Thursday, June 30, 2005

When Election Fraud Catches Up

Powerline referred me to this site which reveals an unbelievable level of voter fraud in Illinois. Paying voters up to $10 per vote, among other things. Amazing. Also, there's an attempted murder charge, as one of our heroes tried to get a whistleblower killed.

Got to hand it to the Dems. This one even beats the other stuff I caught (warning, some of the links are now stale).

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - President, Hostage Taker

It seems that Iran may have elected one of the hostage takers who held 52 Americans in Iran after they stormed and took the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 during the Khomeini Islamic Revolution.

This article notes that several of the former hostages point their fingers at Ahmadinejad as one of the more brutal of their captors.

This really should surprise nobody. As long as Iran remains an Islamist state rulled by the Mullahs, pro-Islamist hard-liners like Ahmadinejad are always going to be favored. And given that the "students" (as young terrorists often like to be called) of that era are coming into their productive middle age years, it stands to reason that the same politically ambitious youths of those days are the same politically ambitious people today, albiet with a little more age on them.

And this should signal the fact that we can expect to be dealing with yet another hard line government out of Iran...not that the people pulling the strings are any different.

Potty Mouth

Take a look at this unbelievably disturbing article out of Taiwan. A restaraunt where toilets are the chairs and tubs the tables. The food comes in toilet-shaped bowls. I thought it was sick when the dog drank out of the toilet...and I can't imagine that the black bean soup gets much attention.

And you've got to hope that somebody has plenty of candles lit.

People Who Won't See Reason

My thoughtful reader, Terry G. continues to comment here, and here that my logic doesn't flow.

Ok, I'll concede the point that good food does not per se exclude the possibility of torture. But it's pretty simplistic to get so technical, and that's where I find the tortured logic on Terry's part. I am sure that the terrorists are experiencing physical and emotional discomfort at the hands of our soldiers. I am certain that they hate it. I am certain that they have found themselves in embarrassing and disgusting situations. But that's not torture. We are not running a hotel, we are running a prison for illegal combatants who operate a clandestine terrorist organization determined to use whatever means necessary to destroy America. If it means that a guy is chained up and soils himself in order to get him to rat out a safe house or a bank account or even an entire sleeper cell, I think I can live with that.

If others are so arrogantly wedded to a philosophy that dirty work is beyond the United States, that's their problem. They will survive another day because someone with a different point of view was in power. And as far as the value of the extractions are concerned, much of what we have used against al Qaeda has come from Gitmo detainees. I'd say something is going right.

But don't listen to me, listen to the Congressional delegation that just visited. But I somehow doubt that no matter what the facts and evidence are, Terry won't want to believe anything but that these people are being tortured by the military.

Regarding the matter of the applause for the president, Terry falls apart. Not satisfied with the point of the post (which I can only presume was read) which was that Kos was wrong, and that the soldiers held their applause on orders, we are greeted with questions about the partisanship of the soldiers present, the notion that they were polled in order to get into the place, and that their support for Bush has nothing to do with the soundness of his policies. I didn't argue that. But now that it is mentioned, it does say something.

The military showed Bill Clinton only the required respect. They make a point of showing this President more than the minimum (facing him when saluting, etc.). And given that these people are the tip of the spear (Ft. Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne and our special forces anti terrorist unit known as the Delta Force) it is interesting that they laud the man that is deploying them to what could be their last mission.

I'm just dealing with facts. But I can't reason with people who won't see the forest for the trees.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Dems and 9/11 - Rove Was Right

After the President gave his address on Tuesday night, Dems of the likes of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), and others bristled. They were perturbed that the President made several references to 9/11 during his speech about Iraq. And the reasons they offered weren't all that clear. But real reason why they objected is.

9/11 is an issue that does not work for the liberal Democrats. It brings national security to the forefront, thereby strangling their ambitions to retake Congress and the White House. They should have and could have won 2004, and same would have been easy. An economy that wasn't yet roaring, a war that wasn't producing tangible results, and a media that talked both down in order to pave the way for John Kerry to win the election all spelled trouble for Bush. But John Kerry and the Democrats, along with the rest of the left took such a radical and illogical position against the war on terror that Americans could not and ultimately did not take them seriously. From the Michael Moore and MoveOn.org conspiracy hysteria to accusing the President of being a liar, to accusations that he was AWOL from his military service in the early 1970s, and back again to say that Saddam had nothing to do with supporting terror, the Democrats lost credibility on the issue of national security. And they've never really regained it.

9/11 brings back the relevance to ordinary Americans of the war on terror. As I heard Hugh Hewitt mention last night, it would be like Roosevelt taking flack for justifying all the sacrifices and difficulties of the war effort on Pearl Harbor. It's the same thing.

So here's the situation. We were attacked. They attacked civilians on our own turf. They destroyed part of a city. They attacked our government. We weren't asking for it. So now, we are at war. Once again, WE ARE AT WAR. If you disagree with any of this, you're not getting it.

But some of the Dems certainly do get it. To the point that they don't want to hear about 9/11. They know that their response to it, after the initial obligatory displays of unity, has been driven by rabid partisanship. They also know that their national security history has been pretty poor since the 1970s. So they fear 9/11, and demonize the president for wrapping himself in that "bloody shirt". But they forget that despite the peace of the cocktail parties in Georgetown, we are still at war. Remembering that might help them retain even the smallest iota of credibility.

ADDENDUM

I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Check out RealClearPolitics which has quite a number of articles about the Democrats' political (as opposed to the feigned moral) opposition to the President's reminding us of 9/11. Powerline cuts to the chase with this post that recognizes that at one time, these same Dems saw a very strong linkage between Iraq and terrorists when they put their votes to a resolution that unequivocally made that connection. The resolution, which was indeed "bipartisan" seems to have been quickly enough abandoned in time for a presidential election. It's not Bush who has broken the bipartisanship or who has maintained the nasty tone in Washington. It's the Democrats. They backed off of their own position to find one more politically convenient.

But it wasn't convenient enough. As I said, voters are beginning to thing that the Dems can't be taken seriously anymore. Powerline reports on a Democratic poll which shows that while the Republicans have shown some slippage in their voter satisfaction which sits at 43%, the Dems have been hit significantly harder at 38%. As John Hinderaker notes, this was a likely voters poll, which makes the stats even more miserable for the Dems. Worse yet, Clinton Pollster Stanley Greenberg explains the development this way:
Greenberg told the Christian Science Monitor he attributes the slippage to
voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of
view."
I don't know how to say it better.

Kos Belli

The more I read Daily Kos, the more I am convinced that the left cannot engage in any intellectual discussion, and must emphasize every point by dropping the F-bomb all throughout their writing. Not that I'm a saint in this regard, but intelligent debate requires candor, and these folks lack it.

They also seem to lack any concern for the entirely of the facts, to wit, this post. Kos makes the point that the lack of applause was a sign that the soldiers present were refusing to applaud the President. And that is hogwash, and he knows it.

I was watching the same Fox News he was when they reported that the soldiers were directed not to applaud by their superiors, taking orders from the White House. The one bit of applause was indeed caused by White House aides, but Carl Cameron made a point to state that the soldiers began applauding because they thought they could, after hearing the applause behind them. Bush didn't want a rally, he wanted a real policy speech uninterrupted by cheering.

And note the reception he received after the speech. He walked off the stage and greeted the soldiers one by one, all of whom wanted a piece of him. Failing to applaud, but wanting a picture with him? Please.

No Kos, he hasn't lost the respect of the military. They were following his orders. The left's desperation evidenced by their willingness to twist any story to undermine this president is staggering.

Conservatives couldn't do a better job at sinking you guys than you are doing yourselves. Thanks for the help and keep up the good work!

Democrats - Bush Speech Failure - Didn't Call Iraq a Quagmire

This time last year, it seems that every breath out of the mouth of the liberal Democrats, and most notably those in the Senate was "Halliburton". Today, it's "quagmire". It a cute little word that means something like "quicksand" or a muddy trap. It was used plenty in Vietnam, which is why the left likes to use it for this war as well.

The President hit the airwaves last night and did a nice job laying out the ground covered and the road ahead in Iraq. And he made clear, as he did on 9/11 that this will not be an easy task, nor one done quickly. We have to be patient. The victory does not arrive by FedEx in the morning.

But if you ask people like Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) one of the more liberal and obnoxious members of the Senate Democrat crew, the speech last night was a failure because the president did not describe Iraq as a quagmire. Other wingnuts are making the point that Bush needed to equate Iraq with 9/11 and terrorism. Which leads me to believe that they are either dim, think the same of the American people, or are simply trying to backtrack politically in the war on terror. These people want the news in Iraq to be bad. They want a second Vietnam to relive their angry youth. They have an inherent dislike for our military since that era, and see the United States as the world's bad guy.

Bush made only a cursory effort last night to link Iraq to 9/11. Because he knows that it's yesterday's argument. People aren't as concerned about the justification, but rather a scorecard. 9/11 and WMD have been essentially "priced in" to the Iraq justification to use John McIntyre's argument. People weren't happy when the weapons weren't found, but we disgorged a bad guy, and now they just want to hear about progress and the outlook. They won't be troubled if they see this one being a winner for us and for the people of Iraq. But what Bush did do last night is something rare.

