Friday, September 30, 2005

Reservist Says Protesters are Breaking Faith

Rising star columnist Katherine Kersten has written a true jewel of an article outlining the effects of the Cindy Sheehan crowd. Here's a couple powerful examples:
Vold knows Iraq firsthand. A Reservist from Maple Grove, he returned last March from seven months in Fallujah & Ramadi, the heart of the violent Sunni Triangle. Vold's view is 180 degrees different from the protesters'. For years, he says, America took a passive approach to extremist threats. We learned the hard way that this emboldened terrorists & ultimately led to Sept. 11.
Abandoning our mission in Iraq now, he says, would be both ill-advised & dangerous. Vold knows the painful cost of aborting a mission midstream. He was in Somalia in early 1994 when America turned tail. "We abandoned the Somali people because we took 18 casualties in October 1993," he said. "It was a shameful act." That same year, he sat in frustration on a troop ship off Kenya as hundreds of thousands of people were hacked to death in Rwanda. After the first Gulf War, he says, we left the Shiites to a bloody fate. "In Iraq, we're going to stay the course against the terrorists & give the people a chance at freedom & a representative government." Vold ticks off the extraordinary progress underway in Iraq.
Ms. Kersten has done America a great service by interviewing Col. Vold because we get a factual account of what's happening in all of Iraq rather relying on the limited reporting of the correspondents who don't venture outside the Green Zone.

Col. Vold, a Marine Corp Reservist, is right, too, in stating what's at stake. If we follow Sheehan's advice, we will have emboldened al Qaida & their allies like President Clinton's ineffective decisions did in the 90's.

The best anti-terrorist policy is using our military might to squash them while establishing a strong democracy in Iraq. No turning back. No hesitation. Just win.

The anti-war protesters don't comprehend the power of freedom & the ability to chart your own course through life. Ronald Reagan understood the power of freedom & it changed the face of Eastern Europe. George W. Bush understands it & it's changing the face of the Middle East.
In Ramadi, he witnessed ordinary Iraqis braving mortar fire to vote in the January 2005 elections. In just two weeks, on Oct. 15, he adds, these courageous people will have another historic opportunity, a chance to vote on Iraq's new constitution. Across Iraq, Americans & Iraqis are working together to reclaim the country from Baathists & terrorists. They are building or refurbishing schools, hospitals, roads & sewer systems. "The battle with the terrorists left Fallujah in rubble," says Vold. "But every day, people thanked us. 'We might have to rebuild our house,' they said, 'but you gave us back our city.'"
The people of Fallujah & Ramadi appreciate what the military did. They have a great perspective, evidenced by the quote "We might have to rebuild our house,' they said, 'but you gave us back our city.'" The price was expensive but the reward was huge to these citizens. As the 'Pro-War' Protesters' signs said, "Freedom isn't free." No it isn't but it's so worth it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political Emergency in N.J.

The NY Daily News reports that Sen. Jon Corzine has 'recruited' Bill Clinton to boost his sagging gubernatorial campaign. A month ago, Corzine led Republican Doug Forrester by double digit leads in the polls.
A Quinnipiac poll gives Corzine a 48%-to-44% lead over Forrester, a 6-point drop from a month ago. Other recent polls have Corzine up by 9 points, but they also show him ceding a double-digit lead. Strategists say it's not too late for Corzine to turn it around & one said "it's not a surprise" he has tapped the ever-popular Clinton to help fix the problem.
I don't doubt that Clinton can help candidates get a two day bounce in the polls in places like New Jersey but I also think that Doug Forrester can win if he focuses enough attention on the criminal behavior of liberal New Jersey politicians & compare their behavior with Louisiana's corrupt government.

Personally, I'd tie Corzine with Schumer's DSCC scandal & the Torricelli & McGreevey scandals, then ask how much longer do New Jersey natives have to tolerate that behavior. I'd also attack the competence & achievements of Mr. Corzine & past liberal politicians. I'd love to see him make this a referendum on the performance of Sen. Torricelli & Governor McGreevey vs. the effectiveness of Christine Todd Whitman.

Troubled Year Gets Worse for the GOP

That's the title of Dan Balz's article in today's Washington Post. It's also the Agenda Media's talking point for today. Here's what he cites as proof:
The indictment, which Republicans say is politically motivated, adds to the gathering headwind that now threatens the Republicans as they look toward the 2006 elections. Whether this becomes the perfect storm that eventually swamps the GOP is far from clear a year out. But Republican strategists were nearly unanimous in their private assessments yesterday that the party must brace for setbacks next year.
Mr. Balz is doing with Tom DeLay that the Agenda Media did with their Katrina coverage, specifically, his opinion isn't reality-based. It's simply a media frenzy driven by their GOP-hating base. As for his comment "Whether this becomes the perfect storm that eventually swamps the GOP is far from clear a year out.", it really isn't. The truth is that the GOP looks more motivated by Mr. Earle's prosecutorial excesses. I'm betting you haven't heard that anywhere in the Agenda Media before.
But former House Democratic whip Tony Coelho (Calif.), who left Congress under an ethics cloud in 1989, said Republicans now face the prospect of being branded by the same term Gingrich used against the Democrats: the arrogance of power.
Mr. Coelho is kidding himself if he believes this. The reality is that the Agenda Media can't set the debate like they did 10-15 years ago. Rush Limbaugh, FNC & the right wing blogosphere have changed that dynamic. The only arrogance of power that's provable is that of the Agenda Media's.

Demoralized Dems

That's the title of Howard Fineman's latest Newsweek article & it's fun reading. Here are my favorite sections:
With George W. Bush’s presidency mired in the muck of hurricanes & doubts about the war, you’d think Democrats would be bursting with energy, eagerly expecting to regain power. But, in a roomful of well-connected Democrats the other night, I was struck by how gloomy they were. They can’t stand Bush, but didn’t have much faith in their own party’s prospects.
Fineman's observations aren't what you'd expect. The Democrats have been acting like they'd be taking over the reins of government because they weren't as ethically challenged those evil Republicans & America was sure to notice.

There's only one problem with that theory & it's Biblical: The Bible says "Without a vision, the people perish." That's what's happened with Democratic activists. They don't have a visionary agenda that they're fighting for. A return to power isn't enough to inspire them.
Vision & Passion
I led my last Newsweek piece with an anecdote about President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. When a huge hurricane hit New Orleans that year, he hustled down to Louisiana & was on the scene within a day, offering the full resources of the federal government to help get the region back on its feet.
I thought it was an instructive contrast to Bush’s too-little, too-late personal response to Katrina. But the anecdote contains a lesson for Democrats, too: LBJ stood for a big idea, the healing power of government. He was in the mist of his Great Society presidency.
What Big Idea would a Democratic presidency be about? No one seems to know, which is perhaps the main reason why the party faithful in that room seemed so lost.
The reality is that Democrats are in a difficult position because (a) some of their positions just aren't popular and (b) the Moonbat wing believes in things that the DLC wing doesn't believe in & vice versa. A house divided is one that's about to get demolished.
War Waffling
I spent some time with Cindy Sheehan the other day & I was struck by her impatience with the Democrats. “Why are they so afraid?” she wanted to know. She had just met with Harry Reid & Hillary Clinton, & described both as cautious in their statements, with Reid saying that the Dems “had no choice” but to push for a drawdown of U.S. troops & Hillary remaining largely mum.
Howard shouldn't be that surprised by Mrs. Sheehan's "impatience". The DLC & Daily Kossack wings of the party are at war with each other in addition to being at war with Republicans. This is what crippled John Kerry's campaign last fall. He had to appease the anti-war Kossacks while projecting military competence to the DLC wing.

