Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Musings on Horror

I ask your forgiveness for this post. I am watching the coverage of the New Orleans disaster. I have never set foot in that city. I know nobody who lives there.

But they are mine. They are ours. Every last one of them are Americans. We are of one brotherhood.

And I wish to God that the news would stop calling them "refugees". My God, these people are Americans! People come to America for refuge. This is indeed the best country in the world. We were just so arrogant as to believe that we could hold back a very predictable (we knew of this risk at least since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when New Orleans was threatened) uber-storm.

I can't make heads or tails of this. This is new. And it is wrong. This is what happens when we ignore threats. It is a lesson.

Because Americans aren't supposed to call one another "refugees". That is a cost too great to bear.

We love you New Orleans. My prayers go up to the Lord for you. Your disaster is ours. Your tears are ours. Your death is ours. But by the name of God, so is your life.

And so will your celebration be. I look forward to Mardi Gras in 2006. Don't you dare disappoint me!

Things That Bring Out The Best...

My wife mentioned this morning that we go out to wipe every runny nose on the planet, but that the response from other nations seemed muted. I was wondering if anyone would volunteer help. Enjoy.

New and Old Europe, China, and even Hugo Chavez even came through.

And then there are the complete morons. The Islamists referenced in the article proved that they are irredeemable and infantile, needing only a nice JDAM jammed up their rears, along with those who whine that because we didn't sign the Kyoto Treaty that we had this coming.

And while the Netherlands folks have a valid point that this probably could have been prevented better with seawalls rather than levees, it is what it is now.

Helping hands are welcome.

At A Loss

I can't bring myself to describe what I am seeing in New Orleans. And I never thought I would see the day when an entire city would be ordered to be evacuated. And I never thought Americans would be referred to as "refugees". It is most disturbing.

The toll in financial terms is astronomical, but we can deal with that. We have a very dynamic economy that will absorb these losses and others will fill in to meet economic needs. We absorbed 9/11, we absorbed the corporate accounting scandals & breakup of companies. And we'll absorb this. We are bigger than this problem.

But the human toll is different. And watching Fox News last night where Sheppard Smith was beginning to choke up about what appears to be the loss of an entire city nearly did me in. It hurts to see people hurting like this. It hurts to see people talking about the loss of loved ones. It hurts to see people's dreams wiped away by a cruel act of nature that neither cared about them nor their concerns.

Part of me wants to slap the people for not evacuating. The precarious position of New Orleans has been known for centuries. It is below sea level and right on the ocean. The warnings were clear. The risks were known. But we are not here to judge why people do certain things. They did nothing bad, they perhaps were too afraid of loss to leave. They did what seemed right. And our job now is just to love them as they are. We are here to lend a hand. Please visit the American Red Cross website and prayerfully consider a donation. My wife and I will be doing it. Please join us.

And please pray for these people. The Almighty is just waiting to hear from us. He wants to be merciful. Let us ask Him to do it.

Because it is also the American thing to do.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Air America Can't Even Preach to the Choir--Can't Keep Track of Truth

Everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity, Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham and other conservative radio hosts stay on the air for one reason: there is a market for their viewpoints and presentation. Which is why they don't have much problem getting sponsors. Likewise, if there is no market, there will be plenty of trouble getting people to underwrite a program, given that advertisers are picky about spending money for commercials that people will never hear. Such is the grave reality facing Air America.

Air America has numerous problems, chief among them is that nobody really wants to listen to its programming--a significant obstacle to overcome. And when there is no market, there is no money. And when high-level efforts to get funding from reliable liberal donors fail, that says much about the very unappealing product they are broadcasting. When you can't preach to the choir, it's probably time to close up. Which probably explains why this happened as alluded to in the Newsmax piece above. And the claims of new management that they were clueless about it are apparently false, per Michelle Malkin.

And the question on everyone's mind is, "why on earth are the mainstream media treating this as a non-issue?!"

As Malkin notes, Al Franken seems to be implying that Evan Cohen, the former chairman of Air America who was also the Development Director (read: money handler) from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club (surely no connection there), may have embezzled the cash. But it seems that the same people are running the show before as now, so it rings a little hollow to say that current ownership knew nothing of the acts of prior ownership.

And if this was Fox News, Chris Matthews would be screaming loud enough to blow out the speakers on people's TVs, there would be a Barbara Walters special with Brit Hume crying, The New York Times editorial boardroom would need to be daily mopped from all of the drool, Katie Couric would have pages and pages of leading questions she could ask guests, and there would be calls for a public hanging of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. But then again, people want to advertise on Fox News...

Prayers for the Big Easy

New Orleans appears to have the benefit of a faster-moving, slower-winded hurricane than yesterday morning. And a hurricane that wobbled a little east and picked up some dry air. All very good things.

Which means that the result won't be as devastating, but the story isn't written yet.

So keep up the prayer, but so far, so good. Only God can check this little bit of hell that just came ashore.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

NARAL's Overreach on John Roberts

NARAL has a new ad (with discussion on FOX) opposing Judge John Roberts. This ad, which contains a bit more in terms of correct facts (notwithstanding the conclusions reached from them) predictably advocates for the defeat of Judge Roberts. But NARAL may have created an environment that is not conducive to the achievement of its goals, and may have dealt itself a long-term setback.

NARAL is an extremist single issue group which advocates exclusively for unlimited abortion rights, even in the case of the modern-day infanticide known as partial birth abortion. Their stake in this nomination is based in their very correct belief that the courts, not the Constitution, Congress or the state legislatures, have established the right to abortion. And their defense of their right to kill an unborn child for social and economic convenience--a practice that they defend as if it were a religious sacrament--is not limited by ethical or moral considerations any more than abortion itself is based in them.

Their first ad, noted more for its retraction and the circumstances surrounding it than the message it conveyed, cost NARAL some serious credibility points with the public. Accusing Roberts of defending and sympathizing with Eric Rudolph--abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympics bomber--because Roberts represented a pro-life group defending their right to protest abortion clinics (free speech which the "tolerant" left equates to domestic terror). It contained patently untrue and extreme statements that made NARAL, not Roberts, look completely stupid.

So now they put a makeover on the earlier commercial, nonetheless drawing unlikely conclusions. But their continued involvement in this sends a message that perhaps they don't want or intend to convey--that the abortion lobby leaves no room for any disagreement with them.

It should be fairly clear that Roberts has disagreements with the Roe opinion. The reasons for disagreement are many, and many reasonable and respected people do indeed disagree with the reasoning used by the Supreme Court to allow a right to abortion to materialize from the Constitution. And in America, we are allowed to disagree with just about anything we want--just so long as the left disagrees with them too, it seems.

The Constitution makes no reference to "privacy", "reproductive rights", "trimesters", or "choice" or anything akin to any of them. Roe is law made out of non-legal philosophy to conform with the personal politics of the time. And that's not ok. Courts are not lawmakers. Their job is to apply existing laws to controversies, not to construct law which they feel is proper. Because that's why we have legislators who run from our local towns and cities who take out hometown views to the state and nations capitals. And "law" like Roe, which is made by unelected and unaccountable judges is always wrong, no matter how well-intended. Which is among the reasons Roberts wouldn't mind seeing Roe overturned.

But arguing as NARAL does that opposition to Roe automatically disqualifies Roberts leads very easily to the conclusion that the abortion lobby will tolerate not the least bit of disagreement, and that all judges appointed to the courts of this land must actually favor abortion.

Americans are a little more independent-minded than that, and the implication that the abortion lobby gets to put its stamp on judges to the exclusion of any other issue (for example, experience, integrity, and devotion to the law--not activism) smacks of arrogance and an overreach that will hopefully stick with abortion activists for years to come. Because abortion is not a "right" worth the respect that the left gives it.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Able Danger -- An Embarrassment to the Clintons?

