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This article is frightening on multiple levels. First, here’s what happened that started this disaster:

Canyon High School, based in Anaheim Hills, issued an apology to 16-year-old Haley Bullwinkle, a student there, after first telling her that a T-shirt she wore to school violated its dress code policy on clothes depicting and promoting violence. The garment in question: a T-shirt with a photo of the American flag and a hunter, along with the words, “National Rifle Association of America, Protecting America’s Traditions Since 1871.”

It never occurred to the sophomore that the shirt she grabbed when she was running late for school a couple of weeks ago would land her in trouble with officials. But Bullwinkle was confronted by a security guard outside of class and told she had to change her shirt or face a suspension. She cooperated and wore a top the school provided for the duration of the day, but the incident frightened the teenager, and outraged her parents.

Simply put, Canyon High School tried to prevent Ms. Bullwinkle from exercising her First Amendment rights. At least the school apologized. Plenty of schools wouldn’t have done even that much.

This is the frightening part:

Calls from Yahoo Shine to principal Kimberly Fricker and superintendent Michael Christensen weren’t returned, but Fricker did apologize to the Bullwinkle family. Superintendent Christensen also released a statement saying, “Campus staff will be trained so that an incident like this does not occur again.”

Here’s a radical thought. Instead of putting the staff through training, perhaps schools should just teach the Constitution as part of each year’s history class. After teaching the Constitution, it’d be appropriate to then teach students, and apparently faculty, staff and administration, about the Bill of Rights. (Students could even earn extra credit for reading the Federalist Papers.)

The class could be taught by KrisAnne Hall through a Skype connection. I’d bet she’d be willing to teach students, faculty, staff and administration about the history of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the various state conventions and the documents that the Founding Fathers used to write the Constitution.

With that type of class being taught for an entire quarter, the chuckleheads who tried to silence Ms. Bullwinkle wouldn’t need additional training because they’d know censorship is one of the worst violations of the First Amendment.

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If people doubted that Newt Gingrich was gaining traction, this information should put an end to that speculation:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has raised more money in October than during the previous three months combined, he told reporters Tuesday as he laid out his vision for his campaign’s turnaround.

During the previous fundraising quarter that spanned July, August and September, Gingrich raised $800,000.

With fundraising totals like that, it’ll be surprising if Newt isn’t soon seen as a top-tier candidate by inside-the-Beltway pundits. Activists are already warming up to him, with some committing to support him with others giving him a first serious look.

If Newt’s debate performances continue, which I suspect they will, his recent fundraising spike will continue. If that happens, which is a big if, Newt will have caught fire at the right time. It’s always better to finish strong than to start strong, then fizzle.

“If we continue to improve at this pace, I think we’ll be able to run a full-blown campaign to be totally competitive in terms of advertising and other things, by the time we get to early January,” Gingrich said.

A fully-funded Gingrich would be a difficult opponent, both in the GOP primaries and in the general election. He’s easily the smartest man on stage in terms of policy, whether the subject is national security, tax reform, regulation reform, implementing free market solutions to the nation’s biggest problems or on comprehensive energy policy.

“There was an unedited opportunity to listen to me and to decide that I had, that I actually represent a campaign of real substance,” he said of his role in GOP debates. “Given the press coverage of June, July and August, that was sort of a great surprise to people.”

The DC pundits started with an animus towards Gingrich, most likely because he wouldn’t play their games as Speaker. The new storyline that’s popped up this week is that Newt’s yesterday’s news, which I regard as the DC media’s latest attempt to downplay Newt’s solutions.

The more people see the top-tier GOP candidates, the more they’ll discard the DC media’s charicatures. They’ll start forming their own opinions of the candidates. I’d argue that that’s what’s fueling Speaker Gingrich’s rise.

Frankly, I think the DC elites don’t know which box to put Newt in. He’s a voracious reader, reading everything from Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock to Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

It’s difficult to say that someone who’s both a world class historian and a futurist “yesterday’s news.” As more people get to studying Newt, the more impressed they’ll be. That doesn’t guarantee him the nomination victory.

