November 29, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's Book Signing Party Is A Bust

Cindy Sheehan's book-signing was a bust:

While book-signings for political figures like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity often feature long lines and people waiting for hours, the scene at Cindy Sheehan's book-signing yesterday near President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch was a much more lonely affair. Photographs published by wire services including the Associated Press and Reuters depict a lonely "Peace Mom" in a virtually empty tent awaiting those seeking her autograph on her new book, "Not One More Mother's Child."
I cannot imagine why no one would show up... after all, she is soooo relevant and has such a way with words(sarcasm intended).

Joe Lieberman Understands

Joe Lieberman:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn. . . .

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.


Now, if he could just get the rest of his party to understand....

Ted Rall Insults Iraq War Vets

Ted Rall is officially one of the biggest idiots allowed to publish "editorial" cartoons.

The following is a cartoon, which he published regarding the "sex life of Iraq War vets". I found the cartoon while on Yahoo news.

I understand that Ted Rall is anti-war. I understand that Ted Rall is a radical leftist. However, I had no idea that he hated our troops so much(primarily, because I only read his cartoons if I happen to do so inadvertently).

Someone, who makes his living by exercising his First Amendment rights, should understand that he would not have the right to publish such disgusting crap if it were not for these same troops that he insults.

November 28, 2005

Wal-Mart - The Evil Empire?

Interesting column in the Washington Post on Wal-Mart:

There's a comic side to the anti-Wal-Mart campaign brewing in Maryland and across the country. Only by summoning up the most naive view of corporate behavior can the critics be shocked -- shocked! -- by the giant retailer's machinations. Wal-Mart is plotting to contain health costs! But isn't that what every company does in the face of medical inflation? Wal-Mart has a war room to defend its image! Well, yeah, it's up against a hostile campaign featuring billboards, newspaper ads and a critical documentary movie. Wal-Mart aims to enrich shareholders and put rivals out of business! Hello? What business doesn't do that?

Wal-Mart's critics allege that the retailer is bad for poor Americans. This claim is backward: As Jason Furman of New York University puts it, Wal-Mart is "a progressive success story." Furman advised John "Benedict Arnold" Kerry in the 2004 campaign and has never received any payment from Wal-Mart; he is no corporate apologist. But he points out that Wal-Mart's discounting on food alone boosts the welfare of American shoppers by at least $50 billion a year. The savings are possibly five times that much if you count all of Wal-Mart's products....Companies like Wal-Mart are not run by saints. They can treat workers and competitors roughly. They may be poor stewards of the environment. When they break the law they must be punished. Wal-Mart is at the center of the globalized, technology-driven economy that's radically increased American inequality, so it's not surprising that it has critics. But globalization and business innovation are nonetheless the engines of progress; and if that sounds too abstract, think of the $200 billion-plus that Wal-Mart consumers gain annually. If critics prevent the firm from opening new branches, they will prevent ordinary families from sharing in those gains. Poor Americans will be chief among the casualties.

Good column. Read it all.

Critics of Wal-Mart typically lament the introduction of the "Big Box" stores into small communities. Yet, how often do you hear this charge when the company constructing the Big Box superstore is a Best Buy, Target, Compusave, etc.
Much of the anti-Wal-Mart hysteria has come from the unions. In fact, the unions typically finance a large portion of the anti-Wal-Mart campaigns in local communities across the country. This is likely a fact that most Americans don't understand or appreciate.
The unions have every right to fight Wal-Mart coming into their respective communities. After all, a non-union store means less opportunities for their members. Yet, let's at least be honest about where much of the opposition and financing of such opposition is coming from.
This being said, I personally believe that Wal-Mart should have the right to build its stores. Competition is a good thing ... Capitalism demands it.
Why not have documentaries and studies done on the affect of unions on America's productivity, the increased cost of doing business with union employees, union intimidation, decreased employment opportunities due to high cost of hiring more employees in union shops and how unions have forced some companies out of business? If it is fair to look at the social cost of Wal-Marts, why not look at the social cost of unions as well?

At the end of the day, the most ironical thing is that many of the people who decry the construction of Wal-Mart stores have no problem shopping there once the stores are constructed.

Mark Steyn on Political Correctness At the Movies

Mark Steyn made some interesting observations on how "political correctness" has infected movies:

The average multiplex is surely not long for this world. Already, 85 percent of Hollywood's business comes from home entertainment — DVDs and the like. Suits me. Or so I thought until, on the way home from the hell of Harry Potter, I stopped to buy the third boxed set in the ''Looney Tunes Golden Collection.'' Loved the first two: Daffy, Bugs, Porky, beautifully restored, tons of special features. But, for some reason, this new set begins with a special announcement by Whoopi Goldberg explaining what it is we're not meant to find funny: ''Unfortunately at that time racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in ways that may have embarrassed and even hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups,'' she tells us sternly. ''These jokes were wrong then and they're wrong today'' — unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg's most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There's a gag for the ages.

I don't know what Whoopi's making such a meal about. It's true you don't see many positive images of people of color on ''Looney Tunes,'' but then the images of people of non-color aren't terribly positive either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color. How weirdly reductive to be so obsessed about something so peripheral to these cartoons that you stick the same damn Whoopi Goldberg health warning on all four DVDs in the box. And don't think about hitting the "Next" button and skipping to the cartoons: You can't; you gotta sit through it.

A Hollywood that's ashamed of one of its few universally acknowledged genuine artistic achievements is hardly likely to come up with any new artistic achievements. As the instant deflation of that Whoopi cushion reminds us, the movies are now so constrained by political correctness the very act of storytelling is itself endangered. That's something slightly more ominous than the feeble limousine liberalism many conservatives blame for the alleged box-office slump. Say what you like about those Hollywood writers of the '30s and '40s, but they were serious lefties. Their successors are mostly poseurs loudly trumpeting their courageous ''dissent'' while paralyzed into inanity. This year's Sean Penn thriller, ''The Interpreter,'' was originally about Muslim terrorists blowing up a bus in New York. So, naturally, Hollywood called rewrite. And instead the bus got blown up by African terrorists from the little-known republic of Matobo. ''We didn't want to encumber the film in politics in any way,'' said Kevin Misher, the producer.

But being so perversely ''non-political'' is itself a political act. If there were a dozen movies in which Tom Cruise kicked al-Qaida butt across the Hindu Kush, it would be reasonable to say, ''Hey, we'd rather deal with Matoban terrorism for a change.'' But, when every movie goes out of its way to avoid being ''encumbered,'' it starts to look like a pathology. And by the time Hollywood released this summer's ''Stealth,'' some studio exec must have panicked that, what with all this Bono/Live8 debt-relief business, it might look a bit Afrophobic to have any more Matoban terrorists. So ''Stealth'' was a high-tech action thriller about USAF pilots zapping about the skies in which the bad guy is the plane.

That's right: An unmanned computer-flown plane goes rogue and starts attacking things. The money shot is — stop me if this rings a vague bell — a big downtown skyscraper with a jet heading toward it. Only there are no terrorists aboard the jet. The jet itself is the terrorist.

