Monday, January 31, 2005

The Personal is the Political

As you've probably heard, Hillary Clinton collapsed during a speech, likely the result of the after affects of the dreaded stomach flu. She felt better a little later, as people often do after laying down for a bit. It happens.

But then Eleanor Clift opens her squeaky maw. She said that the Senator collapsed because she was devoting so much time to her husband and her constituents that she didn't bother to look after herself. Ok.

But nobody thought the less of her after the stomach flu explanation. Can't the lady just be allowed to implode because she's sick?

Dean - Running his party into a brick wall

Dick Morris has some very pointed thoughts about Howard Dean becoming the DNC chair. I agree that Dean will likely be the Waterloo of the Democratic party as we know it.

The Republicans do indeed have very conservative members, but for a nation that tends to often sit center-right, the very conservative Republicans, like George W. Bush, one of the most conservative presidents we have seen in quite some time, are much more tolerable than the very liberal Democrats like John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy. these kinds of people can only be elected by politically insular localities like Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay Area.

And in case you were wondering, we can tell that the nation is to the right of center when the population prefers lower taxes and a strong national defense over a pacifist welfare state, and when liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton talk conservative in order to remain in voters' good graces.And don't forget...calling an opponent "liberal" during an election is a slur, but nobody calls their opponent a conservative, but rather a far-right/hard right/right wing extremist.

Dean will create an adversarial relationship with the DLC and send the moderates packing. He's a poison pill, and the Democrats are prepared to swallow.

Dean - A Beautiful Story of Love-Hate

Howard Dean hates Republicans. Which makes no sense because a good many Republicans love Dean. Heck, many contributed to him during the primaries. But alas, the love only goes one way.

But that was not the best quote. This is:

We can talk about our faith, but we cannot change our faith. We need to be people of conviction.

But how can you talk about or change what you do not have? I'm sure he'll work that one out as DNC Chairman, as well as discovering that Job is a book in the Old Testament.

But in all seriousness, Dean could be undercutting his lead. I fear that this is the same election eve over-the-top silliness that cost him Iowa, New Hampshire, et seq. Howard's failing is that he never understood the lesson that once you're up, you can't go anywhere but down. And it's easy to fall.

Howard, please don't disappoint the Republicans who love you twice.

And then there was Ted

Ted Kennedy still doesn't get it.

I'm thinking that he might have run out of Chivas before he made these statements.

Democrats not quite getting it-starting to wake up

There are few things that get the attention of naysayers like a smashing success. The vote in Iraq, despite the ratcheting down of the participation total to 60%, is being recognized by many, even John Kerry, as a victory. And per this post, it seems that yesterday was a political epiphany for many Democrats. They want to be on record as being on board with the winning team (albiet still a little critical). But you can't claim to be part of the success when you've been trying to scuttle the winning ship for two years.

Everyone seems to be abandoning Ted Kennedy's moronic call for abandonment of the Iraqi people to terror. Even John Kerry is on board with that. But Kerry makes a fascinating statement. After downplaying the importance of the election, he gives this foreign policy directive to the Bush Administration:
This election is a sort of demarcation point, and what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation...and it's going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration has been willing to engage in...Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq.
The "Global Test." So if I get this right, now that we've succeeded in Iraq we need to apologize to France, Germany and Kofi Annan. And despite the hard work and sacrifice we've put in to reach this point--undoubtedly the hardest effort that will be required in Iraq--for some reason, we'll need the French to help us go the rest of the way.

Rather than requiring apology, success of the variety we saw yesterday earns respect. It will be the French, Germans and UN approaching us, not the other way around. We can afford to be more selective with our alliances at this point because we have never been able to trust France, and Germany is an increasingly transient ally. You can have tea with Chirac, but don't take your eyes off your cup.

We've proven that not only could we demolish a nasty totalitarian state, but that we could rebuild a popular government on its ruins. And yesterday proved that the Iraqis are in this as well. They want something new and they're willing to take risks to get it. We did a nice (though understandably not perfect) job in extirpating the terrorists. But it was the individual Iraqi voters who jammed a final stake into the heart of Al Qaida in Iraq by their bravery and turnout. The age of the Middle East thugocracy is over.

The left is starting to get that, but as always, they're slow on the uptake. It's not about keeping Europe happy, it's about making people free. And the way we go about it will indeed upset some folks in Paris, Berlin and the UN. But that should never deter us from our duty. And freeing people is always the right thing to do.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq election and the ho-hum crowd

I remember the days leading up to the Afghanistan elections. Many on the left and in the media claimed that it would never work. The Afghans were too backward. Too many ethnicities and religions. Terrorists would disrupt them. They were wrong. It went just fine. But the MSM never said another word about it. The election was dismissed after that.

And so I wonder, now that the Iraq elections have taken place with overwhelming participation, dwarfing Americans' participation in their own elections, whether these same people will blow the results off as well. If so, partisan pettiness has overtaken appreciation of liberty. These people want America and the Iraqis to fail so they can be right and George Bush wrong.

Now a prediction: the Iraqis elected delegates to what is essentially a constitutional convention. The election under the constitution will take place in December. So, here's the prediction: the sourpuss left will argue that it's not this election, but rather the one in December that will matter, and that the terrorists are saving it for then. Of course, that kind of rhetoric can be self fulfilling, giving the enemy something to which they can look for hope.

And it makes me wonder. Would they rather watch the Iraqi people move into the free world, and see prosperity reach deep into the populace of that nation, or would they rather it collapse into disaster as a victory for Al Qaeda just to deny George W. Bush a political triumph?

Iraq Vote - Winners and Losers

One of the best indicators of our success in Iraq is what the citizens do with the freedoms they are receiving. All indications are that the people of Iraq understand and want the changes taking place in their land.

This morning brought beautiful news of a major victory for freedom in Iraq. At present, 72% of eligible Iraqis are believed to have voted in today's election. This is huge. Each vote was a statement against terror, tyranny and Islamism. And each Iraqi who came out of their home made an unbelievably brave decision to discount the threats of terrorists. Their bravery will affect the world forever. So the biggest winners are, by far, the people of Iraq.

And there are others. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Tony Blair, and John Howard all spent an unbelievable amount of political capital in this election and are now seeing the dividends pay off. Along with them are the Poles, the Bulgarians, the Danes, and other members of the coalition of the willing (or coerced and bribed, depending upon whether your aluminum foil hat is working). Add to that the people of the United States, Britain, Australia, and other nations supporting the effort who, while somewhat skeptical at times, were willing to stay the course, knowing that great changes require patience and sacrifice, and are never instantaneous.

And a special credit needs to go to the soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of the people of Iraq. Freedom is paved in blood. It is theirs that made this possible. Their loss was not in vain, and people are free because they stood in the path of danger and some laid down their lives. Thank you folks, and to the families of the soldiers. We will always remain grateful. Display their flags and medals with pride. Victory was impossible without each of them.

Now some fun with the losers...

Those who will tangibly lose from this election are Saddam Hussein and the Baathist leadership, all of whom have fair jury trials to which they can look forward. Osama bin Laden lost himself another nation to the "little people", and Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and his murderous toadies saw their unremitting threats and violence come to nothing. They lost. They have no futures.

Then there are those rightly worried about their futures: the Assad family, the House of Saud, and the Mullahs of Iran. All of these despots depended upon a geographically interlocking continuum of totalitarianism and oppression. Now in the middle of their region sits an elected government of laws. The Syrians and the Saudis certainly will not be happy being under an tyrant's thumb while their neighbors hire and fire their leaders at regular intervals. And the freedom-ready Iranians, sandwiched between the historically much more backward Afghanistan and Iraq won't long tolerate being the lone Shiites under obnoxious theocratic control. This does not bode well for Islamist oligarchs.

Now onto the more feckless losers. Michael Moore--'nuff said. John Kerry, all over again...he never believed in this war. And neither did his comrade, Ted Kennedy. Sen. Kennedy this week, true to form, advocated abandoning the people of Iraq to the control of terrorists who would establish Iraq as a Wahabist state. He has always ultimately come down upon the side of unprincipled pacifism to the benefit of tyranny, and has consistently been on the wrong side of history since 1964. Why break the record now? Nancy Pelosi, Jim McDermott, Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean, and Pat Buchanan--people who all, for one reason or another opposed the war are now seeing that the people of Iraq actually did want us to bring them freedom. And to that, we cannot forget the mainstream media: Katie Couric, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, CBS News, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and MoveOn.org. Their constant defense of the Iraqi people's misery at the hands of Saddam and his sons was oddly misplaced. These leftists found Saddam's dictatorship somehow more appealing than the liberties that they themselves enjoy which allow them to report half-truths and voice their own opinions as fact. Would that we could let them tangibly experience the government they would have foisted on the Iraqis.

And to that end, we also need to add to the list the likes of Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, and Valdimir Putin, whose faux dovishness was a cover for their protection of lucrative and illegal weapons deals with Saddam's government. I'm sure the people of Iraq won't forget who cared for them.

