"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Iraqi Sunnis are strarting to understand what a democracy is all about

Iraq Sunnis Offer to Help on Constitution
Robert H. Reid/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Facing the prospect of a Shiite Muslim landslide, Sunni politicians offered on Saturday to participate in mapping the nation's political future. But Sunni rebels showed no sign of compromise, killing two U.S. soldiers and at least 33 Iraqis in a string of attacks. Officials of the Shiite-led coalition that has rolled up a big lead in Sunday's elections said it wants the prime minister post in the upcoming government — casting doubt on chances that U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi can keep his job.

The Land of the Free, because of the Brave

America the Incredible
Douglas Kern/TCS Original Article

He's a fairly ordinary, middle-class fellow who doesn't act as though he wields near-godlike power. But he's nearly unstoppable, capable of besting any imaginable enemy, and yet he seems perfectly content with his lovely wife, three kids, and a nice house in the suburbs. Or…almost content, anyway. Despite the edicts of self-righteous lawyers, carping media twits, and nitpicking politicians, he patrols the bad alleys of his city, looking for the kind of trouble that only he can stop. Oh, he's been accused of being the source of the trouble; he's been told that he's as much of a menace as his enemies, and he's been socked with colossal bills for all the damage he's inflicted in his super-battles. But he doesn't care.

Truth in environmental advertising: Only bad environmental news seems to sell

Climate Glacier Politics
Roger Bate/TCS Original Article

What started out as a glacier hiking holiday in the fabulous Southern Alps of New Zealand descended into something quite different. Is the Franz Josef glacier, the most famous in New Zealand, receding and an example of man-made climate change or is it in fact increasing? And if the latter, does this explain why it has not been in the news in the past year, while it dominated local media over the millennium? In other words, are environmentalists only interested in receding glaciers, since they provide the bad news they need to scare us into action on fossil fuels?

Very interesting perspective on the US deficit

The United States as an Indebted Empire
Desmond Lachman/TCS Original Article

One has to be amazed at the complacency of US policymakers about the geo-political dimension of the large US balance of payments deficit. For so long as a large external deficit persists, foreign central banks will continue accumulating massive financial claims on the United States, which they could potentially use to express their displeasure about US policy abroad. The growing financial leverage that the US is presently conceding to its potential adversaries would seem to be reason enough for the US Administration to take the US balance of payments problem very much more seriously than it presently does.

These bonuses are well worth the cost

Special Ops Forces Offered Hefty Bonuses
John J. Lumpkin/Guardian Unlimited Original Article

Senior members of U.S. special operations forces will receive bonuses of up to $150,000 for staying in the military, an increase designed to keep the commandos from bolting to the more lucrative private sector. The policy, announced by U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., provides an array of bonuses and incentives to experienced members of Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and Air Force pararescuemen, plus a few other specialties.

Bin Laden, Sent by the Jews. Look Alice, Wonderland is real

Saudi official: Bin Laden sent by Jews
WorldNetDaily.com Original Article

Speaking at a meeting of Saudi leaders in preparation for the kingdom's international conference on counterterrorism, Defense Minister Prince Sultan referred to Osama bin Laden as being "sent by the Jews."

Saudi's Abdullah: "The final result will be victory, tolerance, love and peace."

Saudi Sees Long, Bitter Fight Against Terror
Mark Trevelyan and Dominic Evans/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Saudi Arabia, battling an al Qaeda campaign, vowed on Saturday to fight terrorism to the end but warned at a world anti-terror forum that the war in the world's biggest oil exporter would be bitter and long. "I know that terrorism will not go away overnight and our war against terrorism will be long and bitter," de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah told security and intelligence officials from more than 50 countries.

