“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's Amateur Hour Presidency

February 29, 2008
The danger of Obama's amateur diplomacy

Thomas Lifson American Thinker

After suggesting that he would invade our ally Pakistan and talk to our enemy Iran, Barack Obama has moved on to potentially damage our relations with Canada, our friendly neighbor and number one foreign oil supplier.

Under the terms of NAFTA, Canada is prohibited from cutting off oil exports to the US if there is a worldwide shortage or supply disruption unless supplies are also rationed to Canadian consumers by the same amount.

After the Hillary/Obama debate, Canada's trade minister pointed out that if NAFTA is re-opened, Canada might want to opt out of this clause, which would then leave Canada free to sell its oil to any other country for whatever price it could get.

Both Clinton and Obama have made a big issue out President Bush's alleged insensitivies to other countries. And now these two geniuses are blithely talking about canceling a trade agreement with our two neighbors on which both their economies now depend.

The Financial Times reports:

Beijing has signaled its interest in Canada's growing oil sector. Two of China's biggest energy groups, China National Offshore Oil Co and Sinopec, have invested in small Calgary-based companies with ambitions to extract heavy crude oil from oil sands in Canada.

So the Obama campaign has been caught in a lie and is potentially opening a door for China (among others) to become involved in our most secure source for foreign oil, where the oil sands contain deposits equal to those of Saudi Arabia, while alienating our best friends in foreign countries.

Do we really want to let this man into the Oval Office?


  1. Unfortunately opposition to NAFTA and similar agreements is growing among Republicans. So Obama may find enough ready allies on the Right. Especially in the event of a major recession, which can encourage precisely the wrong remedies.

    Given what will be a still-divided Congress, I'd be watching Republicans as the crucial trade indicator in an Obama presidency.

    But then that's one of the reasons I'm not voting for Obama and why I worry about one of the last good legs Republicans have to stand on, which is trade liberalization.

  2. The problem with universal voting with no qualifications and standards is that all these politicians know if they speak honestly, nuanced or try to explain a complicated issue they will lose.

    Here is an example. Check out the last sentence:

    Students Hauled After Big Fight in Miami
    2 hours ago

    MIAMI (AP) — Police responded in force Friday at a high school where a protest became unruly, and more than a dozen students were hauled away in handcuffs.

    The disturbance at Miami Edison Senior High School occurred during a protest over the arrest Thursday of another student, a Miami-Dade County schools police spokesman said.

    "That protest became very unruly," Charles Hurley, a schools police commander, told WSVN-TV. He said some students threw water bottles, books and other items at police officers.

    Dozens of police cars responded to the school north of downtown Miami.

    Fire rescue officials said one student and three police officers had minor injuries. School officials said classes returned to normal shortly after police responded.

    Miami Edison recently celebrated its move from a designation of an "F" or failing to "D" based on Florida's ranking of public schools. Last year only 10 percent of students met reading standards. Less than a third met state math standards.

  3. "It's so hard. (violins start to play) It's so very hard, but then, you know, I'm running for the hardest job in the world, and I'd run no matter how hard it is. I just wish, you know, the playing field were even, or a little more even(violins playing like hell now), but I'll play on any field available."

    Paraphrase of a sound bite I just heard of Hillary, add in a really whinny voice, on your own.

  4. It is interesting watching the reaction to Hillary and Obama's statement regarding re-opening NAFTA. One politico (Ambassador or sumtin..I ferget) said someone from Obama's campaign had called him giving him the heads up and basically saying it was said for domestic consumption. Our trade minister made the oil threat. There certainly are issues Canadians would like to put on the table if it is reopened (dispute settling being one).

    I saw the section of debate where Obama made the crack. He came of a statement about jobs and plants being shipped out of the country and then brought up NAFTA. China isn't a party to NAFTA but Mexico is.

    Up here in Canada we are certainly concerned about the building anti-free trade sentiment in the US and I, personally, am a big fan of free trade.

