Well I’m actually not shocked but some will be:

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs tried to meet a top aide to Iran’s supreme leader in mid-December but was rebuffed at the last minute, a snub that illustrates the challenges to dialogue with Tehran pushed by President Barack Obama.

Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat, notified Mr. Obama’s transition team and the Bush White House of the planned meeting in Bahrain, according to senior Obama administration officials.

You mean making nice doesn’t work with these guys?

I’ve been looking for the Cox and Fordham cartoon “I’m a communist dictator you fool” to illustrate this but absent the cartoon it will have to stand for itself.

Charles Johnson almost goes Kryten reading the AP and Martin Kramer on the Gaza war:

This is one of those ludicrous media memes that refuses to die: fighting against evil only makes evil stronger. You’ll see it in articles about every conflict; it’s a kind of nihilistic philosophical tic that is nearly universal, a counterintuitive observation that’s supposed to impress you with its depth.

Here’s the dirty little secret: it’s not deep, it’s stupid. The emperor really is naked.

The question they never ask: if fighting terrorists only makes more terrorists, and only makes hard-liners stronger in every case, what’s the alternative? Giving up?

Did these guys report St. Louis as the winner of the Superbowl? Hamas has won in the same way Dallas Acadamy did; only in the minds of the press and now they want the same after result,.

Joe is back and hitting with all cylinders on the bill.

6:40 a.m. Mika reads Frank Rich strip saying that the Republicans are as clueless as Bush on Katrina. Bad timing for that example Frank.

6:44 a.m. Out comes the Obamameter and a promise broken rating on sunlight before signing, no word on rendition yet.

6:46 a.m. Mika face when asking how birth control fits on stimulus really is funny

7:07 a.m. Joe & Mika are agreeing on tax credits for people who don’t pay taxes. They’re again’em.

7:14 a.m. It’s up to Max Baucus on Tommy the tax boy. If he decides to let it go God help the democrats in 2010.

7:45 a.m. Mika is going through the list with Crammer they are really hitting this.

7:48 a.m. Aren’t lower house prices good for people to buy houses?

7:58 a.m. Podesta says Daschle will and should survive. Americans should hope it isn’t true, Parisian republicans hope it is.

7:59 a.m. Question we are giving tax breaks to people who don’t pay taxes: Podesta: “They pay other taxes. The Earned Income Credit was a Reagan creation.” This is the new talking point apparently.

8:02 a.m. Is the president willing to change the bill to attract Republicans? He is willing to talk but won’t make changes in fundamentals of the bill.

8:07 a.m. Crammer: Anything you do on energy is a joke without a Gas tax, Mika agrees. The very suggestion gives me gas.

8:15 a.m. It hits me that this is likely one of the only challenging interviews that Podesta is going to see outside of Fox.

8:41 a.m. Erin Burnett is pointing out that Japan did this stuff and it didn’t work

8:56 a.m. Mika promises more on the bill on the radio, I’ll be listening.

As a follow up to the last post I thought I’d check to see what Andrew Sullivan had to say about the change. I found that all pigs are equal but some are more equal than others:

What some on the far right seem not to grasp is that opposition to torture is not about being soft on terrorism. It is about being effective against terrorism – ensuring that intelligence is not filled with torture-generated garbage, that we retain the moral high-ground in a long war against theocratic violence, and that we can better identify, capture, kill or bring to justice those who threaten our way of life. Rendition and temporary detention are tools in that effort – tools that now need to be as closely monitored and assessed as they were once recklessly abused.

Yeah they will be as closely monitored as the tax records of senior democrats when they are not considered for cabinet positions. Andrew is a good writer, the first blogger I ever read. His “view from your window” feature is one of the nicest things on the web but if he believes this he’ll believe anything.

UPDATE: Patterico takes a less charitable view of Andy than me (and my view isn’t all that charitable).

I have maintained in the past that although you have to do what you have to do in the war on terror it is important to question what is being done to keep yourself honest.

I have questioned the left’s insistence that Gitmo has needed to be closed and the left has misrepresented the place over and over.

I also maintain Waterboarding is not torture, but I can see why some have said so.

The use of prisons in other western countries is a little more iffy since we may not have control but the various western countries have rules to keep things in check.

Now of all the tactics used Rendition is the most iffy, its the one that leaves me the most queasy. Of the left’s arguments this one was the best of the batch. And Obama has decided to keep it and expand it:

Barack Obama exploited that outrage when he promised Hope and ChangeTM, and the Left squealed with joy over the Brave New Obama World in national security. Now they’ll have to squeal again as Obama has had a sudden revelation as President that renditions are more necessary than ever, if the CIA can’t hold these subjects at Gitmo or its own secret sites:

Moe Lane called out leftist bloggers on this but the most amazing thing is reported at Dissenting justice where he calls out Human Rights Watch:

Now that the L.A. Times reports that rendition will continue during the Obama administration, Human Rights Watch has apparently altered its position. According to Tom Malinowski, the organization’s “Washington advocacy director,” the risk of torture and other abuses does not mandate the prophylactic cessation of rendition. Instead (quoting the L.A. Times)

I haven’t seen such a double standard by a “human rights group” since…well every time any of em deal with Israel.

