September 30, 2005

"Commander In Chief" or More Aptly Named "Get Ready for Hillary in 2008"

John Fund's column today concerns the new "Commander In Chief" series. Many on the right have complained that the series is, in fact, a Hollywood project to soften Americans up to the idea of a woman President in anticipation of Hillary Clinton's run for President in 2008. According to the creator of the show, conservatives need not be afraid of the show:

The series pits Academy Award-winner Geena Davis against the patriarchal world of national politics until her "You Go, Girl!" attitude puts to rest the doubts of her many detractors. The creator of "Commander in Chief," Rod Lurie, is apparently trying to broaden the show's appeal by promising that he won't be using it as a soapbox for his admittedly liberal views. He is quick to note that Ms. Davis isn't playing a Democrat. Instead she is an independent who landed on a Republican ticket in order to offset a conservative candidate's low approval rating among women.

Mr. Lurie insists that red-state viewers need not shun the show. He admits that he "can't write to a belief system that I can't swallow myself," but he says that he has hired some conservative writers to make up for his deficit. Not that a balanced approach was evident at last week's series-celebrating parties, in Washington and New York, hosted by the feminist White House Project.

O.K. sounds good. So, what does the first episode look like. It is not encouraging for those who are not Democrats:

Idealistic to some, stereotypical to others. We'll let the critics decide. Suffice it to say, for now, that the first episode involved an effort by the dying (Republican) president to shunt aside the vice president (Ms. Davis) so that a malevolently conservative House speaker can take over. (Right, that would happen.) A member of the vice president's staff says that the speaker stands for "the return of book burning, creationism in the classroom and invading every Third World country." The statement is not meant as a compliment. For balance, the new President Allen will supposedly have a few views that Mr. Lurie says are conservative, like abstinence education--although even Hillary has endorsed that one.

Mr. Lurie acknowledges that his TV series is a direct descendant of his film "The Contender," which starred Joan Allen as a Democratic senator who becomes a piñata for conservatives during her confirmation hearings to replace a deceased vice president. This movie was such an egregiously crude version of the "virtuous liberal vs. conservative slime-ball" genre that Gary Oldman, one of the movie's stars, called it "a piece of propaganda" designed to help Al Gore. The movie was released a month before the 2000 election.

Mr. Lurie recognizes that his show should stay "centered" to have the best chance at commercial success. But even he acknowledges the temptation to tug left. Last year he told the Baltimore Sun that "the world has become so partisan--and I'm as guilty of this as the next guy--that there is always a dark side of the force." President Allen, meet Darth Vader.

Yeah, that sounds like a plot that red-state viewers would certainly get behind. Republicans are the political equivalent of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine and the evil Empire. No doubt this is yet another Hollywood attempt to exert influence on American politics, and unfortunately, it is biased towards the left.

So, my question for Lurie is this: so, you hired conservative writers - to do what?? Fetch coffee?

Kondracke: Democrats Will Not "Go Positive" Until After 2006

The Democrats have become the party of "anything but Bush" with a platform of opposing or obstructing any initiatives, policies or nominees proposed by Bush. Rather than propose viable alternative policies, the Democrats have been satisfied with telling us how Bush has failed. According to Mort Kondracke, the Democrats will offer a more positive approach, however, not until after the 1996 election:

Democrats have an answer to the question, "OK, what's your alternative to the Bush policies you constantly criticize?" It is: "We're working on it." When it emerges, in a form yet to be determined, it's likely to include proposals for tax reform, health insurance, energy independence, national security and retirement reform.

Both House and Senate Democrats, plus outside consultants and think tank operatives, say that the party should have a full-blown alternative agenda to take into the 2006 elections - but that it doesn't need one yet. Democrats think that 2006 could be - in the words of Democracy Corps, the liberal polling group - "a major change election," like 1994, when Republicans gained 52 House seats and nine Senate seats and took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

They think that 1994 happened to them because of negative campaigning by Republicans against then-President Bill Clinton, defeat of his signature health care initiative and perceived corruption in the Democratic Congress. Duplicating the 1994 pattern, Democrats have been relentlessly pummeling President Bush on Iraq, gas prices and hurricane lapses and just-indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) for alleged "corruption." ....

The good news is that Democrats know they have to be positive eventually. I think it would be to their advantage to speed up the process.

I have written about this previously.

The Democrats do not seem to understand that insane Bush hatred will do nothing to solve our nation's problems nor will it help to build the Democratic base. So, you think Bush has royally screwed up the Hurricane relief? Tell me how we could be doing it better. You want to win voters? Then tell the people what you can offer them - don't merely dwell on what you perceive to be the failings of the Republicans or their policies. If the public perceives that the Republicans are the only people actually doing anything or offering any form of policy, then the public will overwhelmingly favor the Republicans at the ballot box- no matter how flawed the Republican policies may be. Until the Democrats learn this lesson, they will become a permanent minority party.

September 29, 2005

Delay Prosecutor Is Making a Movie

Byron York of the National Review has broken a fairly important story with respect to the Delay indictment. Evidently, the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, has allowed a film crew unusual access to the Delay investigation so that they can make a movie about Earle's investigation:

For the last two years, as he pursued the investigation that led to Wednesday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle has given a film crew "extraordinary access" to make a motion picture about his work on the case.

The resulting film is called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. "Raymond Chandler meets Willie Nelson on the corner of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in The Big Buy, a Texas noir political detective story that chronicles what some are calling a 'bloodless coup with corporate cash,'" reads a description of the picture on Birnbaum's website, The film, according to the description, "follows maverick Austin DA Ronnie Earle's investigation into what really happened when corporate money joined forces with relentless political ambitions to help swing the pivotal 2002 Texas elections, cementing Republican control from Austin to Washington DC.""We approached him [Earle], and he offered us extraordinary access to him and, to an extent, to his staff," Birnbaum told National Review Online Thursday. "We've been shooting for about two years."....

Earle "allowed us behind the scenes when the indictments came down last year, the first wave of indictments," Schermbeck says. "We got to follow him back to his home a couple of times, which I understand he doesn't allow anybody to do." Schermbeck says the film includes interviews with some critics of Earle, as well as lawyers who are representing some of the targets of the investigation.

So far, The Big Buy has received almost no attention in the press. With DeLay's indictment, and increased attention to Earle as well, that situation seems likely to change. (The filmmakers say they will be back at work next week, filming a new ending to the picture.) "We're pretty low on everybody's radar," Schermbeck says. "We kind of took a gamble three years ago. We didn't know what was going to happen. We feel like, as documentary filmmakers, we gambled and it paid off."

Wow. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have no clue whether there is any substance to this investigation or not. However, this move by Earle does not suggest that Earle is pursuing this investigation for the most noble of reasons. If anything, it will lend credence to the Republican claims that Earle is an overzealous prosecutor with an agenda.

Michael Barone On the Delay Indictment

Michael Barone's take on the Delay indictment:

Democrats will surely charge that DeLay's indictment, that of White House procurement official David Safavian, and that of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff show that George W. Bush's Republican Party is laced with corruption. I think that's obviously a stretch–both parties at various times have been much more scandal smirched than today's Republicans–and I think that the DeLay indictment in time may prove to be no more valid than that of Senator Hutchison, who has been re-elected by wide margins twice since the case against her was dismissed. But in the meantime, this is bad news for the Republican Party and gives every Democratic House challenger a talking point.

Judge Roberts Has Been Confirmed

It is now official - John Roberts has been confirmed:

WASHINGTON - John Glover Roberts Jr. became the 17th chief justice of the United States Thursday, overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to lead the Supreme Court through turbulent social issues for generations to come. The Senate voted 78-22 to confirm Roberts — a 50-year-old U.S. Appeals judge from the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, Md. — as the successor to the late William H. Rehnquist, who died earlier this month. All of the Senate's majority Republicans, and about half of the Democrats, voted for Roberts.

Congratulations to Justice Roberts and his family.

