"The left needs two things to survive. It needs mediocrity, and it needs dependence. It nurtures mediocrity in the public schools and the universities. It nurtures dependence through its empire of government programs. A nation that embraces mediocrity and dependence betrays itself, and can only fade away, wondering all the time what might have been."
- Urgent Agenda
MIDEAST INTRIGUE - AT 10:40 A.M. ET: Fascinating report on a possible Israeli strike against Iran, from London's Sunday Times:
The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.
COMMENT: Maybe the Obamans, who've been telling us that the key to solving Iran is to solve the Israel/Palestine crisis first, should start revising their thinking.
DECLINE OF A STATE - AT 9:55 A.M. ET: At Urgent Agenda we emphasize national and international affairs, but occasionally the follies within a state catch our attention. One of the great political tragedies occurring right now is the decline of New York State and the virtual collapse of its state government. It's important because, historically, New York has had a significant influence on the rest of the country. Virtually the entire American social "safety net" that Ronald Reagan spoke about, and respected, originated in New York. The once-great New York City public school system served, for decades, as an urban model.
Not so anymore. Today New York is a train wreck, its government paralyzed, its coffers empty, and gripped by ethnic divisions that we'd hoped would be eased by the election of Obama. False hope.
No one knows New York politics better than the New York Post's respected Fred Dicker. Today he writes a virtual obituary for the state he's covered for decades. It's worth reading as a warning to other states. Please note this section:
During the long years of Republican control, the all-white GOP "conference" would regularly bemoan its lack of diversity, and make extra efforts to recruit minority Senate candidates and hire minority staff.
During the first five months of this year, with the Senate under the control of its first African-American majority leader, Malcolm Smith, top Democrats bemoaned the lack of minority Senate staffers.
But instead of trying to recruit new hires, they fired nearly 200 almost exclusively white workers and replaced them with a large number of minority employees, many of whom were seen by their fellow workers to be unskilled at their new jobs.
The move produced severe racial tensions, made worse by the fact that, as a high-level Democratic staffer confided, "We've been told to only hire minorities.''
COMMENT: That is racial politics at its worst, and it can happen elsewhere. New York has been heavily financed by tax revenues from Wall Street. They are way down, and the state seems to be going the way of California.
This is my state, and we are heading for very hard times.
IRANIAN CLERICS DISSENT - AT 9:31 A.M. ET: The dissent in Iran continues, and may even be growing, with no coherent American response from the Obama administration. From The New York Times:
CAIRO — The most important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the country’s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country’s clerical establishment.
A statement by the group, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult — if not impossible.
COMMENT: We've noted before that the 1979 revolution, which regrettably brought the mullahs to power, took months to develop. This is not over.
We await some American plan to help the dissidents.
MORE ON SARAH - AT 9:10 A.M. ET: Sarah Palin has used her Facebook page to give a further explanation of her curious action in resigning as Alaska's governor, as AP reports:
''I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint,'' the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote in a posting on her Facebook page. Palin's spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, confirmed Palin wrote the entry.
Rumors have been flying that Palin is the subject of an FBI investigation, but the FBI knocked them down:
''There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we're investigating her or getting ready to indict her,'' Special Agent Eric Gonzalez, the bureau's Alaska spokesman, said.
Stay tuned for the next chapter. Endlessly fascinating. Name another political figure who can knock Michael Jackson off the front page.
REMEMBER MILITARY FAMILIES - AT 11:17 A.M. ET: As we think of our servicemen and servicewomen today, we must not forget their families, who also serve. Mike Scully alerts us to a fine piece in the Washington Post by a military wife, who has to endure the hardships of military service, and take flak from unthinking "friends" at the same time. It's here. Please read.
AND THEY'RE CALLING SARAH PALIN BIZARRE? - AT 9:53 A.M. ET: The man who won the vice presidency, Joseph Biden, is in Iraq. In typical Biden fashion, he can't keep his mouth shut. Consider this:
July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Vice President Joseph Biden told Iraqi leaders that the path to a secure peace lies in uniting ethnic and sectarian groups and said the U.S. might disengage from their country if it reverts to sustained violence.
Biden said he and President Barack Obama “appreciate that Iraq has traveled a great distance over the past year, but there is a hard road ahead if Iraq is going to find lasting peace and stability,” according to a press pool report of the vice president’s visit to Iraq.
COMMENT: Is that dumb, or what? Biden has essentially given the enemy a road map, showing exactly how to force the U.S. out of Iraq: Just increase the violence and sustain it for a time. In Vietnam the enemy learned how to play on American public opinion. In Iraq the enemy doesn't have to learn. The vice president is gracious enough to tell them.
THE CRACKPOT STILL BOILS - AT 9:34 A.M. ET: It must be frustrating to the "engagement" crowd in Washington, but the air in Tehran still crackles with dissent:
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A newspaper editor seen as close to Iran's top authority said Saturday defeated election candidate Mirhossein Mousavi and a former pro-reform president had committed "terrible crimes" which should be tried in court.
In a commentary published in his hardline Kayhan daily, editor-in-chief Hossein Shariatmadari suggested that Mousavi and his supporters in last month's disputed election had acted on the instructions of the United States, Iran's arch-foe.
The June 12 poll stirred the most striking display of internal dissent in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution and strained ties with the West. At least 20 people died in post-election violence last month.
COMMENT: We shouldn't be shocked if there are trials. Please notice that Iran is doing nothing - absolutely nothing - to impress or please the outside world, especially the United States. Yet we still hear this dribble out of the Obamans that we must "engage" the Iranian government. Been there, done that. We must go well beyond engagement, and quickly, if there are to be any serious results.
NORTH KOREA DEFIANT - AT 9:12 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired a barrage of seven ballistic missiles into the sea between the Communist state and Japan on Saturday in a move that flouted a United Nations Security Council resolution and sent a message of defiance to the United States on its Independence Day holiday.
After a nuclear test by North Korea on May 25, the Security Council adopted a resolution that, among other things, barred the country from testing ballistic missiles. North Korea sharpened its standoff with Washington on Saturday by following through on part of its earlier warnings that it would respond to the resolution and sanctions with more tests of its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
COMMENT: There are fears that a new nuclear test will be next. And what are we doing about it? Well, we're working to enforce a UN resolution.
The worst part about the North Korean regime is that it's a proliferator - it sells this missile and nuclear stuff to other countries. We have been ineffective in stopping them, and the Obama administration does not exactly strike fear and dread into the hearts of anyone.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
THE ANGEL'S CORNER
Part I of this week's Angel's Corner was sent late Wednesday night.
Part II was sent late Friday night.
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