It’s about time to start this fight.

Where is Illinois’ Education Action Group?

This link exposes Teacher’s Unions for the Enronesque engines of corruption that they have become.

How Bush won the “War on Terror” in 7 short years

That headline certainly has to rile the punditocracy and the folks at the Daily Koz. Oh well. It just happens to be the case. Of course, this isn’t the received wisdom of the day, what with “the worst foreign policy disaster in ONE BILLION YEARS” garbage coming out of the yammering class.

What foreign policy disaster?

Certainly, there have been some mistakes, huge mistakes even. While I would probably disagree, a case can be made that Iraq was not 100% necessary for the success you are about read about below. In fact the author of the piece hints at this idea. Regardless, the fact is that the US, once again with out the support of the cowardly UN and the rest of the planet, fixed huge problem that no one else had the ability or the will to deal with.

There may be another big attack against the US. It is also possible that McCain could blunder into war with Iran or Obama could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. All of that aside, Bush took a 20-25 year “War on terror” and cut it down to about 8 years. Everything that happens from here on out is a “mop-up” operation.

A Truman for our times

That George W Bush’s foreign policy has been a total failure is now taken for granted by so many people that one usually hears it stated as a simple truth that need not be argued at all.

It has happened before. When President Harry S Truman said in March 1952 that he would not seek re-election, most Americans could agree on one thing: that his foreign policy had been a catastrophic failure. In Korea his indecision had invited aggression, and then his incompetence had cost the lives of some 54,000 Americans and millions of Korean civilians in just two years of fighting—on both counts more than ten times the number of casualties in Iraq. Right-wingers reviled Truman for having lost China to communism and for his dismissal of the great General Douglas MacArthur, who had wanted to win it back, with nukes if necessary. Liberals despised Truman because he was the failed shopkeeper who had usurped the patrician Franklin Roosevelt’s White House—liberals always were the snobs of US politics.

Abroad, Truman was widely hated too. The communist accusation that he had waged “bacteriological warfare” to kill Korean children and destroy Chinese crops was believed by many, and was fully endorsed by a 669-page report issued by a commission chaired by the eminent British biochemist Joseph Needham. Even more people believed that Truman was guilty of having started the cold war by trying to intimidate our brave Soviet ally, or at least that he and Stalin were equally to blame.

How did this same Harry Truman come to be universally viewed as a great president, especially for his foreign policy? It is all a question of time perspectives: the Korean war is half forgotten, while everyone now knows that Truman’s strategy of containment was successful and finally ended with the almost peaceful disintegration of the Soviet empire.

For Bush to be recognised as a great president in the Truman mould, the Iraq war too must become half forgotten. The swift removal of the murderous Saddam Hussein was followed by years of expensive violence instead of the instant democracy that had been promised. To confuse the imam-ridden Iraqis with Danes or Norwegians under German occupation, ready to return to democracy as soon as they were liberated, was not a forgivable error: before invading a country, a US president is supposed to know if it is in the middle east or Scandinavia.

Yet the costly Iraq war must also be recognized as a sideshow in the Bush global counteroffensive against Islamist militancy, just as the far more costly Korean war was a sideshow to global cold war containment. For the Bush response to 9/11 was precisely that—a global attack against the ideology of Islamic militancy. While anti-terrorist operations have been successful here and there in a patchy way, and the fate of Afghanistan remains in doubt, the far more important ideological war has ended with a spectacular global victory for President Bush.

Other than the Algerian and Egyptian governments, every Muslim state preferred at least to coexist with militant preachers and jihadis in some way. Pakistan did much more than that; its Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, funded, armed and trained both the Taliban in Afghanistan and thousands of jihadists dedicated to killing Indian civilians, policemen and soldiers in Kashmir and beyond.

All this came to an abrupt end after 9/11. Sophisticates everywhere ridiculed the uncompromising Bush stance, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” as a cowboy stunt, but it was swiftly successful. Governments across the Muslim world quickly changed their conduct. Some moved energetically to close down local jihadist groups they had long tolerated, to silence extremist preachers and to keep out foreign jihadis they had previously welcomed. Others were initially in denial. The Saudis, in the person of interior minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, started off by denying that the 9/11 terrorists were Arabs, let alone Saudis, while the UAE princes accused of giving cash to Bin Laden pretended they had never heard of him.

