Commentary Magazine


Posts For: September 10, 2008

“Targeted for Elimination”

The Weekly Standard has just surfaced, from its archives, a 1996 cover story by Tucker Carlson on Down Syndrome entitled “Eugenics, American Style.” This article, to my mind one of the most important published in the United States in the past 20 years, details the haphazard, unplanned, undebated, and horrifyingly successful effort to eliminate Down’s Syndrome babies from existence:

Unlike many other genetic anomalies, such as Tay-Sachs and anencephaly, Down Syndrome (also known as Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 21) is not a terminal disorder. Children born with Down Syndrome are not vegetables, nor are their lives demonstrably not worth living. Indeed, advances in science and changes in public perception have combined to make Down Syndrome a relatively mild birth defect: The average child born with Down Syndrome in America today can expect to reside at home, go to school, learn to read, hold a job, and live to the age of 55. He will grow up cognizant of ethics and events, and will be mildly to moderately retarded, with an IQ of between 55 and 70. It is one of the triumphs of modern society that the life of the average person with Down Syndrome has become strikingly normal. Except that, unlike normal people, people with Down Syndrome have been targeted for elimination.

At the time, Carlson estimated 90 percent of Down Syndrome babies were being aborted as a result of prenatal testing. In the years since, doubtless, the health prospects of those born with Down, like Trig Palin, have continued to improve.

If they are allowed to live.

The Weekly Standard has just surfaced, from its archives, a 1996 cover story by Tucker Carlson on Down Syndrome entitled “Eugenics, American Style.” This article, to my mind one of the most important published in the United States in the past 20 years, details the haphazard, unplanned, undebated, and horrifyingly successful effort to eliminate Down’s Syndrome babies from existence:

Unlike many other genetic anomalies, such as Tay-Sachs and anencephaly, Down Syndrome (also known as Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 21) is not a terminal disorder. Children born with Down Syndrome are not vegetables, nor are their lives demonstrably not worth living. Indeed, advances in science and changes in public perception have combined to make Down Syndrome a relatively mild birth defect: The average child born with Down Syndrome in America today can expect to reside at home, go to school, learn to read, hold a job, and live to the age of 55. He will grow up cognizant of ethics and events, and will be mildly to moderately retarded, with an IQ of between 55 and 70. It is one of the triumphs of modern society that the life of the average person with Down Syndrome has become strikingly normal. Except that, unlike normal people, people with Down Syndrome have been targeted for elimination.

At the time, Carlson estimated 90 percent of Down Syndrome babies were being aborted as a result of prenatal testing. In the years since, doubtless, the health prospects of those born with Down, like Trig Palin, have continued to improve.

If they are allowed to live.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 6

He returns to a favorite theme: Obama never took on his party but Palin took on “the old bulls” and beat the incumbent GOP Governor “like a drum.” He now hits Obama on Iraq. He declares Obama was wrong and refuses to admit it and turns to Palin, saying “and she was right on national security.” (He does not elaborate. We’ll have to see where that line of argument leads.)

He returns to a favorite theme: Obama never took on his party but Palin took on “the old bulls” and beat the incumbent GOP Governor “like a drum.” He now hits Obama on Iraq. He declares Obama was wrong and refuses to admit it and turns to Palin, saying “and she was right on national security.” (He does not elaborate. We’ll have to see where that line of argument leads.)

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Watch Out, America!

Jonathan Freedland has an op-ed in today’s Guardian warning Americans against electing John McCain for president. Its title? “The world’s verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for.”

It is not clear who’s doing the yearning: the world? The U.S.? Or Jonathan Freedland? But clearly, the object “It” covets is Barack Obama. And don’t you dare, America, let them/him/whoever down. The world will be angry at you: “If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us–and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.” And you will deserve what you get, the implication runs: Exercise your democratic right to choose a president, but if you choose wrong, you’ll pay for it. So much for American democracy! (I seem to remember, like, a war or something where America wrested its political independence away from England.)

Freedland’s article expresses many of the European commentariat’s canards about the elections. If Obama loses it is because of racism. America is full of hypocrisy and bigotry. This attitude is not surprising: it comes from a country still, basically, a prisoner of class culture, where your place in society is not earned but inherited and your access to power is an entitlement, a privilege that comes with your social status. For Freedland, Obama does not deserve the presidency if he convinces the people he is the better candidate. He is entitled to it (presumably because he has the blessing of people like Freedland)–regardless of whether he persuades voters on election day. Again, so much for democracy. The European Left no doubt feels the way Freedland feels. Fortunately, in the corridors of power, there is a more genuine appreciation of what democracy is–and the fact that whoever wins in November, it will be because he made the better argument to the electorate, not because he stole the election or because racism and sexism denied him his throne.

Jonathan Freedland has an op-ed in today’s Guardian warning Americans against electing John McCain for president. Its title? “The world’s verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for.”

