Archive for June, 2010

Journolist Scandal

No, that is not a typo. The Journolist was an email group of Leftist and Moderate journalists, put together by journalist Ezra Klein. They could go there and bash conservatives. When Tucker Carlson tried to join, he was told that the group was for Leftists and Moderates only. There were 400 members of the group.

We have been following the story, but for various reasons, haven’t had much to say so far. In a nutshell, the list confirms any and all dark thoughts that you may have had about “The Profession Of Journalism” and the filter through which you learn about what is happening in the world. Yes, Virginia, it is distorted. This is a good overview of the situation

Before we start, allow me to bash “The Profession of Journalism” once more, with accuracy. With professions that we respect, the practitioner usually delivers on the promise, the definition really of the field. This is doable, because professions define themselves. Take the example of doctors, the medical profession. They go to school to learn about the human body, about illnesses, and about how to heal us. Ultimately, they fail with each one of us, but along the way, until the very end, they do a lot of good. We can measure it. Compare your experience handling strep throat by yourself with a visit to the doc and a prescription for antibiotics. They define what they do and they do it. They work to improve on their ability to help sick people, and in my lifetime I’ve seen miraculous improvements. Are there bad apples? A few, but they are definitely not the norm. How about the legal profession? Lawyers are trickier, (Shakespeare had something to say about them), but again, they define what they do and generally do it. The accused gets representation, and so forth. They understand the law of the United States and of the state in which they practice. So what exactly to journalists do? As we’ve pointed out on this site many times, they missed two of the largest events in the 20th century, the famine in Russia under Communism and the Holocaust. Abu Ghraib got more coverage than the Holocaust. So we know they don’t report events particularly well.

Let’s read what journalists are up to:

David Weigel, a former Washington Post reporter, is sorry–so sorry he apologized twice. Last Thursday Weigel issued his first apology on the Post’s website:

I’m a member of an off-the-record list-serv called “Journolist,” founded by my colleague Ezra Klein. Last Monday, I was deluged with angry e-mail after posting a story about Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) that was linked by the Drudge Report with a headline intimating that I defended his roughing-up of a young man with a camera; after this, the Washington Examiner posted a gossip item about my dancing at a friend’s wedding. Unwisely, I lashed out to Journolist, which I’ve come to view as a place to talk bluntly to friends.

Below the fold are quotes from me e-mailing the list that day–quotes that I’m told a gossip Web site will post today. I apologize for much of what I wrote, and apologize to readers.

Most of the quotes were silly insults–e.g., “This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.” The apology left us scratching our head; possibly excepting a reference to “Paultard Tea Party people,” we didn’t see anything worth troubling oneself to get offended over.

It turned out, however, that Weigel’s apology was incomplete. On Friday The Daily Caller published excerpts from Weigel’s Journolist messages on other days, and some of them were considerably worse than the quotes he had revealed himself. He used a Watergate-era obscenity to describe opponents of ObamaCare, referred to Sarah Palin’s “death panel lie,” and made baseless accusations of racism.

Weigel’s beat at the Post was the conservative movement. Yet here he was on an ideologically exclusive list–conservatives need not apply–insulting and denouncing the subjects of his coverage to a supposedly off-the-record audience of some 400. The Post had initially stood by him, but the Caller’s revelations made it impossible to take him seriously as a fair-minded chronicler of the right. He resigned on Friday, and his second apology appeared yesterday on BigGovernment.com.

Get it? The Washington Post hired this guy to cover the “Conservative Movement”.

We wish Weigel well, and far be it from us to criticize another journalist for expressing opinions. He obviously was ill suited for his old job as a straight news reporter, but we’re sure he’ll land on his feet in a position that allows him to be polemical.

One quote from the Caller piece, however, went too far even for an opinion journalist:

After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.

“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats,” Weigel wrote.

