Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Democrats Scream Whitewash

The AP is now reporting that Rep. Ellen Tasucher, (D-CA), & other Dems on the House Armed Services Committee are calling today's hearing a "whitewash" while hinting that there's a serious problem with the military's handling of detainees at Gitmo. Here's some of the telling comments:

"I think we should hear from people that are dealing with detainees there, not just from our side of the fence," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, (D-CA). "I don't think that just using a thin whitewash on this is going to fix it," she said after the hearing.

First of all, what evidence do you have that a whitewash is taking place, Ms. Tauscher? Secondly, what, if anything, needs fixing? Weren't you just down there, along with Ron Wyden, Sheila Jackson Lee & Ben Nelson? Didn't Sens. Wyden & Nelson state at the press conference that conditions there were fine & that torture wasn't taking place? Or are they lying? Or just helping the Bush administration coverup the abuses happening there?
Let's read some other comments from the hearing:

A number of committee members visited Guantanamo over the weekend as the Pentagon sought to deflect demands that the prison be closed or subjected to an independent review because of allegations of torture & abuse of detainees. The lawmakers, Democrats & Republicans, said conditions there were better than they’d expected. "I think we've laid to rest any of what I consider to be very irresponsible allegations," Rep. Duncan Hunter, (R-CA), who chairs the committee, said after a hearing with Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, the Guantanamo prison commander. Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, (D-Guam), said the prison camp was "more like a resort," & said she enjoyed dining on the same meals the detainees ate.
If anything needs fixing, it's that the prison shouldn't be "more like a resort." This hardly constitutes torture & it's hardly the type of thing that gives the U.S. a black eye.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that this issue is poisonous to the Democratic Party because they're seeing things that aren't there. They're utterly convinced that they've got the upper hand & that by simply screaming wolf will cause the masses to shift away from the Republican Party. That worked when the network news & the dominant newspapers were the public's only source of information but it certainly won't work in the internet age & the blogosphere.

Shales' Shenanigans

Tom Shales wrote a zombified column on the coverage of the President's speech. Here's some of the key idiotic observations Mr. Shales makes:
Bush's speech aired on all the major broadcast networks, something of a surprise since as of mid-afternoon yesterday, neither NBC nor CBS had plans to cover it. They felt, correctly, that the speech contained nothing new or newsy & that it didn't merit a half-hour or more of prime time. But something changed as the day wore on, & Bush showed up on NBC & CBS as well as on ABC & the various cable news networks that previously had announced they’d cover the speech.
Question for the Agenda Media Idiots: If there was “nothing new or newsy & that it didn't merit a half-hour or more of prime time”, then why did the polls show such a dramatic turn in support? Was it because the polls you so often cite are so disgustingly biased? Or is it because your coverage of the war is so biased against the military & the President?

In a time when some polls show the popularity of the news media to be even lower than the approval rating for Bush's conduct of the war, the managements of the networks may have feared hostile reaction if they didn't air the speech live. Political conservatives keep up a steady drumbeat of hostility against the media, something the Bush administration doesn’t discourage. Refusing to air the speech probably would’ve led to unpleasantness, or at the least given the new subculture of bellicose bloggers another alleged media conspiracy to shriek about.

Mr. Shales, might the paltry ratings of the Agenda Media be directly attributed to their anti-military viewpoint & their anti-conservative bias? Might the bloggers’ criticisms be justified because you wouldn’t recognize a story that casts Republicans in a good light if your literary life depended on it? Might their criticism be justified because you don’t recognize important stories on a consistent basis because you’re so out of touch?

CBS was the first network to rush away from the speech. Its coverage, passively anchored by Bob Schieffer, ended abruptly so the network could return to regular commercial programming: a sitcom rerun. CBS boss Les Moonves is no friend to the news division, so it is not surprising that CBS hotfooted it. There was a time when it would’ve been able to boast of the most extensive & thorough coverage of such an event. That time is sadly over.
Might this be the reason why conservatives have fled the networks like they were selling contagious infections? Might it be because they don’t take news seriously & what precious little reporting there is is so utterly biased that it disgusts people? Mr. Shales would do well to understand that conservatives have abandoned the Agenda Media, at least in part, because the Agenda Media has given us news analysis without first giving us the news. The conservatives are pretty picky about that.

More Democratic Carping

Shortly after last night's Presidential Speech, I posted Harry Reid's, Nancy Pelosi's & Sen. Russ Feingold's criticisms. Predictably, the drumbeat continued on the morning talk shows. Here's more misguided criticism from the Pacifist Party's 'leaders':
Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in last year's presidential election, told NBC's "Today" show that the borders of Iraq "are porous" & said "we don't have enough troops" there.
Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," disputed Bush's notion that sufficient troops are in place. "I'm going to send him the phone numbers of the very generals & flag officers that I met on Memorial Day when I was in Iraq," the Delaware Democrat said. "There's not enough force on the ground now to mount a real counterinsurgency." Biden argued, "The course that we’re on now is not a course of success. He (Bush) has to get more folks involved. He has to stand up that army more quickly."
Of course, after trashing him, they praised the President, albeit half-heartedly, on addressing the most important points in the speech. Here's a sampling:
Beyond their criticism, some Democrats said they thought Bush strengthened his credibility. "I think he told the American people why it's important," said Biden. Said Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-CT): "The president needs to do more of what he did last evening. This is a beginning."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

They're SO Predictable

The AP is already running a story about how Minority Leaders Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi & Sen. Russ Feingold are criticizing the president's brilliant speech. Imagine that, huh? Notice how Ms. Pelosi & Sen. Reid avoid the meaty parts of the speech & focuse instead on their predetermined talking points. This is all that's left of the Democratic Party. What a pathetic shame. Here's some of the more telling quotes:
"The president's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 show the weakness of his arguments," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. "He’s willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 & the war in Iraq."
Ms. Pelosi, the shallowness of your intelligence is showing & it isn't flattering. The times that President Bush talked about 9/11 were there as a reminder as to the ruthlessness of the foreign fighters now fighting in Iraq after crossing the Iranian, Syrian & Saudi borders. If you'll recall, Ms. Pelosi, Saudi Arabia 'supplied' 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11. But that 'connection' to 9/11 seems lost on you as does lots of things.
"Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war," he continued. "Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, & children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington & Pennsylvania. There’s only one course of action against them, to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home."
There's your 'connection, Ms. Pelosi. Still, I doubt that you'll give it recognition. That's ok because the clear-thinking American people, who aren't driven by an uncontrollable hatred of the President, will notice the connection & will respond favorably to the President's logic.
Republican Sen. John McCain defended Bush's call to stop terrorism abroad before it reaches the U.S. shore in an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" program. He said those spreading violence in Iraq "are the same guys who’d be in New York if we don't win in Iraq."
I've ripped on Sen. McCain in the past for his role in undermining the President in getting his judicial nominees confirmed so it's only fair that I praise him when he defends the President's war strategy. He's exactly right, though, in saying that these foreigners who are fighting in Iraq would love to hit us here.