Having an 'at war' mentality on so many fronts will wear you down. If fighting for power is all you're about, you'll eventually wear down to collapse. It isn't surprising that this group of "roomful of well-connected Democrats" are war-weary. In fact, it's inevitable.

On the other hand, when you're fighting for ideas that you passionately believe in, you're energized with every victory. That's what appears to be the biggest difference between Democrats & Republicans.

Delay on Hardball

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: A difficult day. The charge from the prosecutor down there, which the grand jury acted on, was that a bunch of people got together, including you, & sent a bunch of corporate checks up to the RNC in Washington. That's corporate contributions, illegal to use in Texas legislative races.
In exchange, you said, now send that same money down. You earmarked it for these legislative races, thereby circumventing the spirit of the law, which is no corporate contributions. Is that a fair estimate of the charge?
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: I don't know. It is not in the indictment. I don't know what he's charging me with.
MATTHEWS: Well, I'm reading it from it.
DELAY: You did not read that from it.
DELAY: And what you just gave us...
MATTHEWS: "Texans for a Republican Majority did tender cause to be delivered & delivered to the Republican National Committee a check in the amount of $190,000, the check being for the same bank..."
DELAY: Wait. Wait. Chris, Chris, that's TRMPAC. That's not me.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, that's it.
DELAY: TRMPAC is a separate entity. I had no fiduciary responsibilities. I had no managerial responsibilities. I had nothing to do with the day-to-day operation. I was simply, along with four other elected officials, on an advisory board. They used my name as headliners for fund-raisers.
DELAY: And I had no idea what they were doing.
MATTHEWS: So, if corporate money was laundered through the Republican National Committee, you had nothing to do with it?
DELAY: That's exactly right. But that's not what they did. And they did it all within the law. They did what they did, & I know what they did now.
DELAY: They did it completely within the law. The Democrat parties & the Republican parties do the same thing over & over again. You take soft money. Those were the days of soft & hard money.
DELAY: You take soft money & use it for legal stuff. If you have more than you need, you send it to one of your friends. It's like your brother-in-law sending you money to pay your rent. And then you send back hard money that can be used in the races. It is not a quid pro quo. In fact, the amount of money you're talking about is different.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, let me ask you this. Let me ask, because Tom Davis is going to be on this show. And the argument we're getting from other people is that there's nothing wrong with you urging some corp or anybody that your former PAC, putting the PAC you're on the board of, to give, say, give a bunch of money to the RNC. They need money. It's a good Republican cause & then calling up the Republican National Committee & say, why don't you give some money to these legislative candidates? We'd like them to win down there. That's legal.
DELAY: Yes. It's totally legal.
MATTHEWS: So, what is illegal here?
DELAY: Everything TRMPAC did, & I insisted on, to even be on their board of advisers. Now, TRMPAC was my idea. I wanted the Texas House to be a Republican majority. And I went down there & worked with them to do that. We were successful. From that, we redistricted Texas. And the Republican Party better represented the values of the people of Texas, because we gained five seats.
MATTHEWS: You're a Texan. Texas law says corporations can't give to legislative candidates.
DELAY: That's true.
MATTHEWS: If anybody, not you or anybody, just, if anybody sends money, says, give the corporate maybe to the RNC or the DNC &, by the way, send some of that money back & pay for these races down there, that would maybe be legal. Would that break the spirit of the law, which is no corporate contributions?
DELAY: No, it wouldn't, because, in Texas, you can raise corporate & union money for administrative purposes, to pay your rent, to pay your salaries & that kind of stuff. You just can't take that money & put it in somebody else's campaign. Everything TRMPAC did, they did it with lawyers' blessings & accountants' blessing. This is not anything to do with money laundering.
DELAY: This has everything to do with indicting me, so I have to step aside momentarily for...
MATTHEWS: That could be the motive. But let me ask you. He does, in fact, in the indictment here he brought before the grand jury identified Todd Baxter, Dwayne Bohac, Glenda Dawson, Dan Flynn, Rick Green, Jack Stick & Larry Taylor as recipients of this corporate money as it went through Washington back....
DELAY: And I know very few of those people.
MATTHEWS: But they're legislative candidates.
DELAY: They're actually state reps now.
MATTHEWS: Right. They were elected.
DELAY: We won.
MATTHEWS: Well, you won. These candidates benefited from money that came from the RNC. The RNC benefited from corporate money coming from Texas.
DELAY: That's right.
MATTHEWS: Isn't that just a laundering process?
DELAY: No. Democrats do it. Republicans do it, have done it for years. Lawyers, it has been tested in the courts.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I see.
DELAY: Lawyers have been doing this for, I mean, have said we can do this forever & ever & ever.
MATTHEWS: Could this be a partisan prosecutor who has found a law & found a way to read it that has not been read before?
DELAY: Oh, definitely. He is trying to rewrite the law. He is criminalizing election, the election code. That's what he's doing. But he's done this over & over again. He did it against his Democrat enemies early on. He did it against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. By the way, he's had his head handed to him every time. But that's not his modus operandi.
He did to me what he did to them. You drag this out as long as you can do it, so that the press make you seem like you're indicted. I have actually been indicted for two years, if you read the press on this investigation.
MATTHEWS: Right. But, in this case, forced you to relinquish your leadership.
DELAY: Never talking to me. Never talking to me. Never asking me to testify, never doing anything for two years. And then, on the last day of his fourth or sixth grand jury, he indicts me. Why? Because his goal was to make me step down as majority leader.
MATTHEWS: Does he have a witness or somebody or a piece of paper that suggests there was a quid pro quo with the RNC here?
MATTHEWS: You don't think he has anything like that?
DELAY: No, absolutely not. He has nothing. I'm telling you, he has nothing.
MATTHEWS: What do you think he showed the grand jury to convince them to indict?
DELAY: You don't have to, what do I know? You know, grand juries, it's all one-sided. It is all what he presents to the grand jury, how he spins, how he presents it. Everybody says you can indict a ham sandwich with a grand jury.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I have heard that term.
DELAY: This is a ham sandwich indictment without the ham.
MATTHEWS: Let's play practicality here.
MATTHEWS: Because innocent until proven guilty. That's the American system.
DELAY: Not anymore.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you...You set up the House system whereby a leadership person who is indicted has to relinquish their leadership post.
DELAY: True.
MATTHEWS: So, that is not exactly innocent until proven guilty under your own party standard.
DELAY: By the way, the Democrats haven't.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but you've been tougher.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. Can you get a trial before the next election? Can you clear yourself?
DELAY: I hope so. We have speedy trial in Texas. And I have a very good lawyer that represented Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison against Ronnie Earle & handed his head to him back then. He didn't learn anything & here we are again.
MATTHEWS: Do you think this prosecutor, Mr. Ronnie Earle, who is a Democrat, we pointed that out in the beginning of this show, who has gone after you, can he delay this trial until after the election next year & beat you?
DELAY: He'll try. That's the way.
MATTHEWS: So justice delayed will be justice denied here?
DELAY: Absolutely. I have already been punished, because I have had to step down from my....
DELAY: And that's all he wants.
MATTHEWS: Well, you won by 10 points because you were so generous to the other Republicans in your state, because you gave them some of your Republican territory. Everybody, do you regret doing that now that you have a smaller margin?
DELAY: Not at all.
MATTHEWS: OK. You have a margin of about five points. If it switches, you lose. Do you think this indictment, just by itself, no evidence, just the indictment, could cost you the election?
DELAY: No, because what we're hearing from my district right now, as we speak, it is overwhelming.
MATTHEWS: Do they think this is sleazy, this indictment?
DELAY: Yes. They finally get it. You know, this has been going on for 10 years. I got my first ethics charges in 1993, then again in 1995. Then they filed a racketeering suit against me. And then they filed two more sets of ethics charges, all dismissed, all dismissed, but time, so that they dragged me through the mud. They can't get me on via the election. And so they're trying to get me by making me step down...
MATTHEWS: Are they using the old trick of throwing everything they can against the wall & seeing what sticks?
DELAY: Oh, yes. And they have announced it. I mean, the DCCC...
MATTHEWS: Here's your toughest charge. Mr. Leader, your toughest charge tonight, & everybody is still going to keep calling you Mr. Leader, I'm sure. The toughest charge, they coordinated an attack on you. Who did the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, coordinate with to nail you today in that grand jury?
DELAY: Oh, Democrat leaders.
MATTHEWS: In the state or up here?
DELAY: Both.
MATTHEWS: Who is involved up here?
DELAY: You need to ask him that question.
MATTHEWS: No, but you have said that there's a coordinated attack on you involving the leadership of the House on the Democratic side now. Is Pelosi involved?
MATTHEWS: What's her role in this?
DELAY: I don't know. Ask her. But they announced it. It is on their Web site that they were going to come after me. And they, & it is in all their fund-raising mails, of how they're going to...
MATTHEWS: Oh, I know you're a target of all the fund-raising. You're like Ted Kennedy from the other side. They go after you.
DELAY: I'm not complaining. I'm just saying, this is what they're doing. I guarantee you, people like Martin Frost, Lloyd Doggett...
MATTHEWS: They're still mad at you, aren't they?
DELAY: Pete Laney, the former speaker of the...
MATTHEWS: These are the losers in your campaign to rebuild the Republican Party of Texas.
DELAY: That's exactly, exactly right.
MATTHEWS: And those guys are those guys who all lost their seats because you managed to win the redistricting in the Texas legislature, because you managed to get so many Republicans elected in the legislature. They're all out to get you.
DELAY: That is right.
MATTHEWS: And this is part of it.
DELAY: This is the punishment for winning the Texas House & redistricting Texas.
MATTHEWS: Do you think there were meetings involving Nancy Pelosi or anyone else in the House leadership or these guys you mentioned who lost their seats & put together this charge against you; they cooked it up?
DELAY: Yes, I think so, but I...
MATTHEWS: It wasn't just his eager beaver prosecutors helping Ronnie Earle? It was people from outside who involved themselves in this?
DELAY: I think so. yes.
MATTHEWS: Is Ronnie Earle a straight prosecutor?
DELAY: Absolutely not. He doesn't even go to his office. He only goes to his office to hold press conferences.
MATTHEWS: What, is he a no-show?
MATTHEWS: Is that legal, to be a no-show in Texas?
DELAY: I guess it is. He does it. He's done it almost his entire career.
MATTHEWS: Well, how does he get reelected?
DELAY: He's a political animal.
MATTHEWS: So, he's good at the electoral process, but not the process of prosecuting?
DELAY: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: And you believe that this is a political vendetta?
DELAY: Oh, I know it is.
MATTHEWS: A coordinated vendetta by the House Democratic leadership here in Washington?
DELAY: And Democrat leadership in Texas and Ronnie Earle and, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that there was a heads-up to people like Nancy Pelosi before this thing today?
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that Nancy Pelosi & all the Democrats are keeping quiet today in order to let the focus be completely on you?
DELAY: And you're probably one of them. The DCCC yesterday afternoon was shopping this story. Nobody had this story.
MATTHEWS: But we didn't know about it. We didn't know about it.
DELAY: And they were shopping this story. So, they knew about it.
MATTHEWS: Well, they skipped us.
DELAY: Well...
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this about this. Do you believe that Nancy Pelosi is part of a coordinated attempt to fry you & then to step back & let the frying go on without any Democratic partisanship being evident? We had a guest on today, Sheila Jackson Lee. All of a sudden, she wasn't available. We're wondering what's going on here. Are they telling the people to pull back & make it look like it's nonpartisan?
DELAY: I don't know about that.
MATTHEWS: Well, that would be very coordinated.
DELAY: Yes. But...
MATTHEWS: But you stick to your argument here tonight that this is a coordinated attack by the national Democrats & the state Democrats, including the guys you beat, knocked out of their seats, to get even with Tom DeLay?
DELAY: Absolutely. It's on their Web site.
MATTHEWS: Can you still be the Hammer without the gavel?
MATTHEWS: Can you still be the Hammer without the gavel?
DELAY: I'm still a member of the House & I'm still aggressive. And we have got a great agenda. We're looking for to fix gas prices. We're looking retirement security, fiscal responsibility, all these kinds of things. We're focused.And, in fact, what the Democrats don't understand is, what they have done today is so unified the Republicans, at a time when we were kind of falling apart & fighting with each other, that we are now so focused on our agenda, we're going to drive it home & defeat the Democrats by accomplishing our agenda.
MATTHEWS: There will be no Republicans out there trimming you tonight, you don't think? They won't be saying off camera or off record, without their names being used, this guy ought to go? You're not going to read that tomorrow morning in the paper?
DELAY: I don't know. I don't know. I know what I saw in that room when that caucus, the incredible support that I got.
MATTHEWS: Is Roy Blunt a good guy?
DELAY: And the unification of the other Republicans. Roy Blunt is a great guy. He's very capable.
MATTHEWS: Is he a DeLay guy?
DELAY: He is a Roy Blunt guy.
MATTHEWS: Hey, thank you. You have got a lot of nerve coming on.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DeLay Indicted

