"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
Iran is trying to use the talks with Western powers on its nuclear ambitions to buy time to produce an atomic bomb, Israel's military intelligence chief said on Sunday.
"Iran has crossed the technological threshold. Reaching a military-grade nuclear capability is a question of synchronising its strategy with the production of a nuclear bomb," Major General Amos Yadlin told cabinet ministers.
"Iran continues to stockpile hundreds of kilogrammes of low-level enriched uranium and hopes to use the dialogue with the West to buy the time it requires in order to move towards an ability to manufacture a nuclear bomb," a senior official quoted Yadlin as saying.
COMMENT: You will notice the deep concern by the Obama administration. Talk will solve everything.
MAYBE HILLARY NEEDS TO GO BACK THERE - AT 9:57 P.M. ET:
PYONGYANG/BEIJING, March 9 (AP) - (Kyodo)—North Korea warned Monday that any move to intercept what it calls a satellite launch and what other countries suspect may be a missile test-firing would result in a counterstrike against the countries trying to stop it.
"We will retaliate (over) any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counterstrikes by the most powerful military means," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army as saying.
If countries such as the United States, Japan or South Korea try to intercept the launch, the North Korean military will carry out "a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds" of the countries, it said.
COMMENT: It's important for Hillary Clinton to go right back to Asia, where she traveled recently, and do some major apologizing and groveling. She's gotten so good at it - really expert - that some genuflecting would probably do considerable good. Boy, that BUSH really messed things up, didn't he?
NOW WE KNOW - AT 10:31 A.M. ET: Just in, hot news from Britain's Telegraph, finally explaining to a yearning public why President Obama was so rude to Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
Barack Obama's offhand approach to Gordon Brown's Washington visit last week came about because the president was facing exhaustion over America's economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
COMMENT: Oh, the poor dear. We must get him beddy-bye.
Strange, but overwhelming pressure didn't affect Franklin Roosevelt's greeting to Winston Churchill during World War II, or George W. Bush's treatment of Tony Blair in the aftermath of 9/11. But do you know why? Those presidents had firmer mattresses. That's it. That's the key. Write the White House.
CAN WE TALK? - AT 10:04 A.M. ET: From Reuters and Israeli sources:
Iran has test fired a new long-range missile, the state Press TV reported on Sunday.
Iran often stages war games or tests weapons to show its determination to counter any attack by foes including Israel and the United States, which accuse the Islamic Republic of seeking to develop nuclear bombs. Tehran denies the charge.
"Iran test fires new long range missile," Press TV, Iran's English-language television station, said in a scrolling headline without giving details.
COMMENT: Do not worry. Nothing to see here, nothing to see. Once Barack Obama "engages" the Iranians, we'll learn that the mullahs are just peace-loving, misunderstood churchmen (or mosquemen) with only good will on their minds. If it weren't for BUSH (!!) we would have known it already.
HYPOCRISY 101 - AT 9:31 A.M. ET: From The Washington Post:
When President Obama promised Wednesday to attack defense spending that he considers wasteful and inefficient, he opened a fight with key lawmakers from his own party.
It was Democrats who stuffed an estimated $524 million in defense earmarks that the Pentagon did not request into the 2008 appropriations bill, about $220 million more than Republicans did, according to an independent estimate. Of the 44 senators who implored Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in January to build more F-22 Raptors -- a fighter conceived during the Cold War that senior Pentagon officials say is not suited to probable 21st-century conflicts -- most were Democrats.
COMMENT: This is an ongoing scandal. Even the late Barry Goldwater - "Mr. Defense" - railed against corruption in defense spending. We too often buy weapons that have political, rather than military backing. It will be difficult to dislodge this cash cow.
We support President Obama in fighting Pentagon waste. At the same time, we'll watch his defense plans with both eyes. Being against waste does not automatically mean he'll make the right defense judgments when pushed against the wall by the left wing of his party.
COMMON SENSE - AT 8:49 A.M. ET: Frank Miele is a transplanted Easterner who now enjoys the wide-open spaces of Montana. He writes some of the best commentary on the web. Consider:
Rush Limbaugh has been criticized for saying he hopes the president fails in his efforts to reshape the economy, most recently in this newspaper by columnist Ellen Goodman, who called Limbaugh "a talk radio host who'd rather be (far) right than have his country rescued."
This kind of twisted commentary is what makes one pessimistic about the future of the country. How exactly did Ellen Goodman miss the news that Rush Limbaugh is a conservative and Barack Obama is a liberal (oops, I almost said socialist)? Is there really any logical reason why Limbaugh WOULD support Obama? Does anyone remember liberals like Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi supporting President Bush when he was trying to ensure victory in Iraq?...
...But when liberals are in power, criticism of the government is virtually a crime against the state.
COMMENT: Miele is entirely correct. My great fear is that some "liberals," and they really aren't liberal, would like to punish the heresy in very serious ways. Examine what some "liberals" have done on a number of college campuses, where speech codes restrict what students can say. Our kids are learning that these restrictions are perfectly okay, and they will take that lesson to the larger society.
