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June 12, 2006

Re-Establishing the LRB

After being closed the last several months - more like a year - the Little Red Blog is returning shortly. Older archives will be available in a re-sorted manner. And other features will be added.

All archives listed prior to this entry are from the prior versions of the LRB.

June 8, 2005

Seeing Brown in the NY Times

Perhaps I’ve just become too cynical. When I read the NY Times headline for David Kirkpatrick’s column on Janice Rogers Brown, I immediately believed the column was an attempt to portray Brown in a negative way. The headline – Seeing Slavery in Liberalism. After reading the column, aside from reaffirming my belief that Brown will make an excellent Justice on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, I had to believe that either the NY Times had missed its mark or I’d wrongly pre-judged their intent.

Kirkpatrick uses several quotes to exemplify Justice Brown’s views on "the perils of liberalism." His telling of her life story includes her move from the liberal values of her family to her more conservative values. Along the way Kirkpatrick reminds his readers of her faith on more than one occasion. All in all, to my mind, it wasn’t a bad piece of reporting. Yet the headline keeps popping up.

Seeing Slavery in Liberalism

A headline aimed at the left. Many on the left call themselves liberal; this headline is aimed at them. It is meant agitate them, to draw their ire at the gall of a Justice seeing their political view in a comparable light to that of slavery. And moreover, the many liberal, yet not leftist, out there may also be stung by this headline. Although on reading the article, if intellectually honest, they’ll understand what Brown stands for and that it isn’t that far from their own beliefs.

Try this one on for size – "We no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it." Taken alone, one might wonder. Who’s embracing slavery? Is Brown? Kirkpatrick thankfully points out the context with further remarks from Justice Brown – "If we can invoke no ultimate limits on the power of government, a democracy is inevitably transformed into a kleptocracy - a license to steal, a warrant for oppression."

Sounds a tad bit like Alan Keyes on tax policy or John Galt in Atlas Shrugged. Here! Here!

Brown apparently takes issue with Affirmative Action, I'd call that a form of group kleptocracy, is opposed to current abortion rulings, and heaven forbid... "She has criticized the New Deal, which gave us Social Security, the minimum wage, and fair labor laws. She's questioned whether age discrimination laws benefit the public interest," to quote Senator Ted Kennedy. Perhaps that explains Kirkpatrick’s less than clear description of her position leading up the quote – "the triumph of our socialist revolution."

In the end, I’d like to thank Kirkpatrick and the NY Times. I like Justice Brown even more now. Next up Justice Pryor.

May 24, 2005

Why Deal?

I’ve read, listened to, and considered arguments both for and against the deal signed yesterday between 14 members of both parties (7 each) in the Senate. And while I will be pleased to see the nominees get a vote, those that will, there remains a nagging feeling that the Republicans have sold us out.

The more I consider the issue, the less I believe it was necessary to deal and I become more convinced that the milder sort of conservative in the Senate failed, again, to uphold their espoused values. In place of values, such as each nominee should be voted on unless in committee or otherwise prevented, we’ve got the idea that compromise – the greatest Senate aspiration by far – supplants conscience.

In the coming days things should move rapidly and some portion of the President’s nominees will get a vote up or down. In the days after, others will continue to be held outside the intent of the Constitution and the threat against others will remain. Put off till tomorrow that which pains you today seems to be the norm.

May 20, 2005

Neither First Nor Last

The words of Linda Foley, President of the Newspaper Guild, are neither the first nor the last to reveal the truth about much of the media’s distorted reality. For the uninitiated, a quick review of Foley’s comments and attempts at cleaning up afterwards.

Last Friday, while speaking before the National Conference for Media Reform, Foley says:

"Journalists are not just being targeted verbally or politically. They are also being targeted for real in places like Iraq. And what outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq. I think it's just a scandal."

And...

"It's not just U.S. journalists either, by the way. They target and kill journalists from other countries, particularly Arab countries, at news services like Al Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios, with impunity. This is all part of the culture that it is OK to blame the individual journalists, and it just takes the heat off of these media conglomerates that are part of the problem."

When contacted by Editor & Publisher on Thursday, Foley said:

"I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military. Could I have said it differently? There are 100 different ways of saying this, but I'm not sure they would have appeased the right."

For other responses to Foley’s comments read Blackfive, This isn’t writing, it’s typing, Winds of Change and The Fourth Rail.

As for the Little Red Blog’s view, it’s simple. Foley lives in an alternate reality. In her reality, saying the U.S. military targets journalist doesn’t mean that members of the service, the troops, target journalist. With 100 different ways to say that the U.S. military purposefully and willfully targets journalist, Foley manages to believe that the military isn’t the troops. In her reality there comes a point when a member of the armed forces, formerly known as a troop, becomes part and parcel of the “U.S. military” and is no longer worth supporting. Perhaps it’s when he achieves rank or command, perhaps it’s when he supports the orders of his commander-in-chief, and perhaps we’ll never know. In the odd, and non-existent, reality of Linda Foley, you are a patriot by saying you support the troops, all the while deriding their service, incriminating their character and inciting those who seek to do them harm.

Foley clearly believes that those who are bothered by her statement are just members of the “right.” I would guess she said that with an appropriate level of disgust, the sort that makes you think she had to find the Listerine afterwards. As a member of the “right” it may be that my words are of little value and will be seen as the mere joining of a chorus under the direction of Karl Rove. Even if so, I have a little more to add.

I have not been quick to challenge the patriotism of the media elites who’ve made similar statements, such as Eason Jordan, or of those who’ve clearly taken a position in opposition to current U.S. policy in Iraq. As a general rule, I would rather give someone the benefit of the doubt. But there comes a point, a point when you realize that the language doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does to you. Being misunderstood, aren’t we all on occasion, is one thing, but saying something until it’s noticed and then dodging the criticism rather than admitting the truth is not an endearing quality. I have a little advice for the next Foley, Jordan, Newsweek, Rather...

If you are a reporter, report the facts, anything else you offer is subject to being ignored, ridiculed and... remembered.

May 19, 2005

Kopel on Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

Way back on April 6th I wrote of my approval and support for Florida’s new so-called “Stand Your Ground Bill” which had just won the approval of Florida’s House and Senate. Today, via Instapundit, I came upon David Kopel’s lengthy look at the details behind the new law.

While I wrote of the more positive moral stance the state takes in this new law, Mr. Kopel’s piece explores the stipulations, the do’s and don’ts, of the law. It’s highly readable, and recommended for those interested in seeing it coming to a state near you.

May 16, 2005

Falling Down

Newsweek, if we give them the benefit of the doubt, made a terrible mistake. If you are, as am I, not so quick to believe Newsweek’s version of the story, then you are left with the realization that Newsweek, its publishers and editors, are at least partly responsible for the death of 15 people.

It is not that I don’t believe Newsweek made an error, I believe the reporting was erroneous, the question for me is whether or not Newsweek knew, in advance of its publication, that the story lacked credibility, would cause an outrage, and would further damage U.S. relations with the Muslim world. It is hard for me to accept that Newsweek’s staff of supposedly worldly journalist and editors weren’t aware of the potential for a story of this nature to become a spark in the tender box that is the Muslim world. I believe they either knew, and were okay with it, or worse, knew and wanted it.

Without any significant knowledge of the Muslim world Newsweek should have known of the cultural propensity to accept false reporting about the U.S. or the west. As such, if we are foolish enough to believe that Newsweek neither understood the potential from such a comment nor recognized the lack of necessity to report baseless and inflammatory accusations, then we too have become like the proverbial Arab street. Thankfully the majority of the U.S. has not made that fall. As for Newsweek, there is no depth great enough to describe their fall.

April 14, 2005

Variety Packed News and Notes

There's been a lot going on of late, and unfortunately for this space, and the few who still return to it, there has been little added. I would ask that you continue your patience and patronage, and know that soon I will return with the same ferocity and delight that I once had for filling the ever wide channels of the blogosphere with the ringing sound of my thoughts. Or is that some sort of tinnitus. Anyway, here's a bit of catching up that's over due.

The Watcher of Weasels has selected two fine additions to join the Watcher's Council. I must admit that both are better bloggers than I am, and like the other members probably only tolerate my presence as an odd means of blogger charity. I'll have to check into the tax law to see if it benefits either of us. So without further delay, more on Tom later, the two newest members are The Glittering Eye and Carpe Bonum. If you aren't familiar with them, please go and get acquainted.

It's April 15th. You know what that means - it means the 2005 EO Symposium (2nd Quarter) - Judeo-Christian Morality in an Ethically Pluralistic Society is due tonight. Thankfully, my entry will be ready with time to spare. If you plan to submit an entry, you've got until 11:59 P.M. CST. Joe runs a great blog and the responses to this symposium, while perhaps not as numerous, will be just as thoughtful and engaging as the first installment this past January.

Another of the side issues that I've been working on was mentioned today. And by a co-conspirator at that. Along with Bill Rice, Dawn's Early Light, and Tom, the Redhunter, I'm working to build a new site to focus on open source assessments of the various threats against the United States and her allies. I'm confident we'll launch shortly and that it'll be a plus for those interested in the topic.

Now to close the evening out with a flourish I’ll offer a couple of quick items of News and Notes for Thursday and early Friday morning.

Senator John McCain signaled his lack of desire to make a serious run for the White House in 2008 today when he announced that he'd side with the Democrats should the Republican leadership decide to lead and break the Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. Like many of you I'm fed up with GOP Senators dressed like asses, polling for direction and dancing about on every issue. The principled elephant doesn't bray, hem or haw, it stands firm, does not forget and most importantly - never backs down. Senator McCain has long been heralded, and rightly so, for being a hero. And that he was and always will be, but as a Senator, I'd rather see him go.

Thankfully Senate Majority Leader Frist seems prepared to bring the issue to bear. Should enough salamander skinned Senators side with the obstructionist weasels, like Bird, at least we will know who to leave off the list for our support in '06 and '08. And if I could I'd add another animal to keep this up.

Robert Zoellick goes to the Sudan to press for action. Vice chief murdering thug, Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, repeated his consistent message of denial saying his government was "working diligently to stop the violence" and "get Darfur back to normalcy." We have to watch out, if Kofi leaves the UN - this is just the guy to take over.

In Central Asia, Hamid Karzai wants to keep the Americans around, and so does Kurmanbek Bakiyev, acting prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, so long as we don't bring our AWACS along.

And while China stages protest against Japan, the EU Parliament affirms a measure to support the binding of the Arms Embargo to China's human rights and cross strait relations with Taiwan. The measure means nothing officially, and in China certainly means less. Just think how little it would mean to someone in... say - North Korea.

DPRK leaders have determined that they'll have to increase their nuclear weapons cache, or as Kim Yong Nam would say - "[w]e will continue increasing our self-defensive nuclear deterrent" - and to think, just a few years back the U.S. was building them a light water nuclear reactor. Ah... the good 'ole Clinton years.

Okay, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow we'll have the EO Symposium, the winners of this week's Watcher's Council, and more news, notes, quips, rants, rambles and the like. And thereafter....

April 6, 2005

Chafee Bolton From Support

Sure, the title of the post is a lame pun, but the story is not.

Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee has signaled that he may not support John Bolton’s nomination to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. [HT: Dilley Blog] Given his role on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this could prevent (along with a party line vote by Democratic committee members) Bolton from making it to the Senate floor for debate and a full vote. Unacceptable.

The Boston Globe reports that Chafee has received little support from his constituency favoring Bolton, and notes that a campaign against Bolton is being waged in Rhode Island. They point out that anti-Bolton advertisements are running on radio and television and that the group behind the ads, Citizens for Global Solutions, also runs the website, www.stopbolton.org. For Chafee, being reelected is more important than sending the right man in to do the job.

Tomorrow Bolton will testify, and I’ll be watching closely, perhaps blogging along the way. Additionally, I'll be sending Senator Chafee's office a kind bit of advice, voting for Bolton is voting for the nation, voting against him is simply voting to keep your job.

UPDATE: The committee has delayed the hearing.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Bill

The Florida legislature has approved by a 39 – 0 vote in the Senate and a 94 – 20 vote in the House a bill which, after being signed by Governor Bush, will make it the law that deadly force can be used in self-defense without an attempt to flee or escape from harms way. As a general rule, I am not a “gun blogger” although I have recently met a couple. This post is not about guns. Nor is it about the soon to be signed law either. So what’s the point you ask? The point is that the Florida legislature, quite unlike many recent Florida court rulings, have established as law a position that is morally a more acceptable position for the state. As for the individual, well, read the rest of the post.

For a state to require that the individual flee or take no action to defend life or property it codifies two forms of immoral action. The first being that it limits the rights of the individual to defend life, and secondly it makes a moral man, who under attack defends himself or his property, a criminal. Far too often our state and federal laws make criminals of those who should not be seen as such. This, whether by over legalization or by restrictions on personal liberty, has become for many an inescapable norm that is seldom noticed or recognized as such.

Florida’s new stance will instead place the moral burden on the individual under attack. That, I believe, is the proper place for the decision-making. If your faith, ethical standard, moral compass or what have you, permits the defense of life and limb with deadly force the law will now acquiesce. If you are the sort that believes that under no circumstance should you act to defend yourself or those around you, you will, as always, remain free to flee or seek alternative means to end the situation. As for me, I’m pleased to see Florida take this position, and can chalk it up as yet another reason to consider Florida one of the more liberty loving of our states.

March 31, 2005

Wolfowitz and England

Paul Wolfowitz won the unanimous approval of the Board for the World Bank to become the next head of the agency, despite the media and the left in the U.S. attempting to portray Wolfowitz as bad for the agency. Wolfowitz’s statements of support for the agency and its mission, fighting poverty and improving living standards in developing portions of the world, were apparently enough for the Board members, who I doubt gave serious consideration to opposing Wolfowitz, and lays the foundation for continued positive developments and democratization around the world.

President Bush announced that Secretary of the Navy Gordon England would be nominated to become the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Wolfowitz’s previous post. At this point I’ve not seen much of a fuss about the selection of England, yet I expect it will come. His responsibility for the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay will at a minimum create a few interesting moments for the Democratic Senators during his confirmation hearings.

Congratulations to the President and both nominees.

Berger to Plead Guilty

The AP reported today that Sandy Berger would plead guilty tomorrow to a misdemeanor charge of taking classified materials from the National Archives. While I'm pleased that something is being done, I can't help but once again believe that special care is being taken in this case, and that Sandy the Burglar will receive but a slap on the wrist.

Of course, I could be mistaken. Anyone of us could inadvertently stuff our pants with classified documents and leave with them.

UPDATE: Must read coverage of Sandy Berger's plea and the background info leading up to it at Balloon Juice. Excellent coverage. [HT: Instapundit.] Also check out Captain Ed's take and Bill at INDC Journal.

Hugh's Take on Danforth

Yesterday I read and then responded to former Senator Danforth's criticism of the religious right within the Republican Party. Hugh Hewitt's blog entry pointed out the Danforth essay, and after reading so many other criticisms of the Republican take on stem cell research, same-sex marriage and the Terri Schiavo case, I was frustrated and vented in this space. Hugh’s Weekly Standard column notes with much more significant clarity that it is "wrong and demagogic to attempt to question the right of people of faith to participate in politics."

From my position, I am not a Republican by way of my faith or affiliation with a particular religious movement. I am a Republican because the party, to a larger degree than the alternative, supports and defends the values that I hold near and dear. It is easy to ignore the elitist take of those on the left who believe that people of faith are somehow not worthy of political participation. Their irrational fear that faith will determine the law, that men who aspire to serve and please God in their personal lives cannot hold reasoned and logical positions based on principles with merit of their own accord, and that our government will somehow better serve its purposes by freeing the nation of religious influence is just about too much to believe. Yet we must accept that for many, including some who espouse faith more openly than I in their personal lives, there is a sincere desire to remove any influence of either our moral foundations or our religious beliefs.

Our nations greatest leaders have always been men and women of faith. Like them, I would never bind another to a particular belief system. Instead, I would simply, tirelessly and persistently pursue the principles of our nation’s founding. The nannies that seek to remove the religious from the political active would be so much better served if they too would choose to those founding ideals over their inane attempts to shun and shudder those who find a light external to man’s law.

March 30, 2005

Danforth's Folly

In a pathetic clamor to avoid being seen as a religious conservative, or worse, a conservative Christian, many a pundit and politician are balking at current Republican efforts to hold strong to the moral foundations of our nation. It is reprehensible when it comes from a citizen of little note, like me, but even more so when the froth brews from the mouth of a former Senator. In today’s New York Times, former Senator John Danforth follows the folly into the land where Republicans are not principled at the core, instead choosing only those portions of their ideology that are commonly supported without a necessary underlying faith. [HT: Hugh Hewitt.]

Senator Danforth is unlikely to ever note my thoughts, yet I am given to address them specifically to him. As such, here is my reply:

Senator,

Like many conservative Republicans, I am an advocate of the three disparate, yet rightly connected, issues you began your opinion column with - the banning of federally funded embryonic stem cell research, not the same as adult stem cell research, supporting an amendment to the Constitution to support marriage, and the Congressional actions to permit federal court review of the Terri Schiavo case. Where I draw issue with you is your assertion that Republicans are following a conservative Christian agenda by taking these positions. While I am not by any means an important conservative, I can assert that my support for these issues, and I believe that of many others, is not driven by a Christian ideology or worldview but instead by the same principles that frame your view of shared Republican values during your time as a Senator.

We believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade.

Those principles, which I fully agree with, are built upon an underlying and inner course within each of us that when aligned to Life and Liberty yields a basis also for each of the issues you have taken issue with. We conservatives accept that government is at its best when its role is limited to the protection of its citizens.

It is the protection of its citizens that drives my belief that embryonic stem cells should not be used for testing. While I oppose federal funding for such research, I do not oppose any and every State having the right to permit the testing or even fund it. Although I would oppose it in my own State, Colorado. Advocacy of embryonic stem cell research, funded by the federal government, neither supports the principles of limited government or the notion that human life, no matter how it came to be formed or its viability, is to be protected. This position strikes at the core of our rights with or without a religious or Christian understanding of life’s value.

Likewise, the support of a marriage as being between one man and one woman should not be assumed to be a Christian ideal, as you rightly note that religious liberals advocate exactly the opposite. The most vocal voices on either side of the issue may be those either incapable of supporting their position outside their faith, or perhaps they are driven entirely from their religious worldview. That being said, I support the Constitutional amendment as a last recourse to prevent the further attacks by courts around the country which abrogate the law, the votes of the people, and the clear assurance that while norms are not required for all, they are as a point of fact the norm. I do not oppose laws that provide legal protections for non-marital relationships between same-sex partners. Yet I cannot stand by and watch as rogue judges ignore the law in an attempt to create that which has never been. Indeed, that is the place of the Congress, and should it decide to press the issue with an amendment, I would support.

And finally sir, to the issue of Terri Schiavo. Like many a conservative and liberal alike, we are conflicted and challenged by this case in a way unlike any other. As for my position, I supported the Congressional action because it was an attempt to ensure that the courts in Florida were not ignoring the rights of a Floridian. It was generally a toothless effort that without teeth fell on deaf ears in the 11th Circuit. By supporting this action, the Congress acted to protect life, to give one last hearing to the unheard. If that to you is a Christian agenda worthy of alarm, then let it be.

Senator, we Republicans are not falling prey to an intrusion of religion into politics. We are instead experiencing a willingness to assert the fullness of the values that we should all use as barometer for governance. As a minister, you recognize the difference between what is legal and what is sin. The current Republican efforts you take issue with are guided not by an understanding of sin, but rather an understanding of the moral depth behind the founding principles of our nation and a desire to support them. These issues, like your support for ending the genocide in Darfur, are important to me because they tell me about our world, our nation and our desire to make the world more free and just.

Signed.

March 29, 2005

Time's Tales of A Jihadi

No, that's not the real title of the Time article. Time calls their artcle "A Jihadist's Tale - How a young Jordanian left his American life and died an insurgent in Iraq." It's Time's version of the Hilla bomber's story. The same bomber who by killing 125 sparked Shi'a outrage against Jordanian and other Sunni Muslims who continue to support the attacks in Iraq.

Time has again glorified the ignoble. Scott MacLeod, who authored the article, would have us believe that Ra'ed al-Banna was a good 'ole boy who loved America until we turned our backs on him by in 2003. By the account of this tale, al-Banna was turned away at Chicago's O'Hare airport and returned to Jordan where he began the course that would lead to his "martyrdom."

This column, like so many others, pays little attention to those of values and character and instead profiles a man who possessed little character and eventually killed himself as a final testament to a perverted view of the world. The best line of the column turns up near the end when al-Banna's family claims that their obituary proclamation of his death as a martyr is nothing more than a testament to his dying in a foreign land. In a world where "martyrs" are no longer men of character but instead assassins and murderers, the utter lack of intellectual honesty, even in discussing the death of one’s son, is shameful. Nearly as much so as the supposed reporting that ignores the stories of the 125 killed in Hilla, those who’ve taken to the streets in opposition to violence or those who’ve stood to defend the freedom of Iraq.

March 18, 2005

Constrain Me Not

The potential for the utterly stupid McCain-Feingold law to be applied to the Internet and bloggers has caused quite a stir, based on the Shays-Meehan v. FEC ruling. Appropriately so. Whether, as some suggest, it is unlikely that the FEC would extend the regulations to blogs or not, the matter shows the complete lack of respect for individual rights under the Constitution and instead how the powers that be are adept at maintaining their authority.

This week's Homespun Symposium question deals with the issue, as have more bloggers than I care to link to. That being said, I add only that I am opposed to any attempts to regulate speech on the Internet, political or otherwise, and like Patterico and the many taking his pledge, I will continue to blog as I do now, no matter what the FEC decides. Furthermore, I would probably become an even more active blogger.

I’ve signed the Online Coalition letter and suggest you do the same, if you haven’t. Also, I wrote both Senators from Colorado and my Congressman. And if those who think we are over reacting to the issue wish to continue to believe in the good will and wisdom of the government, might I suggest that they consider this passage.

That old bell now is silent, And hushed its iron tongue, But the spirit it awakened Still lives – forever young. And, while we greet the sunlight, On the fourth of each July, We’ll ne’er forget the bellman Who, ‘twixt the earth and sky, Rung out OUR INDEPENDENCE; Which, please God, shall never die!
See Bunker Mulligan, Patterico, Captain's Quarters and others for the latest on the issue, including Senator Reid's move to exempt the Internet from FEC regulation.

March 17, 2005

Positive Nominations

The latest Bush nominations to the State Department, UN, and World Bank offer great insight into the administration’s understanding of the failures of the past, the challenge of today and the promise of tomorrow. For that, I am pleased. In general the criticisms that I’ve seen appear to be those that would be critical of any Bush nominee to those post, save a nomination from across the political aisle. As with so many other issues, this is troubling, though not surprising. Whether it is an absence of understanding, both of the nature of the positions or of the issues being addressed, a fault in moral thought or simply a matter of politics, I’ve come to accept that much of our nation will gleefully deride any and all decisions made by the President.

I’ve expressed my thoughts to a degree on Secretary Rice, John Bolton, Karen Hughes and Dina Habib Powell. I did not yesterday get a chance to discuss the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank, although I have in the past expressed an appreciation for his intellect and wisdom based on an interview with Hugh Hewitt. What all of these nominees possess that seems to be either unnoticed or the cause for alarm is their relationship with the President and their explicit understanding and agreement with his position.

Being a political appointee to lead the State Department is not a position that requires inordinate expertise in foreign affairs or policy. It is a position that requires a willingness and ability to lead. Hughes will be charged with communicating U.S. policy both internally to the State Department professionals under her employ and externally to diplomatic and political leaders around the world. Her challenge in the State Department is likely to be greater than her external role, given the significant expertise of those she’ll be leading. She will have to guide the experts toward not acting on their personal views or past policies, but rather toward taking the invaluable expertise they have and putting it to the best use to implement the policies of the President. Or as New Sisyphus said: "Experts execute policy, politicians direct it."

Whether it is Bolton or Wolfowitz, the criticism has been loud and just as unfounded. Bolton’s own words on his view of the UN, offer not that he seeks to sack the organization, but that he seeks to see it become more accountable through reform from the Secretary General, the fragmented make-up of the body, and the lack of fiscal transparency. Additionally he favors defined roles for maintaining peace and limiting nation building. From his essay, published in a book of essays by the Cato Institute, he offers that the UN is a "tool" not a "theology." [HT: The Redhunter] Does this warrant the opposition he faces? Certainly not, it is a statement of his grounding in reality. In his new post, he will not forgo his moral obligation to the U.S. and will be charged with communicating with the UN the position of the U.S., and as much as possible, bringing about agreement and compromise from the UN. Would he better serve the U.S. by serving the UN? Not a chance.

Wolfowitz is derided as a hawk, as inexperienced in development efforts and in general as a neo-conservative ally of the President. The new role he will take on should in no way be negatively impacted by any of those matters. It is a leadership role where Mr. Wolfowitz will be charged with guiding a huge organization tackling an even more enormously challenging problem. His leadership, decision making and advocacy of his beliefs are essential to the nature of such a role, yet those characteristics are at the core of the criticism against him. Take his statements that economic development leads to political development. Those who oppose him clearly recognize this to be true. And that is entirely the issue; they do not seek real development, economic and political, throughout the third world. Instead they prefer the status quo, large amounts of highly ineffectual aid provided by a system that serves to prevent death but not to provide freedom, opportunity or self-reliance. Is it not their ideology that is served by the continuation of decades of despair across much of the world?

Having said all this, or so little depending on your view, I remain enthused by the nominations and hopeful that each will better utilize the resources and authority we have entrusted to them. If you disagree, feel free to let me know how and why.

UPDATE: Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has an excellent post on citizen diplomacy and the reshaping of the State Department.

March 15, 2005

Keeping the Republic

Senate Democrats made a rather clear statement today that their intention is to defend their attack on the Constitutional balance of powers even at the risk of shutting down the Senate. Behind Senator Harry Reid, 37 other Democratic Senators, stood in agreement as Reid made his argument that it is the Republicans who are attempting to “break down the separation of powers and ram through their appointees to the judicial branch.”

Here, via RealClearPolitics, is Senator Reid’s statement.

On a late September day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention finished its work. As Benjamin Franklin walked down the steps of Independence Hall, a Philadelphia woman named Elizabeth Powell stopped him and asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got: a republic or a monarchy?"

He responded, "A republic. If you can keep it."

For more than two centuries, we have kept our republic because Americans have understood that our liberty is protected by our laws and by a government of limited powers.

Our Constitution provides for checks and balances so that no one person in power, so that no one political party can hold total control over the course of our nation.

But now, in order to break down the separation of powers and ram through their appointees to the judicial branch, President Bush and the Republican leadership want to eliminate a two-hundred-year-old American rule saying that every member of the Senate can rise to say their piece and speak on behalf of the people that sent them here.

The fact is that this President has a better record of having his judicial nominees approved than any President in the past twenty-five years. Only ten of 214 nominations have been turned down.

So it is clear that this attempt to strip away these important checks and balances is not about judges. It is about the desire for absolute power.

But our nation's basic rules are there for the moments when the eyes of the powerful grow large and hungry; when their willfulness makes them determined to do whatever it takes to win, and prevail at whatever the cost.

Presidents and parties have grown drunk with power before. Two Presidents of my own party --Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt-- began their second terms of office with majorities in Congress and then tried to change the rules governing judges so that they could stack the court with those who would do their bidding. They were wrong to try to change our basic American rules -- and Americans, and Senators of both parties, stood up to tell them so.

Today, another attempt is being considered to rewrite the rules so that those in power can get their way.

It would mean that the US Senate becomes merely a rubber stamp for the Executive Branch.

It would mean that one political party --be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow-- gets to have all the say.

Senator Reid fails to note that every Senator gets an opportunity to share his view, his advice and then through the vote his consent or lack thereof, unless the Democrats continue to filibuster nominees. President Bush recent nominated 12 judicial candidates for a second time. Those twelve were not voted down. No vote was taken and the current rule that a supermajority is required to bring them to a vote flies directly in the face of the letter and intent of the Constitution.

Our republic requires many things in order to be kept. Senate Democrats are expressing a form of partisanship that denies their patriotism and devotion to the Constitution in favor of their devotion to their Party and its power. In order to keep the Republic, we must make it abundantly clear to Republican and Democratic Senators alike that such action is morally reprehensible and violates the oath that each of them pledged upon taking office. As Senator Reid might be apt to say – Let Every Vote Count.

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes will be nominated to become Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. There have been criticisms of the selection, as I would have expected from some who are critical of every nomination the President makes. Surprisingly, there are some who are politically more inclined toward the President’s policies that are also critical of the selection. At this point, I’ve seen nothing to warrant the criticism of either group. The criticism seems to focus on Hughes lack of "credentials" in diplomatic circles, her close relationship to the President, or her decision to spend the last couple of years with her family in Texas, where her son will soon be graduated from high school and head off to college, none of which seems worthy of criticism.

As for this rarely read blogger, I believe that the selection of Hughes is significant and positive. President Bush has chosen his most trusted advisor for a role that has long been under represented. Combined with Secretary Rice and Dina Habib Powell, who will be named Deputy Under Secretary to Hughes, there will be a trio of strong women that present a foreign affairs and diplomacy background as well as an absolute understanding of the position of President Bush. Middle Eastern leaders will hear less convoluted messages of U.S. policy and instead hear with conviction and clarity the essence of U.S. policy for the Middle East.

March 9, 2005

News and Notes of a Mixed Sort

A few items for your consideration, or maybe just mine.

Anne Applebaum offers a defense of John Bolton's nomination to become the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. As I’ve posted before, I like the selection and see it as a positive for the U.S. and potentially for the UN.

Amir Taheri has an excellent, must read, column in the Gulf News. While we can in no way interpret the quotes of pilgrims in Mecca as representative of all Muslims, I do believe we should help them spread their views. Taheri's column is one way to do so. Here are a couple of excerpts.

Just outside the Grand Mosque we fall into conversation with a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims, coming to "pray for all our peoples, including Buddhists and Tamils", in the wake of the tsunami that has ravaged parts of their country. The subject of terrorism creeps into our conversation.

"We are the only community in Sri Lanka that has not only stayed out of terrorism but has opposed it," says a toothless pilgrim with a defiant face. "I think Muslims everywhere should lead the fight against terrorism, the scourge of mankind."

Other Lankans nod in approval. They have suffered for decades what the Saudis are experiencing today.

Taheri had opened his column with a description of Saudi Arabia's progressing through the stages that follow terror attacks. He closes with this.
At the Riyadh Conference, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal almost lost his temper during a press conference. He demanded: "Why do we need to fight over a definition of terrorism. Don’t we all know what a terrorist does?"

On that balmy day in Makkah many pilgrims seemed to agree. They believed that the world should name terrorists after what they do and not after what they claim to represent.

Now if only the Saudi's would insist on the UN defining terrorism as what we all know it is.

American Society of Civil Engineers report that the nations infrastructure is failing. I am somewhat skeptical but will reserve commenting further until I can read the report.

Tanalee Smith gives some perspective on the ties between Syria and Lebanon. There was much more that could have been said, but having the AP say any of it is progress. This one we'll revisit shortly.

Omar Karami has been renominated to become Prime Minister of Lebanon and form the new government. 69 of the 128 members of the parliament nominated pro-Syrian Karami for the post. Not the solution that I would have hoped for. Like you, I'll have to wait to see what the reaction in Lebanon is.

Pearlstein Deciphering the Stonecipher Decision Wrongly

For many reasons I had not intended to discuss in this space the firing/resignation of Harry Stonecipher, the man brought in to rebuild Boeing’s luster just over a year ago. And then I read what was to be one too many attempts to connect his firing to the conservative or religious right. Steven Pearlstein, of the Washington Post, penned a column entitled - Ethics Pedestal Assures Some Hard Falls. And his title is correct, even an understatement. His thesis is, however, broken. Why, because like much of the legacy media, Mr. Pearlstein apparently couldn’t author this column without an unhealthy dose of politics. Politics that not only made his conclusion wrong, it also showed the thinness of his journalistic objectivity.

Pearlstein begins with a rather funny quip taken from the Wall Street Journal.

A question that will be played out in ethics classes at business schools for years to come is whether Boeing, one of the largest government contractors, struggling to get out from under an ethics cloud, should have fired its married 68-year-old chief executive for carrying on with one of the company's Washington area employees.

Perhaps the best line of the week goes to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which noted wryly that if something like this had happened at rival Airbus, the French would have put the fellow up for a bonus.

Pearlstein then explains the two "truths" that the "profound" retort exposes.
First, given the political and legal environment in which the company finds itself, and the prevailing business culture in the United States, the board probably made the "right" decision in demanding Harry Stonecipher's resignation.
When I first read this paragraph, Pearlstein’s decision to place quotation marks around the word right caused a brief pause. Is Pearlstein implying that it was "right" as in the political right or "right" meaning the proper decision, one he would agree with at least. The second truth Mr. Pearlstein recognized cleared things up a bit.
And, second, it's a ridiculous outcome that leaves nobody better off and raises serious questions about that environment and that business culture.
Indeed it does. Pearlstein’s "right" was not agreement or appropriateness. He is implying that it was the political "right." Of course, business executive has affair, gets fired by his employer for affair or through bizarre and convoluted logic gets fired to avoid embarrassing the company, it must be the moral majority reborn as the board of directors.

Ridiculous.

It wasn’t a moral decision to fire Stonecipher, nor was it done to appease the morally inclined government officials who might be offended if, or when, the story got out. The board was acting out of fear, self-loathing, and risk aversion supported by an army of litigious and morally bankrupt attorney’s (or at least morally blinded by their profession) who have all but squashed individual freedom for those employed, particularly high profile employees, by America’s once great businesses.

The problem is that Pearlstein knew this. His comments regarding zero-tolerance and the absence of making a decision on a case-by-case basis prove it. He just couldn’t connect the proverbial dots. Personal responsibility has been abdicated. In the boardroom or the management offices the standard is aligned toward the lawyers advice about potential lawsuits much more so than it is to the ideals of personal accountability or leadership.

Pearlstein continues:

What's most dangerous, however, is the implicit acknowledgment by the board that it is too risky for a company doing business with the government to be run by someone whose personal life might offend the ayatollahs of the religious right.
The "ayatollahs of the religious right" he says. Aside from the clear attempt to paint the Bush administration as similar to the Mullahs in Iran (which is shameful but not my point), this is simply wrong. As is his closing.
You would have thought we might have learned a lesson from the disastrous campaign to impeach a president on morals charges, only to ensnare a speaker-designate of the House. Instead, this same puritan standard now seems to have been extended to the corporate sector.

One of the mistakes of the '90s is that we all put too much stock in the magic power of chief executives. Along with giving them too much authority, attention and money, we also held them to unrealistically high expectations. Harry Stonecipher now joins the list of those who both benefited from that misplaced importance, and were brought down by it.

And there it is. We didn’t learn a lesson after failing to impeach a President, who should have been convicted of perjury, and now we’ve infected the business world with our mean spirited moral and ethical standards. WRONG.

What was learned from the failed impeachment is that personal accountability can be abdicated and nothing will be done about it. The executives Pearlstein describes as having magic power have much less than he attributes to them. The lefts greatest assets, attorneys and judges, have effectively neutered much of the executive sphere, leaving them impotent and incapable of making decisions or holding each other accountable (save of course on matters of P&L). Stonecipher may have acted in a manner inconsistent with the Board's expectation. And accordingly, they have every right to request his resignation. But to pass it off as if it were a moralistic intrusion of the religious right into the boardroom of Boeing is flatly wrong. Had the board been acting morally, they would have determined that Mr. Stonecipher’s relationship was none of their concern, save the use of corporate email, and simply demanded an end to the use of corporate assets for such communication. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a moral issue; it was an issue of risk mitigation and avoidance. And rather than telling them that, Mr. Pearlstein lets his politics guide his response.

March 7, 2005

Bolton to the UN

Under Secretary of State John Bolton is to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. I can’t help but laugh a little. Not sure why.

Perhaps it’s his past exchanges such as this one reported by the AP:

Two years ago, Bolton denounced North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as a "tyrannical dictator" and described life under the ruler as "a hellish nightmare."

A North Korean spokesman fired back that "such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks" on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Bolton will be an excellent ambassador to the UN. Like the President, he speaks directly and isn’t likely to soften his words just for the sake of those less willing to accept reality.

This also provides yet another great opportunity for the left in the Senate to show their vitriol for the President in April when Bolton goes before them for confirmation hearings. His last appointment received an almost party line vote of 57 – 43 to support his nomination as undersecretary of state.

Senator Harry Reid has already expressed his lack of support for Bolton. He called the nominatin "disappointing." "At a time when President Bush has recognized we need to begin repairing our damaged relations with the rest of the world, he nominates someone with a long history of being opposed to working cooperatively with other nations," Senator Reid said, before adding his view that Bolton "flawed proliferation policy" and "will have much to answer for" in confirmation hearings.

Former Senator Jesse Helms liked Bolton saying he's the "most qualified man for the job" during a previous confirmation hearing. The NY Times, in what was clearly an attempt to paint Bolton as unacceptable, quotes Bolton as saying of the UN - "if the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference" and "there's no such thing as the United Nations." Preceded, of course, by calling Bolton, a former protégé of Senator Helms.

Excellent choice Mr. President. Excellent.

Minimum Wage and Bankruptcy Legislation

The Senate is considering legislation aimed at curbing bankruptcy abuse and providing additional protections to consumers. Fair enough.

The news surrounding the legislation comes from a proposed amendment put forth by Senator Kennedy, text here, that would increase the minimum wage by $2.10 over two years and an amendment from Senator Rick Santorum that would raise the minimum wage by $1.10 over eighteen months. The Santorum amendment, no text available yet, is drawing the ire of the left because it apparently has the gall to include measures that would increase the amount of revenue (to $1 million) required for a business to fall under the FLSA standards, currently $500k. Also drawing much attention is the idea of "flex-time." The left sees this concept as a means for employers to avoid overtime, effectively seeing an 80-hour two-week period rather than the current 40-hour per week standard before overtime is required. The intention of the change was to enable more flexibility for the employee, reduce cost and regulatory constraints on small businesses and, of course, increase the minimum wage.

Neither proposal is germane to the legislation at hand and both should be defeated.

Just for fun you might want to visit DailyKos or Nathan Newman to get the Democratic perspective.

UPDATE: Both amendments were defeated tonight. The Santorum amendment fell 38 - 61 with 17 Republicans voting against it. The Kennedy amendment fell 46 - 49 with 4 Republicans voting for it.

Why is it that no Democrats cross the lines but on almost any issue Republicans can be found ready and willing to jump ship! The Democrats may not have principled convictions when it comes to the issues, but their party principle is definitely still intact.

Demick Without Rancor

After North Korea, Without Rancor and N. Korea Lists Conditions for Negotiations, in the LA Times, the journalist behind both pieces has responded to Hugh Hewitt’s questions. Barbara Demick doesn’t expect to be on his show however. Hugh has posted her response and has sent three additional questions to her. Here are the questions and her responses, along with my commentary.

"Hello. I still need to get permission from my keepers to appear on the program, but I suspect it will not be forthcoming. Sorry about that. Here, though, are my answers to your questions.

Best, Barbara Demick

Do you think Kim Jong Il is an evil man?
- We reported last summer that Kim Jong Il spent millions importing gourmet foods, cookbooks and chefs for himself while his countrymen were starving. One can judge from there.

Indeed we can judge from "there" that you have reported a portion of his evil actions, but we cannot see that you believe him to be evil. Your latest coverage effectively ignored his actions and intent, choosing instead to report only his agents view of North Korea.
Do you think Kim Jong Il and his government are responsible for the famine of the '90s.
- Yes

How many people does your research tell you died in the famine?
- Up to 2 million, about 10 percent of the population

Did Kim Jong Il and his government obstruct international relief efforts during the famine?
- Yes

Good, good and good. Why then wasn’t it offered as a portion of the “Without Rancor” column? It would have been very simple to have reported the travesties suffered under the regime, and to have done so without unwarranted rancor. It is simply reporting the truth in conjunction with the propaganda offered by your businessman agent. Choosing not to showed a willingness to espouse the lies of the regime without the well justified inclusion of counter evidence. It was wrong to do so.
Do you believe Kim Jong Il and his government breached the 1994 Agreement with the United States by secretly pursuing nuclear weapons via uranium enrichment?
- technically, no, but in spirit, yes. The original agreement had several loopholes, which is why the administration now is insisting on CVID (Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Dismantlement)
Technically no. You’ve got to be kidding. The agreement called for the DPRK to live up to its 1992 agreement with the ROK to a denuclearized Korean peninsula and it called for the freezing of the graphite moderated nuclear plants and related facilities and for the IAEA monitoring of those facilities. The DPRK failed to act in good faith with the agreement by continuing its efforts to enrich uranium and by restarting the pre-existing nuclear plants without IAEA supervision or monitoring. Their assertion that they were building a deterrent and then eventually that they have nuclear weapons is not a spirit only violation of the agreement. It is a direct technical violation of the agreement and its requirement that they act to ensure a denuclearization of the peninsula.
How many Japanese and Koreans do your researches suggest the Kim Jong Il regime and his father's regime had kidnapped over the past forty years?
- Around 20 Japanese. South Korean intelligence says 486 of their people.

Has North Korea been forthcoming about these kidnap victims?
- Only about some of the Japanese

Is Japan correct to insist on an accounting of these kidnap victims?
- Yes

You have reported on the allegations of chemicals being tested on prisoners in the North. Do you believe these accounts?
- I believe the guy I interviewed for a story that ran March 2004. Can't vouch for the others.

Do you believe the accounts that pregnant North Korean women, caught attempting to escape from North Korea, are subjected to abortions as punishment? Do you believe the accounts that North Korean women, caught attempting to escape from North Korea, are forced to watch their children executed?
- Yes to the first. Not sure if it's a direct punishment for trying to escape the country, but NK women prisoners who are pregnant are required to abort. I'm not sure about the latter.

If North Korea were to open its borders and pursue an economy with the same policies as South Korea, do you expect it would be as successful as the South has been in building an industrial base and economic growth?
- No

Is Kim Jong Il capable of launching an attack on the South or on Japan without warning?
- Conventional, no. Assymetrical, yes.

This is amazing. You recognize that the regime aborts the children of pregnant women trying to leave the DPRK, recognize that the DPRK has used prisoners as subjects for chemical testing, recognize that the DPRK has kidnapped Japanese and South Korean citizens, and recognize that they possess the means to asymmetrical attack Japan or the South without warning, yet they aren’t evil and none of this was included in your "Without Rancor" column.
How many people do you estimate are kept in the prison camps of North Korea and how would you describe conditions there.
- The State Department says 150,000 to 200,0000 are held in extremely harsh conditions.

Do you believe the man you met with in Bejing and interviewed for Thursday's story was an intelligence operative of the North Korean government?
- His job is to bring foreign investment and development aid into North Korea. As all North Korean business is owned by the Workers' Party, government or military, he is a government official -- or agent, as it were. He spoke in ways that other people would get imprisoned for, which means, not necessarily that he was a spook, but definitely that he is elite with some kind of tie to the top that is his source of protection."

This form of moral ambivalence is astonishing. I would applaud a journalist for the effort, and risk, taken to meet with and interview foreign nationals and agents such as "Mr. Anonymous" who was interviewed for "Without Rancor." But only on the condition that the journalist was acting in the interest of reporting the truth. The truth would include the perverted view of the DPRK and the highly relevant facts that do not jive with the DPRK version. I can’t say more now. Maybe later.

March 1, 2005

News and Notes before Rest

A few small bits on not so small items in the news.

ANWR in the works... Perhaps. Senate Republicans are signaling that they'll include opening ANWR to drilling in the budget reconciliation process, where a filibuster is not permitted, just as the President requested. It's also good to see Senator Thune among those heading to Alaska this weekend to show their support for the measure.