The AP's Larry Margasak is reporting that Tom DeLay & two political associates have been indicted on charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme.
DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, & Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.
"I've notified the speaker that I'll temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference & the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said.
The Travis County DA is Ronnie Earle, who's waged a vendetta against DeLay for ages. He's a bigtime Democratic activist & fundraiser. Here's what Captain Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters blog said about Earle way back in May:
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who denies partisan motives for his investigation of a political group founded by Republican leader Tom DeLay, was the featured speaker last week at a Democratic fund-raiser where he spoke directly about the congressman.

A newly formed Democratic political action committee, Texas Values in Action Coalition, hosted the May 12 event in Dallas to raise campaign money to take control of the state Legislature from the GOP, organizers said.

Earle, an elected Democrat, helped generate $102,000 for the organization.

In his remarks, Earle likened DeLay to a bully & spoke about political corruption & the investigation involving DeLay, the House majority leader from Sugar Land, according to a transcript supplied by Earle.
I don't know if DeLay has violated any campaign finance laws but it isn't a stretch to think that Mr. Earle isn't acting as an officer of the court but as a Democratic activist. It wouldn't surprise me if DeLay gets acquitted or if the case is even thrown out. Suffice it to say that I don't trust Mr. Earle.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brown: "Louisiana Gov't. Dysfuntional"

In testimony today, former FEMA director Mike Brown characterized Louisiana government as dysfunctional, eliciting a scathing rebuke from Rep. William Jefferson, D-LA. Here's the gist of the AP story:
"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," Brown told a special congressional panel set up by House Republican leaders to investigate the catastrophe...Rep. William Jefferson, (D-LA), responded by saying "I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana & the Mayor of New Orleans."
As you know, I've been critical of FEMA's response to Katrina but I've been equally critical of the local & government's lack of preparation prior to Katrina's landfall. In retrospect, I think it's safe to say that the only way to ensure the public's safety in that situation was to have evacuated the city before Katrina hit. PERIOD.

