Monday, February 28, 2005


Fire of Liberty

The EU contribution to the training and support of Iraqi forces is a paltry sum compared to the US and its coalition of the willing. Europe's almost resembles a credit card commercial but don't take my word for it, read Emanuele Ottolenghi's article over @ NRO.

Syria Out!!!

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Peter Brookes has his take in today's New York Post on the spirit of freedom which is floating around the Middle East. He notes that the US and World powers need to pressure the Syrian government to 1. Withdrawal all troops and intelligence forces from Lebanon 2. Resignation of Lebanon's pro-Syrian gov't 3. Free elections when Syrian troops leave. He notes that if they don't do this the US needs to push the sanctions established under the 2004 Syrian Accountability Act. He also notes the EU shouldn't push trade and political deals with Syria. While the various member states of the EU might not be willing to cut Syria off, the British are signaling their intentions. Check out this article in The Times, the Brits are pushing Syria on its relationship with terrorists.

The situation is fluid. The people of Lebanon have achieved step 2 and as long as we watch the situation, the people of Lebanon shouldn't fear pushing forward the "Cedar Revolution."


Fire of Liberty

The US needs to push forward UN Security Council resolution 1559 , which calls for the removal of Bashir Assad's 15,000 man military from Lebanon. The people of Lebanon are about to reach the tipping point of no return, where freedom and democracy are waiting in the wings. Its time to push Assad back into his dictator paradise known as Syria, the Labanese people have had enough of this madness.


Fire of Liberty

I guess the Bush White House is going wobbly with Iran. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't like what I see. According to a report on FOX News' Special Report, Secretary Rice is about to give the British, German and French delegation that is working with Iran, a go-ahead in offering inducements to the Mullahs in Tehran on their nuclear program. The only problem with this is that The White House is presenting a sign of weakness to the regime in Iran. What with the Iranians already proclaiming they have a nuclear program (the IAEA has already noted its existence) and the Mullahs inking deals with the Russians on nuclear fuel, what would lead anyone into thinking that making deals with the E3 delegation will do. Instead of making deals, the Bush White House should push the freedom quotient. They should demand the spread of more democratic freedoms to its people rather than on the nukes. We need less carrots and a bigger stick to get the Iranians to stop their dirty work. It would be a mistake to reward the Iranians for bad behavior like Bill Clinton did for the North Koreans in the 1990's.

This nonsense reminds me of Winston Churchill's old adage: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." Well Mr President, this act of giving a go-ahead to the E3 to offer sweets to the Iranians is pretty much like feeding a crocodile. Unfortunately, this crocodile has a more deadly bite which could wipe out millions of people in the blink of an eye. Even if the Iranians promise to stop producing their nukes what guarantees that the Mullahs aren't cooking up their nukes somewhere else. Even worse, what do you do to prevent the Russians from selling nuclear fuel to Iran. No matter what, making deals with the Iranians is a fools errand. Time to boost VOA and other broadcasts into Iran on freedom and push for an internal regime change. Support the people of Iran (the real democracy movement- 60% of Iran is under 25 and are very pro American) not the Mullahs or their adopted and hand selected "Moderates". President Bush needs to read more of Michael Ledeen's The War Against the Terror Masters and his favorite book by Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy.

Lebanon Cont'd.

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The political climate in Lebanon is definitely reminiscent of the acts of civil disobedience in Ukraine. Unlike most countries in the region, Lebanon's government seems to be going along with the people. Could you imagine the horrible things the dictators in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran would have done to these protesters, blood would be running in the streets and mass arrests. I suggest the Syrian gov't will steer clear of using their military forces on the people of Lebanon. Assad should tuck his tail and remove his forces from Lebanon. Freedom is in the water and the Lebanese people are drunk with it. How sweet it is!!!

Freedom on the March

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Here's some photos of Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution", which are provided by the BBC. The people are gaining the spirit of freedom, and spreading the Fire of Liberty throughout the Middle East. The Christian Science Monitor has a good article on the events that have conspired in the past twelve hours in the streets and halls of government in Beirut. I particularly like the comments of Ghattas Khouri, an Opposition lawmaker:
"The battle is long, and this is the first step, this is the battle for freedom, sovereignty and independence."


Lebanon's Gov't Resigns

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The people power of the 25,000 strong "Cedar Revolution" is gaining ground. At this moment, FOX News is reporting that Lebanon's Prime Minister Omar Karami walked into parliament and declared the resignation of the Lebanese government. First you remove the pro-Syrian government and then the military. The Fire of Liberty is burning bright in Lebanon. For more, read here, here.

North Korea

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Claudia Rosett has a moving piece in The Wall Street Journal on the biggest problem facing the UN which is its failure to stand up for the refugees in North Korea. Here's a sample:
The situation, by U.N. lights, is of course complex. For more than a decade, North Koreans have been fleeing their country by the only avenue even partly open to them--past the northern border patrols, into China. An estimated 300,000 North Koreans are in hiding in China today. They have a well-founded fear of persecution, should they be sent back. Testimony has stacked up high and wide--much of it over the past four years, on Mr. Lubbers's watch-- that if returned these refugees would likely end up starved or worked to death in the labor camps of Kim Jong Il. Some are murdered outright. One recent dispatch from a South Korean private aid group, the Headquarters for the Protection of North Korean Defectors, reports that according to sources inside North Korea the regime there just last month executed some 60 North Korean would-be defectors sent back by China, killing at least eight in public, in the northern city of Chongjin--to deter others from making a run for it.


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While the President visited the Belgium Kingdom and seemed to have a good time, the reality of the situation is that his hosts were putting on a mask. According to this piece in The Weekly Standard, the various urinals throughout the government offices of Vice Prime Minister Johan Vande Lanotte feature stickers with the face of George W. Bush and the American Flag in them. Just imagine what this symbolizes to the various Americans who fought to ensure the freedom of the Kingdom of Belgium during WWII. I think the writer of this piece, Paul Belien, provides a good synopsis of the problem in the following passage:
Indeed, they think that the world will be saved if America becomes more like Europe, whereas I think that Europe will be saved only if it becomes more like America. But that is an opinion which no one in Europe is allowed to have. Those who do, get peed upon.
Check out Paul Belien's book A Thorne in Brussels, seems to be a good book.

Marines in Hit, Iraq

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Here's a good article in The Christian Science Monitor on the Marines and their successful operations in Western Iraq. They've learned lessons from Fallujah and are using them in the Anbar province. The Marines are fighting a three-block operation which begin with full-scale operations(Fallujah), followed by security operations (focus on known terrorist or ammo cache via patrols- "broken windows"), and lastly humanitarian assistance and community outreach. All of these combined make the efforts to secure Iraq much easier. We're turning the corner. Go get 'em you devil dogs!!!

Iraq Turns Corner

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Jack Kelley has a positive column in Sunday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the Iraqi front. He notes that the suicide bombings are losing their effectiveness against Iraqi citizens and US soldiers. Operation Iraqi Freedom seems to be turning the corner especially when critics of the Bush White House, like Hillary Clinton visits Iraq and says the Iraqi are pushing ahead. Awesome!!! My favorite part of the column was the description of the hapless bombers/terrorists in Iraq. Take a look:
Lt. Col. Jim Stockmoe, chief intelligence officer for the First Infantry Division, roared with laughter as he recalled the increasing missteps of the resistance in Iraq in an interview earlier this month with British journalist Toby Harnden, writing for The Spectator.

"There were three brothers down in Baghdad who had a mortar tube and were firing into the Green Zone," Stockmoe said. "They were storing the mortar rounds in the car engine compartment and the rounds got overheated. Two of these clowns dropped them in the tube and they exploded, blowing their legs off."

The surviving brother sought refuge in a nearby house, but the occupants "beat the crap out of him and turned him over to the Iraqi police," Stockmoe told Harnden, "It was like the movie 'Dumb and Dumber.' "

"The nine election day suicide bombers averaged about three victims each, a strike rate so bad that Allah might soon start rationing the virgins to show his displeasure," Harnden wrote.