And lastly let us not forget the worst of the bunch, the 9/11 terrorists. It's hard to say where we would be had they not attacked us, but we know that as a result of their acts on that day, two of their most beloved dictatorships and the terror organization to which they belonged died, and others are likely on the way. They meant their acts for evil, but we turned them for good. Would that they could have survived to experience the work that their hands begun. They murdered 3,000 people. Between Afghanistan and Iraq, we have so far freed about 55 million people. And we're not done yet.

Freedom is on the march. Iraq is just the start.

Friday, January 28, 2005

...Now His Failure is Complete!

Title courtesy of Darth Vader. Another title for this post would be "Keptin, She's Listing!!"

Check out the latest on Michael Moore. As I've said before, the movie's fate was sealed in the early morning hours of November 3, 2004. And as we know, given that Democrats shoot their own wounded after failed elections, Moore's movie's value was determined by its ability to pull a victory.

In all fairness to Michael, he didn't actually apply for the documentary award, (too busy putting out ads for an Oscar nomination that never materialized) but I think the two hits in the same week can't be good for his ego. Probably not great for the waistline either as he gulps down pints of Ben & Jerry's to drown his sorrows.

Ignore the man behind the curtain

Check this article from the great Charles Krauthammer. I agree with his conclusions, but I wonder what this means for the Democrats and black voters.

I know that the Dems can't live without black voters. They won't even be able to hold the vast number of urban congressional seats they currently do. But will mistreating a conservative black do the trick? I'm not holding my breath.

The left has so demonized black conservatives, to the point that they are viewed by the average black voters as "betrayers" of other blacks, their heritage, sell-outs, etc. That stigma has stuck. So I somehow doubt that this will cost the Democrats much of anything.

But the vitriol with which black conservatives are regularly greeted by white and black liberals alike is a sign of just how soft the Democrats know their support would be if urban blacks began to take an individualistic attitude. Because it would be a frightening thing indeed if the Dems were discovered for the poverty enablers and profiteers that they are.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

What are we doing tonight Brain?

...Same thing we do every night Pinky...Try to take over the world!

Remember Pinky and The Brain? Scroll to the bottom of this article.

This is the kind of stuff you see in the really cheesy supermarket tabloids.

All kidding aside, this is mad scientist crap that triggers the "we can but should we?" debate.

The Nazi Schoolmasters

It takes a special mind to be able to justify the murder of innocent civilians. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and the Kim family of North Korea were able to do it.

And so is Ward L. Churchill, a University of Colorado Ethnic Studies professor. Professor Churchill is a standard issue academic America-hater who claims that the people killed on September 11, 2001 had it coming. Check the link, it lays it out effectively enough.

It's bad enough that this toad still has a job, as such anti-American talk was the kind of thing that would get you fired only a few years ago. But not only are the President and Board of Regents at Colorado keeping him on staff, he's been tapped by Hamilton College in Clinton, NY to speak his views.

Hamilton College put out this statement about Churchill's visit to the campus. This institution which so values debate might do well to make Prof. Churchill share the stage with an opposing view.

The problem with all of this is that academia has taken the notion of open mindedness to a crackpot extreme. There are certain viewpoints which cross the bounds of human decency. This is one of them. The notion that this immoral viewpoint and others like it which justify murder, violence and hate are coequal with the values held by most Americans, is obscene.

The Nazis and Communists justified murder because it suited their needs. The Islamists do the same today. But to give these people a place in our colleges and universities where they can twist young minds is intolerable.

Michael Jackson - throwing down the other glove

Michael Jackson is trying to turn the tables on Tom Sneddon, the Santa Barbara County DA who is trying to convict him. He wants Sneddon to try the case against him. Sneddon has pursued Jackson for years, trying to nail him on molestation charges. He may finally have succeeded, but this latest gambit may pay off for Jackson.

Regardless of whether Jackson is guilty, this is a very wise move on his part. He doesn't have a choice of prosecutors, but he can make this an ego contest. And Sneddon has just enough ego that he could be stupidly tempted into such a battle.

Granted, the witnesses against Jackson have their own problems, but Sneddon's presence would put an altogether unattractive face on the prosecution. He is too personally invested in this case to be able to dispassionately try it. He will become an issue in the case, and a very attractive target for the defense. In his absence, all the defense can do is call these children and their parents liars.

This one's going to be close. Jackson's macabre history and appearance do little to advance his cause. But bringing in a troublemaking DA may just be the medicine Michael Jackson needs.

Unprincipled Opposition

85-13. It was a landslide confirmation for Condi Rice. But it should have been a 98-0 vote. Or at least an 85-0 vote. Why am I dissecting a win? Because these confirmations always sail through with generally unanimous votes. This is a sign that the Senate will be fertile ground for Democrat mischief for the next few years.

Barbara Boxer has now claimed that after giving Dr. Rice yet another opportunity to clarify her testimony on the price of yo-yos in Hong Kong, she muddied the waters all the more. Which Boxer would have said no matter what answer she received. But it seems that Boxer's ditzy little commentary at the hearing had another objective. A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fund-raising letter was just issued highlighting Boxer's fairly unintellectual attack on Secretary Rice. So, in an effort to get money, Boxer tried to serve up some red meat in order to add some fuel to the Senate Campaign till to restore her party's standing to something greater than 44 seats.

John McCain summed up the whole crude display nicely by saying, "I wonder why we're starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion...I can only conclude we're doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the elections. We need to move on."

And announcing candidacies for 2008 are Hillary Clinton by casting a yes vote on Rice, and Evan Bayh by casting a no vote. Hillary is very effectively increasing her stock and improving her image, and the yes vote just makes her seem all the bigger a person. She ignores insults and keeps her eyes on the prize. Folks, she's a Pro. Bayh, a moderate for whom I have had much respect, played the Dean game on this nomination. He figures that will help him. It won't. But then again it likely won't matter by 2007 and 2008.

But the whole thing does not bode well for the Democrats. Politics necessarily involves a bit of backstabbing and pettiness, but I have never seen the Democrats so absolutely off-the-meds stir crazy. As I stated in my prior post, I think that they are in a long-term downward trend, and 1994 was the beginning of very real slippage on all levels. These are the cries of people in desperation. The problem is that they really have nothing else with which to fight. Because we stopped believing them years ago.

The challenge is now to the Republicans, both Congressional and Presidential. Controlling the Federal Government is only a useful thing if the power is used prudently. Control spending. Upgrade the military. Keep us safe from the bad guys. Reform the tax code. Rein in government. That's the reason they were hired. And if they keep doing as they have been, namely the pre 1994 status quo, and they'll rightfully be out on their collective ears.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The New Detention

I fondly remember the days in school when corporal punishment was a very real possibility. We feared it, some expected it, and it really kept us in line. If you got into a fight, the instigator was busted. If it was a mutual affray, the janitor got a paid afternoon off courtesy of both of you. And God forbid that your parents found out that you were a troublemaker... Your headstone would be in the works before you got home.

Fast forward to this bit of garbage. I authored and received so many things like this when I was a kid, that it became a contest to see just who could outdo the other. It was a compliment to receive one.

So a few elementary students got in trouble for doing it. but rather than an embarassing and time-consuming punishment, they received records instead. Got busted. By the cops. Jailed.

I could rant on and on about how ridiculous this is, but I'll just leave it with a question:

Since when has it become policy to bring in the cops before the parents when kids do something dumb like this?

A little soft racism

The President deserves credit for his diplomacy with the most difficult group in the world to deal with--the Democrats. He couched the 9 hours of tirade against the Administration and Condi Rice as "debate", in order to avoid calling it the foul display of partisan sour grapes that it was.

But I liked a bit more the reaction from Powerline to the Democrats unsurpassed gall. My gripe is not so much that they are holding this nomination up for political purposes, but the total lack of shame that they had in letting Sen. Robert Byrd have a voice in the matter.

Trent Lott lost the Majority Leader's seat because he gave a completely innocent (if inadvisable) toast to his Senate friend, then-Sen. Strom Thurmond who ran on a segregationist platform. The left, especially those in the race industry raised their usual high-pitched squeal until the Republicans replaced Lott with Bill Frist. It was an offhand remark that was expensive.

Sen. Byrd, however, was a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Kleegle. The late Tip O'Neill referred to him as "Sheets". Byrd claims to have renounced his dark past of racism, and I believe he really did. But is this the right guy to be delivering a smear message about a self-made black woman who grew up in Jim Crow Alabama, fighting the very kind of racist attitudes perpetuated by the likes of a younger Bob Byrd? Please, please, tell me that conservatives aren't the only ones wincing over that image.

Intentional or not, this is further proof that the Democrats have lost all credibility on the race issue. Racism is a driving force in their party. It's what gets them inner city votes, and it's how they try to marginalize black conservatives. The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings were more visceral and ugly than the Scalia hearings ever were, and they were only the first shot in the war between conservative minorities and liberals of all ethnicities. Because conservative minorities are unwelcome. There is an unwritten law of American leftist orthodoxy which states that blacks and Hispanics must behave in a subservient way towards liberals who arrange needed government handouts to them. And that law has a corollary--minorities who succeed on their own are somehow phony or the puppet of a conservative. And if you think I'm exaggerating, please refer to this post of late last year.

It's time that the decorum bubble be burst. Conservatives are too polite. The double standard needs a little exposure.

