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10/31/2003

 

Credit for the good economic news…


Are you ready from some ultra-sheer audacity? This headline, and concomitant story, comes from the web site of the Dallas Morning News: Bush, GOP take credit for economic surge. Can you believe the effrontery of those tax cutters?

The article began:
WASHINGTON – The burst of unexpectedly good economic news Thursday set off a new round of political bickering that is destined to persist right up to Election Day, a year away.
The Administration has been forecasting this kind of expansion for a while, and this was hardly unexpected. On the 20th of this month, I wrote:
According to several reports, analysts are claiming a 7-percent growth rate for the 3rd quarter of this year. This is not a "Bush recession." This is not a "sluggish economy." (The growth rate for 1999 was 4.2-percent.)
Cut taxes, the economy will rise. Who ended the Carter malaise? President Ronald Reagan. Who is ending the Clinton-Bin Laden malaise? President George W. Bush.

The President and the Congressional Republicans, with some few likeminded Dems, deserve the credit. Their policies have enabled the American people to crawl from stagnation. But the Dems and their media stooges cannot let credit go where credit is due. Mission One: Create Doubt. Mission Two: Smile and say you did it despite the GOP.

From the Morning News article:
For President Bush and fellow Republicans, the fastest economic growth in nearly 20 years was hailed as proof that his tax-cut policy was finally boosting a stagnant economy.

For Democrats complaining about job losses and challenging the president's bid for re-election, the upbeat report threatened one of their key election-year premises: The president has made a bad economy worse.
Actually, the Dems' premise was that the President took a robust economy anemic.

And speaking of anemic, how's this from candidate Joe Lieberman?
"While today's news is encouraging, it does not change the fact that the president has turned Main Street into a one-way street going in the wrong direction," said Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the nine Democrats seeking the party's presidential nomination.

"We've lost more than 3 million jobs, 3 million people have fallen into poverty, the budget deficit and national debt are growing, health care and college tuition costs are escalating," he said.
"And this president still has no real plan to sustain this growth, translate it into jobs and rebuild a strong middle class."
They even let candidate Howie Dean rant for print:
Still another Democratic contender, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, made clear the nation's economic vitality depended in large part on the restoration of jobs and the creation of new ones.

"President Bush has compiled the worst economic record since the Great Depression," Dr. Dean said, "and it is going to take a lot more than one quarter of growth to clean it up."
Yes, it's "Dr. Dean"! Like in the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein, the lab assistant ("pronounced "Eye-gore") hands him an abnormal brain and the good doctor creates a freak. And that's his campaign. But I'm digressing.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. Bipartisan political analyst Charlie Cookagrees:
"His tax cuts may turn the broader economy around," Mr. Cook suggested. "But if it doesn't do anything to create jobs and put some of these people back to work, it doesn't get the same political bang."
Yes, it's hard to vote for a President if you feel he cost you your job. It's easier to vote for a President if he hasn't. Chew on that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Miranda, the conservative teenaged Texas blogger, is back with her Right Winged blog after a month of computer purgatory. Check out her stuff.
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Planned Parenthood's Pro-Abort Lawsuit


According to the Planned Parenthood press release of this afternoon:
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading reproductive health organization, and Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (PPGG), the affiliate based in San Francisco, Calif., announced today at a press conference that they have filed a lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court to challenge the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, a federal abortion ban that was passed by Congress on Oct. 20 and has been sent to President Bush for his signature.
Since the ban on partial birth abortion is not now law, what are they suing? If there is no law against which to sue for an injunction, the case is not justiceable. The court technically can't hear it, as there is no "it" to hear.

Are they seeking an injunction against the President taking several pens to paper, as Presidents are often wont to do in as a way of manufacturing souvenirs, and signing the bill into law?

The case should be thrown out of court, and they should also be given the hook and told not to return.

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Foreign Aid and the Social Justice League of America


Good morning. A piece in Reuters this morning tells us that InterAction -- an alliance of nongovernmental foreign assistance groups -- does not approve of President Bush's linkage of foreign aid to national security.
"The administration has increasingly turned its attention to development assistance as a tool of the war on terrorism,'' InterAction said in a policy paper.
They also complained that the DoD had too great a role in distributing foreign aid in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is a no-brainer, but is seems we're not dealing with people who have human brains in the metaphysical sense. At this level of cognition, abstracting beyond a simple "They need money, so give it to them" is impossibility.

The report also complains that the work of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), set up by Prez John F. "Ask Not" Kerry -- er, Kennedy -- forty years ago. The good folks at InterAction complain that the work formerly done by USAID is now being performed by other agencies.
There has been a long-standing effort to dismantle USAID and a lot of blame has been leveled at them. One way of doing this has been to disburse aid to other departments,'' said one aid agency source.
"Social justice." That's the term InterAction likes to call it.

Social Justice. Consider first the ultimate source of the monies in question.

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10/30/2003

 

The PRC wants a counterbalance


We know about French Prez Jacques Chirac and his whimsy about a superpower to counter the untrammeled will of a United States which threatens to consume the entire globe in the absence of the Soviet Union to counter her expansionist schemes.

So it goes. The French tried that game, enlisting the Russians and Germans, over the UNSC feud over whether or not Saddam should get the hook. Saddam's gone, Iraq is working on independence, and Chirac's axis has fallen apart.

Wait…

Said the PRC's deputy Maoist dictator, Premier Wen Jiabao, at a meeting with the European leaders and Eurocrats Wednesday: "It is our hope that the European Union will become our biggest partner in economic cooperation and trade." To the definite exclusion of the United States.

European Commission President Romano Prodi, the Italian for whom no European outside of government voted, proclaimed in response: "We need to intensify our relations, both in the trade and investment sectors. We must become the biggest partners. We must have the biggest relations - more than anywhere in the world." He did not name the United States, but we were mentioned tacitly.

Okay, Chirac and the poet DeVillepin could be dancing an Axis/Vichy jig right about now. The dream is alive.

Or is it?

I don't think so. What is the main thing -- perhaps the only thing -- standing between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China? Human rights. In the PRC, there are none. They torture, kill, twist, manipulate, destroy. And the second baby must be eliminated.

Commerce Secretary Don Evans brought up the PRC's disrespect for intellectual property. The Europeans say, whatever. The PRC's human rights record draws yawns from the Eurocrats.

There's what this means. The Europeans are working out a deal with the PRC through which all refugees -- political by definition of the Chinese state -- would be returned to the PRC and their storied Lao gai.

The world's largest trading partners -- on the corpses of millions of dead Chinese.

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GDP Grows at Highest Rate Since Reagan


When Treasury Secretary John Snow told the Times of London ten days go that he expected interest rates to rise with a growing economy, I posted -- Secretary Snow and Interest Rates -- I intimated:
According to several reports, analysts are claiming a 7-percent growth rate for the 3rd quarter of this year. This is not a "Bush recession." This is not a "sluggish economy." (The growth rate for 1999 was 4.2-percent.)
The analysts were low by two tenths, as the Gross Domestic Product grew by 7.2-percent last quarter. This is the highest GDP rise since the first quarter of 1984.

President Reagan's growth in the first quarter of 1984 was in the first quarter of election year. President Bush's growth in the third quarter of 2003, is in the penultimate quarter before the election year. And this year, the "election year" politically began early.

In November of 1984, President Reagan was reelected 58.8% of the vote. None of the current crop of Dems resembles Walter Mondale -- or Jimmy Carter, for that matter, and any such talk is nifty as far as it goes, but it doesn't buy you beer.

So what have the Dems got? Well, it's been a jobless recovery, but it is no longer shedding jobs. With this kind of growth in consumer spending and business investment, re-employment is just a matter of time.

The Dems can harp on Iraq and the war on terror -- two issues on which they once thought the President to be untouchable -- but that issue is not a winner for them.

President Bush is doing very well right now, and things can only keep improving. The mutants are doing their worst in Baghdad as we speak. I daresay there is not much more that they can do in a country occupied by the United States military.

We are fortunate that President Bush is able to remain, for the most part, above the small talk, the cheap and snide pundits, the pugnacious partisans, and the wannabe presidents. I suspect he responds only when his staff begs him to do so: "Mr. President, you can't let them talk about you like this!"

After employment has revived, we've won the peace, and President Bush is comfortably reelected, I hope he expends his political capital on abolishing the Department of Education. And cutting taxes.
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Zell Miller to vote Republican


Democrat Senator Zell Miller of Georgia has announced that he will vote for President George W. Bush next November. Democrat Senator Zell Miller of Georgia has announced that he will campaign for George W. Bush's reelection if asked to do so.

Zell Miller is a Democrat, and he has been offered, no doubt, some high prizes if he were to make the switch. He has refused, but at the press conference held when then-Georgia Governor Roy Barnes appointed him to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Senator Paul Coverdell, Miller told those assembled: "I will serve no single party but rather 7.5 million Georgians."

