Saturday, December 30, 2006
Estimates for the number of people he murdered range from one million to more than seven million. That doesn't count the one million soldiers killed during his war with Iran.
At the low end, those numbers put him in the same category as Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin.
The atrocities committed by him and his sons are astonishing, including:
-- The rape of girls as young as 12 as a form of recreation;
-- The torture of children, even infants, to extract information and confessions from their parents;
-- The murder of children as part of military training exercises;
-- Extermination of whole villages of Kurds via gas attacks;
-- Torture methods including rape, beatings, gouging out eyes, lopping off hands and feet, electical shocks to the genitals, burning, and cutting;
-- Execution methods ranging from firearms and hangings to stuffing people into shredding machines or tossing them into vats of acid.
For a fuller accounting of his barbarities, you can go review this British report.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
James Brown died early Christmas morning and President Gerald Ford passed away this morning.
Brown -- "The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business," "The Godfather of Soul" -- electrified R&B and was widely imitated by soul singers and rockers alike. Tussles with the law over guns and drugs led to time in the jail, but couldn't diminish his legacy.
Ford was a disintinguished statesman known for his integrity who had the dubious distinction of being the first Amerian politician victimized by late-night-comedian character assassination -- notably impressions of him as a bumbling stiff by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live. Chase later admitted that he portrayed Ford as a dull-witted fumbler to sway the '75 presidential election.
Frightening to realize that many people still get their information from the likes of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman and the other late-night chuckleheads.
Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau once observed that anyone who gets his political information from the comics deserves he gets at the polls. He was talking about the funny papers, but the principle applies to the midnight yucksters and those who listen to them as well.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
"Sir, I think we need to just keep doing what we're doing," Specialist Jason Glenn told Gates, who along with other soliders serving in Iraq had breakfast with the new DS."I really think we need more troops here. With more presence on the ground, more troops might hold them (the insurgents) off long enough to where we can get the Iraqi army trained up."These are, after all, the REAL experts -- not the armchair kind back in DC writing up reports. These are the people doing the fighting, the bleeding and the dying. They're also the ones most intimately familiar with the strength, tactics and psychology of the enemy.
So maybe someone ought to listen to them.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
"Relative moderate" and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani -- who lost to Mad Ahmad in the last national election -- polled the most votes, reports AP.
A faint ray of hope that there might be someone rational to deal with in Iran.
Monday, December 18, 2006
"Civil war or not, Iraq has an economy, and—mother of all surprises—it's doing remarkably well. Real estate is booming. Construction, retail and wholesale trade sectors are healthy, too, according to a report by Global Insight in London. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 34,000 registered companies in Iraq, up from 8,000 three years ago. Sales of secondhand cars, televisions and mobile phones have all risen sharply. Estimates vary, but one from Global Insight puts GDP growth at 17 percent last year and projects 13 percent for 2006. The World Bank has it lower: at 4 percent this year. But, given all the attention paid to deteriorating security, the startling fact is that Iraq is growing at all."
Interesting because it flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Interesting because no one else is reporting this. Interesting because it contradicts the conclusions of the Iraq Study Group.
No, it doesn't mean everything is just swell in Iraq. But it is encouraging, because when people are making money they tend to be too busy to kill one another.
All the more reason we should encourage this trend as much as we can.
I think Senator John McCain has it right too -- send additional troops into the Iraq to cripple the insurgents and sectarian militias.
Then follow up with LOTS of economic building.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
My guess is the first black man to be president will be a Republican -- I dunno who it will be, but I think it would be someone like Dennis Haysbert.
Whether he's handling a major crisis as President David Palmer on "24" or firing at terrorists with his trusty M4 as Jonas Blane on "The Unit," Haysbert is everything you'd want in a president -- smart, cool-headed, tough, aggressive, principled, decisive, results oriented.
Heck, you'd even buy insurance from this guy.
Note: I don't know what Haysbert's actual political views are -- I'm referring to the qualities of the characters he plays.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The goal, of course, is to discredit the legitimacy of the state of Israel -- if the Holocaust didn't occur then the Jews don't need a homeland to protect them, the logic goes.
The event is billed as an open discussion on the subject, but only those who don't believe the Holocaust occurred are speaking.
Hey everybody, these are the people who are gonna help us stop the war in Iraq, with all their levelheadedness, tolerance, and sensitivity and stuff!
Monday, December 11, 2006
The military objectives are realistic, in fact quite close to those that already exist within the Bush administration and the Iraqi government, and should be vigorously pursued.
The diplomatic ones, however, are pure fantasy -- the idea that an Israel-Palestine peace plan is central to success and that Iran and Syria, the biggest troublemakers in the region, could be part of the solution is preposterous.
Read it all.
I printed off my copy of the report today, btw -- only runs about 85 pages. I plan to read it this week. You can find it here.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes couldn't sort out the main players in the Iraq conflict in an interview with Congressional Quarterly.
When asked whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite, he guessed Shiite.
Al Qaeda is rabidly Sunni -- so much so, opined CQ interviewer Jeff Stein, that"if a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball."
In fact, it is the stated objective of Al Qaeda in Iraq to spur civil war by conducting and supporting attacks by Sunnis against Shiites.
Pretty basic. Pretty fundamental. For the incoming Intel Committee chair not to know it is pretty bad.
Even I knew the right answer on this one, and I'm just your average, college-educated, mid-level, corporate professional who reads the newspapers -- not a major political leader about to be appointed chair of perhaps the most important House committee.
Remember, Reyes is a member of the party that keeps telling us how much smarter they are than the rest of us and how they're going to fix everything.
I don't feel very well.
One more note -- when President (then candidate) Bush failed a similar pop quiz by a reporter a few years ago, I recall it was the subject of much media attention and chuckling. Yet I see little pickup of this story about Reyes. Interesting.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
But we do have a freshman senator acting rudely to the president at a White House reception for incoming Congressmen.
Virginia's James Webb first ducked the reception line in an attempt to avoid President Bush.
The President later sought Webb out personally to inquire about his son, a Marine serving in Iraq. Webb, a frequent critic of the war, rebuffed him, saying "I'd like to get them out of Iraq."
The president persisted, somewhat testily, saying "That's not what I asked you -- how's you boy"?
Webb replied, "That's between me and my boy."
Is this the spirit of bipartisanship that the Democratic leadership pledged after the election? I don't think so.
Webb doesn't like the president and his policies? Fine. Doesn't want to speak with him? Okay.
But who goes to a White House reception hosted by the president and then deliberatly tries to avoid the host?
Someone trying to provoke just that kind of encounter.
Bad manners at least. Scheming and hypocrisy at worst.
During the election, I actually thought Webb might be an improvement over incumbent Republican George Allen. I'm beginning to rethink that.
But still no progress on the ambitious Democractic agenda for America.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
But we do find Speaker Nancy Pelosi again playing politics, this time backing disgraced former federal judge Alcee Hastings for chairman of the House Intelligence Committee over frenemy Jane Harman.
Harman is a member of the committee and was thought to be the shoo-in for the leadership post, but according to the Washington Post she and Pelosi have an only slightly less skanky Paris Hilton-Nicole Richie thing going on.
Before serving in the House, Hastings was impeached by Congress on corruption charges while serving on the federal bench -- an impeachment Pelosi voted for.
Pelosi apparently didn't learn her lesson after getting trounced on the Murtha/Hoyer majority leader thing. Be shame if she squandered all of her political capital this way, before the new Congress takes office in January.
