Obama acted like a jerk for two years then makes one 'presidential' speech and the opinion makers go 'ga ga!
I am all for this mis-guided leopard changing his spots but I am also willing to allow more time to pass before jumping to any conclusion. Words are cheap relative to action and Obama has consistently proven this to be a fact. (See 1 and 1a below.)
Israel can only take Stuxnet so far in deterring Iran's nuclear ambitions. (See 2 below.)
Extreme Liberal dogma has a way of coloring one's mind and twisting one's logic. (See 3 below.)
Jeb Bush and the Spanish vote. (See 4 below.)
I have written for years as China expands its commercial interests it will only be a matter of time before their military leaders exert their need to expand China's military reach.
It, thus, comes as no surprise to me this is the course they have been on and will continue pursuing.
We are weakening, China is gaining strength. How do we handle this reality? Can we trust Obama to be honest, realistic and firm since his foreign policy has basically been both inept and sending signals of weakness? You decide.(See 5 and 5a below.)
Taranto takes on The New York Times in defense of one of their own reporters. (See 6below.)
Death by a 'thousand liberals." (See 7 below.)
Which way Lebanon? (See 8 below.)
Glick sees a lesson to be learned by Obama as a result of what happened in Tunisia. The lesson is that Obama needs to a new telescope.
Another un-noticed and ignored event by our head in the sand State Department and western leaders is the systematic killing of Christians by hate filled Islamic radicals. (See 9 below.)
PC'ism has come home to roost. (See 10 below.)
I would like to end by saying Go Sarah! The more they attack you the more they reveal their own fault lines. You are pretty, tough and so outside the elitist stream they can only try and destroy you because you threaten their insularity and insecurity. So keep on 'truckin' and continue to let their garbage roll off your back as it seems to be doing. They belittle you but will end destroying themselves and, with it, any vestige of respect.
The French burned Joan in America the Liberal elites seek to emulate the French.
1)Obama Rises to the Challenge He sounded like the president, not a denizen of the faculty lounge.
By PEGGY NOONAN
The beginning of the president's speech wasn't good, and was marked by the sonorous banalities on which White House staffs in times of crisis always insist. "We join you in your grief," "We mourn with you for the fallen," "a quintessentially American scene . . . shattered by a gunman's bullets." Modern presidents sometimes speak as if their words were crafted by producers for a TV newsmagazine like "Dateline." This is bad because television producers tend to think their audience is composed of people who require the plonkingly obvious to be repeatedly stated in the purplest prose. The trend should be stopped. Presidents are not anchormen of true-crime shows, or were not meant to be.
I begin grouchily to underscore the sincerity of the praise that follows. About a third of the way through, the speech took on real meaning and momentum, and by the end it was very good, maybe great. The speech had a proper height. It was large-spirited and dealt with big things. It was adroit and without rancor. The president didn't mourn, he inspirited.
It began to turn when Mr. Obama started to make things concrete. Vaporous talk of victims turned into specific facts about real human beings: Phyllis Schneck was a gifted quilter, Dorwan Stoddard spent his spare time fixing up the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. But the speech came into its own when the president spoke, again in concrete terms, of the condition of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords: "I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here." He had learned that "right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues in Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time."
This was met with thunderous applause. He repeated the sentence: "Gabby opened her eyes for the first time." More and deeper applause. Something seemed to shift at this point. Suddenly the president was fully integrated into the text, he was it and it was him. He lauded the heroes who did specific things. To Daniel Hernandez, in the front row: "You ran through the chaos to minister to your boss." "We are grateful to the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload." "We are grateful to petite Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer's ammunition."
He was saying: We are not a nation of victims, we are a nation in which people work together doing brave things and achieving great outcomes. "Heroism is here . . . just waiting to be summoned." This is a statement worthy of a president.
Throughout Mr. Obama's career, he has critiqued America and its leadership from an outsider's stance, from that of an intellectual relatively new to public life. His sound was all faculty lounge. In this speech he celebrated America, and in celebrating it, he aligned himself more closely with the values the American people most justly celebrate in themselves—instinctive courage, idealism, willingness to take the initiative. His remarks reminded me, in fact, of part of the speech Ronald Reagan gave when he first announced for the presidency, which I read the other day in Craig Shirley's history of the 1980 campaign, "Rendezvous with Destiny."
Reagan said he saw America as "a living, breathing presence, unimpressed by what others say is impossible, proud of its own success; generous, yes, and naive; sometimes wrong, never mean, always impatient to provide a better life for its people in a framework of a basic fairness and freedom."
The heart of Mr. Obama's speech asked a question. The lives of those who died, and the actions of the heroes of the day, pose a challenge. What is required of us now, how do we honor them?
Here, deftly, he addressed the destructive media debate that followed the tragedy. But he approached the subject with compassion and sympathy. It is human nature to try to explain things to ourselves, to "try and impose some order on the chaos," to say this happened because of that. And so we debate, and consider causes and motivations. Much of this is good, but not all. "At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized," we are too eager to lay to blame "at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do." It is important that we talk to each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds." Scripture tells us "that there is evil in the world." We don't know what triggered the attack, but "what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other."
Lack of civility did not cause this tragedy, but "only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make [the victims] proud."
In saying this, the president took the air out of all the accusations and counteraccusations. By the end of the speech they were yesterday's story.
We have to be better, said the president. The way to honor the dead and those who tried to help them is to live up to their example, and make our country worthy of them. Of 9-year-old Christina Green, who was drawn to public service: "I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it."
This was just what was needed. After a terrible tragedy, a political leader came forward with words that ennobled and consoled. Those rattled and damaged by the tragedy deserved it, and—sorry to be corny, but this is true—our children are watching and need to hear words that are a plus, not a minus.
Mr. Obama in some new way found the tone of the presidency in this speech, the sound of it. In a purely political sense he was talking to the center—to the great beating heart of the middle of the country—while going to the center himself. And so it may mark a turning point in his fortunes, because it prompts and allows people to see him in a new way, a fresher way.
One speech can't change everything, and shouldn't. But one speech can begin something new, or boost a certain momentum. After the strategic bow to the Republicans on taxes, and the appointment of a more moderate and business-friendly chief of staff, the Tucson speech marks the third time since the election that the president has in effect reached toward the center. The question in the coming year will be whether he can gain some purchase on that ground, whether he can begin to hold it, as he did in 2008.
Mr. Obama is attempting to come back as a real force, and as a potentially effective thwarter of Republican intentions, especially on health care. You can see the sweet reason and rope-a-dope coming: If there's a specific part of the program you have problems with please tell me, let's work together to make it better.
Republicans will have to meet him with dignity and good faith, and go toe to toe on one thing, the facts. For the facts on this are on their side.
But they should know their adversary. Something is going on with him. He's showing the signs of someone who has learned from two solid years of embarrassment and unpopularity. Maybe he has "not come back from hell with empty hands." Maybe he is going to be formidable
1a)Obama 2.0: The Reinvention Begins
By Ed Lasky
The year 2012 looms large in the mind of Barack Obama. After two years of decline in the number of those who view his policies, his performance, and his personality favorably, Barack Obama has begun yet another process of reinvention on the road to reelection.
Will he succeed in bamboozling voters once again?
The policy shifts following the November shellacking the Democrats received from voters are clear.
Foremost among these shifts to the center is the tax deal reached with the Republicans. There will be others to come, as renewed attention is devoted to transforming the tax code itself to make it simpler and fairer. There will be more feints to the center.
Barack Obama will adapt even more, altering his image so he can again appeal to the great center of American voters: the jackpot that every candidate must win to enter the White House. Will Obama be able to connect with voters, as every politician must, on a personal level?
Conservatives should not count Obama out yet. He may be cold-blooded, but he is a chameleon who can change the way people perceive him.
Indeed, he has already begun to do so. The premiere of Obama 2.0 took place in Tucson, where his speech was warmly received and a new, more emotional Obama was on display (the voice cracking brings to mind the lip-chewing of a thoughtful Bill Clinton). And the road show has only just commenced.
A clue to Obama's ability and willingness to adapt can be found in the words of his book Dreams from My Father. There he mentioned only one book, Malcolm X's autobiography, and wrote that Malcolm X's "repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me." Therein lies the clue to Obama's plan to rebrand his own image. A man who can fake a Southern accent, the story of how his father came to America, and the story of his parents' being inspired by the Civil Rights march in Selma to conceive him has no problem morphing for political purposes.
We are about to watch the extreme makeover of Barack Obama in real time.
Let me suggest the contours of the plan.
Obama achieved national prominence during his 2004 speech, when he famously declared that "there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asia America; there's the United States of America." He went on to decry the splicing of states into red and blue.
Very inspiring words, but as president, Obama has been perceived as playing favorites. His Department of Justice has been plagued by accusations of following race-based policies, and these biases may extend to more areas than the DOJ. Obama did not help heal divisions when he casts aspersions of racism against the Cambridge police and avowed that Hispanics should vote against their enemies (presumably white Republicans). He has lost a great deal of the white vote, a bloc he needs to win reelection. We will see more of the Obama the Uniter and less of Obama the Divider.