That is what he thinks he's doing with his latest announcement, and that is what he is doing. Bypassing CNN, headquartered in Atlanta, the Georgia Senator told Fox News yesterday:
"The way I see it is, that these next five years are going to be crucial in determining what kind of world my grandchildren and great grandchildren live in, and I don't want to entrust that to any of these folks that are running out there on the Democratic side. I'm going to vote for George Bush," Miller said in a taped interview for Fox News' Hannity & Colmes show.
Of the Democrats' anti-Bush -- disguised as anti-war -- rhetoric, Miller said:
"It makes me ashamed. It's a disgrace for anyone to talk about -- talk like that in a time of war. … You know, if some of these folks have been living back to that April night in 1775 when Paul Revere came riding through, saying, 'The British are coming, British are coming' - if Howard Dean was living back then he would have yelled out the window, 'Shut up I'm trying to get some sleep in here.' It's a disgrace."
He told further told Sean Hannity:
"I've given this a lot of thought. I think that George Bush is the right man in the right place at the right time. The way I see it is, that these next five years are going to be crucial in determining kind of world my grandchildren and great- grandchildren live in.

And I don't entrust that to any of these folks that are running out there on the Democratic side.
I included so much of what Miller said because he sounds like so much of what I've been reading in the blogosphere and hearing from friends. It's what I meant when I wrote Tuesday night that: "We have to win this one. If we don't, civilization dies. The 2004 Presidential election is the most important political event in this history of the United States. We are playing for keeps."

"This does not mean I am going to become a Republican," Miller said yesterday. "It simply means that in the year 2004, this Democrat will vote for George Bush."

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Two New Quinnipiac Polls


Good morning. There are two new Quinnipiac polls out today, of 1262 registered voters taken from October 23-27, with a margin of error of plus or minus three points.

The first Quinnipiac poll shows President Bush with 47-perecent to candidate Wes Clark's 43-perecent. He was 48-43 if candidate Lieberman, 49-43 over candidate Kerry and over candidate Gephardt, and 48-42 over candidate Dean, considered by many to be the likely Dem nominee. (I still consider Dean to be doubtful.)

What if Hillary were to jump in the race? She'd be the probable Dem nominee if she did, and President Bush would beat her, 50-42, the most support the President receives against anyone. Hillary knows that she has half of America strongly opposed to her, so she is not about to enter the race. Her negatives are far too high.

The second poll is identical to the first.

The first poll is reported by the New York Post online as: Bush Tops Prez Field.

The second poll is reported by the Associated Press as: Bush approval rating slips, Dems gain. (The President's approval rating fell two percentage points, from 53% to 51%, from a September 17 poll of different people. This is within the margin, of course.)

They are the same poll, reported with two different biases.

The AP piece quotes poll director Maurice Carroll as intoning: "President Bush is ahead, but he's hearing footsteps." The results are not significantly different from previous polls, so the statement is a poll directors braggadocio and nothing more.

The Post piece also points out that the poll puts Clark atop the Dem field with 17-percent, tied with "Don't Know."

There's no Democrat-fever currently sweeping the nation. Unless or until the media manages to harp of something which catches the public's notice -- and they are trying -- the President's lead looks to be safe.

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10/29/2003

 

New Dem Think Tank


Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta is the president of the new lefty DC think tank: the Center for American Progress.

From their web site:
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all Americans. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values.
Okay, they claim to represent America's values. According to Podesta on Fox News, however, they want to change America's values:
We think the debate has been unbalanced in the country," center president John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Clinton, told Fox News.

"The conservative movement has really built up an infrastructure of not just ideas, but the ability to kind of get out there and do the kind of hard communications work to sell to the American public," he added.
Liberals have this weird thing. They believe that the world will agree with them if they just yell loud enough. They believe that when America tells them to go to hell, it means only that they have to work harder to enlighten Americans to see the "truth."

They are launching a talk show to compete with conservative talk radio, now this think tank. Their news network is still losing its share. The kids still love Clinton, and they had candidate Wesley Clark at their opening conference. Wes Clark cannot make up his mind even about which lie he's telling when.

It's falling to bits, my friends. I'll have to post that Robert Reich column from 2001. It's even more relevant now.

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The Dems Get Funky



Back in September of 1999, Al Gore marched to the podium at the DNC's Plenary Session to the sounds of Love Train, by the Ojays:
People all over the world (everybody)
Join hands (join)
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world (all the world, now)
Join hands (love ride)
Start a love train (love ride), love train
The next stop that we make will be soon
Tell all the folks in Russia, and China, too
Don't you know that it's time to get on board
And let this train keep on riding, riding on through
Well, well
He later adopted the tune as a campaign them song, dressed as he was in Naomi Wolf's earth tones.

My mind raced. Here was a new Democrat Party, suitably retro with an A-1 '70s sound. Priceless. The Democrat Party had finally lost it.

The song disappeared with Gore, only to reappear at -- of all places -- the funeral of Paul Wellstone, this time covered by a new group. We were looking at a neo-new Dem Party, getting funky at a funeral. (PoliPundit includes a photo of Clinton and Mondale sharing a laugh at the funeral with his Wictory Wednesday post of this morning.
People, ain't no war
People all over the world (on this train)
Join in (ride the train)
Start a love train, love train (ride the train, y'all)
People all over the world (come on)
Join hands (you can ride or stand, yeah)
Start a love train, love train (makin' love)
People all over the world ('round the world, y'all)
Join hands (come on)
Start a love train, love train
But it is going to get better. I found this story on today's Washpost:
The Democrats have a dream, that politics can be hipped up. And that the disaffected young citizens of America will set aside their sense of abandonment and apathy and flash-mob the polls, pulling the Big D lever in '04.

The dream undulates into shape Monday night at Dream, the sleek, four-story dance club on New York Avenue NE, with a Democratic National Committee fundraiser that raises the roof and a quarter-million dollars, one $50 ticket at a time.
DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe looks out over the club's second floor, so packed it represents the sardines-in-a-can wing of the Democratic Party, and beams. "How great is this!" he yells over the blasting hip-hop, thrilled that 90 percent of those who bought tickets are first-time party donors.

The bass lines are so thumping that it defibrillates the hearts of all 4,500 people, lured to party with former president Bill Clinton. The aim is to make politics sexy for the 18-to-34 crowd, not in a "Sir, the girl is here with the pizza" way, but in a smart, leggy, sassy way. One person onstage will say that only one in five of this group voted in the last presidential election, and one will say only three out of 10, but why quibble about numbers? It's not enough.
The story goes on with who was there -- a mostly young(ish) set of varied backgrounds -- including the soul master of deranged funk himself, Bill "Da Man" Clinton:
…In Da Club" lyrics inside -- "I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love / So come give me a hug if you into getting rubbed." This is what's playing when the former president takes the stage.
Of course, all wasn't well after this funky fundraiser. The Washpost piece concludes:
Outside on the sidewalk, Richard Strauss, 34, a former Clinton staffer, reflects wistfully on Da Man. "I'm longing for him," he says. He sees President Bush as vulnerable, but doesn't see who right now in the Democratic field can generate the same excitement as the 42nd president.

"I don't think there's anyone else, period," says Justin Pascal, 29, the DNC staffer who directs McAuliffe's office and created the event. For young people, "he is their president. Most people came of age under Bill Clinton. They graduated when he was in office, got their first job when he was in office. He is their president."
So people all over the world, join hands. Start a love train.

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The Madness of Candidate Wesley Clark


This from the New York Times. While he was in Durham, North Carolina, to sell his health care scheme, he had a few interesting accusations for the Bush administration.

First, he declared that September 11 was indirectly the doing of President Bush:
"You can't blame something like this on lower-level intelligence officers, however badly they communicated in memos with each other," said the retired general, the latest entrant in the Democratic presidential field. "It goes back to what our great president Harry Truman said with the sign on his desk: `The buck stops here.' And it sure is clear to me that when it comes to our nation's national security, the buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."

"And," he added, "we've got to say again and again and again, until the American people understand: strong rhetoric in the aftermath is no substitute for wise leadership."
This begs the question: who blamed September 11 on "lower-level intelligence officers" with bad memoranda? The blame is on the terrorists, as the President has repeatedly insisted, and some of us would add that they were buttressed by the belief that our reaction would be weak and ineffective. The terrorists themselves used the term: "paper tiger."

Clark's second lunatic assertion, made also by former NSC bureaucrat Dick Clarke on NBC's Meet the Press, was that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaked his own memo, "because no one would have believed him that we've been two years in the war on terror and we don't have a strategy and we don't know how to measure success." When confronted about this later, he admitted: "Well, that's what the rumor is, and it's been talked about on the Sunday talk shows."

