Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jefferson's Quran

This is a meaningful insight!

What Thomas Jefferson learned from the Muslim book of jihad

By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
January 2007

Keith Ellison is now officially the first Muslim United States congressman. True to his pledge, he placed his hand on the Quran, the Muslim book of jihad and pledged his allegiance to the United States during his ceremonial swearing-in.
Capitol Hill staff said Ellison's swearing-in photo opportunity drew more media than they had ever seen in the history of the U.S. House. Ellison represents the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota.

The Quran Ellison used was no ordinary book. It once belonged to Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and one of America's founding fathers. Ellison borrowed it from the Rare Book Section of the Library of Congress. It was one of the 6,500 Jefferson books archived in the library.
Ellison, who was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in college, said he chose to use Jefferson's Quran because it showed that "a visionary like Jefferson" believed that wisdom could be gleaned from many sources.

There is no doubt Ellison was right about Jefferson believing wisdom could be "gleaned" from the Muslim Quran. At the time Jefferson owned the book, he needed to know everything possible about Muslims because he was about to advocate war against the Islamic "Barbary" states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli.
Ellison's use of Jefferson's Quran as a prop illuminates a subject once well-known in the history of the United States, but, which today, is mostly forgotten - the Muslim pirate slavers who over many centuries enslaved millions of Africans and tens of thousands of Christian Europeans and Americans in the Islamic "Barbary" states. Over the course of 10 centuries, Muslim pirates cruised the African and Mediterranean coastline, pillaging villages and seizing slaves.

The taking of slaves in pre-dawn raids on unsuspecting coastal villages had a high casualty rate. It was typical of Muslim raiders to kill off as many of the "non-Muslim" older men and women as possible so the preferred "booty" of only young women and children could be collected.

Young non-Muslim women were targeted because of their value as concubines in Islamic markets. Islamic law provides for the sexual interests of Muslim men by allowing them to take as many as four wives at one time and to have as many concubines as their fortunes allow.

Boys, as young as 9 or 10 years old, were often mutilated to create eunuchs who would bring higher prices in the slave markets of the Middle East. Muslim slave traders created "eunuch stations" along major African slave routes so the necessary surgery could be performed. It was estimated that only a small number of the boys subjected to the mutilation survived after the surgery.

When American colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776, American merchant ships lost Royal Navy protection. With no American Navy for protection, American ships were attacked and their Christian crews enslaved by Muslim pirates operating under the control of the "Dey of Algiers"--an Islamist warlord ruling Algeria.

Because American commerce in the Mediterranean was being destroyed by the pirates, the Continental Congress agreed in 1784 to negotiate treaties with the four Barbary States. Congress appointed a special commission consisting of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, to oversee the negotiations.
Lacking the ability to protect its merchant ships in the Mediterranean, the new America government tried to appease the Muslim slavers by agreeing to pay tribute and ransoms in order to retrieve seized American ships and buy the freedom of enslaved sailors.

Adams argued in favor of paying tribute as the cheapest way to get American commerce in the Mediterranean moving again. Jefferson was opposed. He believed there would be no end to the demands for tribute and wanted matters settled "through the medium of war." He proposed a league of trading nations to force an end to Muslim piracy.

In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the "Dey of Algiers" ambassador to Britain. The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress' vote to appease. During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey's ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

For the following 15 years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800.

Not long after Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, he dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress.

Declaring that America was going to spend "millions for defense but not one cent for tribute," Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying American Marines and many of America's best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast. The USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Philadelphia, USS Chesapeake, USS Argus, USS Syren and USS Intrepid all saw action.

In 1805, American Marines marched across the dessert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all American slaves. During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary States, crumbling as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore raids by Marines, finally officially agreed to abandon slavery and piracy.

Jefferson's victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea."