People should not be surprised when Eric Holder resigns to spend more time with his family. He and the Civil Rights Division he has overseen have become lighting rods in the eternal American debate over racial and ethnic preferences. Holder can't seem to help himself; his latest pledge is to ensure that "minority communities" experience environmental justice. If his serial flubs in dealing with Islamic terrorism were not enough, his stewardship in other areas of the DOJ has been a political problem for Obama.
Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. It's a symbol that Holder refuses to recognize.
He should be preparing his resume.
We will likely see more bloodletting as Obama continues to throw the old crew under the bus. He is jettisoning people as fast as he can since they have rubbed so many people the wrong way -- and, more importantly, reflected poorly on Obama as a leader. These offenders have also made Obama's own actions seem sinister, since having key positions filled by fans of Karl Marx and Chairman Mao led to voter suspicions regarding Obama's own agenda. Hence, Van Jones and Anita Dunn got the heave-ho.
The always acerbic Robert Gibbs is packing his bags. The often foul-mouthed Rahm Emanuel departed to become the likely mayor of Chicago. David Axelrod, Obama's campaign strategist, who was promoted to chief domestic adviser upon Obama's ascension to the Oval Office, will also be returning to the Windy City. The White House and the man who lives there will be perceived as less insular and arrogant. A supporting cast can do wonders for the image of the lead actor.
What is intriguing is how Obama has been filling these actors' places with Democratic moderates who have less of an axe to grind and more of an income to earn. Bill Daley takes over the Chief of Staff job -- he has warm relations with the business community. Vice President Joe Biden has just announced his own new Chief of Staff, Bruce Reed -- also a moderate. The cast of characters Obama is now assembling has a Clintonian tint to it; Clinton is, of course, the only Democrat to win reelection since Franklin Roosevelt. Obama will continue to surround himself with moderates; their images will rub off on him, and the image of him as a polarizing figure will fade in time.
Conversely, those on the left who indulge in extremist hyper-partisan rhetoric will serve as useful foils to Obama as he shape-shifts into a moderate. We have seen two examples of this tactic: his rebuke of those on the left who criticized the bipartisanship on display over the tax deal and his admonition during the Tucson speech that finger-pointing should be avoided. Bill Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment -- and so will Barack Obama.
Obama will get religion -- fast.
When Barack Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright became a scandal, Obama dropped Wright and his church and surrounded himself with other members of the clergy. Since he became president, he has compiled quite a truancy record regarding church attendance. Americans like their leaders to be religious, for we are a God-loving nation. Daily devotionals sent to Obama's omnipresent Blackberry just won't do as 2012 approaches.
We can expect Obama's speeches to be more laced with religious imagery. The dry run happened in Tucson. Obama consulted clergy and Scripture before giving his warmly received speech there. Many criticized Obama when he casually kept dropping the word "Creator" when quoting the Declaration of Independence. (Incidentally, he included the word "Creator" when he gave his big speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention -- but he was in full campaign mode then. He threw that word under the bus when he became president.)
We can expect Obama's chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau (the highest-paid White House staffer, who played a key role in drafting Obama's Race Speech to deal with the Jeremiah Wright problem), and up-and-coming wunderkind Cody Keenan (who helped draft the Tucson speech) to be pulling out Bartlett's Book of Quotations to deal with all the Christians religious "stuff."
President Obama has a penchant for divisive rhetoric that Candidate Obama almost never used. The words "hostage-takers" and "enemies" will be deleted from Obama's lexicon, as will be phrases that characterize Republicans as people he has to "clean up after" who should "not do a lot of talking" while they ride in the "back of the bus." Since Obama has driven more people to declare themselves Republicans, such rhetoric constitutes a self-defeating indulgence of his rage. The partisan rhetoric probably colored people's perceptions regarding his policies. So those types of words will vanish.
President Obama has had chillier relations with the media than Candidate Obama experienced. The fawning that was satirized by "Saturday Night Live" and others has been replaced by sobriety. Perhaps Obama's stiff-arming of the media since he became president chilled the partnership. But he needs the media now, so they have been pulled out from under the bus. The magazine U.S. News & World Report noted the climate change:
After two years of snubbing Washington's snootiest journalism clan, the Gridiron Club, President Barack Obama has agreed to attend the group's annual dinner know for silly skits and songs performed by reporters and political celebrities. "Oh what a difference a bad election makes," says one Gridiron member. Another suggested that it was a sign that the administration's effort to make end-runs around the White House press corps is ending and the president is eager to improve relations with the news media.
Robert Gibbs's resignation will also help improve relations with the fourth branch of government (since Obama lost the House), as now, a "softer tone" with the press seems to be a priority. Barack Obama will have to shed his thin skin and be less peevish at press conferences, but he has a powerful incentive to control his temper: reelection.
Obama has had a penchant for making sport of cable news channels (i.e., Fox News) for their coverage. But the end of the football season brings us to the beginning of the campaign season. Thus, we see the paradoxical Bill O'Reilly interview with Barack Obama before the Super Bowl. Since Obama needs white males to win the White House, there can be no better time to reach out to them than right before the supreme sports ritual of the American White Male.
Obama will paper over his rhetorical history and return to the type of rhetoric that appealed to so many during those halcyon and hallucinogenic days of 2008.
(I digress, but I find it appalling that speeches seem to sway so many people. Granted, Barack Obama has a way of speaking that can inspire millions. It's a gift -- just ask him; he will tell you, as he told Senator Reid. No wonder those who work with words, whether they be John Kennedy's speechwriter Ted Sorensen or Professor Garry Wills, or any number of talking media heads, are besotted with Barack Obama. The dynamic borders on the self-reverential.
But why has Ronald Reagan been dismissed as a mere actor while Barack Obama is never dismissed as merely a master of the teleprompter? After all, when Obama is off the teleprompter and otherwise not reading others' words, he is far less impressive. We see the gaffes that are so revelatory about him during those moments of truth: think of the bitter people clinging to guns and religion, the spread-the-wealth promises, the boast that he would bring a gun to a knife fight, the "I won" braggadocio, ad nauseam.)
We can also expect Obama to spend less time on the links and more time in the pews. As president, he has rarely been seen at any churches, unlike during the campaign, when churches were a regular stop, where he sometimes spoke from the pulpit.
But that is changing.
Obama attended church on January 16, an occasion that prompted CNN to characterize it as an "unusual move for a president who is accustomed to attending Sunday services at a private chapel at Camp David." Actually, the news that Obama attends Sunday services even at a private chapel comes from White House sources -- so consider the source. Also, he barely spends any time at Camp David, according to Politico journalist Carol Lee.
But as his political support faded, he found God.
Politico took note of the timeline in an article published at the end of last year, commenting that there has been "a steady rebirth over the past few months in public expressions of his [Obama's] Christianity" and that "he has publicly mentioned his Christian faith more times than he has over the past year." Obama has recycled the phrase "I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper" from the 2008 campaign (he has used it 24 times in a three=month period toward the end of last year compared to just four times before then as president).
Obama's churching is timed to politics. When a Pew poll came out last year that reported that many Americans thought Obama was Muslim, he attended church within weeks of the poll's release, and within days, he started quoting from the book of Job. And that was before the November shellacking. We will see and hear a lot more about Obama's Christianity because, after all, there are no atheists in foxholes and almost none in politics.
Obama will choose a church for regular worship, will again surround himself with esteemed religious figures representing all major branches in America, and will begrudgingly begin the political Conversion on the Way to the White House. He will become one more desperate person clinging to religion; he knows all about those people, after all.
Back to basics for Michelle
The fancy foreign trips to Spanish luxury hotels and the like? Michelle and crew will have to sacrifice those creature comforts and keep their travels stateside, at least until 2012. Aren't we all supposed to be sacrificing for the common good these days? The belt-tightening will do some good. Michelle is on an anti-obesity kick anyway, so why not give up some of the calorie-laden fine dining to get hubby reelected? Expect more invasions of backyard bar-b-ques and fewer stays in deluxe digs.
There will be fewer fashion statements and designer sneakers; more down-home photos of the family plus Bo, the photogenic family dog. Barack Obama, who has done a fine job shielding his young daughters from the paparazzi, will be more inclined to show them off in the type of winsome family tableaux that win votes.
We will also, thankfully, hear less from Obama about Obama. The narcissistic addiction to the "first person singular" will be a thing of the past. Instead, we will hear more about "us" and about American "exceptionalism" -- a course suggested by Democrat William Galston and already begun by Obama. Obama was criticized during the campaign for not wearing a flag pin in his lapel -- then one started appearing. But once Obama became president, he blithely declared that America is not exceptional. We won't be hearing that language again -- at least not until 2012.
We can also expect Barack Obama to take more time off the links and journey to Arlington Cemetery and other spots that symbolize patriotism. He skipped the traditional presidential visit to Arlington to spend some quality time with friends back home in Chicago. That will not happen again. Even though one aide calls him the most unsentimental man he has ever met, and Juan Williams characterized Obama as not the type of guy you want to share a foxhole with, he will make a landmark tour of America to commemorate our fallen patriots. Historical sites that resonate with all Americans will feature prominently on the president's agenda. We should not be surprised if Obama's next winter break in Hawaii includes a trip to Pearl Harbor.