Rather than using the speech as a defensive mechanism, he simply said that we are staying as long as it takes to get the work we started finished, and we are not establishing an artificial timetable which would provide the terrorists a clock to run out. It would insult the soldiers who have fought and died, those who fought and lived, for those who still fight, and for those who are on their way. Their sacrifices are not the kind of thing we can blow off in order to quell the noisy left and the MSM that gives them the megaphone. As he often does, he simply stated that the game plan remains the same.

But he left out what I thought would be a significant portion of the speech which probably would have taken up only a few seconds. He should have said something like this:
I understand that some disagree with the fact that we are in Iraq, and it is the kind of thing about which responsible and good people can discuss and disagree. But there can be no disagreement that irresponsible and exaggerated talk for personal and political satisfaction not only undermines the work our military is doing, but it weakens their strong resolve to see their mission through. So I would say to all listening, please spare our military the insult of words like "quagmire," "disaster," "failure," "defeat," "Nazi," "gulag" and the like. Because such talk, while designed to strike at my Administration, instead strikes at the Americans who are doing the hard and very dangerous work of keeping us safe from terror and securing Iraq for the future. It also emboldens our enemies. We have a right to speak our opinions, but we also have the responsibility to do it in light of the facts, taken as a whole.

Rather than a defensive response, it would have put the burden on the left to make their crackpot declarations in light of the entirely of the facts.

But I think the conclusion said more about the speech than anything else. Bush choked up when talking about the military and their strength. He is in this thing with these people, and he personally loves them. He takes seriously their concerns and those of their family. Which means that he does not lightly send them into danger.

It's no longer about linking Iraq to 9/11. The left is trying to de-legitimize the war by revisiting ground already covered. The problem is that they either forget or do not care that their selfish political work actually hurts their nation and the people defending it, while encouraging the enemy who sees a political opening.

Bush met the objective with his speech. But the need for the speech could have been avoided. This White House is notoriously bad about communicating and reinforcing what is a very welcome message about the nature of this war. The White House needs to get their communication act in gear, because the Democrats are quick to go to the cameras and the papers in order to spread perceptions about this war in the absence of facts. We cannot maintain the war on terror without also maintaining the support for it among the people.

And it's unfortunately necessary to do that when one of the major political parties is led by people who tirelessly and shamelessly work to undermine the war on terror simply because a Republican is in the White House and commanding the troops.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Souter v. Towne of Weare

That will be the caption of the case involving Justice David Souter, who voted with the 5-4 majority in the latest trampling of our liberties in the case of Kelo v. City of New London. He'll file it when he discovers that his home is going to be sold out from under him.

I just received this link from an e-mailer. I called and verified, and this is for real. Logan Clements really means to generate significant tax advantages to the little Towne of Weare, New Hampshire by converting Souter's home into a hotel, a museum describing the gentle erosion of our Constitutional protections, and a cafe aptly named "Just Desserts".

Here's the problem: if the Towne of Weare approves the taking of this land (in order to up the tax value of it and generate significant revenue for the Towne), the Justice has an uphill climb to overturn the action. Because there is now the aforementioned Supreme Court case which is precedent for the very taking that Weare may want to do. There is no more need to show a direct benefit to the public for a taking, only some tangential public benefit, like tax benefits. And this hotel would certainly generate such a benefit. And the Justice losing his home was one of the people who thought that doing that was just fine.

It remains to be seen if this effort will gain any traction, but if it does, it will be no small thing. It will signal to judges everywhere that we the people take our liberties and the Constitution and laws that form the social contract between us and the state very seriously. And it will likely begin the end of the imperial judiciary. Because while we can't vote you out, we can still treat them as they allow us to be treated.

Kelo is a flagrant violation of the rights of property owners in America foisted on the almost three hundred million of us, by five unelected people. The Court effectively destroyed landowners' protections in the Fifth Amendment. It will be interesting, gratifying, and apparently entirely legal if the signers of that opinion end up tangibly feeling the impact of their own work.

Good luck Freestar Media. Build it and I'll come.

KerryOn.org

John Kerry's editorial in the New York Times is reading for anyone who finds internal contradiction fascinating. Let's examine, shall we?

"[T]he Bush administration's choices have made Iraq into what it wasn't before the war - a breeding ground for jihadists"...but..."underestimated the likelihood and power of the insurgency." Presuming that either or both of these statements have some bearing in fact, they contradict one another. How can one plan for a jihadist presence that never existed before? That would make it a truly unforeseen development, wouldn't it? In any case, we knew that Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists before we deployed there. As far as underestimating the "breeding", as it were, Sen. Kerry needs to use a different term, such as "importing". Foreigners--not Iraqis--are funneling into the country to keep up the terror presence. This is not an insurgence or a rebellion, both of which imply native, and therefore more legitimate, opposition to the occupier. These are illegal combatants who are traveling across international borders to fight American and Iraqi troops in order to force their bin Ladinist vision of global terror occupation upon Iraq. They know if Iraq "falls" to a republic, the Middle East will sooner or later follow.

He didn't even care enough to put these comments into a different sentence: "...sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification..." So much to do here. Not enough troops, but the ones we had decimated their military. And why wouldn't we want to root out the Baathists? In hindsight, it would have been convenient to have something still standing to reconstitute into a fighting force. And perhaps it would have been the same in Germany in 1945. Judging it wise to eliminate an enemy military as opposed to leaving it around for the future (so that it could attack our forces again, and wouldn't the Senator be upset about that...) the Army and Marines did do. Monday Morning quarterbacking doesn't count when you supported the invasion as is. But here's yet another problem: "We're doing our part: our huge military presence stands between the Iraqi people and chaos, and our special forces protect Iraqi leaders." So we underestimated, but we're managing? So it's not an intractable quagmire? It's only a "tractable" quagmire? Help me out here.

Once again, back to back: "Happy talk about the insurgency being in 'the last throes' leads to frustrated expectations at home. It also encourages reluctant, sidelined nations that know better to turn their backs on their common interest in keeping Iraq from becoming a failed state." Americans want to hear that they are losing (no frustrations there, unless you are a leftist like Kerry), but why would "sidelined nations" care? Who are they, and what is their interest? France and Germany saw no interest. Same with Russia. But be that as it may, if we're talking about Iraq's neighbors, it seems that Syria is exporting insurgents and may be the home of some of Saddam's WMD. Similarly, if most of the combatants are Saudis, I can't imagine the House of Saud doing much to benefit Iraq. And Jordan, which embraced Saddam in 1991 seems all to busy to worry about it in 2005. But the Iranians aren't. And I can't imagine Tehran sending troops to secure Iraq, but I don't doubt that they would like to send troops with other objectives in mind. So these supposed "allies" probably aren't jumping to help one way or the other. But news by the numbers that the opposition is flagging is pretty demoralizing--to the opposition, and possibly. And how would those sidelined nations "know better" anyway? Because they're sending in the terrorists? Not a great argument.

Following that, this howler: "The administration must work with the Iraqi government to establish a multinational force to help protect its borders. Such a force, if sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, could attract participation by Iraq's neighbors and countries like India." Remember, as above, the neighbors in that neck of the woods aren't the kind who you ask for a cup of sugar. The UN may also decide not to take sides in a conflict, like they did between Hutus and Tutsis, causing nearly one million deaths. I somehow feel that Kofi Annan's flaccid troops aren't the answer. When he is in command, innocent people end up dying deaths he can prevent but won't. And while it would be nice to attract India, someone needs to whisper to him that they've already got the U.S.

And another mistake of fact: "If Iraqis, particularly Sunnis who fear being disenfranchised, see electricity flowing, jobs being created, roads and sewers being rebuilt and a democratic government being formed, the allure of the insurgency will decrease." The Senator forgets that the insurgents are foreigners. But generously presuming that his assumption is correct, it seems silly to say that the better we make things for the potential class of insurgents, the more they will just go about their business. Determined terrorists don't give up just because they can get Oprah on TV.

And then this from the guy who had military records redacted to cover a less than starched-white history: "The first thing he should do is tell the truth to the American people." Correct. Can we get someone else to deliver this message?

In all, Senator Kerry misses the point bigtime. His expectation that we not only stomp out a clandestine terrorist organization operating among civilians, politically stabilize the nation, in addition to rebuilding the economic infrastructure of the nation potentially defies the timetable he demands. No other nation in history has done what our fighting men and women have done in Iraq. Rather than coming in to conquer, they came in to free the Iraqis to themselves. It's one thing to impose conqueror government. It's quite another to help the people to organize their own government. And quite another still to put off an external attacker who hides among the people. And even more so to at the same time put in place the public works system that the prior government allowed to collapse in order to allow a market economy to begin to thrive.

So the Senator can please give us a break. He cannot praise the work being done and still demean it in the same breath. This article is as much a campaign speech as the networks feared the President's speech would be tonight. And the Senator may want to remember the success that this backhanded assault on our nation's resolve, that of our military and that of our commander in chief got him last year.

How about telling the truth yourself, Senator?

