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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, August 25, 2008


By John Hinderaker

In the modern political era, Democrats have nearly always outnumbered Republicans, a fact that hasn't prevented Republicans from winning lots of elections. But over the last few years, party identification, which changes slowly, has been shifting in the Democrats' direction. In November 2006, self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 6%. The Democrats' edge has continued to grow since then; in May of this year, it was up to 10.1%.

Since then, however, the Democrats' advantage has been falling steadily. As tracked by Rasmussen Reports, it declined to 9.5% in June and to 7.6% in July. My guess is that it will decline further when the August numbers come out.

This decline is probably due in part to the public figuring out that the Democrats are trying to keep petroleum prices high. Mostly, though, I think party identification is returning to more normal levels as the election season heats up, voters listen to what the candidates have to say, and old loyalties reassert themselves. What is unknowable at this point is where the numbers will be in November. While the Republicans' gap has narrowed, it is still, as of July, greater than the margin that swept the Democrats to victory in 2006. My guess is that by November the Democrats' advantage in party ID will be less than the 6% they enjoyed in 2006, but well above the 1.6% edge they had in 2004.

If the trend continues to move in the Republicans' direction over the next two months, it will complicate the job of Presidential pollsters. Pollsters generally weight their results according to party affiliation, so the assumption they make about how many Democrats and Republicans there are in the electorate as of the date of the survey is critical. To the extent that party ID continues to swing toward the Republicans in the last weeks before the election, Obama will tend to underperform in the election compared to poll results.  Saturday, August 23, 2008




By Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez




By Michelle Malkin

I noted this in my year-end essay last December on the surge, the military, and the media. Worth noting again as the Obama camp hypes Joe Biden’s great foreign policy and strategic expertise. They were both wrong. Phenomenally wrong.

Here’s a reminder of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution opposing the surge, which passed 12-9 on Jan. 25:

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the panel’s chairman, said the legislation is “not an attempt to embarrass the president. … It’s an attempt to save the president from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq.”

…Biden, who sponsored the measure with Hagel and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the measure is aimed at getting the administration’s attention. He noted that Bush has said he will be moving forward with his Iraq plans he outlined in a Jan. 10 address regardless of what Congress says.

The measure “is designed to let the president know that there are many in both parties, Democrats and Republicans, that believe a change in our mission to go into Baghdad — in the midst of a civil war — as well as a surge in ground troops … is the wrong way to go, and I believe it will have the opposite — I repeat — opposite effect the president intends,” Biden said.

And here’s a reminder of how Joe Biden’s running mate has changed his tune on the surge:

Obama Inadvertently Concedes Surge Achieves Key Administration Goal
STATEMENT: “Originally, the administration suggested that the key measure was whether it gave breathing room for political reconciliation. So far, I think we have not seen the kind of political reconciliation that’s going to bring about long-term stability in Iraq.” — Barack Obama, July 22, 2008

EXPIRATION DATE: August 20, 2008: “Let’s be clear, our troops have completed every mission they’ve been given,” Mr. Obama said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Orlando, Fla., where the likely Democratic presidential nominee courted military voters who are expected to play a pivotal role in several swing states. “They have created the space for political reconciliation.”

Wonder if Biden will start purging his websites like Obama did?  Sunday, August 24, 2008



Coalition and Iraq forces captured three senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders behind some of the deadliest violence over the past several years. Two of the men were detained during the past two weeks in raids by Task Force 88, the hunter-killer special operations teams assigned to dismantle al Qaeda's networks in Iraq.

The special operations teams captured Salim 'Abdallah Ashur al Shujayri during an operation on Aug. 11. Six days later, Ali Rash Nasir Jiyad al Shammari was captured. The locations of the raids were not disclosed by Multinational Forces-Iraq. Today, Iraqi forces announced the capture of Mahdi Mosleh al Djeheishi.

Shujayri and Shammari are senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and have been "assessed to be longtime members" of the group. Both men are Iraqi citizens, a senior US military intelligence official who wishes to remain anonymous told The Long War Journal.

Shammari, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Tiba, was al Qaeda in Iraq's "senior advisor in Baghdad, providing guidance and targeting assistance to subordinates throughout the city," Multinational Forces-Iraq reported in a press release. He served as al Qaeda's leader in the Karkh district before being promoted to manage al Qaeda's overall terror campaign in Baghdad in early 2007. He provided operational and financial support to 15 terror groups operating in Baghdad. "He is alleged to have personally approved targets for car and suicide bombings targeting Iraqi civilians, intended to incite sectarian violence," the press release stated.