This is the pitiful state Hollywood's been reduced to. Safer not to have any bad guys. Let's make the plane the bad guy. No wonder it's 20th century Britlit — ''Harry Potter,'' ''Lord of the Rings,'' ''Narnia'' — keeping those Monday morning numbers up. It's Hollywood's yarn-spinning that's really out of focus, and in the end even home entertainment revenue won't save a storytelling business that no longer knows how to tell any.

I will never, ever forgive Hollywood for re-writing the screenplay based upon Tom Clancy's novel "The Sum Of All Fears". In the book, the enemy was Palestinian terrorists. In the movie, the enemy became Neo-Nazi terrorists. Yeah, the threat of Neo-Nazi terrorism is so tremendous.... and, Hollywood wonders why the American public no longer finds Hollywood to be very relevant.

David Brooks On The Media And Iraq

An interesting observation from David Brooks:

Second, why aren't there more stories about war heroes like Christopher Ieva? The casual courage he and his men displayed is awe-inspiring, but most Americans couldn't name a single hero from this war. That's because despite all the amazing things people are achieving in Iraq, we don't tell their stories back here. That's partly because in the post-Vietnam era many Americans - especially those who dominate the culture - are uncomfortable with military valor. That's partly because some people don't want this war to seem like a heroic enterprise. And it's partly because many Americans are aloof from this whole conflict, and couldn't tell you a thing about Operations Matador and Steel Curtain and the other major offensives.

Unfortunately, the media is stuck in "Vietnam mode". While I am sure that many in the mainstream media would relish the political black eye that a failure in Iraq would cause the Republicans, I am not going to go as far to say that the media wants us to lose the Iraq War. However, it would be easy to deduce that the majority of the mainstream media want to relive the media's role in ending the Vietnam War.

Bruce Willis To Make An Iraq War Movie Based On Michael Yon's Writings

This is very interesting:

ANGERED by negative portrayals of the conflict in Iraq, Bruce Willis, the Hollywood star, is to make a pro-war film in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy.

It will be based on the exploits of the heavily decorated members of Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, which has spent the past year battling insurgents in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

Willis attended Deuce Four’s homecoming ball this month in Seattle, Washington, where the soldiers are on leave, along with Stephen Eads, the producer of Armageddon and The Sixth Sense.

The 50-year-old actor said that he was in talks about a film of “these guys who do what they are asked to for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedom”.

Unlike many Hollywood stars Willis supports the war and recently offered a $1m (about £583,000) bounty for the capture of any of Al-Qaeda’s most wanted leaders such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri or Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, its commander in Iraq. Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003.

“I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported,” he told MSNBC, the American news channel.

He is expected to base the film on the writings of the independent blogger Michael Yon, a former special forces green beret who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their heroics.

Yon was at the soldiers’ ball with Willis, who got to know him through his internet war reports on “What he is doing is something the American media and maybe the world media isn’t doing,” the actor said, “and that’s telling the truth about what’s happening in the war in Iraq.”

Good for Bruce. It is good to know that not everyone in Tinseltown is a deranged leftist.

Iraq - Civillian Casualty Myths Exposed

Logic Times does an excellent job of de-bunking the left's allegations of 100,000 civillian deaths in Iraq. Read it all.

Salute To A Dedicated Employee

I am somewhat of a workaholic, but this guy has me beat:

A Saudi employee working as a supervisor in Unaizah municipality recently retired after 44 years of service without taking a single day off, Al-Watan reported. The employee told Al-Watan that he did not need a day off or take any sick leave or yearly holiday. Employees working with him and his supervisor confirmed that the man was so dedicated to his work that he came to work even when he was sick!

I used to think that I worked a lot!

CNN and Vice President Cheney

A political statement from CNN?

From Drudge Report:

At 11:04:45 AM ET Monday CNN was airing Vice President Dick Cheney's speech live from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington -- when a large black 'X' repeatedly flashed over the vice president's face!The 'X' over Cheney's face appeared each time less than a second, creating an odd subliminal effect.As this DRUDGE REPORT screen capture reveals, while one 'X' flashed over Cheney's face CNN ran a headline at the bottom of its screen: "CHENEY: I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS WRONG TO CRITICIZE."One top White House source expressed concern about what was aired over CNN."Is someone in Atlanta trying to tell us something?" A CNN spokesman did not return repeated calls late Monday night.

My message to CNN: stick with "reporting" the news.

Update: CNN has issued a statement indicating that this was, in fact, a technical glitch.

From Drudge:


A CNN switchboard operator was fired over the holiday -- after the operator claimed the 'X' placed over Vice President's Dick Cheney's face was "free speech!"

"We did it just to make a point. Tell them to stop lying, Bush and Cheney," the CNN operator said to a caller. "Bring our soldiers home."

The caller initially phoned the network to complain about the all-news channel flashing an "X' over Cheney as he gave an address live from Washington.

"Was it not freedom of speech? Yes or No?" the CNN operator explained.

"If you don't like it, don't watch."

Laurie Goldberg, Senior Vice President for Public Relations with CNN, said in a release:

"A Turner switchboard operator was fired today after we were alerted to a conversation the operator had with a caller in which the operator lost his temper and expressed his personal views -- behavior that was totally inappropriate. His comments did not reflect the views of CNN. We are reaching out to the caller and expressing our deep regret to her and apologizing that she did not get the courtesy entitled to her. "

I would likely side with CNN on this one. Maybe it was a bit of wishful thinking on the CNN employee's part.

November 27, 2005

Majority of Americans View Democratic Criticism of Iraq War As Partisan Politics

This is an interesting poll:

Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale. . . .

Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."

November 25, 2005

Palestinian Authority Admits That Former Jewish Communities Now Used As Terrorist Camps

This was obvious:

JERUSALEM - The Palestinian Authority admitted in an official document published that today parts of Gush Katif, the former Jewish communities of Gaza, are now "training camps" for terror groups.

In an exclusive story last week, WND reported Hamas has turned Neve Dekalim, the former capital of Gush Katif, into a "martyrs training camp," and has used the territory to fire rockets into Israel.

Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef yesterday toured Gaza's former Jewish communities and detailed a PA plan to bring security to the area. Since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in August, the land that comprised Gush Katif has been the scene of regular internal Palestinian clashes.

Looks like the Gaza pullout was a "great success". Yes, sarcasm was intended.

Scalia v. Franken - Da Justice Prevails Most Righteously

This is funny:

In a Q&A session witnessed by an audience of A-list celebrities, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia took Al Franken to task when the comedian and radio host challenged his ethics.

Scalia appeared at the Time Warner Center in New York City Monday night in a one-on-one session that is part of a series called Conversations on the Circle with outgoing Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine.

When Pearlstine opened the floor to questions, Franken stood up in the back row and began talking about "judicial demeanor," the New York Post's Page Six column reported, despite Pearlstine's request that the event be off-the-record.

Page Six said Franken, who hosts a program on the liberal Air America network, "found out the hard way not to mess with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who chided Franken as if he were a delinquent schoolboy … ."

Franken asked "hypothetically" whether a judge should recuse himself if he had gone duck-hunting or flown in a private jet with a party in a case before his court, the Post reported.