Newsworthiness of the President's Speech

The networks, in this era of reruns, are wondering whether to air the President's speech. This item from Drudge sheds a bit of light as to the rationale. While NBC is airing an all new retarded incarnation of the putrid "Average Joe" reality series where average joes with character reliably lose the girl to personality-free male models, the rest of the networks are unleashing the painful reruns of the season.

The president is keeping his mouth shut about just what he will say, but the networks fear that he will be staging a rally that benefits him more than the American people. And that's a fine concern. But look at it this way:

We are in a war. The president needs to communicate the status of it to the people, mantra and rhetoric free, so that concerns that we are bogged down in an intractable quagmire can be answered. If he offers nothing but a rally, it'll be seen as a stunt. If he gives us details we didn't have before that paint an accurate picture of a tough but very certainly winning engagement, it's material the American people can use to decide for themselves the validity of this war. Granted, most of the network chiefs are no fans of the President, but it is important that Americans develop an understanding of this war they are fighting. The MSM does a very good job of showing us death tolls that talk the war down, but we get no idea of what the scorecard looks like.

If we're winning, that's important. If we're losing, that is equally important. And yes, more important than watching a goofy but nice guy get his heart trounced on by some model who plays him for a few weeks then disregards him like stuff that has been in the refrigerator 6 months too long.

Death Camp Cuisine

Powerline posted a link to the House Armed Services Committee website which has the menu for the prisoners (not the soldiers, and not the officers...) at Gitmo.

And it is shocking. Of course, they may want to remove the reference to one of our Founding Fathers from one of the menu items. "Noodles Jefferson" might be more appropriately changed to "Noodles bin Laden" (or Noodles Annan or Chirac?), to avoid offending their sophisticated palates, but I digress.

I don't eat this well. And people don't have to be fed like this to remain healthy. Fruits, veggies, bread, ground beef, chicken, nuts, and eggs. And it doesn't have to be cooked to perfection to be wholesome and nutritional.

For crying out loud, these are the most disrespectful brigands to walk the earth. They throw their excrement at our soldiers who are guarding them. Our own U.S. citizen prisoners are not treated this well in our jails. And we have to be careful that their holy book remains pure and unsoiled? Does that duty extend to preventing them from soiling themselves?

Would that American prisoners be exiled to Gitmo and that these dirtbags be sent to San Quentin. Call it a "cultural exchange program". It would awaken many a terrorist to reality.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ten Commandments Displays - Impermissible and Permissible Both!

I love it when the Supreme Court resorts to the ridiculous to make a decision on a religious display.

To wit, McCreary County v. ACLU (impermissible in courthouses) and Van Orden v. Perry (permissible on state capitol grounds). In the absence of what is most assuredly a mind-numbing pair of opinions, weaving logic in and out of the borders of credulity, I can only assume that the court is viewing these cases on a case-by-case basis to test the "religious effect" of the displays.

The current paradigm appears to be whether the Commandments displays have a historical-legal value or a purely religious value. And it reminds me of the nativity displays that the left constantly protests any time they are even visible from public property and the Court's permitting of them if they are somehow watered-down by "secular" images like Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, carolers, etc.

For fear of abandoning the atheist agenda of the ACLU (enforcing secularism is indeed a religious endorsement in itself--one of irreligion), the Court once again fails and refuses to find that displays with religious overtones do not endorse religion. Because neither Congress nor the states made any law respecting an establishment of religion. They just put up a display. But the concern from the atheist left is that any display with any colorable religious symbolism in the public square is an endorsement of religion.

This stems from cases where the atheists have argued that such displays create a feeling in the hearts and minds of those who do not choose a faith or whose faith is different than the one implicated in a particular display of truncation or religious domination. Basically, the hurt feelings and broken heart crowd changed the law to get their emotions protected from legitimate displays of religion.

It's time that we put away the kleenex box. Other people have a right to a state that is not atheist-driven. They are not our masters, and the law needs to be read for what it is. Because it doesn't favor them, but many of us are too scared to disagree because of the noise these leftists will create.

But look at the noise they currently make. It plays poorly in Peoria. The government should never make law endorsing one religion over another or over all others. But by the case law we have, it has done just that. Atheism is the preferred religion of the land. And perhaps it's time that it take its place with the rest of the faiths.

Busy, Busy Day

We are looking at at least one Supreme Court retirement, and possibly more, which would be huge news.

We are preparing for a major policy speech from the President tomorrow night.

I think this summer will be fairly hot, and I think the hottest place will be the well of the Senate.

This will be one of the most significant summers and falls in the history of modern politics. The Dems are in trouble and the smart ones know it. The President risks trouble for himself, and thereby his party, and knows it if he cannot get his message to the people who re-elected him.

A war in the Senate on at least one justice is nearly certain. If no retirement happens, then we have very real problems. Rehnquist will avoid retiring only because he fears that his absence from the court and the failure to appoint a new justice will tip the scales more left, (given the "growth" or softening, depending upon your point of view, of Anthony Kennedy, who is sliding further and further Stevens-ward) and especially if he sees a heavily political docket next term. Which wouldn't be a problem is there was not an equal risk of his death from cancer.

And the President must, must, must communicate real fact-based success in Iraq tomorrow night, as well as how the current posture affects the outlook of our planning for the war. We need a very real and specific vision. And then we need the gloves to come off with the left. He then needs to force a change in the dialogue, such as it is in Washington. He needs to put the irresponsible rhetoric like we heard from Ted Kennedy last week regarding a "quagmire" and the irresponsible people speaking it directly at odds with the soldiers who are fighting this war. It kills morale, and undermines our objectives in Iraq. There is no question that people like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Howard Dean, want to see this effort fail. The President should demand that detractors provide specific untainted and unfiltered evidence of a deterioration or intractability of the situation. He needs to establish a burden of proof and a political cost on the left for this very destructive talk.

This will be an interesting two days.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

More on Gitmo & Terror

My dedicated reader makes some interesting points. Doesn't mean I agree, but interesting nonetheless. I'll deal with them out of order.

First, the Nazi/KGB/Khmer Rouge thing. Apparently we had a perspective difference. Terry's point of view is that from reading it, without the moronic commentary of Dick Durbin suggesting it, one might presume on their own that these were the acts of a heavy-handed government, and the offense described in the comment was that one could think ill of our military in that respect. A valid point for discussion.

A few points. First, we need some context. From a legal point of view, we have no idea who wrote that memo. It's hearsay. Durbin says "an FBI agent". But we don't know where he got the report, as evidenced by the exchange on the floor of the Senate between Durbin, John Warner (R-VA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) a day or so after the original remarks. We can't cross examine them on their perspective or motives for writing such an account. Next, what else goes on at Gitmo? Taking it at fair face value, this is a report about what is one individual's snapshot in time. How are the other prisoners fairing? As I reported, they are gaining weight. Weight gain is a classic medical sign of good health. It can't be blown off as the reader did. The Nazis, gulag operators and Khmer Rouge starved people (if they didn't shoot them or worse first). I'll never forget the walking skeletons that were the Jews who miraculously survived the European butcheries. Good food usually is part of a regimen of humane treatment. Call it a generalization, but I'm pretty comfortable with it.

Next, what physical harm came to these people as a result of finding them in such a miserable condition? I have no question that what is described is uncomfortable, undignified and embarrassing, and I certainly do not question that it is taking place (I would expect it to be doing so). But there are hoses (no, not FIRE hoses), showers, etc. They go back to cells. They get fed. Durbin used this account to equate discomfort and embarrassment with torture. And I think that's where the category mistake is. But forgetting that, the inmates seem to have no problem voluntarily handling feces and flinging it at the guards. Can't have the doo-doo argument both ways.

Durbin meant to portray this event as the entirety of Gitmo, not an event witnessed. Shame on him.

Very importantly, the people at Gitmo are not the citizens of the country detaining them. These are foreign nationals captured on the battlefield fighting U.S. troops unattached to any nation's Army. As such, they possess the rights that their captors deem appropriate. As illegal combatants, no treaty protects them. But the reader makes the following salient point:

I reject the notion that because a person does not fit into certain legal categories they do not deserve to be treated humanely. Call it the Golden Rule, if you want.


I'd call it an American rule, and it shows good character. Humane treatment, however, does not always mean gentle treatment. They have information we need, and a lack of dignity and comfort can extract it. I do not suggest bringing these people to permanent harm. But hurt is something with which I am most comfortable if it provides intelligence into the operations of these terror organizations. We owe these people nothing, and we owe it to ourselves to protect ourselves, else our kindness may be the rope that hangs us if we fail to extract information that helps us interdict terrorist operations. And how much dignity does a person have if they want to blow apart civilians in malls or unleash a dirty bomb in a city? Yes, we do need to take the high road. But we can't be so arrogant in our "humanity" that we fail to do the dirtywork that keeps us safe. Nonetheless, when they don't want to leave for interrogation elsewhere, it says something about the conditions at Gitmo.

Most significantly, there is the matter of magnitude. There exist no incinerators at Gitmo to burn these terrorists alive. There are no re-education camps where you are shot for grieving lost loved ones. There are no firing squads, bullets to the backs of heads, tiger cages, long hours working one's self to the bone in dangerous conditions, gruel for food, etc. Nobody has died at Gitmo.