And what does backing Hastings say about Pelosi's pledge to clean up Congress -- the #1 issue on the minds of voters in the November elections?
Still no progress on saving Iraq, keeping us safe from terrorists, lowering the cost of college, making us energy efficient and environmentally friendly, boosting the economy, reducing the deficit, and all the other things the Democrats said they were gonna do.
Oh well, I'm sure after all the politics they'll get around to it...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Okay, well, first the majority of the House members flipped new Speaker Nancy Pelosi the bird after she backed resident whack-job Jack Murtha for the majority leader over Steny Hoyer. In secret balloting, Hoyer crushed Murtha for the job.
So much for unity within the party. Although the crazy-old optimist in me says maybe this is good -- maybe it means the Dems won't march in lockstep like automatons behind every nutty idea Pelosi fronts.
But it seems like an awfully big waste of her political capital so early on -- it was a real "in your face" moment for her. She has a reputation for being a dragon lady, and in this case it looks like her own allies slew the dragon.
Next we had Congressman Charles "Big Pimpin'" Rangel once again calling for the resinsitution of the military draft -- a measure expected to get absolutely no support from anyone in Congress or the current administration. Rangel has pulled this stunt before -- apparently trying to make some political point that's lost on everyone.
Unless the point he's trying to make is that he merely likes to make grandstanding plays like this in a pathetic attempt to draw attention to himself.
So, for week two we had domestic squabbling and a hail-mary pass that bounced harmlessly on the 20-yard line.
Or in other words: business as usual for Congress.
No progress on lowering the deficit, keeping us safe from terrorists, finding a solution for Iraq, raising the minium wage, making college more affordable, fixing the healthcare system, making us energy self-sufficient or protecting the environment.
Tick tock, people.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
So....have they fixed everything yet?
Sorry, was just pretending I was a typical American voter.
Still the Dems have laid out a rather ambitious -- and in many cases, noble -- agenda:
-- End corruption in Congress (I'd suggest they start with Harry Reid, William Jefferson and Alcee Hastings)
-- Keep America safe in the war on terror
-- Create a cleaner, greener, energy policy less dependent on foreign oil
-- Raise the minium wage and lower college tuition
-- Reform healthcare
-- Keep Social Security solvent and protect retirement income.
Pretty lofty goals. Good luck with them. I wish them well.
But the Dems won the election by capitalizing on the short attention span and impatience of the American voters. And that could just as easily come back to bite them if they don't show progress -- fast.
I figure they have maybe six months to show some progress on some of them. Otherwise, it will be back to "throw the bums out," with the Democrats in the starring role.
Monday, November 13, 2006
''There is no military solution in Iraq,'' said Senator Carl Levin said. ''There is only a political solution.''
"Hold me -- I'm frightened," he added. (no he didn't)
So all this talk about a "new direction" in Iraq was what we suspected all along -- a call for cowardice and abandoning our allies.
Imagine my shock.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Her comments followed conciliatory remarks from President Bush yesterday who also pledged to work more closely with the Democrats for the good of the country. He offer up the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a mark of sincerity.
The White House has often been abrupt and dismissive, but Bush has a record of being to act in a bipartisan fashion while Texas governor, and pledged to act that when when first elected in 2000.
But the Democrats led by Pelosi have set a tone of shrillness in Washington, often referring to the President and his counselors as incompetent.
It could be that circumtstances now force to two parties for work together.
When the Democrats were in the minority, the Republicans could pretty much do whatever they wanted, and that led to complacency. The Democrats, being sidelined could snipe at will, but carried none of the responsibility for what was going on.
Now they both have skin in the game.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
In essence, the Democrats are now the dog that chases cars and finally caught one. Now that they caught it, they need to figure out what to do with it.
But while they're still doing their chicken dance, they want to remember this: it was very close, and it remains very close.
Here's what I mean:
-- Democrats and the media have characterized the election as a referendum on Iraq. But exit polls show that three-quarters of the voters were most concerned about corruption, reports the AP -- an issue the Democrats are hardly exempt from -- see: Reid, Hevesi, Menendez, Jefferson...
-- Voters rejected antiwar extremists like Ned Lamont, who repeatedly attacked the U.S. policy on Iraq but failed to explain how retreat and cowardice will keep us safe. Lamont was essentially crushed by incumbent Joe Lieberman, who won handily by an 8-percent margin.
-- Lieberman says he is unbeholden to the Republicans as he returns to the Senate. But in reality, it is the Democrats who abandoned him that he owes nothing to -- giving him freedom of action to operate as an independent.
-- Even if the Democrats win both houses, what can they do about the President's Iraq policy? Speaking on CBS last evening, Clinton White House Spokesman Mike McCurry summed it up this way: very little. Foreign policy is the domain of the administrative branch of our federal government. By attacking the current policy and promising change, they've essentially written a check they can't cover -- look for some very angry voters in two years.
-- The Democrats will likely put forward legislation on issues like the environment, healthcare and minimum wage. But with only a slight majority in the House and near parity in the Senate (no matter which way the final races turn out), the Democrats will need to work with Republicans to make them stick -- they don't have the voting weight to override a presidential veto.
Monday, November 06, 2006
It is a far more merciful fate than met his victims, and it covers only a tiny fraction of his crimes.
The list of his bestial crimes is long, but I'll try to summarize:
-- Repeated attacks against his neighbors, including a war with Iran that killed one million soldiers.
-- The murder of between one million and eight million of his own countryman -- victims' group continue poring through official Iraqi documents to come up with a final tally. But even the low end of these numbers puts him in the same league as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Tactics ranged from rounding up and shooting the victims to gassing whole villages of civilians (see photo above);
-- Torture on an incredible level -- eyes gouged out, electric shocks to the genitals, the rape of women and children, infants tortured in front of their parents, hands lopped off, people tossed into shredding machines and vats of acid, and on and on;
-- Repeated violations of the international peace accords ending the first Gulf War, including continuing human rights abuses, failure to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors, and ardent support of global terror;
-- Continuing concealment of WMD programs despite international requirements to fully disarm and prove that he had done so;
-- The wholly corrupt oil-for-food program, which allowed Saddam to continue to collect money to support his murderous regime while lining the pockets of U.N. officials and their associates, including the son of Secretary General Kofi Annan.
One day before the elections, it's important to keep all this in mind as many anti-war candidates question why we're in Iraq.
We know why.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Lessee...bought drugs but didn't use them...had an illicit, but non-sexual, relationship with a gay male prostitute...
There's only one conclusion we can draw: Haggard is almost -- but not quite -- qualified to run for higher office as a Democrat.
*sigh* If ONLY he had taken the drugs and had sex with the guy. Maybe put his lover on the payroll in a job he was unqualified for for good measure.
Can't you just see it unfurling like a tableau? The public accusation and the fervent denial: "I did NOT have sex with that man, Mr. Jones."
Then, the evidence would appear -- surreptitious recordings, a garment of some type stained with an incriminating bodily fluid.
There would be weeks or months of media drama, hearings and various events -- accusers and defenders would battle.
And, when the evidence was irrefutable, finally the tearful confession: "I am a gay American Evangelical."
Liberals -- being the caring, accepting, tolerant bunch that they are -- would rush to embrace him. "It's nobody's business but his own," they'd say, as they praised his bravery.