It wasn't until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates. Jefferson had been right. The "medium of war" was the only way to put and end to the Muslim problem. Mr. Ellison was right about Jefferson. He was a "visionary" wise enough to read and learn about the enemy from their own Muslim book of jihad.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CAMPO punts and trims

Monday night's CAMPO meeting marked by protests, as board adopts plan to trim its size. CAMPO delayed votes on phase 2 of toll roads and broke it out from other proposals - "The so-called Phase 2 toll roads aren't expected to come back to the board until the summer after a new task force reconsiders the issues and makes recommendations." They also decided to trim out members (mostly legislators) to 'streamline' the board. Would you believe the meeting itself was ... held up by traffic?

Hundreds of people showed up at Monday's meeting, which was delayed by an hour because of traffic congestion. The often-hostile crowd booed Watson, and some held signs such as "Throw the bums out."
Tolls road are getting to be as popular as a case of hives.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Single-member Districts for Austin?

According to the Statesman, city councilman Martinez is putting together another push for single-member districts for the Austin city council. Single-member district proposals have been tried and failed before, but this one may succeed. There are some good reasons for it, mostly related to getting better representation and access for different groups around the city. Having a single-member responsible to about a constituent issue is another factor.

While the article mostly talked about how ethnic minorities (blacks and hispanics) would fare, the factor of geographical influence of different parts of the city is a primary reason to consider it. Oak Hill, northwest Austin, east Austin, and just about every neighborhood that is not central Austin, plays a second fiddle role to central Austin in the current system. A 'minority' that could benefit from the change could be suburban taxpayers. Current liberal city council races are often a fight between liberals and leftists (viz. Jennifer Kim vs. Margot Clark). Depending on how the map is made, there would be a change for northwest and southwest Austin to be a more moderate-to-conservative electorate, relatively speaking. Conversely, other districts could be recruiting grounds for even more liberal candidates, but at least there would be a better chance to have a conservative voice on the council even if it is not a majority.

It would be a mistake to use single-member districts as an excuse for creating a lot more council member seats. The added cost of a bigger city council was one reason a previous plan was defeated. A plan that might be acceptable would be one that replaces 5 of current at-large council members into 5 single-members districts, with 2 at-large seats, one of them being the Austin Mayor. A plan that had the right map (lack of a map killed a prior plan) and kept the council to its current size (or maybe 9 members maximum) would probably be acceptable and get a positive vote.

Hillary and Obama jump in

Hillary and Obama are in, a mere 20 months prior to the next elections.
The media has been panting over Obama, turning an obscure do-little freshman Senator into a national figure. Color me unimpressed with the media hype over Obama, whose main attraction to Democrats, under the surface, is the fact that his thing voting record doesn't include a fateful "aye" vote for military force in Iraq. What passes for "hope" in liberal circles these days is finding a Liberal without the track record to get pinned down.

Anything that fuzzes up the issues helps liberals gain power, and the main merit of the last two Democrat victors (Clinton and Carter) was not their positions and record, but lack of same, permitting them to be 'different', 'new Democrat', etc. Liberal (pro-abortion, pro-taxpayer-funding-of-political-campaigns, pro-socialized-medicine, pro-gay-marriage, anti-tax-cuts) Obama's media hype is the same-old spit-n-polish-a-clunker and call it brand new routine.

Voting for Obama is like a third marriage - a triumph of hope over experience.

Voting for Hillary is like voting to spend the next 4 years with your mother-in-law. The nanny state will have a true nagger-in-chief.

In all likelihood, the Obama rocket will flare just brightly enough to 'earn' him the VP slot in a Democrat Hillary-Obama "dream ticket". This will impress the multi-culturalist PC left who obsesses incessently over race and gender in an attempt to be non-sexist and non-racist. Expect repeated tired media "Is America ready to vote for (son of Muslim, black, woman, insert-ethnic-label-here)?" type articles. My question is: Is America ready to vote for the most liberal Presidential ticket ever? Alas, if the Republicans don't put forth a strong, consistent conservative who can rally both the GOP conservative base and the moderate swing voters ... the answer may well be yes.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gitmo lawyers defend terrorists, not the Constitution

A Statesman OpEd on January 19th went out of its way to praise lawyers who are doing pro-bono work for accused terrorists in Gitmo. Let us recall that the Supreme Court decision Hamdan v Rumsfeld was a legal appeal for Osama Bin Laden's driver and bodyguard, a man who couldn't possibly afford high-priced lawyers. Who paid for it? Taxpayers paid for military Judicial Advocates for prisoners, and in addition, US law firms are taking on cases pro bono.

