Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Biggest relief plan since 9/11 ordered

The Washington Times' Joseph Curl is reporting that "President Bush yesterday ordered America's largest emergency effort since September 11, 2001, deploying Navy ships & Army helicopters to states ravaged by Hurricane Katrina & activating a new national response plan."
The White House declared the hurricane an "incident of national significance," triggering a national emergency plan, completed in January, that was designed after the terrorist attacks in 2001. As part of the plan, the Pentagon yesterday dispatched warships, including two helicopter assault vessels & elite SEAL water-rescue teams, as well as the hospital ship USNS Comfort, to Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama. The Comfort left from Baltimore while the USS Iwo Jima, a helicopter assault ship, departed from Norfolk.
I'm guessing that the SEAL teams will team with the Coast Guard teams already on location that've already rescued upwards of 1,250 people by Wednesday sundown.
The Washington Times'Audrey Hudson quotes Petty Officer 3rd Class Larry Chambers as saying "Unfortunately, in a situation like this, you're seeing the Coast Guard do what it does best, saving lives...The importance of life is job one for us...When they see the orange & white bird & those guys in orange uniforms coming down for them, they feel a lot better...Every time they fly over, they see hundreds, if not thousands of people who need to be rescued..."
As I've said before, this is a disaster of Biblical proportions. It'll require genuine miracles to help some of the victims to survive. For those reasons, I'm reminding you to keep these relief workers in your prayers along with the victims & their families. I'm asking that you specifically pray that God gives the relief workers & the victims an extra dose of wisdom & energy until everything in the first stage is accomplished.

Dumping Cindy?

The Washington Times' Bill Sammon has written an article that reports that & other 'Cindy Support Groups' will start scaling back their operations when Cindy takes her show on the road to the White House.
The groups, which played a major role in Mrs. Sheehan's monthlong vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, are scaling back their involvement as Mrs. Sheehan prepares to leave Texas today on a bus tour to Washington. Critics had said it appeared that Mrs. Sheehan had morphed from a mother grieving the loss of her son in Iraq into a pawn of liberal advocacy groups. "The vigil started as a very grass-roots thing and then grew because groups like MoveOn were drawn to what Cindy was doing and wanted to offer their support," said Wade Fletcher of Mintwood Media Collective, a Washington-based public-relations group advising the Sheehan demonstrators. Now we're kind of bringing it back to the original grass roots," he added.
That paragraph is so full of lies that it's laughable. When Mr. Fletcher says that "The vigil started as a very grass-roots thing", I just about gagged. This was totally orchestrated from Day 1.

The more important point to this story is that this vigil was a production, that Cindy was an actor with a plot to destroy President Bush's presidency & the Agenda Media didn't do anything to investigate the agendas of these extremist Cindy Support groups. If conservatives got together to protest a Democratic president, the Agenda Media would be running backround stories on each group with a detailed profile of each organization's leadership.

We don't need further proof that the Agenda Media isn't a serious reporting group. They're a joke compared with people like Bob Woodward, Edward R. Morrow, Eric Sevareid & others. (BTW, after reading a couple of Woodward books, I consider him to be the gold standard. His research wasn't just taking quotes from this or that politician. Instead, it was about talking to people about this or that policy.)
For example, the protesters will no longer receive strategic & political advice from Fenton Communications, a large, left-wing public-relations firm. That role reverts to Mintwood, a small operation that helped Mrs. Sheehan early on.
How early on did Mintwood help Mrs. Sheehan? Why aren't they eliminating the PR firms entirely? If this is such a grassroots movement, why do you need message crafters & political handlers? If this is coming from her heart, she should be able to just speak her convictions, shouldn't she?

I certainly can speak without notes or talking points when I feel passionately about something. I don't need a script. I certainly wouldn't need handlers & I wouldn't need people to keep me on message.

It also seems to me that the tide turned when bloggers & other responsible journalists reported on how these PR firms & handlers were staging things. People stopped buying into Cindy's grieving mother schtick. Don't get me wrong. At one point, I'm sure she was a grieving mom but I'm equally certain that that she isn't anymore. Now she's just another weapon in the liberals' attempt to destroy the President's remaining agenda.

There's one last lesson to be learned from this orchestration & that is that less is more. If she'd left after the first week of reporting, people wouldn't have heard her extremist views of impeaching the President or her quote about getting "Israel out of Palestine" or other absurdities. She's similar to Gov. Dean in that the more she talked, the less appealling she got. She also proved right the old cliche that "it's better to keep your mouth shut & be thought a fool than to speak & prove it."

Navy Sends Ships to Aid Hurricane Victims

The AP is reporting that the Navy is sending ships to the storm-battered Gulf Coast.
Here's the details of the relief efforts: The Navy is sending four ships carrying water & other supplies to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, while medical disaster teams & Red Cross workers from across the country converged on the devastated Gulf Coast region. The Red Cross, which sent in 185 emergency vehicles to provide meals, reported it had about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area. FEMA said medical specialists from Washington state were joining similar teams called in from Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma & Florida to assist people in damaged areas.
It's amazing to read these things because there isn't another country in the world that could undertake a relief effort of this size on its own. Also, the military isn't the evil organization that Cindy Sheehan has characterized it as. The Navy, in particular, has been used to 'stand in the gap' in the aftermath of natural disasters. The most recent instance was that it was there when water needed to be pumped off the islands in the tsunami's aftermath. If I recall correctly, I think they also helped purify water for drinking in the tsunami's aftermath.

It's wise to take a balanced view of the military, not just look at a single aspect of it. I'm afraid that Mrs. Sheehan & her cohorts won't do that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Simply Delusional

If Cindy Sheehan isn't delusional, then she's gotta be the biggest grandstander I've ever seen. Sometimes, I think she's a little of both. Here's what she said in an AP story: "I look back on it & I’m very, very, very grateful he didn’t meet with me, because we’ve sparked & galvanized the peace movement."

She's either delusional or she's hyping what happened in Crawford. Sometimes it's difficult to tell which. There isn't a real "peace movement" like in the 70's. If anything, she's just the latest creation of the Agenda Media to extend the Hate Bush Movement. A majority of Americans might not like how the war is going but they're certainly not anti-war like Ms. Sheehan, Jane Fonda & Billy Jack actor Tom Laughlin, who are nothing more than Bush haters.
"I thought our country was going down, down, down. I thought nobody cared about our children killed in the war, but millions care & millions care about our country & want to make it better," she said. "The love & support I've received give me hope that my life can someday be normal."
With all due respect, it's almost impossible for me to think of Cindy Sheehan as normal. She's farther outside the mainstream than Howard Dean or Ted Kennedy are & that's saying something. The country would be going "down, down, down" if Sheehan's crowd controlled it. Thankfully, we haven't gotten to that point yet & I doubt we ever will.

Spot On Prager

Dennis Prager's latest column in Jewish World Review is so focused on the most fundamental question that it's bound to cut through the peripheral issues that abound about the War in Iraq.
Here's Mr. Prager's opening premise: All those who support the American war in Iraq should make a deal with anyone opposed to the war. Offer to answer any 20 questions the opponents wish to ask if they’ll answer just one: Do you believe we’re fighting evil people in Iraq?
I doubt that Cindy Sheehan's given a minute's worth of thinking about this. Her Bush hatred is so intense that she hasn't thought that this war might be justified. But let's expand this beyond Cindy Sheehan for a moment.

Mr. Prager continues "Here are the responses you’re likely to receive:
1. The Bush administration is just as evil: for illegally invading a country that didn’t threaten us; for "lying" to get us into Iraq & because it’s a war for corporate profits.
2. Some of those we’re fighting may be evil, but not all; some are simply fighting against foreign occupation of their country.
3. We can’t call anyone evil; only God can make such judgments.

This last sentence is laughable. If we can't call anyone evil, that means everyone, including President Bush. (That's my literalist side showing through again.) Following this logically, it means that whoever says this should speak out against Cindy Sheehan because she's calling President Bush evil & lying about taking us to war. To be intellectually honest, they've got to speak out or be laughed off the stage.

Of course, expecting these haters to be intellectually honest is something I'll expect from the Jane Fonda/Billy Jack wing of the Democratic Party the day after Howard Dean calls President Bush the greatest wartime president in U.S. history.

Of course, Prager's right in pointing out that none of those responses answers his question directly, another telltale sign of their intellectual dishonesty.