A lucrative book deal would follow. Jake Gyllenhaal would play him in the motion picture adapation -- "Brokeback Pulpit," possibly.
He'd make the rounds of the chat shows -- sitting on Oprah's couch, dancing with Ellen, having tea with the ladies on The View. He'd trade laughs with Letterman, Leno and O'Brien.
He'd be the toast of Hollywood.
And before you know it, it would be 2008 and "Haggard for President" on the Democratic ticket.
If only. If only.
You see kids, this is what happens when you don't plan ahead and follow through.
Friday, November 03, 2006
And the supergeniuses behind this spelled "fascist" wrong -- they left out the first "s."
Haven't we hit our quota for political irony and hypocrisy yet this week?
First, John Kerry appears to insult the intelligence of our troops in Iraq. Then he says he really meant to insult the intelligence of the president, who actually got slightly better grades than he did at Yale.
Now we have local "political activists" labeling a candidate they oppose a fascist, and themselves employing fascist tactics to do it. Almost like a local little version of Kristallnacht.
Ball's opponent Ken Harper immediately denounced the attack, saying "This is deplorable and it doesn't represent my values or my campaign. I personally pledge to hunt down and apprehend the perpetrators, and hand them over to the authorities."
No he didn't, although he should have.
He actually said he hopes the miscreants are caught and punished, but "People get emotional about this stuff," as if this was all just boys-will-be-boys behavior.
He then launched an attack on his opponent.
Democrats -- could they get it less?
You know, I thought these people were all supposed to be so much smarter, sensitive and tolerant than the rest of us. Apparently not.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
It all started Monday, as Kerry was on the hustings for Democractic candidates ahead of next week's mid-term elections. He uttered the following to a group of college students:
"Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.''
The apparent implication was clear -- America's military men and women are stupid. Having viewed the original video of his comments, I can think of no other interpretation of what...he...said.
The point was lost on no one, and the White House and others immediately demanded an apology.
Landing in Seattle Tuesday, Kerry explained that this comment was a "botched joke" aimed at the president-- the punchline was supposed to be "Just ask President Bush."
He declined to apologize to anyone, then launched into a diatribe:
"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. I'm sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks, the most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves."
He goes on to insult the intelligence of the president and his White House advisors, call White House spokesman Tony Snow a stuffed suit and Rush Limbaugh "doughy" -- why he dragged him in we'll never know -- and said anyone who thinks he was talking about the troops is crazy.
In other words, it's not him -- it's everyone else.
A full-blown meltdown. Read it here in the NY Times.
A couple points though:
-- If he didn't mean to insult the troops, why not simply apologize for the misunderstanding? He's responsible for it -- he's the one who muffed the line. We don't know what he meant -- we only know what he said.
-- When the president "botches" a line, people call him an idiot. Does this mean Kerry's an idiot too?
-- If Kerry really was referring to the president's academic record, what does that say about Kerry? As the Boston Globe reported last year, his GPA at Yale was slighltly lower than Bush's. So, who's the imbecile here?
Today, Kerry and the Democrats are reeling -- he finally issued a faint apology and has cancelled further campaign stops. Other Democrats have joined the call for a fuller apology.
But the damage is done and it may have an impact on next Tuesday's elections.
"I'm not offended, but this is why John Kerry lost the election," said Jana Cook, a 43-year-old advertising executive and mother of two in Olathe, Kansas, quoted in a Reuters story. "He was perceived as an elitist and those are the kind of statements an elitist makes."
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The story posted on their Web site details that about the "missing" weapons, noting that only about 10,000 of the weapons -- primarily pistols, rifles and machineguns -- were registered by serial number. The U.S. has supplied about $133-million-worth of weapons to the Iraqis.
But what the story doesn't say, but Special Inspector Stuart Bowen (who conducted the audit) DID say in an on-air interview with NPR, was that only about 4 percent of the weapons are actually unaccounted for.
Don't look for that interview on their Web site, btw -- it's not there. I happened to hear it on the ride home from work last night and immediately noted the disparity between what Bowen said and what NPR was reporting.
You'd think there was an election coming up or something.
The LA Times lost a whopping 8 percent daily and 6 percent on Sundays, the Boston Globe was down 6.7 percent daily and a holey socks! 10 percent Sundays. And the NY Times itself dipped 3.5 percent daily and Sunday.
Why? One word: trust.
People don't buy and read something they don't trust, and trust of the mainstream media continues to erode.
One could make the case that the Internet is eating into the circulation for the deadtree editions, but most newspapers haven't really figured out how to capitalize that and move eyeballs from the hardcopy to the screen copy.
And with the loss of eyeballs go the ad revenues.
Perhaps if these fine papers went back to, oh I don't know, reporting the news instead of attempting to fix elections they trust factor would go up.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Okay, okay, here's my imitation of the ACLU:
The Patriot Act is a wholly unconsitutional attempt by the Bush administration to undermine the fundamental liberties of every American. If this is allowed to stand, the rights of everyone will be abridged. No one will be safe, no one will be beyond the reach of the JACK-BOOTED THUGS WHO WILL KICK IN YOUR DOORS, DRAG YOU INTO THE STREET BY YOUR HAIR AND FROGMARCH YOU OFF TO CONCENTRATION CAMPS. MY GOD, THERE'S NO ESCAPE FROM THEM -- THEY'RE EVERYWHERE! BOLT THE DOORS, HIDE CHILDREN, GET THE GUNS ( Oh crap, that's right -- we don't HAVE any guns!), GET THE...wait...oh...um....never mind.
"While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies," Ann Beeson, the New York-based associate legal director of the ACLU, said in a written statement.
"I'm a complete idiot," she added. (Not really)
And the best time for such announcement -- less than a week from the mid-term elections. One less thing for Democratic candidates to whip up hysteria about.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
"This is going to be a wave year," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in the Wash Post story. "The only question is whether it will be medium-size wave or a high wave for the Democrats."
So there's the prediction. But here's the question: what if he's wrong?
What if he and all the other political pundits -- as well as the news media -- are wrong and the wave doesn't materialize? They've been wrong before, with some frequency and regularity.
And there is the danger for the Democrats, riding high on the fumes of their own overheated rhetoric, stoked by the predictions of the analysts.
If they win, the best they can hope for is to stalemate the Bush adminstration for the next two years. They won't have the votes to push through anything on their agenda. So they'll go into the 2008 election as the party of obstruction and partisanship.
If they lose, I'd suggest that one of two things could happen.
They could end up losing not only this year's mid-term Congressional elections, but possibly the 2008 presidential election as well -- thrown back into the continuing disarray and denial that has plagued them for the past six years. Held in the thrall of the leftwing extremists who dominate their party.
Or, they could take stock. Suck it up. Fire Howard Dean as party chairman. Move the party back to the center and seek candidates more aligned with most Americans, who stand a little right of center these days. In other words, candidates who actually stand a chance of winning in 2008.
That's what they could do. I've long since given up predicting what they will do, although I'd say scenario #1 is the better bet.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
The current Quinnipiac poll showing Ned Lamont lagging behind incument Joe Lieberman by 17 points, the AP reports.
Despite the desperate spending spree by Lamont -- who has poured more than $10 million of his own money into the race -- it seems most unlikely that he can make up the ground lost to Lieberman.
I don't normally put too much stock in polls until: a. within a month of the election; and b. when spread is more than double the margin of error. Both now apply.