A Democracy being born; compromise in action

Iraq Shi'ite Bloc Says to Demand Prime Ministership
Mariam Karouny/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

The Shi'ite alliance expected to win a commanding victory in Iraq's election will insist one of its members is appointed the country's next prime minister, a senior official in the alliance said on Saturday. "Shi'ites want the prime ministership, we are insisting on it and will not give it up," Deputy Foreign Minister Hamed al-Bayati told Reuters. Bayati is a senior official in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

Oil-for-Food: Iraqis want their money back

Iraq Wants Money Back; Annan Promises Action
Evelyn Leopold /Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Iraq said it wanted its money back from the scandal-tainted U.N. oil-for-food program on Friday as Secretary-General Kofi Annan vowed to get to the bottom of wrongdoing by U.N. staff.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

Europe, Thy Name Is Cowardice
Snopes.com Original Article

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe — your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements. Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Interesting; Germany wants to help Iraqis write their Constitution

Germany Says Eager to Help Build Iraq Institutions
Caroline Drees/Reuters Original Article

Germany is willing to help Iraq's new government set up ministries and write a new constitution following elections last weekend, German Interior Minister Otto Schily said on Thursday. Schily said he had held talks with President Bush on Wednesday, and both countries had agreed to move beyond their disagreements over the Iraq war to focus on creating a stable future for the country.

Iran recognizes explicitly that its fuel cycle program cannot be justified on economic grounds

AP: Europe Making No Progress on Iran Nukes
AP on Fox News Original Article

A confidential summary of talks between key European powers and Iran made available to The Associated Press on Tuesday shows there has been no progress in getting Iran to scrap nuclear enrichment — even though Tehran acknowledged it does not need nuclear energy. The United States and several other countries fear Iran is seeking to enrich uranium not to the low level needed to generate power but to weapons-grade uranium that forms the core of nuclear warheads.

Pros & Cons in the same article. Guess that is why they say "Fair & Balanced"

Capitol Hill Mulls 'Regime Change' in Iran
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos/Fox News Original Article

Though the Bush administration denies it has any designs on changing Iran's theocracy, members of Congress are planning ways to assist in a possible "regime change." Movements are afoot in both the House and Senate to pass legislation that would enable the U.S. government to support foreign and domestic pro-democracy groups opposed to the current Islamic republic of Iran.

Truly spectacular speech

Transcript, Video: Bush Address
FoxNews Original Article

The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.

UN has serious issues. This is getting uglier and uglier.

NBC Reporter Was on U.N. Lobby Payroll
Cliff Kincaid/Accuracy in Media Original Article

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post wrote a story the other day about how MSNBC President Rick Kaplan has put more NBC into MSNBC. Since Rick Kaplan was named president of MSNBC a year ago, Kurtz reported, his colleagues say that one of his main achievements has been "forging a tighter partnership with NBC News." The assumption is that NBC is a valuable resource. But on one of the hottest stories around, the U.N. corruption scandal, NBC has been out to lunch. Why? Its U.N. reporter has been on the payroll of the U.N. lobby.

The rise in payrolls will be the 17th straight month of growth. You will never here this on major news media outlets

US Jan Job Gains Seen Strong, Erasing Bush Losses
Andrea Hopkins/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

If forecasts can be believed, job growth in January will finally return U.S. employment to where it was before the 2001 recession and erase the jobs lost during President Bush's first term. Economists say 190,000 jobs were created last month, according to the median estimate from a Reuters survey, boosting the working population to 132.5 million -- just above where it was when President Bill Clinton left office four years ago.

Republicans and Democrats praise Gonzales' life story

Senate OKs Gonzales As Attorney General
Jesse J. Holland/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Alberto Gonzales won Senate confirmation Thursday as attorney general despite Democratic accusations that he helped formulate White House policies that led to overseas prisoner abuse and was too beholden to President Bush to be the nation's top law enforcement official. The Senate voted 60-36 to put the first Hispanic ever into the job, with all of the "no" votes coming from Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Last week, 12 Democrats and Jeffords voted against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's confirmation.

United Iraqi Alliance leading vote count in Iraq

Shiite Leads Iraq Vote; 3 Marines Killed
Bassem Mroue/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraqi officials Thursday released the first partial returns from national elections, showing a commanding lead by candidates backed by the Shiite Muslim clergy. Sunni insurgents unleashed a wave of attacks, killing at least 30 people, including three U.S. Marines and a dozen Iraqi army recruits.

Obviously this writer has preconceived notions about Social Security reform

Bush Takes Social Security Plan to States
Deb Riechmann/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Facing stiff resistance, President Bush began searching state-by-state for support for his plan to overhaul Social Security and conceded Thursday that not all lawmakers believe the program has a serious problem.

