The Council Has Spoken!!

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The votes have been cast, the sacred runes read and this week’s Watcher’s Council results are history.

Many of the entries this week focused on the Wikileaks story but our winner this week, The Razor for America’s China Problem focused on a different area, an interesting analysis of the China, US, and Korea relationship, and how it might resolve itself:

To paraphrase Gordon Chang writing in Forbes magazine, we don’t have a North Korean problem, we have a China problem. Chang made this observation over a year and a half ago after North Korea tested a second atomic bomb, and it applies even more today. So far this year North Korea has killed 50 South Koreans in unequivocal acts of war – 46 in the sinking of the South Korean destroyer Cheonan and 4 in the shelling of Yeonpyeong island.

China’s continued support of North Korea is self-defeating. It would like nothing more than to drive the United States out of the western Pacific, yet paradoxically China’s unqualified support of North Korea’s belligerence pushes South Korea and Japan closer to the United States and sucks America deeper into the region. Protests in Seoul against the American presence have been replaced by protests demanding immediate retaliation – with American involvement.

China is worried about two events: a mass influx of refugees in the near-term and a unified Korea allied with the United States in the long-term. By propping up the Kims they may have created the conditions where both outcomes are likely.

Our non-Council winner was the one and only Iowahawk for White House in Talks With Elusive Taliban Leader an absolutely hilarious satire based on the unfortunately true story that surfaced last week – diplomats in Afghanistan have been negotiating for some time with a supposed Taliban leader who was nothing of the kind!

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!


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J O S H U A P U N D I T

Wikileaks Data and the UN Security Council

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Like Charli Carpenter, I was a bit surprised by the topic areas most frequently discussed in the cables released in the latest Wikileaks dump. Aside from the very general and somewhat non-descript categories (e.g. “external political relations,” “economic conditions”), “human rights” leads “terrorism” before “UN Security Council” as the most frequent substantive topics of the cables.

UNSC.jpg

Well, thanks to the phenomenal Guardian datablog, you can download the key data in csv format. I did just that and created the graph above, which depicts the daily number of cables sent about the UN Security Council in the post-2006 period (for which the daily number of cables in the data is relatively constant). My first hunch was that elections for non-permanent membership would generate unusual amounts of lobbying. At first glance, this seems to only modestly increase traffic, aside from the unusual 2006 election in which Venezuela was defeated after 47 rounds of voting. Most of the spikes in communications occur around the substantive resolutions, such as the May 2008 compromise on Lebanon.

Obviously, one could delve much deeper into all of this. The data also include the sources and targets of communications, although the Guardian has not published the content of the cables other than a selective analysis (rightly, in my view) . While I share some of Drew Conway’s reservations, this type of data is exceptionally rare and could prove quite useful for researchers. A big reservation is that we do not have all cables sent in a given period nor do we know much about how the sample was drawn. I leave the deeper delving to others for the moment as I have classes to teach and meetings to attend.

The Monkey Cage

The Council Has Spoken..Post Thanksgiving Edition

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gcA0ZuKGkI8/Sw32jWEdI8I/AAAAAAAAE7o/iHJeS6acoWY/s1600/Thanksgiving+pilgrims.png

I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s festivities.

The votes have been cast, the sacred runes read and this week’s Watcher’s Council results are history. But before I get to that, a word, if you don’t mind.

Yesterday we celebrated a holiday that is uniquely American…well, almost. Our pals residing in the Great White North celebrate Thanksgiving as well, albeit a month earlier and with entirely different traditions.

Our Thanksgiving comes from an innate gratitude for G-d’s bounty and the fact that we live in a free country, with rights derived from our Creator, not from government. That’s something the men who risked their ‘lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor’ for that principle understood innately, and we had best not forget that.

This week’s winner by a nose was Joshuapundit for JCS Mullen: ‘We Can Stop Islamic Extremism by Teaching People to Read The Qu’ran…’ , my fact checking of the head of our Joint Chiefs of Staff’s fanciful remarks that ‘radical Islam’ is caused by poverty and illiteracy and that if Muslims really could read the Qu’ran themselves and understand it, all would be well:


I’m not sure which is more shocking…Admiral Mullen’s ignorance of the Qu’ran itself or of the people who comprise the leadership and even much of the rank and file of the groups he’s talking about.