My what a difference a couple months make. When Lamont beat Lieberman in the primary by a scant 4 percent of the vote, it was hailed as the bellwether race for the nation. This was the one to watch -- the antiwar forces were mad as hell and poised to take over Congress.
While incumbent candidates who supported the war and the president -- primarily Republicans -- continue to struggle in many races, it is far from a sure thing that they'll be defeated now.
And if this is the race to watch, well, it doesn't bode well for the challengers. I mean if a 4 percent victory was such a resounding victory, what's a 17-percent margin?
Perhaps Connectcutians are seeing Lamont for what he is -- a one-note candidate who sings off key. A liberal nag who criticizes his opponent, but has no solutions of his own. An antiwar wag who thinks retreat and cowardice will keep us safe.
Ultimately, to borrow a phrase from Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, just another dim dilettante trying to buy, marry or luck his way into office.
AP reports in the same story that Lamont has called on Senator John Kerry -- you know, the loser of the last presidential election -- to come stump for him.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Why, it's the kind of thing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid normally rails against.
But the Atlanta Journal-Consitution notes Reids involvement in a sleazy land deal that scored Reid a pile of money he failed to disclose.
It also says he interceded in another deal for friends to procure a public right-of-way for a land deal they were working on.
And then there were the free boxing tickets he received while considering legislation on the sport.
You know the kind of things he normally chastizes Republicans for.
"Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid would be well advised to stop thundering about corruption in the Republican ranks or crying "cover-up" over the GOP's failure to promptly and appropriately deal with former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and his sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages. Reid faces too many questions about his own behavior to crusade against the misdeeds of others," says the AJC.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The report is built largely on estimates and interviews with about 13,000 Iraqis -- they then projected the data over the entire nation to come up with their total.
In other words, they guessed.
This number is so high, it defies gravity. Brookings Institution Scholar Michael O'Hanlon called it "preposterously high."
The decidedly antiwar group Iraq Body Count, for example, puts the figure at closer to 50,000 based on actual counts from morgues and media reports.
Johns Hopkins and the Lancet pulled a similar stunt two years ago, when they reported casualties at about 100,000 -- again, roughly four times what Iraq Body Count was reporting.
The timing on this is certainly interesting -- less than a month before a major U.S. election where the war on terror is a key issue.
I would think if you wanted to hijack an election by telling lies you'd at least want to make the lies believeable.
But then, I don't do stuff like that, so I wouldn't know.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Problem is, they only provided part of the statement, in essence lying by stripping the statement of context and completeness. George Bush trumped them by declassifying a more complete text (although not all of it, as that would have revealed the undercover sources).
The whole statement they refer to reads: The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
So basically it says engaging jihadists makes them madder, but defeating them will reduce the threat.
As White House Spokesman Tony Snow pointed out yesterday, the same could have been said about WWII -- by entering the conflict, the U.S. substantially widened the war but also hastened its favorable conclusion.
The report also says, among other things:
-- The spread of democracy in Muslim nations will reduce the threat of terrorism;
-- The loss of key leaders al-Zarqawi, al-Zawahiri, and (dare to dream) Usama Bin Laden, will fracture the terrorist movement
-- The strict Sharia law caliphate espoused by Bin Laden and his terrorists is largely unpopular among the majority of Muslims.
So, essentially, the Bush policy of engaging the terrorists and the states that sponsor them and promoting democracy in the Middle East is the right course. And bailing out of Iraq would be a disaster.
Hmm, I wonder why the leakers didn't leak those parts...
Interesting what happens when you read the whole text and don't just pick out the parts you like.
The statement clearly outlines ongoing risks associated with the war on terror, but does not categorically conclude the all is lost and the president is wrong.
But don't take my word for it -- read it for yourself.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
In the opera, Mozart’s Idomeneo, the King of Crete of displays the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Poseidon, and declares "the gods are dead."
The decision has unleashed a storm of controversy about free expression in German, but one viewpoint has been missing from the discussion.
Apparently, it's okay to offend Christians, Buddhists and...uh...whatever it is you call people who worship Poseidon.
But not Muslims.
Monday, September 18, 2006
You know, some people just have no sense of irony.
Even moderate Muslims continuing to ask for a "better" apology.
Yeah, we'll get right on that.
As soon as they apologize for 9/11.
And the USS Cole attack.
And the African embassy bombings.
And the Khobar Towers bombing.
And the Marine Barracks truckbombing in Beirut.
And the Iranian hostage crisis.
That would be a good start.
Just once, I'd like to see these so-called moderates express outrage at the way extremists have hijacked their faith, instead of whinging and whining about how picked-on they are.
Monday, September 11, 2006
It generally portrays CIA Director George Tenet and National Secrurity Advisor Sandy Berger as hapless bureaucrats, who when faced with the opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden were more concerned with who'd get the blame if things went wrong than they were with doing what was right.
I won't speak to the accuracy of the miniseries -- it is, after all, network television and a work of fiction, so I wasn't expecting much in the first place.
But it does remind us all of some central facts about 9/11 -- specifically, that the plot to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon wasn't born within President Bush's first eight months in office.
In fact, the threat of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was well known throughout the Clinton presidency, and his government fumbled multiple opportunities to intercept and stop them.
It's an issue that I believe will shadow the Democrats throughout the fall election season, and may put a serious dent in their plans to take control of the House of Representatives.
Many Democratic candidates are critical of the current administration's record in the war on terror, notably the invasion of Iraq.
But when pressed for what they would do, they default one of three answers:
-- Retreat from Iraq, which no serious person thinks is workable;
-- Stay the course, which is essentially the current administration's policy;
While the Democrats seek to tap the "deep anger" they allege many Americans feel about the war, they face one major problem -- virtually no one thinks they can do a better job than the Republicans in keeping us safe.
Friday, September 01, 2006
First, he purported in a New York Times op-ed that he found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium in Niger.
Except he had already told the CIA exactly the contrary.
Then he denied that his wife picked him for the CIA-sponsored survey trip to Niger to investigate that claim.
Except that she had.
Then he claimed that pro-war senior White House officials -- most notably VP Dick Cheney -- had outted his undercover wife to punish him.
Except that it turns a White House rival of Cheney and Co. who opposed them on the war accidentally let it slip to reporter Robert Novak over cocktails.
Notes the Washington Post in an editorial: Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
A shame indeed. But then, I'd expect that people like Mr. Wilson know no shame.
Let's hope that this new revelation will return Mr. Wilson to the obscurity and anonymity he so richly deserves.
Friday, August 18, 2006
"Oh my God, oh my God, they're going to kill me, this is going to be it. I don't know when but they're going to do it," I thought.
I crawled over to Abu Hassan, the one who seemed more grown-up and sympathetic. His 9mm pistol was by his side, as usual.
"You're my brother, you're truly my brother," I said in Arabic. "Promise me you will use this gun to kill me by your own hand. I don't want that knife, I don't want the knife, use the gun."
This from Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor reporter kidnapped by Sunni terrorists in Iraq, as part of her series on her captivity.
And in her pleas for a quick and relatively painless death we see the face of those who have declare themselves our enemies. Those who have declared war on all of us. Those who would gleefully murder our children.
It is good that we are in Iraq, fighting these monsters, because that is what they are.
How could anyone other than a monster frighten a woman so badly that she would beg to shot instead of having her head cut off?
Friday, August 11, 2006
They sort of dance around the answers, tip-toeing around the issues. What we need in this fast-paced world we live in are answers that get to the point quickly.