Katrina & Energy Policy

Much has been written about the death & destruction that Katrina caused & rightfully so. As a nation, we should pray for those who lost loved ones, those left homeless & those whose businesses were destroyed. We should also pray that the flooding would subside quickly so that reconstruction can start & hope return. Still, we shouldn't let our only focus be on rebuilding neighborhoods & restaurants & other small businesses.

This should be a time when we realize what else was at risk, namely the oil rigs just off Louisiana's shore & the refineries found within its borders. But let's admit that raising these questions isn't enough. Finding sensible solutions must be part of the conversation.

One thing that's obvious is that offshore oil rigs, while needed to meet our nation's needs, are susceptible to storms. That's unacceptable considering the current tight supply of oil. To come up with a great solution, lets' consider drilling in ANWR. The area that's being considered for drilling is roughly 100 miles from the existing pipeline. While I don't know whether the new wells' output could be sent to market via that pipeline, it's safe to say that drilling there isn't nearly as susceptible to violent shifts in weather that offshore drilling poses.

I know that some who read this will simply dismiss this as a tactic to get legislation passed that allows drilling in ANWR. I freely admit that I want that to happen but it isn't for ideological purposes. The truth is that I want this legislation passed because it's the sensible thing to do. It's patently obviously that we need to have a stable supply of oil & that alternative energy sources won't help us meet all of our needs.

Another benefit that'd come from drilling in ANWR is that there's a huge reserve of natural gas there, which anyone in New England or in the northern tier of states will tell you is in short supply. The final benefit we should take away from Katrina is in building new refining capabilities away from New Orleans. North Texas seems like a solid place to build them.

If we're smart, we'll learn how to be smart about energy production, which must be part of our energy policy, because of the destruction that Katrina caused.

Monday, August 29, 2005

GOP Outreach Update

The Washington Times reports that Ken Mehlman's efforts are getting noticed.

Groups such as NBRA are getting their message across with candidates like Richard Holt, a 25-year-old Republican who is running for the House seat in Ohio being vacated by Rep. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. He said the time for black diversity in both parties is now & that the movement will be successful despite attacks by Democratic activists. "It’s difficult because of people like Harry Bellefonte & Dick Gregory calling us 'whitey' & tyrants when all we want to do is make sure that our families are strong, that we own our own businesses & that our children get a good education," Mr. Holt said.

I look forward to the time when a new set of black leaders like Mr. Holt shouts down the racial hatespeach of the Harry Bellafontes of the world. Mr. Bellafonte's statements about Colin Powell & Dr. Rice have been some of the most disgusting I've ever heard about any public official. That he'd say that this pair of outstanding public servants "serve on the master's plantation" isn't just stupid, it's outright hateful.

Those type of statements gets noticed amongst the growing black middle class, who are typically well-educated, ambitious & goal-oriented. They won't automatically give their votes to whoever the Democratic candidate is because Democratic President LBJ got the Civil Rights Act enacted. They're at least as much worried about who'll help them achieve their goals of owning their own business & securing their economic futures. It's difficult to see just how Democrats would advance that set of goals.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hitchens Strikes Again

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens writings on the GWOT. His latest article on the subject is part of the Sept. 5 edition of the Weekly Standard. It's titled A War to Be Proud Of. As you'd expect, it's full of information that the Agenda Media would never report. Here's a sampling of this information:
I’m one of those who believe, uncynically, that Osama bin Laden did us all a service (& holy war a great disservice) by his mad decision to assault the American homeland four years ago. Had he not made this world-historical mistake, we would’ve been able to add a Talibanized & nuclear-armed Pakistan to our list of the threats we failed to recognize in time. (This threat still exists, but it is no longer so casually overlooked.)
This is a brilliant point to shove in Cindy Sheehan's supporters' faces the next time they ask, with their eyes tearing up, why we've sent young men to die way too young. They're oh so quick to say that we should've given inspections a chance. I'll simply as why? So that inspectors could find nothing? So that, after finding nothing, the U.N. would lift sanctions on Iraq, enabling Saddam to resume production of chemical & biological weapons & the likely building of nuclear weapons?

It isn't speculation that he had chemical & biological weapons. It isn't speculation that he was trying to develop a nuclear capability. His daughters' husbands told the free world about an unknown stash of biological weapons once they'd fled to Jordan a decade ago. Saddam promised that he wouldn't harm them & it was safe for them to return to a life of wedded bliss. They were murdered by Saddam's Mukhabarat before they saw their wives.

You say that Saddam never bought yellowcake from Niger? Fine. I'll buy that but Mr. Hitchens will also point out "that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts & a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein..." Didn't know that? Imagine that. The Agenda Media won't report all the WMD capabilities we've found since ousting Saddam. Say it ain't so.
Iraq knows that its society & infrastructure & institutions have been appallingly maimed & beggared by three decades of war & fascism (& the "divide & rule" tactics by which Saddam maintained his own tribal minority of the Sunni minority in power). In logic & morality, one must therefore compare the current state of the country with the likely or probable state of it had Saddam & his sons been allowed to go on ruling.
This is a fresher sounding way of asking if Iraqi would be better off with Saddam still in power. Let Cindy Sheehan & Howard Dean argue against that. Gov. Dean, you'll remember, insanely hinted that the emerging Iraqi Constitution might not guarantee women's rights & that, if it didn't, Iraqi women would be worse off now than when Saddam reigned in Baghdad. In Sheehan's & Dean's world (I think they live in the same parallel universe), pacifism & intellectual dishonesty are prefered over wisdom & dicisiveness.

But a positive accounting could be offered without braggartry, & would include:
  • The overthrow of Talibanism & Baathism, & the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
  • The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of WMD, a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair & Bush.
  • The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, & North Korea.
  • The agreement by the U.N. that its own reform is necessary & overdue, & the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.
  • The craven admission by President Chirac & Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating & concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)
  • The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.
  • The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region, the Kurds & the spread of this example to other states.
  • The related encouragement of democratic & civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, & most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.
  • The violent & ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq & Afghanistan & the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.
  • The training & hardening of many thousands of American servicemen & women in a battle against the forces of nihilism & absolutism, which training & hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.
These facts are meaningless in the minds of the Sheehanistas. To Sheehan & her supporters, these are inconvenient facts. In fact, facts & logic are irrelevant to the Sheehanistas & other moonbat liberals.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Commission Spares Ellsworth AFB

The AP's Liz Sidoti is reporting that the base closing commission has voted to not shut Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota.
Ellsworth, most famous for its Cold War-era arsenal of missiles & nuclear bombers aimed toward the Soviet Union, is home to half the nation's fleet of B1-B bombers. The Pentagon had wanted to move all the bombers to their other location, Dyess AFB in Texas. But the commission found that closing Ellsworth wouldn't save any money over 20 years, & that it’d actually cost nearly $20 million to move the planes to the Texas base. The Pentagon had projected saving $1.8 billion over two decades with the closure. Commissioners worried that putting all the B1-B bombers at one base would hurt force readiness. The panel noted that Ellsworth, located on the South Dakota prairie, had plenty of "unfettered airspace."
While I'm sure there was alot of politicking going on with this & other bases under consideration, it'd be foolish to close a base if it might actually cost money over the next 20 years. The only way it wouldn't be foolish is if money wasn't the only consideration. Since I didn't hear that there were other considerations, I'll just chalk this up as the Commission doing its job.

Talking strictly about the political winners & losers in this, you'd have to say that Sen. John Thune was a big winner on this & that SecDef Donald Rumsfeld was on the losing side of the stick. On a practical side, I think that South Dakotans & the Air Force were winners in this. The negative impact this would've had on South Dakota's economy would've been significant, especially in light of the Pentagon not saving any actual money in closing it.