Buddy up to business
Obama will also make nice -- at least in a surface way -- with the business community. The Chamber of Commerce initially supported some of Obama's moves, the stimulus bill among them. But when Obama's agenda was more fully rolled out, many businessmen objected to the pain it would inflict on them and the free enterprise system. Obama did not seem to mind until the Chamber got its act in gear and started a potent campaign to defeat Democrats. Obama resorted to claims that the Chamber was using foreign money to bankroll its campaign. Obama lost that rhetorical battle, and the Democrats went on to lose seats across America.
A change of course is needed. Obama has a vested interest -- the one he cares most about, himself -- in defanging the Chamber. He accepted an invitation from the Chamber of Commerce to address them in early February. Gone will be talk of "fat cats"; in will come talk of "partners" and "visionary entrepreneurs" and "job creators." If Obama is able to offer some sugar -- say, suggestions of tax or regulatory breaks -- he may be able to erode their will and resources to defeat him in 2012. Indeed, the olive branch has already been offered in the form of tax breaks and the sending of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on a goodwill tour with executives.
We can expect the olive branch to be extended to all Americans during Obama's next big step in rebranding: the upcoming State of the Union address.
As we learned from Ronald Reagan and others, visual images and sound bites shape campaigns. Telling was Obama's latest vacation reading: a book on Ronald Reagan, who was able to tap into the emotions of the American people in a way that has eluded President Obama. Obama performed well as a candidate; his oratory levitated him to the presidency, after all, but the pretense could be held for only one season: the campaign one.
Will we forget Barack Obama's true nature when he flashes the big smile and soothes us, if not smothers us, with mellifluous words?
America's great strength and great weakness has been our ability to forgive and forget. Indeed, Obama seems to have been counting on this trait, given the numberless series of broken promises during his presidency.
Will we be taken for suckers again?
In the internet and YouTube age, we can unbury the time capsule and relive the days when President Obama was at the peak of his powers. We can remember how he chose to wield them.
The Republicans will do well to focus on the harm of Obama's policies, since voter dissatisfaction with his agenda remains high. ObamaCare continues to be an albatross around Obama's neck -- one that he can neither disown nor throw off since it was his pride and joy. Republicans must go round and round with a newly revivified Barack Obama to point out the flaws of ObamaCare. But they must avoid the heated rhetoric that will only serve to make Obama appear moderate. He has already primed the populace to look at Republicans as the partisan party of No and exhorted us to put "politics" aside. He triangulated against the image of a panicky John McCain during the stock market meltdown in 2008. He should not again be given the opportunity to improve his image relative to his opponents.
He can use such hyper-partisan rhetoric on the right, just as he can from those on the left, to gain back the Great Center. Republicans need articulate spokesmen front and center, such as Paul Ryan, to explain the crippling costs of the ObamaCare program and how it will harm our health care. But Republicans must go beyond ObamaCare and beyond proposing their own health care plans. They must critique the entire Obama agenda for the challenges it poses to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We need to declare our independence once again -- this time from the grasping hands in Washington, D.C.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
2)The Limits of Stuxnet A neat computer trick won't stop Iran from getting the bomb
By BRET STEPHENSLong before there was the Stuxnet computer worm there was the "Farewell" spy dossier.
In 1980, a KGB officer named Vladimir Vetrov began passing secrets to French intelligence. Vetrov was in a position to know the names of a network of Soviet agents (known as Line X) involved in pilfering capitalist technologies, which is how Moscow managed to stay nearly competitive with the West.
Col. Vetrov's Farewell dossier, as the French code-named it, eventually arrived at the desk of an American National Security Council official named Gus Weiss. It was Weiss who suggested to then-CIA director Bill Casey that the West not roll up the spy network right away, but rather that it be played for greater stakes.
"I proposed using the Farewell material to feed or play back the products sought by Line X," he later wrote in an unclassified CIA history, "but these would come from our own sources and would have been 'improved'. . . . Contrived computer chips found their way into Soviet military equipment, flawed turbines were installed on a gas pipeline. . . . The Pentagon introduced misleading information pertinent to stealth aircraft, space defense, and tactical aircraft. The Soviet Space Shuttle was a rejected NASA design."
How well did the plan work? In June 1982, one of Casey's "improved" computer control systems, containing a Trojan horse in its software, caused the trans-Siberian gas pipeline to explode. U.S. spy satellites captured images of what was described by former Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed as "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."
Thus did the Soviet Union end up on the ash-heap of history.
Well, not really. But the story of the Farewell dossier is worth recalling amid the hoopla connected to Stuxnet, the ingenious computer worm, likely of U.S.-Israeli design, that seems to have hobbled the Iranian nuclear program. Meir Dagan, the outgoing head of Israel's Mossad, said recently that Iran would not be able to produce a bomb until 2015, a date much further off than the 12 to 18 month timeframe Israeli officials were offering as recently as last year. U.N. nuclear inspectors confirm that Iran has been forced to de-activate 984 uranium-spinning centrifuges. Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Stuxnet has caused "minor problems"—a major admission.
All of this is terrific news and a credit to Stuxnet's authors. It seems to have stopped the further expansion of Iran's enrichment activities. It will also likely require Iran to replace its Western-made computer control systems even as the international sanctions regime makes them increasingly difficult to acquire.
And yet the Iranian nuclear program carries on. Stuxnet appears to have hit Iran sometime in 2009. As of last November, U.N. inspectors reported that Iran continued to enrich uranium in as many as 4,816 centrifuges, and that it had produced more than three tons of reactor-grade uranium. That stockpile already suffices, with further enrichment, for two or possibly three bombs worth of fissile material.
Nor can it be much comfort that even as Stuxnet hit Iran, North Korea began enriching uranium in a state-of-the-art facility, likely with Chinese help. Pyongyang has already demonstrated its willingness to build a secret reactor for Syria. So why not export enriched uranium to Iran, a country with which it already does a thriving trade in WMD-related technologies and to which it is deeply in debt? Merely stamp the words "Handle With Care" on the crate, and the flight from Pyongyang to Tehran takes maybe 10 hours.
Iran is also not likely to be fooled again this way, making Stuxnet, or some variant of it, its own kind of one-hit wonder. Qualified nuclear engineers may be hard to come by, but computer forensics experts aren't, even for a country like Iran. The next time Israel or the U.S. tries to stop Iran's nuclear advances, the means aren't likely to be as targeted, or as bloodless.
Which brings us back to the Farewell dossier. Despite the CIA's sabotage, the trans-Siberian pipeline was commissioned just two years later. A bigger hit to Moscow was the expulsion of 200 Line X officers from the West, which the Soviets avenged by executing Vetrov in 1983.
But as Weiss noted in his history, the real hammer blows came in the form of Reagan's "evil empire" speech and the SDI initiative, which caused the Soviet military to demand budgets the system couldn't afford. Paul Volcker's tight money policies, which "led to a fall in gold and primary product prices, sources of Soviet foreign exchange," also played a key role.
And so Iran has fallen for a neat computer trick. That may be a source of satisfaction in Jerusalem, Washington and even Riyadh. But it cannot be a cause for complacency. Wars are never won by covert means alone. That's as true for Iran today as it was in Cold War days of yore.
3)Why the Left Lost It The accusation that the tea parties were linked to the Tucson murders is the product of calculation and genuine belief.
By DANIEL HENNINGER
There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left's reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: "Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"
The "you" would be his audience, and the answer is yes, they thought that in these times "something like this" could happen in the United States. Other media commentators, without a microbe of conservatism in their bloodstreams, have rejected this suggestion.
So what was the point? Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.
The calculation flows from the shock of the midterm elections of November 2010. That was no ordinary election. What voters did has the potential to change the content and direction of the U.S. political system, possibly for a generation.
Only 24 months after Barack Obama's own historic election and a rising Democratic tide, the country flipped. Not just control of the U.S. House, but deep in the body politic. Republicans now control more state legislative seats than any time since 1928.
What elevated this transfer of power to historic status is that it came atop the birth of a genuine reform movement, the tea parties. Most of the time, election results are the product of complex and changeable sentiments or the candidates' personalities. What both sides fear most is a genuine movement with focused goals.
The accusation that the tea parties were linked to the Tucson murders is the product of calculation and genuine belief.
.Podcast: Listen to the audio of Wonder Land here. .The tea party itself got help from history—the arrival of a clarifying event, the sovereign debt crisis of 2010. Simultaneously in the capitals of Europe, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and elsewhere it was revealed that fiscal commitments made across decades, often for liberally inspired social goals, had put all these states into a condition of effective bankruptcy.
This stark reality unnerved many Americans. The tea partiers' fiscal concerns were real. Despite that, a progressive Democratic president and congressional leadership spent 2009 and 2010 passing the biggest economic entitlement since 1965 and driving U.S. spending to 25%, or $3.5 trillion, of the nation's $14 trillion GDP. A public claim of that size hasn't been seen since World War II.
They expected to take losses in November. What they got instead was Armageddon. Suddenly an authentic reform movement, linked to the Republican Party, whose goal simply is to stop the public spending curve, had come to life. This poses a mortal threat to the financial oxygen in the economic ecosystem that the public wing of the Democratic Party has inhabited all these years.