Decades of Temporary Setbacks

I remember reading a novel where a Japanese man recalled his boyhood surprise at Japan's defeat in World War II. He recalled hearing on the radio about the glorious victories of the Emperor's military. The only problem with the "victories" is that they kept getting closer and closer to Japan. Now, I'm no military theorist, but for victories to continue to be glorious, they have to be occurring further and further from home, as you gain ground in war. And I find that story particularly applicable to the Democrats' view of the potential Republican realignment we seem to be facing.

Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics.com tackles the realignment issue and the fairly deadly blinders the Democrats are wearing in that regard. He hits on one of their favorite post election excuses for losing, after of course the election theft charges against Republicans. They excuse losses by blaming them on a weak candidate, a lack of resources, and then minimize the election results as a minor setback.

The argument that the Democrats lacked strength is hogwash. They came into 2004 with the likes of George Soros funneling tens of millions of dollars on Kerry's behalf, a favorable media to the point that one network actually discredited itself to rush a hit piece on the president to the air, and a filmmaker who produced a dishonest work accusing the president of going to war in order to benefit corporate allies. They had all they needed to win.

But they lost, continuing what has become a pattern of failure. Seven of the last ten presidential elections were won by Republicans--and two of those can be credited to Bill Clinton being helped by Ross Perot. The other was a horserace between an unelected and unexciting president after a devastating political scandal and a squeaky clean southern Democrat.

The legislative picture isn't much better. After owning the Congress for 40 years, they lost it in 1994, never able to regain control of either house in ten years, save for a brief moment in 2001 and 2002 when a lone Senator defected.

While Democratic candidates may share some of the blame for their party's losses, they aren't the only culprit. The Democrats' signature policies, wealth redistribution, zealous defense of abortion, racial preferences, political correctness over factual understanding, mainstreaming of the gay lifestyle, irreligion, marginalizing and defunding the military (except as a laboratory for social experiments) and excusing lawbreaking all fall flat in Peoria. But the messenger can't take the blame for it all, as it is no accident that the party rank and file keep nominating candidates who hold those beliefs. Note also, that Democrats avoid the liberal label, while Republicans are only too proud to call themselves conservatives. The Democrats are losing elections because they are losing in the marketplace of ideas.

But the Democrats are not ready to consider that notion. They prefer to blame their lack of success on factors unique to each election.

Decades of "temporary setbacks" are trends. And the use of the term setback implies that the party was somehow moving forward. These are illusions, and frankly dangerous ones, under which the Democrats are laboring.

Victories do not take place closer and closer to home. Unless it's the other side winning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Oscars - Acknowledging Gibson, Snubbing Moore

Just because "The Passion" didn't win Best Picture, doesn't mean that it missed out on the nominations. I caught this at The Corner. It was nominated for cinematography, makeup and score awards. No, it's not the big one, but it's something, for whatever it's worth.

But it does matter in the context of who lost out. Michael Moore, rejecting Best Documentary to get a Best Picture nomination cost him everything. He was completely shut out. He'll have to pay for his own popcorn (which is good because the 55 gallon drum size gets expensive). Pity. After all that shameless advertising for an Oscar nomination too...

Hollywood snubbed Moore, "their boy," who shared the presidential box at the Democratic National Convention with Jimmy Carter. And some movie about Jesus that few of the Academy members even saw got recognized on at least a couple of levels. That's gotta sting.

Moderate Hillary

Susan Estrich, whom I greatly respect, but with whom I often disagree has a pretty straight-on piece today. In it, she lays the foundation for Hillary Clinton's 2008 run for president. Say what you like about the Clintons (and I often do), but they are the Tiger Woods of politics. They are just so darned good at what they do.

And look...Hillary is no longer seen as the dominatrix, mainly because Bill is no longer in the spotlight. She is no longer seen as the lamp-throwing temper-losing power hungry co-president, mainly because she, as Senator, can control her own image because she doesn't have to compete with Bill for camera time. And she's no longer seen as the socialist who pushed a national health care system to ration band-aids. To be sure, she still is all of those things that created such a turn off in the 90s. But she is probably one of the smartest people in the Senate. No Barbara Boxer here.

She will run, and she will answer questions about her past as first lady, sighing off the ambitions of 14 years before, as having tried to do a good thing, but learning in the process that some ideas (and an "idea" will be how it will be cast, not a bill that actually came to the House floor) aren't as workable as others. She'll cite a completely tolerable Senate record as her recent relevant past, and cattle futures, Whitewater, the White House Travel Office, and the Rose Law Firm will be old, closed issues.

It will be artwork. Stalin's photo doctors will have nothing on this crowd.

This will be a great race to watch. Now if only the Republicans can field someone...

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Little Election Day Humor

It seems that some young men have gotten themselves into some hot water as a result of some misunderstood good-natured pranks played on some Republicans who have no sense of humor. The night before the election, these brassy scamps slashed a couple of tires on vehicles which the Republican Party in Milwaukee, Wisconsin had rented to transport voters to and from the polls on election day.

And by "a couple," I mean 40. In all, 25 vehicles were disabled.

Two of these jokesters have parents who are very well placed in the Wisconsin Democratic Party, and one of them is the son of (among other things) a Member of the United States House of Representatives. And now they're being prosecuted for a felony. Of course, they did manage to hit only those vehicles that would transport voters, and some cynics might argue that this was an effort to disenfranchise Republicans. But these boys were just keeping a very close state like Wisconsin competitive down to the wire. And I have no doubt that their parents disapproved of these antics both before and after it was done.

Now, if the roles were reversed and the state were Ohio, this would very clearly be a case of Republicans attempting to steal the election (the term "steal" implying that it belonged to John Kerry in the first place, of course). The Democrats would be screaming even louder (if it were possible) about election irregularities in Ohio, added to the election-invalidating abominations of long lines, less than cheery election workers, and voters who couldn't operate the voting apparatus on the first try. Oh yes, and there would be calls for the resignations (and likely the tires) of the prominent Republican parents who would certainly have ordered the tire slashings, using their children as their willing toadies.

As it is, notwithstanding the vandalism, it's just a Republican witch hunt against the children of some prominent Wisconsin Democrats in order to punish the parents for their political views. Because it's ok to adjust the definition of deviance depending upon the politics of the deviant.

Distinctions without differences

Check this Drudge piece out. Yes, Leslie Stahl is just as partisan as the rest of them, no surprises.

But check the last line where she makes sure that she is identified with 60 Minutes and not the altogether unrelated 60 Minutes II.

Perhaps she'll investigate that show and why it went down. To do so, she'll have to walk down the hall to Dan Rather's entirely unaffiliated office.

Al Zarqawi - Helpful to freedom

Abu Musab Al Zarqawi is as bad as they come. Murderer of the innocent and powerful terrorist, as least as terrorists go. He makes no secret of his affiliation with al Qaeda. Girls, this is the kind of guy you don't want to bring home to dinner.

But his latest tape, an anti-democracy screed, is a very welcome thing.

Al Zarqawi has no standing in this battle, as he is Jordanian, not Iraqi. But he lends his voice to the mix of those in Iraq, to stand up and oppose freedom. And now, instead of just railing against the western infidels which we always hear, Al Zarqawi makes a very important distinction--the infidel versus the form of government he brings.

The infidel, of course, is a pig, with his Anna Nicole Smith, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. The form of government he brings, however, has nothing per se to do with him. But it has everything to do with the average Iraqi. In a democratic Iraq, the powerful exist for the people, not the other way around. Al Zarqawi doesn't like that because Al Qaeda is not about empowering the individual, but about empowering the governing few under a brutal clerical legal system. Recall Taliban Afghanistan. That's what Al Qaeda wants all across the globe, not just Iraq.

So the fact that the head terrorist in Iraq comes out publicly to malign the means to Iraqi freedom is a very positive thing. He places his feared face as the other option to Democratic rule. And while they may be questioning democracy, they know that it's a heck of a lot better than where they were just two years ago. And they are tired of being ruled by murderers.

Boxer Affect

I hope that you call caught Saturday Night Live, especially when they hit the Condi Rice- Barbara Boxer exchange.

They hit Boxer's sheepdog hair, and then some weird graph that was only half funny because I wouldn't be shocked if Boxer had actually prepared something so stupid. But even better, they nailed what Condi Rice's testimony would have been in a perfect world, "But Senator, I'm going to be confirmed..."

But to step out of my slightly over partisan shoes for a moment, I see real problems beyond the decorum breach of Boxer. Boxer's inquiry, such as it was, was inappropriate only insofar as she didn't require or even attempt a factual revisiting of what happened in 2002 and 2003 with our Iraq intelligence. Instead, with partisan rancor as her only justification, Boxer impugned the character of a Secretary of State. That was inexcusable.

Conversely, there would have been no decorum breach if Boxer had caught Rice in lies, or even inconsistencies. She need not be SecState if she gets caught puffing intelligence to wrongly let slip the dogs of war.

But now, on her way to confirmation, Rice enters the international fold as our chief diplomat with accusations by a U.S. Senator of being a liar. Never mind the fact that that Senator is a crackpot, it still has an effect. Either Boxer is too stupid to know that her unsubstantiated accusations carry a cloud with them, or she is so partisan that she is willing to hamper Bush's diplomatic efforts for the next four years. Ether way, this was not a good thing to do.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Who's Arrogant?

