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8/31/2003

 

U.S. not Reviled in Iraq


I just read an article from the Associated Press which read nothing like what I heard from the hosts of this mornings Talk Shows, who -- apart from Fox News Sunday's Tony Snow spoke of how horribly things were going in Iraq. Read the story, linked below.

Here are a few paragraphs from the piece:
The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority said Najaf Governor Haider Mehadi asked the FBI to join Iraqi police in the investigation, and that the American investigators would be traveling to Najaf shortly.
And this:
He [Maj. Rick Hall, spokesman for the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines] said U.S. forces had two men in custody that were handed to them by Iraqi authorities. ''We are questioning them, but we are leaning toward releasing them,'' Hall said, adding that the involvement of al-Qaida members in the Friday explosion was ''an option we are looking at.''

Hall denied reports that the Marines would patrol around the mosque, citing Islamic sensitivities to having non-Muslims in or around the country's holiest Shiite shrine. He said U.S. forces had offered Marine patrols of the area to the interim Governing Council in Baghdad and religious leaders in Najaf. An answer was expected in the next day or two, he said.
And this:
A day before the bombing, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said mobilizing the Iraqi militia rather than bringing in more U.S. or coalition troops to Iraq was the key to stabilizing the security situation in the country.
Our political leaders and military leaders seem to be doing a fine job.

The AP piece is here: Boston.com / Latest News / World / Najaf calls for FBI help in bomb investigation, 300,000 mourners march from Baghdad. It was written by someone named Tarek Al-Issawi, with the assistance of Associated Press correspondents Sameer N. Yacoub and D'Arcy Doran in Baghdad. The Dems looks like their about to run out of traction on this one soon. And when David Kay's report is released next month, the snaping could become even more cheap, the vitriol screamed in an even higher register.
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The Poll is not New


The unimportant AP story from Sunday, August 31 can be found HERE. It deals with international interest in the California Recall, but it contains these paragraphs:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican front-runner, has dominated the world's headlines, though the most recent poll shows him far behind the leading Democratic hopeful in the Oct. 7 recall.

The new poll, conducted by the Los Angeles Times, has Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante with 35 percent support among likely voters, compared with 22 percent for Schwarzenegger.
Remember, this story was published today (August 31). This "new" Los Angeles Times poll was released a week ago, on Sunday, August 24. The poll was finished a full ten days ago, on August 21, which is two days before candidate Bill Simon decided he was no longer running.

The results of the week old Times poll were far out of synch with those of every poll taken previous to it, and also with every poll taken since. As reported here and in the RSN, the poll was pulled out of a punctured hat.

This old poll was cited on this morning's Talk Shows -- This Week and Late Edition in particular -- as proof positive that Cruz Bustamante was leading Schwarzenegger. "The latest major poll," it was called. If the Times poll is the only major poll, and it still has merit a week after its release, the Schwarzenegger should have been leading in last week's Times poll. He was leading a week before that.

Some people love their illusions.


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Joe Davis on This Week


California Governor Joe Davis was brought in to campaign on ABC's This Week with former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos this morning. It was uneventful, as Davis is not a politically "happenin' dude," to use someone's parlance.

Steph asked Davis if he would be willing to accept any blame for the recall. Of course not. Davis remarked that when things are going well, he receives to much credit -- poorly, he takes too much blame. The recall, he said, was on the ballot because the Republicans lost the election last November and wanted to cheat their way into office.

He talked about a vast right wing conspiracy, but he specifically pointed out that most of the Californians who signed the petitions were not parts of that conspiracy. Rather, he said, they were duped by Darrell Issa and his money. "If you spend $3-million, you can get practically anything on the ballot." (Issa actually spent less that $1.5-million, but Davis is inventive.)

He rejected talk of tax cuts, saying that in good times, excess revenue should be put in an account as a "buffer" for when bad times hit. This is one of the most immoral things a government can do. To confiscate money simply to stash it aside to spend later is criminal. People should be taxed only enough to cover the costs of the legitimate functions of a government. Any more is theft.

He talked of the Indian gamblers I wrote about earlier, and he clarified Gambling tribes would only be advising him. "My whole life, I've sought advice." He reassured that no one from the Gambling tribes would sit on the commission and that "I will make the final judgment." (Which he might have already made. Google infomrs me that The Final Judgment is a 1997 movie featuring MTV cartoon clowns "Beavis and Butthead.")

Asked by Steph if he would debate Arnold, Davis said that he was "keeping his options open." The two are not running against each other, and Schwarzenegger would be a insane to accept the offer. Unless he finds himself trailing Bustamante.

He told Steph: "I'm not going to resign, no." He credited his wife Karen, who "brought me back to God," Who has a plan for him. God may also have a plan for Schwarzenegger or for Republican State Senator Tom McClintock, who looks to be the conservative in the race. Unless he looks like he has a chance to win, we might see some California conservatives with clothes-pins on their noses as they leave the booth after voting for Schwarzenegger.

McClintock did assert that he has raised more money over the Internet of late than has Howard Dean.

That's that, and if you want to read the Rightsided Newsletter, visit the new web site: Rightsided Newsletter.

There was something interesting about the poll use on this morning's Talk Shows. More on that later.
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When Dick Lugar Speaks


My listserv usually lets me get away with about 2,000 words in the Rightsided Newsletter, and today's went to about 2,130 (even leaving out the Davis material which I'll put in here later). My first attempt was sent back to me with an admonition about sending excessively lengthy material, so I excised the short paragraph from the "THE REST..." potpourri section.
On Fox News Sunday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Illinois) expressed some additional interesting sentiments. On the House of Saud's enigmatic relationship with Osama bin Laden, the chairman offered: "The Saudis, in their own pragmatic way, have dealt with it." Asked if he thought the House of Saud had knowledge of al Qaeda's ongoing operations, Lugar said: "I believe they do." On North Korea, he thinks supreme dictator Kim Chong-il might take this to war, but he did qualify: "I don't think that he will, but I think that he'll continue his nuclear program." Later on FNS, former Clinton U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was confident that Kim would not dare move to war. He knows we have too many forces and too much force in on the peninsula and in the region to try anything so stupid. The Bush Administration seems to think the same thing, given the difference in the U.N. treatment of Saddam versus that of North Korea. The North Koreans have a different agenda.

I'll post from my notes regarding Steph's chat with Joe Davis later this afternoon.
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Drunks on the LCB


Good morning. California Governor Gray Davis and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante have received more that $1-million in campaign contributions from Indian-run casino businesses since 1999. Davis, pandering for votes as payback, has proposed to give members of the tribes a key role in selecting members of the California Gambling Control Commision:
Yahoo! News - Gov. Davis Defends Offer to Calif. Tribes
We are looking for good people with regulatory experience," Davis told reporters Saturday after recording a Labor Day radio address in West Hollywood. "I think it's perfectly appropriate
Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a written statement:
It puts both the commission and the gaming tribes in a very bad position, creating potential questions of conflict and undermining the vital credibility of the commission itself
The analogy in my headline is flawed, of course. It's not the drunks who would be running the "liquor control board (lcb)" -- California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. It would be the large liquor companies, "Big Booze."
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I will report back after the Talk Shows.
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8/30/2003

 

Mullah Omar


Mullah Omar, with the title Amir-ul-Momineen (Commander of the Faithful) was the man who presided over the Taliban and Afghanistan while Osama bin Laden and his Qaeda trained to overthrow governments of infidels. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was putting together that evening's Rightsided Newsletter, reading a story about Clinton speaking in Australia about Afghan refugees washing ashore on their islands. I had just finished a sentence about the "harsh reign of Mullah Omar" when my wife called up telling me to turn on CNN. I turned on Fox.

There was some doubt, within Afghanistan and without, if there really were a Mullah Omar. Few were granted an audience with the man, said to suffer seizures from shrapnel lodged in his brain while fighting the Soviets in the 1980s. The theory went that he was a facade created by the Taliban to frighten the citizenry of tribal Afghanistan.

After the war, the media asked: "Where's Osama bin Laden, huh?" Few wondered about Mullah Omar, and I thought that maybe, if he really were extant, he crawled off somewhere and died of injuries sustained in the war.

U.S. troops are busy routing the few thousand Taliban who trying to resume power in that gawdforsaken country, and there was a rumor that Mullah Omar was one of them. Here's this from Reuters in which someone claims that he is somewhere else: Taliban Deny Mullah Omar at Scene of Fighting .
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Imagine...