  5. Nader announces his VP Pick--Matt Gonzalez, San Fran Lawyer who nearly beat Mayor Gavin Newsom in the SF mayoral race. Newsom's the guy humped his campaign manager's wife with asking. He has 'reiden out' that srorm. Bernie Ward, San Fran commentator, in ankle bracelets at home, is not available for comment on these recent political moves. (sorry, I just can't help getting a shot in at Bernie, when I can)

  6. sorry for my speling

    Hillary may do better than predicted on Tuesday. The polls seem to have stabalized, and the Texas Hispanics are hanging tough for her. There is talk of her suing over the process of proportioning out the delegates there in Texas. Certainly Hillary has always thought it only fair to play fair. Go Hillary--knife fight at the convention!

    Medved just said the proper translation of fuhrer is 'driver' not 'leader'.

  7. I made a note to myself to pass along this piece of agricultural arcana, from a talk with my banker, who does mostly ag loans.
    Parity, an old measure that was used in the ag bills of yore, and which meant the relation between the price of wheat and corn, and pickup trucks, and lumber, fuel, and all other stuff--parity was always being demanded by the farmers for commodity prices when the farm bills were argued in Congress--parity has been reached with the new price rises, for the first time since about 1966. Parity, he said, figures to about $12.20 per bushel for wheat these days, he said. I didn't know the government even had such a figure these days, or tracked it. The ag bills haven't been tied to parity for a hell of a long time.

  8. Not to worry, Ash. It's just rhetoric, pulling the wool over the eyes of the unemployed, in Ohio.

    Just rhetoric, like damned near everything else that comes out of Obama's mouth, and the mouths of all the others too.

    "Yes, we can!"

    And I wish these news articles wouldn't use the term 'operative'--sounds so sleezy. And I feel like I'm about to have my heart and lungs sucked out, unasked.

    Obama camp told Canadians 'it's just rhetoric'?
    Network claims aide assured official that anti-NAFTA talk not serious

    Posted: February 29, 2008
    2:23 pm Eastern

    © 2008 WorldNetDaily

    Sen. Barack Obama (WND photo)

    An operative of Sen. Barack Obama assured Canadian officials that the Democratic presidential candidate's talk of opting out of the North American Free Trade Agreement is just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously, alleges Canada's CTV television network

    The Obama campaign told CTV late last night no such message was passed on to the Canadian government. But the network said it got no response to repeated questions about whether a conversation on the matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser – Austan Goolsbee – and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.

    CTV said it spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation. The Obama adviser said he had been told to direct any questions to campaign headquarters.

    In a debate in Ohio Tuesday, both Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton suggested they would opt out of NAFTA if core labor and environmental standards were not renegotiated.

    CTV also cited sources who said that after the debate, Clinton's campaign made indirect contact with the Canadian government to reassure officials of their support.

    McCain responded to CTV's initial story yesterday.

    "I don't think it's appropriate to go to Ohio and tell people one thing while your aide is calling the Canadian ambassador and telling him something else," McCain said, referring to Obama. "I certainly don't think that's straight talk."

    The Canadian Embassy in Washington issued a denial yesterday, saying, "At no time has any member of a presidential campaign called the Canadian ambassador or any official at the embassy to discuss NAFTA."

    But CTV said sources at the highest levels of the Canadian government who provided the original story have reconfirmed their position.

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a warning to anyone contemplating renegotiation of the trade deal, CTV reported.

    "If a future president actually did want to open up NAFTA, which I highly doubt, then Canada would obviously have some things we would want to discuss," Harper said.

    As WND reported, while Obama has blasted Hillary Clinton for flip-flopping on NAFTA, according to the public record, he has also switch positions.

    Obama has turned trade into a centerpiece of his campaign in Ohio, where trade agreements are particularly unpopular as domestic manufacturing jobs disappear. Ohio is among four states holding nominating contests March 4.

    "What the world should interpret is my consistent position, which is I believe in trade," he said after meeting with workers at a manufacturing plant in Ohio. "I just want to make sure that the rules of the road apply to everybody and they are fair and that they reflect the interests of workers and not just corporate profits."

    Just last October, however, Obama announced he would vote for a Peruvian trade agreement that would expand NAFTA into that country.