"The president's numerous references to Sept. 11 didn’t provide a way forward in Iraq," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said. "They only served to remind the American people that our most dangerous enemy, namely Osama bin Laden, is still on the loose & al-Qaida remains capable of doing this nation great harm nearly four years after it attacked America."
Harry, I hate telling you this but beating Saddam's Baathists & foreign fighters in Iraq while installing a legitimately elected government while training Iraqis to defend their own country IS a real plan. As President Bush said in the last Presidential debate last year, a list of complaints isn't a strategy.
Bush urged Americans to remember the lessons of Sept. 11 & protect "the future of the Middle East" from men like bin Laden. He repeatedly referred to the insurgents in Iraq as terrorists & said they were killing innocent people to try to "shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September the 11th, 2001."
Again, the President offered solid logic as to why Sept. 11's lessons are applicable to the war in Iraq. In this instance, the relevance is that the jihadists want to shake our will, which they've done in the person of Ted Kennedy. The President is right in saying that we won't let our will be shaken because we take casualties.

Sen. Russ Feingold, (D-WI), said it's because of the lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks that he opposes Bush's approach to keeping the troops in Iraq without any timetable for withdrawal. "The U.S. military presence in Iraq has become a powerful recruiting tool for terrorists & Iraq is now the premier training ground & networking venue for the next generation of jihadists," Feingold said.

This is the lamest of all arguments against staying the course. Here's what Sen. Feingold's argument really boils down to: We should pull out & show weakness to the jihadists because we don't want them to hate us more. Sen. Feingold, did it ever occur to you that killing jihadists is the best way to shrink the ranks of their recruits? I didn't think so. Expecting that from a pacifist is just asking too much, I guess.

HT to Hugh Hewitt.
Hugh read this email on his show tonight. Quite interesting, wouldn't you say?
HUGH: MoveOn PAC has sent an e-mail in anticipation of the president's address. I read it on the air & many listeners responded by using the website to send letters to their local papers supporting the president, the mission & the troops. Heh.

Dear MoveOn member,
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, President Bush will speak to the nation about the war in Iraq in a televised address. Despite the car bombs & rising attacks, he's expected to offer no new policy, in fact, he's expected to say that we're making progress, that everything is going just fine.
Over the last week, we asked you to vote on whether we should work together in a major campaign to get Democrats & Republicans in Congress on board with a responsible exit plan. As of this morning, hundreds of thousands have voted & the results are clear: more than 83 percent said you were in. Together, we're ready to tell our leaders that it's time to come home.
One good first step is letters to the editor. Bush's speech tonight will be one of the major "tipping point" moments since the war began & we can help make sure that no one buys his "stay the course" rhetoric. Politicians will be watching the letter-to-the-editor pages closely & newspapers are likely to print letters on what will be the major story of the week. If we're able to push back hard enough, we can build a drumbeat for a real exit plan.
We've set up an online tool that makes submitting a letter easy. Tonight, you can watch President Bush's speech & then immediately go online & write a letter to the editor by clicking below. (We'll update our suggestion for the best thing to write about 30 minutes after his speech ends.)

You might've noticed that Republicans like Karl Rove, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett & Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have tried to distract the country from Bush's disastrous Iraq policy by attacking MoveOn by name on TV. Rove was trying to put Democrats & MoveOn on the defensive, painting us as weak on security. But it didn't work, we held strong, & with your help we can make sure that the attack backfires. Lying about MoveOn can't solve Bush's problem, that he has no plan for Iraq.
And there's broad public support for a real plan. Two-thirds of the public say they'd support elected leaders who stand up to President Bush & insist on a real plan to get out of Iraq. That makes sense: without an exit plan with a timeline, we'll be stuck in Iraq for years & years, exacerbating the problems there. As General John Abizaid, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command said last week testifying in front of the Senate, "too much of a footprint in the region creates more resistance." But, believe it or not, Bush & Rumsfeld reject the very suggestion of a timeline. Rumsfeld said on Sunday we could be in Iraq another 10 years. But their voices are the only ones being heard right now. That's why we all need to get a well-reasoned argument for an exit strategy with a timeline out there.
Please take just a couple of minutes to write your letter to the editor today.

Today's letters to the editor are just the beginning. We're also starting national television advertising & running an ad in The New York Times that carry this message: "It's time to come home. We went in the wrong way, let's come home the right way." With your help, we'll keep that going & expand the push into the cities where it'll make the most difference. More on how to help do that tomorrow.
Public opinion has turned on President Bush's reckless war policy, but most leaders in Washington still aren't speaking out. That's why our work together is so important. Together, we can show the way toward a responsible exit plan and a more peaceful and secure world.
Thank you for all you do,
–Tom, Jennifer, Justin, Micayla & the MoveOn PAC Team
Tuesday, June 28th, 2005
P.S. Here are the points you can make in your letter or when you're talking to friends, family & colleagues.
It's time to start responsibly coming home from Iraq.
Iraq is no closer to stability than it was a year ago. Things keep getting worse every week. More than 1,700 Americans have been killed & more than 12,000 wounded. The U.S. occupation is fueling a growing insurgency. Our presence is exacerbating the problem. There are tens of thousands of insurgents backed by hundreds of thousands of supporters. We got into this war based on lies, the wrong way. It's time to get out the right way. The first step is to realize that the Bush policy is out of touch with reality. We need a real exit plan with a real timeline providing real accountability for our leaders. We need to turn control of the training of Iraqi forces & the rebuilding of Iraq to the international community. And we must renounce permanent military bases in Iraq because that angers the Iraqi people.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
When I finished laughing hysterically, which took quite some time, I focused on the most blatant lies & mistakes made in this form letter. Here's what I came up with. (These aren't in any particular order.)
1) John Abizaid isn't commander of Southern Command. He's commander of Central Command or CentCom. To an anti-war idiot, though, they're all look the same.
2) Doesn't it seem just a wee bit strange that they're suggesting criticisms of the President's speech before they knew what he'd said? I'll title this as 'Ted Kennedy Syndrome' because facts & information mean nothing when you're in the mood for a good, illogical rant.
3) MoveOn said "Bush's speech tonight will be one of the major "tipping point" moments since the war began & we can help make sure that no one buys his "stay the course" rhetoric."
Isn't it worth asking these pacifistic idiots why they'd cut & run? Is it because they're intent on destroying our credibility in the world by not keeping our word or is it because we'd rather send terrorists the message that we're cowards by pulling out when the going got tough? Inquiring minds want to know.
4) MoveOn said "Rove was trying to put Democrats & MoveOn on the defensive, painting us as weak on security. But it didn't work, we held strong, & with your help we can make sure that the attack backfires. Lying about MoveOn can't solve Bush's problem, that he has no plan for Iraq."
Shouldn't we ask what lies Rove told about Everything that he said about is documented &, in fact, I've posted their comments that Mr. Rove spoke about.
As for holding strong, is it wise to "hold strong" while looking like pacifists? Is it wise to stick with policies that the nation rejected with a resounding thud? In MoveOn's world, I guess it is.
5) MoveOn said: "But, believe it or not, Bush & Rumsfeld reject the very suggestion of a timeline. Rumsfeld said on Sunday we could be in Iraq another 10 years. But their voices are the only ones being heard right now. That's why we all need to get a well-reasoned argument for an exit strategy with a timeline out there."
Do they really understand what putting together a timeline means? Apparently not because we'd be telegraphing to the insurgents & foreign terrorists our strategy. Apparently not because we'd be telling the brave Iraqi people that cutting & running is more important than doing the job right. Apparently not because they don't understand, even in the slightest bit, that military stragegies are based on accomplishing a set of goals, not on what's most convenient.

