Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Trouble in Democratland

That's the best way I know how to capture what's going on between Dean, Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and especially Harry Reid. In a stinging American Spectator article, there isn't much holding the Democrats together. Here's a glimpse into all that ails the Democrats:
According to knowledgeable DNC sources, Dean about ten days ago was shown opposition research documents generated by the Republican National Committee more than three years ago, which laid out facts regarding Reid and his family's lobbying and ethical conflicts. Dean, according to the sources, was fascinated by the details, and asked that his staff research and independently confirm everything on the documents. "Basically he oppo'd a member of his own party," says a DNC source loyal to Dean.
"Basically, we were looking at three- or four-page documents that made Jack Abramoff's lobbying work look like that of a rank amateur," says the DNC source. "Between the minority leader's past in Nevada and here in Washington, and the activities of his sons and son-in-law, there probably isn't anyone in this town with more conflicts. The Reid family is the symbol of what's wrong with Washington; it's their behavior that enabled the culture that spawned people like Abramoff."
But that's only one part of their troubles, evidenced by this:
According to Democrat Party watchers and DNC staff, Dean has grown increasingly frustrated at how he is treated by the likes of Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who leads the House Democrat candidate recruitment effort. "They treat him like a lackey, not as an equal," says another DNC employee. "Just last week, they were all badmouthing his fundraising activities, when clearly he's done a good job. What this comes down to a fight for the soul of our party, and if the chairman has to draw a long knife on a few of his colleagues, he's more than willing to do so."
Dean's frustration is understandable but it's deserved. Every time he's opened his mouth, he's caused nothing but problems for Democrats. On the other hand, Reid, Durbin and Pelosi have said some totally stupid things and deserve lots of mocking, too.

Part of why Congressional Democrats have jumped on Dean's case is because Dean's spent almost all of the money that's been raised. Going into the political season, Dean's DNC only has a little over $5 million in their accounts whereas the Mehlman's RNC has over $34 million in their account.

In short, the Democratic Party is on the verge of a full-scale implosion because their chairman is a ticking time bomb waiting to inflict damage on his own troops and because their congressional leaders are a bunch of bungling idiots.

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Bill Clinton vs. Dick Morris

That's an interesting battle in any case but it's actually an important battle in light of Bill Clinton saying that we should engage Hamas in dialogue and Morris' saying that we should take a hardline approach towards Hamas. Let the battle begin:
Ex-president Bill Clinton is urging the U.S. to establish a dialogue with Hamas in the wake of its upset victory in last week's Palestinian parliamentary elections, saying it would be wrong to cut off contact with the terror group just because they may have killed people "in a way that we hate." "You've got to find a way to at least open doors," Clinton told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday. "And I don't see how we can do it without more contact." In quotes picked up by the Associated Press, Clinton said Hamas might "acquire a greater sense of responsibility, and as they do we have to be willing to act on that."
This is understandable considering the intifadah that his policies started by cramming one PLO demand down Israel's throat after another. By taking a biased position mostly against Israel, they made it clear that Hamas operated without consequence.

It wasn't until President Bush made Yassir Arafat a persona non grata at the White House that the tide turned and Israel got our from under the White House's foot. It wasn't until President told the world that Israel had the right to defend themselves did the intifadah lose its steam.

Frankly, Bill Clinton's idea of progress is talking endlessly about a problem rather than taking a moral stand and achieving victory. It's all about being long-winded, not about achievement. And that's the difference between Clinton and Bush.

Now let's see Dick Morris' solution to the Hamas problem:
President Bush is correct to cut off all dealings with the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces and reins in its campaign of terror against Israel. But the United States should go further and cut off all direct and indirect assistance to the PA or to Palestinian refugee groups until Hamas makes the requisite declarations.
The U.S. taxpayer is the foremost financial supporter of the Palestinian community, now set to come under Hamas management.
The United States should:
  1. Cut off all direct subsidy of the Palestinian refugee population or its political or charitable organs.
  2. Demand that the United Nations follow suit.
  3. Immediately suspend all payments to the United Nations until it does so.
Some will argue that we allowed aid to flow under Yassir Arafat. But we did not do that until he pledged to work with Israel and to cease his efforts to destroy it. When it became clear that he was double dealing and, in fact, winking at terrorist attacks on Israel, the United States set in motion a series of events that led to a new democratic PA (aided by Arafat's death, of course). Now the United States should ratchet up its pressure on the PA: Cut off all funding.
Now that's intelligent action. That's the path, more or less, that the Bush administration is pushing.

I suspect that President Clinton came out opposed to President Bush's to carve out a different niche for Hillary to fill.

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'Commander in Chief' Pulled from ABC Lineup

Not that Commander-in-Chief's cancellation is big shock but it's worth noting in light of Hillary's assertion that she "detected 'a certain impatience'" to see a female president following the election of women to similar roles in other countries.

Here's what Newsmax said about Commander in Chief:
NewsMax columnist James Hirsen has called "Commander in Chief” a "series-style Hillary campaign commercial." ABC insiders denied there’s any connection between Hillary and "Commander." But the show’s lead writer, Steve Cohen, served as the then-first lady’s deputy communications director in the 1990s. In October, NewsMax reported that disgraced former national security adviser Sandy Berger had signed on as an adviser to the show, joining fellow Clintonistas Cohen and Capricia Marshall, the former social secretary for the Clinton White House. "Hillary operatives" were monitoring the show "as a barometer of how she might fare in ’08," the New York Daily News reported at the time.
ABC's insiders protestations notwithstanding, this was a vehicle for Hillary. And it crashed. Though I didn't see any of the episodes, I'm told that Geena Davis' character was a hard-nosed woman making one difficult decision after another. I've also been told that she didn't have much of a personality. That doesn't sound like a liberal's perspective of Hillary, does it?

In the end, people didn't tune into this show because they perceived that this was a televised push-poll for Hillary.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Our Right to Security

Debra Burlingame, "the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001", has written a stirring op-ed titled "Our Right to Security" to remind us of what's at stake when we debate the NSA intercepts and renewing the Patriot Act. Here's some key parts of that op-ed:
One of the most excruciating images of the September 11 attacks is the sight of a man who was trapped in one of the World Trade Center towers. Stripped of his suit jacket and tie and hanging on to what appears to be his office curtains, he is seen trying to lower himself outside a window to the floor immediately below. Frantically kicking his legs in an effort to find a purchase, he loses his grip, and falls.
That horrific scene and thousands more were the images that awakened a sleeping nation on that long, brutal morning. Instead of overwhelming fear or paralyzing self-doubt, the attacks were met with defiance, unity and a sense of moral purpose. Following the heroic example of ordinary citizens who put their fellow human beings and the public good ahead of themselves, the country's leaders cast aside politics and personal ambition and enacted the USA Patriot Act just 45 days later.
A mere four-and-a-half years after victims were forced to choose between being burned alive and jumping from 90 stories, it is frankly shocking that there is anyone in Washington who would politicize the Patriot Act. It is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI. Hearing any member of Congress actually crow about "killing" or "playing chicken" with this critical legislation is as disturbing today as it would have been when Ground Zero was still smoldering. Today we know in far greater detail what not having it cost us.
Critics contend that the Patriot Act was rushed into law in a moment of panic. The truth is, the policies and guidelines it corrected had a long, troubled history and everybody who had to deal with them knew it. The "wall" was a tortuous set of rules promulgated by Justice Department lawyers in 1995 and imagined into law by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Conceived as an added protection for civil liberties provisions already built into the statute, it was the wall and its real-world ramifications that hardened the failure-to-share culture between agencies, allowing early information about 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi to fall through the cracks. More perversely, even after the significance of these terrorists and their presence in the country was known by the FBI's intelligence division, the wall prevented it from talking to its own criminal division in order to hunt them down.
What's caused the Democrats to crow about killing the Patriot Act? Did they forget the horrific pictures of that bright blue September morning? Did they forget that the 'Gorelick Wall' had prevented us from passing vital information between the CIA and the FBI, information that might've prevented the attacks?

