Veena Malik Speaks Truth To Power

March 27, 2011

The Islamic world needs more women like Veena Malik. It is a sobering reminder of the nature of Islamic fundamentalism to think that this young woman is quite literally risking her life by saying this.

Obama Is Awesome

March 26, 2011

H/T: Jonah Goldberg in The Corner.

Israel’s Surprise Defenders

March 24, 2011

In the past couple of weeks, Palestinian murderers entered the home of a sleeping Israeli family and slaughtered them, right down to cutting the head off a 3-month-old baby. Real tough guys. News of this horrific crime was greeted by other Palestinians by the handing out of candy and general celebration. Every day, Hamas launches rockets into Israel with the goal of killing as many Israelis as they can. Now comes an improvised explosive device that killed one and injured several others when it exploded next to a bus. Reuters tells that story with this gem of unbiased reportage:

Police said it was a “terrorist attack” — Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.

Naturally, the entertainment world is up in arms about these crimes. Elvis Costello refuses to play in Israel. Carlos Santana took time out his busy schedule of talking to the spirits of Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix to pull out of a concert in Israel. The Pixies refused to take their “we need some money” reunion tour to Israel. Ditto Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, on one of his endless recyclings of The Wall tours.

Hold on a minute…why are they boycotting Israel? Shouldn’t they be boycotting the ones who are launching the rockets, setting the IEDs, and slaughtering the families?

Well, yes, they should.

Fortunately, there’s a little sanity in the entertainment world and it comes from two unlikely sources.

John Lydon, the sneering sage of punk rock issued this statement last year, and it may well be the most punk rock thing he’s ever said (well, aside from the lyrics of “Bodies”):

I really resent the presumption that I’m going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews [sic]. If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.

And now, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has gone to Israel and has some very choice words for those who would boycott Israel while absolving the Palestinians from any wrongdoing. From the Jerusalem Post:

Even though he had never returned to Israel until this week, Simmons has always been an ardent supporter of the country, most recently sending a televised message to an IDF soldier (and Kiss fan) wounded during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, in which he called the soldier a “hero.”

Although Kiss has never appeared in Israel, Simmons dismissed other entertainers who have chosen to boycott the country as “idiots.”

“As an American, there’s no choice but to be supportive of Israel,” he said. “This is the Holy Land, and it’s no secret that everybody in America perceives Israel as its only real friend in the Middle East—who else are you going to rely on?”

Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Kinetic Military Action, Inert Presidential Leadership

March 24, 2011

From the folks that brought you “overseas contingency operation” as a new name for the War on Terror, we now present “Kinetic Military Action” to describe the War on Libya. Somewhere out there, George Orwell is applauding a job well done.

I’m not a Constitutional law scholar like the President claims to be, and I’ve read opinions on both sides about whether the action we are taking in Libya is legal or illegal. According to Vice President Joe Biden, since the President didn’t seek Congressional approval first it’s clearly illegal and impeachment hearings should commence immediately. Oh, wait…wrong president. Never mind.

The most compelling argument in favor of the shelling of Libya being unconstitutional is that the situation on the ground there has no American interests. Had Gadhafi been threatening the United States in some way, the Constitutionality of these actions would not be in question because it would rise to the level of defending the country against a clear and present danger.

Still, I believe that what the President is doing is allowed under the law, which states that he has 60 days to get Congressional approval. Whether what Obama is doing is a wise thing is another matter.

Aside from the fact that America is so diminished under this Presidency that we were shamed into military action by the French, the humanitarian goal here of protecting the rebels from Gadhafi’s bombs is laudable. I don’t buy the argument that because we are not pursuing similar actions in places like Darfur we are constrained from acting in Libya. No, we can not get involved in all of the world’s various hot spots and basket cases, but that doesn’t prevent us from acting when and where we can. We can not aid the citizens of North Korea simply because there is no good opportunity or time to do so. That is not the case in Libya, where the opportunity has presented itself.

Admitting that the goal here is worthy, the execution of this operation has been a bungled mishmash worthy of Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour. For weeks when the rebels were advancing Obama sat on his hands and did nothing. That was the time to get involved, when Gadhafi was back on his heels. Instead we waited until the French and British got a UN resolution to establish a No-Fly Zone. This makes it look like Obama’s getting his marching orders from the United Nations, enhancing the perception of him created by the treacly “citizen of the world” rhetoric he spouts.

Since the minute the jets hit the air Obama has been taking time out of his busy schedule to reassure everyone that we don’t really mean it. Yes, Gadhafi must go immediately, but it’s okay if he stays. Yes, we are bombing tanks, compounds, and roads but we’re not at war, it’s just a kinetic military action. Yes, the American military is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting here but in the next few days we’ll be turning over the lead to the first country willing to stand up and take it. Yes, we are doing this because the Arab League gave us their blessing, even though they apparently didn’t understand that enforcing a no-fly zone might require kinetic military action. Even the name of the operation screams wussiness. “Operation Odyssey Dawn”…what the heck does that mean?