The reference was to Scalia's flying and hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney in January 2003, three weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a White House appeal in a case involving private meetings of Cheney's energy task force.

Scalia lectured Franken, "Demeanor is the wrong word. You mean ethics."

The justice explained a judge does not have to recuse himself from a case if his friend, in an official capacity, was a nominal party in the dispute, according to Opinion Journal Editor James Taranto, who witnessed the exchange.

Evaluating Franken's performance, Time Warner chairman Dick Parsons later told the Post: "Al was not quite ready for prime time," an allusion to the comedian's stint with NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

The Post said the confrontation with Scalia didn't seem to weaken Franken's interest in running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, noting the radio host discussed his possible candidacy afterward at a cocktail reception.

"I think I got under his skin a little," Franken told the Post.

The audience included Michael Eisner, Jack Valenti, Mike Wallace, Tina Brown, Harry Evans and Stanley Pottinger.

"I don't think I was any meaner than I had to be," Scalia told New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove at the cocktail party. "My kids have been working on me to get out and do more public appearances. ... They think it makes it harder to demonize you - and I agree."

Even though I do not always agree with his judicial views, he is arguably the most intelligent of the Supreme Court Justices... what, exactly, was Franken thinking? Any attorney, who practices before Scalia, could have told you that Scalia is not one to mess with - this guy regularly chews up and spits out the brightest legal minds in the country.

By the way, Scalia is absolutely correct regarding the recusal issue.

Cindy Sheehan Arrives In Crawford, TX....Again.

Cindy Sheehan, who evidently has missed the media attention over the past couple months (you know... when the news actually covered important events), is back in Crawford, Texas:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - The fallen soldier's mother whose August vigil near President Bush's ranch reinvigorated the anti-war movement returned to Texas to resume her protest Thursday as the president celebrated Thanksgiving a few miles away.

Kind of a stalker, isn't she??

It appears that some of the protesters have already been arrested:

CRAWFORD, Texas - A dozen war protesters including Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested Wednesday for setting up camp near President Bush’s ranch in defiance of new local bans on roadside camping and parking.

About four hours after the group pitched six tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets, McLennan County sheriff’s deputies arrested them for criminal trespassing. Many in the group held up signs, including one that said “Give me liberty or give me a ditch.”

Move America Forward

The site includes many links to articles related to pro-troop rallies and, of course, family members of deceased troops, who support our mission in Iraq. While the media prefers to focus its attention on one woman - Cindy Sheehan - it is important to remember that there are many others, who have made the same sacrifice as Ms. Sheehan, and still support our efforts in Iraq.
Why are these stories largely unreported?
Likely, because the media has an agenda...

November 23, 2005

Michael Jackson - King of Pedophilia Now Also The King Of Anti-Semitism

From the UPI:
United Press International

ABC News has acquired voice mail messages from Michael Jackson in which the pop star blames a Jewish conspiracy for his financial woes.

"They suck ... they're like leeches ... I'm so tired of it," Jackson told former adviser Dieter Wiesner in one of the messages. "The Jews do it on purpose."

The message recorded by Jackson two years ago aired Tuesday on Good Morning America, The New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

This is not the first brush with anti-Semitism for Jackson who, a decade ago, sang Jew me/Sue me/Everybody do me/Kick me/Kike me on the song They Don't Care About Us.

The tapes were provided to ABC by attorney Howard King, who is representing Wiesner in a lawsuit with Marc Schaffel seeking to recoup millions of dollars they are allegedly owed by Jackson, who moved Bahrain after his acquittal in California of child molestation charges.
This is absolutely disgusting. What an asshole.

Rome Ends

My wife and I watched the season finale last night.

Wow. Incredible show, incredible series, amazing actors.... While the series took some creative license, it did a wonderful job of portraying historical events in a manner that was entertaining and informative.

Admittedly, I am a huge history nut. So, I took great pleasure in watching an interpretation of history unfolded. If HBO or the other networks are smart, they will learn a lesson -some of the most dramatic and intriguing stories come from our history.

Now, unfortunately, we have to wait until 2007 for the next season. I would imagine that filming and production of the show does take an enormous amount of time, however, it was more than evident after the first show or two that this would be a blockbuster. Yet, HBO in its ultimate wisdom decided to take an entire year off (as was done with Sopranos).

This was a mistake. I am sure that the thinking goes that the series is new enough that most viewers will tune back in when the series returns in 2007. However, you lose much of the excitement and anticipation over that great of a time.

I have been a huge Sopranos fan. Every Sunday, I would put aside whatever I was doing to watch Sopranos. I would actually schedule time to watch the show.
Lately, however, I barely miss the show due to its year off... I am sure that I will probably tune back in next fall, but I doubt I will be as dedicated of a viewer.
By the way, light blogging today... I am swamped.

November 22, 2005

Lileks on Kurt Vonnegut

Earlier this week, I posted on Kurt Vonnegut's praise for suicide bombers that kill innocent men, women and children:

Vonnegut said it was "sweet and honourable" to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

"They are dying for their own self-respect", he said. "It's a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It's like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you're nothing.

Asked if he thought of terrorists as soldiers, Vonnegut, a decorated World War II veteran, said: "I regard them as very brave people, yes."

He equated the actions of suicide bombers with US president Harry Truman's 1945 decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. ... Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an "amazing high". He said: "You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high."

I thought - evidently, incorrectly - that even the most ardent of my leftist trolls would not take up for this asshole. I was wrong. One individual, in particular, wrote that I was wrong to condemn Mr. Vonnegut because he was "a great American" (I was not too sure how being an American had anything to do with the fact that he was glorifying mass murderers) and that the occupation of Iraq by America and "Palestine" by Israel was what was wrong.
James Lilek's reaction to Vonnegut's statements is priceless:

I never "got into" Vonnegut, or "dug" his work like my "buds," several of whom pronounced his work as "intense," so I am not particularly bothered to find he applauds suicide bombers, and thinks they experience "an amazing high." In the literal sense, perhaps; it's possible that skull fragments may reach the third floor before they carom off a balcony and patter back to earth.

I should note that Mr. Vonnegut's comments, reported in the Australian, were made while touring to promote a collection of anti-Bush essays, and as such all attempts to refute them is intended to suppress his freedom of speech. It goes without saying he will be spending his senior years naked in a cell, fighting rats for a scrap of bread, writing brave quatrains on the wall with a shoelace-tip dipped in rat's blood, awakened daily at 4 AM with bright lights and the national anthem. Such is life in Chimpsuit McHallihitler's America. But I press on; this dissent isn't going to suppress itself....Mr. Vonnegut again, a patriot whose dissent is being cruelly ground into the nurturing earth before your eyes seems to think that suicide bombings literally happen in a vacuum, an unpopulated space where the bombers just pop like soap bubbles. It may be painless for them alas but it is not painless for the victims. You'd think such an obvious observation would go without saying, but we are dealing with an intellectual. What Vonnegut calls brave (blowing yourself up so you can fly up to the great Bunny Rahours the sky and rut with fragrant whores blessed with self-regenerating hymens) does not exactly compare to the bravery required of the survivors.