Remember, Weigel’s supposedly off-the-record audience consisted of hundreds of journalists, both left-wing and purportedly objective. What it appears he was doing was not merely expressing an opinion but engaging in partisan politics–i.e., advising other journalists on how they should tailor their coverage so as to avoid “doing more damage to the Democrats.”

We surmise that this was not an isolated occurrence–that a lot of the discussion on Journolist consisted of this sort of blatantly partisan strategizing. We’re certainly open to being proved wrong, if Journolist founder Ezra Klein–who still is at the Post–or any other member of the now-defunct list would like to supply us with a copy of its archives. We’re willing to promise our source anonymity and even buy a round of drinks, though we’re afraid we are not in a position to match Andrew Breitbart’s offer of $100,000.

So that’s what they do. They are an arm of the Democrat Party. And, as long as they define themselves that way, openly, we’re ok with it. We can work around it. But the condescending, smirky, little attitude that without them, we yokels would be lost, that they perform a vital function, and that function is to accurately report on events here and abroad, needs to go. “The Profession of Journalism” is a PR firm for the Democrat Party. Let’s hope someone takes Breitbart up on his offer.

- Aggie

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Good Times

Remember how President Omoeba refused a photo op with PM Netanyahu, and kept him waiting, cooling his heels, while Omoeba claimed to be having dinner with his family (more likely sneaking a smoke or practicing his short game on the White House green)?

Yeah, that was good for a laugh:


And then the rabbi slaps his forehead and cries “Minsk!”

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General Petraeus Appeared Before Congress and No One Called Him a Liar!

You have to wonder if he turned to one of his aides and asked if he was in the right place:

A Senate committee hearing on Gen. David Petraeus, picked by President Barack Obama to be the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was marked Tuesday by bickering over Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, stressed the date’s importance, saying it “imparts a sense of urgency to Afghan leaders” and is an important method of “spurring action.” When the date was announced, Levin said, there was a surge in recruits for the Afghan army.

But Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the committee, said Obama should make clear that any U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be determined “solely by conditions on the ground.”

The general offered praise for his predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who resigned last week as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan after he and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

“Gen. McChrystal has devoted his entire professional life to the defense of this nation, and he and his family have made enormous personal sacrifices,” Petraeus said. “I can attest, for example, that the success of the surge in Iraq would not have been possible without Gen. McChrystal’s exceptional leadership of our special mission unit forces there.

“Most importantly, of course, he has made enormous contributions in leading the coalition endeavor in Afghanistan over the past year,” Petraeus said. “We now see some areas of progress amidst the tough fight ongoing in Afghanistan. Considerable credit for that must go to Stan McChrystal.”

Good for Petraeus. Maybe McChrystal deserved to be replaced, but his shabby treatment by people who’ve accomplished so little is entirely unbecoming for someone who’s accomplished so much.

Petraeus was bound to have an easier time of it this appearance because his most hostile questioners last time are the ones who are now asking him to save their bacon.

But he has his work cut out for him—by the Taliban in front of him and the administration (supposedly) behind him.

Conditions in Afghanistan have drawn increased scrutiny recently. More than two-thirds of the additional troops Obama ordered into Afghanistan in December are there now, but the momentum of the Taliban has not slowed, and U.S. troop deaths are mounting. In addition, the war – the longest in U.S. history – faces challenges that include problems with Karzai’s government and drug trafficking.

[W]e should never forget that the 9/11 attacks were planned in southern Afghanistan and that the initial training of the attackers was carried out in camps in Afghanistan.”

“Our task in Afghanistan is clear,” he said. “We cannot allow al Qaeda or other transnational extremist elements to once again establish sanctuaries from which they can launch attacks on our homeland or on our allies.”[

I’ve made my position clear: everyone might be deserving of rescue once (whether or not they actually get it); no one is deserving of it twice. We know the lay of the land now, we have drones, satellites, and ICBMs—if the Afghanis can’t keep the hated Taliban out of power, we have more than one way of doing it.

