Thursday, November 29, 2007


Bin Laden Latest Message: Al Qaeda Giving Up on Iraq and Focusing on Afghanistan. And still no sign of recognition of our victory in the media or the Democrats. Sen Reid still hasn't backtracked from his defeatist nonsense earlier this year.

UPDATE 12/4: Bill Roggio reports: Senior Syrian al Qaeda leader confirmed killed - "Abu Maysara killed during raid near Samarra."

Reuters reports: "Forty senior al Qaeda in Iraq members were either captured or killed in November, including a senior adviser to the Sunni Islamist group's leader, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. Violence levels in Iraq have fallen to their lowest levels since January 2006"

More proof that Al Qaeda in Iraq concedes defeat - Freeper jveritas translates the latest Al Qaeda in Iraq missive:

In his speech released yesterday Abou Omar Al Baghdadi the supposed leader of the Islamic State in Iraq which is Al Qaeda in Iraq said that only two hundered Mohajeroon are left in Iraq. Mohajeroon which means immigrants in Arabic are the foreign terrorists who came to fight in Iraq. This is yet the most stunning admission by Al Qaeda in Iraq that they are totally destroyed and from the tens of thousands of foreign terrorists they had, almost all of them are killed and captured and only two hundreds are left.

HOW WE WON - the surge of US support, trained Iraqi forces coming up to speed, and locals turning against insurgents is what has turned the tide and made the pacification of Iraq only a matter of time:

Fallujah was once the backbone of the insurgency. Today, as First Lt. Barry Edwards put it, "They avoid Fallujah now like it's the plague. ... They're afraid of the Iraqis."
"Security is good now because the coalition, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi police all work together," said an Iraqi fruit stand owner. "One hand does not clap."

Another Iraqi who works as a money changer told me, "They are finished. It will be a shame on all of us if the terrorists ever come back."

CNN's Double Outrage

The Clinton New Network is up to their old tricks. A few weeks after CNN planted a Democrat debate with left-wing activists to help Hillary, we find out that CNN planted the GOP debate with left-wing activists.

Michelle Malkin did the digging, and got "declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); ... declared Obama supporter; ... prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers. ... Muslim questioner was a former CAIR intern. ... " And RedState notes that one questioner is on: "LGBT Americans for Hillary Steering Committee and co-chair on Hillary's National Military Veterans group. He also was an active John Kerry supporter in 2004." Powerline adds: "Adam Florzak asked a question on Social Security. It turns out that Florzak quit his job with Caterpillar to work with Dick Durbin on Social Security reform. Then there was Mark Strauss, who pleaded with Ron Paul to run as an Independent. It turns out he's a Richardson supporter (more here)."

So a Republican primary debate infested with liberal-leaning questioners.

CNN's lame response:

"The whole point of these ground-breaking CNN/YouTube debates is to focus on substantive questions of concern to real people and to throw open the process to a wider range of Americans all around the country.
My response: Well, then, they blew it by stacking a Democratic debate with a gaggle of questions from hard-core committed liberal Democratic activists. They got thousands of videos, and picked these, clearly showing their bias and cluelessness and complete inability to open the process to real Republican voters who will decide the Republican nomination.

Yet the GOP candidates didn't do so badly. But it would be nice to live in an America with No liberal Media Bias and conservative questions and viewpoints aired more fairly in the 'mainstream' media.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Huckabee's tax-and-spend past

GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is surging on conservative claims that don't fully check out - he is a pro-life, pro-gun, populist ... tax-and-spend Nanny-stater. Pity. We seem to have a gaggle of awe-insiring almost-maybe-partly-notreally-conservative Republicans running for President, and a few real conservatives getting 1%. Huckabee hit hard by Club for Growth's Pat Toomey:

... here is a quick summary of Huckabee’s worst hits. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the average Arkansas tax burden increased 47% over Huckabee’s tenure. Huckabee supported (in chronological order) a sales tax hike; gas and diesel fuel tax hikes; another sales tax hike; a cigarette tax hike; a nursing home bed tax; another sales tax hike; an income surcharge tax; a tobacco tax hike; taxes on Internet access; and higher beer taxes. Huckabee also oversaw a 50-percent increase in spending; happily signed a minimum wage increase and encouraged national Republicans to do the same; favors a national smoking ban, farm subsidies, and a federally mandated arts and music curriculum; opposes private school choice; and employs class-warfare and protectionist language on the campaign trail. Huckabee calls himself an economic conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan, but the above list doesn’t sound like either.