The Iraqis certainly thought they were buying influence

Annan Disciplines Iraq Oil-For-Food Chief
Edith M. Lederer/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered disciplinary action against the head of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq on Thursday, after a report sharply criticized Benon Sevan for "undermining the integrity" of the United Nations through a "grave conflict of interest." The investigation report said Sevan solicited oil allocations from Saddam Hussein's regime on behalf of a trading company between 1998 and 2001, and it raised concerns he may have received kickbacks for the help.

My question: 2018 paying out more than taking in; however solvent until 2042. This would kill a real business?

Bush Speech Sets Sights on Social Security
Deb Riechmann/AP on Yahoo Original Article

With four years left to build his legacy, President Bush's State of the Union address outlines his goals to give Social Security a makeover, stay the course in Iraq, push for democratic reform abroad and tackle an array of domestic issues at home.

Sooooo, What's your point? You freely did not participate and now you are mad?

Sunnis Question Iraq Election Legitimacy
Sameer N. Yaco'ub/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday the country's landmark elections lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting, which the religious leaders had asked them to boycott.

Who is more evil, he who only knows only evil or he who know both good and evil, but still choses evil?

The left is worth nothing
Dennis Prager/Townhall.com Original Article

"Someone who does not know the difference between good and evil is worth nothing." -- Miecyslaw Kasprzyk, Polish rescuer of Jews during the Holocaust, New York Times, Jan. 30, 2005.

It took a Polish rescuer of Jews in the Holocaust, cited this week 60 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and death camp, to best describe those people who cannot or refuse to know the difference between good and evil. They are "worth nothing."

Zarqawi's response to the election has now put him on the wrong side of three great moral divides

A Defeat for the Forces of Fear
David Frum/AEI Original Article

After Monday's euphoric response to Iraq's elections, today will be a day for caveats. You'll hear it said that elections are not the same as democracy, that many troubles lie ahead, that the insurgency remains alive and deadly. And all this is, of course, true. But it is also true that the Iraq election is a transforming event, not just for Iraq but for the whole Muslim Middle East--an event so transforming that even now we have not yet absorbed its full importance.

These values are not American, they are universal.

Is Democracy Contagious? Arab governments have got to be worried
Dallas News.com Original Article

Sunday brought reassurance and trepidation for Arab governments in the Middle East – reassurance in the short term but trepidation for the future. In the short term, it is in the interest of neighboring states for Iraqis to achieve a stable, inclusive government that is capable of blunting the force of the insurgency. The sooner that happens – if it does – the less the likelihood that sectarian violence will spread throughout the region. The sooner, too, that they will see a draw-down of American armed forces.

This is a victory for Iraq made possible by the strong leadership of the US and it's president.

Evaluating Iraqi Elections
DW-World.de Original Article

Shortly after elections in Iraq were over, DW-WORLD readers expressed their view on this historic event. Hopeful about Iraq's future, many of them took the opportunity to criticize Germany's stance on the war. The following comments reflect the views of our readers. If you would like to have your say, click on the feedback button below. Not all reader comments will be published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

This will be big, real big

HP scientists wave bye-bye to the transistor
Lucy Sherriff/The Register Original Article

A breakthrough in molecular computing could be the beginning of the end for the transistor, according to scientists at HP. Researchers have successfully demonstrated a "crossbar latch", a technology that behaves just like a transistor, but is much smaller, and simpler to make. HP's quantum science research (QSR) group says the new technology paves the way for machines that are thousands of times more powerful than anything available today.

It is this Arab Sunni hegemony that has been dealt a major blow in Sunday's elections.

The end of Sunni hegemony
SHLOMO AVINERI/Jerusalem Post Original Article

From its very establishment as a modern state by the British in the 1920s, Iraq has been ruled by its Sunni Arab minority, never numbering more than 20 percent of the population. Saddam Hussein's bloody autocracy had been only the most brutal of these Sunni-minority regimes, which over the decades were steadfastly opposed by other religious streams and ethnic groups. Hence there were numerous outbreaks of insurrections by the Shi'ite Arab majority, by the Kurds, and even by the small Christian Assyrian community.

One thing is for certain - when Kerry says events were "jumbled together", he is utterly convincing

Hanoi John, We Hardly Knew Ye
John Kerrry/JustOneMinute Original Article

JOHN KERRY: I still have the hat that he gave me, and I hope the guy would come out of the woodwork and say, "I'm the guy who went up with John Kerry. We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia." We went out of Ha Tien, which is right in Vietnam. We went north up into the border. And I have some photographs of that, and that's what we did. So, you know, the two were jumbled together, but we were on the Cambodian border on Christmas Eve, absolutely.