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Now that people are upset that the $787,000,000,000 stimulus bill didn’t “create or save” the 4,000,000 jobs that President Obama once predicted, the Obama administration is shifting gears. Their latest strategy might best be titled “If at first you don’t succeed, rewrite recent history.” Karl Rove’s latest WSJ column highlights President Obama’s tactics:

So what’s a president to do when the promises he made about his economic stimulus program fail to materialize? If you’re Barack Obama, you redefine your goals and act as if America won’t remember what you said originally. That’s a neat trick if you can get away with it, but Mr. Obama won’t. His words are a matter of public record and he will be held to them.

President Obama hadn’t been challenged on his flip-flops prior to getting to the big stage. He certainly wasn’t challenged by the Illinois media. He certainly wasn’t challenged by the DC media. Now that he’s graduated to the big leagues, though, center-right bloggers and especially Jake Tapper will keep him honest. Relatively speaking of course. Mr. Rove will certainly hold him accountable:

In February, Mr. Obama said this about the goals of his stimulus package: “I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving four million jobs.” He later explained the stimulus’s $787 billion would “go directly to…generating three to four million new jobs.” And his Council of Economic Advisors issued an official analysis showing that the unemployment rate would top out in the third quarter of this year at just over 8%.

President Obama is pretending that ARRA “has worked as intended.” Unemployment has jumped from 7.6 percent to 9.5 percent, a 25 percent increase since the bill’s enactment and since we aren’t close to 4,000,000 jobs being saved or created or a combination thereof.

If the plan has worked as intended, then isn’t it a pretty worthless plan? I mean, didn’t the American people vote for President Obama with the hope that he’d solve our economic problems? I’m betting that the American people didn’t hope he’d enact policies that caused massive job losses and that wouldn’t jumpstart the economy. I’m betting that they wouldn’t agree with President Obama that ARRA “has worked as [they] intended.”

As is Mr. Obama’s habit, he has answered his critics by creating straw-man arguments. In last weekend’s radio address, he attacked detractors as those who “felt that doing nothing was somehow an answer.” But many of Mr. Obama’s critics didn’t feel that way. They offered, and Mr. Obama almost completely ignored, constructive ideas to jump-start the economy.

For example, House Republicans offered an alternative recovery package of immediate tax cuts and safety-net measures that cost half as much as Mr. Obama’s stimulus program. Republicans have also calculated that their plans would have created 50% more jobs than the stimulus. They reached that estimate by using the same job-growth econometric model that the president’s Council of Economic Advisors used for the stimulus.

There’s a reason why President Obama’s JA ratings have dropped. People don’t trust him like they did when he first got in office. Too often, President Obama has promised people things that he’s later failed to deliver on. That’s the shortest path to a credibility problem that I can think of.

President Obama’s first 6 months in office is marked with lots of stumbles and few successes for the American people. If that doesn’t change soon, Democrats will have to defend President Obama’s revisionist history during the 2010 campaign. Good luck with that.

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If you haven’t read Victor Davis Hanson’s article for NRO, put that down as today’s must reading. VDH excoriates President Obama for “making things up.” I particularly appreciate the fact that he isn’t gentle in his excoriation of President Obama. Here’s a sample:

The “Big Lie.” Team Obama says that Judge Sotomayor misspoke when she asserted that Latinas were inherently better judges than white males. Yet the people around Obama knew before Sotomayor was nominated that she has reiterated such racialist sentiments repeatedly over many years.

Obama complained that his deficits were largely inherited, even though his newly projected annual deficit and aggregate increase in the national debt may well, if they are not circumvented, equal all the deficit spending compiled by all previous administrations combined.

The president lectures Congress on its financial excesses. He advocates “pay as you go” budgeting. But he remains silent about the unfunded liabilities involved in his own proposals for cap-and-trade, universal health care, and education reform, which will in aggregate require well over a trillion dollars in new spending on top of existing deficits — but without any “pay as you go” proposals to fund them.

