Friday, October 28, 2005

Sunnis Signing Up Candidate Lists

The AP actually reports some upbeat news. They're reporting that Sunnis are "signaling the intention of many Sunnis to join the political process despite their failure to block ratification of the new constitution." Far be it from them, though, to keep the news be upbeat without dousing it. Here's the first 2 paragraphs from the story:
A Sunni Arab coalition submitted its list of candidates for the December election Friday, signaling the intention of many Sunnis to join the political process despite their failure to block ratification of the new constitution.
In the latest violence, the U.S. command said Friday that five American service members, three soldiers and two Marines, were killed Thursday in separate attacks. Their deaths raised the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the war to 2,010, according to an AP count.
They'll report negative news without reporting the positive but they won't report the positive without reporting bad news. I'm wondering if this isn't a diabolical pattern.

Regardless, most people would ignore the negative news and be happy about the fact that more Iraqis are buying into the political process. Every person that buys into the political process is another person who isn't participating in the insurgency.

Sunni Arab participation in politics is considered a vital step toward calming the Sunni-led insurgency and enabling the United States and its coalition partners to begin drawing down troop levels next year.

This is translating into plans of troop reductions within the next year. This isn't news to the average blogosphere reader but it sounds like it's news to these AP reporters. Shame on them.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Danforth's Paranoia

For some time now, John Danforth has 'worried' that the Christian Right is getting too strong. Last March, Danforth wrote an op-ed in the NY Times stating his concerns that Christian conservatives were getting too strong. Now, he's speaking out on the issue again. Frankly, it's getting pretty tiresome hearing it. As a bornagain Christian myself, and proudly so, I don't know what's to be feared by the Christian conservative community.

My Christian beliefs tell me to advocate:
  • the spread of freedom throughout the world. That's currently being played out in the Middle East but with the hope that it won't stop there. Hopefully, African dictators will feel the heat soon.
  • the wise use of every taxpayer's wages to help people. That means eliminating pork-barrel spending and shrinking and eliminating the budget deficit.
  • initiatives that help more people taste the best that America has to offer. We've been blessed by God in ways that no other nation in the history of the world have been blessed.
  • the well-thought out pro-life agenda because I want human life to be viewed as precious again. That also means end-of-life situations, too. To do less is to not confer on people the dignity that God confers on people.
Excuse me if I'm puzzled as to why that agenda is alarming or worrisome. Those views are reasonable and logical. I won't rip Danforth as an out-of-touch moderate. He's a man of integrity and deserves to be treated as such. I'll simply disagree with him on this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

IBD: Investigate the CIA

Investors Business Daily has written an editorial advocating the House and/or Senate investigate whether the CIA acted improperly or illegally. They ask some provocative questions. Here's a sampling of them:
Was there a covert operation against the president? If so, who was behind it? These aren't the musings of the tinfoil-hat brigade. A sober-minded case can be made that at least some people in the CIA may have acted inappropriately to discredit the administration as a way of salvaging their own reputations after the intelligence debacles of 9-11 and Iraqi WMD.
Those questions were actually raised by former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova. As Mr. DiGenova suggests, it isn't that unthinkable to believe that the CIA was trying to deflect criticism from itself after getting 9/11 wrong and getting WMD's wrong.
"It seems to me somewhat strange, in terms of CIA tradecraft," DiGenova said, "that if you were really attempting to protect the identity of a covert officer, why would you send her husband overseas on a mission without a confidentiality agreement, and then allow him when he came back to the United States to write an op-ed piece in The New York Times about it."
Mr. DiGenova, You're right. If the objective is to hide your identity, you don't let your spouse become a high profile public figure. The minute Wilson stepped into the national limelight by writing a NY Times op-ed, her 'cover' was blown if she ever was under cover.
Another angle worth investigating is the CIA's own possible use of leaks. When columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame's identity, someone leaked the news that the CIA sent a referral to the Justice Department seeking an investigation. The referral was classified, writes Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard, and anyone who divulged it would have been breaking the law. So who leaked the referral, and why doesn't the CIA refer this matter to Justice, as it did the Plame matter? Hayes raises the possibility that the leak came from within the CIA and that the CIA's lawyers "are reluctant to call for an investigation for fear of what such an investigation might reveal."
It's impossible for me to believe that the DoJ leaked this referral. After all, we're talking about the Bush administration. They're so tight-lipped that they'd make a shy person look like an extrovert by comparison. Hayes also raises a great point in saying that the CIA is reluctant to investigate their leaking for fear that they might get exposed.

Wouldn't the Agenda Media be shocked and heartbroken if Fitzgerald indicts the Wilsons and some people from the CIA? I'd love it.
Here's what Robert Dreyfuss, a columnist for the liberal American Prospect, has to say:
"For liberals and leftists accustomed to viewing the CIA as a rogue agency prone to unaccountable covert actions abroad, it is ironic that since 9-11, the CIA has emerged as a bastion of opposition to George W. Bush's imperial foreign policy."
If that's proved either through a trial or via a congressional hearing, it'd be a sad day for America. The intelligence agencies should be about fact-finding, not about agendas.

Change At The Top At CBS News

I just found an announcement by CBS news that CBS News President Andrew Heyward is stepping down when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Here's more of the announcement:
"He is, quite simply, a man of great character, whose integrity and experience has guided our News division through a time of tremendous change, and I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment to the core values of journalism, and for his years of creativity, dedication and loyalty to this company," Moonves said in a message to CBS employees.
A man of great character? You mean the character that he showed in disappearing when the going got tough in the Rathergate Scandal? As for his mythic "unwavering commitment to the core values of journalism", was that best displayed in punting when he viewed the fraudulent documents and said "Run with it"?
McManus said in a press release "CBS News is a truly great institution, and its people have defined excellence in broadcast journalism since the beginning of the medium."
Sean, they were a "truly great institution" and their people used to be the definition of "excellence in broadcast journalism." That's been a myth for a decade or more now. It isn't based in reality anymore. I wish you well in re-invigorating CBS News department and I hope that, in reviving CBS News, the other networks take notice of the changes and your soaring ratings and change, too.

I'm not naive about this by any means. I don't expect it to happen because there's too much of a culture of Agenda Media in their newsroom. I'm simply saying that I hope they change.

Prosecutor Winding Up CIA Leak Probe

If the AP had a slogan for its news department, it might read something like: Have agenda, will misrepresent. It certainly wouldn't be we report, you decide. Here's the latest example of the Pravda of the West's 'reporting':
Fitzgerald may want to establish Plame had carefully protected her CIA identity as part of the process of determining whether the disclosure of her name to the news media hurt national interests.
The timing of Wilson's criticism was devastating for the Bush White House, which was struggling to come to grips with the fact that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq.

Only in the Pravda or in the Agenda Media could statements like this appear in print. At this late date, only an idiot from Mars doesn't know that Valerie Plame's identity wasn't kept secret. If it wasn't secret, it was when 'Whistleblower Joe' Wilson ended that with his NY Times op-ed. Cliff Kincaid tells us why 'Whistleblower Joe' Wilson's NY Times op-ed ended her perceived secrecy in this RealClearPolics op-ed:

As I have noted previously, Herbert Romerstein, a former professional staff member of the House Intelligence Committee, says that Plame's involvement in sending her husband on the CIA mission to Africa meant that when Wilson went public about it, foreign intelligence services would investigate all of his family members for possible CIA connections. Those intelligence services would not simply assume that he went on the mission because he was a former diplomat. They would investigate his wife. And that would inevitably lead to unraveling the facts about Valerie Wilson, or Valerie Plame, and her involvement with the CIA. Romerstein says that Plame's role in arranging the mission for her husband is solid proof that she was not concerned about having her "cover" blown because she was not truly under cover.

There you have it. This episode in American history might be called the smoking gun that didn't smoke. Or they might call it the 'Much Ado About Nothing' Scandal. Mr. Romerstein lays it out perfectly. "Plame's role in arranging the mission for her husband is solid proof that she was not concerned about having her "cover" blown because she was not truly under cover."

