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THE DANGER OF DEMOCRAT DENIAL

Denial is the first stage of grieving. Democrats seem stuck there when it comes to the war in Iraq. It's odd that his fellow Democrats are mourning success in Iraq, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said in a speech Nov. 8: "Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving, or even that the progress has enabled us to begin drawing down our troops there." Democrats have been enabled in their denial by a news media which has been reluctant to report the dramatically improving circumstances in Iraq.  But that's changing.  The New York Times has had positive stories two days in a row.  The Los Angeles Times and Newsweek have noticed. This is dismaying for Democrats because journalists are herd animals.  When the bell cows point toward a new story line, the herd stampedes in that direction.  "The herd is likely to grow larger because the evidence of success in Baghdad and elsewhere is so palpable that reporters, regardless of their view of the war, were bound to acknowledge it at some point," said Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard. So Democrats had better work their way through the denial phase of grief fast, because if they're saying in January what they've been saying in November, they'll look ridiculous -- or worse.

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WHY ARE THESE LITTLE COUNTRIES SO RICH?

Why is this cold, rainy land with its stark volcanic landscape, without much in the way of natural resources, one of the wealthiest places on Earth? Small states, in the past, were most often poorer on a per capital income basis than large states, but in the last half-century many have become much richer then their large neighbors. Among the wealthiest places on the planet, we now find Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Denmark and Ireland, none with many natural resources. In a just-concluded meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Iceland, some leaders of small states that have developed very successful economies met with some of the worlds' leading free-market economists and policy institute professionals, partly to discuss what lessons the rest of the world can learn from these small states. Here is what they concluded.

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NO BLAME

One of the many markers distinguishing civilized from primitive and traditional societies is that the former possess the concept of luck, both good and bad, while the latter do not.There is no word for luck in the language of many American Indian tribes such as the Navaho, African tribes such as the Azande, Amazon tribes such as the Yanomamo, or New Guinea tribes such as the Dobu. The concept is absent, literally inconceivable, in their thinking about the way the world works.How could something, anything, happen out of sheer blind chance? Whatever happens to anybody, good or bad, it was caused by spirits placated to be benevolent or goaded to be malevolent. Man is always the toy of demons. That’s a primitive mind at work.Thus the primitive compulsion to find someone to blame for misfortune. Since there really is no such thing as sheer misfortune, tragedies must always be someone’s fault, the someone who incurred the anger of the spirits and brought down their punishment suffered by all.So the primitive mentalities of leftist intellectuals and politicians within hours of the horror of Katrina began a chorus of blame, pointing their spiteful superstitious fingers at President Bush.

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A CHURCH IN BAGHDAD

Thanksgiving was celebrated a week early at the reopening of St. John's Assyrian Catholic Church in the al Doura district of Baghdad.  The pews were packed. The church had been shuttered after two nearby churches were bombed in 2004.  The al Doura neighborhood had been predominantly Christian until al Qaeda began targeting Christians.  Since then, most of the Christians have fled to Syria, Jordan, or northern Iraq.  Now they are returning. The reopening of St. John's is a heartwarming story of Iraqis reaching across sectarian divisions for peace, and a powerful indicator of how much the security situation in Baghdad has improved since the troop surge began.  On Nov. 7 Michael Yon, a former Special Forces soldier turned freelance journalist, took a photograph of Iraqis, Moslems as well as Christians, placing a cross atop the refurbished church.  The photo bears a startling resemblance to that of the Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in 1945. Here it is, truly symbolic of what American victory is achieving in Iraq:

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PROCRUSTES IN IRAQ

The founding hero of ancient Athens was Theseus, son of the god Poseidon and a human mother. On his initial heroic quest, he encountered a giant named Procrustes who promised his victims he wouldn’t rob and kill them if they could fit into his bed of iron. If they were too short or long, Procrustes would stretch or amputate them to death. Theseus’ killing Procrustes was a common theme of classical Greek art:The Bed of Procrustes has ever since been the symbol of forced conformity. Such a bed has been built in Iraq - the proposed Iraq Constitution , which Iraqis will vote to pass or reject on October 15. The question is: who are the Mesopotamian Theseus and Procrustes? The great fear is that Islam will force Democracy to fit in the constitutional bed. But it just might turn out the other way around. For that’s the bet its American designers have made.

