8.2 % GDP GROWTH IN A 10 TRILLION DOLLAR ECONOMY
Good news for America. Via Drudge
ISRAEL THREATENS TO DESTROY IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Via Milt's File
, which is becoming a daily read for me much like I enjoy Dr. Rosenberg's radio program at WGN Extension720.
Evidently, Israel is pressing the IAEA
to implement a genuinely tough inspections regime in Iran and not the window dressing version that prevailed under Hans Blix that allowed Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Il to press forward with their respective nuclear bomb programs.
BUSH ADMINISTRATION PUSHES SHEVARDNADZE OUT OF POWER IN GEORGIA
USA TODAY is reporting that Secretary of state Colin Powell was instrumental in convincing Georgian president and former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze to resign
rather than use force to confront opposition protests. Shevardnadze had come to power after the democratic but increasingly paranoid regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Apparently this was a an application of joint Russian-American pressure on Shevardnadze, a sign that the United states and Russia have moved closer on foreign policy questions as Putin has consolidated power in his own hands and is no longer vulnerable to internal criticism on his political right.
That mass bloodshed was avoided in Georgia is positive but the administration needs to follow up by putting out diplomatic pressure for democratic and anti-corruption reforms in the Caucasian republic lest Trans-Caucasia become the new bananna republics of Eurasia.
Analytical article from CACI
I WAS GOING TO POST ON ISLAMISM, THE EU AND LEE KUAN YEW
But Geitner Simmons
beat me to the punch. Read him instead.
NOT A VERY GOOD WEEK FOR IRAN'S MULLAHS
First they were forced to issue a most likely false denial on harboring the world's most wanted master terrorist after Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah's sometime operational chief Imad Mughniyah
. Then the UN moved to condemn
Iran's human rights record. Lastly, the Europeans, whom the Khameini-Rafsanjani hardline clique need to appease in order to stall investigations that might lead to sanctions for Iran's illegal nuclear programs, have moved one step closer
to the Bush administration position in an IAEA compromise.
THE FUTURE OF ANY STATE IS THE EDUCATION OF ITS YOUTH
I realize things have been quiet in terms of posting lately but one reason for the dearth was that I was attending a seminar with a premier educational theorist and consultant, Dr. Roger Taylor. I left thoroughly impressed
with his ability to synthesize and aggregate a number of research proven methods with a very rich degree of content depth - E.D. Hirsch
or William Bennett would have nothing to complain about in looking at Dr. Taylor's system yet paradoxically neither would an academic on the other end of the spectrum like Howard Gardner
Now educational consultants are a dime a dozen - heck, I've been an educational consultant on more than one occasion - and the fact that city school districts or state boards of education have hired Taylor alone doesn't mean his system is valid. Nor does the interest of the Gates foundation or McDonald's corporation in funding his pilot projects justify my recommendation to you to go check out his website
and view his sample programs. Here's what impressed me - he walks the walk.
* Roger Taylor has taught in an inner city Chicago High School for the last 18 years- for free
* 100 % of his students are classified as Title I. Most are eligible for free breakfast and lunch - meaning that many are quite poor. Some are orphaned, technically homeless or in group homes.
* 88 % percent of Taylor's students this year - the same students who we hear are unteachable, distracted, lost, at-Risk - passed the prestigious and very tough AP exams. Some will go on to the nation's finest universities in the fall.
This pass rate is, by the way, a national record.
Dr. Taylor has refused to sell his website or program to commercial entities even for an offer in the seven figures, opting instead to remain a nonprofit and pursue the grant funding required to eventually be able to give away his materials to any school who desires them for free.
HISTORIANS DISCUSS " WHAT IF JFK HAD NOT BEEN ASSASSINATED ? "
KENNEDY ASSASSINATION QUOTATION
From Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes
by Micheal R. Beschloss
" SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1963
LBJ: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September ?
J. EDGARHOOVER: No, that's one angle that's very confusing, for this reason- we have here on tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In, other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the embassy down there...
Beschloss footnote 2: A CIA memo written that day reported that Oswald had visited mexico City in September and talked to a Soviet vice Consul whom the CIA knew as an expert in assassination and sabotage. The memo warned that if Oswald had indeed been part of a foreign conspiracy, he might be killed before he could reveal it to U.S. authorities ( National Archives).