Clark of all people ought to know better than to believe Sunday Talk Show rumors. He started his own whopper, what with his claim that he received phone calls from the White House on September 12 directing him to blame 9-11 on Saddam Hussein. It never happened, he later backtracked, and no one knows what he's going to say next.

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Wictory Wednesday


Today is PoliPundit's "Wictory Wednesday." It is the day when we issue a wake-up call: The President cannot be reelected in a vacuum. By visiting the Bush/Cheney webpage, we can donate money via this secure server, and/or we can volunteer to be a "Bush Team Leader" using this secure server. Everything helps.

The war against terrorism is a war against mutans who are not compatible with civilization or humanity. The 2004 Presidential election is the most important in federal history, and a lot depends on reelecting President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Here are those who've volunteered to carry this message, in whatever form, on this "Wictory Wednesday":

Backcountry Conservative
Boots and Sabers
Bowling for Howard
Dean

BushBlog.us (unofficial blog)
Bush-Cheney 2004 (unofficial
blog)

ExPostFacto
Freedom of Thought
The Hedgehog Report
The Irish Lass
Jarhead
Jeremy Kissel
Left Coast
Conservative

Matt Margolis
The Ole Miss Conservative
PoliPundit
Political Annotation
A Rice Grad
Ryne McClaren
Slublog
Southern Conservatives
Stephen Blythe
Viking Pundit
The Wise Man Says


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10/28/2003

 

The Return of Edwards's Bus


Back in August, when fulltime fundraising was starting to grow thin on him, candidate John Edwards had his bus: the Real Solutions Express. At the time and in this space, I said that if it worked for McCain in 2000, with his Straight Talk Express, then Edwards might as well give it a go. One thing Edwards should remember, though: it did not work for John McCain in 2000. McCain, whom the press perceived as a certain loser to Al Gore, had a media-supported run for a while, then he quit.

Here's this from an Edwards e-mail of this evening:
That's right the Real Solutions Express was a hit in August, so we are bringing it back in November. We need your help to get the word out on November 1st & 2nd.

Don't miss the true NH experience of going door-to-door, talking about why John Edwards should be our next President and inviting voters to more than a dozen Town Hall Meetings with Senator Edwards.

New Hampshire's first-in-the nation primary is less than 100 days away!! Come learn how presidential campaigns are really won.
Which leaves me to remark in mock admiration: so that's how McCain did it!

On ABC's This Week last Sunday, John-boy predicted to Steph and George Will that he would finish third, behind Howie Dean and John-John Kerry. He'd better look out, though, as Wes Clark, Superstar is skipping Iowa to concentrate on the Granite State.

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Why Mutants Kill at Ramadan


Too many journalists and pundits attributing rational thought processes to the mutants in Iraq:

"They're killing the Red Cross to frighten international organizations out of Iraq."

"They're trying to reduce American public support for the war effort."

"They're not helping their cause by killing their fellow Iraqis."

Folks, human reason does not apply here. This is jihad. Their actions are not compatible with civilization. Their thought processes and their selves are not compatible with humanity. When I call them "mutants," it's not just throwaway name-calling: they are mutants.

A rational human being, if he had signed onto a suicide mission, would reach the target then detonate; if he did not make it to the target, he'd return to base and try again another day. A mutant kept from his objective would blow himself up wherever he stood, taking anything (whatever) with him.

Jihad. To the death, and the winners will meet in paradise. Tortured by the oppression of corrupted leaders who treat them as disposable pawns, they need to hate something. The mullahs tell them whom to hate: the monkeys, the dogs, and their allies in Washington.

The Nazis in Germany had a sophisticated system, a "well-oiled machine," for exterminating Jews qua Jews. This is what they did. The scale of this systematic slaughter defies sane credulity, but it happened. The Nazis were mutants. But in public, they put on the façade of civilization. We know what they did behind closed doors, because they kept records.

The mullahs teach this same breed of insanity. It is not human. And this mutant madness would devour the world if there was no one to stop it. Osama bin Laden saw one obstacle standing in his path: the United States of America. On September 11, 2001, he gave it his best shot to neutralize this impediment. He didn't.

We have to win this one. If we don't, civilization dies. The 2004 Presidential election is the most important political event in this history of the United States. We are playing for keeps.

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The President's News Conference


In the Rose Garden this afternoon, President Bush held a news conference. [transcript]. The questions had been asked before, and the answers, we've heard. But a few caught my ear.

Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC asked:
Mr. President, if I may take you back to May 1st when you stood on the USS Lincoln under a huge banner that said, "Mission Accomplished." At that time you declared major combat operations were over, but since that time there have been over 1,000 wounded, many of them amputees who are recovering at Walter Reed, 217 killed in action since that date. Will you acknowledge now that you were premature in making those remarks?
The President challenged O'Donnell to look at his May 1st remarks aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln: "I said, Iraq is a dangerous place and we've still got hard work to do, there's still more to be done. And we had just come off a very successful military operation. I was there to thank the troops."

Major combat operations are over. There are no more divisions racing north to Baghdad. There are no more cities and towns to liberate. There is no more Shock and Awe.

Aboard the Lincoln, the President said:
We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.

The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq.
O'Donnell did not ask the President if he thought the remarks had been premature; she challenged him to admit that his remarks were premature.

His remarks were candid and accurate. O'Donnell is living in the media-generated "universe by reporters' consensus." Everything is what the press invents and repeats. Reality has no meaning.

Fox's James Rosen, in questioning the President, brought up the Bush Doctrine, which he phrased: "If you feed a terrorist, if you clothe a terrorist, if you harbor a terrorist, you are a terrorist." He then laid out the White House case for P.L.O. chief Yasser Arafat and his relations with terrorists. He asked, then, isn't Arafat a terrorist who "should be dealt with in the same way that you've dealt with Saddam Hussein and Charles Taylor?"

The Mid Eastern situation involving Israel operates with different factors than Saddam in Iraq and Taylor in Liberia. The most basic difference is that Arafat governs no nation from which he can be ousted.

Many of Saddam's neighbors assisted us in removing him. Many of Taylor's neighbors did most of the work in ousting him. Arafat's neighbors support him, monetarily in the case of the Saudis.

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Dealing with the Devil


Some Senate Republican staffers call it "negotiating with terrorists," but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is striking a deal with the dour Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) which would give Michigan two new federal judges in exchange for Levin dropping a few of his obstructionist moves. One GOP committee member called the plan a "split-the-baby solution."

Senator Levin has been disgruntled because the wife of one of his cousins was nominated by Clinton in 1997 to a federal judgeship, and the Republican Judiciary Committee never gave her a hearing. Because he was just plain mad at the world, Levin decided to spend the last two years, in part, blocking the Presidents judicial nominees from Michigan. He's been in the Senate since 1978, and he doesn't have to take any of this here nonsense. Or some such. Committee Democrats aided in the obstruction as a favor to Levin.

Word of Senator Hatch's deal with Levin comes in this morning's Washington Times. The deal is not yet done, but preliminary reports have another seat (the 23rd) being added to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals; the seat will be filled by someone from Michigan. Also on the table, the Times was told, is adding another seat (the 31st) to one of Michigan's two federal district courts.

Now, word is that the new seat on the federal circuit court would go to that wife of Levin's cousin, Michigan Judge Helene White, though the President would have to sign off on that.

From the Times piece:
Asked if he was willing to placate Mr. Levin by adding the Michigan judicial posts, Mr. Hatch said: "I'm always very open, but let me not ..." and trailed off.

"It's sensitive," he resumed. "These are very sensitive negotiations."

Generally speaking, Mr. Hatch said, he wants to "resolve this without poking anybody in the eye."
Another problem for Hatch if he's making the deal, the article reports, is getting his Republican colleagues on Judiciary to go along with it. He might not have trouble with weasels like Arlen Specter, but Texas' freshman Senator John Cornyn said: "It's not very palatable to me. I'd be very curious whether [White House Counsel] Al Gonzales and the rest of the West Wing would be amenable to that."

The Dems are embittered and tenacious, and it will require a substantial Republican Senate majority to move the Senate in the right (Right) direction. Note that I did not say it would require a conservative Republican majority, as we lack one now but even moderate and liberal Republicans tend to vote with their President on judicial nominations. For this and for other, similar reasons, I stress that it's important to keep liberal Republicans like Linc Chafee, Olympia Snowe, Specter, and the erstwhile Republican Jim Jeffords in the party. They not only increase the majority, but they can usually be counted on to vote correctly on certain issues and nominations.

That being said, Representative Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) will make a better Senator than Snarlin' Arlen.

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A California Wildfire


Not in the Simi-Valley fire, but another of California's current wildfires is believed to have been caused by humans. Witnesses saw two long-haired white men in a truck throw a blazing object into brush on Saturday morning.