Senator Salazar, D-CO, has requested that President Bush withdraw the 12 judicial nominees that the President resubmitted to the Senate. Republican Senators, and I, had hoped that Salazar would support an up or down vote on the nominees and help end the Democratic practice of filibustering nominees. His letter says the "decision to renominate these individuals will undoubtedly create the animosity and divisiveness ... that is not helpful to our nation and will sidetrack our collective efforts to work on other crucial matters." Salazar has not stated how he will vote on any nominee or on efforts to prevent a vote.

Senator Ted Stevens is wrong to want to apply the FCC's decency standards to cable and satelite communications, as is Congressman Barton. More later.

Syria should be aware that the ducks are being aligned. "We do have firm evidence that the bombing in Tel Aviv was not only authorized by Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders in Damascus, but that Islamic Jihad leaders in Damascus participated in the planning," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Russia boasts of a new missile - "there is not and will not be any defense against these missiles." Sergei Ivanov, Russian Defense Minister, added that "Russia is stretched across 10 times zones, we have many neighbors, and not all of them are as predictable as European states" and that the weapons would be based on the Russian Topol-M ICBM and Bulava, a sea based missile. Of course, he didn't mention U.S. efforts to develop anti-ballistic missile defense systems specifically.

Iran has denied a request by the IAEA to revisit Parchin. In January when the IAEA inspection team visited Parchin, after a seven month wait, they requested to return to visit areas of Parchin not inspected during their initial visit. The denial was announced at a briefing by Pierre Goldschmidt to the IAEA's Board of Governors. Mr. Goldschmidt's report will be covered in a post tomorrow and is available here.

More tomorrow...

The Supreme Court Rules (Roper v. Simmons)

The Supreme Court of the United States has prohibited the execution of any criminal who perpetrates their crime while under the age of 18. The ruling, 5-4, once again shows the Courts disconnect from the Constitution and its attachment to the perceived social norms of our age rather than the law and reverses a 1989 ruling, Stanford v. Kentucky, on the same issue. A ruling in 2002, Atkins v. Virginia, that prohibited execution of mentally retarded criminals based on the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, led to this case coming before the court as it was the basis for the convicted murderers appeal.

The prevailing justices were Kennedy, Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer. Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist dissented.

The Opinion of the Court points to the evolving standards of decency as seen by the number of States banning execution of criminals under 18, just as it used the same argument in the Atkins ruling in 2002. It should have been obvious to the Court that the States, not the Court, are acting on the evolving standards of decency, and accordingly those that do not have public support for the death penalty, combined with those who do not support the execution of minor (under 18 but over 15) criminals are capable and willing to enact legislation appropriate to the publics sentiment. Instead, the Court once again took the opportunity to remove the States ability to determine its standards and law and established a Constitutional standard where none has been or was intended. Much like the poll taking of politicians the Court ruled based on the number of States supporting or not supporting this type of punishment and the lack of occurrences in those that do.

The Opinion also argues that the behavior of minors due to their lesser maturity likewise should lower the potential penalties to those minors. This again removes the responsibility of the jury, judge and law of the individual State to determine the mitigating, if any, factors associated with the mental state or maturity of the individual. The law, in this case the Constitution, makes no such claim nor does it demand the esteemed Justices of the Supreme Court to make such a determination.

From the ruling:

"A central feature of death penalty sentencing is a particular assessment of the circumstances of the crime and the characteristics of the offender. The system is designed to consider both aggravating and mitigating circumstances, including youth, in every case. Given this Court’s own insistence on individualized consideration, petitioner maintains that it is both arbitrary and unnecessary to adopt a categorical rule barring imposition of the death penalty on any offender under 18 years of age.

We disagree. The differences between juvenile and adult offenders are too marked and well understood to risk allowing a youthful person to receive the death penalty despite insufficient culpability."

Here the Court acknowledges that it isn’t the law it is following, it is their desire to protect the youthful murderer. The Court again denies the rightful role of the State. I have not yet read Justice Scalia's dissent, joined by Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist nor the dissent of Justice O'Connor. I will, and may add further comments after doing so.

In closing it should be clear that I am neither an attorney nor an advocate of the broad use of the death penalty. It should indeed be reserved for only the most heinous of crimes. Yet rulings such as this, removing the possibility that the most heinous of crime can be committed by a juvenile offender and likewise that the State may assess the most significant of punishments, denies both the will of the people, the judgment of a jury and the role of the law in the highest of chambers.

February 25, 2005

Vox Blogoli v2.2

Hugh Hewitt has once again initiated a Vox Blogoli. Those inclined to opine are encouraged to reply. Being one so inclined I offer my take on the question.

McClellan or Grant? Should the GOP leadership in the Senate push to a confrontation with the Democrats over the filibustering of judicial nominees, and if the Dems filibuster even one judicial nominee, should the GOP move to the "nuclear option" of a rule change, even if Harry Reid threatens a Senate shutdown?

Nominees are sent to the Senate for “advice and consent.” After committee approval, the Senate may debate the nominee, and then the all-important vote. It’s the vote that serves to provide the advice, and potentially, the consent to the President. Only after consent does the President appoint the nominee to the court. Senate Democrats are using Senate filibuster rules to prevent the vote. The tactical reasoning is simple, the votes are there to approve the candidates, and may not be there (most likely aren’t) to break the filibuster given its requirement of 60 votes to end it.

Why make such a decision? The Democrats of late, perhaps since FDR or before, are more attached to their ideological view than they are to the Constitution and the constraints that it purposefully placed on the federal government and the Senate. The same reason that Republicans of all varieties (conservative, neo-con, paleo-con, classical liberal, social or religious conservative, libertarian, etc.) have come together to oppose the modern left, as seen in the Democratic Party. The responsibility to nominate, and appoint, judges rest in the hands of the President. To ensure that this authority is not abused, the Senate is given a role. Today’s Democratic Senators aren’t willing to accept that role; instead they chose to prevent a vote. This behavior, or tactic, is obstructionist, or alternatively a direct affront to the Constitution they swore to defend.

The left, now firmly guiding the Democratic Party, and groups such as the People for the American Way are flatly wrong in their assertion that the Senate is co-equal in the appointment of federal judges.

So, Grant or McClellan? Grant. McClellan has been tried before and has failed. It amounts to appeasement. The Republicans and supportive Democrats should stand firm and demand "NOT ANOTHER INCH." We’ve moved too far from the Constitution, every step farther away relates to another generation, at best, before we again see the Constitution upheld in the Courts and understand by the people. Not another inch.

And finally, a bit of advice for the liberal, moderate and conservative supporters of the Democratic Party. Don’t let these Senators obstruct the rule of law in your name. Our nation needs your political party and the upcoming elections in 2006 and 2008 are going to be impacted by the decisions made this year. If you doubt that, just watch Senator Clinton.

Another Photo of Dr. Rice

The other pic of Dr. Rice, in last nights post, is good. This one is better. Maybe because of the reaction of the troops as she walks by.

I'd like to thank WaPo for making her appearance, feminity and sex appeal newsworthy. Yup, sure would.

[Photo HT: Blaster's Blog via RWN]

News and Notes at Night

First, deplorable behavior by Colorado's playground bullies er... Congressmen.

Rocky Mountain News - House leaders reminded members of the importance of decorum Wednesday, a day after a vulgar shouting match on the floor.

Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, and Minority Leader Joe Stengel, R-Littleton, stood together as they addressed the 60 House members present.

"The eyes of the state are upon us," Madden said. “The rules say there should be no loud private discussions and we should never impugn the motives of our colleagues.”

Said Stengel: "We need to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Let’s keep civility in the forefront and do the work of the people."

The day before, Rep. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, tangled with Rep. Val Vigil, D-Thornton, over an amendment to a license plate bill.

Cadman called the amendment "garbage." Vigil shot back that Cadman was "garbage."

Cadman then approached Vigil’s desk and told him if he ever pulled that again, "I’ll ram my fist up your ass."

Sweet. Next thing you know these gents will be meeting behind the capital for a little game of "who's can of whoop ass is bigger?" [HT: Say Anything]
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Not so close to home, yet strangely a place where the previous story would have seemed more likely. The Palestinian Cabinet has been selected, and its quite a change from previous editions. Abbas isn't perfect, but he sure beats the hell out of Arafat. Well... you know what I mean.
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Condoleezza. Who knows if she'll run or not run. What we do know is she isn't your grandfathers Secretary of State. [HT: Drudge]

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And from the FT, have a look at the similarity between Chinese demand and oil prices. Of course, the is no real relationship between the two, but it sure makes a fella think.

February 23, 2005

al-Jaafari An Islamist?

The New York Times says that Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari is an Islamist.

The headline for Wednesday’s story on his becoming the candidate of choice for the United Iraqi Alliance is more fear mongering than it is truth - "Shiite Alliance in Iraq Wants Islamist as the Prime Minister." The article is just as false as the authors paint the picture of disunity and contentions bickering, as if any nation, including our own, was ever formed without debate, negotiation and compromise. Burns and Filkins knew what they were writing, and they knew that it portrayed the situation in a negative light. Exactly the color if light they desired.

The truths - the United Iraqi Alliance is a majority Shi’a body and it won a majority of seats in the new government. Also the UIA has apparently chosen Dr. al-Jaafari as its candidate for Prime Minister. Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari is the leader of Iraq’s Dawa Party and lived outside Iraq for 20+ years (London and Iran).

But where does the idea that al-Jaafari is an Islamist come from, and why would the New York Times want to make you believe he is an Islamist?

First, a bit of background on the term Islamist. Some rather simple minded folks would say that any Muslim is an Islamist. If so, it would seem rather odd that the headline of a New York Times column would be "Shiite Alliance in Iraq Wants a Muslim as the Prime Minister." That is clearly not what Burns and Filkins meant.

By Islamist, did they mean a Muslim who believes that the state and religion should be one, as in Shari’a Law should rule the land? Or did they mean, Islamist as the less pejorative form of islamofascist? Neither one being a choice that would make American or European readers of the NYTimes comfortable with the selection of Dr. al-Jaafari. And neither one an accurate description of Dr. al-Jaafari’s view.

Dr. al-Jaafari is a pragmatic and realistic politician who clearly values his faith and the traditional faith(s) of his fellow countrymen. He also values freedom. We’ll hear how he’s lived in Iran and how his party is associated with the spreading of the Islamic message, yet what is more important is his words and actions.

While he initially balked at signing the interim constitution, Dr. al-Jaafari did eventually agree, and has since been both an advocate of a federalist styled government, and an advocate of inclusion, ethnic and religious, far beyond what Iraq has known for the last 50+ years. He makes statements regarding the Islamic identity and tradition of Iraq, just as an American president might make remarks about a Judeo-Christian ethos of the U.S., and likewise he insists that the people of Iraq will not have a theocracy, i.e. Iran, instead they will have a government that supports their faith while securing their freedom.

Perhaps once again I am just an optimist. The NYTimes could be right and any non-secular Muslim would be an Islamist and therefore a threat. I just don’t believe that to be the case. Read the column and see for yourself. The photo, included in the column, has the following caption: "Ibrahim al-Jaafari, right, the Shiite faction's choice for prime minister, at a news conference in Baghdad Tuesday. He won only after Ahmad Chalabi, left, withdrew and promised to support Dr. Jaafari, an Islamist." [emphasis mine.]

February 21, 2005

Jihadist

It is quite frustrating it is to read editorials and columns by men who firmly believe that by liberating Iraq we’ve advanced the cause of the jihadist. Bob Herman, a columnist for the New York Times, is just the latest in the string of columnist to offer this view. When will these damned fools understand their folly?

Herman’s column includes this:

"So tell me again. What was this war about? In terms of the fight against terror, the war in Iraq has been a big loss. We've energized the enemy. We've wasted the talents of the many men and women who have fought bravely and tenaciously in Iraq. Thousands upon thousands of American men and women have lost arms or legs, or been paralyzed or blinded or horribly burned or killed in this ill-advised war. A wiser administration would have avoided that carnage and marshaled instead a more robust effort against al Qaeda, which remains a deadly threat to America."
What was the war about? The answer should be obvious, but to Mr. Herman, it’s not. He believes that because Porter Goss tells the Senate that Iraq has become a “cause for extremist” that we’ve fueled or “energized” the enemy. What Director Goss described was how the extremists have responded to the liberation of Iraq. Their opposition to the U.S. is, as I’ve mentioned before, to our existence, our unalienable rights, and our worldview.

Iraq is no loss. It has shown us the extent of islamofascist thought and reach; it has focused their terror and in doing so limited their ability to strike the U.S. It has also removed the potential for a regime capable of providing aid in the form found in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, or worse in the form of weapons of mass destruction.

To say that the talents of many men and women have been “wasted” in Iraq is a horrible and shameful statement of Mr. Herman’s own thoughts on freedom and his own moral misgivings. Those who’ve fought, been injured, or died, to free the people of Iraq deserve so much more from men like Mr. Herman who live safely in the U.S. while they take the battle to the enemy, and draw the enemy to them as well.

The war on terror is global, it is strategic and tactical, and it is ideological. The strategic battle is being won as evidenced by the rising freedom of the Iraqi people who are choosing freedom’s ideals over terror and repression and in the long absence of attacks on the U.S. It’s tactical battles are won on every battlefield we have faced the enemy on, as well as on the streets when they blow themselves up and remove themselves from the battle. Ideologically, however, the greatest victory comes from the presence of purple fingered Iraqi’s, the continued will of the American’s to serve freedom at home and abroad and the movements in the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere to bring Muslims an alternative to the Islam of the Jihadist and instead offer Muslims a chance to stand as free men of faith, voting for their future and against terrorism.

We are told that Jihad is the struggle for that which is holy. Struggle requires will. Where is Mr. Herman's will?

February 17, 2005

Negroponte and Hayden to Head National Intelligence

Ambassador John Negroponte, currently the top administration representative to Iraq, has been nominated to become the nations first national intelligence director. And Air Force Lieutenant General Mike Hayden, who since 1999 has served as Director of NSA, has been nominated as deputy national intelligence director.

Lt. Gen. Hayden is clearly a strong choice and may signal... and may signal the combined agencies with the type of changes and leadership to expect.

And Negroponte, former Ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, and the UN, as well as serving in various roles with the State Department and as President Reagan’s Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs is likely to be easily confirmed and a capable leader for the agencies in question.

I'd really like to hear Porter Goss' take on the nominations.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has the transcript of this morning's press conference. It includes President Bush's response to questions regarding Syria's involvement in Rafik Hariri's murder and their support for terrorist and Ba'athist holdouts from Iraq.

February 16, 2005

Principled and Pragmatic

Hugh Hewitt points to a significant challenge to Republicans in his brief discussion of the Bush administrations plans to reduce farm subsidies. As a matter of principle, farm subsidies should be cut or eliminated. Despite marketing campaigns that portray them as a means to protect and enable small farms, the subsidies turn out to be nothing more than corporate welfare. Pragmatically, the reduction or elimination of farm subsidies is a dangerous political move that, if handled ineffectively, could result in political defeats across the heartland.

No matter the issue, the challenge for principled center-right conservatives or libertarians (small “l” not the party) is to find the balance between our principles and the pragmatic implementation or not of them. While reading the blogs listed on the sidebar, I’m often struck by the struggle to find this balance and, at the same time, find that I’m unwilling to argue against the principle on almost all occasions (excepting of course when I disagree with it). This, I believe, is because principle is rare in public discourse, and the expression of it is noteworthy. That being said, we must also show our willingness to accept the pragmatic options that will most definitely fall short of our objectives, for our greatest objective has to be to have those who, at least marginally, share our worldview in the hallowed chambers of the House, Senate, White House, and Supreme Court.

Hugh was on Dennis Prager’s show for the last hour flogging Blog. It was, as you’d expect, an excellent hour even though much of it was Hugh explaining blogs to Dennis, who still doesn’t have one.

February 14, 2005

Judicial Nominees... Again

Twelve judicial nominees, of the twenty submitted today, are repeat visitors who didn’t receive an up or down vote by the Senate in their previous nomination. President Bush has signaled the Senate that he expects things to be different. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has made it clear things will be different, either by a change of rules or by the so-called nuclear option.

Here are the nominations:

  • Terrence W. Boyle and William James Haynes II to the 4th Circuit.
  • Pricilla Richman Owen to the 5th Circuit.
  • David W. McKeague, Susan Bieke Neilson, Henry W. Saad, and Richard A. Griffin to the 6th Circuit.
  • William Gerry Myers III to the 9th Circuit.
  • Janice Rogers Brown, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Thomas B. Griffith to the District of Columbia Circuit.
  • And William H. Pryor, who like the others never received an up or down vote, but was appointed during a Congressional recess to a term that expires at the end of the year, to the 11th Circuit.
Other nominations to the U.S. District Court and other posts, were included in today’s announcement.

Watching Bloggers On Kudlow & Company

I decided to watch Kudlow & Company on CNBC, to see Hugh Hewitt, John Hinderaker, and Glenn Reynolds weigh in on Easongate and the MSM’s continued cover-up of the story, i.e. the real story being CNN’s cover-up of Eason Jordan’s remarks back in November and again at Davos, I was pleasantly surprised to find Ralph Peters and Rowan Scarborough on preceding the bloggers. Peters and Scarborough discussed the election results in Iraq and North Korea’s nuclear admission.

Peters, as expected, was right on point and hilariously blunt in his assessments. They noted, as I did in a previous post, that the NYTimes and Washington Post both paint the picture of the election results as a failure, and Peters, Scarborough and host, Larry Kudlow, noted that it was the "best result we could have looked for." Peters on North Korea:

"North Koreans are dumb." And with regard to their announcement, and the resulting international isolation, it was "as dumb as going into a singles bar and announcing you’ve got herpes."
That was well worth a laugh.

Next up, Easongate and the bloggers.

The bloggers made it very clear that the story was that Eason Jordan had done it before, meaning he’d claimed that the military target and tortured journalist, and that CNN had covered up his comments, choosing instead to see him go, rather than see the tapes of his comments made public.

They went on to discuss the left’s response and the future of their blogs. Hugh rightly characterized the left’s criticism of the blogs as jealousy, speaking specifically of Lovelady and this unexplainable WSJ Opinion piece, and John and Glenn stated their future interest as the court appointments, offering redress for those slandered (Hinderaker), and science policy and the war (Reynolds).

Haven’t watched CNBC in a few years, and while I’m certain it isn’t all as conservative, or even balanced, like Kudlow & Company, and it isn’t as visually grabbing as FoxNews, it wasn’t bad at all.

Whether Geo-Green or Not

When looking through the technorati listing of references to Thomas Friedman’s Sunday NY Times column, No Mullah’s Left Behind, I was disappointed to see little refutation of Friedman’s column. And more disappointed to see Glenn Reynolds agreeing with this Friedman statement:

As a geo-green, I believe that combining environmentalism and geopolitics is the most moral and realistic strategy the U.S. could pursue today. Imagine if President Bush used his bully pulpit and political capital to focus the nation on sharply lowering energy consumption and embracing a gasoline tax.
Thankfully, Glenn goes on to suggest that nuclear power plants as a solution. Still, however, he appeared to focus on energy for our cars, he describes the nuclear power plants as a means to producing hydrogen as a replacement fuel for autos. All fine by me, except that the majority of our energy needs aren’t our cars or transportation (35% to 40% of our energy consumption is for transportation, of which almost all is petroleum based). [For stats on U.S. Energy consumption see the Energy Information Administration. - ed.]

Is the objective to reduce our dependence on foreign (read Middle Eastern) oil, or to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels? Or both.

The primary issue I take with Friedman’s suggestion is the gasoline tax as a means to alter behavior. The idea of changing our behavior through taxing the consumption of gasoline is abhorrent to me. The proper means to accomplish the objective of reducing fossil fuel dependence, and the attached relationship to despotic leaders in the Middle East, is through altering our own production capabilities and sources.

We have untapped resources in petroleum and we’ve nearly completely abandoned the use of nuclear energy. If we moved toward greater use of nuclear energy for non-transportation sector supply, the cut in fossil fuel usage would be significant, although, clearly 35 percent or more would remain due to transportation requirements. That component could be reduced through means such as Reynolds’ suggestion of hydrogen-fueled vehicles, but the time, and cost, between that solution and now is significant. The first step has to be opening up ANWR and other domestic sources for petroleum based exploration and production.

Whether geo-green or not, the administration needs to act to cut off U.S. backing of repressive regimes in the Middle East, and further, to create a more independent and viable long term solution to our energy needs. Our fear of nuclear technology, the cost associated with alternative fuels, and the lefts environmentalist ideals all serve as constraints to change rather as proponents of change. Another constraint is the attachment to stability. For years our economic policy has been propped up by the idea that through our continued use of Middle Eastern oil we foster stability in the region. This has to go. Maintaining the stability of despots neither advances the liberty of people around the world, nor does it enhance our security.

February 12, 2005

Novak's Lightning Strikes Thrice

After reading Barone's piece, linked below, from Newsweek, be sure and read Robert Novak's latest in the Washington Post. [HT: B4B] Despite the criticism below, the column is generally positive.

Dan Kennedy, a reporter and blogger for the Boston Phoenix, questioned whether the Jordan controversy "would have been lifted out of the right-wing-bloggers-go-after-Eason Jordan paradigm if it hadn't been for Barney Frank and Chris Dodd," two Democratic members of Congress who were at the Davos forum and criticized Jordan's remarks. "You get bloggers bringing it to people's attention, but without some additional push from the mainstream, I don't know if you get over the top and actually push out people like Eason Jordan and Dan Rather."
I don't know Kennedy. But I don't particularly like his view. Blogs aren't mainstream media. That much I'll concede. But they are new media and are rapidly becoming more mainstream. Hence, Representative Frank and Senator Dodd, television shows like the West Wing, and the inseperable ties between the blogs and talk radio (left or right).

Michelle Malkin called Frank and Dodd for comment. Kennedy makes it sound as if Frank and Dodd brought the journalist into the story. Malkin, being a journalist and a damn fine blogger, brought them into it. Credit isn't something the old-media is in a hurry to give to the new, even in a generally positive piece.

February 11, 2005

Eason Jordan Goes Bye Bye

Eason Jordan has resigned!

There is more to do... and, of course, late friday night is the time to resign if you want to limit coverage.

Here's the story:

NEW YORK -- CNN Chief News Executive Eason Jordan resigned late Friday in the wake of a controversy over remarks he made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about deaths of journalists in Iraq.

Mr. Jordan said in a resignation note he was stepping down to "prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy" over his remarks. During a panel presentation in Davos late last month, he made remarks that were interpreted by some people present as suggesting the U.S. military in Iraq had deliberately targeted journalists to be killed.

Mr. Jordan subsequently clarified his remarks to emphasize he didn't mean to imply the U.S. military had targeted journalists. In his resignation note, he said his comments during the Davos panel discussion "were not as clear as they should have been." He added, "I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists."

Mr. Jordan is a former president of news gathering at the network, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (TWX), but he has not held day-to-day responsibilities for editorial direction or news content since September 2003, a CNN spokeswoman said.

-By Joe Flint and Martin Peers; The Wall Street Journal

Congratulations to all those who pushed the issue. And shame on CNN for not making it happen earlier, calling for the release of the tapes, and so many more things I don't have time to list.

February 9, 2005

Medicare Drug Benefit Cost and the Washington Post

Projections for Medicare Drug Benefit cost have more than doubled, if the Washington Post is correct in their statement that it could cost $1.2 trillion for the coming ten years. And despite the number of other reports now using that figure, it doesn't appear that the Post has it right.

The Post, at best, failed to grasp the nature of the subject matter, and in doing so didn't recognize the vast difference between a projection based on 10 years of full (and growing) participation and the initial projections based on 8 years of full participation with 2 years of only limited availability. At worst, the Post reported the $1.2 trillion cost compared to earlier estimates of $534 billion with the full knowledge that the $534 billion factored in the savings to the Fed associated with the initial projection, while the $1.2 trillion does not. That figure would have more accurately been reported as $720 billion.

Is there a difference between $534 billion and $720 billion? Of course, but given the two additional years of full participation, it is relatively minor. It is effectively yields a 9% increase in cost, and given the growing base of participants included in the planning, that strikes me as a reasonable number. The same would hold true for a comparison between the $400 billion projection from 2003 (a 28% increase with 3 added years of full participation).

And just so we are clear... I am not, nor have I ever been an advocate of the program, although I much prefer it to the single provider option the Democrats prefer.

Churchill At His Finest?

From the Denver Post, the photo, and the story of Churchill and his adoring fans.
Boulder - Met by wild applause Tuesday night from hundreds of supporters, controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill strongly attacked Gov. Bill Owens and the CU Board of Regents and said he would never back down from his comparison of some 9/11 victims to Nazi Adolf Eichmann.

Looking out on the mass of adoring supporters, with hundreds more listening outside in the cold, Churchill said loudly, "Bill Owens, do you get it now?"

"I do not work for the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. I do not work for Bill Owens. I work for you," he told the CU audience.

It concludes...
On Tuesday night, Churchill again emphasized that he was not blaming everyone in the towers for U.S. policies.

"No I did not call a bunch of food service workers, janitors, children, firefighters and random passers-by little Eichmanns," he said. "The reference is to a technical core of empire - the technicians of empire ... obviously I was not talking about these people."

The Rocky Mountain News coverage is here. And for a little more local news, how about the quarantine of a Frontier flight from Philadelphia. A sick passenger, or as the local CBS affiliate reported this evening, a passenger with a "rash", caused the plane to be held in quarantine while medics attempted to determine the cause and severity of the illness. The passenger is apparently in the hospital and all other passengers where released.

February 8, 2005

More On "Bad For Us All"

After blogging Bad For Us All, I read Dorian Davis’ The Modern Monarchists at Alarming News. Dorian is writing as a guest blogger for Karol, who is busy with work, and also has a blog of his own.

Dorian’s excellent post deals with the internal enemies of the people and their ascension to power through the courts. Dorian concludes with a Nixon quote, a rare item in this age of political correctness, having already established his point, that a vocal and fervent minority has established itself over the will of the majority and over reason.

Whether in the courts, the press, or the Democratic Party’s leadership, it can only be seen as a sign of the significance the enemies of the United States have made. And from within, for it is from within that we are most likely to be defeated. From within our guard is lowered, we are restrained from defense of reason and virtue alike, and from within we are prohibited to state that others, clearly acting against the nation, are seditious, treasonous or most graciously, wrong and bad for the nation.

Many of the acquaintances and friends I’ve had in my lifetime have been honorably liberal, and likewise conservative. Far fewer have been overtly leftist, or open supporters of radical movements from the left, whether they be environmentalist, abortionist, same-sex marriage advocates, pacifist, socialist, communist or islamofascist. Yet these same good willed men and women have allowed the leadership of their party to take positions that are in line with the most extreme of these views.

As Dorian notes, courts now ignore the views of the people, ignore the real rights of the people, and fabricate rights for those who’ve squealed the loudest. When ELF burns homes or apartments, or the EPA squashes the livelihood of men, where is the voice of the Democratic Party? The reality is that it has become the extreme, and until the aforementioned well meaning liberal voters stand in the face of the extreme left, the nation will see no good of them, nor will it be safe from the vocal minority.

Good men doing nothing. It is bad for us all.

More On The Budget

An excellent summary of the budget proposal from the Washington Times. [HT: Betsy's Page]

I've not yet completed my reviews, Defense being the only completed portion posted, but will do so.

Bad For Us All

Are we wrong to be concerned that the Democratic Party seems destined to select Howard Dean as their next chair of the DNC? Prior to the election I wrote on several occasions that a strong a viable Democratic Party is essential to the future good governance of the U.S. Not because I want to see them win an election, or regain prominence in the House or Senate, but because the ideas and ideals that are presented to the American people are so strongly influenced by the two parties and the leftist, as opposed to liberal, movement of the Democratic Party means fewer viable alternative viewpoints and greater extremism.

Given that Kandidate Clinton, now serving as a Senator, along with the likes of Kerry, Gore and Edwards will lead the pack for the 2008 nomination. It seems certain that the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left and is secure enough to stay. I say this despite Clinton’s rather obvious attempts to seem more centrist and even hawkish. The reality is that her efforts are a political move to increase her viability in 2008, but doesn’t change the real nature of her politics or her base (which would undoubtedly support her even as a more centrist candidate).

For the immediate future, it’s probably good news for the Republican Party. In the long run, it signals a more permanent shift toward the left and is neither good for the Democratic Party or the nation.

The Paralyzing Effects of Political Correctness

Harvey Kushner was interviewed by NRO and this morning was on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. Like Laura, I can only hope that much of what Harvey has to say is wrong. If not, we aren’t tackling, not due to effort, the war on terror as effectively as needed.

The NRO interview is available here. The book, Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States, is available here. [HT: LGF]

February 7, 2005

Budgeting Against Us

Self tortured into reading the various components of the budget, and any or all other related docs, I’ve come to only one real conclusion thus far.

No one will be happy with this budget, as is. That should be seen as a good thing. And if it weren’t for elections in ’06 it just might have been.

I’m pleased that the President hasn’t tried to please everyone, and perhaps has gone so far as to please no one. Will it work? Don’t know, it’ll depend on the earnestness of the Republicans in the Senate who will have to show the Representatives in the House that they aren’t going to leave them open to attack in ’06. In addition, it’ll depend on the social security debate, if we ever get around to a proposal, and what will certainly be a contentious debate of judicial nominations. If the Republicans have the juice to stand up and be counted, and can force the Dems to stand by the Kennedy/Kerry/Pelosi type remarks, we’ll have so many of, then the Representatives in the House may feel they’re well backed for ’06 and be willing to take a stand on the budget and social security, when the time comes.

As for me, after only reading the defense component and portions of the homeland security and justice components, I’m suitable concerned and therefore able to lend my support. Cautiously... which is a good thing. I think.

Defense Budget

I’ll be reviewing the Departmental proposals in their order of significance (to me). Therefore the first is the Department of Defense.

The Defense budget is $421 billion. Proposed Defense discretionary authority is $419 billion with mandatory expenses of $1.9 billion. This is an increase of 4.8% in Defense spending over FY 2005.

Highlights:

Increased production of unmanned vehicles including the various UGV, UAV, UUV programs, as well as the unmanned combat aerial vehicle. $1.7 billion total for unmanned vehicle programs. Several other higher tech weapons and communications systems are covered as well.

Increase in salary for uniformed service members of 3.1% and civilians personnel by 2.3%.

$613 million for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a higher speed near-shore combat vessel, which looks promising. This is a $153 million increase over FY 2005. DD(X), CVN-21 and Virginia Class Submarines all continue development and procurement.

Continued reorganization of the Army and Navy to form more "modular" or self-contained smaller units, brigade sized, as opposed to the traditional divisions. From 33 brigades to 43 in the Army, and proportional increase in the reserve. Source: Secretary Rumsfeld during briefing. The Marine Corps will be adding two battalions, and a small number of combat and combat support elements.

Continued reorganization under SOCOM with 1200 special operations forces from the military and 200 civilians. $50 million allocated to retain SOF forces.

$416 million to begin the GPI reorganization which will bring American troops, and their families home to the U.S., and cut the number of overseas bases by 300. A 10-year, $3.5 billion effort, but well worth it. This will also have significant impact on base closure decisions for bases within the U.S.

Continued improvement in the acquisition of new systems and technology through the "spiral acquisition" model. Those familiar with technology development methodologies will recognize the benefits, and welcome the new approach. The Army’s FCS is slated to receive components in ’08 versus the entire system in ’10 due to the spiral approach.

Privatize nearly 50% of military family housing, which had been found inadequate.

Significant increases for reservist and guardsmen in education benefits (40%, 109%, and 179%) based on the amount of time on active duty.

$7.8 billion for the Missile Defense Agency.

Concerns –

Slowing down production of the V-22 Osprey.

Cutting the number of F/A-22 from over 300 to 179.

Cutting the number of aircraft carriers from 12 to 11.


At first look, there aren’t many areas where I’m too concerned. Cutting the number of Raptors and speeding the retirement of one carrier aren’t likely to please many of who are concerned with more distant and conventional warfare, or the possibility of such. The Osprey has long had its detractors. More after further reflection, and of course, your thoughts or links are welcome.

Sources: White House OMB Defense Budget, the Secretary of Defense's briefing on the budget proposal, and DoD budget docs available at DefenseLink.

First Review Underway

After reading the President's message, overview, and priorities documents (I, II, III, IV, and V), I’m offering some initial reaction to the proposal. On first reading, it is striking that the budget proposal makes clear that performance has to take a lead in determining the continuation of existing programs. While this will meet with some opposition, as performance over intent is an unlikely argument by many in Congress, it offers a glimpse into the thinking of the President and the realities of such an enormous budget.

The budget reflects the improving health of the economy, and that tax revenues are increasing, due to (or for the left, in spite of) the tax cuts over the last four years. Additionally, it highlights, to the President’s credit, the shortcomings of the government in certain areas. These include real property asset management, competitive sourcing, and improper payments. Additionally noteworthy, is the policy statements behind much of the budget, including specifically the administrations policy directions toward taxes, energy, litigation reform and regulatory reform. It was also a welcome thing to see that the budget, and future projections, weren’t based on pie in the sky predictions of future GDP growth, instead settling towards a 3.1% growth for the years ’09 and ’10. The same was done of the productivity gains, which have averaged 4.2% for the last four years, but ongoing projections are at 2.5%.

Yet to come is the specific departmental proposals, and a chance to see if the domestic policy supports the ideal of compassionate conservatism, a safety net as opposed to a hammock, and continued refocusing of federal dollars to an updated and strengthened national defense and security establishment.

Budget Criticisms

To what degree has the instant criticism of the budget been based on review and analysis of the actual proposal versus coming from the animosity of the Democrats in Congress to any and everything the President proposes? Exclusively.

And while we are looking at the issue of budget criticism, what about Dan Froomkin’s post at washingtonpost.com where he doesn’t challenge the credibility of the budget based on the merits of the budget, instead offering that its proposed cuts haven’t happened in the past, and that the real message is an impending cut in Social Security benefits. Scare mongering anyone?

The proposal is online, and, as would be expected, large. I’m only a smidgen of the way through it, and will give my impressions, and criticisms, after completing it (or at least the significant components).

Whoops

Juan Cole is an expert in Middle East studies. And as I've noted several times before, his politics have a much greater hold on his views of the Middle East than his expertise, or that of anyone else, should.

He and Jonah Goldberg are having a bit of a feud. It's quite entertaining, and doesn't bode well for the erstwhile expert. (HT: Instapundit)

Jonah's latest is excellent, as is (isn't it always) the latest from wretchard. It's enough to make me wish I'd been online this weekend.

February 4, 2005

News and Notes

Didn't have time to address these things fully. Thus, a quick walk through missed items of news and note.
---
Lieutenant General James N. Mattis says it like it is. When you are killing those who’ve done naught but evil, when you are fighting for right, it is a fun job. The MSM will no doubt make much ado of his comments. I for one am confident that Devil Dogs know what he meant, and how he meant it. It isn’t taking life that is fun, it's doing what is right.

What he said:

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil, you know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
I'm sure he knows that he should better manage his words when in public, if for no other reason than we live in a world where political correctness has removed our ability to be men, and speak to men, in direct and honest terms. We are all walking on eggshells to one degree or another.
---
Israel offers to release prisoners in an overly gracious gesture of support for and confidence in Abu Mazen. The Palestinian response from cabinet minister Saeb Erakat – "insulting."

Erakat wants 20 years of prisoners released. As I’ve said before, Abbas may not be Arafat, but he is not interested, truly, in peace. If he is, he will not last, not with men like Erakat in the majority. The Bush administration is pleased with Israel's gesture. Of course, as it has been far too often in the past, Israel is more than willing to make concessions in hopes that the Palestinians will somehow show a similar response. This is most likely a false hope. But then again, I'm less optimistic about Abbas, and overly cynical of the Palestinian people's desire for peace... over the destruction of Israel.
---
Ward Churchill remains employed, for now, by CU. I remain disgusted by his comments, and hopeful that rather than seeing him mistakenly fired, he’ll resign. Not going to happen. Also equally, okay not quite equally, disgusted by the behavior of those who are supporting him. And, how about this, his membership in the Keetoowah, a Cherokee Indian tribe, is honorary.
---
Alberto Gonzales is Attorney General. And fighting terrorism remains the primary objective. The Democrats made it a largely party line vote, and, once again, showed they are not behind the President or the nation in the greater war on terror. Ken Salazar, an exception, voted for Mr. Gonzales. Salazar, a Democrat from Colorado, thus far, has been much as he campaigned, and I'm pleased and, well, surprised.
---
Eason Jordan hasn’t gotten his due. Yet. The MSM, Washington Times excluded, are giving him a free ride. As is the UN which hasn’t released a video of his remarks. CNN is clearly playing for the overseas anti-American audience, and the remainder of the MSM seems unwilling to confront Jordan or CNN.
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Paul Volcker and the panel investigating the UN Oil for Food program have released the initial report on their investigation. "A Grave And Continuing Conflict Of Interest" It's not the title, but it should have been. Volcker said that Benon Sevan "repeatedly solicit[ed] oil allocations for a small company called African Middle East Petroleum Co." Sevan is set to have his diplomatic immunity removed. And Annan has not yet been cleared of any wrongdoing.
---
There are many more items worth discussing. After visiting the blogs on the sidebar, I'll have more to say.

February 2, 2005

SOTU Done...

Well, that was fun. To the folks at TCS, Blogs for Bush, and Take Back the News thanks for sending lots of readers. And to those who came, and one in particular who updated 40+ times, it is much appreciated. Hope you'll come back often.

Good night, for now.

Here's the White House text of the address as delivered

Next up the Democratic Response

Well, that was stirring. Next up the Democratic response. But first, either I missed it or their was no discussion of North Korea or Latin America. No discussion of Putin's actions in Russia, think Yukos and post Beslan steps to assert political force. I guess they'll be up for WTO membership shortly.

The Democratic response. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
---

"When I grow up I want to be just like you." Come on... Senator, you can do better than that. The President has extended his hand. What are you doing?

Too many of the President's policies have left us stuggling. Deficit/Debt. The Democratic response, spur research and trade policy.

A Marshall plan for America... Highways and the internet. What have you been smoking Senator.

Health care cost up. What are you doing about it, sir? Groundhog day!!! Arrgghhh!!!

I didn't hear a direct plan for SS, what's the deal, Reid must have ESP.

Moral values.... ahh!!! The new Democratic ideal - moral values.

Democrats will offer real answers... laughable.

Pelosi UP!

National security. Okay... tell us Nancy. The troops rock, that we agree on.

Our future in Iraq - Can't stay, can't leave... "insurgency" come on, t. e. r. r. o. r. i. s. t. can you say it with me "terrorist."

Transfer as soon as possible. No, transfer when the Iraqi's are capable and ready.

She is a loon... you can't rebuild the infrastructure until you've gained a reasonable level of security, and diplomacy would have done nothing to end the terrorist attacks in Iraq.

I can't take it... She claims the President hasn't put together a comprehensive plan, and being the minority leader in the House, where is her plan. Congress has the authority to legislate, where is it.

Democrats - the new Republicans.

What's this, a new G.I. bill?

Thank God its over. Wheh....

The State of the Union Address

Liveblogging the address should begin shortly. The introduction of the President nears. As has been the norm for President Bush, this should be an excellent SOTU address, and given Pelosi and others have expressed such disdain for the man, it'll be interesting to see their response. Bluefingers in the chamber, they will no doubt be held aloft at the appropriate time.

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Excellent intro... Afghanistan, Palestinian Territories, Ukraine, and FREE AND SOVEREIGN IRAQ.

Quick to it. Improve the lot for our children and grandchildren. Stewardship.

2.3 million new jobs. None for me but that'll change someday.

Restrain the spending apetite of the government. Here! Here! But you better follow through.

"Tax payer $ must be spent wisely or not at all." That would be an accomplishment.

Just gotta love watching the Dems while he discusses improving education.

Tort reform. Knew it would be there.

Health care, more control for the individual family, tax credits for insurance, tech implementations, expanded HSA's, and liability reform. The last being the kicker.

Energy - hydrogen, clean coal and ethanol... 4 years is enough. ANWR anyone?

Tax code = archaic. Again, good to hear, but hard to imagine happening.

Reject amnesty and close the border via what policy.... Back it up. No.

Social security - okay, so she's headed for "bankruptcy" someday. Tell us your plan.

As expected - 55+ = status quo. Length of life, benefits increase, 16 to 1. Benefits still rising. Who clapped for that?

2 to 1 and higher benefits to larger number of retirees. 2018 pay out more than in.
2027 $200 billion and by bankrupt by 2042. Boo birds. Rude.

Excellent picture painting with the child 13 years from college, but how to fix it? Open and candid review. List of options... all on the table.

Clearly the President is opening the door to the dems... unlikely they will accompany him. Sorry to say.

And finally, voluntary personal retirement accounts. If for no other reason than the abilty to pass the funds on to survivors, it has an upside. Lot's of regulatory issues. Gradual introduction will be interesting to see. Tie it to the Thrift Savings Plan model. This may, will, have to wait until legislation is drafted.

Amending the Constitution for marriage protection. Don't expect to see it happen but know why its here.

EXCELLENT! Going after the up or down vote on court nominees. Frist, will ensure it happens. BRAVO!

Getting big cheers on the inner city gang life and outreach to youths. 3 year initiative lead by Laura. Good choice.

Ryan White Act renewal.

Expanding use of DNA. Sounds like money. Defense counsel special training for capital punishment cases. Okay.

Freedom from fear... security at home. Too bad its called Homeland Security. We've done this... that... and this too. (BORDERS)

Declining number of terrorist supporting nations. Dems will pervert this one.

He may have been just being polite, but to include the UN as providing assistance in the elections was a gift. Unless speaking solely of Afghanistan. Perhaps.

Conditions that feed the ideologies... I'm not sure I like the "force of human freedom." Of course, I like freedom, just not the wording. The ultimate goal of ending tyranny is huge. Big job.

Not imposing our form of government. Good to make that clear. Key being that governments are representative of their people.

Landmark events. Indeed but don't overly rely on the Palestinian Authority hoss... We've been down that road before. $350 million for the PA. Whoa.

Fight terror and encourage higher level of freedom. Saudi Arabia and Egypt should show the way by, respectively, increasing role of people in government and expanding democracy.

Syria and Lebanon. Hope they are listening.

Iran. Must give up enrichment program, etc. And to the people of Iran, American stands with you. THAT PART IS KEY. Will Europe play along?

BLUEFINGERS held high!!! Hoorah!

"The terrorists are afraid. They are losing." so she and her family voted. Good story.

They've earned our respect. More sir, they've earned our admiration.

Saddam was a real occupation. Damn straight. And the Iraqi voter "Sophia." Not sure of the spelling. Keep applauding, she and her country need to hear it.

Small group of extremist will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people. Excellent.

New phase of our involvement in Iraq. Building the Iraqi forces. U.S. to take a supporting role. The strategy is adapting, the commitment remains!

No artificial timeline for return. Ideolism and character of the service members. Indeed. Unrelenting, Unwavering, Unmatched. We will do everything we can to help (those who've suffered injury) recover. Damn straight. You've done your job Mom, now it's my time to protect you. Marine Sergeant Byron Norwood's family. Don't stop applauding. Don't ever stop....

Very eloquent here. Quoting FDR, sounding like a touch of MLK, Jr.

Excellent!!!

Be sure and let me know how you think I did (email or comments). God bless and good night.

SOTU Address Liveblogging

TCS and Blogs for Bush offer links to those Liveblogging the State of the Union address. If you aren't near a television (where is that), you can watch online at C-SPAN.

I will be liveblogging the address, and the Democrat's response(s), so long as blogger cooperates.

February 1, 2005

Churchill

The former chairman of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado has rightfully been the center of much attention given his remarks, both past and present, regarding the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And as of the latest news, he is no longer going to be speaking at Hamilton College. Yet there is a point at which we go to far.

He has reportedly received threats on his life. Too far.

I in no way defend his statements. Yet I do not believe that under the current contemptible tenure system that he can or should be fired. Not that his words aren’t disgusting and inflammatory, but that we who recognize them as such might tumble into the same sort of behavior that he is accused of supporting bothers me to no end. What I’d prefer to see is his remarks widely commented on, ridiculed and subjected to every possible scrutiny. In doing so we maintain our support for the rights of all men to speak their minds, no matter how twisted and sick, and we remove the barrier between his words and truth.