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Victor Davis Hanson wrote an awesome Op/Ed in the February 22, 2005 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Hanson points out that the future relationship between the EU and the United States will continue to atrophy as long as the EU fails to accept reality. As long as the EU looks the other way and work with regimes like China or Iran for money rather than taking principle stands on behalf of freedom and democracy they will become the laughing-stock of the World. When the EU refuses to accept the fact that the use of hard power generates more beneficial results in certain areas than the alternative soft power they provide the World an image of a feckless power. Hanson seems to sum up the relationship between the US and the EU in the following paragraph:
The United States should ignore all this ankle-biting, praise the EU to the skies, but not take very seriously their views on the world until we learn exactly what is going on inside Europe during these years of its uncertainty. America is watching enormous historical forces being unleashed on the continent from its own depopulation, new anti-Semitism, and rising Islamicism to Turkish demands for EU membership and further expansion of the Union into the backwaters of Eastern Europe that will bring it to the uncertain doorstep of Russia. Whether its politics and economy will evolve to embrace more personal freedom, its popular culture will integrate its minorities, and its military will step up to protect Western values and visions is unclear. But what is certain is that the United States cannot remain a true ally of a militarily weak but shrill Europe should its politics grow even more resentful and neutralist, always nursing old wounds and new conspiracies, amoral in its inability to act, quite ready to preach to those who do.
Hanson always lays it out in a clear and concise manner. By the way, check out his piece in National Review Online, its a good read too. Last but not least is Mark Steyn, who's Chicago Sun-Times column, notes the decline of Europe via the EU Constitution.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Fire of Liberty

Saddam is going to be tried in a cage like Hannibal Lecter was tried in the movie Silence of the Lambs. It's fitting that the "Butcher of Baghdad" will be tried like a dangerous serial killer. I guess when you kill some 300,000 plus people you get the very best seat in the house. Just imagine what accommodations await him in hell.

War on LBJ's Great Society

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Myron Magnet, of The Manhattan Institute, had a great piece in Friday's Wall Street Journal on President Bush's current War on LBJ's failed Great Society. While people in the press and across the political isle shout "You'll destroy Social Security" or "You'll put countless families on the street with these reforms", they fail to realize that these actions are needed in order to forestall a problem. If you kick the can down the road too much to avoid solving the problem, you'll eventually run out of road one day. President Bush has decided to pick the can up and prevent a disaster. Good luck Mr. President


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John Stossel has a great Op/Ed on outsourcing in today's Manchester Union Leader. If you want to understand the benefits of outsourcing in a clear-cut piece, this is the one.


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Thomas Donnelly has a good article in The Weekly Standard which points out the fact that Japan is a becoming a greater ally to the US rather than Europe. While the Europeans are trying their best to become an equal to the US through a common security policy in the EU the Japanese are trying their best to stay in the US column. First, the Japanese are on the same page as the US when it comes to strategic goals like securing the Far-East from an aggressive China and promoting democracy in The Middle East. Secondly, the Japanese offer essential airfields, logistics as well as a military which is compatible to US forces and technology. Donnelly also notes that the greatest aspect of this strong relationship is that it provides a great lesson to the World. The lesson is basically:
In simplest terms, that reasoning is as follows: The spread of free and representative governments occasioned by the Pax Americana is not only morally good, but tends toward peace and prosperity; China and radical Islamists, by their own assertions, take issue with the current international order; and the use of military force is occasionally and lamentably necessary to preserve and protect that order. Ergo, a military alliance with the United States makes sense.

I guess the Europeans could learn a thing our two from the Japanese. It's amazing that the EU is a large superstate and still can't muster the power that the island nation Japan holds. When you fail to see the forest for the trees things like this tend to happen.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Fire of Liberty

During President Bush's State of the Union speech, he noted that the Egypt should take greater steps towards the promotion of freedom and democracy to its people. Since then, the Egyptian government has locked up Ayman Nour, leader of opposition party al-Ghad, for trumped up charges. By arresting Nour, the Mubarak regime has basically found a way to silence one of its opponents who actually has a good chance of winning. As I noted in a previous post, Nour and his party have been calling for a change to the Mubarak-friendly constitution that will allow an open presidential election rather than the yes or no referendum for a candidate approved by parliament. Unlike other opposition groups, who offer violence like the Muslim Brotherhood, the al-Ghad party has presented itself as a peaceful and more liberally minded alternative that allows more democratic freedoms, which are currently absent under the Mubarak government and his ruling National Democratic Party. While the actions of Mubarak and his lackeys would have been swept under the carpet some years ago, the arrest of Nour seems to have occurred at the most inopportune time. With freedom on the march in Afghanistan and Iraq, the people of the Arab World have looked around and have called for their move for greater democratic reforms. The Mubarak regime has also been presented with various demands from student protestors calling for his resignation as well as pressure from The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling for the release of Mr. Nour and the broadening of democratic reforms within Egypt.

With all of the combined pressure, Mubarak seems to be cracking under pressure. Based on reports from Egypt, Mubarak has recommended that the NDP controlled parliament reform the constitution to allow an open election for president. Therefore, President Mubarak would have a challenger facing him in upcoming elections. You could say that the wily politician has come to his senses and is trying to become a greater democrat but you'd be wrong. As with all autocrats who sense a potential problem coming over the horizon, Mubarak has decided to make a move that would calm the waters and feels if he uses the right words, democracy in this case, he can escape the wrath of the US. The only problem with this pledge to hold an open presidential election is that its a chimera because the opposing candidate still has to be from an official political party and vetted by Mubarak's NDP controlled parliament. The only problem is that in order to get into the race, you have to go through the Mubarak gang. If you think this will pry Mubarak's hands from the reigns of power keep dreaming. He hasn't held power for 25 years for nothing and I doubt he'd welcome change anytime soon. While naive people like the national/international media as well as various members of the Near Eastern Affairs branch in the US State Department might see this as an opening to democracy, I see it as a ruse to turn down the heat. Mubarak might think his actions will improve his democratic credentials in the US and Egypt but he's actually playing the crazy dictator games that the World has had enough of. The attitude towards The Middle East has changed in Washington from the promotion of realism into the promotion of democratic oriented governments that shows a disdain for autocratic rule. The people of these nations have also gained the spirit of freedom especially after watching the recent events in Ukraine, Iraq and Lebanon. They've decided they've had enough of the Mubarak reign and are calling for change but the aging dictator only placates the people by offering them a chimera of hope that simply disappears when trouble moves off the radar screen.

Personally, I suggest that President Bush should re-evaluate our current military/civilian aide that we provide to the Nile Kingdom. If the Egyptian government can't offer greater democratic reforms than they currently offer then they will receive less and less of our money. Autocratic regimes seem to sit up straight and listen when you mention the words "money" or "regime change". While we are a long way from the extreme measures like a regime change, we still have leverage in the World and the likes of Mubarak still seem to listen. It's time to spread the fire of liberty to Egypt and push them to open the door to democracy. Time is wasting and the people of Egypt are ready for the door to be opened. Just look at what Dr. Rice and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) have been doing, click here.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Middle East

Fire of Liberty

David Warren has an insightful column on the current march of freedom in the Middle East. He notes that since the "Purple Revolution" occurred in Iraq, the people in the neighboring Arab states have taken notice thus opening the door for the various democratic movements in places like Egypt and Lebanon. Check out the column, it's a good read.


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It seems that Hugo Chavez making his move to become the next Fidel Castro in South America. Lieutenant Colonel Chavez has solidified his position as a Marxist even further by suspending one of the greatest freedoms which is the right to own property. Chavez's land grab adds yet another page into his dictator scrapbook which already includes the elimination of a free press (Only state-run TV, Radio and Newspapers), deadly crack-downs, court packing, nationalization of the oil industry and now the elimination of property rights. In the same manner as the Bolshevik's of Russia in 1917 or Castro and his henchmen in Cuba in 1959, Chavez has seized the property of a British company's farmland for "the people." El Commandante's land seizure is part of a land redistribution law enacted in 2001, which gives the nation the right to seize land that is illegally obtained or is idle (Talk about eminent domain on steroids). While Chavez has held off from launching his land reform, he has decided the time has come to solidify his Communist credentials and has gone after a "big fish." In this case the "big fish" is Lord Vestey, the largest cattle rancher in Venezuela, and his 29,640 acre cattle ranch. Based on The Financial Times, Venezuelan authorities have declared that 14,000 acres were illegally obtained and will be distributed to a grouping of some 1000 poor farmers. While Lord Vestey notes that his great grandfather bought the land in 1903, the Chavez government refuses to honor the Lord's property rights.