St Rep Mike Krusee Announces he Will Not Seek Re-Election

This is important news for people in Williamson County. For 16 years, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Taylor have been represented by Mike Krusee. Even though Rep Krusee has not been the most popular State Rep over the last 4 years due to the construction of the toll ways, he has worked hard on transportation and education issues that are important to Williamson County.

As of this morning, no Republicans have announced their intention to fill the void for this State Rep seat. This will be a critical race as Travis County Democrats and tax-and-spend Republicans both desire this seat, so it is not a guarantee that this seat will remain in the hands of a conservative Republican. This race will be pivotal in determining the transportation strategy for the Central Texas area as well as environmental and education issues for the region.

Stay tuned for the list of candidates who will file for this seat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Democrat Congress votes to worsen credit crunch

Is there a risk of recession? Yes, mainly because a Democratic Congress is in session and with their meddling they have a dangerous tendency to make a bad situation worse. For the credit crunch, their 'cure' for housing foreclosures is to forbid banks from making 'bad' loans: Meaning no more loans to risky borrowers. So who will refinance the variable rate loans these risky borrowers have today?

A comment from the folks at, who are commercial lenders:

The House passes a mortgage regulation bill. What does it mean to the commercial sector?

The newspapers are providing us with a daily dose of bad news on the housing front. We read about foreclosures, lender bankruptcies, and the usual pronouncements from our government leaders that they will bring an end to the problems by more regulation.

This column is not nearly long enough to explore all of the ramifications of this crisis. But I for one am very, very nervous about the bill that has just passed the House of Representatives regulating residential lending.
Why should I, a commercial lender, be concerned about these regulations? I believe that certain provisions within this bill (H.R. 3915) are going to cause capital to pull out of the home loan business even more than it already has, and what follows will be a credit crunch that will make the current environment look benign.

A prolonged housing crunch will send us tumbling toward a deep recession which will severely impact commercial properties as businesses fail and investors, even in the commercial arena, stop lending.

This bill, if passed in its current form by the Senate and signed by the President (who has threatened a veto,) will effectively end sub-prime lending. The very people that the bill is designed to protect will find out that no one will lend to the marginal borrower.

If there is no money for housing, how many related industries will be decimated? Look at the devastation to collateral industries already: escrows; the construction trades,; and the myriad of businesses that rely on new home sales that have already been adversely affected.

With further restrictions on the availability of funds, a recession will follow and commercial real estate lending will be hurt in the process. I am very, very nervous about this knee jerk reaction by congress. You don’t cure a leg wound by chopping off both legs at the knee.

Contact your Congressional Representatives and educate them on the impact of this bill.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why Taiwan is Strategic to Our Security

Taiwan is vital to the US military

By Cheng Ta-chen 鄭大誠

Thursday, Nov 22, 2007, Page 8

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) stated in its recent annual report to Congress that Taiwan's defense capabilities completely rely on the US and that Taiwan would not be able to withstand an invasion by the People's Liberation Army were it not for US military assistance.

The US should not forget that Taiwan also plays a crucial part in its US Asia-Pacific strategy.

First of all, Taiwan plays an important role as a "pressure point" on the first island chain.

If the US is able to hold Taiwan, it can exert consistent pressure on China through this pressure point.

Similarly, if China were to obtain control over Taiwan, it could exert military pressure on other countries and extend its navy and air forces east of the first island chain.

Therefore, for China, Taiwan is not only a "province that must be unified with the motherland," but also a strategic position for China to break through the first island chain where the US has long carried out its "war of suffocation."

If the US wishes to contain China behind the first island chain, losing Taiwan means losing the battle.

Second, the RAND Corporation has pointed out that large-scale warfare could possibly break out in the future, but the US doesn't have sufficient military capabilities to engage the Middle East, Southwest Asia, the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea and South Asia at the same time.

