From Victor Davis Hanson earlier this month: Democratic Implosion: Can the party of the people be saved from itself?.
[W]hen [Senator Joe] Lieberman returned from Iraq and gave a cautiously optimistically appraisal that our plan of encouraging elections, training Iraqis, and improving the Iraqi economy is working both inside Iraq and in the wider neighboring region, he was shunned by Democrats -- who nevertheless by their inaction essentially agreed with Lieberman and so made no move to demand an immediate withdrawal. ...
Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Congressman Murtha represent the Democratic mainstream. And that’s the problem. None of them can be characterized as embracing the Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan fringe, and none are even prone to the wacky grandstanding of Jimmy Carter or Barbara Boxer.
Yet what we get from the national chairman, the former presidential candidate, and the new popular icon -- on the verge of the third and final election in Iraq -- is a de facto admission that we are losing and must leave.
From The Mercury News: Rumsfeld serves troops Christmas dinner, pep talk.
In a festively bedecked dining hall, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld served Christmas Eve dinner to dozens of U.S. soldiers, then fed them his view -- with a mix of optimism, caution and emotion -- of why the war that has cost more than 2,150 U.S. lives must be won.
"We will win this war. It's a test of wills, and let there be no doubt that is what it is," he said. Rumsfeld told the troops that "generations before you have persevered and prevailed, and they too were engaged in a test of wills."
"In this fight, the vast majority of Iraqis stand on the side of freedom," he said over the roar of helicopters flying over a regional U.S. military headquarters that once was a palace of Saddam Hussein. ...
"Let there be no doubt: If the United States were to withdraw from Iraq today the terrorists emboldened by their victory would attack us elsewhere in the region and at home in the United States," he said.
To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.
From FoxNews: Saddam-Era Mass Grave Found in Karbala.
Municipal employees working on a sewage project in the Shiite holy city of Karbala found skeletal remains believed to be from a mass grave dating to 1991.
Officials said the grave may contain over 100 victims, including women and children, of a brutal crackdown by Saddam Hussein's regime following a Shiite uprising in the south after Desert Storm.
[Saddam's] defence is now being masterminded by a team of lawyers aiding former US attorney Mr [Ramsey] Clark. They include, Nacib Naimi, Issam Gazyzwi and Iraqi attorney Khalil al Dulaimi. ...
Bizarrely, his legal team address Saddam as "Mr President" -- despite the fact he tortured, gassed and butchered an estimated 300,000 of his own people during a 24-year reign of terror.
Saddam still remains defiant about his trial which could see him face the death sentence. He gloated: "I don’t mind being killed. There will always be another Saddam."
Mr Clark added: "Before Saddam’s capture he was moving every day to a different location, organising the insurgents.
"But every few days he came back to this escape area. Now he knows it was a mistake. Probably American soldiers did not discover the hole. They were told about it." ...
Mr Clark said: "Saddam doesn’t have any money and even if he had, I wouldn’t accept it."
And from Newsday: Saddam's Lawyers Say Ramsey Clark at Risk.
Saddam Hussein's lawyers called Thursday for the world to press the Iraqi government to provide them with protection, saying their colleague -- former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark -- was directly at risk.
In an urgent e-mail to The Associated Press, the lawyers said Clark's life was in danger and "threats were directed against him by name." Clark is currently not in Iraq for the trial of Saddam and seven co-defendants, which resumed on Wednesday.
UPDATE I -- Dec. 28: Clark also won a Dhimmi at the 2005 Jihad Watch Awards, along with George Galloway.
Here is another of our gag cartoons for the humor column by Buster McNutt featured in AutoGraphic's Automotive Report. Seemed like a good follow-up to the Christmas cartoon.
From the Ayn Rand Institute: Communities Should Welcome Wal-Mart -- in the Name of Freedom and Justice by Edwin A. Locke.
How would you like to be penalized because you do your work too well -- for example, for running your business so effectively that it attracts hordes of happy customers? Well, this is what is happening more and more frequently to Wal-Mart. ...
