 13:1-9 in The New Testament as his jumping off point: "Stuff Happens, In Grace." It's actually quite complementary to the Rabbi's discourse above, and makes an important High Holidays point. If you really want to graple with these questions, I recommend reading them both and giving it some thought.
Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber Jill Stewart I have this file, labeled Gray Davis, that for the last few years I've been stuffing with all the bizarre little tales that are quietly shared among journalists and political insiders about the man who, though probably viewed as a blandly pleasant talking head by most Californians, is in fact one of the strangest ducks ever elected to statewide office. Long protected by editors at the Los Angeles Times--who have nixed every story Times reporters have ever tried to develop about Davis's storied history of physical violence, unhinged hysteria and gross profanity--the baby-faced, dual personality Davis has been allowed to hold high public office with impunity.
Perhaps you are among the millions never told of Lieutenant Governor Davis's widely known--but long unreported--penchant for physically attacking members of his own staff. His violent tantrums have occurred throughout his career, from his days as Chief of Staff for Jerry Brown to his long stint as State Controller to his current job. Davis's hurling of phones and ashtrays at quaking government employees and his numerous incidents of personally shoving and shaking horrified workers--usually while screaming the f-word "with more venom than Nixon" as one former staffer recently reminded me--bespeak a man who cannot be trust with power. Since his attacks on subservients are not exactly "domestic violence," they suggest to me the need for new lexicon that is sufficiently Dilbertesque. I would therefore like to suggest "office batterer" for consideration as you observe Davis in his race for governor. The most disturbing aspect of Davis's troubled side is the ease with which the power elite in California, many of whom know he is unbalanced, laugh off the long public deception that has created Davis's public persona. "He'll never be governor," one well-known Democratic state senator explained to me last year, justifying his own failure to criticize or out Davis. "He'll never be the Democratic nominee," the senator insisted. And that's certainly how things stood, in my own mind, until Davis announced his intention to run for governor. It quickly became apparent that Davis's only Democratic "competition" would be Al Checchi, a guy who squeezed $50 million out of a lot of little people ten years ago in his sudden vault from silver-spooned graduate of Harvard Business School to Texas mega-multimillionaire during the reorganization of Disney. The Disney deal made Checchi an instant player who immediately began dreaming of becoming a senator--or was it governor?--of Texas. So self-absorbed in building his millions is Checchi that, although he has lived in Beverly Hills with his family for much of this decade--when he wasn't decamped to his mansion on Lake Harriot in Minneapolis during his takeover of Northwest Airlines--most of my friends still think Checchi comes from somewhere in Northern California. They can be forgiven their ignorance, because throughout the civic debates that have embroiled Los Angeles, Checchi has been a cipher. He is a leading champion of no causes, has established no meaningful charities, has left no laudable trace. He's the 312th richest man in America, and nobody can even pronounce his name. So it was with alarm that I read the very similar speeches given by these two men as they both offered plans to reform the dismal academics in California's public schools, a scandal that many observers believe will be the hot issue in the governor's race. In his speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last week, Checchi at least had the nerve to identify teacher incompetence and lack of teacher testing as a key problem. Davis, who has long slept with the power anti-reform teacher's unions in Los Angeles and other cities, could not bring himself to utter such a blasphemy. In his only major divergence from Checchi, in a speech to Town Hall of Los Angeles in September, Davis largely blamed parents. Observing this pair of oddballs, the notion struck me: Isn't it a fatal flaw of the Republicans, not the Democrats, to promote candidates for top office who have no right to lead a civil society? How can it be that the Democrats suddenly suffer Dan Quayle Disease, after their years of carping about the Republicans' penchant for nominating louts and fools? More specifically, why on earth is the California Democratic Party allowing such sour milk to rise to the top, when California so desperately needs great men and women in charge? One cannot get a straight answer to these questions via official channels, such as the Party itself. But one can at least delve into the true nature of the life and times of the disturbing Davis and, as his detractors predictably dub him, of checkbook Checchi. Most crucial of all is the fact that both Davis and Checchi have based their considerable career successes on the perpetuation of carefully crafted whoppers. "I guess Gray's biggest lie," says his former staffer who notes he often flies into a rage, "is pretending that he operates within the bounds