To the surprise of nobody except the true believers out there, Obama wants to appease everybody and instead alienates everyone. His actions are those of a man used to voting “Present” whenever he might be held to account for an unpopular position. He knows the Left is generally in favor of using the military for humanitarian purposes, so he couches the attack on Libya as being for these purposes, he knows many on the Right want Gadhafi’s head on a platter, so he coordinates these attacks with the rebels. The world seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket between the tragedy in Japan, unrest in the Middle East, and now a brand new war in Libya, and where is Obama? Filling out his March Madness brackets, playing golf, appearing on ESPN, taking the family to Rio for a speech/vacation. Not once has he sat behind the desk in the Oval Office and addressed the American people about how we are helping in Japan or in Libya. His statements, when they don’t flatly contradict each other, are mealy-mouthed and incoherent. There is no real, stated goal to this action. This proves yet again that Obama does not take foreign policy seriously, that he views it as an inconvenience getting in the way of his domestic agenda. This is a trait he shared with his Democratic predecessor in office, and is the flip side of George W. Bush.

We are committed to this policy now, and the men we are sending into harm’s way (don’t worry, there will never be boots on the ground, Obama assures us this week) deserve our full support and I wish them Godspeed and pray for speedy success. But the political side of this situation has been an absolute bungle and for that there’s no one to blame except the feckless amateur in the White House.

UPDATE: I’m behind the times. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, “kinetic military action” is so yesterday. Today’s term is “time-limited, scope-limited military action.” That’s better.

Poetry Cornered

March 9, 2011

Where is my handout?
Poetry on the range
Reid is a clown

This poem brought to you by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jonah Goldberg sums up my thoughts in less than 140 characters: “Do we really want to live in a country where we balance the books on the backs of cowboy poets? Umm, yeah kinda.”

The Roundup: Hot Air and Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s site are having some fun with this. So does The Backyard Conservative and Mark Joyella at Mediaite.

Wisconsin Agonistes

March 4, 2011

It’s been so long since I’ve written here, and so much has happened in the world. Forgive me if I’m a little rusty.

John Boehner is the Speaker Of The House, the Egyptians have ousted their authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak, from Tunisia to Libya there is widespread revolt in that region of the world, Charlie Sheen is taking up full-time residence at the Waldorf Hysteria, and there have been Oscars and Grammys handed out to musicians nobody knows and movies nobody’s seen. Where to begin?

In Wisconsin, naturally. This is a story that has really gripped the body politic because 1) it portends a huge, forthcoming fight across the nation, and 2) because it’s so weird.

Here we have a newly elected Governor and Legislature (Republican) that is trying to deliver on one of their campaign promises: to pull back the power of the public employee unions via collective bargaining. The newly outnumbered Democratic legislators, suffering from either piqué or panic, left town and are currently living in a hotel across state lines rather than vote. The government unions, meanwhile, are protesting loudly and rudely.

I’ll assume that by now, two weeks into this story that’s been leading the news, everyone is familiar with the issues: Governor Scott Walker and the Republican legislators want the unions to pay for some of their benefits and they also want to take away the unions’ right to collectively bargain for non-salary demands. The Democrat legislators suffered a major case of the vapors at the very idea that unions might have to give these up, so they left town. The unions have conceded on paying for some of their benefits, but still refuse to give up their collective bargaining rights.

The real question here is whether or not the unions should have ever had collective bargaining rights in the first place. And the answer to that question is “No.”

I’ll repeat that: No.

This really isn’t a difficult question, and the only real controversy that arises from this is the same controversy that arises if you try to take a dog’s bone away while he’s still gnawing on it. Keep in mind that we are not talking about private unions. The question here involves public unions, which is a polite way of saying government unions.

To phrase the question correctly, it should be: Should unions have the right to bargain with people they have helped to elect at the expense of the taxpayer? The way it works in the real world is that Politician A promises to give the unions anything they want. The unions then give scads of money to Politician A, mobilize Get Out The Vote efforts, and generally promote the candidacy of Politican A. Politician A then gets elected thanks in no small part to the union efforts, and thanks them by writing them a blank check to be paid for by all the taxpayers of a given state.

In collective bargaining between the government and the government union, where is the real negotiation? Where is the compromise between a union that wants more and a politician who is indebted to these same unions? This would be as cute as watching a dog chase his own tail if it weren’t costing the states and taxpayers billions of dollars, but since this incestuous relationship between government and union is bankrupting states it’s more like watching a snake eat itself.

The unions are not alone in this. I can’t blame the unions entirely for the economic woes of various states, but they certainly bear part of the burden. Governor Walker needs to stick to his guns, and plunge right through that union line. As I write this, he is preparing to lay off something like 1500 union employees to help close the budget shortfall in Wisconsin. These layoffs do not need to happen and would not happen if the Democrats returned to the state house and did their jobs.

Make no mistake here: the Democrats in Wisconsin are willing to put 1500 people on the unemployment line, destroying their livelihoods and damaging the financial health and security of their families, because they are afraid to stand up to the unions that own them. And the sad part is, the unions don’t care. They’re more than willing to lose some people if it means keeping their power structure in place. Sick, sick, sick.

The Roundup: Hot Air asks whether legislators packing up and leaving town—fleebagging—is the hot new trend. Michelle Malkin displays to the world what passes for civility when unions feel threatened and also reveals one of the hidden hands behind the union protests: the White House.

It’s Been A Long Time Gone

March 4, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, I have not been assimilated by The Clampdown. I’ve just been extremely busy lately.

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