Rep. Jefferson's reaction is predictable but it's also demagogic. The reality is that Blanco & Nagin proved their incompetence & their lack of leadership by not setting into motion the things needed to keep Louisianans safe from this deadly storm.

Mayor Nagin was derelict in his duties when he (1) didn't help the elderly & the lame from their low-lying homes & (2) when he told them to come to the Superdome but then didn't have food or basics supplied there. That's unconscienable & immoral.

Gov. Blanco was derelict in her duties because she: (1) refused to make the decision to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans & (2) wouldn't deploy the National Guard & (3) she demanded an extra 24 hrs. to decide what to do when time was critical.

Simply put, Mike Brown's FEMA didn't respond well but the people he was charged with interacting with were a pair of incompetents who will be remembered in history as having failed their citizens.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

They've Gone Stark-Raving Mad

That's the only conclusion I can draw from this NY Times article. I'd read about a similar article earlier today but this one is typical Agenda Media propaganda. Here's a sampling:
Vast numbers of protesters from around the country poured onto the lawns behind the White House on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to the war in Iraq, pointedly directing their anger at President Bush & Vice President Dick Cheney. A sea of anti-administration signs & banners flashed back at a long succession of speakers, who sharply rebuked the administration for continuing a war that’d cost the lives of nearly 2,000 Americans & many more Iraqis...Organizers of the rally & march had a permit for 100,000 people, but the National Park Service no longer provides official estimates for large gatherings in Washington.
This is total nonsense. Vast numbers attended this? Hogwash. I watched it on C-SPAN last night & if this 'reporter' wanted to, he could've counted how many people were there. (That's a bit of an exaggeration but not by much.) They didn't have anything close to 100,000 people there. They'd be lucky if it was 25,000. VERY LUCKY, IN FACT.

I'll also tell you that, even if they hit the 100,000 mark, which they didn't, you can get that sized crowd for nearly any event on the Washington Mall. Friends of mine attended a Promise Keepers' rally there about 10 years ago. They figured they had almost 1.4 million people there for that event. In terms of size, this 'event' was tiny by Washington's standards.
"It's significant that Bush is out of town," said William Dobbs, an organizer of the march. "It shows that he's turned his back on the peace movement, which represents a majority of the American public right now."
If Mr. Dobbs was spinning any faster, he'd corkscrew himself into the ground. I'm a major pollwatcher & at no time have I seen the "peace movement" representing a "majority of the American public." I've seen less than majority support for the President's Iraq policy but a substantial amount of that 'constituency' wishes he'd send more troops & clean Iraq up faster. That's hardly representative of the "Peace Movement."
The protests here & elsewhere were largely sponsored by two groups, the Answer Coalition, which embodies a wide range of progressive political objectives, & United for Peace & Justice, which has a more narrow, antiwar focus.
What a quaint description of the ANSWER Coalition this writer paints. ANSWER advocates the elimination of Israel as a Jewish nation, the right of terrorists like Hamas & al Qaida to fight against Israeli & American "occupation forces" in Israel & Iraq, & who are anti-capitalist & pro-socialist. In short, these guys think that Barbara Boxer is too conservative.
"To me, there’s an ideological connection," said Sheri Leafgren, a professor of education at Kent State University in Ohio who held a sign that said, "From New Orleans to Iraq: Stop the war on the poor."
Prof. Leafgren, What are you talking about with this "war on the poor" sign? Are you saying that the U.S. war in Iraq has made Iraqis poor? You might want to look at the deplorable conditions that Saddam's policies had on the country if you're interested in the truth.

As for the poverty along the Gulf Coast, specifically in New Orleans, is the result of inept Democratic policies. The national average on poverty is 12.5%; in New Orleans, it's 33%. Since it's had Democratic mayors for a long time,it's a legitimate assumption to think that their policies might have something to do with it.

I'll finish by saying this: If Napoleon had this NY Times reporter reviewing his military strategy, we would never have heard about Waterloo.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bush Hits Back

Newsmaxx is reporting that President Bush hit back at former President Clinton yesterday. Here's the money quote:
"The terrorists saw our response to the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings in the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa & the attack on the USS Cole," Bush noted, after getting an update on the war on terror at the Pentagon.
"The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage & character to defend ourselves & so they attacked us," the president added, in quotes picked up by UPI. Four of the six terrorist attacks cited by Bush took place on Clinton's watch, with the first two coming during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter & Ronald Reagan. Bush's decision to invoke Clinton's poor record on terrorism comes just five days after the ex-president slammed him for attacking Iraq without just cause.
Clearly, he's taking a good shot at Clinton with this statement. Yes, Jimmy Carter's response to the hostage situation was pathetic & yes, President Reagan shouldn't have cut & run in Beirut. Still, Clinton's response to "the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa & the attack on the USS Cole" was ineffective at best & pathetic (& apathetic) at worst.

Frankly, I hope President Bush hits back more often.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Qaida Date Haunts Able Danger Guy

The NY Post's Niles Latham has written an article about former Maj. Erik Kleinsmith's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Here's the testimony that most caught my attention:
"I do go to bed every night & other members of our team do as well, thinking if we hadn’t been shut down, we would’ve been able to prevent something or assist the U.S. in some way. Could we have prevented 9/11? I can never speculate to that extent," he testified. Kleinsmith recalls being jokingly told by a military lawyer "remember [to] delete this data or you guys will go to jail."
Let's all pray that Maj. Kleinsmith & others who are haunted by that thought would realize that they aren't to blame but rather that it was the Clinton administration's lawyers that bear responsibility for not permitting the tools at their avail to be used. Maj. Kleinsmith, Lt. Col. Schaffer & Capt. Scott Philpott deserve our thanks for trying to connect the now-infamous dots. They don't deserve the 9/11 Commission's scorn.
A former Army intelligence analyst said yesterday he’s haunted by the destruction of data his unit had collected on al Qaeda more than a year before 9/11, & claimed the information might’ve helped U.S. policymakers better understand the looming threat posed by the terror group.
Imagine how helpful these charts would've been in rolling up terror cells post-9/11. Think of all the connections they made by gathering 2.5 terabytes of data, enough data to fill the Library of Congress to overflowing. The Clinton administration bears full responsibility for ordering the destruction of this information.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This I've Got to See

The Washington Times' James G. Lakely has written an article in this morning's edition titled War Protesters Linked to Radical Left-wing Groups that gives backround into the various groups participating in S24 at the protesters call it (for Sept. 24). Here's a look at their backrounds:
United for Peace & Justice (UPJ) & International Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER) are the two main organizers of the weekend of events, the first major public protest allowed to surround the White House in more than 10 years, & expect 100,000 people from dozens of smaller left-wing & liberal organizations.
The leaders of ANSWER, founded three days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, are connected to the Workers World Party, a Marxist group that’s expressed support for such dictators as North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic & Iraq's Saddam Hussein. The latter two have been ousted from power & jailed. Other groups associated with ANSWER are the Free Palestine Alliance, U.S.-Mexico Solidarity Foundation & the Muslim Student Association of the U.S. & Canada. UPJ, founded by liberals who say they were concerned about the radical tactics & smorgasbord of issues trumpeted by ANSWER, says it organized the "S24," or Saturday (Sept. 24) protest first, but Mr. Dobbs said there's "a big overlap" between the protests & "the major point is that we're in D.C. to stop the war in Iraq."
That's the most radical collection of groups I've ever heard protesting in Washington. Conservatives should hope & pray that this protest gets wall-to-wall coverage all weekend long & tons of follow-ups during the week.
Among the nearly 1,000 groups in the UPJ coalition are Punks for Peace, Queer to the Left, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows & Historians Against the War. California-based Code Pink, which has established a reputation for aggressive protesting, & will also be out in force this weekend.
John J. Tierney, a scholar at the Institute of World Politics & author of "The Politics of Peace: What's Behind the Anti-War Movement?" said the core of the protesters are "ideologically very hard-core left" & that their agenda goes far beyond merely protesting the Iraq war. "They're not anti-war. They are anti-West, anti-capitalism & anti-American political culture," Mr. Tierney said. "You see the speeches, the flags, the posters, the speakers & the pamphlets cover a whole host of revolutionary causes, literally everywhere."