John Hinderaker provides this fairly frightening post which, if true, means that our 42nd President's behavior and that of his toadies may need a much closer look.

Able Danger may have been a danger to Clinton. His dealings with China may have been exposed or in danger of exposure. Recall that the leaks of classified information to the Chinese from Los Alamos (done under the watchful eye of then Energy Secretary, now Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)) the 1996 campaign donations from the Chicoms, and his generally cozy relationship with the world's largest communist power. Nobody ever got in trouble. But perhaps Able Danger was about to provide all the evidence anyone needed (granted, Janet Reno, or worst Attorney General ever, would have buried it just like the loyal Clinton lackey and she was, bringing it to nothing). So in May of 2000, it was ordered to be shut down. And when the President orders something like that shut down, it's usually done lickety split.

So could our national security have been compromised because WJC wanted to avoid jail and wanted Hillary to win her Senate seat in New York at a time when her victory was anything but certain?

Able Danger is becoming quite the hydra. And it probably will not burn itself out before some Clinton-era folks face some very serious inquiries.

So goes the legacy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Why the Left Hates Bill O'Reilly

The topic of why people hate Bill O'Reilly is probably a tired one, but it still makes no sense to me why folks on the left consider him to be a conservative mouthpiece.

Bill O'Reilly is Bill O'Reilly's own man. And, if you'd like to see what he thinks, check his blog. Note the entry on extremism. He slams both sides. And for the left, it is rare that anyone ever bothers to challenge them.

Take some time and watch Katie Couric interviews. They are mainly a set of softball and transparently leading questions with which she directs those with whom she agrees. Then take those with whom she disagrees: loaded conclusory questions, a barrage of accusations and a cut-off. This has been "the news" for the past thirty years.

But the left considers O'Reilly to be a conservative because he, more often than not, disagrees with their positions on the merits, which is a poor indicator of one's political inclinations. But they hate him because he publicly calls them on their behavior. He is equally harsh on the conservative side when he feels it appropriate, but more than anything, O'Reilly tends to be a pragmatist. The problem with the left is that there is rarely anything pragmatic about their views.

It is very hard for one to morally justify abortion on demand, advancing the gay lifestyle, soft treatment of sex offenders and other criminals, unprincipled pacifism in the face of terror and anti-Americanism. Nonetheless, O'Reilly makes people justify the positions they take. And it all goes back to the "religion and politics" prohibition for polite conversation. The left is unwilling to discuss that which they cannot defend. And when placed in a position where they cannot rationally defend their viewpoints, they get mad. But as with everything left and extreme, they aren't content with anger: these people are haters when they don't get their way. Recall this? Or this? Or this?

Suffice it to say that none of these people are affected by reason. The only thing they would know would be that O'Reilly nailed them, they would take it personally, and presume that he is part of the vast right wing conspiracy.

The past 10 years has been a rough time for the left. No longer do they control the media and no longer is the media's reporting taken completely seriously. With the advent of talk radio and the Fox News Channel, and now the blogosphere, they too must answer the hardball questions.

Bill O'Reilly asks those kinds of questions. And more often than not, leftists who know only mantras, not fact reasons, fall flat. And because of their own inability to provide a reasonable justification for their beliefs, they hate Bill O'Reilly.

Makes sense.

9/11 Commission Lapdog Bites Back

Able Danger is a big deal. It's a bigger deal that its findings were never shared with the FBI in order to interdict terrorists because of "the wall" preventing information sharing between defense and law enforcement, which was raised to an unnecessary height in the early 1990s by then-Deputy Attorney General and future 9/11 Commission member, Jamie Gorelick. And it is huge matter that the same 9/11 Commission upon which Gorelick sat, despite an apparent conflict of interest insofar as she should have been a witness to the Commission, knew of Able Danger and it findings and disregarded them.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is making nonstop noise about it, and for good reason. The reason we convened the 9/11 Commission in the first place was to find out what went wrong and how to fix it, not to re-engage in groupthink. But that's why Able Danger was disregarded. It didn't agree with the Commission's timeline (thanks to Kevin Drum for the tip). But just like we learned with the worthless Warren Commission, when the tail wags the dog, the investigation loses its value.

And in a refreshing display of honesty and intellectual candor, Kristin Breitweiser offers this unceremonious slam of the 9/11 Commission. Bravo!

I am no fan of Ms. Breitweiser. For some flavor on her, I offer a few enlightening posts here and here. Breitweiser is the queen of the "Jersey Girls"; a group of liberal activist 9/11 widows. Breitweiser, like her followers, is nothing more than a political activist who was using the death of her husband as a platform to smear George W. Bush. Sound familiar?

But all digressions aside, the fact that this person, who was present with the other liberal wives at the 9/11 Commission hearings and was their very lapdog, has accused the Commissioners of not just failing in their mission and their oath to her, but also of breaking the law by violating same, is huge.

I have always believed that the Commission was worthless. Thomas Kean was a stuffed shirt and a fool. I was never comfortable with Richard Ben-Veniste who was in it for a show trial, Jamie Gorelick for her aforementioned glaring conflict of interest which Kean defended, Bob Kerrey who showed no respect for the President and was in it for politics more than national security, and Slade Gorton who still defends everything the Commission has done.

Glad to see that the Commission is finding fewer and fewer friends. Because this development, along with the contemptible publicity-hogging behavior of the Commissioners during the investigation process indicates that it became little more than a political exercise in butt-covering and backtracking, and a waste from the start. And perhaps the Commissioners, Washington's new political ugly stepchildren, may get to answer some questions of their own for a change.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The MSM on Robertson

The Mainstream Media's reporting on Pat Robertson's classically stupid comments about assassinating Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has not stopped. And I don't care. They are welcome to report on whatever topics they please. But the fact that they are dwelling on the story, says more about them than it does about Robertson.

Robertson is a TV preacher, not a journalist, not part of the White House staff or the Cabinet, and not even a Karen Hughes, Ed Gillespie or Mary Matalin. But if you listen to the tone of the media, they are treating his remarks with the same seriousness as if they were uttered by Don Rumsfeld. But why are they bothering?

Put simply, the media-left are not only bigoted, they allow their ignorance to spill over into their reporting. Which means that they aren't that bright either.

Certainly they are well educated and they can discuss certain issues, but if you listen to the likes of Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Dan Rather, Bryant Gumbel and others, they often argue in terms of liberal mantras which they treat as established truth, not facts. Also, they pigeonhole people by group identification and do their best to enforce the notion that people of a particular kind behave alike.

The media-left is making a big deal of Robertson's remarks and his unconvincing parsing of same because they believe that Robertson, as a "Christian leader" speaks for all Christians. And while media pretends to be a tolerant group of objective intellectuals, they quite simply are uncomfortable with and suspicious of persons with sincerely held religious beliefs, with the exception of those whose "practice" of such sincerely held religious beliefs involves the kind of behavior that would land one in Guantanamo Bay. Put more directly, they just don't like Christians. And part of that dislike is an unwillingness to understand them, and that not all of them are alike.

I am an evangelical Christian. So is Pat Robertson. So is James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Stephen Baldwin, Norma McCorvey (the Roe of Roe v. Wade), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, former Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) and allegedly Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson and even Jane Fonda of late (they claim to be Christians...). In short, Christianity is not a monolith. And neither is Pat Robertson the spokesman for Christians. I never really developed a connection with him, mainly because of his style. He has this unctuous, righteous, je ne sais quoi about him that just turns me off. But tell that to a media-left who are more comfortable with reporting by group identification and pigeonholing than really understanding people with whom they disagree.