Unfortunately we have long sat idly by and watched men of his ilk become the guides for our children in institutions of higher education. The system of tenure that secures his employment is rightly held in contempt. Just as all systems that reward or pay its employees based on the attainment of an advanced degree, rather than on merit should be. Churchill did not create that system, and he is now, and long has been, protected by such short sightedness.

This ends for me with a sick feeling in my stomach knowing that he will not be fired, and that by calling for him to be, we are not addressing the two issues at hand; first, of course, the deplorable comments he has made and second, the system that has given him prominence while making them. As always, your comments are welcome. If only he would quit....

Victory

Victory isn’t found in how, when or even why you leave. As General Ferdinand Foch is reported to have said: Victory is a thing of the will.

There are too many Senators who have not the will to earn Victory. Their belief that an exit strategy equates to success is no more than a cover for their own aims. We leave, Iraq falls to any of a number of woes, and they once again point to the President’s policies as the cause.

The good news comes from Iraq’s own leaders who are so much wiser.

January 31, 2005

Senator Clinton Collapses

Senator Clinton is reported to have collapsed while speaking in Amhearst.

No further data yet. Hope she is well.

UPDATE: Drudge now has his flashing light banner up. "HILLARY COLLAPSES DURING SPEECH"

MORE: She is apparently fine. Drudge reports her staff as saying. Here's the AP and Fox reports. Glad to hear that she's alright.

Schooling Kids on the First Amendment

The AP reports on a disturbing lack of understanding about the First Amendment, or further, the nature of our government. The report stems from a study by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Having read the released data from the study, it strikes me that the coverage focuses on the First Amendment, but the trouble is much larger. The students are ignorant of the Constitution and lack a basic understanding of the principles of our nation. After all, schools don’t teach fundamentals. We’ve replaced our ideal to be an educated people with a desire to be an employable populace.

January 30, 2005

Looney Leftist Watch

There are many things that I find particularly delightful about the blogosphere and the voices heard through it. One of the greater joys stems from the ability of average citizens, not professional commentators or subject matter experts, to find and comment on the outlandish remarks of those whose ego, politics or personal biases have diluted their former intellectual honesty. The earliest aftermath of the elections in Iraq have brought many examples of men who have strayed far from the watering hole, and into a desert of disillusionment.

Of course, the political panderers are high on any list of such characters. There are Senators Kennedy and Kerry to name but two. And from academia, which sounds far too much like an ailment when said with a slow southern drawl, there is Dr. Juan Cole. The journalists, or at a minimum the editors who drive their content and determine their headlines, are an example of an industry filled with such men. And then there are everyday citizens who comment on their guffaws. I am pleased to be one.

In his own words, Senator Kennedy has made it clear that the U.S. is in an unviable situation in Iraq. "The current course is only making the crisis worse." Kennedy’s words are better suited to his party’s abject refusal to work with the President, to support the effort in Iraq, and to act in the best interest of our nation and the world.

Senator Kerry, formerly just a choir boy for the looney left, now a leading soloist, despite his failed attempt at becoming president, has also gone on record with a myriad of comments either meant to weaken our position in Iraq, or at best to state his disconnect from reality. How about these words of wisdom… "the [Iraq] elections don’t mean that much." If true, they would be yet another reversal to yet another reversal. Along with his worries over the election being "over-hype[d]," it is clear that the failed candidate isn’t satisfied with being a presidential election loser, he wants to be an eternal loser siding with the enemies of democracy.

Unlike Greg Djerejian, who along with Wretchard have excellent posts on Dr. Cole, I removed Dr. Cole from my blogroll months ago. As I said then, he ticks me off, and has shown no ability to find positives in either the Bush administrations policies, or in the men who implement them. As for alternatives, he hasn't offered those either. Only the foolish, which the professor apparently is, would question the election as a victory, or call it a "joke." While I tend to agree with David Bernstein’s take at the Volokh Conspiracy, I’m not sure that Dr. Cole’s anti-American, anti-Israel views aren’t examples of more than an ultra-leftist viewpoint. Anti-Semitism has many off shoots and rears its head in many forms. When, if ever, has Dr. Cole offered positive words regarding Israeli policymakers, or taken the word of American Jewish government officials at face value?

The list of examples is far greater but unnecessary tonight. For tomorrow, they’ll offer once again new reasons to question their motivations, allegiances and viewpoint. Thankfully, many will answer the call.

January 27, 2005

Heroic Words

In an astonishing show of their vision, leadership and oratory prowess, Senator Ted Kennedy, speaking in Washington, and former President Bill Clinton, in Davos, delivered stirring messages today.

Speaking at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, Kennedy made the following speech:

"Forty years ago, America was in another war in a distant land. At that time, in 1965, we had in Vietnam the same number of troops and the same number of casualties as in Iraq today.

We thought in those early days in Vietnam that we were winning. We thought the skill and courage of our troops was enough. We thought that victory on the battlefield would lead to victory in the war, and peace and democracy for the people of Vietnam.

We lost our national purpose in Vietnam. We abandoned the truth. We failed our ideals. The words of our leaders could no longer be trusted.

In the name of a misguided cause, we continued the war too long. We failed to comprehend the events around us. We did not understand that our very presence was creating new enemies and defeating the very goals we set out to achieve. We cannot allow that history to repeat itself in Iraq.

We must learn from our mistakes. We must recognize what a large and growing number of Iraqis now believe. The war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation.

We have reached the point that a prolonged American military presence in Iraq is no longer productive for either Iraq or the United States. The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution. [snipped.... click to read the full speech]

We need a serious course correction, and we need it now. We must make it for the American soldiers who are paying with their lives. We must make it for the American people who cannot afford to spend our resources and national prestige protracting the war in the wrong way. We must make it for the sake of the Iraqi people who yearn for a country that is not a permanent battlefield and for a future free from permanent occupation.

The elections in Iraq this weekend provide an opportunity for a fresh and honest approach. We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces.
The first step is to confront our own mistakes. Americans are rightly concerned about why our 157,000 soldiers are there -- when they will come home -- and how our policy could have gone so wrong.

No matter how many times the Administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq. President Bush rushed to war on the basis of trumped up intelligence and a reckless argument that Iraq was a critical arena in the global war on terror, that somehow it was more important to start a war with Iraq than to finish the war in Afghanistan and capture Osama bin Laden, and that somehow the danger was so urgent that the U.N. weapons inspectors could not be allowed time to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction.

As in Vietnam, truth was the first casualty of this war. Nearly 1400 Americans have died. More than 10,000 have been wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children have been killed. The weapons of mass destruction weren’t there, but today 157,000 Americans are.

As a result of our actions in Iraq, our respect and credibility around the world have reached all-time lows. The President bungled the pre-war diplomacy on Iraq and wounded our alliances. The label “coalition of the willing” cannot conceal the fact that American soldiers make up 80% of the troops on the ground in Iraq and more than 90% of the casualties.

The Administration also failed to prepare for the aftermath of “victory” – and so the post-war period became a new war, with more casualties, astronomical costs, and relentless insurgent attacks.

The Administration failed to establish a basic level of law and order after Baghdad fell, and so massive looting occurred.

The Administration dissolved the Iraqi army and dismissed its troops, but left their weapons intact and their ammunition dumps unguarded, and they have become arsenals of the insurgency.
The Administration relied for advice on self-promoting Iraqi exiles who were out of touch with the Iraqi people and resented by them – and the result is an America regarded as occupier, not as liberator.

The President recklessly declared “Mission Accomplished” when in truth the mission had barely begun. He and his advisors predicted and even bragged that the war would be a cakewalk, but the expected welcoming garlands of roses became an endless bed of thorns.

The Administration told us the financial costs would be paid with Iraqi oil dollars, but it is being paid with billions of American tax dollars. Another $80 billion bill for the black hole that Iraq has become has just been handed to the American people.

The cost is also being paid in shame and stain on America’s good name as a beacon of human rights. Nothing is more at odds with our values as Americans than the torture of another human being. Do you think that any Americans tell their children with pride that America tortures prisoners? Yet, high officials in the Administration in their arrogance strayed so far from our heritage and our belief in fundamental human decency that they approved the use of torture—and they were wrong, deeply wrong, to do that.

The Administration’s willful disregard of the Geneva Conventions led to the torture and flagrant abuse of the prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and that degradation has diminished America in the eyes of the whole world. It has diminished our moral voice on the planet.

Never in our history has there been a more powerful, more painful example of the saying that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

The tide of history rises squarely against military occupation. We ignore this truth at our peril in Iraq.

The nations in the Middle East are independent, except for Iraq, which began the 20th century under Ottoman occupation and is now beginning the 21st century under American occupation.

Iraq could very well be another Algeria, where the French won the military battle for Algiers, but ultimately lost the political battle for Algeria.
Despite the clear lesson of history, the President stubbornly clings to the false hope that the turning point is just around the corner.

The ending of the rule of Saddam Hussein was supposed to lessen violence and bring an irresistible wave of democracy to the Middle East. It hasn’t. Saddam Hussein’s capture was supposed to quell the violence. It didn’t. The transfer of sovereignty was supposed to be the breakthrough. It wasn’t. The military operation in Fallujah was supposed to break the back of the insurgency. It didn’t.

The 1400 Americans killed in Iraq and the 10,000 American casualties are the equivalent of a full division of our Army – and we only have ten active divisions.

The tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed last year included nearly a thousand members of the new Iraqi security forces, and a hundred more have been lost this year. The recent killing of a senior Iraqi judge was the 170th assassination of an Iraqi official since June of 2003.

We all hope for the best from Sunday’s election. The Iraqis have a right to determine their own future. But Sunday’s election is not a cure for the violence and instability. Unless the Sunni and all the other communities in Iraq believe they have a stake in the outcome and a genuine role in drafting the new Iraqi constitution, the election could lead to greater alienation, greater escalation, and greater death – for us and for the Iraqis.

In fact, the Central Intelligence Agency’s top official in Baghdad warned recently that the security situation is deteriorating and is likely to worsen, with escalating violence and more sectarian clashes. How could any President have let this happen?

General Brent Scowcroft, who until recently served as Chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Advisory Board and who also served as the first President Bush’s National Security Adviser, recently warned of an “incipient civil war” in Iraq. He said, “the [Iraqi] elections are turning out to be less about a promising transformation, and it has great potential for deepening the conflict.”

President Bush’s Iraq policy is not, as he said during last fall’s campaign, a “catastrophic success.” It is a catastrophic failure. The men and women of our armed forces are serving honorably and with great courage under extreme conditions, but their indefinite presence is fanning the flames of conflict.

The American people are concerned. They recognize that the war with Iraq is not worth the cost in American lives, prestige, and credibility. They understand that this misbegotten war has made America more hated in the world, created new breeding grounds and support for terrorists, and made it harder to win the real war against terrorism – the war against Al Qaeda and radical jihadist terrorists.

Conservative voices are alarmed as well. As Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation, said last November, we are “stuck in a guerrilla war with no end in sight.”

As former Coalition Provisional Authority adviser Larry Diamond recently said, “There is a fine line between Churchillian resolve and self-defeating obstinacy.” We must recognize that line and end the obstinate policy of the Administration.

A new Iraq policy must begin with acceptance of hard truths. Most of the violence in Iraq is not being perpetrated – as President Bush has claimed – by “a handful of folks that fear freedom” and “people who want to try to impose their will on people…just like Osama bin Laden.”

The war has made Iraq a magnet for terrorism that wasn’t there before. President Bush has opened an unnecessary new front in the war on terror, and we are losing ground because of it. The CIA’s own National Intelligence Council confirmed this assessment in its report two weeks ago.

The insurgency is not primarily driven by foreign terrorists. General Abizaid, head of our Central Command, said last September, “I think the number of foreign fighters in Iraq is probably below 1,000…”. According to the Department of Defense, less than two percent of all the detainees in Iraq are foreign nationals.

The insurgency is largely home-grown. By our own government’s own count, its ranks are large and growing larger. Its strength has quadrupled since the transfer of sovereignty six months ago –from 5,000 in mid-2004, to 16,000 last October, to more than 20,000 now. The Iraqi intelligence service estimates that the insurgency may have 30,000 fighters and up to 200,000 supporters. It’s clear that we don’t know how large the insurgency is. All we can say with certainty is that the insurgency is growing.

It is also becoming more intense and adaptable. The bombs are bigger and more powerful. The attacks have greater sophistication.

Anthony Cordesman, the national security analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently wrote: “There is no evidence that the number of insurgents is declining as a result of Coalition and Iraqi attacks to date.”

An Army Reservist wrote the stark truth: “The guerillas are filling their losses faster than we can create them…. For every guerilla we kill with a smart bomb, we kill many more innocent civilians and create rage and anger in the Iraqi community. This rage and anger translates into more recruits for the terrorists and less support for us.” Our troops understand that. The American people understand it. And it’s time the Administration understand it.

Beyond the insurgency’s numbers, it has popular and tacit support from thousands of ordinary Iraqis who are aiding and abetting the attacks as a rejection of the American occupation. It is fueled by the anger of ever-larger numbers of Iraqis – not just Saddam loyalists - who have concluded that the United States is either unable or unwilling to provide basic security, jobs, water, electricity and other services.

Anti-American sentiment is steadily rising. CDs that picture the insurrection have spread across the country. Songs glorify combatants. Poems written decades ago during the British occupation after World War I are popular again.

The International Crisis Group, a widely respected conflict prevention organization, recently reported, “These post-war failings gradually were perceived by many Iraqis as purposeful,… designed to serve Washington’s interests to remain for a prolonged period in a debilitated Iraq.”

We have the finest military in the world. But we cannot rely primarily on military action to end politically inspired violence. We can’t defeat the insurgents militarily if we don’t effectively address the political context in which the insurgency flourishes. Our military and the insurgents are fighting for the same thing – the hearts and minds of the people – and that is a battle we are not winning.

The beginning of wisdom in this crisis is to define honest and realistic goals.

First, the goal of our military presence should be to allow the creation of a legitimate, functioning Iraqi government, not to dictate it.

Creating a full-fledged democracy won’t happen overnight. We can and must make progress, but it may take many years for the Iraqis to finish the job. We have to adjust our time horizon. The process cannot begin in earnest until Iraqis have full ownership of that transition. Our continued, overwhelming presence only delays that process.

If we want Iraq to develop a stable, democratic government, America must assist -- not control -- the newly established government.

Unless Iraqis have a genuine sense that their leaders are not our puppets, the election cannot be the turning point the Administration hopes.

To enhance its legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people, the new Iraqi Government should begin to disengage politically from America, and we from them.

The reality is that the Bush Administration is continuing to pull the strings in Iraq, and the Iraqi people know it. We picked the date for the transfer of sovereignty. We supported former CIA operative Iyad Allawi to lead the Interim Government. We wrote the administrative law and the interim constitution that now governs Iraq. We set the date for the election, and President Bush insisted that it take place, even when many Iraqis sought delay.

It is time to recognize that there is only one choice. America must give Iraq back to the Iraqi people.

We need to let the Iraqi people make their own decisions, reach their own consensus, and govern their own country.

We need to rethink the Pottery Barn rule. America cannot forever be the potter that sculpts Iraq’s future. President Bush broke Iraq, but if we want Iraq to be fixed, the Iraqis must feel that they, not we, own it.

The Iraqi people are facing historic issues—the establishment of a government, the role of Islam, and the protection of minority rights.

The United States and the international community have a clear interest in a strong, tolerant and pluralistic Iraq, free from chaos and civil war.

The United Nations, not the United States, should provide assistance and advice on establishing a system of government and drafting a constitution. An international meeting – led by the United Nations and the new Iraqi Government -- should be convened immediately in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East to begin that process.

For our part, America must accept that the Shiites will be the majority in whatever government emerges. Sixty percent of the population in Iraq is Shiite, and a Shiite majority is the logical outcome of a democratic process in Iraq.

But the Shiites must understand that Iraq’s stability and security will be achieved only by safeguarding minority rights. The door to drafting the Constitution and to serving in government must be left open -- even to those who were unwilling or unable or too terrified to participate in the elections.

The Shiites must also understand that America’s support is not open-ended and that America’s role is not to defend an Iraqi government that excludes or marginalizes important sectors of Iraqi society. It is far too dangerous for the American military to take sides in a civil war.

America must adjust to the reality that not all former Baathists will be excluded from Iraqi political life in the new Iraq. After the Iron Curtain fell in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, many former communists went on to participate in the political process. The current Polish President – a strong ally of President Bush in Iraq – is a former active member of the Communist Party who served under Poland’s martial law government during the 1980’s. If communists can change in this way, there is no reason why some former members of the Baath party cannot do so.

If Iraqis wish to negotiate with insurgents who are willing to renounce their violence and join the political process, we should let them do so. Persuading Sunni insurgents to use the ballot, not the bullet, serves the interests of the Shiites too.

Second, for democracy to take root, the Iraqis need a clear signal that America has a genuine exit strategy.

The Iraqi people do not believe that America intends no long-term military presence in their country. Our reluctance to make that clear has fueled suspicions among Iraqis that our motives are not pure, that we want their oil, and that we will never leave. As long as our presence seems ongoing, America’s commitment to their democracy sounds unconvincing.

The President should do more to make it clear that America intends no long-term presence. He should disavow the permanence of our so-called “enduring” military bases in Iraq. He should announce that America will dramatically reduce the size of the American Embassy -- the largest in the world.

Once the elections are behind us and the democratic transition is under way, President Bush should immediately announce his intention to negotiate a timetable for a drawdown of American combat forces with the new Iraqi Government.

At least 12,000 American troops and probably more should leave at once, to send a stronger signal about our intentions and to ease the pervasive sense of occupation.

As Major General William Nash, who commanded the multinational force in Bosnia, said in November, a substantial reduction in our forces following the Iraqi election “would be a wise and judicious move” to demonstrate that we are leaving and “the absence of targets will go a long way in decreasing the violence."

America’s goal should be to complete our military withdrawal as early as possible in 2006.

President Bush cannot avoid this issue. The Security Council Resolution authorizing our military presence in Iraq can be reviewed at any time at the request of the Iraqi Government, and it calls for a review in June. The U.N. authorization for our military presence ends with the election of a permanent Iraqi government at the end of this year. The world will be our judge. We must have an exit plan in force by then.

While American troops are drawing down, we must clearly be prepared to oppose any external intervention in Iraq or the large-scale revenge killing of any group. We should begin now to conduct serious regional diplomacy with the Arab League and Iraq’s neighbors to underscore this point, and we will need to maintain troops on bases outside Iraq but in the region.

The United Nations could send a stabilization force to Iraq if it is necessary and requested by the Iraqi government. But any stabilization force must be sought by the Iraqis and approved by the United Nations, with a clear and achievable mission and clear rules of engagement. Unlike the current force, it should not consist mostly of Americans or be led by Americans. All nations of the world have an interest in Iraq’s stability and territorial integrity.

Finally, we need to train and equip an effective Iraqi security force. We have a year to do so before the election of the permanent Iraqi government.

The current training program is in deep trouble, and Iraqi forces are far from being capable, committed, and effective. In too many cases, they cannot even defend themselves, and have fled at the first sign of battle.

It is not enough to tell us—as the Administration has—how many Iraqis go through training. The problem is not merely the numbers. The essential question is how many are prepared to give their lives if necessary, for a future of freedom for their country.

The insurgents have been skilled at recruiting Iraqis to participate in suicide attacks. But too often, the trained Iraqi forces do not have a comparable commitment to the Iraqi government. Recruits are ambivalent about America, unsure of the political transition, and skeptical about the credibility of their military and political institutions. The way to strengthen their allegiance is to give them a worthy cause to defend as soon as possible– a truly free, independent and sovereign Iraq.

We now have no choice but to make the best we can of the disaster we have created in Iraq. The current course is only making the crisis worse. We need to define our objective realistically and redefine both our political and our military presence.

President Bush has left us with few good choices. There are costs to staying, and costs to leaving. There may well be violence as we disengage militarily from Iraq and Iraq disengages politically from us. But there will be much more serious violence if we continue our present dangerous and reckless course. It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin.

Error is no excuse for its own perpetuation. Mindless determination doesn’t make a better outcome likely. Setting a firm strategy for withdrawal may not guarantee success, but not doing so will almost certainly guarantee failure. Casualties are increasing. America is tied down. Our military is stretched to the breaking point. Our capacity to respond to crises and threats elsewhere in the world has been compromised. [snipped.... click to read the full speech]

The book of Proverbs in the Bible teaches us that, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” It’s time for President Bush to swallow his pride and end our country’s continuing failures in Iraq and in the eyes of the world. When the President delivers the State of the Union Address next week, I hope he will demonstrate his intention to do that. The danger is very real that if he does not, our leadership in the world will be permanently lost. We cannot let that happen.

There is a wiser course we can take in keeping with the best in our heritage and history –a course that will help America, at long last, to regain our rightful place of respect in the world and bring our troops home with honor. Let’s take that course, and take it now." [snip] - (source)

And from the former president:
"And most of the terrible things that Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s he did with the full, knowing support of the United States government. Because he wasn't Iran, and Iran was what it was because we got rid of their parliamentary democracy back in the '50s. At least that's my belief. I know it is not popular for an American ever to say anything like this, but I think it is true." (webcast available here and text excerpt via Hugh)
Both men are quite inspiring. Don't you think our enemies would agree?

January 25, 2005

Vox Blogoli v2.1

Hugh has offered yet another opportunity to contribute to the blogosphere’s combined voice through his Vox Blogoli. First, he offers a brief passage from Jonathan Rauch, written for the monthly journal, The Atlantic, and then asks for our commentary, what does it say about the author, The Atlantic, and the left’s understanding of the Christian culture in America. The passage in question follows:

"On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around."
I had to read it twice before beginning. Not because it is difficult to understand or a challenge to gain the perspective of the author, but rather because it is so completely and utterly insulting and off the mark.

The publishers of The Atlantic, its editors, its advertisers, all must have the utmost confidence in the continued support of their clearly disturbed readers in order to permit this piece to make it into print. Mr. Rauch has stepped in it. He doesn’t understand the Christian or religious center-right supporters of the Republican Party, and moreover he has taken to the most egregious of insults as an example of his ignorance.

It’s one thing to compare fringe elements of the Democratic Party to perhaps single issue voters within the Republican Party, in this case pro-life voters. Rauch wasn’t going to be satisfied with such a comparison. His choice was to imply that the pro-life conservatives are similar to "insurgents." Insurgents. You know the word, the media’s euphemism for the terrorist in Iraq. If Mr. Rauch’s view is correct, it would stand that the insurgents, or terrorist, in Iraq are merely responding to the failure of the political parties to include them in the platform, conventions and political system. Yes, I see it now, that’s why they’re insurgents.

We choose life. And are included in the party platform to keep us from doing what, supporting candidates that support life but are not part of the party. It isn’t that we are likely to take to the streets and its even less likely that we’ll harm anyone, yet it is that picture that Rauch chooses to paint. He ensures that we recognize his agenda, his malice and his complete disregard for the implications, to us, of his words. Rauch has no idea who or what the center-right or conservative American looks like. He doesn’t know what we believe, or how and why Christian culture is so vastly different from the religious extremes of the Islamist. By comparing pro-life conservative to the murderous thugs, if only in the choice of language, Mr. Rauch has shown his true disdain for the Christian, the Conservative (religious or otherwise) and for the civility of Christian culture in America. This perhaps more than anything shows him to be a part of the left rather than a moderate as he describes himself. He has joined the fringe he describes, such as the leftist protesters who clamor about calling the President a fascist or Nazi, and thusly removing themselves from any serious discussion. Rauch is not in the mainstream, and neither is the Atlantic.

It steams me to no end to read the words of someone so blinded by either ignorance or snobbery. Now how am I to get to sleep? Oh yeah, we won in November, and we win again when the elections take place at the end of the month. Too bad for the insurgents terrorists.

UPDATE: Hugh is interviewing the author, Mr. Rauch, right now. Based on his responses to Hugh, I don’t think he is as far off the range as I’d previously seen him. He is simply squishy and unwilling to accept his own leanings to the left, choosing instead to see himself as moderate where he is not.

After mentioning the LRB on the air, a first, Hugh is trying to show Rauch that, at least through this one paragraph, it appears that he is comparing religious conservatives to the terrorist, and further to the most radical left portions of the Democratic Party. It would be great to see the entire article, and if it isn't made available, a trip to the book store may be in order. I don't want to mis-understand Mr. Rauch, yet, I'm not convinced that he hasn't done exactly what he intended in his rather soft use the language.

UPDATE 2: The full story is now available on Hugh's site. I stand by my previous comments.

January 24, 2005

R. v. W.

32 years and 2 days ago it was Roe vs. Wade. Roe won.

The New York Times has coverage of Senator Clinton’s duplicitous words from an anti-life pro-choice rally yesterday. And on page A17, coverage of President Bush’s address via telephone to a anti-abortion pro-life rally in Washington.

For those who have doubts about Senator Clinton’s future aspirations for the White House, take a few minutes to consider the double speak and have it your way views expressed in her comments yesterday. She is preparing the way, and just as the road is forked, so is her tongue. The Senator is as politically calculated as any potential Presidential candidate could be. Her words tuned to be accepted by the pro-choice hegemony in the Democratic Party, and yet to seem acceptable, rational, even compassionate to the pro-life voters that would be required in a bid for the highest office in the land.

From the Times coverage of Senator Clinton’s call for working to find the common ground between pro-choice and pro-life advocates:

"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate - we should be able to agree that we want every child born in this country to be wanted, cherished and loved."

"We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."

"The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place."

"Yes, we do have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion and I, for one, respect those who believe with all their hearts and conscience that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available."

"Research shows that the primary reason teenage girls abstain from early sexual activity is because of their religious and moral values."

"We should also recognize what works and what doesn't work and to be fair, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs, I don't think this debate should be about ideology - it should be about facts, and evidence. We have to deal with the choices that young people make, not just the choices we wish they would make."

Today and tomorrow it’s Right vs. Wrong. Right must win.

Intel Gathering

Two must read articles for those interested in our nations security and military effectiveness. First, from the Washington Post, Barton Gellmon, breaks news of a Department of Defense initiative to improve humint, human intelligence, gathering. Unfortunately, Gellmon, attempts to make this a negative or an attempt to subvert congressional oversight, possibly even illegally. The second, by Eric Schmidt for the NY Times, is a further attempt to question the motivations of Defense Department and to make a turf war between the C.I.A. and the Pentagon more apparent. Had the Pentagon simply continued to operate on the status quo, the Post/Times leftist dominated media would attack them for their inaction and stubbornness. By acting in the best interest of the nations defense, the Pentagon gets painted as a group of power thirsty egomaniacs subverting the law, war mongering, and treading on the sacred turf of the C.I.A, which has famously done so well of late. Right.

The importance of both pieces rest in their pointing out that the Pentagon, under Secretary Rumsfeld, has taken steps to ensure that the Defense Department has the intel it requires in order to fight a clearly underhanded enemy, and potentially those who would be more openly aggressive in military actions. If clandestine, as described, then the actions of the Defense Department are admirable and should be lauded. If covert, then the law and the Congress should continue to pressure the C.I.A. to make the necessary changes to their makeup to permit better humint operations. We must be willing, as citizens, to accept the occasional dirt bag bedfellow and to have the breadth of contacts to allow us to distinguish between the dirt bag who is providing good data and the one who is simply spreading the dirt around.

What strikes me as most troubling, however, is that the center-right blogs are again not taking up the question. The media will most assuredly, with willing congressional supporters, make it out to be yet another move by Defense to gain power in Washington, and it is there that we must make it clear that the aim of the Pentagon is to protect our interest as a nation, not there own. This is exactly why the C.I.A. is no longer seen as the perfect tool for the job, because far too often, they’ve been described as slow-moving, risk averse and bureaucratically or career minded.

The Sadness of Hillary

While this is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, it is difficult to imagine that yesterday wasn’t for Senator Clinton as she spoke to an audience of adoring fans at Brandeis University. After all, it’s reported that she told her loyal supporters of how America no longer has a vision for our future. No health-care plan, no energy policy, no Brady Bill, no Clinton in the White House... no she didn’t say that. But she did say that her husband, the great, yet humble, 42nd President did it "just right." Along with this pearl of Clintonian wisdom: "The history of America is... to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow."

Clinton is concerned that our economy is near collapse, that we have no investment in energy policy, and that our president hasn’t shown a thoughtful, visionary direction for the nation.

Perhaps her voting record should be reviewed. Would she support drilling in less than one percent of ANWR as a component of our energy policy? Or a democratic oil producing Middle Eastern nation, such as Iraq?

She extolled the virtue of her husbands taking on the "gun lobby" with the Brady Bill. Well at least now we know that the Brady Bill took on the "gun lobby" rather than criminals, as they would have had us believe over the last decade.

Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year; it looks like Hillary was off by a day.

January 21, 2005

Stones

While my intent had been to discuss this in the first post of the day, as I began to write (er… type), what came out was my inaugural thoughts post below. So here is another attempt.

Charles, and others, has pointed out a Reuters’ story on the stoning of the Jamrat al-Aqabah, the three pillars representing the shaitan, Iblis or Satan, at Mina during the Hajj. How did my intent to post on this required, Arabic “fard”, component of the Hajj turn into a response to the inaugural address? Here’s the pertinent piece to help understand:

Many pilgrims said they were thinking of Bush and his allies while they were hurling pebbles at the site where the devil is said to have appeared to the biblical patriarch Abraham.

“Yes, the devil is Bush and that other one from Israel — (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon. And there’s (British Prime Minister) Blair too,” said Egyptian Tia’amah Mohammed. “We throw the stones so we can vent our anger at them.” ...

British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who converted to Islam following her capture by the Taliban in 2001 in the buildup to the Afghan war, said: “During the stoning I couldn’t help thinking of Bush, Blair and Sharon.”

The President has gone to great lengths to extend an arm of inclusion and acceptance to Muslims both inside and outside the United States. He went so far as to visit a masjid and to include the Qur’an in his inaugural address. We know that men who to one degree or another where inspired by the ethical monotheist religions of Judaism and Christianity founded this nation. No one, including the President, is attempting to supplant our Judeo-Christian ethic or history with a Judeo-Christian-Islamic doctrine. Yet the President is going so far as to advocate the idea that Islam serves the same role in developing moral thought and behavior among its adherents.

Many times before this space has been filled with the troubling realization that the practice of Islam, as it is most commonly found today, has failed to focus on the moral and ethical principles of the faith, and instead focused on the Arab cultural, psychological and tribal misgivings about our world. I have no problem with the President doing what I believe he is confident is the right thing to do. Yet it strikes me that without wholesale changes in the practical application of Islamic thought, he is the proverbial dog barking up a tree, and moreover, the tree is likely to throw stones down at him.

Inaugural Thoughts

In his inaugural address, the President essentially held out three basic premises that reflect his view of our nation going into the 21st Century. There are differences between these ideas and the manner in which the nation was first created and governed for much of its history. Yet they are not foreign to the original intent of our founding. The three are liberty, character and fate.

Selecting his words and understanding the audience, both in the U.S. and abroad, the President referred to our freedom and the freedom of others as being intertwined in a manner unlike any before him in such an address. For many, this was a welcome statement of the realities of our ever shrinking world and acknowledged his awareness of the threats to our freedom from abroad do not stem from merely the existence, or lack thereof, of one or more types of weapons, but from the animosity and vitriol kindled in the oppressed and enslaved. There will be some who see in his words a threat to peace, for them one can only invite them to reflect on the value of international peace in a world filled with unjust leaders vanquishing the finest spirit of men and rendering a faith as an agent of bigotry and violence.

Of our character, and the character of all men, the President chose to view, as did our founders, all men as equal, and with unalienable rights that come not from the authority of their land but from their Creator, and in doing so he called for continued and increased resistance to the oppressive hand of tyrants and moreover, to the sins of our time. Here the President extolled the virtue of our faiths and the role they play in our moral foundation, in guiding us toward family and good living as it was, is and shall forever be. That faith and character are, in his mind, inseparable is easily understood, for his character was forever altered upon becoming a man of service to God, and only afterwards, of service to his fellow citizens.

Fate it seems is the most challenging component to both explain and to see in the remarks of the President. But it is there. In his reminding us of our founding ideals, of our resolute defense of those ideals in generations past, and in his appeal to this generation to once again answer the call of freedom. President Bush clearly believes that it is our nation that is most capable to lead others to the cherished values of a free people, and that when by arms, or by words, we do so, we are answering our highest calling. It is in this way that he harkens us back to the words of Lincoln, or of our founders. It is here that we understand that we are not superior to others; we are simply blessed to be participants in a system that more than any other, brings about the best of us, generation upon generation. And by this blessing, we are chosen to advance the character of our world.

This fragile and yet so powerful an ideal requires not that we assuage our hope, but that we do as the President has done. We must set goals that may seem unachievable and in the face of naysayers and purveyors of lesser ideals, press on for just and noble ideals are not achieved by their existence but by the long and arduous drive to make this world more than earthly but heavenly.

The text of the address is available online here. Paulie points to a great essay by Bill at INDC Journal on the implications of a portion of the inaugural address. Outside the Beltway has an excellent roundup of the responses to the inaugural address, and we've joined the list via TB.

January 20, 2005

43 version 2.0

The President has been sworn in. May this term be a success for our nation and find a more free and peaceful world by its end.

More after the Inaugural Address.

Question: Has any previous President mentioned the Qur’an in his inaugural address?

UPDATE: Here's the official text of the inaugural address. It was an ambitious message. More later...

UPDATE: Have been under the weather this afternoon and evening, and given Blogger's cantankerous behavior earlier was unable to post. Back soon. Thanks for checking in.

January 19, 2005

Delaying the Vote

Daschle is gone but the games aren't. This time the Democrats will delay a vote on Dr. Rice's confirmation so that they may debate grandstand. Either way, she'll be approved, just not tomorrow afternoon.

Foreign Relations Committee Votes

After their second day of speaking with Condoleezza Rice, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met and voted to send the nomination to the full Senate in a 16 to 2 vote. Only Barbara Boxer and John Kerry voted no.

While no transcript is yet available online, watching the session, I was once again struck by the contentiousness of Boxer and Kerry, who maintain that Rice is well qualified for the position, but they are unable to vote for her confirmation. Both spoke in terms of their disagreement with the war on terror, and Rice’s role in advising the President prior to and during the war, and the idea that Rice has failed to address their concerns. The simple reality is that no one will ever address their concerns.

I’m no politician, but it seems to me that after expressing their concerns, and with the knowledge that Rice is perhaps as well qualified for the role as can be expected, that both should have given their support to the nomination. Yet for them, that would be supporting the President. Thankfully, there were others, who despite their differences with the President, recognized the qualifications of Rice, and voted appropriately.

It is also worth noting that several members mentioned Supreme Court nominations, in particular with regard to their aversion to voting for nominees who the President selects, as opposed to this case where they felt the President rightfully should be permitted those he selects, if qualified, to serve with him. It’ll be very interesting when the time comes.

And as the press will consistently point out, Rice admitted there were some mistakes made in Iraq. The real story would have been had she not, for only a fool would make such an assertion. Just as only a fool would say that the administrations "rigidness" caused the death or wounding of Americans in Iraq. Senator Boxer is such a fool. Senator Biden, who did vote for the confirmation, was also exhibiting a lack of understanding in his statement that Rice "stuck to the party line" by refusing to give a timeline for American withdrawal. Is there anyone out there who believes that sharing a timeframe, in advance of the election, or prior to the new governments taking control of Iraq is a wise move.

January 18, 2005

More on Condi's Confirmation Hearing

It is unlikely that a large number of average Americans watched the hearings today, or will watch them online via CSPAN (no transcript yet). And in a way, this is unfortunate. From the outset of the hearing, it was clear that, as is the norm for the Senate, personal political image, self-congratulation and towing the party line come before all else. Sure, the Senators are concerned for our troops abroad and for security at home, and still they behaved as if they, rather than Dr. Rice and the many challenging issues, were the stars of the show.

There are assorted headline worthy responses and a mix of sound bites that will make the rounds and get covered by the press. Yet the questions were not fashioned in such a way as to lead to discourse, only to express the questioners view, and attempt to lock Dr. Rice into either an opposing view or, worse, a misstatement. This blogger didn’t tune in to find out where the Senators stand, and yet that more than anything else is what I saw. And, I was not impressed… with them. Dr. Rice, on the other hand, remains impressive.

Condi and the Confirmation Hearing

So far, one thing is clear. Condi has an incredible ability to maintain the look of being awake while Senators this and that babble on in a perpetual attempt to stroke their own egos while somehow formulating a question at the end.

And one more, Barb (Boxer) will not be voting yes.

After it's over, hopefully soon, a more serious look at the Q and A.

January 17, 2005

Dynasty Blather

The Washington Post continues its sterling record of distributing disinformation and agenda based reporting in today’s column by John F. Harris. Its headline, The Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Now the Bushes and subheading aren’t the worst of it, but show clearly that the paper is set upon a course to inflate the national prominence of the Kennedys, of which only JFK served as President, and to exaggerate the families influence beyond the bounds of Massachusetts, while creating the impression that at any point the Bush family either sought a dynasty or believes one exist. GW and GHW were very different presidents and very different men, and the make believe that GW somehow sought to ease the pain of his fathers loss in ’92 by winning a second term is ludicrous.

We should expect ludicrous from the Washington Post.

For more make believe, how about Harris' idea that GHW should tip his hat to GW.

Amid the celebration and crowds of Inauguration Day came a surprisingly intimate moment between father and son. As John F. Kennedy's parade passed the reviewing stand where Joseph P. Kennedy was watching, the new president looked up and tipped his hat -- a gesture of affection and gratitude to the patriarch who had dreamed for years of putting a son in the White House.

Forty-four years later, as President Bush prepares to launch his second term, it might be the father who should tip his hat to the son.

One of the 43rd president's achievements in winning reelection, according to Bush family friends and historians, is to ease the sting of the 41st president's failure to do so a dozen years earlier. The president's victory also establishes firmly a fact that earlier was open to dispute: The Bushes now belong in the top tier of political families in U.S. history.

It would be a great thing to see GHW tip his hat to President Bush, not because he eased the sting of '92, but because he is the President of the United States.

January 16, 2005

WaPo Lies About NIC Report

There is nothing quite like clarity. As mentioned Friday, the press, in this case the Washington Post, has a habit of skewing things to support their view or to harm those with opposing views. The CIA has released the National Intelligence Council’s latest NIC Report: Mapping the Global Future. That much of what Dana Priest wrote for the Washington Post is correct. The first paragraph, and, of course, the headline, offer a great deal of the bias we have come to expect.

Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground
War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report
Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.
Nowhere in the NIC Report does it claim “Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of “professionalized” terrorist.”

What does the report say?

There are two relevant statements. First -

The al-Qa’ida membership that was distinguished by having trained in Afghanistan will gradually dissipate, to be replaced in part by the dispersion of the experienced survivors of the conflict in Iraq.
And then -
Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are “professionalized” and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself.
Why then, would the Washington Times open its coverage of the NIC Report with a statement that asserts that it has happened?

Bias… no other reason is apparent.

As for the report, well, we can hope that it was inexpensive. Although based on the methodology used to develop it over 14 months, it is unlikely that it was inexpensive. Which is further reason to be concerned, for it is shallow and offers few out of the box ideas or scenarios. There are more than a few areas worthy of a good review, or better said, worthy of our attention and scrutiny, and had the press sought to explore the value of the report or any of the potential changes it discusses, rather than seeking the potential for negative commentary on current events, there is much available for scrutiny and reporting. Throughout the week, I’ll have more to say on the particulars, and I’ll remain skeptical of the Washington Post.

January 11, 2005

Where's the Blog?

Hugh Hewitt seems, both on his blog and during his show yesterday, to be concerned about the blogosphere’s ignoring the "whitewash" report on Rathergate. And rightly so. It isn’t the only story that’s missing the intense review needed.

There is the Armstrong Williams and No Child Left Behind story. This one will get oodles of MSM attention, and yet seems absent from the blogs. As Glenn Reynolds notes by quoting a couple of middle paragraphs in a NY Times piece on Williams, it isn’t the first time its been done, and it isn’t the largest. But why aren’t we making sure those middle paragraphs get attention, just as the headlines do. And further more, making it clear that Mr. Williams was wrong.

And of course, there is the "Salvador Option" from last weeks Newsweek. The left leaning blogs, much of the MSM, and the Arab press are giddy with this news. Yet the center right blogs seem to be vacationing on the issue and haven’t shown any fault or bias in the column. And there is much in it to question.

Or even the simple AP report that describes the potential changes in the Vice President’s role during a second term. It’s replete with quotes from pompous elites that relish the chance to put the big hat on Dick and have George be seen as the little man behind the desk. But no news, and unfortunately, not challenged by bloggers in the know on how things work in the White House.

Opportunities to challenge the MSM for their unabashed, yet un-confessed bias are everywhere, and blogs, including this one, either make a decision to hold the MSM to the fire, or we don’t. Frankly, I hope Hugh is wrong and there aren’t any effects of the Heisenberg Principle at work. It would be much better if we were just too busy with our vacations, work and daily responsibilities.

January 10, 2005

Bias in Journalism

On a day when there remains much news worthy of reporting, on the forefront of the news is the continuation of weak-kneed management and bias in journalism. In particular, on this day, we have received the much-ballyhooed response from CBS’s internal investigation of Rathergate. As those with a healthy dose of cynicism or pragmatism, or what the media would label partisan bias, have expected, the report points to failures in the journalistic process yet finds no bias or political motive behind the story.

Is this a fitting end to the story? Indeed it is, as much as it is an end.

CBS has shown itself to be not only incapable of reporting news without bias, but more significantly, it has shown through this supposedly independent investigation that its management, as well as the likes of Dan Rather, are biased and incapable of operating beyond their bias. The management favors ratings to good journalism, and in all likelihood shares and supports the political bias behind the memos being broadcast. The management bias towards ratings, far greater than toward a just reporting of the news, is shown in the actions taken in conjunction with the release of the findings of the investigation. Dan Rather keeps his job. Four nominal, as far as ratings are concerned, executives are dismissed. Ratings drive this decision, how could CBS give up the fond farewell of Dan Rather and the hope of a ratings bonanza that’ll accompany it.

In the end, Rathergate was an attempt to change the way we vote, and to influence the direction of the nation. The cover-up, which has both been a success and a failure, is an attempt to retain the credibility, authority, and position needed for future attempts to influence the public. It is wrong, shameful, and, most likely, not the last word from those blinded by their bias, whether before the camera or in the executive chambers.

January 6, 2005

Saying Yes to Torture

Perhaps I’m the only one around who is disappointed that Attorney General select Alberto Gonzales has disavowed torture. After all, didn’t we expect President Bush’s pick to replace the most dangerous man in America (as Rep. Jim McDermott described Aschroft) with another man equally dangerous to our civil liberties. Couldn’t Gonzales have said that he’d prefer torture for terrorist or better yet he’d require it. And then he’d want to bring it home and remove the attachment to al-Qaeda as a requirement because everyone knows that the whack jobs sneaking about this country and elsewhere respond well to the threat of torture. And think how many Congressional votes he’d secure, from hate filled Republicans, for a future ascension to the Supreme Court. But no, Gonzales turns out to be a gentleman.

His defense of his previous statements was admirable. "We are nothing like our enemies, Senator," he said. And he was right. We debate mistreatment and humiliation as if it were torture. We discuss isolated cases as if they were systemic and wholly authorized. And finally, we punish those responsible for mistreatment and keep a vigilant eye open to other possible abuses.

We are nothing like our enemies. And Alberto Gonzales is neither enemy nor monster. Those who choose to see naught but our errors, will never recognize their blindness or the virtuous who simply aspire to serve and defend us all.

Some other opinions well worth reading are offered at the Belmont Club and Belgravia Dispatch.

December 29, 2004

Hewitt's Latest - Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that is Changing Your World

If it's not on your wish list, you haven't received an early copy, and you aren't hounding your local bookstore for it.... why?