In other words, simple informed logic told Fitzgerald that Valerie wasn't covert or concerned about her identity. That explains why the Pravda West/Agenda Media hasn't figured it out. Simple informed logic isn't their forte. Their only forte is advncincg the Agenda.

Then there's the hilarious claim that "The timing of Wilson's criticism was devastating for the Bush White House." Yeah right. Those Bushies were quaking in their boots because Wilson's bluster was so easy to discredit that my teenage cousin could do it without blinking an eyelash. That'll get those Bushies quaking in their boots pert near everytime.

UPDATE: Reuters' reporter Adam Entous writes:
The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity met on Wednesday with special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald amid signs the prosecutor was preparing to seek criminal charges.
Fitzgerald's investigation has centered on Lewis Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s top political adviser. Other aides may also be charged, lawyers involved with the case said.
What Mr. Entous, as well as other reporters, haven't said is what they're basing these conclusions on. How do they know that Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have been the center of attention in this? Did they learn these things from Patrick Fitzgerald when he leaked this information? Did they learn it beyond all doubt from lawyers in the building speculating? What verifiable proof can Mr. Entous give me to prove that that's what's going on?

The bottom line is that these guys are just as clueless as you and I in knowing what's going on here. It gets better, though. Catch this little throw-in paragraph:
A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll found the investigation was affecting Americans' view of the White House, with nearly four in 10 respondents saying they believed Bush aides broke the law. Another four in 10 said administration officials had acted unethically. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday.
This poll is meaningless. Why? because it was conducted Friday through Sunday. It's historically provable that polls taken on weekends will show the Democratic candidate/issue in a much stronger light than those taken on Tuesday through Thursday. Just check out a tracking poll next fall in the countdown to the midterm elections. I'll guarantee that they'll show the Democrat running better coming out of the weekend than when he/she entered the weekend.

Still, the story isn't complete without this:
FBI agents on Monday night questioned some of Plame's neighbors about whether they knew about her CIA work before her identity was leaked to the press. The interviews could help Fitzgerald show that Plame's status had been a closely guarded secret.
WRONG. Those interviews COULDN'T HELP Fitzgerald show Plame's status was a closely guarded secret because Joe Wilson himself 'outed' her a month before Novak supposedly outed her. How did he do that? Mr. Wilson was a speaker at a conference on the Iraq war. As a participant in that conference, he submitted a little bio on himself, which was posted on the conference's website. Part of his bio included his wife's name and occupation.

Further, her former supervisor at the CIA said that the entire neighborhood knew what she did for a living. If that isn't enough, Tony Snow reported this morning that Ms. Plame invited her neighbors to have lunch with her at Langley's cafeteria.

Does this sound like the way a covert operative would behave if they were worried about keeping her identity secret? Of course it doesn't. A 10-year-old knows better than to think that.

Federal Budget Watch

The Washington Post's Stephen Dinan says that Republican senators "laid down a $125 billion challenge to the Senate yesterday, proposing a package of spending cuts and delays in other programs they say would offset Hurricane Katrina costs." Here's the details of the plan that we know of thus far:
The seven Republican senators' plan includes five major savings: a $16 billion cut in discretionary non-defense, non-homeland security spending; delaying the full prescription-drug benefit by two years, with the exception that low-income seniors will get their benefit on time; raising Medicare costs for seniors who make more than $80,000, or $160,000 per couple; removing earmarked projects from the recently passed highway bill; and freezing the cost-of-living adjustment for all federal civilian employees.
"I am totally confident that the Republican base is upset and angry about the fiscal indiscipline that we practiced here in the Congress and the mortgaging of our children and our grandchildren's futures," said Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) and one of the group's leaders. The cuts would total $125 billion over two years, the senators said. They said they will force votes as the budget process plays out this year and, possibly, on another hurricane-related emergency spending request expected by the end of the year.
I like what I'm seeing thus far. I chided Sen. McCain for not voting for Tom Coburn's amendment but I'm with him in this bigger budget battle. Coupled with the expanding tax revenues, the budget deficit could be trimmed quite a bit by the time President Bush leaves office.
But some House Republicans have said they cannot support a cuts package, and Democratic leaders in both chambers remain opposed to cuts, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV), calling them "immoral." "It's interesting to me to note that for all the billions that we've spent in Iraq, no one looked for offsets for that," he said. "No offsets for the tax cuts that have taken place. And, in fact, the week after we do the budget cuts, they're going to then do more tax cuts. The Republicans simply have different priorities than we have."
Harry, when you're right, you're right. Republicans have different priorities than moonbat Democrats. I don't want to think what this country would be like if left to the Looney Left. Let's compare priorities:

Conservatives want to win the GWOT while the Party of incoherent Thoughts wants to...Well, I'll tell you as soon as I can figure out what they stand for. That might mean pulling the troops out ASAP or it might mean shifting our troops to Afghanistan to fight "the real war on terror" or it might mean agreeing with President Bush's strategy or it might mean none of the above.

Conservatives want to confirm judges that will actually look at the US Constitution as the basis for their Supreme Court rulings instead of randomly picking foreign court rulings that suit your preference.

Conservatives want to keep taxes low so real people can have more freedom in choosing what they want to do. Democrats want to steal the peoples' money, spend it on everything that their looney base wants, thereby subjecting the American people to be pawns to their tax and spend habits.

Given all that, I'll proudly stand with my conservative brethren anytime.
On the budget front, Sen. Norm Coleman emailed his supporters that he's "been appointed to a working group that will look for ways to cut the federal budget to offset the cost of hurricane relief. "Nothing is off the table" in those discussions, Coleman, R-MN, said Friday morning in a conference call with Minnesota reporters. One area that most likely won’t be cut is defense spending, but everything else should be fair game, Coleman said. He mentioned some possibilities, including a delay in pay increases for federal employees or an across-the-board freeze or cut in federal spending.
Coleman said Congress will also be looking at some cases of alleged government waste. An example is the defense travel system, which increased its spending from $273 million to nearly $500 million. The system reportedly does not always identify the lowest possible fare for a trip or seek economical lodging. "Even for government, five hundred million is a lot of money," he said.
Having a get-things-done senator on this panel certainly brings a smile to my face. He's a doer with an already impressive list of accomplishments in his 3 years service.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


AFP has published an unscientific poll 'showing' that "a majority of Americans believe the Iraq war was the "wrong thing to do". The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. Here's the 'devil' exposed:
The poll asked the opinions of 1,833 people online from October 11-17.
Everything else in the story is useless after reading that line. Online 'polls' are notoriously unscientific and are usually noted as not being representative of real polling. Because this isn't a scientific poll, I'd recommend against reading the 'poll results' because it's a waste of your valuable time.

On another related subject, polls like this are designed to alter peoples' opinions. Pollitorials like this want to persuade people into agreeing with the 'polling' company's position. The purpose of scientific polling handled by professionals like Scott Rasmussen, Ed Goeas or the Gallup people is to find out peoples' opinions.

The difference between these types of 'polling' is the difference between reporting and op-eds.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks: RIP

Rosa Parks, whose decision to not give up her bus seat to a white person sparked the civil rights movement, died Monday night at her home in Detroit, MI. She was 92.

Rosa Parks is quoted as saying that "At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," Mrs. Parks said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in." Her act of defiance, for which she was fined $14, triggered a boycott of the bus system organized by the then little-known Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr.

The AP reports that she wasn't just interested in fighting for civil rights but was quoted as saying older blacks "have tried to shield young people from what we have suffered. And in so doing, we seem to have a more complacent attitude. We must double and redouble our efforts to try to say to our youth, to try to give them an inspiration, an incentive and the will to study our heritage and to know what it means to be black in America today."

Amen, Rosa, Amen. The Bible that you're so familiar with says that "Without a vision, the people perish." I couldn't agree more.