Highlights From the Speech He Gave

I've broken down the distinct sections I detected in the speech.
The Logic For Our Actions
Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace & freedom. Our military reports that we’ve killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who’ve come from Saudi Arabia & Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya & others. They’re making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents & remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it’ll inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy & prosperity & hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, & lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America & our allies around the world.
The Benefits From Our Actions
These are savage acts of violence, but they haven’t brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists, both foreign & Iraqi, failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our Coalition & force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large number with the police forces & the army to defend their new democracy.
The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they can’t stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi & if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch.
The Reminder of What’s Been Accomplished
A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation & described our coalition's goals in Iraq. I said that America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy & give strength to a friend, a free, representative government that is an ally in the war on terror & a beacon of hope in a part of the world that’s desperate for reform. I outlined the steps we’d take to achieve this goal: We’d hand authority over to a sovereign Iraqi government. We’d help Iraqis hold free elections by January 2005. We’d continue helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure & economy. We’d encourage more international support for Iraq's democratic transition, & we’d enable Iraqis to take increasing responsibility for their own security & stability.
In the past year, we’ve made significant progress. One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people. In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men & women voted in elections that were free & fair, & took time on, & took place on time. We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard & rebuilding while at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made.

Diplomatic Front
In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq & many others are contributing non-military assistance. The U.N. is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution & conduct their next elections. Thus far, some 40 countries & three international organizations have pledged about $34 billion in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than 80 countries & international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security & rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction.
Whatever our differences in the past, the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said at the White House yesterday, "There can be no question a stable & democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe." Finally, we’ve continued our efforts to equip & train Iraqi security forces. We made gains in both the number & quality of those forces.
Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained & equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely, helping to capture terrorists & insurgents in Najaf & Samarra, Fallujah & Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen & we’re helping Iraqis assume those duties.

Something New
To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we’re taking three new steps: First, we’re partnering coalition units with Iraqi units. These coalition-Iraqi teams are conducting operations together in the field. These combined operations are giving Iraqis a chance to experience how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat.
Second, we’re embedding coalition "transition teams" inside Iraqi units. These teams are made up of coalition officers & non-commissioned officers who live, work & fight together with their Iraqi comrades. Under U.S. command, they’re providing battlefield advice & assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations. Between battles, they’re assisting the Iraqis with important skills, such as urban combat, & intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance techniques.
Third, we're working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior & Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations. We're helping them develop command & control structures. We're also providing them with civilian & military leadership training, so Iraq's new leaders can effectively manage their forces in the fight against terror.

Iraq’s Reward
The other critical element of our strategy is to help ensure that the hopes Iraqis expressed at the polls in January are translated into a secure democracy. The Iraqi people are emerging from decades of tyranny & oppression. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Shia & Kurds were brutally oppressed, & the vast majority of Sunni Arabs were also denied their basic rights, while senior regime officials enjoyed the privileges of unchecked power. The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put this past behind them & come together to build a new Iraq that includes all of its people.
They're doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, & equal justice under law. The Iraqis have held free elections & established a Transitional National Assembly. The next step is to write a good constitution that enshrines these freedoms in permanent law. The Assembly plans to expand its constitutional drafting committee to include more Sunni Arabs. Many Sunnis who opposed the January elections are now taking part in the democratic process, & that is essential to Iraq's future.

The Vision
After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it. If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again, to elect a new government under their new, permanent constitution. By taking these critical steps & meeting their deadlines, Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority & protects minority rights.
As Iraqis grow confident that the democratic progress they’re making is real & permanent, more will join the political process. And as Iraqis see that their military can protect them, more will step forward with vital intelligence to help defeat the enemies of a free Iraq. The combination of political & military reform will lay a solid foundation for a free & stable Iraq.

The Region’s Reward
As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq's borders. Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical & nuclear weapons programs. Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom. In the last few months, we've witnessed elections in the Palestinian Territories & Lebanon. These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt & Saudi Arabia. Our strategy to defend ourselves & spread freedom is working. The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism & ideologies of murder & make our nation safer.
Our History Of Success
America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we’ve always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil isn’t confronted, it gains in strength & audacity, & returns to strike us again. We know that when the work is hard, the proper response isn’t retreat, it’s courage. And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way & that the ideal of liberty is worth defending.

In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman & Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men & women defending our freedom, by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field, or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a website, You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men & women who defend us all.