Anticipating murder for the glory of God must be an amazing high. Most people understand the emotional motivation that animates these people, but don't spend much time on it, anymore than they wonder about the joy a child rapist feels when he has the kid in the woods. It's one thing to consider it; it's another to luxuriate in your considerations. An amazing high.

Dude. Don't bogart the Semtex.

If these comments are reported accurately (if they didn't remove the part where he says "nevertheless, they are horrid madmen who willingly slaughter children in the service of a depraved concept of God and human society") then this ought to be a deal-breaker. This ought to be the point where the man is shunned, not feted, and held to account in every subsequent mention of his name and works. As in "Vonnegut, whose early works exposed the madness and nihilism of war, would later support the 'sweet and honourable' nature of men who set off nailbombs in public squares in the name of the organization that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11." But this will be regarded as nothing more than a beloved old uncle letting off a fart at a wedding and grinning widely when people turn around. Which is more likely: a book review that says Vonnegut's criticisms of the Bush Regime must be considered in light of the author's support of suicide bombers, or a review that says Vonnegut has made statements lauding bombers, BUT he brings up troubling issues / confronts the hypocrisy inherent in Washington / speaks truth to power / speaks Hindu to houseplants / etc.

Mr. Vonnegut may have the right to say such things, however, this does not mean that people of conscience cannot rise up and say "shut up, you idiot"!

I really do not understand the glorification of suicide bombers by some on the left (note the use of "some" - I do not mean to imply all leftists agree with Mr. Vonnegut; although, it would be really, really nice to hear condemnation from Democratic leaders as opposed to the usual suspects: Michelle Malkin, The National Review, Bill O'Reilly, etc.).

In the context of the Palestinian intifada or Iraq, I guess that one could mistakenly cling to the notion that the murder of innocents is being done in order to "liberate" certain "occupied areas". You know, the glory of the revolution... Every one loves the "underdog", right?

Even if you agree that these groups have legitimate political grievances (which I do not, but we will have to agree to disagree on that point), the killing of innocents should be the deal breaker - you know, the moment when even the most strident supporter says "enough is enough".

There is absolutely no justification for the mass murder of patrons at a Sbarro restaurant, a bus, a discoteque, a grocery store, etc. Each such act is, by itself, an act of unimaginable barbarism that should not be congratulated, understood or respected in any manner.

These terrorists are cowards. They choose their targets for a reason: because they are easy enough to kill. The terrorists are not brave enough to fight against the military, so they target the unarmed.
The next time that someone attempts to glorify these deranged individuals, would it be too much to ask for someone to remind these people to think about the victims? Not only those that are killed, but also the people that have to live without all of their limbs and deep psychological scars for the rest of their lives.

November 21, 2005

Democratic Revisionist History - Part IV

Michael Barone on the lie that "Bush lied":

It is said that a big lie can work if it is repeated often enough. For weeks, leading Democrats have been hammering away at the Big Lie that George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Starting on Veterans Day, Bush, Dick Cheney and others in the administration embarked on a "pushback," arguing that Bush -- and many leading Democrats, including some now part of the Big Lie campaign -- accurately characterized the intelligence at the time.

Bush, Cheney and the administration have the truth on their side. Exhaustive and authoritative examinations of the prewar intelligence, by the bipartisan report of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004, by the Silberman-Robb Commission in 2005 and by the British commission headed by Lord Butler, have established that U.S. intelligence agencies, and the intelligence organizations of leading countries like Britain, France and Germany, believed that Saddam Hussein's regime was in possession of or developing weapons of mass destruction -- chemical and biological weapons, which the regime had used before, and nuclear weapons, which it was working on in the 1980s.

To the charges that Bush "cherry-picked" intelligence, the commission co-chaired by former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb found that the intelligence available to Bush but not to Congress was even more alarming than the intelligence Congress had.

The Silberman-Robb panel also concluded, after a detailed investigation, that in no instance did Bush administration authorities pressure intelligence officials to alter their findings.

Much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. But Bush didn't lie about it. Some Bush supporters argue that the pushback now is a mistake, because it prevents the administration from focusing on events going forward. But the damage to Bush's credibility is real, and he needs to repair it to speak credibly about the future.

At the same time, we must remember that the United States and our allies did not go to war solely because of weapons of mass destruction. There were other reasons, which Bush articulated at the time and which have been vindicated by events.


Ralph Peters on Democratic Defeatism

From Ralph Peters at the New York Post:

November 21, 2005 -- QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.

Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.

Ouch. The remainder of his column is pretty much more of the same.

November 19, 2005

Kurt Vonnegut Praises Suicide Bombers

Kurt Vonnegut, famous writer, praises suicide bombers:

ONE of the greatest living US writers has praised terrorists as “very brave people” and used drug culture slang to describe the “amazing high” suicide bombers must feel before blowing themselves up.

Kurt Vonnegut, author of the 1969 anti-war classic Slaughterhouse Five, made the provocative remarks during an interview in New York for his new book, Man Without a Country, a collection of writings critical of US President George W. Bush. Vonnegut, 83, has been a strong opponent of Mr Bush and the US-led war in Iraq, but until now has stopped short of defending terrorism.

But in discussing his views with The Weekend Australian, Vonnegut said it was “sweet and honourable” to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

“They are dying for their own self-respect,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing to deprive someone of their self-respect. It’s like your culture is nothing, your race is nothing, you’re nothing.”

Asked if he thought of terrorists as soldiers, Vonnegut, a decorated World War II veteran, said: “I regard them as very brave people, yes.”

He equated the actions of suicide bombers with US president Harry Truman’s 1945 decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. ... Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an “amazing high”. He said: “You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation - it must be an amazing high.”

This man is clearly twisted. I think even my liberal trolls would agree...

November 18, 2005

Victor David Hansen - Dishonesty

From Victor David Hansen at The National Review:

This is the mantra of the extreme Left: "Bush lied, thousands died." A softer version from politicians now often follows: "If I knew then what I know now, I would never have supported the war."

These sentiments are intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible for a variety of reasons beyond the obvious consideration that you do not hang out to dry some 150,000 brave Americans on the field of battle while you in-fight over whether they should have ever been sent there in the first place.

Consider the now exasperating (and tired) argument that almost anyone who looked at the intelligence data shared the same opinion about the threat of weapons of mass destruction — former presidents, U.S. congressmen, foreign governments, Iraqi exiles, and numerous intelligence organizations.

The prewar speeches of a Jay Rockefeller and Hillary Clinton sparked and sizzled with somber warnings about biological and chemical arsenals — and, yes, nuclear threats growing on the horizon. Politicians voted for war at a time of post-9/11 furor and fear, when anthrax was thought to have been scattered in our major cities and the hysteria over its traces evacuated government buildings. In response, the Democrats beat their breasts to prove that they could out-macho the "smoke-em-out" and "dead-or-alive" president in laying out the case against Saddam Hussein, especially after the successful removal of the Taliban.