Most Democrats were smart enough to appreciate the Iraqi election except Kerry & Kennedy

Democrats' Depressing Denial
New York Post Original Article

THE K&K boys — Ted Kennedy and John Kerry — find themselves even further out in left field than usual when it comes to Sunday's extraordinarily successful elections in Iraq. Most Democrats were smart enough to appreciate (publicly, at least) that the waves of jubilant Iraqis who defied the terrorists to vote represented a significant political challenge.

Leaders disagree with Kennedy's call for an immediate withdrawal. Even is own party is against him.

Democrats Shy From Iraq Exit Timetable
Mary Curtius, LA Times Staff Writer Original Article

Democratic congressional leaders distanced themselves Monday from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's call for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, but urged President Bush to present a detailed exit strategy in Wednesday's State of the Union speech.

"Complete nonsense" to ask foreign troops to leave the country. There you have it, democrats make "no sense"

Iraqi Leader Urges U.S. Troops to Stay
Mariam Fam/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraq's president said Tuesday it would be "complete nonsense" to ask foreign troops to leave the country now, although some could depart by year's end. Officials began the final vote tally from elections to produce a government to confront the insurgency.

A great successful event in Iraq

Iraq Vote Count Proceeds Despite Al Qaeda Threats
Matt Spetalnick/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Iraq compiled election results on Tuesday and eased the security lockdown for the historic multi- party vote despite al Qaeda's vow to pursue "holy war." Vote totals were being checked and re-checked, then added up by computer in secrecy after tallies were completed by hand at thousands of polling stations where voters flocked on Sunday in defiance of insurgents' threats of a bloodbath.

Pearl of Wisdom regarding Iraq

Incoherent Democrats Lose Their Second Election in the Last Three Months
Rush Limbaugh Original Article

come to the Golden EIB Microphone today, ladies and gentlemen, with just an effervescing and bubbling joy and happiness and pride knowing full well that some in America are devastated today because the Democrats have lost their second election in three months. The Democratic Party lost its second election in three months yesterday in Iraq. There is no question that the sentiments of the leadership of the Democratic Party were with the terrorists and the insurgents who sought to undermine yesterday's election in Iraq.

The Iraqi people just took a great leap forward. It's Europe that's looking more like an unwinnable quagmire.

Iraq is now the home of the brave – and soon the free
Mark Steyn/The Telegraph Original Article

Driving along and twiddling the radio dial on Sunday night, I caught this tantalising snippet: "In Madrid, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the Iraqi election." I'm fairly blasé about European decadence these days - I barely raised an eyebrow at the news that an unemployed waitress in Berlin faces the loss of her welfare benefits because she's refused to take a job as a prostitute in a legalised brothel - but, even so, it surely couldn't be true that the Spaniards so objected to the Iraqi election that they were protesting about it.

Liberal politicians did not have the fortitude to support the 83% that wanted democracy then; Don't make the same mistake now

The Vietnam turnout was good as well
Sami Ramadani/The Guardian Original Article

On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.

Democrats are beside themselves with regards to Iraqi election

John Podhoretz/New York Post Original Article

WHEN you heard about the stunning success of the Iraqi elections, were you thrilled? Did you see it as a triumph for democracy and for the armed forces of the United States that have sacrificed and suffered and fought so valiantly over the past 18 months to get Iraq to this moment? Or did you momentarily feel an onrush of disappointment because you knew, you just knew, that this was going to redound to the credit of George W. Bush? This means you, Michael Moore. I'm talking to you, Teddy Kennedy.

These elections were a moving demonstration that democracy and freedom are universal values

Iraq Insurgents' Failure Raises Questions
Sally Buzbee/AP on Yahoo Original Article

They sent nine suicide bombers, killed more than 40 people, claimed to have shot down a British military plane and threatened to wash the streets with blood. Insurgents' threats against Iraq's historic election appeared to have some impact, keeping Sunni Arab turnout low in certain areas when Iraqis voted Sunday. Yet the rebels did not stop the balloting altogether, raising questions of just how much ability and influence they have.

