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3/31/2004

 

Two New Columns on the RSN site


The latest column by Jan Ireland, Mother Murdered Children Never Considered Hate Crimes, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Yet another mother is on trial for killing her children. Again in Texas a woman who gave birth to and nurtured her children for a time has become their killer.

Again we hear the protestations of wonderful mother, devoted wife, and no mother in her right mind could do such a thing. People call for helping the "victim" mother. Such calls are simply
giving the killer an out.

Attention should be on the real victims, the children, who have been the focus of hate. [MORE]



And the latest from Isaiah Z. Sterrett, Arretez Ces Enfants !, is up on site as well:
I GUESS you can't expect much maturity from the party of Lyndon Johnson, who revealed his surgical scars to reporters, or Bill Clinton, who revealed his, well, Johnson, to half the girls between Little Rock and D.C. Still, you'd think being at war would evoke some seriousness in Democrats.

The big story for the past few days has been the unfolding drama of Richard Clarke, the only man in Washington who flip-flops more than John Kerry. [MORE]

Enjoy.

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Gas Prices


In a post Monday, I had at candidate Kerry for his campaign blathering about gasoline prices. I suggested the repeal of the 18.4-cent/gallon federal gas tax. In a comment, Jaws of JawsBlog suggested that part of the cost was due to "the myriad of environmental rules regarding refining of the fuel."

This is from a Reuters piece dated this (Wednesday) evening:
[Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle] McSlarrow noted that retail gasoline prices have soared to a record $1.76 per gallon, in part because of the large number of specialized gasoline blends required to meet various air pollution rules in U.S. cities.

``There's no question in mind that that's a huge part of the problem,'' he said.
We see the problem. Both Bush and Kerry see the answer as federalizing fuel composition requirements, so that different compositions are required to meet different standards in the several States. And California and New York have applied for exemption to the federal clean-air regs this summer, but that probably won't happen.

McSlarrow says that we need Congress to pass an energy bill to make things better, but the White House will pursue "any short-term things that can be done."

The answer is much simpler, except for the special interests who will fight for every last regulation and standard and more, and the government officials themselves who will fight for every 46-cents/gallon for $2.50 gasoline.

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The Next Ambassador to Iraq


The NYTimes looks at who is going to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq, charged with running the single largest United States embassy.
Among the names being discussed within the administration are Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz; retired Gen. George A. Joulwan, a former NATO commander; Robert Blackwill, a former ambassador to India who now directs Iraq policy at the White House; and two veteran diplomats, Thomas R. Pickering and Frank G. Wisner.

[ . . . ]
Few in the administration can think of a Democrat with whom he [President Bush] might feel comfortable, or who would be willing to take the job, unless it were Senator Zell Miller, a former Georgia governor who has endorsed Mr. Bush for re-election.

Other names being discussed are former senators like Howard Baker, now ambassador to Japan; Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader; Phil Gramm of Texas; or Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, a critic of the administration on security issues.

[ . . . ]
Two diplomats close to Mr. [Secretary of State Colin] Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and John D. Negroponte, the ambassador to the United Nations, were described by some officials as highly qualified but not likely to get the nod because of their lack of closeness to President Bush.
This will be a big job, both politically and geopolitically, so two names to add would be those of Secretary Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Both would be good choices, a what would essentially be a demotion is unlikely.

My wife suggested Monsoor Ijaz of Crescent Financial Group. He has the familiarity with and contacts in the region to be effective, and Sandy Berger doesn't like him. I do not know if he has earned the President's trust, but we know that Rudman surely hasn't.

Howard Baker is a good name, but there is Baker, also a chief of staff for President Reagan: James Baker, III. Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig would be a good choice, as well.

Speculation runs rampant, indeed.

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Clarke to Moveon.org: 'Pull Ads!'

Moveone.org to Clarke: 'No!'

According to the Associated Press:
The advertisement by MoveOn.org accuses Bush of "shamelessly" exploiting the September 2001 terrorism attacks against New York and Washington. It includes two audio excerpts from an interview with Clarke that CBS aired on "60 Minutes" on March 21, the day before Clarke's book, "Against All Enemies," went on sale.
Clarke told the AP:
"I don't want to be part of what looks like a political TV ad. I'm trying hard to make this not a partisan thing but a discussion of how we stop terrorism from happening in the future, keep this on a policy issue. I don't want this to become any more emotional or personal than it has already."
Clarke has made the almost purely political from the start, retreating now when his credibility was stripped in response. His quote belongs in the MoveOn.org ad. The MoveOn.org ad, however, does not belong on television.