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NEW HOPE FOR OLD EUROPE

Europe is in crisis. It is depopulating because of birthrates well below replacement. Weighted down by oppressive taxes and onerous regulations, the economies of the major European nations are barely growing. Pessimism reigns. Yet there are the little flickers of light in the form of bright and energetic young people pushing constructive change, and increasing public recognition from some European leaders that the present course is unsustainable. In times of crisis, some nations find a Ronald Reagan, a Winston Churchill, or a Margaret Thatcher. If one looks closely at the increasing political divisions in France, Germany and Italy, it is now possible to imagine a future Continental version of Mrs. Thatcher or President Reagan.

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DECLARING DEFEAT

We're floundering in a quagmire in Iraq. Our strategy is flawed, and it's too late to change it. Our material resources have been squandered, our best people killed, and our reputation around the world is circling the drain.  We must withdraw immediately. No, I'm not channeling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  I'm channeling Osama bin Laden, for whom the war in Iraq has been a catastrophe. Al Qaeda had little presence in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein.  But once he was toppled, Al Qaeda's chieftains decided to make Iraq the central front in the global jihad against the Great Satan.  "The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this third world war, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation," Osama bin Laden said in an audio tape posted on Islamic Web sites in December, 2004.  "It is raging in the land of the Two Rivers.  The world's millstone and pillar is Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate." Jihadis, money and weapons were poured into Iraq from all over the Moslem world.  All for naught.  Al Qaeda has been defeated in Iraq.

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MARX AND MOHAMMED

It matters not a whit whether Marx was an atheist, for that only meant he wanted to supplant other religions with his own. Or whether Mohammed believed in a god named Allah, for Allah was only the name of the voice he heard in his head dictating a Recitation (thats what Koran means in Arabic).Allah is just as much a figment of Mohammeds imagination as the New Socialist Man (the different species of humanity that will come into being with the triumph of The Proletarian Revolution) was of Marxs. Both are delusions of tyranny.Marx and Mohammed are ideological brothers. More than that, Marx and Mohammed are metaphysical brothers. They share the same view on the nature of reality. Their fundamental bond is a denial of the Law of Non-Contradiction.

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EUROPE NEEDS AMERICA’S FOUNDING FATHERS

As demonstrated by the French and Dutch "no" votes, Europeans are increasingly frustrated living under a bureaucratic (as contrasted with a democratic) state where national sovereignty (and democratic control) continues ebbing. What should be done? Europe needs for a couple of leaders not directly tainted by the recent "constitutional" fiasco to call for a new convention to write a real constitution, which would protect the democratic and most of the sovereign rights and personal liberties of the European peoples. To succeed, the new constitution would need to allow for social and economic differences among the European states, unlike the just defeated "constitution." Delegates to the new constitutional convention would be well advised to look at the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers for guidance. Most of the basic arguments about the proper role and structure of governmental units and the protection of individual liberties and national identities and rights can be found in these documents. The U.S. has evolved into a much more centralized state than our Founding Fathers envisioned, but their original vision is much closer to the type of Federal Republic with sovereign states that Europe needs today.

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COULD HILLARY VANISH IN A PUFF OF SMOKE?

Most pundits in Washington have already conceded the Democrat nomination to Sen. Clinton because of the large leads she holds in national opinion polls.  But that lead is illusory, because normal people don't pay much attention to politics a year before the election.  It's not a surprise that there are a lot of undecideds in the national polls, or that the frontrunners in both parties are the candidates with the highest name recognition. The polls in Iowa -- where a higher proportion of voters is paying attention, because the Iowa caucuses are less than two months away -- tell a different story.  There, Hillary Clinton's lead over Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is within the margin of error. Sen. Obama is so wet behind the ears dolphins could swim there.  But he's a likeable guy, and people tend to vote for the candidate they like.

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