of normalcy, which is not true. This is not a normal person. I will never forget the day he physically attacked me, because even though I knew he had done it before to many others, you always want to assume that Gray would never do it to you or that he has finally gotten help." On the day in question, in the mid-1990s, the staffer was explaining to Davis that his perpetual quest for an ever-larger campaign chest (an obsession she says led Davis to routinely break fundraising laws by using his government office resources and non-political employees to arrange fundraisers and identify new sources of money) had run into a snafu. A major funding source had dried up. Recalls the former staffer: "He just went into one of his rants of, 'Fuck the fucking fuck, fuck, fuck!'" I can still hear his screams ringing in my ears. When I stood up to insist that he not talk to me that way, he grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me until my teeth rattled. I was so stunned I said, 'Good God, Gray! Stop and look at what you are doing! Think what you are doing to me!' And he just could not stop." Perhaps the worst incident--long known to Davis-adoring editors of the Los Angeles Times but never published by them--was Davis's attack four years ago on a loyal aide in Los Angeles who for years acted as chief apologist for his "incidents." The woman refuses to discuss the assault on her with the media, but has relayed much of the story to me through a close friend. On the day in question, State Controller Davis was raging over an employee's rearranging of framed artwork on his Los Angeles office walls. He stormed, red-faced, out of his office and violently shoved the woman, who we shall call K., out of his way. According to employees who were present, K. ran out clutching her purse, suffered an emotional breakdown, was briefly hospitalized at Cedars Sinai for a severe nervous dermatological reaction, and never returned to work again. According to one close friend, K. refused to sue Davis, despite the advice of several friends, after a prominent Los Angeles attorney told her that Davis would ruin her. According to one state official. K. was allowed to continue her work under Davis from her home "because she refused to work in Davis's presence." (Checchi's campaign should get a copy of the tape recording Davis left on K.'s home telephone, in which he offers no apology to K. but simply requests that she return to work, saying, "You know how I am." Well, we do now Gray. Of course, the problem is that Davis's only serious Democratic opponent, Checchi--though not missing obvious nuts or bolts like Davis--has also built his entire public life on a disturbing fabrication which throws into severe doubt his ability and worthiness to run California state government. As a San Jose Mercury News writer and a New Times writer showed in recent exposes of Checchi's history at Northwest Airlines, Checchi's claims that he "saved" Northwest in a dramatic takeover in 1989, and that he deserves to be governor of California because he is a turnaround genius, are not supported by the facts. Northwest was not, in fact, a troubled airline when Checchi--using inside information from his best college buddy who sat on Northwest's board of directors--dreamed up a plan for buying up Northwest stock with other investor's money and forcing Northwest into a position of selling the company to Checchi and pals. In fact, the company spiraled into trouble and near-bankruptcy under Checchi, requiring both major union concessions in 1993 and a huge government bail-out in 1992. Yet Checci openly chortles about how he risked less than $10 million of his own money on the original $3.65 billion takeover deal, which has today made him a very rich man. He is very, very proud and has every reason to be," insists Darry Sragow, Checchi's campaign manager. With two men running for governor who are so willing to gloss over their questionable histories, the unsettling tradition of "opposition research" may play a more critical role than ever in the history of this race. (Op Research, if you're not a cynic in the know, is the practice of hiring political assassins to dig up dirt. The damaging info is: A) widely broadcast or B) dangled in private before the offending candidate as a way to silence that candidate on a major issue on which they have been personally compromised. Garry South, the talented campaign manager hired by Davis, has hired op research whiz Ace Smith (I'm not kidding about that name) who operates his assassin outfit from the Bay Area. Darry Sragow, the inspired campaign manager hired by Checchi, has hired the Berkeley and Houston firm of Rice and Veroga. I asked both camp if they intend to go after the really Big Lies both men are relying upon: Gray as the mild-mannered man of decency, Checchi as the savvy savior of troubled institutions. Says Elena Stern, an official with Checchi's campaign: "Al is adamant about not running a negative campaign, so he will only offer comparisons, not attacks." One "comparison" Stern pointed out is that Davis' camp recently planted a hit story against Checchi in the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Checchi is facing a discrimination lawsuit by a fired worker. The fine print, however, is that the suit was thrown out by the 9th Circuit three years ago, and it arguably has little remaining merit. Says