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FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 03, 2008


By Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez




By Charles Johnson

Today’s jaw-dropping example of United Nations idiocy comes from the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, who declared that his agency is powerless to do anything about nuclear proliferators who don’t tell the truth.

He actually seems surprised to discover that nations like Iran and Saddam-era Iraq would try to hide their nuclear programs. Say it ain’t so, Mohamed!

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the crux of the problem was that some countries under investigation, the latest being Syria, had failed to ratify an agency protocol permitting short-notice IAEA visits to sites not declared to be nuclear to ensure no bomb-related work was going on at secret locations.

“Our legal authority is very limited. With Iraq, we have discovered that unless we have the Additional Protocol in place, we will not really be able to discover undeclared activities,” he said on the sidelines of the agency’s annual 145-nation General Conference in Vienna.

“Our experience is that any proliferator will not really go for declared diverted activities (that would quickly reveal them as violators of the Non-Proliferation Treaty), they will go for completely clandestine undeclared activities,” he said.


By Charles Johnson

Former head of the Iraq Survey Group David Kay says Iran is 2 to 5 years from nuclear weapons.

But he also says we should not even think about a military strike until after one of our cities is nuked.

“My personal guess is they are two to five years away from having a sufficient amount of fissile material and weapon design work to put them in a place where you believe they have the capability of putting a warhead on the end of a missile,” Kay said.

Kay said there is “virtually no possibility” Iran will give up its uranium enrichment program, which can be used to fuel civilian reactors for domestic energy use as well as make fissile material for warheads.

He dismissed the notion that a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would be effective or useful. He said it would only delay the development of a weapon by one to two years at the most, and would unite Iran’s people more firmly behind its leaders.

Kay would only advocate a military attack “if I found the Iranians had transferred a nuclear weapon to a third party, a terrorist organization or another state,” or if it used a nuclear weapon in an attack.

A reminder: it’s been four months since Mohamed ElBaradei said on Al-Arabiya television that Iran could have a nuclear weapon within 6 monthsThursday, October 2, 2008




By Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert


By Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell




By John Hinderaker

That describes the first half-hour of Sarah Palin's performance against Joe Biden tonight. She was calm, commanding and articulate. She repeatedly knifed Biden with a smile and showed why she is one of the most effective communicators in American politics. I've been watching Presidential debates since 1960, and I can't recall a more one-sided matchup than the first 30 minutes of tonight's debate. It was all Sarah Palin.

After that it equalized a bit, and by the last half-hour I'd guess that television sets were turning off across America. But there is no doubt who prevailed in tonight's encounter: the Sarah Palin we loved at the convention is back. In fact, she was markedly better tonight. There were a number of good moments. One of my favorites was her "shout out" to her sister's third grade class back in Alaska, who got extra credit for watching the debate. This was one of many reminders that, to the average television viewer, Palin is one of "us" and not one of "them."

Given Governor Palin's performance, Biden had an impossible assignment. He made things worse with his inappropriate grins and grimaces while Palin was speaking, much like Al Gore in 2000, only worse. Palin, in contrast, kept a steady demeanor while Biden was taking shots at her, like a pro. Throughout, she commanded the stage and displayed more poise and confidence than her opponent.

Neither candidate committed any notable blunders. The closest were Biden's reference to "Bosniacs" and his risible claim that he likes to hang out at Home Depot. I don't think the subject of who actually knows how to carry out home improvements--Joe Biden, a Senator since age 29, or Todd and Sarah Palin--is one that Biden really wants to get into.

Toward the end, Loree and I were puzzling about how the Associated Press can try to spin the debate. It's a tough problem for them. There is no way they can pretend that the evening was anything but a triumph for Governor Palin. My guess is that they have a team of people "fact checking" every word that Palin uttered, and that starting some time tomorrow they will crank out articles that in effect continue the debate, taking issue with one or two things that Palin said.

But that won't be very effective; certainly not with the tens of millions of people who saw the debate. The McCain campaign badly needed a triumphant night from Palin to get momentum moving its way. Palin delivered. Now it's up to McCain to keep it going. It's also up to the McCain campaign to make better use of Governor Palin, one of its best assets.

With very little adjustment to her schedule, she could do talk radio every day. Earlier this week, she did a ten minute appearance on Hugh Hewitt's show. It was, I believe, the first such talk radio interview she's given. This is madness. Every day, she should be talking with Rush Limbaugh, Hugh, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Jim Vicevich, and so on. Wherever she goes, she should do fifteen minutes with a local talk radio host. If she went on with people like Jason Lewis and Scott Hennen, to name just two out of many, she would cement her relationship with the Republican base and bring the McCain campaign immeasurable good will.

