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At the newly-opened World War II Memorial in Washington, there are inscribed in stone these words of FDR:No matter what else a contemporary conservative may think of FDR, he was not embarrassed to be American. It is inconceivable that a modern liberal, his brain filled with the goo of moral relativism, multicultural diversity, and the compulsion to Blame America First, could demand that America’s “righteous might” achieve “absolute victory” over its enemies. What characterizes this statement is moral certainty, the sure and certain conviction that America was in the right and the Nazis and Imperialist Japanese were in the wrong with no doubt or equivocation. The “Greatest Generation” of Americans was called such because its members were motivated by this conviction.Americans will never entrust their security to a president who doesn’t grasp this, who embraces moral relativism and rejects moral certainty - or at least seems to. If a Liberal Democrat arose to embody the undiluted patriotism of FDR, the door to the White House would be open to him - or her - especially if he - or she - could convince most folks such an embodiment was real while slyly winking to the liberal elite that it’s a con.



This past weekend, the Chinese Communist government organized a protest demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. Under the watchful eyes of Chinese security agents and police, the young protestors were encouraged to throw stones at the embassy in protest over the latest Japanese history textbook continuing to omit mention of Japanese atrocities in China during World War II.Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, on a charm offensive in India at the time of the protest, told reporters in New Delhi that “Only a country that respects and takes responsibility for history can win over peoples’ trust, in Asia and the world at large… (the protest in Beijing) should prompt deep and profound reflection in Japan.”A Japanese response to the Chinese accusations will soon be forthcoming. There will be bland public statements, such as Prime Minister Koizumi’s to the Kyodo News Agency: “Any country can face criticism, but it is not good to let confrontation heighten because of that.” Then there will be the unofficial response, a private letter to Wen Jiabao on Koizumi’s official letterhead, which notes:

I, along with many of my fellow Japanese citizens, must admit to being astounded at your admonishing us to “take responsibility for history,” and to engage in “deep and profound reflection” on our history. Astounded because you pretend not to see how much this advice applies to you and the Communist Party of China.There is an old English proverb of which I am sure you are aware: People who live in glass houses should never throw stones. The government of the People’s Republic of China is such a glass house.
The letter is going to be faxed, emailed, mass-reprinted and covertly distributed to millions of folks in the People’s Republic by Taiwan Chinese agents who have gotten a copy. Here it is in full:



President Bush has cast a huge, dark cloud over the Republican party.  But in that cloud's very size there may be a silver lining for the GOP. Most of those Americans who don't think President Bush made a mistake by going to war in Iraq are appalled by how clumsily the war has been conducted.  The president's strong backing for the "comprehensive" immigration reform bill now before the Senate, compounded by his attack on the character and motives of those who oppose it have split the GOP.   "Using advanced, hi-tech tools, Karl Rove has found the last pocket of support for Bush and destroyed it with laser-like efficiency," said Democratic Web logger Mickey Kaus of the illegal immigration controversy. If present trends continue, Mr. Bush may be fortunate that his dog, Barney, can't tell pollsters what he really thinks. But in Mr. Bush's uncanny ability to alienate Republicans nearly as much as he does Democrats may lie the GOP's salvation.



We only recognize giants when they are gone, heroic ages when they are past. The day will come when America’s children will learn that the 1980s was such an age, bestrode by three giants who together rid the world of one of the great evils of history, the Soviet Union. They were Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher. Now, only one is left. We mourned the passing of Ronald Reagan last year, Pope John Paul’s this, so before we mourn Lady Thatcher’s, who turns 80 this October, let us acknowledge the incalculable debt those who live in freedom today owe to this triumvirate of truly extraordinary human beings. It is easy to believe the hand of Providence set them on history’s stage one after the other in the short space of two years, exactly at the time America and the West was on the verge of surrender to the seeming inevitability of Soviet power. Easy to believe with hindsight. But at the time,a Polish priest, an English woman commoner, and an American movie actor were about to confront the most evil power in the world. How off the wall do you want history to get? Truth is not simply stranger than fiction, it is more dramatic and awe-inspiring.



The FBI announced Saturday three Moslem men have been arrested for plotting to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy international airport. The New York Times ran a story about the plot in Sunday's paper.  On page 30.  The front page was reserved for a sympathetic story about Omar Ahmed Khadr, a suspected al Qaeda terrorist being held at Guantanamo Bay.  We learned early in that story that Mr. Khadr was only 15 when he was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002; that he is "nearly blind in one eye" from the firefight in which he killed one American soldier and maimed another, and that he "doesn't trust Americans."  Only much deeper in the story does reporter William Glaberson mention that young Mr. Khadr's father was a senior deputy to Osama bin Laden.