Overall, Rumsfeld's had the Commission reject a number of his proposed closings, which I can't think of as anything but a down arrow for him. Part of that might be attributed to local politicking but it'd be naive to think that it didn't have anything to do with the general distrust for Rumsfeld.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Flirtations With Fanaticism

George Will's column in Thursday's Jewish World Review is a powerful refutation of the Dems' "flirtations with fanaticism." It's definitely worth reading the entire article. Here's the column's most powerful paragraph:
If liberals think that such flirtations with fanaticism had nothing to do with their 2004 defeat, they probably have nothing to learn from what conservatives did four decades earlier. But for the record: In the 1960s, just as conservatism was beginning to grow from a fringe tendency into what it’s become, the nation's most potent persuasion, it was threatened by a boarding party of people not much, if any, loonier than Sheehan. The John Birch Society, whose catechism included the novel tenet that Dwight Eisenhower was a Kremlin agent, wasn’t numerous, its membership probably never numbered more than 100,000, but its power to taint all of conservatism was huge, particularly given the media's eagerness to abet the tainting.
The reality is that the current Democratic Party doesn't have the gravitas that it did when Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, LBJ & Sam Nunn were the face of the Democratic Senate caucus. Those men of stature would've rejected the current brigade of fanatics that've become the face of the Democratic Party. Not only that, they likely would've run them out of town to boot.

I've said it before but it's worth repeating: Unless & until the DLC wing of the Democratic Party vanquishes the Daily Kos wing of the party, the Democratic Party won't win at the national level except by accident or abberation. That's what the GOP did when the John Birch Society tried hijacking what became the current conservative movement. Their shortterm suffering was forgotten when the winning started.

The current crop of Democratic senators aren't good debaters, to many are one issue idiots & they don't see the big picture. Senators like Barb Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Sheets Byrd & Ted Kennedy aren't persuasive advocates of their agenda, partially because their agenda is so unappealling & partially because they aren't intelligent enough to get past the special interest groups' demands in setting the agenda.
Mr. Will is exactly right in asking & answering that "Do Democrats really want to embrace her variation of the Michael Moore & "Fahrenheit 9/11" school of political discourse? Evidently, yes, judging by the attendance of 12 Democratic senators at that movie's Washington premiere in June 2004, & by the lionizing of Moore at the Democratic Convention, the ovation, the seating of him with Jimmy Carter."
There's no evidence that the current Democratic Party has anything but a handful of common sense leaders in its ranks. For those of us who remember the Democratic Party of the 60's & early 70's, it's a sad day to think that that Democratic Party didn't survive. I hope that the day will come that we see the revival of the Democratic Party's return to being a viable political party.

What Double Standard?

The past few days, the Agenda Media has justifiably taken Rev. Pat Robertson to the proverbial woodshed for hinting that the U.S. should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavex. What they haven't done is point out this George Stephanopoulos article from 1997. Here's the key section in the article:
Fresh from his influential White House post, Stephanopoulos devoted an entire column in Newsweek to the topic of whether the U.S. should take out Saddam Hussein. His headline? "Why We Should Kill Saddam." "Assassination may be Clinton's best option," the future "This Week" host urged. "If we can kill Saddam, we should." Though Iraq war critics now argue that by 1997, the Iraqi dictator was "in a box" & posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S., Stephanopoulos contended that Saddam deserved swift & lethal justice.
"We've exhausted other efforts to stop him & killing him certainly seems more proportionate to his crimes & discriminate in its effect than massive bombing raids that’ll inevitably kill innocent civilians," the diminutive former aide contended. Stephanopoulos even offered a way to get around the presidential ban on foreign assassinations: "If Clinton decides we can & should assassinate Saddam, he could call in national-security adviser Sandy Berger & sign a secret National Security Decision Directive authorizing it."
If you can explain why Pat Robertson deserves the criticism & Stephanopoulos doesn't, let me know because that logic eludes me. To me, this is simply another example of the Agenda Media's double standard & I'll hold fast to that opinion until someone can persuade me otherwise.

Here We Go Again

The LA Times has dredged up the 'Joe Wilson was smeared' story again. It's a long story & it isn't worth reading all of it. I've read it to spare you the torture of doing that. Here's some of the most egregious statements from the article:
On his trip, he interviewed Niger officials & citizens & talked with French mine managers. He also spoke with the U.S. ambassador to Niger, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, who’d recently examined the Iraq uranium claim herself, as had a four-star general, Carlton W. Fulford Jr., deputy commander of the U.S. European Command. Like Fulford & the ambassador, Wilson said, he concluded that there was little reason to believe Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake from Niger. He did learn, however, that Iraqi officials had previously met with counterparts from Niger.
There's just one flaw with this paragraph. The Senate Intelligence Committee's report shows that Wilson's report said that Saddam's Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake. It was Wilson's NY Times op-ed article that refuted President Bush's supposed claim that Iraq had purchased yellowcake.

Wilson's own words give lie to his fable. He reported that Iraqi officials met with Niger export officials. The main export of Niger is yellowcake.

These facts dosn't matter to the Agenda Journalists at the LA Times or anywhere else. What's fact to them is that Wilson claimed that President Bush said that Iraq bought yellowcake. There's another point that needs to be made here. It's that the easiest way to tell when Wilson is lying is to see if his lips are moving. If they are, then he's lying. To prove that, look no further than the last media fling with Wilson, when he got discredited on so many different 'facts' & by so many different bloggers that he left the stage.

It isn't that surprising that he's re-appeared after disappearing until people had forgotten his earlier lies. I can't say that it's surprising that the LA Times is dredging the story up, either. As I've said before, it's all about the Agenda. In this instance, though, I don't think that the agenda is to prop Joe Wilson up as a noble civil servant who got smeared for helping his country. In my opinion, this time, I think the agenda is to resurrect this as a way to have another smear story going to distract people from (a) their attempt to smear President Bush as Commander-in-Chief through Cindy Sheehan & (2) their attempt to smear John Roberts.
"Libby's basic view of the world is that the CIA has blown it over & over again," said the source, who declined to be identified because he’d spoken with Libby on a confidential basis. "Libby & Cheney were [angry] that we hadn’t been prepared for the potential in the first Gulf War." In the view of these officials, who’d go on to form George W. Bush's war cabinet, the CIA had stumbled through the 1990s, starting with the failure to predict the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1995, Hussein's son-in-law defected & led U.N. inspectors to a previously unknown biological weapons cache. In 1998, the agency failed to anticipate a nuclear weapon test by India.
Listen to what this source says. Scooter Libby didn't trust the CIA because they didn't (a) "predict the breakup of the Soviet Union" & (b) they didn't know about "a previously unknown biological weapons cache & (c) they didn't anticipate a nuclear weapon test by India. After that string of seismic failures, isn't it amazing that anyone had any confidence in the CIA? Yet these reporters are shocked that the VP's chief of staff didn't trust the CIA. My question to these 'reporters' is this: What's the color of the sky in your world? This is nothing short of incredible that they're questioning Scooter Libby's distrust of the CIA.
At first, Wilson worked behind the scenes to press his case. He says he spoke to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post & to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof on a not-for-attribution basis, telling both about his mission & questioning why the administration would continue citing the Niger connection.
The reason they "continued citing the Niger connection" was because they trusted Tony Blair far more than they trusted a political hack with an agenda of opposing President Bush. Imagine that. I'd like to turn this back at the LA Times reporters & ask why they trust anything that Wilson's telling them or is quoted as saying recently. In my opinion, it's them that bear the burden of proof. It's their responsibility to prove that Wilson is a credible witness.

Party discomposure

The Washington Times' Donald Lambro has written a stinging critique of the Democratic Party that's well worth the reading. Here's the most stinging rebuke:
Overall, Democrats continue to be beset by disagreement about what to do in Iraq; criticism from liberals who say its leaders are giving George W. Bush a virtual free ride on his Supreme Court nominee, Judge John Roberts; & complaints from party pollsters that they have no coherent message to take into the 2006 elections.
Democrats are a mess right now. Their activists are totally out of touch with reality & the American people, their leadership is just as out of touch as their activists & they don't have an agenda that's the least bit coherent or compelling. If that isn't bad enough, most people polled by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg don't think the Democratic Party stands for anything anymore. That's a surefire recipe for disaster.
Democrats believe they can be competitive again in next year's House & Senate races & have been congratulating themselves on how well they did in a recent congressional election they narrowly lost Aug. 2. That's where Paul Hackett, a Iraq War veteran & bitter war critic, won 48 percent of the vote in a special House race for an open seat in Ohio's heavily Republican 2nd District. But "Hackett's race may well be an aberration rather than a model for the future," independent elections analyst Stuart Rothenberg told the Capitol Hill weekly, Roll Call. There's no doubt Mr. Hackett was a stronger-than-expected candidate, but Republican Jean Schmidt ran a very weak campaign that had no message & she refused to attack her opponent. "Few serious GOP candidates next year will run efforts as inept as Schmidt's," Mr. Rothenberg said.
While Democrats from Rahm Emanuel to Howard Dean offered this race as proof that Americans were turning on President Bush, the most level-headed strategists will tell you that close race had far more to do with Ms. Schmidt's inept campaigning as it had to do with Mr. Hackett. As I've said before, the American people aren't going to elect dovish candidates during a time of war. It's time Democrats learned that.