It also wouldn't hurt if she sat down for interviews with significant conservative web sites. Hey, we're available! And, while the campaign's focus at this point is naturally on "earned media," I'd like to see a few television commercials featuring Governor Palin speaking directly to voters. As she reminded us tonight, she can do it very well.

It remains to be seen whether tonight's debate marked a turning point in the campaign, but Governor Palin did about all she could to make it happen.

UPDATE: Frank Luntz's focus group saw Palin as the clear winner tonight. At the end, though, when they are asked how many have changed their vote, not many hands go up. This is only the beginning of the McCain camp's hoped-for comeback.


By John Hinderaker

With a month to go, the election is looking bleak for us conservatives. The current economic crisis should, by rights, hurt the Democrats, who bear far more responsibility for causing it than the Republicans. But the public doesn't understand that, and blames anything bad on the party that controls the White House, however irrational that may be. And, of course, the television networks and newspapers aren't going out of their way to enlighten the voters.

Today the McCain campaign reportedly pulled out of Michigan, a state the GOP once had some hope of winning. Rasmussen Reports shows Obama with a seven-point lead, his biggest ever. Rasmussen also finds that the Democrats' edge in the generic Congressional ballot, which had been shrinking, is expanding again, up to nine points today.

So the news is very bad. It isn't clear whether there is anything the Republicans can do to turn the situation around; bad news of any sort benefits the Democrats, and there isn't enough time left for good news to matter.

In what strikes me as a deep irony, a plurality of Americans, for the first time in years, believe that history will judge the Iraq war a success. A year ago, if we had foreseen that shift in opinion, we would have assumed the Republicans would be well positioned for the election, especially if the Democrats nominated a candidate who made his name by opposing the war. In fact, though, the war has dropped off the map as an issue.

If there is a way for the Republicans to come back, it pretty much has to start tonight with a strong performance by Governor Palin. In the first Presidential debate, Obama benefited greatly just by coming across as adequate. To some degree, the same applies to Palin; if she performs decently, it will alleviate many concerns about her experience. The ticket won't get the same boost, of course, but a sharp performance tonight might stop the bleeding and set the stage for a comeback over the next few weeks.

One difference is that the news media were happy to report positively on Obama's performance last week, whereas if Palin makes the slightest mistake (or alleged mistake) it will dominate coverage of the event. That's how it goes when you're a Republican being reviewed by a Democratic press, and it's one of the big reasons why this election season has been so uphill for the Republicans.

PAUL adds: The strange thing about pulling out of Michigan is that, according to the publicly available polls, McCain's deficit there is only a little larger than his deficit nationally. For example, the latest Michigan poll has Obama up by 10 percentage points, while the latest RCP average has him up by almost 7 points. Clearly, if Obama wins nationally by 7 points, he'll carry Michigan. But shouldn't the McCain campaign base its state-by-state thinking on the assumption that McCain will be competitive nationally, since that's the only scenario under which he can be elected in any event?

The McCain camp must believe that it can't win the economic argument and, as a result, can't win Michigan even in a close race. Unfortunately, if McCain can't at least hold his own in the economic argument, the race may not be particularly close.  Thursday, October 2, 2008




By Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok




By Ed Morrissey

A new study by the Pew Hispanic Center shows a marked drop in illegal immigration into the United States.  Legal immigration outpaced illegal immigration for the first time in a decade.  The reason for the reduction?  A combination of enforcement and limited economic possibilities:

The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States each year has dropped substantially since the first half of this decade, according to a study released today by the Pew Hispanic Center. A sluggish economy and stepped up enforcement of immigration laws could be behind the decline.

The study found that the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States each year has dropped from an average of 800,000 per year between 2000 and 2004 to 500,000 per year between 2005 and 2008.

By contrast, the inflow of immigrants who are legal permanent residents has remained relatively steady at about 650,000 per year, exceeding the number of illegal immigrant arrivals for the first time in a decade.

Improving economic conditions in home countries may also have contributed to the decline.  Pew’s report stated that they could not be certain of these causes, but these changes in conditions certainly look more than coincidental.

This report provides yet more support for an enforcement policy for border control.  The Bush administration has stepped up enforcement efforts, including employer verification requirements and more investigations into illegal operations involving workers using fraudulent documentation.  The effect has been to make illegal immigration less attractive for both employers and workers, which has provided less of an incentive to cross the border.

