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The Joke’s on Us ... Mark Steyn
NRO ^ | 2 Jan 2010 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/02/2010 9:29:31 AM PST by Rummyfan

The Pantybomber wasn’t the big joke. We are.

On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh?

But the Pantybomber wasn’t the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions.

Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses.

Um, the Pantybomber didn’t have a purse. He brought the bomb on board under his private parts, and his private parts weren’t part of his carry-on (although, if reports of injuries sustained in his failed mission are correct, they may well have been part of his carry-off). But no matter. If in doubt, blame the victim. The TSA announced that for the last hour of the flight no passenger can use the toilets or have anything on his lap — not a laptop, not a blanket, not a stewardess, not even a paperback book. I can’t wait for the first lawsuit after an infidel flight attendant confiscates a litigious imam’s Koran as they’re coming into LAX.

You’re still free to read a paperback if you’re flying from Paris to Sydney, or Stockholm to Beijing, or Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow. But not to LAX or JFK. The TSA were responding as bonehead bureaucracies do: Don’t just stand there, do something. And every time the TSA does something, you’ll have to stand there, longer and longer, suffering ever more pointless indignities. Last week, guest-hosting The Rush Limbaugh Show, I took a call from a lady who said that, if it helps keep her safe, she’s happy to get to the airport “four, five, whatever hours” before the flight. Try to put a figure on “whatever” and you’ll get a sense of where America’s transportation system is headed. Ten years ago, you got to the airport 45 minutes, an hour before the flight. Now, thanks to the ever more demanding choreographers of the homeland-security kabuki, it’s two, three, four, whatever. Look at O’Hare and imagine the size of airport we’ll need. And by then the Pantybomber won’t even need to get on the plane; he can kill more people blowing up the check-in line.

And remember, this was a bombing mission that “failed.” With failures like this, who needs victories?

Joke, joke, joke. The only good news was that the derision was so universal that the TSA promptly reined in some of their wackier impositions a couple of days later. But by then Janet Incompetano, the homeland-security secretary, had gone on TV and declared to the world that there was nothing to worry about: “The system worked.”

Indeed, it worked “smoothly.” The al-Qaeda trainee on a terrorist watch list, a man banned from the United Kingdom and reported to the CIA by his own father, got on board the plane, assembled the bomb, and attempted to detonate it. But don’t worry ’bout a thing; the system worked.

Twenty-four hours later, Secretary Incompetano was back on TV to protest that her words had been taken “out of context.” No doubt, the al-Qaeda-trained CIA-reported cash-paying crotch-stuffed watch-list member’s smooth progress through check-in was also taken “out of context.”

But by then the president of the United States had also taken to the airwaves. For three days, he had remained silent — which I believe is a world record for the 44th president. Since Jan. 20, 2009, it’s been difficult to switch on the TV and not find him yakking — accepting an award in Oslo for not being George W. Bush, doing Special Olympics gags with Jay Leno, apologizing for America to some dictator or other . . . But across the electric wires an eerie still had descended. And when the president finally spoke, even making allowances for his usual detached cool, he sounded less like a commander-in-chief addressing the nation after an attempted attack than an assistant DA at a Cook County press conference announcing a drug bust: “Here’s what we know so far. . . . As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device. . . . The suspect was immediately subdued. . . . The suspect is now in custody and has been charged.” Etc, etc, piling up one desiccated legalism on another: “Allegedly . . . ” “suspect . . . ” “charged . . . ” The president can’t tell an allegedly alleged suspect (which is what he is in Obama fantasy-land) from an enemy combatant (which is what he is in cold hard reality). But worse than the complacent cop-show jargonizing was a phrase it’s hard to read as anything other than a deliberate attempt to mislead the public: The president referred to the Knickerbomber as an “isolated extremist.” By this time, it was already clear that young Umar had been radicalized by jihadist networks in London and fast-tracked to training in Yemen by terror operatives who understood the potentially high value of a Westernized Muslim with excellent English from a respectable family. Yet President Obama tried to pass him off as some sort of lone misfit who wakes up one morning and goes bananas. Could happen to anyone.

