Saturday, August 21, 2010
You see, not just Wisconsin was changed from leans Democrat to toss up. Among them was Washington and California. Almost all of the movement is towards the Republicans. Many of us have said for a long time now that the Senate was in play. This is just more confirmation. Come November the Democrats are finally going to answer to the voters for their dictatorial ruling style.
You can ignore the voters, you can mock them, you can berate them, and you can threaten them, but you will eventually face them at the ballot box. Let's hope we are seeing a permanent decline of the Democrat Party.
If I were to guess on the election results I would guess we would have closer to an 80 seat pick up in the House, 12 in the Senate, and I am keeping a close eye on West Virginia. Given that state's resistance to the Obama agenda I would not be surprised to see that Senate race tighten.
Another exciting opportunity appears to be the governors' races. I will have a more detailed post on it later.
I would like to leave you with this thought; if everything goes our way this election do you honestly think the liberals will accept the result? Or, will we see an increased call for secession from liberal states like Vermont?
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tea Party Express has been working hard on behalf of true conservative candidates across the country including Miller. Here is their recent release on polling for the Alaskan Senate race. It shows Miller gaining ground fast.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 20, 2010
CONTACT: Levi Russell at (509) 979-6615 or Levi@FrontLineStrat.com
ALASKA ELECTION UPSET IN THE WORKS
The Tea Party Express (website: www.TeaPartyExpress.org) is pleased to release details of a statewide survey it conducted in conjunction with RT Nielson research earlier this week that shows the Alaska U.S. Senate race dramatically tightening.
Over one week ago the Tea Party Express was made aware of a private poll conducted by a third-party group interested in a ballot measure on the August 24th election ballot which showed Sen. Lisa Murkowski's lead over Conservative Republican challenger, Joe Miller, had narrowed dramatically.
So the Tea Party Express decided to commission it's own poll with RT Nielson of 300 Alaska Republican & Undeclared/Non-Aligned voters. The polling results show that if the election were held today the results among Likely Voters would be as follows:
LISA MURKOWSKI: 46.91%
JOE MILLER: 35.39%
Joe Miller now leads Senator Murkowski in the city of Fairbanks and the MatSu Valley/Eagle River regions. Miller has also closed the gap in the Kenai Peninsula region and remarkably in Southeast Alaska - which is where Lisa Murkowski was born and has been a bastion of political strength for her. However, the Tea Party Express has made 5 campaign swings through this region and also spent considerable sums advertising on TV, cable, radio and in print in support of Joe Miller.
The recent RT Nielson poll was conducted earlier this week and with the momentum that Joe Miller has achieved, it is likely that the race is even closer than the 46.91%-35.39% margin. The Tea Party Express has spent heavily on TV, radio and print advertising this week, blanketing stations with ads running as frequently as twice-per-half-hour on some TV and radio stations. [read more]
Yet, 22 states are still pursuing laws similar to Arizona's. Good for them. Our founding fathers would have never imagined a federal government who would be more powerful than the states and use that power to support foreigners against our own citizens.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
By Ben West and Lauren Goodrich
On Aug. 12, four members of the militant group the Caucasus Emirate (CE) appeared in a video posted on a Russian militant website withdrawing their support from CE founder and leader Doku Umarov. The reason for the mutiny was Umarov’s Aug. 4 retraction of his Aug. 1 announcement that he was stepping down from the top leadership position. STRATFOR and many others noted at the time that the Aug. 1 resignation was unexpected and suggested that Umarov may have been killed. However, the Aug. 4 retraction revealed that Umarov was still alive and that there was considerable confusion over who was in control of the militant group.
The mutineers were all high-level members of the militant group: Hussein Gakayev, commander of the CE’s Chechen forces; Aslambek Vadalov, commander of Dagestani forces and to whom Umarov had briefly turned over control in his Aug. 1 resignation; an Arab commander named Muhannad; and a veteran field commander known as Tarkhan. The four CE commanders said Umarov’s renunciation showed disrespect for his subordinates and that, while the four leaders continued to pledge support to the CE, they no longer supported Umarov. Gakayev, Tarkhan and Muhannad had all appeared in a video that aired Aug. 1 in which they supported Umarov’s decision to appoint Vadalov CE emir.