Tom Delay Indicted

I am no fan of Tom Delay, so I will likely not post much on the fact that he was indicted yesterday.
The truth is that I have no idea whether or not he committed any crime or whether this is just another example of an over-zealous and partisan prosecutor.
If he did, in fact, commit a crime, then he should be convicted and sentenced accordingly. Does this indictment mean that all Republicans are corrupt? According to Howard Dean, it does:

"Today, the state of Texas is doing what the Republican-controlled federal government has failed repeatedly to do, which is hold Republicans in Washington accountable for their culture of corruption. This alleged illegal activity reaches to the highest levels of the Republican Party.

"With House Republican Leader Tom DeLay under criminal indictment, Senate Republican Leader Frist facing SEC and Department of Justice investigations, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove under investigation, the Republican leadership in Washington is now spending more time answering questions about ethical misconduct than doing the people's business."

“Tom DeLay is neither the beginning nor the end of the Washington Republicans' ethical problems. America can do better than leaders who use their power to promote their own personal interests instead of the interests of the American people who elected them. We simply must change the way business is done in Washington."

Do we really want to pretend that governmental corruption is a Republican-only issue? Do you really want to get into that argument? Even Markos at Daily Kos believes that corruption is not a partisan issue:

Some day, once the current GOP dominance collapses under the weight of their corruption, we'll have Dems playing the same dirty game. Republicans rally around their sleaziest bad-government practicioners, as we know the elephant flies above the Stars and Stripes to the typical Bush/DeLay apologist.

The moral imperative behind a "clean government" crusade is self-evident. But there's also a practical reason to oppose corruption even amongst Democrats -- it's a sure-fire way to lose elections. Rampant Democratic corruption cost us Congress in 1994, and we've yet to recover. And continued Democratic corruption has made House Dems wary of charging ahead with the "corruption" theme to hard, lest some of the current members get snared in the web.

According to the Oxford Press, many Democrats are warning Dean to tone down his rhetoric, lest the Democrats come under investigation as well:

Indeed, at the DNC's executive committee meeting here in early June, Dean publicly acknowledged that some congressional Democrats had urged him to tone down his "culture of corruption" rhetoric because they did not want to get caught up in the same ethics probe as DeLay. But Dean said he would not hold back...."

What do the Democrats have to fear? Well, there are definitely some current Democratic corruption issues, according to the Oxford Press:
But in recent months, with Abramoff the subject of a criminal investigation, there have been media accounts and studies by watchdog groups that raise questions about the conduct of Democratic House members:
— The Washington Post reported that Abramoff paid at least a portion of the expenses of Democratic Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi in the mid-1990s.

— The Associated Press reported that at least 43 House members and dozens of congressional aides failed to publicly report travel financed by special interests until DeLay's trips were scrutinized. Most notably, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland disclosed 12 trips, the oldest dating back to 1997.

— The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, in a study of public records of every congressional trip between January 2000 and mid-2004 sponsored by non-profit organizations, found that seven of the top 10 trip-takers were Democrats.

Currently, New Jersey Democrats have been accused of diverting 9/11 funds for political purposes. What about Congressman Jefferson, the Democrat from New Orleans? What about the AirAmerica scandal?
Moreover, the Democratic track record on political corruption has not been wonderful. For example,
  • Johnny Chung, who was a Democratic Party fund-raiser and frequent White House guest of Bill Clinton, illegally channeled Chinese military money to President Clinton and the Democratic Party.
  • Al Gore is caught fundraising in a Buddhist temple.
  • FBI Filegate.
  • Whitewater.
  • Global Crossing.
  • President Bill Clinton pardons Mark Rich. After the pardon, it is discovered that Mr. Rich's ex-wife is a major contributor to President Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Look, the point is not to slander Democrats or say that they are somehow more corrupt than Republicans. The point is that there is corruption in politics. The idea that this is a Republican-only problem is ridiculous, and Howard Dean should know better. Corruption must be cleaned up on both sides of the aisle.

Leaving Brooklyn? Oy vey!

This is classic:

NEW YORK - "Leaving Brooklyn? 'Oy vey!'" That's what motorists now see as they cross the Williamburg Bridge into Manhattan. The huge sign, affixed to a cross beam of the bridge high above the bustling traffic, is a sweet victory for Marty Markowitz, president of the borough, home to a large Jewish population.

September 28, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Calls McCain a "Warmonger"

USA Today reports that Cindy Sheehan met with Senator John McCain. According to their report, it did not go too well:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Peace mom Cindy Sheehan didn't change her opposition to the war in Iraq after meeting Tuesday with one of its supporters, Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran whom she called "a warmonger."

Sheehan thanked McCain for meeting with her, but she came away disappointed. "He tried to tell us what George Bush would have said," Sheehan, who protested at the president's Texas home over the summer, told reporters. "I don't believe he believes what he was telling me."

McCain, R-Ariz., also seemed disappointed in the meeting, which he said had been misrepresented as including some of his constituents. Only one person in her small delegation has ties to the state, and that person no longer lives there.

The two exchanged views about the war, and McCain described the conversation as "a rehash" of opinions already well known. He said he might not have met with Sheehan had he known none of his constituents was in the group.

Although McCain has criticized the handling of the Iraq war, he has supported President Bush's call to stop terrorism abroad before it reaches the U.S. Sheehan, whose son, Casey, died in Iraq last year, has energized the anti-war movement with her call for troops to be brought home.

"He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."

"She's entitled to her opinion," McCain said. "We just have fundamental disagreements."

Sheehan's conference with McCain was one of several scheduled this week as part of her campaign to persuade members of Congress to explain the reasons for the war. She spoke before a massive anti-war rally Saturday on the National Mall and was arrested Monday demonstrating in front of the White House.

It is possible that Senator McCain was tricked into participating in the meeting, however, I sincerely doubt that. Senator McCain, who I deeply respect and admire, should have known better.

Is it really intellectually honest to describe Ms. Sheehan's efforts to meet senators as part of a "campaign to persuade members of Congress to explain the resasons for war"? Does anyone really believe that there is any explanation that any senator could give that would satisfy Ms. Sheehan? No, of course not.
More likely, that portion of the article was just another attempt by the mainstream media to sanitize Ms. Sheehan and her views. No offense, but Ms. Sheehan is not on a fact finding mission. Rather, she is affiliated with some radical anti-war groups such as Code Pink and International ANSWER. Her mission, quite simply, is to convince senators to support an immediate pullout from the war in Iraq.

Ben Stein and the Big Lie of Hurricane Katrina

A great column today by Ben Stein:

The big lie of the Hurricane Katrina story is that it reveals deep and hateful racism in America, that blacks were treated worse than other people because they were black, and that this shows the hypocrisy of this supposedly egalitarian nation.Here's the truth. Many black people were harmed by Katrina because of where they lived relative to the path of the hurricane and the location of their neighborhoods below sea level and their refusal or inability to obey the mandatory evacuation orders for New Orleans. This is not racism. This is a matter of geography, weather patterns, and poverty or confusion. It has nothing to do with purposeful mistreatment of blacks by whites. Poverty and confusion, certainly big factors here, were in no sense caused by white mistreatment of blacks unless it was white mistreatment of blacks that ended many decades ago.

As soon as the rescue effort started -- and although it was tardy, it was just as tardy for whites and Hispanics as it was for blacks -- the main story was whites by the thousands hurrying to New Orleans to rescue blacks from rooftops, from evacuation centers, from hospitals, from old folks' homes. The rescue effort was totally and utterly colorblind. The idea that blacks in New Orleans were left to suffer while whites in Mississippi or Alabama were treated royally is simply fantasy. Whites suffered too, and yes, they were often helped by blacks.


September 27, 2005

Democratic Leaders Descend Further Into Racial Demogoguery

Democratic leaders descend further into racial demogoguery:

Responding to statements made last week by Rep. Charles Rangel, the Republican National Committee urged Democratic leaders yesterday to denounce the New York congressman's comparison of President Bush to the late Theophilus "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner who came to symbolize Southern racism in the 1960s.