To argue recently, as Howard Dean has, that the president somehow had even more intelligence data or additional information beyond what was given to the Senate Intelligence Committee can make the opposite argument from what was intended- the dangers seemed even greater the more files one read attesting to Saddam's past history, clear intent, formidable financial resources, and fury at the United States. If the Dean notion is that the president had mysterious auxiliary information, then the case was probably even stronger for war, since no one has yet produced any stealth document that (a) warned there was no WMDs, and (b) was knowingly withheld from the Congress.


Read it all.

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"? - Part IV

Democratic Rep. John Murtha may be facing an ethics investigation:

Republican lawmakers say that ties between Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and his brother’s lobbying firm, KSA Consulting, may warrant investigation by the House ethics committee.

The calls come as Murtha, a former Marine and pro-military Democrat, has made headlines this week by coming out in support of a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

According to a June 13 article in The Los Angeles Times, the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill included more than $20 million in funding for at least 10 companies for whom KSA lobbied. Carmen Scialabba, a longtime Murtha aide, works at KSA as well.

KSA directly lobbied Murtha’s office on behalf of seven companies, and a Murtha aide told a defense contractor that it should retain KSA to represent it, according to the LA Times.

In early 2004, Murtha reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A company called Lennar Inc. had right to the land, and Laurence Pelosi, nephew to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was an executive with the firm at that time.

Murtha also inserted earmarks in defense bills that steered millions of dollars in federal research funds toward companies owned by children of fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D).

Previous posts:

Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part III
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part II
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part I

Democrats Upset That They Must Publicly Declare Whether They Support An Immediate Pullout

Many Democrats have been demanding a withdrawal from Iraq. Now, they are upset that they are asked to publicly take a position on an immediate withdrawal:

House Republicans maneuvered for swift rejection Friday of any notion of immediately pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, sparking a nasty, sometimes personal debate over the war and a Democratic lawmaker's own call for withdrawal.
Furious Democrats accused the GOP of orchestrating a political stunt, leaving little time for debate and changing the meaning of a withdrawal resolution offered by Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

For those reasons, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent word to rank-and-file Democrats to vote - with the Republicans - against immediate withdrawal of American troops.

Is it a political stunt? Probably. But, at the same time, there is a legitimate point to the request for the vote. Is it any more of a stunt than the Democrats invoking a seldom used rule to hold a closed-door session on pre-war intelligence?
It is a somewhat brilliant move. The Democrats have been falling all over themselves to prove their anti-war credentials to their base. Yet, the Democrats have to court moderates as do so, they have fallen short of demanding a pullout. The Republicans want the Democrats to make their position clear. This vote does that.
If you are a member of the anti-war left, wouldn't you be upset that your elected Democratic leaders are going to vote against an immediate withdrawal of American troops? I think they would have a legitimate point (even though I disagree with their position).

U2: What Hurricane Katrina Victims Need - Musical Instruments

Well intentioned, yet somewhat asinine:

U2 guitarist The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin have joined forces to lead a new charity crusade to provide instruments to musicians affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The duo has set up the Music Rising organization through the Recording Academy's non-profit MusiCares Foundation, which will manage the organization's grants process.

In a statement, The Edge says, "The devastation wrought by the hurricanes of 2005 to the Gulf Coast region has threatened not only the lives and livelihoods of the region's residents, but the area's rich and spirited culture as well.

"Providing replacement instruments through Music Rising will not only help thousands of professional musicians affected by the hurricanes to regain a foothold on their future, but will also ensure that one of the Gulf Coast's greatest assets, its music, rises again."

Light Blogging Today

Working on a pretty big closing right now... will blog when I can get a break.

November 17, 2005

Dick Cheney Blasts Spineless Democrats

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - In the sharpest White House attack yet on critics of the Iraq war, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Wednesday accusations that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war were a "dishonest and reprehensible" political ploy.

Cheney called Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

The comments were the latest salvo in an aggressive White House counterattack on war critics, launched as Democrats step up their criticism of the war and polls show declining public support for the conflict.

Cheney repeated President George W. Bush's charge that Democratic critics were rewriting history by questioning prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction even though many Senate Democrats voted in October 2002 to authorize the invasion.

"The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone -- but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," said Cheney, a principal architect of the war and a focus of Democratic allegations the administration misrepresented intelligence on Iraq's weapons program.

Cheney said the suggestion Bush or any member of the administration misled Americans before the war "is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

"Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein," he said in a speech to the conservative Frontiers of Freedom group.


"What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war," he said. "The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out."

Cheney - whether you like him or not - has a point. Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and the Democrats were in agreement that something needed to be done to stop him. While, of course, some Democrats believed that more sanctions and inspections were the more appropriate solution, many actually voted for the Iraq War resolution.

See my previous posts here, here and here for quotes and video of the Democrats agreeing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction/nuclear capability and that Iraq was a threat to our national security.

If the Democrats wanted to turn the pre-war intelligence against Bush, all they had to do was focus on the fact that Bush never fixed the inherent intelligence problems that lead to 9/11 or the Iraq invasion. Was Iraq a collossal intelligence failure? Absolutely. Should Bush have conducted a major purge/restructuring at the CIA? Absolutely. Unfortunately, he did not. Quite frankly, this is a line of argument that just makes more sense and clearly would resonate more with the American public. The Democrats could have pointed to a problem, provided a plan to solve the problem and thereby demonstrated to the American public why they should vote for the Democrats.

Instead, they have publicly dared the Bush administration and Republican National Convention to remind the American public of the Democrat's previous positions. Now, the Democrats look like political opportunists that are, in fact, being intellectually dishonest with the American public.

So, what do the Democrats do now? Well, they continue forward with their charges that they were mislead and that they did not see all of the intelligence... and, of course dig themselves deeper into this hole. However, this won't work - the commissions that have investigated pre-war intelligence have already found that the intelligence, which Congress did see, was actually worse in that it painted an even worse picture of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

How did the Democrats think they could get away with this? Michelle Malkin has some thoughts:

When you watch this incredibly good RNC web video you might ask how on earth the Democrats ever thought they would get away with accusing the President of lying and misleading the country into the war in Iraq. I would answer that with the following:

1. They were emboldened when they were successful in getting the President to say the "16 words" should not have been included in the SOTU speech. This was the beginning of the "Bush lied" mantra. Many even claimed that Bush admitted he lied about the 16 words when he said they should not have been included. More on that sequence of events here and here.

2. They knew they had control of the MSM and that most reporters are too lazy to check previous statements of Democrats and their memories are too short to remember those statements, unless, of course, they would be harmful to Republicans. (Update: Some readers have argued that reporters are not so much lazy as agenda-driven. I think it is both, and would agree that agenda often is the overriding factor.)

3. They were following the example of Bill Clinton that if you repeat something often enough it becomes perceived as truth and in politics perception is everything.

4. (Added as an update upon further reflection) Another reason is that Bush has been too darned nice. Clinton used to badmouth Republicans on a daily basis and would refute any allegation made by Republicans by blaming it on his enemies' desire to destroy him. Bush has taken a 180 degree different approach by not blaming others and rarely responding to his critics. The longer Democrats claimed Bush lied and got no response, the bolder they got. I'll bet they feel like they have been hit over the head with a two by four this week. The shock has probably not worn off yet.