It's one of those rare cases where I actually think I could do a better job than most of them.
So, below you'll find a sampling of letters to various columnists, with their reponses and then my alternatives. You decide.
Annie's Mailbox (by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar)
Dear Annie: Both my boyfriend and I are over 40. He has two teenage children, and so have I. We plan to marry early next year, and I will be moving into his house because it's paid for and there are enough bedrooms for each child.
The problem is, his children are very lazy. They don't pick up after themselves, and the place looks like a tornado hit it. I figured when it got dirty enough, someone would clean it, but that never happens. Sometimes I go over there and want to faint.
I will not accept this slovenly behavior when their father and I marry. What can I do? Give me some ideas, please. -- Not Domestic Help
Their Answer: First, don't come on like gangbusters. They will resent it and can make all kinds of problems for you. You need to develop a solid, loving relationship with these children, and it would be best if housekeeping did not become a major source of conflict.
You and your boyfriend should make a list of chores that are distributed equally among all members of the household. He should be primarily in charge of monitoring his children, at least initially. You can remind them, gently, that it's Child A's turn to do dishes, or Child B needs to pick up his clothes, but don't call them slobs or yell about the mess. Check out the National Stepfamily Resource Center (stepfamilies.info) for more suggestions.
My Answer: Okay, you're an idiot. If you think anything is going to change after you two get married, you're nuts. So, crazy and stupid -- not a good mix. If you have any shot at all at fixing this you have to do it now -- tell that Reginald Q. McSissyboy that you're marrying that HE better man up to this and get his kids and his house under control and he can look someplace else for his good lovin'.
Dear Abby (By "Abigail Van Buren")
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Clay," has a very abnormal relationship with his mother. (I'll call her "Jewel," although she's far from one.)
Clay frequently tells me I'll never be as perfect as Jewel, that she's a living saint. He tells her how much money he makes, but he won't tell me, and he refuses to tell me where his money goes. He insists we have separate checking accounts, but he shares an account with Jewel. Abby, Clay earns three or four times as much as I do, but he never helps financially.
He never buys groceries, and I've had to pawn my jewelry, work overtime and beg my parents for money to put food on the table for our three children. Clay will pay nothing toward the children's clothing or doctor visits, and he has never bought them -- or me -- a gift for any occasion. He has never bought anything for our home, either.
Jewel is nosy and butts into every aspect of our lives. She claims she "loves" us and is "trying to help." When she calls, if no one answers, she demands to know where we were -- and Clay tells her. If he goes somewhere alone and I ask where he's been, he says it's none of my business and accuses me of being controlling. Jewel calls to question him five times a day and it's OK, but when I ask him anything, I'm "intruding" on his life.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture. Abby, how can I get him to understand how his relationship with his mother is hurting me? Mothers and sons should be close, but not that close. It's time for him to cut the umbilical cord. I'm desperate -- please help me. -- MARRIED TO A MAMA'S BOY
Her Answer: The "saint" in the family must be you -- for having tolerated this situation long enough to have three children with this man.
Your mother-in-law may be part of your problem, but your marriage to Clay is so out of balance I almost hesitate to call it a marriage. When people marry, they have certain financial obligations toward each other that Clay seems to have ignored completely.
Marriage counseling might be helpful, but only after you have consulted a lawyer to learn what your rights are -- because it seems to me you're enduring all of the hassles and enjoying none of the privileges of marriage.My Answer: Okay, you're an idiot. What were you thinking when you married this loser? Had you MET his mother beforehand? This situation is hopeless. Here's what you need to do: a) get a good lawyer and file for divorce; b) pack Clay a suitcase and put it on the front porch with a note telling him to go back to his "perfect" mother; c) change the locks. The sooner the better. You'll be far better off without him AND his mother.
Dear Margo (by Margo)
DEAR MARGO: My wife has always had what I refer to as a "trucker's mouth." Her whole family does. They can have conversations averaging at least one swear word per sentence. I'm no puritan and can swear with the best of them, but when I do, I try to do so only in appropriate company.
In the two years since our daughter "Gloria" was born, I've been asking my wife to curb her swearing. Alas, the cursing continues. I wasn't so worried during the first 12 months, figuring I'd give my wife some time to transition herself, and also because my daughter was too young to understand a swear word from any other word.
Now Gloria is 2, and she's talking up a storm. This battle came to a head last night when my wife was so wound up that she kept swearing about this and that, even after I repeatedly asked her to stop. (We were out for a walk with Gloria at the time.) She didn't, so I walked away from her, taking Gloria with me. We haven't spoken since.
--- CURSED IN MASSACHUSETTS
Her Answer: Well, at least you're not hearing her swear. (Kidding.) This is a problem you are unlikely to be able to fix. People who rely overly on swear words reveal a poverty of language skills, and to retrain an adult would be very difficult.
You are right about kids picking up on this language, however. Perhaps the first time your wife hears Gloria mention &*^%$# to her grandmother, she might rethink what she says. Failing this, should Gloria start talking like a sailor before she even knows what the words mean, you need to be the one to tell her that while Mommy is saying a no-no, Gloria is not allowed to.
I do believe there's a way to use an occasional vulgarity in conversation and still stay within the bounds of polite society. Ahem. But you have to gauge where you are. I had a bit of a potty mouth when my kids were little, but they were somehow able to understand the restriction: "Not in front of Gram!" Good luck.My answer: Okay, you're an idiot. Seriously, you, your wife and your in-laws sound like a real delight. But at least you get that it's a problem, and you took the first step last night -- literally. When your wife "Tractor Sally" starts up, walk away and take the child. She'll get the point. And if she doesn't, keep walking. Stop pleading and start punishing. Time to grow a set and act like a man, sonny.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Lost in the post-election media gushing over Lamont's victory against incumbent Joe Lieberman is what happened to Lieberman's Web site, which crashed less than 24 hours before the election.
A NY Times story yesterday chronicles the event but provides no resolution. Here's a synopsis:
On Monday, Lieberman's site crashed under what his Internet provider said was an unusually large swell of traffic -- characterized as a denial of service attack. Lieberman's team immediately blamed the Lamont camp.
Lamont's team and his supporters denied they were involved, saying that Lieberman's site collapsed under its own weight because of inadequate server capacity. They claimed that site only had only 10 gigabytes per month of capacity.
But Lieberman's Internet service provider countered that the site actually had 200 gigabytes per month of capacity, which should have been ample.
Assuming that's true, the site was almost certainly targeted for a DOS attack -- it had, in fact, been hacked twice in the previous month.
Could losing the site less than a day before the election have made a difference in the outcome? Most certainly, considering that Lamont only prevailed by a margin of only 4 percent over Lieberman.
If Lamont's organization wasn't directly involved in the attack, it's almost certain that some of his supporters were.
Which raises questions about the character of his supporters, as well as his own --it's that whole "the company you keep" thing.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
One could conclude that there were many reasons Lamont won -- Lieberman didn't run hard enough, Lamont tapped a rich vein of anger over the war, etc.
But the primary reason he won was because Lamont ran a very focused, very negative, very well-funded one-note campaign. And those types of campaigns work -- pity the voters who fall for it, and the rest of us who have to live with it.
His nomination also plays right into the hands of the Republicans, who can point to one more antiwar extremist Democrat candidate this call and paint all their opponents that way.