As far as the MSM is concerned, Pat Robertson speaks for all Christians. Therefore, he also speaks for George W. Bush who is also a Christian. If Pat Robertson says it, W believes it. And as silly as that is, that's why they are making such a big deal of it. And they do it to folks whom they consider to be "owned" in their class of political allies.

They demonize conservative blacks as betrayers of their race, "Uncle Toms," "Oreos" and the like. Of all of Bush's judges for the Circuit Courts of Appeal whom the left screamed most about was Janice Rogers Brown, and her "poison pen." Nope, just a black woman who disagrees with the left more effectively and as vociferously as they do with her--the ultimate insult.

But the point remains the media-left's continuing coverage of Robertson's remarks. He has apologized in a fashion, but who cares? He is irrelevant--for crying out loud, he said God allowed 9/11 because of gays and abortion. This man is not a policy maker, and yet they plaster his inanity all over the airwaves. But what about Cindy Sheehan? The only place I see her covered in anything more than a "mother who lost son in Iraq who wants meeting with Bush" manner is Fox News. She is a radical leftist America-hater who is trying to come on the political scene as a real player, claiming legitimacy because her son died in a war with which she disagrees because she felt we had the terror attacks of 9/11 coming because of our foreign (and even domestic) policy. She is part of the Michael Moore and MoveOn.org left, but nobody in the media-left reports that. They uncritically describe her "cause" in the terms she uses with no analysis of her underlying and pre-existing political objectives. And very significant developments like the support she now gets from klansman David Duke go unreported. Probably because they know that it would weaken support for a cause they quietly support by mentioning that critical fact? When one compares the coverage of both stories, the bias is glaring.

The effort to equate Roberts with the rest of Christianity is a failing one, because most folks don't buy the implied one-size-fits-all straw man argument. Because the media-left and their cohorts in the Democratic party are increasingly losing credibility because of this very kind of thing.

Conservatives regularly repudiate extremist idiots who try to join their ranks. Pat Buchanan had his last hurrah in the summer of 1992. It cost the Republicans the White House, but after booting Pat, it didn't really affect the Republicans' base. If anything, it may have made folks in the middle more comfortable with the party. Same with the aforementioned David Duke who was roundly and properly shunned, having never really made it in the door in the first place. The Big Tent isn't that big.

But the Democrats not only refuse to clean their own house, they are letting the moonbats drive the party. Howard Dean is the Chairman of the DNC. Michael Moore gets a seat in the Presidential box at their convention last year next to Jimmy Carter. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Kweisi Mfume wrestle for control of the race-industry side of the party and nobody fights them for it. Dick Durbin compares our soldiers to Nazis, KGB and the Khmer Rouge. Harry Reid calls the President a loser. The ACLU which does its best to eliminate religious practice in America except to the very corners of people's basements is their own personal law firm. They are quicker to defend abortion more than they are to defend their own nation.

So it makes sense that they make a big deal of Robertson's serial stupidity. They don't want to be perceived as the only ones with extremists running the show.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Soldier Hater, America Hater

As her family collapses around her, Cindy Sheehan returns to Crawford to swing at imaginiary enemies.

This, courtesy of Drudge is her pronoucement that all further deaths in Iraq are meaningless. Meaning that the soldiers who are reenlisting to continue the work in Iraq are wrong to believe that their work has a purpose. Because the moonbat radical mother of a soldier who died says so.

Just for flavor, here's a speech she gave in April 2005 full of the usual blood for oil twaddle. She also references Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector and Saddam opponent who turned Al Jazeera commentator after he was suspected of being on Saddam's take, as an authority. Read the article about Bush's secret plans to also invade Iran. I'm holding my breath. But contrast that with this contemporaneous statement that, “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.”

So really, Bush is not that much of a change from butchers of the like of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin by Sheehan's reckoning.

The picture of America that this idiot paints is pretty harsh. If I thought that about my country, I'd leave for another. Personally, I would encourage her to move to the Gaza Strip with the peace-loving and non-murderous Palestinians with whom she sympathizes. At least she'd be able to sing in tune with the locals. As I recall, they thought we had 9/11 coming too...

Robertson's Remarks and Fallout

Pat Robertson might do well to keep in mind that a lifetime's work of building credibility can be undone in a day. Just ask Connie Chung, Dan Rather, and Howell Raines. So after Pat's comments about the assassination of Hugo Chavez, and this less than helpful revision.

First, let nothing in this post be understood to in any way convey the impression that assassinations of heads of state or their advocacy is a good thing. What Pat Robertson said was stupid, and probably little more will come of it, despite reports that Jesse Jackson is asking that the FCC do something to squelch this bit of free (and dumb) speech with which he disagrees. It's Pat Robertson's right to say anything he wants, notwithstanding its stupidity. Just ask Howard Dean. Similarly, it is ours to be critical of it. And to avoid the argument I have heard, that his remarks were akin to crying fire in a crowded theater, endorsing assassination does not mean that the United States Government will, in a reflex action, send a sniper team to take Chavez out in response. It is neither analogous nor thoughtful a comparison. Pat Robertson's comments and the above revision, (courtesy of Drudge), will have whatever effect for him that they will. He wrote a very big check against his reputation.

But then we have Robertson's target, Hugo Chavez. Without going into a exhaustive description of his political philosophies, suffice it to say that Hugo Chavez is Fidel Castro with oil. He won an election this time last year by stealing it, while Jimmy Carter endorsed the election as valid, despite exit polls by a reputable firm that showed an exactly opposite result. But this should surprise nobody as Jimmy Carter is a leftist dictator's best friend. Chavez matters because his nation sits on huge oil reserves. Which is why Castro is largely ignored. Cigars only make a difference in people's humidors.

But the upside to this is that Chavez--like Fidel--along with being a leftist jackboot dictator, is also a conspiracy wingnut. He is certain that the U.S. is planning to assassinate him. Hearing word from a major conservative religious figure in the U.S. who is a Bush supporter, that his days may be numbered has not comforted Chavez. Rather, it just confirms his suspicions. Chavez cannot really get any more anti-U.S. than he is, so things likely won't get worse. But it may tone the guy down some, if it has any effect at all. All with a likely zero net effect.

Chavez is more of a dolt who likes money and power. And if the U.S., which purchases the majority of Venezuelan oil stops sending its dollars south, Chavez's will sink.

The whole thing will come to nothing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Just Like Rabbits...

I caught this report from Drudge about an Ohio school where a little over 13% of the girls are pregnant. In their defense, this is a high school, not a middle or elementary school. But the school's reaction is the best:

School officials are not sure they what has caused so many pregnancies...


I could hazard a guess, and no, it's not the lack of a stork hunting season... Yes, yes, teenage pregnancy is, per se, a tragedy. But it's even more tragic when the school and parents are this painfully obtuse.

Falling On Left Ears

Via Powerline comes this bit of rather glum news for the media-left. Enlistments are up. Way up. Specifically, the divisions which are seeing the heaviest actions are also seeing the greatest amount of recruitment. And in the midst of a war where the aforementioned media are killing themselves to destroy public support for it, that speaks of a remarkable ineffectiveness on their part.

And while Powerline's point, that the media has completely ignored this very significant indicator of the support for America's effort in Iraq (people voluntarily putting themselves in harm's way and away from families for very little in return), notwithstanding polls to the contrary (which require people to do nothing), and focused on Cindy Sheehan's quixotic effort to meet with again, and publicly embarrass President Bush, I think that there are a couple of issues that underlie these observations.

Perceived progress in Iraq is a very significant issue. Whether one philosophically supports the war or not, its actual success is a very different matter. People don't volunteer to be physically involved in what they believe is a losing war, irrespective of whatever incentives are offered. So despite the media portrayal of a second Vietnam for which they so seriously pray (presuming that they would condescend to pray), the people signing up to be part of the war aren't buying. Which implies another matter--people are seeing through the media coverage.