Woodward Testimony Could Boost Scooter Libby's Defense?

This is interesting:

The revelation that The Washington Post's Bob Woodward may have been the first reporter to learn about CIA operative Valerie Plame could provide a boost to the only person indicted in the leak case: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Legal experts said Woodward provided two pieces of new information that cast at least a shadow of doubt on the public case against Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, who has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Woodward testified Monday that contrary to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's public statements, a senior government official -- not Libby -- was the first Bush administration official to tell a reporter about Plame and her role at the CIA. Woodward also said that Libby never mentioned Plame in conversations they had on June 23 and June 27, 2003, about the Iraq war, a time when the indictment alleges Libby was eagerly passing information about Plame to reporters and colleagues.

While neither statement appears to factually change Fitzgerald's contention that Libby lied and impeded the leak investigation, the Libby legal team plans to use Woodward's testimony to try to show that Libby was not obsessed with unmasking Plame and to raise questions about the prosecutor's full understanding of events. Until now, few outside of Libby's legal team have challenged the facts and chronology of Fitzgerald's case.

"I think it's a considerable boost to the defendant's case," said John Moustakas, a former federal prosecutor who has no role in the case. "It casts doubt about whether Fitzgerald knew everything as he charged someone with very serious offenses." Other legal experts agreed.

If Libby had some agenda to leak Plame's identity, why wouldn't he have leaked it to Woodward?

However, I am not so sure this does much for the actual indictment against Libby - Perjury and Obstruction of Justice. Either he lied or he did not lie about his conversations with reporters.

November 16, 2005

Democratic Revisionist History - Part III

The Republican National Committee has put together an excellent video of Democratic politicians agreeing with the assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was seeking the development of nuclear capability. These Democrats are the same Democrats that have been spreading the lie that "Bush lied". I do not believe Bush lied or overhyped intelligence. However, for the sake of argument, if Bush lied and overhyped intelligence, then these Democrats did too.

The video can be found here.

Do you want to research the matter for yourself? All you need to do is to conduct a search on "Google". I would recommend the following search "[Insert Democratic politician] Iraq 1998" (1998 was the year that Clinton had his last showdown with Saddam - you can try anything up to and including 2003 and get the same results)

Light Blogging Today

As I have several deadlines to meet, blogging will be light today.

November 15, 2005

Democratic Revisionist History - Part II

More quotes from Democrats leading up to the Iraq War:

"Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power. He used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians, killing over 20 thousand people....It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." Hillary Clinton's speech in support of Senate Joint Resolution 45 (i.e., the Resolution authorizing the Iraq War).

"Let me say it plainly: I not only concede, but I am convinced that President Bush believes genuinely in the course he urges upon us. ... No one disputes that America has lasting and important interests in the Persian Gulf, or that Iraq poses a significant challenge to U.S. interests. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -Senator
Ted Kennedy

"Saddam (Hussein) must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons." Bill Clinton 12/16/1998 (from CNN)

"In light of these developments, we urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraq sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." Letter to President Bill Clinton, which was signed signed by, among others, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Frank R. Lautenberg, Dick Lugar, Kit Bond, Jon Kyl, Chris Dodd, Alfonse D'Amato, Bob Kerrey, Pete V. Domenici, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Mikulski, Thomas Daschle, John Breaux, Tim Johnson, Daniel K. Inouye, James Inhofe, Mary L. Landrieu, Wendell Ford, John F. Kerry, Chuck Grassley.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." Nancy Pelosi 12/16/1998

To think these same people have the tenacity to argue that Bush lied ... hypocrites

Cynthia McKinney Introduces the Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act of 2005

Democratic Representative Cynthia McKinney has introduced the Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act of 2005.

Check out these "legislative findings":

The Congress finds and declares that--

(1) all Government records related to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur should be preserved for historical and governmental purposes;

(2) all Government records concerning the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur should carry a presumption of immediate disclosure, and all records should be eventually disclosed to enable the public to become fully informed about the history surrounding his life and death;

(3) legislation is necessary to create an enforceable, independent, and accountable process for the public disclosure of such records;

(4) legislation is necessary because Government records related to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur would not otherwise be subject to public disclosure;

(5) legislation is necessary because the Freedom of Information Act, as implemented by the executive branch, is not sufficient to insure the timely public disclosure of records relating to the life and death of Tupac Amaru Shakur; and

(6) only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records.

American tax dollars at work ...

November 14, 2005

Democratic Revisionist History

President Bush gave many rationales for the invasion of Iraq (including enforcement of violated U.N. resolutions, spreading of democracy, putting an end to human rights atrocities commited daily in Iraq, etc.). Although it was not President Bush's only reason given for going to war, the threat of weapons of mass destruction was clearly one of the most heavily touted administration rationales for war.

Many Democrats have been developing an acute case of amnesia when it comes to the Iraq war. Lately, the main Democratic theme is that President Bush "lied" to Congress and the American people by telling us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was developing nuclear weapons.

One problem with this: the Democrats also believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was developing nuclear weapons and was a clear threat to the United States.
In 1998, the Democrats sponsored the Iraqi Liberation Act, which made regime change in Iraq official governmental policy.

Even though they may attempt to remember it differently, the Iraqi war resolution, which urged that "the President to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs", was a very bipartisan resolution. In fact, such democrats as Tom Daschle, Max Cleland, John Kerry, Robert Byrd and Patrick Leahy co-sponsored the resolution.

If President Bush "lied", then didn't a large number of Democrats do so as well? If you want to be intellectually honest, then look at the following:

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

"The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as (Saddam Hussein) is in power." - Sen. Carl Levin

"Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the president's approaching this in the right fashion." - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid"

"Under Saddam's rule, Iraq has engaged in far-reaching human rights abuses, been a state sponsor of terrorism and has long sought to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction." — Statement from the Web site of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in 2002.

"Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president." -- John Kerry 12/20/03

"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last four years ... he has continued to build those weapons." -— Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, Oct. 9, 2002

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

"Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities" -- From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"(Iraq) admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability — notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And might I say, UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production." -— Text of President Clinton's address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, Feb. 17, 1998
Now, who's being honest and who is being dishonest?
I took the quotes listed in this post from here and here.

Hate Mail of the Day

I have always enjoyed Sara McLachlan's music and, as such, listed her in my Blogger profile. Evidently, a reader of my blog took offense.

From Marta Stiteler a financial planner at Assante Capital Management:

Subject: Sara McLachlan is not your fan.

What a hypocrite. You can’t even publish your name. I’m certain that Sara McLachlan, a left wing Canadian, would like you to take her name off of your blog. You stand for everything that she does NOT believe in.

Canadian/American - Name also withheld

[Editor's Note: If you want to send an anonymous e-mail, you might want an anonymous e-mail account...just a thought]

Too funny.

I listen to musicians for their music - not for their political views. I would rather look to individuals that are more educated, knowledgeable people in the pertinent field for guidance on any given issue than some celebrity, who is often a high school or college drop-out and likely knows nothing more about an issue than what she may have heard at a Hollywood cocktail party.