The year is coming to an end and Hugh Hewitt's latest bestseller Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that is Changing Your World is a necessity for those seeking to participate and understand why blogs, or more aptly the blogosphere, are important as a new median for information decimination. Whether you blog, read them often, or are a first time reader, you'll want to see a glimpse of what's only just begun.

Credibility matters... buy Hugh's book and let me know if I'm right.

And while you are at it, read his latest column for the Weekly Standard.

December 14, 2004

Vox Blogoli VI

Critics of the mainstream media are in no short supply and for good reason. In the latest editions of Newsweek and Time (not online), two of the historically most popular standard bearers of the MSM, the publishers have shown once again that there is much to make of the criticism of the MSM. In the less than titillating post-election news cycle both magazines have seen fit to publish cover stories taking aim at Christmas, the Gospels and the vast majority of the billion plus Christians who will celebrate, remember and be thankful for the birth of Jesus on Christmas morning. Some readers will immediately move on, as they’ve no doubt known for quite some time that the MSM is actively attacking Christian beliefs, Christianity, and Christians in American society. This blog will not refute the opinions, thesis or facts offered by either magazine, instead, we’ll answer Hugh Hewitt’s call, in Vox Blogoli VI, for a discussion of the parallels between the Newsweek article, and Rathergate, and for a look at what accounts for the appearance of such an article in a major news magazine. For an examination of the both articles, read both Dr. Mark D. Reynolds and Dr. Albert Mohler.

Why publish such articles? It may be the most significant question we may look to answer. The United States, whether the mainstream media and leftist politicians readily accept and admit it or not, is a republic comprised of Judeo-Christian citizens and built upon the lessons of history to preserve our liberty as Americans in a world neither supportive of the U.S. or of the Judeo-Christian ethos. Given our current, and historical, political divisions, and the general tide of political power shifting toward the center-right over the last 24 years, while society at large, and particularly mass media and the entertainment industry continued to slide to the left, it isn’t surprising that the left will take opportunities such as religious holidays, also a federal holiday, as an opportunity to attack the fundamental beliefs of those across the moral divide. Indeed, that is what the left, as a political, media and far too prominently as a church, have begun to do.

Consider the number of post 9/11 news stories on Islam and the teachings of Muhammad, the books, magazine stories, and the PBS portrayals of Islam as a religion of peace based on the teachings of a prophet who united the Arabian people and through out the idols from the Kabba. How would the left have responded if a reporter, or managing editor as in the case of the Newsweek piece, had used the Ramadhan holiday as the opportune time to offer a historical review of evidence that Muhammad was neither prophet nor man of peace, or to challenge the Miraj, the Hijra, or any of the other fundamental stories behind the beliefs of Muslims around the world? Such thought is not only improbable, it is sacrilegious to the left in America. We are asked at every turn to show tolerance of all others, no matter their creed, their actions, or their ethos or mythos. Yet on the most sacred of days for Christians in America, Christmas and Easter, the left challenges the underlying beliefs in an imbalanced and clearly biased attempt to rock the foundation of those without formal knowledge to refute them, and those who still hold that the media is balanced and truthful in its reporting, rather than participating to reach its own, even if unstated, ideals.

Is it similar to Rathergate? No, the problem preceded and possibly precipitated direct and obvious attempt to influence the election that we now call Rathergate. It is the disease behind the symptom Rathergate.

Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic or atheist, as a citizen of this land of liberty, we are within our rights to expect and demand more of the media. Unfortunately, with few exceptions such as Hugh’s radio show, Fox News Channel and the ever-growing number of blogs, we are no longer voicing our disapproval with the media as vociferously as possible and we continue to buy their goods and discuss issues often on their terms. This is a tide that is shifted only as individuals recognize the fault of the source, and act accordingly. No Newsweek, CBS News, or NYTimes, no matter your allegiance to the rag, or how scrumptious the banner or cover photo. Consider the source and the improbability that truth serves as their aim.

December 2, 2004

Kerik to Head Homeland Security

Former New York City Police Commisioner Bernard Kerik will replace Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

I'm not too overly familiar with Kerik. I've seen him speak on several occasions, read some of glowing reviews of him, but don't feel that I've got a sense of what type of leader he is.

Let me know how you feel about Kerik's being named to head HSD.

Danforth Resigns

John Danforth is said to have tendered his resignation as Ambassador to the U.N. The only information regarding his future plans are that the former Senator, Attorney and Minister will return to his home in Missouri and spend time with his wife Sally.

Perhaps Danforth, a man of character and conviction, recognized the filth he was exposed to at the U.N. and decided he'd had enough. Our nation should be so forthright.

November 30, 2004

Intel Overhaul

Just as you wouldn't overhaul your transmission to fix a worn out spark plug, the Congress is right to resist efforts by members of both parties to press for immediate overhaul of the Intel community during this lame duck season for the 108th Congress. There has been much ado about the failure to move the legislation through the House, and Representatives Hunter and Sensenbrenner have taken much heat over the issue. We've been wrong to ignore their objections and should be applauding their support for real reform and insight into the possible unintended consequences of hasty reform, in particular the concerns of Representative Hunter.

The Center for Security Policy in a conclusion to a recent brief paints the picture as completely political posturing by the proponents of immediate reform:

Perhaps the real reason some in Congress are so intent on getting "intelligence reform" legislation done now is that consideration of this matter next year would almost certainly require action they are resisting and have not addressed in the current bill: Much-needed streamlining and other improvements in legislative oversight of the intelligence community. That possibility to do real good is another excellent reason for our leaders to avoid doing harm to American intelligence when the lame duck session resumes next week.
It is hard to disagree with the general sentiment, but the political posturing over the border security issues involved are perhaps misplaced as the Congress has had three years to move for tighter border security and has failed to meaningfully do so. The real issue, with the current bill, is the possible consequences of further separating the Intel community, now functioning more closely at home and abroad, from the military services who are dependent on their support, analysis and satellite based participation prior to and during hostile actions.

Patience. Early next year, after the new Congress has arrived, the House should address the Intel Reform matter, as well as the issues relating to border security. If they haven’t done so within a quarter of the year, we’ll know they don’t intend to act and can begin to seek candidates who will. We’ll also have to pay significant attention to the language of any reform, in particular their willingness to address their oversight of the Intel community, how funding and budgetary responsibility is handled and the future of the NID.

The Threat

Before attempting to respond to this week’s symposium question, one that strikes a particularly strong cord with those on the right apparently more than those on the left, it is incumbent upon us to review what is at stake. The question this week:

What, in your mind, represents the single greatest long-term threat to the United States of America, and what should be done about it?

The author of the question, limits our discussion to the single greatest threat to the United States of America, and challenges us to offer a solution. Threats to the US come in many forms, from within and without, from direct attack, unintended consequences and subversive undermining, and from the governed and the government. When discussing the threats, current or long-term, our view of what is at stake is reflected by our assessment of the threats. Should we look at the threat from the view of ending our nations existence, there are relatively few threats. Should we instead look at the nature and character of our nation, there are many threats and more significantly, these threats weaken our ability and willingness to recognize and defend ourselves against threats to our very existence.

So the answer was apparent. The threat of single greatest significance must be a threat to the character of the nation and its ideals. If you are so patient, let me add that I’ve included the list of current and possible long-term threats here, should you be interested in it.

Islamo-fascism – the perversion of Islamic thought and doctrine in support of a bigoted, intolerant, arabesque world-view. Primary concerns are the current militant Islamo-fascist of al-Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations, secondary concern is the enormous support of and adherence to the Islamo-fascist view of Islam held throughout the world, and dominant in the Middle East (whether Sunni or Shi’a in inclination). Affiliated issues include the propagation of anti-Semitism or anti-Israeli thought and action, an enormous amount of propaganda and a willingness to accept lies and conspiracies as truth, an inability or unwillingness to permit cultural assimilation, and a birth rate far exceeding European and North American non-Hispanic growth rates.

Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism – the spread of nuclear weapons and technology to unstable, rogue and hostile nations possibly willing to aid terrorist in acquiring them or incapable of adequately securing them.

China – the increased economic and military reach of China and their attempt to construct a Chinese hegemony in Asia and beyond as a counter-American force in the world.

Indo-Pakistani belligerence – two nuclear capable nations with a breadth of immoral and unjust hatred and bigotry for the other. Socialist/Communist ties and the general inability of each state to extend liberty to their citizens creates the greater incentive for public dissatisfaction and instability.

Iran – essentially a theocratic oligarchy of Shi’a Islamo-fascist. The gravest threat here is the development of nuclear weapons and technology, the support for terrorist outside Iran and the open hostility towards Israel and the US.

Middle Eastern Kings and Emirs – the kingdoms and emirates of the Middle East have used islamo-fascist thought as a means to control their populations and are limited in their ability to reform out of fear of a true islamo-fascist take over as in Iran.

European Socialism – primarily in Western Europe, unlike the firm opposition to Communism, their Socialism has gained support over the years and influences all aspect their lifestyles, thought and culture.

Russia – Vladimir Putin and other remnants of the former Soviet Union continue to show a return to Soviet styled governance rather than encouraging Liberty and fighting the corruption that followed the fall of the USSR through rule of law and vigilant economic and intellectual openness.

Of course, there are other risks and areas of concern.

The single greatest threat to the United States comes from within. Not just within the nation, but within each of its citizens. As noted in a previous post, the course within is the most significant and it is measured by our understanding, acceptance and acting on a moral basis. Some respondents to the question will make the issue a religious issue, a possible cause for the reactionary steps of those attacking the foundation of our nation today; others will find a particular symptom of our weakened moral state and attribute the danger to it. We might instead seek to prevent the disease itself from further spread to future generations and to cure it among the many (millions) currently afflicted.

In a post on the danger of moral ambivalence, and others, we’ve noted that one must recognize that while religion is often a precursor to our understanding of moral or ethical issues, as a nation we must resist the religious argument as a means for establishing rules of governance. We have the moral truths of our unalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and upon these we should be able to debate and determine the proper course of governance for a strong and moral people. The trouble, of course, is when we are no longer a moral people, capable of living up to the responsibilities associated with Liberty. The danger lies therein.

The larger the role our government, the federal government in particular, plays in our lives, the less we as a people are responsible to each other and to our progeny for our decisions and actions. Federal activism in education, health, social character and what should be state or local issues remains not only a symptom of our failing moral compass but a cause for its further decay. The solution is to aim for a return to the federalist approach of our founders and to re-establish the sovereignty of the state, the community and the family. The good news is that while we are falling toward complete moral irrelevance and the loss of the most basic of truths, we have far to fall before hitting ground, and the parachute, our Constitution, remains as a means to recover.

Other Homespun Symposium Responses

A Physicist's Perspective
Bunker Mulligan
Bill's Big Bloviating Blog
Ogre's Politics and Views
Mud and Phud
The Commons at Paulie World
The Terriorists
The Redhunter
Never Sway
Mad Poets Anonymous
Considerettes
In Search of Utopia
Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates

Addendum: We are, whether perilously or not may be debated, divided in our understanding of the nature of being American, of being a free people, and of the nature of our government’s responsibilities to us as citizens. We may, or rather will, debate, on many occasions, the extent and nature of the divide in our nation. Those who see a divide may lament its existence, while others likewise seeing it, will see it as a sign of our health and prosperity. Partisan we are, some by reason and principle, others for reasons neither they nor their counterparts can discern. In the end, the truth of the divide may be seen not by our debate or acknowledgement of its existence, but by our vocal and active support for altering the direction of the nation, whether our party, or the closest in similarity, is in power or not.

November 23, 2004

DeLay

David, at In Search of Utopia, defends his view of the significance of the divide in America by pointing to the Republican protection of Tom DeLay.

It isn't clear from David's post if he recognizes that the rule the Republicans modified is a Republican rule for Republican leadership, and a rule the Democrats have never had in place for disciplining their leadership. In addition, their modification of the rule is based on the real harm that illegitimate charges against Republicans can cause, the case most often cited being charges brought by the same man who accuses DeLay, against Kay Bailey Hutchison. A District Attorney with a mind toward attacking politicians to make a name for himself, rather than for justice, has led Republican leaders to modify their rule.

It is also worth noting that the rule change still requires the leadership to review and potentially remove the particular Republican leader should he be indicted.

Like many supposed liberals or progressives, the issue seems to be something other than securing Liberty, protecting Life, or expanding opportunity, it is once again espousing an illegitimate argument for the sake of power.

November 15, 2004

Powell Resigns

Secretary of State Colin Powell has tendered his resignation. It isn't a surprising development yet it is definitely noteworthy. Secretary Powell's replacement has, of course, not been named. The armchair presidents will offer Condoleezza Rice, John Danforth and others as his likely replacements.

The other common discussion point will be the divide between State and Defense within the Administration.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has also resigned.

The White House is expected to release information concerning cabinet positions later today.

UPDATE: The first AP report concerning Secretary Powell is now up.

UPDATE: Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Education Secretary Rod Paige have also resigned. The White House press briefing is minutes away.

November 10, 2004

Judge’s Ruling Draws Ire, but Should It?

U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson issued a ruling that has halted the tribunal of Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Hamdan is accused of being a member of al-Qaeda, the driver for Usama bin Laden, and an enemy combatant. In all likelihood he is guilty of being a member of al-Qaeda but that is not the issue.

Many conservatives and supporters of the President and the Global War on Terror will inevitably see the judge’s ruling as an err. This in part due to Judge Robertson’s very questionable rulings in the past, in particular regarding friends of Bill Clinton. The government will appeal the ruling, although the true responsibility for the decision lies in their laps, or more accurately in the President’s decision to forgo a individual designation of status by military officers in favor of a broad classification of prisoners as enemy combatants.

Judge Robertson’s history is reflective of the type of judicial activism that smells to high heaven and creates great dissent among many, including the author of this piece. However….. this decision is proper.

We may know, in fact we do know, that the prisoners captured around the world in the Global War on Terror are not POW’s by Geneva Convention standards, we also know that the designation of status, POW or Enemy Combatant must be made by a hearing or tribunal not the broad stroke of Presidential authority. The best course of action here is to hold the initial hearings as a corrective action and affect the appropriate redress on a case by case basis.

As for the Judge’s ruling that tribunal rules are unfair as evidence is presented without the witness being present, there is a much greater argument for this being overturned as the issues of national security and intelligence collection methods cannot be shared with enemy combatants, or alleged enemy combatants.

While this view may strike some of you as counter to my general view, it shouldn’t, the primary regard here is the adherrance to and support for the Constitution safeguards and restrictions placed on our government, even when dealing with non-citizens. Hamdan and the others will be found guilty through proper tribunals and trials, and should not be given the rights of citizens or military service members. However, we have signed and ratified the Geneva Convention, and while it must never supercede the Constitution, the President’s duty was to have the military hold the appropriate hearings, even if the outcome was predictable.

Immigration, Amnesty, Guest Workers and Politics

Immigration reforms weren’t a particularly potent issue for either the Republican or Democratic Parties in this year’s election. For the cynical, the cause was that neither party wanted to risk alienating, no pun intended, the Hispanic vote; for the realist, because neither party has a particular feasible solution to what is one of the more challenging issues of our day.

That being said, the news that President Bush is once again going to consider pressing for a guest-worker program, whereby euphemistically referred to foreign workers, otherwise know as illegal immigrants, would be eligible for a three year work visa, renewable once, despite having been in the U.S. illegally. It would be contingent on their meeting qualifications, most notably being employed.

The issue is of course divisive. Tom, David, Digger and David A. have posted on the issue, as have many others I’m unaware of. Should the program be supported, and if so, why?

First, let’s acknowledge that the intent of the program is to give a legal status to those who are in the U.S., and working, illegally. There is great merit to the argument that we have laws concerning how to immigrate and while many wait patiently to join come to America, any effort to support or legitimize those who’ve subverted the law to be here, primarily aided by their governments policies and their natural proximity to the U.S. is wrong.

Second, let’s acknowledge that both fiscally and morally the nation is not prepared to prevent illegal immigration or to deport known illegals in the U.S. We can’t get state and local police agencies to detain illegals long enough to report or turn them over to immigration authorities. Thus the primary financial impact comes from the services provided to immigrants and their families, many which are citizens after being born in the U.S., and from the mountains of dollars sent to Mexico by illegals to support their families that remained behind. From a moral perspective, the liberty of citizens is neglected by permitting tax dollars to support illegals. Yet we are unable to address tax policy or spending as a moral issue in general.

It may be possible, although unlikely, that this program will limit additional illegal immigration. It is more likely that the program will provide an additional incentive for illegal entry and for employers to hire illegals prior to their seeking a guest worker visa. Thereby exacerbating the issue. This being said, taken in conjunction with the detention, reporting and deporting of illegals outside the program, it may serve as a means to account for those who’ve entered the country and send a message that the system works in your favor to a greater degree than working outside the system does.

That brings us back to the real issue, enforcement of current law, and economic and civil constraints in Mexico which encourage the practice. Both from a moral and fiscal perspective it is unpopular and regarded as implausible. When politicians address the issue they find civil libertarians in opposition, fiscal hawks in opposition and the public quiet. No wonder we have a mess on our hands.

As for my personal view, close off the border, cease social, medical and education service offerings to illegals (not their children who are citizens), force Mexican officials to liberalize their economy, end the programs which support the transfer of money from the U.S. to Mexico, enforce the law so that companies and individuals do not hire illegals and by all means give local law enforcement the responsibility and authority to deal with illegals when found, as they would any other violator of the law. And if in conjunction with these measures we want to permit guest worker visas outside the current system for skilled workers, then so be it.

November 9, 2004

Dems To Offer a Moral Argument

Democrats lost the election because blah….blah….blah…. Whether or not the Democrats will ever understand that voters rejected their candidate, and the reasons surrounding that rejection is debatable. The statements of Representatives Pelosi and Rangel show that some lessons have clearly been learned, even if it’s only to feign being the party of conservatism and values.

House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, says that the Democratic members of the House will try to hold Republican members more accountable for growing the growing federal deficit. Pelosi says that the President will have nobody to blame, as the Republicans will control both houses of Congress. Of course, no mention of the Democrat’s inability to consider cutting any of a number of government programs, or how they campaign that the Republicans cut spending in particular programs, even if the truth was that the Republicans cut only the rate of growth in spending.

Good ‘ole Charlie Rangel says that there will be lots of discussion of moral values over the next two years. How’s that? The ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee says that the Democrats will make an argument that driving up the debt by cutting taxes is a moral issue.

It’ll be an interesting discussion should their current plan hold firm. After all, many of us have openly asked for a real discussion of the principles of governance and the interjection of a different moral basis will only make it more interesting, at least to the policy oriented among us. Will it help them? Unlikely, as those who are driven by a moral view, in particular with regard to governance, are more apt to seek small government and to see the move as a ploy to steal away the moral values voters. As for me, I'm for reduced spending, far beyond what'll be offered by either party, and realistic enough to not expect it.

Ashcroft and Evans Resign

The first two Cabinet level resignations following the election are in. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans have both resigned. The President had positive statements to make concerning both men and the rush to guess whom might replace them has begun.

Evans, a longtime friend of the President, is highly regarded in most circles and may turn out to be the greater challenge to replace, not so much for the significance of his office, but rather due to the relationship he had with the President.

Ashcroft on the other hand, was not highly regarded by the Democratic Party and many on the right who believed that his zeal in the pursuit of terrorist outweighed his concern for the law. To many, he often ignored the Constitutional protections afforded Americans in his pursuit of terrorist, and took the position that the greater good was served to secure American’s lives, even at the cost of some aspects of privacy or liberty. Whether you ascribe to that view or not, one must recognize that he served tirelessly to protect American's from what he perceived as a greater threat.

It isn’t likely that I could predict the replacements of either man, so I will not attempt it. What I will do is offer this:

To both men, thank you for your service and commitment to our nation. God bless and may your efforts be judged to have been righteous.

November 8, 2004

The Erosion of the Federation

One of the most significant battles fought in our nations history was centered on the implementation of the federal republic. We may again fight that battle. The epicenter of the battle is over the Electoral College and the ideas of proportional representation or direct democracy. Proponents of the elimination, or alteration, of the Electoral College have wasted no time in beginning their post-election assault on it, a follow-up to the Amendment 36 initiative, which was defeated, in Colorado and the by-product of both the 2000 and 2004 election of President Bush.

Via Sissy Willis, comes Matthew Simpson’s moderate attack on the Electoral College in the Iowa City Press Citizen and via Jeff Quinton, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s (registration required) call for the end of the Electoral College. Both the AJC editorial and the Simpson column point to the perceived lack of fairness in the electoral system, whether it be the winner take all allocation of electoral votes or the very existence of the E.C. Neither addresses the benefits to the nation found in the E.C. or the negatives of proportional representation or direct democracy.

By way of background, we note that the burden of how to allocate electoral votes is given to state legislatures and all, save Maine and Nebraska, allocate all electors to the candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the state. Maine and Nebraska use a combination of popular votes and congressional district winners to allocate votes. On this past weeks ballot, Colorado voters found and rejected a bid to replace Colorado’s winner take all allocation with a proportional allocation of electors.

The most common arguments for either proportional representation or the elimination of the Electoral College are that it is outdated, prompts candidates to spend an inordinate amount of time, and money, in a select few states rather than on a national campaign, and encourages disenfranchisement. Each argument is easily debunked and can be replaced with arguments that affirm the value of the Electoral College and the significance of our being a federal republic.

Is the Electoral College outdated? Of course not. The purpose of this statement is to deflect the reader away from the idea of the federal republic and have them support the notion of popular democracy. While much is made of the an initial argument for the Electoral College being the limited communications ability at the time, the greater purpose was and is to secure the rights of the states in the election of the President. The issue is are states outdated. No serious political, social or academic voice would suggest that states are outdated. While there is evidence that the social aspects of being a Virginian or Oregonian are waning, the nation itself remains as diverse, if not more so, than it was in the days of our federations founding and the states interests reflect that diversification.

Do candidates spend an inordinate amount of time or money on a select few states? No. They spend the time and money needed to secure the votes required to win the electoral votes necessary for election. This targeted spending is a result not of any weakness in the Electoral College but rather a result of the makeup of the voters in those particular states. To the extent that those living in states without such a split may feel left out it is an emotional response to their states character and makeup or more likely simple jealousy. This is reflective of how we all long to feel important to the election and to be represented in government, an American attribute as much as any.

Does being blue in a red state or red in a blue state disenfranchise us? Forgive the red/blue analogy but it serves best to clarify the type of disenfranchisement attributed to the unfair nature of the winner take all allocation of electoral votes. First, there are two distinct positives of the winner take all system, it encourages the coalitions and alliances of varying political viewpoints to a single candidate, reinforcing the political parties to maintain big tent platforms, second it reduces the likelihood of a ties, recounts, and other shenanigans associated with voter fraud. In this case, disenfranchised voters are voters who voted and lost. The entire notion that you’ve been disenfranchised because your candidate lost the vote in your state by a small margin and yet all your electors go to the winning candidate shows would be repeated in a full democracy as your candidate may lose then, no matter the margin, and again the other candidate is president, not a proportional president but 100% president.

In search of greater liberty in this nation, we should strive for increased participation, increased awareness and increased understanding of our founders great wisdom as seen in our system of government. To accept the flawed ideal of a plural democracy would instead spiral our nation toward the will of the populist majority, be they advocates of liberty or advocates of mass-rule. Caution should be at a high when tinkering with the Electoral College, after all, we are the United States of America, not the United People of America, the Democratic Peoples of America or the People’s Republic of America.

November 5, 2004

The Counsel of the Citizens

In their post-election anguish, many on the left and extreme left have shown both their disdain for the average American as well as their more troubling disdain for America. We must look no further than the editorials, essays and commentaries of the blogs, magazines and newspapers to see it. In exposing their scurrilous vitriol the left is determined, even if unknowingly, to slide further from the realm of influence and toward a seat alongside the openly socialist, communist, neo-nazi, or Aryan militiamen watching but not participating in the governance of the nation. Some will inevitable believe that it is their rightful position in obscurity. It isn’t so.

One of the greatest benefits of living in the new media, in as much as the internet and the blogosphere are concerned, is the ability of the everyday citizen to offer opinions, counsel and commentary on the issues before our leaders throughout the election cycle and beyond. In making derisive and inflammatory comments beyond the realm of reason, many Democrats have essential made their voice less likely to be heard. We should not celebrate this, as there are many issues before us that justly need the voice of both the center-left and center-right to be heard. The further loss of the left of center voices will not prevent the resolution of the issues by any means; it simply leaves many who had been spoken for by the left no longer with a reasoned voice in the chamber of counsel.

The proper course for those on the left, just as it is for those on the right and in the center, is to seek and advance the voices which best reflect their beliefs and values to the largest possible audience. There was a time when the religious right held men such as Reverends Falwell and Robertson up as their voices. Both men lost support and influence as they lost sight of the nation’s guiding principles and pressed for their personal and religious ideals to be those of the nation. Many on the religious right now will readily admit that while they may still hold their religious beliefs, they are unwilling to follow their political views. The black or African-American community has shown a similar response to Reverends Jackson and Sharpton. Perhaps to an even greater extent as both men have failed by taking positions naturally opposed to the values of the faith of those they once held sway.

We all have at our means now the ability to be self-appointed counsel to the political leaders of our nation. In addition, our counsel is shared among the many seeking to further understand their views or to find truth in a world filled with non-sense, whimsy and vice. It is striking that so many would take for granted the liberty of this nation, the technology behind our communications, and the willingness of so many to take the time to read their words only to repay them all by offering abuse of truth, revisionist histories and inciting outright disregard for the very foundation which permits their insolence.

It remains to be seen who among the many self-appointed leaders of the left today are capable of maintaining civil discourse and advancing their ideas in government. What we do know is that many, who are now lashing out, may be gaining a name for themselves and a sense of fame, but fame without excellence, good works, and values often comes as infamy. Time alone will tell. What is certain is that while no one voice is particularly likely to be heard, the ramifications of spreading truth or untruth and freeing those willing to do likewise are always heard. So how will the left respond in the coming days? And how will you?

November 4, 2004

To Unite the Divided

One of the most significant challenges of leadership, particularly in the political arena, is to advance an agenda beyond those who without invitation offer agreement and bring forth those who have professed disagreement or divergent views. This is the challenge before the newly re-elected President not, the commonly called for, reaching out to the opposition to close the divide. One of the greatest factors in the success of the U.S. over the last 100 years is our willingness to stand together against the odds and in the face of danger. We are not the lone super-power in the world because we slid toward the communist, socialist or fascist ideologies of our enemies. No, we defeated them in the arena of ideas, and we defeated them both politically through strategic and military efforts. Why then does the press clamor for the President to close the divide between in this nation by working on the agenda of the opposition party?

As is far too often the case, the call of the press for the President to appeal to the left, to work with the Democrats in Congress, is self-serving and not in the interest of the nation. We have seen, in this election, the vested interest of the media and their desire to see the left take power in this country. Their incessant adherence to the micro issues before our nation, rather than to the macro issues, shows not their desire for ratings but rather their affliction or affiliation with the same micro view the left subscribes to. The people of the nation have elected a man not beholden to those views and capable of eliminating the alligators by clearing the swamp.

President Bush is not the cause of the divide nor is he the cure. The media and the punditry may spend the next four years describing the divide and how he has failed to move toward the middle. And in this space, and many like it, we will applaud his convictions and his willingness to act thereupon. In addition, we will continue to seek those who today hold divergent views, whether by worldview, faith, political ideology or misguided compassion, and attempt to bring them back into the political mainstream. The alternative they face is to follow the left as it scampers further from the majority and toward political insignificance within their own country.

In the future, we should continue, as the President will, to stress the moral and uplifting significance of liberty for Americans and to share these ideals with our neighbors both in the U.S. and abroad. Whether it be tax policy, property rights, foreign affairs or war, the central themes remain the same. Our government is to provide for the defense of our liberties, not to constrain them, and we, Americans, should seek an understanding of the rightful place of government in our lives and the merit of personal virtue despite the liberty to live in excess and vice. With an understanding of these ideals, we are not only more capable of divergent ideologies, we are capable of shared ideologies.

Post Press Conference

This morning President Bush held his first post-election press conference. It was worth watching, both for the insight into the President’s thinking as much as for the insight into the press. The media wanted to hear how the President is going to unite the nation behind him by working with the Democrats in Congress. The President made it clear that he won the election and his agenda will be put forth with appropriate zeal.

In the coming hours, it is well worth our time to consider the divide and the proper course for closing it. Is it the left, which must move toward the center, or the President who must move to accommodate the left.

More to come.

November 3, 2004

Kerry's Concession

Being politically opposed to Senator Kerry, there are those among us who will offer criticisms of his concession speech today. I will not, at this time. He was at his finest in this speech and more so, in the decision to concede the election based on the real data before him.

Good job Senator. Congratulations, and Godspeed.

Kerry to Concede

Senator Kerry has apparently called President Bush to concede and will speak at 1:00 PM ET 2:00 PM ET. I'd like to congratulate him for having the decency to do so.

It isn’t clear if the President will wait until after Kerry’s speech to announce victory. Either way, he has won, and won with class and character.

Listening to Morning Sedition on Air America this morning, a bad habit perhaps, it struck me once again how the left, as represented by the hosts of the show, is filled with vitriol toward President Bush. Their analysis was that the election was stolen and that people should take to the streets in civil disobedience against the President. Specifically, they claim minority voters were denied their vote in New Mexico and Ohio. No shame, no class and no clue.

While I do believe we are divided along many lines within the U.S., I don’t believe that the majority of the opposition to the President will share the view of the Marks on Morning Sedition. Thankfully.

November 2, 2004

BUSH WINS!!!

Fox News has called Ohio for President Bush. This puts him at 266 and Kerry at 221 (after Minnesota).

Alaska and New Mexico are going for Bush and it'll be done.

Congratulations Mr. President!!!

UPDATE: Alaska goes to Bush (269). New Mexico makes it 274 (not called officially at this point (23:25), but it will be).

Kerry campaign says it disputes the call on Ohio. Trailing by 130k, with 250k votes remaining to be counted. As we've seen for the past 9 months, there is a disconnect between the Senator and reality.

Speaking of the Senate -

Boxer (D)* over Jones (R) - is she indestructable or is Bill inept as a statewide candidate.
Shelby (R)* over Sowell (D)
Salazar (D) over Coors (R) - -1 - Ken managed to distance himself from Kerry and to fool the populace into believing he is fiscally responsible and that he'll be tough of terror.
Martinez (R) over Castor (D) - +1
Isakson (R) over Majette (D) - +1
Burr (R) over Bowles (D) - +1
Murkowski (R)* over Knowles (D) - A great comeback by Murkowski.
Vitter (R) wins in LA with 51% of the vote! - +1
Obama (D) destroyed Keyes (R) - -1
Coburn (R) over Carson (D) - held the seat
DeMint (R) over Tenenbaum (D) - +1
Bunning (R) over Mongiardo (D) - excellent news

and while it isn't over officially - Thune over Daschle - +1.

The Senate will have 55 Republicans to 44 Dems and 1 Indepolooser. Excellent news for our courts and for containing spending, should the Republicans remember that they represent the fiscal conservatives in our nation.

UPDATE 2: 0010 - 11.3.2004

New Mexico has reported 92% of the precincts and Pres. Bush leads by 29k votes. It hasn't been called yet. Don't know why.

Iowa has reported 96% of the precincts and Pres. Bush leads by 12k votes. This state too should be called soon.

The Senator should concede. The race is over. The President should now have 286 electoral votes pledged to him. The press, and the Dems refuse to acknowledge that the President has won both the important (electoral college pledges) and the insignificant (popular vote).

UPDATE 3: 0140 - 11.3.2004

Nevada called for Bush. New Mexico, apparently due to absentee and early voting not yet called, despite all precincts reporting. Iowa still not called. Wisconsin, most likely going to Kerry not called either. 286 Bush - 252 Kerry

Karzai is set to be announced as first elected President of Afghanistan in a couple of hours. More on this in the morning.

Close Call but it'll be Bush

Current projections show that President Bush has 210 electoral votes and Senator Kerry has 199 (1 more from Maine). Unallocated at this time are Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Kerry will win Oregon (7), Nevada (5), Iowa (7), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (17), and New Hampshire (4) for a total of 260.

President Bush will win Alaska (3), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), Hawaii (4) and Florida (27) for a total of 278.

It is a small margin. Ohio or a combination of New Mexico and Hawaii are the only chance remaining for Kerry.

UPDATE: First returns from Hawaii give Kerry a slight lead, Kerry also gets Oregon, and New Hampshire (the first Red state to fall). Florida and Colorado have been called for Bush.

Watching New Mexico, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Senate - the Republicans have secured the Senate again.

Mid-way into the evening.

Thus far into the evening there have been no surprises, we've seen that the exit polls are biased towards the Dems, the Senate seems to be safely Republican, and no 2000 Red State has fallen into Blue hands thus far. Pennsylvania is far more blue than it should be at this time, but we'll see if it holds as the remaining precincts fill in. Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin are moving in the right direction and the left coast has just closed up shop.

New Hampshire (currently 50 - 50) is a concern, and of course not having closed the deal in Florida and the mid-west things are up in the air.

Back in a bit.

Election 2004

Election Day 2004 is upon us.

We are fortunate to be Americans and to have such a clear choice before us. The stakes are high, and while I, like many of you, struggle with the idea of seeing Senator Kerry as Commander-in-Chief, I’m confidant that it will not happen, and should it, I know that our nation will prevail in the long run.

The key issues are well known; Islamic terror must be stopped, Islamo-fascist must be defeated, and the U.S. must continue to assert and defend our sovereignty before global bodies seeking to subdue our nation through treaty, pact and manipulation of economic markets. Other issues are secondary to these at this time, yet they are significant to our ability to accomplish the primary. These include our individual liberties within the U.S., economic liberty and the free market, and punitive government policies against the family, personal responsibility and self-actualization.

Let’s see how Americans respond at the polls.

October 29, 2004

Delude, Collude and Destroy

While it may not be collusion, the actions of the majority of media in the U.S. and around the world, the governments of our supposed allies and the organizations of the UN, are aiding the enemies of that which God bestowed on man. Thankfully, the internet, talk radio and a smattering of the press are willing and able to combat their efforts. In most cases, we who seek a semblance of moral clarity, avoid statements accusing the left of supporting or encouraging our enemies (yes, we have enemies at home and abroad). In part, this arises from our view that even though they may be unwilling to label the terrorists or their supporters as evil or as enemies of liberty, we believe that the left remains committed to life, the foremost of our inalienable rights.

The failure of the media is clear. Reporting on the war, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, is not based on the dissemination of truth or even the implausible concept of objectivity; it is in general done as a means to affect opinion within the U.S. and abroad. Never before have the forces of our nation, and the real allies of life and liberty, moved so rapidly and effectively to remove such a threat. And all the while, it is reported, and repeated by a man who would lead the nation most capable, and responsible for, the defense of those without the means to defend themselves, that we have failed, created more terrorist, and alienated our historical supporters.

Nations rift with the effects of terror themselves have floundered before the call to defeat the terrorist. From France, where a growing Muslim populace is feared, liberty is tossed aside and duplicitously the French offer aid and appeasement to those who would remake all nations as states of the single caliphate of Islam. The Spanish failed to respond with strength when hit by murderous thugs, choosing instead to placate their fears by withdrawal from the war. Foolishly believing that non-aligned nations are safe from the eventual course of actions, and failing those who died innocent of wronging anyone. Russia, fighting within its own borders in one of the most disturbed yet clear examples of the venom of our enemy, has been found on both sides of the issue, seeking both financial reward from those who are opposed to liberty and influence on a stage in which they once held a leading role. The examples are numerous and the evidence mounts despite their best efforts to delay and evade detection, often through the manipulation of a world body created to bring forth the best of our nature, which has instead become a tool for those devoid of respect for life, admiration of liberty and desirous of happiness.

All this being said, there is good news. Two nations once held entirely under the grip of men who preferred death to life and repression to freedom, have begun to the process of affirming life and liberty within their society. In addition, we now know that our enemy is not only those who stand before us and declare themselves as such, they are not the oppressed or impoverished, they are oppressors and the exploitive elitist, both at home and beyond. We know the variety of our enemies includes those offering false truth, false support and false hope for peace through compromise. The best news is that in a matter of days, we will re-elect a man capable of withstanding the barrage from all fronts and willing to lead men of equal valor against enemies both known and unknown.

Volunteer, Vote and Pray.

Thanks for stopping in at the Little Red Blog. Expect limited updates between now and the election. I was unable to write yesterday and will likewise have limited availability between now and Tuesday.

If you haven't already, nearly 1 in 5 have, cast your vote and participate in the world's foremost example of self-governance. If you have time to spare, contact your local GOP headquarters and help get out the vote. And of course, if you are inclined to prayer, pray for our nation, our president and for a wise and moral electorate.

October 27, 2004

Drudge, ABC and a new threat from al-Qaeda

Not having seen the tape, and having no confirmation of its contents or authenticity, who am I to say that ABC should have made it available or more simply, announced that it exist.

Thankfully - Drudge has made us aware of it.

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED OCT 27, 2004 12:42:01 ET XXXXX

ABCNEWS HOLDS TERROR WARNING TAPE

**Exclusive**

In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.

ABCNEWS strongly denies holding the tape back from broadcast over political concerns during the last days of the election.

The CIA is analyzing the tape, a top federal source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend, sources tells DRUDGE.

"We have been working 24 hours a day trying to authenticate [the tape]," a senior ABCNEWS source said Wednesday morning, dismissing a claim that ABC was planning to air portions of the video during Monday's WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.

The terrorist's face is concealed by a headdress, and he speaks in an American accent, making it difficult to identify the individual.

US intelligence officials believe the man on tape may be Adam Gadhan - aka Adam Pearlman, a California native who was highlighted by the FBI in May as an individual most likely to be involved in or have knowledge of the next al Qaeda attacks.

According to the FBI, Gadahn, 25, attended al-Qaida training camps and served as an al-Qaida translator.

The disturbing tape runs an hour -- the man simply identifies himself as 'Assam the American.'

MORE


The latest from Media Tenor

The latest Slant-O-Meter shows negativity is the cause of the day.

Along the same lines - a new "study" shows the media favored Kerry over the first two weeks of October.

October 26, 2004

God and the White House

In the twisted history of Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and his commentary in the LATimes this morning, The White House Wasn't Always God's House, the founders of this nation did not use the moral arguments of their religions in their leading or founding this nation, and no President before President Bush brought God into the White House. After reading Schlesinger’s take on history we would be led to believe that President Bush is the first man of faith to attribute his moral guidance to his faith and then to govern according to the moral compass within him. In his own words:

"George W. Bush's presidency is the first faith-based administration in U.S. history.

The founding fathers did not mention God in the Constitution, and the faithful often regarded our early presidents as insufficiently pious.

George Washington was a nominal Anglican who rarely stayed for Communion. John Adams was a Unitarian, which Trinitarians abhorred as heresy. Thomas Jefferson, denounced as an atheist, was actually a deist who detested organized religion and who produced an expurgated version of the New Testament with the miracles eliminated. Jefferson and James Madison, a nominal Episcopalian, were the architects of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. James Monroe was another Virginia Episcopalian. John Quincy Adams was another Massachusetts Unitarian. Andrew Jackson, pressed by clergy members to proclaim a national day of fasting to seek God's help in combating a cholera epidemic, replied that he could not do as they wished "without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion now enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the general government."

In the 19th century, all presidents routinely invoked God and solicited his blessing. But religion did not have a major presence in their lives. Abraham Lincoln was the great exception. Nor did our early presidents use religion as an agency for mobilizing voters. "I would rather be defeated," said James A. Garfield, "than make capital out of my religion."

This is a surprisingly shallow argument. It seems that his position is that men of character and faith, who govern based on their understanding of the issues and the role of governance are somehow doing so with an absence of their faith. Garfield’s comment in particular shows not the absence of his faith in his governance, but his unwillingness to campaign and capitalize on his religion, knowing full well that his respect for the country and for the founding principles behind it supported both his faith and his ability to govern not in the name of his faith but with moral guidance from it.

Schlesinger continues:

"Nor was there any great popular demand that politicians be men of faith. In 1876, James G. Blaine, an aspirant for the Republican presidential nomination, selected Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, a famed orator but a notorious scoffer at religion, to deliver the nominating speech: The pious knew and feared Ingersoll as "The Great Agnostic"; a 21st century equivalent of Ingersoll would have been booed off the platform at the Republican convention of 2004.”
Again here he misrepresents both the historical data and the current situation. Ingersoll was respected as an man of convictions, without the aid of a particular faith behind them, and the modern Republican Party would with open arms accept a morally courageous voice of government restraint promoting life and liberty for all Americans.
"There were presidents of ardent faith in the 20th century. Woodrow Wilson had no doubt that the Almighty designated the United States — and himself — for the redemption and salvation of humankind. Jimmy Carter, like Bush, was "born again." Ronald Reagan, though not a regular churchgoer, had a rapt evangelical following. But neither Wilson nor Carter nor Reagan applied religious tests to secular issues, nor did they exploit their religion for their political benefit. These are the standards that Bush has systematically violated.”
And there is the kicker. Schlesinger believes that Bush is applying religious tests to secular issues and using his faith for political benefit. History shows a different picture, as Carter and Reagan afterwards would not have won without the religious voters in the south. Both men applied the moral foundations of their faith in building their character and that character, just as it does with President Bush, provided the framework, along with their understanding of personal liberty, the role of governance and the economics of taxation, to their governance. The difference is that in this age of instant media, the President’s use of prayer and faith is broadcast and shared while the culture of the nation is subjected to greater humanist pressures from the left against both moral standards and religion in general.
"The southernization of the Republican Party and the rise of evangelicals as a political force have restructured U.S. politics. When I was a young fellow, fundamentalists were a disdained minority, raw material that H.L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis ("Elmer Gantry") used to make jokes about the Bible Belt.

But in recent years, the religious right has made alliances with right-wing Catholics over abortion and right-wing Jews over the Holy Land. Such alliances have given the evangelicals a measure of political respectability.

Statistics on religion are notoriously unreliable, but it may be, as the Pew Center for the People & the Press asserts, that evangelicals now outnumber mainline Protestants. The religious right constitutes Bush's political base, and the result is the first faith-based presidency in U.S. history.”

I have not ever been so positively inclined to be associated with the religious right as I am by reading Schlesinger’s words. If it is the evangelical who aligns himself with the Catholic in defense of life, or the Jew in defense of the State of Israel, then count me among them. Schlesinger continues:
"Bush's first executive order was to establish the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In fiscal 2003, as our president told a White House conference, the federal government gave more than $1 billion to faith-based organizations. And Bush is unique among presidents in his extensive application of religious tests to secular issues.

The opposition to stem cell research that so disturbs Nancy Reagan is typical. Stem cell research promises to expedite cures for Alzheimer's, diabetes, AIDS, Parkinson's and other diseases. But evangelicals are against it, and so is Bush.”

As a historian, I would have expected some mention of the facts here, the President’s opposition is to federally funded stem cell research beyond existing lines of stem cells. Like many of us, his views on private stem cell research are unknown. Instead of noting this, Schlesinger drops the names of icons of the right who out of personal tragedy have moved to a different position. This is shameful.
"Equally alarming is the use of churches for political purposes. A Bush campaign document, according to the New York Times, lays out "a brisk schedule for legions of Christian supporters to help enlist 'conservative churches' and their members, including sending church directories to the campaign."

There is no doubt about the authenticity of Bush's conversion. He would not be president today unless the born-again experience had charged his life with new meaning, purpose and discipline. Redemption through commitment to Jesus is what made him a man and a leader.

But, as author Bob Woodward said in "Bush at War": "The president was casting his mission and that of the country in the grand vision of God's master plan." There is a messianic certitude about our president's pronouncements.

A fanatic, as Finley Peter Dunne's fictitious Mr. Dooley said, does what he thinks the Lord would do if he only knew the facts in the case. The most dangerous people in the world today are those who persuade themselves that they are executing the will of the Almighty.”