To further confuse the issue, a video released Aug. 11 by Emir Adam, the CE leader in Ingushetia, pledged his and his followers’ loyalty to Umarov. The next day, another video appeared featuring the group’s new leader in Dagestan, Emir Seyfullakh Gubdensky (who succeeded Vadalov after he became deputy leader of the CE), similarly endorsing Umarov’s reclamation of the top CE post.
These disparate messages from top leaders paint a picture of confusion and dissension in the CE that appears to mark a serious crisis for a group, which, until recently, had been consolidating militant groups across the Caucasus under a single, more strategic leadership structure. STRATFOR has collected insight from sources familiar with the group and its leadership turmoil that explains what happened and the nature of the threat that the CE poses to Russian security in the Caucasus.
The Inside Story
According to a Russian source, the confusion caused by Umarov’s apparent indecision over the CE leadership position was a deliberate operation by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). According to that source, the operation that ultimately appears to have undermined Umarov’s position as leader of the CE began in early 2010. However, the FSB received intelligence only over the past two months that set the stage for executing the operation. That intelligence allegedly came from the CE’s former leader in Ingushetia, Emir Ali Taziyev, who was arrested by the FSB on June 9 in an Ingushetian village. Taziyev allegedly provided the FSB information on the CE’s training, ideology, weapons procurement and leadership structure. This information then allowed the FSB to activate a sleeper agent, Movladi Udugov, who served directly under Umarov as the CE’s head of media and publicity. According to our source, Udugov was responsible for the unauthorized release of the video in which Umarov announced that he was stepping down and named Vadalov as his successor.
The story goes that Umarov had recorded the video with the intent of saving it and releasing it only in the event of his demise. This would ensure that a crisis of succession wouldn’t erupt because of his death or disappearance. The fact that Vadalov was named as his successor on July 25 means that each of the regional leaders within the CE had likely agreed to the decision. It is important to note that the leadership crisis did not occur because Vadalov was assigned to the post, but because Umarov appeared to have stepped down and then reclaimed his title. Udugov provided the crucial blow to Umarov’s status as leader of the CE by releasing the resignation video prematurely, laying the foundation for dissension among Umarov’s followers.
The resulting flurry of approval and disapproval from the CE’s corps of commanders shows just how damaging the videos were. We have to be critical of the Russian source’s account of how all of this transpired, since the source is likely interested in promoting the FSB’s capabilities and its penetration of Russia’s most dangerous militant group. The account is logical, however, since it does explain the unusual sequence of videos, and the FSB is capable of infiltrating such a group. There are, of course, other explanations for what could have motivated Udugov to release the tape: Perhaps he was trying to trigger a power struggle within the group on his own, or perhaps someone else inside the CE obtained the tape and released it in hopes of weakening Umarov or promoting Vadalov. However, it is very unlikely that the release was a mistake, since Umarov and his commanders have proved very competent at running a successful militant movement.
Looking deeper, it becomes obvious that a video alone would not have caused dissension on the scale that we are seeing now within the CE. Had everything been perfect in the CE and had Umarov enjoyed unwavering support, he could have dismissed the video as an attempt to undermine his authority, promised to punish those responsible and gone on with business. It is very apparent that Umarov was not able to do this. The release of the videos exacerbated divisions among CE factions that Umarov and his deputies were trying to consolidate. By releasing the video of Umarov stepping down as commander, Udugov (allegedly under FSB guidance) forced the divisions into the public spotlight.