The US has military forces in East Asia deployed in four crucial locations -- Guam, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea. However, if a cross-strait war broke out, it is very likely that China would pressure the Japanese government to withdraw its military bases -- Yokosuka, Kadena and Atsugi -- from US use.

Although Guam is a US territory, the fact that it is more than 1,300 nautical miles (2,407km) away from the Taiwan Strait makes it unsuitable for effective military operations, transportation and supplies.

As for the US troops stationed in the Philippines and South Korea, a cross-strait war is not within the scope of their capabilities because of other responsibilities. Obviously, apart from aircraft carriers, the ideal military base for the US to fight China in the Taiwan Strait is Taiwan.

The USCC is on the right track when it recommends that Congress encourage the administration of US President George W. Bush to continue working with Taiwan to modernize its military and enhance Taiwan's capabilities for operating jointly with US and allied forces. However, the committee's report doesn't support selling Taiwan advanced weapons and military equipment, such as the F-16C/D fighter. So how do they want Taiwan's military to modernize?

What's more, in order to effectively improve the common warfare capabilities between the US and Taiwan, the military equipment of both countries must be on the same level, and direct bilateral joint drills are also necessary. But apparently the US hasn't seriously considered this issue.

If a cross-strait war broke out, how could the US expect to work well with Taiwan militarily?

Although the US knows Taiwan's military significance perfectly well, it has failed to develop a closer relationship with Taiwan on the issues of bases and defensive military deployments.

All in all, the US stance is self-contradictory. Taiwan is the only US ally that can assist in countering China's "anti-access" strategy or in breaking through the first island chain.

Also, Taiwan is willing to develop a special military relationship with the US in the same way that the UK has. It is high time that the US government seriously reviewed the defects of its Asia-Pacific strategy.

Cheng Ta-chen is an independent defense analyst.


USCC website

2007 Report to Congress

2007 Report Introduction

2007 Report Executive Summary

2007 Recommendations to Congress

Saturday, November 17, 2007


By Bob Ward

Nov 18, 2007 - Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has given six
evangelical ministers one month to turnover all their financial
records to the Senate Finance Committee.

The reason for Grassley’s intrusion into the personal finances of
these ministers is that they are what he calls “lavish lifestyles” and
he publicly wonders whether they are using their tax-exempt status to
shield their sumptuous living.

According to media accounts, these gentlemen do live well. There are
reports of private jets, palatial homes and luxurious automobiles
including at least one Rolls-Royce which, the preacher says, does not
belong to him but is the property of the church.

This is a project the senator should promptly abandon. It is not the
business of a U.S. senator or the Federal government to worry about
how any individual spends money that belongs to him. If a minster is
paid an extravagant salary by the ministry he heads up, it is up to
people who manage the ministry, and the donors who support it, to do
something about it – not the United States government. If he is
defrauding his
employers in a way that violates a Federal statute, that is a matter
for the Justice Department, not the Senate Finance Committee.

If Grassley were investigating the organizations the preachers lead,
he would be on firmer ground. There are limits on political activity
and other rules an organization must observe to be considered non-
profit for tax purposes. But in this case, it is personal finances of
the preachers he is targeting – not the activities of the

Is the senator prepared to introduce legislation making it unlawful
for a cleric to become wealthy?

All this, course, is on top of the fundamental irony of a United
States senator carping about someone else’s “lavish life style.” At
least the preachers get their money from people who voluntarily
donate. If the donors don’t like the way their money is used, they
are free to close their checkbooks. The taxpayers who support the
senator’s salary and generous bennies have no such option. The
senator’s money is obtained by force and coercion.

So until the senator himself is ready to subsist on a diet of honey
and locusts, how these individuals spend their own money is none of
his business.

And the whole project tacks too close to the First Amendment to be

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The trend justifies the means

Al Gore misrepresents a chart in AIT - claiming it is an ice core reconstruction that 'proves' the "Mann Hockey Stick" reconstruction correct - when in fact the chart is the Mann Hockey Stick itself! Circular logic and a mislabelled chart, nice going, Al. Commenter on CA blog has the last word on it: The trend justifies the means.