But I admire General Petraeus. I accede to his military expertise, even if I don’t buy into the politics.

But I do like the way he thinks:

“If you can get your teeth into the jugular of the enemy you don’t let go,” he said, adding that the U.S. military and insurgents are in “a test of wills.”

I’m not sure Congress knew what to make of that metaphor. If he had used it in the Bush administration, they would have crucified him.

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Normal For Cambridge

A piece about the alleged Russian spies in Cambridge. There is something wrong with us…

Why are Leftists aloof? Or is it the miserable weather here?

- Aggie

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Recovery Bummer

At least someone got laid in the “Summer of Love” (so I’ve been told).

If we’re not to have a recovery in this so-called “Summer of Recovery”, can we not at least get a little nookie to ease the pain?

Didn’t hurt to ask.

Stocks tumbled Tuesday, with the Dow falling as much as 326 points and the S&P hitting an 8-month low after a big drop in consumer confidence and signs of a bigger slowdown in the global economy.

Investors plowed into the safety of government debt, sending the 10-year note yield below 3% for the first time in 14 months.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 268 points, or 2.7%, after having earlier lost as much as 326 points. The Nasdaq (COMP) composite fell 85 points, or 3.9%.

The S&P 500 (SPX) slid 33 points, or 3.1%, falling to a fresh 2010 low of 1037.51 and its lowest point since November. The 1040.78 level is a key technical indicator market that pros have been watching. Closing below that level could set off a bigger wave of selling over the next few days.

Stocks slipped at the open on global concerns but the selling picked up steam after the release of the Consumer Confidence index for June. Confidence slumped to 52.9 from 62.7 in May, the Conference Board reported, with the decline reflecting worries about the labor market and economic outlook. Confidence was expected to fall to 62, according to economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

Consumers… that’s us, right? You, me, Aggie—we buy stuff. Where did our confidence go? Me, I’ve never been confident in Omoeba’s economy, but I didn’t mean to bum out the rest of you.

Well, okay, I did. But it was still your choice. Maybe we should try to cheer each other up, and help this economy out of its doldrums. Be of good cheer, Carol! Turn that frown upside down, Buck! Uh… just keep doing what you’re doing, Saul, if maybe a little less of it.

While Vice President Biteme (had to use it once) is touting his Recovery Summer, the rest of us are looking toward November, the beginning of the Winter of our Discontent.

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The Company We Keep

Aggie and I were discussing whether President Omoeba’s radical, destructive foreign and domestic policies were intentionally destructive, or just a consequence of the radicalism.

Let me just add this to the discussion:

Have you heard the latest news from the U.N. Human Rights Council — the most exalted body within the most exalted body in all the world? Cuba, as a nation — as a government, rather — has been elected vice president of the council. In celebration, the Cuban government put out a statement:

“The election of Cuba to this important post recognizes the exemplary work of the Cuban Revolution in favor of the human rights of its people and the world. It also shows respect for Cuba’s active and committed work as a founding member of the U.N. Human Rights Council in defense of truth and justice and for its leadership in favor of the noblest causes.”

Bear in mind that Cuba is a one-party dictatorship with a gulag. (Therefore, it’s perfect for the U.N. Human Rights Council.)

Can you stand a little more news? Miguel d’Escoto, the old Sandinista foreign minister, and a classic anti-American and anti-Semite, has just been appointed to the council’s advisory panel. Of course.

And, in this article, Anne Bayefsky tells us this: “With the adoption of yet another resolution critical of Israel, the Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 UN member states combined.”

Our previous president, George W. Bush, thought that the United States should have nothing to do with this council — that it was too disgraceful to join. Too contrary to the U.N.’s founding principles to dignify. His successor, President Obama, immediately had the U.S. join the council. The argument of Team Obama was that the U.S., by its presence, would improve the council.

