10/12/2002

More From the WashPost - Or "Why We Hate the Media!"

Readers also responded with harsh criticism to the WashPost's publication of photos of victims of the DC sniper.

One reader writes:

Did your paper receive permission from the family of one of the sniper's Oct. 3 victims to print a photo of her corpse on the front page of the next day's paper? The caption misleadingly stated that the picture was of a police officer collecting statistics. But the focus of the picture was the dead body, which was demeaning and showed a galling lack of sympathy for both the woman and her friends and family.

I agree completely.

A second reader writes, more damningly:

Why would you run the photo of the dead man at the gas station in Prince William County [front page, Oct. 10]? The photo, which ran on Page A22, showed his license plate, but the article said the family had not been notified. Well, your photo took care of that, didn't it? I am all for freedom of speech, but I think it was insensitive to print the photo at this time.

There are two big things wrong here. First, as the reader notes, the family had not been notified, and to find out on the front page of the WashPost is pretty awful - insensitive doesn't begin to cover it.

Second, showing the victim's license plate identifies him not only to his family, but potentially to everyone who saw the photo and has the inclination to do a minute or two of research. With that license plate, anyone who wants to could quickly learn not only the victim's name, but lots of other information, including where he - and, presumably, his family - lives.

That's not just insensitive, that's incredibly irresponsible, putting the family at risk for anyone who chooses to use that information to harrass them or harm them. Would it have been so difficult to blur out the license plate number in the photo?

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to endanger the lives and the peace of mind of innocent citizens because you can't be bothered to take minimal precautions to protect their privacy.



Ha! I Knew It!

As I noted in my discussion of Richard Cohen's column of Tuesday, October 8th, I agreed with his view that the taxpayers of New Jersey shouldn't be forced to subsidize the vile, anti-Semetic poetry of Amiri Baraka. I also noted that I was hesitant to praise Mr. Cohen, since I believed that he had, in the past, expressed precisely the opposite view of government funding of the arts; but I was unwilling to pay the $2.99 to search the WashPost archives for proof.

Well, thankfully, WashPost reader Brian Bisonnette was willing to pay that $2.99, and he writes about the fruits of his search in today's "Free For All" section.

A similar public debate took place in New York City three years ago, when then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani tried to deny taxpayer funding to the charlatans masquerading as artists in the Brooklyn Museum's 1999 "Sensation" exhibit. This exhibit included, among other items, a painting of the Virgin Mary complete with smatterings of dung. The work was offensive to many Catholics, who were displeased with having their tax dollars support it.

The circumstances of the two events could hardly be more similar. Yet Cohen's response to those calling for a retraction of the Brooklyn Museum's funding was different from his response to the Baraka controversy. In a Sept. 30, 1999, op-ed column titled "Mayor of All the Museums," Cohen concluded that "New York cannot play the role of curator. Once it makes a commitment, it must rely on the good judgment of its recipients not to do something reckless with the money." He went on: "boldness, daring, experimentation, the artistic imagination itself, will surely suffer if politicians like Giuliani use the power of government to police creativity." (Not any politicians, mind you, just those "like Giuliani" -- a polite way, perhaps, of describing Republican politicians, or any others who would do the bidding of an obviously irrational Catholic mob.)


So, Mr. Cohen, what's the story?

Have you honestly changed your mind - in which case, perhaps you'll do us the courtesy of disavowing your earlier words and retracting your criticism of Mayor Giuliani?

Or do you feel that anti-Catholic bigotry is acceptable, but not anti-Semetic bigotry?

Or that it's acceptable for a Democratic governor to pull funding from offensive artists, but not for Republican mayors?

I'm very curious what the answer here is.


Morons on Campus

This is not news, but since the WashPost writes about it today on the front page, we'll discuss it again. The topic, of course, is the campaign of hatred against Israel on college campuses across the nation. This campaign is now taking the form of an organized movement to force schools to "divest" themselves of any holdings in Israeli companies, just as was done to South Africa in the 1980's.

The reason, of course, is the "apartheid" imposed on the Palestinians by Israel, during their 35 year "occupation."

Some 400 activists from 90 campuses around the country are converging on the University of Michigan for the Second National Student Conference on the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, a three-day meeting that begins today and is aimed at expanding the Israel divestiture movement

"We plan to brainstorm on ways to spread our message," said Fadi Kiblawi, a Kuwaiti-born senior who grew up in St. Louis and is the lead organizer of the conference. "If you look at a map of the occupied territories, it looks like apartheid South Africa. Palestinians can't travel from one place to another without heavy restrictions. And all the laws they face are predicated on the fact that they are not the correct religion."


Where do we begin with this? The restrictions are not about religion; they're about the fact that the Palestinians are conducting a murderous war against Israeli civillians.

But entirely aside from that, even if it were all about religion, well, coming from a Kuwati citizen, where religions other than Islam are outlawed entirely, it's really hard to take such a criticism seriosuly. Hey, Mr. Kiblawi, why don't you go protest against your government for its religious intolerance before you attack Israel?

Oh, right. Israel is the devil. Silly me, I forgot.

There's more, but it's all hateful, vile, and we've seen it all before, and it's all beneath comtempt.
Just Wondering

Re: the DC area sniper attacks. Amongst the speculation online and elsewhere that, possibly, the attacks are a terrorist act rather than the actions of a serial killer, I'm curious why the possibility of eco-terrorists hasn't been mentioned.

I've read musings that it could be Al Qaeda, or unaffiliated Islamic terrorists sympathetic to Al Qaeda's cause; or that it could be McVeigh-esque terrorism, or white supremacists.

Now I'm not 100% serious here, but look at it: four of the eight killings have been at gas stations; another was of someone using a (resumably) gasoline powered lawn mower. Public statements from the extreme fringes of the green movement - folks like ALF and ELF - have not shied away from the possibility of using murder to further their goals, and really, since they've already commited large-scale arson attacks, how much of a step would this really be for them?

As I said, I'm just asking why those folks aren't mentioned as a possibility right next to the other usual terrorist suspects. They've provedn that they're dangerous, and violent, and have little if any regard for the lives of those they oppose, and they're organized into anonymous cells much like Al Qaeda is. So why don't we hear more about them?

10/11/2002

Winning Ugly is Better Than Losing Pretty

And that's exactly what Our Nation's Capitals (tm, I'm sure) did tonight in their opening game, which I've just returned from.

The Caps beat the Nashville Predators (do they have any predators native to Tennessee?) 5-4, with the game winner coming from new addition Robert Lang with a minute to go.

The game was sloppy and penalty-filled (including four five-on-three situations, and a penalty for an "illegal stick"), but hey, a win is a win, and hopefully the first of many for the Caps this season.
Well, You're Wrong

Salon this morning published the text of the "firey" speech by Representative Pete Stark of California on the House floor, in opposition to the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. It's helpful to see the logic, such as it is, used by opponents of the President...

"Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution (authorizing military force against Iraq). I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions through careful and cautious diplomacy.

Like, oh, the last ten years? The endless attempts to get productive weapons inspections? The reason we've reached the point we're at, Mr. Stark, is because every attempt has failed, and the Iraqi government has proven to be entirely untrustworthy.

"The bottom line is I don't trust this president and his advisors.

Well, we don't trust you, so we're even.

The question is, do you trust Saddam Hussein and his generals more than the President of the United States, as your comptriot from Washington State, Mr. McDermott, does?

"Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total authority to the president, who wants to invade a sovereign nation without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our history. It sets a precedent for our nation -- or any nation -- to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to international law or international consensus.

We've been through this argument too many times; there is more than sufficient provocation.

And as for a precedent, well, did Russia need a precedent before going into Chechyna? Did Iraq need a precedent to invade Iran and later Kuwait? Did India and Pakistan need precedents to start lobbing artillery against each other's forces? Did we need a precedent before we went into Kosovo without provocation or UN authorization?