It seems Ted Kennedy has completely forgotten just how absolutely irrelevant he is becoming. But now, he has he nerve to call Alberto Gonzalez "arrogant" because Gonzalez hasn't given Kennedy the kind of answers Kennedy wants to his unending list of gotcha questions. I suppose Gonzalez's alleged arrogance stems from the fact that he didn't give Kennedy the "right" answers.

But the real crux of Kennedy's complaints are that Gonzalez might actually be in favor of using coercive means to extract information from terrorists. And being the enabler of the bad guy that he always has been, Kennedy feels that terrorists are entitled to the same protections as domestic criminals. He seems to ignore the fact that the terrorists possess information that if timely extracted, can help us interdict future terrorist operations. He also seems to forget that such future operations are designed to create an unrecoverable catastrophe in America. If he still doesn't get that, he needs to resign his seat and return to the philandering and alcoholism that he does best.

The thing that gets me is this incomprehensible belief held by many on the left that terrorists' interests in remaining unmolested are somehow greater than the rights of thousands of innocent Americans who don't wish to be blown apart. The Democrats call this "principled". I call it the enabling of evil, because whether Kennedy and his ilk realize it or not, the terrorists exploit our civility. It is as much one of their weapons as a bomb or a gun.

And it brings to mind the critical question which I answered in my ethics classes of years ago in college: If you were in Europe in World War Two, hiding Jews in your home to shuffle them to safety and the Nazis came knocking on your door looking for them, would you, A) turn them in, because you do not want to be a liar, or B) tell a lie to save their lives (and possibly your own)? I'll tell you that the only right answer is B. It leaves you with a clear conscience, lie or not, and you fulfill your obligation to your charges, the Jews you are helping, rather than betraying them to remain faithful to some lesser ideal. Because murderers are not entitled to truth or any other courtesy if they will use it for evil.

Ted Kennedy can pretend to be as principled as he likes. But his uncompromised "principles" may get us killed. And to me, that's arrogance.

Bush's inaugural - indicative of progress

Bush's inaugural yesterday was nothing short of ambitious. And the message was less to Americans than to other governments around the world who would wish us ill. No, I'm not talking about the French, the laughingstock of the world stage. They nicely marginalize themselves.

The message was very clearly pointed at Tehran, Pyongyang, Damascus, and maybe just a little at Riyadh and Jakarta, and even Beijing.

Bush's message was that tyranny breeds terror and freedom makes it less attractive.

So it seems that Bush is applying a very important lesson of international relations: as enemies evaporate, you can afford to be more selective with those whom you call friends.

Bush despises the House of Saud. They live in obscene wealth while their people live in poverty. They support Osama bin Laden in the sense that they pay him "protection" money because they know that the average Saudi hates the family for which the country is named. They were useful prior to the Iraq war. Their utility has faded in the past year, though, and the arrogance with which they treat us has not gone unnoticed despite transparent PR efforts in 2003 (anyone remember the commercials with the American and Saudi flag flying next to one another?). The idea of a democratic Iraq on their northern border is not a welcome one to the Saudi government.

Similarly, the need to stroke Tehran has disappeared. Iraq is out of the picture, and the Mullahs, seeking nuclear capabilities as they are, have been put on notice. The need to be cordial has evaporated.

Likewise, the Administration has never been a fan of the Chicoms. In 2001 when we were preparing the sale of the Aegis destroyer to Taiwan, Beijing flipped. And at that point Bush all but renewed the "two Chinas" policy which made the communists see more red than they usually do. But we need China now to help put a wrench in the North Korean nuclear program. If, however, Pyongyang collapses or is otherwise disarmed, relations will become less cozy between Washington and Beijing.

The age of tolerating the "necessary evils" of certain dictators is over. As Bush correctly observed, the preservation of our liberty involves the preservation and establishment of liberty in other lands.

To be our friend, you have to let the little guy be free. And don't test whether we'll politely take your side or boldly take his.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Celebrating Death

ABC wanted a gotcha moment for the inauguration. Jonathan Last reports that ABC wanted to spruce up the election day coverage by showing the grieving family of a soldier killed in Iraq with the pretext being that it was an attempt to honor a fallen hero. But, as the article notes, Afghanistan is a place where soldiers die too. But at a time when the MSM regularly and gleefully reports just how many American soldiers have given their lives in this war which such journalists do not favor, this very specific request for an Iraq-related funeral on Inauguration Day is quite sick. Another attempt to make a political point.

Look, we all know that you in the MSM are biased liberals who hate Bush and want to hamstring his presidency. No secret there--it's your prerogative. But give the guy his day, please. Or do you have to be complete creeps every day?

Just wondering.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Time to go nuclear

The Senate nuclear option looks better and better as we go. By that, I mean a halt on the use of the filibuster as a tool for blocking judicial and even cabinet nominations from coming to a vote. The Democrats would be bewildered when it came to the restructuring of the Supreme Court.

Here's why I say that:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed Condi Rice, with Barbara Boxer and John Kerry voting no. We know Boxer is a dunce, so her vote is no surprise, but Kerry? I guess he really did began to believe some of his own B.S. after all. Seems America made a decent choice on November 2.

But now, they want to hold up both Rice's and Alberto Gonzalez's nomination as Attorney General because in Rice's case, per Harry Reid (D-NV), they want to debate her nomination for a few hours (because that will do lots), and Ted Kennedy doesn't feel that Democrats have received enough answers to their questions. Which is the same thing they said about John Ashcroft in 2001, and is their snide way of saying that they haven't been able to grill him as much as they like to make things as unpleasant for Bush and those who serve him. Am I alone in thinking that the red nose from Massachusetts needs to hang it up?

Basically, they don't want to give the President an inauguration day swearing-in these two critical cabinet members who are guaranteed to glide through a Senate vote. How classy.

It's time to show the Democrats what a majority means. Bill Frist need not spend another moment trying to work with the backstabbing Democrats in the Senate.

CBiaS - Bush's victim

Out comes the victim card again. Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics condescends to tackle two articles filled with inane logic, here and here, defending Mary Mapes, Rather and CBS. But the greater point to these seemingly drivelous articles is that there appears to be a deep and wide support among the MSM types for Mapes and Rather, excusing their conduct and blaming, of course, the Bush Administration for getting them fired.

This particular quote from a group called FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), basically a group of old MSMers enabling the current ones, seems to sum up most of what I have been reading of late:
The lesson of the CBS investigation, then, could very well be this: Journalists can be punished for bad reporting if they have offended the wrong people. If they have merely helped steer the country into war under false pretenses, their careers can continue unimpeded.
That last sentence referred to a NYT reporter, Judith Miller, who reported what the Administration's prewar intelligence was on Iraq's WMDs. The problem with that little bit of twaddle is that it presumes that the reporter had or could get better intelligence than the U.S. government and those of Britain, France, Russia, Egypt and Jordan, which all used different sources and methods but came to the same conclusion as we did. And the "false pretenses" comment lets you know where this writer is going.

But the allegation that Rather and Mapes were sacked because they "offended the wrong people" i.e. the Bush Administration, reveals that these journalists just don't get it. To reach that conclusion they glossed over a few facts that bear recall.

- First, Mary Mapes' five years of pursuing this story evaporated over 24 hours when amateurs using commonly available word processing and internet software revealed that the documents were likely created on Microsoft Word, not a 1970s IBM typewriter.
- Second, Mapes and Rather ran several deceptive cover stories, and claimed that the documents were thoroughly examined and their authenticity vouched for, which never happened, that Bill Burkett was an "unimpeachable" source, which as a partisan, he was not, and document experts who were contacted by CBS who didn't support the story were swept aside in the hope that someone would give them something to defend. An effort to support a lie, not to get to the facts.
- Third, obviously, caution was thrown to the wind on this story, as almost all journalistic safeguards and checks were abandoned. CBS News was exposed with no defense.
- Fourth, Mapes contacted the Kerry Campaign before the story was released, leaving the impression, if not proving, that she was using her position as a journalist to collude with a political campaign whose candidate she favored. It only increased the sulfur stench when just a few days after the broadcast (not enough time to make a commercial after the September 8 story aired), Kerry released the "Favorite Son" ads based on the same information in the 60 Minutes segment.
- Fifth, and probably most alarmingly, both Rather and Mapes, despite the continued assault on their documents, continued to maintain confidence in them, that they were "right on the money" and that even if they were frauds, that they continued to believe the story they reported. Meaning that even though the basis for the story was false, they still believed the story itself because they they wanted it to be true.
- Sixth, all of these behaviors seemed to ratify the belief held by many that CBS is not about reporting, but rather about advancing a particular political point of view.

To read the words of FAIR, these issues are mere details. So to take their statements to their logical conclusion, journalists willingly using phony documents (willing because they refused to vet them like they would any other piece of paper) to tell a false story about a sitting president in order to tilt an election, all the while destroying their credibility and wrecking the name of the network for which they worked is fine. But the real wrong here is that these people were punished because they offended George W. Bush, the "wrong person", who arranged their firings with CBS executives. Of course, this presumes that CBS cares an iota about Bush, let alone whether is offended or not, and that Bush was actually offended. I somehow believe that watching one of his most obnoxious detractors have a political hit piece backfire in his face bringing his credibility and his career down in flames was just a bit satisfying to the President.