They won't, though. I offer as proof the Cindy Sheehan/Pacifists on Parade March in Crawford, TX. These pacifists are re-living their supposed glory days of the 60's & 70's, complete with Joan Baez singing anti-war balads & Tom Laughlin of Billy Jack fame telling anyone who'd listen (I'm guessing that that group is tiny if you don't include the Agenda Media's lapdogs.) that he has proof that this war is all about making President Bush's rich oil baron buddies even richer.

Americans are, by nature, optimistic & forward-looking. The Pacifists on Parade crowd if filled with pessimistic, America-hating people who want to relive their 'glory days' of 30 plus years ago. That isn't the characteristic of a healthy, growing party but rather the signs of an aging, dying political party.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

U.S. Proposes Higher Fuel Standards for Light Trucks

The LA Times has run an article on Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta's announcement of the federal government's
"proposed higher fuel mileage standards for most sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks & minivans. Of course, environmentalists assailed the plan, which spares gas-guzzling giants such as the Hummer H2 & Ford Excursion, as insufficient.
This isn't surprising since liberals automatically label as insufficient any legislative or policy initiative announced by the Bush administration.

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, standing next to pumps at a Mobil station in Los Angeles where premium fuel was selling for $2.99 a gallon, said the plan would raise fuel economy about 8% over four years starting with 2008 models.

Obviously, the environmentalists don't think that raising "fuel economy about 8%" is significant. Of course, levelheaded people everywhere else think that that's a good step in the right direction. That's as good an explanation as to why environmental fundamentalists don't represent a significant portion of the electorate.

Kevin Drum on Dems' Woes

Stop past Boxer Watch to read my analysis of Kevin Drum's article on the potentially damaging effects of the peace movement. While I don't agree with everything Mr. Drum says, I agree with a number of things he says.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Foundation For Freedom

Much has been said already about the troubling nature of the Iraqi Constitution. To its credit, the NY Times has posted a partial transcript of the Iraqi Constitution on its website. Frankly, I see alot of positives in their Constitution. For me, this is the key section in the entire document:

CHAPTER ONE: Basic Principles
Article (1): The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation & the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.
Article (2): First, Islam is the official religion of the state & is a basic source of legislation:
a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.
b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.
c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights & basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.
Second, this constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people, the full religious rights for all individuals & the freedom of creed & religious practices.
Article (3): Iraq is a multiethnic, multi-religious & multi-sect country. It is part of the Islamic world & its Arab people are part of the Arab nation.

The next most important section is this:

Article (20): Citizens, male & female, have the right to participate in public matters & enjoy political rights, including the right to vote & run as candidates.

This is vital section of the Constitution because it guarantees the rights of women, not just to vote, but to be a candidate for office. In codifying this into their Constitution, it joins Afghanistan & Kuwait as the only Arab countries allowing women in government offices.

While this document isn't exactly like the U.S. Constitution, it's similar enough in the most important sections in guaranteeing everyone's rights, regardless of religious affiliation, gender or ethnic backround. Those aren't insignificant achievements.

Bush Supporters, Activists Clash in Calif.

The AP's Kathleen Hennessey has written an article that finally reports on the fact that shows that Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for all moms who've lost children in Iraq. I'd like to tip my hat to Ms. Hennessey for filing this report. Here's a great capsule of the story:
Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading "Death isn’t support" & heckling one of the tour's organizers as she addressed the crowd. "You’re ruining the morale over there," responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.
This is the newest big story on the war in Iraq. I predict that Cindy Sheehan will soon be history, which is due in part to her incendiary comments like President Bush being the world's biggest terrorist or her stating that terrorist activities would cease if we "got Israel out of Palestine" & partly because her message isn't playing well with average Americans.

While most Americans want different outcomes than what we're currently seeing in Iraq, it isn't that they're advocating the immediate removal of American troops. More often than not, they'd prefer seeing us win & turn over a secure country to the emerging Iraqi government.

Bush's Gains & Losses

Michael Barone has posted a great analysis of President Bush's gains from the 2000 election to his re-election in 2004. Follow this link for Mr. Barone's complete analysis. Here's the part that caught my eye:
Conclusion: The Bush Republican Party has an increasingly demotic base. The anti-Bush Democratic Party has an increasingly elite base.
This is lousy news for Democrats. What this means is that their base is increasingly elitist & shrinking while the GOP's foundation is found in the common people, which is growing. What this also means is that the GOP has a greater base to draw on for things like the GOTV efforts, fundraising, manning the phone banks & some old-fashioned activists/advocates. These aren't the types of things that you'll read alot about in newspapers but they're the types of things that win elections.

Anytime Michael Barone writes an election analysis, I listen. He's the gold standard in election analysis, followed by Patrick Ruffini, who he gave a hat tip to in this article, & Alexander McClure. I strongly encourage you to read Michael's article.

Naval Officer Confirms Able Danger Findings

The NY Post's Niles Lathem has written that another military officer has come forward to speak out on Able Danger's findings.
He says "Capt. Scott Phillpott, a former manager of the controversial unit code named Able Danger, issued a brief statement saying the data-mining program identified hijacker Mohamed Atta as a possible threat. "My story is consistent. Atta was identified in January/February 2000. I have nothing else to say," Phillpott said in the statement issued through the office of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA).
This shoots down the arguments that this wasn't credible because Lt. Col. Shaffer's claims weren't supported by enough documentation. Actually, the 9/11 Commission has dismissed Able Danger's findings for that reason. I'd think, though, that Capt. Phillpott's testimony would change this issue's dynamics.

That's what you'd think but that isn't the case. The 9/11 Commission heard from Capt. Phillpott & Lt. Col. Shaffer & dismissed them both.

Follow the link to read the entire the story. It's well worth it.

Sen. Hagel, RINO

This past weekend, Sen. Chuck Hagel showed himself to be a RINO, Republican In Name Only. The NY Post has run an op-ed by Sgt. John Byrnes that is well worth reading. He writes:
"Take Hagel's rather contradictory comments on Sunday, on ABC's "This Week": "We should start figuring out how we get out of there, but with this understanding, we can’t leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur. We’re locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam." This echoed what he'd said Thursday on CNN: "The longer U.S. forces remain in Iraq, the more it begins to resemble the Vietnam War." According to Hagel, increased casualties means we can't be winning, we must be losing. By that definition, every war becomes a losing proposition on Day One.
Sen. Hagel's quotes aren't the least bit logical. I'd love asking Sen. Hagel how we "should start figuring out how we get out of there, but with this understanding, we can’t leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East"? Those statements are diametrically opposed to each other. They can't be squared with each other.

In my opinion, these comments not only mean that he doesn't have a chance at the Republican presidential nomination but that Sen. Hagel will face primary opposition if he runs for re-election. He won't have a free ride to the general election. He'll get opposition in the primary.
Hagel is consistent in contradicting himself: He voted in 2003 to authorize U.S. military force in Iraq, & as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, helped pass that bill. And even now he allows that it's unwise to set a timetable for withdrawal: "You must always have flexibility in these things, & a judgment call by the president." But he also called the president "disconnected from reality" in those Thursday remarks.
You can't have it both ways, senator. If this is another Vietnam, then your vote put us there. If the president is out of touch, why are you allowing him judgment calls? What are you after? Whatever it is, could you remember something important? With rights comes responsibility, & the duty of a senator isn’t only to weigh in, but to weigh the facts first. Maybe Vietnam wasn't worth fighting for.
Sgt. Byrnes is right in saying that Sen. Hagel can't have it both ways. That isn't the mark of a leader. A leader is someone that weighs the evidence, consults with experts, then makes up his mind & letting his convictions define the debate. Sen. Hagel's comments don't show the tiniest bit of conviction but they do show a need to sound contrary.