The terrorists now know that they cannot win

Leader Urges Unity After Iraq Vote
Anthony Shadid and Cameron W. Barr/Washington Post Original Article

A day after Iraq's first free election in half a century, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi called on his countrymen to unite and promised to reach out to the country's alienated Sunni Arab minority. The Sunni reaction may determine whether the electoral euphoria can be translated into the stability that has eluded Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

This guy's days are numbered

Al-Zarqawi's Group Slams Iraqi Elections
AP on Yahoo Original Article

The al-Qaida-linked militant group led by terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said Monday that Iraq's election would not stop its campaign of violence, vowing to step up its holy war. "Your brothers in the al-Qaida organization ... will continue the jihad (holy war) until the banner of (Islamic) unity flutters over Iraq," the group said in a statement posted on the Internet.

Democracy is breaking out all over the place

Iraqi Election May Affect Middle East
Sam F. Ghattas/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraq's election, however imperfect, could increase pressure on other authoritarian Arab countries to begin political reforms and hold free balloting. "The Americans were able to hold elections in Iraq and that made them much more comfortable in carrying on with their policies in the Middle East," said Lebanese political analyst Ali Hamadeh. "They showed everybody that you can carry on with an electoral process even when you have security problems."

When public expression means so much to you that you will vote under the threat of death, that is significant

U.S. Pollsters: Iraqis Eager for Democracy
Siobhan McDonough/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Even with widespread violence in Iraq, voters there showed a passion for democracy by apparently turning out in numbers comparable to a typical election in the United States.

France regarding vote, "great success for the international community"

World leaders hail Iraq vote as key to restoring sovereignty
Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Messages of support poured in from around the world as Iraqis voted in a landmark election hailed by both supporters and opponents of the US-led war as a key step towards restoring Iraqi sovereignty.

He must feel very vindicated

Bush Hails Iraqi Vote as Resounding Success
Carol Giacomo and Adam Entous /Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

President Bush called Sunday's landmark Iraqi election a "resounding success" and said Iraqis have rejected the anti-democratic ideology of terrorists. Bush, who went before television cameras to hail the voting, said: "The people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East."

Sounds like the Iraq is not the Quagmire we have been told

Official: U.S.-Led Forces Could Leave in 18 Months
Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

U.S.-led forces could leave Iraq within 18 months, Iraqi interim Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib told Britain's Channel 4 News Sunday after Iraq's election. "I think we will not need the multi-national, foreign forces, in this country within 18 months," he said. "I think we will be able to depend on ourselves."

Sharon has the political muscle to push the plan through

More Than 100,000 Protest Gaza Pullout
Peter Enav/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Having all but lost the political battle, more than 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem Sunday to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements from Gaza and four from the West Bank, demanding it be put to a national referendum.

Great inference, Faulty conclusion--By the way, we are no where near maxed out

The Geo-Green Alternative
Thomas L. Friedman /NY Times Original Article

One of the most striking things I've found in Europe these past two weeks is the absolute conviction that the Bush team is just itching to invade Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Psssssssst. Come over here. A little closer. Now listen: Don't tell the Iranians this, but the Bush team isn't going to be invading anybody. We don't have enough troops to finish the job in Iraq. Our military budget is completely maxed out. We couldn't invade Grenada today. If Iran is to forgo developing nuclear weapons, it will only be because the Europeans' diplomatic approach manages to persuade Tehran to do so.

Environmental activists have abandoned science in favor of sensationalism

`Environmental movement has lost its way'
Patrick Moore/The Miami Herald Original Article

Scare tactics, disinformation go too far. I am often asked why I broke ranks with Greenpeace after 15 years as a founder and full-time environmental activist. I had my personal reasons, but it was on issues of policy that I found it necessary to move on.

America, a country that has always understood the meaning of the word "freedom"

They died – and now we sneer
Leo McKinsry/Telegraph Original Article

The wind moaned gently in the nearby forest of the Vosges mountain. A thick blanket of snow lay on the ground and on the thousands of white crosses that marked the graves of US servicemen who had fallen in France during the Second World War.

His logic, inferences are correct, but he just cannot bring himself to say "Bush is Right"

Each Vote Strikes at Terror
Walter Russell Mead/LA Times Original Article

The teleprompter providing President Bush with his second inaugural address had scarcely gone blank before American and European commentators turned to dismissing his calls for a "war against tyranny" and progress toward universal democracy as naive, dogmatic, overstated and a recipe for chaos in U.S. foreign policy.