The stakes for the American left in 2012 couldn't possibly be higher. If then, and again in 2014, progressives can't pull toward their candidates some percentage of the independent voters who in November abandoned the Democratic Party, they could be looking in from the outside for as many years as some of them have left to write about politics. A wilderness is a terrible place to be.
Against that grim result, every sentence Messrs. Krugman, Packer, Alter, the Times and the rest have written about Tucson is logical and understandable. What happened in November has to be stopped, by whatever means become available. Available this week was a chance to make some independents wonder if the tea parties, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner are all part of the same dark force.
Who believes this? They do.
The divide between this strain of the American left and its conservative opponents is about more than politics and policy. It goes back a long way, it is deep, and it will never be bridged. It is cultural, and it explains more than anything the "intensity" that exists now between these two competing camps. (The independent laments: "Can't we all just get along?" Answer: No.)
The Rosetta Stone that explains this tribal divide is Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter's classic 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Hofstadter's piece for Harper's may be unfamiliar to many now, but each writer at the opening of this column knows by rote what Hofstadter's essay taught generations of young, left-wing intellectuals about conservatism and the right.
After Hofstadter, the American right wasn't just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.
"American politics has often been an arena for angry minds," Hofstadter wrote. "In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority."
Frank Rich, Oct 17: "Don't expect the extremism and violence in our politics to subside magically after Election Day—no matter what the results. If Tea Party candidates triumph, they'll be emboldened. If they lose, the anger and bitterness will grow."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tuesday in the Huffington Post: "Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance—to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape."
This isn't just political calculation. It is foundational belief.
So, yes, Tucson has indeed been revealing. On to 2012.
4)Jeb to GOP: How to Appeal to Hispanics
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
If Republicans were to run a classified ad for their 2012 presidential candidate, it might read something like this: GOP seeks popular former two-term governor of a large state for executive post. Qualified applicants will have a demonstrated understanding of the relationship between taxes and growth, a proven record on choice in education, and an ability to draw Hispanic voters. A commitment to states' rights and the U.S. constitution is a must.
Their candidate is out there. But Jeb Bush, Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007, insists that he's not applying for the job. Still, his ideas and style have gained national attention, so I braved the TSA gropers at New York's LaGuardia airport and hopped a flight to South Florida to talk to him.
As we sit down in his office, the tall Texas transplant raises the still-unratified Colombia free trade agreement, which has been in the news recently. Sitting on the FTA has created uncertainty that is emblematic of President Obama's broader economic policy, he says. Plus, Colombia is a U.S. ally. "We get all the benefits [that come] with a friend and this is how we treat them. It's just amazing," he says, shaking his head.
Mr. Bush's wife was born in Mexico, he is fluent in Spanish, and he lives in a heavily Hispanic state, so he has great interest in our hemisphere. He's also had unusual success earning the political support of Spanish-speaking Americans, so I ask him what tips he has for his immigrant-challenged party.
His answer comes effortlessly. Hispanics aren't monolithic, he says, but all immigrants—"the newly arrived and the second generation"—share one trait: "They're aspirational." Conservative candidates, therefore, should promote "policies that reward people who are aspirational." That's what he did, and 60% of Democratic Hispanic voters supported his re-election in 2002, he says. Hispanic voters are growing in number, Mr. Bush points out, and "they are increasingly the swing voters in the swing states."
One problem for Republicans, he says, is that "the tone of our message is one of 'them and us' sometimes." At least that's what gets "magnified in the press," with immigration policy being the flash point. It's "a shame," he says, because Republicans and immigrants have a lot in common. "But if you send a signal that we really don't want you as part of our team, they're not going to join."
Yet might today's recent immigrants be natural Democrats, as they were in the 20th century after arriving from Europe? Democrats promise more entitlements, and immigrants tend to be on the lower economic rungs. Mr. Bush couldn't disagree more. "There are people who believe in expanding the welfare state across the spectrum of races and ethnicities and creeds," he says, but that's not a common value among Hispanics. "If you had to pick the values that would be held dear to a broad number of Hispanic voters, access to opportunity would be a higher value than guarantee of security, particularly amongst the newly arrived, meaning the last 20 years."
His insistence on engagement is not a call for multiculturalism. Quite the opposite: "The beauty of America—one of the things that so separates us [from the rest of the world]—is this ability to take people from disparate backgrounds that buy into the American ideal."
With regard to assimilation, he says, Hispanics have much to be proud of. "Second-generation Hispanics marry non-Hispanics at a higher rate than second-generation Irish or Italians. Second-generation Hispanics' English language capability rates are higher than previous immigrant groups'."
The former governor says immigration is fundamentally an economic matter. "I would argue that if we can't figure out how to control our border and move to a much more provocative and 21st-century immigration policy, the problems we face will become incredibly difficult to solve because we are not going to grow." Coming from the mild-mannered Mr. Bush, I take this to mean that government needs to grow bolder—not necessarily more confrontational—in its search for immigration solutions.
The country needs "younger people with energy and aspirations," he says. Without them, we could end up looking like Old Europe: What should be annual GDP growth of 3.5% could instead be 1.5%. After 10 years, that would amount to a difference of $3.8 trillion in economic activity. "So to me the immigration issue is an economic competitiveness issue, and we're missing it because we are incompetent in the government."
Mr. Bush would like to see "a very aggressive guest worker program that ebbs and flows with demand." He also wants to expand the H-1B visa program aggressively, allowing high-tech companies and others to recruit "highly educated, highly motivated people" from around the world.
To deal with the problem of illegals already in the country, meanwhile, Mr. Bush likes proposals that acknowledge the rule of law but also "give them a chance to change their status. If they learn English, pay a fine, accept a waiting time and have a clean record, some system like that makes sense to get people to come out of the shadows." Going forward, he thinks employer sanctions are justified because the E-verify system—an online government system that allows employers to check the legal status of job applicants—seems to work.
The nut of the problem is competency at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "If you have to deal with our friends at ICE, it's like a Kafka novel. Files just disappear," he says, speaking from personal experience with constituents and relatives.
Mr. Bush's fiscal record is also worth exploring, so I ask him about the importance of Florida having no income tax. It has been "hugely important" in attracting people with economic aspirations, he says. Part of the trick is controlling the growth of government. When he was governor, he says, he "did a whole series of things that institutionalized limited government," including building up a constitutionally mandated countercyclical reserve fund, putting checks on spending, creating debt-service limits, and prohibiting gimmicks that underfunded pensions.
Mr. Bush says that during his tenure Florida was "the only state to go from a double-A to a triple-A rating," in part because state pensions were among the best funded in the country. "So when states come hat-in-hand to Washington" looking for money, he says, "I would hate to see the really bad drunks getting more bourbon while the states that have done the right thing are penalized."
So new Republican governors should adopt rules for countercyclical budgeting and fully funded pensions? Too timid, Mr. Bush says. "I would argue for the elimination of the defined-benefit pension system. Might as well just get right to the end of the conversation, that's where this is all going." Then, "figure out a creative way to deal with the unfunded liabilities." That "means you have to take on the unions." He notes that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has so far "shown that you can take on these entrenched interests and be popular and sustain the efforts to change the state."
Mr. Bush points out that although Florida spends slightly less than the national average per student in education, it has had "the greatest gains in learning as measured by the [National Assessment for Educational Progress] scores." Florida Hispanics are leading the way in closing the achievement gap, he says, as his state's "low-income Hispanics now do better than the California average in the fourth-grade rating."
How did Florida do it? "Harder edge accountability, the most ambitious school choice programs in the country, and the elimination of social promotion from the third grade," he says. One program promised that if a school got a failing grade from evaluators two years out of five, parents could take the value of their children's education and use it at a private school. The program lasted more than five years before it was ruled unconstitutional (on the grounds that Florida's constitution guarantees students free public schools). But it "had a dramatic impact on improving lower-performing schools because the threat drove a lot of change."
I ask Mr. Bush if, having made so much bipartisan progress in Florida, he has any advice for the new Republican Congress. He starts with this: "There is a balance between standing on principle and finding common ground, and we need both. Common ground doesn't have to be compromise of principle."
Members of Congress can find common ground on issues like trade, he says. For example, "if the president is for the Korea [free trade agreement] but not for the Colombia FTA, it seems to me that Speaker Boehner would be absolutely correct in saying 'We're for you, Mr. President, but the merits also suggest that Colombia and Panama ought to be part of this.'"
Mr. Bush says it is wrong to oppose Mr. Obama at every turn. "On the bigger stuff where there are clear lines in the sand related to the size and scope of government, tax policy, spending, the environment and the regulatory agenda, there is probably not going to be common ground found. But there are other places like education where there could be common ground. And, I would hope, border security."
Constant political one-upping is particularly dangerous, Mr. Bush warns, because there could be a shock to the system in the near future. One possibility is "one of the states not being able to deal with its pension obligations and its structural budget problems." That could, in turn, "change the international financial community's regard for sovereign risk in the United States."
Still, Republicans need to fight for their ideals—against "the general idea that you solve problems by mandating, regulating and taxing," and for "trusting the interaction of free people to pursue their dreams." When I ask him for specifics, he says that the Republican House should pass a budget "that's real, that rolls back discretionary spending at a minimum to the 2008 level, and that begins the process of challenging the general size and scope of the government."