Here's what a law professor said:
One copyright expert said Clarke had little legal recourse under copyright statutes protecting the publicity rights of celebrities or public figures.

"It's very difficult to imagine any claim that a court would take seriously in this context," said Susan Crawford, an assistant professor at Yeshiva University's Cardozo Law School in New York. "I'm surprised he's doing this. No one would assume that Richard Clarke encouraged them to do this."
Clarke's trying to shed his partisan colors in order to duck the return fire, and he is a bit too late.

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"Eric's Telephone Log


A Starbucks employee in Washington found some notes prepared for a breakfast with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the Sunday morning shows when a Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell went on a few Sunday AM shows to defend the Administration after Clarke's committee tirade.

According to UPI, John Podesta's Center for American Progress (CAP) put the notes on their web site. The Washpost also carries the story.

Here's the "damage" reported by UPI:
One of Clarke's most damaging allegations is that he crafted an anti-terrorism plan -- a National Security Presidential Directive -- to take on al-Qaida in January 2001. The NSPD was not approved until Sept. 4, and neither was it substantially changed in the intervening months, according to Clarke. He has challenged the White House to release both documents to allow for a side-by-side comparison.

The notes address this matter, saying the plan to attack the Taliban existed before Sept. 4.

"The NSPD wasn't signed till Sept. 4 but had an annex going back to July (with) contingency plans to attack Taliban," the notes say.

That point is related to another in the notes. The briefing says commission member Jamie Gorelick, a former general counsel of the Defense Department under President Clinton, was pitting Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage against Rice. Under sworn testimony, Armitage contradicted Rice's claim the White House had a strategy before Sept. 11 that called for military operations against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
There's nothing there. The notes mention a plan to deephesize Clarke, which was done, and concentrate on what the Administration has done.

There's a .pdf of the handwritten notes on the CAP site, and the Washpost piece has some transcribed excerpts.

The Starbuckster should have given the Eric's Telephone Log to Bob Woodward. His imagination is such that he could concoct a grand scandal from that little bit.

For now, though, I want Howard Dean's opinion,

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The Clarke book, the Hughes book


There's no sensation of allegation attached to the book by Presidential advisor Karen Hughes, but Ten Minutes to Normal is evidently sharing a table with Dick "The Answer" Clarke's Against all Enemies in the downtown Washington Borders books. At least according to USAToday columnist Walter Shapiro.

The column -- [LINK] -- is about the books, not the stuff, but this part struck me as appropriate:
[T]hey do make cameo appearances in each other's books.
Clarke's opening chapter about the events of Sept. 11 and immediately afterward, melodramatically entitled, "Evacuate the White House," goes out of its way to praise Hughes for drafting Bush's address to the Joint Session of Congress. Clarke proudly notes that Hughes had "included my questions and some of my answers, (about) who is the enemy, why do they hate us."
Hughes, who misspells Clarke's name by dropping the final "e," credits him with a far more limited contribution to the congressional address. As Hughes tells it, she asked national security adviser Condoleezza Rice for help in describing conditions in Afghanistan. Rice sent her to Clarke and another official who informed her that "little girls weren't allowed to go to school ... (and) even flying a kite or listening to songs on the radio was banned." That was enough, Hughes says, to plant "the seeds of my passion for the women and children of Afghanistan."
Okay, Shapiro does get in an arguably inaccurate paragraph or two about the President asking Clarke about Iraq on 9-12, but he presents it in a non-controversial manner.

I think Hughes dissed Clark [sic] intentionally. Mistakes like that are caught pre-publication, if that's the intention.

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Kerry Stops Traffic


Erich at Viking Pundit has posted the tale of John Kerry stopping traffic on I-5 in California so he could preach to a single customer at a gas station, and a slew of TV cameras, about the high price of gasoline.

After Kerry's shtick, customer Kevin Burlingame told the Boston Globe that a President is not the master of gas prices: "He can introduce policy, but overall I don't think he can affect gas prices."