Few Good Options

Lee Hamilton, in an Indianapolis Star op-ed, asks the question "What should we do now in Iraq?" His first opinion is that "there are few good options." Here's how he states the argument:
Pulling out precipitously could cause considerable damage to U.S. interests, with Iraq descending further into civil war, violence spilling into neighboring countries, Iran strengthening its position through its relationship with Iraqi Shiites, and U.S. credibility taking a severe blow. Yet simply staying the course does not rule out the above scenario, and staying the course ensures the continued death and maiming of American soldiers, huge costs to a strained U.S. treasury and overstretched military, and the persistence of a potent terrorist recruiting tool.
Representative Hamilton is plain wrong in implying that Iraq is already in a civil war. He must think it already is because pulling out would cause it to descend "further into civil war." If they aren't already in civil war, wouldn't it be smarter to say that pulling "out precipitously could trigger a civil war"?

Also, what proof does Hamilton have for saying that the chaos from leaving too quickly would cause violence in other countries in the region? If he means that Iraq's military isn't sufficiently trained to thwart terrorist attacks, attacks likely sponsored by Syria and Iran, then isn't that reason enough to stay the course and train the Iraqi military to the point where they can thwart terrorist attacks?

This isn't complicated. It's rather straighforward. It's only complicated if you ignore the progress being made or if you're getting your information from the Agenda Media outlets, especially the AP, the Washington Post and the LA Times. If that's the case, then it isn't that complicated either. In that instance, the only logical thing to do is to give up, pull the troops and abandon ship. And no, I'm not sarcastic about that.
In the coming months, we can expect to hear more political voices saying: "We have given the Iraqis an opportunity; they need to take responsibility for their own security. It is time to leave."
TRANSLATION: In the coming months, expect to hear more Democratic politicians saying: "We've given the Iraqis an opportunity; they need to take responsibility for their own security. It's time to leave." This is the battle cry of what might be called the 'Impatient, Impertinent Leftists', whose only demandment is that they want Iraq to be guided by a great Constitution, for there to be calm and quiet in the streets, for their military to be up and running at peak efficiency and with a strong economy running in three years. Other than those unrealistic demands, they aren't asking for much.
The recent constitutional referendum was a step forward, as were the January 2005 elections. But no one election, or Constitution, or counter-insurgency strike, or trial of Saddam Hussein, is going to get us to a successful outcome in Iraq. Reality demands more patience: Success can only be met through persistent mediation among Iraq's factions, joined with aggressive diplomacy, targeted military action, and economic reconstruction. This is a great challenge for American foreign policy.
Mr. Hamilton, I just said that we need to be more patient. As for success being achieved "through persistent mediation among Iraq's factions, joined with aggressive diplomacy, targeted military action", I hate to inform you but that's what we've been doing. Ambassador Khalilzad has been mediating amongst Iraq's factions to write a Constitution. American military forces have been fighting alongside Iraqi divisions with amazing success. Success is being noticed in standing up more Iraqi troops who are proficient and in the success of military actions.
Within the region, we must do more to enlist the support of political and religious leaders, particularly in bridging the Sunni-Shiite divide and convincing Iraq's Sunnis to work through a peaceful, political process.
Sunni participation was actually positive and substantial in the Oct. 15 ratification vote. As for Shiites working peacefully, they've been a model of being gracious and reasonable. Alot of credit for this goes to Ayatollah al-Sistani.
Our troops must accelerate the training of Iraqis, foster an environment in which Iraqi forces are motivated to succeed, and help provide security.
Mr. Hamilton, they already are accelerating the training of the Iraqi military and Iraqi troops are motivated to providing security througout the nation. If you don't believe me, check out Sgt. Greg Parkinson's letters from the front. Sgt. Parkinson is involved in the training of Iraqi troops. His emails home provide instances of the missions he's been on with Iraqi troops taking the lead much of the time. I find no better source for information that one of America's finest reporting from the front lines.
It is too early to write off Iraq as a strategic disaster; the future is still in doubt.
The future isn't in doubt if you look in the right places for first person proof that things are working. As for it being "too early to write off Iraq as a strategic disaster", that 'tipping point happened a couple years ago. All it took was the belief in the two-track plan and the time to work it all out.
There is indeed a chance that we will suffer a terrible outcome, but there is also hope for a stable, unified, federal Iraq.
There isn't "a chance that we will suffer a terrible outcome" in Iraq. That's only possible if the irresponsible idiots that make up the Democratic base were to gain control of the foreign policy decision-making powers. With President Bush in office another 3 years, that won't happen.

Miscarriage of Justice

Michael Barone weighs in on the indictments likely pending against Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. His opinion? Not only would he not indict, he says that to do so would be an injustice. Here's some comments from his column:
The press has been full of righteous indignation that high officials in the Bush administration would endanger the identity of a covert agent. And it has been argued that administration officials did this to protect a fearless truth-teller, Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador who charged that the Bush administration purposefully ignored intelligence and lied about Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium to develop weapons of mass destruction.
The problem is that the narrative line being offered up by the press is almost entirely wrong. And it is almost certainly true that neither of the statutes that might cover the situation, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 and the Espionage Act of 1917, was violated, at least by anyone in the administration.
In other words, the Agenda Media have been lying through their teeth about Joe Wilson and they've been hyperventillating about Libby and Rove breaking laws that don't pertain to them. That's the SOP for the Agenda Media these days. Their only goal is to cause as much trouble, unjustified in this instance, for this administration as possible. It isn't about fact-finding. It's about the agenda.

It's apparent that Patrick Fitgerald has followed the Agenda Media's lead in his persecution (no, I didn't misspell that) of the White House. According to his office's leaks, he won't indict Libby or Rove for breaking the IIPA or the Espionage Act, the laws he was brought in to investigate. It's the Martha Stewart pattern.

Tony Snow is right in saying that if Fitzgerald indicts on such an immaterial thing as Rove and Libby not remembering when then said this or that, then I'd tell President Bush to keep Rove and Libby on staff. Additionally, Tony says that the President should address the nation, saying that he won't give into a prosecutor on a political hit job.
Any indictment of Rove or Libby brought by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury, which is scheduled to go out of existence on Oct. 28, would in my opinion be a grave injustice. It would hurt the administration by depriving it of the services of one or more very talented and dedicated officials. But it would also set a bad precedent by creating a precedent that would obstruct the flow of information from government to the press and the people.
This is, in my opinion, the most dangerous aspect of this 'investigation.' In fact, there hasn't been an investigation that follows wherever the facts lead. Valerie Plame hasn't testified. Neither have any of her CIA cohorts who've been leaking misinformation with the intent of hurting the Bush administration's image across the world. If this were a real investigation, these and other things would've been looked into.
True, Rove and Libby did seek to discredit Joseph Wilson, as they should well have done. As the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in a bipartisan report in July 2004, just about everything Wilson said publicly about his trip to Niger was untrue. He said that he had discredited reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium in Niger. But the CIA people to whom he reported concluded that, if anything, he substantiated such reports. He said that he pointed out that certain other intelligence reports were forged. But the forgeries did not appear until eight months after his trip. He said his wife had nothing to do with his trip to Niger. But it was she who recommended him for the trip. And on and on.
In other words, Rove and Libby thumped Wilson for lying. In short, they did what the Agenda Media won't do. They cared about the truth and tried getting the truth involved in this conversation. Patrick Fitzgerald should be ashamed of himself for persecuting people who tried thumping a political hack for lying.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kelo Conference

For those who thought that the Kelo v. New London ruling was going to die out are simply wrong. The Washington Times'Shepherd Pittman files a report about an event being hosted by the Private Property Rights Foundation of America in Albany, NY.
People who fought what they view as the encroachment of their property rights are scheduled to speak, including Michael Cristofaro, a New London property owner who has refused to leave a family home that local officials have tried to appropriate under eminent domain. "We have a gun put to our head saying, 'We have your property by eminent domain,'" Mr. Cristofaro said. "You're threatened in such a way that you can't even enjoy the peace and sanctuary of your own home."
The last sentence is the money quote because it tells us that this isn't just another policy issue. This is extremely personal. People who are now losing their property to developers are extremely irate. Contrary to the Agenda Media's 'reporting' and Nancy Pelosi's nattering about "the culture of corruption", Kelo will be a bigger issue than people are aware of right now.

