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Madrid Bombing



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Video from the security camera here .

Where Are Our Hill Math Geeks?



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A friend in the House IMs:

concerning the dems 100-hour clock.  if they are just counting legislative hours (so nancy says 17:48 has elapsed, not 48 hours that the House as been in session), you should have someone figure out the Republicans 100 days contract with america.  My guess is it was more like 23 days in democrat time.

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Ron Paul for President



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Sounds like he’s gonna do it. He’ll run as a Republican.

Web Briefing: January 27, 2015

Birds of a Feather



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Since Michael Rubin helpfully linked us to Iran’s news agency this morning, I couldn’t help but notice while I was over there that Ahmadinejad is about to visit Chavez in Venezuela … then it’s off to Nicaragua to welcome the new-and-improved Daniel Ortega back to power …

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Re: The Surge



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Rich, what was most encouraging to me in the President’s new plan for Iraq was his recognition of the second of these two critical mistakes:

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.

Those restrictions are the result of our commanders’ attempt to find a middle way between two facts that are in conflict: (1) the Iraqi government must establish central authority in Iraq, and (2) the only one capable of establishing central authority in Iraq now is the United States–if anyone is.  The president went on to explain:

In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter those neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

What this really means is that the president got Maliki to agree that the internal sectarian political dynamics of his own cabinet will not be allowed to constrain security operations.  This seems to me the only way to thread the needle of transition to an Iraqi government that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself.  It will require Maliki to impose political (indeed, constitutional) discipline on his own government–in the sense of forcing his ministers (and their ministries) to be loyal first and foremost to the central government rather than their own communities.  If Maliki can accomplish this, he will go down as a seminal leader in Iraq’s history — and our prospects for ultimate success will start to look a whole lot better. 

The Angry Sound of the Majority



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That Cantor-McHenry story reminds me: Barney Frank seems to love, love, love having that gavel in his hand. I had CSPAN on off and on yesterday and I first noticed him going nuts on Jack Kingston, who had a few extra words than he could fit into his allotted time. But Frank seemed to yell a bit yesterday.

StarKis(t)ing Nancy Pelosi



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There are some real stars in the 110th minority. Among them, Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry. They called out some Nancy Pelosi fishy business earlier this week. Here’s the story, as relayed by the Fox and Friends gang:

STEVE DOOCEY: We teased you with this a moment ago. On Wednesday the U.S. House passed a bill that says the minimum wage in this country will rise over time from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. Now, here’s the thing. Included in the small print is the fact that the minimum wage will now include the islands of the northern marinas but it exempts American Samoa which is the only U.S. Territory not subject to minimum wage laws.

BRIAN KILMEADE: What’s the big deal about that?

DOOCEY: It covers all islands except American Samoa. Why American Samoa?

GRETCHEN CARLSON: It just so happens Steve that Star Kist tuna ploys 75% of the island’s work force. They are making a lot of tuna there. Apparently then that is shipped off to San Francisco in a district where Nancy Pelosi is from. And now her people are saying that, you know, she has never been influenced by Star Kist at all but other people are saying, hey, this is a little bit of hypocrisy because how can this particular group of people benefit by not having to pay the new minimum wage which is almost $2 more an hour before.

KILMEADE: They have two major plants there and then all of a sudden they don’t have to pay this money and this is a woman I’m going to fight corruption and things on the up and up and make things transparent. Reps. Eric Cantor and Patrick McHenry are beside themselves. Cantor says he is shocked. Now Patrick McHenry when he realizes this, hopped up on the Senate floor, says wait a second have you exempted the American Samoa you have included all these other regions and territories, everything else? When they started debating stem cell research, excuse me based on this is American Samoa going to be excluded from stem cell research? And Barney Frank went crazy said to him sit down essentially. Continue with your talk that had nothing to do with stem cell research in American Samoa.

DOOCEY: So in American Samoa they have a lot of tuna. It’s processed by Star Kist, which is, their headquarters is actually in San Francisco because Star Kist is owned by the food conglomerate Del Monte which is in Nancy Pelosi’s home district. Are you connecting the dots? Let’s get this straight. Everybody has got to raise their minimum wage except American Samoa which, of course, has so many people who are pulling tuna out of the sea, shipping them off via Del Monte whose corporate headquarters in Nancy Pelosi’s home district. I’m sure it’s a coincidence. Don’t you think?

Elsewhere in Asia, Promising News



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While affairs in Southwest Asia continue to bedevil America and its allies, there appears to be some promising news about a coming change in South Korea. Analysts predict that the opposition, the Grand National Party, stands a good chance of winning the South Korean presidency in an election coming up in December. The GNP favors closer cooperation with the U.S. and Japan, and putting more pressure on North Korea to change its ways.

How Politics Can Change on a Dime



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Yes, yesterday, in a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Barbara Boxer intimated that Condoleezza Rice couldn’t understand the pain of the war because the secretary of state has never had children — unlike, say, Boxer, who then said her children weren’t in danger because “my kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young.” How about the fact that there’s no draft, Mrs. Boxer? This story, which made the front page of my paper today and will become major fodder for talk radio and the TV chat shows over the course of the next week, is an indication of why and how politics is so fluid.