    In fact, he was the first presidential candidate to declare support for the NAFTA expansion. He was also the keynote speaker at a luncheon of the Hamilton Project – a Wall Street group working to drive a wedge between Democrats and organized labor on globalization issues.

    NAFTA went into effect in 1994 while former President Clinton held office. In her memoir, Hillary Clinton called NAFTA a success, though she says she has a plan to review it and fix it.

    Obama said he opposed NAFTA from the start and U.S. workers were not the only ones to suffer from its effects. Wages and benefits in Mexico had not been improved by the treaty, he said.

  9. Obama's Real Middle Name Is Taboo

    Barack Taboo Obama

    Barack Habu Obama :) is a guy I could vote for.

    I have a long deceased relative whose name was Covington Phillips the Third.

    My wife always says, "Why weren't you named something neat and classy like that, Bob?

  10. These four clauses apply only to Canada and the United States.
    Mexico reserves the right to control its own energy industries in most cases and is explicitly exempt from the provisions of Articles 605 and 607.

    Nothing like Free and Fair Trade Deals Right?
    Heads I win, Tails you lose. most of the mf...... proposals being discussed in the periodic meetings in Mexico for the future United Americas.
    ...or like the fence we pay for for THEM, while we eat endless shit sandwichs spewed out by GWB!


    You and your stupid Black/White Paulian "Reason," Trish!
    "FREE" Trade Uber Alles!
    Talk about hysterical and unreasonable!
    Either or Thinking is not?

    (as if it is implemented in practice as the politicians describe it.
    ...just as Amnesty was described by Trent Lott as not, totally reasonable, but a little too complex for us Plebes to understand.)

    So, cruise on down denial, no problem with tainted food imports, tainted pharmaceuticals, etc, as long as someone else is the victim.
    But the victim list will grow over time when corrupt politicians practice
    "FREE" Trade w/o restraint!

    ...AND ignore the very real reconquista movement that already runs Los Angeles and large parts of Sacramento.

    Simply because you can, and if you never comment on it, you will not look like the Stupid Ass you are.

    What if There Were Oil Shortages in Parts of Canada?
    It is occasionally suggested that the energy provisions in NAFTA could result in Canada exporting a significant share of its oil production to the United States, even as some parts of Canada suffer shortages. For a number of reasons, this is not a legitimate concern.

    As mentioned above, NAFTA requires that all oil produced in Canada be available to all consumers in North America. Since it would not be economically logical for oil producers to charge higher prices to Canadian consumers, this fact alone ensures that NAFTA could not create shortages in Canada because Canada was obliged to export to the United States.

    NAFTA ensures that Canadian and U.S. consumers have equal access to oil produced in either country. In no way does it give U.S. consumers preferential access.

    Contrary to some claims, NAFTA does not commit Canada to exporting a certain share of its energy supply to the United States regardless of Canadian needs. Canadian producers sell without restriction on the open market.

    The only significant limitation NAFTA places on Canada is that it prevents the Canadian government from implementing policies that interfere with the normal functioning of energy markets in North America. Provided they have the demand and can pay the price, Canadian consumers could conceivably buy 100% of all energy produced in the country without violating NAFTA.

  11. "...just as Amnesty was described by Trent Lott as not (AMNESTY),
    ...instead it was totally reasonable, but a little too complex for us Plebes to understand.)"

  12. Everything below is in this funny guys act, included in the video.
    "Viva La Raza!
    Viva Obama!"

    1,200 hear George Lopez back Obama
    Comedian George Lopez brought U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's message of hope and change Wednesday afternoon ... Photo gallery: George Lopez Video: 1,200 hear Lopez back Obama Video: George Lopez speaks to the media.

    "Time for Latinos to take over America
    All 12 Million Illegals: "We're not going anywhere."
    We are the babysitters for little Crackers."

  13. Unchecked aliens cram flight schools

    Despite tough post-9/11 laws, thousands of foreign students are training at U.S. flight schools without proper visas or security background checks, government documents show.