Why shouldn’t Cuba serve as VP of the Council, and why shouldn’t a jackal like d’Escoto serve as its adviser? The UN is a quasi-Democratic organization, and the majority of its members share ideologies and governing principles entirely in keeping Cuba’s and d’Escoto’s (not to mention their attitude toward human rights). Do the math yourself if you don’t believe me—the African/Islamic bloc, with the addition of the more Marxist nations of the Americas (throw in China and Russia who reflexively vote anti-American), and you’re way over the majority.

And President Obama believes he can persuade them of the righteousness of his views by flowery oratory alone? Then let’s hear some. I don’t hear any.

No, he doesn’t want to change the Human Rights Council. He wants to be part of it.

Again, the choice is that he’s so stupid that he can’t see the ruinous consequences of his left-wing initiatives—which may be, but I doubt it—or he accepts the consequences as an inevitable, even desirable, outcome.

That’s how I see it.

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A-well-a Byrd, Byrd, Byrd, Byrd is the Word

Robert Byrd is dead, and may he rest in peace (hard though that may be for me to write).

As I have resolved not to speak ill of the dead (this time), I will merely speak the truth (contradictory though that may be).

Byrd’s membership in the KKK has been mentioned in his obits, as has well-publicized apology (from 2005—way to get out in front of that):

I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times … and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.

He claimed to have lost interest in the Klan after about a year, which would put his tenure there between the years 1942-43 (’44 at the outside). Lost interest, maybe, but not admiration:

[I]n 1946 or 1947 he wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.”

So he’s a slow learner. You know how long I voted straight Democratic? Twenty-five years. Let he who is without sin…

We won’t dwell on his famous—though not famous enough—letter from 1944:

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Not dwell on, but quote from.

By the time Byrd became a senator, however, representing black people as well as white, surely his beliefs had moderated, right? After all, he was a stalwart of the hard Left by the time of his senescence.

Not quite:

Byrd defeated Republican incumbent W. Chapman Revercomb for the United States Senate in 1958—a campaign in which Revercomb’s record supporting civil rights became an issue which played in Byrd’s favor.

Byrd joined with other Southern and border state Democrats to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he had since said he regretted. Despite an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, both parties in Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Act, and President Johnson signed the bill into law. He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Sen. Robert Byrd in 1964, after a 14 hour, 13 minute speech he gave as part of an unsuccessful filibuster of the Civil Rights Act.

Yeah, I see a lot of regret in his face, don’t you?

We’ll leave aside his “white ni**er” comment as an unfortunate relapse—one for which he issued yet another apology—and note that he received a 100% rating by the NAACP in 2004.

So, do we look on his life as the arc from sin to redemption? Are we quibblers and cavilers being uncharitable?

You go your way and I’ll go mine.

I see a logical connection between his earlier views and his later ones. The Democratic Party went from being the segregation party (a higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to the welfare party seemingly seamlessly. If you think of African Americans the way Byrd (and other segregation Dems) did, you don’t see them as full and equal contributing members of society, at least you don’t right away (he himself said his real come to Jesus moment was 1982 when his grandson died—which I accept and believe).

Even if you stopped hating black people, your feelings toward them would be paternalistic at best, patronizing at worst. You would see all the Great Society programs as the best way (the only way, really) to deal with their endemic poverty, their splintered families, their failing schools. You wouldn’t think they could make it on their own. You’d think of them as wards of the state. And that’s what your welfare policies toward them would reflect.

What have decades of Great Society and War on Poverty wrought? African Americans can ask themselves a version of Reagan’s famous question: are they better off now than they were 45 years ago?

Liberal paternalism may be born out of best intentions or out of low expectations, but what is the difference? I’m a recovering liberal, and I can’t answer that.

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We’re All Gonna Die!

Yes, we are. Eventually.