But to stop traffic like that for an ineffective diatribe… methinks this campaign is getting to Kerry,

tick… tick… tick… tick…

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Daschle Blocking Nominees (and my challenge)


Senate Minority Leader Tommy Daschle (D- South Dakota) has vowed to block every single one of the President's Judicial nominees if he does not stop using his Constitutionally specified power to appoint judges while Congress is not in session.
"We will not be able to move on the confirmation of judges until we are given the assurance that they will not recess appoint future judges, especially judges who have been rejected by the Senate," the South Dakota Democrat said.
It makes sense that Daschle would be upset that President Bush would use his Constitutional power to appoint judges which have already been rejected by the Senate, but the Senate rejected neither of the President's recess appointments: Bill Pryor and Charles Pickering.

Pickering was first rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 14, 2002. He was renominated by the President on January 7, 2003, and approved by the committee on October 3 of that year. The Democrats filibustered, and the Senate failed to invoke cloture last October 30. The Senate had never approved or rejected Judge Pickering, contrary to Daschle's claim, when he was appointed by the President on January 16.

Last July 23, the Judiciary committee voted Pryor's nomination out favorably, but a vote by the full Senate was successfully blocked on the 31st of that month.

Neither judge appointed during a recess had been rejected by the Senate.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot. In our hypothetical, President Bush is irritated by the Senators using their power to filibuster to block his judicial nominees. One day, he announces that he is going to stop nominating judges until the Senate stops blocking them.

The President could then be portrayed is behaving childishly for petty partisan reasons.

You tell me what Daschle is now doing.

All personal partisanship aside, Tom Daschle should be removed from the Senate for acting in ways contrary to the Constitutional function of that body. If any U.S. Senator is willing to draft and propose such a resolution, I promise to devote all space in this weblog, for whatever it's worth, for one entire week to nothing but positive stories about that Senator. I will use every positive adjective and description at my disposal.

I would do this even for Arlen Specter.

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Intra-party pressure for Rice to testify


A nifty story from The Hill's Jonathan E. Kaplan regarding the White House's decision to have Condoleezza Rice go under oath, in public. Internal pressure from GOP lawmakers who saw the previous White House position as "untenable" might have helped to persuade them.

However:
Reaction among top congressional Republicans remained muted. Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) told reporters he had no reaction to the White House’s decision.
“It does not serve any purpose for me to say that is a good idea or a bad idea. That is a decision [the White House] had to make based upon the situation.”

Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told The Hill: “It’s one of those things led by circumstance that I hate to see the absolute confidentiality of that relationship given up in any way. There are issues raised by Richard Clarke that the country needs to have answered.”
I still stand by my estimation that the White House planned to allow Rice to testify all along but held back for concessions and to be seen as doing it on their own terms.
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Paper: 'Not as easy this time, Rice'


The USAToday newspaper is certain that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission will be tougher this time than it was during her past appearances before the panel. No cakewalk for Condi this time, the paper avers.

The questions, the paper avers, "will have intensified." The same questions, new intensity? To back this assertion, they have Dr. Rice to face intense grilling over how her story does not match the exalted diatribe of Richard "The Answer" Clarke.

Then there's this:
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, a Republican former governor of New Jersey, said Tuesday that the panel also plans to examine possible contradictions between earlier private testimony Rice gave to the commission and statements she has made to the news media.
Were there any contradictions? None of which they know, but they are darn well going to look for them.

Mort Kondracke of the Roll Call paper offered a great observation yesterday evening on FOX's Special Report with Brit Hume. Speaking to, if memory serves, Brit, NPR's Mara Liasson, and Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes, Kondracke noted that Condoleezza Rice's IQ is "larger than all of us seated at this table combined," so there will be no contradictions. He had a point. She's not a Dick "The Answer" Clarke, prone to saying one thing then another then another, then coming back with something else. I assume that everything is clear in her mind.

Dr. Rice, inadvertently, is the Administrations "secret weapon" against Clarke's cries. She will bring certainty to the hearings which will reduce Clarke's testimony obviously to the bitter whining which we all plausibly suspect it is.

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On Wictory Wednesday


Our thoughts turn to the unashamed campaign of John Kerry and his partners at the sundry 527 committees and the sophomoric attack axis of Dick Clarke, Rand Beers, and Joe Wilson. President Bush has been leading this country through the attacks, and we can help his campaign carry on its business while he conducts our nation's.