The Republican request for repudiation, however, met with expressions of support for Mr. Rangel's statement, particularly from black Democratic leaders in New York. The Reverend Al Sharpton came out in support of Mr. Rangel's analysis, and another member of the city's congressional delegation, Major Owens, a Democrat of Brooklyn, denounced Mr. Bush as "even more diabolical" than Connor...

...A Democrat who represents Brooklyn on New York's City Council, Charles Barron, concurred with that sentiment. "I think that's an insult to Connor," he said of Mr. Rangel's statement. "George Bush is worse, because he has more power and he's more destructive to our people than Bull Connor will ever be."For example, Mr. Barron said, "A KKK without power is not as bad as a George Bush with power."... "To be a racist in the richest, most powerful country in the world is lethal," Mr. Barron added. "Look what he's doing to communities of color all over the world," the council member said of Mr. Bush. "He's a lethal racist."

"What he did in New Orleans - I mean, that's worse than what Bull Connor did in his entire career as a racist in the South," Mr. Barron said. "Look at these neighborhoods before Katrina hit. Bush made that community what it is. Katrina did the rest, in partnership with Bush, to deliver the final blow."

Absolutely amazing. Are these people serious?

There is no evidence that President Bush is racist. Let's think about this one:
  • President Bush has never advocated or expressed support for lynchings or violence against African-Americans.
  • President Bush has never advocated or expressed support for racial segregation.
  • President Bush has never advocated or expressed support for racial discrimination.
  • President Bush has never expressed support for the slavery of African-Americans.
  • President Bush supports the Voting Rights Act.
  • President Bush has appointed more African-Americans and other minorities to top cabinet-level posts than any other president in U.S. including President Clinton.
  • President Bush has never interefered with the rights of blacks to protest.
  • President Bush has never interfered or ordered the interference with African-American's rights to exercise their civil liberties - including voting.
  • President Bush has tripled the funds that U.S. provides to relieve AIDS in Africa
  • President Bush has pledged to help create 5,500,000 minority home owners by 2010. The President's plan has already created 2,300,000 minority home owners.
  • President Bush requested $299 million in funding for historically black colleges and universities in the 2006 budget (a 30% increase in fuding since 2001).

Yet, he is worse than Bull Connor, an admitted racist who ordered the hosing down of and arrest of protesters fighting for black civil rights? How so? Of course, none of these Democrats offer any concrete examples as to why President Bush is a racist or worse than Bull Connor. Have these Democrats lost their perspective entirely?

No. Not entirely. The Democrats strategy for winning the African-American vote has been to demonize President Bush and to label the Republicans as racist. The Democrats' strategy is to blame all African-American problems on a Republican Congress and Republican administration - never, of course, discussing the Democrats shameful role in the Jim Crow South or the fact that these same problems existed during under the watch of Democratic Congresses and administrations. Think about it. For example, is poverty among African-Americans a new occurence? No, of course, not... the African-American community faced this same problem during the Carter and Clinton administrations.

Here is something to think about. There is a reason that Jewish people are adamant that the terms "Nazi" and "Holocaust" not be carelessly used. Each word carries important historical signifigance to remind the world of one of its greatest tragedies - the persecution and mass murder of 6 million Jews. If we allow the term "Nazi" to be used carelessly to describe our political enemies or we allow every tragedy to be the equivalent of the "Holocaust", then those terms will lose their historical signifigance and will no longer serve as a reminder to the world that the Holocaust must never happen again. One would think that African-Americans would feel the same way about slavery and their own civil rights struggles.

If you continue to call your political opponents "racists" and those political opponents are not, in fact, racists, then don't you risk diminishing the term? Similarly, the parable about the boy who cried wolf is applicable. If you call all of your political opponents racists, will people believe you when you have legitimate concerns that a particular person is a racist??

Let me ask African-American voters one thing. You have historically given Democrats 90% or more of the African-American votes. Are you satisfied with the results? Have the Democrats adequately addressed your needs? The Republicans have lately been courting African-American voters and appear to be working hard to win the African-American vote. Why not put your vote in play? In other words, whether you end up voting Democratic or Republican, why not make the political party earn it? The Republicans appear to be willing to bend over backwards to do just that - are the Democrats? Or, will the African-American vote for Democrats continue to be ignored by the Democrats as a given.

Christopher Hitchens on the "Anti-War" Protest and its Organizers

Christopher Hitchens has an excellen column today on regarding the groups that organized the "anti-war" protests this past weekend (International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice):

The name of the reporter on this story was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.

The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

Some of the leading figures in this "movement," such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. That bad, huh? (You might think that such an accusation—these thugs were cloned by the American empire for God's sake—would lead to instant condemnation. But if you thought that, gentle reader, you would be wrong.)

It really is an oustanding article. Read it all.

One does wonder why the mainstream media never provides any insight on who actually organized the rally. I can only conclude that it is for one of the following reasons: (a) the mainstream media is lazy or (b) the mainstream media is biased against President Bush or the Iraq War and therefore, does not want to discredit any effort to damage President Bush or the war effort.

International ANSWER's website lists ten reasons why it opposes the Iraq War including:

The U.S. spends $15 million every day to support Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and to carry out non-stop aggression against the Palestinian people in the territories seized since 1967 and in the borders of historic Palestine.

The Anti-Defamation League notes:

The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, created by the New York-based International Action Center to protest the bombing of Afghanistan, has organized many anti-war protests around the country since September 2001. The largest and most disturbing was on April 20, 2002, in Washington DC. Called the “National March for Palestine Against War and Racism,” the massive rally was attended by approximately 200,000 people, including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a forum for supporting violence and terror organizations, and for a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression. The ANSWER coalition moved up the date of its rally to April 20 to coincide with anti-globalization demonstrations, which were organized to protest the IMF and World Bank. ANSWER has become one of the most effective organizers for anti-war rallies, attracting thousands of demonstrators to subsequent rallies. ANSWER has played a key role in bringing Arab and Muslim groups into the anti-war and anti-racism movements, which has led to extreme invective against Israel during protests and expressions of support for Palestinian terrorists. Among the groups that have endorsed ANSWER events and participated in rallies are Al-Awda and the Islamic Association for Palestine

For all of you Democrats, who support International ANSWER or otherwise participated in its activities(such as this weekend's protest), you have been given fair warning that you will be supporting or affiliating with an anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic group. If you do continue to support International ANSWER and/or participate in its protests, then you can be fairly considered to be anti-Israel. If you fail to denounce this group and its views, then you can be failry considered to be anti-Israel.

For all of my fellow members of the tribe, consider this: do you really want to be affiliated with such an anti-Israel group? If you are a Democrat, do you really want your party leaders supporting or affiliating with such an anti-Israel group?

As a Jew, I admittedly have a vested interest in my ardent support for Israel. Why? That is easy to answer. If you believe in "Never Again" you believe in Israel. There is no middle ground. Otherwise, "Never Again" becomes nothing more than lip service.

Code Pink Issued A Press Release To Publicize Cindy Sheehan's Arrest - Before the Arrest

Code Pink, a radical anti-war group and avid supporter/exploiter of Cindy Sheehan, actually issued a press release to advise the media of Cindy Sheehan's intent to be arrested:

9/26 Mass Civil Disobedience Action Against the Iraq War. Cindy Sheehan will participate.

Cindy Sheehan to Join Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the White House on Monday, Sept. 26
Sept. 25, 2005 Andrea Buffa [deleted]
Alicia Sexton [deleted]


Cindy Sheehan to Join Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the White House on Monday, Sept. 26

Hundreds will be arrested as they express their opposition to the Iraq War

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 26, 12:30 PM

WHERE: Lafayette Park entrance to the White House

WHAT: In the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of people from throughout the United States will participate in a nonviolent civil disobedience action on Monday, Sept. 26 at the White House. Cindy Sheehan will participate in the action and risk arrest as will members of the clergy and other military families.

