“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."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ludacris, Obama is Here. Black Values and the Culture War.

Never trust the white establishment.
"They'll train you so good," he said, "you'll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that shit." -Communist, Frank Marshall Davis, mentor to Obama

Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism

Investors Business Daily

During his NAACP speech earlier this month, Sen. Obama repeated the term at least four times. "I've been working my entire adult life to help build an America where economic justice is being served," he said at the group's 99th annual convention in Cincinnati.

And as president, "we'll ensure that economic justice is served," he asserted. "That's what this election is about." Obama never spelled out the meaning of the term, but he didn't have to. His audience knew what he meant, judging from its thumping approval.
It's the rest of the public that remains in the dark, which is why we're launching this special educational series.

"Economic justice" simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It's a euphemism for socialism.
In the past, such rhetoric was just that — rhetoric. But Obama's positioning himself with alarming stealth to put that rhetoric into action on a scale not seen since the birth of the welfare state.

In his latest memoir he shares that he'd like to "recast" the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the "winner-take-all" market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited (with record gains in living standards for all).
Obama also talks about "restoring fairness to the economy," code for soaking the "rich" — a segment of society he fails to understand that includes mom-and-pop businesses filing individual tax returns.

It's clear from a close reading of his two books that he's a firm believer in class envy. He assumes the economy is a fixed pie, whereby the successful only get rich at the expense of the poor.

Following this discredited Marxist model, he believes government must step in and redistribute pieces of the pie. That requires massive transfers of wealth through government taxing and spending, a return to the entitlement days of old.
Of course, Obama is too smart to try to smuggle such hoary collectivist garbage through the front door. He's disguising the wealth transfers as "investments" — "to make America more competitive," he says, or "that give us a fighting chance," whatever that means.

Among his proposed "investments":

  • "Universal," "guaranteed" health care.
  • "Free" college tuition.
  • "Universal national service" (a la Havana).
  • "Universal 401(k)s" (in which the government would match contributions made by "low- and moderate-income families").
  • "Free" job training (even for criminals).
  • "Wage insurance" (to supplement dislocated union workers' old income levels).
  • "Free" child care and "universal" preschool.
  • More subsidized public housing.
  • A fatter earned income tax credit for "working poor."
  • And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa.

His new New Deal also guarantees a "living wage," with a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation; and "fair trade" and "fair labor practices," with breaks for "patriot employers" who cow-tow to unions, and sticks for "nonpatriot" companies that don't.
That's just for starters — first-term stuff.

Obama doesn't stop with socialized health care. He wants to socialize your entire human resources department — from payrolls to pensions. His social-microengineering even extends to mandating all employers provide seven paid sick days per year to salary and hourly workers alike.

You can see why Obama was ranked, hands-down, the most liberal member of the Senate by the National Journal. Some, including colleague and presidential challenger John McCain, think he's the most liberal member in Congress.

But could he really be "more left," as McCain recently remarked, than self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (for whom Obama has openly campaigned, even making a special trip to Vermont to rally voters)?

Obama's voting record, going back to his days in the Illinois statehouse, says yes. His career path — and those who guided it — leads to the same unsettling conclusion.
The seeds of his far-left ideology were planted in his formative years as a teenager in Hawaii — and they were far more radical than any biography or profile in the media has portrayed.

A careful reading of Obama's first memoir, "Dreams From My Father," reveals that his childhood mentor up to age 18 — a man he cryptically refers to as "Frank" — was none other than the late communist Frank Marshall Davis, who fled Chicago after the FBI and Congress opened investigations into his "subversive," "un-American activities."

As Obama was preparing to head off to college, he sat at Davis' feet in his Waikiki bungalow for nightly bull sessions. Davis plied his impressionable guest with liberal doses of whiskey and advice, including: Never trust the white establishment.
"They'll train you so good," he said, "you'll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that shit."

After college, where he palled around with Marxist professors and took in socialist conferences "for inspiration," Obama followed in Davis' footsteps, becoming a "community organizer" in Chicago.

His boss there was Gerald Kellman, whose identity Obama also tries to hide in his book. Turns out Kellman's a disciple of the late Saul "The Red" Alinsky, a hard-boiled Chicago socialist who wrote the "Rules for Radicals" and agitated for social revolution in America.

The Chicago-based Woods Fund provided Kellman with his original $25,000 to hire Obama. In turn, Obama would later serve on the Woods board with terrorist Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground. Ayers was one of Obama's early political supporters.

After three years agitating with marginal success for more welfare programs in South Side Chicago, Obama decided he would need to study law to "bring about real change" — on a large scale.

While at Harvard Law School, he still found time to hone his organizing skills. For example, he spent eight days in Los Angeles taking a national training course taught by Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation. With his newly minted law degree, he returned to Chicago to reapply — as well as teach — Alinsky's "agitation" tactics.
(A video-streamed bio on Obama's Web site includes a photo of him teaching in a University of Chicago classroom. If you freeze the frame and look closely at the blackboard Obama is writing on, you can make out the words "Power Analysis" and "Relationships Built on Self Interest" — terms right out of Alinsky's rule book.)
Amid all this, Obama reunited with his late father's communist tribe in Kenya, the Luo, during trips to Africa.

As a Nairobi bureaucrat, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Harvard-educated economist, grew to challenge the ruling pro-Western government for not being socialist enough. In an eight-page scholarly paper published in 1965, he argued for eliminating private farming and nationalizing businesses "owned by Asians and Europeans."

His ideas for communist-style expropriation didn't stop there. He also proposed massive taxes on the rich to "redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all."
"Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed," Obama Sr. wrote. "I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and syphon some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development."

Taxes and "investment" . . . the fruit truly does not fall far from the vine.
(Voters might also be interested to know that Obama, the supposed straight shooter, does not once mention his father's communist leanings in an entire book dedicated to his memory.)

In Kenya's recent civil unrest, Obama privately phoned the leader of the opposition Luo tribe, Raila Odinga, to voice his support. Odinga is so committed to communism he named his oldest son after Fidel Castro.

With his African identity sewn up, Obama returned to Chicago and fell under the spell of an Afrocentric pastor. It was a natural attraction. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaches a Marxist version of Christianity called "black liberation theology" and has supported the communists in Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

Obama joined Wright's militant church, pledging allegiance to a system of "black values" that demonizes white "middle classness" and other mainstream pursuits.
(Obama in his first book, published in 1995, calls such values "sensible." There's no mention of them in his new book.)