By Mr. Bush's Inauguration Day, the Hemi in Hemisphere had long since vanished

The Doctrine That Never Died
Tom Wolfe/The New York Times Original Article

SURELY some bright bulb from the Council on Foreign Relations in New York or the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton has already remarked that President Bush's inaugural address 10 days ago is the fourth corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. No? So many savants and not one peep out of the lot of them? Really?

President Bush can offer a three-word rebuttal: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq.

Bush's not-so-impossible dream
Robert J. Caldwell/The San Diego Union Tribune Original Article

To the many critics of the Bush administration's foreign policy, few of its goals have seemed more grandiose and implausible than defusing the explosive Middle East and the larger Islamic world by spreading democracy there. To this criticism President Bush can offer a three-word rebuttal: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq.

"It is a sign of parochialism and it is disturbingly intense."

PM blasts 'irrational, unfair' Europeans
Robert Gottliebsen and John Kerin/The Australian Original Article

JOHN Howard has lashed out at "old Europe", describing criticism of the US as "unfair and irrational", as global tensions grow over the Iraq war and free trade.During a vigorous panel debate on US global relations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several European officials attacked President George W. Bush's Iraq policy, but Mr Howard stood up to defend his ally.

One person who does not have to eat his words on this grand day

Giuliani: The free always triumph
Britt Kennerly/Florida Today Original Article

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani brought his brand of no-nonsense leadership to Brevard County on Saturday night, earning cheers at Wuesthoff Health System Foundation's third annual donor-appreciation gala. Giuliani, often mentioned as a contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, spoke for about an hour at the Eau Gallie Civic Center. He shared principles of leadership, a few mentions of his beloved New York Yankees and hope for today's election in Iraq.

New spin, Now not about voter turnout, but about cost of war

Stakes are high for Bush
George McGovern/The SF Chronicle Original Article

In the days and months leading up to today's election in Iraq, many young Americans died trying to defeat Iraqi insurgents. American forces fought bravely, as they always do, in breaking the grip of Saddam Hussein and his army. But now Iraq is the scene of an escalating insurgency aimed at American soldiers and those Iraqis who support the American occupation.

Johnny come lately support for Iraqi elections from the UN

United Nations' Annan Calls Iraq Vote a 'first Step' Toward Democracy
AP Original Article

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the world must encourage voters in Iraq's elections, calling Sunday's balloting "the first step" toward democracy. "They know they're voting for the future of their country. They're voting for the day when they're going to take their destiny in hand," Annan told reporters at an African Union summit in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. "We must encourage them."

Column makes you wonder about Turkey's chances of getting in the EU

Iraq is going to be just fine
Mark Steyn/Sun Times Original Article

In Europe, the wise old foreign-policy ''realists'' scoff at today's elections in Iraq -- Islam and democracy are completely incompatible, old boy; everybody knows that, except these naive blundering Yanks who just don't have our experience, frankly. If that's true, it's a problem not for Iraq this weekend but, given current demographic trends, for France and Belgium and Holland a year or two down the line.

My mistake, now it is not about voter turnout

Elections Are Not Democracy
Fareed Zakaria/Newsweek Original Article

By the time you read this, you will know how the elections in Iraq have gone. No matter what the violence, the elections are an important step forward, for Iraq and for the Middle East. But it is also true, alas, that no matter how the voting turns out, the prospects for genuine democracy in Iraq are increasingly grim. Unless there is a major change in course, Iraq is on track to become another corrupt, oil-rich quasi-democracy, like Russia and Nigeria.

White House has high stakes in Iraqi vote has been headline all day; Now we should here "Bush was right a along"

Iraqi official puts voter turnout above 70 per cent
Khaleej Times Online Original Article

More than 70 percent of the electorate cast their votes on Sunday in the country’s first free elections in a half-century, according to an Iraqi election official. Speaking at a televised news conference in Baghdad, the official said 72 percent of 13 million registered voters had cast ballots, with polls not expected to close until 5 p.m. (1400 GMT).

And the reason 44 Iraqis lost their lives today voting

Kofi Annan’s son admits oil dealing
Robert Winnett and Jonathon Carr-Brown/Times Online (UK) Original Article

THE son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein. Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme.