Click RIGHT HERE to be directed to the page where you can become a Bush Team Leader, an official part of the campaign. You can also join by donating at the campaign's SECURE SERVER. You can make a habit of visiting Political Annotation on Wednesday and sending the President a few dollars every week.

And here is the official Blogroll of the Willing, those who've taken the time and space to spread this important word:



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3/30/2004

 

Is Partial Birth Abortion really brutal?


In a New York Newsday piece regarding testimony in the various trials attacking the law banning the procedure, some abortionists are testifying to the contrary.

For instance, here's this from a Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine at New York Hospital who claims credit for some 1,000 abortions over thirty years:
He said the law was so vague that it could outlaw virtually any type of abortion performed during the second trimester because the fetus is sometimes still alive as it is brought outside the body.

He said the process of pulling the fetus partially out of the woman's body and then puncturing the skull to collapse the soft tissue and squeeze the head out is often the safest method available.

Besides, he said, many women request that the fetus be preserved as intact as possible for a proper burial or so full testing can be done to learn why the pregnancy failed.
The burial issue is for woman who's pregnancies were ended for medical reasons. They wanted the child but it was eliminated using the D&X procedure.

As an abortionist, he should not be arguing for a proper burial for an aborted child. It's a chilling argument for him to use, in that if he's killing a non-living, non-human, why is he arguing for a proper burial?

This is symptomatic of a societal monstrosity, a perverse aberration which sets norms askew. In that way, they operate in a parallel universe.

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"That Black Stuff is Hurting Us


I hit the Freeper site and found this story from the House Committee on Resources site. (Both links go to the same story, different places.)
Sen. John Kerry on oil (Greenwire) Washington, DC – U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is quoted in today’s edition of Greenwire as saying, “that black stuff is hurting us,” with regard to oil. Members of the House Committee on Resources found the Senator’s comment absurd.

“John Kerry is dead wrong,” Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) said. “Oil doesn’t hurt Americans; John Kerry’s anti-energy policies hurt Americans. In fact, this is exactly the kind of rhetoric and bad policy that has led to the outsourcing of good American energy jobs. Last year alone, the United States outsourced more than $100 billion worth of American jobs, economic growth, and national security to foreign countries for our energy needs. Americans are left with a supply and demand imbalance that creates higher prices at the pump and longer waits on the unemployment line.”
Kerry doesn't like oil. The article rebuts the argument about oil being deleterious, and it mentions:
Contrary to a popular misconception, less than half of every barrel of oil we use in the United States is turned into gasoline. The majority becomes the key ingredient in thousands of products Americans use everyday. Here are just a few:

Antihistamines Antiseptics Artificial hearts Aspirin Bandages Cameras Candles CD players Clothing Computers Dentures Deodorant Diapers Digital Clocks Fertilizers Food preservatives Food storage bags Glue Golf Balls House paint Insecticides Lipstick Medical equipment Pacemakers Pantyhose Perfumes Photo film Safety glass Shampoo Shaving cream Contact Lenses Surgical equipment Syringes Telephones Toothpaste Vitamins.
What Kerry should have said, if in fact it is what he meant, is that our dependence on oil for transportation leaves us too much at the mercy of nefarious governments setting prices artificially.

Then we could talk about Kerry's votes against opening ANWR, but as he said, the impact of that would be minimal. Much less minimal than his goofy plan to tinker with the oil reserve, however.

For a man supposedly betrothed to nuance, why is that man condemning petroleum as "black stuff" which is "killing us"? That's a dumb guy argument, and it further proves what I have been saying about the guy all along.

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From North Korea…


I came across this curious curious item on the web site of the North Korean news agency KCNA, dated Monday:
U.S. War Moves Threatening Humankind's Existence

Pyongyang, March 29 (KCNA) -- The U.S. imperialists, who are obsessed by world supremacy, are pushing ahead with preparations for a genetic and biological warfare in real earnest to exterminate other nations. It was exposed some time ago by Hatman, a famous writer and journalist of the United States.

According to him, the U.S. administration has worked out a plan for the "new century" while fundamentally reorganizing the U.S. forces so that the Anglo-Saxon race may exterminate other races and dominate the world through unconventional wars under the name of "military revolution" based on the up-to-date science and has hastened preparations for genetic and biological warfare in secret.

As instructed by the U.S. administration, many nuclear centers have long been engaged in research into genetics of races and their destruction and the Department of Defence and other special institutions of the United States have deepened the study of "artificial selection of human beings" by "genetic bombs".