But funny stuff aside, this mindset is chilling. To these journalists, fake, politically motivated hit stories are not as much a concern as excusing the reporters purveying them. I think this fills in numerous blanks about the state of the profession and how seriously we can take their political reporting.

Boxer - Smearing Condi, Exposing Self As Pinhead

The nominees for the "No Rocket Scientist" category for the Senate should always include the junior Senator from California, Barbara Boxer.

Boxer is a pure-rhetoric-no-fact liberal. And this exchange proves it. After first obstructing the certification of the Ohio electors to make some unfounded political point, she yesterday made a speech--without really asking any questions--accusing Rice of being a liar who, in a desire to be Bush's personal toady, laid the truth aside for her boss's objectives. And in an effort to be thorough in her pettiness, took the opportunity to nitpick a comment Rice made about the tsunami, calling her "insensitive". Rice called the situation a "wonderful opportunity" because the United States could reach out to nations in need. Can't please everyone, I guess.

But I think the greater point is this: If there was evidence that Condi Rice really did deceive America in an effort to grease the way to war in Iraq, wouldn't that be just the kind of thing that the Senator would have the responsibility to raise in a confirmation hearing? If there were credible evidence that she was a liar, I'd want to hear it. I wouldn't want her as the Secretary of State. But Boxer, avoiding an excessive reliance on facts, is more content just to lay out allegations, leaving the burden on the accused to exonerate themselves.

If Boxer believes these unsubstantiated charges she makes then that would mean she is an idiot. In fact, the British, French, Egyptians, Jordanians, and Russians independent of our intelligence, believed the same things we did about WMD before we entered Iraq. Boxer ignores politically inconvenient facts. If, however, she doesn't believe her charges, but just wants to make a bitter little speech then she is a partisan hack. And that leads to yet another issue.

Why bother beating up on Condi? Sure, she was head of the National Security Council. Sure, she committed the unpardonable sin of not taking the advice of superhero (just ask him) Richard Clarke. But I think the deeper problem is the pervasive belief among many leftists that black Republicans are the mindless henchmen of the whites in the party. Certain Democrats cannot get past the notion that blacks actually CAN come to hold conservative viewpoints on their own.

Condi Rice is a young, unbelievably intelligent, articulate and talented black lady who rose from poverty to become a high-ranking cabinet official. She worked past racial barriers and made herself indispensable to to the Bush Administration. But to leftists, the analysis goes no further than the epidermis. If you don't believe me, check this post that I did back in November along with the links in it. It's ok to be a racist if you are a white liberal smearing a black conservative.

Now to be fair, the treatment that Condi Rice received from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), no conservative, when Feinstein introduced her to the committee was nothing short of warm, friendly, and welcoming. It was classy, something of which Barbara Boxer seems incapable of late.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

CBS, Becoming The Fake News For Real

CBS is trying to tap not just Katie Couric, but the guy who beats Dan Rather in ratings, Jon Stewart, on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show".

And he's trying to go with a multi-anchor format. I'm thinking Katie Couric won't leave her perch at Today to share the stage with a comedian. I also suspect that this tag-team arrangement is going to hurt the continuity of a broadcast. CBS tried it before with Rather and Chung. Look how well that worked.

Note to Les Moonves: Fix the newsroom not just the faces reporting the news.

Desperation has many faces. This is one of them.

EU vs. US - what's in a plane?

The Europeans are boasting the new Airbus superjumbo jet. The A-380 is nothing less than a super-duper dream on wings. Who wouldn't like to experience this bit of fun? But the Europeans are now boasting that they have beaten out Boeing.

Interestingly, plenty of the bluster emitted from the mouth of Gerhard Schroeder, not just Jacques Chirac. So a question...how many European nations does it take to make one airplane?

The Boeing 7E7 is not doing as well, as there has been a tepid response to its release. But here's the reality check. Remember the Concorde? Only the wealthiest of folk could afford a seat. It was a cramped little plane, but its two hour trans-Atlantic flight made the tight quarters tolerable. Same here. Why spend thousands to afford a casino in the air, when one on the ground is much cheaper? And unless this plane is going to become someone's address, it seems that the luxuries are going to be short lived. Perhaps a New York to Tokyo or to Moscow flight would allow the best value for the ticket, but seriously, are the extra thousands per traveler worth the extra convenience? Will there be enough rich people willing to regularly fly the thing to make it cost-effective? Last I checked, business class is still pretty nice.

Of course, I know of the subsidies that flow to airlines on both sides of the Atlantic, but I just can't see this behemoth being worth the bucks unless they pack it tight with passengers. And where's the fun in that?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Moonves/CBS, Selecting Replacement, Learning Nothing

Les Moonves has learned nothing from the Memogate disaster. We can tell because he is trying to recruit, among others, Katie Couric. Couric is one of the most liberal journalists out there (besides being one of the most catty), and her reporting on the Today Show, loaded with leading and biased questions, to the point that Katie is not interviewing, but attempting to see just how congruent the views of her guests are with her own.

I've suggested many a time that Katie purchase a bobble-head doll of each of her guests. All she would need to do would be to set it up, and then go *doing* on the head so she can begin asking her obvious and leading questions. Depending upon the strength of the spring and the length of the interview, she'd have to hit the head more than once during the interview. The only person for whom she would likely never need a bobble-head would be Kristen Breitweiser, and I digress by referring you here, here, here and here, where Breitweiser is jokingly referred to as the new co-host on the Today Show by Rush, given her staggering number of appearances in 2004. The point is that Katie Couric's election year coverage, insofar as it dealt with 9/11 was so rabidly anti-Bush that her selection for CBS will not likely help them move beyond the "Rather Biased" image that currently bedevils the network.

So it seems that Les Moonves views Memogate as a single incident rather than the result of insular political thought in the newsroom. I'd be selling any shares I held in CBS at this point. Perhaps such a deadly scandal as that will never occur again simply because the fact-checking is there. But CBS's ratings were going in the tank well before Rather and Mapes shot themselves in the foot. I have no doubt that CBS will continue to produce reports that contain correct statements of fact. But I also have no doubt that those statements will omit various facts that are not favorable to the political causes of the reporter. I also have little question that the analysis of those facts will reliably tilt in favor of the left. No changes, just new faces reporting the same old thing, and news consumers shopping for readily available alternatives.

Schweinhund!!!

Looks like Prince Harry is figuring out that Nazis humor is lost on most of the western world. Mucking pigs. I thought the Auschwitz tour idea was better, as that place can bring home the gravity of Nazi evil in a heartbeat.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Michael Newdow's religion

Michael Newdow is back. He's trying to prevent the mention of God at the inauguration. Newdow is trying to establish himself as the next Barry Linn. But his aggressive atheism is nothing more than his offensive attempt to do what he claims others do when they freely exercise their religious beliefs.

Newdow's atheism has in a very significant way become the national religion because many have bought the notion that the feelings of a remote and hypersenitive few can trump the religious beliefs of the many.

Newdow argues that public mentioning of a higher power will necessarily hurt the feelings of atheists, therefore, we cannot publicly acknowledge the existence of any higher power to avoid offending anyone. In other words, in order to prevent the state establishment of a religion, the government needs to uphold the tenets of atheism.

But the problem with that is that atheism is just as much a religion as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. While atheists do not regularly meet as congregations, they do have sincerely held beliefs. They have a belief regarding a higher power/creator, namely that there is not one. That belief is the central (if not only) tenet of atheism. Atheism is an exclusive belief system, meaning that it excludes all other systems in favor of itself. It is a world view that has man as a purposeless accident of nature, doomed to cease existence once life slips beyond the reach of science. Make no mistake, this is religion.

So don't view Newdow as attempting to prevent the establishment of a state religion--he's actually doing quite the opposite. By reliably objecting at the slightest hint of anything beyond the secular in the public sector, he's trying to cement irreligion as the state religion by pretending to protect the rights of a few.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order. Americans are being forced to capitulate to a religion that the vast theistic majority rejects. All because people like Michael Newdow think their religion is somehow better.

Journalistic myopia

Charles Krauthammer, perhaps one of the best opinion writers in America, nails the CBS bias issue.

It's not that Mapes and Rather meant to tell a broken and biased tale, just that their flaming liberalism blinded them to reality.

Whatever excuse is offered for Rather's and Mapes' behavior, the fact remains that they vigorously defended their anti-Bush story after average folk very effectively impeached the documents upon which the story was based using commonly available consumer software, and after document experts subsequently confirmed those very easily-discovered hallmarks of forgery. The fact that they continued to express belief in the story while understanding that the documents underpinning it may be frauds, should have answered even the most skeptical observers' misgivings about whether bias existed. Without the documents, there is no "story" to tell. They believe it because they want to believe it, not because there is any evidence of it.

This unbelievable blindness to fact, where opinion drives the stories, is enough to cause folks to call for Rather's resignation. This is a tiny, tiny blog, but I'll call for it too, for what little it's worth.