While Chavez might think his Bolivar revolution is the greatest path to power and Venezuelan glory, his land grab will destroy his nation and create dire shortages of food. Throughout history, land grabs has resulted in dire straits, just look at France(French Rev.), Russia(1917-1991), Ukraine(1930's), China(Great Leap), Cuba (1959-Current) as well as current day Zimbabwe. In all of these nations, the government seized the land from the wealthy owners and redistributed it to individuals who had no concept or ability to farm the land. Without a strong working knowledge, these individuals either under-use or over-use the land and are generally unable to produce enough crops thus they create a shortage of food or even worse, a famine. Venezuela's latest seizure will also dry up various foreign investments in the nation. If you don't have a clearly defined law on property rights as well as a legal system that enforces those rights, then why would any business or corporation put money into a place that the government can come and seize up. Even worse, the destruction or decline of property rights takes a toll on the poor. Since the big money moves out, jobs and investments in infrastructure dries up thus leaving everyone without hope or an ability to pull themselves up from the depths of poverty.

Another problem with the elimination of Lord Verey's property rights is the fact that the government has no right to take land from someone who clearly owns the deeds to the property. When someone can't feel at ease with their own possessions they definitely will never feel safe in their own nation. Since the retention of property provides an individual power over the state because they have a say in what happens on the land, a dictatorial state will do whatever it takes to ensure that power doesn't go beyond the state's grasp. One only has to look at Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Stalin's USSR to understand how omnipotent states destroy the whole concept of the rule of law to ensure the continuation of power. Therefore, Chavez took the initiative and pushed his reign of terror even further by taking property from wealthy landowners. He has slowly but surely moved his nation into a leftist dictatorial hell-hole, where property rights disappear and the rule of law is now the rules of Hugo Chavez. I guess it helps when someone has packed the legislature and the courts with his legion of sycophantic thugs who do his bidding. I guess the World has met the second coming of Castro, lets hope he doesn't last as long as "the bearded one." The people in Venezuela are bound to find the Fire of Liberty and will learn how warm the flames of freedom really are.


Fire of Liberty

The Lebanese government is probably going to be deemed a bigger lackey of the Syrian government by the people protesting in the street with their most recent appeasement of Junior Assad. The government of Lebanon has failed its people by allowing the Syrian military to dictate their own token withdrawal to Eastern Lebanon in the Bekaa valley. I doubt that the people will put up with such nonsense and I know the US will never be satisfied with this asinine placating. Assad seems to be playing the typical Arab dictator game of promising to do something but never following through. People grow tired of these old tricks and eventually seek solutions which are currently occurring in the streets of Beirut and the halls of Lebanon's opposition parties. The "Cedar Revolution" is rising and Syria might regret the events that it set in motion.


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Well the UN doesn't handle things like military interventions or peacekeeping very well, they seem to be good with numbers, um, statistics not money. Anyway the UN has released their World Population Prospects which notes that by 2050 India's population will reach some 1.5 billion and will surpass China's population estimate of 1.3 billion. I guess that one child, preferably male, quota per family has come back to bite the Chinese. The report also notes that Europe will also expect a decline from the current population of 728 million to 630 million in 2050. Japan's population is also expected to decline as well.

I guess those Malthusian theorists need to re-assess their "population bomb" theories and focus more on the emerging population dearth. If you want to learn more about the declining populations of the World, then I suggest you look at Ben Wattenberg's book Fewer. As a devotee to population numbers, Ben Wattenberg has put a lot of study into the subject and offers a good read that everyone should check out. Another individual who offers a great bit of insight on the whole demographic situation is Phillip Longman who has documented a population decline in his book The Empty Cradle. Aside from a promoter of Freedom and Liberty, I'm also a demographic buff who tries to keep an eye on the decline of populations throughout the World. In my opinion, people in the US need to start having large families or the population will fail to sustain retiring and aging generations much like what the Europeans are experiencing today. Remember by 2018, this nation will begin to feel such a strain when more people start taking out more social security money than is being put in. When the ratio of worker to retiree ratios move from 14:1 to 2:1, you start to have problems. My advice, get started on making a family. Time is not on our side.

Bush's European Trip

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Dick Morris has a great column on President Bush's trip to Europe in today's New York Post. As the master strategist notes, President Bush has achieved a considerable amount of attention in Europe because of his great victory this past November and his accomplishments in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the President achieves such successes, the "Doubting Thomas's" like Jacques Chirac, Schroeder, and Putin have suffered considerable losses. Morris also notes that the Democratic Party seems to be suffering the same fate like their friends in Europe. I guess it's good to be "misunderestimated" like President Bush always seems to be. When you've got it you've got it.

EU's Freedom Deficit

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As the President returns to his regular schedule in the US, the people of Europe continue to march down the road known as the EU. While various potentates, presidents and prime ministers of Europe continue to prattle on about the goodness of the EU and urge the acceptance of the EU Constitution, the citizenry continues to cede their freedoms and soverignty away to a bureaucratic superstate run by a gaggle of elites. The more and more I read and hear about the EU, I continue to think of F.A. Hayek's book The Constitution of Liberty and his warnings against a people being immersed into a super-state like the one envisioned by the talking heads in Brussels.

Another individual who clearly sees the emergence of this new Leviathan within Europe is Janet Daley of The Daily Telegraph. In her recent opinion piece, Daley revealed how Europe has gone down a path that's miles away from the "classical liberal" societes of John Locke, John Stewart Mill and Edmund Burke. Europe seems to have dismissed notions like government of the people and insists on it being people of the government. Time has eroded the ideals of Liberty and Freedom within Europe and is slowly ushering in a monolithic nanny-state thus removing the people from the equation . I think Daley put it best when she wrote the following passage:
But it is too late now. Europe has had disillusionments too great to permit a return to that purist belief in the transforming power of democratic institutions. What was left standing in the ruins of the Bonapartist experiment was effectively demolished by the two world wars. The people - with nothing but the raw franchise - will never be allowed to run amok again. Europeans cannot be trusted to govern themselves. Their affairs will be administered by an EU oligarchy. And if they do not trust their own populations, European leaders are scarcely going to support handing out freedom to anarchic tribal societies that scarcely know what the right to vote is for. (Never mind that the only way to learn the value of democracy is to practise it.)
I guess the Europeans will continue to drift listlessly down the river of ruin until its too late to prevent an impending doom. Too many Americans have fought and died on the shores and plains of Europe to ensure the spread of Freedom and Liberty not the creation of an illeberal super-state.I hope the people in Britian will wise up a vote no on the EU Constitutiion and place a wooden stake in this construct's heart.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Iraq: Not Another Iran

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While the MSM keeps nattering on and on about Iraq turning into another Iran with Al-Jafari and his fellow Shiite coalition commanding some 140 seats of the 275 member parliament, cooler heads within the media beg to differ. One individual that I've come to trust on the happenings within the Muslim World is Ralph Peters (Lt. Col., USA, Ret.). According to his most recent Op/Ed in USA Today, Peters points out that Iraq's Ayatollah's will never blur their practices with the government's activities. Through past experience and observations of Iran, the clerics are well aware of the dangers and failure that the mad mullahs have created in Iran under the leadership of Khomeini and his heirs. Peters also notes that the people of Iraq will never be like Iran but its people will still have day to day relations with each other because their neighbors and in the Middle East you tend to avoid hostilities with bordering nations thus you put up with them.

While people worry about Iraq becoming another Iran, they need to take another look. Just think about the democratic spirit that's up and running in The Middle East, whether its Afghanistan , Iraq, the Palestinians or in Lebanon, the democratic movement is afoot and could arise again in Iran. Peters also notes the election in Iraq has opened up a new era of power sharing that calls for considerable amounts of compromise and cooperation amongst the various parties in Iraq. If you want to really understand the big picture of Iraq, Ralph Peters is a good start. Read him, you won't be disappointed.