They are mostly highly educated, from the middle and upper classes and know what’s in the Qu’ran, the Sirrah and the Hadiths a lot better than Admiral Mullen apparently does.Let’s look at just a few of these uneducated, poverty stricken ignorant Muslims.

Osama bin-Ladin came from a wealthy and privileged family in Saudi Arabia, studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University and earned a degree in civil engineering. Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, the number two of al-Qaeda, was born to a prominent upper middle class family in Egypt and came from a large family of doctors and scholars.He graduated from from Cairo University in 1974 with an advanced degree, served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army and later earned a master’s degree in surgery.

Khalid Meshaal, the leader of Hamas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Kuwait University. The late unlamented Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a founder of Hamas attended al-Azhar University in Cairo and had a career as an educator. Another now deceased founder, Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi was a pediatrician who graduated first in his class at Egypt’s Alexandria University. Ismail Haniyeh, the current Hamas political leader in Gaza graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza with a degree in Arabic literature,Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas’ ‘foreign minister’ and bagman got his degree in medicine from Cairo University.

Hezbollah’s supreme authority is Iran’s Ayatollah Khamanei, but Sheik Hassan Nasrallah studied at Shi’a seminaries in the Beqaa Valley town of Baalbek, at Najaf, Iraq,and at Qom in Iran. Former chief of operations Imad Mughniyeh was a student in the engineering department at the American University of Beirut, while Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s second in command came from a wealthy merchant family and likewise studied at Shia seminaries.

There are a great many more examples, not least of which are a number of American jihadis like Sami al-Arian, the Fort Hood killer Major Hasan and Adam Yahiye Gadahn, who likewise were poverty stricken, illiterate and experienced the message of Islam only through what their imams and mullahs told them, right?

Yes, just a group of ignorant peasants with far less insight into the Qu’ran than Admiral Mullen. Some of them have only spent decades studying it.

Our non-Council winner was Stop Shouting with My Rebuttal to a Progressive who Admonished Me to Play Nice …. an inspired rant telling the Left that no, all is not well, the gloves are off and there are some pretty heavy scores to settle.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!


please donate…it helps me write more gooder!

J O S H U A P U N D I T

Nonprofit will designate the Family Research Council a ‘hate group’

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – The Southern Poverty Law Center will designate the Family Research Council, a powerful conservative advocacy organization, as a hate group next year because of its anti-gay views. For its part, the council is already firing back in a statement calling the announcement a “smear campaign.”

In the most recent edition of its publication “Intelligence Report,” the SPLC included its analysis of 14 years’ worth of hate crimes data. The study concluded that gays were more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group. As part of its study, the SPLC made a list titled “18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda.” The SPLC said it would designate 13 of the 18 groups on the list as “hate groups” in 2011, including the Family Research Council.

The SPLC’s criteria for listing these organizations was “generally… based on their propagation of known falsehoods – claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities – and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

In making its case against the Family Research Council, the SPLC cites the work and comments of several people associated with the influential conservative group. According to the report, Robert Sprigg, a senior research fellow, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” The report also alleges Sprigg opposed allowing gays to openly serve in the military because it would “lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins blasted the SPLC report and called for an apology. In a written statement, Perkins says “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing. This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC.”

“The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It’s a sad day in America when we can not, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling.”

SPLC list of anti-gay organizations

Full statement from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins:

“Family Research Council has, for nearly 30 years, advanced faith, family, and freedom in public discourse. We do so with civility and compassion. We hold to the indisputable fact that the family – a Dad, a Mom, and children – is the best building block of a good society, which is why we oppose efforts to transform it based on personal sexual preference.

“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing.

“This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC. The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It’s a sad day in America when we can not, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling.”

“The Left’s smear campaigns of conservatives is also being driven by the clear evidence that the American public is losing patience with their radical policy agenda as seen in the recent election and in the fact that every state, currently more than thirty, that has had the opportunity to defend the natural definition of marriage has done so. Earlier this month, voters in Iowa sent a powerful message when they removed three Supreme Court justices who imposed same-sex marriage on the state. Would the SPLC also smear the good people of Iowa?”

“Family Research Council will continue to champion marriage and family as the foundation of our society and will not acquiesce to those seeking to silence the Judeo-Christian views held by millions of Americans. We call on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.”