Since Vietnam, we have become accustomed to the media talking down just about every American military engagement. Iraq was called a quagmire within the first week of the invasion in 2003 when we slowed our progress by a day so that supply vehicles could catch up to the front line which was moving rapidly--success was indicia of failure for the media. But their overreaching and overly negative reporting may be having the net effect that they are being taken less seriously.

The good news is that America is more patriotic than its media. And that's an encouraging thought.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Who's Side is Chuck Hagel On?

I saw a bit of Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-NE) comments on ABC's "This Week", and I am understanding why ABC elected to have George Allen (R-VA) sit in on the interview.

And I wonder if it's too silly to expect a Hagel-Feingold (or Feingold-Hagel) ticket for 2008. Hagel is a war hero who did his time in Vietnam, but that does not make him a credible policy maker for Iraq. He is best when dealing with tax and spend issues, and business regulation. But when it comes to National Security and foreign policy, he has not a single credential to give authority to his opinions, save his office as Senator, which we all know means nothing.

Hagel, like Feingold is trying to make himself relevant for 2008. But the funny thing is that Hagel misses a lesson that Howard Dean knew too well (for all the good it did him): you have to win the nomination first. Granted, Dean lost because there was a very realistic perception that he had no chance in the general, but his effort to sweep the primaries collapsed because he was over the top insane.

But while someone like Hagel may attract the swing voters, if one comes across as a dove or disloyal to Republican primary voters, they will end up in the same position in Iowa and New Hampshire as Gary Bauer did in 2000 or Dennis Kucinich in 2004.

The problems with this whole rush to formulate a timetable are multiple. Russ Feingold thinks that it would take the fire out of al Qaida's invitation to come to Iraq to fight American occupiers. But that argument is infantile in the extreme. It presumes that once we pull out, 1) the terrorists will immediately disband and let the Iraqi people govern themselves, and 2) if problems erupt, the Iraqi military will be able to deal with any uprising against the popularly elected government. But that's just the problem.

The terrorists aren't getting their kicks from hitting Americans. They are going after the much easier targets of Iraqi police recruits, members of the provisional government, judges, civilians and the like. Hagel's and Feingold's ignorance of that fact evacuates any logic from their positions. Beyond that, it is more or less an axiom that the Iraqi defense forces cannot keep up with al Qaida terrorists' hit and feint techniques. It is nearly impossible to prevent every single car bombing or suicide bomber. An upstart military group will be overwhelmed. And then any hope of a democratic--let alone U.S. friendly--government in Baghdad is gone.

The President has already made clear that he doesn't believe in artificial timetables, because the terrorists, being smarter than the politicians calling for such schedules, will know that they have been armed with a very politically useful tool--a clock to wait out.

The terrorists know that any withdrawal estimate from the White House will be treated as a hard date, regardless of how emphatic the president is to the contrary. A failure to meet the date will result in the same shrill hyperbolic cries for impeachment, that Iraq is a quagmire, etc. that we have come to expect, and a very serious effort by the media and the Democrat-left to turn the public sentiment decidedly against the war. Not that this isn't already happening, but with a "commitment" from the President to pull troops, these efforts will gain traction, given his Administration's woeful inability to communicate. Our soldiers' morale will fail, and that of the terrorists will strengthen.

Similarly, if Bush actually kept to such a foolish timetable, the terrorists would go dark until the last C-130 left Baghdad airport, and then they would feast upon Iraq and its people.

In either case, it would be Vietnam II--the left and the media elite turning success into a failure simply by twisting perceptions and instilling the notion that each and every war must be quick and painless, and that hard jobs are not worth the effort.

Chuck Hagel may think that his curious dovishness helps him, but he'd be incorrect. Republican voters would reject him. But it does help the terrorists. And it would be better for Hagel to remember that he is elected by one of the most red states out there. And it would be equally helpful if he stuck to the things he knows, rather than pretending to have the first clue about foreign and military policy.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What John Roberts Is Facing

RealClearPolitics has a link to an op-ed piece by none other than Ted Kennedy. Uncle Ted may wish to lay off the Wild Turkey before he writes, though, as this article rambles and makes nearly no sense.

The accusations in the article are nonfactual conclusions. And what is interesting is that Kennedy makes an argument that he is entitled to attorney-client privileged documents between himself and the Administration he represented years ago. But why? In their absence, Ted seems more than able to judge Roberts' record. So Ted either wants them for a "gotcha" scene so that he can construct a rickety bridge to the predetermined conclusion he appears to be creating, and/or he has no idea what he is talking about because he has no documents that support the ideologically convenient conclusions he has reached. Ted has dealt with rickety bridges before with unfortunate results, and I expect this to be no different.

But taking his arguments as a whole, disagreements on disability law, individual cases where gender discrimination is at issue, money for education of women, etc (note the part about the girl who was sexually abused--Ted made it sound like Roberts didn't want her to get justice for the abuse it self--very clever, and most assuredly unintentional on Kennedy's part), are complete non-issues.

And it seems as if Kennedy and the Senate left are wanting old advocacy documents to do the Judiciary Committee testimony for Roberts, rather than asking him questions directly. His views on the Constitution are most germane. Whether he would overrule laws because he disagrees with them on a political basis is also. His moral character (is he a heavy drinker [which has not excluded Ted], a cheat, does he pay his taxes, does he abide by the law in his own life?) is equally important. But not what he thinks politically about these nitpicky issues.

Ted needs to lay off the sauce and get his issues framed in terms of facts, not contrived conclusions. Until then, he remains a doddering, irrelevant fool with only petty political disagreements rather than relevant qualification issues vis-a-vis Judge Roberts.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

For Whom Cindy Sheehan Does Not Speak

The left has declared that Cindy Sheehan speaks for all parents of fallen soldiers in the Iraq war, likely because she is also a reflexive leftist. And it seems more and more parents are making abundantly clear that Sheehan does not speak for them. This gentleman takes a very different view. Ronald Griffin, father of Army Specialist Kyle Griffin who lost his life in a truck accident in Iraq on May 30, 2003, feels for Ms. Sheehan's loss, but not for much else she represents.

Like Ms. Sheehan, he will never be "ok" with the loss of his son. But he knows that his son acted heroically for his nation, and he does not want to see the purpose for which his son died to fail. Ms. Sheehan wants to use her son's death to further her political objectives. A son who re-enlisted, knowing that he would likely end up in war. She wants the war ended, and thereby the purpose for which her son died. Grief makes sense, but it does not justify this degree of selfishness.

Nor does this make her loss and grief any more relevant than that of anyone else who has lost a child in war, nor give her any platform to spew her political screed. Jonah Goldberg nailed it with this piece. Her role is that of a mother of a man who died. That does not elevate the value of her political behavior, but rather her behavior cheapens the role of mother.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Are Gas Prices Getting Priced In?

Great article by Irwin Stelzer on the price of oil.

I vaguely remember the gas lines of the late 1970s when shortages were the rule. I also recall in the mid 1990s when I was purchasing gas from a station in Alexandria, Virginia for $0.88 per gallon. Quite the change from the $2.43 I dropped the other day, reminding me more and more of the 1970s.

But the thing is that people keep coming to the pump.

If cruise lines began charging unbelievably exorbitant prices, making cruises unaffordable, people would shy away from them. If Pepsi raised its prices to make a 12 pack cost $10, Coke would squash them. But we pay whatever we must for water and sewer services, because we can't live without the former, and we can't bear the thought of having to deal with the latter. And the same is true for gas.

If our cars could run on Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future, it's unlikely that all of this oil price talk would bother many folks. So an oil change costs a dollar more... But gas has no substitutes yet, and we must pay the going price, like it or not, if Mr. Fusion has not been born yet. But as Stelzer notes, we're still spending in a very healthy economy. And despite all of the talk on the news shows about people selling SUVs for smaller cars, people are still paying for gas. And so I wonder if the condition of the economy is such that people have simply priced it in to life, rather than letting the price affect their life decisions.