By the same token, his promise that 95 percent of Americans will receive an Obama “tax cut” is impossible. Remember, almost 40 percent of households currently pay no income taxes at all, and the $1.7-trillion annual deficit will necessitate a broad array of taxes well beyond those assessed on incomes above $250,000.

Obama talks about cutting federal outlays by eliminating $17 billion in expenditures, one-half of one percent of a $3.4-trillion budget. Here the gap between rhetoric and reality is already so wide that it simply makes no difference whether one goes completely beyond the limits of belief. Why would a liberal “budget hawk” go through the trouble of trying to cut 10 or 20 percent of the budget when he might as well celebrate a 0.5 percent cut and receive the same amount of credit or disdain? If one is going to distort, one might as well distort whole-hog.

Simply put, there isn’t a whopper that President Obama isn’t willing to tell if he thinks it’ll help him win an argument. President Obama hasn’t proven an ability to say no to telling big whoppers. I suspect that that’s because he’s willing to do anything to accumulate power and praise. Simply put, he’s a narcissist, perfectly willing to say anything to anyone if it’s said in the furtherance of achieving a goal.

President Obama isn’t the only administration official who is comfortable with telling whoppers. Vice President Biden is adept at it, too:

Vice President Joe Biden says “everyone guessed wrong” on the impact of the economic stimulus. Biden says the economy was worse off than anyone thought when officials estimated the number of jobs that could be saved or created under the administration’s $787 billion stimulus spending.

It’s long past time since the fawning traditional media held Democrats accountable on anything that wasn’t a scandal. If they scrutinized this administration’s statements and actions properly, this administration would have a job approval rating in the 40s.

Did anyone on the networks, other than Jake Tapper, report that Caterpillar’s CEO disputed President Obama’s statement about the impact of President Obama’s stimulus plan? Has anyone at the networks challenged President Obama’s saved or created nonsense?

As long as the traditional media treat President Obama with kid gloves, this administration’s lies will continue.

Fortunately for the American people, they don’t have to rely on the traditional media for their information. Fortunately, blogs and right-leaning websites like NRO are perfectly content to hold President Obama accountable for his doublespeak.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

During his interview with Brit Hume, President Bush said that winning in Iraq took priority over winning the 2006 elections. I’m thankful that he winning was his top priority. Here’s what he told Hume:

“During the darkest days of Iraq, people came to me and said, ‘You’re creating incredible political difficulties for us,’” the current president said as his term draws to a close. “And I said, ‘Oh, really? What do you suggest I do?’ And some suggested retreat, pull out of Iraq.

“But I had faith that freedom exists in people’s souls and therefore, if given a chance, democracy and Iraqi-style democracy could survive and work,” the president said. “I didn’t compromise that principle for the sake of trying to, you know, bail out my political party.”

Thankfully, we had someone in the White House who took terrorism seriously. Unfortunately, the 42nd president didn’t take it serious.

Twenty years from now, serious historians will record that President Bush’s decisions liberated 50,000,000 people while preventing numerous terrorist attacks after the horrific attacks of 9/11. Twenty years from now, serious historians will say that terrorism wasn’t a priority for President Clinton even after the bombing of the Khobar Towers or after the bombing of the East African embassies or after the bombing of the USS Cole. Twenty years from now, serious historians will credit President Bush with liberating Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that will be strong American allies.

It’s rare that an American president puts their greatest priorities on liberty. It was certainly a high priority for JFK, FDR, Reagan and Lincoln. Though I don’t rank President Bush as high as I rank that group, I do recognize that he liberated more people than JFK and Lincoln.

Achieving important goals like spreading liberty and ridding nations of tyrannical rulers is more important than winning elections because our nation’s security is important to several generations’ well-being whereas the political pendulum swings back and forth.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stirring speech is the ultimate refutation of the Democrats’ mantra about needing to elect Democrats so Americans can be respected in the world again. Here’s an example of Sarkozy’s enthusiastic endorsement of America:

Friends may have differences; they may have disagreements; they may have disputes.