I have a special e-mail address set up at which I receive the e-mails the Dem campaigns send to their Internet audiences, and I noticed a notable bit from the Kucinich campaign today.
Imagine

Imagine the current presidential campaign without candidate Kucinich.
Some might find it pretty depressing. With Howard Dean saying that
universal health coverage is "tilting at windmills." With Dick
Gephardt and others still supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Thanks to Kucinich, the Democratic debate is broadening. Everywhere he
goes, we see mainstream media headlines like these from recent days:
"Kucinich: Less Soldiers, More Schools"
"Kucinich Campaigns for Universal Health Care"
"Kucinich Says Blackout a Symptom of Problems Caused by Deregulation"

I don't remember those headlines, or much of anything about Kucinich really, but it is literally a campaign for a social-democrat -- if not almost outright socialist -- state. He knows he cannot win, so he is not running to the left in hopes thereof. Is he running to pull the party to the Left where he resides? He couldn't be. Before he began this quixotiic campaign, he stood against partial birth abortions (he skipped the House vote rather than break ranks with the House Dem caucus in 2002) and homosexual marriages. Maybe he likes being Dennis Kucinich and believes everyone else should also be thrilled with that fact.

I will give him this much: both his father and my maternal grandfather were born in Croatia. For what that's worth.
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Tomorrow afternoon, I send out the free Rightsided Newsletter Sunday Edition. This is the one which covers what was said on the morning's public affairs Talk Shows -- Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, Face the Nation, This Week, and Late Edition. If you don't now subscribe, you ought to. Try it out. Click this -- RSN-Subscribe@Topica.com -- to send a blank e-mail, and you're set. Better yet, visit the new web site -- http://rightsided.tripod.com/. (It's linked on the right of this page.)

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Hillary Talks of Lies in the White House


This is from a piece in todays OpinionJournal.com, the Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal's web site: Hillary Confesses. Last week, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton stood on the steps of the New York City Hall to blast the Bush Administration over a report from the inspector general of the Environmental Protection agency alleging that the Administration convinced the EPA to issue reports claiming that the air quality in lower Manhatten after September 11 was better than it actually was. Hillary was certain the Administration had covered up the actual air quality.

She said: "What transpired in the White House? I know a little bit about how White Houses work. I know somebody picked up a phone, somebody got on a computer, somebody sent an e-mail, somebody called for a meeting, somebody, probably under instructions from somebody further up the chain, told the EPA, 'Don't tell the people of New York the truth,' and I want to know who that is."

If you want to see a video stream of Hillary speaking those words, visit THIS PAGE ON THE NY1 WE SITE. The clip is 2:40 long, with Ms. Clinton's admission beginning at 1:12 and ending at 1:34 of the clip. Warning: She seems pretty upset when accusing the Bush White House of doing what she and her husband did for eight years.

That is how things were handled in the Clinton White House, anyway. She has admitted that they routinely lied to cover up their misdeeds. How many of those phone calls she described did she herself make? Did Vince Foster answer?

From the OpinionJournal piece:
This, of course, comes from the same woman who as First Lady thought it understandable that her long-subpoenaed records could suddenly materialize in a room right next to her White House study. "I think people need to understand that there are millions of pieces of paper in the White House," she told Barbara Walters at the time, "and for more than two years now people have been diligently searching."

Recall that she also dismisses the collection of hundreds of FBI files of Bush and Reagan appointees as a "bureaucratic snafu" by innocent newcomers "who did not recognize the mistake." And who can forget her classic disavowal of any responsibility for the sacking of staffers in the White House Travel Office?


Some people still take this woman seriously as a possible Presidential candidate, in 2004 or 2008. I think she will be fortunate to keep her Senate seat in 2006 against a strong Republican challenger. (Yes, my thinking includes, but is not limited to, Rudy Giuliani.)
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Arnold's Interview


The magazine was called Oui, and it was something published by Hugh Hefner, the septuagenarian with the teenagers, the bathrobes, and lifestyle problems. A 29-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger (AS) was interviewed by the magazine as a promotion for the pop documentary Pumping Iron, and he said some '70s-style things. His current explanation? "I never lived my life to be a politician. I never lived my life to be the governor of California. Obviously, I've made statements that were ludicrous and crazy and outrageous and all those things, because that's the way I always."

A transcript of the interview, courtesy of SmokingGun.com, can be found by clicking HERE. I do not recommend the interview to anyone, really, as AS us very casual about the whole thing. He's very matter-of-fact when speaking about the blasé sexual attitudes in his gyms and at his muscle competitions in the 1970s, so it's a somewhat disturbing interview in that respect, but at least he's glib.

The Washington Post article concerning it -- Schwarzenegger Gave Racy Interview in '77: California Candidate Admitted Smoking Marijuana and Engaging in Group Sex -- dwells on little parts of the interview, ones that might not strike you as important.

For instance, Post staff writer Rene Sanchez stresses that Schwarzenegger refers to homosexual as "fags." But AS did not do so in a pejorative way, saying that men "shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies. ... Gay people are fighting the same kind of stereotyping that bodybuilders are: People have certain misconceptions about them just as they do us." Very matter-of-fact about it.

The part of the interview which struck me as curious was at the end of the first page/beginning of the second. He speaks of being a 15-year-old and having a vision of himself on a stage in a bodybuilding competition, "standing there, posing and winning." He compared it to a "vision--you know, like when you hear a person say, 'I saw Jesus and he talked to me, and now I'm so happy with life because I know I'm going to be taken care of,' and all of a sudden he's relaxed, he's not haunted anymore--well, it was like that." He did not by any means say that Jesus told him that he would on day be "perfectly pumped"; rather, he's claiming a epiphany, a life-defining moment. Not bad for a fifteen-year-old.

Most of the interview is about bodybuilding and training, with a few quips about "I might as well find somebody and.." He was talking about the world in which he, AS, lived at the time. It wasn't about marijuana and group sex.

Will this affect the outcome of the race? He's never claimed to be something that he's not, or to have been something that he wasn't. Would it affect my won vote if I had one in this race? No. When it comes to elections and the big picture, I'm a Republican. The best work for conservatives and libertarians, I think, is within the party structure.
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8/29/2003

 

Terror's Hit List


BBC NEWS | UK | UK '10th on terror target list'

The London-based World Markets Research Centre [sic] is, to hear them tell it, "a leading global provider of business-critical information and is relied on by thousands of executives in hundreds of multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments across the world." The produced a list of the countries most at resk for terrorist strikes.
Risk assessments for terrorism were carried out in 186 sovereign states and against countries' overseas interests for the next 12 months.

Countries were given points out of 10 for five risk criteria - the motivation, capabilities and presence of terrorist groups, the potential scale of the damage and the effectiveness of counter-terrorism forces.


The Top 10 were:

1. Colombia
2. Israel
3. Pakistan
4. United States
5. Philippines
6. Afghanistan
7. Indonesia
8. Iraq
9. India
10. UK
10. Sri Lanka

We could argue their rankings, but we're not a leading global provider of business-critical information which is relied on by thousands of executives, etc.
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Pyongyang's "Demands"


The BBC reports that US 'pleased' at N Korea talks. The six nations -- North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia, and the People's Republic of China (PRC) -- left the Beijing talks with a promise to meet again -- somewhere and at some time.

Pyongyang, through its KCNA news service, evoked belligerence after the talks, angrily taking the United States to task for not being nice to them and accepting their "package of solutions" to the crisis. From the BBC:

This reportedly included:

A US-North Korean non-aggression treaty
Diplomatic relations
Inter-regional economic co-operation


In return for:

Not making nuclear weapons and allowing inspections
The dismantling of nuclear facilities
An end to testing and exporting missiles
They screwed us last time, so perhaps they think they can dupe us again. They should by now understand that we, unlike in their dismal system. change leaders.

extortion



1. The act of extorting; the act or practice of wresting anything from a person by force, by threats, or by any undue exercise of power; undue exaction; overcharge.


It's tragic, in a comic way, how they stomp around now that this no longer achieves their goals.

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N.O.W. Concedes Defeat



(Tuesday.) As part of their ongoing effort to be taken seriously, the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) through their political action committee, Women's Equality Day, has endorsed the candidacy of former Illinois Senator Carol Mosley Braun for the Democrat Presidential nomination: NOW/PAC Endorses Carol Moseley Braun for President.
To receive NOW/PAC's endorsement, a candidate must demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to the entire range of women's rights issues.
If they thought a Democrat were electable, they would back him.

Important to note, though, is that many Democrats -- including all considered to be major contenders for the Dem nomination -- stayed away from the race in 1992, intimidated by the elder President Bush's hot ratings in national surveys. That being said, we have a war going on. The dynamic is very, very different this time.


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The Return of the Hillary Talk


Sky News is an independent television news netork. the British partner of America's Fox News. They are both owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. And this is from their web site this afternoon: Hillary to Run in 2004

The American press hasn't touched this, not even the Newsmax.com crowd.
Her rethink has been prompted by the sudden drop in support for President George Bush, whose problems in Iraq and with the economy have made him look vulnerable, according to veteran US political commentator Richard Reeves.
Reeves is the lefty Presidential biographer.

Here's Rush Limbaugh on this: Hillary Mulls Run If Bush Looks Beatable. Limbaugh concludes:
The Clintons are going to come in and take over this race as they've taken over their party. You're going to need caskets to bury all the political careers in Fort Marcy Park before they're done. These people are - politically speaking, of course, now lighten up - not going to let a Democrat win this election. It's a no-brainer. If it looks like Bush can be beaten, Hillary is in. I don't think they're going to conclude that Bush can lose, but they're not going to let Howard Dean or John F. Kerry get into the Big Chair if they think that chair is to be had. You heard it here first, folks.