The Real Iraq News

Ralph Peters has written an op-ed in today's NY Post that's must reading because it highlights a story that the Agenda Media won't touch because it doesn't fit their template of opposition to President Bush & opposition to the war. Here's a couple of key parts to the story:
" nomination for the "Greatest Story Never Told" is a quieter one: Locked in a difficult war, the U.S. Army is exceeding its re-enlistment & first-time enlistment goals. Has anybody mentioned that to you? Remember last spring, when the Army's recruitment efforts fell short for a few months? The media's glee would’ve made you confuse the New York Times & Air America.
That the Agenda Media isn't reporting on this isn't surprising considering their agenda. What's most surprising is the statistics behind the story. Let's look at the statistics that Col. Peters supplies us:
  • Every one of the Army's 10 divisions, its key combat organizations, has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the year to date. Those with the most intense experience in Iraq have the best rates. The 1st Cavalry Division is at 136 percent of its target, the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent. Among separate combat brigades, the figures are even more startling, with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at 178 percent of its goal & the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Mech right behind at 174 percent of its re-enlistment target. This is unprecedented in wartime. Even in World War II, we needed the draft. Where are the headlines?
  • What about first-time enlistment rates, since that was the issue last spring? The Army is running at 108 percent of its needs. I guess not every young American despises his or her country & our president.
  • The Army Reserve is a tougher sell, given that it takes men & women away from their families & careers on short notice. Well, Reserve recruitment stands at 102 percent of requirements.
  • And then there's the Army National Guard. We've been told for two years that the Guard was in free-fall. Really? Guard recruitment & retention comes out to 106 percent of its requirements as of June 30. (I've even heard a rumor that Al Franken & Tim Robbins signed up, but let's wait for confirmation on that.) Of course, we'll hear stammering about an "army of mercenaries", naive, uneducated kids lured by the promise of big retention bonuses. That's another lie told by the elite to excuse themselves from serving our country in uniform.
These are overwhelmingly good statistics. You might say that they're the best statistics you've never heard.

Mehlman Outreach Paying Off?

The Boston Globe's Kaitlin Bell has written an article saying that it is. Here's a couple key sections of the article:
(Adam) Hunter, 22, is a first-year law student at Howard University, a historically black campus with a long record of liberal activism. He has political ambitions of his own, but not with the Democrats. Instead, Hunter, who as an undergraduate headed Howard's chapter of College Republicans, sees himself as part of a younger generation of African-Americans. He’s ready to cast aside traditional loyalties to the Democratic Party & forge his own political identity. ''My father & I aren’t that different, ideologically, but if you look at the time period we grew up in, that's where we're different," Hunter said. ''My foundation doesn't make me beholden to the Democratic Party. To me there's nothing more undemocratic than the idea that you have to vote for a Democrat or don't vote at all come Election Day. "
This isn't good news for the Democratic Party. As more of the Civil Rights Act generation are replaced by a new generation who don't feel "beholden to the Democratic Party", the bigger the share of African Americans' vote will go to the GOP. Something that's becoming more & more obvious is that ideas & solutions matter far more than ancient history. It's sort of a way to ask the age-old question of "What have you done for me lately?"

Something else that this points to is that the people that made up the Civil Rights movement don't identify with many of the ultra-liberal viewpoints of today's Democratic Party. In some ways, they relate more to the values of the current Republican Party. That's made likely because the Civil Rights leaders were men of faith, something that the Democratic Party isn't at this time. The GOP is the party that reflects the values of the 'Faith Community'.
''I think there's an extreme danger" of losing black votes to the GOP, said Lamell McMorris, an African-American political consultant who heads the Washington-based Perennial Strategies. Democrats are still relying on their civil rights record & aren’t pitching new ideas to young, professional blacks seeking to build businesses & personal wealth. As time goes on, you're dealing with a generation of individuals who, in their mind, are very far removed from the civil rights movement," said McMorris, who is 32.
This is a radical mindset change from the Civil Rights leaders of a previous generation. This is, in a way, a tribute to the effectiveness of the legislation that was passed. It was unimaginable to think of an African American billionare like Bob Johnson, owner of BET & also the Charlotte Bobcats' NBA franchise. African Americans who grow up in the middle class are aspiring to new & bold goals that their grandparents couldn't have imagined succeeding. The current generation doesn't feel victimized in the same way or as often as previous generations did.

For that reason, it's pretty easy to see the Democratic Party losing its current monolithic lock on the black vote. That's got to scare them.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bucks for blogs

By Matt Marshall, Mercury News Sat Aug 20, 3:04 PM ET
When it comes to blogging, big corporations are turning to twentysomething mavericks for advice. If they can't lick them, they may have to join them. So it was Thursday, as 21-year-old blogger Matt Mullenweg navigated the hallways of San Francisco's Palace Hotel, giving select corporate & other confidants a sneak peak at his latest offering: a special blogging software tool for companies.
Mullenweg is just one of the stars of the Blog Business Summit being held in San Francisco through today. Public relations representatives of companies from Hewlett-Packard to Wells Fargo are here to meet Mullenweg & other blogging bigwigs to get tips on how to communicate with bloggers, & how best to get the word out about their products, on their own blogs.
Take the woes Dell Computer has faced. In recent months, big-name blogger Jeff Jarvis, on his blog, has hammered on Dell for its poor customer relations. That, in turn, unleashed a deluge of similar comments from his readers & spurred other bloggers to whine about Dell, too. On Wednesday, the University of Michigan released a survey confirming a drop in Dell's customer satisfaction ratings, something that may or may not have been related.
Bloggers have a swagger to their stride these days. Just a few years ago, Mullenweg, of Texas, thought he was going to be a musician, but a fascination with computers sidetracked him. He soon found himself the lead developer of a fast-growing blogging software, called WordPress. He has since moved to San Francisco. Today is his big day. He's showing off the corporate version of his software, called, for the first time. It'll allow companies to host the software on their own or WordPress servers, giving employees the freedom to blog. There are at least 70 million blogs & counting. And at least a half-dozen blogging software companies are competing for those users.
In an industry where there is notoriously little money being made, there's hope corporations may pay big bucks for help in understanding blogs & in producing their own. Just how should companies respond to snarky bloggers? Clam up, or let their employees start their own blogs to respond? Mullenweg & scores of his cohorts here believe companies will see the light & launch their own blogs. The trend is still in its early days: ``Right now, they're paralyzed by fear,'' says Mullenweg.
As he offers his sneak preview, another blogger celeb walks into the lobby & greets him. It's Robert Scoble, who writes the ``Scobleizer'' blog. Scoble works for Microsoft, which many Silicon Valley veterans like to view as the evil empire. His blog is often critical of Microsoft's offerings, but the company hasn't snuffed him. This has boosted both Scoble's credibility & Microsoft's. ``It's hard to underestimate what he's done for Microsoft,'' remarks Mullenweg, ``& it's hard to hate Microsoft anymore.''
Soon Mullenweg is off to work the crowd. He's got his work cut out for him. His main competitor, a company called Six Apart, has a corporate blog tool called Typepad, & is also a sponsor of the event. Typepad is considered the industry leader, but one Mullenweg thinks he can catch by offering better spam protection. Scoble, meanwhile, is mobbed by other visitors. One person headed to snag Scoble is Vassil Mladjov, owner of a new company called Blogtronix, which is using Microsoft's .Net platform to let companies blog there. He's betting corporations will trust Microsoft's platform more than they would an open-source company like Mullenweg's WordPress.