The Emotional Thanks of Our Commander-In-Chief
To the soldiers in this hall, & our servicemen & women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire & your service to our nation. I thank our military families, the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war, we’ve lost good men & women who left our shores to defend freedom & didn’t live to make the journey home. I've met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I've been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission.
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.
After September the 11th, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult, & that we'd prevail. Well, it's been difficult, & we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they're no match for the United States of America, & they're no match for the men & women of the U.S. military.
May God bless you all.
I thought that the President did a terrific job with this speech, tying together the different facets of our efforts in Iraq. He outlined the logic behind our actions in sufficient detail without getting too bogged down with details. He told of the benefits that we already were experiencing because of our intervention in Iraq while swatting down the logic of the 'quagmire-mongers' with specificity & forcefulness.
Part of his swatting aside of the 'quagmire-mongers' was reminding everyone what's already been accomplished diplomatically & politically & militarily. This part of the speech was terrific because it reminded everyone that the naysayers were focusing on a small part of the conditions on the ground. It reminded people of the glorious day where "fear left Iraq" & 8 million brave & patriotic Iraqis voted.
While Ted Kennedy harped on make-believe quagmires, President Bush inspired & led us with his vision for Iraq & the region. Which do you think will garner the stronger, more durable support? Personally, I won't be betting on Sen. Kennedy.
The strongest part of the speech, in my opinion, was the conclusion to the speech. He got emotional in thinking of our brave countrymen who died while liberating a country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
He rightfully reminded us of our part in boosting the moral of every man & woman in the military by finding "a way to thank the men & women defending our freedom, by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field, or helping the military family down the street."
It's also important to follow his advice to go to the website & "to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men & women who defend us all."

The Speech the President Should Give

John Kerry has written a hilarious op-ed in today's NYT. I thought about trying to point out all the assinine statements he makes but I don't have that much time. Besides, I want this post out in a timely fashion. Here's a few important quotes from the op-ed:

Our mission in Iraq is harder because the administration ignored the advice of others, went in largely alone, underestimated the likelihood & power of the insurgency, sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification, failed to secure ammunition dumps, refused to recognize the urgency of training Iraqi security forces & did no postwar planning. A little humility would go a long way, coupled with a strategy to succeed.

In other words, Sen. Kerry, the President screwed up pretty much everything? I thought we had an election with Iraqi policy at the heart of the election & you got your butt whooped. It seems to me that the American people didn't take you seriously & voted in huge numbers for the President's plans & leadership. It'd be nice if you shut up & went away instead of stepping forward & putting your foot in your oversized mouth again & again.

He should also say that the U.S. will insist that the Iraqis establish a truly inclusive political process & meet the deadlines for finishing the Constitution &
holding elections in December.

Planet Earth to Sen. Kerry: HELLO!!! Wasn't it you, Sir, that said that it was unrealistic for the Iraqi elections to be held on schedule? Wasn't it you, Sir, that predicted that we wouldn't turn Iraq over on schedule? Wasn't it you, Sir, that called Iyad Allawi President Bush's puppet when he made a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress while you campaigned? Sen. Kerry, your comments aren't consistent with what you said during the campaign. Sen. Kerry, you're trying to rewrite history by pretending that what you said isn't what you said. Sen. Kerry, isn't possible to take you seriously because you've tried having things both ways, which is what you're doing now.
The reality is that President Bush has been unwavering in his deadlines for turning over sovereignty to Iraq & holding the Iraqi elections when you were a naysayer. It's time you sat down & shut up.
If Iraqis adopt a constitution & hold elections as planned, support for the insurgency should fall & Iraqi security forces should be able to take on more responsibility.
Sen. Kerry, the implication in your statement is that there's widespread support for the insurgency. What proof do you have for that opinion? Or is it something that you just decided was fact because you wanted it to be so?
Also, it'd be nice if you noticed that the Iraqi security forces are getting more & more involved in securing their country. Then again, it's obvious that you only see what you want to see & that you're only interested in seeing negative things.
Iraq's Sunni neighbors, who complain they’re left out, could do more to help.
Sen. Kerry, it might be worthwhile for you to notice that the Shi'a majority invited Sunnis to join in writing the Constitution. You might not think that's getting them involved but I'll bet that they feel they're being included in the country. Then again, you don't recognize much of anything, it seems.
There's many other comments that I could've mentioned that would've embarassed Sen. Kerry for their intellectual dishonesty or coherence but, like I said at the start, I don't have that much time.

Now This is Delicious

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB)
Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.
Reality sucks, doesn't it, Justice Souter. Rulings have real life consequences & I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than your home being ripped out of your fingers because of your insane ruling.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner & give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

Justice Souter should be made to feel the consequences of his throwing the Constitution to the side. As Rush just said, the best way to respond to these liberals is to make them live it. (It being living with their rules & regulations that they impose on others.) I couldn't agree more.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home. Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue & economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
I plan on contacting Mr. Clements to congratulate him on this brilliant idea. This is something that I plan on trumpeting every chance I get. Souter wants this ruling that bad? Fine. Now it's time that someone like Mr. Clements gives Mr. Souter hell over it.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" & include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it's a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.
"This isn't a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors & draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice & participants in the Free State Project among others.
Logan Darrow Clements
Freestar Media, LLC
Phone 310-593-4843

Democrats Report No Abuse at Gitmo

Two Democratic senators just back from reviewing U.S. detention facilities & interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said they saw no signs of abuse & said it would actually be worse to close the facility & transfer the detainees elsewhere. "I strongly prefer the improved practices & conditions at Camp Delta to the outsourcing of interrogation to countries with a far less significant commitment to human rights," said Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR), who toured the U.S. facility along with Sen. Ben Nelson, (D-NE). The two Democrats were joined on the trip by two Republicans, Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky & Sen. Michael D. Crapo of Idaho.

Though I doubt that this will shut Nancy Pelosi & Howard Dean & Dick Durbin up, it pretty much settles the issue for most people across the country. In fact, according to a recent credible poll, cited by Michael Barone, this issue was settled by an overwhelming margin.

Their characterization contrasts with critics, including Democratic Party leaders, who’ve called for the camp to be closed as a bruise on America's human rights record. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called for a commission to document abuses at Guantanamo & worldwide, while the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, two weeks ago compared interrogation tactics at Guantanamo to those used during the Nazi & Soviet regimes.

This report is perfect for shaming Pelosi, Durbin & Ted Kennedy. Their ramblings are the picture of America-hating. These prominent Dems are worthy targets of total discrediting & ridicule.

But the four returning senators, in separate Republican & Democrat press conferences yesterday, said they saw no evidence of ongoing abuse. "Everything we heard about operations there in the past, we'd have to say, was negative. What we saw firsthand was something different," Mr. Nelson said.