But, if it takes the White House three days to react to an attack on the United States, their rapid-response unit can fire back in nothing flat when Dick Cheney speaks. “It is telling,” huffed the president’s communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, “that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the administration than condemning the attackers.”

“Condemning the attackers”? What happened to all the allegedly alleged stuff? Shouldn’t that be “condemning the alleged isolated attacker”? The communications director seems to be wandering a bit off-message here, whatever the message is: The system worked, so we’re inconveniencing you even more. The system failed, but the alleged suspect is an isolated extremist, so why won’t that cowardly squish Cheney have the guts to condemn the attacker and his vast network of associates?

The real message was conveyed by Fouad Ajami, discussing the new administration’s foreign policy in the Wall Street Journal: “No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue.” True. Another Iranian deadline passed on New Year’s Eve, but the United States will set a new one for Groundhog Day or whenever.

And, just as the thug states understand they now have the run of the planet, so do the terror cells. A thwarted terror attack at Christmas is bad enough. Spending the following week making yourself a global joke is worse. Every A-list despot and dimestore jihadist got that message loud and clear — and so did American allies already feeling semi-abandoned by this most parochial of presidents. Expect a bumpy twelve months ahead. Happy New Year.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: abdulmutallab; bho44; flight253; gagdadbob; incompetano; janetincompetano; marksteyn; napolitano; nationalsecurity; obama; onecosmos; pantybomber; steyn; terrorism; tsa; underwearczar; wot
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1 posted on 01/02/2010 9:29:31 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: knews_hound

Ping!


2 posted on 01/02/2010 9:30:07 AM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Rummyfan

Soon, a new agency such as this will be telling your doctor how to care for you (or not).


3 posted on 01/02/2010 9:35:03 AM PST by ducdriver (judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. (Ps. 42))
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To: Rummyfan
The real message was conveyed by Fouad Ajami, discussing the new administration’s foreign policy in the Wall Street Journal: “No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue.”

Barack Hussein Obama, dangerous to our friends, and harmless to our enemies.

4 posted on 01/02/2010 9:35:46 AM PST by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Rummyfan

GOD, I wish he was wrong! Disgusting and disheartening.


5 posted on 01/02/2010 9:37:39 AM PST by jagusafr (Kill the red lizard, Lord! - nod to C.S. Lewis)
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To: Rummyfan

Mark nails it. Again.


6 posted on 01/02/2010 9:38:38 AM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism is SO yesterday. Fascism, it*s the new black. Mmm Mmm Mmm.)
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To: ducdriver

We will soon have to report to a compound the day before our flight to have a colonoscopy.

I have an idea. If you are a muzzie, you fly the DC3 with the others.


7 posted on 01/02/2010 9:38:49 AM PST by Loud Mime (Liberalism is a Socialist Disease)
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To: Rummyfan
And a happy New Year to us all.
8 posted on 01/02/2010 9:40:21 AM PST by Ciexyz
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To: Rummyfan

Great article! Really pisses you off. I’m lucky I don’t need to fly. Just took the train to NY and back to see the “Rocketts”. No hassles. No headaches. Bring all the luggage you want. Excellent way to travel! Took 5 hours from Richmond, Va.


9 posted on 01/02/2010 9:41:08 AM PST by albie
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To: Rummyfan
Is that darn old Mark Steyn speaking truth to power again?
10 posted on 01/02/2010 9:41:33 AM PST by mojito
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To: Rummyfan
Right now we have to remove our shoes, jackets, and coats to go through security. Will we soon have to take off our underwear and place it in its own basket and go through the scanner?


11 posted on 01/02/2010 9:44:06 AM PST by COUNTrecount (Barry...above his poi grade.)
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To: Rummyfan

The terrorists have already won.


12 posted on 01/02/2010 9:46:23 AM PST by SLB (Wyoming's Alan Simpson on the Washington press - "all you get is controversy, crap and confusion")
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To: Rummyfan

I just might tip a stein to Steyn on this one. Great article.


13 posted on 01/02/2010 9:46:53 AM PST by bcsco (Hey, GOP: The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration...)
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To: onyx; SE Mom; Liz; maggief; rodguy911; Cindy; Velveeta; SandRat

~~PING!