I just returned from ten days on the Nile in Egypt. It was a special experience to see it once again, this time through the eyes of my 12 year-old son Jackson. A wonderful side-benefit to such an experience is that you get to ignore newspaper headlines and all the general craziness of the world, if only for a few days. I didn’t read a single paper or magazine while I was gone. So when I arrived back home to wade through those that had piled up in my absence, one lunatic event after another kept popping out at me. After plenty of goofy international headlines, my laughing fits continued with stories here in the US. 59 former State Department diplomats have written a letter demanding the Senate not confirm John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN. Among the signers were Princeton Lyman, Monteagle Stearns, and Spurgeon Keeny. These weirdo first names are not made up inner city jive monikers like Paluja Ratoomba. Only Ivy League ultra-blue-blood aristocrat pansies get names like that. I’m sure Bolton is worried sick that a bunch of over-the-hill Little Lord Fauntleroys are scared he is going to explain reality to the representatives of Third World dictatorships. But then the lunacy stopped being funny. The Bush Brothers’ refusal to prevent Terri Schiavo’s killing will do lasting political damage to them both.



Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has stepped up his support for terror since he received a friendly visit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early April. Human rights advocates in Syria have gone into hiding. "Many Syrian... pro-democracy activists have privately expressed dismay at Ms. Pelosi's message of friendship to the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad," reported the New York Observer.  "They say that Ms. Pelosi's visit, no matter how well intentioned, has effectively pulled the rug out from under them." Ms. Pelosi's embrace of the Syrian dictator "made the regime feel that Americans were divided on how to deal with Syria," said a human rights advocate interviewed by reporter Katherine Zoepf.  "This sends a message to the regime that the pressure is off, that it can do what it likes." Shortly after Ms. Pelosi left Damascus, Syria's best known human rights lawyer, Anwar al-Bunni, was arrested on a trumped up charge.  He reportedly has been tortured.



No, this is not a blonde joke. If you want one of those, go to this week’s Humor File. Cleopatra was in fact a blonde. That’s because she was not Egyptian. She was a Macedonian Greek, with hair as blonde as Alexander’s. Alexander conquered Egypt in 332 BC, then went on to subdue all of the Middle East. When he died nine years later, his just-conquered empire was fought over and carved up by his generals. The one who ended up running Egypt was Ptolemy (367-283 BC). Declaring himself Pharaoh, he founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty, with twelve Ptolemies in succession, many of whom had wives named Cleopatra. The Cleopatra we know, lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, was the daughter of Ptolemy XII, and entitled Cleopatra VII (69-30 BC). There was not a drop of Egyptian blood in the Ptolemies. They remained 100% Greek, including the Queen of the Nile herself Cleopatra. Can you imagine Elizabeth Taylor as a blonde? It kind of shakes up your image of history. I am writing this overlooking the Nile in Cairo. The Pyramids of Giza are in the distance. If there is one thing omnipresent in Egypt it’s history - and most all of that history is old, in more ways than one. For 3,000 years, Egypt has been a sleeping giant. Now it may be about to reawaken.



For a pretty decent, mild-mannered, soft-spoken guy, George W. Bush sure has a knack for engendering rage. Liberals tend not to like the president because of what he's trying to do.  Conservatives are upset with him chiefly because of how frequently he botches what he tries to do. President Bush is a stubborn man.  This is both a strength, and a weakness.  When he thinks he's right, the president sticks to his guns, come Hell or high water.  That's basically how he faced down congressional Democrats (whose positions on issues are driven more by polls than by a sense of right and wrong) over funding for the war in Iraq. But the president is often wrong when he thinks he's right.  At a press conference in Slovenia in June, 2001, Mr. Bush famously said of Russian president Vladimir Putin: "I looked the man in the eye.  I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy...I was able to get a sense of his soul." Since then the former KGB officer has been dismantling democracy in Russia and working night and day to frustrate U.S. foreign policy. Many conservatives could have told Mr. Bush that if you look into Ted Kennedy's eyes, you won't see a soul much more trustworthy than Vladimir Putin's.   



So now Alan Greenspan says the “lockbox” the Democrats pretend to advocate for Social Security must be “real.” Addressing the Senate Committee on Aging this Tuesday the 15th, he proclaimed:

In addressing Social Security's imbalances, we need to ensure that measures taken now to finance future benefit commitments represent real additions to national saving. We need, in effect, to make the phantom `lock-boxes' around the trust fund real.
It’s going to be very interesting to watch Democrats squirm - and a lot of squishy Republicans - when conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill take Greenspan’s demand seriously.They are going to advocate something called The Real Lockbox. It puts the Dems in a lockbox without a key.There are some very smart Congressional Republicans getting behind The Real Lockbox concept, which is far superior to President Bush's own private accounts plan. Whether they end up in a tug-of-war with the Bushistas, or the latter admit to the flaws of their initial proposal, is going to be a major political drama this spring.