There's nothing like a little firsthand evidence to disprove the wild, irresponsible lies of Sens. Kennedy & Durbin. Let's hope that voters will remember this in November 2006.

Mr. Crapo said of the 70,000 people captured & detained globally in the war on terror, only 800 have been taken to Guantanamo. Many of those have been released or moved to other facilities, leaving 520 at Camp Delta. He said there have been 400 visits by 1,000 reporters to the facility & that nearly 20 senators, a larger number of House members & 100 congressional staff members have visited the camp.

It's being widely reported that Sens. Kennedy & Durbin & Minority Leader Pelosi haven't made that trip. Neither has Harry Reid. It's time to tell these idiots to shut up.

Senate Passes Energy Bill

The Senate overwhelmingly approved energy legislation embraced by both Republicans & Democrats Tuesday, but hard bargaining looms with House GOP leaders who favor measures more favorable to industry. After finishing most work on the bill late last week, the Senate approved the sweeping legislation 85-12. It includes a proposed $18 billion in energy tax breaks, an expansion of ethanol use & measures aimed at increasing natural gas imports to meet growing demand.
This is good news, though it isn't the magic bullet that people might be expecting it to be.
The legislation says nothing about drilling in the ANWR in Alaska, although that's a top priority of the Bush administration. The House-passed bill calls for developing the refuge & assumes $2.6 billion over 10 years in federal revenue from refuge oil lease sales. And unlike the House bill, it is silent on giving aid to larger oil companies & refiners who want protection against environmental lawsuits because one of their products, the gasoline additive MTBE, has contaminated drinking water in hundreds of communities. House leaders have insisted an MTBE waiver be part of energy legislation.
That this bill doesn't have ANWR written into it, that isn't a big deal because of Domenici's putting ANWR language in the budget blueprint bill.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Someone's Sounding Scared

Zell Miller is back causing trouble for Democrats, which puts a big smile on my face. Here's the full story of Miller's mischief:

Miller raises funds for state GOP
Saturday, June 25, 2005
News staff writer
Former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, the Democrat known his fiery keynote speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention, said Friday Alabama would run more efficiently if GOP legislators had a stronger presence in Montgomery. "I think (more Republican legislators) would make for a more conservative & fiscally responsible government & I think it’d stop a lot of the infighting & bickering," Miller said in an interview. In speaking at a Republican fund-raising event Friday night at the HealthSouth Conference Center, Miller supported a GOP effort to take over the Alabama Legislature, where Democrats hold a majority in both branches.
Proceeds from the $150-a-plate function will go to target state House & Senate races where Republican candidates are seeking open seats or those held by Democratic incumbents, GOP strategist Leland Whaley said. The party has talked about raising $6 million to tip the balance in the Legislature. About 500 tickets were sold for the event. Before his speech, Miller, 73, posed for photos with Republican supporters & signed copies of his most recent book, "Deficit of Decency." Clad in a red tie & black suit, the silver-haired former senator said the 2008 presidential election is "wide open."

Miller, an enthusiastic supporter of President George W. Bush, said the Republican party has no incumbent candidate to rely on because Vice President Dick Cheney already has said he isn’t running. The Democrats, on the other hand, have several eager challengers, Hillary Clinton, should she decide to run, probably would win the nomination, he said. "But I think it'll be difficult for (Clinton) to be elected because the Democratic base has been shrinking in recent years," Miller said, "& with Howard Dean doing what he's doing, it’s been shrinking even more." Dean is the national Democratic Party chairman.

I think Sen. Miller's observation is exactly right in that the Democratic Party is alot smaller now than anytime in my lifetime & in saying that Hillary faces an uphill battle because of that shrinkage. I also think that Hillary's put in a precarious position by having to straddle the different factions in her party, specifically the pacifist, way-outside-the-mainstream wing represented by Michael Moore & Howard Dean & the Scoop Jackson wing, with Joe Lieberman & Evan Bayh representing the more acceptable wing of the party. A house that divided can't stand & can't win.

Floyd Lawson, who served as an Alabama presidential elector in November, said after meeting Miller on Friday he was a "brilliant man." "We’d love for him to be a Republican, but right now he’s a Democrat for us, & that has more significance than if he were a Republican," said Lawson, 86, of Cullman.

Redding Pitt, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said Miller has never been successful influencing voters in Alabama. "The people of Alabama in their counties & legislative districts are going to choose their own leaders & they're not going to have a paid puppet from Georgia come over here & tell them how to vote," he said.

I'll make a special note to see how prophetic Mr. Pitt is. It sounds to me like he's running a little afraid at this point. After all, it isn't like he can invite Gov. Dean or someone down to do a fundraiser. One thing's for sure in a Bible Belt conservative state like Alabama: Money matters, especially in tipping tight races to the monied side.

The outspoken Miller, who served two terms as governor of Georgia, regularly has stepped outside party lines in the Senate, where he was appointed to a seat after the death of Sen. Paul Coverdell in July 2000.

Bono on Meet the Press

MR. RUSSERT: You say from everybody. In fact, you gave an interview to Time magazine. "Question: Which of the G8 leaders do you think remains the toughest nut to crack? Bono: The most important & toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he's already doubled & tripled aid to Africa, which he started from far too low a place. He can stand there & say he paid at the office already. He shouldn't because he'll be left out of the history books. But it's hard for him because of the expense of the war and the debts." How much pressure do you think should be on President Bush at this time?
BONO: Well, I think he's done an incredible job, his administration, on AIDS. And 250,000 Africans are on antiviral drugs. They literally owe their lives to America. In one year that's being done. But it can't just be AIDS. It has to be the environment in which viruses like AIDS thrive, or malaria. I mean, 3,000 Africans die every day of a mosquito bite. Can you think about that, malaria? That's not acceptable in the 21st century & we can stop it. And water-borne illnesses, dirty water takes another 3,000 lives, children, mothers, sisters.
Yes, there's a lot of pressure on President Bush. If he, though, in his second term, is as bold in his commitments to Africa as he was in the first term, he indeed deserves a place in history in turning the fate of that continent around. If he doesn't, I fear that even the good work that he’s started will be forgotten by history & that really makes me very, very sad, because I worked on a lot of this stuff, the AIDS initiative & the Millennium Challenge & really want to see, I think he deserves his place in history here.
If, through his advocacy, Bono gets Tony Blair & President Bush to lead like they've done in the war on terror, then he deserves his place in history, too. I'd think that he'd find Sen. Frist quite receptive, too, in spearheading this policy, especially in light of his graduation speech advocating a 21st Century Manhattan Project & with his missions trips into Africa where he's treated people who've been stricken with these horrible plagues.
It's also great to hear Bono praising President Bush, not without pointing out what he sees as the President's shortcomings in this area, but pointing out that Africans "literally owe their lives to America." Sincere praise, offered with proper balance is a great way to win over people. The Democrats would do well to learn that.
MR. RUSSERT: The concerns that many in the administration have & many people across the country were reflected in this article in yesterday's New York Daily News. The headline: "Can music really save Africa? Concerts help but corruption hurts." And the article goes to say, Bono, "Many, in the West & in Africa, doubt that canceling debt & pouring billions more into Africa will do any good while the continent remains plagued by disease, civil war & corruption. Makeda Tsegaye, an Ethiopian activist based in Kenya, said writing off debts without demanding democratic reforms would be counterproductive..."