CNN Political Ticker

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Thanksgiving Edition

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Now, I wonder who’s going to pardon this turkey?

The Watcher’s Council is a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy yourselves!


please donate…it helps me write more gooder!

J O S H U A P U N D I T

UN Human Right Council adopted nine anti-Israel resolutions this month; Obama’s U.S. delegation opposed none of them

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Obama continues on his relentlessly anti-Israel, pro-jihad course. “Obama’s UN Officials Silent on Nine Anti-Israel Resolutions,” by Chana Ya’ar for Israel National News, November 22 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):

The United Nations Human Rights Council this month adopted nine resolutions against Israel. The United States opposed nothing….

Other UNHRC members responded with a verbal assault against the Israeli diplomat, which was also not stopped by the Obama administration representative.

“There is no other terrorism on the surface of the planet like the terrorism committed by Israel,” claimed the Syrian delegate. “This entity was established on the basis of terrorism.”…

Jihad Watch

Despite Federal Charges, Leslie Johnson Poised To Assume Council Seat

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Leslie Johnson, the wife of Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson whom the feds say stuffed nearly $ 80,000 in cash in her bra and flushed a $ 100,000 check down the toilet to try and hide evidence, could still take the seat she was elected to on the County Council despite the federal charges pending against her.

Not so fast, say current and incoming members of the council who have joined critics in calling for Johnson to step aside.

Now the Washington Post editorial board too is calling on her to step aside, writing that while there is no law banning Johnson from taking the seat in December, it “would be in the county’s interest for her to give up the post.”

The outlandish charges in the document have made Prince George’s County fodder for comedy shows and state Republicans alike.

“Just one week after being caught with more money in her undergarments than most Marylanders make in a year, her failure to resign continues to plague a county that has endured enough scandal this year,” Maryland Republican Party Chairwoman Audrey Scott said.

Leslie Johnson’s lawyer told the Associated Press that Johnson is asking for prayers and support “through the ordeal of fighting to disprove the allegations that are pending against her now.”

Meanwhile, residents have started an online petition calling on Johnson to resign. Since the arrests, a state delegate who represents residents in the Hyattsville section of Prince George’s County has picked up support for a law which would close a loophole allowing politicians in the county to receive donations from developers through shared accounts.

Johnson’s campaign website is still up and running, but comments have been banned on her Facebook page.







TPMMuckraker

Hartford City Council President rJo Winch, state Rep. Douglas McCrory Will Not Run For Mayor Vs. Segarra

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Hartford City Council president rJo Winch and state Rep. Douglas McCrory both said Monday that they will not be running for mayor of Hartford.

Winch says she will seek reelection to the city council in the November 2011 election. McCrory was recently elected to his state legislative seat in the 7th District, and he will be returning to the state Capitol when the General Assembly reconvenes on opening day on January 5.

“In spit of all Hartford’s wrongs, I have not lost hope,” McCrory said. “I can’t lose hope. My biggest investment is here in Hartford – my family.”

He added, “I will guarantee the people of Hartford this. The candidate I get behind will have my whole-hearted public support. And if you thought I worked hard for my re-election bid – watch out.”

Capitol Watch

Video: A Funny Thing Happened At The Review Of The US At The Human Rights Council…

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Question: What do Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Qatar, Egypt, China and Libya all have in common?

They all get to hold judgement on the US at the Universal Periodic Review of the US at the UN Human Rights Council-thanks to the decision by the Obama administration to join the UNHRC and help improve it from the inside.

See the results for yourself.

Technorati Tag: and .


Daled Amos

Britain’s ideal U.N. Security Council

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

At a speech I had the chance to attend at Georgetown University yesterday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced his support for a "more representative U.N. Security Council." Following the speech, I asked Hague what his ideal council would look like and got a surprisingly specific response:

We favor the inclusion of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan and African representation in an expanded security council. It’s a difficult process to bring about of course as it requires a high degree of international consensus. But that’s our goal in the United Kingdom. 

The British Foreign Office and Hague’s Conservative Party haven’t always been so enthusiastic about the idea of an expanded council. 

The speech was largely dedicated to combating the notion that cuts to the British defense and diplomatic budgets will lead to a less assertive British presence in world affairs. "Strong defenses require strong finances," he said. "The decisions we have taken are necessary beyond question and will ensure that Britain will be able to defend all its territories and meet all its commitments, including to NATO’s target of 2 percent of gross domestic product spend on defense."