As far as their affiliation with terrorism, aside from the fact that they admitted being terrorist organization members, their information has helped to further extirpate al Qaida. There's no better proof that you are a terrorist than the fact that you can give information that helps track down terrorist operations in action. Of course, the matter of the remoteness in time is a possible factor. But think of it this way. Al Qaida is a work of genius. Its cells are designed to work independently, which means that when they lose contact with the leadership, as has happened since October 2001, they have pre-arranged methods of operation. But that means that no new instructions are being given, so the old operating procedures are probably largely still intact. That's where the genius of it all breaks down. Because extraction helps us to discern patterns of behavior which they know to use. It makes it easier to nab them. So there is still likely some value in the information we are obtaining, otherwise why bother to obtain it.

We know that the information gleaned from these people has already put their organization leaders in jail or six feet under, with the vast minority of them still on the run. Nobody is going to bother to squeeze any more out of them if the well runs dry.

I don't like the idea of gratuitously hurting people. But I also don't like the idea that people whom we have in custody who want to hurt civilians may have cronies on the lam with those same intents but also with the capabilities. I'll be happy when we nab them all. But part of being smart is behaving in a way that these people respect. And part of that is not fluffing their pillows.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Response to Dems Silence

I got this question from a reader in response to this post.

Does the treatment described at Guantanamo resemble anything humane?


In a word, yes. But before I give the rationale, I'll offer this bit of insight.

The commenter asked if I was offended by the question or the answer to it. Neither. They are both rational things that intelligent people can discuss and disagree upon. And they are also matters where I think I have the right answer (otherwise why hold the opinion or argue it?)

Further, the commenter asked what was slanderous about Dick Durbin's remarks which they were kind enough to provide. Just to be really clear, it is impolite in western society to compare people to genocidists unless they are exterminating innocents without the least rational justification. So if the commenter is suggesting that it is a compliment or, chuckles aside, somehow accurate to be compared to the Nazi SS, the Khmer Rouge, or the KGB, we are perhaps not on the same page to have an appropriate conversation. It's a no-no to pull that kind of comparison, even if Abu Ghraib was taking place at more places than Abu Ghraib.

So back to the humanity of Gitmo. Yep. I have not the least problem with this. They feed these people better fare than the soldiers doing the feeding. They consider their cultural sensitivity in the diet. They provide these extremists with religious counsel and copies of their religious text at government expense which would be illegal to do if done for U.S. citizens under our current law. The soldiers are given lessons in how to properly deal with these people's religious peculiarities, and they actually run into trouble for screwing it up. Yes, I'd call that humane.

But in all fairness to the commenter, that wasn't what was meant by the question.

First, a bunch of mitigating factors that have no bearing on my basic opinion: these are terrorists who fought our soldiers on the battlefield. They are illegal combatants, hiding among civilians as shields and refusing to identify themselves as the killers they are. They believe in killing American civilians, rather than an honest recconoiter with the military we establish to prevent civilian strikes. They have information on the workings of terrorist organizations. which leads me to my point.

These people have no rights under any treaties or U.S. laws. Much like a spy caught in the Pentagon, Kremlin, Downing Street, or anywhere else, they have a right to whatever treatment they get. These people mean to kill us in our homes. They know about operations designed to do just that. And we have not just a right to extract such information from them by whatever means, we have a responsibility. And I would be most upset if I found out that our government didn't do that. We aren't paying them to babysit. So yes, they will be uncomfortable. They will be unhappy, they will be in physically unpleasant situations with their own excreta about them if they decide to do that. American babies, including mine, have that happen to them several times daily. The stuff washes off. And I am not responsible for someone choosing to tear their hair out. It's not pretty if we do it, but what ones does to themselves is not our concern.

But when Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) Chairman of House Armed Services Committee notes that the detainees have gained about 5 pounds on average at Gitmo, and I hear reports about their requests not to leave when they were about to be transferred to another facility, the sympathy level is pretty low.

Unpleasant does not equal inhumane. Discomfort does not equal torture, and physical restrains with chains do not equal physical harm. For sure, the terrorists hate it. Anyone would. But the argument is not about comfy they are. It is about preventing a catastrophe caused by the next terrorist attack coming up the pike.

To think anything less is to go soft on terror. It is to their benefit that they fell into our hands. But we will get every last bit of information our of their minds to keep our people safe.

That's the argument!

Out of Respect for My Readers

It's not that I haven't been posting, but I've done an addendum to one of yesterday's posts with another on the way. One person yelled at me for not commenting to their response, so I will oblige.

SCOTUS: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Is Ok

The Supremes did it once again! Individuals' rights to their own property is now secondary to the State's concern that such property could somehow be used for the betterment of man. Welcome to the pesky area of law known as eminent domain, where the government can yank your land out from under you. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in the matter of Kelo v. New London (courtesy RealClearPolitics), that if the state sees benefits to condemning private property for another's private use, that same is fine. And the Fifth Amendment takings clause is thereby stripped of its meaning, thereby stripping individuals of the certainty of their property rights. Your property is gone if someone else with more money wants it and can get the state to agree.

The basis for the ruling was their belief that public use of luxury facilities to be built on the ruins of working class families would enhance the tax base and provide an even prettier place for even newer residents to live, entertain and shop. An unelected local board was delegated power by the state, decided to condemn private property for use of this project which would have an essentially private purpose. The justices dance around just how public or private it is, given that it will confer economic benefits on that community, but same is irrelevant. The Fifth Amendment takings clause is all about the government forcibly taking your property, for fair market value, and using it for public purposes. For example, the new interstate, the Army base, the fire station, the wastewater plant. Stuff that clearly benefits the public. Granted, people don't daily use the Army base, the water treatment plant or the firehouse regularly like they would the highway but they confer a definite and completely public benefit.

So unless this resort will be free to the public, it seems like some people got kicked out of their homes because some unelected folks wanted to enhance the neighborhood. Because the state knows best. This really is scary. Granted, the people are compensated for their property, but that's not the point.

Real property is unique with singular characteristics that cause people to buy it. They like that particular view of the river, or the school district, its location to their office, the fact that it is the place where they intended to retire, and yes, its resaleability in the future. And just about every American's net worth is tied up in their real property. So depriving someone of it is an unbelievably serious matter.

But presuming that the states don't pull things like New London did here, the long term effect of this could be to lower the value of people's properties. Property value is what it is based upon numerous factors that we look at when assessing a potential new home: neighborhood, schools, access to commerce, and various other factors. But they make no difference if there is any problem with one gigantic and generally presumed factor--that you actually get to keep the place. If people reasonably fear losing property, there goes its value.

The Supreme Court considered the New London matter a "public benefit" because taxes will be raised from the new complex, and it would likely benefit the local economy. Folks, that's not public. And it now brings into the realm of what is "public" for takings purposes just about anything done with the wink of the state. Certainly it is a reasonable state objective to want to bring business to an area and to beef up the value of its dirt in order to collect taxes off of the back of new business activity.

But it doesn't meet the standard for pulling out the last resort of eminent domain.

And I think that this Supreme Court term will be known as one that limited the powers of states to the Federal government and the powers of individuals to both.

It's time that the courts be held responsible for their dissolution of the meaning of the Constitution and laws upon which our relationship to the state is based. Because they just sanctioned tyranny.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rove's Double Attack

I want to be very clear about the last post. Rove didn't just get the Senate Dems to admit that they are liberals. That was cute and funny. But he used their silence on the Durbin matter to create a hilarious contrast.

After his remarks, the Senate Dems defended themselves vigorously with calls for Rove's apology, head, etc.

And with that, they were dead.

The haste with which they rushed to defend "liberals" in the face of a very credible charge that they are soft on terror, contrasted with their troubling silence the week before when U.S. soldiers were compared with genocidists by a liberal Senator is embarrassing. More concerned with their own image than the honor of American soldiers, the Democrats expose their own hypocrisy.

But the best conclusion that could ever be placed on this is Hillary Clinton's call on military leaders to repudiate those comments! She demands political support from the very people she could not bother to defend last week. You just can't make this stuff up!

Flip-Flop - Another Rove Trap

Karl Rove said last night at a fundraising dinner that the liberals in America missed the fact that 9/11 was a war declaration, and offered the terrorists therapy and understanding. Per the NYT, (all articles cited here are from Drudge) here are his words:
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers...

Note that he criticized liberals, not Democrats. Unimpressed by what was most certainly a deliberate distinction, the Senate Dems went mad. Since when does a "liberal" reference offend or even implicate these self-proclaimed moderates? Nonetheless, they are calling for his head.

One question. Where were these all of a suddenly vocal individuals when Dick Durbin compared our soldiers to Nazis, Khmer Rouge or KGB? Or did it take what they perceived (and probably reasonably so) as attack on them--politicians (contrasted with soldiers who voluntarily live and work in dangerous conditions for the benefit of their countrymen) for them to find their voices?

Stop talking before you embarrass yourselves even further. Rove got you again.

Democrats Wanting to Make Voting Easier for the Lazy, Stupid

What better compliment can Democrats offer to their poll workers and voters than to suggest that voting standards need to be lowered to accommodate the lazy and stupid.