It is not clear who’s doing the yearning: the world? The U.S.? Or Jonathan Freedland? But clearly, the object “It” covets is Barack Obama. And don’t you dare, America, let them/him/whoever down. The world will be angry at you: “If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us–and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.” And you will deserve what you get, the implication runs: Exercise your democratic right to choose a president, but if you choose wrong, you’ll pay for it. So much for American democracy! (I seem to remember, like, a war or something where America wrested its political independence away from England.)

Freedland’s article expresses many of the European commentariat’s canards about the elections. If Obama loses it is because of racism. America is full of hypocrisy and bigotry. This attitude is not surprising: it comes from a country still, basically, a prisoner of class culture, where your place in society is not earned but inherited and your access to power is an entitlement, a privilege that comes with your social status. For Freedland, Obama does not deserve the presidency if he convinces the people he is the better candidate. He is entitled to it (presumably because he has the blessing of people like Freedland)–regardless of whether he persuades voters on election day. Again, so much for democracy. The European Left no doubt feels the way Freedland feels. Fortunately, in the corridors of power, there is a more genuine appreciation of what democracy is–and the fact that whoever wins in November, it will be because he made the better argument to the electorate, not because he stole the election or because racism and sexism denied him his throne.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 5

Palin’s speech is quite similar–if not identical-to the one she gave at her outing yesterday in Ohio. The litany is there: reform, earmarks, the jet on Ebay. What you notice in person is the conversational tone and the crowd. The latter, simply put, is kvelling. John McCain starts in and the mere mention of her name starts the “Sarah” chants all over again. But it would be a mistake to say the crowd isn’t pumped for McCain as well. And he takes up where she left off: he says what this campaign is all about “reform and change.”

McCain wants us to remember two numbers: $932M (Obama’s earmarks) and half a billion (the amount Palin vetoed as Governor). But what gets the crowd going? Energy independence. Nuclear power gets a big cheer here. So far no lipstick/pig references.

Palin’s speech is quite similar–if not identical-to the one she gave at her outing yesterday in Ohio. The litany is there: reform, earmarks, the jet on Ebay. What you notice in person is the conversational tone and the crowd. The latter, simply put, is kvelling. John McCain starts in and the mere mention of her name starts the “Sarah” chants all over again. But it would be a mistake to say the crowd isn’t pumped for McCain as well. And he takes up where she left off: he says what this campaign is all about “reform and change.”

McCain wants us to remember two numbers: $932M (Obama’s earmarks) and half a billion (the amount Palin vetoed as Governor). But what gets the crowd going? Energy independence. Nuclear power gets a big cheer here. So far no lipstick/pig references.

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How Iran Will Fight

Fariborz Haghshenass, an expert on the Iranian military, has just published a monograph dealing with the way Iran will fight in the Gulf if such need arises. Guess what? It is mostly bad news:

[T]hanks to its efforts to develop a robust asymmetric warfare capability in the naval arena, the Islamic Republic holds the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz-the world’s oil lifeline-in its grip.

Haghshenass believes that:

with the IRGCN [Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy] assuming a dominant role in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and nuclear negotiations between Iran and the international community entering a more dangerous and uncertain phase, further tensions and confrontations involving the IRGCN, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. coalition partners are likely.

And one of the conflict scenarios he paints:

A naval blockade of Iran (as suggested by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in his May 2008 discussions with U.S. officials in Washington) or a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities could lead to an Iranian response aimed at ports, harbor facilities, oil tankers, oil terminals, and other strategic installations belonging to those countries either participating in or supporting such actions.

A useful study for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated to confront Iran, and how it lost the battle over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Fariborz Haghshenass, an expert on the Iranian military, has just published a monograph dealing with the way Iran will fight in the Gulf if such need arises. Guess what? It is mostly bad news:

[T]hanks to its efforts to develop a robust asymmetric warfare capability in the naval arena, the Islamic Republic holds the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz-the world’s oil lifeline-in its grip.

Haghshenass believes that:

with the IRGCN [Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy] assuming a dominant role in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and nuclear negotiations between Iran and the international community entering a more dangerous and uncertain phase, further tensions and confrontations involving the IRGCN, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. coalition partners are likely.

And one of the conflict scenarios he paints:

A naval blockade of Iran (as suggested by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in his May 2008 discussions with U.S. officials in Washington) or a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities could lead to an Iranian response aimed at ports, harbor facilities, oil tankers, oil terminals, and other strategic installations belonging to those countries either participating in or supporting such actions.

A useful study for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated to confront Iran, and how it lost the battle over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 4

The McCains and Palins enter to a sea of signs. This is what Obamamania must have looked like up close. Cindy McCain is in green, Palin in black. Cindy introduces Palin and says the “offer of change” comes from another western woman. “Sarah!” chants go up.