    "TSA's enforcement is basically nonexistent," Bill McNease, a former Federal Aviation Administration inspector, said in an interview aired last night on ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson." Revelations that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers were trained as pilots in the United States prompted a crackdown on flight schools.

    Legislation was passed requiring the schools to do security background checks and notify the federal Transportation Security Administration. But internal TSA documents found by ABC News indicate the rules are largely ignored.

    "Some of the very same conditions that allowed the 9/11 tragedy to happen in the first place are still very much in existence today," Richard Horn, a TSA regional official, wrote in a 2005 letter to his boss. McNease said he found at least 8,000 foreign students in the FAA database who got pilot's licenses without being approved by the TSA.

  14. Covington Phillips the Third. Goes to show, a fancy name doesn't save you from death, whatever death is.

    Ash, at BC, warns us, beware the fascist religious bible thumpers in our country. And people in the military too, vets, that kind of thing. Bible thumpers are the greater threat, the military the lesser, according to the research of this anaylist.--

    Ash said...
    Let's not forget the totalitarian/facist nature of the right - particularly the religious right, and to a lesser extent the military right. For that matter we can also jump on the totalitarian nature of the fiscal right. It's my way or the highway baby.

    Kinda silly in the end all this blather about liberal fascism especially if you take into account the nature of the use of force in fascism.


    fas·cism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[fash-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
    3. (initial capital letter) a fascist movement, esp. the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43.

    2/29/2008 06:42:00 AM

  15. This seems to contradict what I quoted above about Canada:

    Article 605 outlines the conditions under which Canada can restrict energy exports. It can do so only if all of the following conditions apply:

    * exports as a percentage of total Canadian supply do not fall;

  16. Michael Steele is hosting Hewitt.

  17. and to a lesser extent the military right.

    Damn, there are threats to our freedoms from some folk right here on this blog, I just realized, to my fear and trembling. But, thankfully, only 'to a lesser extent'.
    What's that mean, Doug? 'exports as a percentage...'

  18. Read the thing, seems contradictory to me, but then I don't see in Black and White like some, so it's probly all good?

    All I could get out of that sentence is the opposite of what they said:
    Namely they gotta keep exporting a certain percent regardless of what's going on at home.

    Mexico exempt from everything, of course, THAT was clear enuff!

  19. Man in critical condition after ricin found in room at Vegas motel

    LAS VEGAS - Police say a man is in critical condition after the deadly toxin ricin was found in his Las Vegas motel room.

    Las Vegas police Lt. Lewis Roberts says the man has been in a coma since he was found in his room at the Extended Stay America Motel on Thursday.

    He's one of seven people hospitalized after the ricin was discovered. Police have said most were examined as a precaution.

    Roberts says police don't think foul play is involved, and the FBI says the case doesn't appear to be terrorism-related.

    But authorities aren't sure why the man had a vial of powdered ricin in his room.

    Ricin is made from processing castor beans, and can be extremely lethal.
    Add your comment below!.

    no foul play??? it was ricin!! not rice a roni! how does one get ricin legally? what was this person going to do with it?

  20. Hey, Al-Doug, here's another headline and article you'll laugh at. If you check in at the Extended Stay, you won't check out:)

    Nothing to worry about--Roberts says police don't think foul play is involved-- just your ordinary
    Vegas episode involving one of the world's most potent poisons.

    Man Critical After Ricin Find in Vegas

    'Not a Terror Incident': Ricin Found in Las Vegas Motel

    LAS VEGAS (AP) - Police say a man is in critical condition after the deadly toxin ricin was found in his Las Vegas motel room.
    Las Vegas police Lt. Lewis Roberts says the man has been in a coma since he was found in his room at the Extended Stay America Motel on Thursday.

    He's one of seven people hospitalized after the ricin was discovered. Police have said most were examined as a precaution.
    Roberts says police don't think foul play is involved, and the FBI says the case doesn't appear to be terrorism-related.

    But authorities aren't sure why the man had a vial of powdered ricin in his room.

    Ricin is made from processing castor beans, and can be extremely lethal.

  21. :)!!