A strong case can be made that they've reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset because they're so interested in getting to 'their issues' of healthcare, education and the environment. It's like they don't want to pay it proper attention, much like Bill Clinton did during the 90's.

Before someone jumps my case about Clinton's unseriousness on the issue, I'll simply remind you of all the happy talk amongst Congressional Democrats about our "holiday from history" and how there was peace on Earth, etc. They talked about how the Cold War was won and how there were no more real threats to America. That was the real talk of the 90's. And no, sending in a few cruise missiles into some tents isn't taking terrorism seriously.

And don't go there with the argument that the average American didn't take global terrorism seriously, either. The average American wasn't charged with protecting us from terrorists and the average American didn't see the intel reports that talked about AQ's activities.
In 2002, FISA's appellate level Court of Review examined the entire statutory scheme for issuing warrants in national security investigations and declared the "wall" a nonsensical piece of legal overkill, based neither on express statutory language nor reasonable interpretation of the FISA statute. The lower court's attempt to micromanage the execution of national security warrants was deemed an assertion of authority which neither Congress or the Constitution granted it. In other words, those lawyers and judges who created, implemented and so assiduously enforced the FISA guidelines were wrong and the American people paid dearly for it.
"FISA's appellate level Court of Review" ruled that Jamie Gorelick's Wall was "legal overkill". Sadly, it didn't prevent terrorists from killing American citizens. In fact, I'd say that FISA is legal overkill, stemming from Nixon spying on political opponents.

Idiot Posing as Professor

That's the first impression I got when I read John Arquilla's article in the SF Chronicle. Here's the lunacy that Mr. Arquilla is peddling:
Osama bin Laden's offer of a truce has sunk from sight without leaving a ripple, but it should have made waves. When the audiotaped proposal was made 10 days ago, the White House dismissed it out of hand. That was a politically logical move, given the need to appear tough on terror at all times. An image of strength and determination may be particularly important in the months ahead because Republican Party leaders have put security issues at the heart of their 2006 congressional election campaign strategy.
But there are reasons why bin Laden's overture should be carefully weighed and thoughtfully debated. The moral imperative that should drive us is a sincere desire to end the long suffering of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Official figures suggest that 30,000 innocent noncombatants have been killed since March 2003 in Iraq alone. Many respected sources believe that this figure is grossly underestimated. So if bin Laden were to call off his dogs of war, it would be a very good thing, saving lives by removing major elements in the insurgencies in both countries. Such al Qaeda withdrawals would sharply reduce the need for our forces to remain in these sad lands.
Peace would also prove a boon to our standing, both in the Muslim world and throughout the international community, where, after initial agreement with our attack on terrorists in Afghanistan, serious fissures erupted over the propriety (and legality) of our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
That this idiot actually thinks that bin Laden would keep his word on the truce is proof of his stupidity. And his claim that the adminnistration had to sound tough is a telltale sign of just how clueless ultraliberals are. In their way of thinking, all that's needed for peace is a signed piece of paper with a liar's signature at the bottom.

What's even more telling is this line from his article: "serious fissures erupted over the propriety (and legality) of our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq." Why does this idiot think that people in Afghanistan give a rip about what the UN or some lunatic Democratic strategist has said about the legality of invading Iraq? And who cares if a couple international ninnies get their undies in a bunch over Iraq? The US leaving Iraq wouldn't do anything to win those critics over to President Bush's side.
The practical political consequences of the pursuit of peace might be favorable, too. Instead of being ridiculed, those leaders in both parties who support a just peace, if they work together, could be praised for such a noble undertaking. Who knows? The bitter partisanship that characterizes so much of our public discourse today might actually be tamped down.
There's a term for this strategy: cutting and running. And all it will get us is dead because it'd be a sign of weakness to AQ terrorists. Cutting and running is what losers do. And yes, sounding tough is important with these Islamoterrorists, although being tough is more important.

Prof. Arquilla's ignorance of AQ is further displayed when he doesn't even take the principle of hudna into account. "Hudna is always a false truce, a space in which the Muslim can rebuild his strength until he is ready to go back to war against the infidel. A radical Islamic fundamentalist would only offer a truce in the tradition of the Prophet, who used it as a ruse to ultimately capture Mecca."

In other words, Prof. Arquilla's idea of accepting this truce is ill-informed and unwise. But that's what you should expect from a looney liberal.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Is Hagel a Democrat?

I swear there's times when I think Hagel is a dense Democrat. Today is one of those times. Here's some notable quotes from the AP's reporting on his assinine statements:
Sen. Chuck Hagel, (R-NE), said he is looking forward to congressional hearings on the legal justification for the secretive National Security Agency program. He remains unconvinced that Bush could allow the program without fully consulting with the courts or Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings beginning Feb. 6; the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold similar closed-door sessions on the matter. "If in fact the president does believe that our current laws are restricting him because of new technologies...then he should come together with Congress and say we need to amend it," Hagel said on ABC's "This Week."
Sen. Hagel obviously doesn't use his staff to research things before he speaks. If he had, he'd know all about the 5 court decisions that John Hinderaker cites as proof that the President has "inherent power" from the Constitution to conduction warrantless wiretaps. The Fourth Amendment only prohibits unreasonable searches and siezures. SIGINT has been upheld as a reasonable search and siezure. Since the President's got case law on his side, he doesn't see the need to return to Congress for additional authority.

What we need is to put up a solid primary challenger to him the next time he's up for re-election. Their governor, whose name I've forgotten, would be perfect for the primary challenge.
Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said Bush has ample constitutional authority as commander in chief and under a 2001 congressional resolution authorizing force in the war against terror. Additional briefings and debate with Congress could risk security by tipping off the enemy, he said. "There's no way that we can confidently say that by having a debate about changing the law would not unearth new operational details that would only tell the enemy exactly how we're surveilling them," Bartlett said on CNN's "Late Edition." "That's something that is just unacceptable."
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Bartlett. The president has the authority according to these court rulings so why return to congress and have them debate what can and can't be done? That's plainly stupid. More importantly, it's downright dangerous.

At the end of the day, it's time we got rid of anyone that isn't well-informed on national security law, whether they're Republican or Democrat. We can't afford legal illiterates like that in wartime.