It seems likely to me that the truck bore the bumper sticker: "NO on Recall/ YES on Bustamante." It fits the profile: a disregard for private property and an awareness that the federal government will send them money.

Never fear: Geraldo's there.

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Bush to get his EPA administrator…


Good morning. Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, whose nomination had been obstructed by a few Dems, is set to become the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Senator Hillary Clinton and Jim Jeffords, candidates John Edwards, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, as well as former candidate now Senator-again Bob Graham. They had forced a procedural block on the nomination which would have required a 3/5ths majority (60 votes) to break, but they surrendered to the inevitable when it became clear that they did not have the 40 votes they needed.

The Senators and candidates had opposed Leavitt's confirmation, they had said, because they opposed President Bush. The President, they asserted, would not give them information regarding the reportage of the air quality at Ground Zero following September 11. Pulling a trick from their Texas brethren's book, they had even skipped a hearing so as not to have the quorum necessary for a vote on Leavitt's nomination.

Utah Senator Robert Bennett, the chief deputy GOP Whip, said that he expected Leavitt's nomination to pass this morning "with maybe 70-plus votes."

If they feared shame, this would have been a humiliating setback for Hillary and the Dems, who, by their own accounts, were opposing Governor Leavitt's nomination to make a case against President Bush as the election season approaches.

Natalie Gochnaur, a spokeswoman for Governor Leavitt, said Monday: "The governor remains patient and gracious; he feels optimistic he can make a meaningful contribution at the Environmental Protection Agency and looks forward to the final vote in the morning."

The Dems tried, but no one showed up at their little protest.

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10/27/2003

 

It is almost November 4


There's an open governor's seat in Kentucky, and Republican Representative Ernie Fletcher is leading Democrat State Attorney General Ben Chandler comfortably. Fletcher will replace Democrat Governor Paul E. Patten is going the way of the term limit.

In Mississippi, we all remember Haley Barbour. He signed my first RNC Life Member certificates. (I received two of them in the space of a few months, by a fluke. I think it was a result of the transition between Barbour and Jim Nicholson.) Haley's leading Mississippi's Dem Governor Ronnie Musgrave by 5 points in the latest polls, but that's the margin.

Barbour's getting it from all sides in the press. I read one article a week or so ago -- "straight news piece" -- likening Haley's success with that of Arnold Schwarzenegger in California: a star with a national name firing up the voters with an anti-incumbent fervor a lots and lots of big bucks. There are so many flaws in that analogy that I had to spend time trying to think of ways in which it could be considered valid.

Anyway, that's two GOP gains this November, an off-year election. And it's tricky for a President to have coattails when he isn't running, and especially in an off-year, but this year might be different. The Democrats have made the President an issue, which shows questionable judgment when his job approval rating is in the mid-50s.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Democrat Party needs a political savior with a strong set of beliefs, someone to move that lazy leviathan beyond the current crop of nobodies doing nothing, beyond the retrograde Clinton nostalgia. That person does not exist, at least not in a big-ticket way. (Harold Ford is too young, and to little like Jesse, though he verges of leftism-lite. Nancy Pelosi brushed him aside like the dandruff settling on her shoulders.)

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Is Lieberman nearing the end?


It's an interesting thought from Talon News, in which Kennebec County, Maine GOP Chairman Charles Mahaleris writes that he thinks Joe Lieberman's campaign is coughing up blood.

He writes of Lieberman's tactics in Sunday night's debate, which seemed no different than standard Joe to me. He talked of Joe stubbornly clinging to support of the war and opposition to Palestinian terrorists. That's Lieberman being Lieberman, nothing new.
These efforts, however, could be just the last gasp for a dying effort. Lieberman's campaign, which at one time was leading the way, may be weeks from closing up.
Weeks? Lieberman still has money, and he he'll have a few weeks off later this year where he won't have to play Senator. Maybe he'll drop a little before Chanukah and enjoy the Festival of Lights with his family.

With the two Lieberman positions the article mentions, he seems perfectly sane, and those positions would appeal to rational voters. But remember, Lieberman is trying to win the Democrat nomination.

I think he's waiting for the delusions and hyperbole to wear thing on voters, and he could well see himself as the emergency escape valve for Dem voters who wake up to see just what (who?) is trying to operate their party. That times not going to come. Hatred is a powerful emotion, and there is an unsettling core to that party who literally loathe our President. If they let it consume them to the center, we're going to have a Democrat Howie Dean running against President Bush. Sure, it will be a walk, but I shudder to think of it. (John Edwards would be much more of a challenge against whom to run, and possibly even more frightening. He says what he says, but his manner makes it seem palatable.)

Thinking aloud.

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Iraq and Tourism


In Madrid Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi announced that Iran was going to do its part to help reconstruct Iraq. (No, the offer was not on of 100,000 new mullahs by the end of 2004.) Kharazi said that they would share oil facilities with the Iraqis, lend them $300,000, and promote tourism in Iraq. He spoke of 100,000 Iranian tourists (many of whom would doubtless be mullahs) per month, spending about $500-million annually.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was asked about this at his Monday press briefing, and he answered: "There may be pilgrims who come for legitimate purposes but we've also raised concerned about [people traveling] across for not-so legitimate purposes, either smuggling or people coming across to foment violence and to oppose the progress that's being made." Not to belabor a point, but he was referring, in part, to the mullahs.

According to this French (AFP) story, half of the twelve imams the Shi'a hold holy are buried in Iraq.

The Administration, via Boucher, is taking the proper stance: "We've made clear that religious freedom is part of the environment that we'd like to create in Iraq and part of the environment the Iraqis themselves want to create. So as long as people are really pilgrims and not up to no good or smuggling, then I'm sure they'd be welcomed."

This can spread good will, of course, but there is no way of telling which Iranian tourists are going to foment discord and violence in the relatively tranquil south or Iraq. I think we can rely on the Iranian government not to attempt to stir the pot, as they know they are on a thin leash right now, with both the Europeans and the United States.

According to Paul Bremer Sunday, the real terrorists seem to be arriving from Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, and the Yemen. He stressed that Syria was a problem on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation, while mentioning the other nations, but dropped the stress on This Week.

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Former bureaucrat Dick Clarke complains…


Good Morning. Former Bush cybersecurity chief Dick Clarke was one of Steph's guests on ABC's This Week yesterday, and I'm not sure why. He didn't seem to be hawking a book or complaining about anything recently in the news, and the man hadn't be the President's cybersecurity honcho since early this year.

He seemed deeply bitter, displaying an astringency which might require medication to bring the brain chemicals back into balance. He had, after all, spend three decades dealing with the nation's security and had been President Bush's counterterrorism chief on September 11, 2001 -- a day on which terrorism was not countered.

To Steph on Sunday, he said: "No, we're not winning the war on terrorism."

By invading and occupying Iraq, he said on ABC, "we've made it easier for them [al Qaeda] to attack us." His dull eyes seemed to blaze black when he faulted the President's "bring 'em on" line of earlier this year. He does not like the idea of having the terrorists focus on Iraq rather than New York and Washington, as it is more immediate on the ground near Baghdad.

On This Week, Clarke accused the administration, in the act of invading Iraq, of confusing Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, but Clarke in the camp of those who cannot quite understand that the ouster of Saddam and liberation of Iraq was not payback for September 11. It was helping to prevent other such attacks, but Clarke is stubborn.

According to former Clinton aide Sandy Berger, Clarke was not liked by subordinates because he pushed them hard. Berger says that he liked that in Clarke, and that Clarke "had President Clinton's ear." (This was not on the ABC show; rather, it was from quips made when Clarke decided to quit government rather than be transferred to the new department of Homeland Security.) So we have a Dick Clarke betrothed of Clinton and afraid of "this new-fangled Homeland Security stuff we didn't have in my day."

On This Week, Clarke complained of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the attempts of the Defense Department to try to do things which are the purview of others, such as the State Department, the CIA, or the National Security Council. He feels the DoD "should let the experts do it." He resents Rumsfeld.

Steph seemed to cut the interview short when Clarke announced that he had heard that Rumsfeld had leaked his own memo.

At least the man's out to pasture. We can thank him for his service to our country and regret that he stayed on past his mental fitness. It's sometimes sad, in a wistful way, to see a dedicated public servant/bureaucrat go out in this manner.

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10/26/2003

 

Dem Debate Tonight


Here's the best quick analysis of tonight's CBC/FNC Dem candidate debate from the Fox Theater in Detroit = trade unions = Dick Gephardt. (Humor me, 'k?) For lack of anything better, we'll give him home field advantage.

Candidate Joe Lieberman had a major breakthrough tonight, announcing that he would negotiate with Hamas if they renounced terrorism. ("People can change.") Hamas is terrorism, that's their raison de'etre. Ground control to Joltin' Joe.

