Day By Day

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Barry v, Sarah

Neo-neocon notes the superficial similarities of Barak Obama and Sarah Palin (young, good-looking, relatively inexperienced, etc.) but then digs a little deeper and reveals the differences:

The biggest difference is that Obama is of the Left and Palin of the Right. That he speaks as though he’s a reformer but was deeply in league with and assisted by the corrupt Chicago political machine of his own party, while she fought against the corrupt politics of fellow Republicans in her own state and won. That her admittedly meager high-level political experience is of the executive sort, while his similarly sparse resume contains only the legislative type. That she is a woman of action and he a man of words. That she chose to have her Downs baby and care for it and he fought to allow babies born alive after attempted abortions die. That he is inordinately fond of weasle words, contradicting himself, and the repetitive hum of “ummm;” and she (in the little we’ve seen of her) seems direct and straightforward.

Read the whole thing here.

Little Known Facts

The latest internet craze is posting "little known facts" about Sarah Palin. They are similar to the "Chuck Norris Facts" fad of a few months ago. Most of them are stupid, but some are funny.

A few samples:

Little known fact: Sarah Palin can divide by zero.

Little known fact: Sarah Palin makes Andrew Sullivan regret some key life choices [Sully is a well-known homosexual writer/blogger -- ed].

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin will give birth to the man who will lead humanity’s war against the machines.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin CAN eat just one.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin drank your milkshake.

Little Known Fact: All your base are belong to Sarah.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin scares Chuck Norris.

Little known fact: If placed into Schroedinger’s experiment, both Sarah Palins remain alive.

Little known fact: We don’t know who would win in a Chuck Norris - Sarah Palin cage match because they’ve never invented a cage that can hold Sarah.

Little known fact:
Sarah Palin fishes salmon by convincing them it’s in their interest to jump into the boat.
Here's a link to the originating website.

Dude..., Where's My Convention Bounce?

Well, that was quick! Obama's convention "bounce" has disappeared. Polls taken at the end of the convention had showed him 4-8 points ahead of McCain, but the nomination of Sarah Palin on the following day seems to have completely erased that lead. On Saturday Zogby reported that McCain had recaptured the lead over Obama by two points, 47% to 45% [statistically a dead heat]. [here]

What seems to have happened in the past few days is that both candidates have managed to unite their fractured parties and are well positioned to go into the final struggle. Both parties are showing an enormous degree of enthusiasm. Both tickets look like winners to their constituents. The internecine wars of the past few months are over.

That is probably good news for the Republicans. Ever since WWII Republicans have had a natural draw of about 52% of the electorate in presidential contests while Democrats draw about 47%. These figures are remarkably stable over time. Democrats are competitive in presidential elections only when Republicans are divided [think Ross Perot] or when some national trauma [like Kennedy's assassination or Watergate] disturbs the normal political balance. Head to head in a normal year a unified Republican Party will invariably win the presidency.

The choice of Sarah Palin has, at least for now, unified the Republican Party and, as a result, for the first time, John McCain looks like a winner.


CNN poll -- has Obama ahead by one point, essentially a dead heat. Sarah killed the convention bounce.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trashing Sarah

The response from the Obamination to John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is not very helpful. The tendency has been to belittle this wonderful woman and to dismiss her accomplishments. This cannot sit well with women voters and in the fall they might exact a terrible vengeance upon the Young Messiah and his minions.

Kirsten Powers, an eminently sane Democrat [yes, I recognize the contradiction] and a native of Alaska notes the problem here. Palin's emergence has exposed a deep strain of misogyny in the Obamination.

Not Your Average Politician

These pictures show a little bit of why so many mainstream Americans are so excited about Sarah Palin. In addition to being governor of a state, and mother of five children, she finds time to go fishing and hunting, to visit the troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Germany, to do photo shoots for national glamour magazines, and on top of this all, she disses PETA and the animal rights nuts. Damn, she looks good in fur. This is a woman who, instead of whining about life, goes out and engages it fully.

Meet Sarah Palin

In case you missed it, here's the speech everyone is talking about -- America's introduction to Sarah Palin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah and Barry and the Troops

Remember when Barak (may peace be upon him) Obama went to Germany to deliver his "Citizen of the World" speech? Of course you do! You may also remember that he canceled a scheduled visit to wounded troops at Landsduhl because his staff wanted to turn it into a major media production and the commander said, "no way!"

Well, Sarah went to Germany too [and did you know she also has spent as much time in Iraq as has Obama] and she made time in her schedule to visit the troops he had snubbed.

Beldar has the details here.


Here is a recent picture:

You are going to hear a lot about her. Here are a few pertinent facts going in.

She was first runner up in the Miss Alaska pagent at the age of twenty.

She [like the Gipper] was a sportscaster, also a basketball and hockey player, and marathoner.

She has a 90% approval rating.

She hunts and fishes and eats her kills.

Her husband is an Eskimo and owns a commercial fishing business.

She has five children. One of her sons will soon be serving in Iraq.

This year she gave birth to a Downs syndrome baby. She knew in advance and refused to abort her child.

She is a lifetime NRA member.

All I can say is WOW!

Here she is thanking the troops.

This is Probably a Head Fake But...

Drudge reports:

The nincompoops on Fox's morning show were discussing this prediction and none of them knew her name, so they kept referring to her as "the Governor of Alaska". Carl Cameron is reporting on the rumor now, and he at least knows her name. Reportedly she flew in to Dayton last night. Each segment they add more information about her -- obviously the producers are frantically digging up whatever they can. It's fun to see them floundering.

If this happens, it will be a wonderful choice.

Of course, McCain really, really likes messing with the pundits' minds. And, as a matter of practical politics this speculation changes the subject away from liberal attempts to portray Obama's convention speech a world-changing event.

Great Movie Scenes -- The Toilet Scene in About Schmidt

Jack Nicholson is one of our most interesting actors, although he has done a lot of slumming in his illustrious career. Some of his best recent work appears in "About Schmidt" where he portrays a retiring insurance salesman whose wife has just died, and who suddenly decides that his life has been without meaning. In this wonderful scene, he goes to the bathroom and has an epiphany -- he no longer has to play by life's rules. He can piss outside the bowl if he wants. Nicely conceived and directed (by Alexander Payne) and convincingly acted, and as a bonus, this scene is a terrific example of how diegetic sound can tell a story without a word of dialogue.

The Greatness of Bush

Randall Hoven, over at the American Thinker writes:

The current narrative of the Bush Presidency is that it is a failure (believed by 107 of 109 historians surveyed) and that George W. Bush is the worst President in history (believed by 61% of those surveyed historians). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "The president already has the mark of the American people -- he's the worst president we ever had."