Anyone who did not believe or understand that the whole arrest was carefully orchestrated to garner media attention cannot deny it now.

I do find it disgusting that they equate Cindy Sheehan's ticket for loitering as being in the same league as the actions of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
In a statement posted on the Huffington Post following her arrest: Cindy Sheehan demonstrates that either she has lost all grip on reality or at least has developed amnesia:

We all know by now why George won't meet with parents of the soldiers he has killed who disagree with him. First of all, he hates it when people disagree with him. I am not so sure he hates it as much as he is in denial that it even happens. Secondly, he is a coward who arrogantly refuses to meet with the people who pay his salary. Maybe the next time one of us is asked by our bosses to have a performance review, or we are going to be written up for a workplace infraction, we should refuse to go and talk to our bosses citing the fact that the President doesn't have to. The third reason why he won't talk to us is that he knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer.

The problem is that President Bush does meet with the families of those killed in Iraq - even those that do not agree with his policies (including the Sheehan family). Ms. Sheehan continues to be intellectually dishonest by pretending that President Bush did not already meet with her and her family.
Oddly enough, Cindy Sheehan, who clearly planned and wanted to be arrested, is now complaining that she was arrested:

Karl Rove (besides just being a very creepy man) outted a CIA agent and was responsible for endangering many of our covert agents worldwide. Dick Cheney's old company is reaping profits beyond anyone's wildest imaginations in their no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans. John Negroponte's activities in South America are very shady and murderous. Rumsfeld and Gonzales are responsible for illegal and immoral authorization, encouragement and approval of torture. Not to mention, violating Geneva Conventions, torture endangers the lives of our service men and women in Iraq. Along with the above mentioned traitors, Condi lied through her teeth in the insane run-up to the invasion. The list of crimes is extensive, abhorrent, and unbelievable. What is so unbelievable is that we were arrested for exercising our first amendment rights and these people are running free to enjoy their lives and wreak havoc on the world. The fine for Demonstrating Without a Permit is $75.00. I am certain that I won't pay it. My court date is November 16th. Any lawyers out there want to help me challenge an unconstitutional law??

What hypocrisy. You plan to get arrested. You have your friends issue a press release stating that you plan to break the law and be arrested. You then proceed to break the law. You are then arrested. Now, you are complaining about it?

Cindy claims she was arrested because she "exercised her first amendment rights". No, Cindy you were arrested for protesting without a permit - not for exercising your first amendment rights. It is well-established law that the government has the ability to require protesters to obtain permits to hold protests in certain public areas (including public streets and sidewalks). You easily could have held your "protest" elsewhere and exercised your first amendment rights, however, your goal was to be arrested.

Once again, however, I really do not understand how such "civil disobedience" will further the stated goals of the anti-war crowd - i.e., an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Is the American public going to demand an immediate withdrawal from Iraq just because she received a $50 ticket? It makes no sense. At best, it focuses attention on her (not her issues).

September 26, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Arrested.

Breaking news - Cindy Sheehan has been arrested:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."

I have never really understood how, if at all, getting yourself arrested during a protest promotes your cause. Do the war protesters really think that the American public is going to all of a sudden say - "Cindy Sheehan was arrested.... well enough is enough, we need to be out of Iraq now!!!"

I guess that Cindy Sheehan is trying to figuratively or metaphorically "martyr" herself in an attempt to reinforce her popularity with the peace movement or attempt to make the Bush administration look bad (although, the problem with that theory is that the federal government did not arrest her - rather it was likely the local police).
Pretty sad and pathetic.
Although, the left wing pundits are going to have a field day pretending that Cindy Sheehan was arrested because she protested the war (as opposed to disorderly conduct). Or, the left wing pundits are going to try to turn this into an indictment of the war by saying - see, now we are arresting the mothers of our fallen soldiers .... this war must be wrong? I can hardly wait.

Mitzy Kenny, a woman whose husband was killed in Iraq last year, has a great quote:

"I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters: Don't be a group of unthinking lemmings," said Mitzy Kenny of Ridgeley, W.Va., whose husband died in Iraq last year. She said the anti-war demonstrations "can affect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy hope."
Some of the inmates at the asylum known as Democratic Undergound, however, did not like Ms. Kenny's quote very much:

trogdor: Must not have liked her hubby much.Liked the $250,000 insurance check plenty, though. Got her a new truck and a new double-wide, and now she's working on military hubby #2, I'll bet.

You know nothing about that woman, and that's just cruel despite being hilarious! I can just picture scanning military personal ads, looking for the one who that says "Shipping out to Iraq, looking for wife." Dammit, now I'm doing it! Not funny. Not funny! (slaps own hand!)

: God where did this moran get her Kool-aid?

votesomemore: She might want to think about exactly who is the "enemy"? What's the MISSION, George? What?The ENEMY? He squats.

tainowarrior: Where do they find these cavemen Americans?

KansDem: "Gives the enemy hope"--who the hell is the "enemy?" I'd like Mitz to explain this to me...

BiggJawn: I'm sorry for your loss, Mrs. Kenny, truly sorry.I wish I could tell you that your husband died for nothing without it sounding harsh, but sometimes the truth IS harsh.

Charming people, aren't they? Aside from the crude joke at the expense of and lack of compassion towards a woman who lost her husband, it is very revealing that these Democrats do not understand who the "enemy" is. In their minds, George Bush is the enemy - not Al Qaida.


Blogging will be light today... I am fairly busy!

The Case For Keeping Gas Prices High

Cynthia Tucker has an interesting column, which argues that the politicians efforts to reduce gas prices are, in fact, misguided:

What a spectacular failure of leadership.

The last thing this country needs is to keep gas prices low -- thereby encouraging American consumers to keep up our greedy consumption of fossil fuels. Our addiction to petroleum has kept us hostage to the Middle East. We pay them billions in petrodollars, and some of that cash inevitably ends up in the hands of people who want to kill us.
Let's not forget that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 came not from Iraq but from Saudi Arabia. Yet we continue to do business with the Saudis, though it is perfectly clear that they still support the fundamentalist clerics who spread terrorism. We're junkies -- "oiloholics," as The Economist, a prestigious newsmagazine, called us -- who will do anything to keep the supply open.

A furious storm season -- Katrina, Ophelia, Rita -- offered the country's political leaders the perfect opportunity to allow gas prices to drift upward. (The nation is led by Republicans, supposedly free-market conservatives, after all.) That would have encouraged conservation and invited serious support for research into alternative fuels.

But politicians up and down the line, from the White House to Congress to state capitols, have chosen to pander to their constituents instead. Rather than confront the hard truth -- that a sustained campaign against terrorists will demand sacrifices from all of us -- our leaders pretend that we can keep doing things the way we've always done them. The House and Senate passed an energy bill two months ago, but the closest they could bring themselves to promoting conservation was a proposal to extend daylight-saving time by four weeks, starting in 2007. They demanded precious little in the way of increased fuel efficiency for cars and trucks.

Even if our petrodollars didn't enable terrorists, there'd still be good reason to start a serious national initiative to wean us off fossil fuels. They are running out. Some geologists believe that oil production will peak in the next few years. And at least one respected geophysicist has suggested that China and the United States will eventually go to war over dwindling oil supplies.

Ms. Tucker makes an interesting point. Historically, very few politicians have been interested in taking measures to relieve us of our oil dependency. The only time that politicians are typically forced to confront the issue is when their constituents demand that they do something. The extraordinarily high gas prices have posed a perfect opportunity to focus politicians on what needs to be done.... However, as Ms. Tucker notes, politicians are attacking the wrong problem. The politicians are attempting to lower gas prices as opposed to solving the long term problem of oil dependency by encouraging development and use of alternative fuels and conservation.
I understand and, for the most part, agree with her conclusion that the only way for there to be meaningful change is for the public to be frustrated enough with gas prices that it demands that the politicians solve our long term problem of oil dependency.
Is it too much to ask for politicians to solve both? In other words, let's work on getting oil prices down in the short term and increase research and development on alternative fuels? From a consumer perspective, my family's cost of living has dramatically increased. Of course, we are not alone.

