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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 11, 2008


By Charles Johnson

Could it be possible that the United Nations has finally hit rock bottom?

I know, that’s crazy talk. There is no bottom when it comes to the UN.

The latest episode in United Nations insanity: UNICEF is partnering with a Saudi Arabian “charity” that is on the United Nations’ own list of terrorist organizations. Good grief.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008




By Michael Ramirez




By John Hinderaker

Republican whip Roy Blunt put together this chart showing the practical effects of Democratic vs. Republican policies on the price of gasoline at the pump; click to enlarge:

Blunt's office adds this footnote:

Methodology: Retail gasoline prices are the result of literally hundreds of factors including crude oil supply, global demand, refinery capacity, regulation, taxes, weather, the value of the dollar, etc. Therefore it is impossible to say with certainty what one individual action will do to the overall price. However, based on what we know about the impact of crude oil supply and prices it is possible to develop some potential ranges of impact on gasoline prices for certain policy changes. For example, using the methodology employed by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats that suspending shipments into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (between 40-77,000 barrels of oil a day) would reduce gas prices by at least 5 cents, bringing ANWR online (at least one million barrels of oil a day) could impact gasoline prices by between 70 cents and $1.60.


By John Hinderaker

This morning, a cloture vote on the Democrats' scheme to impose a "windfall profits tax" on America's oil companies failed on a 50-44 vote. The bill would have imposed a 25% surtax on any "unreasonable" profits being earned by the oil companies, among other provisions. The roll call is here. Several of the usual suspects--Corker, Smith and Snowe--voted with the Democrats. Every Democrat who was present voted in favor of the measure, but four Democrats, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, didn't show up; John McCain was absent as well.

What we need, of course, is oil companies with bigger profits, not smaller. Then we need them to invest those profits in drilling for more oil in places like ANWR and the coastal shelf, as well as developing shale oil reserves. The problem with America's oil companies is not that they're big, the problem is that they are tiny, as this chart shows; click to enlarge:

Our oil companies control tiny amounts of petroleum (relative to the world's big players) because they are shackled by Congress, which prohibits them by law from accessing America's abundant petroleum reserves. If you want gasoline prices to come down, write, call and email your Congressman and Senators and tell them to allow the oil companies to do what only they can do: bring us more oil.

CORRECTION: I linked to the wrong roll call vote; the right one, which hadn't been posted when I did the link, is here. The vote was 51-43, and the Republicans who joined with the bad guys were Collins, Grassley, Smith, Snowe, Warner and, sadly, Norm Coleman. Mary Landrieu and Harry Reid, interestingly, saw the light.


By John Hinderaker

Barack Obama, to his shame, tried to make political hay out of the news that the suicide rate among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan has increased, by sending an arrogant missive to Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense. That prompted a devastating response from Thomas Sowell. Sowell pointed out, among other things, that the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan vets is still below the rate for civilians of the same age. In this respect, the story is a fraud in the same way as the New York Times' effort to portray veterans as homicidal maniacs, which we debunked here.

Sowell writes:

Does Senator Obama know how the rate of suicides or homicides among military veterans compares to the rate of suicides or homicides among their civilian counterparts? Do the facts matter to him, as compared to an opportunity to score political points?

Perhaps even more important, do the media even care whether Senator Obama knows what he is talking about? Or is the symbolism of "the first black President" paramount, even if that means a President with cocky ignorance at a time of national danger?

The media have been crucial to Barack Obama's whole candidacy. His only achievements of national significance in his entire career have been media achievements and rhetorical achievements.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008




By Charles Johnson

As we revealed here at LGF back on May 28th, the Scott McClellan book was published by a company that is owned by the Perseus Funds Group, a George Soros operation: The Soros-McClellan Connection.

It’s more than a little interesting to discover that James Johnson, currently under fire as the head of Barack Obama’s VP selection committee, is also the Vice Chairman of Perseus Funds.