It's hard thinking of these groups as mainstream, yet most of these groups were there in Crawford protesting with Sheehan. As I recall, the Agenda Media didn't write a single word about them because they were too busy trying to bring President Bush down to be concerned with the fringe nutcase groups that lent their support for 'Mother' Sheehan as she 'grieved' for her son. Of course, bloggers were writing about the radical side of Cindy Sheehan from the first day that the AP ran a story about her.
Billionaire George Soros has funded various left-wing groups that will have a presence at the protest through his Open Society Institute, as has the Tides Foundation, created by Theresa Heinz Kerry, heir to the Heinz food fortune & wife of Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA). Money from both of these groups is filtered down to other groups & then filtered down to yet others, Mr. Tierney said. “It's a trickle-down structure that’s very difficult to trace without being an inside intelligence agent," he said.
The scariest part of this paragraph is when I think that John Kerry was a candidate for the White House. Thank goodness that the American people were smarter than to let an incompetent like him get near the Oval Office.

First Katrina Fraud Prosecution?

U.S. Newswire is reporting that an Atlanta woman has been arrested & "charged in a criminal complaint with stealing money from the U.S. government & mail fraud based on a false claim made to FEMA." Let's hope that this discourages others from attempting this alleged fraud. Here's a couple important pieces of information in the article:
David E. Nahmias, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge, FBI; Martin Phanco, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; & Richard L. Skinner, Inspector General of the DHS; today announced the arrest of Nakia Dewuane Grimes, 30, of Atlanta, GA. Grimes is charged in a criminal complaint with stealing money from the U.S. government & mail fraud based on a false claim made to FEMA for $2,000 in relief funds available to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
That's quite an array of law enforcement agencies to be involved in this investigation & arrest. It's also apparent that Ms. Grimes is between the proverbial rock & hard place after this. You can bet that this will garner plenty of attention, too, at least here on the blogosphere. All bets are off with the Agenda Media, though.
On September 14, 2005, Grimes submitted an application, via the Internet, to FEMA seeking a $2,000 payment available to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Grimes submitted false information on the application indicating that she was a resident of New Orleans & a victim of the hurricane. In fact, she wasn’t a victim of the hurricane & was living in Atlanta, GA. Grimes requested that her relief check of $2,000 be sent to her at a relative's house in Atlanta. On September 20, 2005, Grimes was notified by the USPS that she had a letter that she needed to sign for at the Post Office. Grimes arrived at the Post Office & was arrested after she signed for & accepted the letter from FEMA containing the $2,000 relief check.
Clearly, the best that Ms. Grimes can do is throw herself on the mercy of the court because her actions are admissable & are of the smoking gun variety. I suspect, though, that they'll want to send a message with this case.
U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said of the case: "It’s shameful that someone would try to take advantage of a national tragedy by filing a false claim for money dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. While the amount of money involved in this case isn’t large, we won’t tolerate any attempts by individuals to obtain public or private disaster relief funds to which they aren’t entitled. We’ll prosecute to the full extent of the law those who fraudulently seek funds that are needed to help rebuild the lives of the many real victims of Hurricane Katrina."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Vikings, Anoka County Reach Stadium Deal

The Strib has justifiably gotten raked over the coals for its editorial page & its political coverage but they've got terrific beat writers for the sports teams. Kevin Seifert is a great example of that. Kevin Seifert is reporting that new team owner Zygi Wilf is having a press conference (literally as we speak) that he's reached an agreement with Anoka County on a deal that'd get a new stadium built.
Wilf & the NFL plan to combine on at least $250 million contribution, while Anoka County will provide at least $240 million through a county-wide sales tax. The Vikings & Anoka County will ask the state to make up the rest likely in infrastructure costs.
Also included in the stadium project would be the moving of the Vikings' HQ from Eden Prairie to the stadium site, a shopping mall, hotels & a massive tailgaiting area. This is viewed as controversial & not without merit. What is without merit, though, is the referendum movement. Seifert writes:
John Knight, a Minnetonka lawyer who co-founded a residents group to fight the Twins bill, said stadium supporters are on the wrong side of public opinion. His group, Citizens for a Stadium Tax Referendum, wants a public vote on any local tax used for a stadium.
I've got a serious problem with that & it isn't because I want this stadium built but rather because I think it's unconscienable to have the voters vote on specific legislation. We still live in a Constitutional Republic. Voters don't make legislative decisions. Their role is to decide who decides. If you don't like what your elected official does, then vote him/her out when they run for re-election. To do otherwise is to let elected officials off the hook for their decisions.

Bush: Townsend to lead Katrina inquiry

Reuters is reporting President Bush's naming Fran Townsend to "lead an internal inquiry into the much-criticized federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the White House said on Tuesday." This is sure to draw criticism from Hillary, Kerry & other blowhards from the "Party of Incoherent Thoughts" before this day's closing. Here's another key section to the story:
A memo from White House chief of staff Andrew Card directed government departments & agencies to designate by Tuesday one senior official to be the coordinator to work with Townsend for their specific agency. The memo directed agencies to give this effort "their full attention & highest priority," Duffy said. The goal is to apply lessons learned to future emergencies. "The president said he wanted to hold people accountable. This is one of the many ways in which he will do that," the spokesman said.
Hillary, Harry & Princess Pelosi will undoubtedly be railing against this within the hour. I can hear the "How can an administration, especially this one, investigate itself? Talk about letting the fox guard the henhouse." This prediction isn't even a prediction because it's more like a sure thing.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Neal Boortz has written a great recap of the disaster after the disaster titled JUST THE SAME ... IT'S ALL BUSH'S FAULT. Let's just say that it's well-written & laced with sarcastic humor. In other words, it's my kind of story. Here's a couple goodies from the article:
At the very time Katrina was bearing down on New Orleans, there were several top-level officials in the very department of Louisiana government that prepares for emergencies such as Katrina sitting around & waiting for their trial. Trial, you say? Trial for what? Let's try corruption & throw in a bit of fraud. It seems that these Louisiana officials either misspent or misplaced or...worse...about 60 million federal taxpayer bucks.
According to the LA Times, much of that money was sent to Louisiana under some federal program called the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. That’s a program that is, in part, supposed to help states improve flood control facilities. Flood? Did someone say flood? Hazard mitigation would’ve been a great idea in New Orleans, don't you think? Especially that "improve flood control facilities" part, but nobody seems to know where the money went!
It sounds like we've discovered that rarest of governmental entities, namely an appropriation that actually makes sense. It sounds like we've also discovered the most common thing in politics, namely corruption in Louisiana. Shocking, huh? It gets better:
Doctors from across the U.S. poured into Louisiana to offer their services in shelters & hospitals treating Katrina's victims. They could do nothing. They just sat. You see, they weren’t licensed to practice medicine in Louisiana. It took the amazing Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, five days to sign a waiver to allow these doctors to practice medicine in Louisiana. Five days, while people were suffering & dying. Don't blame Blanco, though. It was clearly Bush's fault.
Now that's irrefutable truth if ever I saw it. Clearly President Bush had Karl Rove get out his voodoo doll of Gov. Blanco & told him to render her unable to sign that waiver. If you think I'm being sarcastic, just start a thread like that on the Daily Kos or Louis Farrakhan's website & see if the faithful wouldn't fill those threads up in minutes. You can't argue with Kossacks or the Nation of Islam.
On the Saturday before the hurricane New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin received a call from Amtrak. There was a passenger train sitting in the New Orleans station with 900 empty seats. Did the Mayor want to put some evacuees in those seats? No thanks. The train left nearly empty. You can’t blame Mayor Nagin for this decision, that clearly would be racist. It just has to be Bush's fault.
Again, this couldn't be incompetence on the Louisiana Democrat's behalf. It had to be Rove working with his voodoo doll to turn Nagin into a bumbling oaf.