September 24, 2005

Democrats Concerned That Hurricane Rita Will Overshadow War Protests

At the Democratic Underground, many are concerned that Hurricane Rita will overshadow the war protests:

Quixote1818: I am worried Rita will overshadow the War Protest.

osaMABUSh: I had that thought about Katrina three weeks ago but it appears that not to be the case. Yes, Rita had terrible timing. BUT again people are wondering how we are going to pay for the hurricanes, well, maybe this will remind folks we're spending $200 Billion in Iraq. And with gas going to $4 ....I say this protest is just the warm up - let's schedule another in non-hurricane season like the spring

dolo amber: All I know is if America's Next Top Model is pre-empted next week due to hurricane coverage I'm gonna be PI-ISSED!!

A lively debate is currently ongoing in the Daily Kos about whether or not the protests should be called off because Hurricane Rita will take all of their press.
Wonderful. While many people may die and thousands could lose their homes, what are they concerned about? A stupid war protest. Let's try to keep our perspective people!! You will have plenty of other opportunities to pretend you are flower children back in 1968 and vent your unhealthy obsession with President Bush.

September 23, 2005

African-American Group Demands Action Against Rangel

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Members of the black leadership network Project 21 are demanding that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) join with them in condemning remarks made by CBC member Rep. Charles Rangel (news, bio, voting record) (D-N.Y.) in which he called President George W. Bush "our Bull Conner," referring to the 1960s segregationist icon.

"Charles Rangel's comments are morally vacant and beneath the pale, but obviously not out of character for him and his supporters," said Project 21 member Mychal Massie. "How many blacks today suffer from beatings, fire hoses or have dogs set on them for trying to seek a seat at a lunch counter or go to school? How many of us today are living under inflexible, legislated segregation?"

Massie adds: "Rangel's comments may play well with those who embrace ignorance, but it will not resonate with Americans who eschew racial demagoguery. We demand that the CBC and Senator Clinton join with this overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens in banishing hate speech such as this to the trash heap of history."

Rep. Rangel made his comparison of President Bush to the former Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner at the Congressional Black Caucus's 35th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 22. As reported by the New York Sun, Rangel also said, "If you're black in this country and you're poor in this country, it's not an inconvenience -- it's a death sentence." Sen. Clinton was also in attendance at the event, as were Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.), Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and former entertainer Harry Belafonte.

While taking offense to the racial animosity of Rep. Rangel's remarks, Project 21 members also disputed the lawmaker's implication that the Bush Administration is unresponsive to minorities.

"I'd be interested in viewing any footage Congressman Rangel has of our President turning fire hoses on black Americans," said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. "While the differences between George W. Bush and Bull Connor begin superficially with the fact that Connor was a Democrat, it's more important to note that President Bush has the most racially diverse administration in presidential history, and these appointees serve in some of the highest positions. If Congressman Rangel is referring to policy, I fail to see how trying to give everyone the ability to make their own choices on things like retirement security, medical care and education, not be burdened by taxes and be safe at home and abroad is akin to enforcing a separation of the races."

Rangel's remarks are nothing more than exploitation of the fears of other African-Americans for his own political gain. You see, he wants African-Americans to vote for Democrats --such as him. So, how does he do it? He tells them that the Republicans are racists and the Democrats are the equivalent of civil rights crusaders. It is disgusting, it is unethical and, quite frankly, it is or should be incredibly insulting to African-Americans that this man plays them for unwitting fools. Exploits Hurricane Katrina For Donations - Part II continues to exploit Hurricane Katrina for donations:

Hurricane Katrina has presented a defining moment for President Bush. So far, it's defined him as indecisive, uninterested in poverty and critically unprepared. Last night's nationally televised address was an attempt by the White House to mark a turning point. But President Bush failed to deeply address either of the core vulnerabilities Katrina exposed—the federal government's inability to respond to disaster, and the poverty and racism that still remains in America. With the media jury out on the speech, we can help draw focus to Bush's failure to deliver on his core promise—to protect America from disaster. Our ad team worked overnight, preparing a rapid-response TV ad we want to get on the air as soon as possible, to help shape this historic moment. If we can raise $250,000 today, we can do it. Can you contribute?

This is a gross exploitation of a true national tragedy. With all the suffering of the Hurricane Katrina victims, wouldn't it make more sense to ask your followers to donate to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or any other relief efforts? Couldn't that $250,000 be put to better use?

After all, President Bush will no longer be running for President - or any office, for that matter - in 2008. Why are the Democrats at constantly fighting the last two elections?
I have been arguing, for the past few months, that the Democrats have lost focus. Rather than concentrating on winning local, state and national races by offering a positive solution for our nation's problems, the Democrats have become obsessed with President Bush. Looks like I am being proven right...

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Illegally Tapped Into Republican's Credit History

This is interesting:

BALTIMORE -- Federal prosecutors have opened an inquiry into allegations that two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally tapped into Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's credit history.

WBAL-TV 11 News reporter David Collins reported the workers obtained the report in July while executing opposition research on the lieutenant governor.

In June, the Republican lieutenant governor announced he had established an exploratory committee to explore a candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Paul D. Ellington, Steele's chief of staff, issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon in reaction to the allegations.

According to the FBI, two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally obtained Steele's credit report.

Those familiar with the incident, say Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner were working on opposition research in July. They found Steele's Social Security number in a court document and used it to obtain his credit report.

"It's extremely unethical," said Evan Hendricks, the author of "Credit Scores Credit Reports." "This is a case of a couple very bright researchers, so smart, ending up doing the stupidest thing they could have done."

Hendricks, a privacy expert who has written books on the subject, said that without authorization, those snooping would have had to misrepresent themselves.

"There's lies involved one way or the other. The law is very clear on this," Hendricks said.

Collins reported that the two employees have since resigned and committee officials said they have destroyed the document. The committee said they have immediately reported the incident to the Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney's Office, and have since issued an apology.

Hmmm.... doesn't sound too ethical to me. I wonder if this was standard operating procedure before they were caught? I wonder who else at the DSCC knew about this? Did Chuck Schumer know?

It does not, at first glance, appear that there was any cover-up, so this will likely be the end of the matter. We will have to wait to see what, if anything, comes of this.

Reaction to Senator Kerry's Latest Tirade

From the Washington Times:

New York Times columnist David Brooks noticed a certain hostility in Sen. John Kerry's speech this week about Hurricane Katrina.

"Kerry began his speech by making the point that Bush and his crew are rotten. He then went on to make the point that Bush and his crew are loathsome. In the third section of the speech, Kerry left the impression that Bush and his crew are evil," Mr. Brooks writes. "Now we all know people so consumed by hatred for George Bush that they haven't had an unpredictable thought in five years, but in Kerry's speech one sees this anger in almost clinical form. "In the first place, not even Karl Rove's worldview is so obsessively Bush-centric as John Kerry's. There are many interesting issues raised by Katrina, but for Senator Ahab it all goes back to the great white monster, Bush. Bush and his crew should have known the levees were weak. Bush and his crew should have known thousands in New Orleans would be trapped. (Did I miss Kerry's own warnings on these subjects?) "All reality flows back to Bush. All begins with Bush, ends with Bush, is explained by Bush and is polluted by Bush, cursed be thy name."
I agree.

Boston Globe: Bush Met Democrats Halfway in Nomination of Judge Roberts

Scott Leigh of the Boston Globe believes that Democrats should not follow the examples set by Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in their opposition to Judge Roberts:

HOW SHOULD Senate Democrats respond to the example Ted Kennedy and John Kerry set Wednesday in declaring their opposition to John Roberts in a one-two political punch?

By disregarding it.