Purple Revolution

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“In recent times, we have witnessed landmark events in the history of liberty: A Rose Revolution in Georgia, an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and now, a Purple Revolution in Iraq.”
- Georgia W. Bush

Well said Mr. President, hopefully there will be a "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon. It could happen. Once the flames of liberty touches one's soul there's no turning back, forward is the only way to go.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Iraq's future PM

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While I was betting on Chalabi it seems the United Iraqi Alliance decided to go with Jafari. I guess the people know what they're doing. To get a better grasp on the situation check out Eli Lake's New York Sun article on Jafari, he seems to know more about Iraq's elections than anyone else in the press.


Fire of Liberty

Ukrainian prosecutors have discovered audio tapes in which several Russian agents discuss how Gleb Pavlovsky, a Russian political analyst, participated in poisoning Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko.


Fire of Liberty

The MSM has picked up on David Ignatius's column in which he quotes Walid Jumblatt. For those who don't know Mr. Jumblatt, he's the leader of the Druze Muslims in Lebanon and is a known warlord who sided with Syria once but seems to have changed his stripes. Check out his quote here:
"It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
Read it and pass the word. Ignatius is no friend of the Bush White House but still seems to be fair on most subjects. Read him and see.


Fire of Liberty

While the people of Lebanon continue their push to be freed from the hands of their Syrian masters and their 14,000 man force, things could take a different turn based on Bashar Assad. One never knows what a dictator will do to continue the status quo.

As James S. Robbins notes in his piece at National Review Online, Assad is a partner with Hezbollah and could easily instruct a massibve killing spree to destroy the movement. Robbins also notes that Assad is getting testy with the US because he has decided to team up with Iran, terror state numero uno, as well as his continued support of the insurgency in Iraq. The Middle East is getting warm and it might be Jr. Assad who needs some cooling down. Stay tuned.

Bratislava, Slovakia

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Though President Bush might be meeting with a wily ex-KGB agent in Slovakia tomorrow he would probably be in better company visiting the people of Slovakia. While he found protestors in the Western half of Europe, the people in Eastern Europe will offer him a better reception. It's funny how people who once tolled under the boot of the Soviets truly understand the idea of freedom. Check out this article by Chandler Rosenberger @ NRO on President Bush's trip to Eastern Europe and the Fire of Liberty that runs through the spirit of the Slovakian people


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Events are very fluid within Lebanon and Syria due to Rafik Hariri's assassination in Beirut. According to this story in The Times, a group of some 140 Syrian intellectuals sent a letter of support to the Lebanese opposition by calling an immediate withdrawal of Syrian soldiers from Lebanon. Based on the letter, the intellectuals noted:
"We support your demand for the withdrawal of the Syrian Army from Lebanon and in correcting the Syrian-Lebanese relationship.”"
The article also noted that the Opposition party in Lebanon will call for a no-confidence vote on the pro-Syrian government in Lebanon but few believe the small coalition to garner enough votes. But with the current uproar in Lebanon and the World against Syria, the Opposition could pull more votes from across the aisle. Maybe the power of the Lebanese people are greater than we think. It's time for us to really find out. I'm betting on Freedom and the Fire of Liberty.

UN - The Bleeding Continues

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It seems that the UN is continuing to bleed like a stuck pig. The much vaunted institution throughout the elite circles seems to be falling apart, whether it's the Oil for Food scandal or the recent Congo Sex scandal, the UN can't get its house straight. Even worse, Koffi is still at the helm of the ship while countless numbers of his people are dropping like fly. I guess the captain goes down with the ship after all. Go Koffi Go!!!


Fire of Liberty

Sad news from Egypt. Based on this report in The Financial Times, Ayman Nour, who is the opposition leader in the Egyptian parliament, has suffered a mild stroke and heart attack. According to his family, Nour, suffered these attacks after being interrogated by Egyptian authorities. Based on the government in Egypt, Nour has been charged with forging some tens of thousands signatures on his petition to establish his party al-Ghad, which is translated as The Tomorrow Party.

While forgery is a serious crime, the Egyptian government has gone too far in its prosecution, which falls well beyond enforcing law & order to just Egypt's attempt to thwart a viable opponent to Hosni Mubarak. Unlike past opposition parties, Mr. Nour and his al-Ghad party has called for more democratic reforms. Amongst the reforms proposed by al-Ghad is a reform of the constitution to allow an open election for Egypt's President instead of the typical yes or no referendum for a single candidate chosen by parliament as well as a call for an atmosphere that allows more freedom of dissent and opinion. Currently, the Egyptian government has had been operating under strict emergency laws since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. With this in effect, the Egyptian parliament has ensured a 24 year reign for Hosni Mubarak, who wants no part in losing power through an real election.

Mr. Nour needs the same opportunity that the opposition parties of our nation and the rest of the Free World have learned to enjoy. The people of Egypt has a choice of a true democrat who seeks a more democratic instead of an aging dictator or an Islamic fundamentalist like various other Arab nations. I just hope Nour can outlast his jailers and gets well, we'll see. God go with him.

For more info check here, here, and here.

Czech's stand up for Democracy

Fire of Liberty

I found this via Chrenkoff, a fellow blogger from Down Under. It seems The Czech Republic stood up to the EU and Cuba by blocking a ban on Cuban dissidents. In an effort to appease the dictator in Cuba, the EU, under a suggestion by Spain to ease tensions between Europe and Cuba, pushed for a ban on Cuban dissidents who attended receptions in various European embassies throughout Havana. Such events have been going on since 2003 within Havana since Castro locked up some 75 dissidents he deemed enemies of the State.

You've got to hand it to the government of the Czech Republic standing up to "The Bearded One." I guess when you've spent some fifty years under the boot of Soviet totalitarianism you generally understand the evil that exists in Havana. Thank God the Czech government has a spine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Fire of Liberty

Here are several pieces on the events occurring in Lebanon. First, here's an editorial from The Washington Examiner (new paper) calling for a firmer hand on Syria. Along with the editorial, I also have a good Op/Ed by Professor Walid Phares as well as a column by Amir Taheri on Syria leaving Lebanon. Amongst these two pieces, I found a particularly interesting line in Amir Taheri's column that I thought I'd share with you. Here it is:
Those who have wondered where next the flame of freedom may rise in the Middle East have their answer. After free and fair elections in Iraq, it is now the turn of Lebanon to break the shackles of tyranny and take the path of democracy.
I've also found this article by Mordechai Nisan over at National Review Online. Nisan is a Professor of Middle East studies @ Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has a great grasp on the Middle East and its many facets.

All of these pieces should tide you over on Syria/Lebanon front for a day at least. Enjoy.

EU Constitution - European Court of Justice

Fire of Liberty

“You don’t have to read the treaty to know it’s a good thing.”
These are the words of Spain's Minister of Justice Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar and he's talking about the EU Constitution. Even worse is the fact that few people in Europe even know about the European Court of Justice or the 25 individuals who sit behind it bench. Check out more in this Op/Ed by Camilla Cavendish in The Times.

EU Constitution Cont'd.

Fire of Liberty

Andrew Stuttaford has a good article on the EU Constitution at National Review Online, see here. Here's a little bit of Stuttaford:
The project of a federal EU has long been driven, at least in part, by a profound, and remarkably virulent anti-Americanism, with deep roots in Vichy-era disdain for the sinister "Anglo-Saxons" and their supposedly greedy and degenerate culture. Throw in the poisonous legacy of soixante-huitard radicalism, then add Europe's traditional suspicion of the free market, and it's easy to see how relations between Brussels and Washington were always going to be troubled. What's more, the creation of a large and powerful fortress Europe offered its politicians something else, the chance to return to the fun and games of great power politics.

EH Constitution Cont'd.

Fire of Liberty

The EU Constitution might have been approved overwhelmingly by the people of Spain but based on this article, the citizenry of Spain knows little or nothing about the Constitution. According to a survey conducted by Spanish state pollster CIS, some 90% of the Spanish public responded that they knew little or nothing about the EU Constitution.

One should expect such a lack of knowledge especially when the Constitution is close to some 350 pages long. I guess when your making a superstate out of some 20 plus member-nations you end up with a gigantic document that only policy wonks are willing to read. Thank God for our short but concise US Constitution.