Global Warming could make Humans EXTINCT within 50 years
Kill mechanisms list

Global Warming could make the human race EXTINCT. The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. Shifting winds and warmer oceans have already created a weird moving checkerboard of drought and flood that has interfered with agriculture here and elsewhere.

The extra heat has caused heat related deaths already.

The book “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas says: “If the global warming is 6 degrees centigrade, we humans go extinct.” The book lists several kill mechanisms, the most important being famine and methane fuel-air explosions. Other mechanisms include fire storms.

Fifty years, huh? We could have a good, long party before then.

- Aggie

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Physicians for Hating on Israel

Another day, another human rights group slandering Israel (yawn…):

Muhammad Abu Mustafa, a 52-year-old Gaza resident, suffers from a spinal disc herniation, which results in pain along his arm and numbness. Israel refuses to let him leave the Strip for a medical procedure in Jerusalem. His case is one of the examples included in a report authored by several organizations, which are accusing Israel of preventing medical treatment.

“He has 10 children and his life has turned into hell. He can’t sleep at night and all the pain killers he received no longer help,” his brother-in-law, Abed Rabbo Abu Mustafa, told Ynet.

Abu Mustafa was directed to the St. Joseph Hospital in east Jerusalem, and was turned down with the claim that his condition was not life-threatening.

The Adalah organization, Physicians for Human Rights and Palestinian human rights group al-Mizan, published a joint statement accusing Israel of “implementing a consistent policy of distinguishing between life-threatening medical cases and other medical cases, as a basis for preventing patients from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.”

According to Adalah and the Gaza-based al-Mizan group, restricting the treatment for people who are not in a life-threatening condition is against medical ethical rules and international law. The organizations said they reached this conclusion based on an analysis of the cases in which Israel turned down appeals from Gazan patients to leave the Strip for medical treatment.

So, wait.

Does international law require all sick people in the world be allowed to go to Jerusalem and only Jerusalem? Why aren’t New York or Boston singled out? Why not Cairo? I believe Mr. Mustafa is sick, but I don’t see how he automatically becomes the responsibility of Jerusalem. I know Egypt has doctors, and the Rafah crossing is wide open at last report.

Israel disputes the report:

“The report is biased and was written without giving Israel the right to respond. In 2009, the coordinator of the government’s activities in the territories and the Coordination and Liaison Authority in Gaza coordinated the departure of more than 9,000 Palestinian patients and their escorts from Gaza to receive military treatment in Israel.

“We regret the organization’s decision to publish these reports in a consistent and biased manner without cooperating and coordinating with Israeli elements.”

You don’t believe him? Welcome to COGAT:

Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 13-19 June 2010 … 329 Gaza residents (patients and their companions) entered Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.

Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: 6-12 June 2010 … 383 Gaza residents (patients and their companions) entered Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.

Monthly summary for May 2010 … 1,777 permits were issued for medical cases – 890 patients and 887 companions, to receive treatment in Israel, the West Bank and overseas.

Monthly summary, April 2010 … 1,519 permits were issued for medical cases – 722 patients and 797 companions – to receive treatment in Israel, the West Bank and overseas.

So, I’m sorry for Mr. Mustafa, and hope he gets more treatment than Advil. But he might have to take a number because there are as many as 20,000 ahead of him (1,600 per month).

PS: Is it uncharitable of me to observe that if the Palestinians had put as much energy into saving their own lives as they did into taking Israeli lives, they’d have cured cancer, baldness, halitosis, and ingrown toenails by now?

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Homeland Security And Hamas

Son of Hamas leader, turned Christian and working with Israel, fighting deportation

We’ve written about this before, but the hearing is tomorrow morning in San Diego. Mr. Yousef is inviting the public to the hearing.

Mosab Hassan Yousef says he will be killed if he is deported from the United States to the West Bank. The oldest son of one of Hamas’ founders, he was an Israeli spy for a decade, and he abandoned Islam for Christianity, further marking him a traitor.