With the large church behind him, Obama decided to run for political office, where he could organize for "change" more effectively. "As an elected official," he said, "I could bring church and community leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer."

He could also exercise real, top-down power, the kind that grass-roots activists lack. Alinsky would be proud.

Throughout his career, Obama has worked closely with a network of stone-cold socialists and full-blown communists striving for "economic justice."
He's been traveling in an orbit of collectivism that runs from Nairobi to Honolulu, and on through Chicago to Washington.

Yet a recent AP poll found that only 6% of Americans would describe Obama as "liberal," let alone socialist.

Public opinion polls usually reflect media opinion, and the media by and large have portrayed Obama as a moderate "outsider" (the No. 1 term survey respondents associate him with) who will bring a "breath of fresh air" to Washington.

The few who have drilled down on his radical roots have tended to downplay or pooh-pooh them. Even skeptics have failed to connect the dots for fear of being called the dreaded "r" word.

But too much is at stake in this election to continue mincing words.
Both a historic banking crisis and 1970s-style stagflation loom over the economy. Democrats, who already control Congress, now threaten to filibuster-proof the Senate in what could be a watershed election for them — at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
A perfect storm of statism is forming, and our economic freedoms are at serious risk.
Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free-market individualism that's made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster.

"Proud at last, proud at last, Thanks God Almighty, proud at last."

"This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for," ..."I have become a symbol of the possibility of America."

After 911, I was struck by the supreme confidence of the Islamic terrorists in their righteousness and their evil cause. It became apparent to me that what separated the Islamic world from most of the rest was their sense of mission. Muslims have no doubt as to their place in the universe. It is in their culture and their belief system. It is the way they are raised and it is their sense of mission.

Obama shares that trait. Obama is also delusional. Dana Milbank takes him apart:


President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour

Congress offers adulation to the self-elected president.

By Dana Milbank Wapo
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee.
Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president's) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.

Along the way, he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president's. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him. His schedule for the day, announced Monday night, would have made Dick Cheney envious:

11:00 a.m.: En route TBA.

12:05 p.m.: En route TBA.

1:45 p.m.: En route TBA.

2:55 p.m.: En route TBA.

5:20 p.m.: En route TBA.

The 5:20 TBA turned out to be his adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, as if for the State of the Union. Capitol Police cleared the halls -- just as they do for the actual president. The Secret Service hustled him in through a side door -- just as they do for the actual president.
(more if you can take it)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who Is This A-hole?

Francis Anthony Boyle (born 1950) is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School. He also received a Ph. D. in political science from Harvard University.

These guys did not go to Harvard Law or the University of Illinois. They have a somewhat different view of International law and relations. Who would you rather have a beer with?

"AIDS in America today is a black disease"

"AIDS in America today is a black disease," says Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS institute.

Report: Black U.S. AIDS rates rival some African nations

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The AIDS epidemic among African-Americans in some parts of the United States is as severe as in parts of Africa, according to a report out Tuesday.

"Left Behind - Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS" is intended to raise awareness and remind the public that the "AIDS epidemic is not over in America, especially not in Black America," says the report, published by the Black AIDS Institute, an HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on African-Americans.

"AIDS in America today is a black disease," says Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of the institute and himself HIV-positive for 20 years. "2006 CDC data tell us that about half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black."

Although black people represent only about one in eight Americans, one in every two people living with HIV in the United States is black, the report notes.

The report uses just-released data from UNAIDS and existing CDC and Census data to highlight grim statistics:

AIDS remains the leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34. It's the second-leading cause of death in black men 35-44.

In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people, that's one in 20 residents. iReport: AIDS in Washington's older population

"Five percent of the entire population (in DC) is infected... that's comparable to countries like Uganda or South Africa," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN for the recent "Black in America" documentary.

According to this report, if black Americans made up their own country, it would rank above Ethiopia (420,000 to 1,300,000) and below Ivory Coast (750,000) in HIV population. Both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast are among the 15 nations receiving funds from the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief. The United States has given about $15 billion to PEPFAR nations in the past five years. CNN

Living in Blessed Times. King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fraudulent Free Trade and Expensive Oil

Parting company.

The New York Times has an article about the affect of fuel consumption brought on by foreign government subsides. Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, India and China all heavily subsidize the price of petroleum products. These governments fearful of inflation, and civil unrest are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. China alone spends $40B a year on subsidies. That would not be possible if it were not for the fact that China has such a huge trade surplus with the US.

I doubt anyone calculated the affects of these subsidies when the US was agreeing to lop-sided trade agreements giving away trade advantages at the expense of American interests. Fuel Subsidies Overseas Take a Toll on U.S.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Secession - Go Your Own Way

A recent Middlebury Institute/Zogby Poll shows that : one in five Americans believe that states have the right to secede. The survey finds 18% would support a secessionist effort in their state."One in five American adults - 22% - believe that any state or region has the right to "peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic."

..."The level of support for the right of secession was consistent in every region in the country, though the percentage was slightly higher in the South (26%) and the East (24%). The figures were also consistent for every age group, but backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights.

Broken down by race, the highest percentage agreeing with the right to secede was among Hispanics (43%) and African-Americans (40%). Among white respondents, 17% said states or regions should have the right to peaceably secede."

It seems as if a lot of people in the Unites States on the left and on the right do not like each other and have a preference to go their own way. Hispanics, by 43%, have already established a substantial presence in the American Southwest. They not only have the inclination to secede, they can make it happen within a generation.

African Americans at 40% seems to confirm that the logical outcome to multi-culturalism and diversity is devolution. Sorry about that.

Call of the Wild

The Real Scum is CNN’s Christiane Amanpour


In Amanpour’s twisted universe, calling rioters who happen to be dark skinned ’scum’ is racist. Remember; these children of immigrants were destroying France last year. They were burning down cars and destroying shops on a massive scale. They declared war on the French government and fought against the police. ‘Scum’ is quite an appropriate word for them.

Not because they are dark, but because they are destroying other peoples’ possessions in a violent manner. That’s why.

To Amanpour, however, that doesn’t matter. In her sick politically correct world, one is not allowed to say something negative about people if those people happen to be dark skinned. If they are white, no problem.

