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Current Affairs

Ant-breeding scam leads to death sentence

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I couldn't resist!  Found in the K.C. Star:

Wang Zhendong, chairman of China’s Yingkou Donghua Trading Group Co., has been sentenced to death for swindling $385 million from investors in a bogus ant-breeding scheme.

Ants are used in some traditional Chinese medicinal remedies, which can fetch a high price. Wang sold the kits, which cost $25, for $1,300.



Surge successes

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While the House Democrats are going out of their way to advocate defeat and disaster for our troops and the entire population of Iraq, just to score domestic political points, there's one man who has seen the writing on the wall.

Moqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Shiite Mahdi Army in Iraq, has bugged out of Baghdad.
Al Sadr commands the Mahdi army, one of the most formidable insurgent militias in Iraq, and his move coincides with the announced U.S. troop surge in Baghdad.

Sources believe al Sadr is worried about an increase of 20,000 U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. One official told ABC News' Martha Raddatz, "He is scared he will get a JDAM [bomb] dropped on his house."

Sources say some of the Mahdi army leadership went with al Sadr.

One guess where he ran away to?

Yep.  Tehran.  Iran.  The guys who are building atomic bombs and who are supplying arms in Iraq to kill any freedom-loving Iraqi and any American who dares to stand in their way.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in the House give speech after speech advocating failure, retreat, and defeat.

A reminder of who the enemy is . . .

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Andrew Lubin, writing at OnPoint:
"AQI is both feared and hated," Capt Broekhuizen said, referring to Al Qaeda in Iraq.  "They’ve been running a brutal terror campaign.  No city leaders are left here who will take a leadership role." Marines from Golf Company said they recently fished two bodies out of the local river: a man had been decapitated, and his 4-year old tied to his leg before both were thrown into the river and the little boy drowned.  The killings were a product of Al Qaeda terror.
Those who oppose plans to deal with this sort of thing, are de-facto FOR this sort of thing.  If that line of reasoning offends you, tough.  The world is not always a nice place.  Wishing evil away doesn't work.

Via Instapundit



I think I might be a Giuliani guy

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It's of course way too early to be making such decisions, but of the early jumpers and toe-dippers into the 2008 Presidential election waters, I think I'm most comfortable overall with Giuliani's politics and resume:

- Advocates lower taxes and smaller government
- Will appoint judges who actually read, understand, and agree with the plain text of the U.S. Constitution;
- Mildly pro-abortion (I'm personally not doctrinaire about the issue--basically I oppose abortion but recognize there may be instances where it's the lesser of two evils);
- School choice for parents and students--i.e. vouchers, as an incentive to force public schools to improve;
- Says he understands and supports the Second Amendment;
- Probably recognizes the threat of jihadism to our civilization;
- Has executive experience for a major U.S. governmental entity (i.e. New York City)

The guy made New York City work again. That's a pretty big accomplishment, I think. So, Rudy Giuliani's my early favorite. (One day, I will learn how to consistently, properly spell his name, perhaps.)

The other Republicans have, in my opinion, serious issues which prevent me from supporting them:

McCain will never overcome the stain of sponsoring the abomination which is McCain-Feingold (campaign financing). No one who advocates limiting political speech has any business being in government, let alone being a candidate for President.

I like Newt Gingrich's ideas--they guy's an idea factory. But I don't see how he's electable, given the rabidly hateful left today.

I don't know enough about Mitt Romney to have an opinion (other than . . . what kind of first name is Mitt, anyway?)

If a Democrat comes along who starts acting like they take the jihadist threat to civilization seriously, I might take a look. That eliminates anyone who has recently come out against winning in Iraq (which is pretty much every Democrat except perhaps Lieberman).

Still, it's early. Plenty of time for all the candidates to put their feet in their mouths (hello, Senator Biden!)

The REAL Iraq intelligence estimate

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 Here's what you're being told about the most recent U.S. Intelligence estimate of the state of Iraq:

U.S. intel report: Iraq spiraling down (Yahoo News/AP)
US intelligence sees elements of civil war in Iraq (Yahoo News/AFP)
U.S. intelligence sees elements of Iraq "civil war" (Yahoo News/Reuters)
Intel report questions Bush's Iraq strategy (Miami Herald)
Intelligence study reports a bleak outlook for stability in Iraq (Kansas City Star)

Now, let's look at what the National Intelligence Estimate which spawned all of those gloomy headlines actually says:

Iraqi society's growing polarization, the persistent weakness of the security forces and the state in general, and all sides' ready recourse to violence are collectively driving an increase in communal and insurgent violence and political extremism.  Unless efforts to reverse these conditions show measureable progress during the term of this Estimate, the coming 12 to 18 months, we assess that the overall security situation will continue to deteriorate at rates comparable to the latter half of 2006.
Unless something changes, it will continue to be at least as bad as it currently is.
The Intelligence Community judges that the term "civil war" does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa'ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence.
Sorry, NBC and the rest of the media.  It's not a civil war.  It's something different.  Which is not to say that it's not a serious situation.
Coalition capabilities, including force levels, resources and operations, remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq.  If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq, intensify Sunni resistance to the Iraqi Government, and have adverse consequences for national reconciliation.
In other words, it's bad, but it will get much worse if we leave.  Those in the United States who are calling for "redeployment" are calling for increased carnage in Iraq, pure and simple.  No amount of spin can get around that fundamental fact.