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McCain-Feingold Destroyed the Democratic Party

Back before McCain-Feingold became law, politicians of all political stripes said that the system needed cleaning up and that McCain-Feingold was the only way to do that. So enough people caved on protecting everyone's First Amendment rights and thus BCRA became the law of the land.

So now let's look at how 'cleaning up the system' has destroyed what was left of the Left. Before, George Soros could write checks to the DNC. After, he simply created his own political 'party' by starting a 527 organization. Before, the semi-pros at the DNC could moderate the tone of the commercials that got created. After, the lunatics congregated and created shrill, nonsensical advertisements.

Now I won't tell you that the Democratic Party was doing ok before BCRA passed. It definitely wasn't. It was running on tired ideas from 25+ yrs. ago. That isn't the way to attract new voters and build your base. But at least they could help the moderates in the party remain a viable part of the debate.

Enter ACT and MoveOn.org, which filled the DNC's role, and you suddenly had the shrill wing of the party dictating terms of what message would or wouldn't be tolerated. Proof of this is the statement that characterized Dean's ascencion to DNC Chair that "We bought this party. It's ours'."

If the DNC had remained a viable force, do you think that they'd be attempting this filibuster? Not a snowball's prayer in hell would the DNC permit it. It's also worth noting that Dean wouldn't have gotten the chairmanship had it not been for the extremist 527's. Absent Dean's scattergun and scatterbrain approach to politics, it wouldn't be as easy for Republicans to marginalize Democrats.

That's why, as partisans, we should rejoice in McCain-Feingold. It's also why, as US citizens, we should lament the loss of moderation inside the Democratic Party and the destruction of our First Amendment rights.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Gift Keeps Giving, Part III

Today, it's House Minority Leader Pelosi's turn to be the gift that gives to Republicans. Here's some laughable sections of her interview with the AP:
"I would not want any president, Democrat or Republican, to have the expanded power the administration is claiming in this case," Pelosi, (D-CA), said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Ms. Pelosi is obviously ignoring the five cases decided on the issue or warrantless wiretaps. If you want to know more about these cases, do as Hugh Hewitt recommends: Search Powerlineblog by typing in NSA.
Pelosi did not say the NSA's surveillance program was illegal. But she said the administration should follow the procedures in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows government lawyers to ask a secretive court for warrants for surveillance in the United States during national security investigations.
If they aren't doing anything illegal, and time is precious, then why go through the FISA process? Everyone talks about how easy it is to get a FISA warrant. That's nonsense. According to Victoria Toensing, the paperwork for a FISA warrant is usually 2-3 inches thick. Think of how much time that'd take to fill out. That's alot of paperwork. (For more on the FISA warrant issue, there's no better roundup than Ms. Toensing's Opinion Journal article from last Sunday.)

What Ms. Pelosi is attempting to do is to say clearly that the administration didn't break the law while implying that the administration broke the law. Getting away with that duplicitousness isn't easy.
"If you say...this is for a narrow universe of calls, there is absolutely no issue with getting a FISA warrant for that," said Pelosi, who was the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and has been involved for the past 13 years in overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies. "It is when you go beyond that, that it becomes a challenge," she said in the interview Friday. "The president says he is not going beyond that, so why can't he obey the law?"
Forgive me but I don't believe a word she said there. This is just more of her 'guilt by innuendo' campaign. I'd just point her to Victoria Toensing's article as refutation on the subject. Here's how Ms. Toensing described her familiarity with FISA:
As chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1981 to 1984, I participated in oversight of FISA in the first years after its passage. When I subsequently became deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, one of my responsibilities was the terrorism portfolio, which included working with FISA.
In other words, she's an expert on FISA.
The Justice Department, in the administration's most recent defense of the NSA program, issued on Friday a six-point "Myth vs. Reality" rebuttal of criticism leveled against Bush's action. It claims that Bush has legal authority through his position as commander in chief as well as through a congressional resolution passed shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The administration also resists descriptions of the program as domestic spying, arguing that the communications under surveillance involve an overseas party. And it contends that the program is consistent with FISA, which the administration suggests moves too slowly for some monitoring.
I hope President Bush takes enough time Tuesday night to fully explain the NSA intercept program for everyone to hear. It's time to tell Democrats to shut up on this fake issue. If Democrats don't get serious about national security, then they won't have a shot at taking the House or Senate, no matter what the Kossacks tell them.

One last thing: If Dems want to be taken seriously on national security, John Murtha is killing them.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The D Stands for DELUSIONAL

I found something out this morning that I hadn't known before. When you're reading an article and it says "Rep. Levin, (D-MI)", I always figured the D meant Democrat. After reading this article, I can only conclude that the D stands for DELUSIONAL. Here's the basis for this thinking:
It's 9:45 on a brisk morning in March 2007, and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee leaves his fourth-floor office in the Rayburn Building. Almost engulfed by a swarm of reporters, the 77-year-old lawmaker escapes by boarding a "Members Only" elevator. He exits on the first floor, surrounded by staff, and then ducks into a side door of his committee offices at 2138 Rayburn.
Promptly at 10:15 a.m., the chairman, Rep. John Conyers, (D-MI), walks into the committee's hearing room, seats himself at the top of the dais, and bangs the gavel. In the zenith of a congressional career that began in 1965, he slowly declares, "The first order of business will be a resolution censuring the president of the United States."
Sound far-fetched? Maybe not. Democrats these days are finding more and more reason to be optimistic about winning control of the House or Senate in November's elections. When the 110th Congress convenes just a year from now, gleeful Democrats could be shaking off the last vestiges of the minority status they've suffered under for the better part of a dozen years, since the GOP takeover in 1995, save for an 18-month stint of Senate Democratic control beginning in mid-2001.
Mssrs. Baumann, Victor and Cohen, it isn't that it SOUNDS far-fetched. It's that it is far-fetched. The notion that Democrats can win enough races without an appealing agenda isn't just absurd. It isn't reality.

On another note, Mssrs. Baumann, Victor and Cohen have missed their calling. They shouldn't be political columnists. They should've become fiction authors. Or they could've written fantasy books.
After all, in recent months, the once smugly ensconced Republicans have been struggling to overcome abysmal approval ratings and major fissures in their ranks.
Notice that they don't mention that Democrats' JA ratings is even worse. After all, mentioning that would destroy their credibility. One might plausibly argue that Cohen's credibility is already in shambles. I won't fight you if that's your opinion.
They've been reeling from criticism over their party's handling of the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, gas prices, Social Security reform, and other domestic issues, not to mention the indictments and criminal investigations facing several GOP officials in Congress and the Bush administration.
If this 'article' had been written in September, their observations might've been right. With President Bush fighting back on Iraq and with the impending confirmation of Judge Alito, conservatives are getting revved for the 06 midterms. Then throw Mr. Rove's speech in and we're getting pumped. That isn't to say that everything is peachy kean but it's getting pretty good.
What is obvious is that a Democratic takeover, of the House, Senate, or both, would turn Washington upside down. Suddenly, oversight would be back in vogue, as Bush administration officials would face what one senior White House aide conceded would be "two years of investigations" by majority Democrats on Capitol Hill.
First of all, this scenario won't happen. I'd love the investigations, though, because Rove would be all over that with one commercial about how Democrats are the Demagogues who won't do the peoples' business, probably throwing in a few obstructionist calls along the way.
"The abuse of power continues to go on and on, and continues to gain steam," Conyers said in an interview last week. "All we're trying to do is signal our displeasure to the president and the vice president."
Mr. Conyers, we already know about your "displeasure". Most people call it either bitterness or Bush hatred or BDS. And most of us think that you're so bitter that you can't think straight.
At the same time, emboldened Democrats would have considerably more power to block Bush's proposals during the last two years of his term. Given their newfound muscle to press their own ideas, Democrats would challenge, and in some cases torpedo, the president's domestic priorities and foreign-policy agenda.
PLEASE!!! Delusional Democrats don't have a plan or agenda. And the American people would notice that all they've got going 'for' them is that they're good at torpedoing legislation.