This fact is enough to unveil the true colors of the U.S. imperialists as the most horrible human killers and wreckers of the world peace.
It seems that they are doing what the People's Republic of China used to be fond of using on us: Taking our allegations concerning their putridity and tossing it back at us with amateurish hyperbole.

A quick Google search with several terms and quotes yielded nothing on this famous writer and journalist named Hatman. That is no doubt his surname, with the Pyongyangies either not bothering with his given name or applying their usage, where Kim Jong Il is referred to as "Kim," even if "ill" might be a better fit.

Take out some of the stronger language, though, and it sounds an awfully lot like Kerry and Howard Dean on a stage trying to determine who can utter the most hyperbolic rant about the President.

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Dakota Dem Disagreement


Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) toes the Democrat line and speaks in support of homosexual marriage. The lovely Miss Stephanie Herseth, the Democrat candidate for South Dakota's single Congressional seat, opposes it.

From Talon News:
Her statement produced a strongly negative reaction from some Democrats, especially from inside the Daschle campaign. The Rapid City Journal reported that Steve Hildebrand, campaign manager for the Senate minority leader asked for a refund of his contribution to the Herseth campaign. No reason was given for the unusual request and requests for comment by Talon News were not returned.

A recent Associated Press story said that donations coming in through web sites had dried up, and Democrats were criticizing Herseth on the Internet. Ben Hanten, an executive board member of the South Dakota Democratic Party considered withdrawing his support until the candidate reassured him that her intent was to take the issue "off the table."
This will help Republican candidate Larry Diedrich, who is thought to have an uphill battle against the better known and more attractive Herseth.

And another cheap excuse to post Herseth's photo:



From KOTA-AM in Rapid City, though, we have what could be the actual reason Herseth opposes homosexual marriage:
Over the past several weeks Democratic Congressional Candidate Stephanie Herseth has suffered attacks from the state Republican Party.
The attacks say Herseth is too liberal, and so are her out– of– state friends she has received campaign donations from. But Herseth quickly points out her opponent, Republican Larry Diedrich, will also get funding from out of state.

Herseth says, “The fact of the matter is the Democratic Party is a big party. Yes we have people from the liberal wing of the party mostly from the coasts, but we have a lot of people from throughout the Great Plains and the south that are more moderate and conservative in the Democratic Party. And I receive an awful lot of support from the New Democrats and the Blue–Dog Democrats, and those are friends that I like to keep.”

She says any attempts to portray her as too liberal will not be ineffective.


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Kerry luvs Arnold!


Of candidate Kerry in Sacramento today:
In Sacramento, where he launched a 20-city tour to raise $20 million, Kerry twice invoked the GOP governor's name despite Schwarzenegger's support for President Bush.

"If you make me president of the United States, I will say to Governor Schwarzenegger, right now, 'Help is on the way,' " the senator told hundreds gathered at the Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center in south Sacramento.

He did not pledge a specific amount for California."
No doubt he'll use the money left over after he halves the price of gasoline.

At a fundraiser luncheon:
"We [Schwarzenegger and Kerry[ knew each other when he first came over to this country to make 'Pumping Iron,' and we've stayed in touch ever since then, and our families are friends, and so I hope California does well. When I am president, ladies and gentlemen, Governor Schwarzenegger, help will be on the way to California!"
We'll check the records and find that Kerry granted the California governor his first green card, right?

Kerry is scheduled to undergo surgery on his shoulder tendon Wednesday, the first time he'll have been under the knife since he had his cancerous prostate gland removed a year ago. It is for an old injury he aggrivated in Iowa in January when he almost fell off a bus.

[Source: Sacramento Bee]

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Democrats Reinvigorated...


Well. Reuters reports that the Democrats are looking toward picking up Senate seasts in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Senator Jon Corzine of the DSCC look for Howard Dean's tilting at "right-wing ideologues" will benefit the party: "Howard Dean will be a hell of a spokesman for candidates of a certain ilk."