What’s even sicker is that she is arguing that Obama and these rioters are the same because the color of their skin happens to be dark.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Barack Obama and his Muslim Family

Obama and his Muslim family ... back row from left: Unknown, Barack Obama, half-brother Malik, unknown, half-brother Abo, Bernard. Front: Half-sister Auma, stepmum Kezia, stepgran Sarah, unknown.

Bernard converted to Islam 18 years ago. The dad of one said: “I’m a Muslim, I don’t deny it. My father was raised a Muslim.

“But it’s not an issue. I don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about.”

Guest Post from Belmont Club blogger:

Morton Doodslag:

As long as we’re discussing leftist media bias, and selective truth telling, I was astounded to read an item about Barack Obama’s brother yesterday, linked at Drudge. It may still be there. It’s entitled “Found! Obama’s brother!”
If one reads this article carefully, one learns that Barack Obama’s father must have been a polygamous Muslim, and that he continued to sire children with his first wife even after he’d married BHO’s wife. Further, BHO’s mother probably knew about it. Obama Sr. frequently returned to Kenya, and BHO’s half siblings through that marriage are both older and younger than he. I suspect if some PajamasMedia sleuth were to try, no divorce documents or claims can be found.

Compare the complete non-mentioning of this jaw-dropping Fact to the smears and claims of Mormon polygamy with media reporting on Romney.

I’m unaware of any claim that Romney’s family was polygamous, but he was widely smeared with this through innuendo. Whereas BHO is almost certainly a byproduct of a fricking Muslim harem!

But the PC rules viciously preclude even mentioning the fact. Even many I. The right, so eager to show they’re not Islamiphobic, buy into the clampdown on discussing BHO’s blatant Muslim roots and the implications.

In the somewhat silly Harry Potter series, the characters are gripped by a hysterical avoidance of mentioning the name of the man who threatens them with destruction. The antagonist in the story is regularly referred to as “He who must not be named”.

Muslims and Leftists have successfully waged a campaign of fear and intimidation so that even mentioning the incontrovertible facts surrounding this BHO phenom is out of bounds.

I had never read anything in the media about this harem detail in BHO’s past. Even the British article only hinted obliquely to this revelation by a passing reference to the age of BHO’s younger brother. If one didn’t ponder the significance of it, one would not have gathered the fact that BHO Sr. returned many times to his first wife, whom he probably never divorced, and continued to sire children with her after marrying BHO’s mother and having HIM.

When every peccadillo of our right wing politicians, real or imagined, becomes a feeding frenzy in our media, and the first black Muslim born offspring of an Islamic harem is blatantly glossed over and placed off limits through vicious Press attacks and intimidation, you know we’ve gone very far down some kind of scary rabbit hole.

If it were a Mozart opera, we could laugh at the high farce of it all. But a nightmare is unfolding, and the monsters are not being named. Except here.


Obama's brother is in Bracknell
Chief Feature Writer
Published: Today

HE may be living in a Bracknell council house, but soon he could be dining with his brother at the White House.

The Sun was the first newspaper to track down and speak to Bernard Obama, 37.

And he said of Democrat candidate Barack: “I’m very proud of my big brother.

“It’s quite a funny feeling that he might be the next President of the USA.”

Muslim Bernard — an avid Manchester United fan and Sun reader — is staying with his bingo-loving mum Kezia, 67, who has lived in the Berkshire new town for six years.

He was glued to the TV news in the modest suburban bungalow last night as Barack, 46, was due to arrive in Britain.

Bernard leads a quiet life, running a car parts firm in Nairobi, Kenya.

But he is a regular visitor to the UK to visit Elvis fan Kezia.

She married Barack Obama Snr in Kenya in 1957 when she was a teenager.

He later left for the US and went on to meet Ann Dunham, who gave birth to his now widely acclaimed son.

Obama Snr, a Kenyan goatherd who became a leading economist in his east African homeland’s government, was killed in a car crash in 1982.

Barack Jnr was 21 and Bernard 12. He said: “Our father passed away when I was young and I didn’t get the chance to get to know him very well.

“When you lose your dad at such a young age, that’s when you really miss him.”

Bernard smiled when he spoke of his famous half-brother. He said:

I was around 17 when I first met Barack.

He was visiting Kenya and it was obvious from the way he spoke and his charisma that he was going to be a success.

He is charming, very good company and very charismatic.

I’ve met him since with his wife Michelle in Kenya. She’s very nice, a very strong and intelligent person. I don’t think we will see him on this visit to Britain. It’s official business and he’ll be very busy.

Bernard is remaining with Kezia for the next month as she recuperates from illness.

Barefoot and dressed in cream shorts and red T-shirt, he said: “I love coming to Britain because I love football and I like reading about it in The Sun.


“I’m a big Manchester United fan but I think Barack’s more into basketball.”

Bernard converted to Islam 18 years ago. The dad of one said: “I’m a Muslim, I don’t deny it. My father was raised a Muslim.

“But it’s not an issue. I don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about.”

Barack is a staunch Christian. A recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine caused a furore by portraying him as a turban-wearing Muslim and his wife as a terrorist.

In February, photos emerged of Barack in traditional Somali robes during a trip to Kenya in 2006.

But Bernard dismissed jibes about Barack’s religion and said there was no significance to the photos.

He added: “If you go to Japan or Nigeria you put on the traditional dress. People are trying to look for ways to tarnish him.”

In his biography, Dreams From My Father, Barack told of meeting Bernard in Kenya.

He wrote: “That sweetness, the lack of guile, made him seem much younger than his 17 years.

“As we stepped into the street, Bernard draped his arm over my shoulder. ‘It’s good to have a big brother around,’ he said, before waving goodbye and vanishing into the crowd.”

The pair’s dad left Kenya in 1959 when he took up a US scholarship. Kezia, then three months’ pregnant with daughter Auma, already had a year-old son Malik to look after.

Barack Snr met Barack’s mum Ann in Hawaii, and she gave birth to the now presidential hopeful in August 1961.

The Democrat’s dad returned to Kenya in 1965 and Kezia subsequently gave birth to two sons, Abo in 1968 and Bernard in 1970.


Barack’s former brother-in-law Ian Manners, 55 — divorced from Bernard’s and Barack’s sister Auma — is writing a book about his in-laws.

Daughter Akinyi, 11, spent Christmas with Barack in the US. She said: “I asked him if I could meet Beyonce. He smiled and said he’d see what he could do.”