A mini-tempest erupted when Charles Stimpson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, dared question the role of lawyers defending Guantanamo detainees:

In his radio interview, Mr. Stimson admitted that some of the attorneys defending Guantanamo detainees might be contributing their time and talents on a pro bono basis, but that "others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that.” He also said, ...
“I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.”
It didn't play out like he expected. Undersecretary Stimson, who has explained the detainee policies clarified this past September, has called the Guantanamo Bay detention facility important and relevant, found himself under a brutal backlash of criticism. These statements were found outrageous by lawyers, Democrats in Congress, by liberal commentators, and the Statesman. Enough so that Stimson came back with an apology (that didn't satisfy the legal eagles).

The Statesman associated raising questions about the pro bono lawyers with "Attacking the constitutional right to counsel, a cornerstone of the rule of law." Ahem, no such right is being questioned. What was being questioned was the consequences and motives of such representation.

It's one thing to properly point out that defendants should have rights in court and it is good for lawyers to represent them. Yet the questioning of Bush administration policies regarding detainess has evolved into a dubious pursuit of legalistic attacks on sensible policies for holding enemies captured in wartime. Claims that terrorists caught on foreign battlefields should have the same legal rights as U.S. citizens in civilian courts is wrong-headed, but we often here arguments that wrongly compare these non-citizens caught as prisoners of war with citizens' rights in civilian courtrooms.

The boundary lines and the right balance between maintaining fundamental rights and pursuing a strategy to defeat terrorists has been an intense political debate. The hyper-legalistic view of the Global War on Terrorism leads to the reactive, pussilanimous policies that led to 9/11 in the first place. Whatever the correct boundaries, if it is legitimate to question the Bush administration policies on this matter, it is certainly at least as legitimate to question those who are acting as protectors for the accused terrorists held in Guantanamo.

The Statesman not only wants to leave these lawyers beyond questioning, they attempt to turn the legal advocates for terrorists into heros for the Constitution. They note that Austin lawyer Dick Grigg help free an inmate captured in Afghanistan and held for three years. They fail to note that many of the detainees freed have gone back to rejoin the terrorist groups and fight us once again, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. These are not innocents.

The mind boggles at the thought that the 'good guys' are not the soldiers and the generals who risked life and limb to capture these terrorists on a battlefield, but lawyers who in the safety and comfort of a courtroom plead for clemency for those who apparently want to destroy America. Yes, they have the right to defend terrorists, and terrorists, even those captured by our military on a battlefield have rights to defend; but murders, mobsters and muggers get those rights too, and we don't call mob lawyers heroes for doing the dirty job of defending terrible people. The lawyers themselves are not doing any favors for us, for the legal system, the Constitution, or for our freedoms.

Our rights are protected with the blood of soldiers, and if the lawyers really wanted to defend that, they'd enlist. This kind of legal work is about as good for America as the wonderful work of that legal team that got OJ away with murder.

Despite the high-minded bloviation from the Statesman about how questioning these lawyers is an attack on legal representation rights (um, no it isn't), the fact remains: These lawyers are aiding and defending accused terrorists, not the Constitution.

PS. You will note that whenever a Bush administration program is attacked, you will rarely see the word 'terrorist'. Such a word is forbidden in the post-post-9/11 world of the new-old Democrats and the liberal lamestream media. When a terrorist blows up a building, the attack is treated like a force of nature, or if it happens in Iraq, a cause to bug out of Iraq. When that same terrorist is captured, he becomes a "detainee". Pat Buchanan calls these folks "prisoners of war". For the most part, these are individuals caught via military operations, so it fits. The Bush Administration and DoD does it to precisely draw the correct point that these prisoners, while caught in warfare, are not legally entitled to Geneva Convention protections, although USA has granted them humane treatment and those protections anyway as part of our Uniform Code and recent Federal law.