Candidate Dennis Kucinich is from the same county as was President James A. Garfield. He wants to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace, "to make non-violence an organizing principle in our society." Who, dude. "Vegetable rights and peace!" He's a high-minded globalist: "We need to work with other nations in the world to make war archaic." Let's talk to Kim Chong-Il, and Bashar Assad, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Hu Jintao of the PRC. Let's sit naked in our beds and sing along with John and Yoko.

Candidate Al Sharpton made a few unintelligible noises and the crowd went nuts.

Candidate Carol Mosley-Brain decreed that she would remove the trade deficit by implementing a single-payer health care plan.

Candidate John Edwards has a dream. Etc.

Candidate John Kerry talked about being presidential.

Candidate Dick Gephardt did not attend. Or he was hiding. Or I just didn't hear him.

Candidates Dean and Clark. It's a trick. I think they do it with mirrors.

Kerry seemed the most Presidential in bearing. Senator Edwards seemed the most likely to say shucks. Dean reminded me of Gary Hart circa 1984, sans even the ephemeral ideas. Clark looked like he had been let out for a while but would soon be put back in the jacket and put in a room where the walls won't hurt him.

There was no winner. Each candidate struck me as a loser, and that's hopefully not simply a partisan thing. I cannot picture any of them behind the Presidential seal, although Lieberman's close -- but Lieberman's not going to happen.

I didn't want to have the opportunity to watch this debate, as I was hoping beyond home for a Game 7. You know, though, seeing the Dems tonight was pretty much the equivalent of seeing my New York Yankees at the plate during the past week.

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Joltin' Joe Lieberman Faces the Nation


It now seems like a lifetime ago, but candidate Joltin' Joe Lieberman was a guest this morning on CBS's Fact the Nation with Bob Schieffer. I do not have the physical stats handy, but it seems to me that Lieberman appears on Schieffer's show more than any others, and that Schieffer has Lieberman as a more frequent guest than any other zany Dem crowd. It's actually comforting to know that they have each other.

Schieffer had the morning show talking point to lead off. Every host proclaimed this: "The news from Iraq seems to be even worse this morning." You see, the White House had been spinning it as getting better, so the networks had to quick portray it as getting worse.

Lieberman went through the usual bit about the United States going it alone -- a "one-sided process" -- and Schieffer accepted it as stated. Even Steph, a former Clinton sleepover pal, hassled candidate Edwards about this assertion.

Lieberman said that we went over there without any kind of plan. I've argued that the State Department had a plan, but I've received argument that this was not so much a plan as an outline of what to expect. The pre-war State Department report also contained suggestions for responses, though, so while it was not a plan in the concrete sense, it was more than the null which some Democrats -- including Lieberman this morning -- have suggested.

Paul Bremer on This Week this morning told Steph that there has been a plan since before he arrived there, and that the current version has 128 pages. It was by this plan that they got the electricity functioning at pre-war levels by October 1, Bremer said.

"We’re not doing as well as we should be doing," Lieberman asserted. He begs the question, how well should we be doing? There are a few malcontents causing a bit of trouble north of Baghdad.

Lieberman blamed Don Rumsfeld for the Administrations lack of planning. Again, the plans are in place and have been since before the war. But Joltin' Joe said, when asked by Schieffer if Rumsfeld should be sacked, said: "Judgment about whether he stays or not is up to President Bush. But if I were president, I would get a new secretary of defense." Sure. In a Lieberman administration, the Pentagon would answer to… Secretary of Defense Babs Boxer.

Fourteen months from now, these people will be off the airwaves. Be strong until then.

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Candidate John Edwards: A Damnably Good Liar


John Edwards is easily the smoothest liar we have seen on the political scene in ages; some say even Clinton had a slight tick. Edwards can do it well.

Edwards went on ABC's This Week this morning and began his verbal assault on the war effort. "It should be an international effort," he stated flatly. The United States if going it alone. But we have over 30 countries in the coalition, host Steph snidely protested, "and the Security Council resolution." Edwards countered that "it looks like an American operation to the Iraqis," the he returned to hammering President Bush for alienating the world by invading Iraq unilaterally.

To hear John-boy tell it, President Bush woke up one morning and decided to attack, catching the world by surprise.

On screen, Steph put up the words of Senator Joe Biden, saying that it was childish and incoherent to continue protesting that the action was purely unilateral. "It might work in the primaries," he said, "but it will fail in the general election." Edwards rebutted that: "What I have said from the beginning was completely coherent and completely consistent.

The current go-it-alone policy is not working, candidate Edwards insisted. As proof: "Look at what happened this morning with Secretary Wolfowitz." What happened this morning with Secretary Wolfowitz? The Al-Rashid hotel was attacked with crude rockets from a truck while Wolfowitz was evidently in the building, but he was out speaking a few hours later. He seemed fine. (Then again, candidate Edwards is a tort lawyer, and thus might know something about being injured when you're not.)

Edwards came out strongly against the Patriot Act. Columnist George Will, on hand to help Steph, pointed out that he had voted for it. Edwards retorted that he liked a lot of things about it, but he did not like that it gives the attorney general the power to rifle through people's library records and book purchases. Will pointed out that they could do this before the Patriot Act was passed; it was used to hunt the Unibomber, for instance. Edwards said he opposed the "level of discretion it gives to the attorney general," invoking John Ashcroft as the enemy of the constituency to which Edwards wants to appeal.

Search warrants, Will pointed out. He still needs those. Or is he arguing that the judiciary can also be subverted via the Patriot Act. Edwards said that the "Attorney General can do some things without judicial permission."

The man's face is earnest. His voice quavers at the right pitch. His eyes seem to open up his heart to those who watch him. And everything he says is complete crap, yet I can understand why most people would want to believe him. I'm concerned that more people will see him.

Steph flashed the poll numbers, with Edwards stuck in the middle group. Edwards said he's competing in Iowa and can win that State's caucuses. He said that this year's New Hampshire primary was unusual, in that you had two candidates from adjacent States in the field: candidate Howie Dean of Vermont and Massachusetts' John-John Kerry. According to Edwards's polls, he says, he's currently in third place in the Granite State. And, of course, "more importantly [than the polls]," he said, "I see what's happening on the ground."

He is certain of winning South Carolina, and what's more: "I'm not going to lose this election. I'm going to be the Democrat nominee for President."

He could be trouble. He's a damnably good liar.

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Edwards, Lieberman, and Clarke


The Rightsided Newsletter has been published -- it's on the web site, if you want to see that version -- and there are a few more things about this morning's Talk Shows to discuss.

Candidate Joe Lieberman was bland but trying to attack on CBS's Face the Nation, while candidate John Edwards was brazen and bald-faced on ABC's This Week.

I've got errands, but I'll scribble about those items when I return, as well as former NSC staffer Dick "New Years Rockin' Eve" Clarke's peformance on This Week. That cat was nearly surreal.

Back in a few...
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The Talk Shows


Good morning. The most relevant word this morning will come from, I think, Paul Bremer, the chief civilian administrator on the ground in Iraq. He will be on Fox News Sunday, and we can expect host Tony Snow to give him an interview on which he can accentuate the positive developments in Iraq. What the media isn't telling us. He's also appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, where host Bob Schieffer might try to pin him down about "quagmire" and sixteen words. Based on his record of late, Steph should give Bremer a good interview on ABC's This Week.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Illinois) and Democrat ranking member Carl Levin (D-Michigan) are guests on CNN's Late Edition, and host Blitzer is one of the consistently worst interviewers on Sunday morning. Levin is always a negative droner, and do you remember that Lugar ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996? He was good on foreign affairs, natch, and he was certainly more exciting than was Bob Dole. (That's a truism which probably does not bear repeating.)

Tim Russert, on NBC's Meet the Press, interviews Secretary of State Colin Powell. If he's true to his latest form, Russert will bring up settled matters and move on to ask the Secretary if he's stepping down for President Bush's second term.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Fristof Tennessee will step onto Fox News Sunday, and he's probably our best bet to get word on the passage of the ban on Partial Birth Abortion. It's a no-brainer in a civilized society, so what was the opposition.

Candidates Joe Lieberman and John Edwards will be on Face the Nation and This Week respectively. This makes sense, as Schieffer has always seemed to dig Lieberman to the exclusion of the other Dems, while Edwards is the most Clintonesque in the Dem field, thus arousing a stirring in Steph's loins.

I'll review the madness and the nonsense in the afternoon's Rightsided Newsletter, to which you can subscribe for free, no strings. Visit the web site, linked in this paragraph and on this page, or send a blank e-mail to rsn-subscribe@topica.com.

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10/25/2003

 

"Gee, Let's Have a March!"


Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.R.), and United for Peace and Justice are the two strange groups of muddled souls who organized today's anti-war rally in Washington, DC. The main point of their objections was that President Bush and his Administration "butchered the truth."