The news can't be anyone's podium.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Not just stingy, but unwanted

Here's a special thank you from the government of Indonesia. Message: your help is not wanted. Of course, this is part ofa political struggle between Jakarta and rebels in the Aceh province, but it is the pit of ingratitude.

Further, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln was asked to ship out. Given that it needs to conduct flight operations to keep its pilots and crews fresh, planes would need to be in the air. The Indonesian government was not happy with the idea and wanted to station one of their officials on every plane or vessel. The U.S. has never been big about having tin pot dictators oversee anything we do, and really is not enamoured of oversight of military operations by foreigners. So we have to go.

It's one thing to be suspicious. It's another to treat aid like a curse and treat the aid-givers as troublemakers. Which makes me wonder why we are so diplomatically polite to such absolutely filthy governments.

If the Jakarta government didn't think that the rebels disliked them before, they're really not going to like them now. Unfortunately, the rebels are little better than the government, as many of them are al Qaeda sympathizers.

There's no right answer here. But nobody can say that we didn't do our best. We can't help where we're not wanted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Election Must Go Forward, Even if Scowcroft and Brzezinski Have Lost Their Minds

Mort Kondracke has a nice piece linked from RealClearPolitics.com. on the Iraq elections and the larger Middle East problems.

The point is pretty clear. If we don't do elections now, we won't ever. Period. The terrorists will lose a lot of energy by the symbolic act of the little people voting and electing a government.

And it seems that, while Brzezinski thinks that not all terrorists are bad guys (and perhaps he's right, as I've never had a chance to meet one of the "good terrorists" to judge for myself...), Scowcroft has completely lost his mind. He has a case of Europhilia. He suggests routing Israel entirely out of the West Bank and Gaza and Eurofying the Iraq war. These suggestions are a little puzzling coming from a general, and it makes me much happier to know that he no longer has a president's ear.

The problem with these guys is that they are less concerned with the real world consequences that their fairly scary policies would have than with the opportunity to please Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Oslo and Stockholm. So while smoke billows from the Middle East these people can sit comfortably drinking their tea in Paris, congratulating themselves for policies that looked great on paper but whose genius was lost on the locals.

CBS report - doing what's required

Tony Blankley does a nice job of explaining what the CBS report was all about. In my previous post, I noted that the conclusions were of a legal variety...facts and then conclusions based on them. Really, the report does a nice job describing the facts of what happened. It just does a "safe" job of describing what those facts mean.

And Mapes was the scapegoat. We'll never know what CBS asked the investigators to do, but when the report torches Mapes as it did, it makes me think that, like the Warren Commission, CBS wanted a Lee Harvey Oswald to blame the thing on so that this icky chapter could be neatly closed.

Of course, Blankley would have liked to have had a deeper investigation of the political bias angle, but that wasn't really the point of the investigation. The report recites enough facts to lead the reader to the very reasonable conclusion that political bias drove this reporting. The unbelievable number of journalistic safeguards which were abandoned to get this story on the air, and Mapes' and Rather's continued to defense of the story regardless of whether the documents were forgeries (even though those documents are the only evidence of the story) are pretty clear evidence that they wanted to achieve personal political objectives. But it seems that the only people who believe that there was no bias are CBS and the people paid by them to investigate same. Perhaps reciting the facts as they did, yet reaching the very safe and easy conclusion they did was Thornburgh and Boccardi's way of avoiding client-enemies, while making pretty clear that the problems go beyond one journalist's failures.

Les Moonves has an opportunity to show how bright or obtuse he is. Reworking the newsroom to include other viewpoints, if nothing more than as a cure for the partisan myopia that caused this problem is a great start. Because presuming that the problem is cured by the firing of a few people invites a repeat. Might as well hire Eleanor Clift, Maureen Dowd, or Tim Robbins to fill Rather's soon to be open anchor chair in that case.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Business as usual with the Clintons

Seriously folks, I'm not looking for ways to hit the Clintons, it's just that they reek of ethical and legal disasters. Big ones.

And here's another. Dick Morris, political commentator and super genius unloads this column. Granted, Morris can't stand the Clintons and has written two books, each as responses to fairly self-serving autobiographies by Bill and Hillary. But as a constant adviser to the Clinton White House, there are few people with as clear a view of the Clintons, their relationship and their administration (yes, their administration), and the insights he offers are frightening. But I digress. Buy the books.

Unlike other Clinton scandals, this one is pretty easy to understand. A campaign employee filed a fraudulent financial report with the Federal Election Commission. The phony filing saved Hillary's 2000 campaign for Senate $280,000 at a pretty critical juncture when it looked like Rick Lazio was gaining ground on her. No way to say whether it made a difference in the election, but that's not the point.

The point is that there is likely no way that Hillary missed this HUGE chunk of change staying in her campaign. Hillary's nose has never been really clean, but she's always had people to take the fall for her. The folks that Morris names, Web Hubbell and Susan McDougal knew the Clintons for years. It's unlikely that the hired help will do the same.

Mapes - Needing seeing eye dog

Powerline posts this piece on the CBS/Mary Mapes fallout. While the whole thing is rich, and properly treated by Powerline, of particular note to me is this quote:

"I am shocked by the vitriolic scape-goating in Les Moonves’s statement. I am very concerned that his actions are motivated by corporate and political considerations..."
If Les Moonves is more concerned about ratings and corporate issues, that bodes VERY well for CBS news. For a broadcast that loses to Jon Stewart's fake news, any effort to eliminate political myopia in the newsroom can only help to build credibility. And it might actually make shareholders happy.

Mapes' charge that Moonves was motivated by political considerations (and then the subsequent defense of fraudulent documents and falsehoods about their vetting) should settle any question as to whether canning Mapes was a good idea. I'm considering taking donations for a seeing eye dog for her.

Loving the Left

Check this link out. Boycotting the economy on election day. Devastating. By the way, to all who are needing new or replacement aluminum foil hats, these guys might be able to set you up.

Sandy Burger - Fried?

Remember Sandy Burger? Clinton's National Security Advisor accused of stuffing his pants with classified documents from the National Archives to prepare for his 9/11 Commission testimony?

The new word, per a Fox & Friends report is that the investigation continues, because the concern now is that he may have removed classified documents for the purpose of destroying them.

Burger kept touting the capture of a terrorist plotting a Millennium celebration bombing as evidence that the Clinton Administration was on the terror ball. But wiser heads believe that he may have trashed these documents because of revealing and politically embarrassing marginalia made by Burger and others.

It is believed that the marginalia may have indicated that they never even took the Millennium threat seriously, but that astute law enforcement and border guards using their heads nabbed the terrorists. In other words, the Clinton people got lucky.

If this is what he was up to, Burger could find himself in jail, all for an illegal effort to preserve his name and illusions about his former boss legacy.

Now I know how harsh this sounds, wanting to bust the guy and all, but I've grown tired of hearing from the likes of Burger and Madeline Albright regarding alleged foreign policy and security failures of the Bush Administration. These are two people who wanted to deal on even terms with the likes of Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein, and who deliberately ignored opportunities to capture or kill Osama bin Laden because they feared that it might upset a few terrorist thugs. The need for the War on Terror and terrorist regimes in large part found its genesis in eight years of an apologetic and naive American foreign policy which allowed terror and thug regimes to expand unchecked into the very credible threats they are today. Kim Jong Il wouldn't be possessing atomic bombs capable not just of reaching allies like South Korea and Japan, but also the U.S. west coast had he not been able to operate under the cloak of a toothless agreement which he never took seriously in the first place.

The world is a more dangerous place for having had these people watching the fence for eight years. They have no credibility when it comes to international relations and defense. But if they wish to speak about appeasement, apologies for the existence of the United States, conceding sovereignty to the UN, keeping dictators happy, and eroding the American military might and morale, they have much authority in those areas.

It's a good thing Sandy Burger got caught, because even if he gets off (which he may), he's forever damaged goods which no administration in its right mind would touch. We don't need the likes of this guy pretending to protect us.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The CBS Report - Easy Answers

It's out now. You can find it here. The report is pretty straightforward, coming to what appear to be legal conclusions about what happened with the "Memogate" scandal.

The report heavily faults Mary Mapes, and states that she was the cornerstone of the story, and that the reporting failures came because too much reliance was placed on her. Of note, there is a discrepancy about Mary Mapes' contact with Joe Lockhart regarding the story. Executive Producer, Josh Howard says that he told her never to contact the Kerry campaign. She says he approved it. In any case, the report concludes that it was completely wrong to do it as it looked like a supposedly objective news outlet helping a campaign. Who would have thought?

With respect to political bias, the report finds evidence of it, but nothing conclusive. In other words, they laid the blame on hasty and sloppy underinvestigation, a much easier option.

But here's a few "supposes". Suppose this was evidence that John Kerry deliberately injured himself in an effort to rack up 3 purple hearts and get out of a war zone? Suppose it was evidence that John Kerry knew that his 1971 testimony before the Senate was false, based upon a recorded interview where he said he knew it was false, but had greater personal political objectives in mind? Suppose this was clear evidence that then-Lt. Kerry had actually cooperated with the North Vietnamese in Paris and may have committed acts which amounted to treason?