That's one narrative. I have another.

Despite being handed one of the worst situations in history from President Clinton, and being fought tooth and nail by his opponents in government and the media, literally from the day of his election, President George W. Bush persevered to restore prosperity at home and to make the US and the world more free and secure.

Read the whole thing here.

He's right and that's just part of the story.

Pennsylvania Pictures

Back in the Glorious Commonwealth, so there are a few new Pennsylvania Pictures to post.

Everyone's excited about the future of wind power. Here is it's past. Taken along Rte. 78 not far from Hershey.

Here's Buddy. He's the new top dog on the hill and he wants us humans to know it. He hasn't figured me and "She" out yet. We've been away a lot over the past few months and he isn't sure whether we belong here or not. He'll learn.

Several days ago I noticed that the leaves on some of the trees at the Inner Harbor were beginning to turn and opined that it was a bit too early for Fall to start [here]. A few days later I mentioned it to some friends of mine over breakfast and they dismissed it as just another manifestation of urban pollution. I wasn't sure. This has been an unusually cold year and it may very well be that Fall is starting early.

Well, now that I am back in the mountains I can see the harbingers of Fall all around. The evening we arrived back home the temperature was 53 degrees. Yep, the seasons, they are a'changin.

Barry's Big Night

I fell asleep and missed Obama's big speech. Will try to catch a rebroadcast [that won't be hard].

Here's the full text.

By the way, Senator McCain was really a class act tonight. He not only withheld announcement of his choice [Romney? Whoops, it's Palin!!!!! Didn't see that coming!] for VP, he actually broadcast an ad congratulating Senator Obama on his nomination. [here]

FOX is classy too, running Obama's biographical flick in its entirety and without commentary.

Don Surber watched the show the whole way through and provides commentary [here].

The Hill notes that a lot of the press corps allowed their masks of objectivity drop and were actively applauding the speech [here]. Definitely not cool, guys. This just lends more credibility to the "in the tank" charge. [hat tip: Instapundit].

Mickey Kaus, the most perceptive commentator on the mechanics of campaigns out there, was not impressed [here]. Like him, I get the sense that Obama still doesn't have a clue as to what the job of President entails. If he wins, it's going to be painful watching the Young Messiah! crash to earth as he muddles through his on the job training.

More later, if I can stay awake.

OK: It's over and I managed to keep my eyes open. FOX afterwards is interesting. The liberals on the panel are far more critical than the conservatives. Nina Easton says that there was nothing new there, just more Democrat boilerplate. She says that for a man who promises to introduce a new kind of politics Obama is strangely wedded to the liberal nostrums of the past. Juan Williams was essentially in agreement. He said that there was nothing special about the speech itself, but that the occasion (the nomination of the first African-American major party candidate for President) carried the burden for him. Bill Kristol thought it was a very effective speech with wonderful atmospherics. Charles Krauthammer agreed with Nina, that Obama has relinquished the "agent of change" rhetoric and portrayed himself as a traditional Democrat. He then went on to say that this was a great tactical move. A generic Democrat will win this year, but an agent of "change!" is suspect. Chris Wallace agreed that the speech represented a major move to the center and even included some Republican talking points [lower taxes, government is too big, eliminating government programs, etc.]. Frank Luntz says that Obama sounded a lot like Ross Perot.

The consensus: It was a smart speech that represented a repudiation of the radicalism that drove Obama's early campaign and a decided move to occupy the middle of the American political spectrum. Liberals were unimpressed and a bit disappointed, but conservatives were scared by it. Their position is that the man in the middle will win the election and now Obama is starting to effectively challenge McCain for the middle of the board.

Sounds about right to me. This is the old Nixon strategy -- run to the extremes until you have the nomination wrapped up, and then move to the center for the election. It's a good strategy that has worked for a lot of politicians in the past. More importantly, it will be a big disappointment for the radical lefties who flocked to Obama's banner early on. I remember a conversation with a prominent left intellectual before the Monica thing broke on Clinton in which he declared Clinton to be an "unmitigated disaster" who had abandoned the cause that brought him to prominence. Earlier this year I had a conversation with a radical film-maker and professor [who still thinks Mao had all the answers]. He was practically ecstatic in his praise for Obama [the candidate of "the dispossessed"]. I will be seeing him again in a couple of weeks and it will be interesting to see if he still thinks that way of the Young Messiah!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Bush Economy

AP reports:
Gross domestic product, or GDP, grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, its fastest pace in nearly a year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The revised reading was much better than the government's initial estimate of a 1.9 percent pace and exceeded economists' expectations for a 2.7 percent growth rate.
Read it here.

Of course this is the AP, so they frame this positive news in as depressing a context as they can manage. They cherry pick quotes from the reliable doomer brigades indicating that even if the American economy is performing very well now, it surely will do worse in the future.

Meanwhile Gateway Pundit, responding to Bill Clinton's self-congratulatory speech last night, points out that both the unemployment rate and the poverty rate under George Bush have actually been better than they were under Clinton.

Read it here.

Billy and Barry

I don't like to follow the day-to-day thrust and parry of the campaigns. They're just too damn annoying. I have much better things to do with my time. Long ago I decided that I was supporting Senator McCain and nothing is likely to change my mind, so I pretty much ignore the hoo hah. But some things require comment. A conservative group has issued this spot calling into question the relationship between Barak Obama and Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.

Apparently it has struck a nerve. Mickey Kaus of Slate calls it "really, really effective -- just shy of devastating." [here]. The Obama camp has responded viciously, trying to strongarm radio and TV stations into pulling the ads, and failing that trying to get the Department of Justice to prosecute the makers of the ad. Talk about infringement on political speech! Because of this thuggishness I and other bloggers are presenting the ad that you probably won't see on TV.

The hysterical and thuggish reaction of the Obamination shows that the ad is just what Kaus says it is -- effective.

Over at ChicagoBoyz Shannon Love raises some interesting points:

1) Jonah Goldberg expressed amazement at people who think that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn's past is no big deal. The man was a terrorist and is a prominent America-hater who still tramples the flag underfoot. His association with a presidential candidate is a legitimate matter for discussion.

2) Shannon observes that Obama "comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts." Before entering the Senate Obama's perspectives were shaped almost exclusively by an academic/activist subculture where the most despicable attitudes are common currency. Many of the things Obama has said and done since launching his campaign for the presidency suggest that he has not grown notably beyond the parochial bounds of that malignant subculture. Obviously, he considers anti-American domestic terrorism to be not a big deal? Shannon's question is entirely appropriate.