Limbaugh's take is more realistic, but the Democrat Party is not the Clintons' club anymore. It hasn't been for quite some time. The Clintons might like to think so, and it would be a great rallying cry for Republicans. But I am a Republican that is not heartened when some in my party think that they're still running against the Clintons. Those two miscreants have an image operating in the mythological realm.

Do the rank-and-file Democrats think they can win? Despite the Sky News noise above, the President is solid. They might choose Hillary as a better liberal lout than Howard Dean, but that's not why she would run. She has to perceive not only that President Bush can be defeated, but also that she can win. Even if she believes the former, she will see that the numbers do not add up for the latter. She's a certain loser, and she knows it. (Does anyone realistically trust her to fight and win the war on terror? That was a rhetorical question.)

Hillary will not run -- in 2004 or 2008.
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NOTE, FROM ABCNEWS.com:
"I am absolutely ruling it out," Clinton said during a visit to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y. She had insisted in recent months that she will not consider entering the race for president this year even if that is what some Democrats want.
She's not going to run, now or in 2008. Get over it.
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This and That


Some things latch onto my consciousness and refuse to dislodge until I scribble them. It can be considered interesting stuff to some, I suppose.

Arnold on the Issues

California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Scharzenegger was on the phone with Sean Hannity’s radio program, and Hannity took the time to ask him the “How do you feel about…” questions which are good for giving one a general idea of how a candidate purports to feel. The call was simulcast by FNC, and the Fox story can be found HERE
The Republican said he is in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, abortion rights, an assault-weapons ban and background checks on gun purchases. He said he is opposed to offshore drilling, gay marriage and granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants

Schwarzenegger described himself to Hannity as "pro-choice" but said he did not support late-stage procedures described as "partial-birth" abortions
Schwarzenegger favors domestic partnerships but not homosexual marriage, parental notifications for abortions unless the State determines that the family has problems, letting illegal immigrants already here stay here but leaving the rest to the federal government.

The site even has vid.


Al Gore’s New Career


Alexander Bolton offers insight into Al Gore’s psyche in a piece in The Hill newspaper: Gore’s new role is old standard. The piece begins:
Former Vice President Al Gore’s New York speech attacking the Bush administration last week is being taken as a signal that he intends to follow in the footsteps of Adlai Stevenson and William Jennings Bryan and become the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

By both ruling himself out of contention in the 2004 presidential race — from which he withdrew last December — and at the same time presenting himself as the authoritative voice of opposition, Gore is aggressively reviving a political role that faded out of fashion in the ’60s.
Retrograde Al, working on being the next Stevenson and Bryan. Those two historical footnotes, though, were known for the soaring oratory. Gore sounds like the English-language voice on an audiotape English course for Hungarians.

He wants to be the Democrats’ elder statesmen, and he is a caustic political pipsqueak. If Gore is their accepted elder statesman, listened to by them with respect, the Democrats are the party of division. But that much was clear anyway.


White Males Donate the Political World


This is from Tuesdays USA Today (via Yahoo News): Most Political Donors are White Males.
A growing body of research confirms that political donors are disproportionately white and male and a new law that increases the amounts they can give is expected to magnify their clout.


Later, there’s this:
"White males, particularly those involved in business, have more disposable income to invest in politics and are more likely to see returns from those investments," says Paul Herrnson, a University of Maryland political scientist. He and a team of colleagues are publishing a book this fall that examines the donor class. The authors predict that the new law governing campaign contributions, which doubles the limit for individual contributors to $2,000 per election, will increase their political influence. Because donors tend to be more conservative and business-oriented than the population as a whole, Republican candidates also are likely to be advantaged, Herrnson says.


They want all federal political campaigns to be publicly funded, a system in which the federal government would give each candidate seeking federal office a sum of money to spend. One can assume that this applies only to Republicans and Democrats, not to Libertarians or Greens.

Socializing the electoral process is sick. Your money will go not to the candidate whom you support, but to the general fund to be given to people who would govern in ways which could be antithetical to your own convictions.

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Diversity in Massachuesetts


Last June 17, Massachusettes Governor Mitt Romney overhauled his states affirmative action schemes by executive order. According to today's Boston Globe, however, Romney says he will alter diversity plan.

The June 17 order removed hiring freezes and annyong supervision for departments that don't meet the State's arbitrary affirmative action quotas, among other things. It also stopped requring mandatory diversity training programs for workplaces. These regulations, in large part, dated back to the administration of Governor Michael Dukakis, but states tend to cling to such things for fear of incurring the political (and media) wrath of those who bunfairly benefit from them.

Now, after great gobs of name-callng and accusations galore, Massachusetts's chief human resources officer has insisted that the regs are coming back in revised form after Romney's 15-member Governor's Diversity and Equal Opportunity Advisory Council -- which, by the June 17 excutive order, replaced the Office of Affirmative Action -- meets next month. The article quotes Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner:
"This is a very poor way to go about changing a major policy issue," Turner said. "If he has a commitment to do good, he should bring back the executive orders that he revoked and make changes within the context of what is already placed there ... over the last 30 years, rather than eliminating the framework and adding details as it gets requested. Otherwise, I think it's double-talk."
Ruth Bramson the chief human resource officer quoted above, countered:
"We felt it was time to update the order, and the best way to do that was to create a brand new one," Bramson said. "We [wanted to] make diversity much more of a modernized concept in the state. We didn't see the executive order as a statement of the policy. It was meant to be a statement of philosophy, and a commitment that would guide us in writing guidelines and policies."

So, we have one side which favors the status quo, the rules how they had been for two decades. This is regardless of the fact that if those old rules had worked, they would no longer be needed. They were not doing whatever it was their proponents wanted them to do, so the governor took steps to implement something different.

Actually, it seems that the actual goal of those who seek reinstatement of the old rules if not diversity; rather, they want to preserve and institutional racial bias which favors certain, specific minority groups over everyone else. The old rules were achieving that end, and thus they oppose any change. Massachusetts.

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The Daytime Drama of the Ten Commandments


Good morning. Soap Opera writers have intrigued me, the way they are able to seamlessly convolute various plot twists in an almost haphazard way, leaving the individual viewer to grasp at her own resources for plausibility. Are these the writers concocting the plotlines for the Ten Commandments case in Alabama?

Here's a story: Judge who Removed Ten Commandments Display Will Hear Lawsuit to Return It. Next Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson will hear an appeal of the decision to remove Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's 2.5 ton monument because of the extra-Constitutional "wall of seperation between church and state." In his thick head, he got the judicially popular notion that the display of an item with religious significance on state property equates with an establishment of a religion by the state.

But with Moore's rhetoric during this controversy, it can be argued that this is about a quasi-establishment of a religion. He wants them there as a state endorsement of Christianity, which frankly is not going to happen. By making the Commandments his crusade in the terms he's used, he has only hurt his cause -- provided his cause is truly to have the Commandments on display outside the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.

The latest lawsuit is from a pastor and a Christian radio talk show host, who argue that the removal of the plaque constitutes an arbrogation of their Free Exercise rights, also found in the First Amendment.

This lawsuit had been filed and dismissed in Mobile, Alabama, earlier this week, but supporters thought to try again in federal district court. Said Ben Chavez-Ochoa, council for the two who filed the suit: "I'm very encouraged. I think Judge Thompson will allow this lawsuit to proceed to trial."

Was the Constitution written in a religious vacuum? No, but that is how various interpreters have transfigured the document. It is not a "living Constitution," some dynamic instrument which bends with social change. Rather, it is a pen-and-paper contract in which we empower the government to do certain things. Certainly it is to be revered in its wisdom and paucity, and it specifically foresees the need for amdendment from time-to-time, but it cannot become whatever a group of judges, through whim or stare decisis, decide it should be.
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8/28/2003

 

Halliburton


Halliburton KBR is one of the finest engineering and construction firms in the world, but Halliburton was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney. There is something somehow obscene to some about awarding no-bid contacts to the most capable company if they operate for a profit.

Read the Washpost: Halliburton's Deals Greater Than Thought (washingtonpost.com).
The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.


Reuters had a slightly different take in their piece: Halliburton Iraq Work Booms but Profits Seen Small.
While the dollar amount of the contracts is large, historically the profits (from) them have been very small," said Jim Carroll, portfolio manager of the Loomis Sayles Value Fund, which owns shares of Halliburton.

"I don't know what the situation is in this particular contract, but I think investors have a fair amount of skepticism about hundreds of millions of dollars in profits."

He added Halliburton's operating profit margins in the engineering and construction division are generally in the low single digits, as opposed to the low double-digit margins of its larger oilfield services business.

"They'll be damned lucky to earn 5 percent (of the contract values in profit)," Jim Wicklund, an analyst at Banc of America Securities, noted. He has a "buy" rating on the company and does not own any of its shares.