There's alot more words to the article but it's as fantasy-laden as what I've already written about. If you're in the mood for a ton of laughs, feel free to follow the link to the article.

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The Gift Keeps Giving, Part II

That's the way I'm thinking of John Murtha. I used to think that Howard Dean was the only 'gift' to the GOP but I willingly stand corrected. Here's the details of his latest escape into fantasyland:
On Thursday, he told editors and reporters from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the war in Iraq is a civil war and the U.S. should disengage. "Our troops are the target," Murtha told the newspaper. "We're not fighting terrorism in Iraq. We're fighting a civil war in Iraq. We've got to give them an incentive. We fought our Civil War. Let them fight their civil war."
When will Murtha update his facts? Those assertions have been discredited so many times that it isn't even worth cataloging anymore. It's like facts bounce off him. Maybe it's that this isn't really Murtha making these comments. I'm beginning to think that it's just a robot look-alike that Democrats wind up every so often and trot him out there.

The civil war Murtha's talking about doesn't exist. The troops and the generals in theater are saying that it's nice that they aren't the targets each time they hear gunfire. The military is reporting, as is the NY Times, that the fighting is increasingly between the insurgents and AQ terrorists. See this post for more on this issue.
Murtha, who voted in 2002 to give President Bush the authority to go to war, said he believes Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, had no ties to al-Qaida and wasn't a threat to the United States. He wants U.S. troops to be redeployed to Kuwait and areas around Iraq.
What a bunch of crap!!! That's some of the most fact-free 'reporting' I've seen in awhile. When Murtha explained where his 'over-the-horizon' forces would be deployed, Murtha said Kuwait and Okinawa. That's when I said it's better described as a 'somewhere-over-the-rainbow' force.

It's interesting that Murtha says that Iraq "had no" WMD's when Gen. Sada, who was in Saddam's inner circle told a Hannity & Colmes audience that he'd flown WMD's to Syria. Now you know why I say that Murtha is impervious to facts. They're meaningless to him.

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2006 Senate Leans Democratic

That's UVA Political Science Professor Larry Sabato's early reading of things. Forgive me if I don't agree with him on some key races. In this article, I'll focus only on the races where I disagree with Mr. Sabato. Let's get started.

Larry counts as a safe seat for the Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. In her wildest imagination, she's in a leaning Democrat seat. She's been under the 50 percent benchmark for some time now, which is the life-death benchmark to an incumbent. To make matters worse, it was learned yesterday that she was joining ultra-liberals like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in filibustering Judge Alito's nomination. TALK ABOUT DUMB. The safe thing for her would've been simply voting against Alito's confirmation. By throwing in with Kennedy and Kerry, she's marginalized herself as a moonbat.

In a hardhat state like Michigan, and especially in light of Ford's and GM's troubles, people there aren't in a good mood. Making the boneheaded decision to filibuster Alito won't make Michigan voters any happier.

Another Sabato mistake, and it's a big mistake, is in not putting Sen. Jon Kyl's seat in the safe column. The last I saw, Kyl had a terrific JA rating and he was leading his 'opponents' by 25+ points. To be blunt, that's laughable prognosticating.

Sabato's basis for the prediction: "Some Democrats insist that wealthy businessman Jim Pederson has a chance to upend incumbent Senator Jon Kyl (R) in Arizona. This is a long-shot for the Democrats, but one that they might well need." Taking the word of "some Democrats", especially when all evidence points the opposite direction, is plain stupid.
Majority Leader Bill Frist's retirement in Tennessee gives Democrats a shot at an open seat. The evaluations on this contest vary wildly, depending on the identity of the eventual GOP nominee in a three-way primary contest. Congressman Harold Ford, an African-American, will be the Democratic candidate, and his chances depend in part on how divisive the Republican primary turns out to be, as well as how conservative the GOP nominee is.
Harold Ford's star burned bright until he served as a chairman for the Kerry campaign. He's now identified as a liberal, which is instant death in this conservative state. Also noteworthy is the fact that Republicans have a strong candidate in Ed Bryant. This leans strongly Republican. Don't be surprised if this gets changed to solidly Republican before this summer.
Maryland is another very Blue state, but Republican Michael Steele is not a typical GOP candidate. He is the African-American lieutenant governor, elected in 2002 with Governor Bob Ehrlich (R). The Democrats have a potentially divisive, multi-candidate primary to choose a successor to retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes (D). It's easy to imagine both Ehrlich, who is running for reelection, and Steele ending up in the loser's circle in a Blue state during a Blue year. But there's just a chance that both could win, and open seats like this one have to be monitored closely.
Maryland's politics are getting redder by the day. Don't be surprised if Steele and Ehrlich are celebrating in November.
Democrats are a good bet to pick up two or three seats net. But for Democrats to regain control of the Senate, almost everything has to fall just right for them. In politics, very occasionally those things happen--but only rarely do all the dominoes fall in one direction. And the Democrats will have to win the world championship of dominoes for the Senate to become theirs again this year.
At best, Democrats might net a one seat gain. I'm not even putting big money on that at this point. This could turn into a 2-3 seat gain for the Republicans if "The Architect's" plan falls into place.

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Hillary's Many Faces, None of a Winner

NRO's Jonah Goldberg has written a great piece in the LA Times that's worth examining. Here's some glimpses into Jonah's article:
Liberals are sizing up Hillary Clinton for the umpteenth time, and they don't like what they see. To be honest, I never understood what they saw in her in the first place. The amazing thing about Clinton is that she's so unappealing. She isn't a particularly gifted speaker. She's smart, but in a conventional and lawyerly way. She doesn't connect well with audiences. Her idea of improvisation seems to be leaping from the prepared text to prepared note cards.
I've harped on Hillary's likeability issue for quite awhile now and it's still a sticking point. Based on the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I'll grant that she's a decent campaigner when her task is just to read prepared text. That said, she's awful when she has to wing it during Q & A time. It's apparent to me that she isn't that confident in her ability to connect with people. That's why, in my opinion, she resorted to her infamous plantation statement on MLK Day. I'm betting that she thought that was a great way of connecting with her African-American audience.