Barack attended Ian’s 1996 wedding to Auma and famously ran out of a pub in Wokingham, Berks, during Ian’s stag bash when a raunchy dancer took to the stage.

Businessman Ian said: “We were having a few drinks, then a stripper dressed as a St Trinian’s schoolgirl appeared.

“She was no Miss World and it was the last thing I wanted. As soon as Barack saw what was about to happen he made a hasty retreat.

“He was in politics already and left the pub immediately.”

Ian added: “I played a couple of rounds of golf with him in 1997.

“We had to go to a municipal course because golf clubs wouldn’t have been keen on a black man playing on their course back then.

“He is very competitive and beat me both times. It was obvious Barack was going to get to the top.”

Bernard agreed, saying: “Barack is going to win the election, definitely, and I want to be in the US for his inauguration.

“He will be a breath of fresh air for the world.”

Petraeus Recalibrates his Career - Focus Afghanistan

Politics does make for some strange bedfellows. Maybe politicians just crave strange, but this is an interesting twist. Has General Petraeus done a calculation that Obama will be president?

No one gets beyond one star and stays that way unless he plays and has mastered the ultimate military art of being a politician, camouflaged of course.


Is Petraeus Preparing to Betray the Neo-Cons?

July 25, 2008 -

By: Lobe, Jim Israelenews
The Wall Street Journal had a good news piece today on where things are going with respect to a U.S. withdrawal — at least of combat troops — from Iraq entitled “Consensus May be Nearing on Iraq Pullout: Target Year of 2010 Gains Some Traction Among Principals as U.S. Looks Toward Afghanistan.”

I would add that, in addition to Obama, the Bush administration and now even the McCain Campaign, it appears that Gen. David Petraeus, who will take over as CentCom commander some time around Sep 1, is also preparing the ground for a move in that direction, suggesting in a Sunday interviewwith AP that al-Qaeda may “start to provide some of those resources that would have come to Iraq to Pakistan, possibly Afghanistan.”

“We do think that there is some assessment ongoing [by al-Qaeda] as to the continued viability of [its] fight in Iraq,” he said. “There is some intelligence that has picked this up,” he went on, adding, “It’s not solid gold intelligence.”

In fact, of course, evidence that al-Qaeda and its allies have shifted their focus back to Afghanistan and, more important from a strategic point of view, Pakistan has been accumulating for much of the past year; hence, Mullen’s and Gates’ increasing and increasingly vocal agitation about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the growing influence and infrastructure of al Qaeda and Taliban forces across the border in Pakistan. In the two weeks before Petraeus’ interview, AP, the always-excellent Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times published articles providing detailed evidence that al-Qaeda made its assessment some months ago and has been acting on it by sending many more fighters to Southwest Asia, including Iraq war veterans.

That Petraeus says that he believes al-Qaeda is only now making its assessment suggests the degree to which, as U.S. commander in Iraq, he has been focused exclusively on that theater and has fought tooth and nail against the Pentagon’s desire to accelerate its drawdown in troops there in order to free up more for Afghanistan.

Now, however, as commander-designate of Centcom, southwest Asia is about to become his responsibility, and he most certainly doesn’t want to lose — or be perceived as losing — there any more than he has in Iraq. In that respect, I think he is preparing to join the consensus, a consensus that, significantly, embraces the concept — pushed hard by Obama in recent days — that Afghanistan/Pakistan really does constitute the “central front” in the war on terror. (He may also believe that Obama is going to the next president and that continuing to insist that Iraq is the “central front” might be detrimental to his long-term career goals.)

If Petraeus does indeed move into the Southwest Asia camp, it will mark a huge setback for the neo-conservatives — whose Israel-centered agenda has accorded paramount priority to the Middle East and the Gulf — and whatever residual hopes they harbor for a U.S. attack on Iran. Tehran’s capacity to cause trouble in Afghanistan and even Pakistan is considerable, and I think that is one reason why Mullen and Gates have pushed for dialogue and detente.

Obama Seizing Victory from Jaws

Call this the audacity of audacity, but Obama is poised to take credit for what appears to be a possible and at this stage likely win in Iraq. McCain through pique and barely repressed anger seems handicapped in adequately responding to the Obama strategy.

Obama is a bullshit artist extraordinaire. McCain supports the surge and Obama responds with the putsch. Bush, the architect, and McCain, the promoter, are caught flatfooted while Obama floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

An Emerging Victory in Iraq, Defeat for McCain

July 24, 2008, 6:37PM

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

IT is ironic, but victory in Iraq could mean defeat for John McCain.

Crown the lucky Barack Obama, bury the courageous McCain — what a fate for a warrior senator who has played a key leadership role in Iraq's emerging victory.

I'll repeat that description: "emerging victory." Terror campaigns and insurgencies end with diminishing codas of violence.

In a recent column, I referenced the "Strategic Overwatch" video that appeared on the Internet the first week of June. "Overwatch" is a military term. At the tactical level, one soldier moves, the other "covers" him (overwatches), ready to suppress enemy fire. At the strategic level, allied nations "cover" one another.

"Strategic Overwatch" is also a term I encountered when I served in the plans section of Multi-National Corps-Iraq in 2004 — a desirable strategic condition I thought the coalition and Iraqis could achieve.

"Strategic Overwatch" is a limited victory for a United States willing to remain a reliable Iraqi ally. "Strategic Overwatch" protects the much more enthusiastic Iraqi version of victory. After his May 6, 2008, speech at Quantico, Va., I asked Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Hamid Al Bayati what would constitute victory for the Iraqi people. He responded viscerally, "Every day we have democracy is a victory for the Iraqi people."

How blunt. The Iraqis have earned their democracy, and we owe them a solid alliance.

The video summarizes "Strategic Overwatch" ( You can use the guest click in feature) in this manner:

Assumptions: The United States is in Iraq for the long haul; Iraqi political progress continues.

Time to Develop: Could emerge by mid- to late 2009, full-fledged by 2011.

Related Events: Iraqi army continues to re-arm and modernize; Iraq and the United States agree to a "long-range cooperation agreement" the Iraqi people see as advantageous to Iraq; ... Iraq begins to attract steady and sustained private investment; members of the Arab League begin forging stronger political and economic ties with Iraq.

Effect on Average Iraqi: Increased GDP ultimately means a wealthier society; Iraqi neighborhoods revive; Baghdad's business community revives and the city's nightlife returns.