Get back to us when you've got the answers, Mr. Stark, why don't you?

"Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a president who has been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of no real consequence."

Um...the fact that we've waited over a year to do this; the fact that we've gone to the UN, that means nothing, obviously. And "callous?" I think that callous would be waiting until thousands of Americans are killed by a biological or nuclear attack from Saddam or his terrorist pals.

"You know, three years ago in December, Molly Ivins, an observer of Texas politics, wrote: 'For an upper-class white boy, Bush comes on way too hard. At a guess, to make up for being an upper-class white boy.'

"'Somebody,' she said, 'should be worrying about how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein.' How prophetic, Ms. Ivins.


Well, gee whiz, quoting a whiny populist columnist who's despised the Bush family for two decades! That's certainly convincing. I mean, that ends the argument right there, doesn't it.

Moron.

"Let us not forget that our president -- our commander in chief -- has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. In fact, he admits that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height of that conflict in 1968 he didn't notice 'any heavy stuff going on.'"

Neither did the prior President. He, in fact, wrote once that he "loathed the military." I wonder if Mr. Stark approved of his vasous and sundry uses of the military.

"So we have a president who thinks foreign territory is the opponent's dugout and Kashmir is a sweater.

Bush is Stooopid! Thank you, Mr. Stark. The floor of the House is certainly the place for childish insults.

"What is most unconscionable is that there is not a shred of evidence to justify the certain loss of life. Do the generalized threats and half-truths of this administration give any one of us in Congress the confidence to tell a mother or father or family that the loss of their child or loved one was in the name of a just cause?

Yes! The just cause of the removal of a brutal tyrant who supports terrorists, who seeks weapons of mass destruction, who is an avowed enemy of the United States. Pretty clear to me.

"Is the president's need for revenge for the threat once posed to his father enough to justify the death of any American?

If that were the sole cause for war, of course not. But that is not the reason, and only a dishonest creep like Mr. Stark would suggest that it was.

"I submit the answer to these questions is no.

"Aside from the wisdom of going to war as Bush wants, I am troubled by who pays for his capricious adventure into world domination. The administration admits to a cost of around $200 billion!


"World domination?" Yes, Bush wants to be Emperor! Jim McDermott said so, and of course he must be right!

"Now, wealthy individuals won't pay. They've got big tax cuts already. Corporations won't pay. They'll cook the books and move overseas and then send their contributions to the Republicans. Rich kids won't pay. Their daddies will get them deferments as Big George did for George W.

Deferments? We don't have a draft, Mr. Stark. We have an all-volunteer military. If you don't know that, you probably shouldn't be voting on these kind of issues, now should you?

And tax cuts don't mean that "wealthy ndividuals don't pay." They mean that the government takes less of the money they earn away from them. And, by definition, the wealthy get larger cuts, because they're paying more taxes to begin with! Math is hard, I know, but you are a Congressman, Mr. Stark. You ought to at least make an effort.

"Well then, who will pay?

"School kids will pay. There'll be no money to keep them from being left behind -- way behind. Seniors will pay. They'll pay big time as the Republicans privatize Social Security and rob the Trust Fund to pay for the capricious war. Medicare will be curtailed and drugs will be more unaffordable. And there won't be any money for a drug benefit because Bush will spend it all on the war.


Drugs will be "more unaffordable?" Why, exactly?

No drug benefit? Well, there isn't one now, and why exactly should there be more free ice cream for the AARP crowd anyway?

As for privatizing Social Security, well, that's good policy in any case. And "robbing the trust fund," well, that's done now anyway, so stop your lying and whining, Mr. Stark.

"Working folks will pay through loss of job security and bargaining rights. Our grandchildren will pay through the degradation of our air and water quality. And the entire nation will pay as Bush continues to destroy civil rights, women's rights and religious freedom in a rush to phony patriotism and to courting the messianic Pharisees of the religious right.

Really? Women's rights? Civil rights? Civil liberties, maybe, but there's a big difference there; and in any case, where were you, Mr. Stark, when the former Narcissist-in-Chief was trashing the Bill of Rights?

"The questions before the members of this House and to all Americans are immense, but there are clear answers. America is not currently confronted by a genuine, proven, imminent threat from Iraq. The call for war is wrong.

It's wrong if you don't mind being vulnerable to deadly attacks from a murderous tyrant who's clearly expressed his hatred for us and desire to attack us.

"And what greatly saddens me at this point in our history is my fear that this entire spectacle has not been planned for the well-being of the world, but for the short-term political interest of our president.

"Now, I am also greatly disturbed that many Democratic leaders have also put political calculation ahead of the president's accountability to truth and reason by supporting this resolution. But, I conclude that the only answer is to vote no on the resolution before us."


Accountability to truth and reason? You wouldn't know either of those things if they jumped up and bit you, you lying weasel!

But he's a Congressman from California. I guess we can't really expect anything better.

And They Complain About US

Via Right Wing News...it seems that the European Union is refusing to treat Hamas as a terrorist organization, which is obviously making life more difficult for our policies, not to mention making life impossible for the Israeli civillians that Hamas murderes.

Apparently "the EU maintains a distinction between the military and political wings of the Palestinian group."

That is simply disgraceful.
Well, It's Official

The Nobel Peace Prize is entirely worthless. It was awarded yesterday to failed ex-President Jimmy Carter, for his

"decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

Which mostly consists of kissing up to - and doing PR work for - horrendous dictators and the occasional murderous terrorist (Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat come to mind).

"It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken," Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee, said in Norwegian. "It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States."

I'd think that Mr. Carter would, given that statement, be embarrased to accept the award. But of course he won't be.

What a joke.
Every Home Should Have One

Here's a product that you absolutely need in your home or office. Remember:

Are you prepared for the inevitable???

Consider these sobering facts

Ninety-five percent of Americans live within two miles of a cemetery or mortuary.

Most Americans use and value their brains -- the natural food of zombies.

Ninety percent of zombie related fatalities occur in the home.

The only proven defense against zombie attack is an effective early warning system.


How can you say no?

10/10/2002

Fire Him! Now!

The State Department, in the person of flack Richard Boucher, has responded to the allegations levelled by Joel Mowbray of National Review.

Boucher's words are, at best, unconvincing. Before you read them, here again for your reference is one of the one of the applications that was approved.

Now to the upsetting part:

QUESTION: And my last one. You guys have come under some pretty intense fire today about the issuances of visas to the hijackers in at least three publications that I found.

MR. BOUCHER: Only one author.


Because of course that negates the allegations of negligence, right, Dick?

QUESTION: One author, three different publications, obviously shopping it around to a variety of places. But one former State Department official is quoted as saying that there was criminal negligence involved, and I'm wondering what you make of this allegation.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't make a lot of it. The Department has, first of all, cooperated fully and supported the efforts of our investigators to find out everything they could about the hijackers and about the circumstances under which they came to the United States. What information our US Government agencies might have had or might not have had, the fact is that with 20/20 hindsight, I'm sure one can always find a reason that you might have turned down a visa or turned down or made a different decision. But at the time, we had no information on any of these people in the namecheck system or any other indications that they didn't qualify for a visa.


Jesus Christ! Hindsight? Look at the damn application! "Name and Street Address of Present Employer or School" - "South City". Right there, without going further, the application is, by any conceivable standard, incomplete at best. Denied. Next.

I would note that since September 11th we've done an awful lot to improve the detail and the rigor of our screening of visas. We require much more information from applicants. We have much more extensive screening procedures. We have vastly expanded the information in our databases about potential terrorists and criminals. We've dramatically increased the percentage of applicants who must come for personal interviews. In Saudi Arabia, all men between the ages of 12 and 70 are being interviewed unless they are government officials or personally known already to the embassy.