Why? Well, first let's review the bidding. When Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, Democrats warned President Bush not to nominate a conservative ideologue to replace her on the Supreme Court. Bush responded by putting up a well-qualified jurist with widely recognized legal skills, someone the Senate unanimously confirmed to the US Court of Appeals in 2003. To rework Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s line about FDR, John Roberts has both a first-class intellect and a first-rate temperament. Then, when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, the president effectively lowered the ideological stakes by renominating Roberts for the chief justice's job, which means his confirmation would hardly change the court's makeup.

.... Still, their Democratic colleagues would do better to look to the example of Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which yesterday voted 13 to 5 in favor of Roberts. In his Wednesday speech, Leahy said that though the popular move for a Democrat was to oppose Roberts, he thinks that Roberts is not a conservative ideologue but rather the sort of cautious, principled, precedent-respecting conservative who merits support. The evidence suggests he's right. And with Roberts replacing the arguably more conservative Rehnquist, this is not the real donnybrook over changing the court; thus it simply doesn't make sense to wage an intense battle over a qualified nominee who is within acceptable ideological bounds.

Further, the idea that running up a strong tally against Roberts will encourage the president to send up a more moderate nominee for the next seat -- or help in the fight if Bush's next nominee is an archconservative -- is the most fanciful kind of thinking.

If Democrats wage war over a qualified, measured conservative like him, it's just as likely to strengthen Republican resolve for a knock-down-drag-out for the kind of ultraconservative the right really want. Further, if Democrats raise a hyperbolic ruckus over Roberts, how can they expect the public to take them seriously when it really matters?

No, Democrats need to dismiss the clamor of the activists and recognize the obvious: Despite their fears, on this one, George W. Bush met them halfway

I agree.

The Federal Government Is Learning - Democrats Still Complaining

The Democrats are upset that the federal government is taking Hurricane Rita more seriously than it took Hurricane Katrina before it struck:

"It's nice to have the Bush administration recognize the importance of a federal response to Rita, but why weren't they proactively mobilizing and organizing like this for Katrina?" said Rebecca Kirszner, a spokeswoman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"These are the questions that need to be asked by an independent commission," Kirszner said.

So, we need an independent commission to tell us why the Federal government's response to Hurricane Rita is better than it was for Hurricane Katrina? Maybe the federal government is taking Hurricane Rita more seriously because they LEARNED from their experiences with Hurricane Katrina. Just a thought.

September 22, 2005

What I Learned from Hurricane Katrina

After watching television, reading numerous news articles and reading hundreds of left-wing blogs on Hurricane Katrina for the past couple of weeks, I feel that I have learned the following:
  1. George W. Bush is the reason for Hurricane Katrina's devastation. Well, of course, he cannot control the weather, but his environmental policies must have contributed somehow. Yeah, that's right - Hurricane Katrina would not have happened if President Bush had just signed the Kyoto Treaty. Oh wait, Bill Clinton didn't either? Even though he spent more on the New Orleans levees than his predecessor did, it must be President Bush's fault that it was not enough or that the state government diverted resources. Never mind that any such projects would still not have been completed in time to stop the devastation.
  2. The federal government has miserably failed the people if it cannot mobilize a few hundred thousand troops within a few hours of the flooding.
  3. A President must never send troops to fight in a foreign war. After all, there is always a chance that a hurricane could strike and we would need the troops.
  4. From the news coverage, I can only assume that hurricanes must only destroy property owned by African-Americans. I guess that is either because the Hurricane magically avoid the property of white residents of New Orleans or the white residents must have built their property in secret hurricane-free zones .
  5. From the news coverage, I can tell that no white people must have been killed by Hurricane Katrina. I guess that hurricanes and floods only kill African-Americans.
  6. Based upon all of the talk of a "racial divide" and institutional racism by African-American leaders, I have learned that white Americans do not care about the plight of African-Americans in the affected areas. All of the millions donated for hurricane relief efforts must have come from only African-American contributors. The billions of dollars to be spent by local, state and federal taxpayers on the relief efforts and reconstruction of damaged property must come from only African-American taxpayers.
  7. If you get all of your news from the mainstream media, it would be very easy to deduce that only New Orleans suffered damage from Hurricane Katrina. Based on the wonderful news coverage of New Orleans, it would not be hard to conclude that other surrounding cities and Mississippi must not have been damaged too extensively.
  8. If you build your city under sea level, there is a good chance that your entire city can be wiped out by a hurricane. Rather than spending local and state tax revenues on the repair of infrastructure that will prevent your city from flooding, wait for federal funds to do so. Moreover, rather than spend the money, which is given to Louisiana by the federal government to fix the levees that prevent such flooding, it is the state representatives' job to divert that money to other pet projects. When a hurricane hits and your city floods because a levee broke, it is essential that you blame the federal government for not giving you enough money to fix the levees and fund your other pet projects.
  9. The looting of televisions and stereos is justifiable. After all, aren't they necessities? Oh, they are not? Well, it must be justifiable because the looters have been ravaged by capitalism. It is only fair, right?
  10. Do not thank the rescue workers, who are risking their lives to save hurricane victims. Rather, complain that they did not get there fast enough and accuse them of being racists.
  11. Do not thank the government for providing you with food, temporary shelter and spending money. Rather, complain that your free debit card is not working.
  12. If your mayor and governor fail to use available resources (e.g., hundreds of buses and other forms of public transportation) to evacuate your city prior to a hurricane, blame George Bush for failing to come down to New Orleans and personally drive evacuees out of New Orleans.
  13. If Democratic politicians, who are actually responsible for failing to evacuate New Orleans and following pre-existing hurricane preparation plans, fail miserably, then you must divert all attention from such politicians and place all blame to George Bush.
  14. All poverty is George Bush's fault. Period.
  15. If restoring law and order is a problem following a hurricane, send your entire police force to Las Vegas.
  16. Conducting investigations into the government failures behind Hurricane Katrina's relief efforts is a good idea - unless the scope of the investigation goes beyond the federal government and includes state and local governments.
  17. Rather than donate to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, it is your duty to instead send political contributions to MoveOn.Org and John Kerry so that they can campaign against the sinister George W. Bush.

I will have more, but my work day has begun... damn inconvenient.

September 21, 2005

A True Hero Has Died

A great man, Simon Wiesenthal, has died. The world is truly indebted to him for his tireless work in bringing truly evil men to justice.

Ron Grossman's column is a fitting tribute to Mr. Wiesenthal.

Senator Harry Reid To Vote "No" - Political Partisanship Ensues

According to the New York Times, Senator Harry Reid will vote against confirming John Roberts:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Tuesday that he would oppose the confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, surprising both the White House and fellow Democrats still conflicted about how to vote.

In becoming the first Democrat to declare formally how he intended to vote, Mr. Reid may have made it more difficult for fellow Democrats to support Judge Roberts. Many Senate observers expected Mr. Reid, who comes from a Republican-leaning state and is opposed to abortion, to support Judge Roberts.

And the Democratic leader himself said Tuesday that he had earlier given the White House a list of nominees who would be objectionable and that Judge Roberts was not on it.

In announcing his decision in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor, Mr. Reid questioned Judge Roberts's commitment to civil rights and said he was "very swayed" by the civil rights and women's rights leaders who testified Thursday in opposition to the nomination - and with whom Mr. Reid met privately that same day. Liberal advocacy groups, who raise millions of dollars to support Democratic candidates and who have been putting intense pressure on Democrats to oppose the nomination, were elated. ...Last Thursday, as Mr. Reid was weighing his decision, representatives of about 40 advocacy groups met with him in the Capitol; the reason, they said, was to underscore the threat they believe Judge Roberts poses to Democrats' core causes, racial and gender equality. Hovering in the background was a political argument, that if Democrats vote in favor of Judge Roberts, they will be held liable by voters for the decisions he makes on the court. "He got the message loud and clear, didn't he?" Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said of Mr. Reid on Tuesday.....