3) Shannon then relates another, even more perceptive, question, "what did Ayers see in Obama?" Indeed! What was it about Barry and Michelle that attracted a monster like Ayers? Did he sense a like mind?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Night At the Movies

First the Olympics, now the Democrats -- I just can't take any more of this stuff. Gotta get away!!! Mindless movie fluff -- that's just the ticket.

So, "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I went out to a flick. I was somewhat inclined to see the new Anna Faris thingy -- she's always good for some mindless fluff -- but instead we decided to check out Tropic Thunder.

It was a hoot. TT is one long inside joke about today's movie business. There are sly and often witty references to dozens of films and actors, and several stars have cameo appearances. It's a smart spoof. Clearly the writers and actors had a great time making fun of themselves, their professions and their colleagues. And, if you (like we) have seen far too many movies, you will catch enough of the references to appreciate just how sharp and brutal the parody is. I won't go into the story, you can read about it in hundreds of reviews. I will note that there are two interesting performances in the film. One, by Robert Downey playing a dude who is playing a dude who is playing a dude, is a great showcase for one of our most versatile performers; and the other, by Tom Cruise playing the ultimate power-tripping studio executive, is a wonderful reminder why, for all his craziness and negative publicity, Cruise has been and remains a mega star. I particularly like his dance moves. It was also interesting to note just how limited a performer Jack Black is. He has a few comic moves and grimaces and that's it. Talented actors like Downey and Cruise just blow him out of the water. Much the same could be said about Ben Stiller, who turns in a workmanlike performance, but then he always does.

All in all it was an enjoyable film, well worth the price of admission, and afterwards we headed out to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner. By the time we got home I was almost, but not quite, in a good enough mood to check the news. I turned on the TV and was immediately greeted by Bubba's grotesque visage, and then that of the Young Messiah (may peace be upon him). Disgusted, I turned off the set, sat down to write this, and now I'm going to bed.

Totten on Georgia (cont.)

Michael Totten continues his travels in the Caucasus and reports on what really happened there.

TBILISI, GEORGIA – Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.

Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn't start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.

Read the whole thing here.

This rips away the facade behind which the craven regimes of Old Europe have been cowering ever since Putin's troops dismembered Georgia. "Georgia Started It" Medvedev said, and the Western European former powers desperately grasped that excuse for backing away from the conflict. Well, it was a lie then and a lie now. The simple fact is that the EU and NATO, as currently led, pose absolutely no deterrence to Russian imperialism and there's no point in pretending otherwise.

Meet Emily

She's every movie producer's dream girl, at least potentially. "Emily" is not real, but she looks real. The immediate ap is in computer games, but Emily points to a not-too-distant future when flesh and blood actors and actresses will not be needed and can be safely jettisoned.

Read about her here.

The Greatest Movie Line Ever

Hat Tip, Jonathan at Chicago Boyz. Great catch, Jon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


This is scary stuff. Michelle Malkin assaulted by peace-loving demonstrators chanting "Kill Michelle Malkin".

Reporting From the Streets

There seems to be a lot in the way of demonstrations and confrontations on the streets of Denver that the MSM is studiously ignoring. Fortunately, Pajamas Media is on the scene and reporting on the interesting stuff. There was even something of a riot, efficiently dealt with by Denver's finest. Read about it here.

Lots more pictures here.


I didn’t see the convention speeches during prime time but have the early morning replay on in the background. Teddy Kennedy was clearly the star of the moment but an elegaic moment recalling Camelot, while it no doubt touched the heartstrings of many Democrats of an age where they can remember the Party’s glory days, really was a diversion from the main goal of the convention, which was to advance the candidacy of Obama. It was nice and nostalgic, but was mostly wasted time.That’s all right — I’m sure Republicans next week will wax nostalgic about the Gipper.

The Michelle speech was tactically not much. She said she loved America which is just a weak response to earlier criticism. It doesn’t really advance her husband’s candidacy. The stuff afterwards where she shoved the mike into her kids’ hands was contrived, but many saw it as adorable. It won’t help much withe the general public or White Democrats, and it certainly won’t impress the PUMAs. But where it resonated strongly was with the Black middle class. I was impressed by Juan Williams’ response on FOX. He was barely able to hold back tears and his voice was quivering. The picture of a normal courtship and marriage, and a successful black couple who are building a life together and who love their children — that was powerful stuff for him and for other upwardly-mobile Blacks who are trying to shed the disrespectable gangsta image of urban Blacks.

The first day of the convention wasn’t very much — mostly trying to patch holes in the boat — but there were no major goof-ups and the Obamas cemented their place as the new image of Black America. And that, as a famous criminal might say, “is a good thing!” I certainly don’t want the Obamas as America’s first family because as liberal Democrats a lot of what they think and say is repulsive to me, but I think it is good for the country that they are the standard-bearers for their Party.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Possible Assassination Plot in Denver

The Denver Post is reporting:

Federal authorities have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon amid reports that a fortunate traffic stop by Aurora Police may have disrupted an assassination attempt against Barack Obama.

No comments from the feds, but they have scheduled a press conference for tomorrow.

Read it here.

More details [not much yet] here.

More details here. Yep, it seems that was an assassination plot. At least four people involved. Drugs, white supremacists, high powered rifles, etc. At least that's what the local police are saying. Federal authorities are far less certain as to what is going on. They emphasize that there was never any credible threat to the candidate.

The left loons know who's responsible -- Rush Limbaugh, that's who.

From the Boorman Tribune:

Unfortunately, the fact that an African American will be nominated by the Democratic Party, and the vicious attacks by right wing demagogues and the McCain campaign against his character and his patriotism (and that of his wife), have apparently emboldened some truly dangerous and deranged individuals to try to take matters into their own hands.

This is what happens when the airwaves of this country are saturated with racist and ideological hate speech by right wing ideologues such as Hannity, Limbaugh and Savage. It isn't surprising but it is extremely disapponting and disheartening to see the extreme right once again returning to publicly expressing fantasies of violence against Democrats and liberals, thus inciting emotionally unstable people to carry out such violent fantasies. This same use of violent rhetoric was what led to the death of Martin Luther King and other prominent Civil Rights leaders in the 60's, and may have contributed to the Kennedy assassinations. Now it appears that some in this country would like to return to using violence as a political tool once more.

Yeah, right, guy. That's what happened. They took their marching orders from Rush. Read this creep's paranoid fantasies here.

Let's just be thankful that whatever deranged plot these guys were hatching was nipped in the bud and resist any attempts to tie their lunacy to our own political agendas.

A WaPo reporter and a Kossack were staying in rooms right next to one of the alleged plotters. Their accounts are here and here. Does this mean that the Posties and the Kossacks are living together? It's not clear from the accounts, but it would explain a lot in terms of the way politics are being reported these days.