So we have made any number of changes to try to improve standards of visa processing worldwide to make sure that the primary goal of keeping out the people who don't belong here, keeping out the people who may do us harm, that that goal is being met.


Then why did your Department lie and stonewall about Visa Express for so long?

"More extensive screening procedures?" They'd have to be! Apparently the pre-9/11 procedures didn't even include a cursory reading of the application!

QUESTION: Well, of course, the article doesn't talk about post-9/11, it talks about pre-9/11, and says that — and alleges that even under the standards that were applicable at the time, pre-9/11, these applications should have been rejected on their face because they contained either incomplete or factually incorrect information. What do you have to say to this?

MR. BOUCHER: That's easy to say now and I'm sure all of us would like to say that now. 214(b) is a catch-all that says that if the applicant doesn't establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer that he's going to the United States for a temporary period and limited purposes — you'll see the exact language in the law — then he can be turned down for a visa and should be turned down for a visa. And that's the way we operate around the world.

In each particular case, we look at the application, whatever interviews, whatever other information we have, we do the name checks and, you know, we turn down the people who don't deserve visas, who don't clearly qualify for visas. As I've said, it's easy sort of as a Monday morning quarterback to say somebody would have made this different decision, but I don't think that's fair to the process, and in any case, the process is vastly different now than it was then.


Dick, did you even look at the applications in question? You can find them online now, you know.

But you have to love this answer. Everything was done correctly, and it's not fair to question the process, but we've changed it all even though it was correct then. Right.

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah, but the — but Richard, the argument that's advanced is that these people should have been turned down, and you're saying that they would have been if they were — if their applications were — I mean, you're saying in a sense, I think — and correct me if I'm wrong — that these people did qualify for visas under the existing rules at the time.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: They did?

MR. BOUCHER: They did. That was what the consular officers determined. And in the end, that's what matters.


No, Dick, what matters is that 3,000 people died, either because the consular officer on duty the day these folks came through forgot his reading glasses, or because there was a policy to let Saudis into the U.S. regardless of the completness and accuracy of their applicatons. Neither one of those is acceptable, nor are your smart-assed, dishonest answers.

QUESTION: Okay, but —

MR. BOUCHER: To establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer, based on all the information the consular officer had.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. BOUCHER: So, you know, you can second-guess these decisions, but the fact is now the situation is different: the processing is different, the information available to our consular officers is different, the amount of information required of applicants is different, the databases are different. So whatever one thinks about what could have happened, should have happened, might have happened, with those applications that were deemed legitimate at the time based on all the information we had, one has to say that it's a different situation now. We have vastly improved the processing and the security of the applications.


why don't I believe this?

Could it be that Boucher is a lying son of a bitch? I think that's pretty likely.

"Deemed legitimate?" That must be some new definition of "legitimate" with which I'm not familiar.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, then, so you do not take a position on whether the consular officers who approved these visas were wrong in determining that these people were eligible?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: They — so at the time —

MR. BOUCHER: At the time, the consular officers, based on what they had available to them, okay, which is a lot less information than somebody would have now, which wasn't the entire US Government database because we didn't get that information from all th agencies at that time — but even then, I'm not sure we would have had a hit.


Circle the wagons at any cost, Dick? This isn't the Mafia with the Omerta code! You are a fucking public servant! You are responsible to the American people, not to the other career bureaucrats whose asses you're covering here.

QUESTION: Okay. So the long and short of it —

MR. BOUCHER: So based on what they knew at the time, they issued the visas. That's a judgment that they had to make. I'm not checking that judgment now. I'm just saying the whole process is different now.

QUESTION: So you reject outright that there was criminal negligence as to this —

MR. BOUCHER: I saw the phrase. I think that's rhetorical and not judicial, so I'm not going to try to deal with it.


They ought to put that on the State Department's official seal - "I'm not going to try to deal with it." It fits right up and down the line.

Every day this man draws a government paycheck is a crime.
Campaigning the Democrat Way

Check out this item, via Ranting Screeds.

It seems that the Republican candidate for Senate was smeared with a Democratic ad that implied that he was homosexual:

State Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena, and program director for the Montana Human Rights Network, said Thursday morning the ad "is an overt and obvious appeal to the homophobic (voter) that is playing to that stereotypic imagery."

So much for the party of inclusion, and tolerance, and respect.

Once again, we see that thre is no line the Dems will not cross, no lie they will not tell, no standard of decent behavior they will not violate.

This goes along nicely with other slanderous tactics we've seen from the Donkey Party, such as the race-baiting that the Dems are famous for (which we sometimes see even within the party, as in the New York primary campaign, when Andrew Cuomo tried to imply that his opponent, a black man, was not "black enough"), as anyone who remembers the disgraceful ads that equated then-candidate Bush with the killers of James Byrd.

One wonders what the Dems would say were the shoe on the other foot, and how much we'd hear about it in the NY Times and on the network evening news.

As always, disgraceful.
They Must Have Switched his Meds Again

It's Thursday, which means, of course, that we are treated to a brand new Richard Cohen column.

I think they've lowered his Prozac (Paxil? Valium?) dosage, apparently, because today, we get Agressive Richard. Keep in mind as you read that two weeks ago today he praised Al Gore's speech that opposed war in Iraq; and three weeks ago today he wrote:

The further we get from Sept 11, 2001 -- the more the clock ticks and passions cool -- the harder it gets to make a case for war. Speaking just for myself, time has taken a toll. I may just settle for peace.

and

Do we want an Iraq without Hussein or merely one without weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear ones? Frankly, I don't know anymore.

What does Richard say today?

In listing his reasons for (probably) going to war against Iraq soon -- the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime and its flouting of international law -- President Bush the other night failed to mention the most important one: Now's the time.

Um...maybe on Bizarro World, Richard heard a different speech than I did. But he did make it clear that "now's the time," because waiting will only make Saddam Hussein stronger and more dangerous.

Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor enabled President Roosevelt to go to war against Germany as well as Japan, so did the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 give Bush the opportunity to do what three administrations -- his, his father's and Bill Clinton's -- had wanted to do for some time. The attacks galvanized the nation and altered the political climate. Hussein hadn't changed any. America had.

That -- and only that -- makes up the link between Hussein and Osama bin Laden. There is not now, nor has there ever been, any evidence of cooperation between the two.


Um...do you ever read any history, Richard? Germany declared war on us shortly after Pearl Harbor. The devil's in the details and all that.

And...um...that's an awfully forceful statement, that there's no evidence of cooperation between Hussein and Osama (really, it should be Al Qaeda here, rather than just Osama personally). There is evidence of meetings between Iraqi intelligence and Al Qaeda pre-September 11th; a lot of people just choose to ignore it because accepting that makes it much harder to oppose removing Saddam.

Skipping down...

Finally, the term "weapons of mass destruction," while frightening, is an obfuscation. Chemical weapons are weapons of limited destruction -- horrible but restricted in practicality. Biological weapons are scary beyond imagination, but much more potent in the movies than in real life. They are difficult to deliver -- the explosion immolates the germs -- and not all that effective.

"Not all that effective?" On September 10th, most people would not have considered an airliner a terribly effective weapon, either. Nuclear weapons are a different matter. They truly are weapons of mass destruction -- certainly weapons of mass intimidation. Iraq is probably five years or so away from developing an atomic weapon, but why wait for that to happen? Recent history tells us that when this crisis passes, the world will lose its interest and Hussein's weaponeers will return to the labs. Sooner or later, this vampire is going to rise out of his coffin.

So, now -- or soon -- is the moment. But this administration has to be carefully watched. It is fundamentally contradictory, enunciating a doctrine of unilateralism while reluctantly seeking a multilateral coalition against Iraq. It kissed off Congress and then embraced it. It is confusing. It is confused.