According to our Russian source, the resignation scandal has split the CE three ways. The first split concerns operational security. The CE knew that penetrating the group was a top priority for the FSB and that it had to remain vigilant against outsiders attempting to do just that. Simply the allegation that one of Umarov’s top advisers was working for the FSB undermines the sense of operational security throughout the entire group. Already, accusations of FSB involvement in the CE leadership crisis have emerged in the open-source network, on sites like globaljihad.net. In such an atmosphere, the level of trust among commanders decreases (as they begin to wonder who is reporting to the FSB) and the level of paranoia increases. Infighting at the top of any organization can quickly create operational gridlock and reduce the organization’s effectiveness. This is exactly why the Russians might try to claim credit for the tape’s release, even if they were not responsible.
The second split is generational and ideological. According to our source, a younger faction of the CE (led by Vadalov) has accused Umarov and his cadre of not protecting the ideological unity of the CE. It is no secret that Umarov is much more experienced in and knowledgeable of military strategy and tactics, while his background in Islamism is weak. He has bungled religious protocol and terminology a number of times, undermining his authority as emir of the group. Meanwhile, the older, more military-oriented faction accuses the younger faction of being willing to work with Moscow and sell out the movement.
The third and possibly most volatile fault line is the tension between regional groups within the Caucasus Emirate. The northern Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan each have their own, independent histories of militancy, with Chechen militants traditionally being Moscow’s highest-profile antagonists. Without the support of the Chechen commander of the CE (Khusein Gakayev, who withdrew his support for Umarov in the Aug. 12 video), Umarov has a serious deficit of support in controlling the Caucasus Emirate. The advantage of having the support of the current Ingushetian and Dagestani militant leaders is diluted by the fact that Chechnya geographically lies directly between them, rendering any trans-Caucasus network incomplete. Also, Chechens have been the more successful leaders of militant movements in the Caucasus. Umarov himself is Chechen, as was Shamil Basayev, a commander of Chechen separatist forces in two wars against Russia.
Threat and Inherent Weaknesses
It is exactly because of Doku Umarov’s ability to bring together militants of different motivations, generations and locations under the umbrella of the Caucasus Emirate that made his group so threatening to the Russian state. As a unified militant group, the CE proved capable of launching a suicide attack against Moscow’s subway system in March 2010 and carrying out relatively sophisticated attacks targeting security forces and infrastructure. The CE leadership structure provided strategic guidance to the individual militant groups operating in the separate republics that actually carried out the attacks. With the recent crisis in leadership, these capabilities will likely be severely weakened.
Umarov announced the formation of the CE only in 2007, which means the group was just three years old when the leadership turmoil broke out Aug. 1. This is precious little time to consolidate militant groups across a region with sharp geographic fragmentation that traditionally has caused groups to be isolated and independent. Moscow has had plenty of problems controlling the region and is faced with the same geographic challenges as the Caucasus Emirate. A different source familiar with the CE said that Umarov has most recently attempted to consolidate the CE by broadcasting his statements in different languages, such as Avar, which is widely spoken in Dagestan. But Avar is only one of 10 languages spoken across Dagestan alone, which makes communicating efficiently to an audience across the Caucasus a difficult task.
That same source has said that the CE has had trouble moving food, supplies, weapons and people across the Caucasus (this effort is complicated by Russian security forces as well as geography), which means that each group is responsible for providing for itself. This prevents standardization across the militant movement and complicates cooperation among groups. It also reduces the reliance of regional militant groups on the Caucasus Emirate leadership, decreasing Umarov’s control over the movement. If militant commanders in Chechnya are supplying and recruiting on their own, they are less likely to take orders on what to do with those resources from detached leaders. However, lack of unity among the groups does not necessarily make them less able to carry out the small-scale attacks that are common in the Caucasus. On Aug. 17, five days after a split in the CE leadership became apparent, a suicide bomber (most likely affiliated with a group linked to the CE) attacked a police checkpoint along the border of Ingushetia and North Ossetia.
Militant groups existed in the Caucasus long before the Caucasus Emirate was formed and will continue to exist long after it is gone. The strategic importance of the Caucasus and the fragmentation of its inhabitants due to ethnicity, culture and geography (which makes for ideal guerrilla-warfare terrain), ensure that whoever attempts to control the region will face serious challenges from local populations who want to govern themselves. With varying levels of success, these groups will continue to use violence to undermine their respective governments, especially those seen as Moscow’s lackeys.