While on a shameful rant why not include the pandering of the President’s opposition as he uses faith to justify his social agenda while claiming it cannot guide him on the great moral questions of our day. Instead, Schlesinger offers what he sees as negative statements of the President’s view and mission. It is most likely that Schlesinger is aiming at Jewish and secular voters who might find offense in the “messianic” certitude of the President. It is not unflattering to the President, only to the author.
"Lincoln summed it all up in his second inaugural address. Both warring halves of the nation, he said, had read the same Bible and prayed to the same God. Each invoked God's aid against the other.

As Lincoln said, " … let us judge not, that we be not judged…. The Almighty has his own purposes."

Indeed Lincoln understood something that the opposition to the President today does not. The Almighty will judge us all, and Lincoln in defense of the principles of our founding and to preserve the greater union stood before men of similar faith and fought not in the defense of the divine but in defense of his nation. Can we say the same of those who are opposing President Bush while he defends our nation?

October 25, 2004

Of Friends and Enemies

Alpha Patriot has an excellent summary of the character of candidates based on the friends they keep, so to speak.

He starts with a quote from the novel Lord Jim: "You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends." It is well worth reading.

His summary:

"But the bottom line is this: AWAT nations ("Axis of Weasels, Appeasers and Terrorists") cozy up to Kerry. Nations fighting terrorism and those with recent experience with oppressive regimes (like Poland and Vietnamese-Americans) back Bush.

And that is precisely why Dubya must win eight days from now. "


Saddle sore.

The weekend is over. The Red Sox are up 2 games to none. The Dolphins won (finally). The Huskers lost (again). The Tar Heels took the weekend off (mercifully). College basketball seems so far away.

Each week my sabbath comes when much needed, but never so much as it seemed to be needed this past weekend. The week wore me down. I read more and more "news" and posted less and less. I was asked, are you tired of blogging? No.

What wore me down last week was seeing the lowest common denominator rise to the top in the media and on the streets of a my nation. This week may be the same. We are so close to the expected end of this election cycle and it can't come soon enough for me. I don't want to hear a candidate’s wife saying that riots will not only happen if her husband's ticket wins. I don't want to see more American's, of either party, scaring people into voting for their candidate or pandering for votes. I am naive enough to believe that principles still matter and as such we would lift ourselves from the coarse base of our nature and seek higher ground.

A friend announced to me that President Bush would get her vote. The reason, the Senator had gone hunting for votes, both figuratively and literally. It pleased me to know that the President would get one more vote, and an unexpected vote at that, yet I couldn’t help but think, why would the life of a goose, killed in sport as a counter to the NRA’s support for the President, warrant such significance, while the very principles of our nation and of her liberty are ignored. All politics is local, or so the saying goes, and nothing is more local than that which resides within, our character. This isn't about Kerry or Bush, it is about us, about each of us, and yet we are unable to see it as such.

With much trepidation I await the counting of the votes, the riots in the street and the continued breaking down of the single greatest force for good in a world going mad.

October 20, 2004

A Divided World | A Divided Nation

It appears the entire world has an opinion, or a candidate, in the race for the White House. This is not by chance. A straightforward analysis of the world today reflects that the world is divided sharply, just as this nation is, hence the willingness of political leaders from around the world to state their beliefs about the proper man for the Oval Office. We are apt to pin the divide both at home and abroad on one issue. When we do so, we are wrong.

Foremost among the commonlly recognized divides is the Global War on Terror or the Iraqi campaign in particular. However, the greater divides have led to the GWOT divide, just as they’ve led to the divide of Israel and the Palestinians. The greater divides are more esoteric to some, and unmentionable to others. They include issues such as virtue or vice, excellence or mediocrity, man or mankind and individual liberty or societal equity. Do all people or nations who fall on one side or the other of any particular divide see things alike? Of course not, yet those who follow the general path of opposition to the war also tend to be of the opposition in each of the other areas.

The divided world arises from several issues. The most commonly discussed is, as noted above, the Global War on Terror or the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq and the ensuing effort to build a free and democratic Iraq. In addition we are divided by our very nature as a society from much of the world, this divide is between virtue and vice. Indeed, the U.S., a nation where most any vice can be found, stands as the beacon of virtue, while the defenders of the most terrible of vices stand against us. The world is also divided by its expectations for its people and their fulfillment. Here we see excellence against mediocrity. And of course, fueling each of these great divides, the churning battle between liberty and socialism.

While we might enjoy an exploration of how we came to this divide, our current attention must be the battle at hand. The fronts in the undeclared war of liberty and socialism are many, so many that we are each involved in not just one, the personal battle to elevate ourselves to the most noble of human characteristics, rather we are involved, knowingly or not, in a majority of them. Thankfully so, as our votes are a testament to our stand in this war.

In the United States, the most significant of the battles is taking place. It isn’t the most significant because the writer of this blog lives in the U.S., but rather because the U.S. is the spearhead of the defense of liberty, even while the war wages on within the U.S. President Bush, his supporters, and like-minded people around the world, are the leading proponents for the liberty of man over the limitations of societal whimsy. The President represents a belief that the individual determines his success or failure not the government or the collective view its citizens. He espouses entrepreneurial effort, a disciplined work ethic, self-reliance and a value system that honors rather than limits man’s capacity to succeed. The Senator from Massachusetts offers the more globally prevalent, socialist inspired view which has led to the decline of Western European influence, economic stagnation, moral ambivalence and stirred the more base nature of man to prominence and broad acceptance.

In Europe and the U.N., the war also has many fronts as the French, German and new Spanish governments represent the Islamophobic Socialist for Appeasement, while the recently liberated, and those holding any remnants of moral clarity remain staunchly supportive of the U.S. and of liberty. The much-maligned Coalition of the Willing is comprised not of traditional Allies of the U.S. rather it is comprised of the few who remain true to the cause of liberty, as many former allies were not so much advocates of liberty as they were self-serving tag-a-longs while the threat of the Soviet Union stood at their doorstep. What we’ve seen in recent months is that the much larger Coalition of the Coerced, Corrupt and Condemned will do or say anything to prevent the recognition of their money trial to terrorist, while at home they take measures to deny religious freedoms, constrain individual rights and maintain power within their governments. The French, builders of the Statue of Liberty, are expelling children who wear religious garments to school, and are unwilling to come to the defense of the people of Iraq fighting terrorist in their nation. The fear of Islamic terror has blinded them to their own hypocrisy, just as their greed blinded them to the moral injustices of their support for Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Syria, and the Sudan. They have become default leaders of the Axis of Ambiguity, soon to be the Axis of the Irrelevant.

When we re-elect President Bush, we are sending a signal to the world that the U.S. is not about to cede our rightful place as leaders of the free world. The task afterwards will be to continue to develop new allies in the lands once occupied by our enemies, to stand resolute, when the U.N. will not, and to work to defend liberty at home and in our enemy’s backyard. The U.S. has a noble calling, let us answer it well.

October 19, 2004

Edward's Haven

John Edwards on President Bush's efforts in Iraq:

"He's created something that didn't exist before the war in Iraq - he's created a haven for terrorists".
What sanctuary or safety do terrorist in Iraq feel today?

No it isn't a new statement. It just strikes me as worth being posted. We can't show the ignorance of Senator Pander and Senator Edwards too many times.

Answering Neu

Just in case you don’t know I will let you in on a not so well kept secret, we are at war. Not a single day since September 11, 2001 have I doubted it or forgotten it. It sorrows me that I didn’t know prior to that horrible day. I had reason to know, but I did not permit myself to see it as such. In a way, I was much like Senator Pander; I convinced myself that terror and terrorists were a nuisance. With the knowledge that our political, intelligence, military and law enforcement communities were on the case, I slept well and believed the matter to be under control. As we know now, it wasn’t.

The single greatest factor to our winning the global war on terror will not be our destruction of their ability to commit acts of terror, but the removal of their desire, will and belief that terror is an alternative, or more properly said, that terror is necessary. There are voices on occasion in the Arab world that cry out against terrorist and terrorism. Our military forces in Iraq have met many who understand and appreciate our role in Iraq as that of liberator rather than occupier. Yet I believe that too many retain the inability to see it.

The most popular story emailed from the al-Jazeera website is described as a look into the political roots of American insecurity. This is not by chance. It is a symptom of the plague of amoral at best or immoral ideological views held by Arab and Muslim men. While some attribute the problem to Arab identity, legitimacy and authority, or lack thereof, the majority continue to attribute the problem to the policies of the U.S. and primary among those our policies with regard to Israel.

The reporter points to Richard Neu’s words in a report from the RAND Corporation. Neu says "Understanding the root causes of Islamic anti-Americanism and crafting policies to discourage its violent manifestations will require consideration of at least seven fundamental questions".

As some may say is always the case, I have an opinion and here are my thoughts regarding each question (the questions are quoted for your easy reference).

"1. How extensive is anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world? Is a proclivity toward anti-American violence characteristic of only isolated rogue groups that might, at least in theory, be hunted down and destroyed? Or are such sentiments widespread in the Muslim world, requiring a broad campaign of action and public diplomacy to win over hearts and minds?"
1. The extent of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world is greater than represented by terrorist and should not be seen as a direct indicator of the size or scope of terror organizations, just as in the U.S., or Europe, anti-American sentiment does not equate to terrorist. In addition, it should not be the determining factor in the tactics used to combat terror, nor in the strategy employed to defeat the ideology that spews forth terrorists.
"2. Too much modernity, or not enough? Some writers have focused attention on the disappointments and humiliations suffered by Muslims—and especially Arabs—in recent years. Many Muslims recognize that something has gone wrong with their once-proud and once-successful culture. And an increasingly strident debate has sprung up about the causes of recent impotence and dysfunction. Often, this debate pits Western-oriented modernizers against Islamic fundamentalists who seek closer adherence to traditional Muslim principles. How much of what is manifested as rage against America grows out of a desire to recapture past Arabic and Islamic glory? Can Americans help to reconcile Western modernity with Muslim tradition and achievement?"
2. While we look to tomorrow, to a brighter future, to opportunity and the fulfillment of dreams, the Arab and Muslim world looks to the past and seeks a return of their romanticized glory days. We may play a significant role in the reversal by bringing liberty to the Arab world, while respecting the traditional social morays of the religion. The greater task will be for the Muslim cleric to alter the methods of both education with regard to their faith and the means by which men are valued in their society. Our churches and synagogues teach the moral lessons of Judeo-Christian heritage, while in the mosque, the Khutbah states without equivocation the expected behavior of a Muslim. If you have submitted to God, Allah in this case, are you seeking the moral lessons of Islam, or rather the direct law (as seen in Fiqh or Jurisprudence) and guidance of personal, business and state behavior.
"3. Are American values a threat? In many eyes—and not just in the Muslim world—America represents an aggressive manifestation of a particular set of political values: democracy, economic liberalism, individual rights and responsibilities, strict separation of religion and governance, and a willingness to question established beliefs and practices. More invasive may be American popular culture with its secularism, consumerism, promiscuity, freedom for women, and suspicion of authority. America's dominance in the modern world makes American values impossible to ignore. Can modernist American values and traditional Muslim values coexist? Or are Muslim fundamentalists correct that the dominance of American values poses an existential threat to Muslim societies? We cannot, of course, change our values. Can we convince Muslims that our values pose no threat?"
3. American values and the traditional Muslim values can coexist, with one very significant caveat. The traditional Muslim must broaden their values to include liberty, remembering that their can be no compulsion in religion, seeing the broader value of individuals choosing to live righteously in a world of unrighteousness. Are we capable of convincing Muslims of the value of liberty? No. However, that will come from within as those who experience liberty, and the freedom to misbehave, chooses instead to live a life within the framework of traditional Islam.
"4. Does poverty breed terrorism? Not all those who wish to harm Americans come from the ranks of the poor, the unemployed, or the uneducated. Yet it is hard to dismiss the hypothesis that forced idleness, little or no hope for a materially better future, and the sense of impotence that comes from deprivation will breed at least sympathy for those who attack the richest and most powerful country in the world, a country whose wealth and power depend crucially on energy resources derived from the Muslim world. Can economic development and poverty reduction decrease support for terrorists?"
4. I do not believe that poverty creates terrorism, however, I do believe that economic opportunity and a political voice will impact the ability to recruit and develop terrorist removing the barriers that create the current captive audience.
"5. Is it the company we keep? Some Muslims find themselves estranged from their own governments, which they see as corrupt, oppressing their own peoples, and selling out to false Western ideals. U.S. support for these regimes is sometimes seen as a cynical exchange for access to energy resources and military basing rights. To what extent does anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world reflect not a rejection of American values and policies but outrage at American support for regimes of dubious competence or legitimacy? Can we—should we—push these governments toward effective reform?"
5. We not only should but we must push for reform in the governments of the Middle East. It would be hypocritical and immoral for us to state the failings of those governments and the impact they have on repressing liberty within the Muslim world, and do nothing to change the situation. In Saudi Arabia for instance, the Wahabi, and for that matter many who do not consider themselves Wahabi or Salafi, regularly ridicule the Royal family’s hypocrisy as they proclaim to be keeper of the two holies and practice the most repugnant of behaviors usually associated with American liberal excess. This is by no means a call for overthrow, but rather a statement that we should press for a greater liberalization across the society and an increase in both individual liberty and participation within the government. Some of which has begun.
"6. Can Americans be secure if Israelis and Palestinians are not? Certainly, the continuing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis complicates relations between America and the Muslim world. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, must America remain a target for terror? And if this conflict were somehow resolved, how much Muslim antipathy toward America would still remain?"
6. The use of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict by Muslims, and yes it is use, abuse, and outright untruth, will remain a point of contention and inflame anti-American sentiment. The change necessary, toward truth, acceptance and liberty, among the Arab and Muslim states and their citizens will not occur overnight. The political forces of each Arab nation play a significant role in fanning the fires of resentment. Only when they accept Israel, will the citizens begin to erase the now state and religious sponsored bigotry prevalent in the Middle East.
"7. How can we fight terrorists and still win friends? Military action against terrorists, pressure on foreign governments to round up suspected terrorists and their sympathizers, and more aggressive efforts to defend Americans against terrorism will inevitably harden some hearts against America and create propaganda opportunities for those who portray America as unjust, biased, or evil. Indeed, suspicion of—if not hatred for—the United States in the Muslim world may well have increased in the past year. How can we pursue the necessary war against terrorists without losing the broader struggle against anti-American sentiment?"
7. The question presumes that the cause of terrorism is our action. No matter the propaganda efforts, our pursuit of a just cause must not waiver. Only our strident pursuit of terror, while preserving the lives of the innocent and providing liberty where none had been will close the doors to those who recruit new terrorist. As to the anti-American sentiment, it is a self-imposed prison and one that each Arab or Muslim possesses the key to.

As always, it is possible that I am completely off the mark, and while I’d like to write much further on each of the seven questions, I’ll refrain for now. Instead, I offer a summary of the theme of my opinion on the issue in general. It is the Arab and Muslim world that has failed to fight terrorism, so now we are. It is the Arab and Muslim governments and clergy that must wash away the ideology behind the terrorist. It will happen through their efforts or after we’ve removed their authority through our efforts.

Bush is no Grant

Like many of you, I enjoy looking into history for lessons that may help understand the issues of today. In reading James P. Gannon’s USA Today column comparing President Bush and President Ulysses S. Grant, it became clear that while there are many similarities between the current President and General Grant, the similarities between them as occupants of the Oval Office are few. For the purposes of his comparison, Gannon used Josiah Bunting III’s recent biography of President Grant.

The column is, of course, well written and well thought out, as Gannon, a now retired journalist is a master of his craft. Yet it was incomplete. How can one compare the positives of General Grant with President Bush and then the negative aspects of President Grant’s tenure without noting how vastly different President Bush is as a chief executive.

It is fair to note the similarity in their lack of comfort in debate or public speaking, and their absolute conviction of purpose in the pursuit of victory. However, President Grant, as noted, was not a successful administrator. Prseident Bush on the other hand has shown that he is a chief executive of the highest order. He has from the outset of his political career, or at least since his run for governor of Texas, surrounded himself with the brightest minds available, men and women of a wide variety of personal and political backgrounds with varying opinions and leanings. As we would expect of a chief executive, he then makes and stands by decisions not to please them, rather based on his judgment regarding the data they’ve presented. Precisely the error of Grant, as his loyalty to his subordinates made him incapable of acting in a manner that didn’t suit them. In Gannon's own words:

"But Bush's record as president shows a willingness to make big decisions, take big risks, stick with a course of action and play for victory. This is the essence of strong leadership."
President Bush is no President Grant. While General Grant was an effective and powerful leader, as President he was out of his realm. President Bush may have the conviction of General Grant, and may even have political communications issues similar to Grant, but unlike Grant, he completes the office of the presidency by being more than a Commander in Chief, he is the Chief Executive Officer of our nation, a role President Grant never fully grasped.

Via RealClearPolitics.

October 18, 2004

Do we deserve to lose?

One of the sharpest minds in the blogosphere, Gregory Djerejian, received an email from a reader detailing why we deserve to lose the election. The email charges that we deserve to lose the election because we “neoconservatives” deceived America about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. His thesis being that we had no reason to fear WMD’s falling into the hands of terrorist through Saddam. Not because of Saddam’s possession or lack thereof, but because:

“After years of effort and billions spent, there was not the slightest chance that Saddam would have given his nukes to terrorists. Saddam had no interest in jihad. Saddam was interested in Saddam.”
Djerejian asks several questions after the letter, the entirety of which was included in his post. His questions deserve more of an answer than a simple comment would permit. Hence, here is my response from his comments section, and I’ll answer his questions also.
”After reading this letter, my first thought was that the reader is hiding his fear, he is afraid that his post 9/11 convictions will be left without vindication in the world following the GWOT. It was not absurd to think that Saddam’s weapons may end up in the hands of terrorist, his money did, and if the terrorist provided a means of delivery he was incapable of, he would have sold them for the right price. We, as a nation, are not afraid of terrorist at this time, and the main reason for that is that we’ve taken the war to them, we’ve disrupted the systems that created them, and little by little we are expanding the reach of liberty into their lives. It is possible that they may strike again, and we are reasonably doing all that we can to prevent it and to be aware of the danger, but we are not afraid or constricted by fear. Our economy, our travel, our entertainment, our nonchalance and play reflect our lack of fear, while our voting for President Bush, continuing the war, and vigilance reflect our determination not to suffer 9/11 again.

The candidate’s expression of concern is just that, they are seeking to ensure that we do not face another 9/11, and acting in our self-defense ahead of such a terrible day. As to the best shot of al-Qaeda or other terrorist, if we act with the resolve we have thus far, it will in fact be their best shot. If it isn’t, it’ll be because we failed to take the measures necessary, failed to pursue them with appropriate vigor, and failed to reign in ‘rogue’ states. As with Vietnam, it is the politics behind the war that give hope to the enemy, not the battlefields.”

Have we become too paranoid post 9/11? In a word – No. We may have been for a short period of time following 9/11, remember duct tape, but the paranoia and it’s debilitating effects are gone. In it’s place is a healthy respect for our security, and a much needed resolve to ensure that it never occurs again.

Is the specter of nuclear terrorism blown out of proportion? No. Where are the masses moving from metropolitan areas, or clamoring to build bunkers? Y2K was blown out of proportion; our concern about nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist is scaled appropriately.

All the talk about miniaturized nukes in a back-pack in a city near you? (Note that both Kerry and Bush stated in a recent debate that loose nukes were their greatest fear. What, specifically, do they fear? Rogue states with them? al-Qaeda and Co. with them?) Both. They understandably don’t want them in the hands of ‘rogue’ states, or in the hands of terrorist, no matter the affiliation. Think of Tel Aviv or Rome being attacked, or worse, Moscow or Washington. I applaud their concern and the President’s efforts to ensure that nukes do not end up the hands of anyone who would use them.

What about chemical and biological weaponry? Same as above.

If air-liners loaded with jetfuel were the last battle--well, what's the next one? Or was 9/11 some horrific one-off--al-Qaeda's A-team hitting us with their best shot--the group and its affiliates not really capable of anything much more than blowing up a few train cars and hotels? Next, we determined, not them. That is the point of the war, and the liberation of Iraq. They may seek other attacks, but we will continue to force the issue and to take the battle to them rather than waiting on the next A-team of terrorists.

As to Djerejian's belief that a major attack is likely in a western city in the next decade, it remains a possibility. One that we thwart not by losing this election, or seeking a premature peace with Iran, NK, or Syria. To prevent it, we must remain on point and pursue the enemy at all cost.

In essence, the GWOT is successful because it has relieved us from the incapacitating fear that held us in the months that followed 9/11. Each morning when the sun rises, when we hear planes flying over, we may remember, but we are not afraid. When al-Qaeda members here planes flying over they are.

A Response to a Reader

In response to a reader’s comment, regarding Colorado's Amendment 36, I’m attempting to outline a “non-partisan” statement regarding why it should not be supported. Previously discussed here and here.

Anne wonders, what do we really lose by supporting Amendment 36, aside from battleground status?

First, we would certainly lose the significance of 9 votes in exchange for one, as we would send a 5 – 4 split to the Electoral College. While this may not be a compelling argument for some, for others, it is enough.

Second, we would lose one of the most significant aspects of our heritage as a federal republic. As a federal republic, we elect a President not as a majority of citizens, but as a majority of electors representing the states. No argument for a “pure” democracy is seriously being made by Amendment 36, only an argument to weaken Colorado’s role in the republic. Voting for it because one believes it to be a more democratic and modern form for electing the President would only be valid if all the states were participating.

Third, your comment says you are seeking to understand without the partisan “crap” associated with the issue. The bi-partisan support for defeating Amendment 36 is shown in the list of newspapers that have stated their position against the Amendment. They include: The Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Boulder Daily Camera, The Steamboat Pilot, and The Greeley Tribune, as well as many national papers, and both of Colorado's candidates for the Senate.

So in summary, it is a bad idea, without regard for this year’s political ramifications. Anne, I hope that helps.

Hewitt Symposium - Why Bush? Why Not Kerry?

President Bush is a man of character, and a principled leader who understands that over 4000 American lives have been lost in the war on terror. He has brought liberty and democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the terror that fomented in those very nations. President Bush has offered all Americans greater liberty and economic opportunity by cutting taxes for all Americans. His judgment and character are evident in the difficult decisions he has made and more so in the resolve with which he has stood by his decisions in defense of life and bringing hope to those who have had none. He has not just occupied the Oval Office; President Bush has been all that a President should be.

Senator Pander offers an unacceptable alternative. He has attempted to be all things to all people and in doing so has shown that he is incapable of taking a stand on the issues of the most significance during this years election cycle. He professes idealism and an otherworldly belief that he is capable of diplomatic resolutions to the war on terror, while his record reflects neither diplomatic success nor a principled core behind his idealism. In essence, a vote for Kerry is a vote for ignoring the threats this nation faces and returning to a pre 9/11 worldview.

In the end, it is character, and President Bush has the character required of the office. John Kerry doesn’t have the character to lead the nation, in war or to peace.

October 15, 2004

Hewitt's Weekend Symposium

This weeks symposium question - How deep a hole have John Kerry, Mary Beth Cahill and the Edwards dug for themselves? How lasting the damage?

The hole, an abyss. They have jumped headfirst into the abyss of the morally averse. While I hold out hope for any who fall for the allure held in the sweet candy of relativism, Kerry is not likely to overcome it. The damage is permanent as a testament to his character, as to his election, a meaningful apology is the only recourse, and that is not only unlikely but would also be hard to find sincere.

Oink, Oink! Come here Soooiiieee!!!

Contradictions. In her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Ayn Rand presents, through the character of John Galt, that when faced with contradictions we must examine our premises. The challenge in daily life, not shown to a great extent in any character other than Dagny Taggart, is that even when reason leads to the knowledge that contradictions are present it is not a given that we will resolve them (of course the failings of the looters and moochers show they too are filled with contradictions, but they are unaware of them). Just as we do not act on our beliefs or stand by the moral truths we hold. In fact, we do not live by simple truths we know, without regard for any moral or ethical argument for them.

Two diverse points that I’d like to address, one prompted by Sherry, who has posted a telling view of the failure of the U.N. to act on the genocide in the Sudan, and our ability or willingness to ignore the situation. The other, prompted by a comment from Haggy Sis, it’s her moniker not mine, on the discussion of health care reform, following my blogging the debate.

As to health care, as Haggy Sis noted, both candidates are proposing reform. Her consternation seems to be that while they reform the industry that it simply lines the pockets of insurance companies, drug companies or as I added, trial lawyers. The goal should be prevention rather than pumping bodies full of drugs, to paraphrase her words.

What’s my take on the issue?

There are limits, whether we like to admit it or not, to the culpability of the government with regard to the failings of the health care industry. In general, we live longer and “better” than we ever have before, and it is costing a fortune to do so. Is there any way to correlate the fact that we live longer to the higher cost of insurance, surely not, as the cost has far outpaced any recent extension to the length or quality of our lives. As I see it, the government’s role, aside from protecting us from snake oil salesmen should be very limited. The minimal safety net, serving the indigent and needy, and the continuation of services for veterans who’ve earned the medical care through their past service for this country are the limits of my comfort level with federal government involvement. Should a particular state want to do more, great for them, those who don’t wish to support it and the taxation that will pay for it may move to other states.

The real crux of the issue is three fold, as I see it. First, the American obsession with health care and health insurance, second the government enabling and in some cases, participating, in the binding of health care providers through insurance regulation, and finally the legalized extortion practiced by trial lawyers on behalf of “victims” throughout our land.

We don’t like to be told it is our fault. But the health care issue is our fault. We pay for health care insurance, which unlike any other form of insurance, we intend to use. In effect we pay to have an additional regulatory bureaucracy overlooking our general health care so that we might not pay as much when we do visit a physician. If we only bought catastrophic health care insurance instead, the impact would be positive on both the cost of an individual visit, as well as on the overall care we would receive. But we’ve grown to believe that it is an entitlement or a right, first that employers must provide it, and now that they are no longer able to afford it the government must step in. We have caused the crisis, and the government will not fix it. The best we can hope for is the government to unbind the providers from the insurance industry, end the legalized extortion, and encourage practitioners to once again accept cash paying patients. It will take time, and a willingness to divorce ourselves from the insurance we have. Frankly, I see little hope for this in the current fear driven culture of America. But then again, I’m an optimist so I’ll keep pressing for change.

How do you jump from health care to the Sudan in a single bound? As I see it, easily. We’ve responded to internal cries of injustice with such a resounding scream that almost all Americans are now convinced that the federal government is key to resolving the health care crisis. We are blind to truth. We are blind to the ineptitude of the U.N. and the moral ambivalence of the nations wielding power in the U.N. The same media, who blinds us to the truths of our role in the “crisis” of health care, blinds us by ignoring the U.N.’s willingness to stall while thousands die in the Sudan. As I’ve noted before, it is a bigoted and racist hatred that fuels the genocide in the Sudan. The U.N., self-proclaimed protector of human rights and of the weak, watches as Arab Muslims kill blacks in the Sudan. The contradictory message of the U.N. is clear. Israel must be stopped in the Gaza and a resolution, vetoed by the U.S., has already been offered. The Sudan, for years has seen blood spilled, and the U.N. has watched. Only when the U.S. stepped up, did they act, and that was to commission a study of the issue. Supporting the U.N. is not supporting a moral and erstwhile cause; it is supporting the subterfuge of human rights, the ceding of liberty and the systematic loss of justice in the world. Step by step along side the U.N., is the mainstream media. And right behind them, blindly singing Kumbaya are the masses.

Our media plays a great role in feeding us the contradictions that we accept and before long we are asking for more. As such, we are rarely victims of anything other than our willingness to feed from the trough of untruth. And a pig eating from a trough can easily be led to the slaughterhouse.

October 14, 2004

Social Do-Gooders on the Left

It isn’t the intolerant conservatives, or the intolerant Christians; it isn’t even the French Muslims that are calling for an end to the Crazy Horse Paris. It’s the Native American, or the Indian descendant of Crazy Horse, Harvey White Woman.

I’m not making this up. Apparently White Woman saw a special on HBO, which featured the famous strip club or nightclub, and he didn’t like it.

His complaint: "I saw the name and I said, 'That's not right.' When you say the name Crazy Horse, you don't conjure up nightclubs. You conjure up the warrior".

The founder of the club was fascinated by the Wild West and themed the club after the era he cherished. Go figure. The left has done such a good job of fostering tolerance.

UPDATE: A reader questions what's my point, he isn't saying that nightclubs are wrong only that the name is. Indeed, that is my point. The left is not concerned by human behavior or moral issues, it is the "wrongful" use of the name. Tolerance of immorality but intolerance of using historical references from the public domain, even if they are done in a celebratory way.

And finally, no I'm not for closing nightclubs, I hold that the regulation of them, where and how they operate should be a local community (city - county) issue. It is the individual liberty of the proprietor to operate them, and my choice then to patronize or not. Just as it would be my communities decision to regulate them, keep them away from schools or churches and to set limits on the behavior within them, or in some cases banning them completely.

Intimidating Voters

The news breaking Drudge offers the following for us today.

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU OCT 14, 2004 10:58:04 ET XXXXX

DNC ELECTION MANUAL: CHARGE VOTER INTIMIDATION, EVEN IF NONE EXISTS

**World Exclusive**

The Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee are advising election operatives to declare voter intimidation -- even if none exists, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

A 66-page mobilization plan to be issued by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee states: "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'"

[HIGHLIGHT OF ELECTION DAY MANUAL, NOVEMBER 2004. CLICK FOR IMAGE .JPG FILE]

The provocative Dem battle plan is to be distributed in dozens of states, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

One top DNC official confirmed the manual's authenticity, but claimed the notion of crying wolf on any voter intimidation is "absurd."

"We all know the Republicans are going to try to steal the election by scaring people and confusing people," the top DNC source explained.

Developing...

I am not surprised that this sort of thing would exist within the current DNC. Only that they would be so foolish as to let it get out.

Do You Support An Opportunistic Pimp?

I have, since the second Presidential debate, called John Kerry, Senator Pander. This was prompted by his incredulous words in that debate – “That would be pandering”. Yes sir, it was and you are.

We are to believe that the Senator is for the troops, while he condemns the war, votes against funding the supplies they need, and questions the motives of those who support the war, including the Prime Minister of Iraq.

We are to believe that the Senator is for securing America, the "homeland", after he recommended cutting the CIA’s budget, denigrates the efforts of our HSD, and asserts that the world view of our national security should play any role in a President’s decision to act on perceived threats.

We are to believe that the Senator respects Americans, in fact that he is one of us, the little people, yet he provides arguments for success envy (it isn’t class envy), offers duplicitous answers to fuel the “gimme” voter rather than the principled positions based on his beliefs, and claims to respect the views of the religious, even posing as one, while stating that he cannot vote according to those views, even if they are of his faith.

I don’t respect Senator Pander. I respect the views of the outright socialist, communist, leftist and fascist more so than I do him. He isn’t liberal, neither classically nor in the more modern Liberal sense. He is an opportunist. How can you be guided by your faith, while claiming that you cannot transfer it to others? The truly faithful not only know, but admit, or rather proclaim, that their moral understanding are based on their faith and while they are not akin to making all sins illegal, they see the value of life and liberty as the most significant of moral causes. Defending them is just, and ignoring the moral truth of both is unjust. The Senator wants us to believe that he shares our moral compass, yet he is unwilling to require others to abide by it. I’ve never asked any man to vote for a law because it is the view of my faith that something is a sin, but my moral view of liberty supports the arguments for preserving the life of the unborn, defending the life of the innocent and yes, taking the life of those who take the liberty of others (i.e. terrorist, those who commit murder or foreign governments at war with the defenders of Liberty).

Senator Pander is pimping the American government to the people of America and to the world. He sells it as the solution to all our problems, the harbinger of progress and peace, and the rightful judge of what is worthy or unworthy in your life but unworthy of standing to defend itself. I reject all that he is, his view of America and the moral vacuum of his pretence of faith. Go sell it somewhere else, Senator I’m not buying.

October 13, 2004

Fingers covered with hot wing sauce.

Hot wing sauce still on my fingers, sorry keyboard, but I had to say a bit more before my wee mind loses it.

First, the bringing up of the sexual orientation of Vice President Cheney's daughter is just wrong and an empty gratuitous attempt to make it an issue. Pander failed to state how he agrees with the President but doesn't support the DOMA. Being a federalist, one can make an argument for the states rights position, however, we know that Kerry is not a federalist in that since. Either way, the people support DOMA because they understand that the courts are attempting to re-define marriage.

Second, the Senator has a litmus test on the appointment of judges. While the left wants to tell us that they've blocked President Bush's nominees because they are not mainstream and because they had to meet the President's litmus test, yet it is the Senator who has the test. And what is it - supporting the Roe v. Wade decision.

Third, the Senator claims 56 pieces of legislation, the Bush camp says it's 5 (4 resolutions, 1 bill). The right number is 5. 5 pieces that were signed by a President over the last 20 years. 56 that did not get signed, either by veto, or failing in the house or in joint committees.

Fourth, we should not be having this conversation, it is clear that the Senator is untrustworthy, no matter his Mom's advice, and that he married up (by his own admission), and that his record, the single greatest testament to his ideological leanings shows that he is far too left leaning and holds too great a connection to global opinion or European alliances.

Tomorrow the press will show that President Bush said on March 13, 2002 "I truly am not that concerned about him" speaking of UbL. They will say that the President lied in the debate. What they will not say is what the President went on to say after that comment, and the context of it. The context matters, and in this particular case, we were killing the alligators, and UbL is just one of them, now that we've begun to clear away the swamp, he has less room to hide, and the day will come when he is caught or killed, frankly I'd prefer a President who doesn't pay too much attention to one individual because he sees the bigger picture.

I know that many out there didn't enjoy the debate, for me it went faster than the others and I enjoyed it, except when Pander spoke. So 44% of the time, it was enjoyable. I may or may not post more later tonight, if not, then I'll see in the morning.

Wait - one more thing - my wife asked if I knew what she was doing during the debate? No... what? Praying, do you think many others were? Hell yeah. Sorry.

Bush Wins the 3rd Debate by a Wide Margin

The debate is over. So is the race.

President Bush won the debate, not by a small margin and this was supposed to be the Senator's strength. The live blogging was easier this time, a matter of practice I suppose.

I've got to eat a bit, but afterwords, I'll post more.

Debate Coverage Next

Here goes the coverage. Live blogging again.

1. Will we be safe again?
Pander - 95% uninspected cargo, airline cargo, cops, and I will do it right and like FDR, Reagan, etc..... alliances of course.

President - Yes. 75% of al-Qaeda captured, Afghan elections, "nuisance" thoughts are dangerous. Strong leadership

Pander - outsourcing at Tora Bora. not concerned about UbL.

President - hand waving is prehaps not a help.

Overall, a good response from the President. Seems highly confident of himself today. Red tie is bright.

2. Flu Vaccine?
President - Single source from the U.K. Don't get it unless you are high risk. Hasn't had one himself and will not. Points to legal reform needed to free companies from law suits.

Pander - Health insurance - lots of numbers but where is the answer. I have a plan (1).

President - a plan isn't a litany of complaints or things you can't pay for. bait and switch.

Pander - use congressional plan.

Another point for the President.

3. Debt and Spending
Pander - My plans, my plans, my plans. Roll back the tax cuts on the wealthy. Name dropping "McCain". Voice breaking.

President - his rhetoric doesn't match his record. 2.2 trillion in new spending - 600 billion or 800 billion, still a gap. pro-growth and fiscal sanity.

Good job Mr. President.

4. What do you say to someone who's lost his job to someone from overseas?
President - Education and growing the economy.

Pander - the Pres switched, and now I'll switch.... not an effective argument dispite his enthusiam.

5. Is it fair to blame the Pres. for loss of jobs?
Pander - Can't blame him, but will do more to prevent it. Then goes on to blame the President for everything. I will fight.

President - Money in your pocket from tax relief, child credit, marriage penalty, 10% bracket, it's your money and he voted against the tax cuts. His record does not match his rhetoric.

Pander - Anybody can play with votes. More people qualify because they have less money.

President - #'s. Kennedy is the conservative senator from Mass. Left bank.

6. Homosexual by choice?
President - Don't know. Support Marriage and DOMA.

Pander - All God's children. Name dropping - Cheney's daughter. Believes that people are born gay. Agree with Pres. about marriage but... DOMA no.

7. Catholics opposing candidates like you - i.e. Abortion?
Pander - Supports R v. W. Catholic but I disagree. Name dropping - J.F.Kennedy. Guided by faith but without transfering it to others. Lame. Kennedy again.

President - Value all lifes. PBA supported by many from both parties, not Kerry. Promote alternatives.

8. Health Insurance cost, who is responsible?
President - Jokes... don't. Market forces are restrained. Open the markets and end the lawsuits and defensive practice of medicine. IT. Must modernize.

Pander - The administration is the cause. Is it just me or is he just too arrogant? Medicare vs. VA... not the right answer bud. Bargaining power, of course, that's it more collectivism.

President - 20 years in the Senate and no record of leadership on this issue. I came and in 2006 seniors get help.

Pander - 56 bills I've passed... sure.

Good job Mr. President.

9. Pander's health care plan.
Pander - Take from the state... Nothing else he said registered with me. Sorry.

President - Government run health care results in poor quality.

Pander - Not recommending government run health care. VA health care suffering.

President - VA health care improving. My grandparents, who visit the VA 3 or more times per week would agree, I believe.

10. Social Security reform.
President - Honor the commitment to our seniors and offer other options for younger generations. Moynihan. PSA's. An issue I'm willing to address. Cost of doing nothing is greater than trying to save it.

Pander - Invitation to disaster. I'm jaded... can't listen to him without wanting to yell back at the TV. "I have a record for voting for fiscal responsibility." I will not privatize it.

11. Greenspan says we can't pay unless we re-calibrate?
Pander - Tim Russert appearance... what? Tax cut of top 1% would have paid for. Greenspan supports the President's tax cuts, I don't. Sorry Senator Pander, but that's a pretty damning to say to the American people. Back to jobs...

President - Senator voted to tax SS. 20% pay 80% of the taxes. Spurred consumption and investment, flattened the recession, and have grown back. Don't cut taxes. Don't grow government.

12. Immigration
President - Doing more to control border. 1k more border patrol agents, UMV patrols. Temporary worker card. Not amnesty. Kerry supported amnesty.

Pander - let me just talk about the last question..... Charles Bob should say no. My plan - the borders aren't toughened up, crack down on illegal hiring, earned legalization (AMNESTY).

President - He is making outrageous claims, clearly doesn't understand the border.

Pander - Iris scans.... you've got to be kidding.

13. Minimum Wage
Pander - For raising the minimum wage. Toss in family and women and maybe we can get a few more votes.... "fundamental right" no way he said that. More consumption ability by raising minimum wage, ignorant of the increased cost and likelihood of fewer jobs in the first place.

President - Educate to close the gaps, and to raise wages. Reading as a civil right.

14. Litmus test for judges.
President - No litmus test. Should have used the time available.

Pander - President didn't answer.... what? I have a litmus test, Roe v. Wade.

President - He has a litmus test. Only a liberal senator would say a 49% increase wasn't enough. Absolutely... Absolutely....

Pander - You be the judge..... I am and you sir, are failing.

15. What would you do about holding NG and Reservist on active duty?
Pander - It reflects on the bad judgment of the Pres. Iraq. Add divisions. Double special forces. Use them for homeland security. Real alliances. Didn't go to war as last resort. Took eye off UbL. ARRGGGHHHH!!!! He is horrible, how can he say this crap. How do you add divisions, recruit new volunteers, what is your plan you blow hard.

President - Win the war.

Pander - "truth standard" rather than global test. sure.

President - He voted against 1991 Gulf War. Nothing passes the test.

Excellent.

16. Assault weapons ban.
President - Would have signed it. Believe in law abiding citizens owning guns. Prosecute those who use crimes with guns.

Pander - President's fault. I'm a hunter... ROFLMA.... I'm a former law enforcement officer. Voice cracked. Sweet. AK-47's. Terrorist can buy guns. I'd have fought for it. Name drop - Clinton. Why didn't you fight for it then Senator?

17. Race and gender in admissions and contracts no longer necessary?
Pander - No we haven't moved along enough to no longer use race/gender. AA equals inclusiveness and we've got a long way to go. Clinton. After listening to this man there is becomes clear that President Bush is responsible for all ills in the U.S. and the world. Didn't meet with CBC.

President - No quotas. Did meet with the CBC. Educate. Open contracts and minorities compete and win. Minority home ownership is up.

18. Role of Faith on Policy Decisions
President - I pray. Strength, wisdom, family, little girls, etc. It sustains me, calms me in the storms. I don't seek to impose my beliefs. God wants everybody to be free.

Pander - God gives us everything. Measure the words of the bible. Blessed by native Americans. Separate but unequal schools system. Respect everybodies right to practice or not practice their religion.

19. Bringing the nation together.
Pander - Post 9/11 Pres. did a good job. Moved by post 9/11 speech. The President is why we are so divided. I'm the fix. Name drop - McCain. Work with McCain.

President - John McCain supports me. It's about time he said that.

20. What is the most important thing you've learned from the women around you?
President - Listen to them. Stand up straight and not scowl. Audience laughed, twice. I love the strong women around me, I can't tell you how much I love Laura and our daughters. She speaks english better than I do.

Pander - We married up, some more than others. Not funny. Talks about his Mom, reminding him "integrity, integrity, integrity."

Conclusions ---

Okay, the President took the offensive, and Kerry seemed unsettled and defensive, dodging all night. President Bush wins this debate. More to come.

Christian Politics

Whether you are Christian or not, there are two recent posts that I highly recommend you read, particularly if you are interested in how religion is used or not for political purposes and how the religious often fail to recognize the true message of their faith.

First, Sherry, offers a post and a continuation, on the religious who profess that their faith cannot have an impact on their politics. I found it to be both insightful, incriminating, while not insulting, and well worth the read. Here is a sample of her recognition of the issue

"I suppose the problem for me is that I often find that in the misguided attempt to not offend anyone or any group, many Churches refuse to move beyond the Christmas and Easter messages. Those are messages of the Nativity and of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Love and redemption, the beginning and end but with little in between that is filling to the soul's natural desire for a purpose."
Second, anotherthink, offers a look at the many things that Christ never spoke of, and how some use His silence as an acceptance of them. He offers a logical extension of their argument that made me laugh at its implausibility, and wonder how it is that so many have fallen into that mode of thought. The post begins with the argument that it was Saint Paul, not Christ, who spoke out against homosexuality, therefore it must be okay. It was posted on the 6th of October, and recently linked via Blogs 4 God.

October 12, 2004

A Review of Senator Pander's Positions

With less than 21 days to go before the general election, we must continue to look to the so-called issues before and the candidate’s positions regarding them. I thought I might offer a summary of the reasons why I’m not voting for John Kerry. As those of you who’ve visited this blog more than once know (there aren’t that many of you but I will not name names), I’m not voting against Kerry. I am voting FOR President Bush. Yet there are reasons to vote against Kerry. While my primary causes are character based, this list will be policy focused.

The Senator has many plans, or so he claims. So the entirety of the following is based the plans he offers, or claims to, on his website.

Foreign Policy

1. Alliances – Senator Pander proposes a “New Era of Alliances”. I believe the old, pre-9/11 alliances failed not due to our action, but due to their inaction, their failure of resolve and moral clarity in the pursuit of securing the world against terrorist and WMD’s. The new alliances are well under way (Great Britain, Australia, Poland, Romania, Pakistan, Free Afghanistan, Free Iraq and others) and are open to others as they choose to fight for liberty and justice. We should not, shall not, seek their allegiance by weakening our resolve.

2. WMD’s – The idea that we should negotiate unilaterally (it isn’t bilateral as the North Koreans aren’t compromising) to resolve the issue in North Korea, or that we should offer assistance, even nuclear fuel, to Iran, flies in the face of all that the precedence of their actions. They will succumb to multilateral pressures or they will be isolated and defeated.

3. Global War on Terror – While the Senator offers tough talk (on occasion), his inability to acknowledge that Iraq is, was and will forever be an essential aspect of the war makes clear his lack of vision and strategic understanding of the threat posed by Islamo-fascism.