The article also featured a small chart showing the results of a Eurobarometer poll on the approval/disapproval of the EU Constitution throughout the various European nations which are holding referendums. While the oppose/support numbers are mixed, the one area that seems to be relatively high is the Don't Know block. Take a look for yourself.


As for me, I'm a self-avowed "No" voter. I just don't think a big conglomeration of nation-states under a single constitution will ever work. When push comes to shove, Frenchmen will be Frenchmen and Brits will be Brits and they will give less than a fig about the bureaucrats who sit on their Mt. Olympus in Brussels and dole out orders to the masses. Unfortunately, if the people throughout Europe don't wake up and learn more about the constitution they will surely lose their sovereign identity. Once they're immersed in the EU mega-state there's no way out.

While I'm opposed to the European Union construct, I still like Europe and see myself as an Atlanticist in the mold of Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher who felt the US and Europe are stronger when they coordinate things together through institutions like NATO. I just don't feel that Europe or America can afford a mega-state that chooses to compete with the US rather that work with it. I want to preserve the relationship but the EU Colossus could spoil everything. Europe should continue to consist of individual states with their own language, culture, nationality and government rather than a "Big Box' Europe.

EU Constitution

Fire of Liberty

Here's a Leader (Op/Ed) from The Daily Telegraph on Spain's EU Constitutional referendum. As the paper noted, the people of Spain voted overwhelmingly for the Constitution but still demonstrated their apathy when only 40% of the voters showed up. While Spain's approval of the Constitution has given credence to the pro-euro crowd throughout Europe it also gives a pause to the Yes campaign in nations like Poland, Britian or the Czech Republic which have well established and credible euroskeptic movements. As I've noted earlier, France as well as the Czech Republic have expressed their opposition to the vote. What the Telegraph concludes is that the EU has created an institution with little or no popular support.

Hunter S. Thompson

Fire of Liberty

I'd have to say that the Gonzo journalist never appealed to me. I'm rather put off by people who waste their life away in a drug/alcoholic stupor and cause all kinds of problems for others. This man might have some caught the eye of many people but I'd guess he'd be an example of what not to do with your life. Don't take my opinion though, check out these pieces on Mr. Thompson here, here, and here.

Czech's Could vote No on EU Const.

Fire of Liberty

According to this article in The Financial Times, the Czech Republic is considered to be a serious testing ground on the future of the EU and its Constitution. While a considerable amount of Europe's Prime Ministers have pushed for the "Yes" vote, the Czech Republic's PM Stanislav Gross has called for a "No" vote. In a similar vein as Margaret Thatcher, PM Klus is adamantly opposed to a further EU integration based on Czech nationalism and an opposition to the cradle to grave welfare state socialism emerging in the rest of the EU zone. I thought Klaus put it best about the EU when he noted:
"I am not critical, I am 100 per cent against," Mr Klaus said in Germany recently, warning that the treaty would create a "superior entity that will make us abandon our national democracy, sovereignty and political independence".
Stay tuned, this might get really interesting. I've seen a growing opposition to the EU Constitution through the various press reports out of Europe. You never know what the wise people of Europe will do. I trust their judgment in a referendum more than the people running the show in Brussels. Go for "No"!!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Iraqi Shiites

Fire of Liberty

Robert Kagan has a good column in The Washington Post on the Shiites in Iraq. While people in the press and from the left have lamented that Iraq's Shi'ite majority will probably become a new Iran, Kagan argues that the fears are overblown and that the Iranians should be more fearful of Iraqi Shiites living in freedom. I highly recommend this column for anyone seeking an understanding of the Shiite majority in Iraq.


Fire of Liberty
"The Lebanese people have the right to be free, and the United States and Europe share an interest in a democratic, independent Lebanon. My nation and France worked to pass Security Council Resolution 1559, which demands that Lebanon's sovereignty be respected, that foreign troops and agents be withdrawn, and that free elections be conducted without foreign interference. In the last several months, the world has seen men and women voting in historic elections, from Kabul to Ramallah to Baghdad -- and without Syrian interference, Lebanon's parliamentary elections in the spring can be another milestone of liberty."
In the quote above, which is from todays speech in Brussels, President Bush has provided a powerful voice for the Lebanese people who are protesting the continued Syrian military occupation that has seen its day. In the same manner that President Reagan and PM Thatcher were garnered great people by the democrats of Eastern Europe, President Bush will be remembered as a great man within the democratic movement in the Middle East. The people of Lebanon should "keep buggering on" as Sir. Winston Churchill once said. Restore democracy in your wonderful nation and cast out Syria.


Fire of Liberty

It seems Thabo Mbeki is going down the same street that past leaders in Africa, which is to deny that a fellow African leader is taking their nation to hell. Mbeki has argued that the US shouldn't be including Zimbabwe in its "Outposts of Tyranny" since Robert Mugabe and his fellow ZANU-PF party are working towards free & fair elections . Unfortunately, the President of South Africa seems to forget that Mugabe's thugs have used all sorts of intimidation and violence against the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. Take a look at some of Mugabe's attempts to conduct a "fair & free" election, here, here, here, and here.


Fire of Liberty

Here's a good Op/Ed by Daniel Blumenthal and Thomas Donnelly of AEI on Europe ending its arm embargo on China. It's a good read on how the sell of these weapons will allow the PLA to jump forward in its modernization. When China gets their hands on NATO grade weaponry, they can exacerbate the situation in Taiwan. Even worse, the Chinese military could be upgraded by leaps and bounds thus allowing them to directly challenge the US presence in the area. Both of these could create a situation that the US doesn't need at the moment.

If you want to get a hand on the situation I suggest you read this.


Fire of Liberty

The mad Mullahs of Iran are up to their old tricks again by going after the bloggers. Like a true totalitarian regime, the Mullahs have to continue to control its people by clamping down on all forms of dissent. One area that the Iranian government has been concentrating on is free press. In 2000, countless newspapers were shut down because they didn't toe the government line. Without a media to communicate such dissent, the people were forced into the blogosphere, which according to the BBC, there a some 46,000 Iranians blogging on freedom, democracy and countless other subjects in the ancient Persian nation. What seems to have set the Mullahs into this massive crack-down is that the growing democracy movement in Iran, which consist of tech-savvy 20 year olds, have mastered the net and are getting their message out to the World and fellow Iranians. The mullahs have begun a campaign of silencing the bloggers by placing them in jail for long stretches of time with excessive bonds and Lord knows what else. Take for instance the bloggers Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad, both of which were locked into Iran's shoddy prisons just because the practiced their rights of Free Speech. Here's what the BBC had to say about these two:
The Iranian government has not said explicitly that it is blogging that got Mr Sigarchi and Mr Saminejad into trouble.

However, both have used their blogs in the past to criticize the detention of other Iranian webloggers.

Iranian-born Hadi Ghaemi is following both cases for Human Rights Watch in New York.

"Major charges against Sigarchi included him giving interview to foreign radio, which is completely a violation of his right to free speech and expression," Mr Ghaemi says.

"He's being kept in a prison in the city of Rasht, which is his hometown in northern Iran. Bail for his release has been set at $200,000."

Mojtaba Saminejad has not fared much better, according to Mr Ghaemi.

"Saminejad was kept in solitary confinement for 88 days, and he was subjected to severe beatings and torture. He was briefly released on 27 January for a short time, but because bail had been set at $125,000, and he wasn't able to pay that, he was rearrested, and his conditions are unknown."
I bid my fellow bloggers in Iran and the other "Outposts of Tyranny" good fortune and hope they outlast their oppressors. Look to the Fire of Liberty to guide you through the storm of tyranny.

Liberty's Light is Burning in Lebanon

Fire of Liberty

It seems the opposition movement in Lebanon is growing. Much like the people in Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War, the Citizens of Serbia, and the democrats of Ukraine who cast aside their "old masters", the people of Lebanon have had enough and are ready to remove the heavy hand of Syria from their throats. For the first time in quite a long time, the Maronite Christians under Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has merged with a Druze Muslim Walid Jumblat in calling for Syria's complete and unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon. Such a call for Syria getting out of Lebanon seems to be gaining some steam in the streets of Beirut, where thousands of people have launched a protest campaign against the government and its master Syria. Throughout these streets, tens of thousands ,drabbed in red and white, marched carrying posters honoring the late PM Hariri as well as signs and banners calling for "Independence" and "Syria Out." This display of bright colors is reminiscent of the "Rose Revolution" of Georgia or the more recent "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine.