AYATOLLAHS WITH LASERS
SOMEONE ATE MY BLOGROLL
My apologies to my links - something either went wrong at Blogroll or some clown hacker replaced my links with one random blog. Evidently it's happening elsewhere too. I'm fixing the problem at present and maybe adding a few new sites today and this evening
Update: Blogroll Reports Hacking
"Blogrolling has been the victim off a malicious hack in the past 9 hours. The blogroll links have been restored from an offsite backup from Saturday. I'm tracing the cause off this now and the site may go offline at some point today while I make changes and collect evidence. All new links since Saturday afternoon have unfortunately been lost due to this. I'll post more here as I know it.
Posted on 8:31 AM by Jason "
A GREAT OVERVIEW OF ISLAMISM AND TERRORISM
sent to me courtesy of JB at Riting on the Wall
. The author David Zeidan does a nice job of surveying the ideological evolution and flavors of these various Islamist groups and I can say I learned about some more obscure figures known mostly to Middle Eastern area specialists and counter-terrorism experts.
On the other hand, to use a Marxist phrase, I'm still of a position that for all the religiousity of their ideological roots that in the " last analysis " these Islamists are political totalitarians with operational/structural similarities to the secular movements of the 20th century, especially fascism though in tactical terms resemblences to Communist organizations can be seen as well. The cross-over point between religious and political zeal would seem to my mind to be the point where the Islamist leaves behind the phase of " separation " Zeidan discusses to an actively violent political program of Jihad. At this point the secular aspects of Jihad - military, political and terrorist- overshadow all other religious values and Quranic considerations. Power becomes the determining factor, what advances the cause, not what is the Islamic thing to do.
is running an article on the same topic
MEMO LEAK UPDATE
As readers of Calpundit
may be aware, the Defense Department put out a news release
condemning the recent Feith memo leak to the Weekly Standard.
I'm sorry Kevin, the antiwar battlecry has been " no relation between al Qaida and Saddam " and the raw data shows such contacts and cooperation on an irregular basis at a minimum between Iraq and al Qaida. Now Iraq probably also had contacts with Hamas, Hezbollah, the PKK, Ansar al Islam, various PLO factions and groups with no obvious Middle-Eastern connection. Rogue states and terrorist groups engage in all kinds of interactions amongst themselves without being formally allied - case in point IRA members in Colombia
teaching FARC to build car bombs
. It would be wrong to conclude that contacts between Iraq and al Qaida made Saddam a major player in 9/11 or even a key consideration for Osama bin Laden in setting al Qaida policy. It was to the extent that ties existed, a relationship of convenience between a rogue state and a non-state actor that was unwilling to put itself under Iraqi control the way Abu Nidal Organization once did ( to the ultimate cost of Abu Nidal)
HONEYPOTS FOR TERRORISTS
Link courtesy of Cryptome
SADDAM AND AL QAIDA HAD DIRECT AND ONGOING TIES FOR A DECADE
Memo leak from the Senate investigation of pre-war intelligence courtesy of the Weekly Standard.
This would tend to confirm the reportage in the recent book _Losing Bin Laden_
by Richard Miniter that featured in depth interviews with high ranking former Clinton Administration officials. It also supports the thesis of an anti-American tactical alliance between Saddam's Baathist regime and al Qaida made by Yossef Bodansky in his earlier book _Bin Laden_.
Should this memo withstand greater public scrutiny - and the Bush administration would be foolish not to shout this from the rooftops if it is as good as it seems to be - one of the major antiwar arguments that Iraq had little or nothing to do with al Qaida has just been blown all to hell.
AL QAIDA AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION - A REFERENCE CHART WITH SOURCES AND CITATIONS
Useful for any blogosphere terrorism debate
NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION WORLD MAP
Just the briefest of overviews and while it is from Carnegie they must be using the official statistics for defense budgets rather than best estimates in real terms. It is a handy reference however.
GROWING SUPPORT FOR A NUCLEAR JAPAN
An unprecedented 20 % of the members of the Japanese Diet now support arming Japan with nuclear weapons
. Formerly such a position would have been regarded as the political kiss of death in Japan which has seen ministers resign over public comments expressing nationalist or militarist sentiment. This sea change in Japanese opinion is a direct result of North Korea's aggressive nuclear stance and particularly, the test firing of North Korea's Taepodong missile over Japanese airspace. China in turn, has been moved by the spectre of Japanese rearmament from passive support of Pyongyang to active diplomatic alignment with the Bush administration demand for a nuclear-free Korean penninsula as an end result of negotiations. Excerpt:
"Nearly 20 percent of Japan’s lower house of parliament believe that Tokyo should consider becoming a nuclear weapons state if international developments push the country in that direction, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Aug. 22).