Check this gem that I found on Drudge. In referencing a report completed by the Democrats on perceived irregularities in Ohio the article noted the following atrocities:
The report cited long lines that discouraged voting, poorly trained election officials and difficulties with registration status, polling locations and absentee ballots.

Oh the humanity. Let me put it this way: Do these same voters feel deterred by long lines at the supermarket? How about the problem of the ditzy cashier? Do they just dump their groceries and go hungry?

Registration...if in doubt, anyone can register at any time (of course not in the hours before an election) Early registration is not just acceptable, it's encouraged. Additionally, the registration form is fairly simple, requiring almost no information. Literacy, however, does help. Keep the little card you get, and if you don't know where your polling place is, you have a year or two to find out where it is, rather than showing up wherever you like and demanding a ballot. It is not asking a lot to expect people to take the responsibility to know these things for themselves.

And there is a certain order to things. People are assigned to certain polling places because ballots differ from neighborhood to neighborhood sometimes. If one doesn't want to play by those rules, society has no need to accommodate their ignorance.

Similarly, the recommendations for the removal of touch screen voting is interesting. I wonder if they found that ballot tampering/box stuffing was difficult with those machines. In that context, the recommendation makes sense for a Democrat to make.

I would suggest a thorough vetting of the voter rolls. Compare them with vital records statistics. Take the dead people off. Take jailed felons off. Take off people who have moved. Then there's that whole matter of verifying that the person receiving the ballot is the person they claim to be. The requirement of a photo ID is not unreasonable. Failing that, utility bills to their address in their name, very recent paystubs with their name and address...it's not asking much. Because one of my least favorite problems is the statistic that always comes back indicating that more people voted than were registered or eligible to vote in a precinct. And it strangely seems to always happen in Democratic areas. And it's not racism, so spare us that now useless wolf-cry.

It's Democratic stupidity. Because the people managing those poll stations are Democrats. Yes. The party in power in that neighborhood controls it. So essentially, Democrats were upset because other Democrats did a lousy job managing the poll sites. Republicans have nothing to do with that.

One last point. Why Ohio? Why not Wisconsin? Why not Pennsylvania? Those states were very, very narrowly won by Kerry. And as I've posted before, Wisconsin is the site of a number of investigations into voter irregularities and intimidation, as well as ballot box stuffing. Same with Pennsylvania which was an even closer state than Ohio where the lights at the Republicans headquarters were shut down in Pittsburgh, but oddly, the Dems across the street had theirs, as well as ballot boxes in Philadelphia found with ballots in them even before voting began on the morning of the election. Vote early and often, I guess.

These "investigations" seek to cast a lack of legitimacy on the results of the election and blame Democrat incompetence on Republicans. If people are losing faith in the election system it is because the Dems insist on toying with the process in order to guarantee their favored outcome in close elections. If you have any question about that, look at Florida 2000 when Gore did everything to re-work the election to his favor, but failed, and to Washington State in 2004 where they actually pulled off the steal with everyone watching.

Election reform is needed. And it needs to simply guarantee each person votes only once. And notice that it's the Dems that drag their feet on it.

ADDENDUM

The comment from Fluffy Bunny misses numerous points about the fundamentals of voting. When there is a long line to vote, the people being "disenfranchised" are the victims of their own neighbors who are actually casting ballots and were at the back of the line once themselves. We are not required to make corrections for people's impatience. Voting is a right to exercise just as much as it is one to disregard. If people deem that it is not in their interests to wait, they can make the silly choice to leave. Or they can do what I have done, which is go during off-peak hours. It is also, regrettably, a system operated by humans, a species known to be fallible. But there is the perfect solution if one cannot afford the time to stand in line...order an absentee ballot, understand the instructions, and mail it in in a timely fashion. No lines.

And where my logic is concerned, there is nothing pro or anti-market about voting, and sometimes people do have to wait. Humans do not have the inclination, responsibility or resources to accommodate the incessant grievances of the chronically unsatisfied. If people want to wait, they will. If not, they won't. It's part of life to wait in line, and yes, even to vote. We learned that in kindergarten if not before.

As far as fault for fraud, that lays squarely upon those who commit it, as observers, Republican or otherwise, aren't going to spot a fake ID unless they're bartenders in their spare time. But a stuffed box, like in Philly, is likely the mischief of the poll workers. And to have fraud on the level of votes beyond the number of eligible voters in a precinct requires and is evidence of sophisticated criminal activity. It takes stuffed ballot boxes with significant numbers of ballots to pull of a fraud like that. Joe Six Pack can't procure ballots like that. It takes someone with access to the inner workings of the system.

I do not buy any of these complaints or any of these faux solutions. This is yet another effort on the part of Democrats to loosen voting standards, and frankly, I find it a shamelessly pregnant admission that they don't care about and even prefer illegal voting.

The Dems cannot come up with instances of ballot stuffing on the part of Republicans. The only thing they can point to is disgruntled and whiny people who aren't patient, don't want to follow directions and don't want to obey laws designed to prevent fraud or error.

And if certain persons cannot tolerate the social norm of waiting in line, following very simple directions and obeying the law like 99% of the rest of the voting population, then yes, perhaps its best of they stay home. We are not here to coddle the willing ignorant.

Durbin's and Bolton - Two Very Different Messages to the World

The effect of Dick Durbin's words was felt globally. It was widely perceived in America as a Senator trying to make himself relevant and to slander the military. A minority viewpoint to be sure. Durbin then apologized to us for our own ignorance, as we failed to see whatever more innocuous meaning his words were meant to convey, which even he has not yet had the kindness to reveal.

Al Jazeera picked it up but interestingly did not report on the apology. Instead, we get this. Go figure.

We have a right to free speech in this nation, but not a right from the social consequences of it. And that freedom does carry with it very real responsibilities. Dick Durbin still doesn't get that, as I'm certain that he views himself as the victim of persecution from the "right-wing media" who have taken away his right to free speech.

But ask the average person who gets their news from Al Jazeera, the anti-American Arab news outlet, and you'll probably hear that Durbin is trying to expose mistreatment and is being stifled by the oppressive Bush Administration. Remember, they report what they want to convey, not necessarily what really happened.

Then we take John Bolton whom the Democrats in the Senate have chosen to filibuster, despite Harry Reid's false promise to Bill Frist that he would not do so. So much for the value of the Senate Minority Leader's word. Bolton is certainly a hardnose. He reflects the Administration's view that the UN has reached the point of irrelevance and needs drastic reform if it is to survive. Bush sending Bolton to the UN sends the message that we are no longer ignoring the corruption and mismanagement there. His tenure will be quite the no-nonsense one and will upset a good deal of the UN hierarchy. And that's the point. He isn't going to make many friends, but he will earn respect, because such an approach will get attention and force action from the UN's worthless and already anti-American "diplocracy".

Conversely, Durbin uttered words that were like candy for Americas enemies. He gave them something to use for recruitment fodder. Because a strong presence does not encourage recruitment, but a perception of divisibility does. And when a high-ranking member of the U.S. government makes such outrageous statements, observers will likely not take it as an irresponsible partisan Senator displaying his ignorance and unfitness for office, but rather someone who speaks for a good deal of Americans, who can be peeled away from Bush's policy towards terrorists.

Durbin gave them hope. Bolton won't. So who are the Senate Democrats backing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Hillary Book - Bathroom Tissue Backup

I have always lived in a house with a more or less adequate supply of bathroom tissue. But if there were ever a shortage of it, I'd probably drop the cash for a few copies of Ed Klein's "The Truth About Hillary" to have them handy. But then there's the tricky matter of making them fit on the roll...

Per John Podhoretz (courtesy Powerline), it is an absolute sham. Don't purchase it unless the above-described shortage takes place.

Per Podhoretz, it is rich in sleaze, anonymously sourced, and true or not, it bears little on her fitness for office. Career-destroyer indeed. We have little doubt that Hillary is an empty person, but a book like this tends to limit the effectiveness of real criticism about unscrupulous professional behavior.

Perhaps Ed Klein didn't just do it for the money...

The Art of Clinton Survival

Dick Morris has yet another Hillary article. I don't think that there could be any more anti-Hillary figure than Morris. What makes him more threatening to her is that she and Bill hired him to advance their political fortunes when they were in the White House. He has the goods.

His remarks on Jeanine Pirro, who could be the Republicans' antidote to Hillary are worth note. Pirro is a regular on Fox News Channel and speaks very intelligently about legal matters. And she has all of the socially liberal qualities that make Hillary attractive to Democrat voters in New York. But she is ardently pro-defense and War on Terror. She also favors supply-side economics. In a very significant way, she is everything Hillary fears. Possessed of all of her strengths, absent any of her political weaknesses, another woman, this time a native New Yorker whom her fellow New Yorkers could embrace.

Morris's suggestion that Hillary may eject in order to avoid an electoral embarrassment is fascinating. It would preserve her for the presidency, making her seem responsible to New Yorkers by not putting her desire to hold office over their need for an attentive senator.

Love them or hate them, the Clintons make politics unbelievable fun!