Proving that Abe Lincoln was right when he said you can fool some of the people all the time, Lamont polled 52 percent of the vote to Lieberman's 48 percent. To hear the talking heads tell it last night you would have thought Lamont had unceremoniously trounced Lieberman.
But he didn't, and the thin margin has encouraged Lieberman to run as an independent in the fall -- a bid he will likely win, according to political analyst Ken Rudin over at NPR.
And should anyone come to the conclusion that this marks some kind of national trend, take a look at Georgia, where Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney -- every bit as big an antiwar nutjob as Lamont -- also lost her primary to a nobody from nowhere.
McKinney -- known for her outrageous claims that the president knew about 9/11 beforehand, her vicious disagreement over the war, and for occasionally slapping police officers -- of course blamed everyone and everything else for her loss -- whites, Republicans, the voting machines, etc.
Why, she was so upset with the results, she had to rough up some news crews.
Monday, August 07, 2006
The Associated Press reports Lieberman got support from the Norwich Bulletin, the New Haven Register, The Day of New London and the Danbury News-Times.
He also was endorsed by the Hartford Courant and, most tellingly perhaps, the Greenwich Time -- the newspaper in Lamont's own hometown, where he performed his only service as an elected official as a town selectman.
A recurrent theme through the editorials: experience. Lieberman has tons, says the Greenwich Time, and Lamont very little.
While most call out Lieberman's support for the war as a negative, they all note that his balanced record and consistent service make him the more admirable candidate. And they also note that if he loses the primary but prevails in the general election as an independent, the Democrats lose a seat in Congress.
Meanwhile, current polls show the race tightening. Lamont had surged to a 13-point lead last week, but Lieberman has charged back trimming that lead to just six points.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Seems appropriate -- a dim dilettante candidate appearing on a fake news interview program.
Lamont is challenging incumbent and fellow Democrate Joe Lieberman, running on a "retreat and defeat" antiwar platform.
And he may win -- at least the primary next Tuesday, with polls currently showing him in the lead but within the margin of error. That's okay -- Lieberman would likely run as an independent, making it more palatable for Republicans to vote for him.
A story in the Stamford Advocate on his TV appearance flatters Lamont, but it seems pretty clear that he didn't get the jokes. As for delivering his message, he relied on glib one-liners like "We got into this mess not because we asked too many questions, but too few."
Of course, he didn't define what those unasked questions were -- probably because there weren't actually any.
Lamont's campaign platform epitomizes those of Democratic challengers this year -- they're mad about the war. Mad, mad, mad!
Unfortunately, they offer little else other than their anger.
When asked by Colbert what else motivated him to run, Lamont sputters about the deficit (which is declining, actually), health care, energy, and lobbyists' influence in Washington. Almost like he actually took the time to read the headlines in the New York Times before the interview.
Of course, what he hasn't done is show how he differentiates himself on those issues from Lieberman.
So it really just comes down to the war.
Ah well, Connecticut is a blue state however, and many will almost certainly overlook his lack of substance. Another rich liberal from Greenwich in Congress -- yeah, boy, howdy, that's just what we need. I guess they don't call it the Numbnuts State for nothing.
Oh wait -- that's Nutmeg State. Whatever.
Friday, July 28, 2006
In the "desperate moves " category, we now have senior al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri asking for Shiite Muslims and even non-believers to take up Jihad against Israel for its retaliation against Hizbollah and Hamas.
The two groups of people hated most by Al Qaeda members-- who are Sunni Muslims -- are Shiites and non-believers (Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, pagans, atheists, Christians -- essentially anyone who isn't a Sunni Muslim -- and think twice about most Sunnis).
In fact, Sunni Al Qaeda mullahs regularly tell their dull-witted followers that the quickest ticket to heaven is to kill an infidel, meaning any non-Sunni.
Shiites are a favorite target of Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, for example, where they are frequent targets of carbombings, street shootings, kidnap, torture and murder. And, well, Al Qaeda pretty much burned their bridges to the rest of years ago when the declared war on us, and started blowing up our embassies, hotels, nightclubs, military barracks, ships, New York skycrapers and the Pentagon.
So, hey Ayman, good luck with that attempt to reach out. You pathetic idiot.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
AP reports that Mellencamp introed the song "Walk Tall" by saying "
This next one is for all the poor people who've been ignored by the current administration."
Typical limousine-liberal kajillioinaire rock star preaching on what someone else ought to do about the poor.
Tell you what, John, you can lecture other people to your heart's content about "poor people" the instant you give all your money away to the needy.
You know, like those nasty old capitalists Warren Buffett and Bill Gates just did.
Just to make it sporting, I'll even let you keep $1 million -- everything else goes.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Two words: Whack Job.
Just the latest in a long list of outrageous claims by loopy leftists-- see U of Col. Prof Ward "They Deserved It" Churchill, and Robert "Warmed Over Conspiracy Theories About the 2004 Election that have already been debunked by no less than leftist publications Salon and Mother Jones" Kennedy."
Hey, Kevin, you're late for your Flat Earth Society meeting. Ooh, and your MUFON Secret Decoder Ring came in the mail today!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
More like a neutron star -- rapidly collapsing under its own weight.
I've tried two times now, and neither time could I make through an entire show.
Nevermind what a bunch of boneheads Clarke, Lee and Newsted are (and I LIKE Newsted), or how freaky-looking Navarro is.
It's not even that Brooke Burke is showing some miles -- is it just me, or does she LOOK like she's been nipped and tucked everywhere imagineable?
It's the contestants -- they are just awful. Can't sing -- can't carry a tune, can't stay on pitch. It's all strut, hair and make-up -- and I'm just talking about the guys! The women are even worse.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The capture of the three soldiers -- one held in Gaza by Hamas and two in Lebanon by Hezbollah -- predicated the recent spasm of violence in the region.
"Under the articles of the United Nations and world law, the unlawful kidnapping of the three soldiers serves only to exacerbate the situation," said UN General Secretary Kofi Annan in the statement. "The continuing conflict serves the interests neither of Israel or the Palestinians and undermine ongoing efforts to create a peaceful solution, and they should be freed immediately."
I completely made that up.
The current escalation of the conflict --with Israel conducting bombardment and raids into both Lebanon and Gaza in an effort to have the soldiers returned-- comes a year after Israel ceded to the demands of the Palestinians and peacefully returned control of Gaza to Palestinian control. All Israeli settlers were removed the occupied territory and the Palestinian Authority was given total control of the area.
In return, Hamas has repeatedly used Gaza as a cite for firing rockets into Israel daily since then. By some counts, more than 3,000 rockets have been fired into Israel by Hamas from Gaza in the past year. Israel has often retaliated by capturing and killing Hamas leaders and combatants, occasionally also injuring and killing Palestinian civilians. The capture of the soldiers was reportedly a response to that retaliation.
Amnesty International also issued a statement calling Hamas and Hezbollah to hold to the articles of the Geneva Convention in their treatment of the captured soldiers.
AI specifically said the the soldiers must not be tortured or killed, that AI and the International Red Cross should be given access to them to ensure they are being treated humanely, said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East Programme.
I made most of that up -- AI did make a statement that the soldiers be treated humanely, but as part of a larger press release calling for both the Palestinians and the Israelis to cease hostilities. And they did not call for the soldiers to be treated under the Geneva Convention, as they have demanded for the detainees at Gitmo.