Effect on Region: Increased internal trouble in Iran as Iranian people object to the corrupt mullocracy and to the lack of democracy in Iran; Iraqi-Turkish relations continue to strengthen; Iraq becomes more assertive in Middle East politics and economic affairs; more Shia Arab strife occurs in Lebanon (stoked by Iran) with the goal of distracting Iraqi Shias and-or "radicalizing" Iraqi foreign policy; Jordan re-emerges as a staunch ally of Iraq.

Eight weeks after the scenario hit the Web, we should change "could emerge" to "is emerging." Credit the Iraqis with accelerating the process. Operation Charge of the Knights (March-May 2008), which most so-called media experts immediately labeled the "Basra blunder," demonstrated that the Iraqi army's operational capabilities had improved and that the Maliki government could astutely turn security success into political solidification. Iraqi gains mean a significant reduction in coalition combat forces could come by late 2009, with complete Iraqi combat responsibility by late 2010.

So why the irony? Barack Obama wanted to withdraw because Harry Reid and the Democratic Party insisted we'd lost. As "Strategic Overwatch" develops, the United States can begin reducing its combat role because we are winning — and "we" includes the Iraqis. McCain ought to reap the reward, but given the national media's creampuff treatment of Obama, the next "instant truth" will be "see, we can withdraw."

But before Obama declares peace in our time, consider the "Effect on Region" paragraph. The Iraqis want an alliance. That means Washington must be prepared to back Iraq in a confrontation with Iran. We know McCain can handle that dangerous test. In the maelstrom moment when an Obama-advocated rapid military withdrawal would have devastated the Iraqis, McCain stood firm.

Bay, a nationally syndicated columnist based in Texas, specializes in military and foreign affairs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Barack Obama Birth Certificate Mystery Solved!

Citizen of the World, Barack Obama, Bahaist

We do not want or need a world citizen to head our country, we need an American President.

Obama, in Berlin and at his most vacuous announced, " Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world."

Obama has undergone a metamorphosis from presidential candidate to world messenger. He has clarified his religion. He is not a Muslim, he is a divine messenger. He is the fruit of his hippy mother, the fruit of flower power. Obama is a Baháist. A Baháist is a follower of a religion founded in 1863 in Persia and emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. Obama has revealed himself to humanity in Germany as a new age guru and not just a messenger but perhaps, "The Messenger".

Here is the official web site of the Bahai

Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine Messengers, whose teachings guide and educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society. These Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential message is of unity. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of the human family, and the oneness of religion.

Bahá'u'lláh said, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,” and that, as foretold in all the sacred scriptures of the past, now is the time for humanity to live in unity.

Founded more than a century and a half ago, the Bahá'í Faith has spread around the globe. Members of the Bahá'í Faith live in more than 100,000 localities and come from nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background.

Bahá'ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Resent Obama in Berlin

Like a conquering field marshal Obama mesmerized the Germans. The undertone of the crowd was not to cheer America but to make an anti-American statement. It is a statement of condescension. 67 percent of Germans want Barrack Obama to become the next US president, a recent opinion poll said.

Obama gave them what they wanted to hear:

"If we're honest... we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart and forgotten our shared destiny."

What destiny do we share with the Germans?

You can hear the voice of Michelle Obama in this sentiment:

"In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common."

"In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future...
"But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together." he added.

"As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya."

The Germans always believed in the great man concept that can ride in on a horse and has more often than not led them to hell rather than through Valgrind to Valhalla. They seem not to have changed:

"Obama stands for a new era in politics," some bystander said. "He is someone who can change the world."

I wonder how many American voters will resent the German's choice for the US President?

"Just how far we have come as a country"

We have come far alright. The culture war is entering the surge phase and the rout is almost complete. Listen to the tone and tenor and the anger. Revenge and change is on the way. Determination by the left and the tireless application of whatever it takes for the cause. God bless America.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jews for Obama. Why?

US elections: American Jews predicted to vote Obama by significant margin
Ewen MacAskill and Daniel Nasaw in Washington, Wednesday July 23, 2008

Jewish leaders in the US today predicted a big turnout among Jews in the November presidential election in favour of Barack Obama in spite of suspicion about his views on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, an advocacy group with strong links to the Democratic party, said: "I think Obama will win the Jewish vote by a large margin. The question is how much?"

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Centre of Reform Judaism, said American Jews' traditional political affinity with African Americans, born of a shared experience of discrimination and the struggles of the civil rights era, could outstrip concerns among some Jewish voters that Obama is not pro-Israel enough.

"There is a great deal of pride and excitement about this moment in history as we see this real possibility of seeing a black president," he said.

Obama's visit to Israel is partly to counter criticism from his Republican rival, John McCain, that he lacks foreign policy experience but it is also to shore up support among Jews in the US. Although they make up only 3% of the electorate, Jews have been historically important, mainly as activists in the Democratic party and as generous donors. Unlike young voters and African-Americans who have in the past turned out in low numbers - but are both predicted to turn out in large numbers for Obama this time - Jews are dependable about casting their ballots.

Jews tend to be overwhelmingly Democrats, with 65% identifying themselves as Democratic or leaning Democratic, according to a June survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, compared to 23% who identify as Republican or leaning Republican.

A Gallup poll in April put Obama on 61% to 32% for McCain.

Forman said that while Jews are concentrated in places such as New York and California, which both vote Democratic anyway, there were also large numbers in states where the outcome is not as predictable: Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Forman acknowledged that African Americans and young voters are likely to defy past experience by turning out in large numbers for Obama but his campaign team would still be looking for Jewish votes. "When you are running a political campaign, you always make the assumption it will be a close race and you have to turn out all your constituencies heavily," Forman said.

Saperstein said Obama has been able to diffuse some of worries about his commitment to Israel, in part through his speech last month at a conference in Washington of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee, in which he promised that Jerusalem would be the undivided capital of Israel, even though he qualified this the next day to say this would be dependent on final negotiations with the Palestinians, who also claim it as their capital.

Border Defense and Pierced Nipples

TSA Agents Forced Woman To Remove Nipple Rings, Pulled Pants Off Disabled Man

Pam Zekman CBS-2

When travelers go to the airport, they know what kind of security to expect: luggage searches, metal detectors and shoe inspections.

It's all part of our post 9-11 reality enforced by the Transportation Security Adminstration. But as CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, thousands of travelers have complained that some of these screenings can become abusive and even x-rated.