No charges will be brought in the case. There is "insufficient evidence" of a plot. Apparently it was just a few drug-addled losers mouthing off.

Read it here.

A Cross Comes to Shanksville

This has not gotten a lot of attention in the national press but there was an amazing demonstration in Pennsylvania yesterday. A cross made from World Trade Center beams was delivered to the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, PA accompanied by a 1,000 motorcycle escort. All along the route and at every overpass on locals turned out to greet the procession and display their patriotism.

Read about it here.

It seems that those angry white Pennsylvanians for whom the Little Messiah has so much contempt are clinging to more than our Bibles and gun -- they also embrace the flag. Imagine that!

Another Insanely Hot Republican Babe

Heidi Montag..., need I say more? I didn't think so.

Sit Down and Shut Up, Governor

Ed Rendell had the temerity to tell the truth about NBC and was immediately slapped down by the media bigshots. Michael Calderone reports:

Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing," said Rendell, [at a forum on media coverage of the campaign] in the ballroom at Denver's Brown Palace Hotel. "It was embarrassing."


“MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign," Rendell said, who called their coverage "absolutely embarrassing."

Chris Matthews, Rendell said, "loses his impartiality when he talks about the Clintons.”

At that point, PBS's Judy Woodruff, who was moderating the moderators event, said: "Why don’t we let Governor Rendell sit down."

That was met with applause from the crowd of big-time media figures, which included Arianna Huffington, Gwen Ifill, Al Hunt, and Chuck Todd.

[emphasis mine] Read it here.

Wow! I mean..., like, WOW! It just doesn't get any more blatant than that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Weekend Pictures

We won't get back to the gorgeous commonwealth until later this week, so once again we will have to make do with old photos.

I will include one recent photo. The other day, early in the morning, I was walking along the promenade at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The water was calm and and I was able to get this picture of the Constellation's reflection. I find it sort of spooky, like a ghost ship.

Fukuyama Responds to Critics

Several years ago Francis Fukuyama wrote a hugely influential essay titled "The End of History" in which he argued that with the fall of Communism, classical liberalism, both economic and political, had triumphed over all alternative forms of political and economic organization. Free markets and democracy, he argued, no longer faced serious opposition anywhere in the world.

Since then Fukuyama has been widely criticized on two grounds. The rise of radical Islamism, many have argued, constitutes a challenge to Western liberalism just as profound as that formerly posed by Communism. To this Fukuyama responded that the brutality and poverty of Islamism would ultimately limit its appeal and bring about its marginalization. It offered nothing that could effectively compete with the freedom and allure of democratic market societies. Recent trends throughout the Islamic world would seem to bear him out. Thanks in large part to the Bush administration's perseverence in Iraq radical Islamism has indeed been marginalized and America is now seen as the "strong horse".

A second line of criticism has been based on the emergence of an "Asian model" for development -- one based on a fusion political authoritarianism and market capitalism. The recent success of Asian [and now Russian] economies would seem to invalidate Fukuyama's brief for political democracy. In his latest piece, Prof. Fukuyama replies to this criticism. He writes:

[W]hile bullies can still throw their weight around, democracy and capitalism still have no real competitors. The facile historical analogies to earlier eras have two problems: They presuppose a cartoonish view of international politics during these previous periods, and they imply that "authoritarian government" constitutes a clearly defined type of regime -- one that's aggressive abroad, abusive at home and inevitably dangerous to world order. In fact, today's authoritarian governments have little in common, save their lack of democratic institutions. Few have the combination of brawn, cohesion and ideas required to truly dominate the global system, and none dream of overthrowing the globalized economy.
It's an interesting article, filled with sharp and penetrating observations on a variety of authoritarian regimes. None of them, he concludes, truly threaten democratic institutions in the West. They are a diverse group of powers with varying interests and taken together do not pose a coherent authoritarian alternative to liberal democracy. Read the whole thing here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

D-bags for Obama

From Iowahawk:

Denver - With new polls showing Barack Obama's once-commanding lead over John McCain all but evaporated, the Obama campaign announced today it has begun deploying its vast volunteer army of downtown hipster douchebags to help reconnect the presumptive Democratic candidate with middle-American voters.

"Unlike Iraq, this is one surge that is actually going to work," said Obama campaign manager David Axlerod.

Sources within the campaign say the new strategy was prompted by recent national poll trends indicating McCain pulling even with, and in some instances even overtaking, Obama. More troubling for the campaign were internal tracking polls that show the candidate losing significant ground in key Midwestern, Southern and Western battleground states. As the numbers dropped, some within the campaign were left in stunned disbelief.

"It really didn't make sense," said Carly Voorhees, an East Village experimental performance poet, Cooper Union graduate student and member of Obama's 600-expert foreign policy team. "We knew in theory there were a handful of stump-toothed biblebillies and neocon dead-enders out there, but by all rights we should have had at least a 60%-75% lead. Even after Barack threw that awesome victory rave in Germany, the numbers kept deteriorating."

"At first we were stumped," she added. "Then it dawned on us -- McSame's subliminal attack ads were stoking the deep-rooted, latent racism of white middle America. We needed to warn these uneducated simpletons that McSame was exploiting their superstitions and genetic bigotry. The big question was -- how?"

It just keeps getting funnier. Read the whole thing here.

Incredibly Hot Republican Babes (cont..)

Angie Harmon, who will be co-hosting a fundraiser for John McCain next week. Read about it here.

Moral Equivalency?

John Hinderaker over at Power Line takes on Obama's latest absurdity.

In an address yesterday THE ONE suggested that Russia's invasion of Georgia was morally equivalent to America's invasion of Iraq, to which the Hindrocket replied:
So our "charging into" Iraq--with dozens of allies, supported by a U.N. resolution, as a last resort after six months of build-up and negotiations, to unseat one of the cruelest dictators of modern times who had twice invaded neighboring states, was in violation of more than a dozen U.N. resolutions and was responsible for the deaths of something like two million people, who was shooting at American aircraft and had tried to assassinate a former President of the United States, in Obama's childish mind, was just like Russia's "charging into" Georgia, which resembles Saddam's Iraq in no respect. And, of course, we invaded a horrifying charnel-house so as to establish a democracy, whereas Russia invaded a peaceful democracy that it wants to re-incorporate into its empire.
Read it here.