In this capacity, Shammari directed the siege of Baghdad, which was facilitated by al Qaeda's control of critical regions in the outlying areas of Baghdad and neighboring provinces. Al Qaeda used attacks against civilian and sectarian targets as part of its strategy to fragment the military and government and draw the country in a wider civil war.

Shujayri, who is also know as Abu Uthman, served under Shammari as the emir, or leader in Baghdad's Rusafa district. He had close connections to Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's emir, and other senior terror leaders. Shujayri directed suicide and car-bomb attacks against Iraqi civilians.

Shujayri was a member of an indigenous Iraqi Salafist terror group prior to joining al Qaeda in Iraq, the senior US intelligence official said. Osama bin Laden's sanctioning of Abu Musab al Zarqawi as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was crucial in bring Shujayri and other Iraqi Salafists into the ranks of al Qaeda.

Shujayri fought at both battles in Fallujah in April and November 2004. He also was behind several high-profile kidnappings, including Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll, aid worker Margaret Hassan, and four members of the anti-war Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Jill Carroll was kidnapped in early 2005 released after several months of captivity. While in captivity, she met Abu Omar al Baghdadi, al Qaeda in Iraq's fictitious leader of the Islamic State of Iraq. Baghdadi is a front for al Masri; the person who met Carroll is believed to be an Iraqi actor who has played the role of Baghdadi.

Margaret Hassan was the Baghdad director of CARE International, a nongovernmental aide group. She was kidnapped in October 2004. Her body was discovered four week later in Fallujah, brutally butchered, with her throat slit and her arms and legs hacked off.

Iraqi troops from the 9th Division captured Djeheishi, who is said to be one of Baghdadi's senior aides, during a raid in Madain in Baghdad province. Six other al Qaeda operatives were captured during the operation.

Al Qaeda's leadership said to be on the run

The US military believes much of al Qaeda's senior leaders have fled the country as the Iraqi security forces, backed by the US, have pressed offensives in al Qaeda's last safe havens in Ninewa and Diyala provinces.

Al Masri and other senior al Qaeda leaders are believed to have left Iraq for al Qaeda's more secure sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. Al Masri is an Egyptian. By leaving, al Qaeda's foreign leadership has abandoned the Iraqis who signed on to wage jihad against the West.

Shujayri and Shammari, both Iraqis, stayed behind to continue the fight. Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll, the US military spokesman in Iraq, said Shujayri and Shammari are "two of the few remaining experienced leaders" in al Qaeda's network.

The relentless targeting of al Qaeda’s senior and regional leaders, cell leaders, financiers, propaganda cells, and network of car and suicide bomb cells has degraded al Qaeda’s capacity to pull off major attacks in Baghdad. The terror group is “still able to conduct sporadic attacks,” Multinational Forces-Iraq stated, noting that in 2007 an estimated 300 bombings in Baghdad killed more than 1,500 civilians. During the first half of this year, al Qaeda has been able to conduct 28 attacks resulting in 125 Iraqi civilians killed.  Sunday, August 24, 2008




By Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert




By Ed Morrissey

Congress has repeatedly refused to allow drilling on the 2,000 acres set aside for that purpose in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a tiny portion of tundra in a 19-million-acre preserve.  That parcel had been created with the specific intent of extracting oil from the area when ANWR first received its federal protection, but environmentalists have continually blocked oil companies through other federal action.  Sean Parnell, the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, has a proposal to end federal oversight on that stretch of barren land:

Sean Parnell, lieutenant governor and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, proposed a land swap as a way of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“I propose a land swap of 2,000 acres of state land to the federal government in exchange for 2,000 acres of the coastal plain in ANWR into state hands,” Parnell said at a press conference Tuesday in Fairbanks.

Parnell said he could work with Gov. Sarah Palin and the administration to identify the 2,000 acres of state land that would be traded, perhaps extending a portion of ANWR by 2,000 acres.

Could this defuse the controversy?  In a land swap, the federal government would not lose an inch of overall land.  If Alaska offered adjoining land from an area with actual wildlife on it, it would serve to bolster the preserve’s actual mission.  The state would then take responsibility for the parcel where oil extraction would take place, and Alaska would have little trouble overcoming any objections from state groups to get oil flowing as soon as possible from that spot.

Normally, Congress would not be likely to let go of such a potentially lucrative spot, nor would the opponents of drilling on ANWR be willing to stand aside as the parcel passes out of their control.  However, the energy debate this year has had a significant effect on both Capitol Hill and the American electorate.  The latter is angry over the former’s unwillingness to increase domestic production, and while voters remain ambivalent about ANWR, the momentum for drilling there has grown tremendously this summer.