14 posted on 01/02/2010 9:47:21 AM PST by STARWISE (They (LIBS-STILL) think of this WOT as Bush's war, not America's war- Richard Miniter)
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To: Rummyfan

The only flying I do anymore....
15 posted on 01/02/2010 9:47:36 AM PST by onedoug
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To: COUNTrecount

I am flying to DC in Feb. for CPAC and after that I am done flying....if I can’t drive I won’t go. Went to Ohio (an 11 hr. drive) over Christmas and flew.....from my house to my destination took 12 hrs. Sheesh


16 posted on 01/02/2010 9:50:19 AM PST by estrogen (time to fight)
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To: Rummyfan

Unfortunately, every word of this article is absolutely true. The great US, the beacon of hope of the world became the laughing stock of the world.

Krauthammer wrote a pretty good article also, from the perspective of our national security (or lack thereof):

A terrorist war Obama has denied

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101744.html

“Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy — jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon — turns laxity into a governing philosophy. “


17 posted on 01/02/2010 9:53:51 AM PST by SmartInsight (Dems in power are a clear and present danger to our freedom and our survival)
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To: Rummyfan
Another Iranian deadline passed on New Year’s Eve, but the United States will set a new one for Groundhog Day or whenever.

Hey Mark, it's groundhog day everyday this past year for this administration.

18 posted on 01/02/2010 9:54:45 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Rummyfan

The Obama Administration is schizoid.

They don’t know which side of their brain they’re talking out of. We are in deep doo-doo with this prevaling way of “solving” problems.


19 posted on 01/02/2010 9:56:08 AM PST by plangent
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To: SmartInsight
Saw a great bumper sticker yesterday. I wanted to shake his hand but we never met. It said simply:

Obama's Fault

20 posted on 01/02/2010 9:56:42 AM PST by AGreatPer (Impeach Obama)
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To: Rummyfan

“So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you.”

What’s so unusual about that? The Government is always acting against us, just like they did with the Patriot Act. Did we really expect it to be different under a Social-Commu-Marxist?


21 posted on 01/02/2010 9:58:09 AM PST by papasmurf (You betcha!)
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To: SmartInsight

>> The great US, the beacon of hope of the world became the laughing stock of the world.

See my tag line.


22 posted on 01/02/2010 9:59:30 AM PST by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: Gene Eric

“Your Hope has been redistributed. Here’s your Change.”

Great tagline, indeed!


23 posted on 01/02/2010 10:03:17 AM PST by SmartInsight (Dems in power are a clear and present danger to our freedom and our survival)
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To: onedoug
I've always put people that fly without an engine in the same category as people who go out into the ocean in air filled rubber boats, CRAZY. LOL
24 posted on 01/02/2010 10:13:00 AM PST by fish hawk (It's sad that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. Isaac Asimov)
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To: Gene Eric

Almost as good as mine.


25 posted on 01/02/2010 10:15:55 AM PST by eaglesiniowa ((Hope is not a course of action))
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To: Rummyfan

The old saying, “in over one’s head” seems to have been brought out of retirement to describe the current travesty.

I’ll jump on the band wagon and say that Barry and Janet would be in over their heads if they were lying face down in that wagon’s rut after a rain shower! (which, BTW is where they belong)


26 posted on 01/02/2010 10:27:29 AM PST by RedWireNut
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To: Rummyfan

Obama: the allegedly alleged suspect “Pres__dent”


27 posted on 01/02/2010 10:29:45 AM PST by Blado (Is bambi a moose limb? Listen to him talk about the "Holy Koo-dan" on YouTube.)
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To: Rummyfan

As we all know – thanks to being told so by successive administrations — Islam is the religion of peace*. Thanks to the actions of one brave passenger — who fully understood that he had nothing to lose — the Bloomer Bomber failed to go off (or is that get off) and this incident remained a small one.

Thanks to PC and the chronic disease known as “Cranial Anal Inversion Syndrome” among most alleged American “leaders” all the way up to the White Mosque — er — House, this “small” incident — and all like it in the future — will disappear down the Orwellian memory hole.