The White House reacted coolly to Mr. Reid's announcement. A spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said it departed from Senate tradition in which members have "based their decisions on the qualifications of the nominee, not on whether or not the person doing the nominating was in their same party."

It is very disappointing that Senator Reid would decide to vote against the confirmation of a very obviously qualified nominee. Clearly, the decision can be seen as nothing more than pandering to special interest groups such as NOW and NARAL.

Judge Roberts will be confirmed - regardless of whether or not Senator Reid votes for confirmation. However, it is unfortunate that the Democrats have chosen to inject political partisanship into the confirmation vote. Don't get me wrong - there has always been political posturing and partisanship in the hearings. However, the actual voting has been near unanimous on past nominees:

John Paul Stevens, 1975: 98-0
Sandra Day O'Connor, 1981: 99-0
Antonin Scalia, 1986: 98-0
Anthony Kennedy, 1987: 97-0
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993: 96-3
Stephen Breyer, 1994: 87-9

Even the most ardent liberal cannot, with a straight face, tell me that Judge Roberts is more conservative than Antonin Scalia (and yet, no Democrat opposed his nomination).

So what has changed? Evidently, the Democrats are misdirecting their insane hatred of George Bush towards Judge Roberts.

Senator Reid does base his opposition on the administration's refusal to release confidential memos and Judge Roberts refusal to answer questions about how he would rule on certain issues. However, the Democrats are being very hypocritical. Judge Roberts has handled the confirmation hearings no differently than Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg did:

With the brewing fight over the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, can we even find Memory Lane so as to stroll down it? Let's see, here's Ruth Bader Ginsburg's confirmation in 1993, one of the last two members to join the Court. It's fair to ask what kind of maelstrom she encountered after she was nominated by Bill Clinton to a Senate controlled by his party, the Democrats. Glad you asked:

-- Her hearing lasted a total of 4 days;

-- She wasn't required to discuss her legal views on a host of social issues;

-- Then Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden (D-DE) warned fellow Senators not to ask questions about "how she will decide any specific case that may come before her."

-- When asked specific questions during her hearing, she replied politely, "I prefer not to address a question like that" or "I would prefer to await a particular case."

She was confirmed by a vote of 96-3.

The Democrats should be very careful. They are setting a very dangerous precedent. As the statistics above demonstrate, the Republicans have been very respectful of Democratic nominees in the past (e.g., Ginsburg and Breyer - both Clinton nominees). Do they really want to turn Supreme Court nomination votes into party line votes? After all, I assume the Democrats would like to eventually win a presidential election and thereby have the right to nominate their own Supreme Court Justice at some point....

Chinese Company Begins Marketing Clinton and Lewinsky Condoms

File this under: Appropriate:

BEIJING -- A rubber company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky, apparently seeking to exploit the White House affair that led to the impeachment of America's 42nd president.

Spokesman Liu Wenhua of the Guangzhou Rubber Group said the company was handing out 100,000 free Clinton and Lewinsky condoms as part of a promotion to raise consumer awareness of its new products. He said that after the promotion ends, the Clinton condoms will go on sale in southern China for 29.8 Yuan (US$3.72) for a box of 12, while the Lewinsky model will be priced at 18.8 Yuan (US$2.35) for the same quantity.

"The Clinton condom will be the top of our line," he said. "The Lewinsky condom is not quite as good."

Liu said the company had chosen to use the Clinton name because consumers viewed the former president as a responsible person, who would want to stress safe sex as an effective way to prevent the spread of the HIV virus. "The names we chose are symbols of people who are responsible and dedicated to their jobs," he said. "I believe Bill Clinton cannot be unhappy about this because he's a very generous man." Liu said the company did not believe using the Clinton and Lewinsky names constituted a violation of copyright or other laws.

Too funny. I really could not pass this up.

My favorite part is the assertion by the manufacturer that they chose Clinton because he was a responsible person. Sorry, but anyone who commits adultery and commits perjury is not high on my list of responsible people (and I voted for Clinton twice!) .

September 20, 2005

LA Times: Confirm Judge Roberts

The LA Times opines that Judge Roberts should be confirmed:

IT WILL BE A DAMNING INDICTMENT of petty partisanship in Washington if an overwhelming majority of the Senate does not vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. to be the next chief justice of the United States. As last week's confirmation hearings made clear, Roberts is an exceptionally qualified nominee, well within the mainstream of American legal thought, who deserves broad bipartisan support. If a majority of Democrats in the Senate vote against Roberts, they will reveal themselves as nothing more than self-defeating obstructionists.

Most Democrats have not indicated how they will vote later this week in the Judiciary Committee, or subsequently on the Senate floor. The angst expressed by some senators who feel caught between the pressure of liberal interest groups and their own impression of Roberts is comically overwrought. "I for one have woken up in the middle of the night thinking about it, being unsure how to vote," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

One reason Democratic senators are struggling to reach a verdict on the Roberts nomination is that President Bush has yet to announce his nominee for the second vacancy on the court. They are trying to figure out how their vote on Roberts will influence Bush's next choice. This is silly; Roberts ought to be considered on his own merits. But even if one treats this vote merely as a tactical game, voting against an impressive, relatively moderate nominee hardly strengthens the Democrats' leverage. If Roberts fails to win their support, Bush may justifiably conclude that he needn't even bother trying to find a justice palatable to the center. And if Bush next nominates someone who is genuinely unacceptable to most Americans, it will be harder for Democrats to point that out if they cry wolf over Roberts.

Roberts is, admittedly, no William Brennan. But Democrats' hopes to remake the court in his image died (or should have) the day after Bush was reelected. Senate Democrats need to exercise their advise-and-consent duty within this context.

Indeed, given Bush's own past statements about admiration for justices such as Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, Roberts may be the best nominee liberals can expect out of this administration. He is in the tradition of Justices William H. Rehnquist and Anthony Kennedy, conservatives who believe in the value of stability and restraint. In his confirmation hearings, Roberts repeatedly distanced himself from an extreme "originalist" or literal approach to constitutional interpretation. He may have dodged plenty of questions, as do all judicial nominees, but he said plenty that was revealing and reassuring.

I agree.

John Kerry Exploits Hurricane Katrina to Raise Cash

According to The Hill, John Kerry launched a new assault on President Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina as part of a new fundraising campaign:

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) unleashed a furious attack on the Bush administration at a Brown University speech yesterday, upbraiding the president’s response to the hurricane that recently devastated the Gulf Coastand tying it to what he sees as other flaws at the White House.

“This is the Katrina administration,” read prepared remarks posted on 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s website, “Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do,” read Kerry’s script, portions of which were included in an e-mail to supporters that ended with a fundraising appeal.

“Michael Brown [Bush’s former emergency-management director] … is to Katrina what [former Iraq administrator] Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what [former CIA Director] George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence; what [former Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what [Vice President] Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what [House Majority Leader] Tom Delay [R-Texas] is to ethics; and what George Bush is to ‘Mission Accomplished’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’”

In a brief interview, Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called Kerry’s pitch for cash “repulsive.”

In a news release, she said, “John Kerry's attacks on President Bush's efforts to assist the victims and rebuild the Gulf Coast don't come as a surprise. Armchair quarterbacking on tough issues has never been a problem for Senator Kerry. The American people have pulled together during a difficult time and Democrats’ efforts to politicize this tragedy are unsavory at best

I agree with Tracey Schmitt. It is bad enough that Kerry is trying to exploit a natural disaster and national tragedy for political gain, but to exploit Hurricane Katrina as part of a fundraising appeal....well, that is just grotesque. Kerry should be ashamed. Instead of using Katrina for their own personal gain, maybe they should tell their supporters to donate money to the Red Cross as opposed to their respective campaign funds!