Mladjov has a coterie of programmers in Bulgaria, and he's poised to exploit what he says is a coming wave of corporate blogs: ``PR is dead,'' he said, citing the words of Dave Taylor, a blogger & entrepreneur who used the line Wednesday to shake up the room of public relations professionals attending the conference. Taylor argued that blogs have stymied traditional forms of public relations.
Others had their own agendas. Elizabeth Gebhardt, who runs a marketing company, hoped to find new blogging tools, such as podcasting, to help better engage people. Bob Wyman, leader of a company called PubSub, prowled the halls talking about his software, which monitors 14 million blogs & can notify companies within 10 seconds after a blog has mentioned them or their product. Seth Mazow, 24, of Mountain View, scoured the hallways for sponsors for his Web site, Interplast, which helps doctors in developing countries learn about reconstructive surgery for people born with things like cleft lips or palates.``I'm reaching out to the blogeoisie,'' he said, using bloggers slang for more established bloggers who might have money to give.
Contact Matt Marshall via his blog at

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sen. Harry Reid Suffers Brief Mini-Stroke

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada is recuperating after a brief mini-stroke that caused no complications but that he waited three days to disclose. Reid, 65, a gold miner's son who rose to become one of the nation's most powerful elected Democrats, saw a doctor in Las Vegas after feeling lightheaded Tuesday evening, aides said Friday. He was told he had experienced a kind of mini-stroke called a transient ischemic attack.
"There are no complications or any restrictions on his activities," said press secretary Tessa Hafen. "He’s undergone evaluations this week & his doctors have recommended that he take advantage of the summer congressional recess for some down time." Reid, who became leader of the Senate's Democratic minority in January, canceled several public events Friday & Saturday in Nevada & remains in Las Vegas with family members, Hafen said. He isn’t hospitalized & is expected to be able to resume his normal schedule by the time Congress returns from its summer recess on Sept. 6, she said.

While I've often called Mr. Reid the least qualified Senate Minority Leader ever, that doesn't mean that I won't pray for his full recovery. Opposing someone's politics is totally different than wishing them harm.

Friday, August 19, 2005

NY Sun Special Reports

The New York Sun has setup a special website devoted strictly to the Air Scamerica Scandal. David Lombino has written an article in today's Sun that's must reading. Here's a couple key parts:
A lawsuit filed by an owner of radio stations claims that the transfer of ownership of the Air America radio network from Progress Media to Piquant LLC in May 2004 was a "sham" intended to maintain the network's assets while deceiving its creditors, according to documents posted on a blog yesterday.
According to this article, this transaction was simply a vehicle to avoid financial responsibility for a network that was doomed before it started. To say that a talk radio network that features a sourpuss like Al Franken (Nick Coleman fit that bill before but he got fired.) isn't much of a stretch.
The complaint names Mr. Cohen & several current managers of Air America. It says that the transfers between Gloria Wise & the liberal radio network & Mr. Cohen took place between October 3, 2003, & March 15, 2004. The probe by the Department of Investigation began in January 2004.
This scandal is just getting started. This is going to get much worse for AAR before it gets better. It isn't a reach to think that the casualties will be widespread, from the radio operation to politicians to people at Gloria Wise.

(HT: Captain Ed at CQ for posting this special website.)

Moral authority on a slippery slope

The LA Times' Jonathan Chait has written a most disingenuous article on Mother Sheehan titled "Moral authority on a slippery slope." Here's a sampling of his comments:
The right's response is equally telling. For the most part, conservatives aren’t arguing that Sheehan's tragedy tells us nothing about the merits of her views on Iraq. Instead they’re trying to discredit her as inauthentic, a Michael Moore pal who left her 2004 meeting with Bush pleased & grateful. As Rush Limbaugh declared, "Her story is nothing more than forged documents."
As a proud card-carrying member of the VRWC, what the right wing is most upset about it that Mother Sheehan’s been given a free pass on her nuttiest comments. From the first day, we’ve said with near unanimity that we grieve over & pray for her as a mother who’s lost her precious child. What we’ve also said is that she’s said some awfully hateful things.
We’ve also pointed out that she’s tried using her new-found notoriety to speak out on a wide range of unrelated topics like telling the President to “get Israel out of Palestine.” (History shows that there was a country called Palestine but it also shows that Arabs & Jews were considered Palestinians on equal footing.)
As for “trying to discredit her as inauthentic”, we don’t have to because her words, combined with the media’s coverage of them, do that by themselves. We merely point them out. That’s hardly a campaign to discredit her as inauthentic.
The conservative counterattack is pathetic. (The family didn’t voice its objections to the handling of the war in its meeting with Bush in deference to the occasion, according to a news article.) But aside from the dark comedy of the conservative machine going negative on a grieving mother, the mere fact of the response suggests that the right has bought into the premise peddled by Sheehan & her supporters: If Sheehan is a genuine war mother radicalized by her son's death, then that is somehow an indictment of Bush & his policies.
I don’t know if Mr. Chait mischaracterized the Sheehan family’s response purposely or not but he mischaracterized it nonetheless. To say that they didn’t voice objections “in deference to the occasion” is utter nonsense. They not only didn’t voice objections, Mrs. Sheehan came out of it positively gushing about President Bush’s demeanor of the situation.
If they didn’t like the war but didn’t want to speak out against it, they could’ve just been polite & said something like “We really appreciate the President taking the time to meet with us as well as other grieving families.” Instead Mother Sheehan (Kos’s suggested new name for Cindy) was positively gushing in her response.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Big Shoes To Fill

Ben Stein's article in The American Prowler is must reading for those already thinking what qualities the next commander-in chief will need to have. Suffice it to say that Mr. Stein has given it a little bit of thought. Here's a sampling of his thinking:
In Europe, Asia & South America & in much of North America, this idea is unknown. All is relative & the only point is to get away another day without having the evil ones attack you. Appeasing the terrorists, ignoring them & their instigators, pretending that the good guys are the bad guys; all of these are now standard practice in the capitals of the world & in the academies of America & in the Democratic Party at high levels. As time goes by, I come to realize that George Bush, with all of his faults, is the spiritual heir to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill & the late Pope John Paul II. How unbelievably lucky we are to have him, & how grateful we should be.
Notice that he didn't say that George Bush is the equal of Lincoln, MLK or Churchill. He simply says that the President operates from the same mindset that evil had to be eradicated as MLK, Lincoln & Churchill operated from in their times. I'd agree with that school of thought.

It's interesting to me that Lincoln, MLK & Bush were all deeply religious men or to use a modern term, they were all bornagain Christians or evangelical Christians. I don't know if Churchill was a religious man but he certainly knew that Hitler was evil & ruthless.

As for what qualities we should look for in our next commander-in-chief, I'd say that they should agree wholeheartedly with President Bush's belief that the terrorists must be eliminated & that this person should be idealistic about spreading democracy throughout the Middle East. Who fits that bill? The first people I think of that fit the bill are Condi Rice, Fred Thompson & George Allen. All are passionate about prosecuting the GWOT. All three are no nonsense type of people when it comes to foreign policy & all three could be counted on to continue fighting the GWOT with a ferocity that others might not.

Notice that I didn't include Democrats in the list. That's because, other than Joe Lieberman, there isn't another Democrat who's serious about prosecuting the GWOT. Hillary isn't. I remember reading a couple articles from Bill's time in office about how dovish she was. Her votes now are just a facade for voters who might not be paying attention. Like her husband, it's all show. It isn't about being serious.
Mr. Stein finishes the article this way: The terrifying part is that he’ll be gone from power in less than three years. Then what? The evil will remain in men's souls & who will be there to fight it?
Let's hope that one of the Republicans that I just mentioned will be the next occupant of the White House. We'd be in great shape if that happened.

‘Peace Mom' Leaves Camp, Her Mother Ill

The AP is reporting in this article that Cindy Sheehan is returning to California to be with her mom, who suffered a stroke today.
"I'll be back as soon as possible if it's possible," Sheehan said. After hugging some of her supporters, she got in a van & left. Sheehan, of Vacaville, CA, said the makeshift campsite off the road leading to Bush's ranch would continue. The camp has grown to more than 100 people, including many relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq.
While I've been openly critical of Cindy Sheehan's agenda, I still don't wish her ill & I surely don't wish her mother anything bad. In fact, I'm asking you, my readers, to keep mother & daughter in your prayers. Pray, too, for her husband & their children.

Hitchens on Hardball

Whenever Christopher Hitchens is on TV, it's a special treat because he's far more knowledgeable than the other guess or the host on whatever subject they're debating. Last night was no different.
Here's a sampling of that superior intellect:
O‘DONNELL: Christopher, do you think that this represents, or she represents some sort of tipping point in public opinion in America?
HITCHENS: Certainly not. She has, just today, lied about a statement that she made several times before to the effect that her son was killed in a war run by a secret Jewish cabal within the administration. She now says she didn‘t make that statement. She did make that statement. So as well as being an hysterical paranoid ideologist, or at least being manipulated by people who are, turned this into camp fruitbag & nutbag, she’s decided not to have the courage or maybe the cowardice of her conviction. She now says she didn‘t make a statement that she definitely did.
FINEMAN: I think, Christopher.
HITCHENS: And she’s also inviting a terrific riposte. What if we were to say, very well, the conduct of this war will depend on an opinion poll which we‘ll take of relatives of the fallen in Iraq, only they can decide, only they have the authority. She’d lose. Do I favor such a thing? No. I‘m pro-war but I'd be totally against that. It’d be handing our policy over to a minority which she’s allowed our profession, disgracefully, to be used as a megaphone for a fraud.
To say that Christopher Hitchens doesn't hold back is extremely understating it.The truth is, though, is that he's right because he cuts through the peripheral talking points & focuses on the heart of the matter.

