Is Washington serious about winning the war in Afghanistan? Why no, of course not. How else to explain this?
We send our soldiers to war with a thousand pound ‘rules of engagement’ manual/noose around their necks. Those ROE guidelines are arguably the most deadly killer in any America’s current combat operations. After several complaints from soldiers on the ground about the problems these rules of engagement cause, there were promises from military leaders and Congress that they would be reviewed and changed where appropriate… As a result, she reports, Taliban in Afghanistan are being caught and – despite overwhelming evidence such as video footage and bomb and chemical traces found on their hands – released. Often times, the terrorists are even given medical care and food before being sent on their way – likely back to the front lines trying to kill American troops.
You can’t make this stuff up.
How can the West hope to defeat the Taliban and bring democracy and freedom to Afghanistan if terrorists can’t be imprisoned? This is utterly insane.
A former Huffington Post contributor accuses Arianna Huffington of “turning bloggers into modern day slaves” on her “plantation.” Jonathan Tasini says he and his fellow freelancers deserve one third of the $315 million Huffington received when her site was bought by AOL earlier this year.
“In my view, the Huffington Post’s bloggers have essentially been turned into modern-day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation,” he said. “She wants to pocket the tens of millions of dollars she reaped from the hard work of those bloggers….This all could have been avoided had Arianna Huffington not acted like the Wal-Marts, the Waltons, Lloyd Blankfein, which is basically to say, ‘Go screw yourselves, this is my money.’”
Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey explains:
[Tasini and his team] will claim “unjust enrichment.” Apparently, the argument will rely on “common law” to convince a court that people who voluntarily contributed their works for free to the website made Arianna rich, and somehow that’s unjust in a legal sense. (It’s certainly arguable in a moral sense; more on that below.) Now that the contributions allowed Huffington to hit a big payday, Tasini argues that one-third of that value should be seized and given to people who didn’t ask for monetary compensation at all.
With all due respect – and no, I’m not exactly a fan of Huffington – but this is utterly ridiculous. Tasini chose to write for free. He apparently simply wanted to share his thoughts and views. If he wanted to be compensated for his efforts, he should have tried to get a writing gig elsewhere.
Tasini was free to leave the Huffington Post whenever he wanted. If he thought his articles were worth more than he received (as in nothing), he simply had to pack his bags and leave. The same goes for other unpaid contributors to the site (on whose behalf this golddigger says he’s acting). As Ed puts it rather succinctly: “The idea that Huffington was a slave-driver on a plantation is not just ridiculous, but insulting to those who suffered from actualslavery, past and present. No one forced writers and bloggers to publish for free at HuffPo. The fact that so many contributed without pay means that they must have felt that other factors compensated for their effort, such as exposure, taking part in the community, or just the satisfaction of seeing their work on line.”
Tasini is trying to abuse the law in order to make a quick buck. Pathetic.
Muammer Gaddafi isn’t about to give up. Ever.
Moammar Gadhafi’s military machine pounded the western city of Misrata again Tuesday as France and Britain called for beefed up NATO airstrikes to stop such attacks on the Libyan people. Witnesses reported heavy shelling in central Misrata, besieged for weeks and the scene of some of the worst fighting in the Libyan conflict.
Although I explained on numerous occasions already that I’m not exactly a fan of the ‘rebels,’ I’m not exactly pro-Gaddafi either. There are questions about the nature of the rebels, about what they want. No such questions exist about Gaddafi. The man is a bloodthirsty tyrant. He’d rather kill thousands or even tens of thousands of innocent civilians than step down.
American genius David Byrne recently settled his copyright complaint against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who used a Talking Heads song without permission in his U.S. Senate campaign, by making Crist film this 90-second abject apology and post it to YouTube.
Watch the video:
Although this apology is extremely humiliating for Crist, it’s important for artists’ rights to be respected. Byrne has a copyright on the song Crist used. It’s his intellectual property. Using it without his permission is theft. As James Madison explained in 1792, a society that wants to (continue) be(ing) free has to respect the right to (material and intellectual) property.
The heart attack came two days after he was informed that he would be questioned in connection with possible charges of corruption and other crimes.
Egypt’s new rulers would make a big mistake if they’d file charges against Mubarak. The country needs stability. Besides, Mubarak knows a thing or two about his successors. If he was corrupt (and he and his family were), the same can likely be said for those close to him; such as advisers, members of the cabinet and, yes, military leaders.
Which brings me to the following: his former allies are aware of the above, of course. And then, suddenly, he suffers a heart attack. How… convenient.
In any case, it’s quite shocking to see how fast and how deep an autocratic ruler can fall. Mubarak was an ally of the West, from the looks of it, he was firmly in charge of his country at the end of last year. A few months later, however, he was forced to resign, lost his power, and is now even in danger of losing his money, his freedom and possibly his life.
Sister Toldjah asks:
What does it tell us about Palestinian society that they choose to bestow honors on the man who helped murder a bunch of elderly Jews celebrating Passover?
Everything we need to know, of course. Palestinian culture is sick. It’s little more than a cult of death, terror and war.