The McCains and Palins enter to a sea of signs. This is what Obamamania must have looked like up close. Cindy McCain is in green, Palin in black. Cindy introduces Palin and says the “offer of change” comes from another western woman. “Sarah!” chants go up.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 3

A cast of warm-up presenters. A Hillary voter now converted to McCain chides Barack Obama: “Calling girls names is something you do in fifth grade and I don’t want a fifth grader running the country.” Fred Thompson, with energy unseen in his own effort, whips up the crowd. He goes after “the East Coast media” and says “it is only dawning on them that she is more experienced than Barack Obama.” On it goes–this is a field day of anti-media and anti-elitist sentiment.

A cast of warm-up presenters. A Hillary voter now converted to McCain chides Barack Obama: “Calling girls names is something you do in fifth grade and I don’t want a fifth grader running the country.” Fred Thompson, with energy unseen in his own effort, whips up the crowd. He goes after “the East Coast media” and says “it is only dawning on them that she is more experienced than Barack Obama.” On it goes–this is a field day of anti-media and anti-elitist sentiment.

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Enter Powell?

I have a problem understanding Michael Crowley‘s obsession with the possible Colin Powell endorsement of Barak Obama’s.

Here’s Crowley at TNR:

Colin Powell. He could decide this election if he wanted to.

And Crowley again, quoting readers’ reaction:

Another reader suggests a joint Powell-Hagel endorsement, to diminish any sense that Powell was simply siding with the black candidate.

To be fair to Crowley, the fascination with the Powell political mystery is hardly his alone. Days before the Democratic convention, Bill Kristol was making headlines by claiming that Powell would endorse Obama soon. Around the same time, Nate Silver was hypothesizing (though quite skeptically) about the possibility of Powell as Obama’s VP.

I find all this excitement over Powell’s future career moves to be quite puzzling. True, in 2004, when he ended his negligible tour as Secretary of State with no accomplishments to show for it, his approval rating was high. His enigmatic coolness has a way of resonating with voters who don’t actually bother to look into the actual deeds of the leader. I think his popularity is attributable to the fact that he did nothing, was hardly influential and parted with an unpopular president–but not in a confrontational way. Thus, he was able to enjoy the approval of both Republicans, seeing him as part of the team, and Democrats, believing he was the sane voice in a crazed administration.

So–can Powell really help Obama if and when he chooses to publicly support the ticket? To believe that you have to believe three things:

1. Endorsements have importance. Powell supporting Obama is not exactly the same as Powell running with Obama.

2. Powell can sway the right group of people. It’s fair to think that Powell’s fans are people in the middle. He isn’t as popular on the far Left (the Iraq speech) or the far-right (his overall nothingness as policy maker).

3. That his endorsement will not suffer any setbacks. He can be seen as an African-American supporting Obama because of race, or be in a position in which he will have to defend his reputation against attacks from people who can actually present to the public the facts about his tenure.

All in all, Powell is the master of having the good name–but the way he did it was to almost always stay away from political controversy. Powell was always a promising candidate–but he never ran. Maybe he does understand his limitations and realize that he can’t stomach real scrutiny and the viciousness of political life. Maybe he just enjoys being popular with everybody.

Will he choose to step right into the political abyss this time around? Since I have no sources who can give me an answer to this question, I’ll assume that he is considering such a move – and that he will only do it if he is really convinced that Obama will be the next president (thus, making his endorsement mean even less than it does today) . Of course, Powell can surprise and take the more daring gamble, but this might carry a price that I’m not sure Powell is willing to risk: if Obama eventually loses, it will be the end of the Powell-power legend.

I have a problem understanding Michael Crowley‘s obsession with the possible Colin Powell endorsement of Barak Obama’s.

Here’s Crowley at TNR:

Colin Powell. He could decide this election if he wanted to.

And Crowley again, quoting readers’ reaction:

Another reader suggests a joint Powell-Hagel endorsement, to diminish any sense that Powell was simply siding with the black candidate.

To be fair to Crowley, the fascination with the Powell political mystery is hardly his alone. Days before the Democratic convention, Bill Kristol was making headlines by claiming that Powell would endorse Obama soon. Around the same time, Nate Silver was hypothesizing (though quite skeptically) about the possibility of Powell as Obama’s VP.

I find all this excitement over Powell’s future career moves to be quite puzzling. True, in 2004, when he ended his negligible tour as Secretary of State with no accomplishments to show for it, his approval rating was high. His enigmatic coolness has a way of resonating with voters who don’t actually bother to look into the actual deeds of the leader. I think his popularity is attributable to the fact that he did nothing, was hardly influential and parted with an unpopular president–but not in a confrontational way. Thus, he was able to enjoy the approval of both Republicans, seeing him as part of the team, and Democrats, believing he was the sane voice in a crazed administration.

So–can Powell really help Obama if and when he chooses to publicly support the ticket? To believe that you have to believe three things:

1. Endorsements have importance. Powell supporting Obama is not exactly the same as Powell running with Obama.

2. Powell can sway the right group of people. It’s fair to think that Powell’s fans are people in the middle. He isn’t as popular on the far Left (the Iraq speech) or the far-right (his overall nothingness as policy maker).