Japan is the only country to have been struck with nuclear weapons and the subject has traditionally been taboo. As North Korea has developed its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, however, Japanese lawmakers have become more open to the idea of possessing a nuclear capability, according to AP.
The Mainichi newspaper conducted the poll before Sunday’s elections, and 83 out of 480 lawmakers said they were in favor of considering the idea.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi does not favor considering nuclear weapons and has said that he has no intention of altering Tokyo’s long-standing opposition to the idea. Of the 83 lawmakers, however, 63 were from Koizumi’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party."
FRENCH PUSH FOR UNION WITH GERMANY
In a continuation of French policy to amass influence by leveraging the political and economic might of other states and promote regulatory Euro-statism as an alternative model to " Anglo-American " capitalism, the French are pushing for direct political union with Germany
This is a high risk gambit for the French as it risks reawakening slumbering nationalist passions in both France and Germany;the latter of which is still recovering from reunification with East Germany while France saw proto-Fascist candidate Jean Marie LePen come in second in the last presidential election on the strength of an anti-EU vote. If successful however, such a merger would recreate a state that harkens backward to the brief empire of Charlemagne that once encompassed France, Germany, the low countries and northern Italy. Such a continental behemoth might prove too much for the British to stomach who have sought to play a moderating, balancing role in the EU vis-a-vis the more statist and anti-American Frenco-German position.
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF WHY ISLAMISM IS NOT THE SAME THING AS ISLAM
Perhaps some of the young, allegedly pious, barbarians in the Mideast will put away their Osama t-shirts ( but I'm not holding my breath)Go here.
Islamism is a movement of political totalitarianism,fascism, anti-semitism and anti-Americanism in religious dress but it is not authentically religious in nature. Perhaps this explains the sympathetic tolerance for Islamism by Euro-intellectual leftists.
SHADES OF UNESCO
A host of corrupt, poorly governed and illiberal third world states are loudly demanding that the internet - a creation of the genius of American scientists that has expanded across the globe mostly through the effort of private individuals - be controlled by the UN as a " public resource ".
A degree of socialistic hubris that appears to be too much even for the French to stomach.
Let's be honest - these third world kleptocrats and theo-fascists want UN control over the internet to keep their own people ignorant, malleable, powerless and poor while establishing opportunities to line their own pockets at the expense of the West. The good news is they are without any ability to garner such a concession without the United States stupidly giving it to them ( expect to read in a few years some knucklehead from State explaining off-record to the New York Times why we have to cave on this issue in order to secure the good opinion of some political boss in a Brazilian backwater or a fulminating imam in a Yemeni mosque ).
If ever there was a task for John Bolton to come out and scandalize elite beltway opinion with an " in your face " rejection this is it.
IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO HAVE MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE - VETERAN'S DAY 2003
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart! 5
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck, 15
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
PUTIN CENTRALIZES ALL RUSSIAN MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICES UNDER ONE TOP AIDE
In a stunning consolidation of personal power Russian President Vladmir Putin named the Chief of Staff of Russia's Armed Forces the head of all the component intelligence services that spun off from the KGB.
giving the Putin more direct control over the military-security apparatus of any leader since Joseph Stalin. This would place Chief of Staff Army General Anatoly Kvashnin as Putin's right-hand man and likeliest successor.
This bureaucratic move is also a considerable rebuke to the hierarchy of the Russian security services who have never been placed in such a humiliating position of being answerable to an Army general, even after Stalin's death when Beria was secretly executed and the all-powerful NKVD ministry demoted to a mere " state committee " ( KGB).
HITLER AND HYPNOSIS
I came across this bizarre story in the online edition of Pravda - an assertion that Adolf Hitler was treated with hypnosis and autosuggestion
to cure hysterical blindness after being injured in a WWI gas attack. If this is true it's news to me but it fits with Hitler's tediously repetitive mental framework and fixed ideas regarding will. I'm skeptical but curious.
ON MESSAGE: TELLING THEM WHAT THEY FEAR TO HEAR
The Meme we need to keep repeating
HOWARD DEAN AND "DUMB TRIANGULATION"
Howard Dean is more Bill Clinton than all the other Democratic candidates but he’s no Bill Clinton as his recent foray into triangulation over disaffected Southern white males with confederate flags on their pick-up trucks demonstrated. Prometheus6
had a very interesting and influential initial reaction (follow-up here
) to Dean’s comments, as did columnist Clarence Page
. Here are P6's original comments in toto:
"I have been asked my opinion of Howard Dean's 'guys with Confederate Flags in pickup trucks' comment. I haven't blogged about it, but I do have several not necessarily connected opinions.