Baghdad's mayor overcome with emotion by turnout of voters at City Hall

Defiant Iraqis Vote in Their Millions Despite Bombs
Luke Baker/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Some came on crutches, others walked for miles then struggled to read the ballot, but across most of Iraq millions turned out to vote Sunday, defying insurgent threats of a bloodbath.

Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq put turnout at 72 percent

Iraqis Vote Despite Attacks; 44 Killed
Mariam Fam/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraqis defied threats of violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots in Iraq's first free election in a half-century Sunday. Insurgents seeking to wreck the vote struck polling stations with a string of suicide bombings and mortar volleys, killing at least 44 people, including nine suicide bombers.

I hope everyone will go out and vote, God willing.

With Occasional Smiles, Iraqis Brave Bombs to Vote
Luke Baker/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Some smiled, some were stoic and others kept their faces hidden as Iraqis trickled to the polls Sunday, braving anti-U.S. insurgents determined to drown the historic vote in blood. Fear of attack hung heavy over the first multiparty poll in 50 years. Not long after voting began, explosions shook Baghdad, killing a dozen people near polling stations. There were other attacks in the south and to the north of the capital.

Seven Strategies to Tame the Beast of the Budget

Seven Rules for Cutting Government Spending
Stephen Moore/Human Events Online Original Article

President Bush next week will release his 2006 budget, requesting slightly more than $2.6 trillion in spending. That's $2,600,000,000,000. If a Democrat proposed a budget this big, Republican fiscal hawks would squawk to the top of the Capitol dome.

The Oscars may actually be fun this year.

Billboard Blitz to Blast Hollywood
Human Events Original Article

HUMAN EVENTS has learned that a billboard blitz "thanking" Hollywood for the reelection of President Bush will be unveiled early next week. The advertisements feature the faces of liberal Hollywood icons Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Martin Sheen, Chevy Chase, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Penn, and offer thanks to Hollywood their help getting President Bush reelected.

W. Still President Posted by Hello

Voters do not appear to agree with Democratic leaders on Social Security reform

Poll shows Bush support on Social Security
Donald Lambro/The Washington Times Original Article

A majority of Americans, including nearly one-third of Democrats, support President Bush's proposal to let workers voluntarily invest part of their Social Security payroll taxes in stocks and bonds, a nationwide poll shows.

Both sides ready to implement "road map" peace plan

Israel to Conduct West Bank Hand Over
Peter Enav/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Israel will transfer security control over several West Bank towns to the Palestinians in coming days, Israel's defense minister said Sunday, hours after he met with a top Palestinian security official to work out the details of Israel's troop redeployment. Israel has informed Palestinian officials that it is ready to withdraw gradually from all West Bank towns and to return to positions it held before the outbreak of fighting in September 2000, said Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat.

Braving Death, Iraqis vote for freedom

Iraqis gather outside al-Muitasim polling station following a mortar attack that killed three and injured seven, in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005. Iraqis turned out to vote Sunday in their country's first free election in a half-century as insurgents made good on threats of violence, launching at least three deadly suicide bombings and heavy mortar strikes at polling stations. Just hours after polls opened, 17 people were killed. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Mortar Attack in Sadr City kills 3, injures 7 Posted by Hello

Defying Zarqawi, Iraqi's wait in line to vote

An Iraqi Army soldiers is wrapped in an Iraqi flag as he secures a polling station in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005 where Iraqis are lining up to vote in their country's first free election in a half-century. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Iraqi Army Soldier protects polling station Posted by Hello

A new found freedom

Iraqi women wait to enter a polling station in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005. Iraqis voted Sunday in their country's first free election in a half-century, defying threats of violence from insurgents vowing to sabotage the balloting. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Iraqi Women Line Up to Vote Posted by Hello

The best hope for ending the war in Iraq is the coming election

Elections are Iraq's best hope
Andrew Young/The Atlantic Journal Constitution Original Article

As a Democrat, I believe in elections. I have seen people in Mississippi, South Africa and Rwanda rise up and vote, in spite of violence. More than 20,000 people were killed by "insurgents" seeking to obstruct the election in KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa, yet the pictures of long lines of voters waiting for hours is the prevailing image.