Private, for-profit firms almost always do superior and more effecient work. The incentive is there. Without the profit, nothing is present to coerce efficiency.

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On a side note, I've had a busy afternoon. I did manage, however, to completely redo the Rightsided Newsletter web site. It's much more civil in appearance. Check it out.
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The Rightsided Newsletter


The Foreign Minister of France is the poet Dominique DeVillepin. On Friday, he opined: "The eventual [Iraqi security] arrangements cannot just be the enlargement or adjustment of the current occupation forces. We have to install a real international force under a mandate of the United Nations Security Council." This begs the question, who is the "we" which the poet believes has to install a real international force? France wants in on the action.

Anyway, today's Rightsided Newsletter went out to the Inboxes late last night. We talked about the President's speech in St. Louis, fundraising in California, the AFL-CIO's bosses backing Davis, and more. If you want to see it, please visit the web site. If you want to subscribe FREE -- nothing else attached -- visit the RSN web site or send a blank e-mail to RSN-subscribe@topica.com. It is delivered three times each week, including the review of the Sunday Morning Talk Shows.
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The French Goal


The French want the United States to importune, with face pointed constantly at the ground, for United Nations assistance in Iraq. This from the Voice of America's VOA News web page: France: Iraq Needs 'Real International Force'
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This can be best understood if taken at its simplest terms. France is, rightly or wrongly, frightened of United States dominance in a world without a Soviet Union to hold them the U.S. in check. The French have not yet accepted the notion that they are no longer a major world power. Their importance, such as it is, exists on paper, as through their permanent veto on the United Nations security council.

They believe that there must be a world power to compete with the United States, and they envision that power being a United Europe with France (and Germany, to the extent that the French could control them) at its helm. They also believe that the United States must be opposed in its global decisions, thus to a great extent, their opposition to the war against Saddam was for the sake of opposing. They saw a need to oppose the United States, and they filled it.

The United States rebuilding Iraq on its own is a nightmare to France. They see themselves now as possibly holding all the cards, making demands of the United States in exchange for French help.

This is the situation as I see it. France wants the U.S. to plead for help and to surrender authority, "reminding" it that it is weaker than it thinks it is, that it needs French help. And then France can be a part of the world's power structure. (The Democrats want the Bush Administration to beg the world for help also for political reasons, this time allowing them points in an election season.)

The President has to remember that American troops are to serve under American commanders only. If other nations wish to have authority in Iraq, let it be proportionate to the money, equipment, and manpower they dedicate to the mission. And let it not include command over U.S. combat soldiers.
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Ted Kennedy Rules


Good morning. In his nationally syndicated colum this morning -- Spineless Senate GOP no match for Kennedy -- Robert Novak indicates that the Senate is run by Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).

He does not write that Senate Republicans should try to build a bridge to the senior Senator from Massachusetts; rather, he concludes:
The problem with the Senate Republicans is that they seem embarrassed to stand up for their principles, to say hate crimes legislation is political demagoguery and another minimum wage increase is bad economics. That's why they are having such difficulty in the majority, and that's why it seems more like Ted Kennedy's Senate than Bill Frist's.
In that paragraph, it seems he is using Kennedy more as a symbol for Democrats, which he is, rather than the physical manifestation of operating the Senate, but that's not the sole case he makes in his column. He has Kennedy largely calling the shots from behind the scenes.

He argues that Sebate Republicans lack the unity to fight Kennedy; Democrats, Zell Miller not included, tend to vote as a single borg, while "[u]p to a half-dozen Republicans break party lines on key votes. Senate." He attributes Kennedy's power also to the unwillingness of the Senate GOP to oppose bad legislation with well-coded messages, such as "hate crimes." Also, he points out, Democrats -- Kennedy is the example he cites -- tend to cause the Republicans to cower by their sheer verbosity in the face of Republican reluctance.

I've received e-mail from frustrated fellow Republicans asking why the Republicans do not simply jettison Senators like Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island), Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). The answer, they understand, is that without these critters, we have no majority. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The Senate GOP needs institutional reforums within its caucus. Now that the mission is the future and the freedom of mankind, to borrow a phrase, it is past time for Republicans to become serious about governing, and to realize that the only way to do that is with a healthy unanimity of purpose.
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8/27/2003

 

Woe is the Federal Pencil Pusher


According to Bloomberg.com, Bush Seeks to Limit Federal Employee Pay Raises to 2 Percent.

The President's plan would limit some 1.8-million federal government employees' pay increases to 2 percent next year.
Granting federal employees a larger pay increase would be ``inappropriate'' and ``interfere with our nation's ability to pursue the war on terrorism,'' Bush said in a letter today to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican. A ``national emergency'' after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks now includes military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
These foot-soldiers of the bureaucracy reveived pay hikes of 4.1 percent this year, and OMB spokesman Trent Duffy said that he considers the 2 percent "to be a considerable raise given most American workers aren't seeing these kinds of raises."

President Bush said in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert that a larger raise would be "inappropriate" as we conduct a war on terrorism.

He seeks a 4.1 percent increase for members of the military.

If he wants to save money, it is possible to de-hire a several hundred thousand of these people. What do they do that could not be done by another of them or, better, by the private sector?
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Scratch the Los Angeles Times Poll



The LA TIMES poll released Sunday -- the one which showed half of Californians opposing recall and Bustamante leading Schwarzenegger by 13 points -- had a lot of people scratching their heads, as it was so out of line with other polls taken only days before. A new Survey USA poll, however, takes the numbers back to normal. The Times poll was either invalid or an anomoly.

The new poll, released Wednesday afternoon, asked 591 "certain to vote" Californains if they would vote to Recall Governor Davis. Of the "certain voters" surveyed, 65 percent would vote to oust Davis, while 35 percent want to keep the guy around. To replace him, 45% would choose Schwarzenegger, while 29% back Bustamante.

Which kind of Californians did they survey?
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Zogby: New Hampshire Dems Concede Defeat


As part of his "Road to Boston" series -- so named for the site of the 2004 Democratic National Convention -- pollster John Zogby surveyed 501 likely Dem voters in New Hampshire. [Zogby release] The poll, with the results released Wednesday, found that 64 percent of Democrats surveyed thought it somewhat (46%) or very (18%) likely that President Bush would be reelected to a second term. When asked whether it was important to have a candidate who stood up for their beliefs rather than one who could possibly defeat President Bush in 2004, nearly 2/3rds of surveyed Dems preferred a take-no-prisoners Dem to one who was electable.

Their choice? Howard Dean, who grabbed the hypothetical votes of 38 percent of those surveyed. John Kerry, once thought almost a lock on the Granite State, trailed with 17 percent. Lieberman and Gephardt were tied with 6 percent, and the candidate I recommend we watch, John Edwards, pulled the ephemeral votes of 4 percent of those surveyed.

In a similar Zogby poll conducted two months ago, Dean and Kerry were within the margin of error.

The Democrats surveyed in New Hampshire have conceded defeat, but they want to go down screaming.
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Has Preemption Changed?


While rereading the text of the President's St. Louis speech yesterday in preparation for writing tomorrow's Rightsided Newsletter, a section caught my eye:
We've adopted a new strategy for a new kind of war: We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again.

(APPLAUSE)

We will strike them in their camps or caves or wherever they hide, before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens. We will do everything in our power to deny terrorist weapons of mass destruction before they can commit murder on an unimaginable scale.
That is was from the FDCH e-media transcript, applause notation and all.

From the outset, the Doctrine of Preemption involved hitting terrorists before they attacked us. Now, however, the President is talking about not waiting "for known enemies to strike us again." He declares: "We will strike them in their camps or caves or wherever they hide, before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens." [emphasis in both instances mine]

Waiting until after the first attack preempts nothing. This is not preemption.
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Bustamante's Legal Loophole


This piece in this morning's Los Angeles Times -- CRUZ BUSTAMANTE -- details how a "legal loophole allows him to exceed the limits on campaign contributions. The conduit is his 2002 reelection committee."

California's Fair Political Practices Commission created a loophole by which a candidate can have unlimited contributions to his old campaign committee then roll them over to a new one, thus allowing Bustamante to circumvent the law's $21,200 contribution limit.
Bustamante has been raising money for his 2002 campaign committee all year, collecting $402,275 from March through July from unions, Indian tribes and corporations.

But the pace quickened after the recall qualified for the ballot on July 24. The next day, Gambro Healthcare, a medical technology company based in Aliso Viejo, gave Bustamante $10,000. In just a month, he raised $390,250 for his old committee.

The largest sums have come from tribes with casino interests, which have been frequent contributors to Bustamante's campaigns. On July 28, the Viejas tribe in Alpine gave $35,000 to his 2002 committee. Last Friday, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, based in El Cajon, contributed $300,000. A spokesman for the tribe told The Times that Bustamante's campaign instructed them to place the money in the old account.


California's Proposition 34 -- which forbids old campaign committees from continuing to accept contributions -- took effect after Bustamante's 2002 committee was created. He can do as much of this as he wants.