4. Winning the Peace in Iraq – I’m not interested in winning the peace. Peace is the lack of conflict. It is not won; it is the result of winning the war. Support Prime Minister Allawi and the troops on the ground, American or other, and you win the war.

5. Bridges to Arab or Muslim countries – No plan on our part builds this bridge. The President’s Greater Middle East Initiative describes the action required on the part of the Arab or Muslim world, it is their responsibility to join the world in condemning terror, liberalizing political and economic restrictions on their people, and becoming an open and contributing member of the civilized world.

Domestic Policy

My intention had been to list, as I’d been doing for Foreign Policy issues, the Senator’s positions and my thoughts concerning them. Unfortunately, after writing the first dozen or so I realized that it is unlikely that anyone would ever suffer through reading them as I had nor would they need to. His domestic policy can be summarized in a few short statements, and therefore, I offer them.

6. Government Knows Best.

7. Civil Liberties are for Special Interest Groups not Individuals.

8. Tax Policies, both Corporate and Individual are a tools available for achieving a social agenda.

9. Health care is in need of government regulation, which gives more lawyers work, rather than tort reform, which doesn’t.

And finally that leaves me with the only reasons I needed. The character of Senator Pander is lacking in many ways.

10. Loyalty – He is loyal to nothing except his endless self-aggrandizing ego.

11. Integrity – He lacks integrity, moral or otherwise as he bends his words and positions towards the greatest number of likely voters without a guiding set of principles or beliefs.

12. Judgment – He selected a first term Senator, and former trial lawyer as his running mate, voted against the 1991 Gulf War Authorization, seeks foreign support rather than national interest in policy making, and he believes we are going to elect him as Commander in Chief, all of which show a lack of judgment.

Like most of you, I recognize that he is intellectually formidable, that he has achieved some success in life, and that he will get the vote of many American’s who agree with his ideological view or who oppose President Bush for reasons of their own. Thus it is more troubling to me to note that he is a smart man. Smart men without an understanding of the nature of man, of our Constitution’s great wisdom, or a moral center and guiding set of principles are much more dangerous than the intellectually challenged, the amoral or the ideologically blinded who might vote for them.

October 11, 2004

Have a Coke and a Smile

Will the army of Islamo-fascist defeat the army of peace nicks? Only if those of us who are armed not just with intelligence, but also with moral conviction, intellectual honesty and courage allow it. The war today is not between the peace nicks and the radical Muslim forces of al-Qaeda or the Mahdi Army. It is between those who believe in the inalienable rights of man, as typified by George Bush and his allies, and the Islamo-fascist who seek to control or kill all men who do not subscribe to their beliefs. This battle stands as the only barrier between those who worship peace, such as Senator Pander, the EU, the UN and their supporters, and the threat of radical Islam. Should the Senator become President, the war will take a different turn.

The left, led by the worshipers of peace, will seek to negotiate with Islamo-fascist, buying into the non-sense that it is economic injustice that has led to the attacks on Israel, the United States, and the many other nations who’ve been attacked over the last few years alone. Nowhere in the Islamo-fascist creed are there statements of support for the ideals of the left, multiculturalism, tolerance, and order attained by law. Yet the left believes that they, more than the men of moral courage will be able to broker peace with those seeking an idealist utopian world of Islam. What do they have in common?

Both the left and the Islamist believe in a utopian ideal of what the world should be, if only everyone followed their ideals. How is this a superior intellectual dream, as they would have us believe?

The reality of the world escapes them. I have been hesitant somewhat to see Senator Pander as a pacifist. Primarily because I have some respect for those who are pacifist out of a moral, albeit faulty, argument or out of an understanding of their faith, i.e. Tolstoy. While in the Marine Corps, I met several new pacifists, right at the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Needless to say, most of them were not conscientious objectors, and they weren’t missed while those of us who volunteered where in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Senator Pander is not a pacifist by moral or religious argument. He is a pacifist from lack of courage, having served, and been scarred in the process, he now possesses no will or strength to stand for justice in times of war, as is shown by his failure to support the first Gulf War and his current track of appeasement towards Iran, North Korea and the nuisance of global terror.

The dream world does not exist. Only their continued lies and blind faith in the potential for man to exist in such a way extends their arguments at a time when the truth is that neither dream world, Islamic or liberal, would co-exist with the other, and that the Islamic militant forces, fueled by a greater fervor, higher birth rate, and lack of scruples would inevitably defeat the left and in doing set upon making the world into a model of their ideals.

No man who embraces liberty as a moral truth can submit to this course of action. Yet Senator Pander wants us to believe that he will defend our liberty, while he clearly does not understand what he would be defending it against, nor the threat that he posses to that very liberty.

Ideological Blindness from an Idiot

Showing the true abyss that makes up the body selecting the Nobel Peace Prize, the latest winner offers the following.

"Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.

"Us black people are dying more than any other people in this planet," Ms Maathai told a press conference in Nairobi a day after winning the prize for her work in human rights and reversing deforestation across Africa.

"It's true that there are some people who create agents to wipe out other people. If there were no such people, we could have not have invaded Iraq," she said.

"We invaded Iraq because we believed that Saddam Hussein had made, or was in the process of creating agents of biological warfare," said Ms Maathai.

"In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare," she added.

"Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the virus come from, it raises a lot of flags. That makes me suspicious,"

What else can I say. When I first read her comments, I ignored them as those of an idiot. It isn't ignorance, as ignorance would have led her to discuss it without acknowledging that the virus came from "monkeys" originally. She is simply an ideological zealot and an idiot. Congrats to her and the world on her prize. A true peace advocate indeed.

October 10, 2004

Senator Pander and the war that isn't.

There was a reason that Senator Pander avoided press conferences and the media during the last 3 months of the Presidential election. The left would like you to believe that it is because the media, long known as a bastion of conservatism, was out to get the Senator and to distort the very consistent view he has expressed of the war in Iraq and other issues. The truth, the Senator has avoided the media because the more the American people see of him the more certain they are that he is not the man for the job. His two latest examples are his three-question exchange with the press last week, and now, the New York Times Magazine story by Matt Bai.

The first thing noted by many from the Bai story are Senator Pander’s comments regarding terror, specifically, about when Americans will feel safe again.

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."
While this particular comment irks the hell out of me and reminds me of the intellectual fluff that fills the text books it reflects none of the wisdom gained from having served in the military at war or in times of peace. Bai, however seemed to find sustenance in the nuance availed to him by Kerry, as will many who read the drivel.

Of particular delight are the comments regarding Kerry's past service, where rather than seeking external justification of Kerry's significance, Bai looks to Kerry who says:

"Of all the records in the Senate, if you don't mind my saying, I think I was ahead of the curve on this entire dark side of globalization," he said. "I think that the Senate committee report on contras, narcotics and drugs, et cetera, is a seminal report. People have based research papers on it. People have based documents on it, movies on it. I think it was a significant piece of work."
Once again Senator Pander shows that he sees his success in the most important arenas. "Movies" based on his work. It must be really important work.

Today Marines and Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors, Guardsmen and civil servants of many organizations fight to bring justice to a land that has been starved of justice for too long. No serious movies are made of their efforts, unlike WWII, yet they know the significance of their acts both by the moral justification for it and the response they receive from those who rejoice in Freedom. Like the millions voting in Afghanistan yesterday.

Senator Pander is a disgraceful return to an era and an ideology based on social interaction and warm fuzzy ideals of peace and togetherness, yet shows the imbalanced reactionary impulses of a juvenile bully.

"You know, my instinct was, Where's my gun?" Kerry told me. "How do you fight back? I wanted to do something."
Bai notes that Kerry has failed to show a worldview that counters the President's global war on terror. What he fails to note is that Kerry has in effect shown all there is to his worldview. As we've seen before, his view is as follows:

1. Follow international rule of law and seek approval of global bodies before national interest.

2. Attack only after we have been attacked.

3. Seek political interaction with axis of evil nations, we know they are trust worthy, right.

4. Look to eliminate social, economic and political causes for the disenfranchisement of the good people who become terrorist.

5. When in doubt, follow France, at least you'll make a buck off it, and be popular with the Socialist.

Those on the right, including those who council the President, know that this war is one of both military actions, supported by police and investigative actions, as well as on one of ideological reform. The failure of Senator Pander to recognize the significance of the war, the strategic elements of the war, as shown in his statement that by liberating 50 million people we have "imposed" democracy rather than invited them to it, shows his utter confusion as to the ideological fault in the Islamic world. It is not the U.S., as Bob Kerrey asserts, who must acknowledge the gulf between the U.S. and the Arab or Muslim world, it is the Muslim who must demand more of his government, more of his Imam and more of his faith. Until he does, we will defeat nations that present a threat not just in their leadership or military capacity, but in their policies, practices and popular support for Islamo-fascist ideals.

October 9, 2004

Activism

We went and joined a group of Coors supporters outside while Pete Coors and Ken Salazar held a debate inside, at the Channel 9 studios, it airs tonight at 6 here locally. It was entertaining and we got to meet Karol from Spot On. Very cool. Wouldn't you know the first blogger I meet is from New York. It was good to see her and I'm looking forward to meeting her again when we aren't standing on a very busy intersection.

The Salazar supporters were very pleased that the Rocky Mountain News has endorsed Salazar, as they see the RMN as a "conservative" paper. I don't, unless you compare it with the NYTimes or LATimes.

The first time our cheerleaders, don't know what the proper term would be, called out this chant, it was funny.

"Ken and Kerry sitting in a tree, T - A - X - I - N - G"

We Republicans need more practice as activist. But at least and at last we are trying. Just noticed that "Liar Liar" is on tonight. Senator Pander and Lil' John should watch.

October 8, 2004

A Little More on the Debate

The second debate is over.

Before reading any other reviews or listening to the voices from spin alley, I'll toss my hat in and see what filters back later.

Most striking to me was how much more available and responsive the President was. He was very effective in defending the war, finally, and significantly more willing to state the details of not only his positions and decisions, as well as the record of Senator Kerry. With the exception being that he still hasn't brought up Senator Kerry's voting against the Gulf War in 1991.

Senator Kerry is henceforth renamed on this site. He will now be known as Senator Pander. He, as expected, is very skilled as a debater. Yet, the substance of his statements are just as shallow as they've been all along. He relies on the name recognition of McCain (who is supporting President Bush), Roscoe, Lugar, Hagel, and a score of retired General's. And despite saying "That would be pandering"; he pandered, he felt your pain, not as much as WJC, but he felt it, and he respected the moral position you hold, and he is a Catholic, and he is for lower taxes, and he is for health care reform, and he is for a balanced budget, and he is for tort reform, and this and that and this too and even .... just insert the position of your choice. He panders. He is Lord and Master of the Nation of Pander. A nation filled with the foolish who seek not to do for the U.S., but to have the U.S. do for them.

Debate Coverage

First attempt at "live" blogging. Just getting started.

1. To Kerry - "Too wishy washy to vote for" -
Patriot Act - Support but don't support the way Ashcroft implemented.
No child left behind - haven't funded it right.
Economy - "Fighting for you."

President - "Voted against before he voted for it." backwards.

2 President - Do you sincerely believe... Iraq when others share the same capabilities.
I saw a unique threat in SH. He could give weapons to al-Qaeda...
SH would still be in power.

Kerry - World is more dangerous today because the Pres. made wrong decisions.
I would have used the force "wisely".

Pres. - good rebuttal.

Kerry - the sanctions were to remove the weapons not to remove Saddam and they worked.

3. Kerry - Would you follow the same plan as the Pres.?
I would reach out to Allies.
I'll get the training done and get our allies back to the table.

Pres. - Finance minister was optimistic until he came here and turned on the TV. Good line.

Kerry - right war was UbL and right place was Tora Bora.

Pres. - The war on terror is not only UbL. Finally he says it. This a global conflict.

Much more fired up and it is about time!!!!

4. Pres. - How do you restore relations with nations that are unhappy with the U.S.
It isn't about popularity its about Principle.

Kerry - President is offering you more of the same. YES SENATOR HE IS OFFERING MORE PRINCIPLE OVER POPULARITY.

They retired Gen. Shenzeki for disagreeing. SENATOR YOU LIE.

Pres. - Good response, relying on the military.

Kerry - Same stuff.

5. Kerry - Iran nuke threat, how do you handle it.
Threat has grown while Pres. has been preoccupied with Iraq. NK has nukes and we haven't engaged for two years.
Join w/ the Brit and French.... Lead the world. In Russia.... SAME OLD B.S. Senator. Bunker busting again.
If we have to get tough we will get tough.

Pres. - That answer almost made me scowl. LOL. Much better energy and much more engaged. More verbose. A.O.E. mentioned also. Good job.

6. Pres. - Draft?
Not going to have a draft!!! Internets.... Move troops out of NK and replace with better weapons.... Move out of Europe, no longer facing the S.U. Lighter and quicker.

Kerry - Drops some names who support him.... big deal.
Backdoor draft now.
Add 40k to the service.

Charlie can't stop the President from responding. He is certainly more energized. Frankly, when Kerry starts, I want to mute because he just ticks me off. The fact that he can throw out his we are alone b.s. and I have a plan b.s. and b.s. and b.s.

7. Kerry - Security at Home.
Tax cut over Homeland Security.

Pres. - Good response. Stay on the offense. Increased size of HSD budget, support the Patriot Act, Kerry has wrong view of the world. Iraqi confidence in our President if we were wrong to be there in the first place. Good job sir.

Kerry - Not when but if? The Pres. and his experts say it not me. I accept what he says. Tax cut over security again.

Pres. - I'm worried. A viscous enemy w/ an ideology of hate. Spread freedom to defeat them.

Okay.... on to the domestic issues.

Since I don't believe there are any domestic issues that are as significant as the war. I'll include my comments on them when the debate is over.

“I’m Four Years Old”

In what I hope will become a regular feature of his blog, and his nationally syndicated radio show, Hugh Hewitt offers the second weekly symposium of bloggers responding to a single question. The question this week: "What do Kerry's answers to today's press inquiries tell us about Kerry's worldview and character?" If you haven’t heard or read the brief comments, here they are.

Q. "If you are elected, given Paul Bremer's remarks, and deteriorating conditions as you have judged them, would you be prepared to commit more troops."

A. "I will do what the generals believe we need to do without having any chilling effect, as the president put in place by firing General Shinseki, and I'll have to wait until January 20th. I don't know what I am going to find on January 20th, the way the president is going. If the president just does more of the same every day, and it continues to deteriorate, I may be handed Lebanon, figuratively speaking. Now, I just don't know. I can't tell you. What I'll tell you is, I have a plan. I have laid out my plan to America, and I know that my plan has a better chance of working. And in the next days I am going to say more about exactly how we are going to do what has been available to this Administration that it has chosen not to do. But I will make certain that our troops are protected. I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, and I will make sure that we are successful, and I know exactly what I am going to do and how to do it."

Q. Duelfer also said that Saddam fully intended to resume his weapons of mass destruction program because he felt that the sanctions were just going to fritter away.

A. But we wouldn't let them just fritter away. That's the point. Folks! If You've got a guy who's dangerous, you've got a guy you suspect is going to do something, you don't lift the sanctions, that's the fruits of good diplomacy. This Administration...I beg your pardon?

Q. You just said [Bush] fictionalized him [Saddam] as an enemy. Now you just said he's dangerous?
A. No. What I said. I said it all the time. Consistently I have said Saddam Hussein presented a threat. I voted for the authorization, because he presented a threat. There are all kinds of threats in the world, ladies and gentlemen. Al Qaeda is in 60 countries. Are we invading all 60 countries? 35 to 40 countries had the same --more-- capability of creating weapons, nuclear weapons, at the time the president invaded Iraq than Iraq did. Are we invading all 35 to 40 of them? Did we invade Russia? Did we invade China? The point is that there are all kinds of options available to a president to deal with threats and I consistently laid out to the president how to deal with Saddam Hussein, who was a threat. If I'd been president, I'd have wanted the same threat of force. But as I have said a hundred times if not a thousand iin this campaign, there was a right way to use that authority and a wrong way. The president did it the wrong way. He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace, against my warnings and other people's warnings. And now we have the mess we have today. It is completely consistent that you can see him as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the Soviet Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other ways."

The question of Kerry’s character and worldview that can be drawn from this exchange is daunting. Not because it is difficult or hidden but because it is often more difficult to express the simplest of truths.

Not too long ago I had a conversation with my one of my sons that included his asking the same questions Kerry uses rhetorically in his response. The challenge in that conversation as in this commentary isn’t in the refutation of the comments, but in the exploration of the thoughts that led to them.

What do I see of Kerry’s worldview and character?

First his character. He is running for the Presidency of the United States of America and in doing so is relying on lies, fears and ambiguities as a tool to dupe American’s into voting for him. No further evidence is required to state, unequivocally, that Senator Kerry does not possess the character, in particular the integrity, the intellectual honesty and the balancing effect of moral principles to be President of this land. General Shinseki was not fired. Kerry lied. Kerry panders fear and untruth to those who will only hear cBS’s and MSNBC’s coverage of the exchange by stating that he doesn’t know what he’ll find on January 20th as the President does more of the same and the situation "deteriorates" even offering that he may inherit a "Lebanon" like Iraq. More on this later. And finally his utter lack of moral guidance is shown in his continued inability to diagnose the obvious. al-Qaeda is not THE enemy. al-Qaeda is a product of the enemy. The enemy is Islamo-fascism. Kerry either doesn’t know this, unacceptable for a candidate for the highest office in the land, or he is unwilling to state it, a sign of intellectual dishonesty more often found in the naïve and uninitiated world of middle schoolers.

As to his world view, his response to the follow-up question tells all that we’ll ever need. Senator Kerry asks "Are we invading all 60 countries?" where al-Qaeda members may be hiding; and "Are we invading all 35 to 40 of them (countries with WMD’s or the capability to create them)? Did we invade Russia? Did we invade China?" These questions and his subsequent self-serving answers show that he believes the American populace is one of ignorance and that he may dupe them into believing that his juvenile logic holds weight. The world, prior to 9.11, the world he remains in, and one in which he supported the wrong side, does not exist any longer. I answered my son’s question, and frankly, I was happy to do so, but to hear this from Senator Kerry boils my blood.

Of the 60 countries with al-Qaeda members in them the U.S., the U.K., Pakistan, Indonesia and others who are allies in the Global War on Terror are included. No, my son, we do not have to invade each of the nations who have Islamo-fascist terrorist in them. We have to ensure that those sick worshippers of death are prevented from receiving the tools they use to attack innocent people and we have to pursue them through police and investigative means until they are captured or killed, but no, we do not have to invade. And son, we aren’t invading the other nations with WMD’s or the ability to create them either. Why? Well, again, we and several of our allies are some of them, our aim with WMD’s, and I know you don’t hear this often so I’ll say it slowly son. Our aim with WMD’s is to ensure they do not end up in the hands of the terrorist. This being the case, only those nations that possess them AND support terror are at risk of being invaded. Yes, son, Saddam did support terror, remember the money he send to the families of those who kill Israeli’s in homicide bombings, remember how he worked with Qaddafi on the development of weapons, and remember how al-Zawahri ran from Afghanistan to Baghdad after we liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban.

Most simply put Senator Kerry is a man of poor character following an ideological view of the world that pre-dates this war. As Hugh notes, the Samaritan, Zeus Carver, in ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ says to John McClane – "I don't like you because you're going to get me killed!"

Senator Kerry, I don’t like you because you’re going to get many more Americans killed if you become President. Thankfully, the people of the U.S., God bless them, aren’t as ignorant and gullible as you believe they are, so that isn’t going to happen. The good news is that you can go back to running forgettable marathons and we can forget about you after November 2nd.

October 7, 2004

Volunteering

Off to do some volunteer work for the GOP.

There are many events ongoing and many wonderful people keeping track of them. Just follow the links and you'll find them.

Blogs for Bush

Homespun Bloggers

Rocky Mountain Alliance

Or any of those noted along the sidebar.

Until later....

Nix 36

Amendment 36 in Colorado has the attention of Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times today. The paper sites a recent poll showing the measure is still favored in Colorado….

"So far, the pros are running ahead of the cons. A statewide Ciruli Associates poll found 51 percent in favor of the measure and 37 percent against it. The rest were undecided."
If this holds throughout the election, I don’t believe it will, the state of Colorado will be the first to move into absolute political purgatory with “proportional” allocation of electoral votes. Even worse than the Maine and Nebraska solutions, and we know how much political attention Nebraska gets.

Previously discussed here. Also see the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Bloggers and 86 Amendment 36. And the official No on 36 site.

Dishonorable Service

Throughout the campaign the question of military service 30+ years ago has been raised. The intellectually superior left, aided by the media, has pursued a duplicitous effort to establish that President Bush failed to serve honorably in the TxANG, while claiming that John Kerry not only served well in combat but also when he returned to the U.S. and called the actions of military service members (including himself) monstrous. It has never, nor will it be my intent to support either candidate based on their views of a war that due to a political failure the U.S. lost years ago. Today’s dishonorable service will suffice for me.

Senator Kerry, the media, portions of the CIA, many Democratic Congressmen and others are doing a disservice to the security of the United States and in doing so are dishonorably serving us all. While the "Duelfer Report", and Charles Duelfer's testimony highlights Saddam Hussein’s strategic aims to have the sanctions removed, to abuse the U.N. Oil for Food program, and to reconstitute his weapons programs (particularly ballistic missiles and chemical weapons), the media, Senator Kerry and many Democratic members of the House and Senate have taken the position that this somehow invalidates the President’s argument behind the invasion of Iraq. This is a disgraceful disregard for the truth.

That truth is that Saddam had failed to prove his compliance with the U.N. resolutions prior to ‘1441’ and in doing so, post 9/11, he posed a greater potential threat to the U.S. than we could reasonable ignore. And yes he had been ignored, while the report shows that his programs had fallen apart, it also shows that from 1996 to 2003 he had abused the U.N. O.F.F. program while consistently interfering with the inspection efforts and working to have the sanctions removed, therefore to continue the status quo following 17 U.N. resolutions and expecting inspectors to succeed was indeed to ignore the threat. Choosing to do this, in effect to trust the word of Saddam rather than to pro-actively ensure that the threat was removed, shows an absolute lack of credibility on matters of national defense. But Senator Kerry voted to back the President’s decision to liberate Iraq.

By voting for the war, Senator Kerry either showed that he understood the threat or that he was following the political winds of the moment. His current position, against the war (as of my last checking), shows the real nature of his dishonorable service. How so – because he now advocates a belief that when in doubt about the threat posed by a monster of Hussein’s type, we should choose inaction or political courses rather than to act to defend America’s interest.

Iran and North Korea loom large today in the news as they continue to flaunt international rule and the left is very fond of saying why do we not attack either of them rather than Iraq. Iran and North Korea are being watched, but unlike Saddam, they have not invaded another nation and they have not defied 12 years of U.N. resolutions regarding a cease-fire that followed an invasion of a sovereign nation. Should either nation continue their development efforts and tough talk, there will be a time when the next tough decision has to be made. But that time has not come.

The time that has come is for Americans to realize that there are many among us who do not serve our best interest. Unlike Wilkie and Dewey, Kerry has not shown the character to agree on the absolute requirement for resolve while facing an enemy to us all and has instead shown that he is a political opportunist seeking to be all things to all people. There is no honor in his current service.

October 6, 2004

Global Test indeed

Now that we’ve determined that Senator Kerry didn’t really mean "global test" as in a requirement for world, U.N., allied or other external to the U.S. approval for American military action abroad…. Wait, that isn’t the case. So I might as well discuss the latest news from the U.N.

The Washington Times reported this morning that U.N. is working to more clearly define when it is “legal” for a member nation to pre-emptively strike another nation. Heather J. Carlson reports that Gareth Evans, a U.N. High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change member and former foreign minister of Australia stated:

” I expect the panel to be giving close consideration to what those rules are and how they should be applied and whether an effort should be made to identify generally agreed criteria for the legitimate use of force, whatever the context”.
Indeed the U.N. does believe that it is the supreme law of the world and that it may dictate with authority the rules with which its members may engage in military operations. Mr. Evans apparently also had this to say:
”A central reason for our appointment was concern that the U.N., and indeed the whole multilateral security system, was really at a crossroads with the resurgence of unilateralism from you know whom, and increasing willingness to bypass the Security Council”
This statement, clearly referring to President Bush and the U.S. shows the prevalent feeling of U.N.’s member nations.

The U.N. has become a tool for the constraint of the U.S. and Israel. The further we distance ourselves from them the better as far as this little American blogger is concerned.

One other note, General Brent Scowcroft is a member of the panel. The only American member and has previously stated his reservations regarding the American liberation of Iraq.

The Danger found in the Irrelevance of Moral Arguments

In previous writing here, I noted that I believe that what is legal is not necessarily moral, just as what is immoral is not necessarily illegal. And neither illegality nor immorality exclusive equates to sin. Why are these distinctions significant to me? As an amateur commentator on the political and social issues before our nation and the world, it has occurred to me on a consistent basis that a large portion of the peoples of the world and of the United States no longer look to a moral basis in determining a course of action or in the judgment of the actions of others. Individuals once were concerned with their godliness and considered sin a relevant concept. It isn’t sin I wish to discuss, as I believe that to be a matter between the individual and God. However, moral and legal issues are of man’s domain and must be discussed and understood in order to develop the finest characteristics in man, enabling our compassion, inspiring our dreams and suppressing our aptitude to harm each other.

There are many, on the left end of the political spectrum primarily, who argue that the right seeks to "impose their morals" on them. In response, the right now fails to make moral arguments and is held captive by the left’s view of us. Their alternative, to make arbitrary legal decisions and arguments that constrain us as individuals, restrict the debate and render the U.S. subject to the will of an immoral world.

We have, over the past three years, been very aware of the threat of an evil in the world that threatens the life and rights of all mankind. Yet we are often chided when we make such statements and are rebuked for proclaiming a man evil rather than accepting or using the euphemistic statement that “his actions are evil”.

Much of the world now holds as its highest accord that law and legality are what will free men from tyranny, end injustices and expand democracy. The U.N. fueled by this almost uniform belief, continually acts to legislate civility and equality rather than seeking the more powerful argument of moral justice and liberty as a basis for how man is governed and how nations interact. While the U.N. contemplates how to it may legally determine if genocide is occurring in Darfur, more innocent people are killed out of racial and religious bigotry. Particularly troubling to me is the prominence of this trend in the U.S., a nation I believe is the greatest advocate for liberty, justice and peace in the world.

While Senators Kerry and Edwards debate the justification for the invasion of Iraq, they miss the simplest of moral truths. They argue that it is wrong because of the lack of WMD’s found in Iraq, the U.N.’s failure to call the action “legal”, the lack of support of former allies in Europe, and of course, the new acts of terror in portions in Iraq. While doing this they fail to display any understanding for the moral value of liberty and the defense of it. The Presidents decision to liberate Iraq was driven by a clear understanding of our sovereignty, a responsibility to protect American lives, and the resolve to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for agreements he made with the U.N. in 1991.

The idea that Iraq had no direct relationship to the attacks of 9/11 should be resoundingly evicted from our conversation. The legal basis, that which they hold in such high regard, was clearly established by 17 U.N. resolutions and the agreement of Congress to permit the President to use force to enforce the regulations in question. More significant, and damning in their ignorance of it, is the moral basis for the liberation of Iraq. The U.S. is fighting a global war on terror, against an enemy which knows no political or national boundaries, and which after losing their base of operations in Afghanistan would most certainly seek not only other locations to train and plot, but would seek leaders willing to supply them with weapons and sanctuary. Iraq will no longer be such a potential home.

To this they respond, where does it stop? It stops when the terrorist, their ideology and nations that foster or support them are no longer in existence. The concern I have is that the world does not have the fortitude and moral resolve of President Bush or Vice President Cheney, and this will inevitably lengthen the war.

The world, and the United States, has suffered a great of loss. Of course, the terrible acts of terror committed by men who profess faith in and an interpretation of Islam have caused great loss of life to both the innocent who are victims of their terror, and the deaths of service men, American and others, contractors and employees, aid workers and citizens of a nation reborn into liberty. Remembering this loss is almost more than a man can take. Yet it is not the loss for which I reflect today. The loss that concerns me today is the loss of clarity and relevance of righteous and moral thought, dialogue and action in governance and daily life.

October 5, 2004

Muslim support of Kerry

Sherry notes the endorsement of Senator Kerry by the Muslim American Political Action Committee (MAPAC). MAPAC endorsed Kerry and had the following statement, as reported by WND:

"It means more constricting laws and policies to curtail the civil liberties of the Muslim Americans, and harsher foreign policies toward Muslim countries - in the name of combating terrorism.

It also means a continuing and menacing rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in America, covertly nurtured by the neoconservatives, and openly fanned by government officials like Lt. General (William) Boykin and Attorney General John Ashcroft."

Sherry rightly notes that the same Muslims who clamor about anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S., have failed to take responsibility for or end "the rancid cries of murder and destruction that spew forth from the Mosques everyday." Having friends who now reside in Saudi Arabia, and who continue to support the view that the U.S. is somehow targeting good Muslims, I am convinced that it is not a minor issue that pervades only a portion of Islam, it is a monumental failure of Muslims to stand up to and fight against those who take the name of their faith (whether a minority or majority of its adherents) and use it to incite and justify terror that causes us to doubt even those patriotic Muslims who might otherwise agree or disagree on political, moral or social issues.

October 1, 2004

Pick Me!!! Pick Me!!!

Kerry's "global test" remark is, as it should be, the point of attack for those who've known that he seeks populist approval, global popularity in this case, over principled action.

The debate showed us that Kerry is capable of an articulate performance on a grand stage. More importantly it showed his lack of appropriate respect for American sovereignty, a reliance on discourse and mutual agreements with men who should in no way be trusted and a view of American might as a threat rather than the single force available to defeat threats.

President Bush accepts that he is not the most popular leader in the world. The majority of the world, or at least the most vocal portions of the world, are opposed to America.

So while Kim Jung Il, UbL, and al-Zawahri feel better. The rest of us are left with the reality that November 2nd is not just Election Day; it needs to be a renewed Independence Day.

September 30, 2004

Post Debate Review

First off, glad it is over.

Second, not looking forward to the second and third debates as much as I am Cheney/Edwards debate next week. The Kerry drone just knocks me out.

Third, the MSM will report it as a draw or a Kerry win. That makes it a Bush win. Kerry’s difficulty with areas the President highlighted "wrong war", "inconsistencies", and "global test" are unlikely to fade away. President Bush was much like I’d expect, not scripted or programmed in his speech, direct, honest and comfortable with himself. My bride was nervous, visibly; she wanted the President to articulate more of the basis for the war in Iraq and to refute more of what Kerry tossed about. Aside from the "bunker busters" issue, I was comfortable with his response or non-response and his grasp of the situation without appearing to be a policy wonk or worse, a Senator from Massachusetts. As I tried to reassure her, the President is being himself and he is much stronger being himself than he would be trying to go tit for tat with a rat.

Finally, Kerry’s performance will boost his confidence. This works in President Bush’s favor so I’m okay with that. The President’s team should return to the campaign trail, continue to pursue expected Kerry states and run the campaign with the same force of character, context (post 9/11 world) and consistency that we’ve seen since the convention.

Go find the blogs with the best reviews and detailed analysis. I’ve got some reading to do and will be back in the morning.

September 28, 2004

President Bush on the O'Reilly Factor

The second installment of Bill O'Reilly's interview with President Bush was shown tonight. Like the first, both President Bush and O'Reilly showed why they are at the top of their game.

O'Reilly doesn't back down and follows through in pursuit of answers. The President is direct, forthright and honest in his answers and remains charming at the same time.

Tonights piece didn't pack the punch that last nights did, national security is afterall the issue this year, but it was worth watching.

O'Reilly had Trump on later. The Donald says he likes the President's tax cuts, and thinks they'll continue to fuel economic growth, but he doesn't like the War in Iraq. Somehow his strategic vision doesn't include the GWoT and defeating the Islamist.

See the interview at FoxNews.

Read the transcripts (Monday or Tuesday).

Ted Kennedy is almost right

It has been widely reported that Ted Kennedy claims that President Bush has failed in the War on Terror. As the Senator says

” The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely”.
In between shots of his favorite single malt beverage the Senator says that the War in Iraq has created a new breeding ground for terrorists, distracted from efforts to eliminate al-Qaeda, alienated America's allies and allowed North Korea and Iran to pursue nuclear weapons.

So the Senator almost got this one right. No, say it isn’t so. I’m not going to defend Ted Kennedy am I? Well, not exactly.

What the senior Senator from Massachusetts got right is the effect of the War on Iraq if the American people fail to re-elect George Bush as President.

With Kerry as President, the U.S. would withdraw from Iraq, leaving the government unable to contain the various factions of Islamist and headed for a certain civil war resulting in an Islamist regime, or worse three equally Islamist oriented regimes. The effort to eliminate al-Qaeda would be severely limited as Pakistan, now an ally, would find itself alone in the battle to prevent al-Qaeda and pro-Taliban forces from moving to retake Afghanistan and to remove President Musharraf (which Barack Obama claims could lead to a U.S. strike on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons). Thusly our prime allies alienated, yes the Muslim allies are the prime allies in this war, we would have no foot hold to prevent Iran and North Korea from exchanging weapons and technology, leading to an eventual mushroom cloud or clouds.

Good job Senator, next time just finish painting the picture.

Star Parker on Same Sex Marriage

By quoting Billy Graham

” When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”
Star Parker shows not only the cause but also the result of the Democratic Party’s failure and success over the last forty years. She relates that many pastors serving the black community have, after voting Democrat for a lifetime, switched to the Republican Party for the upcoming election. The action on the left that has caused this change is the movement to legalize, through the courts, same sex marriage.

While I applaud and welcome the change in voting habits by these men and women, I wonder how the character of the left has been rationalized so that other issues didn't cause the same move. After all this is only the latest in a string of attacks on the family and personal character of Americans by the left.

Parker's final paragraph is priceless.

"Black pastors see every day in their communities that societies without values and standards do not nurture free people, but nurture slaves. We don't want this. Blacks have been struggling for freedom for hundreds of years. This chapter of our struggle must be defined by restoring traditional values and personal responsibility in our communities."
Thanks to Mr. Minority

Senate Race Round-up

John J. Miller, at the NRO, offers his take on the Senate races with five weeks remaining before the election. In the end, Miller believes

"REPUBLICANS GAIN TWO SEATS"
Not all that much of a gain. Given that the Democratic candidate for President isn't much of a motivating factor for getting out the Democratic voters, it'll be the hatred, lies and fear mongering of the left that fills the gap and keeps Dems enthused.

Several of the seats may be worth more discussion in future editorials here at the LRB, in particular South Dakota, Colorado, North Carolina, Illinois and California.

September 27, 2004

American Voting

It has always been my contention that the inalienable rights of Americans should be the same for all people, if they only had the good sense to adopt them as their own and to govern as a method of preservation of those rights rather than as a means to control men or as a tool for empowerment. For much of American history, the efforts of our political parties have focused on the preservation of the sacred rights of the American citizen while the differences between them tended to be on how to best free the individual American to become the utmost of his desire, aptitude, effort and good fortune. My how the times have changed.

As we approach the general election, the Democratic nominee and his surrogates pander to any and all by offering a solution to every concern. This isn’t a new tactic, nor is it solely a method used by the Democrats, and that is why it signals the great disparity between politics in 2004 and politics in 1804. Too few Americans understand and vote based on the preservation of the essential characteristics of being American. How is it that we no longer recognize the rights that fueled our success as such?

Many Americans today characterize politicians as immoral and corrupt across the board. The old adage that those who can’t do teach, those who can’t teach administrate comes to mind. There is some truth to both statements. And it is our fault. We have for years, at least 40, voted in such a way that we’ve instructed the professional politicians to resolve every issue in our lives. As a voting populace, we have failed to educate ourselves on the issues, failed to require more of our politicians, and most significantly failed to defend the rights that enabled us to become the nation we are today.

September 24, 2004

Paul Wolfowitz interviewed by Hugh Hewitt

A transcript of Hugh Hewitt's interview with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is posted at his site.

No commentary from Hugh yet on it, so I'll toss my hat in the ring with this.

First off, Dr. Wolfowitz shows himself to be extremely well tuned into the threat, discussing both the military aspects of victory as well as the ideological transformation and victory required to win the war. His comments on the ongoing changes in the military’s structure and decentralizing the authority to immediately engage terrorist were encouraging and show that while we’ve come along way in the reforms needed for this type of war, more is being done.

Another bright point, not about to receive much attention from the media, is the size of the electorate in Afghanistan and that it is 40% women.

Hugh asked about a leaked Rumsfield memo questioning the ability to measure, via metrics, our efforts toward victory. This portion of his reply bears repeating as often as possible:

” But I think what the secretary was getting at in that famous memo of his that unfortunately got leaked was that we also need to be about the business of persuading people, especially in the Muslim world where most of these terrorists are recruited from, that that's not the right alternative, that there's a better future for them, that there's a bright future here on earth. It is kind of sickening to read things like Zarqawi's letter or other publications by the terrorists where they express enormous contempt for people who love life and fear death.”

Encouraging Words

Time and time again Americans of all walks of life are, often if not predominately, encouraging our enemies in their efforts to destroy our nation and our way of life. In stating this do I mean to say that many are committing an act of sedition? Some yes, but the majority no. Our enemies have a misunderstanding of the nature of the disagreements between the political forces within the U.S., as do many of those actively involved in the disagreement. To explore this we need to look at only a few areas of our political or social discourse. For brevity, and relevance, the ‘War on Terror’ and ‘Iraq’ will serve in this instance.

There are reasons, of varying degrees of merit, to oppose the “War on Terror”. Primary among those is the pacifist belief that all violence, including in self-defense, is immoral, unethical or unjust. There are those who would argue that no state has the right to act on behalf of its citizens in a military manner or even that the state does not exist. And finally there are those who support the Islamist effort to alter our civilization. Opposition based on policies, strategies, tactics or outcomes however are not an honest representation of the beliefs of those who state them.

An example here would be those who state that they oppose the war because of the way the President has handled it. An intellectually honest opposition to the manner the President has conducted the war would not oppose the war, but rather the effectiveness of his implementation. Critiques in this light would be not only more helpful to the nation, but would better represent the ideals of those who state them. The Democratic Party, Senator Kerry, in particular, has failed to such a degree in this area that not only does it leave him incapable of contributing to the war, or discussion of it, in a positive way, he has become an aid to those who we fight against. Note that this is not the same as acting to aid the enemy; rather an inadvertent betrayal of his values and nation, such as he has them.

To oppose the War in Iraq the same merit based arguments of the pacifist, the sympathizer and those who question the sovereignty of the nation are available yet rarely stated. The more common argument, and one that is worth discussion, is to address the cause, aims and outcome of the War in Iraq and whether or not it is a just path for the U.S. and our allies to pursue. The time for this was before the war began. And many, like Senator Kerry, supported the effort at that time. At this point they present themselves as having been duped into believing that the War in Iraq was justified based on weapons of mass destruction and direct ties to al-Qaeda. The record reflects the fault in their argument and supports the Presidents position prior to and since the war.

The war in Iraq is, and always has been, an extension of the War on Terror. The initial justifications for the war, to confront and defeat a lawless warmonger who threatens the free world via failure to abide by his agreement which ended the first Gulf War, his abuse of the citizens of his nation, his use and possession of weapons of mass destruction and the likelihood that he had or would at some point assist Islamist terror organization in their efforts to attack the U.S. and our allies, show the war as a component of the War on Terror, not a separate or disparate act.

As such, criticisms of the war, as it unfolds in Iraq, should be clearly communicated to be criticisms of the methods and means rather than of the ideals behind the war or broad statements of despair and failure, which are baseless and show the lack of perspective and intellectual honesty of the part of those making them. That same despair does and will continue to show up in the press of the Arab world, and fuels the enemy to believe that as we did in Vietnam, we are failing to have the will to win. A more truthful argument against the merit of our invasion, just as during the Vietnam War, has not been provided, and just as in Vietnam, our enemy seeks not to win on the battlefield, but rather to win by defeating our will to defend our proclaimed values.

In penning this, so to speak, my intent is not to state that Americans are committing sedition. My intent is to attempt to understand and relate my understanding, as much as I achieve any, of the issue. In doing this, the lack of a principled argument from our political opposition strikes me as a weakness that cannot be ignored. Our real enemies suffer from a lack of argument and discussion in their faith and it’s outlook on governance and life, and to see the Democratic Party and many of my friends become just as intellectually immobilized by their disagreement or hatred of the right, or the President, tears at the tattered bits of hope for our nation that I hold onto so dearly.

Goss is sworn in.

Porter Goss is sworn in as new CIA director this morning. A quick turnaround after the Senate approved Goss on Wednesday.

September 23, 2004

What's politics among friends?

How should one respond to the realization that all of their friends are supporting Kerry? Not that they are actively doing so, in fact most aren't aware of who or what he stands for or against (although I'm not sure he is aware of that either), rather they hold certain beliefs that drive them to vote against President Bush and for the other guy.

When I was asked this question, my first thought was a recognition of the sadness it brought me. I was sad that the questioner was in this position, and sad that the friends were also.

After some further discussion, it became clear that like many on either side of the political spectrum (speaking of the U.S. left and right or liberal and conservative), the majority of the friends involved held their positions out of a feeling, a need to help if you will. Unfortunately, most of these highly educated, middle class people have a misplaced sense of how to help those in need. They believe the government can and should do it.

Additionally we noticed that many of them are unaware of the true nature of our government, why and how it was created, and why the particular structure that was implemented has enabled our greatness. This gives them a false sense of confidence when it comes to changing the government or how our representation is elected. “Democracy not federal republic.” “States don't matter any more.” That sort of thing.

And finally, we found that while their motivations are good, they've been told for so long that "conservatives" and "Republicans" are moralist or “Christians” who seek to tell them how they can live, who want to get rich while ignoring the plight of the poor, and who are frankly, old fuddy duddies, that they are now unable, despite the example before them, us, to accept anything else as possible. They have become that which they claim to abhor - intolerant, bigoted, and judgmental.

So my response:

Like most things in life, it is much simpler than we often realize; they are our friends, we love them dearly, and we’ve accepted them for who they are. Our response to the realization that they are, even if not purposefully, liberal, we continue to be their friends, continue to love them and by all means continue to be ourselves, conservative and grateful to be.

Slant-o-meter Again Shows the Shameful State of Broadcast Media

The latest Slant-o-meter shows that while CBS gets slapped around for their foolish display of bias and lack of journalistic integrity, all the networks continued their portrayal of the Bush campaign in a negative light, save Fox News Channel (Brit Hume).

What is most telling is that while many bloggers give ABC credit for being willing to pursue the CBS story with some level of gusto, ABC managed to be the most negative in their coverage of the Bush campaign and somehow managed to be positive about Kerry.

What did the Kerry campaign do that was positive during the week of September 11th to the 19th?

Previous Slant-o-meter entries are here, here and here.

The DNC and Rathergate (corrected)

Jim Geraghty, at the NRO's Kerry Spot, has this gem.

Man, those guys at the RNC are a regular Bloodhound Gang or Mod Squad. Take a look at this little observation:

9 HOURS BEFORE THE CBS REPORT: "Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said, 'George W. Bush's cover story on his National Guard service is rapidly unraveling. ... George W. Bush needs to answer why he regularly misled the American people about his time in the Guard and who applied political pressure on his behalf to have his performance reviews 'sugarcoated.'" (Terence Hunt, "Questions Raised About Bush Guard Service," The Associated Press, 9/9/04)

(I checked with the RNC how they knew it was nine hours ahead of CBS report - it turns out McAuliffe made this statement during a press event held at 11 am Sept. 8.)

The CBS memo, revealed on 60 Minutes that night: "Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it."

Via Powerline - a must read every day.

UPDATE - From Powerline ----

UPDATE and CORRECTION: Jim Geraghty has found the RNC timeline to be erroneous:

The RNC timeline that the posting referred to was wrong, and I dropped the ball for not checking this out. Terry McAuliffe had several press events about President Bush's military record, but he did not - repeat, did NOT - refer to "sugarcoated" the way the memo did.