Denial did not last. As they saw American special forces and long-range bombers smashing the Taliban, the Saudis began to admit responsibility for having spread extremism through the thousands of schools and academies they financed at home and abroad. An agonising reappraisal of their own Wahhabi form of Islam continues. The Saudi king has convened an inter-faith conference of Muslims, Christians and Jews—a huge step given the Wahhabi prohibitions of any form of amity with non-Muslims. Inside the kingdom, only less extreme preachers now receive public support. Bin Laden had been the Saudis’ enemy for years, but it was only after 9/11 that they began actively to hunt down his supporters and made their first moves to discourage rich Saudis from sending money to jihadists abroad. More than a thousand Saudis have been arrested, dozens have been killed while resisting arrest, and Saudi banks must now check if wire transfers are being sent to Muslim organisations on the terrorist list.

But it was in Pakistan that Bush forced the most dramatic reversal of policy. He had said that it was with us or against us, and he meant it. President Musharraf was given a stark choice: stand with the US to destroy the Taliban that Pakistan itself had created, or be destroyed. Musharraf made the right choice, shutting down the flow of arms to the Taliban, opening the Shahbaz airfield to US aircraft and giving blanket permission for US military overflights across Pakistan. Nothing will stop the North-West Frontier Province from being as violent as it has been since the days of Alexander the Great. Nothing can dissuade the Pashtuns from their twin passions for boys and guns. And naturally they approve of the Taliban on both counts. But at least the Pakistani state is no longer funding these pederasts. Musharraf also started to remove the bearded extremists who once practically ran Pakistan’s ISI, starting with the chief, Mahmood Ahmed, who was replaced within a month of 11th September by the moderate Ehsanul Halqas. It has been less easy for Musharraf and his acolytes to identify and remove the more subtle smooth-shaven extremists in the ISI, who still support the renascent Taliban, but they tried hard enough to trigger at least one of the assassination attempts against Musharraf himself.

What happened in Pakistan within 24 hours of 9/11 was something the world had never seen before: the overnight transformation of the very core of a country’s policy—the support of jihad—which derived from the national myth of Pakistan as the Muslim state par excellence. It was as if President Bush had sent an envoy to Italy to demand the outlawing of spaghetti al pomodoro—and succeeded.

I’ve always argued that Iraq was not really a “sideshow” as much as a catalyst. Sure, it was about oil and getting rid of Saddam, but at the end of the day, the REAL message to the Muslim world was “get busy with your ‘reformation’ or suffer the consequences.”

The “consequences” were not so much defeat and occupation by the West. I doubt the lazy, pensioned-off, war-fearing and peace-worshiping West has the will to fight Islam. Iraq, with the onslaught of “al-Qaida-in-Iraq’s” murderous pursuit of a civil war, showed all of Islam that they must either reform, or die at the hands of those who perverted their own religion.

Regardless, the article points out what I’ve been saying all along. Iraq was never about Iraq. It was always about Iran, Saudi Arabia, and reformation. Iraq was just the lowest hanging fruit to put on the demonstration. It’s oil and location didn’t hurt either.

Yours Truly to Appear on Tom Roeser’s Political Shootout

For all the latest news on the campaign to vote “Yes” for an Illinois Constitutional Convention, make sure to make “Yes” for Illinois a regular stop on your surfing schedule.

Tom Roeser, host of WLS Radio’s “Political Shoot Out” show, will have Bruno Behrend on as a guest, along with an opponent yet to be announced. (they must be having a hard time finding someone who can beat us in a debate. It’s very hard to argue against a “Yes” vote) ;-)

Tune in to WLS-AM 890 at 8:00 PM on Sunday, August 3rd, where we will be discussing the vote on November’s vote on a Constitutional Convention, what happens after it passes, as well as other important Illinois issues on the horizon.

Note to Republicans – Flush the toilet

What kind of a party allows pieces of crap like this to float around?