I don't think it goes over too well with those guys because it sounded a bit pejorative to me.
I don't think it goes over well in the Black communities because it sounds like support for declared enemies.
I think it clearly and precisely identified a specific population that Democrats need to address. I think "disaffected Southerners" identifies them almost as well and is far less open to reproach.
What I personally think of Dean going forward will be greatly influenced by how he sets about attracting this demographic. I think they recognize themselves as a demographic and so SHOULD be specifically addressed. But if he excuses racism in any way, even implied, he goes into the same bucket with Nixon. There's a great number of issues of concern to disaffected Southerners that can be addressed constructively, that will benefit people across the board.
Black folks must always promote their agenda such that all people are included in the pool of beneficiaries. A similar approach should be taken with all appeals to disaffected Southerners.
shows some good analytical thinking by dubbing the remarks to be part of a Southern Counter-strategy. They probably were – my view however is that in execution, Dean accomplished “ Dumb Triangulation ” as opposed to the“ Smart Triangulation” pioneered by Dick Morris
and Bill Clinton.
Dean is correct that the Democratic Party needs to appeal to disaffected Southern white men. A swing of about 5 % of these voters in 2000 would have given Al Gore the election so there’s not a huge number of these people that Dean needs to attract in a general election contest. This demographic shares class interests with the Democrats but are at odds with the party culturally, not merely because of “ God, Gays, Guns and Race” but partially as a result of the steady message of contempt and hostility directed at non-liberal, white Southern men group by urban, multicultural, liberal elites. Prometheus6 is absolutely correct when he notes that the resonance of the Confederate Flag issue cuts both ways – people are disinclined to cuddle up to those who appear to be gratuitously spitting in their face. There’s no way for a Democrat to finesse the Confederate flag issue without alienating an important constituency.
Dean’s attempt at triangulating was “ dumb” because his direct approach invoking the potent symbol of the Stars and Bars was inevitably going to reinforce all the negative impressions that white Southern men have about the Democratic Party. Predictably, Dean’s opponents erupted in outrage. Dean’s remark allowed Al Sharpton, whose own record of rancid race-baiting, vicious slander and inciting riots should get him laughed off the stage at any respectable gathering, to appear statesmanlike
. In short, the other candidates were able to wrap themselves in the Democratic Party’s greatest moral strength- commitment to racial equality – in a symbolic moment that reinforced to Southern white males that the Democrats see them as some kind of class enemy. Dean’s subsequent retreat in the face of liberal criticism
then confirmed to white Southern men that Dean is unable to stand up to the folks who loathe them. All that this exercise accomplished was to damage Dean among the Democratic base while signaling to the group he is trying to woo that he’s weak in the clutch.
Contrast this with Bill Clinton’s “ smart triangulation ” in 1992 – smart triangulation is indirect because it’s about reassurance not appeasement or pandering. Clinton famously attacked an untalented bigot and rap artist “ Sister Souljah ”
for her anti-white hatred in the presence of the then kingmaker of the Democratic Party, Jesse Jackson, who was to say the least, not pleased. At the time, it was common for white Democrats to go into verbal contortions to avoid expressing criticism of a member of a minority group, no matter how morally outrageous the behavior that might be involved. Sister Souljah was an excellent foil for Clinton because her attitudes and views were more or less so indefensible as to be a “ straw man” on the issues of race relations. However, Southern whites took note that Clinton was not Micheal Dukakis or Walter Mondale and he was not going to knuckle under to politically counterproductive demands from Rev. Jackson or pretend that racist ranting from black crackpots was morally different from that of white ones. Indirect but very effective because it merged the outreach to disaffected Southern whites with the Democratic Party’s positive strengths by applying principles equally.
Never is a Party more at sea then during the political interregnum between its last dominating political master and the rise of the next. 2004 may be a rough year for the Democrats.
WAPO ON WOLFOWITZ
A surprisingly positive piece
A TERROR STRATEGY FOR DEMOCRATS ?
Put together by the Progressive Policy Institute
it stands well to the right of the current crop of Democratic primary candidates with the exception of Joe Lieberman and as such will probably be ignored. On the other hand, " Liberal hawks " and bloggers like Kevin Drum
might find this paper to be something they can hang their foreign policy hat on.