But in times of difficulty, in times of hardship, friends stand together, side by side; they support each other; and help one another.

In times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped one another, fought for each other’s freedom.

The United States and France remain true to the memory of their common history, true to the blood spilled by their children in common battles. But they are not true merely to the memory of what they accomplished together in the past. They remain true, first and foremost, to the same ideal, the same principles, the same values that have always united them.

That isn’t the sound of a foreign leader dissing the United States. That’s the sound of an unabashed friend of the United States. Nicolas Sarkozy isn’t as steadfast an ally of George Bush’s as Tony Blair was but it’s close. President Sarkozy’s mentions of sharing the same ideals, principles and values speaks volumes to his indifference to Jacques Chirac’s elitism.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.

America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who–with their hands, their intelligence and their heart–built the greatest nation in the world: “Come, and everything will be given to you.” She said: “Come, and the only limits to what you’ll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent.” America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

It’s obvious that President Sarkozy isn’t just an admirer of America’s accomplishments. President Sarkozy understands the essence of America’s brilliance. He’s unapologetic and effusive in his praise of the United States, too.

In my opinion, here’s President Sarkozy’s finest, most stirring, tribute to the United States:

What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for
all mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The men and women of my generation heard their grandparents talk about how in 1917, America saved France at a time when it had reached the final limits of its strength, which it had exhausted in the most absurd and bloodiest of wars.

The men and women of my generation heard their parents talk about how in 1944, America returned to free Europe from the horrifying tyranny that threatened to enslave it.

Fathers took their sons to see the vast cemeteries where, under thousands of white crosses so far from home, thousands of young American soldiers lay who had fallen not to defend their own freedom but the freedom of all others, not to defend their own families, their own homeland, but to defend humanity as a whole.

Fathers took their sons to the beaches where the young men of America had so heroically landed. They read them the admirable letters of farewell that those 20-year-old soldiers had written to their families before the battle to tell them: “We don’t consider ourselves heroes. We want this war to be over. But however much dread we may feel, you can count on us.” Before they landed, Eisenhower told them: “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

And as they listened to their fathers, watched movies, read history books and the letters of soldiers who died on the beaches of Normandy and Provence, as they visited the cemeteries where the star-spangled banner flies, the children of my generation understood that these young Americans, 20 years old, were true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice of your children.

These aren’t the polite words of a politician visiting a lukewarm ally. They’re the words of a man who admires the character of the United States, who appreciates the sacrifices of American soldiers and who has the heart of a true American patriot.

I strongly encourage everyone to read President Sarkozy’s entire speech. You’ll be glad you did.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This video of Juan Williams and Bill O’Reilly ridiculing Dr. Boyce Watkins’ remarks is must viewing:

In my opinion, Dr. Watkins is a parasite who’s living off of the virtuous, positive movement that Dr. Martin Luther King started. Dr. Watkins doesn’t have a bit of moral standing after calling Juan Williams a “happy negro”. Dr. Watkins doesn’t have the moral right to criticize Juan Williams about anything.

Juan Williams is a man for whom the Civil Rights Movement is deeply personal. Anyone who’s paid attention to Juan Williams knows that he’s a proud man who’s been inspired by the Civil Rights Movement that Dr. Martin Luther King gave his life for. Anyone who’s paid attention to Juan Williams knows about his appreciation for Justice Thurgood Marshall.

I’d further state that Bill Cosby and Juan Williams better represent the type of ideals that Dr. King espoused. Let’s also include Rep. John Lewis in that group, too. These men are the type of men that represent the best that the Civil Rights Movement had to offer. They are the real leaders, not charlatans like Boyce Watkins.