In 1997 the U.S. Congress appropriated $500,000 of your money, not federal money, taxpayer's money, to the State of Louisiana. The money was set aside to create a "comprehensive analysis & plan of all evacuation alternatives for New Orleans." Now correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the big deal here, isn't it? New Orleans didn't get evacuated, right? Well, for two years nothing happened. Then the Congress demanded of Louisiana a plan for evacuation in the event of a category 3 story, a levee break, a flood or some other natural disaster. The $500,000 of your money got to Louisiana...but then what? It was spent by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, not on an evacuation plan, but things that needed to be done to the Lake Pontchartrain causeway over the next fifteen years or so.

Again, just because President Bush wasn't president at the time, he lived next door to Louisiana in Texas & we all know that Mr. Rove was Gov. Bush's friend by then, right? The omniscient Rove knew that this Katrina thing was going to happen so he 'engineered' the corruption that stole money from an earmarked account & used it for recreational priorities.

Mr. Boortz's article includes alot more information & it's well worth reading the entire thing. Enjoy.

UPDATE: The Political Teen has posted this video of Mr. Boortz's appearance on tonight's Hannity & Colmes.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

GOP Outreach Working?

Alvin Williams, President & CEO of Black America's Political Action Committee, thinks so according to this Washington Times article. Mr. Williams cites these things as evidence:
With that in mind, the party's efforts in recent months & the emergence of prominent African-American Republican candidates for 2006 indicate the GOP may be looking to the gains of 2004 as a starting point for a more sustained effort to increase support among African-Americans. Off-election year mobilization efforts are a key indicator of a party's commitment to any new constituency group.
As I've reported on other occasions, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has accepted speaking invitations to a number of historically African American colleges, held townhall meetings on the subject of moving the GOP towards the day when African Americans are an integral part of the party & helped in fundraising efforts for African-American GOP candidates. That's caught the attention to those astute enough to know that the Democratic Party won't have a forever lock on the African-American vote.
On the Democratic side, strategist Donna Brazile summed up their deficiencies in an article, saying, "Democrats are in the Stone Age when it comes to African-American outreach."
Donna Brazile has been harping on this fact for well over a year now & it hasn't sunk in with the DNC's hierarchy that she's right. The DNC & longtime liberals have taken the African-American vote for granted for so long that they haven't noticed that more African-Americans are voting Republican as the so-called "Civil Rights Generation" dies off & the African-American middle class grows. It won't happen overnight but I'll predict that within another 10 years, Republicans will be getting 40+% of the African-American vote.
One ongoing obstacle for the GOP remains the prevalent perception in recent decades that the Republican Party is a party that lacks African-Americans among its rank & file. The Bush administration has been instrumental in changing this perception by appointing African-Americans to powerful Cabinet posts & other key offices. Another positive sign for the GOP: African-American Republican candidates figure to loom large in some more hotly contested elections in 2006. In Pennsylvania, former NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann has expressed strong interest in a gubernatorial candidacy. In Ohio, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a key figure in the last presidential election, is an early conservative favorite for governor. Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is mentioned prominently among desired candidates for the U.S. Senate seat which will be contested in 2006.
After every night of the Republican National Convention since I've been watching them, the Democrats always talk about how few minority faces there are there. That started changing in 1996, when Colin Powell & J.C. Watts addressed the Convention in primetime & Condi Rice was interviewed by all the networks. When the 2004 Convention rolled around, minority faces were everywhere, whether it was Gen. Powell or Dr. Rice, Lt. Gov. Steele, J.C. Watts again, Lynn Swann, Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell, fmr. Education Secretary Rod Paige & current HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson & a host of others. Now the rant is that these are all "token African-Americans." Give me a break. Dr. Rice & General Powell have incredible resumes & are eminently qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Afghani Elections Begin

H/T: Powerline blog

Voting has started in Afghanistan. A U.S. State Dept. factsheet states "On September 18, 2005, the Afghan people will return to the polls to elect representatives to the Lower House of the National Assembly & members of Provincial Councils. Once the National Assembly has been seated, the transitional process by which the Afghan people have emerged from years of civil war, political violence & misrule to achieve sovereignty & freedom under democratic rule will conclude."
It's times like these that I'm most proud to be an American. Knowing that the U.S. was instrumental in the liberation of 25 million people in Afghanistan is proof positive that America at its best, is a great friend & ally. It's also times like this that prove the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who placed the highest values on life & liberty.

First Blogiversary

Today marks the first blogiversary of this humble little blog. I started blogging because I wanted to contribute my commentary on the Rathergate fiasco. I followed the presidential campaign alot in the early days & I learned alot about political reality from people like Alexander McClure, Jayson Javitz & DJ Drummond at Polipundit. Their critiquing of polls opened my eyes as to how to detect the useless (& agenda-driven) media polls are, among other things.

I often tapped into the information that Glenn Reynolds, the Powerline bloggers & Hugh Hewitt posted.

I specifically remember an article that John Hinderaker posted the Friday before the election about an ACT email that outlined how to illegally get people registered & voting.

I recall several posts that Hugh made about the tearing down of Republican lawn signs & also a post about the violent storming of the Miami RNC office by Democratic activists.

Glenn's posts about the Ukraine, which was below-the-radar screen at the time, got me interested in the election fraud that Mr. Yanukovich tried getting away with. After our presidential election, I focused alot of attention on the Orange Revolution & posted often about it. I posted in Le Sabot Post-Moderne's comments that "The revolution will be blogged." I thought that bringing true liberty to a former Soviet bloc country like Ukraine should be covered. I thought that reworking the title of Joe Trippi's book "The Revolution Won't Be Covered" (which presumably spoke of the inevitable coming Democratic Party revival, something I'm not holding my breath on) was a way of expressing solidarity with the people of Le Sabot-Post Moderne, who were liveblogging from Independance Square.

After that injustice was righted, we had the Iraqi elections, the upheaval in Lebanon that quickly got titled the Cedar Revolution & the reforms throughout the Middle East, some relatively subtle (the Saudis having their first municipal-level elections & Egypt's opening of the elections to have opponents) & some of historic proportions (Afghanistan, Iraq & Lebanon's free elections & the Kuwaitis naming a woman to be a cabinet minister).

These days, the revolutions seem to be less frequent. Still, it's important to take notice of them & I plan on doing that. Speaking of which, parliamentary elections are being held in Afghanistan as I type. Let's hope these elections turn out as well as their elections did when they chose Hamid Karzai as their leader.

The thought of people experiencing their first taste of freedom still excites me. I hope we see more democracy revolutions in the years to come. Let's hope we see many more 'revolutions' in the days & months & years to come.