Someone's going to rant and curse about big money, etc., and demand that something be done. If Ross Perot were still in the ballgame, he would show up one night, uninvited, on Larry King Live to call it a "pig in a poke, Larry."

Money used for these purposes is political speech. Some people have more money than others. Some people speak better than others. Some people write better than others. Some people design better yard signs than others. Some people's opinions have more influence with their friends than others. Shall we distort voices, smash fingers, remove paint brushes, and squelch opinions in the name of populist canniptions?
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Let 'em All Out!


Good morning. There's this: WorldNetDaily: Hinckley ready to be sprung. John Hickley shot our fortieth President, Ronald Wilson Reagan, on March 30, 1981. The revolution was scarcely underway, as the President barely begun his third month in office.

How do we seperate emotionalism and thoughts of how different things might be when dealing with the attempted assassination of a President of the United States? (This could have happened to any President. Hinckley was not politically motivated, shooting the President because he hated American or tax cuts. He evidently wanted to get the attention of a movie actress,) But to take the words of his shrinks at the St. Elizabeth's Mental Hospital in Washington, DC, Hinckley has been cured of his derangement and is no longer a danger to society.

The murder or attempted murder of a head of state is a grave offense, in that it is not merely a human being who is being targetted but, by proxy, an entire people. This subsumes but surpasses John Hinckley and Ronald Reagan the man.

Opinion warning. John Hinckley should be hanged by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on his soul. Proceed.



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8/26/2003

 

Ousting Harry Reid


Popular Congressman Jim Gibbons has taken himself out of the race to challenge the Senate's #2 Democrat, Minority Whip Harry Reid, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Reid gets first GOP challenger. Former former Coalition for the Protection of Marriage chairman Richard Ziser held a press conference and tossed his name into the ring for the Republican nomination. Ziser's isssue is maintaining the defintion of marriage, per the Nevada State constitution, as a union between a male and a female. That initiative passed last year.

Four more Republicans have expressed a willingness to leap into the maelstrom: Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller, State Treasurer Brian Krolicki, Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt .and Realtor Jack Woodcock.

Woodcock says he'll spend $250,000 of his own money to seek the nomination, but none of them has Reid's warchest. Although this race would be sweet for the GOP, the national guys are said to be reviewing how much money and effort to invest in it now that Gibbons -- and their best shot at upsetting Reid -- has decided to seek reelection to his Congressional seat and chairmanship of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism. He said that the White House was not involved in the decision.

A Nevada-based political scientist, chairman Michael Bowers of the UNLV Political Science Department, offered this assessment: "The only one of those candidates I'd see as formidable would be Dean Heller." The real question is, formidable enough to bring in the national money and talent the safe-side crew say it would take to defeat Reid?

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Clown Watch


A PoliticsNH.com story reveals a curious but little known fact about the Dem primary fight in New Hampshire. It seems John Edwards and Howard Dean have differing strategies for their August TV ads.

Are you ready for some demographics targetting. Here we go:
If you watch "The View" on WMUR-9 you are probably more familiar with John Edwards than Howard Dean. If you only watch the soap operas in the afternoon then the opposite maybe true.

The first two weeks of presidential campaign ads in New Hampshire have shown subtle, yet discernable patterns of which demographic groups are being targeted by the two candidates purchasing ads.

Besides "The View", for example, Edwards puts two ads on "Oprah" for every one that Dean had for the same hour. Dean, though, outspent Edwards for ads during high-brow ABC's "Nightline".
What does this reveal about the two candidates and the company they court?

Edwards goal right now is to let people know that he exists. Dean hopes to avoid falling of the recognition tables. No one else is purchasing ads, and one would think Dennis Kucinich -- who just flipped his campaign's focus from Iowa to New Hampshire -- would want to get a little paid TV time. Then again, he's broke.

Meanwhile, President Bush -- campaign-wise -- is collecting money. He's the only candidate from any party to be engaged in a struggle for the future of America and of civilizaiton. Now if we could just do something about Bobby Byrd.
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Saudi Terrorists in Iraq


Paul Bremer, on CNN's Late Edition Sunday, included Saudi Arabia with Iran and Syria in his list of countries from which terrorists are crawling into Iraq. Yesterday, deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage noted, according to the Associated Press:
"The ways these people are getting into the country is from Iran and from Syria and from Saudi Arabia,'' Armitage said in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Jazeera television channel. "I'm not in a position to assert that the governments of Iran or Syria and Saudi Arabia are in any way responsible. But as a minimum I can state that ... these fighters are not being stopped at the borders."
As they were with the redacted pages in the recent Congressional report on September 11, we had to know the Saudis would soon express righteous indignation. AP: Saudis Challenge U.S. Over Iraq Fighters.

Adel al-Jubeir, the pipsqueak foreign policy advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz -- better know to the world as merely Crown Prince Abdul or "Your Majesty" -- issued that challenge on Tuesday:
"We are very concerned about this issue because we would like to take action. We are willing to send a team to Iraq to look at any evidence they might have,'' he said. "Saudi Arabia is determined to fight terrorism and to prosecute terrorists regardless of where they are."


The Saudi state religion, almost literally wed with the ruling family, is Wahhabism, an angry and intolerant strain of "Destroy the Infidels" Islam. They wish to roll the cock back to the 12th century A.D., or thereabouts, and they will break a few heads to do it.

The operating theory in the media is that, though the Saudis were bad characters in the past, they have improved their level of cooperation since the Riyadh bombings last May. Some high in the Administration have expressed remaning concern about the Saudi regime, and President Bush had been outwardly accomodating to the House of Saud.

We soon have to face the facts. The House of Saud is crumbling, and it needs a firm kick. Without mentioning Saudi Arabia, or even perahps implying them, the President in his speech this afternoon intoned: "We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again."


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"More Deaths After the War," we're Told


Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, President Bush declared that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Fair enough, but the New York Times chimed on their web site today: Postwar Deaths of U.S. Troops in Iraq Exceed Combat Toll.

According to a spokesman at McDill whom the paper cites, 137 American soldiers died between the day the war began, March 19, and April 30, the day before the President declared victory. Since then, 141 died.

Deaths are tragic deaths, but of the totals, 112 were killed by hostile fire prior to the war's end, while 63 have been killed in action since.

The only conclusion drawn by the times was in the headline, which seems to imply that things are spinning out of control. You know the rhetoric.

The Times story concludes:
In other military action in Iraq today, hundreds of American soldiers raided Khalis, 42 miles north of Baghdad, in an attempt to crush a crime ring accused of murder, gunrunning and terrorist attacks. Soldiers caught 24 members of the group, but its leader, Lateef Hamed al Kubaishat, appeared to have eluded capture, Col. David Hogg, commander of the Fourth Infantry Division's Second Brigade, told The Associated Press.


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Senator Bobby Byrd (D-West Virginia) or his staff


From Dictionary.com:
senile dementia

n : dementia of the aged; results from degeneration of the brain in the absence of cerebrovascular disease

Senator Byrd will be 86 this November, but this is of no matter. One wonders if his staff writes his floor speeches and little essays, while he fills in the names of the dead Greek statesmen and Roman generals.

At least since February, he has hammered the Administration on anything which comes to the minds of Byrd or his staff: from the doctrine of pre-emption to what he saw as global arrogance. Saddam was a nasty man, he wailed, but he was not worth fighting.. And there’s this Op/Ed piece, penned by Byrd or staff, in this mornings Washington Post: Unprepared for Peace in Iraq.

He has no clue. He speaks in press truisms: “As the situation in Iraq continues to spiral out of control…” U.S. soldiers are not being greeted as heroes, he avers, but instead are “being met with guns and car bombs.” So the news tells Byrd and all of us. To hear it from the soldiers, commanders, and administrators in Iraq, though, the dissent is confined to an area of northern Iraq between Baghdad and Tikrit. The “resistance” is limited to an estimated few thousands miscreants: ex-Baathists, Saddam’s freed criminals, and terror-thrill seekers from Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Byrd’s using rhetoric he ought to know is false.
Before the war began, I urged the president to think through the consequences. … I was very concerned about the repercussions that would follow, especially if we were unable to persuade key allies to join our effort.”

Byrd now wishes to be remembered as the voice of reason, but he was anything but rational. Here is a Byrd floor speech from May 21. Here is another from last February 12. And here is another from October 3 OF LAST YEAR. Byrd is not rational. Byrd is not reasonable. Byrd is not calmly urging that about which he is “concerned.” He’s foaming at the mouth.

But his Op/Ed is about this, his concluding paragraph:
A hallmark of true leadership is the ability to admit when one is wrong and to learn from errors. Candidate George W. Bush spoke about the need for humility from a great and powerful nation. He said, "Let us reject the blinders of isolationism, just as we refuse the crown of empire. Let us not dominate others with our power -- or betray them with our indifference. And let us have an American foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness." It is time for the Bush administration to swallow its false pride and return to that philosophy of humility before it is too late.
You see it. “[A]dmit when one is wrong.” “[S]wallow its false pride.”