Rush Limbaugh: Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

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This should drive my mother-in-law nuts:

Landmark Legal Foundation Nominates Rush Limbaugh for 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

"Rush Limbaugh is the foremost advocate for freedom and democracy in the world today," explained Levin. "Everyday he gives voice to the values of democratic governance, individual opportunity and the just, equal application of the rule of law -- and it is fitting that the Nobel Committee recognize the power of these ideals to build a truly peaceful world for future generations."

I will say that Limbaugh is probably more deserving of the award than, say Jimmy Carter.



I thought Hillary said it would be a Spring offensive?

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Taliban leader now says it'll be a summer offensive:

"The Taliban will intensify their guerrilla and suicide strikes this summer," Mulla Hayat Khan told Reuters from a secret location. "This will be a bloodiest year for foreign troops."

He said 2,000 suicide bombers were ready -- about 40 percent of the total suicide force -- adding numbers were so high it was sometimes hard to find enough explosives and targets.

Unless the good guys kill you first, of course.

Good causes don't excuse tastelessness

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A brief story in the Kansas City Star:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has banned the sale of a T-shirt students designed to promote a benefit performance of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The T-shirt, which depicted abstract images of vaginas, was to benefit V-Day 2007, a national movement to stop violence against women. Students called the ban censorship.

The shirt was to be sold at the university’s Women’s Center. The center’s director stopped the sale, saying the shirt did not reflect the image of the center and did not conform to V-Day guidelines, which specify that T-shirts include the V-Day logo and tagline.

We're opposed to violence, generally, against women or men. But we're also generally opposed to t-shirts depicting genitalia. It just goes to show how dreadfully out of touch with common sense some people are.


The Germans call US "surrender monkeys"

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Oh, the shame!

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has the sorry tale:
Der Spiegel excerpts passages from Henryk Broder's new book on the Western response to radical Islamism, pungently titled, Hurray, We're Capitulating! The book has not yet been published in English, but DS gives us a translation on their English-language site. It cogently and somewhat angrily notes the low points in Western dhimmitude:
Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the "clash of civilizations," a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilize the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording.

As different as the West's reactions to the Muslim protests were, what they had in common were origins in feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. Critical souls who only yesterday agreed with Marx that religion is the opium of the masses suddenly insisted that religious sensibilities must be taken into account, especially when accompanied by violence. The representatives of open societies reacted like the inhabitants of an island about to be hit by a hurricane. Powerless against the forces of nature, they stocked up on supplies, nailed doors and windows shut and hoped that the storm would soon pass. Of course, whereas such a reaction may be an appropriate response to natural disasters, such a lack of resistance merely encourages fundamentalists. It completely justifies their view of the West as weak, decadent and completely unwilling to defend itself.

Those who react to kidnappings and beheadings, to massacres of people of other faiths, and to eruptions of collective hysteria with a call for "cultural dialogue" don't deserve any better.


I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkey.  Do you?  Even if you're a Democrat?

Liberty is falling apart

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In what may be an appropriate metaphor for our time, Kansas City's Liberty Memorial is falling apart:

Another section of concrete at the Liberty Memorial collapsed Thursday, leading officials to close the observation deck and tower until a thorough investigation can be done.

The action does not affect public access to the new World War I Museum below the deck or to the two buildings above, although they can only be reached for now by using elevators from below. The tower has no structural problems but access to it is closed until further notice.

Executive Director Steve Berkheiser said a concrete paver in front of the tower elevator door was discovered Thursday afternoon to have collapsed of its own weight. It was the third such collapse recently. There have been no injuries.

Certainly support for liberty is crumbling here in the U.S., as the "last best hope of earth" ponders withdrawing from the perpetual and timeless battle for liberty.

Perhaps if George W. Bush had the rhetorical skill of Abraham Lincoln, things might be different:
I do not forget the gravity which should characterize a paper addressed to the Congress of the nation by the Chief Magistrate of the nation. Nor do I forget that some of you are my seniors, nor that many of you have more experience than I, in the conduct of public affairs. Yet I trust that in view of the great responsibility resting upon me, you will perceive no want of respect yourselves, in any undue earnestness I may seem to display.

Is it doubted, then, that the plan I propose, if adopted, would shorten the war, and thus lessen its expenditure of money and of blood? Is it doubted that it would restore the national authority and national prosperity, and perpetuate both indefinitely? Is it doubted that we here--Congress and Executive--can secure its adoption? Will not the good people respond to a united, and earnest appeal from us? Can we, can they, by any other means, so certainly, or so speedily, assure these vital objects? We can succeed only by concert. It is not "can any of us imagine better?" but, "can we all do better?" The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.