For the moment, let's put aside the argument that she thinks I am somehow not entitled to listen to a particular musician because my politics may somehow offend that musician. I find it highly comical that someone actually attempts to politicize music in such a manner - i.e., only liberals are entitled to listen to Sara McLachlan music. Sorry, but I didn't see that disclaimer on the CD.

Moreover, it is completely asinine for Ms. Stiteler to presume that I somehow "stand for everything that [Sara McLachlan] does not believe in". Aside from the fact that it is impossible for her to know exactly what Sara McLachlan would think about either me or my political views(perhaps Sara can shoot me an e-mail sometime), Ms. Stiteler clearly knows nothing more about me than what I may have posted on my blog today.

True, I am a Republican. And, of course, I do support the liberation of Iraq and have been known to support the Bush administration. Yet, such a label as "Republican" or "war supporter", by no means, defines me - as I am sure that "liberal" or "Democrat" does not define the essence of Ms. Stiteler. More likely than not, Ms. Stiteler read a few of my "pro- Iraq War" posts and decided that she knew everything about me.

For Ms. Stiteler's edification, I consider myself to be a moderate. I have divergent beliefs and views that cover the political spectrum... I tend to agree with the Republicans on issues of national security and tax policy. I am pro-human rights (as I thought the Democrats used to be) and believe that no people should be subjected to dicatorship, political imprisonment, mass murder, state sanctioned rape, etc. Although I am uncomfortable with abortion and believe that it should be rare, I am pro-choice. My views towards the environment, alternative fuels, social security, litigation reform, campaign finance reform and medicare are likely more consistent with Democratic views (and Ms. McLachlan's views) than Republican.

I feel bad for Ms. Stiteler in that she has to "share" her interest in Sara McLachlan's music with someone who does not share all of her politics. It must be a really horrible feeling for her - like when she found out that her 6th grade crush liked someone else.

5 Questions For Muslims From Non-Muslims

From Dennis Prager's column in the L.A. Times:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.
Great column. Read it all.

Governor Blanco Named One of Five Worst Governors In the US.

Time Magazine nanes Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco on its list of the five worst governors:

Time's worst governors were Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, Bob Taft of Ohio and South Carolina's Mark Sanford.

Time magazine said in compiling the lists its editors consulted academics, political analysts and former governors.

This was fairly obvious. Surprised that Time Magazine had to consult anyone!!

Update: From Time Magazine's article:

Failures aren't born. They're made. Before Hurricane Katrina, it wasn't the job of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to plan for the evacuation of the elderly and poor from New Orleans. Afterward, she wasn't in charge of the federal response. But it was her job to give her constituents heart by looking decisive, steadfast and capable. Even if she wasn't.

When it mattered most, Blanco appeared "dazed and confused," says Bernie Pinsonat, a bipartisan political consultant in Baton Rouge, La. When NBC's Matt Lauer asked her whether it was hard to find words to reassure the public, she tried to muster optimism, then circled back to despair. "You know, our people out here are so fearful. They're so worried ... It's a nightmare."

The public might have forgiven her. But, Pinsonat says, "you've got to convince them you're in control." Instead, Blanco waited seven weeks to appoint a recovery commission. She was slow to call the legislature back into session to deal with a nearly $1 billion decline in tax revenue. Her suggested cuts--to education and health care--came under fire last week as unrealistic. In 21 years in state politics, Blanco, a Democrat, was always cautious and deliberative. But those qualities have turned into liabilities.


Senator Rockefeller: I Am Not Responsible For My Vote

The following is from an interview by Fox News' Chris Wallace with Senator Rockefeller:

WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, the President says that Democratic critics, like you, looked at pre-war intelligence and came to the same conclusion that he did. In fact, looking back at the speech that you gave in October of 2002 in which you authorized the use of force, you went further than the President ever did. Let's watch. SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11th, that question is increasingly outdated."

WALLACE: Now, the President never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11. Now, the intelligence that they had and the intelligence that we had were probably different. We didn't get the Presidential Daily Briefs. We got only a finished product, a finished product, a consensual view of the intelligence community, which does not allow for agencies like in the case of the aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy said these aren't thick enough to handle nuclear power. They left that out and went ahead with they have aluminum tubes and they're going to develop nuclear power.

WALLACE: Senator, you're quite right. You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. ...

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


Senator Rockefeller, who realizes what he has just said - that he is not responsible for his votes in the U.S. Senate - then backtracks pretty quickly.

F&^%$ng hypocrite.

From Captains' Quarters:

This is the conundrum in which the Democrats have stuck themselves. They want to put all of the rhetoric on Bush on determining that Iraq presented a long-term threat to the US. Bush carefully avoided using the term "imminent"; indeed, he argued against waiting for threats to become imminent, post-9/11, as that would put Americans in danger of surprise attacks just as we had experienced. Saddam's development of portable WMD would have found terrorist hands eventually, which is why Bush proposed military action before the threat reached that stage. Rockefeller instead used the "imminent" term and now wants to shove it off onto George Bush.

At the time, the Democrats did not want to give the Republicans an edge on national security, with the first national elections since 9/11 coming in four weeks. Democrats wanted to look tough and use tough rhetoric. Only after the election (where they lost the Senate) did they start ankle-biting their vote -- even after George Bush allowed the UN to restart the useless UNSCOM weapons inspections and waited five months to take the military action that Congress authorized.

How empty are the Democrats of ideas and long-term plans for national security? Three years later, they're still lying about their own statements on national TV to smear George Bush -- even though he can't run for election again! Rockefeller shows how lame this meme has become. It should embarrass every Democrat in the country and start a demand for new party leadership. Unfortunately, it won't, but it may finally convince the rational moderates that the Democrats have led the party over a cliff.

Great post from Captains' Quarters.

Senator McCain on the "Bush Lied" Allegations

From Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: President Bush accused his critics of rewriting history last week.
Sen. McCAIN: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: And in--he said in doing so, the criticisms they were making of his war policy was endangering our troops in Iraq. Do you believe it is unpatriotic to criticize the Iraq policy?

Sen. McCAIN: No, I think it's a very legitimate aspect of American life to criticize and to disagree and to debate. But I want to say I think it's a lie to say that the president lied to the American people. I sat on the Robb-Silverman Commission. I saw many, many analysts that came before that committee. I asked every one of them--I said, `Did--were you ever pressured politically or any other way to change your analysis of the situation as you saw?' Every one of them said no.

Washington Post: The Politics of War

Fred Hiatt has an excellent column in the Washington Post today regarding the politicization of the Iraq War:

Whether Iraqis are in fact committed to a life-or-death struggle for democracy will become clear as its army does, or does not, continue to shoulder a greater burden. But the aptness of Mahdi's view of the United States is already evident in Congress, which pours most of its Iraq-related energy into allegations of manipulated intelligence before the war.

"Those aren't irrelevant questions," says Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). "But the more they dominate the public debate, the harder it is to sustain public support for the war."