I suppose a few things: If this was pursued in the first place, and that's a big if, this would be the most over-documented and copiously researched story known to man. It would have been vetted by hundreds of personal interviews. It would have been verified by every means available, including the most informed experts known to man, such that all of the details would have had to have dovetailed perfectly before it saw light of day. And the story would likely never have run before November 2, 2004, and even then, not before November 2008, had Kerry won.

No, the bias was not sitting on a sheet of paper, no admissions given, but please. It could be seen woven throughout the tale by decisions made and assumptions held. Contacts with the Kerry campaign and offers from a source to help to debunk the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in exchange for dishing out documents. Ok, perhaps they just got sloppy. But in a presumed effort to avoid offending anyone, the report concluded that political bias as such could not be proven to what could only be a 100% standard. Neither can the existence of gravity because we can't "see" it. But they're still installing guardrails on cliffsides last I checked.

These are the kind of conclusions that allow a few heads to roll, but no reform, which was the whole point of the investigation in the first place.

Easy answers.

Class

Armstrong Williams is one heck of a classy guy. I had the pleasure of meeting him a while back and thought the world of him. Here is an apology he ran for what was technically a conflict of interest. His TV show accepted ads about the Administration's "No Child Left Behind" program, and then he commented on it. No question, there is technically a conflict.

But in the grand scheme of things this is kind of small. Everyone knows that Armstrong has long been a supporter of school choice and that he has been so well before George W. Bush came into office. The Tribune papers dropped him, though. He made a mistake that in the minds of some, could impinge on the motives of his writing. In any case, this apology, which I feel is more than is required, shows an element of class that is often lacking. He committed a peccadillo, he confessed, and he'll be more careful next time. How refreshing.

Check the post above for the opposite.

Michael Moore - Amazed at his win

And why shouldn't he be? After all of that self-promotion to get his movie any kind of award, he actually manages to win something. Even a blind guy with a rife will eventually hit something. This time, he gets a chintzy People's Choice award. And to him it's a mandate to make more movies like "Fahrenheit 9/11". And he'd have said the same thing if he got a popcorn discount at the concession counter. Shameless.

And eager to avoid offense, Mel Gibson won it for Best Drama. Again, largely meaningless.

Because this was the tee-ball of award ceremonies. The big one is looming.

And I'll make a call...Mel Gibson gets nothing for the Passion. Not a thing. The reason being, of course, that many of the Academy members have admitted that they never bothered to see it. They felt much differently about Martin Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" which had Christ contemplating abandoning the cross for Mary Magdalene's bed, among other things. That was a good movie if you ask the Academy. And they are comfortable buying in to the excuses that the movie was anti-Semitic because it portrayed the masses and the temple leaders (who happened to be Jewish) as condemning Christ to death. Of course, that excuse makes about as much sense as calling the movie anti-Italian, because it shows the Romans torturing and crucifying Christ. But that label doesn't evoke as much emotion as the previous one.

They just don't like the movie because it may just convict the soul rather than stir the flesh. They can spare us the excuses, as they aren't required to award any movie. They are just afraid of appearing like the bigoted leftists that they are. Too late folks.

Moore is a harder call. It's clear that he was a guaranteed winner until November 2, 2004. So I wonder if the Academy will get politico-utilitarian on him, meaning, will they reward the film for the stand-alone work that it was, or will they view it as the game-ending swing voter turn off that it likely also was and snub him? Hard to say. But keep in mind that the inauguration is just before the nominees are named, leaving the image of a recommissioned President George W. Bush freshly on the minds of Academy voters.

Gibson doesn't need the award. His film was lapped up by the commoners. They kept on coming. Christ offers a real message. If he wins, good for him, and it would be a sign that the Academy realizes that there is more to America than just Bel Air and Beverly Hills.

But Moore needs this badly. If he doesn't win it, he goes back to "Bowling for Columbine".

Friday, January 07, 2005

A brush with greatness

Well...not quite. Last night I was at my firm's annual dinner at a very nice place in Baltimore. As I was leaving, past me walked none other than the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Apparently he was attending someone's birthday party (as I heard them singing it), and he was present with a man whom I believed to be former Maryland State Senator Larry Young (D), who was expelled from the Senate for using his office for personal gain. And there were a few others, one of whom I believed to be Rep. Elijah Commings (D-MD).

Jesse gave me a wave (using all five fingers, of all things!) when I greeted him.

The man does not look well.

Which was why I did not break up his party to ask for an autograph and a picture with him. I suppose that's not the only reason...

Election reform

Ahh reform. We did it with campaign finance, and saw an election with more soft money poured into it than ever before, while abridging people's right to free political speech in the same stroke. John McCain likely made George Soros.

And now John Kerry is talking about election reform. So is Barbara Boxer, who objected to the certification of the Electoral College vote to make a point for the need to examine the irregularities in Ohio. And let's not forget the buffoons in the House--all Democrats--who started the thing and lobbied at least one senator to join them.

But some of this reform rhetoric rings a little hollow. Yes, things weren't perfect in Ohio. But folks in Florida lined up around the corner in the days leading up to the election to cast an early vote. Why isn't that a problem? Power went out at Republican Party headquarters in Pittsburgh on election day, which was running the get out the vote effort, while the Democrats' HQ across the street still had the lights on. Bush needed Pittsburgh votes in that very close of swing states to win it. And as I've noted before, ballot boxes were stuffed in several Philadelphia precincts before the voting even began. Or the Democrats' playbook. And let's not forget a little of the pre-election fun that was pulled against Republicans in October.

Their complaints, as I've said before, are limited to Bush-won states where conditions at the polls were not excruciatingly perfect for Democrat voters. Not irregularities, just life, and a system run by mostly good, but fallible people. That's not something as serious as, say the voter fraud we've seen them pull.

But I agree with Kerry and Boxer...let's reform! I'll start!

Let's purge voter rolls by comparing them to vital records registries for dead people and those who have sold their homes and moved. Let's pass a law stating that ballots that mysteriously turn up without a chain of custody accounting for their whereabouts, like those in the Washington Governor's race, don't get counted. Let's require that collection, tabulation, and storage of absentee ballots be done with bipartisan supervision. Let's do away with easily spoilable ballots, like those with chads or other features which can easily become fragile with handling after numerous Democrat-requested hand recounts. Let's ensure that ballot boxes are inspected prior to the opening of polls, with any "stuffing" to be reported to the FBI. And let's ensure that ballot boxes be under bipartisan guard until the votes are properly counted. Let's tie the hands of judges by writing laws that abolish both "intent of the voter" lawsuits and hand recounts where statute only provides for machine recounts. Let's prohibit courts from extending (or shortening) polling hours as was tried in Missouri in 2000. Because all of these things create more problems than they could ever solve.

Now, do you think the Democrats really want a system that prohibits fraud? One would hope. But since they're raising the issue and we know their history, I urge conservatives to jump in with them. Let's join them in their quest to make voting work.

But let's bear in mind one thing. It's more important that the votes be cast and tabulated in a simple, fair, transparent, and completely honest way, than "every vote" being counted. Because as we have seen a little more often than we like, not all that turns up at the polls is a "vote".

And never forget these national Democrats, magnanimous reform rhetoric aside, are willing to win by any means necessary. You'd sooner part a bear from its cubs than these weasels from fraud.

Tears of a Clown

Check this out, but not if you have a weak stomach. Apparently Sen. Boxer has taken lessons from former Democrat Colorado Congresswoman Patsy Schroeder. Please.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Boxer Rebellion

Yep, she did it. Barbara Boxer gave the one Senate vote required to challenge the certification of the presidential election, and allowed herself to become to toady of the Congressional Liberal Black Caucus who tried and failed at the same trick after the 2000 election.

It comes under the pretext that she felt that there were voting irregularities in Ohio and she wants to highlight them. Really? Just Ohio?

Coincidentally, Ohio was one of the closest states, and it's the one that put Bush over the top. I'm thinking that the irregularities became apparent to these Democrats immediately upon the networks calling the state for Bush, or the certification of the vote by the secretary of state. Whichever.

But why then didn't she oppose certification of the electoral vote in the equally close and electorally vote-rich state of Pennsylvania? Remember this bit of gold? Ballot boxes found pre-stuffed in heavily Democratic precincts in Philadelphia before the polls opened? I guess the Senator finds nothing irregular about that, likely because Democrat efforts at election tampering are regular enough. But here, courtesy of blog extraordinaire RealClearPolitics, are the alleged irregularities which warrant this act. Boxer and her CLBC cohorts in the House are upset that the Ohio election wasn't perfect not because there was obvious tampering of the kind we saw in Philadelphia.

So the Democrats are creating a standard where "irregularities" mean that if the Republicans want to win a state, conditions must be perfect in each state at each precinct for the win to be legitimate.

And as we saw in the Washington Governor's race, all they need is that one more vote, no matter how ill gotten to call it a win and a mandate.

So a little time wasted, Dan Rather will talk about it tonight as a crisis, and we'll be done.

But just spare us the smoke Senator. Boxer and other leftists like her hate George W. Bush. Which is fine, as hating is what they do best. All she needs to do is say it. But stop blubbering about manufactured "irregularities", because it is the Democrats who depend on irregularities to win close elections.