    We got to turn our lives around Doug, do something meaningful with our time!

  22. Damn, where is my sack of ricin? I thought I had it with me when I checked out.

  23. bobal,

    on fascism:

    If you are going to winge on about 'liberal fascists' ignoring the very important role dictatorship and military force play in the concept of fascism, then yes, we should be equally leery of 'conservative fascists'.

  24. Sre, Ash, I get it. Franco, etc. Franco, the church, the indiustrialists, the landowners. All that's true. Our military here isn't anything like that. And I hope never is.

  25. The reds and blacks(anarchists) in Spain weren't anything to write home about with pride about either.

  26. 'Hope' is politics, not real Iran, Iraq policy

    February 29, 2008

    The political salvos over Iraq between Barack Obama and John McCain the other day made for good political theater. More important, the exchange offered a revealing contrast between the politics of realism and the politics of hope.

    It began with a question to Obama during the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday. Obama has pledged to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and was asked if he reserved the right to go back into Iraq. He responded that "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."

    The next day McCain mocked Obama, ''I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq." Obama fired back, ''I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that's why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets. But I have some news for John McCain. There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

    So what is Obama's Iraq strategy? It seems to be that he knows al-Qaida is in Iraq but he's going to pull out anyway. But if al-Qaida establishes a base in Iraq, he will go back in. Does that sound confused to you? Me, too.

    His policy, in a nutshell, seems to be this: Pull troops out of Iraq and hope for the best. And anyway, the real issue is what cowboy Bush and McCain did five years ago.

    Given the nation's weariness with the war, that message has proved to be appealing to Democratic primary voters. They want no truck with the grim realism of McCain's position that Iraq is part of the wider struggle against Islamist jihadism and will require a long-term U.S. commitment. Arguing over what happened in 2003 is a way to avoid facing today's realities, McCain reasonably argues.

    Hope also figures in Obama's willingness, as president, to meet, without preconditions, America's adversaries like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently said he wouldn't "shake hands with people who refuse to recognize Israel." He didn't mention names but he meant the Iranian president.

    Obama's position is cheered by his enthusiasts. They see his embrace of yes-we-can-talk diplomacy as a refreshing about-face from Bush's bellicosity. Hillary Clinton is the voice of realism this time. But her efforts to paint Obama's position as a naive one for a president in a dangerous world apparently aren't swaying many Democrats. Her cause wasn't helped when Bush chimed in Thursday, saying meeting with a tyrant like Ahmadinejad only buttresses an oppressive government, confuses U.S. allies and demoralizes reformers in Iran.

    Given the complexities of the world, a president occasionally does have to meet with unsavory characters in pursuing vital foreign policy initiatives. Even when you think you've laid the proper groundwork, disaster can follow. President Bill Clinton labored mightily to coax Yasser Arafat to a negotiated end of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict only to see his work and peace hopes atomized by Arafat's allegiance to terrorism.

    A President Obama would be taking a big gamble meeting with a rogue like Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Iran wants nuclear weapons, is a sponsor of terror responsible for mass murder as far away as Argentina, and has been at the heart of Islamist-inspired turmoil for nearly three decades. It stones women to death for adultery. It executes more children than any country in the world. Tehran lashes gays and kills them by public hanging. It jails, tortures and executes political dissidents.

    When Columbia University, to its shame, gave him a platform last year, Ahmadinejad used it, in effect, to advocate an end to Israel, deny the Holocaust and claim no homosexuals are in Iran.

    In a recent speech, Ahmadinejad said Iran has two missions. One was to complete the Islamic revolution in Iran. "Our nation's second important mission," he said, "is introducing the Islamic revolution to the entire mankind."

    Hope may make for a good American political campaign, but it's not the basis for foreign policy.

  27. Zawahiri Possibly Killed

    Egyptian al Qaeda leader reported killed in South Waziristan airstrike
    By Bill RoggioFebruary 29, 2008 2:21 AM

    South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir. Click to view.