One can truly understand the desire for Liberty & Freedom in the hearts of the demonstrators in the streets. Take Youssef Mukhtar for instance, this 47 year old engineer put it best when he stated:
"Enough bloodshed and disasters. It is the 21st century, and people should be able to govern themselves. The situation has become unbearable and we have to regain our country."
Such actions seem to have gotten the attention of Junior Assad in Syria. According to the Amr Mussa, head of the Arab League, Assad promised to implement the Taef accord and begin a withdrawal from Lebanon. Unfortunately, Assad's words are mere tokens because they only want to remove the heat from their feet. Of all people, the Lebanese are well aware of Syria's false promises. With the signing of the Taeb accord in 1990, the Syrian government promised to withdrawal all of its troops by 1992 but still remain in Lebanon some 13 years later. The best bet is for the people of Lebanon to stand up against the Syrians and continue their protest. The World has their eye on Lebanon and we are behind your movement 100%. It's time to bring Lebanon in from the cold and restore it to its grandeur that Fouad Ajami noted in a February 17, 2005 Op/Ed in The Wall Street Journal:
Lebanon (my birthplace, I should add) may never have been as pretty as its tales. It may never have been the "Paris of the Mediterranean," and its modernism may have been skin-deep at times. But it was and remains a vibrant Arab country of open ways, a place for refugees and dissidents, a country where Arab modernity made a stand, and where Christians and Muslims built a culture of relative compromise.
Keep up the good fight, the Fire of Liberty is shining its light on you. To learn more on the happenings in Lebanon, check here, here, .

Happy President's Day

Fire of Liberty

Today we celebrate our past President's and their outright devotion to the "shining city on the hill" known as the United States. While we have had 42 Presidents (Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms so George W. Bush is technically the 42nd President- darn semantics). Anyway I'd like to devote a bit of my post to several Presidents who have had a significant influence on the US and myself.

First of all, I have to give my most heartfelt adjulation to the head hancho George Washington. Aside from being the best general of this nation and the First President, Washington also brought a sense of strength and stability to a young and emerging nation. While lesser men might have opted to rule this nation as a king, Washington had the foresight and knowledge to refuse such an offer. Through his reading of history, political commentaries, and plays like Cato as well as his manning of the Revolutionary Army, Washington knew full well the dangers of one individual accumulating too much power thus he refused the honor. His love of the republic was so profound that he was cautious of his actions and continued the concept of limited government thus setting precedents for future leaders to follow. Well most of our leaders seem to have forget this concept, but I'll abstain from naming names because it's President's Day. Anyway, a big huzzah to the father of our nation.

The second president I'd like to give a cheer to is Abraham Lincoln. I know that Lincoln and Washington are general fare for President's day but the "rail-splitter of Illinois" deserves the same adjulation as Washington. Come to think of it, Lincoln could also be considered a father of this nation. Stay with me here, I'm about to deposit some of my "down South" reasoning to the mix. Think about Lincoln and the problems that he endured and eventually resolved during the Civil War. One could think of these warring factions as two brothers fighting with each other in a giant house known as the United States. While the brothers started off just picking on one another they continually progressed further and further down the path of action/re-action until they came to barbs with each other forcing dad, in this case Lincoln, to step in and end the fighting. Through the mobilization of the Union forces and the eventual hiring of competent commanders, (Grant & Sherman) Lincoln stepped up and nipped the family feud in the bud thus bringing this nation back together. Therefore, I'd have to say that Lincoln was a de-facto father of this nation. He showed his strength as a leader/statesmen when he took a stand to re-emerge this nation and push it towards greatness. Oh, and he freed a lot of people from bondage. While he would pay the ultimate sacrifice for his actions at the hand of John Wilkes Boothe, President Lincoln demonstrated how much he loved this great republic thus earning our overwhelming adjulation. So, Thank You Mr. Lincoln!!!

Thirdly, I would like to give a hand to President Calvin Coolidge. As a conservative, I find "Silent Cal" as the true embodiment of American Conservatism. Unlike other sons of Vermont, Coolidge actually believes in small government, tax cuts and a hand a great Protestant work ethic. Lets begin with his belief in small government. As with Washington and past presidents, Coolidge was well aware of the problems that a large and lumbering government would have on the nation and its people. Since he was a strong believer in the constitution that assigned limited powers to the federal government while reserving the rest for the states(read the constitution), Coolidge reasoned that the less intrusive the federal government was the better off the nation was. The man might have been named "Silent Cal" but when he spoke people listened. Take his ideas on using the intrusive federal government to solve the nations problem. Here's a few gems I've grown to love:
"If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you."
"Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still."
Awesome, if I'd said so myself. As for tax cuts, President Coolidge believed in the idea that people worked harder and acquire wealth when they are able to take more of their money home and give less to government. President Coolidge would captain this nation through extensive tax-cuts that reduced the top rate from 73% in 1921 to 25% in 1925. This enormous tax-cut would open up the US economy to a massive growth spurt and created an enormous boost to the federal treasury thus laying the groundwork of modern day supply-side economics promoted by Art Laffer. His tax policy could easily be described in his famous quote: "Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." Coolidge has become the true embodiment of what our leaders should aspire to become.

As for the Protestant work ethic, I'd suggest the late Robert Sobel's excellent book Coolidge due to my own time constraints. While Coolidge ranks low in most historian lists, I'd say he's a good President. So go silent Cal.

Lastly, my most favorite President is Ronald Wilson Reagan. Why do I like this man, lets me say several words. He defeated the USSR without firing a shot, restored America's confidence by improving our military and creating a situation that was suitable for the growth of our economy. He's so awesome that I'm just lost for words (He would probably call for me to keep him off such a great list). My best advice is for us to keep on keeping on for "the Gipper".

Anyway, raise a glass or two to the men who have served our nation to their utmost ability. Make mine an American brew.

Here's my honorable mention list: Madison, Jackson, Polk, Grant, Hayes, McKinley, TR, FDR (War leader not domestic), Truman, Kennedy and George W. Bush.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

EU's Future Dim in 2015

Fire of Liberty

According to a CIA analysis, the EU faces an enormous problem in 2015. Based on the report, the EU will reach its nadir in 2015 if it doesn't clamp down on its excessive welfare state expenditures. While these states continue dole out money on welfare programs like national healthcare and continues its heavy government regulation, the economies of the EU nations will continue to lack growth thus falling further and further behind nations like China and India.

The EU also faces a growing demographic challenge because of low birthrates. With such low birth rates, the EU populations are becoming grayer and lack a sufficient amount of young workers to replace the aging and retiring workforce. This lack of a younger workforce thus places these nations' economies in a glide plane of decline. This in turn forces these nations to seek a substantial replacement workforce which turns out to be immigrants from Muslim countries like Morocco and Algeria. Based on predictions, the growth of the Muslim community in Europe will rise from the present day 13% to some 22%-37% by 2025. While this growth will be helpful, the CIA report predicts that this rise in the Muslim community could create serious disruptions. Due to a lack of assimilation to European society and culture, there have been various incidents that show an emerging situation in Europe. See here, here and here .

While this is only an futuristic strategic analysis of Europe, the situation seems to be more truth than prediction. I hope Europe can correct the situation but I'm scared they might have crossed the Rubicon. For an even better analysis, check out this piece by Mark Steyn.

Spain - EU Referendum

Fire of Liberty

The Spainish overwhelmingly approved the EU constitution by a vote 77% to 17%. While the numbers look outstanding, the reality of the situation is that only 42.3% of Spain's voters showed up to vote on the future of Spanish sovereignty. This just shows the complete apathy to a constitution they know nothing about. Hopefully, the "no" campaigns in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Britain will receive a shot in the arm from the low turnout. Expect something from Poland and Britain, these are the two nations who have the greatest to lose in a Yes vote.

To understand the apathy of Spain's voters just check out Charles Moore's Op/Ed on the EU Constitution in The Daily Telegraph. Its a smasher.