He is scheduled to plead his case Wednesday to an immigration judge in San Diego, four months after publishing memoirs that say he was one of the Shin Bet security agency’s best assets and was dubbed The Green Prince, a reference to his Hamas pedigree and the Islamists’ signature green color.

Yousef’s case seems straightforward: Helping Israel find and kill members of the militant group would make him a marked man back home. Nearly two dozen members of Congress wrote Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano this week that Yousef would be in ”grave danger” in the Middle East. Former CIA Director James Woolsey says his deportation would discourage other potential spies.

”It is not an exaggeration to say that such an action would set us back years in the war on terrorism,” Woolsey wrote in a letter released by Yousef’s attorney. ”Mosab’s deportation would be such an inhumane act it would constitute a blight on American history.”

‘Ya Think?

But the Department of Homeland Security isn’t convinced and wants him gone, calling him ”a danger to the security of the United States” who has ”engaged in terrorist activity.”

Yousef, 34, settled in Southern California after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles with a tourist visa in January 2007. He remains free while his application for asylum is considered.

”Exposing terrorist secrets and warning the world in my first book cost me everything. I am a traitor to my people, disowned by my family, a man without a country. And now the country I came to for sanctuary is turning its back,” he wrote on his blog last month.

Asylum applicants can close their hearings to the public, but Yousef welcomes the publicity. He urges supporters to contact the Homeland Security attorney assigned to his case and invites anyone in the San Diego area to attend the hearing.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency within Homeland Security that is arguing the government’s case, declined to comment, saying in a statement that it ”respects the privacy of all individuals involved in the immigration litigation process.”

Personally, I trust the judgment of the former director of the CIA, James Woolsey more than that of Janet Napolitano. That’s a no-brainer. If we deport him, he will be executed by Hamas and we will polish our reputation as appeasers who cannot be trusted.

- Aggie

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Iran Will Acquire Nuclear Weapons On Obama’s Watch

CIA renounces their own report

Give Leon Panetta points for candor. The CIA director has offered the frankest assessment to date from the U.S. intelligence community about Iran’s nuclear progress and America’s plans to stop Tehran from acquiring the bomb.

Appearing on ABC’s Sunday show “This Week,” Mr. Panetta buried for good the discredited and politically motivated 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which claimed that Iran halted work on nuclear weapons in 2003. Now the agency, which helped put together that report, believes the Iranians are close to acquiring multiple bombs.

“We think they have enough low-enriched uranium right now for two weapons,” Mr. Panetta said. “They do have to enrich it, fully, in order to get there. And we would estimate that if they made that decision, it would probably take a year to get there, probably another year to develop the kind of weapon delivery system in order to make that viable.” He said Iran also continues to develop missiles and warheads.

So much for the unclenched fist.

The Obama Administration spent its first year extending a hand to Tehran. Rebuffed, this spring Washington went to its weapon of apparent last resort, sanctions. The U.N. Security Council adopted a set of weak sanctions this month, and the U.S. and Europe have followed with others of their own. Cue Mr. Panetta: “I think the sanctions will have some impact. . . . It could help weaken the regime. It could create some serious economic problems. Will it deter them from their ambitions with regards to nuclear capability? Probably not.”

So the U.S. now thinks Iran stands barely two years from an atomic bomb that could target Israel, Europe and beyond, and sanctions “probably” won’t stop it. No wonder the world—and not least Tehran—is concluding that the real Obama Administration policy is to learn to live with the inevitability of an Iranian bomb.

Obama will own this. If they use their nuclear weapons, that will be his legacy. Even if they have them and don’t use them, the threat will create chaos and misery. That is price of weakness and naivete.

- Aggie

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Mr. President, Whose Side Are You On?

A perfect example of why the Republican Party is a better home for American Jews in 2010 than the Democrat Party. The past is past; Truman is dead. Ditto Scoop Jackson. The modern democrat politician is just not that into you.

- Aggie

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