Intelligent Design Or The Same Old Stupid Atheism

Pennsylvania is considering a proposition allowing local school boards to include the intelligent design paradigm in their science classes in addition to evolution.

This should be a no-brainer, as numerous evolutionists have serious misgivings with the lack of evidence supporting evolution as the explanation for the origins of life as we know it. Also, the statistical-scientific implications (check here and here for just a few examples) of design versus evolution cannot be responsibly ignored.

The left led by their reliable legal staff at the ACLU fear that the paradigm of intelligent design injects a set of religious beliefs into the public classroom. Very probably it does, but certainly no more than evolution has already done, and the addition of intelligent design will create a much more frank academic discussion of the pertinent issues regarding origins.

Evolution specifically rejects the idea of God, which is an atheistic point of view. There is no room for a Creator in evolution, which very clearly teaches that the universe and all life in it evolved completely by chance as a result of physical and chemical interactions and changes. And the great majority of Americans' (to say nothing for the entire world's) belief systems involve a Creator of some sort.

But evolution has been crammed down the throats of students for years as proven fact, with not an iota of room for discussion of any other viewpoints, as leftist orthodoxy has demanded that they be excluded as unscientific religious propaganda.

But atheism, in which evolution was founded and remains based, is just as much a belief system as the world's established religions. It holds beliefs about a god, namely that there is/was none. It holds itself out as an exclusive belief system (there is no god, making it incompatible with other belief systems that include a god), and they their viewpoints are existential, there being no meaning to life other than the accident of our presence on earth, meaning that morality is an open question with no supreme being to dictate it. Make no mistake, atheism is as much a belief system as Christianity.

So forcing its version of history upon students and stifling any other discussion of other origin paradigms reflects a certain political arrogance on the part of the ACLU which reflexively litigates away any appearance of any viewpoint that in any way touches upon a set of religious beliefs.

But putting aside the First Amendment "freedom from religion" argument which the ACLU has twisted into the Constitutional discussion, the existence of two diametrically opposed scientific hypotheses presumes that at least one of them is wrong. Indeed, responsible scholars will admit that neither has been sufficiently proven to reject the other. In that case, what business does the ACLU have in demanding that one hypothesis be taught to the specific exclusion of the other? What business do these political lawyers have in science?

But the left very clearly makes this a political issue rather than an academic one. A responsible scientist considers all possibilities until there is evidence clearly against them or in favor of others. But by disguising their belief system as no belief system at all (and therefore an inoffesive one), the left has precluded a serious examination of the facts for the better part of a century. This is not an effort to prevent certain individuals from the discomfort of being exposed to others' beliefs (which the Constitution does not protect against), but rather an effort to advance, on state time and dollars, a very specific world view and set of personal values held by an intellectual minority to the exclusion of those held by the majority.

And if the ACLU and left are so certain of the strength of their origin hypothesis and so interested in the freedom of ideas, the best thing they could do would be to support the teaching of intelligent design so that responsible science can potentially and fairly exclude it as a fairy tale.

Or are they afraid that the opposite will happen?

Biden - Trying to Disqualify Himself Already

If there is anyone whose advice the Bush administration would probably take least seriously on the War in Iraq, it is the Senior Senator from Delaware, Joseph Biden (D-DE). His offer, part of a de facto campaign speech as detailed in this very fun to read Washington Post article which I found on Drudge. It's this kind of thing that gets embarrassing attention for a candidate, not the person whom he is criticizing. Biden need only keep this up if he wants to end his campaign for President early.

The suggestion that the Bush Administration take national defense advice from Joe Biden, aside of being completely hysterical and making him look like a complete fool, is an equally poor campaign stunt. Biden is trying to scoot to parity with Hillary Clinton. The problem for him is the same for John Kerry. He isn't all that likeable, except to himself.

Biden is a "guy smiley" type. He has a gigantic grin that he flashes at cameras every time he is in front of them (which is as often as possible), and makes a fairly phony appearance. He's not believable, and he really does not communicate much in the way of intellect. He races for a headline shot and a sound bite, but really does not offer much in the way of an intellectual assessment of issues. It was Biden who saw what he felt was an easy target in John Bolton. So he paraded out hearsay witnesses and Barbara Boxer's suggestions for anger management as reasons to derail his appointment. It was a less than convincing attack to which Biden very willingly attached his name. And Bolton has the votes to win, as evidenced by the failed cloture vote and the fact that the Republicans are peeling off a few Democrats to boot.

Contrast him with the infinitely more slick and intelligent Hillary Clinton who he is trying to outpace. Hillary will survive this new book if it is the smutfest it appears to be, and if anything, will come out looking even more classy. Make no mistake, she is no moderate, and she is indeed an opportunistic hatchetwoman. She would make a very dangerous president for our republic. But she has a certain very salient personal appeal and I don't think that we'll ever see the end of Hillary, much like we'll never see the end of Bill. There are cats who wish that they had as many lives as these two have already had. Biden, who is technically a much more appealing candidate from a moderate's point of view loses the battle because he comes off as a doltish self-promoter.

Hillary may be disqualified from office because she will likely be effectively portrayed as the power-hungry leftist she is. Her opponents will respect her, though. Biden will just be laughed out of the race.

I'm Sorry You Took My Words So Seriously

I found the text of Dick Durbin's remarks at his website.

To put it succinctly, he wasn't sorry for his comments, but for their perception. So this is not much of a position shift. It's just another pitch, maybe with a little tears to grease the hearts of Americans.

His comments are the issue, revealing an opinion about the treatment of terrorists who may have valuable information on future attacks, versus innocent people slaughtered across Europe and Asia over thirty years. Nobody's died at Gitmo. They just aren't happy. But they are healthy. Try watching The Killing Fields for a comparison.

Dick Durbin needed to say this:

"I made an unbelievably indefensible statement last week, comparing our military to the genocidists of the Twentieth Century. The comparison was completely outrageous and I was completely in the wrong for making it. I apologize to the people of America for saying such an upsetting thing about their servicemen and women. We have a military that is trying to keep us safe, and while I am not happy with that FBI report I read and may not be comfortable with some of the treatment it described, the treatment is simply unpleasant, not illegal and not immoral, and is the kind of thing that intelligent people can debate. I apologize and ask the forgiveness of the American people for my truly wrong mischaracterization of our military."

What he said was wrong, not how we perceived it.

He's not sorry. He's sorry that he's embarrassed. He meant what he said.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Boo Stinking Hoo

Dick Durbin delivered a sniveling and tearful apology. Thank you, and spare me hypocrisy.

Take another look at Hugh Hewitt's excellent review of Durbin's original statement and then subsequent refusals to back off of that statement.

But as I said earlier, one only apologizes when they mean to convey regret and repentance. It's not like this guy missed the effect of his words, or their usefulness to Al Jazeera which is indeed the voice of the enemy (you aren't one of the good guys when you are the chosen source for the airing of bin Laden tapes and videos of civilians being beheaded).

It makes me wonder if Harry Reid saw this as an opening for an effective Republican attack and had a "discussion" with Durbin about the risks his intemperate remarks carried, indicating that same may cost him the whip position. But that's just my guess.

But I simply cannot accept this as a genuine act of repentance. He meant what he said. He had several opportunities over several days to back off of his comments and he chose not to do so, but instead held fast to them in defiance.

Apology is an expression of regret for offense to others. He regrets the consequence to him. That's not repentance, it's a political maneuver. And it will certainly work, as the media will consider this resolved. But Durbin meant what he said. He is soft on our enemies. He is hard on our military. He wants to undercut the Administration's efforts to keep us safe in the name of political gain for his party. Remember it for 2006. And for 2008, as his party didn't remove him from office.

It's not about security, but about who is providing it. And there had better be a "D" after that person's name if the methods are to be considered acceptable.

Why Is Ed Klein Writing What Looks Like A Smut Story?

This is not good.

Bill Clinton is having affairs. The sun is rising. The Pope remains Catholic. Dogs sniff one anothers' posteriors. Relevance?

Dick Morris agrees. If Klein wrote a bedroom book, good for him. It's a waste of paper, and the readership will dry up. Everyone knows that Bill Clinton is an alley cat. No question. I find these claims highly credible. But as in the posts below, Michael Schiavo is widely believed to be scum. It doesn't translate to his late wife. If anything, it generates sympathy for her. I doubt I will waste my time or my cash on this work of abject silliness.

And I doubt that this will generate a lawsuit. If Hillary sues the guy and loses (which she likely would), it makes her look dumb, and gives the charge a life that it didn't deserve. Her failure to sue only makes Klein's claims more salient. But this misses a bigger point.

I believe that Hillary Clinton is a phony. Dick Morris has the goods on her and knows that she is profoundly unfit for office. But why bother releasing a book with probably true, but nonetheless wholly irrelevant and embarrassing revelations that tell us nothing about her qualifications for office?

Unless of course Ed Klein is doing it to generate sympathy to derail highly pertinent criticism which may be leveled against her in the future. That I could buy.

Michael Schiavo - Impossibly Evil Creep

Jonathan Last over at Galley Slaves links to this piece by Patterico showing Terri Schiavo's gravestone. Take a look. It redefines the word "abomination".