Six degrees of George Soros, anyone?

That’s George in the blue shirt, sitting right next to the messiah in this photo:


By Charles Johnson

At the Wall Street Journal: Why Is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes?

Here’s a quick geopolitical quiz: What country is three times the size of Texas and has more than 300 days of blazing sun a year? What country has the world’s largest oil reserves resting below miles upon miles of sand? And what country is being given nuclear power, not solar, by President George W. Bush, even when the mere assumption of nuclear possession in its region has been known to provoke pre-emptive air strikes, even wars?

If you answered Saudi Arabia to all of these questions, you’re right.

Last month, while the American people were becoming the personal ATMs of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Saudi Arabia signing away an even more valuable gift: nuclear technology. In a ceremony little-noticed in this country, Ms. Rice volunteered the U.S. to assist Saudi Arabia in developing nuclear reactors, training nuclear engineers, and constructing nuclear infrastructure. While oil breaks records at $130 per barrel or more, the American consumer is footing the bill for Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions.

Saudi Arabia has poured money into developing its vast reserves of natural gas for domestic electricity production. It continues to invest in a national gas transportation pipeline and stepped-up exploration, building a solid foundation for domestic energy production that could meet its electricity needs for many decades. Nuclear energy, on the other hand, would require enormous investments in new infrastructure by a country with zero expertise in this complex technology.

Have Ms. Rice, Mr. Bush or Saudi leaders looked skyward? The Saudi desert is under almost constant sunshine. If Mr. Bush wanted to help his friends in Riyadh diversify their energy portfolio, he should have offered solar panels, not nuclear plants.

Saudi Arabia’s interest in nuclear technology can only be explained by the dangerous politics of the Middle East.

Read it and weepTuesday, June 10, 2008

Previously at LGF:
We’re Giving Saudi Arabia Enriched Uranium, They’re Giving Us the Shaft




By Ed Morrissey

Was Barack Obama born in Hawaii or somewhere else, or did he just change a name? Jim Geraghty looks at rumors running around about Obama’s supposed secrecy on his birth, and runs down three scenarios of what the campaign may want to hide. Their refusal to produce a birth certificate has stoked some of the speculation:

Having done some Obama-rumor debunking that got praise from Daily Kos (a sign of the apocalypse, no doubt), perhaps the Obama campaign could return the favor and help debunk a bunch of others with a simple step: Could they release a copy of his birth certificate?

Reporters have asked for it and been denied, and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public.

The campaign cited the birth certificate in their “Fact Check” on William Ayers, so presumably, someone in the campaign has access to it.

Jim runs down three possible issues, finding them “unlikely” but still compelling:

  1. Obama was not born in the US, but in Kenya.
  2. Obama’s middle name was Mohammed, not Hussein (but then why change it to another Arabic name?)
  3. His real first name is “Barry”.

I guess having seen McCain run through the MSM wringer over his birth at a naval base in Panama, these questions should be more compelling to me than they are. Having debated the nature of McCain’s citizenship, Obama should produce his birth certificate to make it all even, redacting any information that could be useful for identity theft (although it won’t have a Social Security number on it as those were not automatically assigned in 1961). The campaign references his birth certificate as a strange defense of his association with William Ayers, so it should make the record public.

However, does anyone really believe any of these potential scenarios? As Jim points out himself, the first two almost instantly get tossed out due to statements by friends and family going back years. Presumably, the schools that Obama attended in Hawaii and later in the US would have seen his birth certificate during the enrollment process, and no one has ever implied that Obama was anything less than a natural-born citizen. If someone wanted to change their middle name from Mohammed to keep political options open, Hussein would not be the name that replaces it.

That applies to the third scenario as well, and changing a first name from Barry to Barack in order to match one’s father would mean nothing in terms of the political standing of the candidate. I’m reminded that Gary Hart changed his last name from Hartpence to Hart, and that turned into nothing more than a nine-day wonder when it came out in the 1984 campaign. Barry to Barack seems even less noteworthy.