Then he points to Congressional oversight of the regulatory process. Congress has abdicated its constitutional duty to oversee "the executive branch's execution of law," he says. Instead, it has gone about "just reauthorizing laws without looking at the costs and benefits," especially with regard to environmental regulation. "I think we should sunset every law and do a review of the rules."
The field of Republican candidates looks so grim to me that I can't help but ask whether this isn't Mr. Bush's "moment." "This is my moment," he says to my less-than precise question. "I feel totally blessed with the wife I have and the life I have. On the important stuff, it is my time."
But I was referring to the presidential race. "I know you were. And I am not running," he says, smiling. But he wants to "play a role" and thinks that he's especially equipped to do so because he's not running. "I can really speak about things that are controversial, that a candidate might avoid—like immigration. And my view may not be in the mainstream of my party, but that doesn't bother me a bit."
5)Dealing With an Assertive China
If Beijing wants to be treated like an equal, it should act like one.
When Robert Gates met Hu Jintao in Beijing last week, the Defense Secretary raised the very public test of a new stealth fighter jet that coincided with his visit. The Chinese President expressed surprise at the news, asking his military colleagues whether it was true.
China watchers interpret this in two ways, neither one reassuring. Either the Chinese military took the initiative to embarrass their American guest without the knowledge of the civilian leadership. Or Mr. Hu was complicit in the unprecedented and clearly deliberate leak of the new plane's maiden flight to send Washington a message: China has the muscle to start pushing the U.S. out of Asia.
Whichever the case, the fighter test is consistent with an emerging pattern of aggressive Chinese behavior, and it sets a tone for Mr. Hu's state visit to Washington this week. In the two years since President Obama came to office, China has picked naval fights with the U.S., Indonesia and Japan; openly bullied Norway in anticipation of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize; provided diplomatic cover and proliferation aid to North Korea; conducted a cyberattack on Google; and imprisoned foreign businessmen on trumped-up espionage charges. It has also made claims to the Yellow and South China Seas based on preposterous interpretations of long-standing international conventions.
What explains this turn after three decades of relatively benign behavior on the international stage? Increasing economic confidence and clout—magnified by the current economic troubles of Japan, Europe and the U.S.—is surely a part of it. Of course that clout was gained in substantial part from a free-trading global economic order secured by American military might and underwritten by American dollars. China need no longer be a free rider in this system, and it has earned a right to shape it going forward. But it ought to do so as a responsible stakeholder and not as a capricious spoiler. On the evidence of the past two years, it is leaning in the latter direction.
That's not to say the U.S. is blameless for the general deterioration in relations. The Obama Administration went too far out of its way early on to avoid speaking about Beijing's human rights violations. But it has followed the Bush Administration in berating Beijing for its currency policy, as if the Chinese don't have cause to question the Federal Reserve's stewardship of the dollar. President Obama has also deliberately picked trade fights with Beijing, to which the Chinese proved only too willing to retaliate.
Yet these kinds of policy frictions aren't unprecedented. What is new and troubling is China's willingness to challenge the security status quo without much apparent concern for the world's reaction. That's especially true in its own neighborhood, where its provocations and bad faith (especially its defense of North Korea's aggression) are leading Japan, Taiwan and South Korea to strengthen security ties with the U.S. China has also gone far to undermine U.S. and even United Nations efforts to stop a nuclear breakout by Iran and other global rogues.
We're more sympathetic to China's efforts to revise the rules of the global currency system, which Mr. Hu dismissed on Sunday as "the product of the past" in response to written questions from this newspaper. But it's not clear that China has given much thought to what a new system would look like, except that the U.S. dollar would have a much smaller role. This agitation betrays a naivete about how much the current system has allowed China to develop, and how a new framework would likely prevent China from running large trade surpluses.
All of these moves are assertions of Chinese nationalism, which has become, along with economic growth, a pillar of the ruling Communist Party's claims to legitimacy. Historians of China may note that such nationalism is bound to play a role in a country that sees itself as only now emerging from two centuries of subservience to barbarian interlopers. But China's new truculence is once again raising concern that Beijing is intent on dominating its region and destabilizing the world order, much as the Kaiser's Germany did a century ago.
How should the U.S. respond? Nearly four decades of engagement with Beijing have yielded important benefits for both sides, including the rise of hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty and the mutual benefits of a robust trading partnership. The U.S. would be less affluent today without Chinese goods and markets. And China's rise could not continue if U.S. policy makers came to see economic ties with China as a zero-sum game.
For President Obama the challenge of this week's summit is to persuade his guest that the U.S. will continue to encourage China's economic rise but is also determined to block China's power plays in its neighborhood and beyond. A China that understands that to be treated as an equal it must behave like one is a country whose progress will not be obstructed.
5a)The New Era of U.S.-China Rivalry
Beijing's leaders have concluded that the U.S. is in decline and that now is the time to seek more global influence..Article Comments more in Opinion ».EmailPrintSave This ↓ More.
close Yahoo! BuzzMySpacedel.icio.usRedditFacebookLinkedInFarkViadeoOrkut Text By AARON FRIEDBERG
When he meets with President Barack Obama this week, China's paramount leader Hu Jintao will probably be looking to soothe concerns over his country's recent behavior. The last two years have seen a marked increase in tensions between the two Pacific powers, as well as between China and many of its Asian neighbors. In the past 12 months alone Beijing has:
• Shielded North Korea from tough international sanctions, despite Pyongyang's unprovoked sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and deadly shelling of a small island;
• Intensified its long-standing claim to virtually all of the resource-rich South China Sea by suggesting that the region was a "core national interest," a term previously used to refer only to areas (like Tibet and Taiwan) over which China is willing to go to war.
• Declared publicly that, when it comes to resolving competing claims over this region "China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact."
• Threatened for the first time to impose sanctions on U.S. companies that participate in arms sales to Taiwan.
• Conducted unprecedentedly large and complex naval exercises in the waters of the Western Pacific.
• Revealed the existence of a new stealth fighter aircraft.
• Begun initial deployments of a new antiship ballistic missile targeting U.S. aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific.
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General Secretary Hu Jintao delivers a new year message to the nation.
.Not surprisingly, all of this activity has stirred anxiety across Asia, and it has begun to provoke responses from the United States as well. President Obama's recent swing through Asia included stops in India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, but it pointedly excluded Beijing. American and Japanese defense officials have since announced their intention to devote more resources to counter China's rising power, and the U.S. and South Korea have enhanced their military cooperation. Despite a history of animosity, Seoul and Tokyo have taken steps in the same direction.
Beijing's behavior has thus triggered reactions that could make it harder to achieve its long-term goal of re-establishing China as the dominant power in East Asia. A well-timed campaign of "smile diplomacy" could help.
But how meaningful will any of this week's theater be? The answer depends in large part on what lies behind China's recent assertiveness. Some Western analysts have sought to explain it away as an incidental by-product of political infighting in the run-up to the planned 2012 leadership succession, or a passing outburst of belligerence by some elements of the People's Liberation Army. Cooler heads have now prevailed, we are told, and they are now trying to put the country back on the less confrontational path it has followed for the past three decades.
Unfortunately, the problem is more deeply rooted than these reassuring assertions suggest. While Chinese leaders may disagree on questions of tactics and timing, there is no reason to believe they differ over fundamental questions of strategy. Beijing may be willing to dial back its rhetoric, but it is not going to abandon its goal of regional preponderance.
Since the start of the 2008-09 financial crisis, many Chinese strategists have concluded that the U.S. is declining, while China is rising much faster than expected. Belief that this is the case has fed an already powerful nationalism that appears to be increasingly widespread, especially among the young.
In this view it is time for China to "stand up," to right some of the wrongs suffered when the country was relatively weak, and to reclaim its rightful role in Asia and the world. Such sentiments are not the exclusive preserve of the military, although it may seek to tap them for its own ends. The rising generation of Chinese leaders cannot afford to ignore these views, and they may well share them.
If this assessment is correct, then the last two years are not a temporary deviation but a portent. Rather than signaling the start of a new interval of cooperation and stability, Hu Jintao's visit may mark the end of an era of relatively smooth relations between the U.S. and China.
Mr. Friedberg is a professor at Princeton University. His new book, "A Contest for Supremacy: China, America and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia" is forthcoming from W.W. Norton.
6)Leave Kate Zernike Alone She is a good reporter. The New York Times is a corrupt institution..Article Comments (54) more in Opinion ».EmailPrintSave This ↓ More.
close Yahoo! BuzzMySpacedel.icio.usRedditFacebookLinkedInFarkViadeoOrkut Text By JAMES TARANTO
We hope it won't do too much harm to Kate Zernike's reputation at the office if we say a word in her defense.
Zernike is the New York Times reporter who covers the Tea Party beat, and some of her work has come under attack of late in conservative media outlets. In particular, The Weekly Standard's P.J. O'Rourke scathes a piece that appeared in the Times Jan. 9, the day after the Tucson massacre titled "Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics." Here's O'Rourke:
The article, by Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike, contains almost nothing newsworthy. Nor can it be called news analysis. . . . To maintain that there's a lack of evidence for such a sweeping statement would be inaccurate since Hulse and Zernike themselves are doing what they claim is being done. . . . Maybe Hulse and Zernike are very young and, what with the way American history is taught these days, are unaware . . . Or maybe Hulse and Zernike are old hacks in the pocket of certain political interests that feel threatened by populism. . . . Hulse and Zernike have the nerve to end with a quote from one of the "other Tea Party activists." . . . Left unprinted are descriptions of Hulse and Zernike smirking.