It's a very hard call, but as Stelzer notes, when Alan Greenspan is trying to cool the economy to prevent inflation, perhaps gas prices are more of a background issue. But as the article notes, supply may become a very real problem. Islamo-fascist Middle-Eastern nations with governments that are more popular abroad than they are at home, a South American nation with a leftist government as a result of a stolen election whose results were nonetheless endorsed by the Carter Project, that is eager to create problems in our supply, and a Russian supplier that Vladimir Putin is eager to stall because of political disagreements with its owner all make for a very scary energy outlook.

ANWR drilling is a start, and the key really is to lessen and eliminate dependence on foreign energy sources. But the way we reach that is not by a Carter-esque tightening of the economy's belt. Alternative sources are an option, but wind, solar, and biomass energies are so outrageously expensive and scarce that it would be idiocy to suggest them. Nuclear energy is not only cheap, but clean. Just ask the French. And no, they are not meltdowns waiting to happen. Our naval fleet is loaded with ships powered exclusively by nuclear power, which has proven safe.

Because while people may be pricing in the cost of gas, a shortage would create very different problems. And those kinds of things are neither priced in nor easily absorbed by the economy.

Israelis Don't Matter As Much As Palestinians

...and if you don't believe me, look at this. And its comforting to know that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are helping with the move-in. Which is much like evicting blacks from suburban homes so that skinheads and klansmen can make it nice for the Aryan Nation.

The Israeli settlers in Gaza, known also by the less politically-correct term "property owners", are being shoveled out. Some folks are redecorating by setting fire to all of their property, not content to lose it to Palestinians who want them dead. And who could blame them for torching the place? Israel, against all odds has built one heck of a nation with the Palestinians enjoying the fruits of Israeli labor. In this case, no luxury properties will be left.

So what will the result be? Great question. If one believes the diplocracy, the Palestinians will abandon terror and settle down (which makes the above-mentioned continued existence of terror groups a strange way of showing it). And the Palestinians will get their state, and then everyone will be happy. But Ahmed Queria, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister has a different opinion. Today Gaza, tomorrow Israel. Folks, this isn't stopping. And given that about 80% of Palestinians aren't all that thrilled with the prospect of the very existence of Israel, I can't imagine that this experience will cause them to think better of their neighbors.

And I think the biggest problem is the cost for Israel. People don't give people property. They sell it. There is an exchange. Here, there exists no exchange. Land for promises not to harm. In the parlance of diplomacy, that is a peace concession. But where I come from, we have yet another less than happy term--extortion. And extortionists are not often happy with just one payment. Neville Chamberlain thought that giving Hitler a bone would keep him happy. But Hitler was after the whole skeleton. So are the Palestinians. And they won't stop until a skeleton is all that's left.

And when terrorists are the move-in company, that can't spell anything good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Elizabeth Edwards Lacks Any Class

I have made my opinion clear about Cindy Sheehan's use of her son's death to advance her own causes.

Elizabeth Edwards now does the same thing. Here is the text of an e-mail I received from "One America" today:

Casey Sheehan was born May 29, 1979, the first born child of Cindy and Pat Sheehan. It was a long labor. Fifty-one days after Casey was born, our first child, Wade was born, also after a long labor. They started school the same year, played the same games, watched the same television shows, loved the same country. On April 4, 1996, three weeks after going to Washington as a winner in a national contest about what America meant to him, Wade died in an automobile accident. On April 4, 2004, eight years later to the day, Casey, who loved his country enough to wear its uniform, died in Iraq. Cindy and Pat's hearts broke, as had ours.

We teach our children right from wrong. We teach them compassion and honor. We teach them the dignity of each life. And then, sometimes, the lessons we taught are turned on their heads. Cindy Sheehan is asking a very simple thing of her government, and she and her family, and most particularly Casey, have paid a very dear price for the right to ask this.

Cindy wants Casey's death to have meant as much as his life - lived fully - might have meant. I know this, as does every mother who has ever stood where we stand. And the President says he knows enough, doesn't need to hear from Casey's mother, doesn't need to assure her that Casey's is not one small death in a long and seemingly never-ending drip of deaths, that there is a plan here that will bring our sons and daughters home. He doesn't need to hear from her, he says. He claims he understands how some people feel about the deaths in Iraq.

The President is wrong.

Whether you agree or disagree with every part, or any part, of what Cindy wants to say, you know it is better that the President hear different opinions, particularly from those with such a deep and personal interest in the decisions of our government. Today, another voice would be helpful.

Cindy Sheehan can be that voice. She has earned the right to be that voice.

Please join me in supporting Cindy's right to be heard.

I grew up in a military family. My father and my grandfather were career Navy pilots. I saw what it meant to live a life every single day when the possibility of an honorable death is always there, at the dinner table, on the playground, at the base school. Will someone's father not come home tonight? And I didn't just feel the possibility, I saw the real thing, and, believe me, it stays with you, it changes you.

I also saw, then and more recently as I campaigned across this country and spent time with courageous military mothers and wives, how little attention is paid to the needs and the voices of military families. It has to change. The sacrifices that our military men and women make assure us that we have the strongest military in the world, but the sacrifices that their families make are too often ignored. The President's cavalier dismissal of Cindy Sheehan is emblematic of a greater problem. This is a mother who raised her son to love his country enough to serve. This is a mother who lived the impossible life of a mother of a soldier serving in Iraq, unable to sleep when he sleeps, unable to sleep when he is on duty, unable to watch the television, unable to stop watching the television.

And when the worst does happen, when the world comes crashing down and she puts the boy she bore, the boy she taught, the boy she loved in the ground, what does that government say to her? It says we'll do the talking; we don't need to hear from you. If we are decent and compassionate, if we know the lessons we taught our children, or if, selfishly, all we want is the long line of the brave to protect us in the future, we should listen to the mothers now.

Listen to Cindy.

Join me so Cindy knows we believe she has earned the right to be heard.

Elizabeth Edwards

Is this not completely unreal? Cindy Sheehan is the voice Bush needs to hear? She is someone with "deep and personal interest in the decisions of our government"? Why not then listen to Alec Baldwin? Janine Garofalo? Tim Robbins? Rosie O'Donnell? Michael Moore? Please.

Aside from the fact that Mrs. Edwards believes that this woman's loss raises her to untouchable sainthood, how does she square it with her comments about the fairness of mistreating Dick Cheney's daughter last year?

Why is it morally ok to run the sexuality of a Republican's daughter up your own flagpole, while the blood of a leftist activist's son is sacred and makes her a figure of national importance?

Can't have it both ways Mrs. Edwards. And spare us the commentary about your son. Your loss is yours. It neither increases your political relevance nor decreases your exposure in the public realm. But it sure does make you look like a cheap and tasteless emotional panderer who really values nothing.

Sheehan's Husband Bails

Cindy Sheehan's party outside Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch has its costs for her. Along with her credibility goes her marriage. Per Drudge's link to Smoking Gun, Patrick Sheehan has filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.

Upon reading Cindy's Michael Moore blog post which is linked in yesterday's post's addendum, I can see why. It's not like Cindy could not have seen this coming. Marriages rarely implode over a few months for simple "irreconcilable differences". This stuff brews over time. But rather than stay home and work out her marriage (and possibly the death of her son) through professional counseling, she decided to put "the cause" ahead of the family.