Friday, November 9, 2007

An OfferThey'd Better Not Refuse

By Bob Ward

Nov. 9, 2007 - A couple of city council members in Austin are demonstrating the inherently larcenous nature of government.

Mike Martinez and Betty Dunkerly are proposing to charge taxicabs a $50 annual fee if they have advertising on their cabs.
Placing an ad on an existing taxicab imposes no additional burden on the city – no extra administrative chores, no additional expense. In return for that $50 a year, the city delivers no product, provides no service So why would the city hit up the cab owners with an arbitrary $50 annual fee?

Because it can.

If they don’t pay they will be forcibly denied the opportunity to do business. On the docks in New Jersey, Hoboken and Brooklyn, this is a familiar practice and it has a name. It’s called Extortion. When Italians do
it, it’s considered a crime, when governments do it – and they do it all the time – it’s called revenue generation.

But whatever it’s called the principle is the same – pay up or you will be shut down. And what do you get for your money? You get to exist and earn a living.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Travis Bucks the Trend

Although Prop 15 won by 60% overall statewide, and won big in Tarrant, Harris (63% support) and the other urban counties, the vote in Travis county was 31,297 for to 30,933 against. In Lance's hometown, the race was a squeaker! What happened? Statesman mentions the puzzlement:

But the county's opposition to cancer research bonds is stumping supporters and opponents of the proposal.

It could be that a late effort by some Austin-area fiscal conservative groups, opposing the idea of going into debt to fund cancer research, was enough to make the difference in a low-turnout election. Just 8.4 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

That group was Austinite Don Zimmerman's political action committee, Prop15 Families Against Cancer Tax. The group organized late and raised just $3,500, Zimmerman said. But it put up 50 signs in the area and held a news conference and a debate.

Proposition 15 supporters acknowledged that made a difference.

I'm not stumped at all that it made a difference. When I went to the polling place a 4x8 sign "Stop the Cancer Tax" was there. In my precinct on election day, there was a whopping 61% NO vote on the proposition, far more negative vote than in early voting, with a total 259 no to 157 yes. My precinct voted yes for all the other propositions.

Don Zimmerman helped stop excessive RRISD bonds a few years back and has fought against other taxhiking proposals. This time Don and his group Prop 15 Fact managed to get local media visibility to his opposition via press conferences, and got signs up a few weeks prior to the election. He brought in some of the LP guys like Wes Benedict to do the small-Government advocating that the Republican party leaders wouldn't do.

We noted before the election his website, which cross-linked to op eds against the proposition such as our op-ed. Our online guide and op-eds at the Travis Monitor managed to get several thousands hits in the runup to the election. Travis county bucked the trend because of the efforts of Don Zimmerman and his co-activists at Prop 15 Fact. Well done.

Abstinence Ed vs politicized science

Dallas Morning News has an article on a study that, according to the article, says "Abstinence-only programs aren't certain to curb teen sex". Drill down on the study and you find that the 'comprehensive' programs are touted for 'positive outcomes' such as "increasing use of condoms". So a program that tells kids to use condoms leads to more condom use than one that does not, and that makes it better. This is then touted by Planned Parenthood as a reason to strip abstinence sex ed and force 'comprehensive' sex ed funding only.

Kyleen Wright from Texans for Life was quoted in that article and sent out a 'Dear Friend' email to remind us of a few key points:

The Dallas Morning News Reporter who interviewed me for the story in today's paper (see article below) left out some very important facts that I shared with him.
Liberals and "sexperts" are using junk science to discredit abstinence while Congress debates abstinence education funding. Unfortunately, the media is largely giving them a pass.
It is a fact that teen pregnancy and birth rates (not to mention STD & abortion rates) doubled during the 1980's, when condom/contraceptive promoters reigned in the schools, exploiting AIDS fears. After seeing the devastating numbers in the early 1990's, Texans for Life and others began offering abstinence education in the schools. Since then, the pregnancy and birth rates have fallen every year, so that we have experienced 60-year lows in this decade. As my mom would say, the proof's in the puddin'!
Texas, like all border states, has struggled to match reductions in other states, but they are reductions nonetheless. Note that our pregnancy rate is not the highest. Texas, unlike other states, does not attempt to solve the teen pregnancy problem with abortion.