Before the war, the German Ambassador to the U.N., Gunter Pleuger, sent a memo back home about the United States going to war alone, about how we’d have to beg the U.N. and the Europeans for help in Iraq afterwards. (My source was the Frankfurter Allgemeine). Plueger’s unfulfilled wish, and indeed Byrd’s, is to see the United States admit defeat and grovel. Albeit for different reasons, both men want to see President Bush humiliated. The circumstances do not call for it. The Op/Ed piece penned by Byrd and his staff is crass partisanship. Some things, though some disagree, are much more crucial to our survival as a nation than making the other guy look bad to potential voters or survey participants.

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Dr. King would have...


Good morning. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: he came, he saw, he changed. He had a dream which made sense, which would work for the benefit of everyone. It was a vision wherein people worked with people, individual with individual, on the merit of humanity, not of labels.

It is now evident, and herein lies Dr. King's importance, that his dream has been greatly realized. (Those for whom it has not a largely frowned upon as an ugly fringe element.}

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is a paraodox. He purports to seek to further the Dream, but he loses his funding supply if he acknowledges that the dream is realized. Last weekend, he spoke with John Lewis, who spoke on the same program as Dr. King when he made the speech in which he detailed the dream, was there, as were a few others. Jackson got up and said that Dr. King's dream included governmental "promises." By this, we assume Jackson meant Affirmative Action and racial quotas. (It's possible, but not likely, that he was talking about those lawsuits filed against insurance companies by descendents of people held in slavery.)

I read a piece this morning -- A Different Kind of House Speaker (washingtonpost.com) -- about a black woman who was not, per se, seething with rage and demanding equality. She's fighting for her community, or rather for the government to fix her community. The article contained this paragraph:
"It's not the sexy story of men in white hoods chasing her down backwoods. Nor, post-integration, does it involve her shattering glass ceilings in corporate America. Still, it's the kind of story that King was planning to talk about after the Whites Only signs went down and Jim Crow was buried and black kids and white kids sat in classrooms together. The kind of puzzle he was trying to solve around the time he was gunned down in Memphis."

From an historical standpoint, I do not know what Dr. King was "planning to talk about after" he had achieved his dream. Had he left notes to this effect? Was this the puzzle he was trying to solve even before he had even gotten close to solving the big one?

It would be tragic if these people are hijacking Dr. King's name to justify something he did not contemplate. Dr. King seemed to see things on human-to-human terms, not as a mass of governmental action.
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8/25/2003

 

Ted Kennedy Resurfaces


Senator Ted Kennedy (R-Massachusetts) is back out of the water and taking on obscure Bush nominees, as detailed on on the editorial page of Sunday's Wall Street Journal: Peace Pipes: Ted Kennedy's fight over a nominee shows the anti-terror fault line.

At issue is President Bush's nomination of Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, an organization dedicated to "promoting the peaceful resolution of international conflicts." This should be done in the totally private sector, but that is not how this works. The President nominates and the Senate advises, bickers, and maybe consents.
The Institute of Peace was set up by Congress in 1984 to research non-military solutions to world conflicts and has earned a reputation as politically centrist, not to mention occasionally as a political sinecure.

Pipes was away ahead of the Western curve in warning of the dangers of Islamic extremists. The after September 11, he pointed out that the best place for Moslem extremists terrorists to hide within the United States was in moderate Moslem mosques. He advocated "profiling" Arabs, considering them to be more likely terrorists than, say, middle-aged, well-dressed, white or black executives. He's been branded a racist bigot of the worst order, and Kennedy, instead of asking what he can do for is country, is leading the charge against him. According to the WSJ piece, he is joined by the likes of Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, and the now-forgotten man: Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

President Bush, however, has done the right thing, for Mr. Pipes and for the country as a whole. It's just what Messrs. Kennedy, Dodd, Harkin, and Jeffords needed to sit on for a while:
President Bush has now bypassed the Senate and gave Mr. Pipes a recess appointment while Congress is on vacation. This allows Mr. Pipes to serve until the end of next year.
This is a good idea. The subtext of the Pipes confirmation battle is the conflict between two views of how to defeat terrorists. The pro-Pipes side believes they have to be confronted and defeated; the folks opposing him believe they can be mollified and co-opted. Appointing Mr. Pipes sends an important signal about which side is running U.S. foreign policy.

This war against terrorism is a battle to the death against a mutant subculture that seeks to wipe us off the face of the Earth. This is not time to complain about equality of outcomes, righting past wrongs, and calming nervous feelings.
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DNC Researchers Find...


The Washpost brings us this story concerning the latest study commissioned by the DNC: Researchers: Babies Can Learn by Watching (washingtonpost.com).

Democrat strategists see these findings as confirmation of what they've known all along, and they say it will not alter the way in which they sell their message to voters.

[NOTE: For aught we know...]
(spoof)
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Boutros Boutros and the U.N.


Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt was Secretary General of the U.N. from 1992 through 1996, when he became the first U.N. chief not to be reelected to a second term. The poor, ignominious fellow. Some blame his ouster on U.S. pressure, saying Clinton made him a scapegoat for his own failed policy regarding the genocide in Rwanda. Others maintain that Boutros Boutros was tossed aside because he was araid alter the structure of the U.N. as requested by Washington. Conspiracies abound.

This from Britain's liberal daily, Guardian Unlimoted: Boutros Ghali lambasts pliant UN. The report has him telling BBC Radio 4 that the many backwater countries perceive the U.N. as being run by the United States:
"Many countries of the third world see a basic discrimination adopted by the United Nation system," he said. "The resolutions which are not respected by the Iraqis deserve the bombing of Baghdad. The same resolutions which are not respected by the Israelis deserve nothing.

"So the perception in a great part of the third world is that the United Nations, because of the American influence or because of any other reason, is a system which discriminates [against] many countries of the third world."
With the requisite sprinkle of anti-Israeli rhetoric, he is bascially telling us that these countries view the United States as too powerful and thus automatically too globally hegemonic. This often leads to the automatic gainsaying of the policy positions of the United States, opposition for its own sake, as seems to be the recent case with France.

Boutros continues:
"They [America] cannot be the policeman of the world," he said. "One, because the public opinion will not accept this role, and, second, be cause they do not have the capacity. You may have war tomorrow between North and South Korea. It is practically impossible even for the superpower to get involved in all the international disputes."

There can be no argument with this except from the most liberal internationalists and globalist neocons, but his implication that the United States seeks to be World Cop in these cases is with prima facie bogus. North and South Korea have asked the U.S. to become involved in the matters on that peninsula, with North Korea, for reasons of self-importance, seeking to have the United States alone negotiate with Pyongyang.

Let's look at Liberia, where the demand was great for the United States to intervene. President Bush has resisted that call. And there is the matter of Israel and the Palestinians in the occupied terrotories. Both sides of that dispute argue that a peace is impossible without active U.S. engagement, which President Bush has provided.

In a free world, the United Nations would be redundant to a self-policing market, but we take what has been built.

Meanwhile, former U.N. assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday went even further than did his old boss his old boss, in an interview with the Scottish Sunday Herald: "The UN has been drawn into being an arm of the US - a division of the state department," he said. "Kofi Annan was appointed by the US and that has corrupted the independence of the UN. The UN must move quickly to reform itself and improve the security council. It must make clear that the US and the UN are not one and the same."

Halliday resigned from the United Nations in 1998 because of continuing U.N. sanctions against Saddam Hussein, and he blames these penalties, not Saddam's own reckless spending priorities, for the deterioration of the Iraqi infrastructure. He feels the U.N., at the behest of the U.S. and Britain, has taken the wrong side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The U.N., though, has been largely anti-Israel. He's evidently not satisfied.) He mentioned by name Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton as possible beneficiaries of the Iraq rebuilding project and predicts: "Once the US goes from Iraq, the terrorist will go as well." So that is what he is.

The next logical step is for them to ask for the opinion of former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, U.N. secretary general for much of the 70s, who was found to have been a Nazi collaborator during World War II. Thirty years prior to becoming secretary general, Waldheim was involved in deporting and executing Jews and sundry soldiers in the Balkans for Nazi Germany. Why on Earth hasn't the United Nations been disbanded?

Osama bin Laden once spoke of a Holy War against "the Jews and the Crusaders." The Crusaders were the Westerners who warred against the Moslems centuries ago, and the term is now applied to the United States almost exclusively, as Neo-Crusaders. It looks to me like Boutros and Halliday have declared a political war against the same people bin Laden pledged to fight physically.
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Huffington Puffington


Good morning. It has to be Monday. According to her own blog, Arianna Huffington's campaign chief was fired by the ditz queen: Arianna's Journal: 8/22: Dean Barkley Steps Aside As Campaign Manager.

The man's named is Dean Bartley, and that woman, Ms. Huffington, found out that he had worked as a lobbyist in Minnesota. According to her version, he volunteered to quit and she agreed that he was a distraction.

Bartley was a big player in Ross Perot's "We the People" and subsquently the Reform Party of Minnesota, which is no more. One of the political hangers-on to former Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura, he was tabbed by the then-governor to fill out the remaining few weeks of Paul Wellstone's Senate seat last year.