These clowns haven't thought it through. They were told the President lied and they should protest, and that's what they are doing. They cannot recite the lies, because there were none.

Anyway, Agence France Presse (AFP)/a> reported that "[s]ome 25,000 protesters rallied on Saturday in US cities against the US-led occupation of Iraq":
More than 20,000 leftists marched in Washington… [a]nd in San Francisco, more than 4,000 marched."
The 20,000 figure is ten times too high, but the "leftist" appellation is accurate. These people were protesting capitalism, not a war or the President except as far as they are symbols of capitalism.

That's the word from AFP, the French wire. The organizers had prematurely forecast 30,000 in DC alone.

Here is the tale the U.S. press told about turnout. This from Knight-Ridder:
The crowd appeared to be much smaller than the 30,000 people the organizers had predicted would attend the first major anti-war demonstration held in the nation's capital since Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1.
Here's this from the Associated Press:
Hundreds of people marched in San Francisco today in an anti-war demonstration that mirrored a larger one in Washington.
On source put it at 2,000 in Washington. Looking through headlines, I see numbers like 15,000 and terms like "busloads."

I am not writing this to make a point that the press exaggerated the numbers. Not even the French press. Our media has been fond of taken several score loudmouths and writing them up as thousands. The French probably want to see Americans rebel against President Bush, who shut Chirac up. National pride.

Before you spend any time angry at these anti-war protestors, please remember that there are not a lot of them. Things are going well.

Remember that tomorrow's Rightsided Newsletter is a review of the Sunday morning Talk Shows. It is free, no strings, and it's very easy to subscribe. Visit the web page, or send a blank e-mail to rsn-subscribe@tripod.com. It's a good read. I promise. Knock on wood.

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Intelligence Scuffle


West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Dem on Senate Intelligence, whined Friday that committee Chairman Pat Roberts was skewing the committee's report on pre-war Iraq intelligence to focus on the CIA rather than the Bush Administration.

Speaking to Washpost reporter Dana Priestly on Friday, Roberts threw around terms like "sloppy" and said that the intelligence community "ill-served" the President. "I worry about the credibility of the intelligence community. If there's stuff on the fan, we have to get the fan cleaned," he's quoted in the Priestly piece.

Better yet: get a new fan.

[Note: When I typed "Priestly piece," it called to mind the demeanor, the inner peace of those nice ordained Franciscans on EWTN. If you talk to Father Angelus, tell him I was not referring to them.]

An Associated Press story has Roberts annoyed at Priestly on Saturday:
The Kansas Republican said his committee has not finished a report from its examination of prewar intelligence, contrary to a published article that said the panel is preparing a report highly critical of the intelligence.

Roberts said in a statement Friday that remarks he made to a Washington Post reporter were "mischaracterized" and quipped Saturday, "That means you shouldn't have talked to the reporter."


The Friday statement said that Priestly had twisted Roberts's statements "to support assertions and implications that are not accurate. … The committee has not finished its review of the intelligence and has not reached any final conclusions or finished a report".

On Saturday, Roberts spoke to about 40 editors and publishers from Kansas, where he said: "There is much more work to be done. I hope that we'll have a more definitive conclusion the next few months." The report is nowhere near the stage at which Priestly erroneously placed. Rockefeller and the others reacted to what a inept reporter wrote, not to fact.

This was about Priestly's whimsy surpassing the physical news.

But also on Saturday, Roberts told the editors and publishers: "Saddam Hussein did have a WMD. We do not know whether it was destroyed or dispersed or hidden, or in the worst-case scenario, shipped off shore." He also said: "I'm concerned by the lack of significant results to date, but I am going to resist the temptation to make any hasty predictions about the ultimate outcome of the findings. This is not an easy undertaking. Dr. Kay wants more time, and we need to give him that."

When asked if he thought Congress would have supported a war based on what is known now about the state of Saddam's erstwhile weapons program, Roberts said: "I don't know. Right now, we're seeing a lot of people who say that because we haven't found the specific evidence or the actual weaponry, that they would not have voted to go to war."

That's political. When they voted to authorize the use of troops before the war, they did not know for certainty that Saddam had the weapons locked-and-loaded. He might have. The argument of the Administration was that Saddam wanted those weapons, had not accounted for the destruction of some he did have, the world believes he has them, and we cannot wait to see what happens when we find out.

This is an uncertain world. If we reacted only to things which we knew were certain, skipping things we had reason to believe were certain, the uncertain would become certain when it punched us in the jaw.

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"IMMINENT Threat!"


The Washington Post obtained a draft copy of the Senate report placing most of the blame for "exaggeration," vis the Iraq war, on the CIA. The Dem's say that it was actually the White House which did the exaggerating.

I'll get into that later, but I recommend this George Will column from Thursday: George Will: Rumsfeld. The latter part of the column is relevant to this discusison. Here's an excerpt:
After all, they say, Rumsfeld, the president and Secretary of State Colin Powell repeatedly asserted that Iraq's weapons programs posed an ``imminent'' threat.

Such assertions by those three officials may have numbered ... zero. Rumsfeld is more bemused than angered, and certainly not shocked, that critics profess themselves shocked and angered because he, Powell and the president supposedly said, repeatedly, something that none of them actually ever said. At least, says a Rumsfeld aide, an electronic search finds not a single instance of them using the argument that Iraq posed an ``imminent'' WMD threat to the United States.
Which leaves me to ask, how much of this exaggeration came from the White House and how much was created by the hyper-reactive press, in a flush of manufactured panic?
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Sharpton Leads Amongst Blacks


This is from a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) story taken from BlackPressUSA.com. The NNPA, which serves, it says, "more than 200 black newspapers," commissioned the Gallup organization to poll and analyze likely Democrat voters.

They surveyed 205 African Americans and found the Reverend Al Sharpton was favored by 22-percent. Trailing him by nine points was the second place finisher, General Wesley Clark. They talked to 1,075 whites, however, and Sharpton finished dead last, with 1-percent.

Joe Lieberman finished third amongst blacks with 12%, followed by Howie Dean with 8-percent. Carol Mosley Braun finished behind Dean with 7-perecent. But hold all the presses. The margin of error with blacks in the survey was, because of the sampling size, eight-percent. Sharpton complains:
"We still have the problem in this country of Whites voting for Blacks, whether it’s Al Sharpton for president, whether it’s Carl McCall for governor of New York,” Sharpton says. “Whereas we are willing as a community to vote for people other than us, we can’t get a breakthrough in real numbers in the White community."
The article cites University of Maryland political science professor Ron Walters, who worked for both of Jesse Jackson's campaigns, as pointing out that race explains only part of the problem. He argues that Sharpton has high negatives among people of all races, "and 22 percent in the Black community is not that impressive [for an African American candidate]." (In 1984, Jackson received 77% of the black vote, while he received 92% in 1988. Jackson doubled his support among whites, also, from 5 to 12-pecent.)

Walters also claims that people saw Jackson as the candidate "to fight back against Reaganism." Sharpton lacks that advantage, and one "can't manufacture social movements." This sentiment is perplexing. If African Americans saw Jackson as the candidate to combat President Reagan, why wouldn't they see Sharpton as the man to fight Bush? Unless, of course, he's speaking in broader, philosophical terms. Simply put, President Reagan had an "-ism." President Reagan fronted a social movement, if we want to use that term. President Bush lacks the -ism and the movement.

Also, the attacks against President Bush by his political opponents have been by several orders more savage than those against President Reagan by his. (Politics has since been Begalastized, but more on that later.)

I'll speculate that African Americans wanted to vote for one of their own of whom they could be proud as President. This is legitimate and understandable, and the Reverend Jackson fit their bill in '84 and '88. It seems -- and Dr. Walters hinted at this -- that Sharpton does not. It is more difficult for blacks to be proud of Sharpton.

It's a shame that blacks (and whites) could not take serious a candidate like Dr. Alan Keyes. It's a shame that liberalism is being taught in terms of racial pride. It does not belong there.

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The Revenge of Gray Davis


Good morning. Yesterday was an off-day for blogging, and part of it had to do with Iomega and a girl named Rachel. (My wife knows all about it….)

In California of late, much ado-making has gone on about: TRANSITION. Incoming Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is making nice and working with outgoing Governor Gray Davis. Transition. Transcript of Thursday's joint press conference.

Davis tells a camera that he advised Schwarzenegger to "just enjoy every moment. This is the best job you'll ever have. Even on the bad days, enjoy it." Those are interesting words from a man who was tossed from his job by voters voting in droves.

Arnold deadpanned to a camera: "The governor has been very gracious. He's been fantastic. I will need the governor's help in the future." Interesting words from a man who carried the banner for an electorate who wanted Davis as far away from the governor's mansion as possible.

Arnold's even becoming somewhat cuddly with California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, a man who, just a few weeks ago, referred to the future governor as a nazi sex-pervert.

It's politics. No hard feelings.

But Davis would have his revenge. The Democrat-run State legislature would send him liberal bill after bill to sign at the last minute, making them law and leaving Schwarzenegger to deal with the often insipid consequences. (Same sex marriage-lite for employees of private companies who contract with the State?)

Recess appointments! According to this story from the Associated Press, "Davis has nominated nearly 90 people, including some of his top aides, to state posts since voters recalled him Oct. 7." These appointments must be confirmed by the State senate soon, because Schwarzenegger can withdraw the nominations once he takes office. (The current estimate for that day is November 17.)

The State senate is out-of-town, though Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, a Democrat, promised Davis that they'd come back to confirm nominations before Davis beat his retreat to the suburbs of Sacramento and liberal strongholds in northern California, directing guerilla-style political attacks at Republican forces working at reconstruction.

Many senators, however, do not want to reconvene to confirm so many appointments by a governor who was so recently removed by the voters of the State. Some State senate sources say they have made a deal with Schwarzenegger's folks that would have Arnold relinquishing his power to remove a dozen to fifteen of Davis's last minute nominations Schwarzenegger spokesman H.D. Palmer told the AP, though: "I'm not going to speculate on speculation."

Speculating on speculation. I've seen a lot of that here in the blogosphere, and it makes for fine and simulating reading. Did you know that Pete Wilson -- the Once and Future Governor? -- left Davis with 134 unconfirmed nominations? I don't know how many of them were last-minute nominatiosn and how many were victims of pre-Daschlean obstruction, a la some of President George W. Bush's nominees.

Arnold Schwarzenegger can "learn the ropes" from Pete Wilson. His campaign was laced with Wilson people, and so will be his administration. His chief of staff will be a former Wilson girl, Patricia Clarey. (Please note that I use the term "girl" neither derisively nor dismissively. It is meant merely to denote association.)

Davis is getting his sops, I speculate, in order for Schwarzenegger to appear to be bipartisan and working only in the interests of an ideological mish-mash the press might call fair. It's an image thing, a way of peddling a perception. And Davis may get his 12-15 nominees. (Wilson didn't get any from Davis.)

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10/24/2003

 

Google IPO: A Return of the "Clinton Economy"?


"Initial IPO!" "Dot-com Boom!" "Tech-stocks!" "Wallstreet!" "Clinton!" "Rubin!" "Record Growth!"

The hoopla was fun while it lasted. Investment bankers funded companies with little real equity, and the paper floated into it burned. The artificial and temporary "prosperity" faced as reality hit the books, and it somehow began as Clinton's term was ending.

Cynthia L. Webb of the Washington Post sees a return of those halcyon months, in a fashion, when she writes Baking on Google in today's Washington Post. It turns out that the Financial Times sees Google going live with an IPO, which is a "a process that is likely to lead to a stock market listing by about March next year."

According to FT, Google will go with an electronic auction:
designed to prevent a recurrence of the sort of financial scandals that have engulfed Wall Street since the collapse of the dotcom bubble, according to a person close to the company.

It could also slash the underwriting fees paid to investment banks, the person added, and in the process help to break Wall Street's hold on the lucrative IPO business.
Google's estimated value is said to be $15-25-billion, with earnings of $150-million on revenues of $500-million."

Ms. Webb writes in the Washpost:
Why the obsession with Google? An IPO by the company is expected to rival any issued during tech's glorious ride in the late '90s, when investment bankers chomped at the bit to underwrite offerings and market valuations mushroomed. A Google IPO, the thinking seems to be, would return The Street to the age of Camelot.
The Age of Camelot on Wall Street, when companies were overvalued and the bubble was waiting to burst. As in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Graham Chapman as King Arthur stands before a castle in the distance.

"Knights," he proclaims, "I bid you welcome to your new home! Let us ride… to Camelot!"

In echoed tones, the Knights of the Roundtable individually repeat: "Camelot!" The king's servant, Patsy, reminds then under his breath: "It's only a model." He's silenced with a "shhhh," and they break into song.

It's only a model. Maybe not, though, given the FT quote above, lifted almost verbatim by Webb. And also according to the British financial broadsheet:
An auction would allow all investors to bid for Google's shares directly, rather than leave it to an investment bank to decide on the price of the shares and who should receive them.
One person close to Google complained that Wall Street's existing method of selling shares allowed banks to set the prices of dotcom stock issues deliberately low, then hand them to favoured investment clients.
It seems possible that President Bush could benefit from the same dynamic over which Clinton's Administration had no control but on which is bases is own concept of self-worth. Only this time, unlike last time, the companies may have found a way to do it right.

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The Rest of the Axis of Evil


The United States and Europe have taken a stand against Iran, forcing the theocratic dictatorship to allow inspectors in to look at its nuclear program. The United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and the People's Republic of China are working on North Korea. The French wire service Agence France Presse (AFP) begins their little piece with these words:
After going it alone against Iraq, the United States is letting its allies take a lead role in the campaign against Iran and North Korea, the two other suspected weapons-proliferating members of the "Axis of Evil".
The United States, of course, did not "go it alone" against Saddam. And even with UNSC approval, the invasion force would not have looked significantly different. The United States would have led and provident the bulk of the troops and materiel because the United States is the only country who could do so.

The United States has the lead in North Korea, and that is what North Korea demands. Pyongyang has repeatedly stated that it wants to deal with Washington one-on-one, lending it a certain air of importance, in Pyongyang's backwards mode of thought, of having dealt personally with the superpower.

The French story continues:
Now he seems to want to avoid further isolation.

But Bush must tread carefully in this policy to reconcile US objectives and the anxieties of his allies, according to US experts.
The United States was never isolated, remaining in the foreground before, during, and after the war. And it is the allies, it seems, who are treading carefully in this policy to reconcile the differences.

Of Iran and North Korea, the French write:
In both cases the US policy of "pre-emptive strikes" and "regime change" against anything that threatens the United States has been pushed to one side, at least for now.
Preemption was never the U.S. policy in regards to Iran or North Korea. The doctrine of preemption does not include the necessity of preemption in all cases. But it seems that the French journalists are as dim as many of our own here in the States.

The experts cited by the AFP to back its case do the opposite.
"I think the Iraqi case had its own momentum and its own rationale," said Helmut Sonnenfeldt at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
AND:
"The Bush administration deserves a lot of credit for forcing the issue [of Iran's nuclear program] and for bringing it to the IAEA," said [Joseph Cirincione, disarmament specialist at the Carnegie Endowment].
The President is still doing his thing.
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10/23/2003

 

Five More Minutes for Joe Wilson


Former Ambassador Joe Wilson is the guy who tried to tell us that he spent 12-hours in Niger, was told by the government that they did not try to sell yellow cake to Saddam Hussein, and went home and submitted the report to the CIA. He further claims that he knows as a certainty that CIA Director George Tenet and even Vice President Dick Cheney read the report.

He claims that despite his efforts, President Bush intentionally lied in the Sixteen Words, ignoring what the important report from the important Joe Wilson which everyone read and knew to be certain proof. (We stopped, briefly, in Joe Wilson's dream world.)

He ran around saying that he wanted to "frog-march" Karl Rove. He implicated Rove in leaking his wife's name -- Valerie Plame, a CIA analyst -- to conservative columnist Robert Novak.

He went on CBS's Face the Nation one recent Sunday morning and claimed to host Bob Schieffer that his wife had received credible information that her life was in danger, that she was at the most risk of terrorism of anyone in the United States, and the Bush Administration had refused to provide security. (He had not mentioned this in his other Sunday morning interviews.) [blog entry from October 5[

Joe Wilson said that he was going to use his 15-minutes of fame to see to it that President Bush was not reelected. He claimed he was angry with Bush after the President had repudiated an earlier speech he had made at the Reagan Library as a candidate. In this space -- Bush's Speech at the Reagan Library -- we found that this line was a fabrication, as well.

On C-SPAN, Joe Wilson had said that he was politically liberal and that he had donated $1,000 to the campaign of candidate John Kerry. On Thursday, Wilson tried to sneak back into the spotlight by formally endorsing Kerry.

His big thing? He praised Kerry for being a fellow war protestor:
"John Kerry did the same thing after he came out of Vietnam, I did it at the age of 53 ... with a long and distinguished career behind me. John Kerry did it at the very beginning of his career.

"I know how these sorts of things test one's mettle. To have stood up and said what he did, at the time that he did, in my judgment, sets him apart from the other candidates."
Protesting tests one's mettle? From what universe is this man operating?

Joe Wilson, 53, thinks of himself as an Iraq War protestor. Would a peacenik have been believed had he traveled to Pyongyang and returned to tell us that the North Vietnamese did not want to take Saigon?

Joe Wilson is a silly man. It speaks miles about the gullibility of a certain segment of our population that the man has received so much press as if credible.