Of Dean, Reuters writes:
Dean had trouble drawing votes for his own insurgent White House bid. Yet the former Vermont governor's vow to battle "right-wing ideologues" by providing a hand to progressives in selected local, state and federal elections gives his party another glimmer of hope in the Senate.
There is something sweet about watching them base their hopes on Howard Dean.
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Rice to testify, provided…


White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalezhas sent a letter to Chairman Tom Keane of the 9-11 Commission, and Vice Chair Lee Hamilton, stating the Administrations willingness to allow National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to testify in public session, under oath.. One doubts if the little snit thrown by Senator Kennedy yesterday about where "the buck stops" had an effect on much of anything. More likely, this is the work of commission member John Lehman, an authority of the separation of powers, and Gonzalez.

Gonzalez reiterated the reasons for Rice not testifying in normal circumstances and specified that her testimony "only with recognition that the events of September 11, 2001 present the most extraordinary and unique circumstances, and with conditions and assurances designed to limit harm to the ability of future Presidents to receive candid advice." The White House is insistent that this not set a precedent whereby the power and prerogatives of the Executive Branch be diminished toward that of the Legislative.

Another condition is that the rules for Dr. Rice are to apply to her testimony only, with all other White House officials continuing "to provide the Commission with information through private meetings, briefings, and documents, consistent with our previous practice."
Dr. Rice would be made available to the Commission with due regard for the Constitutional separation of powers and reserving all legal authorities, privileges, and objections that may apply, including with respect to other governmental entities or private parties.
Note that the commission is not to be seen as subpoenaing testimony from any Administration official, dragging them before a tribunal to testify as to the guilt or innocence of the President of the United States. The President is not on trial, and this move with Dr. Rice holding out until the White House could set its conditions is a public affirmation of that fact. The White House is in control, not embattled. If this was not one of the reasons the White House had Dr. Rice hold out before testifying, it should have been.

In addition to this matter, Gonzalez informed the committee that President Bush and Vice President Cheney would appear together before the commission one time, in private, and with only one commission staffer present to take notes. The President had initially held out for fewer commissioners present, but he might have relinquished this demand for other concessions.

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New Column on the RSN site


The new column by Barbara J. Stock, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, is now live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site. In it, she portrays Dick Clarke as an "honest, but bitter, angry man."
One man had the country's undivided attention this past week. While Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was given a mere hour for questioning in front of the 9/11 Commission, Richard Clarke was given two and one-half hours. Now that's power.

Anyone watching could easily see Clarke loved every minute of it. For years he labored behind the scenes, carrying presidential water with no recognition. He was called on to make plans to protect the country from terrorist attacks and just as often, his opinions and plans were ignored [MORE].


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Germany Story Refuted by Clarke's Resignation Letter


The German newspaper Der Spiegle has published an erratic and frankly laughable article on 9-11, Dick Clarke, and his gawdawful book. The NYTimes has translated and presented it without comment. Clarke's letter of resignation (see below) refutes not only Clarke III and IV (or whichever version he is at a given time), but also many of the ridiculous assertions made the by the German paper itself.

It opens on September 11, 2001, with the White House in fear and disarray due to the attacks. Everyone's trying to flee, but there is one calm and sane man in the din:
Richard Clarke, a hero and the President's special counter-terrorism advisor, takes control of the situation.
This, they say, is based on Dick Clarke's recollections, "which read much like a script… [with the working title] The Pending Fall of the House of Bush.

The paper then relates that the book told of Karl Rove plotting campaign strategy as the towers fell, and predicted that if people believed what Clarke was telling them, this President Bush would be another one-termer.

The Der Spiegle piece fantastically has Clinton, in his innate wisdom, making the position of counter-terrorism czar a cabinet position, then it has President Bush removing it from the cabinet. The is factually false and Constitutionally impossible. All cabinet positions must be created by Congress; the President cannot opt to change this unilaterally.

The paper also portrays Clarke's work under Bush as having to move through the "endless daily paper python that winds itself from the White House through departments and agencies, ultimately making its way back to Pennsylvania Avenue." The truth is, he had direct access to the National Security Advisor and was very much involved in the White House process. He just was not empowered to storm into the Oval Office on a whim, a privilege he sought.
On September 4, exactly one week before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Clarke's dramatic warning of "hundreds of dead Americans following a terrorist attack at home or overseas" was dispatched along the same circuitous route. After the attacks, once he had concluded that the Bush administration, with its fixation on Iraq, was taking an approach that would strengthen rather than defeat terrorism, Clarke resigned.
Clarke's letter of resignation is dated January 30, 2003 -- almost seventeen months after the attacks -- and contains as his reason for resigning:
With the coming of 2003, I am now in my eleventh year of continuous White House service and the 30th year since I began government service. While there is never a good time to end an assignment, I believe now may be an appropriate point to move on.

First, with the stand up of the Department of Homeland Security, some of the operational responsibility for cyber security can now shift there. Second, you have signed the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, and it will be released shortly.

Thus, with your permission, I plan to depart the White House and resign as Special Advisor. It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these past 24 months.

I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th, first on the video link from STRATCOM and later that day in the PEOC and the Situation Room. I will also have fond memories of our briefings for you on cyber security and the intuitive understanding of its importance that you showed. You had prescience in creating the position of Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace Security and I urge you to maintain that role in the White House.

I thank you again for the opportunity to serve you have provided me and wish you good fortune as you lead our country through the continuing threats.

Sincerely,
Dick Clarke
Clarke's own words refute everything in the German paper's chimerical account.

The piece ends with Clarke's fantastical premonitions and the paper's editorially profane "analysis" :
"Pakistan will be ruled by a Taliban-like government equipped with nuclear weapons, a government that supports a similar regime in Afghanistan and, like Al Qaeda, spreads terror and ideology throughout the world;" on the Gulf, a nuclear-armed Iran will promote Hezbollah-styled terrorism, and in Saudi Arabia a deposed house of Saud will be succeeded by a theocracy.
Even with a democratized Iraq, says Clarke, "the world would be far less safe" than it was before. Such an outlook could even cost Bush the votes of his most loyal supporters.
Wrong. Clarke's outlook will not cost many -- if any -- votes. They are the ravings of a lunatic writing a thriller. It sells novels, but his credibility would have been better served if he had not switched his account from that of his resignation letter.

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Well-Placed Pork


According to The Hill newspaper, House Democrats have been able to steer $10-million in discretionary found in the transportation appropriation bill spending to districts wherein the incumbent Democrat might be likely to face a difficult reelection this November. Most voters are reluctant to give the boot to the guy who got them the money.

House Republicans have, of course, done nothing of the sort, though one would think it would be easiest for the majority. But House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Young (R-Alaska) wants the bill to be $100-million larger, and, according to the paper:
Some Republican aides suggested that the low figure Young’s committee allocated for vulnerable GOP lawmakers was meant to pressure the White House into acceding to higher numbers.
This would mean that Young is holding the money for GOP incumbent protection until the White House accedes to his larger-sized bill.

Now someone has to blink. My "money'" is on the White House.

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9-11 Comm. wants Rice to testify under oath


The New York Times reports this morning that the 9-11 Commission wants National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice should testify under oath because her words contradict those from what the paper considers to be an unimpeachable source: Dick Clarke. Describing the Commission, between the lines, as at its wits end in search of the truth, the paper reports:
"I would like to have her testimony under the penalty of perjury," said the commission's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, in comments that reflected the panel's exasperation with the White House and Ms. Rice, the president's national security adviser.
As I suggested over the weekend, I think she will testify but the Administration wants some concessions because they cannot roll over for a Congressional investigation. Also, it should be known that she will testify under protest. Her testimony will thus be of greater impact, tilting the scales of what ostensibly would be a he-says-under-oath, she-says-under-oath.

From our standpoint, her public testimony under oath is the only way they're going to make Clarke go away. This is one the press will not give him.

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3/29/2004

 

New CNN Poll shows Bush leading


Here's the new CNN/USA Today/Gallup:
In a two-way matchup, Bush leads Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, 51%-47%, which is a 7 percentage-point gain in three weeks for Bush and a 5-point drop for Kerry. Three weeks ago, when Kerry was coming off a string of primary victories, Bush trailed him by 6 points.

If independent Ralph Nader is included, he gets 4%, Bush 49% and Kerry 45%.
They also tell us that the poll indicates that no one trusts the President, he's not a very nice person, and most voters think he resembles pond scum.

The poll has Nader an equal drag on both candidates, but there is nothing worthwhile to extrapolate from that. It is a national poll.

It indicates that the Dick Clarke testimony was no big deal to those surveyed. I want to point out that the "political analysts" who asserted that the Administrations attacks on Clarke's cred hurt the President by keeping the story in the news were inventing that line off the top of their heads. No self-respecting analyst would say such a thing. It was obvious that the story would go away when the media chose to let it rest, and Clarke's book sales are driven by the constant reporting; the Administration's defense is only a sideshow to their larger picture.