Some of you might be asking what this has to do with anything. Here's why it matters: When crises hit, you've got to be quick AND smart in dealing with the crisis. President Bush, in the hours after the attacks, set in motion a plan to defend Washington against further terrorist attacks, including shooting down jets heading towards the White House's airspace. Would a President Hillary have made that decision? What type of decision would she have made? Based on her rigidity, I'm not confident in her ability at all.
One telling episode came when she published her massively successful autobiography, "Living History." The book tour was nothing short of a coronation, confirming her gravitas and commitment to "the issues." She portrayed herself as resigned to the fact that she'd have to answer Barbara Walters' questions about her personal life, but she always made it seem like she'd rather wrestle with the hard issues of public policy. But when the Washington Post actually tried to ask her about something other than how she cried over her husband's sexcapades with an intern, the senator from New York "declined to be interviewed about the political content of her book."
Bill Clinton and George Bush are great interviews, Hillary isn’t. Bill Clinton and George Bush open up during interviews. As evidenced by the Washington Post snub, Hillary becomes evasive. It's because she feels the need to not reveal too much of her true self in national settings. That fades, though, when she's sending out fundraising letters to the faithful. In other words, she's a two-legged facade, a charicature, a stiff-haired image of a person. The American people have seen that at length and ad nauseum. Democratic faithful are finally seeing that, too, and are slowly running away from her.

That's hardly the reaction to a winner.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Rampant Paranoia (Curtesy of Al Gore)

Just when you thought that Al Gore had said too much already, he says something outlandish about the Canadian elections. Here's a glimpse at Gore's paranoia:
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands. Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord, an international agreement to combat climate change.
"The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. "And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election...and to protect their interests."
This proves that Gore isn't just an American demagogue. This proves that Gore's an international demagogue now. According to Captain Ed, Canadian conservatives are about where Rudy Giuliani is on the political spectrum. Another person that would fit that description is his running mate -- Joe Lieberman.

If Gore actually means what he's saying, which is questionable given his gift of pandering and demagoguery, anyone to the right of Joe Lieberman is "ultra-conservative". On the other hand, if he's serious about that, that statement is telling in how far left he's drifted. I guess it's proof that the Fever Swamp's malaria is spreading.

This statement is also proof that Gore views oil as evil and quite possibly as the source of all that's wrong with the environment. In other words, Gore's as far out there as the Kossacks and other inhabitants of the Fever Swamp.

I can't say that I'm surprised.
Darcie Park, spokeswoman for oilsands giant Suncor Energy, said she's taken aback by Gore's remarks and hopes they don't resonate with Canadians. "Our company just doesn't do business that way. We're really puzzled about where these comments came from," she said. "Canadians understand how elections work in Canada and understand there are these very tight restrictions around what individuals and companies can contribute to individual parties or campaigns."
Ms. Park, the comments came from an out-patient who's suffering from the most acute case of BDS known to man. Think of it as being slightly more debillitating than the final stages of Alzheimers. It's tragic when it strikes one so young.

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Hillary Nixes, NY Times Blusters, Byrd Confirms

As you'd expect, it's been a busy day or so on the Alito Confirmation Front. In that time, Robert Byrd has announced that he'll vote to confirm Judge Alito, Hillary made a speech in which she accused Judge Alito of "having a "radical ideology" and a "record of insensitivity to the civil rights of African Americans and women." Meanwhile, the NY Times blasted the Senate Democrats for being spineless.

Sen. Byrd's speech was a thing of beauty. He railed against Democrats for making accusations that eventually made Mrs. Alito cry. He railed against the media for playing an oversized role in the Confirmation process. He even railed against the activists who have made the debate more shrill. He said that Senate Republicans shouldn't have just been about hurling platitude after platitude in Alito's direction. He said that Senate Democrats spent too much time questioning Alito's political views, especially in their attempt to pin him down on Roe v. Wade.

Hillary's speech, which I freely admit was something that I couldn't bear watching, was shrill, factless and meant to stir up the Democrats' kook fringe base. Here's a couple choice quotes:
Mrs. Clinton warned that if Alito is allowed to join the High Court, "decades of progress would fall prey to his radical ideology, jeopardizing not only civil rights, civil liberties, health and safety and environmental protections, but also fundamental rights like the right to privacy."
And this:
In a bid to paint Judge Alito as bigoted, Mrs. Clinton went so far as to invoke the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, along with another civil rights case, before complaining:
"I think we need judges who will maintain that forward progress and despite his distinguished academic credentials, Judge Alito has not shown himself to be that kind of judge."
And finally:
In a bit of supreme irony, Mrs. Clinton also insisted that Judge Alito "has not demonstrated a proper respect for the rule of law" before concluding: "I, therefore, cannot give my consent to his confirmation."
Hillary saying that someone doesn't have a "proper respect for the rule of law" is akin to Bonnie & Clyde accusing someone of not having "a proper respect" for bank security. PUHHLEAZE.

As for her backhanded smear of Alito being a racist without mentioning anything as proof, I can only express my utter disgust with her. I suspect that most Americans that saw the hearings knows that her mischaracterization of Judge Alito was just plain false.

Likewise, Hillary's accusing Judge Alito of having a "radical ideology" is utterly factless. It's also been repudiated by liberals who have clerked for him over the years. Jack White, a liberal Afrian-American attorney currently living in San Fransisco, said in his Judiciary Committee testimony that he left not knowing Judge Alito's political views.

Frankly, I'll take Jack White's sworn testimony over Hillary's scandalous accusations anytime.

Finally, we get to the NY Times accusing Senate Democrats for not having the spine to mount a filibuster against Judge Alito. Here's a glimpse into their editorial:
Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government, and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead. It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination.
That opening paragraph is more shrill than Hillary's accusations and that's saying something. Something utterly disgusting. In that paragraph, the NY Times' editors lament the 'fact' that Sam Alito "holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress" and accuses President Bush of having a "grandiose vision of his own powers" which "threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government" and still has time to accuse the Senate of seeeming "eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead." I suspect that had they had more space on the page, they might have gotten in even more baseless cheapshots.

Let's look further into their diatribe:
The judge's record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else.
Actually, their diatribe is almost right. As all conservatives know, the President's power does expand in wartime because that's what the Founding Fathers envisioned. As I've said before, there is a clear chain of command in wartime, just like there's a chain of command in the military. Wartime decisions aren't made by committee, they're made by a person who is held accountable for his decisions. As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush is charged with protecting America from all her enemies. The Constitution anticipates that and gives him that power. PERIOD.

Nowhere in the Constitution do the Founding Fathers give the Legislative Branch anything more than modest or meager powers in wartime. This stands in stark contrast to the 'strong' Congress envisioned in terms of domestic policy, most specifically in "the power of the purse." In other words, President Bush can no more write laws which the Congress would rubberstamp than the Congress can limit the President's ability to wage war against our enemies.