3. That his endorsement will not suffer any setbacks. He can be seen as an African-American supporting Obama because of race, or be in a position in which he will have to defend his reputation against attacks from people who can actually present to the public the facts about his tenure.

All in all, Powell is the master of having the good name–but the way he did it was to almost always stay away from political controversy. Powell was always a promising candidate–but he never ran. Maybe he does understand his limitations and realize that he can’t stomach real scrutiny and the viciousness of political life. Maybe he just enjoys being popular with everybody.

Will he choose to step right into the political abyss this time around? Since I have no sources who can give me an answer to this question, I’ll assume that he is considering such a move – and that he will only do it if he is really convinced that Obama will be the next president (thus, making his endorsement mean even less than it does today) . Of course, Powell can surprise and take the more daring gamble, but this might carry a price that I’m not sure Powell is willing to risk: if Obama eventually loses, it will be the end of the Powell-power legend.

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Did Hillary Plan This?

Barack Obama has been a little shaky of late, but his worries are surely coming to an end. The Financial Times reports that Obama will sit down with Bill Clinton tomorrow for their first meeting since Hillary was defeated in June, and the man who compared Obama’s South Carolina win to Jesse Jackson’s, refueled the media’s interest in his wife’s sniper fantasy, and said that if his wife was elected the “first thing” she’d do would be to send him and George H. W. Bush overseas to repair America’s image is going to give Obama tips on how to comport himself from now until November.

Hey, nothing says “I’m no misogynist” like seeking the counsel of Bill Clinton. I’m sure this lipstick-pig thing is as good as history.

Barack Obama has been a little shaky of late, but his worries are surely coming to an end. The Financial Times reports that Obama will sit down with Bill Clinton tomorrow for their first meeting since Hillary was defeated in June, and the man who compared Obama’s South Carolina win to Jesse Jackson’s, refueled the media’s interest in his wife’s sniper fantasy, and said that if his wife was elected the “first thing” she’d do would be to send him and George H. W. Bush overseas to repair America’s image is going to give Obama tips on how to comport himself from now until November.

Hey, nothing says “I’m no misogynist” like seeking the counsel of Bill Clinton. I’m sure this lipstick-pig thing is as good as history.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 2

The crowd is a sea of red–has that become the unofficial color of GOP candidates? The warm-up music is poppish country. The crowd has a smattering of college-aged and smaller kids, but these people generally look like middle-class (and overwhelmingly white) suburban citizens. When you come to one of these you see how much of the day-to-day legwork of a campaign is done by twentysomething staffers. They no doubt take a fair amount of grief from their peers for working on the uncool camapaign. But that is part of what is happening, I suppose: the McCain Palin team now has a much more upbeat vibe. The signs, a number bearing lipstick, tell you where they are coming from. A blond haired boy on his dad’s shoulders holds up a sign: “hero+ mom=great team.”

The crowd is a sea of red–has that become the unofficial color of GOP candidates? The warm-up music is poppish country. The crowd has a smattering of college-aged and smaller kids, but these people generally look like middle-class (and overwhelmingly white) suburban citizens. When you come to one of these you see how much of the day-to-day legwork of a campaign is done by twentysomething staffers. They no doubt take a fair amount of grief from their peers for working on the uncool camapaign. But that is part of what is happening, I suppose: the McCain Palin team now has a much more upbeat vibe. The signs, a number bearing lipstick, tell you where they are coming from. A blond haired boy on his dad’s shoulders holds up a sign: “hero+ mom=great team.”

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Threatening Ahmadinejad

An Israeli government minister, former Mossad agent Rafi Eitan (yes, the one involved many years ago in the Pollard affair), has made a subtle threat toward Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

It could very well be that a leader such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suddenly finds himself before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Referring to the Iranian president, Eitan said that those who “spread poison” and wanted to eradicate another people had “to expect such consequences.”

The Iranians, always sensitive to such language, have reacted– somewhat comically–by complaining to the UN:

A letter from Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described comments by two Israeli ministers as “vicious threats … in blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of international law.”

…Khazaee said remarks attributed to Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan by German magazine Der Spiegel this week “yet again put on display the aggressive and terrorist nature of the Israeli regime.”

This exchange can be dismissed as yet another example that states do not always behave like grownups (a worrying phenomenon when nuclear weapons are involved). But there’s a serious dimension to Eitan’s provocation. A year ago or so, I remember hearing similar comment from an American friend– in fact, an even more blatant comment–when Ahmadinejad was in New York. “If indeed we believe Ahmadinejad is today’s equivalent of Hitler, why don’t we just go there and shoot him. Kill him. Is this not what we would’ve expected from moral people to do had they had the opportunity to kill Hitler before World War Two?”

The people gathered around this friend–it was a provocation made in a public place–mostly giggled with some embarrassment, trying to figure out if he was serious. Was he toying with them? Had he completely lost his mind?