I’d stongly recommend that everyone buy and read these books if you haven’t already done so:

Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary
Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

There’s an old cliche that says that “It’s better to keep your mouth shut & be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Based on this LA Times op-ed, former Sen. George McGovern would’ve been wise to have heeded that axiom. He didn’t and now he looks like a doddering, defensive policymaker whose time has long passed. The object of his scorn in this op-ed is Vice President Dick Cheney. Here’s a sampling of his scorn:

Cheney charged that today’s Democrats don’t appreciate the terrorist danger when they move to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war. The fact is that Bush and Cheney misled the public when they implied that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks. That was the work of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda team. Cheney and Bush blew the effort to trap Bin Laden in Afghanistan by their sluggish and inept response after the 9/11 attacks.

Mr. McGovern’s op-ed is another ‘episode’ of “Bush lied, people died.” This works in their minds because that’s what they heard when President Bush made his justification for war with Saddam’s terrorist nation. It’s a shame that that isn’t what he said.

What’s worse with that paragraph is that McGovern uses that Democrat talking point instead of proving the Bush administration wrong. Vice President Cheney said that “Democrats don’t appreciate the terrorist danger when they move to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war.” Based on how fast they expect the war to end, that’s an accurate statement. Instead of proving Cheney’s statement wrong, McGovern slips to the “Bush lied, people died” mantra.

That’s what’s called spin inside the Beltway. In flyover country where I live, it’s called avoiding the subject. That’s predictable behavior for Democrats. When they can’t win the argument, they switch subjects. The way to defeat them, I simply let them have their rant, then I ask them to deal with the facts that I’ve presented. If they refuse to deal with the central facts, then you know you’ve won. What’s even better is that they know you’ve won. Let’s deal with each of McGovern’s claims.

The fact is that Bush and Cheney misled the public when they implied that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Think of what Mr. McGovern is saying. He said that the Bush administration “implied” that Iraq was involved in 9/11. By saying that, he’s admitting that they didn’t explicitly say that. Stop and think about that. The only ‘proof’ that he can provide is that that’s what he thinks they said. It says more about his line of thinking than anything else.

Cheney and Bush blew the effort to trap Bin Laden in Afghanistan by their sluggish and inept response after the 9/11 attacks.

I’d like to know what Mr. McGovern is basing this statement on. Is he basing his opinion on the fact that the Coalition military drove the Taliban government? Or is he basing it on the fact that the Coalition won a war in Afghanistan, something that no other military had ever done before?

I suspect that McGovern thinks that Afghanistan was a failure because we didn’t hand Osama’s head to President Bush. That’s a disappointment but it’s hardly justification for saying that the Bush administration’s response was “sluggish and inept.”

Just as the Bush administration mistakenly asserted Iraq’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks, it also falsely contended that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. When former Ambassador Joseph Wilson exploded the myth that Iraq attempted to obtain nuclear materials from Niger, Cheney’s top aide and other Bush officials leaked to the media that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent (knowingly revealing the identity of a covert agent is illegal).

GRRRR. Joe Wilson didn’t explode “the myth that Iraq attempted to obtain nuclear materials from Niger.” In fact, Bush’s Sixteen Words didn’t even contain the word Niger. Here’s what he said in that SOTU:

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

Here’s Factcheck’s analysis of Joe Wilson’s ‘findings’:

Some of his critics called that a lie, but the new evidence shows Bush had reason to say what he did.

  • A British intelligence review released July 14 calls Bush’s 16 words “well founded.”
  • A separate report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee said July 7 that the US also had similar information from “a number of intelligence reports,” a fact that was classified at the time Bush spoke.
  • Ironically, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who later called Bush’s 16 words a “lie”, supplied information that the Central Intelligence Agency took as confirmation that Iraq may indeed have been seeking uranium from Niger.
  • Both the US and British investigations make clear that some forged Italian documents, exposed as fakes soon after Bush spoke, were not the basis for the British intelligence Bush cited, or the CIA’s conclusion that Iraq was trying to get uranium.

None of the new information suggests Iraq ever nailed down a deal to buy uranium, and the Senate report makes clear that US intelligence analysts have come to doubt whether Iraq was even trying to buy the stuff. In fact, both the White House and the CIA long ago conceded that the 16 words shouldn’t have been part of Bush’s speech.