What Lieberman doesn't say is that many Democrats would view such an outcome as an advantage. Their focus on 2002 is a way to further undercut President Bush, and Bush's war, without taking the risk of offering an alternative strategy -- to satisfy their withdraw-now constituents without being accountable for a withdraw-now position.

Many of them understand that dwindling public support could force the United States into a self-defeating position, and that defeat in Iraq would be disastrous for the United States as well as for Mahdi and his countrymen. But the taste of political blood as Bush weakens, combined with their embarrassment at having supported the war in the first place, seems to override that understanding.

The Democrats could be responsible and fiercely critical, too, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has shown throughout the war. When they pull a stunt such as insisting on a secret Senate session, it could be to debate Bush's policies on torture and detention. They could ask whether everything possible is being done to furnish the Iraqi army with protective armor. They could question whether anyone inside the administration is focusing with the same urgency on prodding Iraqi politicians toward compromise as are America's ambassador and top generals in the field.

Individual Democratic senators have focused on individual questions such as these (for example, Michigan's Carl Levin on torture), but for the caucus and its leader, Harry Reid (Nev.), the key questions are all about history.

This is a great column. Read it all.

Whether the Democrats like it or not, we are at war. Many Democrats voted in favor of the Iraq war, however, are doing everything possible to either excuse their vote or distance themselves from such a vote by arguing that either Bush lied or manipulated intelligence.

If the Democrats were smart, they would provide legitimate alternatives to current administration policies rather than attempting to re-write history. The American public would be interested in alternatives and the Democrats could gain credibility on national security issues.
Unfortunately, the Democrats are either not interested in providing such alternatives or cannot come up with anything other than outright surrender.

November 12, 2005

Howard Dean and DNC Losing the Fundraising Race

From the Washington Post, it looks like Howard Dean is failing at fundraising:

The Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean is losing the fundraising race against Republicans by nearly 2 to 1, a slow start that is stirring concern among strategists who worry that a cash shortage could hinder the party's competitiveness in next year's midterm elections.

The former Vermont governor and presidential candidate took the chairmanship of the national party eight months ago, riding the enthusiasm of grass-roots activists who relished his firebrand rhetorical style. But he faced widespread misgivings from establishment Democrats, including elected officials and Washington operatives, who questioned whether Dean was the right fit in a job that traditionally has centered on fundraising and the courting of major donors.

Now, the latest financial numbers are prompting new doubts. From January through September, the Republican National Committee raised $81.5 million, with $34 million remaining in the bank. The Democratic National Committee, by contrast, showed $42 million raised and $6.8 million in the bank.

"The degree to which the fundraising has not been competitive is obviously troublesome," said former congressman Vic Fazio (D-Calif.), who is now a lobbyist here. He expressed confidence in Tom McMahon, Dean's executive director at the DNC.

One House Democratic leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve relations with Dean's operation, put it more bluntly: "There is plenty of time, but the red flashing sirens should be going off there."

I could be missing something here, but isn't the job of the DNC leader to fundraise?

November 11, 2005

It Would Be Funny If It Weren't So True

From Scrappleface:

November 11, 2005
Democrats Deny Having Pre-War Intelligence
by Scott Ott

(2005-11-11) — Democrats in Congress today rejected President George Bush’s accusation that they’re trying to rewrite history, which shows they supported the Iraq war based on the same intelligence that drove his decision to send in the troops.

“We had no pre-war intelligence,” said Sen. John Kerry, “History will show that none of the leading Democrats had substantial intelligence. Anyone who remembers what we did then knows that the president is making a baseless allegation. I think history will bear out my contention that we Democrats lacked the intelligence to make such an important decision.”

The junior Senator from Massachussetts said he continues “to faithfully support the troops who uselessly die for a lie in Iraq.”

“Our troops deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war will remain firm in our conviction that we didn’t know what we were doing at the time,” Sen. Kerry said. “It’s important, on Veteran’s Day, to remember that our Democrat commitment to our military hasn’t changed.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan repeated his categorical denial that the Bush administration “ever manipulated anyone’s intelligence or ignorance.”

Editor's Note: Scrappleface is a satire. Yet, isn't this exactly what the Democrats are, in essence, doing?

Bush Fights Back - Denounces Democrats Faulty Memory Regarding Iraq War Vote

In a speech today, President Bush takes aim at those Democrats trying to re-write history:

While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: 'When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.' That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The stakes in the global War on Terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our Nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory.


White House Fights Back - Finally! Hadley Takes Issue With Democratic Hypocrisy

From the Washington Post:

The White House went on the offensive in the debate over the Iraq war yesterday,insisting that U.S. intelligence had compiled a "very strong case" that Saddam Hussein harbored banned weapons and accusing congressional critics of hypocrisy because many of them voted for force three years ago.

Bristling from fresh assaults on its justification for war, the White House dispatched national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the briefing room to issue a rebuttal to "the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq." The administration's judgment on the threat posed by Iraq, he said,"represented the collective view of the intelligence community" and was "shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."

"Some of the critics today," Hadley added, "believed themselves in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, they stated that belief, and they voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein posed a dangerous threat to the American people. For those critics to ignore their own past statements exposes the hollowness of their current attacks."

It is about time that the administration fought back. There was clearly an intelligence failure leading up to the Iraq War. Of course, it is undeniable that President Bush believed the intelligence he was given and, based upon that intelligence, made a decision to go to war. However, President Bush did not make the decision alone. Bush submitted the Iraq War to a vote in Congress - a vote in which a large number of Democrats endorsed the war.

The Democrat response:

Democrats immediately took issue with Hadley's account. Within minutes of his briefing, the Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement saying the responsibility did not fall on lawmakers who voted to authorize use of force: "Some critics of how the administration misused intelligence did believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. What these critics object to is the hyping of the intelligence by the Bush administration."

You have to be kidding me. So, Democrats are not responsible for the Congressional resolution they supported that authorized the war against Iraq? Sorry, but do they really believe Americans are morons? At the end of the day, they voted for war based on the same intelligence that President Bush saw - regardless of whether it was hyped by the Bush administration.

By issuing such a statement, the Democrats do not portray themselves as serious lawmakers, let alone responsible in matters of national security. This statement can be read only to mean that either (a) they didn't seriously evaluate the intelligence information they were given or (b)they are gullible or easily fooled. Either way, does it paint a pretty picture of Democrats? How is this a winning strategy?

Even the ultra-far left doesn't believe that the Democrats who voted for war are not responsible for their vote! Cindy Sheehan and her Code Pink friends, who I think are certifiable nut-jobs, have largely chastised Democratic lawmakers such as Hillary Clinton, who voted in favor of the war.

Ted Kennedy also issued his own response:

In a separate statement earlier in the day, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) recounted the various urgent warnings about supposed Iraqi weapons delivered by Bush and his advisers in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion -- warnings that all proved overstated if not flatly wrong."In his march to war, President Bush exaggerated the threat to the American people," Kennedy said. "It was not subtle. It was not nuanced. It was pure, unadulterated fear-mongering, based on a devious strategy to convince the American people that Saddam's ability to provide nuclear weapons to al Qaeda justified immediate war."

What a hypocrite:

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002