Confused? Um...no. They're doing everything that their critics - people like you, Richard! - have asked them to do. Go to Congress, the critics say. Bush does. Go to the UN, critics say. Bush does. Try to build a coalition, critics say. Bush does.

And then the critics say Bush is inconsistent. Well, they're idiots, and should be ignored.

Richard concludes thusly:

In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, I felt, why wait? Since then, I have questioned and probed, wondered and worried, but my bottom line has not changed. For the sake of international law, for the sake of preventing nuclear blackmail, for the sake of ridding the world of a leader with Hitler's megalomania and the weapons to fuel it, war may be the only course. Saddam Hussein is the target. But time is the enemy.

So he's ready for war, but we may not have to fight. Or we may have to.

Does Richard even know what he thinks? Or is it just the meds talking?

Does anybody at the WashPost edit this guy for...I don't know...coherence? An actual viewpoint?

What a pointless, half-assed waste of column inches Cohen is. If he hadn't already demonstrated that he's incapable of the emotion, I'd say that he ought to be embarrassed by this.









Why Are We Listening to This Man?

Ku Klux Klan alumnus Robert Byrd, Pharoah of West Virginia, has an OpEd in today's NY Times.

It's titled:

Congress Must Resist the Rush to War

Thank you, Mr. Byrd. Why don't you go back home and have some more off-ramps and garbage dumps named after yourself? That's about the only thing you're actually good at these days.

I'm not going to go into his whole piece, because the arguments he makes have all been hashed out here and elsewhere, and Byrd is clearly and utterly wrong.

But I will answer, yet again, one point he raises:

The president's case for an unprovoked attack is circumstantial at best. Saddam Hussein is a threat, but the threat is not so great that we must be stampeded to provide such authority to this president just weeks before an election.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention: it is not unprovoked!

After the '91 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein signed a cease-fire agreement. That agreement terminated hostilities, with the imposition of certain conditions on Hussein and his government.

Those conditions have been violated, almost from day one. They have been violated ever since then; repeatedly and brazenly.

Therefore, Iraq has already provoked any action we might choose to take against it.

In addition, Iraq has brazenly and repeatedly violated several UN Security Council resolutions.

And Iraq has, brazenly and repeately fired on U.S. and British forces in the no-fly zone.

And Iraq has, brazenly and repeatedly, given aid, both financial and otherwise, to terrorists. Saddam brags of giving aid to Palestinian suicide bombers and their families - who have killed Americans as well as Israelis; this is not in dispute.

There is more than ample provocation. If Pharoah Byrd does not understand this, he is unfit to serve as a Senator due to stupidity - which is almost certainly true in any case.
Take That!

Rachel Lucas rips Maryland candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend a new one, over Kathy's support of stupid and counterproductive gun control measures.

Rachel is...um...an outspoken defender...yeah, that's it...of the Second Amendment, and we in the Empire wholeheartedly agree.

She asks:

KKT, wherefore art thou brain? If existing gun control laws save lives, why are you talking? What's the problem? Oh wait, I know. It's that those laws are fine and good, but we need more. Right?

I think the question answers itself. Where's Kathy's brain? She's a Kennedy! Why does she need a brain, when she's got the Kennedy name, and the Kennedy billions earned through an organized crime empire, behind her?

And, besides, she's a Kennedy! How dare any of us peons question her! It's her divine right to rule over us, and impose whatever laws she deems necessary, because we're unworthy of questioning the perfect logic and impeccable motives of a Kennedy.

10/09/2002

What a Great Idea!

Via Instapundit and Orrin Judd comes a wonderful suggestion.

It seems that horrendous California Governor Gray Davis is calling on Republican opponent Bill Simon to quit the governor's race due to an ugly situation regarding accusations Simon levelled against Davis that can't apparently be backed up.

Orrin says, and Glenn agrees, that:

Mr. Davis is right. Bill Simon should take one for the Party and bow out of the race. Arnold Schwarzenegger stands ready to replace him and would likely beat Gray Davis by 15+ points. One can hardly wait to hear Democrats and the NY Times explain why this would be unjust.

Exactly! After all, as we've been lectured by various and sundry Dems, it's all about giving voters the best possible choice, isn't it? And archaic "rules" and "election laws" shouldn't get in the way of that.

Governor Schwarzenegger. That has a definite ring to it, doesn't it?
There Are No Words

Go to National Review Online right now. What you'll read at the link I've provided is a piece by the State Department's favorite reporter, Joel Mowbray.

Mowbray has obtained copies of the visa applications for 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers. Mowbray ran them by a panel of experts, which included:

four former consular officers, a current consular officer stationed in Latin America, and a senior official at Consular Affairs (CA) — the division within the State Department that oversees consulates and visa issuance — who has extensive consular experience

The conclusion? None of them should have been approved:

even allowing for human error, no more than a handful of the visa applications should have managed to slip through the cracks. Making the visa lapses even more inexplicable, the State Department claims that at least 11 of the 15 were interviewed by consular officers. Nikolai Wenzel, one of the former consular officers who analyzed the forms, declares that State's issuance of the visas "amounts to criminal negligence."

NRO has also helpfully made available five of these applications, so that we can judge for ourselves (the links are within the article at NRO. Here's one of them).

Entirely aside from security concerns, the fact that they're all filled out improperly and incompletely (for example, under "Name and Street Address of Present Employer or Schol", one application lists "South City" - that, by itself, ought to have gotten the application rejected).

I'm not even going to rant about this; it's so obviously appalling, with no conceivable explanation or justification that I can even imagine, that I don't have the words to do it justice.

It's just...there aren't any words for this.


Our Partner For Peace

Via Right Wing News comes this item, from a forthcoming book by terrorism expert (and former consultant to both the Defense and State Departments) Yossef Bodansky:

It seems that, back in April of this year, when our (hopefully soon to be ex)Secretary of State was trying to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians bent on its destruction, our Partner for Peace Yasser Arafat attempted to arrange Mr. Powell's assassination.

It was, according to Bodansky, only the alert action of Israeli forces that prevented it from happening:

"During a meeting with [special negotiator Gen. Anthony] Zinni, Arafat made a special request - a personal favor. A police officer from a very important family in Gaza had just been killed at Arafat's compound. It was imperative to get the body to Gaza for proper burial, Arafat pleaded. Zinni requested Jerusalem to make an exception to the siege. Jerusalem consented on April 7-8. However, the PA was not ready to dispatch the body until the evening of April 11 - at about the same time Powell was due to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport.

Unbeknownst to the Palestinians, Israeli security forces were following the ambulance bearing the officer's body as it left the Ramallah area.

Their suspicions deepened when the ambulance made a "wrong turn" and headed toward Highway 1 - connecting Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem - instead of taking the road to Gaza. As the ambulance was about to enter Highway 1, it was ambushed and stopped by an Israeli anti-terrorist unit. A quick search netted a huge bomb installed under the policeman's body and a martyr's bomb-web under the seat next to the driver.

The two supposed Red Crescent medics told their interrogators that their plan was to park the ambulance near a bend in the road where Powell's convoy was bound to slow down. They would open the vehicle's hood as if they had an engine problem. Once the limousine got close to the ambulance, the driver was to blow it up, in the expectation that the convoy would stop and the security personnel would rush to investigate the explosion.

Exploiting the confusion, the other "medic" was to run to the limousine, try to get in, and blow himself up either inside the limousine or pressed against its exterior"


Let's count all the ways we should be appalled by this:

First, obviously, the attempted assassination of an American, any American, by these barbarians is an act of war.

Second, it was also a direct attack on the Bush Administration.

Third, it was stupid, because Powell's the most sympathetic ear the Palestinians have in the current Administration.

Fourth, he was there tying to end the siege of Arafat's compound and reach some sort of accord.