The CIA, which sent Wilson on his mission, said that his information confirmed the validity of President Bush’s ‘Sixteen Words’. By definition, that means that Wilson didn’t “explode the myth” of Bush’s ‘Sixteen Words’.

Furthermore, rebutting Wilson’s lies was the Bush administration’s right and their responsibility because Wilson was part of the Kerry campaign’s foreign policy team at the time. Not rebutting him would’ve been seen as the Bush campaign not responding to a Kerry unproven allegation.

Then again, McGovern, Kerry and Wilson would rather not have you remember that part. They’d rather use this as ‘proof’ that President Bush is a ruthless, evil man who destroys anyone that “speaks truth to power” to his administration. Instead, it’s just proof that the Bush administration sought to set the record straight rather than let a lying backstabbing backbencher get away with maligning his administration.

In attacking my positions in 1972 as representative of “that old party of the early 1970s,” Cheney seems oblivious to the realities of that time. Does he remember that the Democratic Party, with me in the lead, reformed the presidential nomination process to ensure that women, young people and minorities would be represented fairly? The so-called McGovern reform rules are still in effect and, indeed, have been largely copied by the Republicans.

The Democrats’ 1972 platform was also in the forefront in pushing for affordable healthcare, full employment with better wages, a stronger environmental and energy effort, support for education at every level and a foreign policy with less confrontation and belligerence and more cooperation and conciliation.

Cheney wasn’t referring to universal healthcare or artificially lowering the unemployment rate through government spending. He wasn’t even thinking about the “so-called McGovern reform rules.” What Vice President Cheney was specifically referring to was McGovern’s peacenik amnesty plan for all draft dodgers. He was also referring to Democrats cutting off funding for the South Vietnamese, which utterly destroyed our credibility with the ‘World Community’.

It isn’t surprising that Mr. McGovern would try mischaracterizing Bush administration policy. It isn’t even surprising that he’d try mischaracterizing Vice President Cheney’s reference to McGovern’s policies.

That’s what happens when a liberal can’t win a fight on the merits.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Kenneth Stein has written an article about his leaving the Carter Center. Suffice it to say that it’s devastating to Carter.

While Carter says that he wrote the book to educate and provoke debate, the narrative aims its attack toward Israel, Israeli politicians, and Israel’s supporters. It contains egregious errors of both commission and omission. To suit his desired ends, he manipulates information, redefines facts, and exaggerates conclusions.

The question I’d love asking Jimmy Carter is this: How can you pretend that the goal of your book is to “educate and provoke debate” when it’s so factually inaccurate and biased?

I ask you to think back to your favorite teachers. Didn’t these teachers have their facts straight and their logic seamless and compelling? Where is the compelling logic in Carter’s book? How many facts have been pointed out in the media alone? It’s enough to bury what little is left of Carter’s credibility.

Carter’s preferred method in writing the book was to lay a brief and somewhat selective historical foundation for each chapter and emphasize the contemporary. I sought to anchor each chapter more deeply in history and political culture. He had little patience for precedent or laborious recapitulation of history. Too often it interfered with his desire to find action-oriented solutions, which befit his training as an engineer. For Carter, history and ideology bestowed unwanted moorings and unnecessary rigidities; they shackled the pragmatism and flexibility of the would-be negotiator.

When Stein says that Carter thought that “history and ideology bestowed unwanted moorings and unnecessary rigidities”, what he’s really saying is that historical truths proved cumbersome to Carter because he was already then living in a fantasy world devoid of real truth. Carter is nothing if not divorced from reality and indifferent to historical truth.

The Roots of Carter’s Anger

Carter believes the conflict’s resolution to be simple: After the Israeli government agrees in principle to withdraw fully from the West Bank, a dedicated negotiator like himself can usher in an independent, peaceful Palestinian state. That this has not happened is, in Carter’s view, primarily due to the legacy of late Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, not the fault of poor Palestinian decision-making or the Palestinian embrace of terrorism.

This is where verifiable facts get in President Carter’s way. That’s why he simply ignores the facts.