We need more of this strategy in the future.  Thursday, October 2, 2008




By Robert Arial

Political Cartoons by Robert Arial




By Ed Morrissey

The schadenfreude quotient of this story makes it irresistable.  New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd got stranded by the McCain campaign in Pittsburgh after the campaign revoked her credential for the press section of the campaign airplane in August.  They have not reconsidered their position, which provoked this outrage from Timothy McNulty of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Add Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer-winning columnist for the NY Times, to the list of media types who have fallen out bitterly with John McCain. The McCain campaign has barred her from flying in the McCain and Palin press planes, even though major media outlets routinely pay thousands to the campaigns every day for travel and expenses (and also begs the question, why didn’t her media colleagues Man Up and get her aboard anyway?)

It all started when Maureen covered an Aug. 30 McCain-Palin rally in Washington, Pa., then wasn’t let on the McCain plane afterward, forcing her to overnight at a Pittsburgh airport hotel while the traveling press went on without her.

McNulty then says that it’s part of a strategy to protect Sarah Palin from “someone as adroit and experienced as Maureen.”  Really?  She wasn’t adroit enough to keep from falling for an urban legend about Palin.  Dowd wasn’t adroit enough to keep from getting caught chopping up quotes to distort their meaning, as she did with President Bush in 2003 — from which bloggers coined the term “dowdify”.

One suspects that the reason her colleagues didn’t “Man Up” was because they didn’t care to defend Dowd’s journalistic excesses.  McNulty provides the perfect example of this in Dowd’s own response to her eviction from Team McCain’s ride:

“It was disappointing because I didn’t think John McCain would ever be as dismissive of the First Amendment as Dick Cheney.”

Does the First Amendment hinge on Maureen Dowd getting a seat on the McCain campaign jet?  Did we enter a time of tyranny because she has to find other travel arrangements?  Maybe Dowd should start reporting on Obama’s Truth Squad in Missouri, where a campaign actually is attempting to intimidate critics into silence through prosecution.  Neither Dowd nor her newspaper seem terribly interested in defending the First Amendment where it counts.

Reporters are not owed a spot on the campaign planes.  Newspapers don’t have a right to that seat.  They can cover the campaigns by purchasing flights on their own if they like.  Maureen Dowd stopped being a reporter when she started writing opinion columns, which makes her a strange choice for the Times under any circumstances, and her column on Palin and dinosaurs should have disqualified her from the McCain beat anyway, if the Times had any editorial sense at all.

Enjoy flying coach, Maureen.  Try reading the First Amendment between stops.  Thursday, October 2, 2008





Aftermath of the assassination attempt in Charsadda. Photo from Geo TV.

A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis during an assassination attempt on the leader a secular Pashtun political party. The bomber targeted Asfandyar Wali Khan, the chief of the Awami National Party, in his home in the settled district of Charsadda in the turbulent Northwest Frontier Province.

The attack occurred as Khan was hosting celebrations in a guesthouse next to his home for Eid-ul-Fitr, the holiday at the end of Ramadan. The suicide bomber was shot by security guards as he attempted to reach Khan.

"The suicide bomber tried to pass from the security scanner avoiding a physical search. Two security guards grabbed him but he tried to get away," Provincial police chief Malik Naveed told Geo TV. "Then he was shot and as soon as he fell on the ground he blew himself up.”

The Awami National Party is an ethnic Pashtun political party that controls the government Northwest Frontier Province after the February 2008 election. The party is opposed to military action against the Taliban and advocates a peaceful end to the fighting in Pakistan's northwest. The party has backed peace agreements with the Taliban in the past.

The Awami National Party has been the target of multiple Taliban attacks over the past year. The Taliban conducted two major strikes against ANP offices in North Waziristan and Kurram the week before the election, killing and wounding scores of its members.

The Taliban have conducted attacks during religious events and in mosques up and down the Northwest Frontier Province over the past year. The most high-profile attack occurred on Dec. 28, 2007, in Charsadda, when a suicide bomber detonated in a mosque in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and scores were wounded.

Recently, the Taliban bombed a mosque in Dir, killing 25 and wounding more than 50. The Taliban targeted a tribe that was organizing local security to eject the extremists from the region.  Thursday, October 2, 2008




By Charles Johnson

Trinity United Church of Christ, home of Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright and Barack Obama’s church for 20 years, has completely redesigned their web site and dumped their old domain name.

And in the process, all mentions of Dr. James Cone and his Marxist/racist Black Liberation Theology have vanished down the memory hole: Trinity - Home.

The Internet Archive still has this page from 2006.

UPDATE: Correction: not completely vanished; instead of being prominently featured on their home page, a link to an expanded and somewhat sanitized version of the “Black Value System” is now buried on this pageThursday, October 2, 2008


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