Fifth, the attempt utilized the pretense of an humanatarian action and all the trappings thereof, which violates the Geneva COnvention and every other rule of civilized behavior, and also makes life worse for the Palestinian people, since even ambulances and Red Crescent personnel can no longer be assumed to be benign and neutral - but must be presumed to be hostile and dangerous, as the rest of the Palestinians are.

This proves, although we have already had enough proof for a dozen lifetimes, that the Palestinian leadership cannot be trusted, cannot be negotiated with, and does not want peace.

What will it take for those not yet convinced to understand this? A successful assassination of one of our high officials? Or something much worse? Or, and this is more likely, is there no convincing those who toe the Palestinian line and scream about Israel's "occupation"? Is there no deed so henious that they will see the truth? No amount of innocent blood that will wash away their delusions?

Who am I kidding? We already know the answers to those questions.

Back in the Quagmire

Some people, like the WashPost's David Broder, can find Vietnam paralels and influences everywhere. So this AM, Broder takes a break from whining about political advertising and the evils of fundraising to bleat about the lingering effects of that war in Southeast Asia that ended 30 years ago.

The disarray and despondency among Democrats this week demonstrate once again the damage that Vietnam did to the generation now leading that party. Those who went to war in Southeast Asia when they were young and those who protested it in the streets and on the campuses both carry the scars of the experience into the current debate on the showdown with Saddam Hussein.

Maybe the scars, at least among those who protested in the streets, were self inflicted. Just a thought.

While some significant Republicans -- such as Sens. Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel -- have offered modulated and intelligent criticism of President Bush's approach, most in the GOP have fallen quickly into line behind Bush's determination to force the issue with Iraq, even if it means war.

Maybe they actually agree with it; maybe they, like most rational people, would prefer war to remove an enemy of the United States who seeks nuclear weapons over the possibility of that enemy getting one such weapon and detonating it in New York, or DC - or Tel Aviv, for that matter. Again, just a thought.

By contrast, the Democrats' most prominent leaders and spokesmen have taken wildly opposing positions, leaving the public with no clear idea where the opposition party stands.

Um...the Dems are not legally required to oppose the President, if they - or at least some of them - agree with his poilcies (or at least some of them). And certainly it's not required, or even necessarily desirable, for the Dems (or the Republicans) to speak with One Big Loud Voice that brooks no dissent.

Hey, just a paragraph above, Broder talks approvingly of the fact that some Republicans publicly disagree with the President. But since Broder obviously disagrees with the President, he demands that all his Democratic pals must be on the same page as well.

The last Democratic presidential nominee and the party leader, Al Gore, has argued that Bush is being hasty and is risking the larger war on terrorism by leaving most of our allies skeptical or opposed to his Iraq policy. But his former running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, is foursquare behind the president and the ultimatums to Saddam Hussein.

So?

And who says Gore is the party leader? I think Tommy Daschle would disagree with that. So would Terry McAuliffe, I bet.

While others in the prospective 2004 Democratic presidential field, including Sen. John Kerry and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, challenge the assumptions behind Bush's policy, another of the likely contenders, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, is collaborating with the president in framing and passing a congressional resolution that will let Bush begin a preemptive assault on Iraq when he thinks it necessary. Left-wing House Democrats are furious with Gephardt -- including many of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose constituents must be lured to the polls next month if the party is to have any chance of winning the House and holding its one-vote Senate margin.

"lured to the polls?" Are they so devoid of a will of their own that they must be lured to come out and vote? I'd be insulted if I were one of those constitutents; but then, they've been insulted by the Dems who take them for granted for so long that it's clear their capacity to take insults is pretty much infinite.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle finds himself in the middle between powerful elders such as Sens. Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy, who say Bush has failed to make the case for war, and a squad of embattled incumbents who do not want to impair their reelection prospects by challenging the president on his strength as commander in chief. Senators such as Max Cleland in Georgia and Tim Johnson in South Dakota and challengers such as Erskine Bowles in North Carolina and Alex Sanders in South Carolina want no daylight between themselves and Bush on the Iraq issue.

Is there no possibility at all that any of these people actually believe that Iraq is a threat and that Saddam must be removed?

All this would make the situation difficult enough for the Democrats, heading into a midterm election. But it is the echoes of Vietnam that inflame passions and raise political risks. You could hear them in the mutterings among other Democrats about Reps. David Bonior and Jim McDermott, who turned up in Baghdad and sounded as if they were saying that Saddam Hussein's history of recalcitrance should be overlooked in weighing the credibility of his current promises to cooperate with weapons inspectors. It was all too reminiscent of Jane Fonda in Hanoi or antiwar protesters marching under Viet Cong flags.

It didn't "sound as if they were saying" that, they were saying that! Look at McDermott's comments since his return!

And you could hear the echoes of Vietnam also in Daschle's extraordinarily emotional speech condemning President Bush's comment that the Senate is "not interested in the security of the American people." The off-the-cuff remark, made in reference to the dispute over the Department of Homeland Security, not Iraq, was one that never should have passed Bush's lips; it was an offensive exaggeration and an imprudent venting of presidential frustration.

It was also true. Daschle would rather appease the public employee unions than pass a homeland security bill.

But you cannot avoid thinking that the fury of Daschle's response had much to do with memories of the way Presidents Johnson and Nixon questioned the patriotism of Daschle's contemporaries who opposed the war in Vietnam.

It was a temper tantrum, thrown because Daschle is losing relevance, and seeing his chances for the Presidency vanish like the burning off of a morning fog.

The people now governing the country -- men and women from their late forties to their early sixties -- have not yet come to terms with the issues that divided them when they were coming of age politically a quarter-century ago. Vietnam was not the only such issue -- civil rights, women's rights, abortion rights also split the country -- but it was the most contentious.

Both sides still maintain they were right. The protesters still believe the war was unnecessary, unwinnable and even immoral. The supporters still argue that it could have been won, and should have been, were it not for the dissent at home.


Gasp! People with strong political views...disagree! Boy, Broder is an amazing talent, if he figured that one out all by himself!

The scars of that unresolved argument make it even harder to judge today's security policy questions -- as this Iraq debate is demonstrating.

No. It's demonstrating that people with radically different assumptions about the world will come to very different conclusions; and it's demonstrating that most politicans will...gasp!...consider the political implications of their votes. Why in God's name is this new, or surprising in any way at all?

Ack. Ack. Ack.

10/08/2002

Tom Harkin: Crook

You may have heard about the scandal emanating from Tom Harkin's campaign, wherein he sent a staffer with a digital recorder into a strategy session of his opponent's, and then leaked the transcript.

Unfortunately, it seems as though, as in New Jersey, the Dems may get away with blatant disregard for the law, as well as for any ethical norms.

Here's Jeff Durkin's take on the matter, with which I agree fully:

In case you thought the Democrat's contempt for democracy and the rule of law was limited to New Jersey, here are some details about the Harkin controversy in Iowa. Harkin sent one of his campaign goons to tape covertly tape a strategy session of his Republican opponent. When caught, he fired the a hapless staffer who was supoposedly responsible and let his campaign manager go. This after first denying any knowledge, of course. When Nixon did something similar he was hounded from office. Why is Harkin not being dropped by the Dems? Oh, that's right, because the Democrats hate the idea of following the law. They'll use the law to bludgeon Republicans and the American people; but let a law stand in their way and they'll either ignore it or try to get some spineless court (Florida and New Jersey come to mind) to overrule it. Like most Leftists, they want to use the law to control the masses; but hte 'enlightened' social and political leaders are above that law. The sooner Americans realize that the current crop of Democrats are a threat to the Nation, the better.
What Might Have Been

A bit of a change of pace...check out this very cool site: Uchronia: the Alternate History List.

It's a clearinghouse of information about, well, alternate history, with exhaustive lists of books both fictional and nonfictional.