I think so highly of Mr. Hitchens on the issue of the Iraq war that I don't consider him to be part of the mainstream media. In fact, he reminds me alot of my favorite Democratic Senator of all time, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Like Sen. Moynihan, Mr. Hitchens thinks for himself. If some Democratic operative were to attempt to give Mr. Hitchens a set of talking points, that operative would wind up eating the paper they were printed on.

Christopher Hitchens is an old-fashioned liberal. He's pro-democracy & pro-military. He's a deep thinker. He's actually intellectually curious & will go where the information takes him. That doesn't sound like today's liberal. That certainly isn't the way I'd think of Chuck Schumer or Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer.

The other thing that I love about this give & take is that Hitchens ripped her for what she's actually said. Forget the 'grieving mother' stuff. Hitchens doesn't buy that for a second & he shouldn't. She's nothing more than a Bush-hater who's grieved the death of her son but is now just Bush-hating.

You can't Have It Both Ways

Arrianna Huffington, moonbat extraordinaire, was just on Tony Snow's show & she trotted out the old "The war has infuriated the terrorists & there's more of them because of the Iraqi war" line. That's so illogical & indefensible that it's silly. Further, she'd tell Tony that Cindy Sheehan "is a symbol of the growing number of people that don't support the war effort." Anytime he'd mention things that Cindy Sheehan had said in speeches, Ms. Huffington would reply with something like "She's a grieving mother. She isn't an expert on these issues."

Did you catch that? One the one hand, Mrs. Sheehan's a spokesperson for the anti-war movement but on the other hand, Ms. Huffington says that Cindy Sheehan isn't qualified to speak on issues near & dear to the anti-war activists. That statement has so many twists & turns that it's liable to cause whiplash. In short, they want her to be covered but they insist that you can't criticize the crazy comments that she's making on the speaking circuit.

The Exploits & Exploitation of Cindy Sheehan

James Lileks, fast becoming one of my favorite writers, pens a terrific column on Cindy Sheehan in today's Jewish World Review. Suffice it to say that it's must reading. Here's a small sampling:
"Thank G-d for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, & we’d already be a fascist state," Sheehan said. "Our government is run by one party, every level & the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government." It seems churlish to point out that the mainstream media, you know, the papers & networks that relentlessly hype Iraqi progress & downplay casualties, have helped make her a celebrity. It’d be obvious to note that we went to war to depose an actual fascist state.
Mrs. Sheehan 's analysis is pathetic. In her world, the color of her sky is orange & the mainstream media is a tool of the Republican Party. It's amazing how the press has elevated Mrs. Sheehan to the level of sainthood.

As Mr. Lileks points out, she's right about the internet. Without center-right bloggers, we'd be left in the dark about Cindy Sheehan's real personality.

Follow the link to read all of Mr. Lileks' column. It's great reading.

CAIR Exposed

The Washington Times has run an op-ed by Joel Mowbray that draws a bead on the Council of Arab-Islamic Relations (CAIR). It's quite an article. Two statements caught my eye. Here they are:
CAIR has instigated a campaign to pressure the Disney-owned WMAL to fire its already-suspended midday host, which came on the heels of its initial effort to have him suspended. Though the outcome is uncertain in the current situation, two things are certain: 1) CAIR will continue demonizing genuine criticism of radical Islam as "Islamophobia," & 2) it’ll never specifically condemn radical Islam or Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas & Hezbollah.
I've seen CAIR's representatives on TV & they're the dodgiest interviews I've ever seen. They're long on attacking anyone who questions their integrity but they're absolutely shy when they're asked to condemn Hamas & Hezbollah.

In short, it's my strong opinion that they really aren't anti-Hamas or anti-Hezbollah or even anti-al Qaeda but they're thin skinned about any criticism. They're quick to play the "We're patriotic Americas" card but they won't speak out against Hamas, Hezbollah or al Qaeda.

Though CAIR's mission isn’t to serve as an overt Hamas partisan, the organization has refused to specifically condemn the terrorist organization. Ditto for Hezbollah, which is responsible for murdering more Americans than any other terrorist group besides al Qaeda. And CAIR refused to condemn bin Laden or al Qaeda by name until three months after September 11. The Washington Post in November 2001 asked a CAIR spokesman to condemn Hamas or Islamic Jihad. He refused, explaining, "It's not our job to go around denouncing." Asked a similar question about Hamas & Hezbollah by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002, Mr. Hooper called such queries a "game," & added, "We're not in the business of condemning."
Of course, CAIR is very much "in the business of condemning." The group gleefully slams critics of radical Islam, television shows & talk-radio hosts. But when it comes to Islamic terrorist organizations or prominent Muslims who endorse terrorism, CAIR's silence is deafening. To provide cover, & further perpetuate the myth that CAIR & other American Muslim organizations are genuinely "moderate", various fundamentalist Muslim leaders recently issued a fatwa against "extremism" & "terrorism." It was classic CAIR obfuscation: It condemned terms that were intentionally not defined. Not coincidentally, no terrorist organizations were named. Sadly, many media outlets were snookered.

Translation: They aren't in the business of condemning offending terrorists. They're just in the business of condemning the decent people that condemn people who kill people as a way of life.

Since that's their practice, we shouldn't hesitate in condemning CAIR's spokespeople when they won't speak out against killers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Bush & FDR

Peter Schweizer hsa written a wonderful article in USA Today comparing President Bush‘s & FDR‘s critics & their plans for beating their opponents. Here's a telling section of the article:
With a logic that Bush would find familiar, FDR was lambasted by his critics for his WWII military strategy of defeating Germany first before focusing on Japan. They considered Germany a diversion. Wasn't it Japan & not Germany that’d attacked us at Pearl Harbor, asked Sens. Arthur Vandenberg & A.B. Chandler? One foreign minister called the idea "suicidal heresy." By 1942, American generals were complaining that precious resources were being diverted to fight Germans in North Africa, hardly a direct strategic concern. All of this should sound familiar in the debate over Iraq & the war on terrorism.
Boy, doesn't that sound like an exact historical parallel? Or to steal a Woodstock phrase, it's deja vu all over again. Swap out Sens. Vandenberg & Chandler & swap in Sens. Kerry & Boxer & you wouldn't know the difference. This proves that those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The President will be vindicated in 15-20 years & Sens. Boxer & Kerry will be footnotes, if that, in history.
FDR wasn’t concerned with just the narrow military question of threats. Like Islamist extremists & secular Saddam, Imperial Japan & Nazi Germany were opportunistic allies. Though the Nazis considered the Japanese racially inferior, no better than mongrels, they were part of a worldwide movement. Using the same logic that Bush does today, FDR understood the need for a grand strategy that destroyed the movement, not just certain military aggressors that were part of it.
This sounds familiar, too, doesn't it? Though Iraq now & Germany then weren't the ones who attacked us, it's clear that they're part of the mess that fuels their movements. Can anyone say (with a straight face) that Saddam wasn't the instigator of all kinds of regional instability? Can anyone say that he didn't have grander designs than just maintaining an iron grip on Iraq?

I've often read that the President is a student of history & I'd be surprised if he didn't pattern his strategy on the GWOT after FDR's strategy. The parallels are just to frequent & the logic too similar to think otherwise. Though President Bush will never & should never be considered as great a president as FDR, the fact is that I'm thankful that he's patterned his war-making his tactics after FDR & for good reason.

By the way, how do you think the Agenda Media would've reported the blood spilled on Omaha Beach & at Pointe du Hoc? You can bet that there would've been tons of second-guessing if today's press corps was reporting.