It is quite true that Wal-Mart has been successful in outcompeting other stores which sell the same products, such as toys, clothing, and groceries. But how has it been able to do this? By discovering new ways of using computer systems and other technology to better manage its inventory and costs and reap the benefits of economy of scale.
And an annual favorite of ours from the Ayn Rand Institute: Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial by Leonard Peikoff.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
UPDATE -- Dec. 22: Donald Sensing on the War on Wal-Mart (hat tip Tom Pechinski).
At Pajamas Media, Omar of Iraq the Model reports on the Iraq vote: On the way to a new government.
Also making the blogs rounds, from UCLA news: Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist.
"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co-author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.
UPDATE -- Dec. 21: Graphic Lens has a flash chart for the UCLA media bias study.
And Tim Blair looks at global warming: Kyoto ugly -- Now here's a scoop: global warming means weather will be hot, cold, wet or dry (hat tip Tom Pechinski).
Congress is acting swiftly to send President Bush a military bill that bans cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody and sets uniform interrogation guidelines for American troops. ...
The prisoner legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, seeks to standardize interrogation techniques and repair a tarnished U.S. image abroad.
After months of resistance that included White House veto threats, Bush bowed to pressure from Congress and signed off on it -- a recognition that McCain had the votes in both the House and Senate to override any veto. ...
Under an agreement with the president, McCain added that civilian interrogators accused of violating the standards would get the same legal protections as those afforded to military interrogators.
From CNN: Bush says he signed NSA wiretap order.
In acknowledging the message was true, President Bush took aim at the messenger Saturday, saying that a newspaper jeopardized national security by revealing that he authorized wiretaps on U.S. citizens after September 11.
After The New York Times reported, and CNN confirmed, a claim that Bush gave the National Security Agency license to eavesdrop on Americans communicating with people overseas, the president said that his actions were permissible, but that leaking the revelation to the media was illegal. ...
Bush added: "Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk."
He acknowledged during the address that he allowed the NSA "to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations."
From CNN: NYC gets ready to strike out.
If New York City bus and subway workers strike when their contract expires at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday, there will be "no winners," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said as he described the contingency plan to deal with a possible mass transit shutdown.
UPDATE I: "Day by Day" has maintained its lead over us in the Weblog Awards, but there's a few hours left before the polls close. Click here to vote one last time.
UPDATE II: Well, we lost our competition with "Day by Day" in the Weblog Awards (see the final results here). Our congratulations to Chris -- we twirl our quills, tip our berets, and bow in his direction. We had a blast with the crossover cartoons and hope everyone enjoyed them as much as we did. A hearty "thank you" to everyone who took the time to vote for Cox & Forkum (you gave us enough votes that, had we been in the Best Blog category, we would have placed second).
UPDATE III -- December 16: From FoxNews: NYC Transit Union Calls Selective Strike.
The New York City transit union called for a strike Friday against two private bus lines after a night of intense bargaining failed to produce a deal — a development that does not appear to immediately affect the subways that shuttle millions of people each day.
From CNN on Dec. 11: Comedian Richard Pryor dies at 65.
Just days after his 65th birthday, groundbreaking comedian Richard Pryor died Saturday of a heart attack, his wife told CNN.
Pryor, who had been ill with multiple sclerosis, died at Encino Hospital near Los Angeles at 7:58 a.m. PT. Jennifer Lee Pryor tried to revive him at their home before paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, she said.
To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.
From FoxNews: Iranian President Again Questions Holocaust.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated his doubt about the Holocaust and called on Muslim nations to take a proactive stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, state media reported Tuesday.
The president's comments, published on Iranian state television's Web site, were the second time in a week he has expressed doubt about the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II. In October, Ahmadinejad also said Israel should be "wiped off the map."
"If the killing of Jews in Europe is true," the Web site quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during a speech at an Islamic conference in Tehran, "and the Zionists are being supported because of this excuse, why should the Palestinian nation pay the price?" ...