Indeed, even though the Caucasus Emirate may be seriously disrupted by recent turmoil in its leadership structure, the regional militant groups that made up the CE will certainly continue to conduct attacks against security forces and even civilians as they try to loosen Moscow’s control over the region. But the turmoil will reduce the strategic threat the combined efforts of these disparate groups had posed to Moscow for the foreseeable future.
Read more: Power Struggle Among Russia's Militants STRATFOR
Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement in response to deficit projections issued today by the Congressional Budget Office. CBO projected today that the federal government will incur a $1.34 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year and will add to that with $1.07 trillion of red ink in 2011.
“Today’s report underscores the desperate need for fiscal
restraint in Washington. CBO is projecting that 2011 will be the third straight
year of annual deficits which surpass $1 trillion. During the worst economy in
decades, American families, small businesses and family farms have been making
sacrifices and hard choices to balance their budgets. But this year in
Washington, the Pelosi Congress didn’t even propose a budget.
American people want an end to runaway federal spending, but Washington is
giving them more of the same. If Democrats have their way American taxpayers
will be hit with the largest tax increase in history on January 1. These CBO
projections demonstrate the futility of trying to fix federal deficits by
relying on more taxes instead of spending cuts. When will out-of-touch Democrats
understand that this government does not tax too little? It taxes and spends too
MOTHER TERESA RALLY ONE WEEK AWAY
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on Day 70 of the protest campaign on behalf of Mother Teresa:
One week from today, on August 26, the Catholic League is holding a rally to protest the decision by officials from the Empire State Building not to light the towers blue and white on the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birthday. The rally will feature speakers who are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim, as well as celebrities and government officials from both parties.
The rally begins at 6:00 p.m. Please enter at 34th Street and 6th Avenue, and remember to wear blue and white.
Click here to see Donohue’s video discussing important information about the event.
Director of Communications
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement today in response to the Labor Department’s report of 500,000 new claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended August 14:
“The American people continue to ask, ‘Where are the jobs?’
Today’s report is another stark reminder that Washington Democrats are out of
touch and have failed to get America back to work. Clearly, they just don’t get
it. Democrat policies of more bailouts, out-of-control spending and higher taxes
are not working. While the Pelosi Congress continues its six-week paid vacation,
nearly 15 million Americans are searching for jobs. Washington needs to give
small businesses true incentives for job creation, and that can start by ending
the Democrats’ threat of the largest tax increase in history.”
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Great ad, what took so long? The Democrat Party is so extreme anymore that it no longer even resembles what it was just 10 years ago. They advocate for the slaughter of unborn children, the weakening of our national defense, crippling of our economy, and government intrusion and control of the private citizen. I wish I was exaggerating, but the fact is I am understating the case. The Democrat Party is just too EXTREME.
I'm excited to announce that next week Wednesday, August 25th, former Congressman and Ambassador Mark Green will be the guest of honor at a breakfast fundraising event for my campaign for Wisconsin's Second State Assembly District. I would love for you to attend! The event will be held at the Rock Garden Supper Club on 1951 Bond Street in Green Bay from 7:30AM-8:30AM. I apologize for the short notice, and I do not anticipate mailing formal invitations. I understand that the timing will be difficult for many of you to attend, but I greatly appreciate the help of Ambassador Green in making this event come together on such a short timeframe while he's still in town. There is no charge for the continental breakfast, coffee, or to attend, but all contributions are greatly appreciated as the campaign hits the stretch run. Feel free to invite your friends; RSVPs are appreciated. Please contact me at (920) 819-8066 with any questions!
2nd State Assembly District
Federal Lands Plagued by Crime, Violence, Security Threats
WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug 18 - Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee released a new web video today highlighting the crime, violence and environmental damage taking place on federal lands along the U.S. border. Environmental regulations, enforced by the Department of the Interior, are hindering U.S. Border Patrol’s efforts to effectively secure these areas. As a result, these public lands have become unpatrolled highways for drug smugglers, murderers, rapists, human traffickers, and potential terrorists.