I give full marks to that blog on the left for doing so and being honest enough to be outraged. I actually liked the outrage on the left over Gitmo because although false it produced an irrational fear of the place to the newly captured that might have gotten them talking but now the choices have been reduced to bad ones.

Don’t you wonder what Obama saw in the briefings that changed his mind on this? I’ll give the last word to the Captain:

Frankly, I think the US does a better job of treating its detainees than anywhere a rendition program would deliver them, but without a Gitmo or CIA holding site, that’s the only way to ensure that we can get any intelligence that will protect the US. I’m not surprised that Obama has reached the same conclusion, now that he has the responsibility to keep the nation secure from foreign attack. It’s amazing how clarifying that responsibility can be, and Obama at least must have a little more comprehension of what Bush went through the last seven years.


Update: Whoa! My first Instalance and I didn’t even notice it. Hi. Take a look around, particularly if you are looking for remote tech support. or if you are a Fan of Morning Joe which I tend to liveblog a bit. See the shock of Iranian rejection and learn the ways of the internet scam. I write a bit about Religion, Israel, my current job search and a tad bit of baseball.

Oh and if you are a Doctor Who fan make sure you check out this blog. It isn’t mine but its awesome.

Update 2: Missed the link to Captain Ed at hotair, thanks to commenter Paul for catching it.

Update 3: I guess he gets an Arthur vote for this. Running total Jimmy Carter 6 Chester Arthur 3. An explanation of the Arthur Carter watch here.

Update 4: A disagreement in comments continues here.

Michael Yon is a man who has spent most of the last few years in the middle east in general and in Iraq in particular. No other single reporter has seen what is going on closer. He called in when the strategy in Iraq was failing and he called it when the strategy was working. His reporting has proved to be the most accurate out there and it isn’t even close.

Today he tackles Israel and Iran and wonders why people don’t see what is there:

It is amazing to me, as an American who travels the world on a near-constant basis, that there is so much confusion over who the terrorists are. Hamas is a terrorist organization that condones and facilitates suicide bombings and will kill every Jew on the planet if they have the chance. Meanwhile, Israel is an energetic democracy with a vibrant press. I could sit right here in Jerusalem and write bad things about Israel and Jews, and nothing would happen. Maybe I wouldn’t get invited somewhere or would be called an anti-Semite, but that would be it. Neither the Jews nor the Israelis would harm me, though they likely would write bad things about me. I came to Israel with no press accreditation and at the airport they knew that I was a writer. Yet they let me in and have allowed me to freely roam the country. Today I was in very close proximity to Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu talked about how, in this very hotel, Rehavam Ze’evi had been murdered just a few floors above our heads. The security seemed incredibly lax by American standards. Bernard Lewis and other extremely smart people were there.

Israel is a free country that abides by the rule of law. By contrast, if a writer were to go to Gaza or Iran, for instance, and start writing bad words, he might wind up on the news, dead. Israel allows Christians and Arab Muslims to worship freely, while Hamas wants to see us all at the bottom of the sea. Hamas, supported by Iran, is clear about their goals: they want to wipe out Israel completely, utterly, with finality. But it’s not just Israel that Hamas wants to kill; they want to kill all Jews everywhere. Complete genocide.

Read the whole thing. Via Glenn who answers the title of the piece with “because they don’t care what happens to Israel.” Given what I’ve seen over the last several weeks I am forced to agree.

Updates continue at Israellycool.

UPDATE: The Captain comments:

Yes, Europe has come a long way since the Holocaust, but unfortunately, it’s in a circle

I’m pretty hard on the left at this blog so when kudos need to be given they shouldn’t be neglected:

I’ve never cared for Tom Daschle, on substance or politics, but I know so little about health care that I have hesitated to discuss whether Daschle is a good choice for HHS. But in light of this news, why in heaven’s name should President Obama lift a finger for a guy who basically did not tell him the truth:

Kudos for talk left for not letting Daschle off the hook on his taxes. This is a huge mistake on Obama’s part. Believe me when people are in the process of paying their taxes (I’ll be doing mine today or tomorrow) its bad enough that you have a treasure secretary that didn’t pay his taxes how many more are we going to see?

The Sock Puppet deserves credit on this one too.

Scrappleface via Glenn Nails it:

In the month of January alone, Mr. Obama has forced Timothy Geithner, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to cough up $43,000 he owed the IRS, and former Sen. Tom Daschle to pay off his $128,000 tax obligation. Mr. Geithner will put his tax-paying experience to good use, overseeing the IRS as Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Daschle hopes his recently-good behavior will garner Senate confirmation as the next Secretary of the Health and Human Services.

“With the IRS underfunded as it is,” said Mr. Gibbs, “this collection method is much more efficient than dispatching field agents. Arresting these men, or compelling them to pay penalties would take years, and make them feel bad about themselves. The president’s method not only gets more money to the government to help our economy, but provides a self-esteem boost by giving these wealthy men important-sounding titles.”

I think I’ll add a category called “honorable left” to give a thumbs up for situations like this.