I suspect the primary cause of the failure to put this guy – and only God knows how many more — on a no-fly list is that the folks down the food chain and on the ground who are SUPPOSED to keep these MUSLIM idiots off commercial flights are severely conflicted. On one hand, they are tasked to keep flying safe. On the other, they’ve all had multiple memos and “sensitivity sessions” stressing that they MUST NOT PROFILE but be especially alert to the feelings of Muslims. Any actions taken against them MUST be fully justified and documented. The vernacular expression dealing with that is “CYA.” And so they do — while the rest of us die or, thanks to the actions of a passenger, have a very close call on approach to Detroit.

Compounding the problem is that this particular miscreant was not only a Muslim but a black guy from Nigeria. And the American president is _________ (fill in the correct color) and, having been born to a Muslim father and raised in a Muslim country, sympathetic to the religion of _________. (fill in the appropriate term).

The response to this near-tragedy? Fatherland Security now keeps passengers in their seats for the last hour of the trip!! Great! I suspect sales of Depends will soon spike. Now these folks will die at 35,000 feet and the wreckage will be strewn over hundreds of square miles making it virtually impossible to determine if it WAS an act of mass murder by (select one) an angry Norwegian, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, a Muslim nutcase. A few more of these and the air travel industry will be COMPLETELY dead.

By their INACTION and persistence in their denial that we are at war with a determined and dedicated enemy, these alleged “leaders” have 100% guaranteed that the next one will NOT be “small.”
* BTW, “peace” has two definitions:
1. The absence of conflict or war.
2. The ABSENCE or SUPPRESSION OF RESISTANCE TO SOME FORCE, POLICY, IDEOLOGY or POLITICAL SYSTEM, etc. WITH WHICH ONE HAS AN ABIDING DISAGREEMENT WHICH ONE WOULD OTHERWISE ATTEMPT TO DEFEAT TO THE POINT OF TAKING UP ARMS.


28 posted on 01/02/2010 10:30:08 AM PST by Dick Bachert (THE 2010 ELECTIONS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN OUR LIFETIMES! BE THERE!!!)
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To: Rummyfan
Janet Incompetano

OUCH! That is going to leave a mark.

29 posted on 01/02/2010 10:31:51 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Demand Constitutionality)
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To: STARWISE

Styne really spoketh the cold, hard, inescapable truth about the weakling POS vacationer, didn’t he?

Very frightening. The world watched him and the world sees what we see, particularly our enemies. Is that the plan?


30 posted on 01/02/2010 10:58:19 AM PST by onyx
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To: Rummyfan

It wouldn’t surprise me if this administration would have now wished this guy had succeeded in bringing the plane down. We would have never known it was a terrorist act. It could have been swept under the rug as an accident. No witnesses to tell us of someone getting this guy on the plane without a passport, or of another gentleman being taken away by the FBI.


31 posted on 01/02/2010 11:01:53 AM PST by Chipper (You can't kill an Obamazombie by destroying the brain...they didn't have one to begin with.)
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To: fish hawk

Ah, and thus its challenge. I’d recommend soaring to anyone, from those afraid to fly to those who’ve flown a hundred thousand hours.


32 posted on 01/02/2010 11:02:07 AM PST by onedoug
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To: onedoug

If I had to choose I’d rather be soaring than throwing up over the side of a rubber raft filled with air and sharks in the water.


33 posted on 01/02/2010 11:54:49 AM PST by fish hawk (It's sad that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. Isaac Asimov)
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To: Rummyfan

Steyn deserves his own show!!!

Just listening to him improves your language skills, and he is ON FIRE in this article!!

Knickerbomber... ha ha ha


34 posted on 01/02/2010 12:07:25 PM PST by Mr. K (This administration IS WEARING OUT MY CAPSLOCK KEY!)
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To: estrogen

anything less than 12 hours it is better to just drive

it takes the same amount of time, cost considerably less (especially if not traveling alone) and you can leave any time you want


35 posted on 01/02/2010 12:09:04 PM PST by Mr. K (This administration IS WEARING OUT MY CAPSLOCK KEY!)
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To: COUNTrecount
"Will we soon have to take off our underwear and place it in its own basket and go through the scanner?"