To address this issue, House Republicans, led by National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Bishop (UT-01), have introduced legislation (H.R. 5016) to ensure that U.S. Border Patrol is permitted to assert operational control over the border. This commonsense bill would simply give Border Patrol both the authority and access to effectively monitor and protect our federal lands on the border.
For more information on federal lands along the border, visit http://republicans.resourcescommittee.house.gov/border
Johnson also stands firm in his belief that judges should respect the Constitution and not become activists. The courts are held in low esteem now-a-days simply because they are seen as nothing more than political activists imposing their liberal views on a Republic that would never vote for them. It is not Johnson who holds extreme, fringe views it is Russ Feingold and the Democrat controlled senate. Let's restore a little sanity to the US Senate and vote for Ron Johnson.
By George Friedman
It is August 2010, which is the month when the last U.S. combat troops are scheduled to leave Iraq. It is therefore time to take stock of the situation in Iraq, which has changed places with Afghanistan as the forgotten war. This is all the more important since 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq, and while they may not be considered combat troops, a great deal of combat power remains embedded with them. So we are far from the end of the war in Iraq. The question is whether the departure of the last combat units is a significant milestone and, if it is, what it signifies.
The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 with three goals: The first was the destruction of the Iraqi army, the second was the destruction of the Baathist regime and the third was the replacement of that regime with a stable, pro-American government in Baghdad. The first two goals were achieved within weeks. Seven years later, however, Iraq still does not yet have a stable government, let alone a pro-American government. The lack of that government is what puts the current strategy in jeopardy.
The fundamental flaw of the invasion of Iraq was not in its execution but in the political expectations that were put in place. As the Americans knew, the Shiite community was anti-Baathist but heavily influenced by Iranian intelligence. The decision to destroy the Baathists put the Sunnis, who were the backbone of Saddam’s regime, in a desperate position. Facing a hostile American army and an equally hostile Shiite community backed by Iran, the Sunnis faced disaster. Taking support from where they could get it — from the foreign jihadists that were entering Iraq — they launched an insurgency against both the Americans and the Shia.
The Sunnis simply had nothing to lose. In their view, they faced permanent subjugation at best and annihilation at worst. The United States had the option of creating a Shiite-based government but realized that this government would ultimately be under Iranian control. The political miscalculation placed the United States simultaneously into a war with the Sunnis and a near-war situation with many of the Shia, while the Shia and Sunnis waged a civil war among themselves and the Sunnis occasionally fought the Kurds as well. From late 2003 until 2007, the United States was not so much in a state of war in Iraq as it was in a state of chaos.
The new strategy of Gen. David Petraeus emerged from the realization that the United States could not pacify Iraq and be at war with everyone. After a 2006 defeat in the midterm elections, it was expected that U.S. President George W. Bush would order the withdrawal of forces from Iraq. Instead, he announced the surge. The surge was really not much of a surge, but it created psychological surprise — not only were the Americans not leaving, but more were on the way. Anyone who was calculating a position based on the assumption of a U.S. withdrawal had to recalculate.
The Americans understood that the key was reversing the position of the Sunni insurgents. So long as they remained at war with the Americans and Shia, there was no possibility of controlling the situation. Moreover, only the Sunnis could cut the legs out from under the foreign jihadists operating in the Sunni community. These jihadists were challenging the traditional leadership of the Sunni community, so turning this community against the jihadists was not difficult. The Sunnis also were terrified that the United States would withdraw, leaving them at the mercy of the Shia. These considerations, along with substantial sums of money given to Sunni tribal elders, caused the Sunnis to do an about-face. This put the Shia on the defensive, since the Sunni alignment with the Americans enabled the Americans to strike at the Shiite militias.