Stevens’s Payback Moment

If the charges announced yesterday are true, the powerful Alaska Republican Ted Stevens will end his four-decade Senate career in a sleazy flameout; the conservative committee baron is accused of concealing more than $250,000 in payments from the oil firm of an Alaska businessman who was allegedly seeking legislative rewards. Stevens says he is innocent, but if he’s convicted, few tears will be shed in Washington. Stevens cultivated a tyrannical image and personalized politics to an extreme degree, dividing the world into friends and enemies and showing no mercy. This outlook carried him to great heights. But, nourished by the culture of a Republican-dominated Congress, it eventually became toxic.

After reading this article, please take a “Decency Litmus Test.” If you read the entire piece, ask yourself whether you find yourself hoping that Stevens is convicted regardless of whether he is actually guilty (face it, you know he is). A decent person would want that result as pay back for being the low-quality human being that Stevens is. I mean really people, Democrat or Republican, can’t we just get these human turds out of our political system?

Is party loyalty worth your eternal soul? If you want to see where this ends, look at the destruction of the Illinois Republican Party.

Obama’s Narcissism

I’ve written that Obama’s positioning himself as a “prophet” instead of a candidate will eventually be his greatest weakness. In today’s fractured and atomized age, you’d better be the “real thing” if you want to be even marginally persuasive.

Obama is neither persuasive as a prophet, nor a as a candidate. I thought that around Labor Day, the McCain camp would start unveiling their series of ads exposing the false prophet nature of Obama, and his poll numbers would start to drop. Little did any politician or pundit know that Obama would “jump the shark” all on his own, and make himself ridiculous all by himself (with an assist from the idiot media).

Obama’s Symbolic Importance

In his closed door meeting with House Democrats Tuesday night, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama delivered a real zinger, according to a witness, suggesting that he was beginning to believe his own hype.

Obama was waxing lyrical about last week’s trip to Europe, when he concluded, according to the meeting attendee, “this is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world is waiting for.”

The campaign is now trying to spin all these quotes into some sort of idea that Obama is a “symbol” of hope, but the fact is that is demeanor and language indicates that he’s becoming increasingly narcissistic.

Moses parted the waters, and Jesus walked on water. Well, Barack is angling for equal billing

“This,” Obama told nuclear-energy hating Berliners, “is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”

Yes, St. Barack is going to keep the oceans from rising (he can’t), cool the surface of the earth (he can’t) prevent devastating storms (he can’t). You can’t either. Get OVER yourselves!!

Is it any wonder that after a week of blatantly biased coverage, a Presidential Candidate in Berlin asking to be viewed as “citizen of the world,” and the subsequent revelation that this Bozo actually believes his own sycophants, that Obama’s poll numbers are dropping?

McCain gains on Obama in poll

Republican John McCain gained ground in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll that found Democrat Barack Obama’s highly publicized foreign trip has not broadened confidence in his ability to be commander of the U.S. military.

The poll, taken Friday through Sunday, showed a surge since last month in likely Republican voters and suggested Obama’s trip may have helped energize voters who favor McCain.

It also reflected a jump in support for the U.S. troop increase in Iraq and a country evenly divided between withdrawing troops with and without a timetable. McCain pushed for the extra troops, and Obama opposed them. Obama wants a timetable, and McCain doesn’t.

Obama was ahead 47%-44% among registered voters, down from a 6-percentage point lead he had last month. McCain led 49%-45% among likely voters, reversing a 5-point Obama lead among that group. In both cases, the margin of error is +/—4 points.

Genius Political Hack David Axelrod better re-tool his candidate’s strategy, though it may already be too late. With the over-hyped worship of some one who is basically an unknown in terms of policy, he has much more downside than upside as people start to pay attention to his actual policies.

Obama not that articulate

Face it folks, he’s just not that articulate unless he’s giving a prepared speech.

“Punished with a baby.”

He’s not getting elected folks.

McCainSlogan1

The Chinese will NOT surpass the US…

…unless we’re stupid enough to adopt policies that damage our own interests.