Oddly, though, nobody talks about that type of check and balance. Instead, it's all about how much of a check Congress can put on the Presidency. Any history or ConLaw teacher worth their salt would laugh in the NY Times' face.
His much-quoted statement that the president is not above the law is meaningless unless he also believes that the law requires the chief executive to defer to Congress and the courts.
This is the telltale line in the entire diatribe. As any ConLaw professor would tell you (for that matter, a high school student would know this), the U.S. Constitution spells out three co-equal branches of government. To illustrate the absurdity of this sentence, I'd like the NY Times editors to tell how the Executive Branch should "defer to the Congress and the courts" in wartime? Can they tell me that Congress should control troop movements, overall war strategy and the like? Should the Courts limit the President's ability to wage war against our enemies?

At the end of the day, Sen. Robert C. Byrd is the only one standing tall of this trio and I applaud him for his inspiring speech. On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton and the NY Times Diatribe staff have disgraced themselves and tried impeding Judge Alito's path to the Supreme Court. The least the Times and Mrs. Clinton could have done was to have the decency of getting their facts straight before smearing a good man.

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The Escalation Continues

According to Newsmax' reporting, an Iranian official is threatening the use of force in shutting down the Straits of Hormuz. Here's the main details of the article:
"If Europe does not act wisely with the Iranian nuclear portfolio and it is referred to the U.N. Security Council and economic or air travel restrictions are imposed unjustly, we have the power to halt oil supply to the last drop from the shores of the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz," said Mohammed-Nabi Rudaki, deputy chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
If Iran puts this policy into action, they should expect quick destruction of their Navy. Shutting off 25 percent of the daily supply of oil would rightfully be seen as an act of war and would warrant a full scale, ferocious attack. The objective in such a war is to utterly devastate the Iranian Navy. In fact, my visceral reaction to Rudaki's statement is that I'd love it if we used that act of war to launch all out war against Iran; including arming the revolution forces and putting a target on each of the mullah's chest.

In the end, I'd doubt that they'd be stupid enough to pull a stunt like that.

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Iran: We'll Put Israel in 'Eternal Coma'

As someone who takes the Bible literally and who believes that it's the accurate Word of God, this headline smacks of sheer stupidity on several levels. While I haven't talked alot about my faith on this blog, it seems totally appropriate here. So let's have at it, shall we?

Let's start with God's promise to Abraham where God tells Abraham that "I will bless those that bless you and I will curse those that curse you." I take that literally and I've seen it backed up numerous times.

I remember reading about the 6 Day War and about how Egyptian tanks crossed the Suez Canal. They were headed for Israel but then they stopped to re-form their battle groups for no apparent reason. When they stopped, Israel's Air Force decimated them. Had they kept coming, military experts said they likely would've done substantial damage to Israel. Was that luck or God "cursing those who curse you"? Form your own conclusions but mine is as good as etched in granite.

Now let's look at some of the Iranians' comments:
Were Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran would respond so strongly that it would put the Jewish state into "an eternal coma" like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's, the Iranian defense minister said Wednesday. "Zionists should know that if they do anything evil against Iran, the response of Iran's armed forces will be so firm that it will send them into eternal coma, like Sharon," Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said.
Don't bet on it, Gen. Najjar. Don't bet on it. It isn't like Iran has a dominant military. All it has is a growing missile capability and a terrorist capability.

While this sounds tough, I suspect that this is proof that Iran's mullahs are worried about an attack and they're trying to bring Israel into the fight so the Iranian people will forget about their hatred of the mullahs and rekindle their hatred of Israel.

At the end of the day, I see the U.S. carrying out the airstrikes, not Israel. While that's still a messy proposition, it isn't the messy proposition that getting Israel involved would be.
Earlier Wednesday, Iran's president blamed Britain and the United States for two bombings that killed at least nine people in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Tuesday. "Traces of the occupiers of Iraq is evident in the Ahvaz events. They should take responsibility in this regard," state television quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying.
Ahmadinejad might well be right in saying that this is the work of the British/American forces but I'm not accepting that as Gospel fact yet, either. Isn't it possible that this is his attempt to intimidate people who thought of starting a rebellion in that city? Just because Mr. Ahmadinejad says it's fact doesn't make it fact.
Ahvaz has a history of violence involving members of Iran's Arab minority. Last year, bombings in June and October killed a total of 14 people in the city. In April, residents rioted for two days over claims, denied by the government, that the state was planning to reduce the number of Arabs in the area.
As we know, Persians and Arabs don't like each other. In fact, they're most likely to intensely hate each other. It's worth repeating the question: Why should we believe Ahmadinejad when he says that this is an American 'terrorist' attack? After all, this reporting says that the government itself "was planning to reduce the number of Arabs in the area."

It's of no consequence that the goverment denies this claim. The facts speak for themselves.

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Bush to Shun Hamas Until it Changes Israel Stance

Rest assured, that Reuters headline will bring lots of howls from liberals. Who cares, right? After President rightly required the Palestinians to do certain things to proceed on his roadmap, it's only right that he puts demands on Hamas, too.

After all, President Bush refused to meet with Arafat at the White House essentially because he was a terrorist and the leader of a very bloody intifadah. That's proof that President Bush won't meet with someone just because they're elected. It sends the message that he'll meet, but only after the violence is repudiated. I'd bet the ranch that Hamas won't repudiate their role in the intifadah and I'd bet that President Bush will continue putting pressure on them in various forms.

Why should he cut Hamas any slack? After all, they're part of the suicide soldiers, along with the 'soldiers' of the al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. It isn't like they haven't sabotged every peace effort that's ever been undertaken between Israel and Arafat/abu Mazen. The best they've ever offered was that they'd call a ceasefire against Israel. And that only happened when Israel went on the offensive against Hamas's terrorists.

How will the final chapter of this saga read? I don't know but I suspect that the 'middle chapters' won't be pretty.

Saddam's Missing WMD's

It seems that Sadddam did have WMD's after all. Lores Rizkala of Just A Woman blog said that Gen. Georges Sada told people watching Hannity and Colmes that Iraq did, in fact, have chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction up until the summer of 2002...The former general states as a matter of fact that the weapons were flown and driven to Syria.

For those wondering, Sada "became the air vice marshall in Saddam Hussein's army." according to Lores' article. That means he was certainly in position to know what happened in the buildup prior to the Coalition invasion.

At this point, I consider this news credible but I'm also interested in seeing what the captured documents that Steve Hayes has been reporting on have to say on the flying out of the chem-bio weapons. If there's documentation on this 'export' and the general in charge of the Iraqi air marshall saying that he setup the flights that sent those weapons to Syria, then I'd consider it another undeniable truth of Saddam's regime.

I'll keep you posted on any new developments as they're made available.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wealthy Businessman to Challenge Byrd

The AP's Lawrence Messina is reporting that West Virginia businessman John Raese has filed to take on Robert C. Byrd in Byrd's attempt to win his 9th term in the U.S. Senate.

Messina says that Raese is the first challenger with serious financial backing. Back in 2005, Patrick Ruffini said that Byrd's seat was a potentially vulnerable seat and I agreed with him then. I still believe it now, though I wish the R's had a candidate with stronger name recognition than Raese.