Stern, "By comparison, Gray Davis has actually lost a race discrimination lawsuit" filed against him by a former female employee. But is the Checchi camp going to unveil to voters Davis's history of violent "incidents" and hysterical fits? Stern wouldn't say, and Sragow said he "questions whether they way a candidate acts in private has anything legitimate to do with the campaign. So I don't think you'll be hearing from us about whatever violence is alleged amongst Gray's staff or others." By contrast, South, who admits that Ace Smith has been digging up dirty for Davis's use "for nearly a year" seems far more prepared to discuss the lie holding up the house that Checchi built. "Until he fucked up Northwest Airlines, Checchi had visions of sugar plums about running for office in Minnesota, and there were numerous local news reports about that in '89, '90 and '91, and about Checchi even meeting with political consultants," says South. "He denies it now because he needs to look like a loyal longtime resident of California, but we think voters want to know that his interest in California is recent indeed." The ploy of trying to cover up one's sudden self-serving interest in California did not work for another carpetbagging multimillionaire, Michael Huffington, and it is likely to backfire on Checchi as well. For example, California voters will be disturbed to know that shortly after the employees bailed out Northwest and the government spent nearly $1 billion saving the airline, Checchi sold his Minneapolis mansion in 1994, abandoned all thought of running for office there, and escaped back to Beverly Hills. Once back, he barely took a breath before hiring consultants to explore running for California governor. These two dreary choices for governor leave me hoping that DiFi will jump into the race. Feinstein's hatred for Gray Davis is well-known, and a source close to her confirmed to me last week that "She is still weight a late entry"--in part because she can't imagine a worse fiasco than Governor Gray. And there's a solid chance that the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Dan Lungren, can beat the tainted Democrats at the polls next year. But, unfortunately, Lungren is as free of meaningful ideas as Kathleen Brown, who ran for governor in 1994, and voters may reject Lungren as swiftly as they did Brown. So my question is simple: how did we get stuck in the position of hoping that the job of governor of California, one of the most august positions of power in the Western world, is not won by a mega-fibber or a closet wacko. The Democratic Party likes to wheeze on about how it has all the answers. I'd love to hear them explain this one.(edited to correct date of column)
What this story accomplishes is less an attack on Schwarzenegger than a smear on the press. It reaffirms everything that's wrong with the political process. Anonymous charges from years ago made in the closing days of a campaign undermine fair politics. Facing these charges, a candidate has two choices. If he denies them, the story keeps building and overshadows everything else he does. Schwarzenegger's bold apology is a gamble to make the story go away. It may or may not work. But here's my prediction, as a Californian: It's too late for the Los Angeles Times' charges to have much impact. People have made up their minds. This attack, coming as late as it does, from a newspaper that has been acting more like a cheerleader for Gray Davis than an objective source of information, will be dismissed by most people as more Davis-like dirty politics. Is this the worst they could come up with? Ho-hum. After what we've been through?Read the whole thing. Back to the article...]
A 1997 profile by the liberal columnist Jill Stewart of the weekly New Times Los Angeles recounted several instances of Mr. Davis "hurling phones and ashtrays at quaking government employees." She concluded that "his incidents of personally shoving and shaking horrified workers" marked him as "a man who cannot be trusted with power."A good paper of record - one that took it's responsibilities seriously - would have laid out both issues, talked about what each means in the context of governance, and trusted us - the public - to use that information to make up our minds. But we're talking about the L.A. Times. And in taking this kind of blatantly partisan stance, it continues to weaken it's role as a reliable source for information. For the White House, it ought to be easy as well. Bush's core political strength is our belief in his commitment to a strong defense. His personal strength is based on his ability to present himself as candid, even blunt. Here's a case where he'd have been well served - he'd still be well served - to get in front of the issue, mount a convincing internal investigation, and share the results with the public. It wouldn't be hard; everything in the White House is logged. Now I don't know - and few people do - if what was done was a crime or simply sleazy. A lot depends on Plame's exact status, and as of today, I haven't seen a clear report on it. Even if it was just sleaze, it's sleaze in the one area where Bush can't afford to look like he's partisan at the expense of commanding, and in an area where his appearance of partisan hackery rather than aggressive leadership in fact weakens us all by weakening the Office of the Presidency.