A Long Wait at the Gate to Greatness

Nikita Khrushchev said the Soviet Union would bury us, but these days, everybody seems to think that China is the one wielding the shovel. The People’s Republic is on the march — economically, militarily, even ideologically. Economists expect its GDP to surpass America’s by 2025; its submarine fleet is reportedly growing five times faster than Washington’s; even its capitalist authoritarianism is called a real alternative to the West’s liberal democracy. China, the drumbeat goes, is poised to become the 800-pound gorilla of the international system, ready to dominate the 21st century the way the United States dominated the 20th.

Except that it’s not.

Ever since I returned to the United States in 2004 from my last posting to China, as this newspaper’s Beijing bureau chief, I’ve been struck by the breathless way we talk about that country. So often, our perceptions of the place have more to do with how we look at ourselves than with what’s actually happening over there. Worried about the U.S. education system? China’s becomes a model. Fretting about our military readiness? China’s missiles pose a threat. Concerned about slipping U.S. global influence? China seems ready to take our place.

But is China really going to be another superpower? I doubt it.

It’s not that I’m a China-basher, like those who predict its collapse because they despise its system and assume that it will go the way of the Soviet Union. I first went to China in 1980 as a student, and I’ve followed its remarkable transformation over the past 28 years. I met my wife there and call it a second home. I’m hardly expecting China to implode. But its dream of dominating the century isn’t going to become a reality anytime soon.

Too many constraints are built into the country’s social, economic and political systems. For four big reasons — dire demographics, an overrated economy, an environment under siege and an ideology that doesn’t travel well — China is more likely to remain the muscle-bound adolescent of the international system than to become the master of the world.

In the West, China is known as “the factory to the world,” the land of unlimited labor where millions are eager to leave the hardscrabble countryside for a chance to tighten screws in microwaves or assemble Apple’s latest gizmo. If the country is going to rise to superpowerdom, says conventional wisdom, it will do so on the back of its massive workforce.

But there’s a hitch: China’s demographics stink. No country is aging faster than the People’s Republic, which is on track to become the first nation in the world to get old before it gets rich. Because of the Communist Party’s notorious one-child-per-family policy, the average number of children born to a Chinese woman has dropped from 5.8 in the 1970s to 1.8 today — below the rate of 2.1 that would keep the population stable. Meanwhile, life expectancy has shot up, from just 35 in 1949 to more than 73 today. Economists worry that as the working-age population shrinks, labor costs will rise, significantly eroding one of China’s key competitive advantages.

Worse, Chinese demographers such as Li Jianmin of Nankai University now predict a crisis in dealing with China’s elderly, a group that will balloon from 100 million people older than 60 today to 334 million by 2050, including a staggering 100 million age 80 or older. How will China care for them? With pensions? Fewer than 30 percent of China’s urban dwellers have them, and none of the country’s 700 million farmers do. And China’s state-funded pension system makes Social Security look like Fort Knox. Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer and economist at the American Enterprise Institute, calls China’s demographic time bomb “a slow-motion humanitarian tragedy in the making” that will “probably require a rewrite of the narrative of the rising China.”

Our addiction to PENSIONS is the one and only thing that can “doom” the US, and the rest of the world is already worse off in that regard than we are.

Increase gas taxes, cut worker’s portion of Soc. Sec. Tax

Face it folks, if members of either party had the freedom to propose good policies, they would make sure gas stayed expensive, while cutting the Social Sec. tax for workers.

It would be a worthy tax swap, as long as it is either a tax cut or revenue neutral (though the dynamic nature of the universe makes “neutrality” virtually impossible.

The Real Question: Should Oil Be Cheap?

Amite Foundry & Machine is one of those gritty manufacturers at the heart of American industrial might. The Louisiana company’s fiery 2,800F furnaces melt down hunks of recycled scrap steel and recast them into massive parts for trucks, oil rigs, and other heavy equipment. Amite even turned 30 tons of metal from the World Trade Center into the bow of the Navy’s USS New York. But the company suffered as manufacturing moved offshore, and the town of Amite, 65 miles north of New Orleans, with its faded white clapboard churches and a main street that time forgot, has suffered along with it.