Ahmadinejad has been unapologetic about taking Iran on a more openly defiant course, insisting on Iran's right to develop its nuclear program and often using rhetoric reminiscent of the 1980s heyday of the Islamic Revolution.
But he has alienated even some conservative allies in Iran, who fear he is hurting the country's image. Moderate Iranians have called on the ruling Islamic establishment to rein in the president.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate say on all matters, has backed Ahmadinejad's calls for Israel's elimination.
So let's see: We have a Holocaust denier who wants to relocate an entire nation to another continent, and he happens to be head of the world's newest nuclear state. (They're not 100 percent fully-fledged operational, but happily for them they can drag out the pseudo-negotiations with the European Union until they are. And Washington certainly won't do anything, because after all if we're not 100 percent certain they've got WMD -- which we won't be until there's a big smoking crater live on CNN one afternoon -- it would be just another Bushitlerburton lie to get us into another war for oil, right?)
So how does the United States react? Well, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the comments of Ahmadinejad "further underscore our concerns about the regime."
Really? But wait, the world's superpower wasn't done yet. The State Department moved to a two-adjective alert and described Ahmadinejad's remarks as "appalling" and "reprehensible." "They certainly don't inspire hope among any of us in the international community that the government of Iran is prepared to engage as a responsible member of that community," said spokesman Adam Ereli.
You don't say. ...
What does it mean when one party can talk repeatedly about the liquidation of an entire nation and the other party responds that this further "underscores our concerns," as if he'd been listening to an EU trade representative propose increasing some tariff by half a percent?
Well, it emboldens the bully. ...
We assume, as Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax and other civilized men did 70 years ago, that these chaps may be a little excitable, but come on, old boy, they can't possibly mean it, can they? Wrong. They mean it but they can't quite do it yet. Like Hitler, when they can do it, they will -- or at the very least the weedy diplo-speak tells them they can force the world into big concessions on the fear that they can.
We're still having a friendly battle with Chris Muir's "Day by Day" in the 2005 Weblog Awards (keep the daily votes coming!). We were briefly third overall this weekend until "Achewood" rocketed passed us. But among the toons, "Dilbert" remains the dominant line drawing.
Here are recommendations in a couple of other categories:
UPDATE I -- Dec. 13, 10:05 am CST: "Day by Day" has overtaken us -- it's still a close race!
UPDATE II -- Dec. 14, 9:39 am CST: It's been almost 24 hours since the last update. In that time we passed Chris and stayed ahead most of the day. But overnight he has passed us again and is widening the margin. So keep the daily votes coming! Only one day left.
UPDATE III: Here are a few more recommendations:
For Best Latino, Caribbean, or South American Blog we like babalu.
And for Best European Blog (non-UK) we've already mention two suggestions (see above), but we're even more torn now because we overlooked Free Thoughts.
UPDATE V -- Dec. 15: "Day by Day" has pulled way ahead of us. Polls close at midnight.
UPDATE VI: "Day by Day" beat us (arrgh!). See Update II in this post for the wrap up.
From CNN: China shooting: Commander detained.
The government said three people died in Tuesday's violence in this coastal village northeast of Hong Kong, but witnesses put the death toll as high as 20.
The commander's "wrong actions" were to blame for the deaths, said a statement issued by the government of Guangdong province, where Dongzhou is located. ...
The police shootings Tuesday were the deadliest known clash yet amid growing anger in areas throughout China over government land seizures for construction of power plants, shopping malls and other projects.
Farmers often complain they are paid too little. Some accuse local authorities of stealing compensation money.
Such incidents have alarmed communist leaders, who are promising to spend more to raise living standards in the poor countryside, home to about 800 million people.
By the government's count, China had more than 70,000 cases of rural unrest last year. Protests are growing more violent, with injuries on both sides.
Gateway Pundit has a round up: Images of Tiananmen, Tanks Move on China Town.
Our cartoon about the Kelo ruling: Property Wrongs.
We're in a friendly competition to beat fellow cartoonist Chris Muir, creator of "Day by Day", in the 2005 Weblog Awards. As the cartoon indicates, we're losing! Remember, you can vote daily -- just click here and vote.