Responding to the same, Victor Davis Hanson writes:

Aside from the silliness of these statements, the problem for Obama, again, is that incrementally they really do start to add up—America's "tragic history," the mini-sermon on decline to the 7-year-old, waffling exegesis to Rick Warren about our own evil, the confessions to the cheering Berliners about our transgressions—and these doubts are enhanced rather than ameliorated by Michelle Obama's various rantings, and the creepy things former associates like Ayers, Wright, and Pfleger have said about America and its culture. Some disinterested observer from Mars might adduce that the Obamas at this point can't help it, since the 'everybody believes it' anti-American message they absorbed was of long duration and reinforced where they went to school, where they worshiped, and where they worked.
Read it here.

Hanson has a very good point. More and more it is apparent that THE ONE! has fully internalized the adversarial narrative promulgated by the academic/activist left. He is the product of a remarkably parochial past that severely constrains his appreciation of the world in which we live. Americans should think long and hard before voting for such an intellectually and experientially crippled candidate.

More Greenery

Latest from the enviro-loons:
"Turning Pigeon Poo into Food"
That's right! The way it works is this. You provide convenient nesting places and perches for pigeons; the poo collects below in a pool of water, and you raise crayfish in the pool for human consumption.

Where does the idea come from? France, of course.

Read about it here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Leaves are Turning

"She Who Must Not Be Named" was out of town today, so I was thrown back on my own resources. That meant a quick trip out to "Chipotles", for some junk food. As I walked along Light Street by the harbor I noticed that the leaves were starting to turn. Already!!! It's just August!

I hate to sound like a global cooling alarmist, but we had a long harsh winter last year and a late, short Spring, and now fall is descending on us early again. Now the World Meterological Organization announces that this year has been the coolest in at least the last five years and the Farmer's Almanac predicts a long, cold winter. [here and here]

As I said, I don't want to sound like a climate hysteric or a Democrat, but could this be the onset of the Fimbulwinter [look it up]?

A Motto For Our Time

Dennis Wingo comments:
We need to take the political parties back from the whacko activists.
Indeed!!! This year's campaign makes me long for the days of the smoke-filled rooms.

Via Instapundit, who seems to agree. Read the comment and the blog post that inspired it here.

Stossel Strikes Again

John Stossel, one of the best slaughterer of sacred cows we have, writes regarding the chimera of "energy independence":

Most every politician and pundit says "energy independence" is a great idea. Presidents have promised it for 35 years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were self-sufficient, protected from high prices, supply disruptions and political machinations?

The hitch is that even if the United States were energy independent, it would be protected from none of those things. To think otherwise is to misunderstand basic economics and the global marketplace.

He goes on to explain just why the whole concept of energy independence is not only unworkable, but dangerous. Read the whole thing here.

Totten on Georgia

Michael Totten reports from Georgia. Apparently neither the Georgians nor the Russians are confused about what is going on. Not like we in the West, who are squabbling endlessly over the meaning of what is happening.

Read his report here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Indecision Reigns Triumphant

Responding to Russian threats, including an amazing outburst of insults directed against our Secretary of State in the pages of Pravda that would shame even a left wing loon [here], the United States has concluded an agreement to build a missile defense base in Poland. Representing the U.S. at this historic meeting..., why it's Condi!

Seriously though, this confrontation is rapidly heating up. President Bush took to the podium to declare that the breakaway provinces currently occupied by Russian troops were "part of Georgia" [here]. At the same time Russia was taking steps to formally recognize the independence of the breakaway regions [here].

Meanwhile Russian military officials declared that there would be no withdrawal of forces from Georgia while witnesses on the ground gave conflicting accounts. Some insisted that there had been no pullout of troops, while others said that the withdrawal was already underway [here].

The fog of incessant talk has begun to descend upon and to obscure the entire issue of Russian-Georgian relations.

The first response to Russia's aggression from the US and NATO was strong, and the American response continues to be so. President Bush's clarity regarding Russia and its intentions is matched in Eastern Europe where nations are feverishly working to strengthen ties to the United states. But Old Europe, and consequently NATO is going wobbly rapidly.

Throughout the west political battle lines are being drawn, between leftists who toe the Moscow line and blame the crisis on Georgia, the United States, and the West; and conservatives who place the blame on Russia. And of course the issue is dividing American domestic politics. Democrats are rushing to find some anti-Obamanite to blame. Tom Friedman in the NYT blames Bush and Clinton's policy of expanding NATO [here], while the Obamination directly blames John McCain, one of whose advisors is a registered lobbyist for Georgia [here].

Putin took a huge gamble in attacking Georgia. He counted on the weakness of the West. At first, it seemed that he had lost the bet. President Bush stood strong against aggression and still does. But his support in Europe and among American policy elites is rapidly draining away. Perhaps Putin has won after all.

Stay tuned.


Victor Davis Hanson, noting the Western penchant for finger-pointing, writes:
Putin keeps counting on us either to be confused, contradictory or angrier at ourselves than at Russia over his latest aggression. And given our inability to speak with one voice, he seems to be absolutely right.
Read it here.

How to Convert an Economic Downturn into a Depression

I recently finished reading Amity Shlae's wonderful history of the Great Depression, titled "The Forgotten Man". I recommend it highly [if you wish to purchase a copy of this book, click on one of the Amazon links at the top of this page]. Today she had an opinion piece in the Washington Post in which she notes that many of the measures being advocated by today's politicians replicate the mistakes that turned a market crash and economic downturn into the Great Depression. They include:
Passing protectionist legislation that restricts trade.
Blaming and prosecuting Wall Street.
Raising Taxes during an economic downturn.
Assuming that bigger government will stimulate growth.
Mandating inconsistent economic policies.
She's absolutely right. The historical record is solid regarding each of these points -- they are economically counter-productive, although politically popular.

Read her article here and buy the book -- it's worth a read.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And You Thought Keith Olbermann was Bad!

Pravda is moving into Daily Kos territory. Here's their current rant:
In the equation which makes up the odious, criminal and murderous Bush regime and its murderous, criminal and odious foreign policy, the constant factor is constituted by a teacher, promoted to positions way above her personal and intellectual station by a gullible fool of a President. This teacher, whose sheer incompetence as National Security Advisor and as Secretary of State is today so blatantly apparent, goes by the name of Condoleeza Rice.

The fact that Rice was National Security Advisor at the time of 9/11 speaks for itself, period.

As Secretary of State, she is supposed to be responsible for her country’s diplomacy, she is supposed to be Washington’s leading diplomat. But can anyone think of a figure less qualified for the post? Starting with the face (set in a constant snarl, with a scar for a mouth, lips pursed back in a sneer, piggy eyes looking as though something evil is lunging behind them), continuing with the body language (aggressive stance, butch, defensive posture as though she is hiding something or afraid) and ending with the discourse (about as diplomatic as a raspberry and a fit of giggling at a funeral ceremony), she cuts a sorry figure.