We do not dispute O'Rourke's opinion of this report, but we are prepared to defend reporter Zernike (Hulse we don't know from Adam), for we are familiar with her work outside the Times. She is the author of "Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America," a 2010 book that we happen to have reviewed for the January issue of Commentary. Our review began:
The author of Boiling Mad is a New York Times reporter, and the title suggests a hostile view of the Tea Party movement as a cauldron of undifferentiated rage. The book itself is a pleasant surprise. Kate Zernike has produced a largely fair and measured account of the populist rebellion against Barack Obama's aggressively liberal presidency.
"Boiling Mad" wasn't perfect. We faulted it for weak analysis and occasional tendentious liberal asides. But it convinced us that Zernike, whatever her political leanings, is a fair and honest reporter. If yellow journalism appears under her byline in the Times, it is the fault of her editors and the paper's corrupt culture.
Photo by Harry Zernike
.How corrupt? So corrupt that the Hulse-Zernike piece was, by the standards of the Times last week, a relatively minor case of journalistic malpractice. Even the editors who assigned it at least have the excuse of having been under deadline pressure at a time when the facts were not yet in about the suspect's motives. The same cannot be said for the Times editorial board and Paul Krugman, who on Jan. 10, as we noted last Tuesday, were still linking the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to "uncivil rhetoric" from the right, even after the facts had disproved any connection. The Times has made no acknowledgment yet of this gross journalistic wrong.
Pinch Sulzberger, the Times scion who became publisher in 1992, is said to be a fan of "putting the moose on the table," a management-consulting gimmick. Like the elephant in the living room and the hippopotamus at the water cooler, the moose is an ungainly animal that serves as a metaphor for an uncomfortable and unacknowledged truth. During the Jayson Blair scandal in 2003, it was reported that Sulzberger carries around a stuffed moose and literally puts it on tables to encourage honesty among his company's executives.
This past weekend, the metaphorical moose was very much off the table in the pages of the Times. Writer after writer weighed in on what had happened without mentioning their own newspaper's scurrilous conduct. Echoing our language of last Tuesday, Charles Blow, titled his Saturday Times column "The Tucson Witch Hunt":
Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: "words have consequences." And now, the right's rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost.
The dots were too close and the temptation to connect them too strong. . . . Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.
In a way it's a brave piece for a Times man, and a liberal one at that, to have written. But Blow's narrative is a peculiar one: The news broke. The air became thick. There was an excitement. The prophecy had been fulfilled. The dots were close. The temptation was strong. There was a witch hunt.
There was all kinds of stuff that was happening, but did anyone other than the right's rhetorical chickens actually do anything? Deep in the column, Blow got around to this vague assignment of responsibility:
Great. So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats.
But it wasn't "the left" or "Democrats" that instigated the witch hunt. It was the New York Times.
Blow's colleague Frank Rich predictably clings to the "uncivil rhetoric" story, even while acknowledging repeatedly that it had nothing to do with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. In the midst of his Sunday column comes this bizarre passage:
The other inescapable reality was articulated by Sarah Palin, believe it or not, in her "blood libel" video. Speaking of acrimonious partisan debate, she asked, "When was it less heated--back in those calm days when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?" She's right. Calls for civility will have no more lasting impact on the "tone" of American discourse now than they did after the J.F.K. assassination or Oklahoma City. Especially not in an era when technology allows all 300 million Americans a cost-free megaphone for unmediated rants.
Consider those last two sentences through the lens of our Tuesday analysis, according to which the Times's attacks on "uncivil" alternative media reflect a desperate attempt to revive its own moribund institutional authority. The final sentence, bemoaning "unmediated" free speech, implicitly mourns the Times's lost role as mediator in chief. But the penultimate sentence, by suggesting that things would work out more or less as they did after 1963 and 1995, tries to deny the Times has suffered any loss of authority. Rich goes from denial to acceptance in the space of a single paragraph.
Most telling is Sunday's column from Arthur S. Brisbane, the Times ombudsman, who finds two things to fault in the paper's handling of the massacre.
The first is that for a brief period on the day of the shooting, the Times website, relying on information from CNN and NPR, erroneously reported that Giffords was dead. Such errors, born of the intractable tension between timeliness and accuracy, are unfortunate but common. Brisbane quoted the paper's standards editor, Philip Corbett, who blamed the mistake on a supervisory lapse: "Everything should go through an editor. Ideally, it should go through two editors."
The second was that the paper "initially" focused its news coverage "on the political climate in Arizona and the nation":
I think the intense focus on political conflict--not just by The Times--detracted from what has emerged as the salient story line, that of a mentally ill individual with lawful access to a gun.
Whether covering the basic facts of a breaking story or identifying more complex themes, the takeaway is that time is often the enemy.
The paper's rush to judgment was indeed a serious mistake. Brisbane tries to downplay it by employing the everybody-does-it excuse: "The Times had a lot of company, as news organizations, commentators and political figures shouldered into an unruly scrum battling over whether the political environment was to blame," he writes, adding that "journalism educators characterize this kind of framing as a storytelling habit."
People who aren't journalism educators or ombudsmen characterize it as political bias. And it's not necessarily the reporters who are biased, as we know from the case of Kate Zernike. Her book proves that she is more than capable of fair and solid reporting, provided her work doesn't go through the New York Times's editors.
Brisbane's account of what went wrong ignores completely the Times's most important lapse. He forthrightly admits the journalistic error of relaying exaggerated reports of Giffords's death. He acknowledges the journalistic sin of biased coverage, although he tries to obfuscate it with J-school jargon.
But he says not a word about the journalistic atrocity of attempting to advance the "uncivil rhetoric" narrative even after the facts of the case had proved it false. In so doing, the Times acted with reckless disregard for the truth, the legal standard for defamation of a public figure established in the landmark 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan .
To be sure, the paper's malicious falsehoods are not legally actionable as libel. But that is only because in its attempts at character assassination, the Times used the low-precision weapons of innuendo, insinuation and generalization, thereby making itself invulnerable to the courtroom counterattack it might have faced had it dared to publish explicitly false statements of fact.
The moral degeneration of the New York Times is a study in the corrupting effects of power. Over the years, the men who run the paper came to view the preservation of their authority as agenda-setter or gatekeeper or "mediator" as their primary mission. On Jan. 10, 2011, they made it clear that they are willing to go so far in the pursuit of that goal as to contravene the real purpose of journalism, which is to tell the truth.
Hate Makes You Stupid
Speaking of degenerate journalistic institutions, Helen Thomas has one fewer award named after her. "The board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists voted Friday to retire the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award," the SPJ announced in a press release Friday.
SPJ declined to take this step last spring, after Thomas unburdened herself on video of the opinion that Israeli Jews should "go home," by which she meant just the opposite: that they should leave home and move to Europe or America. But the spiteful superannuated screwball exceeded the tolerance even of the SPJ with her assertion last month, in a speech to an Arab-American group, that "Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists."
An interesting side note: The Working Press, the newsletter of SPJ's annual convention, featured a profile in October of the organization's new president:
Hagit Limor remembers the Six Day War like it was yesterday.
She remembers the air raid, with sirens swirling and missiles flying, as she ran to a shelter in the middle of the Israeli night, a first-grader with a heart beating out of her chest.
"I do remember that very clearly," she said. "I grew up innocently, feeling completely safe until that war broke out."
It was June 1967 in Tel Aviv, Israel, and, during the war, Limor saw her hometown transform into a very different place.
"I grew up in a little town where nobody locked their doors," she said. "It was a different time."
That's right, Limor is an Israeli-American. She enrolled at Northwestern University, graduated in 1983, and went into broadcast journalism. She's now an award-winning reporter at Cincinnati's WCPO-TV.
If you were Helen Thomas, you might say that the SPJ's decision, under Limor's leadership, to nix the Thomas award proves her claim that Zionists control the media. But wait. How can Thomas fault Limor when Limor did exactly what Thomas wants all Israeli Jews to do--make like a tree of the Righteous and leave?
Even Thomas's anti-Semitic ravings are logically inconsistent. Which reminds us of an exchange on our "Fareed Zakaria GPS" panel over the weekend, in which we debated Bernard-Henri Levy ("France's leading public intellectual," or so says his publicity material) and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.
NewsBusters.org has video and a transcript of the exchange, in which Levy took strong exception to Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel," while Cohen (and we) defended it:
Cohen: I don't think for a second that Sarah Palin knew the meaning of blood libel. I just don't. There's nothing in her background which suggests it. And if she did, I don't think she used it all that inappropriately. I mean, if it refers to a false accusation for which a community is blamed, then she was right.
Levy: Hold on. You think Sarah Palin is stupid enough not to know what a blood libel is?
Cohen: How much time do we have left to talk about how stupid Sarah Palin is?
Alas, the transcriber missed our rejoinder: "Keep it classy, Richard." But Cohen's comment was as disjointed as it was ungentlemanly.