This is midlife SDS. In the 1960s and 1970s, SDS members squandered their education and futures for pro-communist causes, war protests and the like. And here we go again. Any military intervention that is not push-button and over in 15 minutes is another Vietnam. Any hard work we must do is a quagmire. She has a faux "cause" and is willing to sacrifice all that is good in her life for a chance at a reprisal of the Berkeley days. And instead of communing with North Vietnamese government officials (no need to bother with the VC, as the people of Vietnam are now safely and happily under the umbrella of communism), she welcomes people who were human shields in Iraq (read the Michael Moore blog post linked above), supporting the Saddamist regime.

And while I don't care for Ms. Sheehan or her political objectives, there is an element of this that is profoundly sad. She allowed her political ire to blind her to the most important things. Family is more important than "the cause." Because the simple things still do matter. And Cindy Sheehan will get no form of satisfaction from this worthless boondoggle. Bush will not meet with her. He will probably never again acknowledge her. And she will be left emptyhanded--the wasted, shriveled, unsatisfying fruit of her own ill-advised choices.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The 9/11 Commission Per Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn is a favorite of mine. His latest column on the 9/11 Commission's failure to think outside the box is here.

In my opinion, the only person on the Commission who retains any degree of respect is John Lehman. And Steyn is right. Most of the commissioners are political folk with not enough history behind them to have moved past the need to turn their opportunity to serve the nation in a nonpartisan way into an effort to protect cronies and themselves.

Able Danger proves that the Commissioners were about very little more than adding something to their resume...and for some, protecting things already on it.

More of a Flavor for Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan, the President's unwelcome new temporary neighbor is probably the last person that the radical anti-everything left needs as their poster child.

Powerline has this post, which leads to this and this post at Solomonia. As Powerline notes, this is the same old 20th Century leftist smorgasbord: anti-semitism, doveism, and support for terror, especially Palestinian terror.

And Solomon seems to agree that Sheehan is a shill for the left. He says:

Never underestimate the American people's ability to "get it." Cindy Sheehan is pretending to wish to speak to the President again, but most people understand that she's made it clear there's no point to it.

She lost her son.

That buys a LOT of leeway, but when you use that loss for politics, and you start spouting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and you start saying things that some people feel puts other kids lives at stake, you start squandering that good will and may even start calling down for a bit of tough love.

Let Cindy Sheehan practice her free speech, but please beatify someone else.


Spare us Cindy. We felt terribly for you as a result of your loss. But that doesn't translate into a bully pulpit for you to behave in an arrogant and rude manner and to air all of your political grievances. And it makes the rest of us feel used for having taken you seriously in the first place.

ADDENDUM

A realy excellent comment below highlights the problem of the left's sense of duty. It's to the revolution, er- message. Cindy is all about radical politics. Her family will come second. Take a look at what she is up to instead.

How Does One Fix This?

I caught an article on prison rape. The states are trying to crack down on some of the more unpleasant things going on in prisons. To be specific, they are prosecuting prison rape. But what's the punishment?

Getting sent back to prison? So they can rape again? Oh sure, I guess there is solitary confinement, but watch the administrative people care about that.

I fail to see the deterrent factor here. But it ought to impress upon everyone else the grim realities of prison life. Best to stay on the safe side of the law!

Jamie Gorelick's Legacy

When voir diring a jury, one of the many questions they get is whether they actually witnessed any of the events giving rise to the trial before them. If they did, they're pretty certainly out.

Which is why this story sticks in my craw. Which causes me to revisit the matter of what Jamie Gorelick was allowed to be on the 9/11 Commission and not on the witness list in the first place. Gorelick helped to erect "the Wall" which prohibited information sharing between intelligence and law enforcement. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, whose terms she took well beyond the requirements of the law by her own admission, prohibits sharing of information that intelligence gets with law enforcement for the purpose of nabbing domestic criminals. But Gorelick raised the wall altogether, prohibiting just about any kind of meaningful exchanges, like the kind referenced in the Fox link above.

Able Danger was designed to prevent 9/11. Gorelick's efforts prevented action from being taken. And the fact that this particular instance is only now coming to light proves all the more that she did not belong on that commission, as she would be investigating (and perhaps covering) her own actions. People within the Clinton Administration will do whatever they must to prevent much more embarrassment from coming to their "legacy".

But the bigger problem is that this raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation they ran and the report they wrote. Any butt-covering makes for a compromised report. And from where I sat, the Commission was filled with and led by dolts. The Chairman, Thomas Kean, a man whose background is mainly in education not national security, stood up for Jamie Gorelick for reasons unknown, but from just about any viewpoint, if she had personal knowledge of "the wall", she needed to be a witness, not someone in a position to minimize the role of this impediment to information sharing in the Commission's report. I'm not saying that she did that because I have no evidence.

But she was the #2 at the Reno Justice Department which was involved in the ridiculous raising of the wall higher than it had ever been, and the Justice Department best known as Clinton's personal shield from political embarrassment and legal problems. Draw thine own conclusions.

But the fact that the Commission somehow "missed" this non-detail further erodes its credibility.

And the problem is not going away.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is fairly hot about it. This has the potential to undermine the Report and the work of the Commission. Gorelick should have recused herself. Because this just stinks.

Sheehan - Full of Anger, Other Things, Herself.

I posted on the protest of Cindy Sheehan last week. This woman claims to be seeking a second meeting with Bush by camping outside of his Crawford ranch, seeking answers for her son's death, but really, seeking an opportunity to politically embarrass Bush. She is joined by the likes of MoveOn.org who shares her grief. Or more likely, understand and by their presence, unwittingly expose the fact that she is a political phony. And a Drudge post this morning indicates that her alleged mourning extends to other issues.

She wants Israel out of Palestine, doesn't want to pay her taxes, and wants an impeachment. I wonder if she has an opinion on Judge Roberts too?

Whatever pain Cindy Sheehan claims to be experiencing regarding her son's loss, that thin fog of legitimacy evaporates pretty quickly in light of the fact that she is using this as an environment for airing her other angry leftist grievances. It's not about wanting answers, it's about using her son's death for her own political objectives. And that strikes me as just a little sick.

As far as I am concerned, her protected status as a mourning mom is long gone. She is a shill for the far anti-war Michael Moore left.

Environmentalists Hate Roberts Too

While I have my reservations about John Roberts, whose Constitutional allegiance (to the exclusion of political allegiance) is not yet confirmed over a period of years, it's very hard to take a handful of involvements over a lifetime and translate them into a conservative political agenda. But don't count out the wacko environmental left.

The referenced link indicates tangential involvement at best in environmental issues. But these people oppose him because he did not reliably side with them. In other words, he's not in their pocket, so they won't support him. But this argument is pure hogwash.

This is left opposing Roberts whether there exists a reason or not. And the tail wags the dog with their research as the article shows. They are looking for reasons to hit him by twisting unrelated details together, and frankly, these aren't strong bases to say that he is an environmental ravager.

It's fine to dislike the guy simply because he is Bush's appointee, Catholic, conservative, etc. Of course, it's also stupid. But stupid is all most of these people have to stand on.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sheehan Wants Retribution Not Consolation

Cindy Sheehan lost her son in the War on Terror. She met with President Bush who offered what consolation he could.

And now she's mad at Bush and wants to meet with him again.

So in order to get that second meeting, she is staging the equivalent of a sit-in outside the President's Crawford ranch (along with the most assuredly coincidental participation of MoveOn.org and others), wanting answers for her son's death. Read this account and this one. These are not peaceful protesters, but a belligerent crowd of perpetual malcontents who are wanting to spread political ideology. Note the blood-for-oil claims, hunger strike, and the guy asking why Bush's daughters aren't fighting in Iraq. A classy bunch.

In Ms. Sheehan's defense, people who are grieving the loss of an immediate family member behave in extreme ways. I have witnessed what would otherwise be considered antisocial and extreme behavior by people who have lost very close loved ones. People behave foolishly and we are supposed to make allowances for that. And the loss of her son in a war with which she did not agree must be unbelievably difficult.