His first use of the term was in an e-mailed statement that was distributed to reporters as the "60 Minutes II" report was being broadcast. It was based on seeing the memo on CBS News web site.

Error found and corrected. Integrity shows at Powerline and with Geraghty. Previous comments removed as they've been shown to be my error - they were based on the faulty data in the original report. However, I still harbor concerns that the DNC may have known in advance.

Kerry - the deceiver

Apparently unable to except that Prime Minister Allawi knows more than he does about Iraq's current state of affairs, or that Allawi knows what he said on Sunday, Senator Kerry had this to say after Allawi's speech today.

"I think the prime minister is obviously contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country," Kerry said. "The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story.
What Kerry meant to be saying is that he is sure that he can convince some American's to vote for him by portraying the War as a failure and Allawi as a puppet, while counting on the press to deliver his message for him.

Faith before Truth?

The threat that faces the United States, in fact the entire world is not terror. Those who have written about the war on terror and issues related to Islam have gone out of their way to state that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. In many ways, some unfortunate, this is true. We have focused our efforts on the physical, financial and geographic battle against the Islamic organizations and nations, which have openly engaged the U.S. in war through the tactics of terror or the support thereof. As I’ve noted, our enemies are not at war with the United States they are at war with our inalienable rights. What has concerned me to a degree that I am severely struggling to articulate is the threat of Islam, as it is practiced by many Muslims, and their confluence with the Left is this country, Europe and the United Nations is far greater than the likelihood of terror attacks, military defeat or eventual nuclear confrontation. The ideological threat, found in modern Islam, is the greatest threat to us all. Why have I struggled to say this? I was a convert to Islam.

Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune published an article by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe, and Laurie Cohen about the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) and their existence and aims within the U.S. This article and a recent column by Daniel Pipes have made it clear to me that while there are those who understand the threat of Islam in America and to America; many others continue to pursue relations with organizations, including the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen. Both Pipes and the Tribune article note the real aim of the Brotherhood is not to destroy the U.S. or for that matter any nation in battle, rather it is to make the United States an Islamic state. On first reading the Tribune article, my intent was to respond, as I am now, by describing the threat as I see it. The difficulty with doing so came from my personal experience and my desire to discuss the reality without making it personal. So I delayed and was prompted again today by Pipes excellent column.

In teaching Islam, the Imam, Sheikh, or others who take the mantle of leadership provide the believer not with a moral foundation for decision-making and actions, instead they offer a guidance through the actions and words of the Prophet Muhammad, and the words of the Qur’an. No guiding principles are offered to believers with which they are able, if not required, to study, contemplate and determine appropriate actions on their part. Curiosity is not a character trait of the adherent who follows the teachings of the modern Imamate. Instead, he believes what he is told to believe, no questions asked. This destruction of an innate characteristic of man, to question and seek truth for himself, leaves him incredibly susceptible to the lies, falsehood and propaganda of those who lead him. In addition, the leader, also not able or willing to question the morality of his actions, becomes more rigid and stubborn in his interpretation and implementation of Islam, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. Perhaps, giving them the benefit of the doubt, they did so to avoid the displeasure of God, fearing that they would be judged for allowing an action that is forbidden in the Sunnah or Qur’an. Either way, their failure becomes immoral as they fail to recognize or seek greater truth or understanding.

The results are evident throughout the Muslim world. A dearth of education beyond the fundamentals of Islam, no tolerance for opinion or individuality, and no incentive to neither seek nor achieve any success other than the highest honor of their brethren and their God; martyrdom.

It is my concern that many in the United States are being guided, often out of good intentions, toward an ideology that is similar not in its religious dogma but rather in its tactic of limiting man from seeking higher understanding and truth. The left, globally, describes themselves as tolerant and caring, while classical liberals, modern conservatives and neo-cons are described as dispassionate, racist, intolerant and greedy. Experience shows this to be false. It is in fact the left that recognizes and categorizes men by race, creed, religion, gender and orientation. The policies and ideals of the left have given us schools which do not seek to educate instead choosing to inculcate the doctrines and philosophies of the left into their students. And unmistakably, the left seeks not to free men from the binds of government or external authority, as their words and policies religate generations of men to a belief that societal obligations are greater than your individual obligation to seek truth, to live free, and to achieve the utmost with your ability and efforts.

Now as we recognize that the left seeks to coddle the Islamist, to appease Europe and the U.N. and to continue to expand government influence in the lives of Americans, it becomes even more apparent that the ideological war for our rights, given by God not man, requires our attention. For no matter how many victories we find on the battlefield, should we fail to defend our values and rights, fail to address the ideological infestation, and to seek real understanding of the task at hand, we may fail from within. Just as I have done on too many occasions.

Good News from the Kerry Campaign

The best news from the Kerry campaign I've seen in... okay, the best news I've seen at all from the Kerry Campaign.

Drudge reports

"SPEECHLESS
Thu Sep 23 2004 10:36:12 ET

John Kerry found himself speechless Wednesday, a serious predicament for a candidate for president.

The Des Moines Register reports: Laryngitis forced the Democratic nominee to dump plans to campaign in eastern Iowa today. Instead, his running mate, John Edwards, will take his place at a town hall-style event in Davenport and a rally in Cedar Rapids, campaign aides said.

Kerry "strained his voice. He's going to be resting his voice for the debate," said the candidate's Iowa spokesman, Colin Van Ostern.

The first of three nationally televised presidential campaign debates is Sept. 30 in Florida. The others follow quickly - Oct. 8 in St. Louis and Oct. 13 in Tempe, Ariz.

Developing..."

All kidding aside, I don't believe that Kerry should be talking as the more he says the more damage he does to his campaign. Not that Edwards will do much to help.

September 22, 2004

Colorado's Amendment 36

If a recent Rocky Mountain News/News4 poll is accurate, the voters of Colorado are going to approve Amendment 36, a ballot initiative aimed at dividing the states electoral votes proportionally to the major candidates popular vote in the state, ending the current system of awarding all 9 votes to the winner of the popular vote in the state. Only 2 states do not award all electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote. Maine and Nebraska instead offer a vote for the winner of congressional districts and two for the statewide popular vote winner. How important an issue is this?

If the proposed system had been in place in 2000, the eight votes Colorado had, 9 now, would have been split 5 – 3 for Bush and Gore. Gore would be President.

The poll shows that the 47% of the voters approve the measure, 35% opposed the measure and 18% remain undecided.

This measure is not just significant to Colorado and the U.S. today, it will have lasting effects as the proponents of the measure will seek to influence the manner in which electoral votes are distributed elsewhere and more significantly, should it be passed, aside from the definite legal challenges, it is to be retroactive and be in effect this year.

As a resident of Colorado, the idea of making our electoral votes worthless and providing a disincentive to candidates visiting Colorado doesn’t sit well with me. The larger issue to me is that the backers of this amendment do not see that by adapting this change, Colorado is less significant while California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois become more significant.

The founders understood that as the nation grew, a multitude of opinions and parties would develop, yet our system was built not to govern based on coalitions of many parties, or through legislative power broking, instead, the states, each a distinct and scaled vote, have a voice in the selection of the President. As a voter, I understand that I am voting for Colorado's selection as President, and I understand that if this initiative passes, I might as well not be voting. I wonder if Colorado voters know they will be abdicating their voice by approving this dangerous initiative.

UPDATE: Outside the Beltway has an excellent piece on the disaster that this Amendment would be. Read it.

UPDATE: I've written a response to a reader's request for a non-partisan review of Amendment 36. Perhaps it will help if you remain undecided.

Missing true Democrats

In opposition to President Bush, the Democratic Party has offered us, Senator John Kerry. As I’ve expressed before, I am not able to support Senator Kerry, and for that matter I’m unable to recognize the Democratic Party as it stands today. In fact, I’ve stated that I’m supporting President Bush and will continue to do so. Yet I’m filled with disappointment at the prospect of the upcoming debates and the remainder of the time between now and the election. Why?

In order to be disappointed in someone or something, one first must hold them in high enough regard to have expectations. I did. Not so much in Senator Kerry, after all, I knew he represented a part of the Democratic Party so far to the left that only those of the Ted Kennedy set would see eye to eye with him. But the remainder of the party offered some remnants, although worn thin and fragile, of the proud heritage of classical liberalism that would create a stirring debate and possibly interesting election cycle.

What the Democratic Party has shown is that it too has lost all connection with the positions of classical liberalism and fallen instead into a form of pseudo socialism more reminiscent of Europe than of any tradition in the U.S. This in turn continues the fragmentation of our society and limits the possibility for a real discussion regarding the issues. The fundamental principles of current Democratic Party are found not in their policies or positions, rather they are found in the negativity, defensiveness, and intolerance of the spokesmen, candidates and supporters of the party today.

Polls continue to show President Bush pulling away. If accurate, it is a good thing. If not, then I can only surmise that the country itself has fallen into such a state that voters no longer understand or are willing to accept the principles that bind this great nation. In the meantime, I long for the days when a conversation with a “liberal” was possible.

September 21, 2004

On Campos

Thanks to Chuck Simmons, via Bill Hobbs, for catching Paul Campos’ latest in the Rocky Mountain News. Campos’ column reports that the “average voter is an idiot”. As evidence, what he calls “depressing evidence”, Professor Campos’ offers some tidbits from a New Yorker essay by Louis Menand.

"• No more than 10 percent of the population can be said to have a coherent political belief system, using even a loose definition of that term. Most peoples' political beliefs, to the extent they have any at all, suffer from a lack of what political scientists call "constraint," i.e., little or no logical connection exists between the positions they hold. For example, a large proportion of voters see no contradiction between being in favor of both lower taxes and increased government services.
• Perhaps a quarter of all voters vote on the basis of factors that have no "issue content" whatever. They vote for candidates who seem likable, or optimistic, or for those whose campaign posters are particularly eye-catching. According to Princeton political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, millions of voters in the 2000 presidential election based their votes on what the weather had been like lately.
• Voters are remarkably bad at calculating their own self-interest, even when their self-interest and their political beliefs coincide. Bartels gives the following example. Only the richest 2 percent of Americans pay estate taxes. Yet among people who believe that the rich ought to pay more taxes, and who also believe that growing income inequality is a bad thing, two-thirds also favor repeal of the estate tax! “
And the esteemed Professor of Constitutional Law goes on:
”It's safe to say that almost everyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to national politics, and who has anything resembling coherent political beliefs, has already decided what he or she is going to do on Nov. 2, at least in regard to the presidential election.

But the cold fact is that tens of millions of Americans don't fit that description. They normally pay no attention to politics; whatever political beliefs they do have tend to be wildly inconsistent; and they base their votes on frankly irrational factors.

These are the crucial swing voters in the crucial swing states, who will decide who should occupy the world's most powerful political office for the next four years.

There is, of course, no reason to doubt that democracy "works." Anyway, we are assured that it does by our elected leaders - and if you can't trust them, who can you trust?”

Chuck offers that the
“American voters vote their hearts and their pocketbooks, basic issues, that they feel and believe and know about.”
Whom can you trust?

As just one voter, I’d like Professor Campos to know that I’d trust a room full of average voters, over an arrogant professor of law any day.

UPDATE: It irks me to respond without answering the basic assertions of the piece used by Campos as evidence for his column. So here....

Point one - there are indeed many people who have yet to evolve their politic views to a degree where all points are without contradiction with a set of basic or fundamental principles. However, political scientists relying on polling data ignore the likelihood of such issues being resolved through other means. In the example, voters wanting lower taxes and more services, is in all likelihood a response to their belief that they are taxed too highly, while at the same time believing that the government could and should do more given the amount of tax revenues on hand.

Point two - the supposed 25% who vote with no issue content, it occurs to me that many of them in fact do know why they vote a certain way but are unable to comfortably argue or state their reasoning, especially given that those questioning them are most likely professionals or highly political animals. My grandparents know why they vote for a candidate, but if a politico asked them, they would be unlikely to receive an answer other than "I like him".

Point three - As to those who support the repeal of an estate tax, while claiming to believe the rich should pay more and that income inequality is bad, perhaps they simply oppose the double taxation or the taxation of the dead as a moral injustice to both the recipient and those who built the estate.

Not in the Mood for You

Often, when flipping through the various news items of the day, I'm left with the general feeling that it is a wash. Our nation has gone beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior, lost our morality, failed to stand for anything, and become an example of the power driven mystics of force described by Ayn Rand.

Then I remember, I'm listening to John Kerry or his supporters, what I'm reading is written through a shaded perspective that limits man rather than uplifting him, and I'm seeing a critic of all but himself and his ideology. Like all rational men, I can turn off their sources; I will not be emotionally governed by their kool-aid of doom and gloom.

Today, despite the story they sell, I'm glad to be an American, and I'm not in the mood for you Mr. Kerry. Opportunity exists in this great land, and not through your policies and programs but in spite of them. Optimism is not a relief to those who have it but to those who see it in action. I am, and shall remain proudly optimistic about not only my nation, but also about mankind and the men who step forward to accept the challenge of leadership. Some are wrong to do so, others are wrong when they fail to do so.

September 19, 2004

America at War

The founders of the United States understood, and considered, the dangers of democratic rule. Men, given their innumerable flaws, self-interests, and prejudices are generally incapable of self-governance unless constrained by an outside force, education, a moral foundation, or government devised for a slow gate toward the fickle wishes of its citizens. These United States of America have proven to be of incalculable benefit to the people of the world in both economic and political terms. We've led the efforts of people around the world to find self-governance, to create political systems to encourage economic development and to feed man that which he should cherish most, his liberty.

The wars of the last century, like the current war, were against an enemy not of the United States, but of mankind’s inalienable rights. In combating those wars, the United States took a moral high ground, and suffered through a significant and long course of actions, which at any given date would leave one to believe success was impossible. Yet we pursued the cause with the aplomb that we must fight on, or the battle would end up on the streets of New York City, Washington, or rural Pennsylvania. Today, a portion of our government, and our populace fights on with the same assurance of both justice and inevitable victory, while remembering that the war has already come to our shores, yet it is only a portion of our nation, which does so.

In the wars of the previous century, the American character, that of independence, self-determination, loyalty, optimism and perseverance was evident in the majority of Americans and led the call for men to act responsibly and if necessary lay down their lives for Freedom. At some point, after World War II, and apparent by the late 1960’s that American character began to change and the ramifications of the change helped to instill the confidence that our enemies have today for their cause. Prior to 9/11, and for indeed most of the last quarter of the 20th century, American’s were driven toward a form of group think that weakened our individuality while claiming that the free spirited, make love not war, policies of the left where those of progress and liberalization in the U.S.  Instead, those efforts have led to an epidemic of boys, who are not capable of behaving as men, asking for more and more restrictions on our economic engine, more restrictions to our civil liberties, and an ever increasing intrusion into our lives by the government on all levels. Their pandering of entitlements, pseudo science, and class or gender based policies have created an education system which is focused not on creating the next generation of thinkers but on growing its economic and ideological impact on the United States. This has led to men such as John Kerry being the choice of a the party that once offered JFK and FDR, while the once conservative Republican party hawks the pre-1964 democratic agenda. The shift to the left reflects on our character and the character of our children, and the emasculated remains of the U.S. are seen as ill prepared to take on the hyper masculine ideals and will of an enemy which values nothing more than death in the struggle for their values.

Of course, the United States has every means needed to defeat this enemy. There are still men of strength and character who carry arms for the U.S. and our President has shown some understanding of the fortitude required for the task, yet we have not shown a willingness to put the enemy away, seeking first to begin to “win the peace”, a concept that should be removed from the discussion when fighting an enemy who does not value peace, liberty or truth.

Our politicians have failed us by their desire to secure votes and elections, rather than defending our values and our heritage. Republicans and Democrats alike have sat idly by while judges attack the constitution, state referendums seek to weaken the power of the voter, and men of good character are made criminal by the overly vocal few wielding power. Politicians seek the “issues” that the voters will respond to, rather than seeking to educate the voter as to the issues before our nation, they seek to resolve what we believe are our problems, rather than offering us the freedom to resolve them ourselves. Our nation is in jeopardy not because of our enemies great power, but because we have shown our weakness in the defense of liberty at home.

With this in mind, our enemies are fueled by an ideology that we make no moral argument against. The voice of the American, once found in the Press, has been replaced by an internationalist view, a view towards the sensational, and an outright denial of the truth as newsworthy. Instead of aiding us in the defense of the system that ensures their rights, they highlight the depravity of a people free to be as loathsome as their minds imagination. To thwart the efforts of our enemy, we have to be willing to call him by name, and to point him out when we see him. Our media no longer does this, our government is unwilling to restrain itself, and our people seem oblivious to the possible ramifications of our weakness.

Islam, as practiced by a majority of the worlds Muslims, allows for no such individual variance of thought. Our enemy is often described as economically or politically motivated, while the truth that his argument for his actions comes directly from his understanding of his faith and its teachings, is ignored. Not having such justifications, our enemy will not flinch in his attempt to destroy us. Islam, the religion, may or may not be agreeable with liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. What is clear is that the people, who practice Islam, while waging war of terror on the United States and our allies, do not concern themselves with such things.

Should the U.S. fail to remember those values, our fight with Islamic terror will be questioned continuously, while our battlefield tactics are controlled not by military commanders, but rather by politicians concerned with votes. The success of our effort thus far will be for naught should we permit our politicians to waiver in their support of the effort. While politicians and pundits revisit Vietnam, it might be worthwhile for them to remember that the United States did not lose the war in Vietnam by force or strategy, but rather we lost our will as a nation to fight a battle against a spreading evil.

The debate over Vietnam isn’t won by continuing it; it is won by our resolve to not repeat the same mistakes. A resolve that is not clear in the Democratic Party, and unfortunately, that the Republican Party has not been able to show on either its foreign or domestic agenda for the last 10 years.

September 17, 2004

Pejman on a National Intelligence Director

In his article for Tech Central Station, Pejman Yousefzadeh, lays out the concerns that many of us have on the decision of the President to accept the 9/11 Commission's recommendation, in part, for a National Intelligence Director to oversee the intelligence community. As is expected of Pejman, his argument is well stated and worth a read.

In previous post on the issue, here, here, here, and here, I've voiced both my concerns with the creation of the post, and my acceptance that if it is going to be created, the necessary tools, most notably the purse strings, much be included.

Pejman argues that the post doesn't address the primary issues of how intelligence is collected and processed and how the community recruits analysts and agents. In addition, he notes the difficulties associated with yet another bureaucratic layer to an already engorged community, and the difficulties an NID will have in the battles with entrenched bureaucrats.

His column is excellent and should the President and Congress continue their moves to create the NID, it would be to their, and our, advantage if they would consider the arguments before them, after all they considered the 9/11 Commision's report.

Sullivan, sorry, but you are wrong.

Yesterday, I offered recognition of the Belmont Club for the astute, fact driven, analysis of the war and it's opposition. This morning, Andrew Sullivan offers the truly definitive cause for U.S. casualty figures not escalating

"the White House may well have been withdrawing troops from sensitive areas in order to minimize casualties in the run-up to elections"
When operating under the opinion that our President would make such wartime decisions based on political need, an opinion I do not agree with, you can believe, without evidence, just such an argument. Andy, should stop drinking the kool-aid and reading Sidney, and others who seem all to convinced, and eager to convince everyone else that things have fallen apart in Iraq.

Fortunately reality does not support the argument of Sullivan. U.S. forces continue to take the battle to the enemy, and in return the enemy takes the battle to the civilian population of Iraq. The data supports this conclusion and the 1st Marine Regiment, fighting to free Iraq from "militias" will succeed in doing so.

Unlike many American's, Prime Minister Iyed Allawi has shown great strength and fortitude in this effort. He has not always been correct. He has, with the exception of letting al-Sadr live, shown to be stronger willed and more certain of the truth that those who've died will not be repaid by indecision and conciliation, but rather through the continued perseverance and attack necessary to defeat a cowardly enemy.

Sullivan should think about the "Bounce Declines" a little more also. Given the recent polls showing a 13 point lead for President Bush.

September 16, 2004

Duelfer to say "No WMD's In Iraq"

Charles Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Survey Group for the less than 8 months, has announced that his final report, to be released at the end of the month, will state that "Iraq Had No WMD's". Or so the headlines will read tonight and in the morning.

Buried in the AP story is this bit of contrary data -

"Duelfer's report, however, is expected to fall between the position of the Bush administration before the war - portraying Saddam as a grave threat - and the declarative statements Kay made after he resigned."
Kay's statements being that "We were almost all wrong" and "I don't think they existed".

Of course, the press will pound away with the drumbeat of no WMD's in Iraq, until the report comes out, then they'll quietly ignore comments about the programs behind the weapons, the missile development efforts, and the stash in Bekaa. No CBS wouldn't do that.

Kerry is so very Inspirational

This inspirational quote

"Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry says US President George Bush is "living in a fantasy world" on Iraq as the US military death toll hits 1030."
is taken from al-Jazeera's report on the increasing difficulty the U.S. is having in Iraq.

al-Jazeera also proudly boast of the classified National Intelligence Estimate providing "a significant amount of pessimism".

I can say no more.

No surpises here....

Drudge reports -

NIELSEN numbers this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco, with audience margins in some cities of more than 6 to 1 against CBS... MORE...

CBS EXECS CONCERN OVER VIEWERSHIP PLUNGE; RATHER RATINGS FADE IN MAJOR MARKETS

UPDATE: Drudge has updated the post with the Nielsen numbers behind the Execs' concern.

"All Restaurants are Taco Bell"

No it wouldn't be the 64th Amendment, but it is still just too fun to ignore.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher has proposed an amendment to the Constitution to allow foreign-born Americans who have been citizens for 20 years to run for president.

Of course his friend Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Michigan Govenor Jennifer Granholm are immediately mentioned as the potential benefactors.

""There's a number of people I know whose career opportunities would be expanded by this constitutional amendment," Rohrabacher said, mentioning Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Canadian-born Democrat, and House Intelligence Committee Chair Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., who was born in the Netherlands. "One of them might be from Austria."

It's that Austrian birth certificate that makes Schwarzenegger, 57, ineligible to become president, despite holding a job that has been a launching pad for many presidential runs."

At no time was Demolition Man mentioned. Thankfully.

Here's the Seattle Times coverage of the story. Link via Backcountry Conservative, Jeff Quinton.

September 15, 2004

Sick of the CBS or Cart full of Bull S**t (Updated)

After reading this:

" Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:

“We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that’s what we are doing.”" as reported by Drudge

I'm sick of the Cart full of Bull S**t (CBS) that is coming from CBS.

Whether it is the FCC, FEC, or Congress, I don't care, so long as someone brings a bit of justice to those involved. It is despicable; it reflects the worst in our media, and points to why conspiracies, lies and fallacies are rampant among our people.

UPDATE: Is Kinko's shopper Bill Burkett the source? If so, would CBS deny it to protect their reputation, given he is a highly tainted source, or to protect an intermediary relationship to the Kerry campaign? Glad some progress is being made, and unfortunately, the only transparency in the CBS organization, is their bias, as shown in this piece of dung. See Ace for all the poop that's worth a scoop on Burkett.

Morally Repugnant Advertisement

Via SayAnything this example of the depths of depravity from Europe, in this case the Spanish paper El Pais. I don't read Spanish... so if you do, or know someone who does, please feel free to expand the translation.

"You can do a lot in one single day; just imagine what can happen in three months."

Originally from Barcepundit who has some additional comments on the paper behind the ad.

Voting as a Statement of Approval or Disapproval

In his latest column, Dick Morris, points out that even those voting for Kerry aren't doing so because they like him. They are voting against President Bush. Taken along with the latest from Michael Tomasky, of the American Prospect, and it becomes clear that the Left still doesn't understand where we are as a nation.

Tomasky writes that on "health care, the environment, investment, education, just about everything except national defense, majorities lean toward the Democratic position". And yet the Republicans win the Presidential election except when the Democrats offered "an unusually articulate and charismatic candidate named Clinton (and when it was possible to win with 43 percent of the vote, as Clinton did in 1992, or when the Hobbesians nominate a septuagenarian hatchet man, as they did in 1996)." Tomasky, aside from his statement that Democrats seek a rational world, and his assertion that he is not a conspiracy theorist, asserts that the Republicans, whom he calls "scurillous liars", win by means of attacking the Democrats character and leaving the voter with this thought on November 2 -

"Gosh, I just don't think John Kerry can be trusted to fight the war on terror."
Tomasky fails to make an argument for Kerry's being anything other than that which he claims the Republican's assert:
  • "First, label him a flip-flopper. Establish him as unreliable. When dealing with someone who's been in the Senate for 20 years, casting thousands of roll-call votes on everything under God's sun, that's child's play.
  • Second, go after his war record in Vietnam. It's the one obvious resume advantage Kerry has (had?) over Bush. Erase it with a bunch of old and not credible charges. Turn Kerry's advantage into a wash.
  • Third, bring in Kerry's 1971 testimony. That should have the effect of planting the seed: Gee, if he spoke out against America then, can we be sure he'll defend America now?
  • Fourth and last, once the historical groundwork is established, bring it up to the present. Tie it into terrorism and Iraq. Kerry -- the flip-flopper, the war-story embellisher, the critic of American military aims -- can't be trusted."
Morris notes that, as it should be, the number one issue for American's is National Security, a role the President is charged with and has the greatest direct influence on. Morris includes the results of a recent poll showing that Bush voters are voting FOR President Bush, not against Kerry, while Kerry voters are voting AGAINST the President.
"Bush voters emphatically say, by 82-13, that they are voting for the president rather than against the challenger."
And among Kerry voters
"support for Kerry (41 percent) or by opposition to Bush (51 percent)".
The primary issue at hand is character. And despite Tomasky's claim that other issues, policy issues, show Democrats support Kerry, the reality is in the numbers. Kerry fails on character and the effect is that those punching his chad do so not because of his stand on issues, but out of their opposition for President Bush.

It is troubling that so many would vote against rather than for, but it shows the lack of rational arguments for the Left and their candidate.

UPDATE: King of Fools offers some insight on voting FOR a candidate, rather than against. He starts from a piece concerned that a mass suicide might occur should Bush win. No really.

UPDATE: Blogs For Bush's Matt Margolis now has a piece on the Morris article and the Kerry Campaign's Woes.

September 14, 2004

A.P. gets an "F"

The original title for this post, was "THE AP SUCKS!!!" It has been changed, but I still feel that way.

In reporting on Bush gains in battleground states, AP Writer Tom Raum, gives a classic example of why this blog, and so many others, refuse to take anything the AP says at face value.

Raum begins benignly enough in discussing (not reporting) the widening gap between President Bush and John Kerry and how it has affected the campaigns and their plans for battleground states. While benign, it didn't strike me as impartial.

Then it hits me....

"The race in Florida, which decided the 2000 contest when it was put in Bush's column by a Supreme Court ruling, was even in polls conducted just before the convention."
No way did a reporter for the AP have the gall to report that Florida was put in Bush's column by a Supreme Court ruling. Florida was put in Bush's column by a 537 votes.

I shouldn't be surprised, or bothered by the lack of reporting here, or by the constant selling of untruths. Yet I am. Tom Raum, like Dan Rather, has been around a long time, since 1973, perhaps it has been too long.

September 13, 2004

Why CBS matters.

Reading Fred Barnes’ piece in the Weekly Standard on “the things you have to believe n order to conclude that CBS's documents aren't forgeries”, and Bill Hobbs, a former journalist, summation of the same, left me with one thought (after I stopped laughing at the graphic on Hobbs' page).

Those of us who’ve accepted the truth that CBS is clearly at fault and unwilling to admit it, are still unfortunately unable to reach those who rely on CBS as there sole source for news. While I was growing up, in the seventies and early eighties, my father never missed an episode of 60 Minutes, and had it not been for the advent of cable and the Fox News Channel, and conservative talk radio, he would still watch regularly. Instead he is like me, unable to watch, unless it is to see just how far CBS has fallen from it’s once proud post as leader of journalistic objectivity and in-depth reporting. It is much like reading the New York Times, I don’t read it to find the news, I read it to see what the Times wants me to believe.

There are many who still rely on CBS for their news. CBS owes it to them to do the right thing and come clean on their bias, or come clean on the forged documents.

Where Politics may fail us all.

The U.S. has continued the Global War on Terror, and as such, the U.S. now seeks to have the International Atomic Energy Association refer the issue of an Iranian nuclear weapons program to the United Nations Security Council. The members of the IAEA have no less than Mohamed El Baradei, the chief of the agency, stating that Iran is not complying with its previous commitments and is in effect lying to the world about its program and the centrifuge needed to create the enriched uranium needed for nuclear weapons. It would seem that France, Germany and Great Britain all understand the significance of the issue, as they are set to propose a November deadline for Iran to comply with the regulations of the IAEA and meet their obligations.

Politics, however, may keep the U.S. from standing firm in it’s demand that the issue go before the Security Council, and prevent the Russian’s from offering their support. The U.S. appears unwilling to stand alone in demanding more urgency, perhaps all too aware of the election nearing and the perception that the world does not want to follow U.S. leadership. However, the last time the Russian’s dragged their feet with a U.S. proposed action, it was directly due to their financial ties to the target, Iraq. It is clearly the case again as Russia has provided much of the technology and consultants required for Iran’s nuclear power program and is most certainly financially weak today, with little desire to lose additional cash from deals signed prior to the War on Terror coming to their neighborhood.

The U.S. strategy should be to find and eliminate the sources from which terrorist could purchase, steal, or otherwise obtain weapons of mass destruction. To our great benefit, our political system allows for and encourages discussion and potential change in our direction, this is one issue where the message must be clear and consistent. Our resolve must be clear no matter the occupant of the Oval Office. The politics of an election or of dollars lost in business deals not delivered, must never enter into the discussion.

Latest reports by the AP are here and here.

September 10, 2004

Anyone seen Senator Kerry lately?

Yes... It's been 40 days and 40 nights since his last appearance. At first I thought this might be him, but then realized it was a Bush supporter.


(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

When is racial profiling okay?

Let's see, when is racial profiling acceptable:

  • By law enforcement agents in the pursuit of criminals - NO
  • By security personnel attempting to prevent terrorist from flying - NO
  • By college admissions directors seeking diversity rather than excellence - YES
  • By political organizations seeking to dupe voters into believing that Democrats represent minorities better than Republicans - YES
There is something terribly wrong with this, and because it deals with race, it is unmentionable.

Inspired by In response to this AP story.

Response to the Question of the Draft

At the always entertaining Infinite Monkeys blog, the following question is offered:

Question for fans of Bush and the "War"

Hypothetical question - and this is not an unrealistic possibility:

IF the "War on Terror" really does continue for several more decades and...
IF the pool of "volunteer" soldiers in our military dries up...

Do you support reinstating the draft?

The answer, following the assumptions of the hypothetical question, is a simple yes.

The matter is relatively straight forward to me, the cause of Liberty must be defended, and as the question states, should the pool of volunteers wither, then the nation must be willing to take the measures required to maintain our armed forces, in this case, the reinstitution of the draft.

Of course, I do not believe the pool will dry up, in fact, should our victories continue, the flame of Liberty that takes hold elsewhere, will also bring out the best in our young men and women, who will continue to volunteer to serve.

Update - To the reader who commented, but did not leave a name (false or otherwise, no name = no comment), as I've stated above, I don't believe it will happen, I simply answered within the context of the question as it was asked. And should it be that some had to be drafted, and in doing so forfeit a measure of Liberty, so that our nation is defended and may again retain the mantle of Liberty for all, yes, as I said, yes, I would support it. However, in the real world, conscription of all able bodied citizens for a period of service is more likely.

September 9, 2004

AP complicit in CBS fraud (Updated)

There are those, both on the left and right of the political spectrum, who will report that the AP is questioning the validity of the forged documents CBS used as a basis for it’s attempted re-ignition of the Bush AWOL lie, as if the AP should be applauded. To those of you who chose to do so, I would only ask, where is the investigation from the AP. Notice that their latest releases do not acknowledge that CBS is investigating the documents, and dances around the evidence unearthed today throughout the blogosphere. Just as the Boston Globe rushed to herald the CBS story, AP now drags it’s feet in tearing it down.

The Associated Press has failed, and in failing to cover, or choosing to bury the story, the AP remains complicit in the failure of the press and like the Democratic Party, it too will be called to answer for the obvious shortcomings in both effort and intellectual honesty.

Recent AP Headlines -

Son of Late Officer Questions Bush Memos - 11:39 PM (ET)by Bobby Ross Jr.

Questions Raised About Bush Guard Service - 10:59 PM (ET) by Terence Hunt

Timeline of Bush's ANG Service - 7:25 PM (ET) by The Associated Press

Text of Memos About Bush Suspension - 12:59 PM (ET) by The Associated Press

Barnes Upset About Helping Bush Avoid War - Sep 8, 8:25 PM (ET) by Jim Vertuno

And from Drudge:

" XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU SEPT 09, 2004 22:45:32 ET XXXXX

CBSNEWS LAUNCHES INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AFTER SUSPICIOUS BUSH DOCS AIRED

**Exclusive**

CBS NEWS executives have launched an internal investigation into whether its premiere news program 60 MINUTES aired fabricated documents relating to Bush's National Guard service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"The reputation and integrity of the entire news division is at stake, if we are in error, it will be corrected," a top CBS source explained late Thursday.

The source, who asked not to be named, described CBSNEWS anchor and 60 MINUTES correspondent Dan Rather as being privately "shell-shocked" by the increasingly likelihood that the documents in question were fraudulent.

Rather, who anchored the segment presenting new information on the president's military service, will personally correct the record on-air, if need be, the source explained from New York.

MORE"


UPDATE - 22:40 MT - Also be sure to read the Washington Post's where some have started to do what no AP story has done thus far. And ABC has also done some investigating.

UPDATE - 12:18 MT 9/10/04 - The latest from Drudge:

CNN TRANSCRIPT:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

Rather holds to his story, even while CBS investigates and the remaining media elites begin to pick away at the story. When the story is old on the blogs, it'll be burning in the major media, and Rather will have to be held accountable.

And finally from the AP -
Authenticity of Bush Memos Scrutinized - Sep 10, 1:45 PM (ET) by Matt Kelley

Campaign perilously close to collapse

The Democratic leadership, and all serious American’s who’ve been supportive of John Kerry, need to take a minute to look at not only the facts surrounding their campaign’s fall from seriousness, but also the future ramifications should they hold to their present course. In reviewing the details of what has happened they must note that their vitriol for Bush and all things Republican, has led them to believe any and all attempts by the Kerry camp to attack the President. Their campaign has failed because of those attacks and the reactionary leaps the Kerry supporters have had to make in order to cover and conceal their own weakness.

Rather than flailing about in each direction the wind blew regarding the war, siding with the most radical of leftist in the country, building a base fueled by Howard Dean and Michael Moore, those who legitimately oppose the domestic agenda of the President, who oppose his leadership in the War, and who feel the economic situation warrants a different course would have been much better off to have stuck with those arguments. Instead, the anti-Bush component of the party drove them to the choice of a candidate who offers no clear principles in his politics, domestic or foreign, and more damningly, a candidate who has shown a willingness to lie, yes lie, on more than one occasion purely as an act of self-promotion.

Most recently Kerry has floundered about avoiding the press, 38 days now, while his aids, the media and others, most notably John Edwards, have attempted to carry the banner. His lack of leadership is the most damning of all the aspects of his current situation.

Whether it be CBS, and the now very suspect documents used to support their latest attack, followed by the Boston Globe, or the constant divisiveness offered by remarks such as his latest delivered to a convention of Baptist:

"Wrong choices of the Bush Administration... are taking us back to two Americas -- separate and unequal. Our cities and communities are being torn apart by forces just as divisive and destructive as Jim Crow," Kerry in speech to Baptist convention...”
The choices for the Democratic Party are becoming more difficult, and as we can clearly see, a caged tiger is much more dangerous to himself in his desperation than he is to his captures. The supporters of the Democratic Party need to stand up and stop the bleeding, or risk being made irrelevant for years to come.

For more on the causes of the collapse, see Hugh, Powerline, Command Post, Ipse Dixit, RatherBiased and others via B4B.

Rather.... Not.

Dan Rather showed his colors again last night as he interviewed lobbed softballs to yet another willing accomplice in the Kerry campaign.

Rather made no point of doing any real reporting, or asking questions that would impugn the guest stooge he shared the spotlight with.

For real data regarding the President’s service in the Texas Air National Guard, take a look at Byron York’s latest.

"After training, Bush kept flying, racking up hundreds of hours in F-102 jets. As he did, he accumulated points toward his National Guard service requirements. At the time, guardsmen were required to accumulate a minimum of 50 points to meet their yearly obligation.

According to records released earlier this year, Bush earned 253 points in his first year, May 1968 to May 1969 (since he joined in May 1968, his service thereafter was measured on a May-to-May basis).

Bush earned 340 points in 1969-1970. He earned 137 points in 1970-1971. And he earned 112 points in 1971-1972. The numbers indicate that in his first four years, Bush not only showed up, he showed up a lot. Did you know that?

That brings the story to May 1972 — the time that has been the focus of so many news reports — when Bush “deserted” (according to anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore) or went “AWOL” (according to Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee).

Bush asked for permission to go to Alabama to work on a Senate campaign. His superior officers said OK. Requests like that weren’t unusual, says retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971.

“In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots,” Campenni says. “The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In ’72 or ’73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem.”

So Bush stopped flying. From May 1972 to May 1973, he earned just 56 points — not much, but enough to meet his requirement.

Then, in 1973, as Bush made plans to leave the Guard and go to Harvard Business School, he again started showing up frequently.

In June and July of 1973, he accumulated 56 points, enough to meet the minimum requirement for the 1973-1974 year."

Link via Slings and Arrows.

There should be no question of where Rather lies, as he hasn't interviewed anyone to find out about Kerry's service, even though it remains the center of his campaign. And of course, CBS was negative in their coverage of the President, even during the week of the RNC.

More on the National Intelligence Director

As stated in previous post on the issues of a National Intelligence Director, 9/8, 8/3, and 8/2, I have reservations regarding the creation of a National Intelligence Director, while agreeing with the President’s decision to support the creation of the position. Primarily due to my concern for adding to the bulk of the bureaucracy within the government as a whole, and more significantly for adding to the bureaucracy in the intel community. This being said, I must note that if the President is going to approve the creation of such a position, he is absolutely right to ensure that budgetary control is given to the NID, and to ensure that the approval for appointments and employment within the community not only include the NID, but should in some part require the approval of the NID.

Those who fret over the increase in government bureaucracy, as do I, will have to accept that the current bureau is broken in both it’s alignment, as well as in it’s philosophical leanings. The President, as the Chief Executive, should bear the responsibility for correct those issues, but as we’ve seen in the state department, it is not a matter that is easily resolved within the existing structure. Leadership must be more direct and empowered to act on the President’s agenda. I’ll support the effort until given either fiscal, organizational, operational or legal to reason oppose it.

Read other thoughts on the issue, including whether or not it is a flip-flop from the Bush camp, here, here and here.

Read the draft plan, link via Daniel Drezner.


September 8, 2004

First word on Kitty Kelley's 'the Family'

As reported in Thursday's Washington Post -

Even ahead of the books launch, Sharon Bush, former wife of the President's brother, has come out to deny the allegations made in the book, which Kelley had attributed to her.

"I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David or that I ever saw him use cocaine at Camp David. When Kitty Kelley raised drug use at Camp David, I responded by saying something along the lines of, 'Who would say such a thing?'

"Although there have been tensions between me and various members of the Bush family, I cannot allow this falsehood to go unchallenged."

In general, I will not comment on the book, or it's author, both equally specious as well as unworthy of the general audience of the Little Red Blog. However, I will state that those who would use Kelley's book as evidence of anything other than her lack of character, well frankly, they should be proud of John Kerry. The similarities are many.

Shocking Slant-o-Meter

Given that it was the week of the RNC, perhaps shock is an overstatement.

All the networks improved in their coverage of President Bush, which I'm sure some really struggled with and can't wait till Kitty Kelley's book, lovingly titled, the Family, comes out so they can go hog-wild the other way.

Fox, NBC and ABC (barely) were actually positive for Bush, while even during the convention, CBS managed to make the news negative.

As always.... thanks to Media Tenor International who keeps an eye on all things media.

National Intelligence Director on tap?

President Bush's statements that he would want a strong national intelligence director with authority for all non-military intelligence gathering efforts, including budgetary control shows once again that President Bush understands how things get done. The idea that a director of such an organization would operate without budgetary control, but would somehow pull the various organizations involved into operating more effectively is absurd. The President knows, that budgetary control may be the stick that empowers such a director to create the change necessary in the agencies in question. It will certainly be more powerful than a token change agent or advocate would have been.

As to the military being excluded from the revised intelligence big tent, while the reason given was to avoid disrupting efforts in the ongoing war, I would suggest that it was both a political concession to the DoD and SecDef Rumsfield, as well as a retainer between the operational elements of the Defense Department and the more analysis oriented portion of the community. But there may be other reasons.

Further details are available here as reported by the AP.

A listing of Euphemisms

This offering comes from Daniel Pipes....

Assailants - National Public Radio.
Attackers – the Economist.
Bombers – the Guardian.
Captors – the Associated Press.
Commandos – Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as "membres du commando" and "commando."
Criminals - the Times (London).
Extremists – United Press International.
Fighters – the Washington Post.
Group – the Australian.
Guerrillas: in a New York Post editorial.
Gunmen – Reuters.
Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times.
Insurgents – in a New York Times headline.
Kidnappers – the Observer (London).
Militants – the Chicago Tribune.
Perpetrators – the New York Times.
Radicals – the BBC.
Rebels – in a Sydney Morning Herald headline.
Separatists – the Christian Science Monitor.

And my favorite:

Activists – the Pakistan Times.
As we've all pointed out before, the media, is unwilling to call a terrorist by his right name.

Gelernter on the Greatness of Bush

David Gelernter, a gifted computer science professor at Yale, and author of one of my favorite books a few years back, Machine Beauty, has a great piece in the Weekly Standard.

Gelernter offers a moral understanding of the Greatness of President Bush, and of our obligations in the world today. His final arguments concerning the reactionary left are, for lack of a better word, perfect, in describing the opposition President Bush faces.

Read his full article, here.

Here is a brief sample....

"THE WAR IN IRAQ is dual-purpose, like most American wars. Take the Civil War. At the beginning, the North fought mainly for pragmatic reasons. No nation can tolerate treason, or allow itself to be ripped to bits or auctioned off piece-wise by malcontents. Midwesterners couldn't allow the Mississippi to fall into foreign hands; they needed their outlet to the sea. And so on. Slavery was overshadowed.
But as the war continued, slavery emerged as the issue, and the war's character changed.

The Iraq war started as a fight to knock out a regime that invaded its neighbors, murdered its domestic enemies with poison gas, subsidized terrorism, and flouted the international community. Obviously such a regime was dangerous to American interests. But as the war continued and we confronted Saddam's gruesome tyranny face to face, the moral issue grew more important, as emancipation did in the Civil War. For years the Iraqi people had been screaming, in effect: "Oh, my God. Please help me! Please help me! I'm dying!" How could America have answered, "We don't want to get involved"? We are the biggest kid on the playground. If we won't help, who will?"

Dr. Gelernter tells both why the biggest kid on the playground must help, and what happens when the call for help is ignored. Bravo!

Carter's would be Party over Family and Nation

As reported by the AP, in a letter sent this weekend from Jimmy Carter, which his office refused to release to the media, the former President states that:

"By now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral pre-emptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth and the political technique of character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause"
showing clearly that the former President would rather Zell Miller stand by his party over his family and his nation.

The former Marine's response was, as can be expected, dead on:

"John F. Kennedy warned about the dangers of extreme party loyalty and once said, 'What sins have been committed in its name,' said Miller, who plans to retire in January as a Democrat. My first loyalty is and always will be my family."
Once again reaffirming our understanding that the man the Democratic Party claims for themselves, stood for values and character more aligned with today's Republican Party. The attacks on Miller will continue.