If you're a fan of such tales, this site is an absolute must-see.
All the News That's Fit to Lie Abut

Stanley Kurtz at NRO's Corner points out this article from the which takes issue with this article from yesterday's NY Times.

The article is headlined:

Public Says Bush Needs to Pay Heed to Weak Economy

and opens thusly:

majority of Americans say that the nation's economy is in its worst shape in nearly a decade and that President Bush and Congressional leaders are spending too much time talking about Iraq while neglecting problems at home, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll

Only one problem. The poll data doesn't actually say that at all, as David Tell points out in the Standard.

He notes that the Times piece doesn't, anywhere, give a breakdown of the poll questions and the response data. Fortunately, CBS News does.

Tell notes three questions on the poll in particular which give the lie to the Times' interpertation of the story:

Question Three. "What do you think is the single most important problem for the government--that is, the president and Congress--to address in the coming year?" Nagourney and Elder write that voters answered they are "more concerned about the economy and domestic issues than with what is happening to Saddam Hussein." In fact, however, Times/CBS poll respondents identified "Terrorism/War/Security" as the one "most important problem" facing government (30 percent), with "Economy/Jobs/Stock Market" ranking second (26 percent). And even this result understates the truth: Listed third among the responses is an additional foreign policy category, "Iraq" (7 percent)--which means that voters principally concerned with international matters outnumber those who prefer to think about issues that "Democrats had hoped to capitalize on" by an almost 3-to-2 margin.

Question Eighteen. "Which of these should be the higher priority for the nation right now--the economy and jobs, or terrorism and national security?" This, of course, is simply a forced-choice restatement of the more open-ended Question Three, above. And its results therefore speak more directly to the conclusion suggested by the Times' front-page sub-hed: "Poll Finds Lawmakers Focusing Too Much on Iraq and Too Little on Issues at Home." Trouble is, Question Eighteen's results flatly contradict that sub-hed. A full 50 percent of respondents said terrorism should be a higher priority than the economy. And only 35 percent said the opposite--again, a nearly 3-to-2 preference for foreign policy.

Question Twenty-Nine. "In deciding how to spend their time, presidents have to weigh the importance of foreign policy problems and problems here at home. Given the importance of each, do you think George W. Bush has been spending too much time on foreign policy problems, OR too much time on problems here at home, OR has he been spending his time about right?" According to the Times, which ran it as a five-column headline across the top of page A14 yesterday, the answer is clear: "Public Says Bush Needs to Pay More Heed to Economy, Less to Iraq." Unfortunately, though, Actual Results Prove Times Account of Poll Dishonest. A majority of respondents (52 percent) told Times/CBS researchers they think the president is dividing his attention "about right" and another two percent complained that Bush spends too much time on domestic issues. Only 41 percent of respondents said they think the president overemphasizes foreign policy. Among key, swing-voting independents, the trend is even starker: 58 percent of respondents said they believe the president devotes enough or too much effort to domestic questions, while just 35 percent complained that he is neglecting them.


"All the News That's Fit to Print," indeed.

Well, It's a Good Question

Over at the previously mentioned Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller, Emperor Misha notes this article from MEMRI - a letter from a Palestinian, the father of a suicide bomber.

The letter is directed towards the leaders of the Intifada:

"Do the children's lives have a price? Has death become the only way to restore the rights and liberate the land? And if this be the case, why doesn't a single one of all the sheikhs who compete amongst themselves in issuing fiery religious rulings, send his son? Why doesn't a single one of the leaders who cannot restrain himself in expressing his joy and ecstasy on the satellite channels every time a young Palestinian man or woman sets out to blow himself or herself up send his son?"

The letter goes on to cite specific Palestinian leaders who are so keen to send the children of their followers to die, but who are more reluctant to send their own flesh and blood:

"But what tears at the soul, pains the heart, and brings tears to the eyes more than anything else is the sight of these sheikhs and leaders evading sending their sons into the fray – such as Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Isma'il Abu Shanab, and Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi. The moment the Intifada broke out, Al-Zahar sent his son Khaled to America; Abu Shanab sent his son Hassan to Britain; and [as she stated to the press], Rantisi's wife has refrained from sending her son Muhammad to blow himself up. Instead, she sent him to Iraq, to complete his studies there."

Interesting questions and observations there. What it shows is something we've been saying here in the Empire all along; the "leadership", such as it is, of the Palestinians, cares not at all for the people they claim to lead; they are abject cowards whose only means of coping with the world is the murder of civillians, and whose only tool is the thrown-away lives of the children of their subjects.

As always, appalling.

Friends Everywhere

Alert readers will note another new site in the link list: the The Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller. It's an absolutely excellent site, and it is, of course, as you'll see when you visit there (you will visit there, won;t you?), the Headquarters of the Rotweiller Empire.

And we are proud to announce that we are in return now citizens of that noble Rotweiller Empire. Many thanks to the honorable Misha, lord of all he surveys in the land of the Rotweillers!
If a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day, It's Wrong The Rest of the Time

The WashPost has no shortage of awful columnists. Richard Cohen shockingly makes sense this morning, so it falls to E.J. Dionne to take up the mantle of stupidity.

And he certainly does so. He bleats about the President's speech and about the upcoming removal of Saddam Hussein.

Says E.J.:

The public's ambivalence is obvious from the polls. Most Americans share Bush's view of Saddam Hussein as a dangerous tyrant, think the world would be better off without him and fear what would happen if Hussein ever got his hands on nuclear weapons.

But the public still wonders whether this war needs to be waged immediately. It worries about the effect of a war that the United States might have to fight almost alone. And it longs for an approach short of war to disarm Hussein.

"Maybe, but why now?" is a perfectly reasonable position. But it's not much of a slogan. Is it any wonder that a Democratic Party whose broad middle ground is defined by what you might call principled ambivalence is having so much trouble finding its voice?


This is idiotic on it's face. If, as Dionne agrees, Hussein is a dangerous tyrant who seeks nuclear weapons, and whom the world would be well rid of, then it seems clear that "it it were done when 'tis done, 'twere well it were done quickly."

It's a simple question: do we fight at a time of our chosing, or Saddam's? Do we fight on our soil or that of our allies, or on Saddam's? I would think that the answer is obvious.

And what the hell, exactly, does "principled ambivilance" mean?

The rest of Dionne's column, as is typlcal of him, is mushy and filled with qualifications doubletalk and is generally embarrassing.

Ack.
Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

Amazingly, the WashPost's awful Richard Cohen gets something right today.

He's writing about New Jersey Poet Laureate Amir Baraka, who penned an inflamatory, blatantly bigoted and anti-Semetic poem about the September 11th attacks:

Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?


Cohen cites the view of former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, who suggests that New Jersey simply eliminate the "job" of Poet Lauerate, thus ceasing the state's subsidy of Mr. Baraka.

It pains me to say so, but I agree with Cohen. Especally when he says this:

Then came the usual warnings: Baraka must not be censored. So spoke the Times and other newspapers. Yes, indeedy. But withdrawing a state subsidy is not censorship. Why do the people of New Jersey -- including not a few Jews -- have to subsidize the anti-Semitic lunacies of this second-rate poet?

Precisely. Refusing to pay for something is not censoring it. Baraka has a right to say whatever he liked; he does not have a Constitutional right to have taxpayers, or anyone else, pay for it.

Since this is Richard Cohen we're talking about, I'm uneasy leaving this here, because - I suspect, but I don't know - that he probably opposed attempts by Republicans to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts which used precisely the same logic Cohen employs in today's column. Unfortunatley, the WashPost charges to go into the archives past a month or so, and, frankly, Cohen isn't worth a penny of my money to do such research. But I will call on my loyal 68 readers a day; if any of you know of such statements from Cohen in the past, please pass them on and I'll publish them.

10/07/2002

Civil Rights?