DISGRACEFUL - AT 7:42 P.M. ET: From the New York Post:
New York's two US Democratic senators yesterday said they will vote against an amendment that would preserve a Washington, DC, school-voucher program that helps lower-income students attend private schools.
COMMENT: Why should those pushy little kids go to good schools? Let 'em go to the rotten schools run by the local education industry. We'll show 'em.
No racist organization could do to D.C. students what these senators are doing. It's pathetic, a deep-knee bow to the teachers' unions and local politicians.
THIS IS MY LIFE, BY HILLARY - AT 4:24 P.M. ET: Hillary Clinton, now apparently biking through Europe on her meet-the-folks tour, appeared on a Turkish TV chat show and discussed her personal life, as Reuters reports:
Appearing on a popular Turkish television chat show, Hadi Gel Bizimle (Come and Join Us), Clinton tackled a few diplomatic questions but the main focus was on her personal life, such as when she "last" fell in love.
When she "last" fell in love? What an odd way to put it.
"It was so long ago, with my husband," she told the studio audience, adding that she first met former President Bill Clinton in the spring of 1971 when they were at law school.
Well, it wasn't the last time for Bill, apparently, but we won't get into that.
"We have been talking to each other and enjoying our life together ever since," she said.
Oh, yeah, right. I'm sure it's a laugh riot whenever someone mentions the name "Monica." Or maybe it was "Paula." "Juanita?"
Another day of advancing world peace and international understanding.
HE'S GOT SOWELL - AT 10:49 A.M. ET: From Thomas Sowell's excellent column on the power of words in today's Washington Times:
Barack Obama is today's most prominent example of the power of words. Conversely, the understated patrician style of country club Republicans is no small part of their many problems.
It is no accident that by far the most successful Republican politician of our lifetime - Ronald Reagan - was a man who did not come from that country club background but someone born among the people and who knew how to communicate with the people.
COMMENT: True. But even leaders from patrician backgrounds, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, as I point out at today's Angel's Corner, can develop the knack for speaking to ordinary people. The GOP will have plenty of candidates who can do it, but the party must have a winning, positive message. The Sowell column contains some excellent insights.
AP WAKES UP, MILLIONS CHEER - AT 9:54 A.M. ET: The Associated Press now apparently permits deviation from The Line, as this story shows:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a ''break from a troubled past.'' But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama's bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.
And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama's agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.
Although the administration likes to say it ''inherited'' the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama's still-young watch.
Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.
More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 -- roughly half in the past three months.
COMMENT: The next 90 days will be critical. If things continue to slip at the same rate, Obama can no longer claim, except maybe to a visiting Hollywood actor, that he inherited the problem. He will be seen as having caused the problem.
ONE TURKEY TO ANOTHER - AT 9:28 A.M. ET: President Obama will visit Turkey in the next month or so, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Recall that Obama said he would visit a Muslim nation soon after his inauguration and speak to the entire Muslim world. I hope he's careful. The groveling card has already been played too often by this administration.
Word of the Turkey trot comes as we learn that two American envoys are in Syria, a visit ignored by the Syrian press. American envoys used to visit Syria all the time. They generally came away with nothing. Well, maybe a snack.
CLINTON'S VULGARISM - AT 9:17 A.M. ET: John Hinderaker at Power Line does a great job taking apart Hillary Clinton's current magical mystery tour of Europe. Much of the mainstream media didn't cover her more vulgar moments, such as her groveling to both Europe and Russia. Consider this exchange in a BBC interview:
QUESTION: But the aim of American foreign policy remains the same, doesn't it? You're talking about different methods rather than --
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don't think so. Take what we were just speaking about. I think there was a rather confrontational approach toward Russia in the prior administration. How much that contributed to Russian behavior, I think, is a legitimate question to ask.
COMMENT: Sickening. Utterly sickening. This is the line of the old hard left - tht Russian behavior is America's fault. The Russians and the leftist Europeans, which means most of them, must be laughing in their soup. Anything in this for the United States? Oh, excuse me, it was rude to ask. We're citizens of the world now.
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it would consider an invitation from its old foe the United States to attend a meeting on Afghanistan and that it was ready to help its neighbor as it battles a growing Taliban insurgency.
The United States said on Thursday that President Barack Obama's government intended to invite Iran to an international conference on Afghanistan planned for this month.
COMMENT: Watch this one with both eyes, and a third if you have it. Question one: Why would we want Iran to have influence in Afghanistan, even if it was, at first, "helpful"? Question two: What do we give up in return for its "help"? Words like "victory" do not come easily to the Obama crowd, and there is a powerful leftoid faction in the Democratic Party that wants us out of both Iraq and Afghanistan so the money saved can be spent on social programs at home.
The key point, of course, is what effect some sudden "cooperation" from Iran will have on its nuclear program, and on our efforts to stop it. Will we pretend to still be concerned, while letting them move toward a bomb if they help us "bring the troops home" from Afghanistan? What does this cost us and our allies down the line?
I can almost hear the speeches by Obama and Clinton welcoming the "fruits" of our new "engagement" with Iran, and the digs at President Bush. It's what we won't be told that can lead to the ultimate tragedy.
"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
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