Democrats are clueless on energy

Missouri's new Senator Claire McCaskill, like many Democrat Senators, has zero grasp of economic realities when it comes to energy. Before the election, in a debate, she said:

Claire McCaskill: Just look at the gas prices. Look at the manipulation of the gas prices. I'm not sure anybody in Missouri believes these gas prices are going down for any other reason than that we're having an election. And I'm sure most people know they're going to go right back up after the election's over. That is because there are five companies that control all of the oil in this country.
Her foolish statement is wrong in so many ways, and her prediction is being dramatically disproven now by a sharp fall in oil prices. Yet this ignorant conspiracy-think frighteningly drives real Democrat policy on energy - higher taxes, more restrictions, less supply, all to sock it to big, bad oil. House Democrats this week voted for billions in higher taxes in the energy sector. It will do noithing good and much bad for energy policy. Billions in taxes will result in less domestic energy production, which mean higher trade deficits, higher taxes and costs for consumers, and more money for oil dictatorships. Is that what we want?

Democrats are making our energy future less secure in their zeal for socking it to oil companies who provide a vital product to our economy. Their actions will hurt all of us a energy consumers and will hurt our energy independence. Clueless conspiracy-talk leads to clueless Democrat policies.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Give the surplus back to taxpayers

Thanks to the strong Texas economy, fiscal responsibility by state leaders (e.g. Perry), and a (perhaps in retrospect unnecessary) business franchise tax expansion that will bring in $11 billion, the comptroller is projecting a $14 billion surplus. What to do with Texas-sized surplus? Texans for Fiscal Responsibility say "return the money back to the taxpayers." Good answer; we'll see if the lege agrees.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A New Direction?

The stock market is at an all-time high and America's 401Ks are back. A new direction from there means, what?

Unemployment is at 25-year lows. A new direction from there means, what?

Oil prices are stabilizing, A new direction from there means, what?

Tax rates are at 20 year lows and Federal tax revenues are at all-time highs. A new direction from there means, what?

The Federal deficit is down almost 50% from previous highs. A new direction from there means, what?

Home valuations are up. A new direction from there means, what?

Inflation is in check, hovering at 20-year lows. A new direction from there means, what?

Not a single major terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11/01. A new direction from there means, what?


Pittts pulls out, Craddick to remain Speaker

Pitts pulled himself out of the race after a vote on the secret ballot.

Letter to Editor on Iraq Editorial

From: Carl Schlaepfer
Letters to Editor
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 1:31 PM
Letter on Iraq

I disagree with your editorial on Iraq. (1/7/07)

The war started as a preemptive war because of some 17 UN resolutions on weapons inspection -- promising dire consequences -- had no effect and because various intelligence agencies correctly suspected WMD’s. According to the number 2 official in Saddam's air force, Iraq moved his WMD’s into Syria before the war. (
Now, Iraq has become a battlefield in the guerrilla war with extremist terrorists. It is an opportunity to learn how to deal with this different type of warfare.
If we leave Iraq, as the editorial suggests, we leave a battlefield, not the war. We have heard from the leaders of our enemy that they strive for unconditional submission or killing of infidels in their strategy for world dominance. No diplomacy can help under these circumstances.
Mc Cain is right -- we need their defeat now with massive force or will be forced to try under more difficult circumstances in the future.

Carl E. Schlaepfer
3902 Sidehill Path
Austin, TX 78731
Ph: (512) 345-7641
Fx: (512) 345-3788

Monday, January 8, 2007

Op-Ed Response: "Bring Them Home" vs "Let Them Win"

The Austin-American Statesman has given up on Iraq:

