June 1, 2008

The S-Word Appears in an AP Report from Iraq

Earlier today, NewsBusters’ Matt Sheffield caught a Washington Post editorial which told us, “Don’t look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.” The editorial noted “a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war.”

The Post also suggested that the situation “ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the “this-war-is-lost” caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Maybe, but if the results continue, both in military progress and reduced casualties (May 2008 had the lowest single-month number of US and total coalition troop fatalities ever), how about an “I was wrong, I am sorry” first?

Even more remarkable than WaPo’s editorial was that the Associated Press’s Kim Gamel included “the S-word” four times in her Friday afternoon coverage of Iraqi terrorists/insurgents turning themselves in. Not in the headline, of course (What do you want, miracles?), but twice in the first six paragraphs:

Some Iraqi insurgents agree to reconcile

School teacher Raad Mohammed Mahdi used to take on another role after classes: foot soldier in the Sunni insurgency north of Baghdad.

He grew weary of his double life last year and wanted to lay down his arms. The problem was he didn’t know how to surrender formally without facing possible jail time.

Last week, Mahdi entered a U.S. military base and signed a form that amounts to a personal truce. More than 140 other men came the next day after learning that soldiers did not detain Mahdi, whose late brother was an insurgent leader.

It marked some of the first steps in a new U.S.-Iraqi program to offer a way out for those who renounce violence — part of widening attempts at national reconciliation as sectarian violence shows signs of easing.

The latest offer promises a clean slate for fighters if they claim their only targets were American troops. It also pledges a “fair” legal process for those wanted for attacks on Iraqis troops or civilians.

Since the program was expanded this month to Sunni areas near Balad, more than 300 men have surrendered. Most have been released, although 76 were given a court date to face Iraqi charges.

….. (US Lt. Col. Bob) McCarthy, who is from Mechanicsburg, Ill., estimated that probably less than 20 percent of those who have surrendered were members al-Qaida in Iraq.

…… Qais Dhiab Ahmed ….. is ….. a tribal leader who has taken the lead in encouraging the surrenders.

Look up the definitions of “reconcile” and “surrender” yourself. They are, of course, not even close.

Do you think anyone in the media will ask Barack Obama, Hillary “Willing Suspension of Disbelief” Clinton, Harry “We’ve lost” Reid, or other Democrats who predicted we had lost or would lose their opinion of the situation now, and how they could have gotten it so wrong?

And is it actually possible that the V-word will put in an appearance pretty soon?

Cross-posted as NewsBusters.org.

Governments Find It’s Not Easy Being ‘Green’ While Trying to Fleece Citizens

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:38 am

Note: This was published at Pajamas Media on Friday with the title “Big-Government Environmentalism Wears Out Its Welcome.”

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While the three remaining presidential candidates try to out-green each other, the rest of the world is rebelling at the astronomical costs involved. “Somehow,” this rebellion has received little US media attention.

This explains how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain can still advocate government- and tax-heavy approaches with straight faces.

Meanwhile, my nearly daily e-mails from the indefatigable Benny Peiser of CCnet, whose assemblages of environment and science links and summaries are essential for anyone who wants to keep up with worldwide environmentalist mischief, tell me that:

  • Governments elsewhere are balking at meeting mandatory targets for reducing so-called greenhouse emissions. A recent G8- and Europe-related example is here (“Rich nations must lead on climate change: UN official”).
  • Those same governments are using “climate protection” as a crutch as they attempt to do what governments do best — raise taxes.
  • Citizens, and politicians preferring to remain in office, are saying “Enough!”

Fortunately, government attempts at fiscal extraction are not faring well. First, from Germany:

German car tax plan to be delayed – government

The German government’s controversial plans to change rules on car tax from 2009 to take exhaust emissions into account will likely be delayed further, government officials said on Friday.

….. The measures, part of a climate protection package agreed last year, have stoked tensions within Germany’s ruling conservative-Social Democrat coalition.