FDR-four essential human freedoms (to speak and worship freely as well as the freedom from want and fear)

Freedom Over Cynicism
Lawrence Kudlow/Real Clear Politics Original Article

When you read that Jordan’s King Abdullah is taking steps to organize new elections in his country, with regional election districts that look a lot like Iraq’s, you realize just how wrong my friend Peggy Noonan is when she writes that President Bush’s inaugural speech “forgot context.”

Instead of exaggerating any imperfections, democrats around the world should celebrate the election

A Day of Iraqi Hope
Steve Hadley/Wahington Post Original Article

The Iraqi elections tomorrow will mark an important milestone in the history of that country. The Iraqi people well understand the importance of the elections, and they are moving forward with courage and determination in the face of brutal violence and calculated intimidation aimed at preventing the elections and defeating democracy.

We need to move from combat operations and toward advising in Iraq

Iraqis Defending Iraq
Melana Zyla Vickers/Tech Central Station Original Article

In this violent and tense lead-up to Iraqi elections, welcome words have in recent days been uttered by Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps. After the Jan. 30 elections, Vines told The New York Times, "The most desired course of action is that there be rapid progress in training and preparing Iraqis to assume responsibility for security in every province."

Iraqi vote is first step to end Wahhabism and terrorism

Here Comes the Election!
Stephen Schwartz/Tech Central Staton Original Article

Blood continues to flow as Iraqis prepare to answer bullets with ballots. Americans must mourn the losses in the ranks of our uniformed forces. But the enemies of Iraqi democracy have made clear that for them the Western media paradigm posing American invaders against Iraqi "resistance" is merely background noise. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the lead murderer in Iraq, issued a diatribe on Monday, January 24, denouncing the very concept of "democracy," and reinforcing his followers' longstanding commitment to one principle: permanent massacre of Shia Muslims, the majority in the country.

With Africa's largest reserves, Libya is seeking massive investment to boost its oil sector

Libya grants 15 oil exploration licenses, US companies get lion's share
Agence France-Presse, by Staff Original Article

Libya granted its first oil exploration licenses in over four decades, awarding 15 permits to foreign companies, with US companies taking the lion's share.

Freedom to Choose Flat Tax Idea

How Much Do You Want to Pay?
Stephen Moore/Wall Street Journal Original Article

Former senators Connie Mack of Florida and John Breaux of Louisiana, the chairmen of President Bush's new tax reform panel, have been granted a historic opportunity to dramatically overhaul our economically debilitating federal tax system. The surest way for the tax panel to crack through the political gridlock that has paralyzed this issue for decades would be to endorse the Freedom to Choose Flat Tax. This is an idea that I first introduced in The Wall Street Journal eight years ago--to an extraordinarily enthusiastic reception.

Even the staunchest of Stalinists pretended to govern democratically

Method of Zarqawi madness
Claude Salhani/The Washington Times Original Article

Abu Musab Zarqawi is the new bad kid on the block, with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head. In an audiotape released last week on a Web site, Zarqawi vowed to fight the very concept of democracy and to do his best to perturb today's balloting in Iraq.

Resistance will continue even if both Sunnis and Shi'ites go to the polls

Iraqi Shi'ite Cleric Urges Election Boycott
Lin Noueihed/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

A senior Shi'ite cleric urged Iraqis on Saturday to boycott Sunday's landmark elections and take up arms to expel U.S. forces from the country. "The current elections are a conspiracy to divide and destroy Iraq," Ayatollah Ahmed al-Hassani al-Baghdadi told Reuters on the eve of Iraq's first multi-party poll in 50 years.

Israeli/Palestinian truce moving forward

Sharon to Meet Abbas Next Month to Revive Peacemaking
Corinne Heller/Reuters on Yahoo Original Article

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will hold his first meeting with new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next month to try to end a Palestinian uprising and resume peacemaking, both sides said on Saturday. The meeting in the second week in February coincides with a planned visit by new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It follows a sharp drop in violence and an Israeli pledge to reduce its military operations in Palestinian areas.

Now it is up to the Iraqis.

Iraqis Start Voting, Attacks in 2 Cities
Hamza Hendawi/AP on Yahoo Original Article

Iraqis voted Sunday in their country's first free election in a half-century, as insurgents made good on threats of violence with a car bomb and mortar attacks in at least two cities. Casting his vote, President Ghazi al-Yawer called it Iraq's first step "toward joining the free world."