Pelosi's inane nattering about "the culture of corruption" isn't getting any traction. I suspect that Kelo voters will be considered a bloc of swing voters in the elections when the analysis is done.
"Kelo has the effect of getting people very resolved," said Carol LaGrasse of the Private Property Rights Foundation of America. "But it also has the effect of getting people very discouraged. We want to regain what we lost with the Supreme Court and use the inspiration from this threat."
I suspect that new cases will bubble up this year on this issue. If it reaches the Supreme Court again, I suspect that it'll be decided differently.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson "Let's Applaud the Military"

Victor Davis Hanson uses this week's column for the Jewish World Review to praise the Coalition forces while blasting the anti-war crowd. This can't be a comfortable place to be for those getting blasted. Victor Hanson's indictment is a stinging rebuke. Here's a sample of his column:
But what our soldiers accomplished better revealed their reasons for being there: no more no-fly zones; no more Kurdish or Shiite state massacres; no more attacks on Kuwait, Iran, Israel or Saudi Arabia; no more assassination attempts against former presidents, and now a democracy in place of a terror state. Throughout this entire war, we have asked our soldiers to do the near impossible: remove a dictatorship, put down jihadist assassins and create a democracy, while sometimes being shamefully derided by their own countrymen back home. Michael Moore praised the terrorists who were killing American soldiers and so-called jihadists as "Minutemen." Eason Jordan, while a CNN news executive, implied, without evidence, that our troops were deliberately targeting journalists. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL), indirectly compared our military guards in Guantanamo Bay to those in service to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.
In short, Hanson notes that while the military was doing miraculous things, hatemongers like Michael Moore, Eason Jordan and Sen. Dick Durbin have mischaracterized and impugned these brave soldiers in a disgusting, disgraceful way. Moore, Jordan and Durbin deserve the back of our hand for their lying and hating.

Everything that the military has accomplished has been marginalized through the anti-war movement's lies and mischaracterizations. Next November, they deserve to feel our wrath for their hatefulness. For the time being, though, our military deserves our applause and our citing of specific accomplishments that they're responsible for. It's always the right time to praise our heroic warriors for the historic changes they're paving the way for.

Take time to read all of Victor Davis Hanson's column. It's compelling reading.

On to Syria?

That's the title of Jack Kelly's latest column for Jewish World Review. This is must reading for anyone who wants to understand what's going on in Syria and Lebanon. Here's a brief sampling of his column:
On the morning of Oct. 12th, Syria's Interior minister, Maj. Gen. Ghazi Kanaan, was found dead in his office from a gunshot wound to the head. Kanaan's death was ruled a suicide, but there were doubters. "For those of you who don't know what 'committed suicide' means in Syria, it means someone committed it for him," said Anton Efendi, an American PhD candidate who lives in Lebanon.
The day before Kanaan's death, four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals were arrested in connection with Hariri's murder. Before becoming Interior minister, Kanaan had for 20 years been the chief Syrian intelligence officer in Lebanon. "All high ranking Lebanese officials report directly to Kanaan and he has the final word on all major political and security decisions made by the Lebanese government," wrote Daniel Nassif in the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin in January, 2000.
In other words, Kanaan was safe until the "four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals were arrested in connection with Hariri's murder." After that, he became a huge liability to Bashar Assad's government. Assad simply couldn't afford to have Kanaan cut a deal and testify as to who did what in Rafiq Harriri's assassination so he had him assassinated.

It ultimately didn't matter because the UN's report blamed Syria for Harriri's assassination. Here's what the AP reported:
High-ranking Syrian and Lebanese security officials plotted the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a complex operation that needs further investigation, a U.N. probe concluded Thursday.
The decision to assassinate Hariri "could not have been taken without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security officials and could not have been further organized without the collusion of their counterparts in the Lebanese security services," the report said.
What this essentially means is that there's likely to be political and economic sanctions against Syria. If that happens, pressure will mount on Bashar Assad on a variety of fronts. Once that happens, it's only a matter of time before his government falls. If another tyrant tries taking over, it'll just mean that sanctions will continue until the citizens revolt and demand a democracy.

How long will that take? I wouldn't hazzard a guess but I'll say this: It might happen in a hurry if freedom catches fire with the citizenry.

Rest assured of this: When that day arrives, a tidal wave of change will sweep the region and many shouts of excitement will be heard. When it happens, President Bush's policies will be vindicated.

Clinton Jokes

Bill Clinton jokes, If you have better one's please send them. (Thanks to D. Darnell for sending them)

Manufacturers announced today that they will be stocking America's shelves this week with "Clinton Soup," in honor of one of the nations' most distinguished men. It consists primarily of a weenie in hot water.

Chrysler Corporation is adding a new car to its line to honor Bill Clinton.The Dodge Drafter will be built in Canada.

When asked what he thought about foreign affairs, Clinton replied, "I don't know, I never had one."

American Indians nicknamed Bill Clinton "Walking Eagle" because he is so full of crap he can't fly.

Clinton lacked only three things to become one of America's finest leaders: integrity, vision, wisdom.

The Clinton revised judicial oath: "I solemnly swear to tell the truth as I know it, the whole truth as I believe it to be, and nothing but what I think you need to know."

H/T to Steve Frank's "California's Political News" for the jokes.

The Personification of Hatred

I visited the DNC's website to see their reaction to Tom DeLay getting booked. What I found there were 60+ comments of pure, unadulterated hate and/or delusion. Here's a sampling of their hatred and delusion:

That's pure PR for you there - you just know they had to have a meeting about this where someone said "Let's make sure to make this look like a regular photo without the number/info board and oh, lets make sure the mug shot has his House of Representatives pin on!"

That's just wrong to defile the HOR by keeping that pin on in a criminal mug shot.

Posted by 20somethingmarketing on October 20, 2005 at 04:16 PM
Shameless...must enjoy being a criminal from the looks of it...CREEP!!!

Posted by Trish on October 20, 2005 at 04:25 PM
I would love to see the profile photograph. I also hope to see a picture of this criminal behind bars. That would be sweet.

Posted by mago on October 20, 2005 at 05:33 PM
The Austin-American Statesman has a great article regarding the photo, which is authentic, and a fine example of body language and reality disconnecting--what serial liars master! Amazing, isn't it? This guy is a champion deceiver. The trial should be interesting. They already want a different judge.

Posted by fade2bluz on October 20, 2005 at 08:59 PM
What a joke. This "portrait" just goes to show how far Texas Republicans will bend over backwards to protect one of their own. What an absolute joke.

Posted by Mugwump on October 20, 2005 at 09:24 PM
I wonder if Delay would be laughing if he finds out they can charge him under RICO act and get civil restitution for his criminal act.

If they can charge Tobacco companies under RECO, I think it would apply here too!

RICO was established to remove the criminal element from influence in government. How better to apply the law?

Posted by HybridFuel on October 20, 2005 at 10:38 PM
What did Tommy do?

*Violated a 1905 Texas law that bans corporwate contributions in Texas legislative races.

*Laundered $2.5 million of corporate contributions collected by TRMPAC through the RNC, which redistributed it back to the Texas Republican party and House Speaker Candidate Tom Craddock.

Craddock by the way is in violation of another Texas law that prohibits candiates for Texas Speaker of the House from offering financial inducements or promises of favors.

Craddock handed out the laundered money in the form of checks to several 2002 GOP TX House candidates during that election cycle.

ONce the GOP gained control of the Texas House, he then forced the Delaymandering of Texas US House districts in 2003 over the objections of the citizens of Texas.
Posted by MonicaR on October 20, 2005 at 11:22 PM

It's pretty obvious that these commenters make up a significant part of the Democratic Party. It's equally obvious that they're delusional, hate-filled people.

What this means to me is that we'd better work extra hard to elect Republicans. We can't afford to let them capture either the House or Senate. I don't think they will but I definitely don't want to get outworked in these races. Every voter turned out matters.

If you're committed to the advancement of conservatives, it's vital that we work hard to get them elected. There's no other option.