BONO: This is the number-one problem facing Africa, corruption; not natural calamity, not the AIDS virus. This is the number-one issue & there's no way around it. That's what was so clever about President Bush's Millennium Challenge. It was start-up money for new democracies. It was giving increases of aid flows only to countries that are tackling corruption. That's what's so clever. It's, the implementation of the Millennium Challenge hasn’t happened. It’s in trouble. They recognize that. President Bush is embarrassed about that. They're trying to put it right. But the idea, the concept was a great one. Debt cancellation also has conditionalities built into it. People need to know this.
So no one’s talking about aid in the old sense, the money down a rat hole thing. No one wants that. It makes matters worse, not better. This is new targeted aid. Now, there will be some countries where mercy is needed & aid has to go, certain levels of aid have to go. You can't hold people responsible, the populace responsible for their dictators. But in those instances, you just root the aid away from the governments & through the NGOs on the ground. That's the modern way.
While I understand that Russert has to ask questions regarding the corruption in some African nations, it's nice seeing Bono take the opportunity to praise President Bush's way of providing aid while not letting it get into the hands of corrupt dictators. This is why I wish we had a Bono-type spokesman available for other policies & initiatives.

The World Upside Down

Last week's Kelo ruling is among the most controversial rulings in quite some time. I'd say it's even more controversial than the Ten Commandments ruling. Dennis Byrne tries to put this ruling into perspective with his article in the Chicago Tribune. Here's his key arguments:

So, here's the irony: A liberal Supreme Court now makes possible the destruction of human-scale neighborhoods, with their ma & pa stores & affordable housing, in order to build despised, but revenue-generating, shopping malls & office parks, usually at the expense of poor people.

Notice that Mr. Byrne characterizes this court as liberal. Also note the power-shift. It used to be Democrats' position that mom & pop stores were the utopia to work towards. It used to be that Democrats railed against the overreach of corporations.
As O'Connor said in her strongly worded dissent: "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision won’t be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence & power in the political process, including large corporations & development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The founders can’t have intended this perverse result."
Justice O'Connor's opinion was scathing & on point. It's inconceivable that the Founding Fathers meant for the well-connected to have a disproportionate advantage over private citizens. It's inconceivable that they'd want to have private property be available to the highest bidder. It's inconceivable that they'd want the well-connected to uproot the blue collar people that make America great just for extra tax revenues.

Animal Groups Praise Sen. Rick Santorum

Animal Groups Praise Sen. Rick Santorum
June 27, 2005
Puppies & kittens likely aren’t the first things that come to mind when many think of Sen. Rick Santorum, the conservative No. 3 Senate Republican known for his tough stance against abortion & gay marriage. But Santorum, R-PA, has won high praise from the Humane Society of the U.S. for pushing legislation aimed at ending breeding facilities known as puppy mills. PETA also finds him a friend. "He's a man with a heart & he doesn't think it's any more acceptable to treat animals cruelly than humans," said Mary Beth Sweetland, director of research & investigations for the Norfolk, VA-based PETA.

At first glance, this isn't a big issue but I wanted to point it out because it's proof that it's possible to find intellectual honesty on the Liberal Left. Let's face it. Intellectual honesty from the Left just isn't that easy to find. In the hopes that it'll happen more often, I'll point out future examples of the Left's coherent intellectual honesty. I'd suggest all bloggers do the same, though I know it won't be easy finding these types of examples.

Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said those who think of animal rights as a liberal cause shouldn’t be surprised to find him in this camp. A father of six who has a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Schatzie, he said having pets makes for a healthier home. "To me, it's part of a society that's caring, sensitive to life," Santorum said in a recent interview. "Obviously, the life of animals is fundamentally different than the life of a human being. But to me, we have a responsibility to God's creatures to treat them humanely & the government's laws should reflect that."

There you have it: A logical, intelligent explanation on how a conservative can justify his love of animals without going too far with it.

The animal rights PAC Humane USA gave $5,000 to Santorum's 2006 re-election bid & has pledged to campaign aggressively for him. "We support elected officials who have a proven record of leadership on animal welfare issues & Rick Santorum fits that characteristic precisely," said Wayne Pacelle, president & CEO of the Humane Society & a Humane USA board member.

Mr. Pacelle's statement is a great compliment because he's essentially saying that Sen. Santorum is consistent in his views & that he's a leader in the Senate.

His track record supporting animal health issues goes back a decade, said Nancy Perry, also from the Washington-based Humane Society. About the only legislative issue on which Santorum has gone against PETA's view was oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I doubt that that'll cause these animal rights groups to denounce Sen. Santorum, though I'm sure they'd prefer he voted with them on that.

Barone on Rove's Speech

Barone: "In the liberal narrative, the Democratic Party selflessly supported George W. Bush until he unwisely decided to make war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And indeed many of them supported that: Schumer & Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution in October 2002."
I'd submit to you that many of the liberals that voted for the war in Afghanistan voted for political cover. Alot of congressional liberals are pacifist by nature & it appalls them to see the U.S. military used. This isn't the same, obviously, as voting enthusiastically for going to war against the terrorists that murdered innocent men, women & children.
One reason that the Democrats are squawking so much about Rove's attack on "liberals" is that he’s put the focus on a fundamental split in the Democratic Party, a split among its politicians & its voters. On the one hand, there are those who believe that this is a fundamentally good country & want to see success in Iraq. On the other hand, there are those who believe this is a fundamentally bad country & want more than anything else to see George W. Bush fail.

Those in the "America is fundamentally good" wing of the Democratic Party are Evan Bayh & Joe Liebermann. Those typifying the "America is bad" wing of the Democratic Party is best represented by Howard Dean, Michael Moore & other moonbats.