    Pakistani and US intelligence are attempting to sort out the names of the al Qaeda and Taliban operatives killed in yesterday's airstrike in Azam Warzak, South Waziristan. Initial reports indicated Arabs and fighters from Central Asia were killed in the operation. One report indicates an "al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt" was among those killed, sparking rumors that Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of the strike.

    South Waziristan Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, who is often characterized as a "pro-government" Taliban leader, appears to be the center of the storm. "Sources said that the militants belonged to the Abu Hamza group whose leader was said to be a follower of local militant commander Maulvi Nazir," Dawn reported. The attack occurred at the home of Shero Wazir, a follower of Nazir "who had rented it out to an Arab."

    "A large number of Arabs and other foreigners had been living and doing business in the area for years with local tribal names," sources told Dawn. Nazir denied foreign al Qaeda were present in his territory, and instead claimed Afghans were occupying the home.

    But Nazir has a long history of backing Arab al Qaeda members. He attacked Uzbeks in his tribal areas after he accused them of assassinating Arab al Qaeda operatives Saiful Asad and Sheikh Asadullah, a Saudi. Asadullah was one of Nazir's lieutenants and served as al Qaeda's financiers in the region. Asadullah replaced Ahmad Saeed Abdur Rehman Khadr al Kanadi, an al Qaeda operative who was killed in 2004. Kanadi was "designated by the United Nations as a high-ranking al Qaeda member."

    While the identities of those killed in the latest strike in South Waziristan are still being sorted out, the nationality of some of those killed is known. Anywhere from eight to 13 al Qaeda and Taliban were reported killed in the strike. Dawn reported four Arabs, two Turkmen, and two Pakistanis from Punjab province were killed. Local Taliban cordoned the area and immediately buried the bodies, which were said to have been badly burned and mutilated.

    The presence of Arab al Qaeda operatives in Azam Warzak has led to speculation that a senior al Qaeda figure may have been killed. "An al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt" was reported to have been among those killed, The Nation reported. This has raised the hopes that Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian-borne second in command of al Qaeda, was among those present during the strike.

    But several senior Egyptian members of al Qaeda are known to operate in Pakistan's tribal areas. These include Abu Khabab al Masri, Abu Ubaidah al Masri, Abdul Rahman al Masri al Maghribi, Abu Ikhlas al Masri, and Sheikh Essa. Abu Khabab, Abu Ubaidah, and Maghribi were believed to have been killed in the January 2006 Damadola airstrike, but the reports were false.

    Egyptian al Qaeda known to be operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions:

    • Abu Khabab al Masri: Al Qaeda's Weapons of Mass Destruction expert and master bomb maker. He is also known as Midhat Mursi.

    • Abdul Rahman al Masri al Maghribi: A senior al Qaeda military commander who is also believed to be Ayman al Zawahiri's son-in-law.

    • Abu Ubaidah al Masri: A senior al Qaeda operative who served as the former operations chief in Kunar, Afghanistan.He now serves as an al Qaeda operations chief for global strikes.

    • Abu Ikhlas al Masri - The current operations chief for Kunar province in Afghanistan. He and took over Kunar province after Abu Ubaidah al Masri was promoted.

    • Sheikh Essa: An Egyptian cleric based out of North Waziristan who advocates expanding the Taliban's jihad in Pakistan. "Local adherents of the takfiri ideology, like Sadiq Noor and Abdul Khaliq, have grown strong and spread the word in North Waziristan," the Asia Times reported on Jan. 1. "Former members of jihadi outfits such as Jaish-i-Mohammed, Laskhar-i-Taiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi have gathered in North Waziristan and declared Sheikh Essa their ideologue."