It appears that some "civil rights" groups are unhappy with a bill currently making its way through both House and Senate to reform election procedures.

What do the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the League of Women Voters of the United States and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus object to?

Three things:

A provision requiring first-time voters who registered by mail to produce some form of identification, like a photo ID card, a bank statement or a paycheck.

A provision requires all state mail-in registration forms to include the question, "Are you a citizen of the United States of America?" with boxes to answer yes or no.

And a provision that mandates that an application for voter registration "may not be accepted or processed by a state" if a person with a driver's license fails to write the license number on the form.

And why, exactly, are these bad?

"voter registration drives will become much more difficult to pull off" because the sponsors would have to obtain more information from would-be voters.

and

"In their rush and haste, it appears that some members of Congress have agreed to things that will have a negative impact on the Latino community, making it harder to register and to vote. That's a tragedy.

Um, no. It'll have a negative impact on those members of the Latino community who cannot honestly answer yes to the question of whether or not they're a citizen, or who have no legitimate identification proving that they are a citizen - and those people are not legally permitted to vote anyway, so we damn well ought to be making it harder for them to register and vote.

It seems that these measures are designed to combat voting fraud, to ensure that citizens can vote only once each, and that only citizens actually can vote, and those are both good things, which we should all wholeheartedly support.
The Big Speech

The President tonight laid out the case for the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq.

His speech was very clear, and, really, there isn't much to argue there. He explained why the policies of the past (ineffective sanctions, toothless inspections, pinprick air raids) have failed, and why stronger, more permanant action is now required. This paragraph really says it all, I think:

There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait -- and that's an option. In my view, it's the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I'm convinced that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want peace -- we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I'm not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

Precisely. Thank you, Mr. President. Now go and do it already!
Why We Don't Trust The Media

Because sometimes they flat-out make stuff up.

Like this story from the Independent (thanks to Instapundit for pointing this out).

It describes President Bush's speech in the past tense, and discusses reaction to it.

There's only one problem: the President hasn't spoken yet, and won't do so until about three hours from now.

And they wonder why so many of us distrust and mock them...
Aiding and Abetting

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to review the New Jersey Supreme Court's extralegal decision to allow the Democrats to attempt to steal the NJ Senate election by replacing incumbent Robert Torricelli with former Senator Frank Lautenberg.

This is bad, obviously, as it legitimizes a dishonest tactic expressly designed to subvert the democratic process.

I'd love to know the USSC's reasoning, since it did intervene to prevent a similar Democratic Party attempt to steal an election in the state courts back in 2000 in Florida.
Imperialism-Lite

That's what Jeff Durkin calls the rhetoric coming from the Bush Administration re: Iraq.

Jeff doesn't have a problem with this, if our actions match or words:

As long as the current regime is destroyed and the Iraqis are brought into the West by us, and not some collection of UN bureaucrats, the surest way to screw them up, then we should have few troubles.

I agree.
Well, It Takes All Kinds

It seems that self-described spoiled yuppie columnist Mo Dowd has a defender (aside from the despicable Eric Alterman, of course, who'd have a good word for Satan himself if only he'd criticize the Bush Administration and Ariel Sharon).

Brian Griffin looks at this piece from the Weekly Standard (by Josh Chafetz) and declares it to be conservative "propaganda."

Brian contrasts Josh Chafetz's "Immutable Laws of Dowd" with his own views of them:

Josh: THE FIRST IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: The first and most important rule is what might be termed the People magazine principle: All political phenomena can be reduced to caricatures of the personalities involved. Any reference to policy concerns or even to old-fashioned politicking is, like, so passé. And, of course, with every caricature goes a nickname.

Brian: Law One Translation: You can make fun of Bill Clinton all you want, but you can't make fun of George Bush, after all we are in a war.


That's not really what Chafetz says; what he said is that, when dealing with matters of life and death (rather than matters of what the meaning of "is" is), caricatures and nicknames aren't good enough; and that goes directly to...

Josh: THE SECOND IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: It's easier to whine than to take a stand or offer solutions.

Brian: Law Two Translation: Life is Black and White. Either you are with “us” or with “them.”


Well, breaking complex issues into simple caricatures and derisive nicknames certainly is a way of making things very Black and White; those who La Dowd likes are good, and don't get cutesy little nicknames; those who La Dowd disapproves of are bad, and are mocked and derided.

And certainly La Dowd doesn't actually offer solutions. While it's not her job to solve all the world's problems, if she's going to write column adfter column trashing the President and his Administration and ridiculing their plans and policies, at some point it might be nice for her to say what she'd like to see done instead. Throwing rocks is all well and good, but sooner or later it becomes unhelpful.

Josh: THE THIRD IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: It is better to be cute than coherent. Along these lines, Dowd's favorite rhetorical device is parallelism.

Brian: Law Three Translation: Coherence is best illustrated with Dick and Jane. Literary devices are only for the intelligent, and the magnanimous thinker must lower oneself to the lowest common denominator. If you must use things like satire, make sure it is obvious enough for uneducated blue state voters.


Well, literary devices are fine, but they still need to make sense. And there's nothing wrong with satire, but it has to have at least one foot in the real world, which La Dowd's writings often don't.

Josh: THE FOURTH IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: The particulars of my consumer-driven, self-involved life are of universal interest and reveal universal truths.

Brian: Law Four Translation: Consumerism and truth are only good if you are buying from a conservative who is selling the word of “God.”


Um, no. That's not the point here at all. The point is that many Dowd columns go into nauseating detail about La dowd and her personal behavior, especially as it relates to what she buys and what she wears. And, frankly, there are better things - and far more important things - that ought to be on the editorial page of the nation's newspaper of record than what kind of shoes La Dowd has, or what kind of gloves she bought after the anthrax scare.

Josh: THE FIFTH IMMUTABLE LAW OF DOWD: Europeans are always right. Whenever Dowd quotes a Continental, she allows the quote to stand on its own, as if it were, by virtue of the very Europeanness of its speaker, self-evidently true.

Brian: Law Five Translation: Non-Monarchist Europeans are bad, except for the Spanish and Italians who elected conservative governments.


Not sure where that comes from. Josh's point, which is true not only of La Dowd, but of many on the left and in the media, is that the European view is, often, uncritically considered to be correct; that's usually followed by wonderment that the Bush Administration won't listen to the Wise Men of Europe. It's madness, basically.

The fact is that La Dowd gets by on being cutesy, and she's indulged by Howell Raines and Gail Collins because her vapid columns go along with their agenda. That doesn't make her a good columnist, or a good writer, and it doesn't make those of us who don't like her "propagandists" or "dumbed down blue state voters".
What's Wrong With Empire?

The latest charge from opponents of removing Saddam Hussein from power is that it's the first step towards an American Empire; otften they also cite the enwly released National Security Strategy as further evidence of this.

If it's a grab for empire that the Bush administration is making, it's not like any other empire in history. Take Iraq; folks like Robert Scheer of The Nation whine that regine change in Iraq is all about oil.

Well, if that's so, and if, as he argues, we don't care how dictators treat their people so long as they behave with regard to us, why don't we simply reach an accomodation with Saddam? Why have we promised the Russians and French that their lucrative dealings with Iraq will be honored under whatever regime we place there post-Saddam? Why...on and on and on...

Because we're not out to conquer Iraq and steal its resources, no matter what the hard left chooses to believe. We're out to remove a threat to both our national security and that of the Middle East generally.

That's the entire premise if the National Security Strategy; not conquest, but defense. We want to ensure that we cannot be threatened militarily; not to oppress or subjugate the rest of the world, but to protect ourselves from it. Especially since we cannot simply disengage from the world; the global economy and ever-advancing technology have seen to that.