As for the future, let's hop on the bandwagon that Tony Blair & George Bush have guided thus far to reform Africa. It's time that that continent gets to taste life without tyrants murdering entire villages anytime they want. It's time they tasted liberty's blessings. In the months to come, I'll pay more attention to the progress being made in those countries & keep you updated.

In closing, I simply ask that we all keep praying that liberty would extend to those places where people live without hope as quickly as is possible. As Americans, we officially believe that every human being on the face of this earth is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Chief amongst those rights are life & liberty. If Americans are endowed with those inalienable rights, so is everyone.

I Will Rebuild With You, Mr. President

Donna Brazille gets it. I wish more Democrats did. I normally offer commentary to articles, especially those written by liberals. This time, I'll just tell Ms. Brazille "Welcome aboard & let's get to work" then get out of the way of her inspiring words:

New Orleans is my hometown. It’s the place where I grew up, where my family still lives. For me, it’s a place of comfort & memories. It’s home. Now my home needs your help & the help of every American. Much of my city is still underwater. Its historical buildings have been wrecked, its famous streets turned to rivers &, worst of all, so many of its wonderful people, including members of my own family & my neighbors, have lost everything.
Thursday night President Bush spoke to the nation from my city. I’m not a Republican. I didn’t vote for George W. Bush, in fact, I worked pretty hard against him in 2000 & 2004. But on Thursday night, after watching him speak from the heart, I couldn’t have been prouder of the president & the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything & to rebuild the Gulf Coast.
Bush called on every American to stand up & support the rebuilding of the region. He told us that New Orleans & the entire Gulf Coast would rise from the ruins stronger than before. He enunciated something that we all need to remember: This is America. We aren’t immune to tragedy here, but we’re strong because of our industriousness, our ingenuity &, most important, because of our compassion for one another. We’re a nation of rebuilders & a nation of givers. We don’t give up in the face of tragedy, we stand up, & we reach out to help those who can’t stand up on their own.
The president called on every American to reach out to my neighbors in New Orleans & throughout the Gulf Coast. The great people of this country have already opened their hearts in the immediate aftermath of the storm, & their tremendous generosity has done more than just provide extra comfort, it’s saved lives. Now the crisis of survival is over. But the task of rebuilding remains, & the president made it clear that every single one of us has a role to play. Each of us belongs to some group, a church, a union or a fraternal organization, or even a book club, that can make a difference. It’s those groups that can pool resources & then reach out to their counterparts in the stricken states & ask, "What can we do?" Schools, Girl Scout troops, Rotary clubs, this is the time for every community group to step forward to lend a helping hand. We need it.
The president also laid out the federal government's goal for rebuilding. It’s unprecedented in its scope & ambition, matching destruction that’s unprecedented as well. He made the challenge clear: This will be one of the biggest reconstruction projects in history. But he also made it clear that we can & will do this. New Orleans, Biloxi, all of the Gulf Coast will rise again. And the residents are ready to pitch in & do their part.
I know, maybe better than anyone, that there are times when it seems that our nation is too divided ever to heal. There are times when we feel so different from each other that we can hardly believe that we’re all part of the same family. But we are one nation. We’re a family. And this is what we do. When the president asked us to pitch in Thursday night, he wasn't really asking us to do anything spectacular. He was asking us to be Americans & to do what Americans always do. The president set a national goal & defined a national purpose. This is something I believe with all my heart: When we’re united, nothing can stop us. We will not waver, we will not tire, & we will not stop until the streets are clean, every last brick has been replaced & every last family has its home back.
Bush talked about how we bury our family & friends. We grieve & mourn. We march to a solemn song & then we rejoice & step out & form the second line. That line is now open to every American to join us in rebuilding a great region of this country. New Orleans will rise again. My hometown is down but not out, & with the help of every American, it will be back on its feet, bigger & brighter than ever.
Mr. President, I’m ready for duty. I’m ready to stir those old pots again. Let's roll up our sleeves & get to work.
The writer, a Democratic political consultant, managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

Louisiana Officials Indicted Before Katrina Hit

The LA Times Ken Silverstein & Josh Meyer are reporting on possible corruption inside the Louisiana state emergency planning agency. Here's what they say specifically:

Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency already were awaiting trial over allegations stemming from a federal investigation into waste, mismanagement & missing funds when Hurricane Katrina struck. And federal auditors are still trying to track as much as $60 million in unaccounted for funds that were funneled to the state from FEMA dating back to 1998. In March, FEMA demanded that Louisiana repay $30.4 million to the federal government.
The problems are particularly worrisome, federal officials said, because they involve the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, the agency that will administer much of the billions in federal aid anticipated for victims of Katrina. Earlier this week, federal DHS officials announced they’d send 30 investigators & auditors to the Gulf Coast to ensure relief funds were properly spent. Details of the ongoing criminal investigations come from two reports by the inspector general's office in the federal DHS, which oversees FEMA, as well as in state audits, & interviews this week with federal & state officials.

With so much federal rebuilding funds about to come pouring into the state, it's vitally important for this nation's taxpayers to know that there isn't a system in place for widespread corruption that thwarts the rebuilding effort. As bad as this information is, it gets worse:

Mark Smith, a spokesman for the Louisiana emergency office, said the agency had responded to calls for reform & that "we now have the policy & personnel in place to ensure that past problems aren't repeated." He said earlier problems were largely administrative mistakes, not due to corruption. But federal officials disagreed. They said FEMA for years expressed concerns over patterns of improper management & lax oversight throughout the state agency & said most problems hadn’t been corrected. They point to criminal indictments of three state workers as evidence the problem was more than management missteps. Two other state emergency officials also were identified in court documents as unindicted co-conspirators.

Mr. Smith's claim that the monies were misspent due to mismanagement isn't credible in light of the indictments & impending trials for the "three state workers." If he expects people to believe that, then he's a fool. The facts speak for themselves. This is, in my opinion, the statement of an official in full CYA mode at best. As bad as this information is, it gets worse:

Much of the FEMA money that was unaccounted for was sent to Louisiana under the Hazard Mitigation Grant program, intended to help states retrofit property & improve flood control facilities, for example. The audit reports said state operating procedures increased the likelihood of fraud & corruption going undetected. For instance, a Nov. 30, 2004, report by Tonda L. Hadley, a director in the Denton field office, examined $40.5 million sent to the Louisiana agency, mostly for the Hazard Mitigation program. The report found that the state's emergency office didn’t have receipts to account for 97% of the $15.4 million it had awarded to subcontractors on 19 major projects. The report also said the Louisiana agency had misspent $617,787 between May 2000 & September 2003.
Questionable expenditures identified by the inspector general included $2,400 for sod installation, several thousand dollars for a trip to Germany by the deputy director, $1,071 for curtains & $595 for an L.L. Bean parka & briefcase. The inspector general also challenged unspecified spending for camera equipment, professional dues & a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria.

That's fraud if ever I've heard of it. That's an incredible-sized laundry list of unauthorized spending. I can possibly justify the briefcase (not likely but possibly) but justifying a parka for someone in Louisiana? Or a Crown Victoria? Or curtains? Not a chance.

You know something's fishy when they can only produce receipts for 3% of the spending. It's impossible to accept that as incompetence. Finally, there's this:

According to the indictment, Brown & Appe conspired in 2000 to use $175,000 in FEMA funds to cover a shortfall in a related agency's budget. Later, when the inspector general began investigating the agency's use of FEMA money, the two men conspired to create a fake, backdated memo to cover up the earlier diversion of funds, the indictment says.