    Long War Journal

  28. Perhaps not.

    Zawahiri confirms Al-Libi killed in North Waziristan

    DUBAI: Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed on Wednesday that Abu Laith Al-Libi was killed last month in a missile attack in North Waziristan. Vowing revenge for Al-Libi’s killing, Zawahiri, in a video posted on the Internet, said, “No chief of ours had died of a natural death, nor has our blood been spilled without a response.” The video went on to say that, “If one of our chiefs passes, another arises in his place.” Libi, considered one of Osama Bin Laden’s top lieutenants in Afghanistan, was killed in a suspected US missile strike that killed up to 13 foreign militants in the North Waziristan border area in late January. “So seek help O Americans and agents of Americans ... from those seeking a way out ... They will be of no help to you,” Zawahiri added, referring to Muslim clerics who have criticised jihadist militants. The video was produced by Al Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab and carried English subtitles. Earlier, AFP had reported As-Sahab as saying that Zawahiri would deliver a message containing a tribute to Al-Libi. It made the announcement on the Islamist website, Al-Ekhlaas, without stating when the message would be released. Zawahiri last made a public declaration in December, when he used an audiotape to lash out at a US-hosted Middle East peace conference, calling it a betrayal of the Palestinians. Libi’s prominence in Al Qaeda was highlighted last year by his appearance in a video with Zawahri. According to Reuters, he was the first spokesman to announce that Bin Laden had survived the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. agencies

  29. Please dial down the personal attacks.

  30. More BS on facism (just 'cause, I guess, that book is #1 on the NYT list).

    A number of years ago I was given tickets to the Juno awards by a client (The Canadian Grammy Awards) I was walking up the 'red carpet' to enter the show and these people came up to me and tried to pin a yellow 'Aids' pin on me. It was the early days in the fight on Aids and everybody and their brother were on the bandwagon to 'fight aids'. I refused to wear the pin. The contrarian rebel that I am recoils at the thought of peers pressuring me to physically display my opinion to their satisfaction. I was on of only a few in the thousands attending who didn't wear the 'support the fight against aids' pin. Heck, I hate aids like everybody else but I'll be damned if I'll be pressured to wear a label demonstrating it. This was an encounter with fascism in my mind.

    A number of years later 911 occurred. I seriously debated and found error with most peoples reactions to those events. I argued with folk about approriate reactions. I consistently opposed the war in Iraq and, even, questioned the wisdom of the Afghanistan operartion. I have no love the of the Taliban but...

    In that time, in that era, I voiced opinions that were not...errrr...popular. I seriously considered the depictions of the opposition I faced as strands of fascism, as fascism. I looked carefully over the ensuing years at fascism and I've concluded that, sure, there are fascistic tendencies in the unamity of the opinions I faced but in no way was I confronted with a top down dictatorial government threatening to lock me up for my views. It is through that prism that I look at these folk wailing about 'liberal fascism' and, really, I've gotta laugh.

  31. Zawahiri's the effective number one target. Were it true, they'd be emptying "the medicine cabinet" today and with damn good reason.

  32. trish wrote:

    "Given what will be a still-divided Congress, I'd be watching Republicans as the crucial trade indicator in an Obama presidency."

    I just watched Pat Buchanan on PBS tonight and boy, if he is any indicator, protectionism is on its way!!

  33. I like Pat, but he is no indicator.

  34. Ash, did we ever figure are you male or female?

  35. Every Man A King But None Wears A Crown

    The Kingfish--or was it Kingfisher--

    Huey Long attacked FDR from the left. His speeches were laced with the same kind of calls to hope as found in Obama. He wanted to go beyond tax and spend, to take and give. In a time when there was a lot less hope than now, the worry over weapons of mass destruction being the exception.

    And yet he was right in much he did. The world being a complex place, and what's right and what's wrong subject to major debate.

  36. male, as I've stated anumber of times. Not only that, married with two kids.

  37. Married with kids:) Married with greying hairs, debts and worries, if it's anything like I went through:)

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. I like Buchanan, too, though I don't share much of his particular conservatism. I like his individual style. He's never been a free-trade guy; it's not Buchanan but mainstream Republicans (no dig, Pat) I anticipate a shift from.

    Ash is male. Trish was right.

  40. Well whit, to update, the ankle's now been upgraded to broken. After have walked on it for a month with an ACE bandage applied, I think I'll plead incompetency on the part of the previous 'student doctor.'


    So long as American Conservatism remains true to its traditional form, it's fine. Limited, constitutional government and free-markets are the opposite of fascism.