The measures need the backing of the upper house Bundesrat where the 16 states are represented as they receive around 9 billion euros ($14.2 billion) of annual income from the levy.

In Canada, a columnist who supports that country’s Liberal Party and appears to buy into “global warming” sees big political danger:

The suicidal allure of a carbon tax

If a carbon tax is to define and decide the next federal election in Liberal favour, Stéphane Dion will have to be a ghostbuster. Even though he seems blissfully oblivious, the Liberal leader’s bold gambit is haunted by the bad memory of too many other big ideas.

….. there’s no doubt that a specific carbon tax is a political accident waiting to happen.

Then there’s Australia:

The sun sets on Rudd’s climate change credibility

Kevin Rudd’s climate change honeymoon ended last week.

….. Most Australians when surveyed want the Government to fix climate change. But they also want cheaper petrol and electricity. Labor has been happy to play to this information disconnect by indulging voters’ naivety about what is coming, allowing them to believe these symbolic acts would be enough to solve the problem.

So they can hardly cry foul when the same voters turned on them …..

In New Zealand:

Emissions bill hanging by thread

The government’s flagship plan to combat global warming is hanging by a thread as National (the National Party — Ed.) withdraws support for the Emissions Trading Scheme.

In a policy announcement on Sunday morning, leader John Key has revealed the party will not be supporting the scheme in its current form.

….. Key says the government is cutting corners and risking people’s financial security in order to reach a political deadline for the ETS.

But the backlash is worst in the UK. Because of it, Gordon Brown may not be Prime Minister much longer.

Just as Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax wrecked her once-assumed invincibility in 1990, Brown’s “Green Road Tax” (in essence, a per-vehicle levy of up to £440, or about $870, on “environmentally unfriendly cars”), as well as angry lorry drivers (truckers) who are incensed over higher fuel taxes, threaten to do the same to him.

For these and other reasons, Brown’s supply of political capital has shrunk dangerously. This month alone, his Labor Party suffered its worst drubbing in 40 years in local elections, including the London mayor’s race, and followed it three weeks later by losing control of a district it had held for 30 years.

Upping the UK madness ante, a group of MPs has proposed “personal carbon credits.” I’m not kidding:

The Government should push ahead with a “radical” system of personal ‘carbon credits’ if it wants to meet emissions targets, a committee of MPs has said.

They said people would be able to engage with the scheme, which would see everybody given an annual carbon limit to “spend” on items such as fuel and energy bills.

Those who wanted to spend more than their limit would be able to buy extra credits from low carbon emitters.

This prompted one Times Online columnist to ask, “What next? Little (green) Hitlers patrolling the streets ….?”

I’m wondering when they will take up differences in individuals’ breathing rates and generation of flatulence.

What is happening outside the US should be instructive to our presidential contenders. If Obama, Clinton, or Mr. McCain think they’ll somehow have an easier time pushing direct and indirect carbon-related taxes and cap-and-trade schemes on the public, I have a two-word reminder from the, uh, ash heap of 1993 history: BTU tax.

Positivity: Alaska governor gives birth to son with Down’s Syndrome

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

From Alaska (HT Tim Graham at NewsBusters):

Anchorage, Apr 24, 2008 / 03:42 am

Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin on Friday gave birth to her fifth child, a son who has Down’s Syndrome. She said that she and her family had been “truly blessed.”

Governor Palin’s labor began while she was in Texas at the Governors’s Energy Conference where she gave the keynote luncheon address. She was able to fly back to Alaska in time to deliver her son, Trig Paxon Van Palin, at 6:30 a.m. He was born one month early and weighed six pounds, two ounces.

Testing during early pregnancy revealed the baby had Down’s Syndrome. Governor Palin said she was sad at first, but her family now feels blessed that God chose them.

The family released a statement which said, “Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”

Graham reports that his church bulletin, not available online, carried an item telling readers that Trig is a Norse name that means “brave victory.”