Iraq's Marshlands Bloom

Fire of Liberty

Here's an awesome article on Iraq's marshlands. For anyone who doesn't know, Southern Iraq is the home of an enormous marshland that is possibly the site of the Garden of Eden. At its zenith, the marshland was some 20,000 sq. Km and contained a large array of fish, water fowl, as well as a large assortment of mammals. While Saddam would reduce the marshlands to 1400 sq. Km through various dikes and dams as an act of punishment against the Shia Marsh Arabs who participated in failed uprisings. Based on a report to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the marshland is re-emerging through the destruction of the dams along with help from USAID. While the marshland will never reach the 20,000 sq. Km, study leader, Professor Curtis Richardson of Duke University, says that some 30% of the wetlands could be restored. It makes you happy to know that the marshlands persevered in the end much like the people of Iraq have. I think Prof. Richardson put an exclamation point on the rebirth of Iraq when he noted:
"Immediately after [the overthrow of Saddam] we saw just a dozen birds in the marshes," Prof Richardson said. "A year later, there were hundreds and now they are talking about many thousands."


Fire of Liberty

While the War on Terror is continuing throughout the greater Middle East in nations like Afghanistan and Iraq, the White House & the Pentagon continue to focus on the larger strategic picture. The one area that has garnered a considerable amount of attention is China. According to The 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon has offered a pessimistic as well a cautious outlook on China. Based on recent testimony by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, DCI chief Porter Goss, and DIA director Admiral Jacoby, the Chinese are a merging concern in the region. Based on their testimony, China is becoming an emerging challenge because of its buildup of missiles across the Taiwan Strait, accelerated defense spending along with its ever-growing quest to build a blue water navy.

The subject of China will be an important issue in the President's visit to Europe this week, especially when Europe is calling for the end of the arms embargo against China which the US wants to resume due to the Tianamen incident in 1989. Along with the human rights concerns, President Bush is also concerned that the lifting of the embargo would further exacerbate China's quest for military/territorial expansion. While China provides a growing and dynamic market, it still has a long way to go on human liberty.

Time has come for China to become a part of the democratic world and expand human liberty and freedom to its people. Therefore, the US should continue its focus on either containing or rolling back the Chinese Dragon. Asia cannot be thrown into chains like Eastern Europe was under the Soviets. Freedom shouldn't be constrained by China or any other forces.

US & Japan

Fire of Liberty

To show you how much of a factor that freedom is to the formulation of great society one only has to look at Japan. Just think, some 60 years ago the Japanese were in a quest for global domination but were destroyed by free nations. Unlike other victors, the US used its transformative powers to bring Japan back into this World to be a leading figure in the democratic movement. Anyway, the Japanese have reaffirmed their devotion to freedom and strengthened its relationship by signing a new security pact, click here and here.

Japan has furthered its relationship with the US once more by the redrafting of the 1996 declaration of bilateral security yesterday. The most important aspect about the new pact is that Japan has agreed to aid the US in the defense of Taiwan if China tries to force reunification. According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima, Japan would provide the much needed logistical support to the American forces. Such is a monumental development especially since Japan has remained neutral on Taiwan since 1949. The pact also focused on several other strategic objectives like destroying terrorism, the peaceful re-unification of the Koreas, and Russia.

Its great to see two great nations who were once foes some 60 years ago become even greater strategic partners. Freedom, it's a good thing.

Rafik Hariri Cont'd.

Fire of Liberty

The clouds of doom are gathering more and more over the House of Asad while Liberty's light emerges in Lebanon. Based on this article in The Daily Telegraph (London), Syria's fingerprints are showing up all over the place. According to Judge Richard Mezher, a lead investigator for the Lebanese military tribunal, the assassins were recruited by a terrorist group with Syrian connections. Based on the report, the likely assassin was Abu Adas a twenty-three year old Palestinian Lebanese who attended several mosques that are associated with a Syrian cleric named Sheikh Abderrazak (Has a history of helping fighters travel through Syria to Iraq) and are known recruiting stations for Ansar al-Islam. Based on Judge Mezher, Adas used a Saudi passport to travel into Iraq then onto Syria where he then moved onto Beirut where he drove a car laden with 600lbs of explosives in Hariri's convoy. While the investigation hasn't pointed a direct finger to Syria, the evidence seems to be piling up in their favor. One can imagine the pressure Syria will receive from the US and Europe if Syria is implicated.

Their seems to be a moving shift against the House of Asad in the Bush administration. I think the President has grown tired of Syria's active support of terrorism (Hezbollah) and their continued occupation of Lebanon. Another group to agree with the White House is Hariri's opposition party lead by Walid Jumblatt. Under Jumblatt, Hariri's dream of removing Syria from Lebanon could become reality. Jumblatt has also been pointing a finger towards Syria in their involvement with the assassination. According to Jimblatt, "Syria is responsible. Who else? We don't want to open war with Syria, but they must go out." If this movement is as strong as it looks, Syria's 20,000 soldiers could be taking their own road Damascus.

One thing that I've learned, is that when liberty and freedom is restrained by chains people will eventually have enough and break these chains. It happened in Eastern Europe and South America and it can occur once again in Lebanon. I bid the opposition good fortune and hope the cagey dictator doesn't revert to his usual ways, which is death and destruction. The people of Lebanon are well aware of this and The Daily Telegraph seems to as well, look what they said about the "good" Dr. Asad:
The Syrian president is a member of the Alawite religious sect, feared throughout medieval Europe as the Assassins. When its leader wanted an opponent killed, he handed a follower a dagger and his wishes were carried out. Many Lebanese believe that Mr Hariri's death was commissioned in similar fashion by Syria's Mukhabarat intelligence service.
We'll see how things go. I'm confident the US will stand behind the opposition and rally support in Europe for UN resolution 1559 this week. If not, then I suggest unilateral sanctions.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Iwo Jima - 60 years later.

Fire of Liberty

I want to give the brave vets who fought like hell and died on this Island a special thank you. Without your outstanding act, I would have never been able to enjoy the freedoms that have today. I ask all readers to seek a veteran of WWII and say thanks. If you can't find one, just read these articles and commentaries here, here.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

EU vote in Spain

Fire of Liberty

Here's an interesting article on the upcoming EU Constitution vote and corresponding campaign for it in Spain. Get ready for an interesting vote this weekend, expect a low turnout. I expect this after reading this voter's opinion:
"I just don't care about it. I know I should, but I don't."
I'd vote no. Lord, I'm agreeing with socialists. Is the World coming to an end?

VOA gets a boost

Fire of Liberty

Finally, the Bush administration is beefing up the budget for Voice Of America, which is a radio/TV network similar to NPR but without the left-wing spirit. During the Cold War, VOA provided the US and the Western World with a voice of freedom and liberty to the people languishing behind the Iron curtain. To understand the power of this beacon of freedom, check out Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy.

Anyway, the White House is asking for an additional $7.3 million, which would push the operating budget of VOA up some 45% to $652 million. As Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board Governors noted this is great news because:
"It's important to remember that in the decade following the end of the Cold War, U.S. spending for international broadcasting was slashed a very real 40 percent," he said. "Now, thanks to President Bush and key supporters in Congress, we are rebuilding from a depleted base and working to get back to where we should be."
It's about time we started putting our hard earned dollars into a government programs that actually achieve something besides wasting money. I guess it helps when the right people arrive at State and in the White House to get things done.

Also, check out this column by John Hughes in The Christian Science Monitor where he argues for bringing back the defunct United States Information Agency (USIA).

EU skeptic

Fire of Liberty

Here's another reason why I dislike the whole EU construct. Instead of the EU being a body in which sovereign states come together to form a common economic and security policy, the EU has become a body that has erased a nation's sovereignty and merged it into a massive Superstate run by a gaggle of bureaucrats in Brussels. What's even worse is the fact that this Superstate has some 1,700 advisory groups to debate over the various rules and regulations that will be passed onto to the various people throughout the EU empire because the government deemed it necessary.

It's my guess that the EU leadership really believes in the power of government. Have these people not learned from their own past and the Soviet era what an all powerful superstate can do to an economy and its overall well being. They need to read more John Stewart Mill, John Locke, Henry Hazlitt, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman and countless other luminaries of freedom and limited government. When you have a large and intrusive government the nation is stripped of its dynamistic spirit. It also begins to behave badly when the people lose control of their government. Yes, you can argue that the people elect MEP's to represent them in Brussels but these elected officials are far from their constituency by being in the EU capital. Even when you elect these people, the EU Commission still controls the show with their tribe of government yeomen. I think Jens-Peter Bronde, a eurosceptic MEP from Denmark, put it best when he said this about the bureaucrats in Brussels:
"We still do not know who they are, what they do, why the do it and how much each one costs."
Well put Mr. Bronde. And people really think this grouping will better the dynamic US, Get real.

EU Constitution

Fire of Liberty

I'm telling you, the EU Constitution will run into a roadblock in one of the many countries that will hold a referendum. As I noted earlier, the Spainish government launched a soda campaign to sure up a "yes" vote this weekend due to an expected low turnout. Now the French are changing their Constitution in order to hold the election for the EU Constitution earlier to ward off the "no" movement emerging in France. I'm generally inimical to supporting the Socialists or the far-Right but anything against Chirac is good for me. I'm for Turkey entering the EU but I'm just opposed to the whole bloody EU and its odious Superstate tendencies.

Fire of Liberty

Fire of Liberty

I thought this was pretty funny. Dean seems to have this effect on a lot of people

Ralph Reed running for Lt. Gov of GA

Fire of Liberty

It's official, Ralph Reed has thrown his hat in the ring as a GOP candidate for Lt. Governor of Georgia. Reed, who was the GOP chairman of GA in 2002 as well as the Chairman of the Southeast Region for Bush/Cheney 04, has made the natural progression through the party and is ready to assume the reigns of an elected public servant in Georgia.

If you're like me, you are ready for the state of Georgia to have a fellow conservative battling in the trenches of the General Assembly on behalf of our governor. Unlike Mark Taylor, Ralph Reed will fight to lower your taxes, reduce spending that spendthrifts in Atlanta have bundled into our state's budget, wrestle the control of our schools away from the state government and return the power back to the local school districts who know their school needs better than bureaucrats in Atlanta, as well as strengthening the institutions that have kept our families as well as this state and nation strong.

I've been anticipating this run for some time and it seems Reed is following through. It should be a good election in 2006 and I hope he does well. Check back regularly on Reed.

To learn more go to See more articles here and here on Reed as well. He's also a UGA grad. Hunker down you hairy Dawg.

Ahmad Chalabi

Fire of Liberty

Dean Godson has a good piece in The Times on the re-emergence of Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq. I'm convinced that Chalabi is a better judge of Iraq than the posers at State, CIA and MI-6 with their chosen strong men. Chalabi is indeed a good fighter for his nation and would never do anything to harm it. I guess Pericles put it best when he said:
"For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness in his country's battles should be as a cloak to cover a man's other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Freedom on the Rise

Fire of Liberty

It seems the thugs in Syria have sparked a fire that probably will not burn out anytime soon. Hopefully the people of Lebanon want to return to a sense of normalcy which includes the removal or Syria's military and its mavens of terror, namely Hezbollah. Take a look here.


Fire of Liberty

I think Amir Taheri has an interesting analysis about the recent assassination of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon. While the list of assassins consists of Hezbollah, Syro-Lebanese mafia, Iran and Syria, Taheri tends to lean on our "good friend" Syria. I'm in the same boat with Taheri in agreeing that Syria is the main culprit. Unlike all the other suspects, Syria is the 800 lb. in Lebanon that gets things done. With 20,000 troops in the nation, the Syrians have the men and the ability to rid themselves of a vocal opponent. What makes this more relevant is the fact that Syria has a history of erasing troubles. Take a look at what Taheri says about this :
Syria had a clear motive in killing Hariri. It also had the means, if only because its security services control Beirut. Certainly, no one could have smuggled hundreds of kilos of explosives into the heart of the city without the Syrian Mukhaberat learning about it.

Syria also had a long history of murdering its political foes in Lebanon: two of Lebanon's presidents, Bechir Gemayel and Rene Mouaouad; the Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt; the publisher Salim al-Lawzi — these are only the best-known victims of Syrian assassination policy.

Friends of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claim that even if the Syrians murdered Hariri, young Bashar knew nothing about it. Rather, some rogue elements in the Syrian Mukhaberat did the dastardly deed. But this excuse is worse than the crime. Syria claims to be in Lebanon to protect it against rogue elements. If it can't do that, there is even less reason why it should continue to occupy Lebanon.
I'm guessing Syria might have erased the wrong guy. The people of Lebanon are tiring of their masters and want to be free of Junior Assad and his merchants of death. Check out this piece in The Times which notes a growing movement against Syria.


Fire of Liberty

Peter Worthington has a realistic assessment of the events in this embattled African nation that inspired the wonderful film Hotel Rwanda. Worthington notes that the massacre in Rwanda was not prevented by racism but by pure incompetence. It burns me when President Clinton tells a gathering of elites in Davos, Switzerland that such an tragedy occurred because the people being killed were black.

Reject LOST

Fire of Liberty

The Law of the Sea-Treaty is one thing that I'm adamantly oppossed to. I think the US would be better off outside of an international body that dilutes a nation's sovereignty. President Bush was right to pull use out of the ICC as well as Kyoto but will dissappoint a lot of his Conservative base. With the upcoming CPAC conference the President should be provided with a considerable amount of information how wrong this treaty is and how much his base is against it. Here's the story in The New York Sun

Syria & Iran

Fire of Liberty

Today, the media is carrying on about the new relationship between Iran and Syria, even though these groups have been working together in Lebanon for years. You don't have 20,000 Syrian soldiers in Lebanon who cohabitate with the Iranian sponsored Hezbollah terrorist group and not have some kind of a working relationship. The one common thread to this long relationship is the terrorist group Hezbollah. Such can be found in Gal Luft's article "Hizballahland", which appeared in the July-August 2003 issue of Commentary. Check here for article.

Let's look at Syria's relationship with Hezbollah. Since Syria runs the workings of the government in Lebanon through the quartering of 20,000 troops, they have the general run of the mill, which includes Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon. To keep these terrorists close to their vest, Syria has integrated these terrorists into the military in Lebanon along with the supply of Syrian weapons. The terrorists also provide illegal services like drug-traffiking, gun-running not to mention the fact that the group rallies the Shiite base in Lebanon ensuring Syria's grasp.

As for Iran, its the main cash cow for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran provides an ample flow of weapons like the Fajr-5 rockets, plastic explosives, guns, TNT and countless impliments of terror and death. Second, Iran provides a $100 million a year stipend to Hezbollah to support its many "political causes" to garner support amongst the people of Lebanon. All of these actions ensure that Iran and Hezbollah have cemented a bond between them.

No matter what the press says, the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah connection runs wide and deep. This grouping is pushed by the hate of Israel, the US and the shining beacon of light known as liberty and freedom. To learn more on the relationship and a way to end it once and for all check out Michael Ledeen's great book The War Against the Terror Masters.


Fire of Liberty

I guess the French don't care about human rights. Instead of standing up for the tens of thousands intellectuals and democrats who struggle against the heavy hand of the Chinese government, the French have decieded to reward the Communist government. While the US stands besides these fellow democrats and has insisted on the continuation of the arms embargo, the French on the other hand have opted to dissolve the embargo. What makes the deal even worse is the reason behind France lifting the embargo. Take a look at what France's Defence Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, had to say about the deal to The Financial Times:
"The lifting of the embargo could be a better protection for us than maintaining it," she said.

"China is rapidly developing its industry, and today our experts say that in five years China could make exactly the same arms that we have today. And they will do it if they cannot import. So maybe if we can sell them the arms, they will not make them. And in five years' time, they will not have the technology to make them."
O.K., let me get this straight, China doesn't have these weapons now but will develop them on their own in five years. So since they can't kill their enemies within China or on the island nation of Taiwan until five years, we'll go ahead and sell China these weapons so they can get started. I guess the French think China will quit producing their own weapons just to buy the new French rifle.

Could the French be anymore stupid than this. I guess they'll continue to promote their "European" ideas and forget to promote individuals who strive for Freedom and Liberty. Thank God for the US and to think, France gave us Lady Liberty. Oh well, at least we won't scrap her for weapons to go to China.