Weldon On Fire

Conservative Representative Curt Weldon,(R-PA), took to the House floor last night to voice his outrage with the tactics being used to smear Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer, the first to talk about Able Danger. The Political Teen has the video here. Here's some noteworthy sections of the UPI article:
Rep. Curt Weldon, (R-PA), told UPI that officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, had "conducted a deliberate campaign of character assassination" against the whistleblower, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer.
Weldon told UPI he had written to the Department of Defense inspector general to ask for "an immediate formal inquiry, with people testifying under oath," into what he called "a clear witch-hunt" against Shaffer, who has been on administrative leave while minor allegations about some expenses are investigated.
In short, Representative Weldon isn't letting this issue drop. The DIA has engaged in a smear campaign against Col. Schaffer starting almost immediately after he stepped forward to talk about Able Danger. The DIA has met its match in Representative Weldon, who'll be like a pitbull on this. If you think this is just another issue to him, view the video. I pity the person who's opposing him on this because it might get ugly.
Weldon's move comes after Shaffer said that boxes of his personal effects, returned to him by the DIA earlier this month, contained both government property and classified documents. "Sending classified material through the mail is a felony, and much more serious than any of these minor, trumped up charges against (Shaffer)," he said, adding that "I want the appropriate persons held accountable." Weldon said that the DIA had now taken steps to fire Shaffer.
I can't wait to see how the House or Senate investigate this. It isn't a matter of if they'll investigate this anymore. It's a matter of how. If I'm the DIA, I'd be very worried because this isn't going away anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In St. Cloud, Wilf Makes Case for a New Direction

Zygi Wilf visited my hometown of St. Cloud as part of his outstate tour. He stopped at two other towns on this tour. The Strib's David Chanen does a nice job of chronicling the Wilf visit. Here's some of the most important things Zygi said:
When and how will he discipline players allegedly involved in the scandalous sex party Oct. 6 on Lake Minnetonka? Does this affect the status of a new stadium? Should the players make a public apology for their actions? Could former Vikings coach Bud Grant succeed in today's environment?
His questioners included some of St. Cloud's top business and civic leaders who had gathered for their weekly Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, but at times they sounded like typical fans. Wilf, who initially planned to talk about stadium issues, shifted his focus and discussed his hopes to change the direction of a team by setting boundaries and fixing holes left by the previous ownership.
Wilf talked about adopting a code of conduct, which could include disciplinary measures. Before that happens, he said, he might consider benching players if they were involved in the sex party. The recent hiring of a security director will also help younger players who need advice on financial and other "everyday" issues, he said.
As I've said elsewhere, I've been impressed with how directly Zygi's addressed the questions he's been asked. To date, I haven't seen any mention made about how he's tried evading a question. To the contrary, he's been very direct in saying that he's planning on using this scandal to change the Vikings' identity. He's made it clear that he wants a team that's disciplined and successful on the playing field and full of character and dignity when dealing with the community.

Craig Sauer, a former Vikings linebacker who is a real estate developer in St. Cloud, said that what is alleged to have happened on the two boats "is not good" and that he's glad Wilf is doing something about it. He's also glad his daughter isn't old enough to understand. "Personally, I believe football players are role models to young men and women," he said. "I know if I get a DWI I'm going to end up in the sports pages because I was a Viking."

Craig Sauer has always had a reputation of being a class act, starting with his time quarterbacking Sartell High School to the state championship his senior year, to his college career at the U of M to his pro career with the Atlanta Falcons. If the Vikings had more players with Craig Sauer's character, they'd be far better off.

Iraqi Victory, American Achievement

Walid Phares, one of the pre-eminent authorities on the Middle East has weighed in with his opinion on the latest Iraqi election. His views are definitely cause for optimism. Here's some of the reasons for optimisism:
Security Victory
With 155,000 American troops, 22,000 coalition forces, and about 200,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen, deployed efficiently, Iraq's territories have been secured by significant deterrent forces. The Jihadists and their cross-borders allies, who have been attempting to wage massive attacks since mid-summer, were denied the capacity to disrupt the voting process. That alone is a field victory for the US-Iraqi alliance: For a second time in one year, the Iraqi people were allowed to express its will freely, while Jihad terror was incapable of reversing the democratic process.
Moreover, on October 15, the military defense of Iraq registered higher scores: Between last January and October, more than 130,000 Iraqi troops who guarded the legislative elections were trained, equipped and strengthened with another 60,000 before being deployed on the ground for the referendum protection. The credit of this achievement goes certainly to U.S., but also NATO, forces, which were able to equip the "new Republic" with arms and muscles within less than one year. It paid off clearly, for even while al Qaida was recruiting within Iraq, and reinforced via Syria with thousands of Terrorists, the qualitative and quantitative race was obviously won by the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi army. After two-and-a-half years of terror-insurgency, Abu Musab al Zarqawi's networks weren't able to stop or defeat the new Iraq's defenses. The success of the referendum is clear evidence: There was a security victory in Iraq.
This is really the biggest victory in Saturday's elections with regards to drawing down American forces later this year. That said, I'll predict that the Agenda Media will cast in the most negative light the withdrawal of American troops as proof that Americans are cutting their losses. There's no way they'll admit that it's proof of the President's successful strategy for winning the war in Iraq.

Based on this information, I'd have to think that it's likely that American forces will be drawn down starting this spring or early summer at latest. By that time, more Iraqi defense forces will be operational with minimal American assistance. In fact, we're already hearing reports of that. Expect the actual progress to speed up on a month-by-month basis. Expect the Agenda Media's reporting of that progress to stay stuck in 'full-pessimism mode', though.
The Distribution of Oil Dividends
The current constitution provides a ratio for benefits from oil production. The bottom line is simple: in the past, Saddam Hussein robbed the country and used the money to buy weapons and to send Iraqi soldiers into bloody campaigns against Iran, Kuwait and the Kurds and Shiites. Future revenues will be used to help the marginal regions (mostly Shiites and Kurdish) to grow economically. But the Sunni areas will benefit as well. A federal Iraq is designed to have a national authority to administer the country-level development. The Sunnis, situated geographically in the center, are also in the center of Iraq's educational, economic and social life. They will be part of the oil economic renaissance. Under a modern federal Iraq, a Sunni middle class has a greater chance of benefiting from "a national growth" than under a Saddam mono-party regime or a Taliban-like system.
This 'benefit' will become clear to Sunnis in the center of Iraq. They're about to see that the emerging democratic Iraqi model will benefit them quite handsomely. They'll notice when the oil revenues start pouring in and they see the difference that makes in their infrastructure and government services.

At the end of the day, those two things, being safe from tyrants and terrorists and being better off financially, will do much to transform this region into a thriving picture of democracy that the entire region will want for their governments.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tribal Ignorance

Professor Christopher Hitchens' latest dissertation, this time on Iraqi ethnic and religious studies, is now up at As is often the case, much can be learned about complex through his 'teachings'. Let's get started with his lesson:

If you fall into conversation with an Iraqi, you will soon enough find out what you want to know. Kurds are not shy about mentioning their nationhood, and followers of the Shiite confession are not inclined to make a secret of the fact. So don't force the question. But you will have to know a lot of Iraqis before you meet one who cannot introduce you, usually with pride, to his or her Sunni cousin, or Kurdish auntie, or Shiite brother-in-law, as the case may be.
Due to the lazy reporting of the Agenda Media, we never hear about these nuances and twists in Iraqi culture and makeup. It's a shame that we don't hear more about it instead of reading the same death-and-destruction stories day-after-day. Instead of bringing in scholars who could shed light on Iraqi society, we get statistics about casualties of war. The reality is that they could mix this information into their death and pessimism stories.