    With regard to modern American liberals/progressives, it's clear that Ash hasn't read the book (or the antecedents by Hayek, Rand, Laqueur, etc) that he's trying to belittle. How progressive.

  41. Huckabee's not a good sign, he's appealing to the old Christian socialism/economic populism. I saw it coming too, having a number of fraternity brothers who are hard core evangelicals and reflect him.

    Bush partially laid the ground work for it, but part of it was already there. I probably don't need to say that a large proportion of the evangelicals were never really sold on classical liberalism and shifted "right" for other reasons.

    Add in years of constant economic gloom and doom with regard to the 'middle class,' and its hard to build up a resistance. It's an easy demogogic appeal.

  42. "So long as American Conservatism remains true to its traditional form, it's fine. Limited, constitutional government and free-markets are the opposite of fascism."

    Yes indeed, cutler. Yes indeed.

    But then American Conservatism has never been all of a piece. Nash was pretty good at laying this history out.

  43. Last year I believe (looking forward without relish to refugee status as a Cato conservative) I laid out my fear that the Republican Party would morph increasingly into a party of big government conservatism, spearheaded by Christian Evangelicals and sundry, discontented others. Without effective opposition by an older conservatism within.

  44. I have succeeded in laying my hands on 'A Walk in the Woods' through our multi town multi university multi high school integrated library system. They will have it for me tomorrow. I see it's about Appalachia. Or happens there rather. Also got 'Hayduke Lives'.

    This library system beats the hell out of the one my aunt used to run--card catelogues--ugh!

  45. No Cutler, I haven't read the book yet. Have you/

    Tell me about liberal fascism. How the 'progressives' force ideology upon the masses through dictatorship. ya know, like Mussolini.

  46. I hope you enjoy A Walk in the Woods, bob. (Doug, I'm quite certain, is determined NOT to read it now.) Huck Finn it isn't, but then what is? Read both aloud to my son, though, years ago; Bryson with a little on-fly-editing here and there and Twain with my finest Old Mizzura accent.

    If you grew up in the Fifties, esp. in the Midwest, Bryson's The Thunderbolt Kid, a trip down memory lane, is also quite wonderful. As is Twain's Roughing It, describing marvelously a (western) country within no one's living memory today.

  47. Did I mention I saw Twain's house where he grew up and the old law office there in Hannibal? Isn't that the island, mentioned in one of his books, off across the river there, and to the right?

  48. I haven't been to Hannibal, bob, up northeast, and I'm not sure. My father's side of the family is oooooooold southwest Missouri and I've spent a lot of time there, as well as up by Kansas City and in Colombia, where dad did his Master's.

    Ken Burn's documentary on Mark Twain is a great piece of work and your library might have that, too. We ended up buying it.

    My husband and son, BTW, are planning on doing the Appalachian Trail the summer after he graduates, as much of it as time will allow. It passes not far from us back home in VA and we're familiar with that stretch of it and the southern end not far from gorgeous Dahlonega; North Georgia College; and a lot of Ranger wives at the local Wal Mart.

    (OK, whit. How's that for general amicability?)

  49. a prince you would be proud to have as a son or a king.

  50. In CNN video, he was wearing an olive baseball cap with the US flag on it. We have a couple of the tan ones.

    I don't think the idea was to make a statement. And for that reason perhaps it's an even better one.

    Funny and a little sad how some have to go war to experience being a regular guy.

  51. Trish and I get along great as long as I run the errands.

    There is a good statue of Huck and Tom there at Hannibal. The law office is small. Looking out over the river, if you can get your mind to erase all, or most of the town, and the new stuff, you can kind of feel how it was, and what a big deal it must have been when a steamboat pulled in. The signs leading you off the freeway into town bypass you from the seedy part of town. It's got some for sure. What a big river the Mississippi is. Huck caught a cat fish as big as a man, in the book. The character that Huck was drawn from did high tail it out to the territories, and made out ok I quess, didn't get rich but didn't get into trouble either.

  52. "Trish and I get along great as long as I run the errands."

    We wouldn't have even so. S'okay, bob.

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