This is a footnote to the strangeness. I had not been aware that the California gubernatorial recall race had a tie-in with the most significant bits of political strangeness in recent memory: Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura. I'll miss this, I suppose.

Monday, Monday...




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8/24/2003

 

Cruz in Control


With nothing else to report, it seems that California juggernaut they call Cruz Bustamante is kicking royal fundament, according to this from the Los Angeles Times: Bustamante Has Big Lead on Schwarzenegger.

It's like this:

The poll also gives the Greens' Peter Camejo only 1%, tying him with Larry Flynt. It was completed last Thursday night, so it's as outdated as the polls it might have rendered démodé.

Half favored the recall, almost half said they could change their minds.

The article is chock full of analysis of this poll, and the only real reasons for this is that it is their poll (so they have to seem to take it seriously) and it shows their guy in the lead.

Last week, I wrote of a piece I found quite by accident. It concerned Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy facing a petition drive to have his impeachment appear on the ballot. It takes 200 signatures and a judge to say it's worth the effort. That's going nowhere, but Murphy is doing poorly in the polls. This from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Pennsylvania Poll: Murphy's standing plummets in city, suburbs.

Half of the people interviewed in an opinion poll want Algerian Ahmed Zaoui to leave New Zealand, despite a ruling that he is not a terrorist.

With back-to-school preparations in full swing, six out of 10 Canadians were satisfied with their provincial educational system

According to the latest Field Poll, only about half of likely California voters approve of George W. Bush's performance as president.

The Chattanooga Lady Mocs soccer team would be in line for its first berth in the Southern Conference Tournament based on a preseason poll of league coaches.

Australians are delighted their country ranked as the top dream vacation spot among Americans for the seventh straight year in a Harris interactive poll.

Nine out of ten dentists surveyed recommend...
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Wesley Clark's Madness


On CBS's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked General Clark about his allegation, made on NBC's Meet the Press last June, that the White House made a concerted effort to tie Saddam Hussein to September 11, despite the dearth of evidence. President Bush had lied to the American people, General Clark strongly implied, because he had some personal reason to want to topple Saddam.

General Clark told Schieffer this morning that this was not what he had said. He explained that he had heard that an unnamed aide to Donald Rumsfeld had written a memo to this effect, and that a Canadian think tank had called him at his home in Little Rock to try to get him to by into that line. He said that the Canadian think tank had told him that 9-11 was so complex that it had to have been State sponsored. Clark, being skeptical and wise, didn't buy into that.

He told Schieffer that this is what he said, and that the transcript would bear him out. Here is the relevant portion of the transcript of Clark's appearance on Meet the Press, last June 15:
GEN. CLARK: ...Whether it was the need just to strike out or whether he was a linchpin in this, there was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001 starting immediately after 9/11 to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein.

MR. RUSSERT: By who? Who did that?

GEN. CLARK: Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, “You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.” I said, “But—I’m willing to say it but what’s your evidence?” And I never got any evidence. And these were people who had—Middle East think tanks and people like this and it was a lot of pressure to connect this and there were a lot of assumptions made. But I never personally saw the evidence and didn’t talk to anybody who had the evidence to make that connection.

Clark said: "It came from the White House." With the White House as the operative subject of his allegation, Clark said that he had received the phone call pressuring him to connect September 11 and Saddam. He said that the White House had pressured him. The man loves his spotlight but can't watch his mouth.

Schieffer later told Clark that he thought he would announce that he was going to announce his intention to seek the Presidency as an independent. Well, he has said that his main platform is that he does not approve of the direction in which President Bush is taking the country. That's why he is running, and that should garner him some Democrat support.

The problem is, the main Bush haters within are the hardcore Democrats, the one's who'd sooner vote for a bluedog, to use the expression, than a non-Democrat. Clark is not a Democrat. He'll be a tough sell to the Bush hating Democrats for that reason. They want not only a Bush-hater, but a Democrat Bush-hater.

John Anderson ran for President as an indie in 1980 with a fringe constituency and received 6.6 percent of the vote against Ronald Reagan and President Carter. One never knows, I guess.
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Edwards and Davis



The situation in Iraq dominated the Talk Shows this morning, and thus the Rightsided Newsletter. John Edwards was featured on ABC's This Week, though, and Joe Davis was a guest on CNN's Late Edition.

As I’ve said, Edwards was called “The Next Bobby Kennedy” by some Dem activists from North Carolina. Senator Ted Kennedy, before backing the candidacy of cellmate John Kerry, said that Edwards more resembled his brother John than Bobby. Former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos, now host of ABC’s This Week, wants to called him “The Next Bill Clinton.” (They are both charming southern politicians who can lie without compunction.)

On his bus next to his wife Elizabeth -- who “loves the public policy stuff” -- Edwards seemed unmoved by the fact that he’s way down in the Iowa and New Hampshire polls. He’s doing 100-skillion town hall meetings, etc., and he is going to get his message out there.

Asked Steph: “How consciously have you had to draw from the Clinton experience?” This “Clinton Experience,” we assume, is the means by which that creep was elected. (He was elected in large part because H. Ross Perot drew support from the President’s father in 1992. Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s Face the Nation, thinks General Wesley Clark will run as an independent. I’ve said that it’s possible, and it might ignite the specter of Perot, but this time for the Democrat nominee).

So how consciously has Edwards drawn from the Clinton experience? Knowing to whom he was speaking, Edwards expressed admiration for the Clintons: “They’re good people…. I respect them a lot.” He said he’s nothing like Clinton: “I’m a Washington outsider.” (Clinton was much more a DC outsider when he first ran than is Edwards now.)

Steph pointed out that Edwards has a “similar style” to Clinton’s. Also, he said, Edwards “feels everyone’s pain.” Like Clinton, Steph says, Edward follows up on every question and has a program for every problem. Steph was gushing.

Edwards is “relentless on Bush,” Steph noted. Edwards talks about Bush being clueless, out of touch with the middle class, and a disastrous leader.

Last December on C-SPAN, Fox News Channel’s chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, stated with certainty that Edwards would drop out of the race before the New Hampshire primary. He did not say why he felt that way. Although Steph did not mention this, of course, it was on my mind when Edwards told Steph that there was “absolutely zero” chance that he’d drop out of the race before New Hampshire. He’s focusing all his energy on running for President, and he seems certain that he will win: “It’s going to work out.” That is the same certainty the younger Steph evinced after Clinton’s second place finish in New Hampshire, 1992.

Keep an eye on Edwards. He has the potential to be more formidable than any Democrat running or even discussed. Throw Begala and Carville onto his team, which would probably happen after he secured the Dem nomination, and we’ll at least hear a rumble.

He can’t win in November of 2004, but he might cause some tense moments.


California Governor Joe Davis was Wolf Blitzer’s guest on CNN’s Late Edition, the last and probably the least of the shows every Sunday morning. Blitzer spent quite a while trying to get Davis either to admit that he would vote for Cruz Bustamante on part two of the California ballot, after having voted to retain himself, or to state that he would ignore the second part, as California Senator Diane Feinstein has advocated.

Davis would not do it. He did admit that Bustamante is more qualified than anyone else on the ballot, but he refused to give his voting decision. He said that he is concentrating to the “NO ON RECALL” part of the ballot and will announce his decision on the entire ballot ten days before the vote.

Bustamante “is a good man, a decent man,” Davis admitted. Davis explained: “I believe his entry into the race will improve the chances of people voting against the recall.” The statement is cute when translated. He said that Bustamante is such a bad choice that, with him the only other elected Dem in the field, the choice for Dems between Davis and Bustamante is a no-brainer.

He said that California does not have a $38-billion budget deficit: “The budget is balanced.” Without missing a beat, though, he began talking about the $8-billion deficit in California. It’s important for Californians to know the state of the California budget in their governor’s parallel universe.

He further added that if he is being recalled for his State’s budget words, President Bush should be impeached, as should every other governor: “If they have on standard for me, they should use it for everybody else.” Not everyone else, though, faces recall by California voters. That’s pretty much limited to you, governor.

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Edwards and Coleman


Good morning. This morning, former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos will sing sweet songs with Dem candidate John Edwards on This Week with... Of interest to us will be whether or not Edwards appears to be a real candidate again. If he is, or will be, I contend that the White House will have more trouble than they would with one of these other clowns. IF he cane make the fools believe he really is The Next Bobby Kennedy, which is now a romantic concept.

In all probability, the bit on Edwards will not fit into the RSN itself and be posted in this space, but one never knows. To subscribe to the RSN for free, just visit the web page here: Rightsided Newsletter. Or you can send a blank email to RSN-subscribe@tripod.com.

I was between this and that yesterday, and I caught part of a rerun show on which was interviewed General Wesley Clark (MSNBC?). He's not a real Democrat, but that's small consolation to those of us who want to see President Bush reelected. There IS consolation, however, in the fact that the guy is a hothead who knows very little about what is going on in the outside world. He should prove to be no problem, despit the media hype he'll get for a few weeks. (After which, he'll turn into Howard Dean, shrivel up, and blow away.)