I was reminded of this incident, because I think it is not Iran that should be protesting Eitan’s comment. The comment I heard from that friend–like Eitan’s (unless he was unintentionally exposing an operational plan)–is much more offensive to the western world than it is to Iran. It exposes our hypocrisy: Either we think Ahmadinejad is really dangerous to the world and diplomatic niceties should be shelved in favor of the measures proposed by Eitan. Or we don’t, and just pretend that we do.

An Israeli government minister, former Mossad agent Rafi Eitan (yes, the one involved many years ago in the Pollard affair), has made a subtle threat toward Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

It could very well be that a leader such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suddenly finds himself before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Referring to the Iranian president, Eitan said that those who “spread poison” and wanted to eradicate another people had “to expect such consequences.”

The Iranians, always sensitive to such language, have reacted– somewhat comically–by complaining to the UN:

A letter from Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described comments by two Israeli ministers as “vicious threats … in blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of international law.”

…Khazaee said remarks attributed to Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan by German magazine Der Spiegel this week “yet again put on display the aggressive and terrorist nature of the Israeli regime.”

This exchange can be dismissed as yet another example that states do not always behave like grownups (a worrying phenomenon when nuclear weapons are involved). But there’s a serious dimension to Eitan’s provocation. A year ago or so, I remember hearing similar comment from an American friend– in fact, an even more blatant comment–when Ahmadinejad was in New York. “If indeed we believe Ahmadinejad is today’s equivalent of Hitler, why don’t we just go there and shoot him. Kill him. Is this not what we would’ve expected from moral people to do had they had the opportunity to kill Hitler before World War Two?”

The people gathered around this friend–it was a provocation made in a public place–mostly giggled with some embarrassment, trying to figure out if he was serious. Was he toying with them? Had he completely lost his mind?

I was reminded of this incident, because I think it is not Iran that should be protesting Eitan’s comment. The comment I heard from that friend–like Eitan’s (unless he was unintentionally exposing an operational plan)–is much more offensive to the western world than it is to Iran. It exposes our hypocrisy: Either we think Ahmadinejad is really dangerous to the world and diplomatic niceties should be shelved in favor of the measures proposed by Eitan. Or we don’t, and just pretend that we do.

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Emtpy Threats

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently warned Hamas that if captured soldier Gilad Shalit is not released soon, Israel will take “various active measures.” Hamas has responded with the following threat: If Israel tries to rescue Shalit by force, Hamas will “kidnap more soldiers.”

That’s not much of a threat. Few things would have done more to save Olmert’s political viability than the successful rescue of Shalit; it is fair to assume that if the IDF hasn’t done it yet, it’s because they do not yet have a reliable plan for pulling it off. But more to the point: Few things would help prove Hamas is hurting Israel more than kidnapping more soldiers, and few things have been taken more seriously in the IDF in the last two years than the problem of protecting soldiers from being kidnapped. If Hamas hasn’t done it until now, it’s probably because (a) they can’t, and (b) they have seen how little it gained either them or Hizbullah in 2006. Both Olmert’s threat and Hamas’ threat seem pretty empty.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently warned Hamas that if captured soldier Gilad Shalit is not released soon, Israel will take “various active measures.” Hamas has responded with the following threat: If Israel tries to rescue Shalit by force, Hamas will “kidnap more soldiers.”

That’s not much of a threat. Few things would have done more to save Olmert’s political viability than the successful rescue of Shalit; it is fair to assume that if the IDF hasn’t done it yet, it’s because they do not yet have a reliable plan for pulling it off. But more to the point: Few things would help prove Hamas is hurting Israel more than kidnapping more soldiers, and few things have been taken more seriously in the IDF in the last two years than the problem of protecting soldiers from being kidnapped. If Hamas hasn’t done it until now, it’s probably because (a) they can’t, and (b) they have seen how little it gained either them or Hizbullah in 2006. Both Olmert’s threat and Hamas’ threat seem pretty empty.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Dean Barnett nails it: “Virtually everyone in society when confronted with the 90+% abortion rate of Down syndrome fetuses reacts with horror or at least dismay. How dare Sarah Palin, that moose-hunting rural rube, show herself to be the moral superior to our nation’s sophisticates?”

Palin is Roseanne? Yeah, and it scares Thomas Friedman.

Some foreign press have noticed that Barack Obama “now spices campaign appearances with spluttered outrage at how Mrs Palin and Mr McCain are portraying themselves as agents of change — or fulmination over the failure of the media to ask them tough questions.”

A Left-leaning analyst figures it out: “The theme here is simply traditionally red states coming home to John McCain in a big way, likely cordoning off certain corners of the electoral map to Barack Obama.”

This column is generally insulting and patronizing toward Palin, but it has this gem: “There is no easy way to tell you this, Joe Biden, but the surest way for Joe Biden to lose a debate against Sarah Palin is by being Joe Biden. If you are windy, pompous, unctuous, or pushy, you will come across as patronizing and condescending—the guy who puts the “boy” into “old boys’ network.” What are the chances that Biden might be windy, pompous, unctuous or pushy? 100%? 110%?