UPDATE I -- Dec. 10: We've pulled ahead slightly, but it's still a tight race with days to go. Do not miss today's "Day by Day" strip, which features a special cameo.
UPDATE II -- Dec. 11: Uh oh. Another cameo in today's "Day by Day" strip.
UPDATE III -- Dec. 12: Pssst. Look for another cross-over cartoon from us
later today... right here: Ballot Boxing.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton issued a statement Tuesday unequivocally condemning the bomb attack in the Israeli town of Netanya that killed at least five people. The unusual action came after a U.S. attempt to have the statement issued by the Security Council was rejected.
Diplomats attending the meeting say several Council members raised concerns about language in the U.S.-drafted document. Ambassador Bolton, however, blamed Algeria for quashing the measure by objecting to a passage urging Syria to close offices of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which claims responsibility for the attack. ...
The U.S. envoy later read the text of the statement to reporters, and lashed out at the Council for what he called "failing to speak the truth".
He said "you have to speak up in response to these terrorist attacks. It's a great shame that the Security Council couldn't speak to this terrorist attack in Netanya, but if the Council won't speak, the United States will."
Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali said he had objected to what he called a "lack of balance" in the U.S.-drafted statement.
What kind of "balance" can we expect of the U.N.? EYE on the UN reports that Israel wasn't even shown on a map displayed at a recent U.N.-sponsored "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."
Meanwhile, who does the U.N. Security Council continue to treat with kid gloves? Iran, whose president, "Wipe Israel off the map" Ahmadinejad, was in the news today for denying the Holocaust.
(First two links via Little Green Footballs.)
UPDATE: Don't forget: you can vote daily for us in the 2005 Weblog Awards.
From CNN: Hussein threatens to skip court.
The trial of Saddam Hussein adjourned for the day Tuesday, with the former Iraqi leader indicating he's unlikely to return when the court reconvenes Wednesday.
"I will not be in a court without justice. Go to hell, all you agents of America," Hussein said.
His announcement came after five witnesses testified about brutalities they experienced during a government crackdown 23 years ago.
From Investor's Business Daily: A Just War.
'I swear by God I walked by a room and on my left I saw a grinder with blood coming out of it and human hair underneath."
So said Ahmad Hassan Mohammed, a 38-year-old Iraqi who made history on Monday as the first witness to face Hussein in court. ...
Many more witnesses are waiting in the wings. From what is known about the routine practices of Hussein's regime, what has been recounted gives only a taste of the horrors to come. The Iraqi government has up to 12 trials planned for Hussein and his henchmen. The current one deals with the torture and killing of 148 men and teenage boys in Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein.
Future trials will deal with other crimes against humanity, including massacres involving tens of thousands of deaths. Hussein will rant through them all, and observers may grow numb from hearing the same sort of grisly testimony over and over. But in the end, the case against Hussein will be obvious to all but Ramsey Clark and the most deluded Saddamites. The tyrant will go to his reward. Iraq, freed from him once and for all, will move on.
To see more Newsmaker Caricatures by John Cox, click here.
From FoxNews: Thousands March Worldwide Against Global Warming.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities worldwide Saturday to demand urgent action on global warming as delegates continued their work at an international climate change conference to review and update the Kyoto Protocol.
Police said about 7,000 people marched in downtown Montreal — some dressed up as polar bears. Five environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Climate Crisis Coalition, delivered a petition signed by 600,000 Americans to the U.S. consulate in Montreal urging President Bush and Congress to help slow global warming.
Meanwhile, from CNN: Ski industry optimistic for good season.
Autumn snowfalls have delighted skiers from coast to coast, allowing many resorts to open earlier in the season than usual and fostering optimism in the industry for a busy season.
The 11th annual meeting of global warming enthusiasts in Montreal isn't turning out to be a very happy event. Even though this is the first opportunity for the burgeoning global climate bureaucracy to celebrate the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, the realities of science, economics and politics are raining on its parade. ...