AMERICAN -KYRGYZ COOPERATION IN TERROR WAR
An analytical article from the Central Asia -Caucasus Institute
" YOU WILL BE PUNISHED FOR THIS PRIZE"
Islamists threaten Nobel Peace Prize winner with death
DEMOCRATS DOCUMENT PLAN TO SABOTAGE SENATE INVESTIGATION OF PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE FOR POLITICAL ADVANTAGE
This is a leak that's going to hurt
the ongoing meme campaign by Democrats to spin the overthrow of Saddam's regime in Iraq into a defeat for the United States.
The damning nature of the memo is obvious from the fact that the ranking committee member, Senator Jay Rockefeller, felt compelled to acknowledge the memo's autheticity even as he tried to palm it off as an unauthorized exercise of a junior staffer ( a fairlly ludicrous assertion since junior aides do not map out high political strategy for the Senate Democratic caucus). I'll give Rockefeller one thing though - whomever put this to paper was a damn fool. The late Chicago columnist Mike Royko used to observe the old rule among alderman - " Don't write down what you can say, don't speak when you can nod, don't nod when you can wink "
Hmmm.... lying lies and the liars who tell them ?
JUST ADDED THIS TO MY " WILL BUY SOON " BOOK LIST
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
has a new book out on Libertarianism and Dialectics
As someone who has read extensively both Ayn Rand's works and in the fields of Russian and Soviet history, I was favorably impressed with Sciabarra's last book Ayn Rand The Russian Radical
so I'm looking forward to this new tome.
ENDORSING THE ACADEMIC BILL OF RIGHTS
Affirmative action for conservative would-be profs ? No. A procedural check on the rampant PC politicization of hiring, tenure, free speech, teaching, student discipline and employee relations at our nation's universities. I've been watching events like those here
for at least a decade, long enough to conclude that this Left-wing harrassment and censorship of opposing viewpoints is systemic in our nation's universities. Not that we should be surprised really - when you fill an educational bureaucracy with folks who adhere to socialist ( not liberal) authoritarian ideas you can expect that they will act on those inclinations wherever academic administrivia allows them to execute petty power plays.
Universities exist to allow unrestricted inquiry into ideas - it's time to help the nation's college administrators recall their raison d'etre and get out of the business of policing attitudes.
DOES THE IRAQI RESISTANCE HAVE A RAIL GUN ?
American forces are bewildered by the odd attack that managed to incapacitate an Abrams tank
that left characteristics unlike the standard Soviet model RPG. One possibility, given the single shot nature of the attack and the high heat of the projectile ( unknown metal at present) that Iraqi forces might have been employing a rail gun prototype weapon
RSS FEED UP AND RUNNING
This may be a blogging land-speed record for me. All praise due Mithras
for lighting a fire under my butt.
CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS #4
Is up and running. Check it out.
MITHRAS BLOGS ON RSS FEEDS
I really have to go get one of those
set up. Longtime readers of course recall that getting a blogroll started here took me about six months.
Technical housekeeping is not my specialty but the RSS feed seems to be a soon to be " must have " for serious bloggers.
IRAN - DUPLICITY OR DIPLOMACY ?
Iran's complex internal political dynamic which is entirely unlike Iraq under Saddam's personalized totalitarian regime, makes it difficult to assess the extent to which any constructive move on nuclear issues or terrorism indicates sincerity or a simple concession by the hardliners to play for time until they can regain undisputed authority over moderate reformist Islamists and pro-democracy activists.
Two articles posted on Iranexpert.com exemply this dichotomy. The first is a a story regarding al Qaida suspect extraditions from Iran
to third countries and the second is a hardline threat to renege on Iran's nuclear concessions to the IAEA.
, something that hardliners bitterly had opposed and only agreed to after the EU foregn ministers visit on the eve of the October 31 deadline.
" RIGHT-WING DEVIATIONIST ! "
An example of the hypersensitive and rigid demand for liberal ideological purity
that will ( happily in my view ) cost the Democrats the 2004 election.
Does anyone out there, who is not a wingnut of some kind, really think Dean was advocating courting anyone beyond working class and blue-collar white guys in the South who are constantly demonized by the upper-middle class, went to the
" best schools ", race and gender Taliban wing of the Democratic Party ?
Cultural snobbery and ideological zealotry is a poor mix for a mainstream party.
TERROR CELLS FROM EUROPE TO CENTRAL ASIA
An article by Joseph Farrah
LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM ABOUT THE ECONOMY
This link was pointed out by Donald Sensing
. The Economic record of the Bush administration has been grossly misrepresented
by the Democrats, courtesy of Hobbsonline
and USA Today.