Hague also suggested that there may be some rebalancing ahead for British trade priorities:

For example, we are still exporting more to Ireland than to India, China and Russia put together, and more to Denmark than to the whole of Latin America — a region of 20 countries and 576 million people.

FP Passport

Dodd calls for a new national council on children

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd is calling for a new, national council to focus on improving the lot of the nation’s chuldren.

The National Council on Children would provide an annual assessment of the state of the American child and make recommendations to Congress on policies effecting children’s health, education and overall well-being.

“This subcommittee has provided an important forum for our country’s elected leaders and children advocates to focus on the needs of our children. And it has played a vital role, shedding light on the struggles our nation’s children face,” Dodd said ina  press release. “What we have learned is that our children are in crisis. It is critical that we create a new national council on children to closely examine the needs of children and identify solutions to improve their lives.”

He’s being joined by Se. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who said such a council could provide a “road map to ensure that the current generation of young Americans has as many opportunities to succeed as possible.”

Dodd today wrapped up the last of four hearings on the state of the American child, which examined virtually every aspect of the lives of Americans under 18 years of age. Throughout his long career in the U.S. Senate, Dodd has been a champion of children’s issues; he founded the chamber’s Children’s Caucus in 1983.

    

 

Capitol Watch

Watcher’s Council Nominations..Lame Duck Edition

November 18, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


The Watcher’s Council is a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions


please donate…it helps me write more gooder!

J O S H U A P U N D I T

OIC wants “adequate representation of Muslim Ummah” in the UN Security Council

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Organization of the Islamic Conference is already the largest voting bloc at the UN, but a place on the Security Council would cement its control. “Kashmir removed from UN list of disputes,” from Rediff, November 15 (thanks to Ravi):

In a significant development, Jammu and Kashmir has been removed from the UN list of unresolved disputes, giving a setback to Pakistan which has been asking the world body to intervene on the issue.

The omission of Jammu and Kashmir from a list of disputes under the observation of the UN Security Council was noticed by Pakistan whose envoy has lodged a protest.

“Jammu and Kashmir dispute was not mentioned in the context of unresolved long-running situations,” said Amjad Hussain B Sial, Pakistan’ acting envoy to the UN.

“We understand this was an inadvertent omission, as Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the Security Council,” he added.

Sial was speaking at the UN General Assembly session, which was discussing the functioning and reform of the Security Council. It was organised by the UK that holds the presidency of the Security Council this month. […]

Pakistan, which objects to India being on the Council, argued that the new council should include a few large states, a number of medium sized States and a majority of smaller States.

“We support the position of the Organization of Islamic Conference demanding adequate representation of Muslim Ummah in the Security Council,” said Sial.

Jihad Watch

Watcher’s Council Results, 11/12/10

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Council has spoken! Here are the results of our weekly Watcher’s Council contest, the ones that would have appeared Friday if I hadn’t had the plague.

We had a tie in the voting this week in the Council category for first place between Joshuapundit‘s Jews, Democrats And ‘Progressives’ – an attempt to explain to a long time member of Joshua’s Army why “the most pro-Arab, blatantly anti-Israel POTUS is still getting such high marks from Jews”- and VA Right –‘s The Bush Administration Never Fondled Our Genetalia, an examination of the recent TSA scanner and groping scandals.

As per our arcane bylaws, the Watcher broke the tie and thus my Jews, Democrats And ‘Progressives’ aced out the equally fine post by VA Right.

Our non-council winning post was one I particularly enjoyed, A Smiling Obama Returns to Bloody Jakarta by Sultan Knish. In it, the writer contrasts Obama’s bashing of Israel in Jakarta with his ability to not even mention the Muslim invasion, brutal occupation and genocide against the Christians of East Timor carried out by his homies in Indonesia. I recommend you read it.

Here are the full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

As always, congratulations not only to the winners but to the participants.


please donate…it helps me write more gooder!

J O S H U A P U N D I T

Obama Comes to Japan Bearing Gifts: Support for Japan Taking Permanent Seat on UN Security Council and Invitation to Washington for Prime Minister Kan

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: Trade was at the top of the agenda when President Obama sat down with Japanese Prime Minister Kan this morning in Yokahama. The two leaders made brief remarks after their meeting, but took no questions….



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