Did the Obama camp pull a Dean Acheson by leaving Ohio off the list of states they can win?

But will he narrate the display on impeachment?

The only saving grace for Barack Obama is that this wasn’t covered live. It sounds like another desperate performance.

This seems fair: “An Obama Macaca Moment. It’s the judgment stupid. You’ve got to be smart enough not to offend African-Americans by dropping a Macaca reference and you cannot drop a Pig reference if you are having problems with women in a presidential race. Could have the same impact as Allen’s misstep that cost him a close election.”

Dean Barnett nails it: “Virtually everyone in society when confronted with the 90+% abortion rate of Down syndrome fetuses reacts with horror or at least dismay. How dare Sarah Palin, that moose-hunting rural rube, show herself to be the moral superior to our nation’s sophisticates?”

Palin is Roseanne? Yeah, and it scares Thomas Friedman.

Some foreign press have noticed that Barack Obama “now spices campaign appearances with spluttered outrage at how Mrs Palin and Mr McCain are portraying themselves as agents of change — or fulmination over the failure of the media to ask them tough questions.”

A Left-leaning analyst figures it out: “The theme here is simply traditionally red states coming home to John McCain in a big way, likely cordoning off certain corners of the electoral map to Barack Obama.”

This column is generally insulting and patronizing toward Palin, but it has this gem: “There is no easy way to tell you this, Joe Biden, but the surest way for Joe Biden to lose a debate against Sarah Palin is by being Joe Biden. If you are windy, pompous, unctuous, or pushy, you will come across as patronizing and condescending—the guy who puts the “boy” into “old boys’ network.” What are the chances that Biden might be windy, pompous, unctuous or pushy? 100%? 110%?

Did the Obama camp pull a Dean Acheson by leaving Ohio off the list of states they can win?

But will he narrate the display on impeachment?

The only saving grace for Barack Obama is that this wasn’t covered live. It sounds like another desperate performance.

This seems fair: “An Obama Macaca Moment. It’s the judgment stupid. You’ve got to be smart enough not to offend African-Americans by dropping a Macaca reference and you cannot drop a Pig reference if you are having problems with women in a presidential race. Could have the same impact as Allen’s misstep that cost him a close election.”

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Obama and Petraeus

Yesterday, Barack Obama said the announced withdrawal of 8,000 troops from Iraq by February 2009 was “not enough.” This morning, in the course of a Washington Post interview with General David Petraeus, we read this:

In the interview, Petraeus acknowledged that he had originally asked for no combat troops to be withdrawn. But he called that recommendation a “very early analysis” that he was given only three days to prepare in August.

After several weeks, Petraeus said, he and his replacement, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, agreed that a combat brigade could be withdrawn. “What is approved today is in fact that final set of recommendations,” Petraeus said.

In other words, Petraeus first thought it would be dangerous to remove a single American fighting man from the Iraq theater, and then, after weeks of study, determined that they could manage with a reducation about 7 percent in the size of the force.

Given that Obama has declared the surge, run by Petraeus, succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, maybe he should listen to Petraeus next time before he decides to make a nakedly political call on a matter that ought to be beyond politics.

Yesterday, Barack Obama said the announced withdrawal of 8,000 troops from Iraq by February 2009 was “not enough.” This morning, in the course of a Washington Post interview with General David Petraeus, we read this:

In the interview, Petraeus acknowledged that he had originally asked for no combat troops to be withdrawn. But he called that recommendation a “very early analysis” that he was given only three days to prepare in August.

After several weeks, Petraeus said, he and his replacement, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, agreed that a combat brigade could be withdrawn. “What is approved today is in fact that final set of recommendations,” Petraeus said.

In other words, Petraeus first thought it would be dangerous to remove a single American fighting man from the Iraq theater, and then, after weeks of study, determined that they could manage with a reducation about 7 percent in the size of the force.

Given that Obama has declared the surge, run by Petraeus, succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, maybe he should listen to Petraeus next time before he decides to make a nakedly political call on a matter that ought to be beyond politics.

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Notes from the McCain/Palin Event: 1

I am at the McCain-Palin rally in Fairfax Virginia. The setting is a park, a location which was substituted for a local high school to accommodate a larger than originally anticipated crowd. (There was also some local fuss about using a high school for a campaign event, although Barack Obama did the same earlier in the year.) The crowd is pouring in, largely middle aged. A sixtyish lady dressed in a bright red McCain shirt just came over to ask if anyone had lipstick to decorate her sign.

I am at the McCain-Palin rally in Fairfax Virginia. The setting is a park, a location which was substituted for a local high school to accommodate a larger than originally anticipated crowd. (There was also some local fuss about using a high school for a campaign event, although Barack Obama did the same earlier in the year.) The crowd is pouring in, largely middle aged. A sixtyish lady dressed in a bright red McCain shirt just came over to ask if anyone had lipstick to decorate her sign.