Can someone tell me that creating false documents to "cover up the earlier diversion of funds" squares with Mark Smiith's statement that these "were largely administrative mistakes"?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush's Foes Smell Blood

Mike Rosen of the Rocky Mountain News has written a great article of another instance where Democrats are misreading the political winds & think they're going to put President Bush down for the count once & for all. That isn't what's going on but watching the 'Party of Incoherent Thoughts' misplay their hand again should be fun to watch. Here's a couple noteworthy sections of the article:
Predictably, partisan Democrats, media liberals & pathological Bush-haters have ignored or downplayed Nagin's & Blanco's culpability & focused their attacks on President Bush. Their strategy is transparent. It's about much more than New Orleans. It's about Social Security reform, repeal of the death tax, the war in Iraq, Supreme Court nominations, drilling in ANWR, nuclear energy, global warming, the Kyoto Treaty, expansion of the welfare state, abortion, gay marriage & most anything else on the president's legislative & policy agenda.
This pattern is getting awfully tiring. The Mediacrats & their pawns in the House & Senate think they've got the President on the ropes. The reality is that they're merely the sideshow, a distraction. Like Dick Morris said last night, there's only 1 horse in the race & it's the President.

After last night's speech, the Dummiecrats in the House & Senate would be foolish to offer more than token opposition on the Katrina relief package. To do otherwise is political suicide. That doesn't mean they won't put up a fight. It just means that we'd see another step towards the abyss for the 'Party of Incoherent Thoughts'.
New Orleans has become a rubric for a host of political causes. The left sees it as an object lesson in the virtue of collectivism over individualism; a demonstration of the essential need for ever bigger government. Never mind that the object lesson, here, is just the opposite. New Orleans has long been infamous as the model for corrupt government in the name of populism. Billions of dollars of federal aid that’ve poured into the state over the years could’ve been put to much better use in flood prevention than the pork barrel projects to which it was diverted.
What America has seen over the past 2 weeks is a city that didn't use the monies that it was given for building up the levee system for actually building up the levee system. America saw inept city government, despite the Agenda Media's best attempts to hide that fact, that didn't follow the plans they'd made for hurricane emergencies, that didn't provide for the most vulnerable in society when they needed help the most. This is hardly a shining moment for big government liberalism.
Hucksters of the politics of racism have contrived a conspiracy theory of indifference toward blacks in the city by white America. (The same white America that sent billions to aid the nonwhite victims of the recent Asian Tsunami.) Jesse Jackson & his ilk have made a career out of this.
These "hucksters of the politics of racism" won't get away with their shenanigans much longer, especially if the President's "Urban Homesteading Act" works as well as it should. When minorities in New Orleans see the President's goals of great minority home ownership & greater minority business ownership coming true, they'll see who's really looking out for their interests.

Quite frankly, the further we're removed from the passage of the Voting Rights Act & other Civil Rights legislation, the less attachment that younger African Americans feel towards the Democratic Party. My bet is that, barring something totally unforeseen, we'll see a shift of support amongst minorities from the Democratic PArty & into the GOP.

Bush's Second Second Inaugural Address

Slate's John Dickerson has written an article that's thick on cynicism & short on vision on Bush's plan to rebuild the Gulf Coast. I'm not trying to say that caution & oversight aren't important. What I'm saying is that Mr. Dickerson has missed, as have many, the vision behind & the wisdom of the plan. Here's a sample of his cynicism:
The federal government will pay to rebuild infrastructure, pay rent for the displaced, pick up state expenses & deliver mobile homes. If you have any favorite federal programs you'd like enacted, please bring them to the front of the room. The costs to rebuild the Gulf will skyrocket, but Republican leaders are also going to have to pay hush money outside the region: funding projects from politically key areas. Lawmakers will find ways to tie their requests to Katrina.
I understand the cynicism expressed in his "Republican leaders are also going to have to pay hush money outside the region: funding projects from politically key areas" statement. What's more accurate is that any idiot that thinks about not voting for this legislation clean is committing political suicide. There's also another reality to be plugged into this equasion, namely that John McCain & others are poised to pounce on wasteful spending.
The president has hitched his second term to the Gulf reconstruction & that may require a surprising amount of political courage. Congress has been willing to spend like crazy in the past few weeks, but that profligacy will end. Fiscal conservatives in his party are furious at the new government spending. Conservative Democrats & independents in key districts outside the affected area are also already balking: Why is the president pandering to the Gulf? Why doesn't he show as much effort helping me get a job or lowering my gas prices?
Notice the circular nature of Mr. Dickerson's logic, if it can be called that? First he says "Republican leaders are also going to have to pay hush money outside the region: funding projects from politically key areas. Lawmakers will find ways to tie their requests to Katrina." In the very next paragraph, he notes that "Fiscal conservatives in his party are furious at the new government spending." Guess which side wins this fight? I'll guarantee that it won't be won by the unnamed spendaholics.

Also, it's pure fiction that "Fiscal conservatives in his party are furious at the new government spending." Yes, conservatives are wary of the scope of the spending but to say that any appreciable amount are "furious" about this new government spending. Conservatives aren't as worried because most conservatives see this spending as a onetime thing. It'd be totally different if conservatives saw this as a costly spending program that goes on forever.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Why Christians are The 'First Responders', Part II

Marvin Olasky has written a great companion column, titled 'Dirty Harry' Christians, to Chuck Colson's column. Here's the paragraphs that most caught my eye:
Where's the ACLU? This co-mingling of government & religious resources must stop! Church groups, asked by local & state officials to take charge of feeding programs at government shelters like the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, also held worship services & passed out Bibles. Pastors prayed with evacuees, offering spiritual as well as material help. The horror! Where's the press vigilance? Instead of exposing this blatant attempt to destroy the separation of church & state, reporters quoted New Orleans evacuees such as Dorothy Lewis welcoming the Christian service because she (obviously with false consciousness) believed that God saved her family: "I can't go to sleep for thanking him. I wake up in the morning thanking him." Reporters uncritically quoted Protestant minister William Lawson telling the evacuees, in a government building!, "God hasn't forgotten you, no more than he’d forgotten Job."
Where are the ACLU at such a time of crisis??? They must be going beserk with John Roberts about to get confirmed, thereby extending the reign of common sense in the Chief Justice chair while pastors are using public facilities to remind Katrina's victims that God hasn't forgotten them. How can this happen in the ACLU's America? (I'd prefer thinking of these things happening as modern-day miracles or 'acts of God.')
Remember the insurance company commercials in which the family provider is suddenly gone, leaving a ghostly frame where the photo once was? That’d be our situation if strict church-state separationists had their way & Christians weren’t able to offer material & spiritual help in public spaces, sometimes with a piggybacking of resources. In short, when a Katrina crisis occurs, our "separation of church & state" turns into a marriage, with government & religious entities linked in providing aid to victims. Is that a crime? Not constitutionally.
Mr. Olasky is so right on the money on this. Just as politics makes for strange bedfellows, crises makes for strange partnerships. When we see dramatic & large-scale needs, Americans have traditionally tossed aside the silliness that fanatics like the ACLU promote because we know that helping victims is far more important than obeying theories & practices that stand in the way.

Let's end with the most uplifting testimonial I've heard in awhile:

Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie examined a church-led Katrina relief effort northwest of her city & concluded, "You ROCK, Lake County...You stepped forward. Actually, you ran forward, trampling anything in the way, your hands filled with offerings of cash, food, clothing & furniture. You left First Baptist Church of Leesburg scrambling to take the donations." Scrambling…& that's how it should be. Advertising posters for Dirty Harry proclaimed, concerning the Clint Eastwood character, "You don't assign him to murder just turn him loose." Christians, turned loose, are doing well so far, through God's grace.