Of course we already knew that: when they had the chance to vote, whom did they vote for? That’s right, Hamas. A terrorist organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
If you vote for such a group it makes sense you worship at the altar of mass-murderers.
Which leads me to the following point: freedom is great… but not always, and not in all circumstances. Democracy works in societies that are tolerant and relatively moderate, not in ones that are radical through and through.
That’s basically what Ed Morrissey is saying about the rebels’ rejection of the African Union’s ‘peace plan’.
Of course Gaddafi approved this idea. It leaves him in power and gives him a way to marginalize the rebels while he has them on the ropes. And for those same reasons, there is no possible way that the rebels could accept this plan, especially with its requirement to end what little support NATO can provide. Without the air cover, Gaddafi would simply start rolling his heavy armor out again and position himself for the finale to the civil war. Even if Gaddafi abided by restrictions on movements of armor — if any were part of this proposal — the rebels know full well that any result that leaves Gaddafi in power means their deaths.
You have to wonder whether the Union is truly trying to bring peace to Libya, or whether they’re pretending so their own peoples won’t complain about their passivity?
Well, never mind that: I don’t wonder about it at all. We all know the answer to that question. As Ed puts it: “This is simply an unserious proposal from an almost-consistently unserious African Union, the same group that has spent years giving tyrant Robert Mugabe a wide berth in Zimbabwe. They have yet to meet a murderous, psychopathic despot that they couldn’t somehow support.”
Just imagine this happened to you:
John Thompson served 18 years in prison, 14 on death row. Shortly before his scheduled execution, evidence of his innocence surfaced. Evidence that was held by the prosecution, but kept from the defense. When the prosecution tried to convict Thompson again, a new jury returned a not guilty verdict in 35 minutes.
Thompson wrote an article for the New York Times in which he wonders why the prosecutors “who hid evidence sent me to prison for something I didn’t do and nearly had me killed are not in jail themselves?”
Society must be able to trust prosecutors. If they can’t be trusted, the whole judicial system is in trouble. And the single most effective thing you can do to make (and keep) someone trustworthy and honest is to hold him accountable when he isn’t.
Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad continues to use violence against protesters.
Shabiha gangs are reported to have been used to attack protesters in several cities, as the authorities have fought to suppress pro-democracy protests challenging the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president. Human rights groups say more than 170 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in three weeks of protests against the ruling Ba’ath party. President al-Assad promised reforms last week, but it did little to still the protests.
What’s so strange about Assad is that he’s domestically quite secular.* As the Telegraph points out, “Syria is one of the few countries in the Middle East where Christians live on equal terms with Muslims.” The current dictator’s father (Hafez) brutally crushed leftist and Islamist revolts in the 1980s, but continued to have the support of many in Syria because they saw him as the defender of secularism.
It’s rather frustrating that we don’t really know what’s going on in Syria. Who are the protesters exactly? Are they (mostly) extremists? Or leftists? Or both? What are their plans for Syria? Are they truly worse than Assad (if they’re radicals they obviously are)?
* I say strange because its international allies are all radicals (individuals, organizations and / or regimes). Damascus is actively supporting Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations (such as Hamas) and Iran is, perhaps, it’s closest ally.
This is rather… shocking:
Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo was arrested on Monday after French armoured vehicles closed in on the compound where the self-proclaimed president had been holed up in a bunker.
A column of more than 30 French armoured vehicles moved in on Gbagbo’s residence in Abidjan after helicopter gunships attacked the compound overnight in bid to end a months-long political standoff that had descended into civil war.
The French? Arrest a wannabe dictator?
What has happened to them in recent months? We all knew that President Sarkozy favored a more active foreign policy, but this is surprising nonetheless. Slowly but surely you’re getting the impression that the French are jumping into the gap created by Obama’s refusal to actually use America’s (military and diplomatic) power.
It are now the French who are trying to uphold international law and who are launching wars against dictators who are killing their own people. Quite a significant development indeed.
(And no, that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly OK with the West supporting the Libyan rebels. I still fear they’re even worse than Gaddafi. Having said that, the French are, I’m sure, acting in good faith; they think they’re doing the Libyan people and the world a service by attacking the colonel.)
Bill O’Reilly wrote a fantastic column in which he defends his colleague at Fox News Glenn Beck and attacks his critics. As O’Reilly explains, the war on Beck really is a war on free speech. The Left doesn’t hate Beck because of what he believes and says, but because he’s very influential. They fear him. And so he must be destroyed.
If you just got off the plane from Mongolia and dialed into the left-wing U.S. media, you might think Glenn Beck is the anti-Christ. The hue and cry about Beck is downright hysterical. Why do they care? Beck isn’t an elected official; he’s not even a journalist. He’s just a guy with an opinion. So what’s the beef?
Well, again, it goes to free speech. Many hardcore ideologues in both camps simply do not want to hear opinions other than their own. And if someone is successfully bloviating views that differ from their orthodoxy, they go ballistic. And Glenn Beck is certainly successful.