For arguing with a TSA agent, Robin Kassner wound up being slammed to the floor. She's filed a lawsuit.

"I kept begging them over and over again get off of me ... and they wouldn't stop," Kassner said.

And it wasn't enough for another woman to show TSA agents nipple rings that set off a metal detector. The agents forced her to take them out.

Mandi Hamlin said, "I had to get pliers and pull it apart."

John Edwards Outed. Obama Should Still Choose Him as VP. Jesse Jackson to Provide Spiritual Guidance.

Vice Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards was caught visiting his mistress and secret love child at 2:40 this morning in a Los Angeles hotel by the NATIONAL ENQUIRER.

LOS ANGELES, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards said here on Monday that he would "seriously" consider being Barack Obama's running mate, if asked.

"Anything that I'm asked to do by Senator Obama, either as a presidential candidate or as the next president of the Untied States, I would take seriously and seriously consider," said Edwards.

Edwards ran for vice president in 2004 and ended his own presidential bid six months ago.

The question on whether he would consider being the vice-presidential contender on the Obama ticket arose during a news conference on affordable housing.

But Edwards said "What I have said many times now is first, I'm not seeking the job. I don't expect to be asked."

Edwards with his babe, Rielle Hunter, quite the fox.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rousing Speeches to Large Excited German Crowds is Nothing New

According to a recent poll, Obama has the confidence of 84 percent of the French, 82 percent of the Germans and 74 percent of the Brits. They have no clue as to what he is about, but no matter. Of the three countries, Obama is preparing the big pitch and the stem winder for the Germans. That is a soft choice. Germans like big speeches. They like the glow and fervor created by a mesmerizing speaker. It stirs the Teutonic soul.

Obama will be there in front of an adoring crowd with his head appropriately tilted looking towards the heavens and the Germans will hang on every word. Germans know nothing about Obama except he is not Bush. Obama is an American that appeals to the European palate. That will further eroticse the American left. Hopefully it will end as a net negative to middle America.

Change or Stammering Shuck and Jive?

Here is an ABC Report on The Chief of Shuck and Jive. Listen to to his smugness talk about himself as Commander and Chief.

Halt Immigration, Legal and Illegal - Mark Krikorian

Greater income inequality, more bilingualism and cultural balkanization and ethnic unrest, more Mexican and other foreign government involvement in our internal affairs, more vulnerability to terrorist threats, more poor people leading to progressively bigger government financed by progressively higher taxes causing progressively slower growth in productivity and per capita income.

The New Case Against Immigration
By Jamie Glazov | Friday, July 18, 2008

FP: Mark Krikorian, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Krikorian: Glad to be here.

FP: What inspired you to write this book?

Krikorian: I've long been concerned that the various critiques of immigration were disjointed, without an overarching structure. There was a grab-bag approach, with conservatives examining, say, the security problems stemming from mass immigration, but not the effects on American blue-collar workers. Likewise liberals were often concerned about the strains on the social safety net, but might reject any concern about assimilation. This book offers a "unified field theory" of immigration limits.

What's more, too much of the debate over immigration has focused on the issue of legal status. It's an important issue, obviously, and has to be the starting point of any effort fix immigration policy. But if legality were the only problem, then just amnestying everyone and admitting an unlimited number of "willing workers," in the president's words, would solve the problem. But, of course, most of the strains created by immigration -- on schools, hospitals, assimilation, national security, what have you -- are unrelated to legal status. Thus getting away from the simplistic "illegal-bad/legal-good" dichotomy is essential.

FP: Are today's immigrants much different from those of a century ago? Are “we” different? The rise of the welfare state, political correctness and identity politics has thrown a twist into things, yes?

Krikorian: The punch line of my book is that what's different about immigration today as opposed to a century ago is not the immigrants but us. Today's immigrants obviously come from different countries, but they're very similar is most relevant respects. It's America has changed dramatically, in good ways and bad ways, but in any case in ways that make us a mature society and render our past experience with immigration irrelevant. We have a post-industrial, knowledge-based economy, a welfare state, advanced communications and transportation technology that complicate the issues of security and sovereignty, etc.

We have, in other words, outgrown mass immigration. It was an important phase of our national development, and played an important part in shaping who we are as a nation. But, like other phases we've passed through as a people -- pioneers settling the frontier, for instance -- it's something we need to put behind us.

FP: Tell us some of the ways that mass immigration conflicts with the goals and characteristics of a modern society.

Krikorian: I can't address every facet (for that, buy the book), but let's start with assimilation. This is more than just learning English and getting a job -- true assimilation, what John Fonte calls "patriotic assimilation," means you have shifted your allegiances from your old country to your new country. There are two attributes of modernity that make this kind of assimilation less likely. The first is modern communications and transportation technology, cheap phone calls, rapid travel across oceans. These are good things, but they also mean that an immigrant never really has to leave behind the old country in the way he was forced to by circumstances in the past. As a result, he doesn't necessarily refocus his emotional attachments on his new country, because he's always able to call home or send e-mail or hop on a bus or plane to go back for a wedding. The second problem is that in all modern societies, the elites lose the cultural self-confidence necessary to induce newcomers to become more like you rather than the reverse. The result is bilingual education, multiculturalism, press 1 for English, and all the rest. In neither case is this something the immigrants dreamed up or imposed on us, but is does mean we have to change our immigration policies to better reflect this new reality.

The same conflict exists in economic matters. In a modern economy, higher education is necessary for upward mobility, and most immigrants are inevitably going to be relatively low-skilled, undermining the life-chances of low-skilled Americans and even earlier immigrants, in whose success we now have a large stake. Poor immigrants also inevitably strain government budgets -- no matter how hard they work, low-skilled people in a modern economy just can't earn enough to support themselves and their families at the level we think appropriate without subsidies from the taxpayer. It's not their fault. It's not our fault. There is no "fault." It's a mismatch that we need to end.

FP: Why do we continue to invite mass immigration?

Krikorian: A combination of reasons. Inertia, to begin with -- people think we've always done things this way, so why change now? Sentimentality -- I love my bubbe from Vilna, so immigration today is good too. Politically, the problem is what scholars call "client politics," where organized interest groups benefit at the expense of the public. So, some employers like immigration because it keeps labor costs down, while racial-identity groups like La Raza want more warm bodies to pretend to represent, which helps them get bigger grants from the government and foundations and corporations. When you have highly organized interests like this, all on the same side of an issue, with only the broader public interest in the other side, you can see how it's hard to change things. In addition, much of our elite has become what I call post-American -- they don't hate America, they've just moved beyond a narrow concern for their compatriots. When you see the world that way, then why would you be concerned about parochial things like sovereignty, and why would you favor the interests of a black American teenager in Miami looking for a job over a newly arrived Nicaraguan illegal alien?