At a high-water mark for Democrats, Barbara Boxer comes along and rains on their parade. She offered exactly kind of stupid insult that resonates far outside the Senate chambers in which she spoke it — because it implicitly insults America’s childless women as well by asserting they can’t understand something women with children can understand. It’s comparable to Newt Gingrich suggesting that Democratic liberal morality helped explain Susan Smith’s murder of her two children — an unforced political error that has the potential to stop a party’s momentum in its tracks and overshadow any legislative accomplishments it makes for a while.

Good News



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The Word I’m Thinking Of Rhymes with Witch



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From yesterday in the Senate:

Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush’s tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.

“Who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price,” Boxer said. “My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young.”

Then, to Rice: “You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family.”

When The View loses Rosie, Barbara Boxer ought to take her seat at the catty table.

Reynolds the Robot?



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Random blogservation: Instapundit has been at that Las Vegas electronic-geek heaven this week. And yet he’s still managing to keep up on the war, presidential politics, and porkbusting. Do we know he doesn’t have a robot?

Iran News Round-Up



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  • Iranian Reaction to Erbil consulate raid
  • Russia condemns Erbil raid.
  • Barzani sides with Iran.
  • Ayatollah Jannati in Friday sermon accuses U.S. and Britain of sponsoring terror in Iraq.

We’re Attacked in Greece



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Jim Geraghty’s been keeping an eye on the U.S. embassy all night.

Surge FAQ



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Maybe You BSG Fans Can Explain the Beltway Time Warp



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Good for them



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More on those new resignations over Carter’s book:

ATLANTA (AP) — Fourteen members of an advisory board to Jimmy Carter’s human rights organization resigned on Thursday to protest his new book, which has been attacked as unfairly critical of Israel and riddled with inaccuracies.

The resignations at the Carter Center are the latest backlash against the former president’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” The book has also drawn fire from Jewish groups and fellow Democrats, and led to the resignation last month of Kenneth Stein, a center fellow and a longtime Carter adviser.

“You have clearly abandoned your historic role of broker in favor of becoming an advocate for one side,” the departing members of the center’s Board of Councilors told Carter in their letter of resignation.

The 200-member board is responsible for building public support for the Carter Center. It is not the organization’s governing board.

Ayn Rand Watch



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Atlas Shrugged, the movie that keeps not being made, might be made.

Hillary falling?



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Rosa Brooks & Me



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My LA Times colleague surges against yours truly today, arguing that Bush doesn’t want to win and I’m naive for thinking he does:

Writing on this page Thursday, Jonah Goldberg praised President Bush for telling Americans that “he will settle for nothing less than winning” in Iraq. Sure, Goldberg acknowledged, Bush “may be deluding himself,” but at least he’s “trying to win.” No, he’s not.

It’s clear that Bush knows perfectly well there’s no possibility of “winning” anymore, so apparently he’s seeking in Iraq exactly what Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger sought in Vietnam before the 1972 election: a face-saving “decent interval” before the virtually inevitable collapse of the U.S.-backed government.

Me: She goes on to back up her case that Bush doesn’t really want to win two ways: rank assertion and inapt analogy. She simply says Bush doesn’t want to win because in her opinion Iraq is unwinnable. She then gussies up the assertion by an extended discussion of Nixon and Vietnam. One — but not the only — problem with that analogy is that Nixon was running for re-election. Bush isn’t. Nonetheless, she writes:

The surge makes Bush look, as Goldberg suggests, like he really wants to win, even as he refuses to take the necessary and honest steps to mitigate the terrible damage we’ve already done. The surge buys time — and meanwhile, the Democratic Party is placed in the same untenable position it was in during the last stages of the Vietnam War.

Me: This is just all so odd. The idea that Bush went into war to press Republican advantage has been around for years. Usually when it’s scrutinized, peddlers switch to other mind-reading theories — he wanted to prove something to daddy, to get oil, religious crusade etc. What gave the politics theory — a deeply shabby theory even in 2002-2003 — some superficial plausibility is that Bush was actually standing for election again. But now? He’s supposedly doubling down in Iraq now for the benefit of the GOP? Come on.

Brooks’ whole column starts from the assumption that whatever Bush is saying must be a lie and that those around him know it’s a lie. Then she comes up with the theory that best flows from that unsubstantiated assumption. She uses some sophomoric cui bono logic and voila: Bush is doing this to help John McCain or Mitt Romney or some other unnamed Republican in 2008, even though Bush’s plan and this war are already unpopular and the Democrats have the better side of the issue politically.

Indeed, the problem with the Democrats is the exact opposite of what Brooks claims. Their position is probably wise politically — they get to be anti-war without dealing with the consequences of their convictions. They get to make this “Bush’s war” and carp from the sidelines. The real problem with the Dems is that their position is morally repugnant. They believe the war is lost and that Americans are dying in a pointless cause. Well, if you believe that, you should do something about it. Give Teddy K, the netroots and the Sheehan crowd some credit, they actually have the courage of their convictions. The Democratic leadership doesn’t.

Brooks’ column strikes me as deeply cynical in that rather than make this moral case, she thinks she needs to explain to the Democrats why it would be in their political interest to do what she believes is a moral and strategic imperative. She may be right, but that reflects a problem with the Democrats, not my column.

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