I can understand if someone has an inappropriate or controversial message on their own gravestone. Sometimes people are hopelessly screwed up and want to leave stupid messages that will preserve their image as a boob into perpetuity. But doing it to someone else's gravestone when you are widely believed to have unclean hands in their treatment is grotesque.

Michael Schiavo lists her date of death as the date of her collapse on February 26, 1990, and that she finally met peace in 2005, after being "peacefully" dehydrated to death, of course. So is Michael admitting that the few years he kept her alive in order to collect on a medical malpractice verdict was a deliberate denial of peace to make some money? And just so it's clear, you get more money if the person is alive and incapacitated than if they are dead, because you can recover the future costs of care, which are exorbitant, especially when you promise that you will completely rehab the patient.

The final line on the marker states "I Kept My Promise." But to which promise is he referring? The one mentioned above that he made to the jury which was the basis for their award? The promise to remain faithful to her in sickness and in health? All that twaddle about love, honor, cherish? If anyone has a clue which one of those, or any other I may have missed, was kept, please let me know so that I can appropriately credit him.

This obscene placard is Michael's final insult to Terri and to her parents. And it confirms that Michael is truly possessed of a depraved heart, capable of singularly unfathomable acts of evil that defy comprehension. It's like allowing Scott Peterson to write the epitaph for Laci.

But it a fitting epilogue to this very sad story. Because Terri's story was never really about her. It was, like this marker, about Michael Schiavo. Terri was unloved in health, abandoned except for her financial value to Michael in sickness, a memorial to Michael's neglect in her decline, and a snicker to her family who loved her in her death.

The Schindlers need not visit the gravesite where their daughter's ashes lie and where a cruel marker mocks the open wounds of their hearts. Terri is not there. She is elsewhere. Far from the grasp of the man whom she condescended to marry.

May her soul leap with joy in the presence of her Creator. And may Michael repent. Because I'd hate to face that same Creator giggling about that barbaric inscription. He's not laughing either.

Kristol Clear

Bill Kristol offers this alternative to the censure option. Rather than censure him, make noise about defrocking him of his leadership. A nice idea, and his logic is excellent. My only concern is that they'll actually do that.

If Durbin remains in the leadership it will daily confirm what I and many others believe to be a radical leftist agenda pervading the Democratic party. If he steps down, the Dems can put that perception to bed. And I'd rather like to have them wear their record openly.

The Democrats have largely concealed the fact that they are soft on America's enemies and anti-military, and only since early 2001 have they really began peeling off the veneer which they worked so hard to establish since the 1980s. They should be proud of who they are and show it to America openly. Unless for some reason they think that being honest with Americans would cost them votes, seats, and thereby power.

Keep Durbin where he is, let him speak like the fool he is, and we'll criticize him. Then make him the poster boy for 2006 and 2008. They guy whom the Dems would not remove fromt heir leadership. Because they agreed with him.

Silence from Democrat Senators

I wrote my two Democrat Senators (Mikulski and Sarbanes (MD))by e-mail last week, requesting that they distance themselves from the remarks of Richard Durbin which slandered our military.

To date, no response and not an inch of distance from Durbin. I'm having a hard time believing that these people disagree.

Does their irrational and pathological loathing of the Bush Administration go so deep and wide that it's worth perpetuating a slander against the military in order to get an emotionally satisfying venting of their spleens?

I'm sure I'll get a letter that will say that they disagree with administration policy on the Guantanamo prisoners, torture, and the conduct of the war on terror, and that the Bush Administration is alienating us from the people of the Middle East, presumably because they identify with al Qaida terrorists and wish to see them treated properly. Which is outrageous.

I'll post any responses once I get them. Other bloggers should write Frist to tell him to push for censure, to their Republican Senators to push Frist, and to their Democrat Senators to distance themselves from Durbin. Let's see how they all respond. Post their responses.

Diplomatic answers to these fairly serious questions should not be accepted. This is a very real problem in the midst of fighting a very real war where the enemy slips past our borders to commit acts of catastrophic sabotage on civilian and government assets. This is life and death. Our lives and avoiding our deaths. It would be encouraging if our legislators were on the same page as we are, and instructive if they are not.

Stop Asking Durbin to Apologize

Bill Frist may actually be responding to pressure from conservatives to move against Dick Durbin. He has called upon Durbin to apologize, and sent a letter to Harry Reid (D-NV) to get him to put pressure on Durbin. Reid apparently rebuffed Frist, which is no surprise.

Talking to a few friends who know, they believe that Frist will likely let this one roll off his back, which is no surprise either. Frist speaks softly and carries no stick.

But everyone needs to stop asking Durbin to apologize. He has no need to apologize. Apologies mean that one is sorry for a wrong done, and there is no reason to believe that he is, given that his subsequent statements have only deepened his commitment to his original comments on the Senate floor. An apology would only put the matter to bed, as the media will back off of the story, allowing Durbin to get away with these destructive statements.

Frist need not make any further solicitations for apologies. He needs to immediately push for a censure resolution as Durbin meant to slander the military and has no respect for our fighting men and women. And the Democrats will likely filibuster that too. Check the post above.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Saddam Goes Stylish

It seems that the changes in Iraq have not escaped its former leader. Saddam has gone GQ.

Who said the guy wouldn't look good outside his military wardrobe? He's no Tom Selleck yet, but then again, all that brutal dictator stuff fills one's schedule. In retirement he has the spare time to become acquainted with fashion.

And it appears that he's also a hungry fella. He can put away a family size bag of Doritos in ten minutes! Mmmmm....Doritos....

Defining Durbin

Hugh Hewitt has a fairly thorough piece in the Daily Standard on Dick Durbin's remarks last week and his failure to back off of them.

A few things occur to me. Durbin notes that these terrorists don't fit the definition of POWs, (meaning that their status as illegal combatants affords them no rights). But then he accuses us of systematically violating the Geneva Convention while knowing that it doesn't apply. Then he launches into a series of non-sequiturs explaining the problems that coercive interrogation of terrorists will cause.

He claims that the way we treat terrorists will affect the way our soldiers are treatedin captivity. And that is plainly hogwash. Placing international terrorists in the same category as the Armed Forces of the United States is not just incorrect, it is insulting. The terrorists are fettered neither by treaty nor by the sense of decency underpinning the Geneva Conventions. They routinely murder prisoners of war. And they murder non-combatant civilians on tape for all to see (a violation of the Geneva Convention, by the way). They would not dream of granting us the same protections to which they claim entitlement.

But one of the more interesting features of his position is that the treatment received by terrorists at Gitmo recruits more terrorists. I would agree, to the extent that it is openly called "torture" by an opportunistic, partisan Senator who displays for the world what appears to be a split within the United States Government as to how seriously we wish to press the War on Terror. When this enemy sees a weakness in enforcement they find it encouraging. I fully expect them to exploit it, because these terrorists are extremely clever.

They make a point of operating in nations where there is popular or at least government support for their philosophies. They also know that they can safely operate in western nations with strong civil liberties, like Germany, France, Britain and the United States. And they know that the media loves them because the modern western media seems to have an unusual sympathy for those who practice antisocial behavior. They also know to claim to be victims of torture because they know that self-appointed western watchdog groups and the media will jump, as they hold their own soldiers suspect. Like a harp, they play these naive activists, and stories are presented to Americans that bear little resemblance to reality.

Interestingly, though, Gitmo's prison did not exist back on September 10, 2001. Those planes found their way into those buildings just the same.

And many coercive (although not tortuous) interrogations have provided us with information that has helped us interdict attacks on our Homeland. Because terrorists comforts are not as important to me as preserving the safety of the American people. A thing that the senior senator from Illinois might wish to consider.

Dick Durbin did a significant disservice to his nation in the War on Terror. He needs to pay the public price for showing such an appalling lack of restraint. And given the fact that no Democrats have emerged to distance themselves from their colleague and leader, combined with Durbin's repeated refusals to back off of his statements or apologize for the actual things he said (as opposed to our perceptions of them), opens the door to the tolerance of a certain level of this kind of irresponsible and intemperate rhetoric from this unscrupulous group of Senators. This is not a time to pour more hysterical talk into the national dialogue.

It's time to censure him. Because this kind of behavior isn't want Americans do either.

Biden - Telling Cameras That Nothing Is Happening Yet

Joe Biden has just announced that he is running for President in 2008. So it seems that the Democrats have a sure thing at getting Delaware's three electoral votes.

But then he says that he is not running just yet.

He says that he wants to be certain that he can raise enough money and attract enough support, and that he will run if he thinks he can pull it off. So what he meant is that he is forming an exploratory committee, like just about every candidate for public office does quietly. The difference is that Joe Biden, as usual, wants to make a big deal of it and get on TV.

I think he has a shot. It's about time that America had a press-hungry self-promoting egomaniac president. Wait...we did that in the 1990s and then we shot down two more guys who were much the same. The other problem for Biden is that Clinton was personally likeable.

And that huge grin just doesn't make you think of someone you want to have over for a brew.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Chicago Tribune - Comes Close to Getting it Right, Falls Flat on Face

Here is today's response to Dick Durbin's now infamous comments from his home paper, the Chicago Tribune.