Petraeus stabilized the situation, but he did not win the war. The war could only be considered won when there was a stable government in Baghdad that actually had the ability to govern Iraq. A government could be formed with people sitting in meetings and talking, but that did not mean that their decisions would have any significance. For that there had to be an Iraqi army to enforce the will of the government and protect the country from its neighbors, particularly Iran (from the American point of view). There also had to be a police force to enforce whatever laws might be made. And from the American perspective, this government did not have to be pro-American (that had long ago disappeared as a viable goal), but it could not be dominated by Iran.
Iraq is not ready to deal with the enforcement of the will of the government because it has no government. Once it has a government, it will be a long time before its military and police forces will be able to enforce its will throughout the country. And it will be much longer before it can block Iranian power by itself. As it stands now, there is no government, so the rest doesn’t much matter.
The geopolitical problem the Americans face is that, with the United States gone, Iran would be the most powerful conventional power in the Persian Gulf. The historical balance of power had been between Iraq and Iran. The American invasion destroyed the Iraqi army and government, and the United States was unable to recreate either. Part of this had to do with the fact that the Iranians did not want the Americans to succeed.
For Iran, a strong Iraq is the geopolitical nightmare. Iran once fought a war with Iraq that cost Iran a million casualties (imagine the United States having more than 4 million casualties), and the foundation of Iranian national strategy is to prevent a repeat of that war by making certain that Iraq becomes a puppet to Iran or, failing that, that it remains weak and divided. At this point, the Iranians do not have the ability to impose a government on Iraq. However, they do have the ability to prevent the formation of a government or to destabilize one that is formed. Iranian intelligence has sufficient allies and resources in Iraq to guarantee the failure of any stabilization attempt that doesn’t please Tehran.
There are many who are baffled by Iranian confidence and defiance in the face of American pressure on the nuclear issue. This is the reason for that confidence: Should the United States attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, or even if the United States does not attack, Iran holds the key to the success of the American strategy in Iraq. Everything done since 2006 fails if the United States must maintain tens of thousands of troops in Iraq in perpetuity. Should the United States leave, Iran has the capability of forcing a new order not only on Iraq but also on the rest of the Persian Gulf. Should the United States stay, Iran has the ability to prevent the stabilization of Iraq, or even to escalate violence to the point that the Americans are drawn back into combat. The Iranians understand the weakness of America’s position in Iraq, and they are confident that they can use that to influence American policy elsewhere.
American and Iraqi officials have publicly said that the reason an Iraqi government has not been formed is Iranian interference. To put it more clearly, there are any number of Shiite politicians who are close to Tehran and, for a range of reasons, will take their orders from there. There are not enough of these politicians to create a government, but there are enough to block a government from being formed. Therefore, no government is being formed.
With 50,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq, the United States does not yet face a crisis. The current withdrawal milestone is not the measure of the success of the strategy. The threat of a crisis will arise if the United States continues its withdrawal to the point where the Shia feel free to launch a sustained and escalating attack on the Sunnis, possibly supported by Iranian forces, volunteers or covert advisers. At that point, the Iraqi government must be in place, be united and command sufficient forces to control the country and deter Iranian plans.
The problem is, as we have seen, that in order to achieve that government there must be Iranian concurrence, and Iran has no reason to want to allow that to happen. Iran has very little to lose by, and a great deal to gain from, continuing the stability the Petraeus strategy provided. The American problem is that a genuine withdrawal from Iraq requires a shift in Iranian policy, and the United States has little to offer Iran to change the policy.
From the Iranian point of view, they have the Americans in a difficult position. On the one hand, the Americans are trumpeting the success of the Petraeus plan in Iraq and trying to repeat the success in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the secret is that the Petraeus plan has not yet succeeded in Iraq. Certainly, it ended the major fighting involving the Americans and settled down Sunni-Shiite tensions. But it has not taken Iraq anywhere near the end state the original strategy envisioned. Iraq has neither a government nor a functional army — and what is blocking it is Tehran.