A land swap would allow Congress to graciously eliminate ANWR as an ongoing issue.  Enough Democrats in both chambers want to get this debate in their rear-view mirrors, and a land swap would allow them to save face, especially if it added more significant preserve space to ANWR.  Parnell may have a compromise that will allow everyone, perhaps even the environmentalists, to declare a victory on ANWR.  (via InstapunditSunday, August 24, 2008




By Richard Fernandez

Wired describes the allied flottila closing on Georgian coast, including a DDG, an SSN, the command ship USS Mount Whitney (”onsidered by some to be the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned”) and the Coast Guard cutter USCGC Dallas. Wired describes the naval force:

“The vanguard includes the Burke-class destroyer McFaul (pictured)and the armed Coast Guard cutter Dallas. (Another Dallas, a nuclear submarine, is also in the area.) Trailing behind is the command ship Mount Whitney with, reportedly, Polish and Canadian frigates as escorts.”

The Coast Guard cutter USCGC Dallas? The Dallas was headed for the Black Sea in May, before the Georgian crisis broke out. And although the facts have been little reported, the Coast Guard deployed 8 vessels to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The reason for the deployment is that the Coast Guard does certain things better than the Navy, like work inshore.

On 29 January 2003, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was asked, “The Coast Guard announced today [it is] sending eight cutters, 600 people, to the Persian Gulf, which I understand is the first time they have been dispatched to a combat zone since the Vietnam War. What’s the thinking behind that, and what’s their mission going to be?” General Myers answered, “For the Coast Guard, primarily for port and harbor and waterway security. That’s what they do best.”

The allied naval flotilla now in the area is a blue-water force and may in certain respects be superior to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, whose flagship the cruiser Moskva was reported damaged in combat by the Georgian navy. A Burke-class destroyer is considerably more powerful than anything the Georgian Navy could have deployed. While it is extremely unlikely that any actual naval confrontation will occur (Cold War Rule Number 1) there could be a return to Cold War era harassments between the two forces. At any rate, the Russians have sought to impede the ships not by naval means, but by denying the ships access to the land. The AP reported: “Around Georgia’s main Black Sea port city of Poti — outside any security zone — signs seemed to point to a prolonged presence. Russian troops excavated trenches, set up mortars and blocked a key bridge with armored personnel carriers and trucks. Other armored vehicles and trucks parked in a nearby forest.”

But the game can be played both ways. Since the port is technically Georgian, one wonders whether Russian supply ships would be allowed to dock there without permission from Tbilisi. In the end, neither side might have the port. And the presence of a possibly superior US naval force in the Black Sea, which carries a third of Russian seaborne commerce can only be disquieting to Moscow. Especially if the current naval force is only a harbinger of more to come. As previous posts have noted, the Georgian crisis will essentially be a Naval and Air game. OIF, while it soaked up the ground forces, actually liberated US Naval Forces from having to blockade the Gulf, spared the USAF from having to enforce a No-Fly Zone and gave them bases within flying range of the Black Sea.

The arrival of the USS Mount Whitney is interesting because it implies that the “relief operation” might get much larger. By exploiting the fear generated by the Russian incursion into Georgia, the USN may position a presence in the Black Sea than heretofore, something Russia probably doesn’t want. But how will they stop it without directly confronting the US? Maybe they should consider cashing in their chips and remove their forces from Georgia proper. Moscow has made its point but to carry things further may no longer be to Russia’s advantage.  Sunday, August 24, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Several boats full of Hamas-loving morons arrived in Gaza yesterday: Blockade-running boat activists tour Gaza Strip.

“We are thrilled to be here,” said Greta Berlin, 67, an American activist and a founder of the California-based Free Gaza movement, which organised the trip.

“We could not believe it when we saw the shore,” she told reporters in Gaza City. “(It) was one small step for humankind and one giant step for Palestine.”

Oh, please.

Meanwhile, many Palestinians who turned out to welcome them were disappointed that the self-aggrandizing morons didn’t bring them any food.

Palestinian disappointment: A Gaza activist told Ynet Saturday that local residents were disappointed by the small quantities of food brought in by two boats carrying international leftist activists.

“Many people thought these boats will make a significant contribution to break the siege, not only politically but also in terms of brining in goods, equipment, food, and medicine,” he said. “However, once it turned out these boats contain too little food and mostly activists ... some people left the beach disappointed.”

UPDATE: The “Free Gaza Movement,” by the way, is yet another sham organization created by our old pals, the International Solidarity Movement—who specialize in convincing gullible Western kids to put themselves in harm’s way to advance Palestinian propaganda: International Solidarity Movement - The Free Gaza MovementSunday, August 24, 2008


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