... The best way forward in Iraq is to start pulling out U.S. troops ...
Along the way to their conclusion, they partake in poor logic, misunderstanding of facts, and strawman arguments:
  1. "There are Islamic terrorists involved, too, but take them all out and there is still a civil war." This ignores the repeated provocations of the Al Qaeda insurgents to stoke violence, culminating in the Samarra golden Mosque terrorist bombing of February, 2006, that finally cascaded into the sectarian violence that is observed today. The authors of the bombing were foriegn terrorists associated with (now dead) Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq group. Three years of terrorism fanning flames of violence finally led to sectarian bloodshed. If the terrorist insurgency in Iraq ended tomorrow, the militias would stand down, Iraq would be more peaceful and Iraq's democratic Government would be secure.
  2. "The risk of pullout is still more violence, but that very threat might also prompt the various factions to reconsider how they might fare without U.S. troops serving as a firewall." Our enemies and the forces of chaos would fare well, while our friends would fare poorly. It's disappointing that the Iraqi Government and people have not been strong enough to take over security. Training has gone well enough that most of the Iraqi army can stand on it's own, but Iraq's military cannot stand alone to stem the violence. The 'bring them home' approach is to let Iraq drown - in blood.
  3. "Some good has come out of the invasion. Saddam has been overthrown and executed, and the Iraqis held their first election." Actually Iraq held 3 national elections: One to form the Constitutional Assembly, one to approve the constitution, and then the national elections.
  4. "Keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, however, appears to be aggravating the sectarian violence that has the country in a death grip." When our troops go in force into neighborhoods, they are pacified. It's not the presence of our troops but the absence of reliable Government troops that is the biggest hole for Iraq's security.
  5. "If the president insists that this nation must remain fully engaged in Iraq, then he ought to lay out the full price of doing so ... Yet he's already ruled out any tax increase." Iraq spending is less than 5% of total Federal Government spending. What about the other 95% of Federal spending? The Medicare drug bill cost much more, did they contemplate that or do they ever criticize domestic spending on the basis of the lack of tax increases to pay for it? And what of the fact that the Bush tax cuts have led to a surge in growth that in effect created a situation where many of hte tax cuts paid for themselves by making future Govt liabilities more tolerable.
Rather than abandon Iraq, we should pursue all possible options to secure Iraq and win a victory. The question then is whether the US can or will do what it takes to win. Some proposals for victory show that it is attainable, albeit difficult. Eliot Cohen and Bing West propose:
We prefer an offensive strategy based on three ironclad principles: take the offense immediately against the death squads in Sadr City, who are now unsettled; arrest and imprison on a scale equal to the horrific situation (or at least equal to New York City!); and insist on a joint say in the appointment of army and police leaders.
We knocked off a terror master and genocidal maniac, Saddam Hussein, and are daily knocking off terrorist wannabes in a small war that will dictate the course of Middle East politics (democracy vs dictatorship) for the next generation and thereby dictate if and how soon we can win the war on terror. This seems a more necessary mission than optional wars like Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia or Bosnia.

Let them win.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Reviving the Republican Brand

The previous article by Mac Maguire includes a chart that is a clear sign of a brand losing market share and mind-share. Chris Steven's Right on Topic blog analyzes the elections, and links to some comments from RNC committeewoman Denise McNamara, who says:

Yes, the lessons of the past year are simple: When Republicans act like Democrats, they lose power. When Republicans spend like Democrats, they are voted out. When Republicans create new taxes and expand government, they lose elections. When Republicans ignore their base, the base does not work for Republicans. When Republicans stray from our core principles, Republicans pay the price.

Karl Rove joins in and grasps the obvious:
White House political guru Karl Rove is as aggressive as ever in making policy arguments-his main theme being that Republicans lost the congressional elections because they didn't sufficiently live up to their core conservative ideals.

Chris Stevens puts it this way:
People have been voting Republican and have not always gotten what they expected. This is often expressed in a ‘moderates vs. conservative’ context but more often than not it is about how the officials performed once they were elected.

In other words, do what you say you will do, stick to the conservative principles that the base rallies around.