I’d say this sounds like a distraction, but then again, I thought the entire McCain-Panama was a distraction as well, and the Senate wound up having to vote on his status as a citizen to quiet the media. Only the first scenario has any relation to Obama’s status as a candidate, and the release of his birth certificate will put an end to the distractions.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Hamas has turned Gaza into an abominable hell-hole of Islamist fanaticism and terrorism—but it’s still not barbaric enough for some: Qaeda groups active in Gaza after year under Hamas.

GAZA (Reuters) - Abu Hafss is not happy.

A year after Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip, Abu Hafss is waiting impatiently to see a sword remove the hand of a thief or a woman stoned to death for adultery.

“Hamas does not implement the rule of God,” the Palestinian ally of al Qaeda said. “We have seen no one have his hand cut off for stealing. We have seen no one stoned as an adulterer.”

Yet for all Abu Hafss’ disappointment with the approach Hamas has adopted since it routed secular rivals in Gaza a year ago, some analysts believe smaller, more radical groups like Abu Hafss’ secretive Jaysh al-Ummah (Army of the Nation) have benefited from the Hamas takeover to expand their membership.

Despite an official Hamas policy of respecting the rights of Gaza’s small Christian minority, there has been an increase in attacks on Christians in the past year, apparently by Islamists not content with the extent of Hamas’s “Islamisation” of Gaza.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

Hugo Chavez tried pushing through a law that would have required Venezuelans to inform on each other. The law, with its obvious historic parallels to Nazi Germany, roused even the thus-far complacent Venezuelans to protest. Chavez sounded retreat, at least for now:

Hugo Chavez has tossed out a controversial intelligence decree that would have forced Venezuelans to become informants and spy on their neighbors or face prison time.

President Chavez says the National Assembly will draft a new law from scratch in response to resounding criticism.

This marks the second time that Chavez has had to backtrack. He lost a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would have cemented his status as a dictator a few months ago. He finally admitted a narrow defeat on that referendum, but rumors had the gap as wide and shocking to Chavez.

No one can doubt Chavez’ intentions with this new law. He wants to use the power of his security forces to intimidate Venezuelans into submission — and to keep them from working together to oppose him. He would create a Gestapo atmosphere which would have the primary intention of putting fear and mistrust into the general population while protecting his own grip on power.

Chavez says the bill will go back to the National Assembly to remove “errors” and return for his signature. If the Venezuelans do not want to live in terror of their families and friends becoming government informants out of their own fear, then they need to stop that bill — and find a way to get Chavez and his fascistic vision out of office.


By Ed Morrissey

One of the sheikhs credited with the Anbar Awakening wants to put his experience to use in another theater: Afghanistan. Sheik Ahmad al-Rishawi has studied the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan and believes he can help lead a rebellion against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and wants to fight alongside Americans to put his plans into action:

The leader of the tribal confederation that has fought to expel Al Qaeda from most of Iraq’s Anbar province is offering his men to help gin up a rebellion against Osama bin Laden’s organization along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

In an interview, Sheik Ahmad al-Rishawi told The New York Sun that in April he prepared a 47-page study on Afghanistan and its tribes for the deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Kabul, Christopher Dell. When asked if he would send military advisers to Afghanistan to assist American troops fighting there, he said: “I have no problem with this; if they ask me, I will do it.” …

“Al Qaeda is an ideology,” Sheik Ahmad said. “We can defeat them inside Iraq and we can defeat them in any country.” The tribal leader arrived in Washington last week. All of his meetings, including an audience with President Bush, have been closed to the public, in part because the Anbari sheiks, while likely to win future electoral contests, are not themselves part of Iraq’s elected government.

Of his meeting with Mr. Bush, Sheik Ahmad said he was impressed. “He is a brave man. He is also a wise man. He is taking care of the country’s future, the United States‘ future. He is also taking care of the Iraqi people, the ordinary people in Iraq. He wants to accomplish success in Iraq.”