But Ms. Sheehan has already met with President Bush who consoled she and her family. She wants an explanation as to why her son died. But what on earth does she expect from him? What she really wants is for Bush to say the following:

I lied to you and the American people about why I went into Iraq. I did it for oil for my rich oil buddies at Halliburton. There were never weapons of mass destruction. I knew it then and I know it now (notwithstanding the fact that the British, French, Russians, Egyptians, and Jordanians still believe there were WMDs). Dick Cheney is running the White House, and I am a complete dolt. He and I will both commit hara-kiri. Thereafter, we will violate the Constitution as a capitulation to the rabidly insane and insatiable ire of the left by ceding the presidency to John Kerry, as we stole the 2004 election insofar as we got more votes than him, or Al Gore, given that we similarly stole the 2000 election by not just giving it to him, as a close election should always go to the Democrat. Whichever.
As stupid as that sounds, and without my ridiculous hyperbole, that's what she wants to hear. Bush can't offer anything more to her than personal consolation. This woman wants philosophy and politics which she must know she will not get from him. Which means that all she really wants to do is to make an obnoxious and embarrassing pie-in-the-face scene involving the President and to get herself arrested as a faux martyr to whatever cause she thinks she is championing. Her family seems to agree.

It's one thing to be an angry, grieving mom. It's entirely appropriate to pound one's fists and demand an answer to the unanswerable because that's what grief is all about. But it's quite different, and the alleged cause loses its veil of righteousness when it goes completely political, looking not for answers, but rather for personal and political gratification in the spotlight.

It's no longer about the loss of her son. It's about Michael Moore politics with a soldier's blood shamelessly wiped all over it to create the illusion that her cause is genuine. We sympathize with her loss. It does not change the legitimacy of her politics.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Living High on the Devil-Pig

Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed hates the great Satans of the west. He is an London-based, Syrian Islamist cleric who declared the London bombers of 7/7 the "fabulous four." But he sure as heck likes the British public welfare system. You see, after years of enjoying the food & luxury of the devil-pig infidels, and collecting the equivalent of $700,000 over 19 years in public benefits, he intends to return from a lengthy trip to Beirut for an angioplasty in London.

And then again, perhaps not.

Britain is not the only place with physicians, and the British would rather not pay for the health care of a guy who wants to kill them.

But the funny thing is that the ailing cleric's claims, namely that he is ill and that his safety might be in danger if he went to the Middle East. As the British noted, he was well enough to fly. And one might not miss the fact that Lebanon, to where he flew, is in the Middle East.

Try Paris, Sheik. The food's better.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Terrorists' Rights Trump National Security

Britain has gotten wise. It is deporting individuals who it deems are threats to its national security. And who could blame them?

Radical human rights groups, of course! It seems that Amnesty International, Liberty and the UN all feel that it is a bad thing to deport 10 Islamist terrorists who were interdicted as a result of last month's bombings. They are concerned that these terrorists' countries of origin may mistreat them, and if you read the articles, it seems to me that they don't think that they can trust a number of Middle-Eastern nations not to torture these expatriates. The funniest thing about it is that these are, again, terrorists. They fear the very treatment which they want to bring to the western world that naively gives them quarter. How ironic. Further, it seems that by the logic of these "human rights" organizations (as one might ask, "which humans' rights are they defending?"), the rights of the terrorists not to be harmed as part of a just punishment exceed those of the peace-loving people of the nations the terrorists are trying to harm.

Interestingly, the nations about which there exists the most concern are Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Most interesting are the comments from Manfred Novak, the UN's special rapporteur on torture in the above-linked article. Speaking for the U.N., he stated:
If a country usually and systematically practises torture, then of course they would deny they were doing it.

Fair enough, although I suppose those nations which do not practice torture would likewise deny it, but I digress. His inartfully stated point is that he does not trust these nations, and with good reason. But Mr. Novak's organization, the U.N., has had all of the above suspect nations, with the exception of Yemen and the UAE as members of its Commission on Human Rights within the last five years. Browse the list of member states and enjoy. China was on it during the Tiannanmen Square crackdown in 1989. Draw your own conclusions.

One possible solution would be to send them to such current benevolent member states as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or the Sudan, all of whom welcome radical Islamist activity and would almost surely not torture such individuals.

But I think Mr. Novak may have spoken out of school. Many of the nations whom he rightly distrusts are representative of most of the nations which comprise the U.N.--third world tinpot dictatorships. But the U.N. seems to forget that these nations whom it does not trust to punish their own citizens are the same nations which are given voice to criticize the United States and Britain for protecting itself from those same people who propose to commit acts of mass murder within their borders.

"Trevor, the matrix...is not perfect."

Poll Number Nonsense, and Bush's Own Fault

It is clear that poll numbers are meaningless to the President. They will likely have no further relevance to him in his lifetime. He is done running for office. But if you listen to the Democrats and the loony NYT left, one would imagine that polling in the mid forties is the end of the Administration.

Bush has never governed by polls. He knows that they slip up and down. Interestingly, Bush was re-elected nine months ago with about 51-52% in the polls. He now sits in the mid forties with a error range of about 3% one way or the other. So given the "terrible" polling data from which the media claim Bush suffers, he may have slipped just a bit, and so little slippage in the face of their relentless negative pounding actually says quite a bit about the faith the nation has in a President whose Administration is probably one of the worst communicators ever.

If Bush's Administration has one single failing, it is that they cannot control the message. They are reactive, not proactive, meaning that they spend more time correcting unfair media misstatements of facts rather than simply stating the correct facts in the first place. Such ineffectiveness cost Jimmy Carter a second term, and very similarly Bush's father. And the media have done their best to use the words "quagmire" and "failure" to describe the war in Iraq. They have refused to speak to soldiers coming back who believe in what they are doing over there, rather selecting young John Kerrys who will come back and paint the worst possible picture of the place. They have failed to accurately report on what is a growing and booming economy. But they'll report the negatives, both real and perceived, as quickly as they can. And despite both conditions which should spell political doom for the President, Bush's poll numbers have remained fairly stable. People are not caring as much and have probably tired of the MoveOn/Michael Moore hysterical rhetoric.

But the issue of poll numbers has some relevance. Bush does not intend to sit on his second term. He is pushing Social Security and probably tax reform in the next two years. And Democrats know that a popularly weakened president will have problems, especially in the Senate, passing any meaningful legislation if he doesn't have the nation behind him.

And if Bush wishes to have a successful second term it would be advisable for him to communicate his agenda directly to the American people who re-elected him. Because the media won't do a thing to help him.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Roberts Kids and Why They Matter to Their Dad's Appointment to the Supreme Court

It's pretty clear that the New York Times is investigating the adoption records of John Roberts' kids because he disagrees with their editorial board. Here is their response to inquiries, courtesy of Hugh Hewitt:


Dear Reader,

Thanks for writing to us.

While the public editor does not usually get involved in pre-publication matters, Bill Keller, the executive editor of the paper, told us that he would not stand for any gratuitous reporting about the Roberts's children. He said that as an adoptive parent he is particularly sensitive about this issue.

In addition, a senior editor at the paper wrote, "In the case of Judge Roberts's family, our reporters made initial inquiries about the adoptions, as they did about many other aspects of his background. They did so with great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue. We did not order up an investigation of the adoptions. We have not pursued the issue after the initial inquiries, which detected nothing irregular about the adoptions."

Sincerely,

Joe Plambeck
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times


The funny thing is that there is nothing routine about such an investigation of such an intimately private and personal matter as this response implies. Nobody would have bothered (nor did) to pry into the family matters of Breyer or Ginsburg, so the very innocent spin attempted by the NYT public editor rings completely hollow. If they were "sensitive" as they claim, they would not have bothered in the first place. Who are they kidding--they want to trash the man through his kids. Yet another example of just how creepy and putrid the left has become in their pursuit of power.