The constant arrogance and hypocrisy of this failed female makes it that much more apparent that here is a person way out of her depth. Instead of regarding sensitive issues from a balanced viewpoint as she is supposed to do, this incompetent loud-mouthed, bad-mannered, bullshit-mongering bimbo takes one side, ignores the other and then speaks down from a holier-than-thou platform as if she were on a lecture dias.

This is not a classroom, Condoleeza Rice, and you are not a diplomat. You are a liar, a cheap, shallow, failed, wannabe actress on the diplomatic stage. This is the real world and out here, you have to be prepared to face up to your responsibilities.

Read the whole thing here.

This is worse even than MSNBC fare, but the sad thing is that this is not much worse than you can read on many of the left-wing blogs.

Baltimore Pictures

I've been spending most of my time lately in Charm City. Here is some of what I saw.

This is where the Ravens roost. "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I spent Saturday evening there and had a great time.

We also spent an afternoon at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It adjoins the Johns Hopkins campus and there are always students hanging out there. These ones are enjoying a lovely day in the sculpture garden. The girls are nice to look at, but that is a great dog.

This is the Harbor East development. Right now it is the hottest real estate market in the area. A few years ago it was mostly warehouses. Now it is filled with condos, upscale shops and restaurants, and office complexes and is a magnet for young professionals, many of whom commute down to Washington. The only problem is that building under construction by the waterfront. It will be a forty-eight floor office tower that will block the magnificent views currently enjoyed by the denizens of the condos.

An old part of town -- South Charles Street near the Cross Street Market, where I will be heading in about a half hour. I'm getting hungry and there are lots of nice little restaurants in the area. Which one will I choose? Hmmmmm.

Brooks on McCain

David Brooks has a nice column today on how John McCain started off this campaign with romantic notions about running as a rebel against the system. That, however, didn't last long. Reality came crashing in on him, just as it is beginning to overwhelm Obama.

McCain and his advisers have been compelled to adjust to the hostile environment around them. They have been compelled, at least in their telling, to abandon the campaign they had hoped to run. Now they are running a much more conventional race, the kind McCain himself used to ridicule.

The man who lampooned the Message of the Week is now relentlessly on message (as observers of his fine performance at Saddleback Church can attest). The man who hopes to inspire a new generation of Americans now attacks Obama daily. It is the only way he can get the networks to pay attention.

Read it here.

As has happened so often in the past, candidates sincerely promising change wind up being subsumed within the system they hate. And that, I would argue, is for the good. For all its faults, and they are many, the system works pretty well and is far better for more people than anything either of the candidates proposes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

An Evening With the Ravens

This weekend "She Who Must Not Be Named" and I went to see the Ravens play. It was just an exhibition game against the Vikings, and the home-town team did not perform very well. Actually, the game was pretty much of a blowout. By the third quarter people were leaving the stadium, the drunks sitting a couple of rows behind us were focusing all their attention on trying to pick up vendor babes, and "She" was pointing out insects flying in the sky above us. In an effort to stir up some interest and keep the crowd from leaving the stadium management announced that as soon as the game concluded the jumbo screens would be showing local swimming hero, Michael Phelps' victory in the Olympics.

Still, we both had a good time. The NFL really knows how to do pageantry well, and I was even getting a bit choked up during the opening ceremonies honoring America's fighting men and veterans, although a small part of my mind kept thinking "this must be what it felt like to be at the party rally in Nuremberg."

They seem to have a lot more cheerleaders than I remember. Oh well, sex sells.

As I said above, the game was nothing much, but it was fun just being in the midst of all the people with the music blaring and the crowd cheering. And did I mention the cheerleaders?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Peters, Putin, and Bush

The always excitable Ralph Peters writes that by invading Georgia, Vlad Putin "has won" and has "changed the world" [here]. Well, maybe.

Col. Peters is a bright guy who knows a lot and is capable of writing sharp and often perceptive commentary on the events of the day. He, for instance, is absolutely right in describing Putin's ruthlessness and determination to assert control over the former Soviet republics. And he is dead on when discussing the despicable reaction of so many in the West to the rape of Georgia. Western journalists, in their ignorance, simply parroted the Moscow line and blamed Georgia for being the target of Putin's malignant ambitions; leftists and many Democrats immediately sought for ways to blame the catastrophe on President Bush; and Western governments were pathetically weak in their response to Putin's aggression.

But, as in the case of the Iraq war, Col. Peters is far too quick to write off the Georgian conflict as an unmitigated disaster. In both cases what Peters fails to take into consideration is the ability and determination of the man who sits in the White House. At a time when Peters was loudly proclaiming Iraq to be a disaster, President Bush and his new cadre of military talent was forging a strategy that has transformed our effort there into a success. So, too, the Bush administration is implementing a strong response to Putin's criminality. America has loudly proclaimed its support for Georgia's democratically elected government and has warned Moscow against trying to overthrow it. A token amount of humanitarian aid has been sent to Georgia, carried [and this is the important point] by the American military. This means that there are now a number of American troops on the ground in and around Tiblisi. More, and more significant, aid will be coming in the future. Condi is now in Tiblisi to make plain the strength of American support for President Shakaasvili. Meanwhile, Poland has concluded a deal to place U.S. defensive missiles on their soil in defiance of Russian threats and now Ukraine has offered to join a coordinated missile defense system designedby the U.S. Elements of the system are already on the ground in the Czech Republic. Poland even has asked for the creation of an American military base on its territory.

What is taking shape in Poland, in the Czech Republic, in Ukraine, in Georgia, and in Washington is a coherent anti-Putin alliance not unlike the Old European alliance against Stalin. And the response from Old Europe has been favorable. Angela Merkel, in a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Medvedev, insisted that Georgia's territorial integrity be preserved and demanded that an international peacekeeping regime be established there. Medvedev also backed away from the threat made by a Russian general of a nuclear response to Poland's missile shield. Most significantly, Chancellor Merkel then flew to Tiblisi where she announced her support for Georgia's membership in NATO.

Things have changed in the past few years. Pro-American regimes are now in charge not only in Britain, but in Germany, France, and Italy. The Eastern European republics have united in common opposition to Russia's aggression, and all look to President Bush for leadership in this crisis. All indications so far are that he is rising to the occasion, just as he did in the wake of 9/11.

Col. Peters and Vlad Putin are making the same mistake Osama bin Laden did in assuming that President Bush is weak and/or incompetent. He is neither. The world is changing, but the direction of that change is in America's favor, and the future is being shaped by Dubya, not by Vlad.