One impulse of the Americans is to settle with the Iranians militarily. However, Iran is a mountainous country of 70 million, and an invasion is simply not in the cards. Airstrikes are always possible, but as the United States learned over North Vietnam — or from the Battle of Britain or in the bombing of Germany and Japan before the use of nuclear weapons — air campaigns alone don’t usually force nations to capitulate or change their policies. Serbia did give up Kosovo after a three-month air campaign, but we suspect Iran would be a tougher case. In any event, the United States has no appetite for another war while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still under way, let alone a war against Iran in order to extricate itself from Iraq. The impulse to use force against Iran was resisted by President Bush and is now being resisted by President Barack Obama. And even if the Israelis attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran could still wreak havoc in Iraq.
Two strategies follow from this. The first is that the United States will reduce U.S. forces in Iraq somewhat but will not complete the withdrawal until a more distant date (the current Status of Forces Agreement requires all American troops to be withdrawn by the end of 2011). The problems with this strategy are that Iran is not going anywhere, destabilizing Iraq is not costing it much and protecting itself from an Iraqi resurgence is Iran’s highest foreign policy priority. That means that the decision really isn’t whether the United States will delay its withdrawal but whether the United States will permanently base forces in Iraq — and how vulnerable those forces might be to an upsurge in violence, which is an option that Iran retains.
Another choice for the United States, as we have discussed previously, is to enter into negotiations with Iran. This is a distasteful choice from the American point of view, but surely not more distasteful than negotiating with Stalin or Mao. At the same time, the Iranians’ price would be high. At the very least, they would want the “Finlandization” of Iraq, similar to the situation where the Soviets had a degree of control over Finland’s government. And it is far from clear that such a situation in Iraq would be sufficient for the Iranians.
The United States cannot withdraw completely without some arrangement, because that would leave Iran in an extremely powerful position in the region. The Iranian strategy seems to be to make the United States sufficiently uncomfortable to see withdrawal as attractive but not to be so threatening as to deter the withdrawal. As clever as that strategy is, however, it does not hide the fact that Iran would dominate the Persian Gulf region after the withdrawal. Thus, the United States has nothing but unpleasant choices in Iraq. It can stay in perpetuity and remain vulnerable to violence. It can withdraw and hand the region over to Iran. It can go to war with yet another Islamic country. Or it can negotiate with a government that it despises — and which despises it right back.
Given all that has been said about the success of the Petraeus strategy, it must be observed that while it broke the cycle of violence and carved out a fragile stability in Iraq, it has not achieved, nor can it alone achieve, the political solution that would end the war. Nor has it precluded a return of violence at some point. The Petraeus strategy has not solved the fundamental reality that has always been the shadow over Iraq: Iran. But that was beyond Petraeus’ task and, for now, beyond American capabilities. That is why the Iranians can afford to be so confident.
Read more: The U.S. Withdrawal and Limited Options in Iraq STRATFOR
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The mission also complements Hubble and other telescopes by showing the 'big picture," providing context for more detailed observations. The cluster contains some of the most massive stars known. Winds and radiation from the stars are evaporating and dispersing the cloud material from which they formed, warming the cold dust and gas surrounding the central nebula. This greenish "halo" of warm cloud material is seen best by WISE due to its large field of view and improved sensitivity over past all-sky infrared surveys.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
I want to bring your attention to this touching article about how families with Downs Syndrome children have come to realize what a blessing they are.
It is nice to see Scott Walker forcefully come out against this car-speed rail monstrosity. Most of us don't even like Milwaukee. Why would we want to waste millions of dollars on a project going to two cities we avoid; Milwaukee and Madison?
August 17, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The pro-abortion political group Emily's List started a new national campaign today designed to attack pro-life former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and the slew of pro-life women candidates she is supporting across the country in this year's congressional elections. [read more]
Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, released the following statement today in response to the Obama Administration’s Conference on the Future of Housing Finance:
“With the national debt at nearly $14 trillion and unemployment still near 10
percent, the administration has yet to stop the bailouts of Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac. Washington Democrats attempted to solve the financial crisis by
approving legislation to ‘reform’ the financial services sector.
“However, the legislation makes Wall Street bailouts permanent and
ignores Republican calls to end the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. To
date, Fannie and Freddie have received approximately $148.2 billion in
“Now the administration is holding a
‘conference’ to try and solve this crisis. They would do well to remember that
underwriting every bad loan in America is not the answer.