Speaking of captivating candidates capturing the hearts and minds of millions through the media, I found this in this morning's Washington Post: Gary Coleman: Candidate With A Diff'rence (washingtonpost.com).
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8/23/2003

 

DE-regulation Myth


Here's a myth (from Chuckie Schumer via CNN, no less): CNN.com - Democrats: Deregulation damages power grid - Aug. 23, 2003.
"The Bush administration, with its doctrinal commitment to unfettered deregulation, has insisted that this situation can be resolved by allowing the states and utility industry to deal with it by themselves," [New York Democrat Senator Chuckie] Schumer said.
This kind of nonsense sticks to the walls of reason, and it should be cleaned.

It is the existing regulations, the restrictions, the removal of the profit motive from the power suppliers which allowed the power grids and transport mechanisms to become outdated, fall apart, and fail. Competition would have pushed the companies to keep the system as modern and efficient as possible. Let them compete, Schumer! Your plan is to regulate them much as the Soviets did. They had to deregulate to allow for improvements, and they are still catching up. Do not let us fall further behind, Chuckie.

Anyway, tomorrow's edition of the Rightsided Newsletter is the weekly look at the Sunday morning Talk Shows. Subscribe at http://rightsided.tripod.com/ or by sending a blank e-mail to RSN-subscribe@topica.com. It should be delivered to your Inboxes at about 3p et.

Anything which does not fit in that will be posted here afterwards, of course.
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This, and David Dreier



For return visitors, the new look is a byproduct. I'm still learning to crawl with this thing, after only a week, and my html is rusty. The Permalinks are not QUITE there yet...

I saw Representative David Dreier, this time representing the Schwarzenegger campaign and not necessarily California's foothills, on FNC this afternoon. Of Arnold, he said: "The fact is, he is a conservative." As proof, he seemed to offer that Dana Rohrbacher and Duke Cunningham support him. That's not quite how it works, though.

Dreir said he has encouraged Arnold to adopt some of State Senator Tom McClintock's -- also challenging in the recall, so far -- economic policies. He added that he has not talked to McClintock and asked him to pull out.

Before Bill Simon's smiling videotaped withdrawal from the race, there was talk that Simon's camp had talk to McClintock's camp about one withdrawing and lending is supporters -- like so much stacked cordwood -- to the other. That didn't happen. Simon says he's dropped out. He's going to help the Republicans. Finé.
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Bill Simon to Drop Out


Fox News Channel was reporting early Saturday afternoon (ET) that GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon plans to drop out of the recall race. Fox News' Major Garrett, reporting the news from the west coast, told us that he had talked to Simon earlier this week, and the candidate has said that he was in the race for the duration and planned to spend $9-million of his own money

Every Sunday, I review the Sunday AM Talk Shows for the Rightsided Newsletter -- free subscription, rsn-subscribe@topica.com -- and last week was the first week I was able to put the remainder online. This is from that entry last Sunday:
[Meet the Press guest host Brian] Williams talked to GOP candidate Bill Simon, who was also the last man to challenge Davis, last November. Williams discussed rumors that the White House has been pressuring Simon and State Senator Tom McClintock into dropping from the race, ensuring a Schwarzenegger victory. Simon said: “I’m in this race. I’m not feeling any pressure.” When asked if he would discuss this, say, Karl Rove, Simon said: “Certainly, I’d be happy to talk with Mr. Rove; I’m a great admirer of his.” That sounded a lot like an invitation.
Perhaps Rove accepted Mr. Simon's offer. The implications of an in-play California to Bush/Cheney 2004 are too much from which a strategist could turn.

Bustamante lacks the "party loyalty" card to play with his potential vote siphons, Peter Camejo of the Green Party and Ditz Party candidate Arianna Huffington.

[Addendum: A report from the web site of the San Diego Tribune: California Republican Bill Simon drops out of Davis recall race.
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A World of Talibans


This story from the French wire, Agencie France Presse (AFP), via the Arab Times: Bush says "terrorists" seek return to Taliban .

President Bush was not trying to frighten the national by conjuring images of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed Afghan cleric, riding into Kabul on a camel to offer safe haven to a new breed of Qaeda; rather, the President said in his Weekly Radio Address:
"The terrorists have declared war on every free nation and all our citizens. Their goals are clear. They want more governments to resemble the oppressive Taliban that once ruled Afghanistan."


He meant groups like the Saudi Wahhabis, who can be called by many names: Ikhwan, Salafiyyah, Mowahabin, and Taliban. It's the same mix of errant Moslem fundamentalism and violence against the infidels. They are the Mullahs, the Madrassas, which teach the annnihilation of the Jews, the Westerners, and "apostate" (in their view) Moslems. It is against these types of governments that President Bush is warning. He said:
"In their malicious view of the world, no one is innocent. Relief workers and infants alike are targeted for murder. Terrorism may use religion as a disguise, but terrorism violates every religion and every standard of decency and morality. He added: "Now we're fighting terrorists and remnants of that regime who have everything to lose from the advance of freedom in the heart of the Middle East."


They want set up Wahhabi governments, like the Taliban in Aghanistan, throughout their region. They want to continue their war. And this may be difficult for some to grasp, but it is for this that we went to war against Saddam Hussein. This is a threat to the United States, and the President's words must be differentiated from those of neoconservative quasi-colonialists like Paul Wolfowitz. It's not about an American empire or even America as the world's rent-a-cop; it is about the present and the future of the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Germany, and the Kingdom of Belgium.

Here it is in Sixteen Words: They want to see us dead, and if we don't do something, they will kill us.
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Specter in NATIONAL REVIEW, PART II



Good morning! On Thursday afternoon in this space, I talked about NATIONAL REVIEW Political Reporter John J. Miller’s portrayal of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter as the “most dangerous Republican in the Senate,” or words to that effect.. (I’m working on using permalinks for this blog, which would make it much easier to find individual stories on here, but that does us all a whole lot of good right now. The bit was posted in the afternoon of Thursday the 21st.)

My local paper, the Altoona Mirror, printed a rebuttal in the garb of a straight news story on the piece. Here’s a paragraph from the story by a gentleman named Robert Igoe:
Miller takes Specter to task for not voting to convict President Clinton in his impeachment trial, although the article does state Specter voted “not proven” instead of “not guilty.” The article also accuses Specter of betraying the GOP on such issues as support of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and school vouchers

Almost naturally, as a matter of course, a local paper is going to go on the defensive when a “big shot national magazine” attacks one of their own. It happened when NBC News weatherman Al Roker attacked the minor league baseball team’s mascot, which happens to look like a beaker full of green fluid. (We have to love Steamer, but it’s the truth!) It’s the same dynamic, and I’m sure it repeats nationwide.

Giving Specter a bye for voting NOT PROVEN in the Senate impeachment trial of Clinton instead of NOT GUILTY is delusional and misinformed. Specter took NOT PROVEN from Scottish Law, which is not applicable in the United States Senate in impeachment trials. His vote, no matter what he called it, was counted as NOT GUILTY. Specter knew this and did not object.

The article does not accuse Specter of “betraying the GOP.” It points out some of the major occasions on which Specter sides with liberals, and it credits (rather than attacks) Specter for supporting (rather than opposing) the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. It also pointed out that Specter’s stalwart defense of Thomas was timed to coincide with his upcoming reelection bid. He moves to the right about that time every six years.

The article quotes several local political leaders springing up to defend Specter against the attacks from the right,
“It is not how he is labeled,” said State Senate President Pro Tem Bob Jubelirer, “but what he accomplishes that earns for him my support.”
Congressman Bill Shuster defended Specter “for getting [Judge] D. Brooks smith confirmed” to sit on the Federal Appeals Court last year.

Specter:
The characterization by the National Review is not surprising, considering my independence. The people of Pennsylvania do not agree with the National Review, and obviously I am a lot more concerned with what Pennsylvanians think than what the National Review may do to sell its publication. I read the story, and they played fast and loose with the facts.”

The sentiment seems to be that though Specter is a liberal Republican, he’s OUR liberal Republican. NATIONAL REVIEW ought to mind its own business.

The story -- three pages in length -- was nothing but factual. Pennsylvania conservatives had known those facts for a long time. John J. Miller was not chastising Specter’s “independence,” as he put it. He was pointing out the Senator’s liberalism.

In the NR piece, Miller points out that Specter wants to be chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- a stomach-churning prospect for conservatives. Current Chairman Orrin Hatch will be forced out of his spot by term limits before Specter’s next term would have expired. The number two Republican on the committee, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley will doubtlessly not want to surrender his current chairmanship of the Finance Committee, and that leaves us with Snarlin’ Arlen at the helm of a committee which could facilitate the minority party tightening its death grip on the third branch of our Federal government.

It’s up to Pennsylvania conservatives and common sense Republicans, and Congressman Pat Toomey, to stop the hemorrhaging.

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