In 2003, Texas was awarded a federal grant for reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births, without increasing abortions.

Data confirms Kyleen Wright is right on teen pregnancy trends in 1990s.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Texas Voters Say Yes to Bonds and Props

Well, all 16 Texas Constitution props passed, including 5 bond propositions - money for student loans, jails, roads, colonias water systems and cancer research. It is an interesting election cycle when supposedly liberal New Jersey defeats a stem cell reasearch initiative, but Texas passes a cancer research initiative by over 60%. Elsewhere in the country taxpayers struck down spending, but here the wallets were open. The lowest-passing propositions however was the cancer research proposition.

Maybe it's the fact that stem cell was taken off the table, and Republicans like Gov Perry rushed to support something that was bipartisan feel-goodism. There was a last-minute concerns from some on the right that this might be a backdoor plot for embryonic stem cell research. I doubt that was the intention, and a late Texas Alliance for Life email broadcast that TAL had no position on prop 15 and that it also could herald funding in Texas for ethical non-embryonic stem cell research, such as adult stem cell research. This is far different from embyonic stem cell research that includes therapeutic cloning (which kills embryonic humans to harvest stem cells). So in fact, another way to look at it is this: Republican leaders jumped on the bandwagon to show a pro-research political position that didn't violate pro-life ethical judgments.

We at Travis Monitor might have agreed on the logic, but we did the math and found Proposition 15 and the other bond proposals wanting on the fiscal responsibility score. A simple fact that calls all the bonds into question: The legislature had an $8 billion surplus in January but decided to go the bond route for items that should have been dealt with out of general revenues and ongoing expenses. Why use debt when you can pay cash? On prop 12, they have a crisis in road funding papered over with an inappropriate grab of general bond debt, while the gas tax diversion continues. On prop 16, it was a 'good money after bad' situation.

One ironic reason that Prop 15 was not fiscally sound is that medical research is so popular politically that it gets huge funding already at the Federal level - $30 billion for the NIH and over $5 billion for cancer research (NCI) alone. The cancer research need is more than met already at the Federal level.

We do hope some good will come out of this expenditure of our Texas taxpayer dollars, which requires oversight and accountability. To ensure that the $3 billion Prop 15 pot of money goes to top-notch medical research in Texas and not for corruption, cornyism or mediocrity, there will have to be rigorous oversight on this. Hoping to get rigorous oversight out of the Texas lege though is a bit like hoping an Aggie can cure cancer (Sorry Aggies, I couldn't resist.) Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Missouri Republican Assembly Endorses Duncan Hunter for President

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2007

Contact: Chris Brown
(314) 346-5816

Missouri Republican Assembly Endorses Duncan Hunter for President

Jefferson City, MO – Saturday, November 3 at their Quarterly Membership Meeting, the Missouri Republican Assembly voted to endorse Congressman Duncan Hunter, 14-term congressman from California, for President in Missouri’s Republican Primary. “Congressman Hunter is a true social conservative and honestly represents the Republican Wing of the Republican Party,” stated Chris Brown, state President of the Missouri Republican Assembly. “When you add together Duncan Hunter’s commitment to the military, American jobs, and fighting for Family and Life issues, there is no better choice for President. America needs Hunter’s integrity, courage and proven leadership.”

Hunter is a Vietnam veteran who served in the 173rd Airborne and 75th Army Rangers, and who has continued to fight for this country since first elected to Congress in 1980. While in Congress he has served on the House Armed Services Committee where he works on America’s national security needs. While serving as the Ranking Member of this committee he has protected U.S. defense jobs in aircraft, ship repair, machine tools, textile, steel and titanium to ensure that what he calls the “Arsenal of Democracy”, the U.S. industrial base, is maintained to provide security in time of war.

Hunter has successfully made border security a national security issue and has responded by leading efforts in Congress to seal a porous border susceptible to illegal aliens, drug trafficking and terrorism. Hunter’s efforts have resulted in over 59 miles of fencing and border infrastructure to date in San Diego County. Hunter also wrote the Secure Fence Act, extending the San Diego fence 854 miles across California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. President Bush signed these fence provisions into law on October 26, 2006.