“I call on the
administration to put the interests of the American people first and end its
continued bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is past time to rid the
American taxpayer of the liabilities of these financial institutions once and
RSC Update: Tuesday, August 17, 2010
New RSC Video:
“Those Voices Don’t Speak for the Rest of Us”
Click to Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wusgcG4rfo
RSC Media Activity – Republican Study Committee members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.
· Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01): Bailing Out States Could Stunt Economic Growth; Weekly Column, August 11.
· Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01): A Road Map to Saving Medicare; The Washington Post, August 13.
House Floor Activity – The following key legislation came through the House of Representatives last week.
· Democrats overwhelmingly voted to keep the door open to a lame duck session by preventing the consideration of the Lame Duck resolution introduced by Chairman Price.
· House Democrats passed another $26.1 billion in so-called stimulus spending to bailout states and public employee unions.
· The House also approved a $600 million border security bill. While Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano reacted by saying that the White House now has “enough” resources, Republicans know that much more still needs to be done to secure the border.
· Each week, the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce compiles a weekly report on the latest budget and spending news. Additionally, the RSC Money Monitor tracks how bills passed by the House affect authorizations, mandatory spending, and federal government revenue.
House Republican Study Committee
Rep Tom Price, M.D., Chairman
Paul Teller, Executive Director
Brad Watson, Policy Director
Natalie Farr, Professional Staff
Emily Henehan Murry, Professional Staff
Bruce “Fez” Miller, Professional Staff
Jonathan Day, Director of Member Services and Business Outreach
Alex Shively, Director of Conservative Coalitions
Ryan Murphy, Communications Director
Brian Straessle, Deputy Communications Director
Curtis Rhyne, Research Assistant
424 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
August 17, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The first Pro-Life Freedom Ride in Alabama and Georgia saw hundreds of pro-life advocates recreate the historic rights used by the civil rights movement -- this time to press for civil rights for unborn children. The second ride takes place this September and will focus on the elections and helping women after abortion. [read more]
Well the latest incident of this, my wife went out and bought a onsie for our soon to be born son; it says Major Cutie and then has inverted Sergeant stripes instead of a Major's insignia. I think it is kind of funny.
OBAMA CHAMPIONS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
President Obama said on Friday that he supports the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this issue today:
President Obama is certainly right to insist that Muslims have the right to build a house of worship on private property. But the real issue here is not whether Muslims have a legal right to build a mosque at Ground Zero, it is whether they should do so. Most Americans, and most New Yorkers, do not want the mosque to be built there, making disingenuous the argument on the part of its supporters that it is designed to bring people together: it has already had the opposite effect.
To justify his position, President Obama proclaimed that "our commitment to religious freedom is unshakable." It most certainly should be. But since when has Obama been so serious about this issue?
Under Obama, his administration effectively gutted faith from his faith-based initiatives, worrying infinitely more about separation of church and state than religious freedom. Just last Christmas, his administration seriously weighed stripping the White House of manger scenes, and offered tree ornaments with the picture of mass murderer Mao Zedong on them. When he spoke at Georgetown University last year, his advance team made certain to put a drape over IHS, Latin for Jesus, just to show how sensitive they were to the freedom from religion crowd. School vouchers for sectarian schools are always rejected by his administration, yet he always finds a way to fund abortion. The Obama administration scored a first in U.S. history when it invited radical atheists to the White House, promising them a place at the table. Moreover, when he was running for president, his Catholic advisory board was stacked with Catholic dissidents.
So for Obama to choose the building of a mosque at Ground Zero as his moment to declare his "unshakable" commitment to religious liberty strikes us as contrived.
Director of Communications
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
Monday, August 16, 2010
There is an excellent piece at Way Up North on this very issue that is a must read for every concerned citizen.
Running Out of Boxes
Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)Sounds like the morning news, doesn't it? There's a reason for that, but I suspect most of you didn't come to this blog for a sermon.
Tough. [read more]