Hangin' 10 the hard way

Surfers dream of the perfect wave. This guy will have quite the story to share.

God's hand in the tsunami

Here's a Brit with a very good point to make about how God and the tsunami interrelate.

To sum up his article in a two word answer, they don't.

Truly, this nasty wave that reached across the entire rim of the Indian Ocean and packed a horrific punch is one of thw worst human crises we have ever seen in world history. And given the public health threats from decaying corpses, many more are put at risk of disease and death.

But I have no idea why God allowed this, if God did this, or to what end it was done. None. The idea that God doesn't exist because a benevolent God would not permit such suffering is ridiculous. Not only is that poor reasoning, it presumes facts about God that are unprovable and indeed, unreasonable. One is required to believe that God sees the world as we do, that God has the same sense of "justice" that we do, and that God values the same things in the same ways and to the same extent as we do.

The tsunami proves nothing.

But perhaps, as the linked article notes, it shows that we are in an imperfect world. And it also shows us that life is not always about what we want, but about what our fellow folk need. It shows us that we are fragile. We are not almighty, and that we cannot fix all problems. It literally changed the geography of the planet, moving Sumatra by 90 feet and eliminating certain islands and island nations forever. Nothing we can do about that.

But the love of God is seen in this tragedy through the acts of people. God did indeed create us in his image, and despite our selfishness & imperfection, we are still able to show that we were created by one much greater than ourselves by behaving as he showed us he would do. We give, we help, and we put people back on their feet with nothing expected in return other than maybe a smile.

Let's hold the blame for the thing and focus thanksgiving on the cure that is being rushed to the far reaches of the Indian Ocean. Because God's hand is very visible there.

Sharon Rocha - Freyed over the book

And why shouldn't she be? Her daughter, Laci Peterson, for those of you not in the know on this putrid case, was featured on the cover of Amber Frye's silly new book.

I guess the problem is that the real victim has been ignored. Sure, Scott was convicted and was condemned to die for a double murder that was quicker and cheaper than a divorce. Sure, And Amber, by her own free lifestyle and airheadedness, became Scott's plaything. But Laci and Connor died with clean hands.

It's self-serving, it makes excuses for personal indiscretion, and it's done at the expense of two innocent dead people.
And they don't get a book deal.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Democrats' final petty effort

Remember how a bunch of members of the Congressional Liberal Black Caucus members tried to oppose the certification of the Florida vote in the House in 2001? A few of them, most notably Jesse Jackson, Jr., who didn't fall far at all from the poisoned tree from which he emanated. They got nowhere because no member of the Senate would join them. Now they may have one.

Sen. Barabara Boxer of California, liberal and moron seems set to join. It's not a big deal, because nobody is taking it seriously. It would just be a procedural blip and would be over and done with in a few hours. But it can cause real troubles for Boxer, as Harry Reid (D-NV) is not hot on the idea. But she has not the intellect to understand that this is not cute. It's stupid.

Let them have their fun. It'll be a long four years.

Amber Frye - getting past the crayons and nudie pix

Check out these reviews of this learned tome of moral relativism and factual omission. Either these people believe everything they read, or Gloria Allred has been switching internet identities and posting all of these glowing comments. Now, I'm sure that Amber's facts are correct. And by facts, I mean un-spun recitations of events. But the face she is putting on this is just a little too rosy. And it almost hurts my feelings that this astounding ditz expects people to take her seriously.

Yes she was lied to by Scott Peterson, creep and murderer, and yes, I'm sure he turned on the charm heavy. But she had sex with him on the first date. There's no excuse for Scott's lies, but when you under-investigate a potential boyfriend, and erase all need for skepticism by diddling him before dessert, important facts will likely elude you in the future.

But then again, nobody ever accused Amber of brilliance. And posing nude never speaks well of one's character or intellect. Sure, sure, it's a hasty generalization, but it's one with which I feel strangely comfortable. At least the cover wasn't illustrated in crayon.

And while she did indeed do her civic duty in giving the cops what they wanted, people are missing the fact that she may have been motivated less by a desire to see justice done than a desire to prevent it from being done on her. You see, Amber's role as "the other woman" made her a suspect. There is little question that she was completely innocent (in the legal sense only, of course), but her relationship with Scott was surely not missed by the cops, and probably added a little extra incentive to her alleged altruistic attitude.

And she was likely the final nail in Scott's coffin (besides Mark Geragos, of course). So to the extent that she went public, knowing that she'd be opening her rather libertine lifestyle to national scrutiny, she is to be commended. But that's as far as I go.

Put all of this varnish (and that's all the book is) aside. She is a loose woman. She has no morals. She was afraid of both punishment, and possibly Scott. Had she not had an adulterous relationship with Scott, she'd simply be known as a floozie in the Modesto, CA area. Had Laci and her son not met a gruesome end at Scott's hand, Amber would not have been able to make cash from a book deal.

She did her duty with what I believe to be mixed motives. This is not the kind of girl moms want their sons bringing home. But she did it. Save us the sunshine.

EU sort of getting it - not really getting it.

Check this out from Drudge. The European hand-wringers are discovering that Americans and Australians, especially on the private end, are unfailingly loving and generous people. Sort of.

But then there's this fairly obvious statement on a factual level, "what's done on the ground is more important that what nations pledge in their outpouring of compassion." Of course, people who donate expect it to be used for efforts on the ground. So why make such an obvious/dumb statement? To get the gist of where this fool is coming from, check the next line writing it off as "competitive compassion."

So it's not really compassion, it's an effort to outclass other nations. Whereas before we were stingy, now we're in an arrogant race to see just how much buckage we can afford to offload. And the generosity is dismissed because it's not hands-on help on the ground. Nothing is good enough for these tedious worms.

Euro-pettiness has hit a new low. The EU can hold its slimy Euros and its forked tongue. The Americans, Austrialians, Japanese and Indians, among others will handle it.

Turkey Jerky

Recall this post from December 13. RealClearPolitics.com, genius blog, linked to the comments of Rep. John Conyers. The thumbnail is that because Democrat voters in heavily Democratic districts weren't given a champagne reception at the polls, and suffered the indignity of having to wait in line (while other Democrats voted), and because they were too stupid to understand the confusing ballots which were written using that tricky English alphabet, that Bush stole the election. Fair enough.

But when you see something like this, it makes you just a little sick. Apparently Conyers' staff took 60 Thanksgiving turkeys from a charity to distribute to the poor and needy, and they may have misappropriated them. A federal court worker (i.e., government employee, cushy job, full benefits) was apparently offered turkeys by Conyers' staff. Not a needy person.

Forgetting the most obvious issue at hand for a moment, why is a Member of Congress permitted to use a charity's resources to deceptively put his own personal stamp on a gift to the poor? Let Conyers and his staff line up on Thanksgiving day in a kitchen to feed the poor and clean up after them if they want to be involved. Let him spend his own personal money on the turkeys instead of taking free turkeys for the holidays from charities.

But back to the main thrust of the issue. Conyers and his people promised to explain where the turkeys went by the end of November. They haven't, and have repeatedly dodged inquiries. And why not? One of the people involved was someone fired from Conyers' office in 2002, and recently convicted of seven counts of fraud for a scam run out of Conyers' office in 1999. It's good to see that the Congressman forgives & forgets even infamous crimes.

I don't want to demagogue this, but this guy is quick to put Republicans under the spotlight for controversies he concocts.

So save your Jesse Jacksonian claims of election fraud, Congressman. What did you and your staff do with poor people's food that you never paid for and received from a charity? And why do you permit former employees charged (and then convicted) of criminal fraud to act as your agents? Or do ethics only apply to Republicans?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The geniuses at Powerline

If you don't visit Powerline regularly, you are depriving yourself. Today, John Hinderaker posts something about the beauty of UN relief efforts. I'm kind of funny about what constitutes a relief effort. So I use this test: did some person in need directly benefit from whatever is being called a relief effort? If they received shelter, food, water, or medical care, I'd consider it and everything in the chain that got it there "relief". I'd have trouble considering diplo-meetings "relief". But, of course, these are the same folks who were unhappy when Bush didn't talk to the press about the disaster until umpteen days later. Because suffering Indonesians, Thais, Sri Lankans, and Indians are concerned with what the President has to say about a tragedy, as opposed to the physical relief he ordered before he even approached a microphone. Parenthetically, I'd note that Kofi Annan took one day longer than Bush. Nobody said boo. These people will never get over themselves.

Then check this from Powerline. If Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was indeed captured, or is on the verge of it, it would indeed be a splendid moment for the people of Iraq and the cause of peace.

Anyone who watched The Two Towers will remember the scene where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli approached the pile of burning Uruk-Hai and Orc carcasses. There was an Uruk-Hai head on a pike, with several others off in the distance...it's a little sick, but it might be funny to see the beheader of Iraq's own head on a pike in the same square where Saddam's statue was ripped down. Take a picture and make posters of it, as it would be nice for free Iraqis to see such a thing as they enter polling stations.

And note to any interrogators of Al Zarqawi--gentleness is not required, spare the details, but just assure us when the time is right that you got the goods from him, and that it hurt. You can't kill Americans for free.