Adoption records are sealed for a reason. The law favors integrity of families, and sealing the records prevents birth parents--and others--from disturbing established families, it being in the best interests of the children that they have stability. But to the NYT left, Republican parents and children shouldn't enjoy those rights.

It has zilch to do with his fitness to be on the Supreme Court, and is sleazy and mean. But why peck at those records? What does the NYT think is in there?

Drudge's take makes some sense. They want to show that the adoption may not have been done in a legally proper way. Meaning, they wish to break up this family because the NYT doesn't like Roberts. His children are fair game, if not tools in their efforts.

Forgetting how absolutely mean it is to involve one's children in an effort to create political harm, this effort falls completely off of the radar screen of evil to twisted and grotesque depths of cruelty heretofore unexplored and unexplained. They actually want to get into the legal union of the family and snap it. Seriously, what other possible objective could they have had here?

Folks, this is one to remember, and reason to cancel your subscription because the Times has finally crossed the line.

Political Correctness Will Be The Rope By Which They Hang Us

There is such a thing as virtue, and then there is blind stupidity. Those possessed of wisdom can tell the difference. Those possessed of pride and arrogance cannot.

It is virtuous (if not moral and legal) to treat people of different races in the exact same way. God indeed did create us equally and designed us to afford one another the same rights and responsibilities that others have. It is wrong to have different intellectual and moral expectations of persons based upon their ethnicity and skin color, because history has proven that same need not be a barrier to excellence and success; it just depends upon the motivation of the individual.

To speak more specifically, it is wrong to "racially profile" as that term has been used in America. Pulling over a black man in a Lexus--solely because the officer has a racist presumption about how a minority may come by an expensive car--is repugnant both legally and morally. And stopping people of Middle Eastern descent because one thinks that they might be terrorists is equally misguided. In this case, racial profiling has nothing to do with a profile at all, but rather a racial or ethnic stereotype.

A profile is different.

A profile is a set of characteristics based upon factors which are known about perpetrators of crimes. There are things that can be discerned, for example about child molesters and abusers. They tend to be adult males, people who like to hang around children, tend to be better educated than most, seem to be pillars of the community, and seek to have opportunities to be alone with individual children. It is also how we catch serial killers, rapists, and the like. And it's a similar game with terrorists.

They tend to be male, Middle-Eastern in descent, Muslim, young, may appear nervous at or near a public place where they plan on perpetrating a terror act, may be mumbling (praying before performing an act), carrying a large bag or wearing an unnecessary large coat, and just behaving unusually. Any grouping of a few of these factors would certainly tip one off to the fact that an individual may need more attention from security personnel. All of them together mandate an immediate interdiction.

And profiles do break down. In London, the police chased a swarthy looking man in the tubes who was wearing a long coat and who ran from them when they told him to stop. Not only did he run, he hopped a turnstile before he was cornered and shot. But he need not have died. The cause of his death was not the lawfully fired police bullets, but rather his own stupidity. He wasn't Middle Eastern, and he wore the coat and ran from the cops for reasons known only to him.

But the point of profiles is that they have some statistical validity, otherwise law enforcement wouldn't bother with them. But refusing to use them because they sometimes involve race or ethnicity ignores the realities of the world and reflects a willing and dangerous ignorance. And it wastes law enforcement and intelligence resources. Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta is indeed a fool, as he restricts the TSA from performing any profiling. Mineta needs to realize that frisking granny makes us no safer, makes a mockery of our security, and does not not make us appear noble and high-minded. It makes us look stupid.

True indeed that al Qaeda is trying to find new recruits that don't fit the profile. But if we keep avoiding their profile, to make ourselves feel less bigoted or racist, they may not have to bother. True, they may part from the Arab appearance, but it's unlikely that they are going for little old ladies.

We have a chance to catch them and stop them if we pay attention to known realities. All of the 9/11 hijackers were young Middle Eastern Muslim men cloistered together and behaving oddly in the months before they attacked. No, not all young Middle Eastern men think and behave alike, but the motivations likely to be of interest to authorities than those of old while-haired ladies. But a refusal to use that knowledge because some cranks may raise the tired old cry of racism, and a desire to appear on the political cutting edge, is blind stupidity borne of pride and arrogance.

And that gets people killed.

Peter Jennings - Goodnight and Thank You

We lost Peter Jennings to lung cancer last night. We thank his family for lending him to us for so many years. Whether we agreed or disagreed with his reporting or whatever else, we can all agree that he was a dedicated to knowing and reporting the issues. I don't always like the way he laid things out. I didn't always agree with his reporting. But he loved us enough to spend his life telling us what what going on. He was our friend. And he was a good father and husband. And now he leaves us, too early, and without the opportunity to wish him farewell.

Thank you for your work for us. We pray for the comfort and peace for his family. And we thank them for letting us have him for so many years.

Goodbye friend.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Back In The Saddle

Between bad internet access and busy vacation, I've been off. But a couple of things to pay attention to:

The Recess Appointment of John Bolton

This was a brilliant political move. Bolton will be the U.N. Ambassador until a new Congress comes in, and one more likely containing more Senate Republicans. By then, Bolton will have shown his fitness. And Ted Kennedy's accusing the President of sneaky behavior is laughable. Her never complained when Bill Clinton did it over 100 times. And Ted Kennedy still lacks any moral authority to make any comments about the ethical behavior of anyone else.

Profiling

The Brits are getting it right. And it likely won't kill us to follow their lead. Profiling people (or excluding people from searches) based upon a statistical profile is not "racial profiling". It is wise. And as many will discover, certain people will be stopped who have no Arabic descent. But insult or not, it will save the lives, even of the hypersensitive left. And I think they'd rather be happily outraged than dead, right? More on this later.

Helen Thomas Suicide Watch

Former White House correspondent, perpetually miserably angry curmudgeon, and reject for the role of "Momma" in Throw Momma From the Train, Helen Thomas promised that she would kill herself if Dick Cheney ran for president. All he has to do is run, not win, mind you. and it is very inexpensive to set up a campaign. But I certainly would not want to see Helen do herself any harm. My goodness, no.

But then, refocusing her persistent reservoir of leftist anger, she claimed that her comments were taken out of context and that she would never speak to a reporter again. Fancy that: a reporter claims that another reporter took her comments out of context!

What goes around comes around Helen.

Roberts' Kids and the NYT

The New York Times, in an effort to make sure that John Roberts if the right kind of guy to sit on the Supreme Court has gone to a heretofore unexplored area--the adoption records of his children. Those records are generally sealed for the protection of the birth parents, the children, and the family. But the rules are different for conservatives and their kids. More on that too, today.

Harry Potter

Vacation is great, but not when you have no internet access. My ISP is moronic. Anyhow, I completed Harry Potter and am eagerly awaiting book #7. It's a shame that we have to wait. Suffice it to say that Rowling will likely lose the children's author classification and will possibly move a tad closer to Tolkien and Lewis, as one of the greats of English Literature.

There is much Christian imagery there like Tolkien and Lewis, but she certainly does not restrict herself to an allegory. Good for her, as I find imagery more effective. And to my brethren who believe that the idea of magic, etc. is evil...the same folks who objected to Star Wars, etc., be certain that you throw Tolkien and Lewis in the same bonfire that you throw Rowling. The books do not encourage the use of witchcraft. They encourage the brave and even self-sacrificial use of good to defeat evil, and complacency in the face of evil. And if Dumbledore's words are to be believed, love is the greatest threat to evil. Love of goodness, peace, and freedom. And no man has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. Just read the books.