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Sorry to be Insensitive, But This Is Hilarious

A dancer with the Alvin Ailey troupe was forced by Israeli airport security to dance a few steps to prove his identity, since he bears the name Abdur-Rahim Jackson:

Jackson said he was pulled aside from other members of the troupe when they arrived at Israel’s international airport on Sunday night. He said he was taken to a holding room, where he was asked about the origins of his name. When he explained he was part of the dance group, he was asked to perform.

“I stood up. I asked what type of dance?” he explained. “He said, “Just do anything.’ I just moved around.”
Minutes later, he said a female officer put him through a similar interrogation and asked him to dance again. “The only time I’m really expected to dance is when I’m performing,” he said.

Doubtless this story will be used to demonstrate Israeli cruelty, racial profiling, insensitivity, etc. For those who have traveled frequently to Israel, this will come as no surprise. A quarter century ago, I traveled from Paris to Tel Aviv to visit my sister. My bag was searched by a female security officer. When she saw a dress in my suitcase, she closed it and told me to follow her to a holding room.

“Why,” she said in a deep voice, “you have dress?”

“I’m visiting my sister,” I said.

“Her name is what?”

“Ruth Blum,” I said.

“Why her name is Blum and your name is Podhoretz?”

“She’s married.”

“What name is her husband?”

“Nadav Blum.”

“Where they live?”

“Derech Beit Lechem in Jerusalem.”

“Where you get the dress?”

“On the Boulevard St. Germain.”

“What was the store?”

I named it.

She took the dress out of my suitcase and held it up against her body, then pulled it away from her to examine it fully.

“How much it cost?” she asked.

And thus I understood: She liked the dress and wanted to take me aside to find out where she might find one.

Everybody who has traveled to Israel more than twice has some kind of story like this. Everyone.

A dancer with the Alvin Ailey troupe was forced by Israeli airport security to dance a few steps to prove his identity, since he bears the name Abdur-Rahim Jackson:

Jackson said he was pulled aside from other members of the troupe when they arrived at Israel’s international airport on Sunday night. He said he was taken to a holding room, where he was asked about the origins of his name. When he explained he was part of the dance group, he was asked to perform.

“I stood up. I asked what type of dance?” he explained. “He said, “Just do anything.’ I just moved around.”
Minutes later, he said a female officer put him through a similar interrogation and asked him to dance again. “The only time I’m really expected to dance is when I’m performing,” he said.

Doubtless this story will be used to demonstrate Israeli cruelty, racial profiling, insensitivity, etc. For those who have traveled frequently to Israel, this will come as no surprise. A quarter century ago, I traveled from Paris to Tel Aviv to visit my sister. My bag was searched by a female security officer. When she saw a dress in my suitcase, she closed it and told me to follow her to a holding room.

“Why,” she said in a deep voice, “you have dress?”

“I’m visiting my sister,” I said.

“Her name is what?”

“Ruth Blum,” I said.

“Why her name is Blum and your name is Podhoretz?”

“She’s married.”

“What name is her husband?”

“Nadav Blum.”

“Where they live?”

“Derech Beit Lechem in Jerusalem.”

“Where you get the dress?”

“On the Boulevard St. Germain.”

“What was the store?”

I named it.

She took the dress out of my suitcase and held it up against her body, then pulled it away from her to examine it fully.

“How much it cost?” she asked.

And thus I understood: She liked the dress and wanted to take me aside to find out where she might find one.

Everybody who has traveled to Israel more than twice has some kind of story like this. Everyone.

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Swinegate

Well, Abe, the McCain camp is not going to let it go — there is this ad seeking to make sure everyone in America can judge, discuss and pick over Barack Obama’s words for him or herself. Obama will spend the entire day denying he meant harm, talkers will mull it over and another news cycle will be lost to Sarah Palin. Welcome to the fall campaign.

Well, Abe, the McCain camp is not going to let it go — there is this ad seeking to make sure everyone in America can judge, discuss and pick over Barack Obama’s words for him or herself. Obama will spend the entire day denying he meant harm, talkers will mull it over and another news cycle will be lost to Sarah Palin. Welcome to the fall campaign.

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Mouthgate

Next to John McCain and Sarah Palin, the person in America most delighted by Barack Obama’s lipstick/pig problem may be Joe Biden. Otherwise stories like this about Biden’s reference to “the joy and difficulty of raising a child with a developmental disability” would have been on the front pages of many newspapers. The report notes:

Politics aside, stem-cell research appears to hold little promise of mitigating Down syndrome or helping those with the condition. People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome, and “that is something that does not seem to be easily addressed with stem cells,” said Brian Skotko, whose research and medical practice at Children’s Hospital in Boston focuses on Down syndrome.The greater potential for stem-cell technologies is as a source of replacement cells and tissues for the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, spinal-cord injury, strokes, burns, heart disease and arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health stem-cell Web site.Sen. Biden has been largely overshadowed by Gov. Palin since her nomination. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, which tracks media coverage of the candidates, found that nearly half of the news coverage around the Republican National Convention, on Sept. 1-7, had to do with Gov. Palin — and almost nothing about Sen. Biden.