In the past, soldiers captured by Hamas and Hezbollah all have been murdered.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Let's call it what it is -- a terrorist attack, no matter who is behind it. Even if it was by some who have criticized the Times for publishing the details of intelligence efforts in the war on terror.
I wouldn't blame the Times if it demanded a full investigation by the U.S. government -- wiretaps, tracing of financial transactions, aggressive interrogation and confinement of suspects, the whole thing.
Oh wait...wouldn't want to violate anyone's rights here.
Best just to forget the whole thing, perhaps.
Hee hee. I love irony.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Spent four days in Kentucky with my wife's entire family. A German family reunion with no beer. Who does that?
Anyway, within the past week Connecticut Democractic Senator Joe Lieberman kicked the butt of challenger Ned Lamont in their first pre-primary debate.
"Kicked butt" in a relative sense that is -- this WAS a couple Democrats, after all. My guess is it was probably a little closer to a Laverne-and-Shirley-style slapfight. But lets say in this case Joe was Laverne and he got a couple good punches in.
Lamont is running on the "runaway and hide" platform -- hardly what I'd call a recipe for success. I give Lieberman credit for standing up for his support of the war in Iraq, as opposed to most other Democrats who voted for it, but now are against it, except when they're for it, when they're not against it.
In any event, even the NY Times indicated that Lieberman made Lamont look like a confused, conflicted dilletante, which he is.
The Times also reported that the deficit is actually shrinking, thanks to increased tax revenues derived from corporate earnings and swelling executive bonuses.
In other words -- and this has just gotta KILL the Times and the Democrats -- the Bush tax cuts are working. The economy and the job market continue to grow, albeit modestly but enough to have the Fed concerned about inflation.
In Mexico, it looks like conservative candidate Felipe Calderon holds onto his slim lead for the presidential election. Leftist Andreas Manuel Lopex Obrador continues to contest the results, but it doesn't seem likely that he'll overturn them.
Close election? Contested outcome? Whee, this IS democracy. Don't forget that it was only six years ago that Mexico progressed from being a one-party state.
The trick for Calderon will be to continue expanding Mexico's economy while extending its benefits to more Mexicans. Despite consistent growth over the past six years, about half of Mexico's population lives below the poverty line. If he fails, we can expect another Hugo Chavez lookalike like Obrador, or worse, in the next election.
And finally, Italy beat France in the soccer World Cup. Go Italy! Or more loosely, anybody but France!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
As to the paper's revelations on how the U.S. intelligence community has been tracking terrorist financial transactions, I can only ask "what were they thinking."
I get the impression that if the current editors of the Times were running the paper in 1944, the headline on June 5 would have been "Allies To Invade Normandy Tomorrow!"
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Hillary voted for the war in Iraq in 2003 and continues to stick with the logic that we can't just walk away (although she trods the usual wobbly Democratic line that Bush got it wrong, but she's not responsible even though she voted for it.)
This, of course, outrages the maniacally mono-focused antiwar faction in the Democratic party -- otherwise known as the base of the party.
Hence the crack -- by staying close to the center, she enrages (or rather draws unwanted ire of the already enraged) antiwar faction. If she moves in their direction, she looks like a hypocrite, and loses the center.
The first contingency makes it tough for her to get the nomination in 2008, while the second makes it tougher to win even if she does get it.
I think she has a larger problem, frankly, in getting the nomination and winning the election -- I just don't think people like her. Polling shows that less than half of Demcratic women even support her.
So basically, she's screwed.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Here it is:
Dear TIME Reader,
Thank you for letting us hear from you. The editors appreciate the interest that prompted you to write, and they have made attentive note of your comments. We hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with us.
Did you see that?
ATTENTIVE note of my comments. Hope that I will CONTINUE to share my thoughts.
Boy, you know it's that kind of personal attention, that sort of dedication to the reader that really makes you proud to be a subscriber of such a fine periodical.
Hey, at least it didn't come addressed to "Occupant."
I will be cancelling.
Friday, June 23, 2006
But they might well look to their own immigration policies.
Some were, for example, outraged that the U.S. is deploying National Guard troops to help guard our southern border. But that's exactly what the Mexican government did five years to protect its southern border from Central and South American infiltrators, and the move was applauded by the Mexican public, Newsweek reported earlier this month.
Some other items from the Newsweek story:
-- The penalty for entering Mexico illegal is up to two years in prison;
-- While many in Mexico urge the U.S. to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, over the past five years Mexico has granted such status to only 15,000 illegals in its own country;
-- Illegal immigrants are accosted and robbed not only by thugs and criminals, but also by some corrupt Mexican police officers;
-- Guatamalan field hands working on Mexican coffee plantations perform back-breaking labor for as little as $3.50 a day, and their employers often deduct the cost of room and board for the squalid conditions they provide. Those who complain are booted out.
I love Mexico and my Mexican friends, and I do believe we need to find a rational, workable, humane solution to the problem of illegal immigration here in the U.S.
But if others want to criticize us, they'd best tend to their own behavior first.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I like this sentence from one of the early AP stories though: "The Clark County School District and free speech advocates are defending school officials' decision to cut short a high school valedictorian's commencement speech, saying the speech would have amounted to school-sponsored proselytizing."
"Free-speech advocates" -- in this case, the American Civil Liberties Union -- actually endorsing censorship.
You just can't make this stuff up.
The ACLU, apparently, has a problem supporting free speech when it involves topics it doesn't like.
If only she'd used the platform to insult the president, or rattle off a string of profanities. Now THAT would have been okay.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The two were reportedly tortured and murdered.
Representatives of the UN panel that recently called for the detention center at Guantanamo to be closed issued a statement demanding that members of Al Qaida in Iraq to stop engaging in such "gross violations of human rights."
I made that up.
Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer immediately introduced a resolution calling for the U.S. to petition the International Criminal Court in the Hague to indict Osama bin Laden and his associates in Iraq for the abduction, torture and murder of the two soldiers.
I made that up too.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement deploring the killings -- which they described as "bestial" -- and offered their support for allied forces in Iraq.
Okay, I made that up too.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Zogby described the Democrats as the party of liberal causes and special interests -- civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, labor, the environment -- but failing to address the issues and concerns important to Middle America.
"Democrats are going to have to come up with remedies that matter to middle America, and if they don't do that you can have a reprise of '02 and '04 [elections]," he said, describing them as "tongue-tied."
He's right, of course. "Bush sucks" is not a strategy.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
This, of course, will drive many who oppose the war into a hysterical frenzy of joy as they mark this "milestone" with rantings about Iraq being a "quagmire" and the requisite comparisons to Vietnam.
Important to note, by this time in the Vietnam conflict there were more than 10 times as many American soldiers killed (roughly 30,000) and more than four times as many civilian deaths (180,000 and that's just for North Vietnam in the years 1965-68 -- I couldn't find figures for civilian deaths in the south).
One more thing: Liberals don't get to lecture other people what a quagmire is, because they invented it. Vietnam was a Liberal adventure.
I pause now to pray thanks for the selfless sacrifice of the 2,500 American servicemen and women who have given their lives to protect us from evil and to defend liberty and freedom.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Not that he didn't try to find a way, mind you -- Rove has appeared before grand juries in the affair five times over the last three years.
And so the investigation fizzles and the forecasts and assumptions of guilt by key Democrats evaporate.