"These odds would be low, but they'd be there. And it could happen over something as stupid as an accident. Rafsanjani has (in a feat of amazing idiocy) already threatened to use Iranian weapons against Israel, and said he could accept their retaliation because Iran would die but Islam would live. That can't be ignored (and nor can this). What it means is that Iranian possession of nuclear weapons forces Israel into a hair-trigger mode. Travel time for missiles is short, the country is very small, and so there is no margin for error. For Israel, it's "use them or lose them" once the alert is given. Now, contemplate further that the USA and Soviet Union both had false alerts during the cold war. Neither pressed the trigger, because they both had countries large enough, and spread-out facilities secure enough, that they believed they could afford to wait and be sure. As I've noted, Israel does not have that luxury. Imagine that one day the "Green Pine" radars of Israel pick up a set of Iranian missiles launching on a trajectory toward Israel. Let's imagine that this happens during a period of considerable tension for some other reason, so everyone is already on edge. Finally, let's imagine it's really a glitch of some kind, a mistake. The Israelis now have minutes to decide - and if they decide the wrong way, we just kissed how many million Iranians goodbye (and most of Israel in the ensuing retaliation) for a software glitch? At that point, the excuse of "but having nuclear missiles made Iranians feel better, and gave us a sense of power" will be rather cold comfort, no? Is a false sense of foolish pride really worth placing all Iranians under that risk? Now, one may note that Israel has these weapons, why doesn't the same logic apply to them? Of course, it does. They have nuclear weapons because they believe, with good reason, that losing a war means their wholesale murder and destruction anyway. If you're already playing for annihilation stakes, nuclear weapons can't raise them any further. Pakistan, confronted by a hostile and nuclear-armed India on its border and a direct flashpoint for war in Kashmir, had a similar argument. In these cases, the risks inherent to a nuclear deterrent may indeed be seen as a lesser evil in the calculus of national security. Iran is NOT playing for annihilation stakes. Even if it declared war on the U.S.A. it wouldn't be playing for those stakes. But if it gets nuclear weapons, it would be. This is hellishly dangerous. I haven't even brought the U.S. reaction into play, or the possible response of Russia to having its own cities in range of Iranian missiles. On regional grounds alone, possession of nuclear arms by Iran endangers Iranians more than it makes them secure. I see too many people treating these weapons like they're some kind of game, or an expensive toy like buying a Ferrari or something. It isn't just a game, and they aren't just toys. The only things being played with here are the lives of Iranians. The only way to win that game, is not to play in the first place."A regime that believes nuclear strikes on Iran are acceptable if Israel also perishes will not be deterred from this quest, which takes the logic of suicide terrorism and applies it with breathtaking megalomania at a national level. The key to creating a stable situation will lie instead with the Iranian middle. Right now, they see an Iranian A-bomb as a "national prestige" project worthy of support. That belief needs to change into an understanding of the dangers Iranians are being exposed to, and the weakness of the case for doing so. Once more Iranians understand the truth, it will both speed up the end of the mullahs' regime and ensure a safer region for everyone in the years ahead. The West has levers at its disposal to communicate that message and to foster a strong, peaceful anti-nuclear movement in Iran, if we really wish to do so. One wonders, too, where the global anti-nuclear movement is on this issue... or are nuclear weapons only bad in the hands of the United States, and fine in the hands of openly genocidal theocrats who also preach suicide and live in the 10th century? Faster... and smarter, please. Time's running out. UPDATE: * Think a glitch can't cause armageddon? Perhaps you should talk to Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov. Otherwise known as "the man who saved the world." For real. * More comments and thoughts on the difference between Iran and USA-USSR or Pakistan, and why this particular situation is so structurally unstable, over in Hooman's comments section.
Pakistan has for several decades been treated as a valuable ally of the United States yet many people have started to question if Pakistan really is. At the same time Pakistan has helped the U.S. apprehend numerous terrorist and now Al-Queda is calling for President Mushraf’s removal which Pakistan is taking as a serious threat.
Topics Today Include: Commentary on the Israeli and Indian alliance; India gains influence in Washington; Australia sees U.S. as necessary ally in stabilizing South Asia Islamic terrorism throughout SE Asia; and Tech Central Stations new Asia/Pacific site.