Ahmad’s brother Sattari originally led the Anbar Awakening. AQ assassinated Sattari last September in what looked like a severe blow to the American-Sunni alliance. Ahmad took control of the tribal leadership of the group and has pressed forward, and now sees victory within his grasp over the foreign extremists that attempted to usurp the roles of native Iraqi tribal leaders.

Ahmad also met with Congressional leadership on his Washington trip, urging them to keep American troops in Iraq until the Iraqi Army is fully trained and ready to handle all security matters. He used the models of Japan and Germany, as John McCain has done during his campaign, to outline what he sees as the future of US-Iraqi relations. He wants a close partnership, having seen what American power can do when the proper strategies and tactics come to bear.

Would his experience in Iraq help in Afghanistan? His perspective on how to break AQ’s grip on the Sunni imagination would benefit the US, and Ahmad would have tremendous credibility among Muslims in talking about the benefits of an American partnership. The issues and situation in Afghanistan are quite a bit different, though, with the Pashtun tribal leadership much more closely aligned with the Taliban than Iraqi sheikhs were with AQ or even the Saddamist insurgents. The US probably sees Ahmad as much more valuable where he is, helping bring stability and peace to western Iraq.

Still, it shows the tremendous change in Iraq that Ahmad would publicly volunteer to serve with the Americans in Afghanistan. Two years ago, who could have predicted that from a Sunni sheikh in Anbar? The repudiation of al-Qaeda and its lunatics could not possibly be more explicit.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008




By Jerry Holbert



Omar Khalid, the Taliban commander of Mohmand agency.

The US military may have conducted its fifth known strike inside Pakistani territory against the Taliban and al Qaeda bases this year, an unnamed Pakistani official told Reuters.

The airstrike is thought to have been carried out inside the Mohmand tribal agency. "There was an attack by a spy plane close to the Afghan border but we don't have information about casualties or damage," the unnamed Pakistani government said.

The Pakistani government recently negotiated a peace agreement with the Taliban in Mohmand tribal agency. Omar Khalid, the commander of the local Taliban in Mohmand and the representative for the agency in the Pakistani Taliban movement, denies links to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

If confirmed, the Mohmand strike would be the fifth such attack inside Pakistan this year. Two senior al Qaeda operatives were killed in the prior attacks.

Abu Laith al Libi was killed in a US strike inside the North Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan in late January. Al Libi was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and served as a chief spokesman for al Qaeda. Laith also commanded al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, a senior Algerian operative for al Qaeda’s central organization, along with 13 associates, was killed in an airstrike against a Taliban and al Qaeda safe house in the town of Damadola in Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal agency on May 14. Jazairi is described as a senior trainer, an explosives expert, and an operational commander tasked with planning attacks on the West.

Jazairi is thought to have succeeded Abu Ubaidah al Masri, a senior al Qaeda operative who served as the former operations chief in Kunar, Afghanistan before becoming al Qaeda operations chief for global strikes. Ubaidah took over for Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, a senior deputy for Osama bin Laden who was personally chosen by bin Laden to monitor al Qaeda operations inside Iraq. Hadi was captured by US forces as he attempted to enter Iraq in late 2006. Ubaidah is believed to have died from complications from an illness.

On March 12, the US military fired guided missiles from Afghanistan into a compound run by Siraj Haqqani, the wanted Taliban leader behind numerous attacks in Afghanistan. The attack is believed to have killed three senior Haqqani network commanders and "many" Chechen fighters.

On March 16, US forces struck at the fortified compound owned by Noorullah Wazir, a Pakistani tribal elder who lived in the village of Dhook Pir Bagh some five kilometers from Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. Another nearby house, where Uzbek and Arab fighters recently stayed, was also destroyed in a separate round of missile fire.  Tuesday, June 10, 2008


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