While temperatures can only go up or down at any given moment, global warmers seem to want to have it both ways so that any change in climate, regardless of direction, can be attributed to human activity. ...
It's cooling. It's warming. It's disaster. It's fantasy. Whatever "it" is, it can't be comforting to the Kyoto believers in Montreal who seem to think they know for certain whether and how human activity impacts global climate.
UPDATE I -- Dec. 7. From CNN: Temperatures hit record lows.
UPDATE II -- Dec. 8. If you enjoy our work, vote for us in the 2005 Weblog Awards.
As to what planet Mr Bush is on, he's not on Pluto but on planet Goofy, a strange lost world where it's perfectly normal for apparently sane people to walk around protesting about global warming in sub-zero temperatures. Or, as the Canadian Press reported: "Montreal - tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming."
Unfortunately, no one had supplied an updated weather forecast to the fellow who writes the protesters' chants. So, to the accompaniment of the obligatory pseudo-ethnic drummers, the shivering eco-warriors sang: "It's hot in here! There's too much carbon in the atmosphere!" Is this the first sign of the "New Ice Age" the media warned us about last week?
Cox & Forkum has been nominated as a finalist in the 2005 Weblog Awards in the category of Best Humor/Comics Blog. As you can see from the list below, there's a lot of great competition. You're allowed to vote daily, so go vote. Thanks to everyone who nominated us, and thanks also to Wizbang for creating the awards.
Here's the full list of Best Humor/Comics Blog finalists:
Day By Day by Chris Muir
Cox & Forkum
Hog On Ice
The Dilbert Blog
Six Meat Buffet
Hate Mongers Quarterly
The Comics Curmudgeon
From FoxNews: Iran Wants Full-Fledged Space Program.
Iran's space agency is trying to snap up technology from abroad as fast as possible for its satellite program, fearing the West will seek to impose restrictions like those put on the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran has major ambitions in space, looking to show off its technological abilities, monitor its neighborhood — where the United States has hundreds of thousands of troops — and establish itself as a regional superpower.
Others are concerned about the program's military applications, particularly Israel, whose existence is opposed by the hard-line Islamic regime in Iran. Iran's Shahab-3 missile, with a range of 1,240 miles, already can reach Israel as well as U.S. forces across the Middle East.
Leave it to AP to come up with a diplomatic euphemism for genocide.
According to the article, Russia "appears to be the main partner in transferring space technology to Iran." And it's not just "space technology." From FoxNews: Russia, Iran Defend Weapons Deal.
Russia's weapons sales to Iran are purely for defensive purposes, a government spokesman said Saturday, in response to reports that Russia was selling $1 billion worth of weapons to Iran.
The news reports said Russian was selling Iran advanced missiles and other systems, but the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mikhail Kamynin, did not comment on specifics, saying in a statement only that they were "exclusively defensive weapons."
Since when was selling "defensive weapons" to a bloodthirsty regime any better than selling "offensive weapons"?
From FoxNews: Venezuela Says U.S. Behind Election Boycott.
Venezuela accused the U.S. government Wednesday of trying to destabilize the country by supporting an opposition boycott of the weekend's congressional elections. The United States denied the claim.
Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel alleged that the U.S. Embassy had links to moves by several opposition parties to pull out of Sunday's elections. ...
U.S. Embassy spokesman Brian Penn denied the allegations, saying the U.S. didn't "have anything to do with any of the actions of the political parties."
Venezuela's claims were the latest in a series of charges and counter charges leveled by both sides -- a situation that prompted U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield to state recently: "The United States is simply not responsible for everything that occurs in Venezuela."
And last month from FoxNews: Hugo Chavez: U.S. Planning to Invade Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (search) said Thursday that his government is preparing for a possible U.S. invasion and he warned that such "aggression" would send gasoline in the United States prices soaring higher.
The U.S. government repeated that it is not planning any such thing.
UPDATE -- Dec. 5: Pajamas Media has more on the boycott: Bloggers get the scoop on Venezuela's disputed election.