Appearing on FOX News, Condi reports that Russian President Medvedev has promised to start withdrawing troops on Monday. Also, French President Sarkozy has warned Russia that there will be "serious consequences" if the troops are not withdrawn.

Unnoticed by the MSM over the past few years President Bush has been creating alliance systems in Asia, in the Middle East, and now in Eastern Europe that promise to shape international relations for the forseeable future. We are now all living in the world that Dubya made and will be doing so for some time. Whether you agree with him or not [and I think that he has been absolutely right on all the big issues] you must begin to realize that President Bush has been the most consequential Western leader since Ronald Reagan, and probably since Franklin Roosevelt.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama to Gen. Clark, "get lost"!

Another one under the bus..., another one under the bus...

Obama has informed Gen. Wesley Clark that there is no reason for him to attend the Democrat Convention.

Read about it here.

Geez..., the Gen sold his soul to the Democrats and this is what he got in return. Not that I have any sympathy for Wesley..., he's a grade-A, prime specimen of scum, but it's starting to get a little crowded under that bus.

The Strongest Tribe

Bing West, who as a combatant saw the Iraq War up close and personal, has written what to my mind is the best account of what happened there. In The Strongest Tribe he makes several excellent points:

First of all, portrayals of American troops as war criminals in the media and by some politicians are a gross distortion of reality. He writes, "No nation ever fought a more restrained and honorable war."

He also discusses the incoherence of occupation policy after the initial conflict was concluded. It stemmed, he argues, from a disagreement between the Department of Defense, where Secy Rumsfeld wanted a quick withdrawal of troops and a transfer of authority to civilian agencies, and the White House, which saw the military taking a large role in post-war recovery. This dispute was not fully resolved until 2006 when President Bush removed Rumsfeld and decisively backed the "surge". Through all of this the American effort suffered from the determination of Washington officials to direct the war effort, rather than taking direction from the unit commanders who were actually fighting the war.

In any event it is not clear that any coherent strategy would have worked in the early stages of the occupation. The problem was not only that Washington undercut efforts of local commanders to forge alliances with tribal leaders, but the tactics of al Qaeda made it very difficult for local leaders to openly cooperate with coalition forces. It was not until the excesses of al Qaeda alienated them from the population that tribal leaders were willing to take the risk of associating themselves with occupation forces.

If you wish to order a copy of The Strongest Tribe from Amazon, just click on one of the advertising banners at the top of this page. If you do I will get a small commission and every bit helps.

Read Jonathan Kay's review here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

More Pennsylvania Pictures

I've been out of the glorious commonwealth for several days now and so have no recent photos to post. Here are some old ones:

First, some dogwoods in full bloom this past Spring.

Mist over Port Clinton

Another shot from a moving car -- this time along rte 895. My wife was driving -- I was looking for pictures.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bush Strikes Back

AP reports that the United States and Poland agreed today to base American missile interceptors in Poland.

Speaking in an interview televised on news channel TVN24, [Polish] Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the United States had agreed to help augment Poland's defenses with Patriot missiles in exchange for placing 10 missile defense interceptors in the eastern European country.

"We have crossed the Rubicon," he said, referring to U.S. consent to meet Poland's demands.

Tusk said the agreement was initialed by negotiators late Thursday in Warsaw and includes a "mutual commitment" between the two nations — beyond that of NATO — to come to each other's assistance in case of danger.

Read it here.

Those who argued that President Bush was not responding strongly to Putin's puscht were flat dead wrong [as they so often have been regarding this president]. This is Pooty Poot's worst nightmare -- a defensive alliance embracing the former Soviet republics backed by America's military might. For years now the eastern democracies have desperately sought military alliances with the West, especially with America. Russia had calculated that a strong military strike against Georgia would frighten them so much that they would abandon those efforts and submit to Russian dominance. A crucial element in this calculation was the assumption that the NATO powers would be divided and unwilling to act, as they so often have been in the past. Most importantly, they figured that Bush, in the last months of his presidency, would be unable to undertake a major military committment.

Well, they were wrong. Bush stood up strongly to the aggression and now the very kind of alliance Putin sought to pre-empt is taking form.

Europe's Economic Crisis

The Bush economy just keeps looking better and better, especially when compared with other developed economies. Official figures released today show that the entire Euro zone is in dire economic straits. Germany's GDP shrank by .5%, France and Italy dropped by .3%. Ireland didn't report figures, but is already in recession. So, too, are Estonia and Denmark. Taken together the entire Euro zone countries' economies shrank by 0.2%. Meanwhile the US economy grew at nearly 2 percent. European unemployment is up and inflation there is up to 4% and rising, twice that of the US. On every major economic index, America is dramatically out-performing Europe. The Euro is weakening and the Dollar is strengthening. America's trade balance is the best it has been in many years while European exports are declining fast.

And how do the Eurocrats respond to their developing economic crisis? They blame it on the United States.

Read the report in der Spiegel here.

And while you are at it also check out the der Spiegel piece on Georgia [here] which blames Putin's aggression on..., wait for it..., Bush's foreign policy. You see, they think that it is Bush's fault that the EU is in disarray and incapable of standing up to aggressors.


Responding to Putin

Mark Silva, over at the Swamp, summarizes the activity of the Bush administration in response to Putin's invasion of Georgia. An awful lot of diplomacy has been going on behind the scenes and Bush is in the process of forging a coordinated western response to counter Russia's expansionism. Those who accuse the President of inaction simply don't know what they are talking about.

Silva also discusses John McCain's remarks, which advocate even stronger actions than have to this point been undertaken, and suggests that McCain is implicitly criticizing Bush. This is nonsense. McCain's recommendations:

"We should work toward the establishment of an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. This will entail reviewing anew our relations with both Georgia and Russia. As the NATO secretary general has said, Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine.

"At the same time, we must make clear to Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. The U.S. has cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Russia, an important step in this direction.

Contra Silva, these in no way contradict the actions already undertaken by President Bush nor to they contradict future actions the administration is likely to take. Silva is playing the old journalistic game of "lets you and him fight". While reporting accurately on the extensive actions taken by the administration, he creates a false impression that there is a conflict between Bush and McCain when in fact the two men seem to be in broad agreement.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bush Gets It Right Again!!!

Bravo Bush!

President Bush, speaking from the Rose Garden, outlined the U.S. response to Russia's invasion of Georgia:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I've just met with my national security team to discuss the crisis in Georgia. I've spoken with President Saakashvili of Georgia, and President Sarkozy of France this morning. The United States strongly supports France's efforts, as President of the European Union, to broker an agreement that will end this conflict.

The United States of America stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia. We insist that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected.