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Rumsfeld's Memorandum Revisited


More is being said about the memo Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent to four subordinates, so let's take another look.

Yesterday, I scribbled an entry I called Rumsfeld's Memo (the memo itself is there, as well). I concluded:
Secretary Rumsfeld took his post with aspirations to streamline the Department of Defense and the military, tailoring it to best prepare to fight a new, post-Soviet global set of threats. This memo is thinking along those lines, with questions as points of consideration and discussion. The questions are asked to gain intellectual input, not to express any specific sense of panic. If problems spring up, or could occur, they are dealt with.
But candidate John Kerry, who should know of this management technique, quickly spouted:
"I think it confirms what I've been saying all along, which is that they don't have a plan, they're not doing this right and if the secretary is now admitting privately what many have been saying publicly, it raises very serious questions about his leadership and the president's leadership."
Secretary Rumsfeld verified my assumption:
"I don't think that anyone who has ever come in to a position like secretary of defense is asked to cage their brain and stop thinking. And that's what we're here for, to try to think in the best interests of the American people, and to ask the kind of questions that are important and are probing and it seems to me that's a very constructive, useful thing to do."
Donald Rumsfeld is a brilliant, thoughtful, and intellectually curious man. Those three adjectives do not apply to most mainstream journalists. This is exceedingly apparent in the manner in which they treated an internal memo. Secretary Rumsfeld wants his subordinates to think, and to think deeply. Myers, Armitage, Pace, and Feith are capable of such thought. The press, for the most part, is just not equipped.

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Candidate Dennis Kucinich is Still Running


I was surprised to discover this afternoon that candidate Dennis Kucinich is still running for the Democrat presidential nomination. I received this bulk e-mail from the campaign concerning how it expects to put its boy "over the top."

I offer this copy of the mailing, cleaned of URLs, not as a poli sci lesson; rather, it is a curiosity. I wonder if they are going to retrofit a campaign bus to consume hemp rather than standard fuel.
The Kucinich campaign is spreading in so many ways, that you can now participate by walking, marching, singing, or even sitting in your chair. Read on.
WALKING

Jonathan Meier's walk from the Atlantic to the Pacific has left Maine and headed into New Hampshire, where Jonathan was met and encouraged by Dennis himself. Supporters are walking miles with Jonathan as he passes through their areas. Volunteers from 41 states have offered to join the walk when it arrives in their regions.

A Kucitizen from San Francisco was so inspired by Jonathan's walk that he came up with a way to participate without leaving his chair. Keep reading.

MARCHING

Rallies and marches to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home are being organized in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and many other cities around the country for this Saturday, Oct. 25.

Wear a Kucinich shirt to one of these marches. Bring Kucinich stickers to stick on supporters. Download and photocopy a huge supply of these flyers to hand out:

Peace Flyer, Support the Troops Flyer, Peace Video Flyer

And make your own large creative signs. Here's a good basic theme:

"Kucinich Says: UN in, US out of Iraq!"

If you can't make it to a march, you can hold a house party to raise funds for the campaign. And it's not too early to start planning for a big day of Bring-Home-the-Troops parties on November 11, Veterans' Day. Order a free house-party kit:

SINGING

If you're in New Mexico on Sunday, you can catch Michelle Shocked's benefit concert for the campaign from noon to 5:30 p.m. in the Oscar Huber Memorial Ball Park on Route 14 in Madrid, N.M. Call 505-501-2606. Speaking of music, check out this interview of Dennis Kucinich in the new Rolling Stone:

SITTING IN YOUR CHAIR

This Sunday evening, why not gather together at the home of someone with cable TV and watch the next Democratic candidates' debate on Fox News (check your local listings). Remember to keep track of the minutes given each candidate and the accuracy of commentators' remarks after the debate, and politely express any concerns to [Fox News]. Remember also to pass the hat for the campaign!

AN INSPIRATION

"Dear Jonathan, Thank you for the inspiration and the beautiful example you're providing as you begin the 'Walk for Dennis'," wrote Bill H. of San Francisco. "I'm writing to offer a word of encouragement." Bill went on to suggest that if Jonathan could walk across the nation, people all over the nation could contribute $50 from the comfort of their chairs. "$50 is less than the cost of a night at the movies (with popcorn and drinks) for a family of four. And with U.S. war-related expenditures now exceeding $1,500 per American per year, it's clear that $50 would be a wise and timely investment in a more sustainable and peaceful future..May peace and hope accompany you...and I'll look forward to walking with you and Suzette."

RUNNING OUT OF STICKERS AND BUTTONS

Materials are flying off the shelves and we need $20,000 to restock. Help us reach that goal!

YARD SIGNS NEEDED

Supporters want signs in their yards, but yard signs cost money. Help us raise $20,000 for signs!

FILING IN EVERY STATE

We're putting Dennis Kucinich's name on the ballot in all 50 states, but the filing fees are costly. We need $30,000 and know you can help us reach that mark!

SO MANY MEETINGS

With MeetUps and house parties mushrooming, it takes dollars to provide every meeting with a CD full of useful materials. We can do so if we raise $50,000 for this project.
Please note their curious use of the term "house parties mushrooming. (Certain species of the wild species are used by a certain societal sector for their hallucinogenic qualities.)

I'm torn between Kucinich , Clark, and Dean as the ideal Dem candidates against whom to run. Sharpton or Mosley-Braun would be bad, as they could try to turn the election into a contest involving something else, and those two are fond of unfairly placing the GOP on the downside of that issue.

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Vacation in Havana


Senators Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho) are doing their part to see that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has the money he needs on hand to facilitate a smooth transition to another dictator in the event of his death. (That is one way of putting it, anyway.)

They offered an end to the ban as an amendment to the fiscal 2004 Transportation and
Treasury spending bill (HR 2989J), which the Senate refused to table, 36-59, and then passed by a voice vote. The House passed a similar end to the ban on September 9, 227-188. The White House warned against these attempts.

Dorgan opined: "The best approach for dealing with communist countries is engagement."

Craig added: "Ten per cent of the OFAC [the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control] budget is used to track down little old grandmas from the West Coast who, through a Canadian travel agency, chose to bike in Cuba."

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) retorted: "Why should we now open up travel to Cuba to give additional cash flow to the Castro regime? It is a cash-starved dictatorship, and no matter what anyone says, opening the doors to American tourism will feed that dictatorship."

The White House offered: "The administration believes that it is essential to maintain sanctions and travel restrictions to deny economic resources to the brutal Castro regime."

Now, any human being with an ounce of respect for their fellow man would refuse to vacation in or patronize la Republica de Cuba, but our national security does not depend on our government forcing people to stay away.

Trade sanctions are a different matter, as foreign trade is in the Constitutional purview of Congress.
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United Nation's Lack of Security at Fault


The New York Times said today (Thursday), in a 40-page report, that an "independent panel appointed to investigate the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad in August said on Wednesday in a scathing report that security breaches, inadequate security analysis and poor management left the organization vulnerable to attack."

The committee which faulted the U.N. was appointed by Kofi Annan and led by former Finnish president Martii Ahtisaari, known as "Yasser Arafat's favorite European diplomat" for his pro-terror investigation into Israel's April incursion into Jenin.

Directly after the August bombing, an imperious Annan was quick to blame it on the United States:
"The occupying power is responsible for law and order and the security of the country, We had hoped that by now the coalition forces would have secured the environment for us to be able to carry on the essential work of political and economic reconstruction, institution-building and for Iraqis to carry on with their work."
Kofi's independent panel, however, faulted the U.N. for rejecting offers of protection from the United States.

The other members of the Ahtisaari team were Peter Fitzgerald, deputy commissioner of the Irish national police, who was a police advisor to the pro-P.L.O. U.N. Jenin panel; Jaakko Taneli Oksanen, a brigadier-general in the Finnish army; and Claude Bruderlein of Switzerland, director of the program on humanitarian policy and conflict research at Harvard University. In an April 9 Washington Post chat, Bruderlein argued: " It is the duty of the Occupying Power to ensure law and order in the territory under its control."

The chat was ostensibly, according to Bruderlein, about "the laws of war," which can be assumed to include occupation. Why did the Ahtissari findings not only stand square against what both Kofi and a panel member had said was a U.N. law of war, but also reversed a fairly consistent pattern of "blame the U.S. as the aggressor" from the United Nations? What irked the Europeans to issue an uncharacteristic ultimatum to Iran, demanding that the Middle Easter theocratic dictatorship regarding its nuclear program?

There is a dynamic at work here, and we can be certain that it was generated by non-public words and actions on the part of President Bush. What we are seeing is something lacking in the international community in the 1990's, and that is a genuine respect for the needs, wishes, and demands of the United States of America. This respect is necessary to influence would-be terror-supporting states, and thus to thwarting the terrorists.

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