Democrats will help as well to remind us of the real differences at stake, such as
articles that start off like this: "Democrats are not ruling out raising taxes ..." Uh huh. Of course the AP so helpfully shaded the real story here with a headline of "Dems Look at Tax Cuts for Middle Class". So out come new euphemisms for higher taxes: Pelosi called it "initiatives which will bring money into the Treasury," and Rangel was quoted saying, "We have to look at all of the deductions, all of the credits, and to come up with what we think we can do."
Simple rule for the GOP: Don't go along with it. The Democrats tax plans may yet be the tonic that helps sharpen the image of the GOP.

Paper Trail or Lost Cause? Republicans Must Decide

By Mac McGuire

For the second general election in a row, no local, state or national Republican won Travis County. The 2004 election was very bad for Republican candidates but 2006 was much worse. The Republican/Democrat base trend chart pictured here removes the swing (ticket splitter) voter from the equation and deals only with base voters determined by the fewest voters of each party to vote for any candidate on a precinct by precinct basis. The trend line from 1990 thru 2002 projected the parties to get within 4% of each other during the 2004-2006 voting cycles—instead the base diverged to an 18.4% gap (59.2 minus 40.8) in 2004 and further expanded to a 25.6% gap in 2006.

It is not reasonable to blame this divergence on the dissatisfaction voters have shown nationwide for the Republican party although that certainly would affect the swing voter and to some extent would have converted some swing voters to Democrat base voters. The local divergence is simply too great for facile analysis such as this. It appears more is at work here and requires a closer look.

The closer look immediately reveals the fact that this divergence coincides with the introduction of electronic voting into Travis County. Readers (LTR February 2005) will remember that negative votes showed up in early returns in the 2004 election. The county clerk glibly explained this away but whether her explanation was valid or not is beside the point. The very troubling point is that negative votes can be programmed into the system and then become virtually impossible to trace. For example, as was pointed out in the Feb. `05 article, the individual precinct and early voting site electronic machines can be programmed for ten negative votes for one party and ten positive votes for the other (e.g. 100 voters who split their tickets 50-50 would be recorded as 60-40). This would cause a 20 vote swing at each location which would be impossible to pick up but would result in a vote swing of several thousand county or district wide. More than enough to change the results of several individual contests.

This radical change in voting patterns cannot ignore the possibility—even probability—of election fraud. It is extremely difficult to get anyone to act because you must deal with elected officials to correct the problem and they have been elected by the system currently in use and are reluctant to make any changes. The problem is not Democrat or Republican, it is the hubris of incumbency. A major effort needs to be made now to get a law passed requiring that a paper trail be provided whenever and wherever electronic voting methods are used. Until this is done all else is futile.

For example, after I testified on the need for a paper trail before the Elections Committee during the 2005 legislative session, a guy came up to me, introduced himself and shook my hand. He said “I’m your Democrat counterpart in Harris County. Looks like you have the same problem here in Travis that we have down in Harris.”

Unfortunately, he was very probably exactly right!

Note: HBO has produced a documentary entitled “Hacking Democracy” which makes precisely this point and then proves it by actually changing the results of a mock election to the consternation of voting officials overseeing the process. If you missed the show on HBO, you can review several of the points by going to HBO.COM, click on “Documentaries” and then click on “Hacking Democracy.”

Motley on Muslim sectarian violence

Seton Motley, a local essayist, opines eloquently on the "Three Muslim Civil Wars" at NewsOfTheDay:

.. We have been told, about what are in this one sense three fairly similar situations:

“Iraq is a Muslim sectarian war; we need to get out of there.”

“Sudan is a Muslim sectarian war; for what are we waiting? Get in there.”

And, in Gaza, “What sectarian war?”.

... For the Left, to paraphrase George Orwell, all civil wars are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Let us not forget Somalia. Somalia was nearly overrun by the Islamic extremists, but it was recently saved thanks to some Ethiopian troops backing the official Government. The Islamofascists fought in the Islamic way, retreating with tail between legs out of Mogadishu once a strong force showed up and declaring a desire to set up guerilla (viz. terrorist) warfare. The Arab and Muslim way of warfare involved skirmishing back to the days of Mohammed, and little has changed.

It raises the interesting question - if we know this is their way of war, how to defeat it?