To begin with, Levy's question rested on a foolish premise. It is quite possible that Palin didn't know that the blood libel is the myth that Jews kill Christian babies and use their blood in the baking of matzoh for Passover. If so, she was not stupid but ignorant--and not grossly ignorant, for this is not common knowledge among non-Jewish Americans. We three panelists--two Jews and a semi-Semite--are far better versed in the history of European Jewry than most educated Americans are.
Cohen's initial defense of Palin was entirely reasonable and, in our view, correct. But he contradicted it with his loutish lapse. If she didn't know the precise meaning of "blood libel" but used the term correctly anyway, that is a sign of intelligence, not stupidity.
When Cohen succumbed to strong feelings about Sarah Palin, it momentarily rendered his mind as disordered as Helen Thomas's is when she thinks about Jews. This is news you can use: Stay away from hate, because it makes you stupid.
Winning Isn't Anything
From a No Labels press release, the dumbest sports analogy ever:
"Tens of millions of people tune in every year to watch the State of the Union address, the Super Bowl of American politics," added No Labels co-founded Mark McKinnon. "This year, Congress should send the message that when it comes to rising above the gridlock and hyper-partisanship plaguing Washington, we're all on the same team."
If you think everyone in the Super Bowl is on the same team, you may be a Nolabelist.
7)Death by Liberalism
By J.R. Dunn
Many AT readers are aware that I have been working on a book project for the past several years. I have mentioned it occasionally on this site, more often in the past few weeks as publication drew nearer. Now zero hour has arrived: Death by Liberalism. The Fatal Outcome of Well-Meaning Liberal Policies is available as of today. (Buy it here.) It's the first publication from Broadside Books, renowned editor Adam Bellow's new conservative imprint.
Simply put, DbL deals with the appalling and overlooked fact that liberalism kills. This is no metaphor, no exaggeration, and no mistake. Liberal policies put in place by liberal politicians to achieve liberal goals kill thousands of Americans each year. In the past half-century, liberalism may have killed up to 500,000 American citizens (and this is not even counting DDT or ethanol, which are responsible for a death rate orders of magnitude larger in the international sphere). We have known for years that liberalism is corrupt, wasteful, and futile. Now we know that it is even worse. Liberalism is lethal.
How does this work? Is it some sort of grand Sorosian conspiracy to assure limitless political power? An environmentalist Green scheme to cut the population on behalf of Mother Gaia? Not at all. The soft lethality of liberalism is a result of that saddest of English phrases: "unintended consequences." Liberal politicians, academics, and operatives want to do good. They want to benefit Americans and the country as a whole. They want to do it their way, through large-scale governmental policy. They know exactly how it is to be done, and they will brook no interference. So they set out on their grand schemes, and it ends, always and without exception, in disaster. Some of those disasters go over the line into something resembling mass negligent homicide: the legal procedural revolution, the DDT ban, CAFE fuel standards, federalized child protection, deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, and gun-free zones, to mention only a few.
Let's take federal child protection as an example. Shortly before becoming vice president under Jimmy Carter, Senator Walter Mondale sponsored a bill aimed at the reform of child protection services. Established to assist and rescue children from abusive and neglectful adults, these services had been operating for a century with good results, many of them privately run and associated with churches and other charities. Mondale wished to transform them all into state agencies, funded by government, staffed by trained professionals, with operating standards set by federal bureaucrats.
The result was exactly what any student of Hayek, Parkinson, or Sowell could have predicted. The government-run agencies became typical bureaucracies, marked by incompetence, callousness, and endless paperwork. Across the country, children under the care of such agencies began dying. For thirty years and more, scarcely a week has gone by without yet another newspaper report of a child murdered while under the "protection" of one of these agencies. The numbers may well mount into the thousands. We can't be sure, since the bureaucrats in charge often hide behind privacy laws to stifle investigations and outside oversight. (This doesn't always work -- in Philadelphia last year, no fewer than nine social service social workers were found guilty of complicity in the starvation death of Danieal Kelly).
Did Walter Mondale intend any such thing? Not at all -- he meant well. He went for the customary big-government solution; he was intent on fixing something that wasn't broken. The result was suffering on a massive scale. To his credit, Mondale is on record as regarding the bill as an action he regrets. Most liberal politicians responsible for similar policies would admit to no such thing.
They would remain silent because liberals do not look upon their ideology as a political doctrine to be judged by the same standards as all others. No -- liberalism is viewed as a religion -- a religion of the purely millennial type, promising its believers a new, pure, utterly transformed world. Its leaders are the saints and heroes -- Oldsmobile Teddy Kennedy, Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd, and Charlie "what taxes?" Rangel -- who will lead us into this new world. But with DbL, this illusion has come to an end. No longer can liberals shield themselves from their actions. No longer can they present themselves as messianic figures magically and unerringly healing a fallen world.
They are not happy about this. The first reviews of DbL have been marked by a sense of shock coupled with outrage. The common response is that the book is "illogical"--- it's like being criticized by an army of Mr. Spocks. None have actually critiqued that logic -- which consists of simple empiricism, the contention that effects must have a cause -- in any detail. Several reviewers have outright lied about the book, one claiming that I'm referring to people "dying of heart attacks from working too hard to pay taxes." Another states that I claim that liberals will soon be hunting us down "with their guns." (What kind of liberals does she know, I wonder?) And this is only the beginning. I'm scheduled to appear on Lawrence O'Donnell's "Last Word" this Thursday, and I doubt that he intends to congratulate me on the excellence of my research.
Such a reaction is understandable. All that liberalism has left is its patina of virtue -- the claim that liberals are always right, that they know all the answers, that they alone embody the good in the political sphere. This is fading fast, as liberalism becomes the ideology that abuses Down infants, that supports and excuses terrorists, that attempts to exploit mass murders. I hope that DbL represents yet another step in this process.
I've been writing for AT for a little over five years now. In that time, I've gotten much in the way of encouragement and useful criticism. It was an AT reader who inspired DbL in the first place, with a question as to whether "there was anything like a black book of liberalism." I know I've come a long way as a writer, a thinker, and a conservative in that time. I'm sure we all have. We have a long road ahead, and we are now moving into a new phase, a new level of activity and influence. I hope you are all looking forward to it as much as I am.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.
8)Lebanon as state open to UN sanctions if Beirut flouts Hariri tribunal
The Special Lebanon Court registrar Herman von Hebel announced Tuesday, Jan. 18 that if things go well, "we may see the start of the trial toward September/October … with or without an accused." A day earlier, the STL prosecutor Daniel Bellemare submitted his draft indictment to the pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen in The Hague, thereby establishing three facts in the case of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
1. An approximate date has been set for the trial to begin, irrespective of the extreme upsets in Lebanon over the case.
2. The prosecution file includes names of accused individuals, members of Hizballah, who will be summoned to appear before the UN court. Bellemare stated in a video clip Tuesday that the accused he cited are presumed innocent even after they are confirmed by the judge – until the prosecution proves their guilt beyond reasonable doubt in court.
3. Any of the accused defying the court summons will be tried in absentia.
The registrar also stated Tuesday: "The pretrial judge is very keen to move the process forward as fast as possible."
This means that Fransen will make an effort to hand down his decision on the indictments within 6-10 weeks, much earlier than the several months originally reported, according to sources. The court realizes that the longer the court process, the deeper Lebanon will sink into crisis.
Von Hebel also referred to the joint effort Syrian president Bashar Assad, Turkish premier Recep Erdogan and the Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani were making in Beirut for a compromise that would free the Lebanese government of its commitment to honor the international tribunal's warrants and contribute to its funding. The registrar said: "We know for sure it is not easy to get accused persons arrested. The problem with international tribunals is that they do not have a police force. We are dependent on the cooperation of states."
He then remarked: "The tribunal's budget is $65.7 million for 2011 should not be affected by the collapse of the Lebanese government which is obliged to pay 49 percent. The obligation is for the state, not a government."
That comment is the key to the dispute – both over the tribunal's funding and its legitimacy which Hizballah challenges by refusing to hand over its officials for trial.
Von Hebel, the tribunal's registrar. made it clear that the Lebanese state, not its government, will be held accountable for upholding the UN court's decrees. In other words, the effort engineered from Tehran and Damascus to replace the Hariri government with an alternative will not get Hizballah off the hook. Indeed any administration in Beirut that defies the court lays Lebanon open to a complaint to the UN Security Council by the UN tribunal's judges and a demand for sanctions pending compliance.
9) Tunisia's lessons for Washington
By Caroline B. Glick
Tunisian president's regime was not the only thing destroyed. The two main foundations of 'expert' Western analysis of the Mideast have also been undone
If at the height of the anti-government protests in Tunisia last week, Israel and the Palestinians had signed a final peace deal, would the protesters have packed up their placards and gone home?
Of course not.
So what does it tell us the nature of US Middle East policy that at the height of the anti-regime protests in Tunisia, the White House was consumed with the question of how to jump start the mordant peace process between the Palestinians and Israel?
According to Politico, as the first popular revolution in modern Arab history was in full swing, last week the White House organized two "task forces" to produce "new ideas" for getting the Palestinians to agree to sit down with Israeli negotiators. The first task force is comprised of former Clinton and Bush national security advisers Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley.