This information also casts the reporting into a totally different light because it isn't as cleancut as the Agenda Media would have you believe. In fact, had we known of these nuances before Saturday's elections, we might've concluded that the Iraqi Constitution would be ratified. That's assuming, of course, that the Agenda Media's goal was impartial dispensation of pertinent facts. We know, of course, that that isn't on their radar screen, at least when a Republican is involved.
And as for ethnicity and religion beyond our customary categories, you had better be prepared to meet Turkish and Assyrian Iraqis, as well as to bear in mind that in 1947 there were more Jews in Baghdad than in Jerusalem (many of the former of whom had been there longer), that many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are Christian from more than one denomination, Islamic fanatics murdered the head of their Anglican congregation just the other day, and that the spiritual leader of the Shiites, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, is an ethnic Persian.
Actually, I knews that Iraq had a substantial Christian population through the writings of Kenneth Joseph, Jr. Mr. Joseph's first article that I was familiar with is titled "I Was Wrong!" and is must reading for Christians and anti-war protesters. It's a powerful, compelling piece about Mr. Joseph's turning from human shield to war supporter.

Also, through The Presidential Prayer Team's program to pray for Iraqi cities, I re-learned about the Biblican significance of Iraq. When the prophet Jonah was told to visit Nineveh to preach to them, he went to the area now known as Mosul. When the prophet Daniel's friends Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were cast into the fiery furnace, that firepit was near the city of Kirkuk in northeastern Iraq. The modern city of Hilla sits atop the ruins of Babylon, the first great world empire. The Garden of Eden is believed to have been located near the modern city of Basra. Ur of the Chaldees, the city from which God called Abram and Sarai, was also near Basra.
When it comes to Iraq, one of the most boring and philistine habits of our media is the insistence on using partitionist and segregationist language that most journalists would (I hope) scorn to employ if they were discussing a society they actually knew.
All I can say about that paragraph is OUCH!!! With that simple sentence, Mr. Hitchens indicts reporters stationed in Iraq sa being idiots and lacking even basic understanding of the country they're reporting from.
To be a Sunni or a Shiite is to follow one or another Muslim obedience, but to be a Kurd is to be a member of a large non-Arab ethnicity as well as to be, in the vast majority of cases, a Sunni. Thus, by any measure of accuracy, the "Sunni" turnout in the weekend's referendum on the constitution was impressively large, very well-organized, and quite strongly in favor of a "yes" vote. Is that the way you remember it being reported? I thought not. Well, then, learn to think for yourself.
The Saddam Hussein regime was based on a minority of a minority, a Mafia clique based in and around the city of Tikrit, and it stayed in power not by being "secular" or multiethnic but by being sectarian and by playing the card of divide and rule. It treated all the inhabitants of the country as its personal property, and it made lifelong enemies among all communities and all confessional groups.
There's much more to be gleaned from Professor Hitchens' geography lesson but this is enough for you to ponder. I'd recommend bookmarking the article for future reference.

Positive News from Iraq

A Washington Times editorial highlights the best kept secret of the weekend, namely, the ratification of the Iraqi Constitution. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Agenda Media treated this great news in the Iraqis' continuing march towards self-governance. After all, why report it when it might actually help President Bush? Here's some interesting takes from the editorial:
In the run-up to Saturday's vote, insurgents continued trying to terrorize Iraqis out of voting. A spokesman for the U.S. military said that there were 13 recorded attacks aimed at election targets, all of them unsuccessful, adding that in the city of Hillah, Iraqi forces stopped women from Saudi Arabia and Jordan who were wearing explosive vests. The result according to the Associated Press was that Saturday "turned out to be the most peaceful in months" in Iraq.
Will that get reported in the NY Times, Washington Post or LA Times? Maybe in an article buried deep inside the paper. It surely won't get the front page coverage that this historic event deserves. This isn't the type of news that appeals to them. Only body counts and 'insurgent' attacks fit their template.
Even Iraqis who voted against the constitution acknowledged that something very positive was taking place. "Just to vote against was an amazing thing, and very important," Hanna Edward, a Baghdad resident who opposes the constitution, told this newspaper. "It was historic, even if it was not everything I hoped for."
This Iraqi woman is obviously impressed in ways that the Agenda Media doesn't get or won't concede. I guess the MediaCrats and their water-toters in Congress can't stand reporting good news. Too bad. They're missing an inspiring story.
Lt. Murphy said that, in contrast to the January election, where coalition forces did all of the security planning, it was the Iraqi soldiers who were responsible for all of the security on Saturday. Given how well things went, that is positive news indeed.
If the Agenda Media gets word of this, they'll undoubtedly express shock and disbelief. That isn't what their hotel-bound comrades have been reporting. How can this be? The answer is that this is happening and the Iraqi 'reporters' aren't doing their job.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Turning Tide?

The AP's Peter Yost has just posted an article about a possibly big development in the CIA leak investigation. Here's the most important sections in the article:
Notes by the New York Times' Judith Miller that were turned over in a criminal investigation contain the name of a covert CIA officer, but the reporter has told prosecutors she cannot recall who disclosed the name, the newspaper reported Saturday.
In response to questioning by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, Miller replied that she "didn't think" she heard Plame's name from Cheney's aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," Miller wrote...
It seems to me that Judith Miller would remember if she got information from such prominent people as Rove and Libby. The other thing that we can deduce from these notes is that she must have talked with others about Valerie Plame's identity. You'd think that if she only talked with Libby and Rove about Plame's identity, her notes would reflect that. Furthermore, she'd likely remember that.

Don't look now but it's quite possible that the "Will Rove or Libby get indicted?" gossip has just been answered.

UPDATE: The AP has filed an update to the original story that actually strengthen the case that Libby and Rove didn't leak Plame's name to Judith Miller. Here's a couple key paragraphs:
Miller and Libby met for breakfast at a hotel near the White House on July 8, 2003, two days after The Times published an opinion piece by Wilson criticizing the Bush administration. The notebook Miller used for that interview includes the reference to "Valerie Flame." But Miller said that name did not appear in the same portion of her notebook as the interview notes from Libby. At the breakfast, Libby provided a detail about Wilson's wife, saying she worked in a CIA unit known as Winpac. The name stands for weapons intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control. Miller said she understood this to mean that Wilson's wife was an analyst rather than an undercover operative.
Another variant on Plame's name, "Victoria Wilson", appears in Miller's notes of a July 12, 2003, phone call with Libby. The newspaper's account Saturday says that by the time of that phone call, Miller had called other sources about Wilson's wife.
Miller's first-person account is a window into the bad relations between the White House and the CIA in 2003 stemming from the fact that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq after the U.S. invasion. Miller at the time was speaking to Libby after being assigned to write a story about the failure to find them.
Miller said that in her grand jury appearances on Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, she recalled Libby's frustrations and anger in 2003 over what Libby called "selective leaking" by the CIA and other agencies in a "perverted war" with the White House over the conflict in Iraq. Libby, she said, accused the intelligence agencies of trying to distance themselves from what he recalled as unequivocal prewar assessments that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Let's recap this update:
  • When Miller and Libby met for breakfast, Miller came to understand that Wilson's wife wasn't a covert operative but was an analyst.
  • When they talked again 4 days later, Miller had talked to other sources about Wilson's wife.
  • We also learn of something that Fitzgerald might well focus on, specifically, that "the CIA and other agencies" were slectively leaking information in an attempt to distance themselves from their intelligence-gathering mistakes.
This leaking led to some awful relations between them and the Bush administration, with the result being Tenet stepping down and Piorter Goss stepping into the hornets nest of being the Director of Central Intelligence. Upon entering that job, Goss either pushed out or fired several agents.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wilf Vows New Behavior Standards For Vikings

Instead of disappearing until the 'Love Boat' scandal blows over, Zygi Wilf, the new Vikings owner, has acted like a stand-up guy. According to an article by Viking beat writer Kevin Seifert, Wilf has taken several steps in the aftermath of the scandal. (By the way, Kevin is one of the best beat writers in any sport here in the Twin Cities.) Here's a list of those actions:
Hailing a "new era" for the franchise, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said today he has established a new set behavior standards for the franchise in response to this week's allegations of a player sex party aboard two boats on Lake Minnetonka.
  • Wilf said he "will levy the appropriate penalties, fines and/or suspensions as soon as the formal investigation is completed" but would not specify what that discipline would entail.
  • Wilf addressed the team this morning at Winter Park and "expressed my anger."
  • He apologized to Gov. Tim Pawlenty in telephone conversation and plans to reach out to a number of other community leaders.
These aren't the actions of someone attempting to duck responsibility and Zygi deserves credit for addressing this issue so quickly and in such a head-on way. It doesn't eliminate the actions onboard the cruise boats. What it does, though, is say that he's paying attention and he won't excuse his players' inexcusable behavior. That's the cleanest, most honorable way of dealing with a potentially scandalous event.