That’s exactly it. Leftists don’t want conservatives to able to share their views. Beck’s too effective, he reaches too many people, and he’s too influential. Progressives can’t let that stand. That’s why they waged such a ferocious war on him and why they’re so happy that his show on Fox News will end come December.
Although I respect and understand Beck’s decision to call it quits (he has many more things going; he’s a one-man media organization nowadays), I have to say I’m not happy with it – at all. The reason is not just that I love watching his show. No, it’s that leftists think they succeeded in silencing him (by going after his advertisers). Their view will undoubtedly be: ‘Who’s next?’
And that’s the question we should all ask ourselves as well. Who will they go after now? Who will try to silence when Beck and Fox go their separate ways at the end of this year? Will it be O’Reilly himself? Or perhaps Sean Hannity?
If you thought that lefties know when to stop, think again. Apparently, these egalitarians now want to force you to pay $20 a month extra so you can watch streaming videos on your cell phone, even if you don’t have the money for it or if you simply don’t want it:
Believe it or not, a group of civil rights activists is lobbying the FCC to investigate MetroPCS for violating “net neutrality” because they offer cell phone service with and without things like streaming video. According to these groups such plans are a “gross inequity” that is “un-American.”
David Honig (surprise, surprise, a lefty himself!) reacts angrily to the plans of his fellow progressives
Do you have a cell phone? How would you like it if the FCC required you to pay an extra $20 a month to get movie downloads, whether you want them not, or to allow your kids to access violent video games or adult content, whether you want them to or not, just so everyone would get what the government considers to be “the full Internet experience?” What if you’re low income, and you’d rather spend that $20 on books? Or warm clothes? Or food?
My friend Malkia Cyril of the Center for Media Justice doesn’t want low income people to have that choice. She says it’s “un-American to give low-income communities substandard Internet service that creates barriers to economic opportunity and democratic engagement.”…
This idea is so ridiculous that I’m actually at a loss for words. They truly don’t have any respect for property rights (or other individual rights).
As if that’s not bad enough, they’re also stupid. After all, $20 a month is a lot of money for some people. They’d probably prefer to spend it on, say, food or clothes for the kids than on downloading movies, don’t you think?
H/t Jon Henke who rightfully points out that “it never stops. If it fails, they subsidize it. If it succeeds, they want to turn it into a public utility.”
Daniel Pipes explains that there can only be a massive bloodbath if Bashar al-Assad loses power in Syria:
Bedrock Sunni opposition remains the Asad regime’s greatest and most abiding problem. As a small and divided minority, the ‘Alawis know they cannot rule indefinitely against the wishes of almost 70 per cent of the population [that is Sunni Muslim]. Further, the traditional place of ‘Alawis in Syrian society and the manner of their ascent this century both make ‘Alawi power likely to be transient. That Sunni Muslims see ‘Alawi rule as an aberration probably bears on the future of political power in Syria as much as anything else.
It never ceases to amaze me that so many Westerners – especially leftists, who claim to support equal rights, freedom and ‘peace’ – whole heartedly embrace the ‘revolutions’ in the Middle East. Assad certainly isn’t a friend of the West, but if he’s removed from power now, you can bet on it that many (innocent) Alawis are slaughtered.
Additionally, we’ve got to wonder what Sunni groups will take over in such a situation? Note that their main complaints about the Assad regime are religious. That should set off some alarm bells.
As an aside: please let it be clear that I’m not a supporter of Assad in any way whatsoever. The guy’s pretty much evil personified. He’s an enemy of the West and Israel, a dictator who brutally oppresses his own people, and an ally of terrorists. Still, however, it’s worth pointing out that the opposition isn’t necessarily better.
In many respects, reality is worse than the world described in George Orwell’s book 1984. After all, the characters in his book at least know that they’re being oppressed and controlled by the government. The problem with most citizens today is that they don’t realize just how intrusive the government has become.
Our tax system sucks the substance and spirit of entrepreneurs and workers alike, filters that substance through Washington, then sends it back through countless federal programs that instruct us in minute detail about how to use the government’s beneficence. Manufacturing, housing, education, health care, transportation, energy, recreation — is there anything today over which the federal government does not have control? A federal judge held recently that Congress can regulate the “mental act” of deciding not to buy health insurance.
These days, you can’t do anything without the government being involved in one way or another. And that logically means that your freedom is greatly reduced.
The real long term challenge for conservatives – not just in the United States but worldwide – will not be fiscal sanity and things like a balanced budget amendment, but exposing and countering the slavery of the social democratic system.
A 24-year old man killed six people in a shopping mall in the Netherlands today. After he had caused the bloodbath, Tristan van der Vlis committed suicide.
My first thought after this horrible massacre was that if everybody would have been allowed to carry a gun, Van der Vlis would have been stopped. Now his victims and bystanders could only watch as he gunned them down.
We all have the natural right to self defense. Gun bans result in criminals still having all the fire weapons they want, while law abiding citizens lose the ability to defend themselves and become easy targets.
You can’t be free if you can’t protect yourself and your family. It’s that simple.
(This post has been updated: where Dutch media initially reported that Van der Vlis was 25 years old, they now say he was one year younger)