Yep!


36 posted on 01/02/2010 12:14:57 PM PST by Matchett-PI ("The Role of Government is to Secure Our Liberty, Not to Seize It" ~ Rush 6/26/09)
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To: onyx
"Styne really spoketh the cold, hard, inescapable truth about the weakling POS vacationer, didn’t he?"

Radiant Stupidity or Cosmic Narcissism?:

Obama and End-Stage Metastatic Liberalism

37 posted on 01/02/2010 12:26:09 PM PST by Matchett-PI ("The Role of Government is to Secure Our Liberty, Not to Seize It" ~ Rush 6/26/09)
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To: ReneeLynn

Agree! Mark Steyn always nails it — wish that were not the case but it’s true.

Another thing I wish for is that he would be on the radio every day!


38 posted on 01/02/2010 12:27:13 PM PST by CaliforniaCon
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To: Matchett-PI

LOL!!!!! FABulous.


39 posted on 01/02/2010 12:28:46 PM PST by COUNTrecount (Barry...above his poi grade.)
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To: estrogen

I’m not flying either.......no more for me. Glad I was able to travel when things were different. The past 10 years, in fact, have been largely a nightmare.

If I can’t drive or take a train or bus or even a cruise ship to a destination I’m not going. Enough!


40 posted on 01/02/2010 12:29:36 PM PST by CaliforniaCon
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To: Rummyfan

The Knickerbomber: LMAO!!

Steyn rocks.


41 posted on 01/02/2010 12:32:37 PM PST by Attention Surplus Disorder (Voters who thought their ship came in with 0bama are on their own Titanic.)
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To: Matchett-PI
Radiant Stupidity or Cosmic Narcissism?:

Radiant Cosmic Narcissistic Stupidity?

RCNS?

42 posted on 01/02/2010 12:35:45 PM PST by paulycy (AMERICA: Less safe. Less free. More broke.)
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To: Rummyfan
And by then the Pantybomber won’t even need to get on the plane; he can kill more people blowing up the check-in line..

Of course.

Then, the TSA will have a line to get in a line. You'll have to arrive at a holding area that day before, take a laxative, so they can be sure everyone is empty, by the time the plane arrives the next day.

And that will work, until the boob bomber arrives.

By that time, no one will be flying at all as the entire reason one would take a plane ( faster) will be gone.

Problem solved by the genius bureaucrats at the TSA.

43 posted on 01/02/2010 1:53:41 PM PST by Red Boots
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To: Rummyfan
The United States is a laughingstock...
AS PLANNED...
44 posted on 01/02/2010 2:14:49 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Rummyfan

45 posted on 01/02/2010 2:16:55 PM PST by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: mojito
Steyn is brilliant!

And he's one of very few writers who can bridge the gulf between on air and print,hope wee see more and more of him.

46 posted on 01/02/2010 4:52:33 PM PST by rodguy911 (HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE--GO SARAHCUDA !!)
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To: Dick Bachert
OMG White Mosque, is priceless! Can I steal that?
47 posted on 01/02/2010 4:55:08 PM PST by rodguy911 (HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE--GO SARAHCUDA !!)
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To: estrogen

Believe me,driving is no picnic either,I do 70,000 miles per year and it take it out of you something fierce.


48 posted on 01/02/2010 4:56:40 PM PST by rodguy911 (HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE--GO SARAHCUDA !!)
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To: Rummyfan
“No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue.”

Contrast Fouad Ajami's statement about President Obama with Lech Walensa's respect for Ronald Reagan.

Do we need to know anything more...???

49 posted on 01/02/2010 5:15:57 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: rodguy911

Absolutely! The more ridicule (see “Rules for Radicals” #5)we heap on this moron and his band of Chicago thugs, the sooner they’ll be gone or at least neutralized. Having said that, Obowzo is doing a splendid job all by himself.


50 posted on 01/02/2010 6:10:28 PM PST by Dick Bachert (THE 2010 ELECTIONS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN OUR LIFETIMES! BE THERE!!!)
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