Carter believes that if the U.S. government reduces or stops its support for Israel, then the Jewish state will be weakened and become more malleable in negotiations. His underlying logic is based upon an imperial rationality that assumes Washington to have the answer to myriad issues besetting Middle Eastern societies. This plays into the notion in Arab societies that the cause of their problems lies with Western powers and other outsiders.

That’s about as wrong-headed of thinking as it gets. First of all, that’s awful policy. It’s awful policy because it’s based on the U.S. favoring a terrorist nation over a full-fledged democracy who’s biggest desire is to simply live in peace while raising their families. Arab nations have been used a myriad of excuses for the ineptitude of their governmental institutions. These institutions are inept because the terrorists aren’t interested in a government that provides for their people. These terrorist governments are only interested in wiping Israel off the face of the earth.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

History was made today in the NFL when Lovie Smith became the first African American head coach to guide his team into the Super Bowl. Hours later, Smith’s former mentor and friend Tony Dungy guided his Indianapolis Colts past Bill Belichick’s Patriots to become the second African American coach to guide his team into the Super Bowl. Tony Dungy isn’t the only Colt to get the proverbial monkey off his back with the win. Peyton Manning displayed a type of poise today that I’d never seen in him before.

Peyton Manning didn’t just show poise in a tightly fought game. Peyton Manning showed poise in completing the biggest comeback victory in NFL championship game history. Early on, Manning and the Colts were missing on at least four of their eight cylinders. When Logan Mankins recovered a botched handoff between Tom Brady and Laurence Mauroney for a Patriot touchdown, announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms wondered aloud if this wasn’t more proof that this wouldn’t be Manning’s day.

When Asante Samuel intercepted Manning’s pass and returned it for a touchdown, the Patriot lead was 21-3 with precious few minutes left in the first half. If ever there was a time when you wondered whether Manning would stumble, this was that moment. He didn’t stumble. Instead, he led his team to a field goal just before halftime. Then he guided the Colts to an second half-opening touchdown drive, their first touchdown since the Chiefs playoff game.

After the Colts defense stopped Brady’s bunch, Manning led the Colts on another impressive march, this time capping it off with a 1 yard touchdown pass to defensive lineman Dan Klecko. Klecko was in as a blocker. Instead, he caught the pass on a tackle eligible. Manning hit Marvin Harrison for the dramatic two point conversion.

Tom Brady and company weren’t going to go silently into that good night, at least not without a knuckle-busting fight first. Ellis Hobbs took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to the Colts 21 yard line. Tom Brady capped the drive with a 6 yard TD pass to Jabar Gaffney, making it 28-21 Patriots.

The Colts then retied the game when center Jeff Saturday recovered running back Dominic Rhodes’ fumble in the end zone, making him the third lineman to score in the game. (Who’s writing this script? Simply unbelievable!!!)

When rookie Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 43-yard field goal, the Patriots led 34-31 and the clock showed just 3:49 left. Manning mixed in a dramatic 52 yard pass play to tight end Dallas Clark with some physical running plays. With the Patriots’ defense reeling, rookie running back Joseph Addai took in the game-winning touchdown with exactly 1 minute left on the clock.

Tom Brady’s last chance at a dramatic comeback victory ended when cornerback Marlin Jackson intercepted Brady’s pass. Jackson returned in a couple yards, then fell to the ground. With the Patriots out of timeouts, Manning took a knee and history was written.

I’m happiest for Tony Dungy, who has strong Minnesota ties, first as the University of Minnesota starting quarterback, then as Denny Green’s first defensive coordinator with the Vikings. If Tony Dungy isn’t the classiest sports figure in Minnesota history, then he’s at least within whispering distance of it. Simply put, Tony Dungy lives his Christian faith for all the world to see in a humble, dignified manner. If you can’t cheer for a man like that, then you’re hopeless.

Congratulations, Tony and Peyton. You’ve earned it. I hope you win it all.

UPDATE: Follow this link to Captain Ed’s post on the game.

Ed, I agree. Colts by 7.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative