Thursday, August 13, 2009
Why U.S. Diplomacy Will Fail With Iran
The Ayatollah Khameini needs anti-Americanism. He won't let Obama take it away
Long before his inauguration, Barack Obama lucidly explained how he would deal with Iran. During the campaign he said he would "engage" its leaders by offering talks without preconditions—without even asking them to stop chanting "death to America" when concluding their speeches...
There was only one more step before "engagement" could begin: Mr. Obama's June 4 Cairo speech in which he apologized for the August 1953 overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. "In the middle of the Cold War," he said, "the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government." The CIA was certainly involved, but the cringing was quite unnecessary. By August 1953 Mosaddeq had dismissed Iran's parliament and was ruling undemocratically by personal decree. When angry mobs converged on his residence, he fled to a U.S. aid office next door trusting that the Americans would save his life. They did.
As it happened, Mr. Obama's apology and his offer of unconditional talks backfired. With Iran's presidential selection of June 12 coming up, the all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had his opportunity to replace the thoroughly unpresentable, loudly extremist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a more plausible negotiating partner for Mr. Obama... Evidently, Mr. Khamenei rejected the option of choosing a moderate. Instead he awarded Ahmadinejad a "divine" win with wildly improbable majorities—even in the home towns of his rivals.
Mr. Obama's problem is that Mr. Khamenei could only have chosen Ahmadinejad because he does not want friendly talks with the U.S. He evidently calculates that without the ideology of "anti-Americanism" the regime would collapse. He is right.
Certainly religious support cannot be enough anymore. Too many high-ranking clerics, including Grand Ayatollahs Hosssein Ali Montazeri and Yusef Saanei, now publicly oppose the regime. Nor can Persian nationalism serve as the prop: Its chief target is the despised Arabs, which is problematic, as the regime keeps trying to be more Arab than the Arabs in its hostility to Israel. Yet this hostility is itself a problem internally because the regime's generous funding of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad is extremely unpopular in Iran. Only anti-Americanism is left, and Mr. Khamenei will not let Mr. Obama take it away.
Israeli Merkava IV tank to be equipped with active protection system
Israel is ahead of America in military technology but U.S. defence chiefs are too proud to just buy it
After a series of successful tests, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that it will equip their Merkava IV main battle tanks (MBTs) with the Trophy anti-missile system. UPI reported yesterday, that Israeli army chiefs have been pushing for the system since 22 Merkavas were damaged by Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles during the war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006.
Designed to supplement the armor of both light and heavy armored fighting vehicles, the active protection system (APS) was collaborative developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority and Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group. The system combines a 360 degree radar to detect incoming ATGMs and rocket-propelled grenades with a computer system that directs launchers that fire a cloud of metal projectiles in the manner of a shotgun blast. Israeli defense officials told the Jerusalem Post that Trophy had intercepted all the incoming missiles in last week's tests.
The Pentagon tested Trophy in March 2006. One of the testers told NBC that it "worked in every case. … According to our test criteria the system was 30 for 30." The U.S.-based Institute for Defense Analyses has compared 15 active protection anti-missile systems and ranked Trophy at the top.
The system adds about a ton to a tank's weight and costs about $350,000 per vehicle, UPI reported. It can operate from both a stationary and a moving tank and can engage several threats at the same time.
It is currently installed on several tanks in the 401st Armored Brigade and will equip a full armored battalion by 2010. In addition it will be installed on all new Merkava IVs as part of the production line by the end of the year.
Several foreign military representatives were present at last week's tests, according to the Jerusalem Post. Rafael believes it has good prospects of selling the system to other militaries. The U.S. Department of Defense has a contract with Raytheon to develop an equivalent active protection system, known as Quick Kill. A prototype is supposed to be ready this year for installation on current armored vehicles. The U.S. Army resisted proposals to battle test the Trophy system in Iraq in 2007.
Recycling the contempt
By Wesley Pruden
Recycling is so popular that even our congressmen, unaccustomed as they are to practicing what they preach, do it. They're reaching back into the dark past to recycle contempt. Never waste a crisis, even if you have to manufacture the crisis.
Democrats from the cosseted life in the House and Senate, accustomed to getting the deference at home so often denied in Washington, are suddenly having to deal with inconvenient old folks at home. President Obama insists that the War on Terror is over, ended by his ultimate weapon, the Apology Bomb. But to listen to delicate congressmen whose feelings are hurt, al Qaeda has merely moved terror operations to their congressional districts.
Angry lynch mobs (to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her sidekick Steny Hoyer tell it) of elderly gents on walking sticks and little blue-haired ladies in their 80s have descended on congressmen at town meetings across the country - in California, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia and other places. They're taking out their anger and frustration at the Obama health care "reform" in the robust American way, but Mrs. Pelosi professes to see "reform" adrift on a turbulent sea of Nazi swastikas. Rep. Brian Baird of Washington sees a blur of Brown Shirts. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas calls the dissenters "un-American." She later remembered where she was and said she didn't mean to call them that. Her contempt for Arkansas folks just popped out. In Georgia, Rep. David Scott tried to calm a town meeting with a plea to "calm down and take a deep breath," then took a deep breath and scolded everyone with a hysterical screed about the "hijacking" of his meeting.
Rep. Steve Cohen treated his Memphis constituents with similar contempt: "Take two aspirin and come back in the morning." Rep. Russ Carnahan told livid St. Louis constituents, naive yokels in his view, that they had been "mobilized [by] special interests in Washington."
The frightened Democratic reaction to robust debate - "the conversation" that "progressives" are so eager to have with those who disagree with them - recycles the insults and epithets last heard in confrontations over civil rights and the war in Vietnam. The protests are "organized," the work of "outside agitators." Martin Luther King, by Democratic reckoning, was an outside agitator. The marches against the Vietnam war were marvels of organization, true, but ... umm, well ... that was different. Mr. Obama should recognize outside agitation when he sees it, given his career in outside agitation in Chicago. He was taught by Saul Alinsky, "the father of American radicalism," that the left-wing strategy for achieving an unpopular goal is to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
We're almost there. The Democrats are trying to impose rationed government health care (the target) quickly, before the public wakes up from entertaining distractions (the freeze), making villains of all who oppose (personalizing it) and creating a chaotic controversy (polarizing it) that can be effectively exploited. Mr. Obama once taught Saul Alinsky workshops in Chicago, so he was ready when he thought he heard opportunity knocking.
But the president and his congressional accomplices forgot that timing is everything. The public-opinion polls show that bare majorities think there's a health care crisis, but bigger majorities are satisfied with their own coverage. The majority can smell government medicine and the confiscatory taxes on the way. The president further miscalculated when he agreed to the insertion of a scheme, hidden in the thousand pages of the House legislation, to "offer" counseling to the aged about how they want to die. Nothing there about the "how" and "when." That comes later.
When he confronts mortality, a man is suspicious of boodlers with smooth tongues. Roger Fakes, 70, a retired businessman, showed up at the Memphis "town hall" in neither Brown Shirt nor swastika (he's actually a Presbyterian elder). His congressman's insistence that Obamacare would not disturb his private insurance moved him to his feet with polite but pointed questions and observations: "There are some of us old gray-haired folks who don't want the government involved in any of our business." And not just the gray-haired folks. Congressmen are learning the hard way they sometimes have to listen, like it or not.
ALG Finds Details on "Right-Wing" Threat Assessment: "Americans for Limited Government, which is the parent group of NetRight Nation, had it's Research Department do some digging on the right-wing threat assessment released from the Homeland Security Department. What they turned up was very interesting. The sources for the potential threats were actually from websites as well as some blogs. Essentially, this Homeland Security threat assessment was not based on any intelligence but on what someone found in doing some Google searches"
Soaring deficit may defy forecasts: "Stagnant unemployment, shrinking tax revenue and a struggling economy threaten to quadruple the size of last year's federal budget deficit, raising more questions about the timing of costly proposals to overhaul health care. As the White House and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepare to release new deficit estimates this month, several economists say the news is likely to be as bad as or worse than forecasts".
GA: Swastika painted outside Congressman’s office: “The debate over health care took an ugly turn Tuesday morning after a swastika was found painted outside of Congressman David Scott’s Smyrna office. The incident follows national coverage of Scott’s encounter with a citizen opposed to heath care reform at a recent town hall in Douglasville. That forum’s topic was not health care, but reconstruction of Ga. 92. Since then the 13th district representative’s two local offices have been flooded with angry phone calls, faxes and e-mails.”