Russia has stated that changing the government of Georgia is not its goal. The United States and the world expect Russia to honor that commitment. Russia has also stated that it has halted military operations and agreed to a provisional cease-fire. Unfortunately, we're receiving reports of Russian actions that are inconsistent with these statements. We're concerned about reports that Russian units have taken up positions on the east side of the city of Gori, which allows them to block the East-West Highway, divide the country, and threaten the capital of Tbilisi.

We're concerned about reports that Russian forces have entered and taken positions in the port city of Poti, that Russian armored vehicles are blocking access to that port, and that Russia is blowing up Georgian vessels. We're concerned about reports that Georgian citizens of all ethnic origins are not being protected. All forces, including Russian forces, have an obligation to protect innocent civilians from attack.

With these concerns in mind, I have directed a series of steps to demonstrate our solidarity with the Georgian people and bring about a peaceful resolution to this conflict. I'm sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to France, where she will confer with President Sarkozy. She will then travel to Tbilisi, where she will personally convey America's unwavering support for Georgia's democratic government. On this trip she will continue our efforts to rally the free world in the defense of a free Georgia.

I've also directed Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to begin a humanitarian mission to the people of Georgia, headed by the United States military. This mission will be vigorous and ongoing. A U.S. C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies is on its way. And in the days ahead we will use U.S. aircraft, as well as naval forces, to deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.

We expect Russia to honor its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance. We expect Russia to ensure that all lines of communication and transport, including seaports, airports, roads, and airspace, remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for civilian transit. We expect Russia to meet its commitment to cease all military activities in Georgia. And we expect all Russian forces that entered Georgia in recent days to withdraw from that country.

As I have made clear, Russia's ongoing action raise serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. In recent years, Russia has sought to integrate into the diplomatic, political, economic, and security structures of the 21st century. The United States has supported those efforts. Now Russia is putting its aspirations at risk by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent with the principles of those institutions. To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe, and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis.

Thank you.

[emphases mine]

Wow! Not just a strong condemnation of Russia, but strong action. Sending Condi makes a huge statement of solidarity, and more important sending humanitarian aid carried by US troops and naval forces is brilliant. There will soon be thousands of American troops on the ground, making it impossible for the Russians to renew their offensive without risking major conflict with a far more powerful adversary. Those troops will not be withdrawn until the Russians pull out.

What makes this even more brilliant -- the Russians are badly overextended. There is only one real line of communication open to them, the Roki tunnel [here]. A single missile strike can take that out, and then they will be trapped. Putin took a very dangerous risk. He put his forces into an untenable situation on the assumption that the Americans would not react, especially since President Bush only has a few months to go in his term of office. But that was a bad bet.

Bush has stood up strong and proud in this situation; he is getting strong support from France; the Georgian government has not fallen; and finally other former Soviet states did not run for cover -- instead the presidents of the Baltic States and Poland have flown to Tiblisi to demonstrate their solidarity with Georgia. A united front opposing Russian aggression is beginning to form with Bush and Sarkozy at its head.

Unless Bush loses his resolve, something he has never done in the past, this whole enterprise is going to turn out badly for Putin.

It is beginning to dawn on people that Bush does diplomacy better than anyone else on the world stage today.


Richard Fernandez explains the brilliance of Bush's response to Putin's challenge:

The US decision to send a military airlift into Tsibilsi and dispatch a naval convoy bringing humanitarian supplies sends a signal eerily reminiscent of the 1948 Berlin Airlift. The use of military and naval assets simultaneously lays the framework for future action with the same vehicles. Like Putin’s cooing threats, the humanitarian effort is intentionally ambiguous. Vladimir Putin has told America to “choose” between Russia and Georgia. He was really asking the United States to choose between conflict and appeasement. By sending a mini-Berlin airlift into Georgia, Bush is giving no answer, only repeating the question: Mr. Putin, choose — choose what comes next.
Read it here.

A Moment of Clarity

VDH explains the significance of Russia's invasion of Georgia. It is one of many "clarifying" moments we have had in the past decades -- unfortunately the Left remains as muddled as ever.

Regarding the much-discussed "soft power" that leftists and liberal transnationalists keep telling us is the wave of the future:

[T]ired of European lectures, the Russians are now telling the world that soft power is, well, soft. Moscow doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, the European Union, the World Court at the Hague, or any finger-pointing moralist from Geneva or London. Did anyone in Paris miss any sleep over the rubble of Grozny?

More likely, Putin & Co. figure that any popular rhetoric about justice will be trumped by European governments’ concern for energy. With just a few tanks and bombs, in one fell swoop, Russia has cowered its former republics, made them think twice about joining the West, and stopped NATO and maybe EU expansion in their tracks.
But Hanson's larger point is the moral bankruptcy of the Left. He writes:
The Russians have sized up the moral bankruptcy of the Western Left. They know that half-a-million Europeans would turn out to damn their patron the United States for removing a dictator and fostering democracy, but not more than a half-dozen would do the same to criticize their long-time enemy from bombing a constitutional state.

The Russians rightly expect Westerners to turn on themselves, rather than Moscow — and they won’t be disappointed. Imagine the morally equivalent fodder for liberal lament: We were unilateral in Iraq, so we can’t say Russia can’t do the same to Georgia. (As if removing a genocidal dictator is the same as attacking a democracy). We accepted Kosovo’s independence, so why not Ossetia’s? (As if the recent history of Serbia is analogous to Georgia’s.) We are still captive to neo-con fantasies about democracy, and so encouraged Georgia’s efforts that provoked the otherwise reasonable Russians (As if the problem in Ossetia is our principled support for democracy rather than appeasement of Russian dictatorship).

From what the Russians learned of the Western reaction to Iraq, they expect their best apologists will be American politicians, pundits, professors, and essayists — and once more they will not be disappointed. We are a culture, after all, that after damning Iraqi democracy as too violent, broke, and disorganized, is now damning Iraqi democracy as too conniving, rich, and self-interested — the only common denominator being whatever we do, and whomever we help, cannot be good.
At least Professor Hanson sees things clearly. Read his entire article here.

The Female of the Species....

ABC reports on the arrest of Al Qaeda's "Mata Hari".

When she was arrested in Afghanistan last month, Aafia Siddique allegedly had in her possession maps of New York, a list of potential targets that included the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the subway system and the animal disease center on Plum Island, detailed chemical, biological and radiological weapon information that has been seen only in a handful of terrorist cases, as well as a thumb drive packed with emails, ABC News has learned.
Read it here.

This is a big haul. The woman, an MIT graduate, is plugged into nearly every phase of al Qaeda's global network of terror plots and now the FBI is too. What is significant is that they have decided to go public with this. That means that they have already milked her for as much information as they are likely to get.

Nice catch!