Those who don’t think this split is real should consult the responses to pollster Scott Rasmussen's question last year. About two-thirds of Americans agreed that the U.S. is a fair & decent country. Virtually all Bush voters agreed. Kerry voters were split down the middle. This is a fundamental split.

This is something that the Agenda/Liberal Cheerleading media totally ignore each election cycle. That won't happen here because it's too important of a fundamental to ignore.

Now, Democrats want to make Guantanamo an issue when, according to Rasmussen, only 20 percent of Americans believe prisoners there are treated unfairly & only 14 percent believe that treatment is similar to Nazi tactics.

This is why liberal campaign consultants & politicians are idiots. Telling people to vote for you because 80% of your potential constituency oppose your policy isn't exactly smart. It's a tactic I'd encourage these consultants to continue doing, at least until we have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

But a party that happily allies itself with the likes of & many of whose leading members have lost the ability to distinguish between opposition to an incumbent administration & rooting for our nation's enemies has serious problems.

This is precisely why it's next to impossible to take the Democratic Party seriously. It's also downright dangerous thinking.

Hostility on the Hill compared to 'fire pit'

Hostility on the Hill compared to 'fire pit'
By Donald Lambro

If the rhetoric doesn't cool, they say, voters will retaliate. "Democrats & Republicans better be aware of the fact that there’s a limit to the frustration of voters in this country," says Leon Panetta, a former Democratic representative who was White House chief of staff under President Clinton.

I'm all for more intelligent debating of the issues but I won't agree with Leon Panetta, who's one of the truly nice guys to have served in Washinton. I'd say that Democrats will suffer most if hot rhetoric is their voting criterion, though conservatives aren't totally blameless in this.

"I think people are being less prudent about what they say & how & where they say it," says Warren Rudman, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire who chairs the bipartisan Concord Coalition. "There’s a lack of trust & of collegiality between people. I saw it on occasion when I was in the Senate, but nothing like it is now," he says.

Sen. Rudman is partially right. If he means that liberal dinosaurs like Ted Kennedy, Sheets Byrd & Patrick Leahy need to use actual facts in proper context in debating the issues instead of spewing mindless rants whenever they see fit, then I'd agree with that. If, however, he's saying that both parties need to tone it down, then he's mumbling to the idiots of moderation.

Washington has been rocked in recent weeks by the sharpest attack rhetoric since the 2004 elections. DNC Chairman Howard Dean charged that most Republicans are "white Christians", he didn't intend it as a compliment, who "look alike" & have "never done an honest day's work." The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, compared the treatment of al Qaeda prisoners by U.S. military interrogators to interrogators in Nazi concentration camps, the Soviet gulags & the death marches of Pol Pot in Cambodia.

Mort Kondracke is, by his own admission, a truth detector in political ads & commentary. He's on the record that Durbin's & Dean's comments are far over the line, especially highlighting Dean's weekly idiotic statements.

Mr. Panetta blames the intensity of political campaigns. "Political consultants on both sides say that the only way to get your sound bite noticed is to make even more outlandish attacks on one another because they know that's what grabs headlines," he says.

Mr. Panetta nips at the problem but doesn't hit it squarely. The problem, in my opinion, is that politicians & their consultants aren't interested in appealing to swing voters; they're just interested in bringing out the base.

Facing tough election, Schroder turns to Bush, again

Facing tough election, Schroder turns to Bush, again
By Andreas Tzortzis, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
June 27, 2005
The last time he faced the prospect of electoral defeat, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder turned President Bush's foreign policy into a campaign rally cry, plunging German & American relations to their lowest point since the end of World War II. As Mr. Schroder visits Washington Monday, he’s once again politically embattled, with his weakened Social Democrats (SPD) facing an emboldened Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in early elections this September. And he’ll no doubt use Mr. Bush to improve his voter support. But this time, analysts say, Schroder won't be driving the anti-Bush bandwagon he rode to victory in 2002.

Mr. Schroder is always embattled because people understand that he's Chiraq's lapdog. He's embattled, too, because he's seen as lacking any principle or intelligence.

Instead, the two-term leader is hoping his appearance with Bush will remind German voters of the greater international profile he’s given his country. And he's expected to press Germany's case for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, a bid the US has opposed. In short, Schroder is doing everything he can to turn attention away from Germany's troubled economy.

"He’ll be able to go back to Germany & say, 'I stood up to Bush on the Iraq war, but nonetheless I can still go to the White House & have serious discussions with the President,'" says Karen Donfried, director of policy programs for the German Marshall Fund in Washington. The image fits into the grander foreign policy vision Schroder has fashioned. Since he became chancellor in 1998, Germany has sent its soldiers into conflict regions, cast itself as a EU power player &, in general, led the sort of foreign policy unthinkable even a decade ago.

He can say whatever he wants but spinning isn't going to help him. His image is shot & he knows it.

Court: No Ten Commandments in Courthouses

Court: No Ten Commandments in Courthouses
By HOPE YEN, AP Writer
A split Supreme Court struck down Ten Commandments displays in courthouses Monday, ruling that two exhibits in Kentucky cross the line between separation of church & state because they promote a religious message. The 5-4 decision was the first of two seeking to mediate the bitter culture war over religion's place in public life.
This ruling is the epitome of this court's aloofness & idealogical stench. It's disgusting that they don't realize that they've overruled the First Amendment's protections, which, despite all the spinning that's certain to follow, is precisely what's just happened.
Something else that's evident is that the liberal idealogues think they know better than the Founding Fathers. After all, this ruling strikes down a practice that's been in place since George Washington was President.
In it, the court declined to prohibit all displays in court buildings or on government property. Justices left legal wiggle room, saying that some displays, like their own courtroom frieze, would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history. But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held.
It says that the "justices left legal wiggle room" but I'd characterize it as them leaving themselves weasel room.

"The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion & religion & between religion & nonreligion," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the majority. "When the government acts with the ostensible & predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality," he said.

Justice Souter's ruling "principle" is so far off-base that it's pathetic. It's the "principle" of an intellectual & Constitutional midget. If he were an original intent jurist, he couldn't have come to this conclusion.
Souter was joined in his opinion by other members of the liberal bloc, Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Stephen G. Breyer, as well as Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor, who provided the swing vote.
Stevens, Souter, Breyer & Bader Ginsburg consistently make illogical, anti-Constitutional rulings. It's time that we put the pressure on them by dwindling their ranks as they retire. This is why President Bush needs to pick strong conservatives to the Supreme Court. It's also why we need another staunch conservative to succeed President in the White House.