Update: It appears John Edwards has joined the act.
Notice how neither Senator Kerry or Edwards place any of the blame for the New Orleans problematic relief efforts on Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco. According to each, it is all Bush's fault. Heaven forbid they should acknowledge that two Democratic officials, who were actually in charge of the failed evacuation and local relief, failed miserably. I guess I should not expect a little intellectual honesty at this point.
While there were certainly problems in the federal response, Kerry and Edwards should read this piece from the Post-Gazette to gain some perspective:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a 'national disgrace' the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history."

September 19, 2005

Senator Landrieu Reiterates Her Threat To Punch President Bush

According to NewsMax, Senator Mary Landrieu reaffirmed her threat to to punch President Bush:

Sen. Mary Landrieu refused on Friday to withdraw or apologize for her threat to punch President Bush if he criticized Louisiana officials - despite Bush's magnanimous speech Thursday night and a federal downpayment of more than $60 billion dollars to rebuild her state.

"I do not take it back, I don't apologize for it. I said I would punch anybody, including the president," she told the Chicago Tribune.

"Though threatening the president is a crime," the Tribune noted - "the Secret Service took it as a joke and the White House brushed off her remarks."

Standing in the Capitol, however, Landrieu made it clear she wasn't joking.

Looks like someone needs to take some anger management classes...

NARAL/Planned Parenthood and the Roberts Confirmation Hearings

Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe has an interesting column in the Boston Globe:

HELLO, NARAL? It is getting easier to ignore you. The same is true of Planned Parenthood.

These abortion rights advocates have not adjusted their tone or message to 21st century political realities. First obvious reality: George W. Bush, not John Kerry, won the last presidential election. With Bush in the White House, the best-case scenario for abortion rights supporters is a Supreme Court justice who agrees, at minimum, that there is a constitutionally protected right to privacy. That is the underpinning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision, which extended the privacy right to abortion.

During last week's confirmation hearings, John Roberts said there is such a privacy right.
It is also true that Roberts refused to state whether he believes that privacy right specifically includes a woman's right to abortion. But did NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood Federation of America really expect a Bush nominee to do that? Again, they got the best they could expect. Regarding Roe, Roberts said, ''It's settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis" (Latin for ''to stand by that which is decided")...

Change or die is the motto of corporate America; it applies to liberal advocacy groups, too. NARAL got off to a terrible start with its campaign against Roberts when it released an ad that falsely sought to link Roberts to abortion clinic bombings. That ad was pulled. But its website and subsequent press releases, along with those of Planned Parenthood, continue a tone of forboding about what to expect from Roberts. They are urging senators to vote against him....Which gets us back to political reality. What did anyone expect from an antiabortion president?

Abortion rights supporters need a new, nonhysterical campaign that taps effectively into the country's continued backing for legalized abortion. These advocacy groups need to shed their shrewish image and find a way to connect with people who may not appreciate the right they have until it begins to be stripped away.

Otherwise, these advocacy groups bemoan themselves into irrelevancy

I remain pro-choice although, as I have written before, I am terribly uncomfortable with abortion. To characterize my position, I believe abortion should be safe and legal, but only used in very limited circumstances.

NARAL and Planned Parenthood have treated the Roberts confirmation hearings as if Judge Roberts had openly declared war on the right to privacy or the right to have an abortion. Clearly, he has not done so. Yet, the rhetoric by these groups is amazing. They have been strongly opposing Judge Roberts as if he were the second coming of Antonin Scalia.
It would be useful for these groups to remember the old parable of the boy who cried wolf. Save your claims of "extremism" for those nominees that really are extreme! Judge Roberts is certainly not an extremist nor is he as right-wing of a nominee as Bush could have selected. From what I can tell, Judge Roberts is conservative, but certainly not a member of the extreme religious right. Does this mean that he will not vote to overturn Roe? I cannot say for certain, however, let's keep in mind that he is replacing Rhenquist - definitely no fan of Roe v. Wade-and as such, Judge Roberts will not really change the current make-up of the court. Let's keep in mind that Rhenquist had a conservative court, yet never overturned Roe v. Wade.
Most people understood that the 2004 election was a crucial election because it was likely that one or more Supreme Court justices would need to be named. The Republicans won the election and, as a result, control the nominations to replace the two current vacancies. The Democrats and pro-choice advocates must understand that no Republican president is going to appoint a liberal judge (nor should he be expected to - after all, would we expect a Democratic president to nominate a conservative judge?) and should instead focus on making sure that the conservative nominees are qualified.

Buy a Mig-21 on E-Bay

This is strange. I knew that you could sell just about anything on E-Bay. Hell, I have a friend who buys cars and motorcycles on E-Bay. I just didn't realize you could also get one of these:

Truly a gift for that special man in your life that has "everything". Hint, hint.

September 16, 2005 Exploits Hurricane Katrina For Donations

Blogs for Bush reports that has sent an e-mail to its members whereby uses Hurricane Katrina to solicit further donations. Donations to help the hurricane victims? How noble, caring and generous. Ooops... never mind. They are soliciting donations to fund their anti-Bush ad campaigns:

Dear MoveOn member,

Hurricane Katrina has presented a defining moment for President Bush. So far, it's defined him as indecisive, uninterested in poverty and critically unprepared. Last night's nationally televised address was an attempt by the White House to mark a turning point.

But President Bush failed to deeply address either of the core vulnerabilities Katrina exposed—the federal government's inability to respond to disaster, and the poverty and racism that still remains in America. With the media jury out on the speech, we can help draw focus to Bush's failure to deliver on his core promise—to protect America from disaster.

Our ad team worked overnight, preparing a rapid-response TV ad we want to get on the air as soon as possible, to help shape this historic moment. If we can raise $250,000 today, we can do it. Can you contribute?

Blogs for Bush continues by noting that, "What makes this even more despicable is that the email advises its members that "Advocacy is as important as charity at this time in our nation's history."
These people have their values totally out of wack. Wouldn't that $250,000 do more good for the hurricane victims? I mean, really...aren't food, water, clothing, homes, etc. more important than an ad campaign? I mean, when I think of disaster relief, I think of donating blood, raising money for humanitarian aid, and donating clothing and other goods - I don't think of political ad campaigns. How sickening. Nice priorities these people have.

Cindy Sheehan - US Must Leave Occupied New Orleans Now!!!

Cindy Sheehan, the mother turned extremely radical anti-war activist, is desperately trying extend her 15-minutes of fame. According to her post on the Huffington Post, the United States is a military occupier of New Orleans:

One thing that truly troubled me about my visit to Louisiana was the level of the military presence there. I imagined before that if the military had to be used in a CONUS (Continental US) operations that they would be there to help the citizens: Clothe them, feed them, shelter them, and protect them. But what I saw was a city that is occupied. I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me. Sand bags were removed from private property to make machine gun nests....

"I don't care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I don't care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I don't care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they don't fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest."

I knew that Ms. Sheehan was anti-war. I knew that Ms. Sheehan was a member of the far left wing of the Democratic Party. I knew that Ms. Sheehan had been brainwashed, used and manipulated by radical leftist groups. However, what I did not know was that Ms. Sheehan was so leftist that she is now anti-military - to the point of decrying the supposed "military occupation" of New Orleans.

Look, any amateur psychologist could diagnose that Ms. Sheehan is merely lashing out at the military because she is angry with her son - for enlisting and dying in the line of duty.
Her post is absolutely ridiculous. The U.S. military and various National Guard units have a presence in New Orleans to assist in the relief efforts and to maintain security. Much of the local police presence is gone and there are numerous accounts of widespread lawlessness. At one point during the relief efforts, helicopters could not land because they were being fired upon. What do you suggest be done to maintain security?? Have everyone sing songs with Joan Baez? Get serious.
The left complained endlessly that the U.S. military and National Guard had not been sent to Louisiana earlier than it was actually deployed. Primarily, this was a means to vent their obsessive hatred and frustration with George Bush. Now, the leftists are complaining that there is a military presence in New Orleans?? Makes no sense to me.
So, my hometown - Omaha, Nebraska - is the home of Strategic Air Command- does that mean that Omaha is also occupied?