FP: What are the consequences to us if we do not cut down on immigration?

Krikorian: Greater income inequality, more bilingualism and cultural balkanization and ethnic unrest, more Mexican and other foreign government involvement in our internal affairs, more vulnerability to terrorist threats, more poor people leading to progressively bigger government financed by progressively higher taxes causing progressively slower growth in productivity and per capita income. These things aren't all just going to happen tomorrow, but it's clearly where we're headed if we keep pursuing an outdated immigration policy.

FP: What are some of the best arguments to be made against amnesty?

Krikorian: Don't reward lawbreakers -- despite all the baloney about "going to the end of the line," any form of legalization by definition lets illegals continue living and working here, thus giving them what they came for. Don't encourage more illegal immigration in the future by telegraphing to the world's six billion non-Americans that they can sneak in or overstay their visa, and if they keep their heads down long enough, they'll get a green card. It's not appropriate to even consider amnesty until after we've re-asserted control over the system, after we've reduced the illegal population through attrition, after we've restricted future admissions. Even then, I might be against it, but at least it would be a legitimate topic for debate. But until then, there's nothing to talk about.

FP: How large an issue will immigration be in the upcoming election?

Krikorian: I used to think it wouldn't be important, because Obama and McCain have identical views on the issue, so what's to talk about? But McCain's responses to Obama's hilariously baseless charge that McCain "walked away" from his own amnesty bill make me think immigration might come up more. McCain is an honor politician, and he considers such an accusation an insult to his honor, so he stands up before the cameras and says "No, I'm a bigger champion of amnesty than you are, Sen. Obama!" Obama can't lose with this approach -- it helps him express his solidarity with skeptical Hispanic Democrats who'd initially favored Hillary, and continually reminds McCain's prospective supporters (not just Republican voters, but also the very independents and Reagan Democrats he's targeting) that he's "Amnesty John."

FP: What are some of your policy recommendations for legal immigration and illegal immigration?

Krikorian: I go into some detail in the final chapter of my book about what reform would look like. With regard to illegal immigration, we need to pursue a policy of "attrition through enforcement," steadily and comprehensively applying the law to promote increased self-deportation by illegals so the total illegal population starts shrinking each year instead of continually growing. This isn't a pipe dream -- even the stepped-up enforcement we've seen over the past year seems to have caused a non-trivial drop in the illegal population. Maybe the two most important things to do in this regard are to require electronic verification of Social Security and related information for all new hires (something that's now voluntary) and to fully implement the check-in/check-out system for foreign travelers at our airports and border crossings (it's not even close to done).

As for legal immigration, the goal should not be zero immigration, but zero-based budgeting -- start at zero, and then admit only those narrowly defined categories of people whose admission is so compelling that we want to let them in despite the problems immigration can cause in a modern society. That would include husbands, wives, and unmarried minor children of American citizens, a handful (maybe 10,000-15,000) of the most extraordinary talents from abroad, and 50,000 of the most desperate refugees in the world, for whom coming here is the absolute last resort. That's a total of maybe 300,000 or 350,000 people a year -- quite a few, actually, but some 75 percent less than we take now.

FP: Mark Krikorian, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Krikorian: Thanks for the opportunity to do this.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama Supporter, Brzezinski, Warns on Afghanistan

Not too enthusiastic.

Brzezinski wary of repeating Soviet experience
By Daniel Dombey in Washington FT

July 20 2008

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser and prominent supporter of Barack Obama, has warned the Democratic presidential candidate that he risks repeating the defeat suffered by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Mr Obama has called for up to 10,000 more US troops to be deployed in the country, where the USSR once sent tens of thousands of soldiers only to suffer cataclysmic military failure.

But in an interview with the Financial Times Mr Brzezinski warned: “It is important for US policy in general and for Obama more specifically to recognise that simply putting more troops into Afghanistan is not the entire solution . . . We are running the risk of repeating the mistake the Soviet Union made . . . Our strategy is getting in deeper and deeper.”

He added that while the Soviets invaded the country thinking there was a communist Afghan elite on which they could rely, “we have to be careful not to overestimate the appeal of the democratic Afghan elite, because we run the risk that our military presence . . . will gradually turn the Afghan population entirely against us”.

Afghan society was deeply conservative and resistant to dramatic change, he said.

Mr Brzezinski is sometimes seen as a controversial figure because of his trenchant criticism of Russia and his calls for US policy on the Middle East not to be “subordinated to Israeli interests”. Today he depicts himself as a supporter who has declined to join the Obama campaign because of his unwillingness to be kept quiet or on message during the duration of the election.

“I realise that in an electoral campaign you don’t want to antagonise large groups which are highly motivated,” he said.

Nevertheless, their personal contact has left its mark on the 80-year-old former Harvard and Columbia professor, a veteran of the Johnson and Carter administrations. He said that of all the presidential candidates since 1960, he was most impressed by Mr Obama and John Kennedy, both of whom he considered “in tune with the music of the time”. But he argued it was more difficult today for Mr Obama to define a clear foreign policy position than it was for Kennedy.

“This is a very dangerous period of time with very unpredictable consequences,” he said, referring to tensions between Iran and Israel and the US. “You have three countries doing a kind of death dance on the basis of confusion, division and fear.

“If we end up with war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran at the same time, can anyone see a more damaging prospect for America’s world role than that?” he asked. “That’s the fundamental foreign policy dilemma at the back of this election. A four-front war would get us involved for years . . . It would be the end of American predominance.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

Where Are the White Male Soldiers?

This is a NY Times Photo of Obama at a stopover in Kuwait. Blacks make up 20% of the US Army.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

China Threatens Exxon Mobil

It should be obvious even to the most optimistic free trader that China is a special and dangerous situation that does not fit into the free trade dream. China has intentions that go beyond wanting to be a partner in trade. China is intent on domination and beating the west at its own game. So far so good for China. China is drilling American oil off Cuba, dominates the Panama Canal, stroking Chavez and institutionalizing itself in the Americas. China is not about fair trade or fair play or fair anything. China is out to win and is doing a very respectable job at it. Here is just another not too subtle example:

China warns ExxonMobil: Drop deal with Vietnam
By MarketWatch

July 20, 2008
HONG KONG (AFP) -- China has warned U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil drop an exploration deal in the seas off Vietnam and said the project could threaten any future mainland contracts, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Sunday.