Why press gets 'bad press'

One reason some of America's most prominent news organizations have been getting "bad press" lately, & losing viewers & readers, is that they lack transparent standards & seem willing to "report" (a better word might be repeat) almost anything, without proper confirmation.

I'd choose sharper wording than this. Here's how I'd word it: One main reason most of America's formerly prominent news organizations have received bad 'publicity' while readers & viewers abandon them in droves is because they don't factcheck. That's because their idea of factchecking & sourcing is to ask Senator B if Senator A's quote is something he agrees with instead of reading an actual bill.
Proper confirmation isn’t just a second "source" willing to parrot what somebody else said. Frequently, that's just two people spinning the same tale. Proper confirmation is independent verification obtained through fact-gathering,
analysis & firsthand reporting. If a reporter can't be there in person, he or she should talk to reliable people who were.

Bob Woodward is the gold standard at this. He'd actually ask questions about content, not about quotes. This served a couple purposes. In asking questions about specifics of the bill without attribution to a person, they have to comment on the merits of the statement instead of launching into a diatribe about the opposite party's being out of touch. Secondly, this is part of what I call 'Joe Friday reporting' because it's all about 'just the facts, Ma'am.' Woodward wasn't confrontational like today's reporter wannabes are.

The other reason behind this is because they practice sloppy journalism. Instead of reporting facts, they 'report' polls & they 'report' quotes about Party A criticizing Party B. In today's world, reporting polls, most of which I'd characterize as "My Party's Winning' polls. These polls, like the latest AP-Ipsos poll I recently fisked, while bad enough, are just the tip of the iceberg.

They spawn 'news stories' based on faulty or disreputable or fake information, where the 'reporter' asks a Republican senator or representative to explain why his party's opinions & policies are so unpopular.

Consider the latest conspiracy tale making the rounds in Washington. The short version, courtesy of Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA) (in a May 24 letter to the Wall Street Journal), goes like this: Corporations & other "special interests" involved
in litigation give money to nonprofit organizations that then "wine & dine judges" at lavish resorts, where they hold brainwashing seminars to align the judges "with the legal interests" of the corporate money-men. The charges, in these or similar words, have been repeated by several major news organizations. The trouble is the charges are nonsense.

If I'd been the reporter in the room, I would've asked Sen. Aloof if he was refering to his wife's foundations that contribute to radical environmental lobbying groups, twisting arms of otherwise responsible senators. Of course, shaming a senator who recklessly throws out misinformation likely means you won't be popular with the politician but reporting isn't about being popular; it's about getting accurate information out to the public.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

New Manhattan Project

Also like Truman, I’ve never forgotten who I am, nor from whence I come, so I know my purpose, I know my duty & obligations & I know the precedents to honor. Just as a surgeon must follow an objective course & a general must look at war with a cold & steady eye, a statesman must operate as if the world were free of emotion. And yet, to rise properly to the occasion, the surgeon must have the deepest compassion for his patient, the general must have the heart of an infantryman & the statesman must know at every moment that the cost of his decisions is borne, often painfully, by the sovereign population he serves, all as if the world were nothing but emotion. The difficulty in this is what Churchill called the “continual stress of soul,” the rack upon which the adherents of these professions, if they meet their obligations well, will of necessity be broken.
As the Senate's Majority Leader, Sen. Frist knows that the votes he schedules, debates & vote on will shape the course of our nation. This is where his skills as a statesman are of most use to him. As a doctor/Senator, though, Sen. Frist knows that he must lead with his intimate understanding of medicine & also because he's aware of the consequences of biological warfare & the preparations that need acting on to minimize human casualties & minimize panic. This, to Dr. Frist, is this young century's Manhattan Project, this time being used for compassionate reasons.
It’s human nature to look away from danger, to hope for the best, & pray that disaster won’t arrive on our watch. But we won’t be able to look away from what could be coming soon, a front of unchecked & virulent epidemics, the potential of which should rise above your every other concern. For what the world could soon face it didn’t see even in the great wars of the last century. And not only are we under prepared for these epidemics, we haven’t taken sufficient note of the fact that though individually each might be devastating, they are susceptible of either purposeful or accidental combination, in which case they could be devastating almost beyond imagination.
In this section of his speech, Dr. Frist lays the groundwork of purpose in starting this 21st century Manhattan Project. With terrorists constantly seeking an opening to inflict tragedies more massive than we've ever seen before, it's foolish not to be prepared for this type of warfare.
When the anthrax scare happened right after 9/11, Sen. Frist put together information on dealing with it & posted it on his senate website. He kinda became the point person on the subject until HHS could put together a more comprehensive to-do list.
It’s human nature to look away from danger, to hope for the best, & pray that disaster won’t arrive on our watch. But we won’t be able to look away from what could be coming soon, a front of unchecked & virulent epidemics, the potential of which should rise above your every other concern. For what the world could soon face it didn’t see even in the great wars of the last century. And not only are we under prepared for these epidemics, we haven’t taken sufficient note of the fact that though individually each might be devastating, they are susceptible of either purposeful or accidental combination, in which case they could be devastating almost beyond imagination.
This is the worst option we could choose, especially with our technological capabilities & with the wealth we have to develop & produce them. To do less is simply irresponsible.
How would we react to the devastation caused by a virus or bacteria unleashed not by nature, but intentionally by man? During the Cold War, the Soviet Union, which stockpiled 5,000 tons annually of biowarfare-engineered anthrax resistant to 16 antibiotics, also produced three tons of weaponized smallpox virus, just as the monumental effort to immunize the world’s children came to a successful close. As a result of conditions prevalent during the dissolution of the USSR, it’s impossible to rule out that quantities of this or other deliberately manufactured pathogens such as anthrax, pneumonic plague, tularemia, botulinum toxin & others may find or may have found their ways into the possession of terrorists such as bin Laden & Al-Zarqawi...Almost without doubt, the epidemic would spread to the rest of the world, for in biological warfare an attack upon one country is an attack upon all. Then we’d find ourselves more than willing to return to even the most difficult times of the last century. Is such a scenario possible? Well, it isn’t impossible.
This is the type of thing that the world, with the U.S. leading, needs to work feverishly to prevent. The plagues that Dr. Frist has outlined here are Biblical-sized plagues, bigger in size to the plague the Bible said happened to Egypt before they let Israel go. For the richest nation in the world to ignore this is unconscienable.