"You can only imagine my disappointment," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, as he jammed 10- and 20-dollar bills from a lobbyist into his pocket with his left hand while signing his latest denunciation of Republicans for doing the same with his right. "I don't know how we're gonna win the fall elections if we can't come up with any more baseless accusations to throw around."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was unavailable for comment, attending a candlelight memorial service for slain Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She's called for a congressional investigation into the terrorist's killing by Allied forces last week.
"Really, no idictment? I'll be darned!" said DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "I'm just a big, fat braying ass anyway -- why anyone listens to me is beyond even my own psychotic comprehension."
Okay, I made up everything after the third paragraph.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Media reporting that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Al Qaida leader in Iraq responsible for most of the civilian deaths there for the last two years, was killed by allied aircraft.
Normally, I wouldn't celebrate the death of another human being, even one who has declared himself my mortal enemy. But in this case I'll make an exception.
Put bluntly, Zarqawi was a fanatic and a butcher who thought nothing of setting off bombs in crowded markets and other public places. He made great sport of tormenting kidnap victims, personally beheading them and broadcasting the whole spectacle on the Internet.
His methods were so barbaric that even senior Al Qaeda leadership began to recoil from them (although less for moral reasons than for utilitarian ones -- slaughtering Iraqi civilians simply wasn't helping their cause.)
This is a man who was not only guilty of original sin, but who chose and embraced evil, putting himself beyond redemption.
The world is better off without him and we're all a little bit safer today.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Bombings in crowded civilian markets and public builidings, IEDs targeted at civilians, as well as random shootings, abductions, torture and murder of civilians, all in an attempt to undermine the government of Iraq and increase sectarian tension and conflict, are among the charges being investigated, said top officials.
"It has come to our attention that these despicable tactics are not the actions of a few of our members, but are actually the stated policy of all of them operating in Iraq," said Osama Bin Laden. "It's been charged that even I have directed that these barbarities be committed in the name of Allah worldwide, including the 9/11 attacks on the U.S."
Bin Laden said the investigation would continue until all those responsible were prosecuted, no matter how high it goes.
"The dinar stops here," said Bin Laden. "If it's proven that even I am responsible for such atrocities, I will be held accountable."
Okay, I totally made that up.
Important to remember though, in light of current investigation into allegatations that Marines murdered 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha last year.
Important to remember also that the overwhelming majority of civilian deaths in Iraq in the last two years have been caused by the terrorists, not allied forces.
Atrocities happen in every war and are usually committed by both sides. There is a significant different between the rogue behavior of a few and a stated policy of barbarity.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Just one day after receiving the nomination for reelection from his party, NY State Comptroller Alan Hevesi suggested during his Queens College commencement address today that fellow Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer is capable of "putting a bullet between the president's eyes."
Nice, really nice.
He apologized several hours later, saying that this was simply a metaphor for Schumer's ability to stand up to the president.
Kind of like "Hevesi is a crap-spewing imbecile who should be physically removed from public office, stripped naked, dragged across rough concrete, and tossed in the Hudson River with an engine block chained around his neck" is a metaphor.
He specifically apologized to Schumer (for what, who knows, since he didn't insult or threaten the senator), but has yet to call the White House -- an indication of how really sorry he is, IMO.
He characterized his comments as "incredibly stupid" and "incredibly moronic."
I would agree -- also incredibly consistent with the hypocrisy of his party.
There you go, folks -- another example of the finest the Democratic party has to offer.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Republican Senator John McCain insisted on paying for his ticket to one of the sporting events he attended with Reid. Republican Senator John Ensign accepted a free ticket, but had already recused himself from consideration on the legislation.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean called criticism of Reid's ethics "ridiculous." That's because Dean is nuts.
The Washington Post previously reported that Reid accepted $40,000 in donations from disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates -- money he has declined to return, while demanding Republicans give back money they received from Abramoff. Some estimates say Reid got as much as $60,000 from Abramoff and his Indian clients.
And yet Reid supposedly is leading the charge in the Senate on ethics reform.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
To the Publisher:
I'm returning my copy of your May 29 issue, with the Dixie Chicks on the cover.
Perhaps you consider this musical group to be timely, topical, relevant and important, but I do not.
Frankly, if I were interested in the political and social views of entertainers I would subscribe to People magazine.
I'll expect that my subscription will be extended by one issue to compensate for this one. If you are unable or unwilling to do that, please let me know and I will cancel my subscription and subscribe to one of your competitors.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
He makes a fact-based case in the WSJ today, specifically noting his sources on how:
-- The Bush Administration did not lie about WMD estimates in Iraq;
-- The intelligence community did not cook the data and was not pressured to do so;
-- Saddam did pose a threat to the U.S., the Mideast and the world, by deliberately concealing WMD capabilities and resources (which he was not allowed to have);
-- Advancing democracy in Iraq was not a post-invasion rationalization.
Read it all.
Monday, May 22, 2006
The Chicago Tribune writes: "As the hurricane bore down on the city last Aug. 29, Nagin failed to arrange for the evacuation of the city's poor, stranding thousands when the levees burst. After the storm hit, with thousands of victims clinging to rooftops awaiting rescue, he exaggerated the death toll by a factor of 10. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency wanted to set up temporary trailer parks in the city, first Nagin said "yes," then he said "no," then he said "maybe."
Now THERE'S a man whose hand you want on the wheel.
Oh well, we ARE talking about people who live in a swamp between a river and a lake.
One fellow Democrat who couldn't make it to the victory parties though, was Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, whose Washington offices were raided by the FBI on Saturday. He is accused of pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
The New York Times story on the raid said Jefferson had so much ill-gotten cash that he stuffed about $90,000 into his freezer, which was recovered by the FBI last August. That was probably his "storm fund," in case a hurricane ever hit.
Really? A Democrat? Taking bribes? Why, I thought only mean, old Republicans did that.
Does Harry Reid know about this? Oh that's right, he still hasn't given back the $60,000 HE got from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.
Nice. Only in New Orleans.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Two things to note:
-- None of the 10 members of the panel nor the five investigators assigned to the study have ever actually visited the center, relying largely on hearsay and the word of former detainees -- Al Qaeda members instructed during training to fabricate accusations of abuse if captured;
-- No one is lining up to take the terrorists and killers off the hands of the U.S.
Same goes for the antiwar nuts in the U.S. who complain about Gitmo -- can they stay at your house?
Didn't think so.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Compromise measures appear to be moving forward, as the NG deployment gives Conservatives the political cover they need to mollify their constituents who want greater security on the southern border.
A new ABC News/USA Today poll shows that four out of five Americans think that the entire border area should be turned into a giant minefield and the 101st Airborne Division should be permanently deployed there.
Okay, I totally made that up.
But public opinion has been exceptionally strong that tightening the border is essential to national security.
Problem is, without immigration reform -- specifically a guest-worker program and some reasonable method for dealing with 11-12 million illegal immigrants, whether it be immediate amnesty or some gradual path to citizenship -- not even a massive minefield and the 101st can truly make the border secure.
Conservatives grumble that the 6,000 troops aren't nearly enough to seal the border, but they'll likely grumble their way through the legislation because nobody wins if the problem doesn't get fixed.
Dems go to 11, as usual, saying that "militarizing" the border isn't solution, but their secret fear is that Bush will succeed in pushing through the very humane and rational reform measures they give lip service to, possibly costing them the fall elections.
Parties on both sides have derided the measure as a "stunt."
Both fail to understand, apparently, that it's not a stunt if it works.