The missing values of John Kerry

In his continued search for votes, John Kerry has shown that any position is an option to him, knowing that the major media will not highlight positions he previously announced or asking tomorrow why he faces a different direction. From the AP:

"Today marks a tragic milestone in the war in Iraq; more than 1,000 of America's sons and daughters have now given their lives on behalf of their country, on behalf of freedom, the war on terror," Kerry said as he arrived in Cincinnati on a campaign stop.

"I think that the first thing that every American wants to say today is how deeply we each feel the loss, how much this means to all of us as Americans, the sacrifice that we feel on a very personal level," he said.

"And we are determined that as a nation we will always remember it, we will always stand up and fight for what they have fought for and their sacrifice will not be in vain," Kerry said. "We are committed to making the right decisions in Iraq and the right decisions for them here at home, and that is the way that we will honor their sacrifice."

This in a story which fails to highlight the words the candidate offered yesterday.
"the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time"
The Senator made some fine remarks in his latest statements, the problem is that they meant nothing more to him than the words he offered yesterday. A firm moral position, on what is the central issue of this election, continues to escape the junior Senator from Massachusetts.

September 7, 2004

The media - blind to evil

While the vaunted media elite in the U.S. continues to press for the election of John Kerry, to clamor about the health of former President Clinton, or the effects of Hurricane Frances on the state of Florida, little reporting has been made of the massacres in Russia over the last weeks. Our media has continued to use the terms separatists, rebels and militants to describe those who perpetrated what has to been seen as pure acts of evil. While our media has not accepted the truth, many around the world are seeing that these acts are acts of terror by men who worship death, while using the name of Islam.

The battle for civilization is at hand. Our media, as of yet, has been a party to the enemy, yet we defend their right to exist. While listening, watching or reading we are subject to the reporting they wish, only on the web are we able to seek out and find the content that matters, from the few sources willing to publish it. More and more of us do so daily, and the impact will be devastating to them and to their narcissism.

Let us be clear:

The attacks in Russia were not tragedies. They were massacres.

The terrorist who blow kill innocents in Spain, Russia, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Bali, the United States and any where else are not doing it due to a policy decision on the part of the western world, they are serving their perverted faith in Death.

The attempt to look to how or why the Russians, just as it happened here after 9/11, where targeted enables the enemy to legitimize their tactics, and to defuse the real and just response of the western world.

The reality of the world at war, is slow to strike some on the left, and the media which boldly serves them. They seek instead to claim tolerance of all, while failing to be tolerant of those on the Right, and misguidedly enabling those who would deny them the right of tolerance, at best, or kill them, the more likely end.

The media is not without bright spots, yet they are few, and those few should receive our patronage. As to the rest, and our continued support of them, we should be ashamed if we offer it. What is tragic is that we don’t demand more of our media?

September 2, 2004

Thursday Night Review

A night to remember. Maybe not forever, but through the election.

Some quick thoughts and highlights ---

George Pataki:

“We did not choose this war, but we have a President who chooses to win it.”
YES.
President Bush:
“Two trillion dollars in spending, and that’s a lot even for a politician from Massachusetts.”
INDEED.
“If you gave a speech, as my opponent did, calling the Reagan presidency eight years of “moral darkness,” then you may be a lot of things, but the candidate of conservative values is not one of them.”
AND HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED.
“I believe in the transformational power of liberty”
LIBERTY - NEED I SAY MORE
It wasn't the best performance/speech of President Bush's life. It didn't have to be. He simply had to remind the American voter that he is in command, that virtue has returned to the White House, and that he has not forgotten that Liberty, yes Liberty, sets us apart.

Senator Kerry:

“all hat, no cattle”
Although it was intended for the President, it clearly was self-descriptive. Kerry was outperformed by his VP Candidate in his remarks tonight, not that they were more factual, as we know, Edwards is a trial lawyer, but rather in his delivery and persona (not much of an accomplishment). I'd bet there are more than a few Dems sitting around the bar, wishing Dean hadn't made them panic and jump to Kerry. It's okay boys, there is always 2008. Unless, of course, Hilary wants it.

All in all, WE WIN!!!

"...an eel in a vat of olive oil."

Ralph Peters, God Bless Him, had this to say:

" The guy is an eel in a vat of olive oil.

Yesterday, John Kerry tried to pander to America's heroes, conveniently forgetting that he'd trashed them for political gain, then shortchanged them throughout his Senate career. Suddenly, Kerry was the man who had fought for benefits for his fellow Vietnam vets, the man who felt their pain (Kerry makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity).

The only veterans' benefit young John Kerry fought for was the right of vets to be spit upon in public."

Tonight I'll watch the President, and for 60 days (at least) I'll have to wait to know that he will serve for 4 MORE YEARS!

Via Lord Reynolds...

More Negative and Balanced

The last time we checked in on the Slant-o-Meter, it showed that FoxNews was the only network providing "fair and balanced" coverage of any candidate. The latest report shows that all 4 covered networks were negative all the time. As to balance, ABC and NBC continued to be more negative towards President Bush while CBS bounced back to a mutually negative spot. FoxNews (based on Special Report with Brit Hume) offered mmore negative coverage of Senator Kerry. Given the news of the week, it is hard to explain the broadcast networks not being more negative towards Kerry, assuming you deny their bias.

I for one can't wait till the post convention Slant comes out.

Edwards proves why he was successful trial lawyer

In an effort to clarify his qualifications as a trial attorney, Senator John Edwards offered this:

"The GOP spent "all of their time and all of their energy trying to tear down a patriot," Edwards told a town hall audience Thursday"
as reported by the AP.

Clearly the Senator failed to let the text of Senator Miller's speech impact his determination to avoid the truth. Senator Miller's speech included this statement:

"It is not their patriotism - it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking."
None of the speakers at the convention have portrayed the junior Senator from Massachusetts out to be anything less than patriotic, instead sticking to the simple truths, that while his intentions may be good, his actions, his votes and the judgment behind them are sorely lacking.

And apparently Senator Edwards has been sipping the cool-aid.

This in stark contrast to Al Gore's screaming that President Bush:

"... betrayed this country! He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place."
Which party questions the patriotism of its opponent?

Knocking on the door to our soul.

Liberty, one of the three central thoughts behind the founding of our nation, is not a gift from our government, nor is it a guarantee. As a response to Senator Zell Miller's speech at the RNC, there are many Democratic Party apologists who continue to attempt to paint Senator Miller as an icon of hatred and evil. The primary point of his speech being completely missed, or worse yet, ignored.

"I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel."
There is no argument, similar in content, or authority for Senator Kerry.

‘E Pluribus Unum’, ‘In God We Trust’, and ‘Liberty’ describe the soul of our nation. The Democratic Party has moved away from these values. Senator Miller’s speech, or his book, reflects that move and calls to the Democrats to look into their soul at the very real hatred expressed in their opposition to all things supported by President Bush.

We are at war not only with an enemy who seeks our destruction, but also with an enemy who quietly attacks not only our nation, but also each of us individually. We apply great force in our War against Islamo Fascism. Yet individually, do we apply an equal force to the battle within? Have Michael Moore or John Kerry looked to find the values that define their soul, and sought to live their lives accordingly?

The incredible shift to the left that the Democratic Party has made answers that question for me. As do the growing number of people who are disenfranchised by their growing push for multiculturalism, secularism and government intrusion in our lives.

September 1, 2004

Kerry on War

Speaking before the American Legion National Convention, Senator Kerry explained how many opinions he has on the War in Iraq.


"10, yes 10, and I'm proud of each of them."

Naïve no more, RNC Wednesday.

The speeches delivered tonight by Zell Miller and Vice President Cheney lived up to their billing. In fact, if you toss out Kerry Healey, the last two hours were very powerful and ultimately, the most direct of the convention, thus far.

I’ll offer more in the morning, but my first thoughts are that the Reagan tribute, and speech by Michael Reagan, provided an emotional reminder of where the party comes from, the kind of character we strive for, and the values that make a President worthwhile.

Lt. Gov. Healey dropped the ball. Thankfully, she was early enough to miss the mass market. Gov. Mitt Romney was better than I’d expected from him, and I still believe he’ll be a secretary in a future cabinet, or a senator, rather than an occupant of the oval office, should he aspire to such.

Who didn’t enjoy seeing a very pregnant Sara Evans sing?

Simply put, the highlight of the convention thus far, was Zell Miller’s speech. I know Arnold was great at appealing to a broad base, as are McCain and Giuliani, but Zell Miller not only appeals to a broad base, he appeals to the character of us all. His virtue was in his simple words and enormous ideals, and he called the Democratic Party out as no Republican can. No Republican could say these words with the same impact as Zell Miller did tonight:

"Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine angrier than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home."

Lynne Cheney was excellent. Although I’m sure she could have had more impact, she delivered the kind of introduction that only the finest of men will ever hear of themselves.

Vice President Cheney did a superb job. He has never sought elected office on a national scale, aside from the office he holds, and his greatest skill, like the President, is not speech or particular eloquence, yet he always delivers the most concise and powerful arguments for his thoughts. I enjoyed his speech and applauded the facts and the direct statements of what he and the President stand for, and laughed aloud when the crowd chanted “flip-flop” while he described the Kerry voting record. This I was particularly fond of:

"The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity because terrorists had done so previously. But if the killers of September 11th thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America and they did not know George W. Bush."
The party stepped back from some of the naïve descriptions of the opposition tonight, and replaced them with a strong helping of the truth --- the Democratic Party is no longer a party that represents the best interest of the United States. Or at least that’s my opinion.

What's happened to the Democratic Party?

Listening to Terry McAuliffe yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, I was, well, speechless. He didn't attempt to answer the questions, and made light of the implications.

"HEWITT: Do you believe that John Kerry took a CIA man into Cambodia and kept his hat?

MCAULIFFE: Uh, I have no idea.

HEWITT: You have no idea that he made that story to the Washington Post and that he made it again in 2004 to the LA Times?

MCAULIFFE: If John Kerry said he did something, I’ll take John Kerry at his word.

HEWITT: Do you think that he ran guns to anti-communists in Cambodia which he told the U.S. News & World Report on May of 2000?

MCAULIFFE: I don’t know. You’d have to ask John Kerry about that. I don’t know what he did in Cambodia or didn’t. That was a war 35 years ago. I want to talk about this year.

HEWITT: Did he go to Cambodia on Christmas Eve --your understanding-- in 1968?

MCAULIFFE: I think he probably did and probably George Bush when he was in the Alabama National Guard was driving the boat."

Then today at the RNC, in the Blogger's Corner, he had this to say to John H. Hinderaker, of the Powerline Blog:
"Q: Does it bother you that the Democrats have nominated a candidate that told a fable about spending Christmas in Cambodia on the floor of the United States Senate?

A: John Kerry went to Cambodia twice. He was over in Viet Nam and at one point, as you know, he took some CIA operatives into Cambodia, and he did a lot more than George Bush ever did for his country. George Bush never got to Viet Nam."

How can any man call himself a Democrat proudly when the party has fallen into the hands of men like McAuliffe, Kerry, Gore and Moore?

It is honorable and noteworthy for men like Senator McCain to speak fondly of the Democratic Party, but the interest in truth is long gone, since 1972 it has been a constant, if not steady decline. The values the party once held, are no more, and the sooner the Dems see it, and take back their party, the better for the nation and our system of government.

Thanks to Hugh and Captain Ed for the transcripts.

Moore Not Bothered by GOP Jeers...Yeah Right.

This from the same mouth that claims to be for the little guy, who doesn't value wealth, or the creation of it.
"Thank you, John McCain," Moore told The Daily News in New York. "The film's doing $120 million right now. When McCain mentions it, I have a chance to do $150 million."What he says should not get a rise from us, we know that he is filth and that his values are not our values. His products have polluted the minds of our youths, have weakened our self-reliance and character, and have re-invigorated our enemies.

The AP story is here. The photo is from the Washington Post.

Kerry Supporters in Al-Jazeera

These photos, just a sampling of what can be found at Al-Jazeera show some of Kerry's supporters in the streets of New York City.

Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.
Kerry supporters.

Wasn't that, no, it couldn't be Michael Moore on the al-Jazeera website.

Review of a night of compassion

The theme was "People of Compassion." And thusly the speeches, with the exception of the Bush twins, focused on matters that are commonly seen as compassionate. The general review seems to be that Arnold hit a home run. I would have to agree, he speaks with an energy and optimism that challenges us to free the best of ourselves. And of course the chants for a 28th Amendment at the Corner, are probably going to be heard, if even in jest, for a while.

Laura Bush was excellent. She is true to her convictions, and it shows. There was no pretense of seeking to be the co-President, like her predecessor as First Lady. In fact, she seems to have an awe, or a sense of wonder, when looking at her husband. Very refreshing and appreciated.

Elizabeth Dole did well, although none of the speakers with the early time slots, are able to command the audience like the main hour does.

Maryland's Lt. Gov. Michael Steele also did well with his time, although he ran a little long for me. His opening, seemed to fall flat.

"I had planned to give a moving defense of the conservative principles of the Republican Party tonight.

But there was only one problem; Barak Obama gave it last month at the Democratic Convention."

I'm definitely looking forward to Senator Zell Miller and Vice President Cheney tonight. The two of them should be more substantive than last night, more like Giuliani, without the humor, although the VP can be quite funny. If the tribute to President Reagan wasn't following him, perhaps Michael Reagan would be the source of humor for the night.

The transcripts and video are available at the GOP convention website.

August 31, 2004

Attack on Supporters of President Bush

Drudge offers this:

Attack Attempt On MSNBC Chris Matthews... Live On Air... Street Set Outside Convention... Hooded protester jumps security line ... Police move in immediatly... Guard Tackled... Bush/Cheney supporters gathered near show set at Herald Square were pushed and spat on by protesters, fake blood thrown while Matthews remained on air...
Of course I wasn't watching MSNBC.

Our President makes it clear

While John Edwards attempted to make hay of the President's comments regarding our winning the War on Terror (still think it should be the War against Islamo Fascism), and the media tried to make the most of it for Kerry/Edwards, our President, calmly ended the story with his remarks today.

"In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table. But make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win," Bush said, pausing to grin slightly. "We will win by staying on the offensive, we will win by spreading liberty."
For more on the speech the AP story is here.

The two John's thought they had him, but all who know his resolve, knew all along what he meant. So they continue to grasp for strays.

A Contrast in Substance and Style

For those who haven't already, I'd recommend reading Jonathan Last, at the Weekly Standard. His latest piece, The Two Parties: A study in contrast, is interesting and offers a few points that those not recording both conventions may not have caught.

Last makes one point very clear, that in New York, the Republicans are stating things in a clear and unmistakable form. While in Boston, there was no plainspoken statement of the state of our nation or the world.

He notes how Ron Silver stated:

"explicitly that America is at war with "Islamic extremists""
And how Mr. Silver, still a social liberal, evoked memories of Churchill with his resounding:
"We will never forget, we will never forgive, we will never excuse."
While I would not agree with all that Last says, he is dead on in his review of Senator John McCain, and perhaps a little overly excited by Mayor Giuliani. I would however agree that both of them outperformed any and all comers at the Dems cry fest in Boston.

Last offered this:

"THE CONSEQUENCE of these differences is that Republicans are running an atypical campaign for an incumbent party. Instead of sitting back and playing defense, running on the president's record, they're drawing deep contrasts with Kerry, behaving more the way a challenger would. The distinction they are intent on making tonight is that Democrats are the September 10 party, and Republicans at the September 12 party."
In closing, I'd offer that while the difference is clear, no study required, the real question remains the same, are there enough American's on the left and in the so-called middle, who are listening and can be influenced by truth. I believe the real benefit of such statements of clarity will come in our, the voting American's, ability to invigorate the electorate and to ensure that we are fully armed with the resolve we felt on September 12, 2001.

August 30, 2004

Best of the Night

While I enjoyed each of these speakers.

Ron Silver, who was surprisingly passionate. Text available here.
Zainab Al-Suwaij, of AIC, bringing home the lesson.

And while, Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn aren't going to make the list, the two gentlemen they recognized were well worth seeing, and have earned our respect.

Rodolfo P. Hernandez (U.S. Army, ret.), of North Carolina, was awarded his Medal of Honor in recognition of his service in the Korean War. A member of Company G, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, Hernandez distinguished himself by single-handedly halting an enemy advance long enough to enable his unit to counterattack and retake lost ground.

Thomas J. Hudner (U.S. Navy, ret.), from Massachusetts, received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Korean War. Forced down behind enemy lines, Lt. Hudner risked his life to save an injured flier trapped alive in burning wreckage by using his bare hands to pack the fuselage with snow.

The most touching, of course, were three who lost loved ones in the attacks on September 11, 2001: Deena Burnett, Debra Burlingame, Tara Stackpole. Whether Mrs. Burnett's "Do something" or Mrs. Stackpole's stating that her son will leave for Iraq in December, they left few dry eyes and no untouched hearts.

The best of the night has to go to either Senator John McCain or Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

Senator McCain was both powerful in his conviction and choice of words, he offered the funniest point in the night when he, apparently without knowing the Michael Moore was present, stated

"not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls."
Read the text of his speech here.

Mayor Giuliani delivered a speech clearly aimed at the heart of the Kerry campaign's weakness. George Bush is a principled leader, Kerry is not. He left you both at once touched by the story of 9/11 and President Bush's response to it, and laughing as he delivered example after example of Kerry's failures in consistency.

In the end, the night was both touching, and a great reminder of the cause for which we fight, as well as powerfully positive and optimistic in our resolve to win the war, and to re-elect President Bush.

Outside the arena the worst has to include this protester.

Don King says "Four more years for..."

On FoxNews' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Don King shouts out:

"Four more years for George Walker Bush!"
He gets it. Opportunity comes not through government, but through the limiting of government intrusion. Now why can't everyone see it.

Tom Daschle, so lame.

How can Tom Daschle be so lame? During the RNC, after doing all he can to not be on the side of President Bush, he offers this, see photo, in an ad to deceive the voters of South Dakota. Surely they are aware of what he is, and will vote accordingly.

See Daschle v. Thune for more on that race.

Via Drudge

Not again! Voted for it before I voted against it.

So Senator Kerry supports the sanctions on Cuba. From the Miami Herald we get this example of deception before the American voters.

What will you do about Cuba?

As the presumptive Democratic nominee, Kerry was ready with the bravado appropriate for a challenger who knows that every answer carries magnified importance in the state that put President Bush into office by just 537 votes.

"I'm pretty tough on Castro, because I think he's running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world," Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.

Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: "And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him."

It seemed the correct answer in a year in which Democratic strategists think they can make a play for at least a portion of the important Cuban-American vote -- as they did in 1996 when more than three in 10 backed President Clinton's reelection after he signed the sanctions measure written by Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton.

There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it.

Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form -- and voted for it months earlier.

How much more of this will the Dems put up with? At some point, they have to realize that their future ability to select and support a candidate will come into question.

Via BlogsForBush

Podium time.

What is a weekend without blogging? Well, this one was a quite and relaxing one, while awaiting what will be a week chocked full of news as the Republican National Convention takes the stage in New York City.

Currently watching the candidates for Congress, each has little time on the podium but their choice of words is interesting to watch.

I especially enjoyed the "recently liberated California" comment. Should be a fun day, but the business at hand, reaching out to those who are undecided, persuading those who are convinced, but may not vote, and speaking those who believe Conservatives to be opposed to the average American, must begin soon.

August 27, 2004

Is this really from CNN?

CNN, yes I said CNN, has announced that if the election were held today, President Bush would be re-elected. It had to happen, it just amazes me that CNN is the first network to go public with such a revelation.

Here's their take:

"Bush would receive 274 electoral votes to Kerry's 264 if the election were held today, less than 10 weeks before November 2 and three days before the opening of the GOP convention in Madison Square Garden. If Kerry were to pick up a state as small as Nevada, the electoral vote would be tied, throwing the election into the House of Representatives.

CNN's political unit compiled the electoral map after reviewing state polls and conducting extensive interviews with pollsters from both campaigns, as well as local political reporters, strategists and consultants."

Additionally, they note the possibility of a tie should Kerry pick up a state with five electoral votes, such as Nevada. Bet the Dem's are paying attention to that one.

Other sites which follow the polls still show it the other way around, even though one, Election Projection, has "21 Reasons Bush Will Win." You can see both by checking here and here.

Hat tip, Slings And Arrows. Those who frequented the early days of the Little Red Blog may remember this post with my projections. Side note: I do hope I'm getting better at this after taking a look back at that post.

Campaign of Hypocrisy

If you don't regular read National Review Online's "Kerry Spot" by Jim Geraghty, it is time to start. Then follow that with a bit of the Chicago Sun Times.

Want a summary?

About Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Boorda, via Kerry Spot :

"the Boston Herald of May 18, 1996:
Veterans said yesterday that although they would take offense at someone falsely wearing a "V" combat pin, they couldn't see how this could drive Navy Adm. Jeremy Michael Boorda to suicide.

“Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood,” said Sen. John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam.

Citing uncertainty of whether Boorda deliberately wore the pins improperly, Kerry added: “If he made a mistake, in my judgment it wasn't worth his life, so I'm very sad about it.”

And let us consult the Boston Globe for the same day:

“The military is a rigorous culture that places a high premium on battlefield accomplishment,” said Sen. John F. Kerry, who received numerous decorations, including a Bronze Star with a "V" pin, as a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam.

“In a sense, there's nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought,” Kerry said.

“If you wind up being less than what you’re pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you.”

Of Boorda and his apparent violation, Kerry said: “When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily.”"

Seems pretty reasonable, unless you are under the same scrutiny while running for highest office in the land. Or as Kerry says, when you are "chief of them all."

Take that piece and add it to the words of Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. as reported by Novak, on how Kerry requested his purple heart after injuring himself with a grenade launcher, toss in a Combat 'V' on a Silver Star, where it should never have been, and you've got yet another hell of mix.

Senator Kerry should not be in the race. Perhaps it is time for what Hugh Hewitt calls "the Torricelli option." When I first read it, in May, I had a laugh, but the more time you spend watching the meltdown, the more real an option it seems it should be.

If you want more, and there are those who'll need it, start with Hugh's blog, and work your way in. There is no better source at this time. Hat tip to Hugh.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

We have all heard the words, and perhaps even read them in the document that declares them to be the purpose for our government. How many of Americans, whether they are Virginians, Nebraskans, Texans or Californians will remember the following as they vote on November 2, 2004:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, ..."
Following the Declaration of Independence, those who founded this nation stood behind their beliefs and fought a war in their own backyards to secure the right to form a government in accordance with that Declaration. After successfully winning that war, these founding fathers of our nation spent years working to establish a government that reflected the system of beliefs and values that had fostered that great effort and that cost so many lives. The eventual result was the Constitution of the United States of America.

From the great disharmony in their lives of the late eighteenth century to the enormous work of instituting a form of government never before seen, our founders managed to remain generally positive and to look forward to a bright future for this nation. More significantly, the founders thought highly of the American citizen and believed in the future of the people of the United States. Our leaders since then have generally been of similar outlook, even when their understanding of the reason for our government has faltered.

Yet, today, our nation sits just a few short weeks from an election and if you read, or watch the predominant media, the outlook is bleak. Whether it is the Democratic Party, or the media, that view is not predominant and may even be scarce. Few notable exceptions, such as Zell Miller, Ed Koch, and FoxNews, excluded.

The media, long since the days when objectivity and truth mattered most, has become a proponent of negativity. Learning at some point that good news doesn’t sell, and that the influence and power of the media is greater when it is able to move the citizens to one course of action or another. Negative polling data, stories of families in crisis, unemployment, illicit business deals, war and injustice are sought after and on occasion created to serve their needs. Is there any wonder that American’s would say the country is moving in the wrong direction?

The Democratic Party, once a champion of American opportunity and values, now seeks equality of results rather than opportunity, election victory without regard for truth or law, multiculturalism rather than unity and most painfully, world approval over American sovereignty. The collapse of the Democratic Party has followed years of pandering to group think rather than individual rights and responsibilities. Senator Kerry, the nominee for the Presidency has exhibited just such a mentality throughout his life, and as now evidenced in the positions he supports that directly diverge from his previous statements, he cannot be trusted to lead our nation. Senator Kerry supports the United Nations rather than the United States; he supports government over the individual; and by his actions alone, it is clear that he supports nothing and no one more than John Kerry.

No candidate today, or in our history, has or will be a perfect advocate of the citizen of the United States. What is clear to me, is that President Bush respects the sovereignty of the United States more than the opinion of the United Nations or the European Union; he understands that the individual must accept responsibility for themselves, in order to live with Liberty; and President Bush knows that the United States is not diverse because it sought diversity, but rather because our Liberty enabled opportunity and excellence. And lest we forget, President Bush knows so very well that it is better to take the war to the enemy, than to have the enemy bring it to you.

Latest LA Times Polling Data

With the release of the LA Times latest polling data, we find President Bush making significant headway on Senator Kerry. This is of course before the RNC in New York and during the standoff in Najaf (although that appears to be behind us).

"...new Los Angeles Times polls have found.

According to the surveys, Bush has opened leads within the margin of error in Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri — states at the top of both campaigns' priority lists.

In Missouri, Bush leads among registered voters 46% to 44%; in Wisconsin, he leads 48% to 44%; and in Ohio, the president holds a 49% to 44% advantage, the surveys found."

And if that isn't enough good news, try this on for size:
"The surveys also show that voters in all three states pick Bush over Kerry when asked which man is most likely to develop a plan to succeed in Iraq and who would be more qualified to serve as commander in chief. Voters in all three states also gave Bush a big lead when asked which would best protect the nation from terrorism.

"I feel confident George Bush is an adult and he takes his job seriously," said Tom Kelly, an equipment operator in Cudahy Wis. "As far his Number One duty to protect citizens, I feel he's doing everything in his power to do that."

By narrow margins in Wisconsin and Ohio, and a wider margin in Missouri, more voters picked Bush when asked which candidate shares their moral values. And, as in the national poll, far more voters pick Kerry than Bush when asked which man is most likely to flip-flop on issues."

We would be remiss should we forget that the poll in question is a left leaning poll, as are most, when it comes to the actual day of voting, despite what they'll tell you. It'll be interesting to see how the press reacts.

August 26, 2004

New York City has learned so much

It isn't often that the examples are so clearly stated in the print media of New York City, unless you are talking about a paper other than the Times.

Ryan Sager, for the New York Post, has hit the nail on the head, in his opinion piece aptly titled: The Power of Good Ideas."

Here the good ideas are those of conservatism in a city that for far too long fell into decay as a bastion of Liberal policies and their ideals. While the ideals may sound so grand and wonderful, the implementation forgets that mankind is not built to do good, but must rather work at it.

Sager offers

"a New York Times editor interviewed liberal columnist Anthony Lewis as he was retiring from the paper. One question: "Have you changed your views on socialism?" Lewis' answer: "I'm still for it. But it doesn't work.""
Yet so many still support the socialist ideals in practice not just in spirit. New York offers the examples of how the ideas of conservatism are not only superior in spirit but in practical implementation. These are ideas that lead to an improvement in man, something that Liberalism once stood for.

As examples Sager points to welfare reform, restored standards at CUNY, and broken-window policing. Each offers powerful evidence of how standards actually bring men to greater responsibility and accountability.

Then the question of course is:

"Can Bush bring Americans around to his compassionate-conservative agenda of holding children to tougher academic standards, opening up social services to entrepreneurship and reducing the tax burden on all Americans?

Maybe he could if all Americans were New Yorkers."

The question I have is will New Yorkers quickly forget the transformation and how it happened, as the Germans and South Korean's have forgotten the role the U.S. played in their success. For me, I've seen how easy it is to forget, I did it. And that is a terrible thing to admit, and something that haunts me everyday.

Skinner on Podhoretz's latest

David Skinner, of the Weekly Standard delivers an excellent review of Norman Podhoretz's latest piece in Commentary magazine.

While my post, Our Fate in War is Up to You and I, a review of Mr. Podhoretz's article, came a few days earlier, I have to admit I prefer Mr. Skinner's analysis. That must be why he is a paid professional. Here is a sample of the impact Skinner adds.

"Sure, Kerry may suggest going after Iraq was matter of personal pique for Bush, claiming outlandishly that Bush merely wanted to invade Iraq like a customer choosing a flavor at the ice cream parlor. But it is only our temporary amnesia, the onset of which began around the time of the Democratic primaries, that allows Kerry to get away with it. Meanwhile he has to, hilariously, swear to be as fierce a protector of American security as anyone."
For those who haven't yet, take the time to read them both.

Economic Nay Sayers Beware

What Timothy Kane and Andrew Grossman point out in their opinion piece for USA Today is that the economic recovery is stronger than you may know. Why is that, because the media, and the Democratic Party, and those who prefer to see the Right become less free market and more isolationist (such as Pat Buchanan) are unable to admit and share the good news.

Thankfully, some do, including Alan Greenspan.

Kane and Grossman accurately point out the differences in our current economy that preclude the viewing of one set of numbers, as the holy grail of job data, in this case the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Payroll Survey.

"The payroll survey has long been seen as the best measure because its larger sample dwarfs those of other methods. It surveys 160,000 businesses and government agencies. But now, BLS is admitting that the sample is muddy."
And it's doing so because the number of people who work for themselves, and are therefore not counted is at an all time high. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor's Household Survey shows that more than 2 million more Americans are working than every before. As, Kane and Grossman point out, this is just unacceptable to the left and therefore the report must be partisan and pro-Bush.

What the left doesn't tell you is that Greenspan and company have picked up on the change and are acting accordingly.

"Greenspan cited measures from the payroll and household surveys. Then the Federal Reserve, led by Greenspan, voted unanimously to raise interest rates. It said the economy is "poised to resume a stronger pace of expansion" and noted that labor-market conditions continue to improve. It's no secret which survey would lead to that conclusion."
The best news I see in this is that Greenspan, while perhaps an "old economy" man, has learned that in this economy, both sets of numbers are required, something he didn't seem to grasp as recently as February.

Now if only the left could follow suit.

On the 'Acquisition' of Purple Hearts

Having stated that I'm not voting for Kerry, and further that I'm not voting for him based on his take on the issues and his utter lack of substance, I was generally avoiding the various takes on his Vietnam service. After all, my hope would be that he had indeed served honorably whether his return was honorable or not.

Then I came across this piece by Martin L. Feckler, a surgeon with the Navy in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Some interesting notes from the op-ed include:

"More disturbing is the revelation that crewmen on Mr. Kerry's boat denied they had received any gunfire from shore at the time when Lt. Kerry claimed such gunfire had caused his wound. The doctor who disapproved Lt. Kerry's application for his first Purple Heart for that wound agreed that the tiny metal splinter sticking in the skin of his arm was inconsistent with enemy gunfire from shore. His crewmates claimed that Lt. Kerry, himself, had fired a grenade launcher from the boat striking a rock on the nearby shore — and his wound was from a metal splinter from the grenade that ricocheted back, striking him in the arm." (emphasis mine)
This makes it so easy to understand why so many Veterans and men of character are absolutely livid over the possibility that this man may be Commander-in-Chief.
"In Part B, Paragraph 2, of the Army Purple Heart Regulation (600-8-22 of 25 February 1995), we find "the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer.""
Well, this leaves little wiggle room, as the corpsmen, bless them all, aren't medical officer's or more explicitly, an MD.
"Purple Hearts are not supposed to be awarded for self-inflicted wounds, nor for wounds too minor to require treatment by a physician. So where and how did Lt. Kerry eventually obtain a Purple Heart for his first wound? Nobody seems to know. Only his medical records will tell — and the American public needs that information to evaluate candidate Kerry's qualifications and candor."

Rather well put. Senator Kerry should release his "full" medical records for an evaluation of the truth behind his Purple Hearts, and then and only then, should he stand on his service record as his most outstanding credential for the office he seeks. That is, if the truth supports it.

August 25, 2004

Did Senator Kerry read this letter?

My guess is that despite the signatures attached to this letter, Senator Kerry, as has been the case for the past 30+ years, fails those who serve and who have served and failed to read the letter.

"We’re proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it."

Read the full text here. It is short and well worth the read, and don't forget to see the names of those who signed it.

Three times, at a minimum, a week my grandfather, a WWII vet, visits his local VA hospital and is treated very well. It is clear that President Bush and Congress are doing all they can to more adequately support veterans, and while it isn't a perfect system, it is one that recognizes the significant contribution they've made to our nation.

Does the Senator's voting record show the same type of support for Vets? Did his words before the Senate in 1971?

Senate Race in Colorado

For those who want to keep informed on the Salazar v. Coors race for the Senate, don't miss Salazar v. Coors. The site's authors are the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, so it's content should be right on.

Now that I'm getting settled in again, I'll get some of the differences between the two out shortly, and I'll also keep an eye on local coverage.

For the national or international reader, this race is significant, as are other Senate races, the Republican party needs to establish a true majority and furthermore, it must get a conservative majority, with the loss of the great Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia, who has been a model of character and integrity of late.

Fair and Balanced

While there are those who continue to state that the media is biased to the left or right, it might better be said that the media is just biased to negative reporting.

The Slant-o-meter shows that almost all reporting on either candidate is negative.

None of the networks covered by the Slant-o-meter had a positive week of coverage on either candidate. However FoxNews delivered a balanced coverage of President Bush and had a 20% negative view of Kerry. Given the magnitude of the issues that Senator Kerry should be dealing with, primarily his Vietnam/Cambodia issues, this is remarkable to me.

NBC was the most negative on Bush and least negative toward Kerry.

ABC had a slightly more negative take on Kerry, and less negative on Bush.

CBS was mutually negative for on both.

I wonder what it is that President Bush did last week that could generate such negative reporting.

Via Instapundit.

Vote for Character and Issues

It should be no surprise to anyone that Senator John Kerry is not getting my vote for President in the upcoming election. While Senator Kerry is ridiculed and attacked by many on the right for his lies and inconsistencies in his telling of his tall tales from Vietnam and Cambodia, I've tried to avoid them on this site. I've linked only a couple of times to the stories that have been most directly revealing.

The reason for this is simple. I believe him to be wrong for the office based on the position he takes on the issues before our country. I would prefer that all voters could support a candidate because of their take on the issues at hand. Senator Kerry, as well as the Democratic Party, reflects a view of the world and the United States that I do not share. In fact, they have a view that I believe will damage the sovereignty of the U.S., will tear families apart, and will support an ever increasing likelihood of attacks from fascistic believers in Usama bin Laden's version of Islam. In addition to issues such as the environment, faith, private property protections, constitutional integrity, state's rights (what few are left), and presidential character.

I would much prefer a man who admits that he, like me, had made mistakes, and while not proud of them, he knows that they helped lead him to become the man he has become. President Bush is a man of such character. He was not born perfect and has never lived a day perfect, yet he has improved himself and continues to do so, and most importantly to me, his actions now reflect the beliefs he ascribes to himself.

In my years in the Marine Corps, the character traits of a leader became ingrained into memory. To a Marine, they included "loyalty, integrity, courage, knowledge, initiative, tact, decisiveness, unselfishness, dependability, enthusiasm, bearing, endurance, justice and judgment." I know no way to look at Senator Kerry's record in Congress, or his take on the issues, which would lead me to assess him as having such traits.

His record lends me to believe that he is not a man of character, but rather a man of the moment; able and quite willing to bend to the wants or perceived needs of those he stands before. His voting record makes it clear, his words make it clear, and his arrogance makes it so egregious that my stomach is reviled at the thought of him in the White House.

Vote for the character of the man running for President. Vote for the positions he takes on the issues that matter. If you do so, how could you not vote for President Bush?

August 21, 2004

Our Fate in War is Up to You and I

Several times this, and many other blogs, have discussed the appropriate naming of the War between the U.S., the Coalition of the Willing and the Enemy of Civilization. While most of us have settled on the descriptive titles ranging from the simple War on Terror; to the more detailed War against Islamo Fascism or even the War on Islamism or against Islamist. Norman Podhoretz offers a definitive statement of what the war should be called in his essay for Commentary magazine aptly entitled: "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win."

The purpose of his essay is not to name the War, yet the description of it's background, it's combatants, and the public perception of it make the name he has chosen, the only name that fits. It is also well worth noting that no blame or political slander takes place as the following statement is made as to the cause of the 9/11 attacks:

"the plain truth is that the sole and entire responsibility rests with al Qaeda, along with the regimes that provided it with protection and support. Furthermore, to the extent that American passivity and inaction opened the door to 9/11, neither Democrats nor Republicans, and neither liberals nor conservatives, are in a position to derive any partisan or ideological advantage. The reason, quite simply, is that much the same methods for dealing with terrorism were employed by the administrations of both parties, stretching as far back as Richard Nixon in 1970 and proceeding through Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan (yes, Ronald Reagan), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and right up to the pre-9/11 George W. Bush."
Podhoretz gives details that too many in our nation and for that matter the world are willing to forget. His commentary based on Usama bin Laden's own words is significant to the war and it's causes, as well as significant to the disastrous course the current mainstream press and the Democratic Party would have us follow. He points out the supposed "paper tiger" that Islamist believe the U.S. to be, and the lack of patience the U.S. has in war.

President Bush, the Congress of the United States, and for that matter all who intend to vote in November, should reflect long and hard on the consequences of our loss of moral fortitude. For whether Norman Podhoretz will call it such or not, the lack of patience, the loss of willingness to call evil by its name, and the inability to stand and defend that which we owe so much to, all are failures in our moral center. Failures which will ultimately lead to our defeat, both by our external enemies and our internal demons.

August 20, 2004

bias in broadcast news, surely you jest

From the Media Research Center:

"ABC, CBS & NBC Gave 75 Stories to Bush “AWOL” Charge, 9 to Claims Kerry Embellished War Record"
As with too many things in life, it takes a study to determine what now is uncommon sense had already told us. At least this one isn't on the tax payers dime. Well, the MRC is a valuable resource for those who have known of the bias, and I shouldn't jest about them.

However, I'd like to know this:

of those 9 stories how many have actually been aimed at delivering the truth or doing investigative journalism, rather than reporting the Kerry campaign's standard, yet false, responses.

August 12, 2004

Infuriating AP Report on "Militants"

Is it at all possible that any one not a sympathizer to the cause of Islamo Fascism, would consider the following line not wrongly stated:

"Members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida and other militants are turning increasingly to crime - from dealing drugs to selling knockoff shampoos and pirated CDs - to pay for attacks amid a crackdown on the movement of terrorist funds through world banks, security officials told The Associated Press."
Who are they kidding? Aside from the fact that the left has for so long portrayed Muslims as a peace loving people, just as the PLO is a government for the Palestinian people, rather than an oppressor and an instigator of terror, but for the reporter here to call them militants. It is clearly a sympathetic view of al-Qaeda being portrayed here. Poor pitiful Usama has to sell drugs to make ends meet. Sounds like their description of inner-city drug lords and the crime that goes on in neighborhoods that are run by thugs rather than law and order.

No where in the article does the reporter quote an official who calls them militants. Terrorist or other appropriate words are used:

"Treasury's efforts have made it harder and costlier for terrorist groups like al-Qaida to move and raise money,"
"If al-Qaida is replaced by smaller, decentralized terrorist groups, the premise behind the government's efforts - that terrorists need a financial support network - may become outdated."
Yet the headline and the opening call them "militants." Words have meaning, whether we want to look at them or not. And the AP's choice of wording shows us much about their position.

And another thing, if the so-called Muslims who continue to attack the U.S. and Israel are so much holier than everyone else, if their religion is rightly guided, while the remainder of Muslims are wrong for not being backward enough, then they must believe that their crimes of selling drugs, stealing, etc. are forgiven by "Allah" because of their later acts of martyrdom. This too shows the failure in the reporting, as a reporter, a journalist would want to find the truth and would therefore ask how Usama and his ilk would relate their actions to the Qur'ans passage:

"Fight in the cause of Allah
Those who fight you,
But do not transgress limits;
For Allah loveth not transgressors."
Surah al-Baqarah, Ayat 190
Perhaps Usama's answer would be:
"We are surely transgressors, did you see what we did on 9/11 to the infidels, so we've seen that we are transgressors, and once we knew that we weren't loved by "Allah", well we figured we might as well have drugs, stolen property and the like in our caves."
Maybe the AP writer, Alexandra Zavis, can get the interview with Usama. They might let women in the caves now.

JPost Editorial is no laughing matter.

This editorial, about John Kerry's Vietnam hallucinations experience, in the Jerusalem Post made me laugh, and it made me angry. I laughed because they get it. I was angry because papers here don't.

Today's papers in the U.S. like to talk about how they aren't influenced by their opinion pages and editorial staff. While I doubt the veracity of the statement, it ticks me off to no ends to see that they are so lame as to report anything that has the (AP) stamp on it and to call it news. It's not news, it's the AP's editorialized version of what they want to be reported.

Journalism is dead, or on a ventilator, in the print media, and each day it becomes less relavant because it has made itself in the image of the irrelevant and disconnected. Should the local paper become an investigative journal, a paper seeking truth and reporting it, whether it is pro or con to the political direction of the editorial staff, they will still be beyond their glory days, but at least they'll die with dignity.

Well done, Mr. Mayor!

Men of generally acceptable character are probably just as common today as they were during any age of civilization. Men of less than admirable character are also just as prominent, some would say more so. However, men of outstanding character, moral fiber, and intellectual honest are much less common in this day than they were just a few generations ago. This is not a revelation or an invention, it is self evident.

Liberty was the primary driving factor in the founding of this nation. It is the essence of a Life and the fuel for the pursuit of Happiness. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch has publicly announced his support for President Bush in the upcoming election (see his editorial "I've been branded a ‘turncoat’"). The mayor's position leaves him a man without a party. He has chosen the absolute highest of values, Liberty, above all others. His support for President Bush isn't about domestic issues, as he states, he doesn't agree on a single domestic issue. Yet, his intellectual honesty is strong enough to lead him to the only plausible conclusion.

Mayor Koch states that he supports the President because:

"of the Bush Doctrine, "we will go after the terrorists and the countries that harbor them." He has demonstrated that he means it by invading Afghanistan and Iraq, both threats to their regions and to the U.S. I do not believe that the Democratic Party, which is now dominated by those who preferred Governor Dean for president, but decided he could not win, has the stomach to take on worldwide terrorism."
to this Mayor Koch then turns to the Kerry position:
"from The New York Sun dated August 4, 2004.

"In a speech he made last December at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry said he would consider sending Mr. Carter or Mr. Baker as his personal envoy to make peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Both men are associated with using America's special relationship with Israel to pressure the nation into untenable concessions." It went on, "Mr. Levine told The Sun yesterday that Mr. Kerry instantly regretted making those comments. 'The truth on the envoy issue is that his staff got out ahead of him and released a statement he had not seen; when he saw it he was extremely upset about it and it did not reflect his views. Rather than withdraw at that moment, he allowed it to stay in the speech. He regretted it before he said it, but made the decision that taking it out of the speech at that time would call more attention than leaving it in. He has subsequently made abundantly and repeatedly clear he would not appoint an envoy that does not have the trust of both sides.'""

After reading this, as if it wasn't an absolute given, isn't it now. Candidate Kerry is not a man of character. "He regretted it before he said it" reminds me of 'I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against the $87 billion'.

We are at war, and our enemies, seek to end our Liberty, and to take our lives if we do not succumb to their world view. I believe our enemies are evil, yet their character is true to that which they believe, in that they are more committed to killing us than they are to living. Certainly more committed to our death than Mr. Kerry is to his own words or votes on the floor of the U.S. Senate. He is a man of less than admirable character. However, Mayor Koch should be applauded, for he has shown himself to be a man of character, outstanding character.

August 11, 2004

less seared, maybe raw...

Great work from Glenn Reynolds to dig out the details of the Christmas in Cambodia story.

The Boston Herald scans are very enlightening.

Lileks is once again superb.

Little Green Footballs offers an excellent hide and seek, duck and run, flip no flop no flip response from the Kerry team while on "Fox and Friends" via Human Events.

I'm still waiting on the story in the mainstream press.... but I'm not holding my breath. See Powerline.

August 10, 2004

"that's an absolute categorical lie"

Hugh Hewitt's interview with Steve Gardner culminated with a resounding:

"That's correct, and that's an absolute categori