Howard Dean's Silliness a Disservice to Party, Nation

If you just read the headline, you'd guess that this was written by a conservative. It wasn't as near as I can tell. Here's proof:
The Democratic Party needn’t shoot from the hip. The Republican Party has more Achilles' tendons than a bucket full of centipedes. Our nation is in desperate need of new ideas & new strategies. Mr. Dean is spewing silliness while Americans want alternatives. That’s a disservice to the party & the nation.
This doesn't sound like a conservative to me. Still, the editorial makes a valid point in saying that "Mr. Dean is spewing silliness while Americans want alternatives."

Follow this link to read the whole editorial. It's well worth reading.

Report: Fla. GOP Courts Joe Scarborough

The LA Times is running an AP story reporting that has big implications on the Florida Senate race. Here's the most important part of it:
Two local businessmen active in Republican Party politics say the GOP is courting cable TV host Joe Scarborough to replace U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in the 2006 Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Scarborough, a former U.S. representative, has met with senior Republican officials, Collier Merrill, a Pensacola businessman told the Pensacola News Journal in a report for Wednesday's editions.
Joe Scarborough would clean Bill Nelson's clock if he chose to run. Bill Nelson is all about smiles & little about gravitas. Mr. Scarborough is all about gravitas. Need I say more?

Able Danger Interview

Tony Snow is about to interview Lt. Col. Anthony Schaffer on the Able Danger project. I'll be live blogging it.

8:37 CT: Created by Hugh Shelton in the mid-1990's. Able Danger was viewed inside the Pentagon as "a bunch of cowboys." Able Danger was part of SOCom (Special Operations Command). Spying, intelligence gathering, electronic intercepts part of their mandate.

8:40: Schaffer says that the first step is identifying patterns of behavior & that they ran an algorythm on a huge amount of information to determine identifiable patterns.

8:42: After identifying the pattern, they Able Danger team approached DoD lawyers, who told them that they couldn't go further because they were here legally. The lawyers even hid the faces of the people that Able Danger identified, including Atta. (This is big stuff & someone needs to be held responsible. Jamie Gorelick maybe?)

8:50: Able Danger collected 2 terrabytes of information. DoD lawyers said they couldn't use this information. Navy captain that's been quoted anonymously in newspaper articles was fighting against the lawyers.

8:52: Tony Schaffer: "CIA was against it for professional jealousy, said that if the operation 'cutting off the tentacles worked, that'd steal the CIA's thunder.'"

8:53: Schaffer did a presentation for the Sept. 11 Commission while in Afghanistan. (Supported by the NYT's reporting. So much for them not knowing.) Col. Schaffer said they were shocked at all that Able Danger had accumulated.

8:57: Tony announces that Col. Schaffer has agreed to stay into the next hour because "there's just too much information to go over." This should be interesting.

9:08: New documents arriving from the State Dept. Tony tells 'Surfer Boy' (Griff Jenkins) to read it. It's a 5 page document. This is getting interestinger & interestinger by the minute.

9:10: Jamie Gorelick instructed to build a wall to protect civil rights over the vehement objections of Mary Jo White, who said this wall would severely restrict law enforcement.

9:11 CT: Phil Zelikow enters the picture. Zelikow is part of the Bush administration. Col. Schaffer tells him what they've accumulated. Schaffer told to contact Zelikow when he returned stateside.

9:13: Schaffer contacts Zelikow's office as he'd promised & got no response so he called back a week later, when he was told that they didn't need to talk anymore.

9:15: Schaffer said that he gave documents to the Commission while stationed in Bagram.

9:18: Inspector General has a set of information on Able Danger but it isn't complete.

9:20: Col. Schaffer has talked with Peter Hoekstra, Speaker Hastert about it & says that he's heard that Duncan Hunter has been briefed on Able Danger. Col. Schaffer says that Speaker Hastert is on board to "get to the bottom of this."

9:21: Col. Schaffer says that the culture of obstructionism is still there within the CIA.

9:27: TS says that there's alot of documents coming out & he's sensing that there's more people that identify with Col. Schaffer will be coming forward.

9:29: Able Danger was disbanded awhile back. Tony Snow asked why it was & Col.Schaffer said that "that's a whole other issue. We'll have to talk about that some other time." I get the impression that that's another compelling story.

WHEW!!! There's alot of information to digest & I'll need a full transcript to do it but this I've touched on the highlights.

Able Danger Update

Today's NYT has an article on Lt. Col. Anthony Schaffer, a member of the Able Danger team that can't be seen as good news for Jamie Gorelick or the DoD lawyers that prevented him from reporting their findings to the FBI. It also isn't flattering to the Sept. 11 Commission. Here's some of the juicier bits of information:
Colonel Shaffer said in an interview Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, & three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, & tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the FBI to share its information. But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the FBI at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might’ve led to Mr. Atta & the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.
If this is true, & I believe it is, then at least part of the blame should be laid right at Ms. Gorelick's feet for constructing the Gorelick Wall that supposedly built to protect civil rights. That's what happens when civil rights of foreigners are placed ahead of law enforcement & national security. That's the most significant part of the 'Clinton Legacy' & it isn't a positive part.
The account from Colonel Shaffer, a reservist who’s also working part time for the Pentagon, corroborates much of the information that the Sept. 11 commission has acknowledged it received about Able Danger last July from a Navy captain who was also involved with the program but whose name hasn’t been made public. In a statement issued last week, the leaders of the commission said the panel had concluded that the intelligence program "didn’t turn out to be historically significant." The statement said that while the commission did learn about Able Danger in 2003 & immediately requested Pentagon files about it, none of the documents turned over by the Defense Department referred to Mr. Atta or any of the other hijackers.
That these bumbling idiots didn't consider this intelligence to be "historically significant", anyone with a functioning brain would consider it "historically significant." I'm not buying into their statement, either, because I think it's just spin & that they think it's significant but can't admit it in public without being totally discredited.
The interview with Colonel Shaffer on Monday was arranged for The New York Times & Fox News by Representative Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee & a champion of data-mining programs like Able Danger.
This is significant only because the NYT mentions FNC without making a snide remark & because they didn't take a cheapshot at Rep. Weldon, who's been refered to as having credibility issues in other papers. It's good to see that the NYT hasn't followed that path in this instance. I'm sure it took all kinds of restraint not to characterize Rep. Weldon that way.
Richard Ben-Veniste, the former Watergate prosecutor, said in an interview Tuesday that while he couldn’t judge the credibility of the information from Colonel Shaffer & others, the Pentagon needed to "provide a clear & comprehensive explanation regarding what information it had in its possession regarding Mr. Atta." "And if these assertions are credible," Mr. Ben-Veniste continued, "the Pentagon would need to explain why it was that the 9/11 commissioners weren’t provided this information despite requests for all information regarding Able Danger."
Someone should slap that comment down & fast. Col. Schaffer's contention is that this information was made available to the Sept. 11 Commission but just wasn't given proper significance. That's why Col. Schaffer came forward. Here's proof:

Col. Shaffer said he’d provided information about Able Danger & its identification of Mr. Atta in a private meeting in October 2003 with members of the Sept. 11 commission staff when they visited Afghanistan, where he was then serving.

That sounds an awful lot like the Commission knew about it to me. Mr. Ben-Veniste's been a bitter partisan hack for alot of years & his comments should automatically be taken with several tablespoons of salt. He's one of the rare Washington types that I don't trust at all. (Another is Sid Blumenthal.)

In short, the American people & especially the families of those that lost loved ones on 9/11 should be most upset with: (1) Jamie Gorelick for building that wall against the protests of law enforcement people; (2) the Sept. 11 Commission for denying the existance of this program, which might have led to Atta's capture & the prevention of that awful tragedy; & (3) DoD lawyers who also should be held accountable for preventing the communication of these important findings to the FBI.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mayor Kelly, Republican?

That's a question that's getting asked more & more these days, especially in light of a story in today's Strib.
The Strib's Jackie Crosby reports that "DFL Mayor Randy Kelly of St. Paul basked Monday in the adoration of the state's top two GOP politicians, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman & Gov. Tim Pawlenty, at an event whose headline act was Richard M. Daley, a Democratic mayor who came 350 miles from Chicago to raise money for the incumbent. The unlikely partnership of political heavyweights from across state & party lines drew the attention of Kelly fans & foes alike.
Until a decade ago, this wasn't typical of St. Paul politicians but with more Democratic politicians getting more extreme, it's becoming more & more necessary to court people with mainstream views.