Sure, they make his comments out to be stupid, foot-in-mouth kinds of things. Their conclusion is to ignore him for this blatant publicity stunt. Swing and a miss.

We've been ignoring this garbage. Bloggers will post just so the comments are known, and so that the public can judge. Air America and Daily Kos let some pretty fetid stuff fly, but that's what they do. Howard Dean did it during the election and is doing it all the more so as DNC chair. Not a great representative for his party nor for their bank accounts, but he's their choice and they are a private organization.

But then we have the brain trust known as the Senate Democrats. Senator Mensa (Boxer) is quick to fly into a rage on the floor of the Senate accusing Administration appointees of being extremists, Charles Schumer likened a black woman judge to a klan member before the Senate confirmed her. Pat Leahy makes a fool of himself talking about Bush's social Security Plan on Meet the Press. Hillary Clinton accuses him of consolidating power to abuse it for his own extreme ends. It's all the stuff of abject desperation. Let 'em say it, get a laugh at their expense and move on. The Baby Boomer sixties protesters are now all grown up (physically, that is), have taken control of the Democratic party, and are doing a great job of driving it into extinction with the same tried-and-failed hairbrained philosophies that make them as much of the goofy caricatures today as they were then when they were hippies protesting the sun as it rose and set.

Now, they hold public office. They are held to a higher standard. Durbin has the absolute right to be a complete fool because soldiers fought and died over two centuries to give him that right. But that right needs to be exercised prudently--if at all--by a United States Senator, let alone a member of the leadership.

Ignoring Barbara Boxer is one thing. She has met and passed her era of relevance (presuming she had one). She is now fit only for the opening skit on Saturday Night Live.

But Dick Durbin is indeed a bigwig in the Senate. And statements like this can't be allowed to slide. The abusive rhetoric is one thing. But likening our soldiers to genocidists in time of war is indecent. Refusing to back off of those statements is scandalous.

Don't ignore him. Reprimand him. Because irresponsible talk has its consequences. It's time for a censure.

Hit Me Baby No More Times

I love 80s music. I can't get enough of it. My wife has forbidden me from getting XM or Sirius which have 80s channels and Fox News, which would meet my radio listening needs for eternity. So she told me that she would be willing to sit through NBC's "Hit Me Baby One More Time" music competition so that I could enjoy 80s music by the original artists who are revisiting their hits of decades past.

It is an unqualified disaster.

Between remake queen Tiffany hitting the stage after a very unkind fifteen years have passed for her, or last night having my heart broken listening to Wang Chung sing "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" without hitting a single note and mercifully sparing the ears of dogs everywhere by cutting them off before they could butcher the high pitched bridge to the song, NBC deserves the "Oh The Humanity" award for airing this truly demonic show. These people can no longer sing, and I will very happily settle with listening to the original recordings rather than being embarrassed for these once great artists. None of them would have survived the first cut for American Idol.

But this is somehow much, much worse than that. Rather than being crummy singers they are showing us that they who were once great have fallen.

I loved Wang Chung.

I'm going to dig up the old recording and cleanse myself tonight. And may God have mercy on NBC for airing this truly disturbing show.

Stop Expecting Durbin to Apologize

There are few things that I dislike more than phony words of goodwill. A fake apology, for social purposes only is equally distasteful. Apologies were meant to be expressions of true regret for a wrong done, not a socially appropriate means of excusing an unremorseful individual.

Which brings me to Dick Durbin. Per yesterday's post, Durbin MEANT what he said, and refused to back off of those comments stating that these were the acts of repressive regimes.

I think the calls for Durbin to apologize are a waste of air. Dick Durbin is not running for Senate again until 2008. He is not in the running for the presidency. He has no need to make these remarks to stir the Democrats' radical leftist base--unless he really means them.

I would rather he save a faux apology and just come out and admit that he is soft on terror, and that he has minimal respect for our soldiers or the need to extract information about terrorist operations against our interests. The only legitimate way to interpret his words and his further clarification of them yesterday is that Durbin prefers that our enemies be comforted than we be safe.

But I think the least thing we should expect is a censure from the Senate. We expect that people holding high elective office would actually be pro-American, rather than engaging in reckless talk that deliberately mischaraterizes our duty under the Geneva Convention and likens our soldiers to the SS, Khmer Rouge, and the KGB. Either Durbin is stupid and does not know of what he speaks (thereby disqualifying him from office), or he really means it (again, disqualifying him). In any case, we cannot let this go.

Nor can we excuse other Democrats from remaining silent. I am urging my two Senators (Mikulski and Sarbanes, both liberal Democrats) to completely disavow Durbin's comments. And I strongly urge those of you red-staters with blue Senators to do the same. Go to www.senate.gov and locate your Senators there. And I am also encouraging Senator Frist to bring a censure resolution to the floor. He can be reached at that same website.

Because Trent Lott was booted from leadership when he made an off-hand remark about a 100 year old Senator who was his friend, that the left used to accuse him of racism. The same standard should apply to the Democrats. And its time that they be called to account for the truly treasonous language which they allow to emanate from their mouths and pens.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

More on Durbin

Scott Johnson at Powerline posts this item which links to a very prophetic and well-reasoned set of articles by Paul Mirengoff.

The point is that the "triple-dog-dare" of comparing Bush to Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin is the Democrats' new substitute for a refreshingly rational criticism of the Administration. Rather than making sensible arguments and offering alternatives to what they find to be unacceptable policies, they hit the airwaves with a rhetorical ton of bricks and pray that the resulting thud resonates rather than repels voters.

So how's that working for you guys?

Durbin & Dems--Soft on Terror, Hard on Soldiers

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il), the Senate Minority Whip, yesterday stood up for terrorists and compared our soldiers to the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, The SS under Hitler, and the KGB under Stalin. All in the same breath. Quite an accomplishment.

Here's what he said:

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
Cute. Here's the full text from the Congressional Record which describes the human tragedy of these non-national enemy combatants. Chained up, forced to listen to rap music (which may indeed justify Durbin's position), sitting in the Cuban heat, having the air turned up too much, and generally denied evening bed turndown service and chocolates on their pillows. And someone probably looked at a Koran the wrong way too. Even better, Durbin has refused to apologize (courtesy Drudge), and mistakenly claims that the Geneva Convention applies to these people. But it stands to reason that these Democrats are going to make the waging of any war impossible for Republicans by accusing them of mistreatment when a prisoner's feelings are hurt.

There is just an absolute ton of problems with all of this, which I will try to tackle very briefly.

First, this is more of the party of "no". They oppose keeping these people at Guantanamo Bay but have never once proposed an alternate location for a prison, nor explained what is so insufficient or inappropriate about Gitmo, save for the mental images it raises as a result of the media flap that they have caused over it. Opposition of the Bush administration without offering alternatives--a modern Democrat mainstay.

Second, these prisoners have no rights, except those which a civilized captor like the United States believes are appropriate. The Constitution does not establish the rights and treatment of foreigners captured in war. That is governed by treaty, and the Geneva Convention is as close as it comes, but not close enough, as that treaty deals only with the treatment of captured members of a nation's military, not the treatment of non-military enemy combatants. These people were fighting the U.S. military outside of the protections of the Geneva Convention. They were not part of any nation's military, but rather were members of a clandestine international terrorist organization. If Iran planned to attack us, for example, we could deal with them appropriately. They have an address. Al Qaida is not so easy to locate. They are wherever they can hide, and they seek to destroy America by staging unconventional sneak attacks. It is in the interests of our civilian population to extract information from these people in order to prevent future attacks and to undermine their organizations. We owe them nothing, yet we feed and appropriately shelter them. We have made grand accommodations for their religion to the point that our greatest fear is offending their cultural sensibilities. But if they are upset about the air conditioning not working or it being too cold, their concerns ring hollow. It's a prison. Enjoy.

Third, this is a scandalous way to speak of one's own soldiers who are fighting and dying in the far reaches of the world to keep us safe. And to a very significant degree, this kind of hyperbolic talk gives aid and comfort to our enemies. Not that they would pick up on it. If Durbin disagrees with the Administration, let him just say so. Cite the law or treaty by specific sections and language that stands against what the Administration is doing. Otherwise, he just proves that he is little more than an unintellectual partisan demagogue.

Fourth, we were attacked (check the link & don't close it down. It's a great reminder of what this war is all about). We helplessly watched our friends and relatives be murdered. If Durbin is suggesting that we release these people he may want to remember that released terrorists have a surprisingly high recidivism rate. This is the cousin the Democrats' other penchant, which is a very soft approach towards violent crime. This time, rather than giving a murderer a break, they would do so to people who would seek to unleash cataclysmic destruction on our nation.

Dick Durbin and the members of his party, who through silence tacitly approve of his statements, have once again demonstrated that they are not serious about the very real threats that face our nation. Far from simply being wrong on the issue of national security, they consistently demonstrate what can only be described as an opportunistic, irresponsible and immoral position on terror, for the sole purpose of political gain.

The fact that this comes out of the mouth of the Democrats' second in command should escape nobody's attention. And I would urge everyone from Illinois to keep in mind that Dick Durbin looks out for terrorists before his own nation's safety.