Foreclosure levels unlikely to fall: “Why have efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce foreclosures had so little impact? In response to this embarrassment, the Obama administration has called the largest mortgage servicers to Washington, and Congress has held at least three hearings over the last few weeks. Undoubtedly, pressure will be applied to the lenders to do more. However, these efforts will largely be fruitless until the administration recognizes the true driving forces behind mortgage foreclosures.”
The truth about town hall meetings: "“Yesterday, the Obama administration distanced itself from some of the more outrageous comments made by congressional Democrats, including one made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) which labeled some critics of a government takeover of health care as ’simply un-American.’ Speaker Pelosi was specifically referring to those opponents who have been attending health care congressional town hall meetings, claiming that ‘disruptive’ actions are perverting our democratic system and preventing a real dialogue between Congress and constituents. … Who goes to town hall meetings for fun? Of course the people crashing the events have an agenda. That’s the point!”
Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Says Family Threatened to Kill Her: "An Ohio teenager says she ran away from home to Florida because her family threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity, local media reported. Rifqa Bary, 17, testified Monday at a custody hearing in Orlando that she'd recently changed religions and is worried her relatives will do something drastic, according to WFTV in Orlando and Central Florida News 13. "They have to kill me because I'm a Christian. It's an honor (issue)," the girl told WFTV. Such threats are common, even in the United States, her attorney, Rosa Gonzalez, told News 13. "She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing," Gonzalez said after the hearing — which was held because the teenager's parents are trying to regain custody of her. Rifqa, a non-citizen whose parents are from Sri Lanka, has for several weeks been staying with an Orlando couple who are pastors of a new Christian church there. She met them on a Facebook prayer group. Her father denied his daughter's allegations to NBC 4 in Orlando, saying he never threatened to kill his daughter because she rejected Islam. He was in Florida for a court hearing, but was reportedly traveling back to Ohio Tuesday. The Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her, but ultimately, Ohio authorities will decide where the teen should live."
Afghanistan: US Marines assault Dahaneh: "U.S. Marines have mounted a helicopter assault to seize the Taliban-held town of Dahaneh in southern Afghanistan and are fighting gain control of the area ahead of next week’s presidential elections. The assault began before dawn Wednesday, with Marines entering the town as others battled militants in the surrounding mountains. Associated Press journalists traveling with the first wave say Marines were met with small arms, mortar and rocket propelled grenade fire. Fighting is still under way hours later, with U.S. Marine Harrier jets streaking over the town and dropping flares in a show of force.”
Expert forges “unforgeable” British ID card in 12 minutes: “Adam Laurie is no ordinary hacker. In the world of computing, he is considered a genius — a man whose talents are used by government departments and blue-chip companies to guard against terrorists and cyber-criminals. … Embedded inside the card for foreigners is a microchip …. the vital security measure that, so the Government believes, will make identity cards ‘unforgeable.’ But as I watch, Laurie picks up a mobile phone and, using just the handset and a laptop computer, electronically copies the ID card microchip and all its information in a matter of minutes. He then creates a cloned card, and with a little help from another technology expert, he changes all the information the card contains — the physical details of the bearer, name, fingerprints and so on. And he doesn’t stop there.”
Britain: Are you being watched?: "The latest report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner reveals that government authorities monitored citizens’ telephone calls and emails more than 500,000 times last year. This ‘Use of Communications Data’ is permitted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has introduced a system of governmental surveillance on a scale unprecedented in Britain, and internationally unrivalled. Of course, the police and the security services need the means to investigate serious crimes and prevent acts of terrorism, but these demands must always be balanced against the protection of privacy; both because our privacy is inherently valuable, and because a system of surveillance inevitably risks abuse by rogue employees or government itself.”
A maximum wage for Britain?: “In Friday’s Guardian, Andrew Simms resurrects the idea of a maximum wage to ‘tackle inequality.’ The actual consequence: employers would no longer be able to attract the best workers by offering them higher salaries, so would instead offer them more perks and less hours. That is, the most productive workers (not just bankers, but doctors, business owners, and Guardian editors) would work less. Many others would move abroad. All it would achieve is a fall in the level of economic activity, and a corresponding fall in tax revenue and trickle-down spending. This is the nonsense of equality by levelling down: dragging down the rich, out of sheer envy, to the detriment of everyone.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:33 AM