With that said, information is coming forward that it wasn't a bunch of Vikings players that were acting this way. Starting running back Mewelde Moore, for instance, didn't condone or participate in the lewd behavior. Instead, he started apologizing for others' lewd behavior. I'm told that Fred Smoot, the Vikings starting cornerback who supposedly paid for the cruise boats, has issued a statement through his attorney that states that he didn't pay for the charters. Smoot was also visibly upset when they reached shore.

I'm not sugar-coating what happened on Lake Minnetonka that night. I simply don't want to indict all Minnesota Vikings just because they were there. I simply don't know who was involved in the lewd behavior. It's quite possible that only a few players were. One of the reports I heard on local talk radio is that there were 90 people onboard and only 17 Vikings players and wives. The rest were supposedly guests. I haven't confirmed these facts, though, so I'm just not going to form opinions based on that report.
He plans to speak with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue later today and apologized to "all Minnesota Vikings fans. "I am embarrassed," he said during a 15-minute conversation with three reporters this morning in his Winter Park office. "My family is embarrassed. My partners are embarrassed. The NFL is embarrassed. The alumni. And anyone who respects this franchise is embarrassed. You have my promise that I will do everything in my power to ensure that unacceptable behavior does not occur ever again.
"This is a great organization, and there are so many good people that work for the Vikings who deserve to work for a class organization. This franchise is a valuable asset to the state of Minnesota as I stated many times before. And it is my responsibility that it returns to respectability and glory."
Again, this speaks to Mr. Wilf's credibility of being the Vikings' leader. Mr. Wilf isn't sugar-coating what happened but is taking steps to make sure that the Vikings' public reputation is sterling and that their organization is perceived to be a good neighbor to the community.
Although the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the punishment players can receive, Wilf said "we will have a higher standard than the NFL." Wilf refused to provide details of those standards. "If there was any sense that we would look the other way regarding this type of behavior," Wilf said, "I want to make it extremely clear that this behavior will never be tolerated again. I will build a first-class franchise both on and off the field, that's known for its class, integrity and character. Period."
Let's hope that these words turn into long-lasting actions and behaviors. These aren't actions that can be tolerated. Thus far, Zygi's actions have set a tone of that he's serious about this issue.

UPDATE: Kevin has updated the story as of 11:30 Friday night. Here's some additional information that isn't included in my first post:

"The behavior exhibited lately by members of this organization does not reflect the values of this community," Wilf said, his body shaking as he spoke in his Winter Park office. "I am embarrassed. My family is embarrassed. My partners are embarrassed."

Wilf spoke Friday to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Gov. Tim Pawlenty, among others, and said he will move his $790 million Anoka County stadium project into the background. He also held two carefully orchestrated sessions with members of the local media and said the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur prevented him from speaking out sooner.
"But if there was any sense that we would look the other way regarding this type of behavior," Wilf said, "I want to make it extremely clear that this behavior will never be tolerated again. I will build a first-class franchise both on and off the field."
Several players said on the condition of anonymity that Wilf delivered a harsh message during a 9:30 a.m. meeting at the team's Winter Park headquarters.

Of that meeting, Wilf said: "I expressed my anger and my embarrassment." During a second gathering of nonfootball personnel, Wilf said, he apologized to the "many good people that work for the Vikings who deserve to work for a class organization."

Wilf specifically apologized to longtime receptionist Mary Nevers, who has taken hundreds of calls this week from fans angered by the alleged sex party. The moment was emotional, and several employees began crying.
Nevertheless, Wilf said the "allegations alone cause me embarrassment" and said the Vikings "will set a higher standard than the NFL" in its disciplinary code. "When the investigation is completed," Wilf said, "we will take the appropriate action against any player, be it a reserve or be it a 20-year MVP. There will be no exceptions."
Four months after he took control of the team, Wilf said he has not second-guessed the decision.

"Absolutely not," Wilf said. "This is a multi-generational investment, a lifelong investment. This is an embarrassing moment, but I certainly have no regrets."
The Strib's Paul McEnroe and Pat Doyle write: The list, which has been given to investigators and Vikings team officials by the charter boat company, names 17 players whom crew members identified as passengers on the boats during an Oct. 6 outing. Some players on the list allegedly participated in sex acts. The list also includes players who apologized for the behavior of some teammates and who tried to protect the charter boat employees.

Two things jump out at me about this scandal: (a) The players who allegedly "participated in sex acts" acted in a deplorable way and shouldn't be shown any leniency; and (b) Zygi Wilf's conduct has been rock-solid in the midst of this scandal. He hasn't minced words about what he thinks of this embarassing incident. He's been clear in laying out what he won't tolerate. He's apologized to the citizens of Minnesota, who deserve better than this. He's apologized to Gov. Tim Pawlenty and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue for the embarassment that's been visited to them as stewards of the state and the NFL. He's made it clear that no preference will be shown to the superstar or the reserve.

In short, the Vikings' players who participated in lewd public behavior should have the harshest penalties levied on them. Also, Mr. Wilf should be commended for not ducking the issue but rather in meeting it head on.

I suspect that Mr. Wilf will do a sizeable housecleaning following this season. When that transition starts, I'll heartily endorse his actions. It's time that the Vikings became a family of professionals rather than a loose group of highly-talented (in years past, not the past couple years) troublemakers and spoiled brats. Minnesota deserves that and, based on his actions, so does Mr. Wilf.

Media Misses Big/Good News

Tony Snow's latest column in today's Jewish World Review is brilliant in exposing the Agenda Media's growing indifference to reporting. Here's a couple samples of his brilliance:
While conservatives in Washington bloodied one another over the Supreme Court candidacy of Harriet Miers, something interesting occurred beyond the Beltway. The United States inched closer to winning the War on Terror.
Exhibit A: U.S. intelligence officials published a July 9 letter from Al-Qaida's de facto leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to the outfit's murderous Iraqi boss, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The tome drips with sad-sack defeatism, and reads more like a will than a manifesto.
For those of you still getting your news from the networks, I'd appreciate hearing from you on how much play this story is getting. I'm betting that it isn't a frontpage item on the networks. Suffice it to say that that's why the networks are losing viewership in droves.
Then comes this: "The real danger comes from the agent Pakistani army that is carrying out operations in the tribal areas looking for mujahedeen." In other words, there's nowhere to hide. The Pakistani military, which for years aided and abetted Al-Qaida, has joined Team Bush. Such soft moans set the tone for the 13-page tome. Zawahiri sees a tsunami rolling straight toward the jihadis, and he is not happy.
I wish someone put together all this information together on national TV with the express purpose of embarassing the daylights out of 'Mother' Sheehan and Democrat defeatists like Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean and John Kerry. That trio of unhinged idiots aren't interested in accurate information like this. They're interested in their opinions, whether they're fact-based or not.
Our forces have killed or captured thousands of fighters. They have gutted the leadership of key terror organizations. And they have built goodwill within Iraq by proving that they're more interested in securing than stifling human rights. While American soldiers rebuild schools and oilfields, jihadis bomb mosques.
If Teddy Kennedy were to hear this information like this, he'd be on the warpath (pacifistpath?) for a month. He wouldn't tolerate this type of 'bluster'. He'd pull out his quagmire diatribe for the occasion. His speech from the Senate floor would be replete with booming voice and red face. "This can't be", he'd say. "This is just more of the Bush administration hiding from reality", he'd say.
At the same time, the United States has managed to choke off lines of supply into Iraq and destroy the terror network's financial infrastructure. This explains why the acting head of Al-Qaida, an organization previously awash in big bucks from the bin Laden family, has to beg for spare change. He knows the jig is up, and a glimpse at the map says it all: Afghanistan, free.
It'll be interesting to see the Agenda Media's reaction when the coalition wins this war. They'll likely be flabbergasted and surprised. They'll likely wonder how they missed it, especially since they've done so much reporting from the hotel lounge. "How could this be?", they'll say. "Why didn't someone tell us"?