Still, if Raese is a good campaigner who makes West Virginia's future the issue instead of letting Byrd dwell on past pork projects, then this could become a competitive race. If that happens, this race could be a signal that Republicans will do well this election cycle.

Raese still faces an uphill challenge but he's got a shot. That's all you can ask for against an eight term incumbent.


If At First You Don't Succeed

Try, try again, right? That seems to work for Georgia's legislature as it approved legislation requiring a valid picture ID when voting.
The legislation would require voters to have a driver's license, military ID or state-issued identification card with a photo. Social Security cards, birth certificates and utility bills would no longer be accepted. Supporters said it would help fight voter fraud. Critics argued it would disenfranchise the poor, minorities or elderly, people who are less likely to have driver's licenses. Similar legislation last year was blocked by a federal judge because a state ID fee would have amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. This year's bill waives that fee.
Here in Minnesota, we don't have this type of legislation in place. Personally, I wish this would be enacted nationwide. Those who claim that it'd "disenfranchise the poor, minoritiesor elderly" should just make sure that the government gets this new picture ID to them so they don't get disenfranchised. After all, the government should serve us, not vice versa.

For those who'd tell us that this places undue burdens on the government, I'd reply that the government's unwillingness to serve the people is placing undue burdens on citizens.

After all, in a situation like this, the citizen is the boss and the boss is always right. PERIOD.

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Typical Hillary

That woman is so predictable it's pathetic. The AP's Ron Fournier has some juicy quotes from Mrs. Clinton. Here's a couple noteworthy quotes and observations:
"Obviously, I support tracking down terrorists. I think that's our obligation. But I think it can be done in a lawful way," the New York Democrat said.
"Their argument that it's rooted in the authority to go after al-Qaida is far-fetched," she said in an apparent reference to a congressional resolution passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The AUMF does give the President those powers. Here's the relevant portion of SJ Res 23:

Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States
FISA also allows for subsequent "statutes" to override FISA's requirements. The AUMF constitutes such a statute.

Notice that, implicit in Hillary's attack is that President Bush's 'wiretapping' is illegal. That's what makes the following statement so laughable:
Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, told reporters she did not yet know whether the administration's warrantless eavesdropping broke any laws.
When Hillary says "...I think it can be done in a lawful way", she's implying that she thinks President Bush is breaking the law. Later in that interview, though, she backtracks and admits that she isn't sure that President Bush has broken the law.

She can't have it both ways. Sadly, she thinks she can. The good news is that the Right Blogosphere, FNC and talk radio won't let her get away with it.

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Newt Gingrich: Iran’s President is the New Hitler

In what's certain to be a highly criticized statement, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said "This is 1935 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we’ve seen...", adding "We now know who they are," he added. "The question is who we are, are we Baldwin or Churchill?", referring to the two British leaders at the time who disagreed over Hitler's intentions. The comments were made during an interview with Human Events.

Here's more insights from the interview:

Gingrich said the U.S.'s top priority should be overthrowing the government of Iran, using peaceful means if possible but through military force if necessary. "I will just say flatly, our objective should be the systematic replacement of this regime," the former top House Republican told Human Events. Gingrich said that the U.S. should immediately begin aiding dissident groups in Iran, starting with trade unions and student organizations, saying, "We should in every way we can get them resources."

There might be a few fringe groups that will disagree with Mr. Gingrich's statement of replacing the mullahs, especially those in the pacifist crowd. Still, it's irresponsible to not strongly consider the military option against Iran. In fact, former Deputy Secretary of Defense wrote in the American Spectator just how the U.S. could do that in very short order.

Though I'm not a military expert, it seems to me that taking out their nuclear capabilities with precision strikes, then shipping arms to the protesters throughout the country, would be a smart plan of attack. Think of it this way: Use the airstrikes to eliminate the nuclear weapons capability and to disorient the mullahs, then foment an insurrection to topple the mullahs.

After all, there's lots of Iranians who hate the mullahs but who feel powerless against them. Giving the right groups the ability to defend themselves, even slipping in some special ops forces as re-inforcement, seems like a great way to stand up to the mullahs.

As for Mr. Gingrich's charges that Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler, I'd say there's substantial proof in Ahmadinejad's statements that he hates Jews as much or more than Hitler did and that he'd love wiping Israel off the face of the earth. In fact, I'd bet that he'd be willing to do anything to accomplish that.
"We should indicate without any question that we are going to take the steps necessary to replace the regime and we should then act accordingly," he told Human Events. "And we should say to the Europeans that there is no diplomatic solution that is imaginable that is going to solve this problem."

I'm with you there, Mr. Speaker.

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Hillary In Trouble?

It sure appears so according to a NY Sun article. Here's some of the more telling information:

Recent polling underscores some of those worries. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll made public yesterday, 51% of voters said they would definitely not vote for Mrs. Clinton if she chooses to run for president in 2008.

That's hardly a good starting point if you're Hillary. The truth is that I've always thought that people would have a visceral distrust of her, regardless of how much posturing she does. People had a negative opinion of her when she First Lady. They started resenting her in 1992 when she was asked why she said "I suppose I could stay at home and bake cookies and have teas."

That visceral reaction grew when she showed up on Capitol Hill with her Hillarycare plan. They saw her as a big government liberal with way-out-of-touch policies and they didn't forget.

They cringed when they saw her make that assinine "vast Right Wing conspiracy" accusation. The impression was that she was sticking with Bill for purely political reasons. Hillary hasn't changed that impression.

People heard her speech on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January, 2005 where she said that Democrats should seek common ground with pro lifers. Then she backed up that speech with inaction. She still hasn't learned that pro lifers expect actions, not just cheap words.

"There are a lot of people who are conventional Democrats ideologically who think she can't win, and we're caught in this bind where she's unstoppable and therefore our goose is essentially cooked," a Democratic consultant and former aide to Senator Lieberman, Dan Gerstein, said.

Mr. Gerstein nails it. People who aren't blind Hillary fans see her weaknesses and they noticed that she's out of step with the American public. It's a shame that the Kossacks and MoveOn folk can't see that their radicalism is running the Democratic Party into the ground. Had the Kossacks and MoveOn activists thought that through and put their pride aside, Joe Lieberman might well be in the White House. He certainly was "more electable" than Lerch, AKA John Kerry.

A former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Richard Harpootlian, is among those who will own up to such misgivings. "Mrs. Clinton, because of some positions she has taken over the years, gets a visceral reaction to her here, both negative and positive. I'm afraid around the South and Midwest the visceral reaction is not good," he told The New York Sun.

Picturing Hillary winning in flyover country is difficult, though not quite impossible, to do. Picturing Hillary connecting with southern voters is impossible.

"What people raise is the nervousness about, to some extent, what they went through with the Clintons, particularly in those last few years," said Mr. Panetta, who now runs a public policy institute in California. "Can she really bring the country together or is she the kind of lightning rod that would stimulate all of the opposition and the kind of 'hate' side of the political agenda resurrecting itself, making it an ugly campaign?"

People haven't forgotten Hillary's nasty side. In fact, her most partisan speeches aren't speeches as much as they're screaming sessions. People recognize that she shares that trait with Howie 'The Scream' Dean, though I'll give her credit that she doesn't put her foot in her mouth nearly as often as Scream does.