Forceful, dynamic, kinetic warfare - mobility with mass - can defeat the Arab way of war. In both the "Thunder Run" to Baghdad and the toppling of the Taliban showed the similar effect to what just happened in Somalia. The Islamofascist response is to wait for fixed targets and attempts at Government and to engage in terrorism to make the situation ungovernable. The response to that response is to add to mobility and mass the key component of intelligence and surgical strikes - the "clear and hold".

The assumption has been that since such operations won't win permanent peace, it is better to focus on training the Iraqis and letting them lead. Sure, but in the interim, sectarian war ensues. We have been able to 'clear' areas but they do stay 'held' when Iraqi forces are too weak or compromised. A better answer is that we need to both train Iraq's army to stand up and secure areas, while applying US forces to securing the neighborhoods.

The weak prescription for Iraq was proposed by the ISG - negotiate your surrender with Iraq's neighbors on your way out - does little to fix Iraq's immediate security. The strong prescription is to put togeher a strong enough force to pacify Baghdad via the mass, mobility and intelligence model; thus, the proposals for a 'surge'. It will likely have the tonic effect desired, for a time, of clearing the insurgents out and changing the balance of security.

The Democrats want none of such practical considerations of how to win the war and to tamp down sectarian violence. They see this conflict not as between Shia and Sunni but between them and Bush, and no matter how important the mission their number one goal will be to ensure Bush (ie American) failure in this project.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Friday Night Forums

We are going to have a weekly 'Friday forum' for this blog. It's a chance for the 'commentariat' to give their 2 cents on whatever topic they wish. This will be open forum, anything goes (except maintaining 'civility rules').

We will also have our "Monday update" which will be an update on the Travis Media Project. Since this project is a mere 2 days old (blog-birth was Wednesday), it is brand-spankin'-new and some good stuff to say on Monday.

Now Let me give my comment on the hot Statehouse topic - the speaker race. Dallas blog just linked to a blog that predicted Craddick will win. I expect the same, and I am glad. It is bizarre to have a candidate, Rep Pitts, to (a) not show any supporters in a race when winning is partly about being on the winning side to gain some quid-pro-quo chits, (b) to basically diss the Republican base by saying he cares for Democrat incumbents as much as Republican ones. The Republicans need to get some party unity here and make clear that if any candidate gets 2/3rds of the Republican vote, all Republicans should support that candidate. Republicans and conservatives lose if the speaker is someone who won with more Democrat votes than Republican votes.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Walmartophobia is the NIMBYism of snobs, and it's catching on in Austin.

Being in the hinterlands of northwest Austin, almost clear up to Williamson county, I was not aware of the controversy surrounding Walmart coming into Northcross mall. Given that Northcross was a dying mall and becoming an eyesore, I couldn't quite grasp the big deal of a solid retailer coming in, even if it is the Liberals' most recent corporate bogeyman. It's not like they were paving a park to get Walmart in. Yet, yard signs decrying Walmart's potential move-in are showing up in the upscale neighborhoods in north Austin.

So a friend explained it to me recently. He said, "Well, they have a fear that 'those people' might come into the neighborhood." Using the scare quotes with his hands.

"What, you mean shoppers?" I replied.
Oh the horror!

While the fear he was more precisely alluding to was downscale shoppers from places like, um, East Austin, the riff-raff who actually is concerned about how much they spend for tube socks and motor oil includes socioeconomic upscale folks like me and my family.

Someone needs to tell the anti-Walmart snobs that 'everyday low prices' won't hurt anyone. And anyone who doesn't want major retailers nearby ought not live in major metropolitan areas with half a million people within 5 miles of where they live.

The Travis Monitor goes live

The Travis Monitor is a blog for the Travis Media Project. This is a beta version of it. Expect more, much more, later.

The Travis Media Project and its 'media mission' is to communicate
conservative viewpoints in the media, with the intention of informing
concerned citizens and voters, balancing media bias and supporting
good causes and candidates. The Travis Media Project is based in Travis
county in central Texas. We are concerned with city of Austin issues, Travis
county issues, central Texas and Texas state issues.