The second is led by former US ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration Martin Indyk.
And as these experts were getting in gear, US President Barak Obama dispatched his advisor and former Middle East peace envoy under the Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2 administrations Dennis Ross to Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to ask them to put out "new ideas." Amazingly, none of these task forces or meetings has come up with anything new.
Again, according to Politico, these task forces and consultations generated three possible moves for the Obama White House. First, it can put more pressure on Israel by announcing US support for a "peace plan" that would require Israel to surrender its capital city and defensible borders.
Second, the US can pressure Israel by seeking to destabilize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.
And third, the US can pressure Israel by pumping still more money into the coffers of the unelected Palestinian government and so raise expectations that the US supports the unelected Palestinian government's plan to declare independence without agreeing to live at peace with Israel.
So much for new ideas.
THEN THERE is the unfolding drama in Lebanon. It is hard to think of a greater slap in the face than the one Hizbullah and Syria delivered to Obama last Wednesday. Hizbullah brought down Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government with the open and active support of Syria while Obama was meeting with Hariri in the Oval Office.
And how did Obama respond to this slap in the face? By dispatching Ambassador Robert Ford to Damascus to take up his new post as the first US ambassador in Syria since Syria and Hizbullah colluded to assassinate Hariri's father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri six years ago.
Reality is crashing in on the Obama administration. But rather than face the challenges presented by reality, the Obama administration is burying its head in the sand. And it is burying it head in the sand with the firm support of the inbred US foreign policy elite.
The overthrow of Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali last Friday is a watershed event in the Arab world. It is far too early to even venture a guess about how Tunisia will look a year from now. But it is not too early to understand that Ben Ali's regime was not the only thing destroyed last Friday. The two main foundations of "expert" Western analysis of the Middle East have also been undone.
The first foundation of what has passed as Western wisdom about the region is that the only that thing that motivates the proverbial "Arab street" to act is hatred of Israel.
For nearly a generation, successive US administrations have based their Middle East policies on the collective wisdom of the likes of Ross, Hadley, Berger, Indyk, George Mitchell, Dan Kurtzer, and Tony Blair. And for nearly a generation, these wise men have argued that Arab reform, democracy, human rights, women's rights, minority rights, religious freedom, economic development and the rule of law can only be addressed after a peace treaty is signed between Israel and the Palestinians. In their "expert" view, Arab autocrats and their repressed subjects alike are so upset by the plight of the Palestinians that they can't be bothered with their own lives.
Tunisia's revolution exposes this "wisdom," as complete and utter piffle. Like people everywhere, what most interests Arabs is their own standard of living, their relative freedom or lack thereof, and their prospects for the future.
Mohammed Bouazizi, the 26-year-old Tunisian college graduate who set himself on fire last month after regime security forces destroyed his unlicensed produce cart did not act as he did because of Israel.
The Egyptian man who set himself on fire in Cairo on Monday outside the Egyptian parliament, and the Algerian man who set himself on fire in Tebessa on Sunday, did not choose to self-immolate in the public square because of their concern for the Palestinians. So too, the anti-regime demonstrators in Jordan are not demonstrating because there is no Palestinian state west of the Jordan River.
The Tunisian revolution demonstrates that "Arab unity" and commitment to "Palestinian rights," is little more than a sop for Western "experts."
The chief concern of Arab dictators is not Israel, but the prolongation of their grip on power. From their perspective, one of the keys to maintaining their iron grip on power is neutralizing US support for freedom.
By arguing that Israel is the root cause of all Arab pathologies, Arab despots put the US on the defensive. Having to defend its support for the hated Jews, the US feels less comfortable criticizing the dictators for their repression of their own people. And without the Americans breathing down their backs, Arab dictators can sleep more or less easily. Since Europe doesn't mind that they trample human rights, only the US constitutes a threat to the legitimacy of these Arab autocrats' iron fisted repression of their people.
And this brings us to the second fallacious foundation of "expert" Western analysis of the Middle East destroyed by the recent events in Tunisia. That foundation is the belief that it is possible and desirable to build a stable alliance structure on the back of dictatorships.
Tunisia's revolution exposed two basic truths about relationships with dictatorships. First, they cannot outlast the regime. Since dictators represent no one but themselves, when the dictator leaves the scene, no one will feel bound by his decisions.
The second fundamental truth exposed by Ben Ali's overthrow is that all power is fleeting. Ben Ali's day came last Friday. The day of his Arab despot brethren will also arrive. And when they are overthrown, their alliances will be overthrown with them. To a significant degree, the Obama administration's failure to understand the chronic instability of dictatorships explains its obsession with appeasing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Because the US wrongly assumes that Assad's regime is inherently stable, it misunderstands Assad's rationale for preferring Iran and Hizbullah to the US.
Assad is a member of the Alawite minority community. He fears his people not only because he represses them through state terror, but because given his Alawite identity, most Syrians do not view him as one of them.
As dictators and murderers themselves, Iran's ayatollahs and Hizbullah's terror masters support Assad's regime in a way that the US never could, even if it wished to. Indeed, as Assad sees things, given the nature of his regime, there is no chance that an alliance with the US would do anything but weaken his regime's grip on power.
US attempts to build relations with Assad tell this dictator two seemingly contradictory things at the same time. First they signal to him that his alliance with Iran and Hizbullah strengthen his regional stature. Without those alliances, the US would not be interested in appeasing him.
Second, due to the chronic instability of his tyrannical terror state, and his consequent utter fear of democracy, Assad views American attempts to draw him into the Western alliance as bids to overthrow his regime. The more the likes of Obama and Clinton seek to draw him in, the more convinced he will become that they are in league with Israel to bring him down.
ON THE face of it, the Tunisian revolution vindicates former president George W. Bush's policy of pushing democratization of the Arab world. As Bush recognized in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the US is poorly served by relying on dictators who maintain their power on the backs of their people.
Bush got into trouble however by seeing a straight line between the problem and his chosen solution of elections. As the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Brotherhood's victories in Egypt's parliamentary elections on the one hand, and the undermining of pro- Western democratically elected governments in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq on the other hand made clear, elections are not the solution to authoritarianism.
The Tunisian revolution provides several lessons for US policymakers. First, by reminding us of the inherent frailty of alliances with dictatorships, Tunisia demonstrates the strategic imperative of a strong Israel. As the only stable democracy in the region, Israel is the US's only reliable ally in the Middle East. A strong, secure Israel is the only permanent guarantor of US strategic interests in the Middle East.
Second, the US should proceed with great caution as it considers its ties with the Arab world. All bets must be hedged. This means that the US must maintain close ties with as many regimes as possible so that none are viewed as irreplaceable.
Saudi Arabia has to be balanced with Iraq, and support for a new regime in Iran. Support for Egypt needs to be balanced with close relations with South Sudan, and other North African states.
As for engendering democratic alternatives, the US must ensure that it does not make any promises it has no intention of keeping. The current tragedy in Lebanon is a blow to US prestige because Washington broke its promise to stand by the March 14 movement against Hizbullah.
At the same time, the US should fund and publicly support liberal democratic movements when those emerge. It should also fund less liberal democratic movements when they emerge. So too, given the strength of Islamist media, the US should make judicious use of its Arabic-language media outlets to sell its own message of liberal democracy to the Arab world.
Tunisia's revolution is an extraordinary event. And like other extraordinary events, its repercussions are being felt far beyond its borders. Unfortunately, the behavior of the Obama administration signals that it is unwilling to acknowledge the importance of what is happening.
If the Obama administration persists in ignoring the fundamental truths exposed by the popular overthrow of Tunisia's dictator, it will not simply marginalize US power in the Middle East. It will imperil US interests in the Middle East.
10)Due to the climate of political correctness now pervading America , Kentuckians, Tennesseans and West Virginians will no longer be referred to as 'HILLBILLIES. '
You must now refer to them as
HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT WOMEN AND BE
1.. She is not a 'BABE' or a 'CHICK' -
She is a 'BREASTED AMERICAN.'
2.. She is not 'EASY' -
She is 'HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE.'
3. She is not a 'DUMB BLONDE' -
She is a 'LIGHT-HAIRED DETOUR OFF THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.'
4. She has not 'BEEN AROUND' -
She is a 'PREVIOUSLY- ENJOYED COMPANION.'
5. She does not 'NAG' you -
She becomes 'VERBALLY REPETITIVE.'
6. She is not a 'TWO-BIT HOOKER' She is a
'LOW COST PROVIDER.'
HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT MEN AND BE POLITICALLY CORRECT:
1.. He does not have a 'BEER GUT'...
He has developed a 'LIQUID GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY.'
2. He is not a 'BAD DANCER' -
He is 'OVERLY CAUCASIAN.'
3. He does not 'GET LOST ALL THE TIME' -
He 'INVESTIGATES ALTERNATIVE DESTINATIONS. '
4. He is not 'BALDING' -
He is in 'FOLLICLE REGRESSION.'
5. He does not act like a 'TOTAL ASS ' -
He develops a case of 'RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION.'
6. It's not his'CRACK' you see hanging out of his pants - It's 'REAR CLEAVAGE .
Have fun and please try to stay out of trouble with the PC police...