Mr. Panetta, one of the truly nice guys of Washington, is right in saying that Hillary is a polarizing figure. You're either for her or against her. There aren't many undecideds in that equation.

Many Democrats and independent analysts believe the most difficult race for Mrs. Clinton would be one against Senator McCain of Arizona. The recent Hotline poll showed Mr. McCain with 47% of the vote and Mrs. Clinton with 32% in such a contest. However, Mr. Lehane said the showdown would be far more competitive because Mr. McCain would have to tack far to the right to win the Republican nomination. "For John McCain to get the nomination he has to be a very different John McCain than we know today," the consultant said.

To far left ideologues like Lehane, going further right than Joe Lieberman is tacking "far to the right." In other words, his opinions are pretty useless to the vast majority of people who comprise the actual mainstream of American people.

Exciting Announcement

I've found that one of the great things about being a contributing editor for California Conservative blog is that I occasionally get notified of exciting sounding new radio personalities. That's what this post is about. I'm pleased to announce that Lores Rizkalla of Just a Woman blog has just been hired as a radio talk show host (hostess?) for KRLA AM in Los Angeles.

Her show will run Sunday-Thursday nights from midnight Pacific Time- 2am Pacific. For my Minnesota readers, I realize that that's late night but I'd strongly encourage you to check her show out. The first show is scheduled for Sunday night, Feb. 5.

I'd also strongly encourage you to check out Lores' blog. It's some terrific writing.

Ms. Rizkalla describes herself as "a writer and a public speaker" who "writes and speaks about political, social and gender issues from a Christian worldview." Her bio also states that "Lores left teaching in order to enter the non-profit world, as the director of a women’s ministry. She has spoken to women’s groups and churches both nationally and internationally on being women of influence."

I'd strongly encourage this blog's readers to keep Lores' show and her ministry in your prayers.

Here's the link to KRLA's online stream.

Gen. Hayden's National Press Club Speech

Tom and John at RealClearPolitics have posted the transcript of Gen. Michael Hayden's speech to the National Press Club. Naturally, I read the entire speech and gleened much new information. Here's some of the most informative information I found:
...we also turned on the spigot of NSA reporting to FBI in, frankly, an unprecedented way. We found that we were giving them too much data in too raw form. We recognized it almost immediately, a question of weeks, and we made all of the appropriate adjustments. Now, this flow of data to the FBI has also become part of the current background noise, and despite reports in the press of thousands of tips a month, our reporting has not even approached that kind of pace. You know, I actually find this a little odd. After all the findings of the 9/11 commission and other bodies about the failure to share intelligence, I'm up here feeling like I have to explain pushing data to those who might be able to use it. And of course, it's the nature of intelligence that many tips lead nowhere, but you have to go down some blind alleys to find the tips that pay off.
In other words, reports of thousands and thousands of American citizens having their conversations wiretapped is baloney. I also found it odd that some of the people who were upset that we didn't connect the dots now are the people who say that we can't uncover the dots, at least without cutting through a maze of bureaucratic red tape. In case those critics hadn't noticed, the enemy doesn't have to play by those rules. How do these critics expect the NSA to protect us from these terrorists?
But we all have personal responsibility, and in the end, NSA would have to implement this, and every operational decision the agency makes is made with the full involvement of its legal office. NSA professional career lawyers, and the agency has a bunch of them, have a well-deserved reputation. They're good, they know the law, and they don't let the agency take many close pitches.
And so even though I knew the program had been reviewed by the White House and by DOJ, by the Department of Justice, I asked the three most senior and experienced lawyers in NSA: Our enemy in the global war on terrorism doesn't divide the United States from the rest of the world, the global telecommunications system doesn't make that distinction either, our laws do and should; how did these activities square with these facts?
They reported back to me. They supported the lawfulness of this program. Supported, not acquiesced. This was very important to me. A veteran NSA lawyer, one of the three I asked, told me that a correspondent had suggested to him recently that all of the lawyers connected with this program have been very careful from the outset because they knew there would be a day of reckoning. The NSA lawyer replied to him that that had not been the case. NSA had been so careful, he said, and I'm using his words now here, NSA had been so careful because in this very focused, limited program, NSA had to ensure that it dealt with privacy interests in an appropriate manner. In other words, our lawyers weren't careful out of fear; they were careful out of a heartfelt, principled view that NSA operations had to be consistent with bedrock legal protections.
Some important points about this passage:
  • The NSA's lawyers weren't careful because they'd face a "day of reckoning". They were careful because they wanted to properly deal with legitimate privacy issues before they became problems.
  • According to Gen. Hayden, this is a "very focused, limited program." It isn't the monstrous program that the uninformed critics claim. It isn't invasive to the point of monitoring domestic calls or emails.
Let's examine why we should believe that this is a focused, limited program":

SIGINT takes in alot of data even when it's focused. What benefit would there be if it weren't focused? Wouldn't all that 'extra data' really stand in the way of the NSA being able to focus on the terrorists? Wouldn't the extra data of an unfocused SIGINT operation get in the way of determining what the terrorists are planning? Therefore, in addition to wanting to deal with privacy issues, it's a matter of staying on mission.
This is targeted and focused. This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States. This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al Qaeda. We bring to bear all the technology we can to ensure that this is so.
In other words, they don't have time to waste. Their focus is on dealing with detecting AQ's international communications. Everything else is a waste of time.
So let me make this clear. When you're talking to your daughter at state college, this program cannot intercept your conversations. And when she takes a semester abroad to complete her Arabic studies, this program will not intercept your communications.
One end of any call targeted under this program is always outside the United States.
Without this attention to detail, they'd be seeing so much information that they couldn't detect AQ's actions in the timely fashion that they currently detect their actions.
As I was talking with them, we were in the office spaces there, typical office spaces anywhere in the world, I looked out over their heads, and this is the workforce that deals with the program the president discussed several weeks ago, I looked out over their heads to see a large sign fixed to one of those pillars that go up through our operations building that breaks up the office space. That sign is visible from almost anywhere in this large area. It's yellow with bold black letters on it. The title is readable from 50 feet: What constitutes a U.S. person?
And that title was followed by a detailed explanation of the criteria. That has always been the fundamental tenet of privacy for NSA. And here it was in the center of a room guiding the actions of a workforce determined to prevent another attack on the United States. Security and liberty. The people at NSA know what their job is. I know what my job is too. I learned a lot from NSA and its culture during my six years there.

But I come from a culture too. I've been a military officer for nearly 37 years, and from the start, I've taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I would never violate that Constitution nor would I abuse the rights of the American people. As the director, I was the one responsible to ensure that this program was limited in its scope and disciplined in its application.
It sounds to me like their focus is on maintaining their focus that meets legal definitions. It's also obvious that Gen. Hayden, when he still worked there, took his officers' oath to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" very seriously.

At the end of the day, people can choose to not believe what Gen. Hayden has said. That's their right in the USA. I'll simply say that I won't take them seriously until they provide proof for their distrust. Simple mistrust won't cut it with me.

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