Diplomats in Washington have contacted senior figures in the world's largest oil firm to protest the deal, which they say could be a breach of Chinese sovereignty, the Sunday Morning Post reported citing unnamed sources close to the U.S. firm.

"If it was simply a legal question it would be easy," one of the sources told the newspaper.

"Vietnam would probably prevail in international mediation. But it's political, too. China's concerns make the situation much more complicated for a company like Exxon ... China is a very important player in the international oil industry."

The dispute involves a preliminary co-operation agreement between state oil firm PetroVietnam and ExxonMobil covering exploration in the South China Sea off Vietnam's south and central coasts, the report said.

The Chinese protests are based on Beijing's historical claim to huge swathes of the South China Sea, the report said.

Last year, China criticized a joint deal between Vietnam and U.K. energy giant BP PLC near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, saying the area has been an "indisputable part of Chinese territory since ancient times."

The report quoted Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung saying it needed to be "clearly asserted" that Hanoi's dealings with foreign oil partners fell entirely within Vietnam's legal rights and sovereignty.

China and Vietnam - who in 1979 fought a short border war after Vietnam expelled the Beijing-backed Khmer Rouge from Cambodia - also fought a brief naval battle in 1988 near the Spratly Islands.

Who is leaning towards whom?

The Affirmative Action Candidate

If he weren't black he would not be here.

July 20, 2008
Obama Wraps Up the Bush Status Quo in Pompous Clichés

By Robert Tracinski Real Clear Politics

I am quickly coming to the conclusion that all there has ever been to Barack Obama is symbolism and grandiloquent speeches. There is the symbolism of him as the (potential) first black president. And there is his ability to give portentous speeches in high-flown Harvard rhetoric, perfectly pitched to sound thoughtful to college-educated liberals--without actually saying anything.

And here we go again, with another one of Obama's patented Big Speeches, this time on Iraq. It is pitched to sound sincere and intellectual, and to sell us on his allegedly superior foreign-policy judgment--so long as we drift through it and don't start asking any questions.

The speech has two purposes. One is to artfully evade Obama's massive misjudgment of the "surge," which he unequivocally opposed. Thus, while he half-acknowledges the enormous turnaround in Iraq, here is how he describes its cause:

As I have said many times, our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence. General Petraeus has used new tactics to protect the Iraqi population. We have talked directly to Sunni tribes that used to be hostile to America, and supported their fight against al Qaeda. Shiite militias have generally respected a cease-fire. Those are the facts, and all Americans welcome them.

Here's a tip. When Obama begins a sentence with "As I have said many times," this means that he is about to announce a totally new position that contradicts everything he has said before. For a little reminder of what Obama has actually said about the surge "many times," check out this video clip helpfully posted to YouTube by the Republican National Committee.

The rest of that passage shows a total, willful ignorance about what the surge actually consisted of and what it has done. He says that we "talked directly to Sunni tribes that used to be hostile to America." Well, we did a little more than talk. We backed up the Sunni "Awakening" movement with some serious military action--which is precisely what the extra "surge" troops were needed for.

But the most ridiculous line is that "Shiite militias have generally respected a cease-fire." This Spring saw pitched fighting between Iraqi troops and the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army militia--fighting that ended because the Mahdi Army lost. Does Obama not even watch the news?

But that is not what is most interesting about the speech. What is most interesting is its main purpose, which is to make it sound as if Obama is offering a whole new strategic direction for the War on Terrorism--while he declares that he would implement precisely the policies that are already being followed by the Bush administration.

He says that "True success" in Iraq--note that he has even borrowed Bush's habit of saying "success" in place of "victory"--"will take place when we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future--a government that prevents sectarian conflict, and ensures that the al Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge." But that is precisely what is already happening. Sectarian killings in Iraq, for example, have dropped to zero for about ten weeks running.

And how does Obama propose to ensure that we keep on enjoying this "true success" in Iraq? "We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010--one year after Iraqi Security Forces will be prepared to stand up; two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, we'll keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq: targeting any remnants of al Qaeda; protecting our service members and diplomats; and training and supporting Iraq's Security Forces."

Note the part about the "residual" combat force, whose size Obama never specifies, which will target the remnants of al Qaeda and train and support Iraqi forces--which is precisely the end result envisioned by the Bush administration if the current progress in Iraq continues.

But maybe the big difference is that Obama will stick to his 16-month timetable no matter what, while Bush and McCain want to make withdrawal dependent on conditions on the ground. Well no, Obama would "make tactical adjustments" after consulting with "commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government."

That final flip-flop that the left has been dreading, when Obama throws out his commitment to a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq? It just happened. I wonder how long it will take them to notice.

Obama's policies for Afghanistan and Pakistan also read like a giant "me-too" to the current administration. His "new strategy" is to do more of what we're already doing: increase troops, increase economic aid, and try jawboning the Pakistani government into fighting the militants.

But the biggest piece of misdirection in the whole speech is about Iran. One of the centerpieces of Obama's strategy is a plan to "secur[e] all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states." So that means shutting down Iran's nuclear weapons program. How does he propose to do that?

Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a vital national security interest of the United States.... I commend the work of our European allies on this important matter, and we should be full partners in that effort.... We will...present a clear choice. If you abandon your nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives. If you refuse, then we will ratchet up the pressure, with stronger unilateral sanctions; stronger multilateral sanctions in the Security Council, and sustained action outside the UN to isolate the Iranian regime. That's the diplomacy we need
So he'll cooperate closely with our European allies to offer the Iranians incentives to stop their nuclear program and threaten them with sanctions and diplomatic "isolation" if they refuse. In other words: precisely the policy the Bush administration has followed for the past six years, and especially since the summer of 2006--all with no results.

So on these issues, there is nothing to Obama's speech. It is a whole bunch of pompous clichés--stuff like "it falls to us to act with the same sense of purpose and pragmatism as an earlier generation, to join with friends and partners to lead the world anew"--wrapped around the conventional wisdom.

And that's all there ever has been to Barack Obama: symbolism and grandiloquent speeches.

Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and