The Emerging Iraqi Army

Earlier this week, I wrote about Maj. Gen. Robert Scales telling Brit Hume about the improving Iraqi military. Today, Gen. Scales puts that report into a Washington Times op-ed. Here's some news that's sure to startle the Agenda Media:
We visited the Iraqi 9th Mechanized Division located in Taji a few miles north of Baghdad in one of the hottest and most contested regions of Iraq. The unit was activated last October and has yet to form completely. It is commanded by Gen. Bashar, a thirty-year veteran and, like many patriotic, innovative and self-reliant officers, a victim of Saddam Hussein's brutality. The general created the division by calling up many of his old regular-army comrades. Three quarters are veterans who have been recruited from every province and ethnicity in Iraq. The division's motto is, appropriately, "Iraq first." Gen. Bashar built his division from a junkyard. In less than a year his soldiers picked through acres of destroyed Soviet tanks and armored personnel carriers to patch together a fleet of over 200 operational fighting vehicles.
This type of on-the-ground type of reporting is depressingly missing from the Agenda Media. In this paragraph, we're given specific details about an Iraqi Army division that's creating itself literall from the scrapheap. Creating "200 operational fighting vehicles" "from a junkyard" is a feat of monumental proportions.

It's also important to note that this division "have been recruited from every province and ethnicity in Iraq." This information ridicules the Agenda Media that often queries whether Iraq will have a theocracy and/or a civil war. This information tells me that the different factions are quite capable of interacting with each other in the most difficult circumstances. That blows out of the water much of the negative commentary heard on the network's nightly news.

As upbeat as that report is, Gen. Scales' report gets even more optimistic. Here's another big chunk of great news:
Has the increased presence of Iraqi units been effective? Remember the infamous and terribly deadly BIAP Road? I had a quiet dinner about 200 yards from the highway one night and drove a five-mile portion of it, something no sane American visitor would have done last summer. There hasn't been a serious incident on the road since June. That's when the Iraqi Special Police Corps and the 6th Division established permanent traffic control points along all its interchanges. The Iraqis pushed a defensive perimeter back far enough from the highway to prevent terrorists from gaining access to plant bombs and position snipers. Is everything perfect? No, of course not. Is the 9th Division capable of taking on a major ground unit in open combat? Not yet. But Iraqi soldiers don't have to meet our qualitative readiness standards. They just have to be better than the insurgents, and they already are.
That's the information that you won't see in the Agenda Media's reporting. The last time I heard a report that got this information wrong? Last night. This isn't information that's impossible to get. Getting the information requires something that hasn't happened recently, specifically, it requires embedding the reporter with the troops rather than accepting the milquetoast sattelite feed. It's big news that the BIAP road, which was a highway of death 10 months ago, is now under control. Under perfect control? No. Solidly under control? You betcha!!!

When was the last time that E.J. Dionne or Maureen Dowd mentioned this? Would this information be great ammunition against the media morons and the Ted Kennedys who talk endlessly about quagmires? You betcha!!! It'd make them look like idiots. I'm all for making demagogues look like idiots every chance I have. We shouldn't tolerate their nonsense. EVER.
The most poignant and telling moment for me during my visit to the 9th Division was spontaneous and unscripted. Gen. Bolger happened to see Gen. Kassim for the first time since his wounding. They both embraced and simultaneously whispered "brother" each in their respective languages. Such sentiments can only be shared by soldiers and only by those who have forged their mutual trust in the crucible of real war. Like a good wine, making an army takes time.
Still think that the Iraqi military doesn't care about defeating the enemy and protecting their countrymen and women? If you do, open your eyes and listen with your ears. It might change your perspective and it'd be based on reality.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Changing Lousiana Election Dynamic

Friday's Washington Post has an article on the changing dynamics of Louisiana politics. Unlike some of their stuff, it's well worth reading. Here's some stuff that caught my attention:
Less than two months after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, leaving much of New Orleans and surrounding areas unlivable, Louisiana officials are beginning to grapple with the bewildering new political landscape. The storms and resultant flooding caused more than 1 million residents to flee their homes, many for far-flung destinations from which they may never return.
It isn't a far-fetched idea to think that Louisiana will lose a U.S. congressional district & an electoral vote. It's equally likely that this population shift will tilt this state into the Republican column because alot of African-American voters won't return but rather start a new life in a new city and state.
That reality has left some Democrats concerned that the party could lose its tenuous grip on power. Both Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's 2003 election win and Sen. Mary Landrieu's 2002 reelection victory came with margins of fewer than 60,000 votes, which included overwhelming support from African Americans.
This is the major part of Louisiana's political realignment. Sen. Landrieu and Gov. Blanco had difficult election fights the last time, relying heavily on the African American turnout for their victory margins. With many of those voters having moved to states where they can start a new life and away from the 'hurricane zone'. States like Florida and Texas don't have state taxes and have strong economies and strong job growth. It isn't unreasonable to think that states like that wouldn't be appealing to people whose lives have just been uprooted.

Take That, Harry Reid

Earlier today, RNC Press Secretary Tracey Schmitt took Senate Minority Leader Dingy Harry Reid to task, saying
"While President Bush was speaking with U.S. and Iraqi troops who will ensure security for the Iraqi people to exercise their right to participate in the democratic process this weekend, Harry Reid launched an uninformed and false attack on the military. To say that there is no plan for success in Iraq means that either Harry Reid was sleeping through a briefing by U.S. military leaders, who offered to brief all U.S. Senators on the strategy for victory in the War On Terror, or he didn't understand it. Clearly Senator Reid would rather focus on partisan politicking than the facts."
Harry must not have noticed that this White House will hit back when the 'loyal opposition' makes such irresponsible statements. Military leaders were available this week to brief senators on the issue of winning the GWOT. Not surprisingly, Nancy Pelosi issued a similar statement on winning the GWOT. Here's her statement (with my snarky comments in parentheses):

"The Bush Administration's second report describing the measures of security and stability in Iraq is as incomplete as the first report. (That's possibly true because, logically speaking, 2 thorough reports would be equally incomplete. Of course, normal people would call them complete but that wouldn't apply to a Nancy Pelosi or a Sen. Boxer.)

President Bush still has not provided a timetable for achieving performance standards and goals for the Iraqi security forces. (That's right, Nancy, he hasn't. Providing a timetable gives the enemy a distinct advantage. That's why you don't give that information out.)

The report does not clearly state what has to be done so that Iraqis can provide security in Iraq independent of U.S. troops. (Nancy, all you'd have to do is watch FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. He interviewed Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, U.S. Army (Ret.) Wednesday night. During the interview, Scales said that 80 full divisions are operational, with about 2,500 Americans embedded in those divisions. There's 36 other divisions that aren't fully formed yet. Let me know if I can be of more assistance, ok?)

"The American people and our men and women in Iraq deserve to know what President Bush's plan is for training and equipping sufficient numbers of Iraqi forces so that our troops can come home. (Nancy, see above. Eighty divisions are alot of soldiers. I don't know exactly how many but it's a bunch.)

President Bush has still not provided a clear plan and strategy for success in Iraq; until he does so, he will not have met his obligation to the nation."
(Nancy, It'd be nice if you were more observant. As I told you in my email, part of the strategy is to finish the process that's already underway. You know the part about having the elections on time last Jan. 30, 2005, getting a constitution written back in June, followed by the ratification election this weekend, followed by the election on Dec. 15 to elect the first freely elected Iraqi government.

The other part is in training the Iraqi forces so they can defend themselves. I know you're not a military genius so let me explain something to you. Starting a nation's military from scratch isn't easy. That they've progressed this far this fast is a huge accomplishment. Trust me on that one.)