Hunter is fighting for a new policy on fair trade for the American worker. Hunter realizes that China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to hurt middle-class Americans, by stealing American jobs. He is committed to bringing jobs back to America by fighting for Fair and Equitable Trade.

The Missouri Republican Assembly (MRA) is a member of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. The MRA works to unite conservatives, both economic and social, whose interests range from tax cuts and reform to national defense, from pro- life to education concerns, from Second Amendment to national sovereignty, and for the advancement of traditional Republican values.

The Next Conservatism

Where should Conservatism go in the Twenty First century?
Free Congress Foundation has a series of essays (50 of them!) to ask and answer that question. I haven't read them all, but what I have read is thought provoking.

In the really big scheme of things, we see that the Twentieth Century central global ideological battle was about the state, the economy, and man's relation to both. Communism and fascism, i.e., collectivist economics, were fashioned as the 'solution' to the 'problems' that capitalism wrought. We faced internal political struggles and global wars facing the challenge of these systems. Yet it turned out in the end that what capitalism brings us is freedom and prosperity; collectivism was the problem and freedom the solution, not the other way around. Perhaps the turning point was when Reagan declared as much
in his 1981 inaugural:

government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

Reagan brought to American conservatism three key components: traditional 'family' values; free enterprise economics - low tax rates and less Government intervention and regulation; and a strong military.

Today the long war against collectivism seems to be won, yet Communist-led China is on the rise, and Government spending is higher than ever. On the cultural front, our very prosperity and freedom is fostering cultural change. And our country, powerful that it is, is having its sovereignty challenged by forces that seek further internationalist dictation on American actions.

These and other new challenges in the 21st century that conservatism will need to address do not require changing principles, but do require adapting priorities and applying principles to the new realities.

An Israeli Sets the World Straight Regarding Taiwan

By Adar Primor

This is a story about a country that (nearly) everyone recognizes de facto and whose existence (again, nearly) everyone denies de jure; a country that is battling a cynical world controlled by a regime of international hypocrisy, where Realpolitik defeats the values of justice and morality.

This country - most people know it as Taiwan, while the Republic of China (ROC) is its official name - has a small request: to join the family of nations. For 14 years now, it has been trying to fight international alienation and has been supplicating at the gates of the United Nations, which rejects it every time with routine nonchalance.....[click here to read the rest of the article].

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Father of Taiwanese Identity

The Father of Taiwanese Identity
November 2007
by Hugo Restall

There are no paparazzi visible on the hillside above Lee Teng-hui’s home in the Shihlin suburb of Taipei, but his aide points out where they stake out the house with their long lenses. While the former president is officially retired—two golf bags stand ready by the carport—he remains a political force to be reckoned with. Expelled from the Kuomintang party he once led, Mr. Lee is now the "spiritual leader" of a small party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, and he is still jockeying to expand its influence.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Iraq Mission Is Getting Accomplished

The Media Radio Silence over this Biggest Story of the Season continues.
IBD Editorializes it as "Iraq: Job Won"

War On Terror: With killings of both U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians down sharply, both al-Qaida and Iran may believe they have lost the Iraq War. Thanks to the surge, our mission just might largely be accomplished.

U.S. military deaths were recorded at 36 for October, down from 65 in September, according to an Associated Press count. Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Baghdad, last week said the deaths of coalition forces have declined for five straight months and are now at their lowest in years.

Reported civilian casualties, meanwhile, fell from 1,023 in September to 875 last month — the lowest of the year and well below the 1,216 of October 2006.

This progress comes to light as the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, part of the Nouri al-Maliki government, declared al-Qaida defeated in Iraq. Independent Iraq-based journalist Michael Yon quoted party spokesman Sheik Omar Jabouri as saying the group is "defeated mentally, and therefore is defeated physically."

We are winning in Afghanistan too:
“My assessment of the threat in this province is that the insurgency has suffered a total defeat this summer due to the combined efforts of the ANA and coalition forces,” Army Lt. Col. Karl Slaughenhaupt told online journalists and “bloggers” during a conference call from the tiny Afghan town of Qalat.