No more. Amite Foundry’s orders jumped 25% in 2007 and 30% more so far this year, spurring the company to hire dozens of workers. Why the turnaround? The price of oil. With the cost of a barrel of crude well north of $120, anything that can provide additional supplies, alternatives, or gains in energy efficiency is booming. One example: Canada’s oil sands. They’re boosting sales of Caterpillar’s (CAT) 380-ton-capacity mining trucks—and Caterpillar uses nearly 50 tons of Amite’s steel castings per vehicle. Sure, increased energy and commodity costs make it more expensive to produce and ship steel, says Roy Roux, sales chief at parent Ameri-Cast Technologies, but “high oil prices are mostly good for us.”

But Amite Foundry’s resurgence is just one of countless examples of a deeper truth: Expensive energy, in many ways, is good. Why? When the price of oil goes up, people will use less, find substitutes, and develop new supplies. Those effects are just basic economics. Things are so painful now, many economists say, because of the past two decades of cheap oil. Prices stayed low in part because they didn’t reflect the full cost of extras such as pollution, so there was little incentive to use energy more wisely. If those extras had been counted, the country would be better prepared for both today’s soaring prices and the day that global oil production begins to decline.

That’s why there is growing interest, from both the left and right, in a policy that uses taxes to put a floor under the price of oil. Above a certain level—say $90—there would be no tax. But if the world market price dropped below that, taxes would kick in to make U.S. users pay the target amount.

I hate to make people angry, but the above suggestion about taxing the barrel is just plain stupid. Tax the gallon, not the barrel. It’s probably impossible to enact and manage a policy that sets the price of a gallon at $3.95, with the Feds absorbing the price changes.

I’m not sure of the best way to implement a “floor” on gas prices, but if you want to end America’s addiction to “cheap gas,” you simply have to get rid of cheap gas. Cutting the Social Security tax for wage earners is the obvious swap, in that they can control (to a point) how much they pay in gas taxes, but they can’t control their social security tax.

This is a win/win policy, though it admittedly requires some thinking to make it work out beneficially for the American worker, the Government, and the Social Security Trust Fund (a drawer full of IOUs).

The “President of Europe” won’t get elected in the US

Huge Crowds Left with Mixed Feelings

Expectations for the speech were sky-high in a city that had seen several US presidents — Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton — deliver important speeches down through the years.

“I want to be here for our ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech,” Julie Hagedorn, 38, a Canadian living with her German husband in Berlin told SPIEGEL ONLINE before the speech. “I want to hear it with my own ears when Obama says ‘Ich bin ein Europäer (I am a European).”

This sentiment of hoping that the speech would signal the beginning of a new relationship and healing process between Europe and the United States was shared by many of those in the crowd. “This is a rare event,” said Alla Samkova, 68, a native Muscovite who has been living in Berlin for 45 years. “In the end it doesn’t matter what he says; it only matters that he’s here.”

Still others — many others — expressed joy at being able to get a far-off glimpse of the man promising so much change for the US and the world. “To put it cynically, it’s always nice to see a country getting rid of its own junta, even if it elected it itself,” said Carsten Winkler, 43, a native Berliner working in the solar industry. “I’m here to show support for the man who might make that happen.”

I don’t expect most Europeans, stuck in their declining welfare states, to understand America or Americans, but no amount of anger at Bush or skepticism of the Iraq war is going to cause the American people to elect some one perceived as “European.”

McCain hasn’t even pantsed Obama in a debate yet.

Obama goes to to Europe – Reminds America that McCain was right all along

With the media crush actually hurting, more than helping Obama, it didn’t help that he spent a week reminding America that McCain was right about the surge. By the time Obama is done moving right, HE’LL be running for Bush’s 3rd term.

McCain Makes Significant Gains in Key Battleground States

Republican John McCain has quickly closed the gap between himself and Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama in several key battleground states even as the Arizona senator struggles to break through the wall-to-wall coverage of Obama’s trip to Europe and the Middle East this week.

Barack Obama is not going to be the next president.