The "anti-imperialists", I guess, see peace and security as being obtained through diplomacy, and treaties, and, eventually, disarmament. It's a lovely vision, but it flies in the face of reality. Had we listened to such voices in the early 1980's and unilaterally disarmed, we would have indeed found peace - the same peace that France got in June of 1940, after it surrendered to Germany.

So it is today. Even if we did everything that the anti-war, "anti-imperialist" left demanded; there would still be vast reservoirs of hatred and envy against us, and we would still face threats, and we would still be attacked, and Americans would die. We would not be secure, and we would be weaker. That is an undesirable outcome.

Our "imperialism" is simlpy a recognition that we will have to fight our enemies, because they are set on a course to fight us. Our "imperialism" is a policy that says we will fight on our terms and on their soil, rather than on their terms and our soil.

And entirely aside from that, there's the question of whether imperialism is bad in any event. The fact is that the majority of people on the planet live under regimes that quite simply don't give a damn about them; that treat their economies as piggy banks; that answer dissent with arrest or execution; that are unacceptable by any civilized standard of behavior. Certainly, just about every government in Africa can be described thusly, as can every one in the Middle East save Israel. The People's Republic of China, as well as North Korea also fall under that dexcription.

Why shouldn't we want to see those regimes replaced with governments that actually try to serve their people, that build real economies, that do not threaten their neighbors or murder their own citizens for the crime of wanting to run their own lives?

The West has come up with the best way yet invented to run a society; whether you prefer America or Europe, you're still talking democratic capitalism, which creates the most wealth and the most opportunity for the most people, of any system yet designed. Why shouldn't that be brought to every corner of the globe?

Is it really preferable to sit back and watch half or more of the world's population suffer under kleptocratic, murderous thugs? Or to blindly give money to those same thugs in the hope that it will encourage better behavior and that some fraction of the money might make it to the people we'd actually like to help?

That's madness - and that's what the "anti-imperialists" seem to want.
A WashPost Writer Embarrasses himself - Nothing New Here

This AM it's sports columnist Tom Boswell, who gloats over the awful Yankee collapse this weekend.

He writes:

The New York Yankees dynasty is dead. At least for now. Those mighty devils with the $141 million payroll, and their exotic dancers "Mystique" and "Aura," have been slain by 25 Angels. Though the Yankees are still a threat to win a World Series -- next year -- their reign of almost unchallenged dominance is finally over. And just in time, too.

Baseball, with its new labor agreement and fresh hopes for economic sanity, needs an age of reinvigoration and competitive fairness. Teams with sensible payrolls, such as the $60 million Angels, need proof that they cannot merely contend but actually win -- and even beat the Yanks. So, this regicide comes at an ideal time to inspire the whole sport.


Years - maybe decades - of bitterness and envy shine through from Boswell.

"Sensible payrolls."

What would Boswell prefer? That baseball owners pocket all the money they make from fans, concessions, and television? One more time, for those people who weren't paying attention: the Yankees have a big payroll because they make a lot of money. They make a lot of money because there are more people in New York to pay cable-TV fees than there are in Oakland, or Kansas City, or anywhere else in the U.S.

If they don't spend it on their players, there's two places that money could go: to the other owners as welfare payments, or in George Steinbrenner's pockets. Because it sure isn't going to go back to the fans. And even if Steinbrenner charged less for the rights to Yankee games, does any rational person think the cable companies would charge their customers less to reflect that?

Nope. It would just go into the pockets of Comcast, or AOL-Time Warner, or whomever.

So shut the hell up about the Yankee's evil big payroll already!

Especially when we're talking about a team owned by Disney (which owns ESPN, which broadcasts baseball's regular season nationwide, as well as the first round of the playoffs) being the ones to dethrone them. A team owned by Disney and playing in Southern California. If baseball ever opened its books honestly, I think we'd see that the Angels make plenty of money, and that their "sensible payroll" simply allows Disney to pocket a very nice profit.

The Yankees, not the D'backs, have been baseball's major problem in recent years. The game needs the Yanks, the Big Ballpark and Bronx legends such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams, who anchored five pennant winners and four world champs in six years. But it doesn't need too much of them. We need flawed Yanks, powerful but beatable Yanks, almost over-the-hill Yanks. And in the last week, we realize that's what we've got.

You hypocritical jerk! What you want is for George Steinbrenner to lay out money for a losing team, so that you can play out your own personal "Damn Yankees" fantasy!

How about, isntead of bitching and moaning about the success of the Yankees, you itch and moan about how Peter Angelos fields a cheap, crummy, sub-par team for your newspaper to cover, and also prevents, with the connivance of Lying Buddy Selig, a team from being placed actually in the city wherre your newspaper is published.

Maybe the point is that other teams need to do more, not that the Yankees need to be cast down so that you can feel better, you pompous, self-important twit.

And I'll point out one other thing: while everyone oohs and aahs over the small market, low budget, marked for termination Minnesota Twins and their improbable season - and chance at the World Series - let's not forget that one of the reasons they were marked for terminiation is that their owner, Carl Pohlad, volunteered them for termination, so that he could cash out to the tune of $150 million or more.

This is the same Carl Pohlad who's one of the wealthiest (if not the wealthiest) owners in baseball (and significantly richer than George Steinbrenner, for one), and who has, for years, refused to spend any money on his team. They've won in spite of their ownership, in spite of an owner, who, if he'd had his way, would have seen his team contracted rather than competing to go to the World Series this week.

Remember that when you read jerks like Boswell gloating about the downfall of the Yankees. At least George Steinbrenner actually gives a damn and wants to win. He'd never volunteer his team for destruction just to add to his already inflated bank account. Remember that if Minnesota wins it all, and a smiling Carl Pohlad is accepting the trophy from Lying Buddy Selig.

And remember that Steinbrenner wants more than anything to win, and no matter hnow baseball tries to change its rules to spite the Yankees, he'll find a way - and the money - to overcome the roadblocks put in his way. The Yankees will be back, and all the detractors will have to eat their bitter, venomous, jealous, hateful little words this time next year.

They're Still Out There

Another shooting in the DC area this morning. This one happened in front of a school; a 13 year old boy is in critical condition.

The WashPost report doesn't mention any witnesses, so there's no way to know if this shooting is related to the sniper attacks of late last week.
The Bait and Switch Works

According to a new poll, the dishonest and undemocratic sham that the Dems are attempting to pull in New Jersey is, so far, working. According to the poll, placeholder candidate Frank Lautenberg leads Reupublican Doug Forrester, 46-40 (with a 4 percent margin of error).

Hopefully the Supreme Court will overturn the New Jersey Supreme Court's legislation from the bench and disallow the Democratic switch, just as they rightly prevented the Florida Supreme Court from rewriting eleciton law to help Al Gore steal the 2000 Presidential election.

10/06/2002

Lies, Damned Lies, and Senate Majority Leaders

Tom Daschle is on Meet the Press right now, lying through his teeth about, well, pretty much everything. Every time he's confronted with his own past words, he explains why they don't mean what they plainy do mean. Black is white. War is peace. The man's a master of doublespeak, and this performance is more evidence why the Democrats must be defeated in November, and control of the Senate returned to the Republicans.
More Terrorism in Yemen?

It's possible. Yesterday, a French-flagged oil tanker exploded. The tanker was coming into port when it began leaking crude oil, and then an explision occured:

Reports of a boat approaching the tanker raised the spectre of an incident in 2000 when suicide bombers rammed a boatload of explosives into the U.S. destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 servicemen.

The French military attache in Yemen, identified as Colonel Vial, told France's LCI television: "This explosion occurred at the same moment as a small boat approached the tanker, which could indicate it is not an accidental explosion.


Yemen's government has been somewhat cooperative in the war on terror, but it's also been a longtime haven for Al Qaeda and oter terrorists.

With all the threats and alerts that have been going on, it wouldn't be at all surprising if this were a terrorist incident. Yet more reason to move into Iraq as soon as possible.