So to recap: it was an obnoxious move to tie Palin’s son’s plight to support for stem cell research, McCain approves embryonic stem cell research anyway,  and stem cell research isn’t terribly germane to Down’s Syndrome. Other than that it was pure genius.

But to be clear: these guys are obsessed with the newest political star who is grabbing the limelight and stealing their votes. And they just can’t keep talking about her — in the most unfortunatate and embarrassing ways.

Next to John McCain and Sarah Palin, the person in America most delighted by Barack Obama’s lipstick/pig problem may be Joe Biden. Otherwise stories like this about Biden’s reference to “the joy and difficulty of raising a child with a developmental disability” would have been on the front pages of many newspapers. The report notes:

Politics aside, stem-cell research appears to hold little promise of mitigating Down syndrome or helping those with the condition. People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome, and “that is something that does not seem to be easily addressed with stem cells,” said Brian Skotko, whose research and medical practice at Children’s Hospital in Boston focuses on Down syndrome.The greater potential for stem-cell technologies is as a source of replacement cells and tissues for the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, spinal-cord injury, strokes, burns, heart disease and arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health stem-cell Web site.Sen. Biden has been largely overshadowed by Gov. Palin since her nomination. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, which tracks media coverage of the candidates, found that nearly half of the news coverage around the Republican National Convention, on Sept. 1-7, had to do with Gov. Palin — and almost nothing about Sen. Biden.

So to recap: it was an obnoxious move to tie Palin’s son’s plight to support for stem cell research, McCain approves embryonic stem cell research anyway,  and stem cell research isn’t terribly germane to Down’s Syndrome. Other than that it was pure genius.

But to be clear: these guys are obsessed with the newest political star who is grabbing the limelight and stealing their votes. And they just can’t keep talking about her — in the most unfortunatate and embarrassing ways.

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Mystery Chez Beagle Blogger

Unless I’m very much mistaken, someone is now ghost-posting for the man of a thousand smears.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, someone is now ghost-posting for the man of a thousand smears.

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Re: “We’re Gonna Frickin’ Lose This Thing”

John, not only are the Democrats panicking, but that in and of itself is now a storyline. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The emergence of Sarah Palin as a political force in the presidential race has left many top Democrats fretting that, just two weeks after their convention ended on an emotional high, Barack Obama’s campaign has suddenly lost its stride. Obama has responded aggressively this week to Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket, using TV ads and campaign rallies to attack her contention that she is a political reformer who will take on the Washington establishment — a role Obama has long claimed as his alone.But some Democrats are now worried about the perils of Obama’s strategy, saying that his campaign, instead of engaging the Alaska governor, should avoid any move that draws more attention to her and could enhance her appeal among the white, blue-collar voters who remain cool to Obama’s candidacy.A series of new polls suggests that Palin has given a major boost to John McCain’s campaign, exciting the GOP base, winning over white women and all but erasing Obama’s lead.

It not only “all but” erased Obama’s lead, it did. (Don’t the MSM outlets think their readers have access to polls?) Not to put too fine a point on it, but the hysteria isn’t a very attractive quality. Just as Obama’s excessive spending and staffing should give us pause about his fiscal management skills, so too should his reaction to bad news and diversity  adversity. The ability to weather storms and navigate around obstacles is, one might conclude, part of being a successful President. If a woman “looking after five [kids]” rattles him so badly, is he really Chief Executive material?

John, not only are the Democrats panicking, but that in and of itself is now a storyline. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The emergence of Sarah Palin as a political force in the presidential race has left many top Democrats fretting that, just two weeks after their convention ended on an emotional high, Barack Obama’s campaign has suddenly lost its stride. Obama has responded aggressively this week to Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket, using TV ads and campaign rallies to attack her contention that she is a political reformer who will take on the Washington establishment — a role Obama has long claimed as his alone.But some Democrats are now worried about the perils of Obama’s strategy, saying that his campaign, instead of engaging the Alaska governor, should avoid any move that draws more attention to her and could enhance her appeal among the white, blue-collar voters who remain cool to Obama’s candidacy.A series of new polls suggests that Palin has given a major boost to John McCain’s campaign, exciting the GOP base, winning over white women and all but erasing Obama’s lead.

It not only “all but” erased Obama’s lead, it did. (Don’t the MSM outlets think their readers have access to polls?) Not to put too fine a point on it, but the hysteria isn’t a very attractive quality. Just as Obama’s excessive spending and staffing should give us pause about his fiscal management skills, so too should his reaction to bad news and diversity  adversity. The ability to weather storms and navigate around obstacles is, one might conclude, part of being a successful President. If a woman “looking after five [kids]” rattles him so badly, is he really Chief Executive material?

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