[HT on the poll. Taegan Goddard.]

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Kerry to Reduce Gas Prices


If elected, candidate JF Kerry would reduce prices, which he claimed President Bush were causing to approach $3.00/gallon. Kerry campaign papers read by Reuters disclose that Kerry would "pressure oil-producing nations to increase production and temporarily suspend filling the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to campaign documents."

He blamed President Bush for the increase in prices, which could get his campaign shut down by Paul Bremer if he constructed such lies in Iraq. (see Political Annotation just below].

Kerry did not say how he would pressure OPEC, and he failed to disclose that any tinkering with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can cause only a minor reduction in gas prices very temporarily.

If Kerry wants to talk seriously about reducing gasoline prices, he should propose eliminating the federal gasoline tax, which was 18.4-cents per gallon last I checked. He is still technically a United States Senator. He could have his staff draw up the proposal, get his Democrat buddies who want to see him elected to co-sponsor, and have the thing passed. Some Republicans will join as a matter of principle.

The same dynamics will guide it through the House. President Bush won't veto such a measure in a campaign year, and our gas prices will be reduced.

The several States have gasoline taxes ranging from 10 to 30 cents a gallon. Kerry could propose using Federal extortion -- such as with driving age, speed limit, drinking age, etc. -- to force the States to repeal their gasoline taxes.

Some will argue that this would leave the various governments with insufficient funds to cover their spending. It is with the courage of my convictions that I say that this is just too damn bad. There is no just power on Earth which entitles them to spend as and for what they do. If there be sound intellects in our government, they know this.

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Iraqi Extremist Paper Closed


The Coalition Authority in Iraq has shut down the newspaper of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtadr Sadr. And I read the Knight-Ridder story before I had finished muttering under my breath about the upcoming U.N. attempts to censor the Internet.

According to the KR, the paper will be closed for at least 60 days. Paul Bremer sent those who ran the paper an explanation, which read, in part:
""These false articles not only mislead readers but constitute a real threat of violence against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens who cooperate with the coalition in the reconstruction of Iraq."
You see, the paper was printing articles blaming the terrorist attacks on Coalition forces.

In the United States, this would be considered to be political speech. Howard Dean, acting as an agent of John F. Kerry, blamed the President for the recent Madrid rail bombings. Dick Clarke, acting essentially as a stand-in for Kerry, all but blamed the attacks of September 11 on the President.

That being said, given the circumstances in Iraq, publishing such lies is certain to incite further violence. The Iraqis are learning that the press freedom guaranteed in their constitution, as in our case in the States, has rational limits.

This is a difficulty inherent in introducing rights of a sudden to a society with no concept of how to exercise them responsibility. An occupying power supercedes any constitution, and one of the preoccupations of that power must be the safety of its forces.

Yes, some Iraqi's are chanting -- "America is just infidels!" -- but it is better that they are educated now while the Coalition is still in control to enforce the lessons.

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Kofi's Internet Regulation


The United Nation's two-day Global Forum on Internet Governance at their World Summit on the Information Society opened in New York today, and the globalist regulators are, like our own Congress, using the annoyance of SPAM to get control, restrict, and, as a matter of course, immolate the Internet.
"We do not have a say in how the Internet is handled, and that is wrong," said Khalid Saeed, the secretary of Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology. "All countries must play an active role in controlling the operation of the Internet, not just the wealthiest countries."
The United Nations can regulate the 'net without concern for the will of those who use it. (The notion of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not compatible with internationalism. The power of the United Nations is not properly limited.)

Leave the Internet alone, Kofi.

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Karen Hughes is "back"


Here's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Karen Hughes and her new book, Ten Minutes from Normal.

My wife noted to me yesterday evening: "He needs her back, you know." She hit the nail on the head, I realized. With Dick Clarke and the dancin' Dems filling up their cards with reporters and addled pundits, the President needs Karen Hughes. She wouldn't make everything that ails the President's media image better, but she certainly would not passively listen to the slime as it oozes from the direction of the Kerry campaign.

She will appear tonight on ABC's 20/20.

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New Column on the RSN site


I have posted Judson Cox's new column, Questioning Kerry's Service, on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Senator Kerry sites Vietnam as his defining experience, and qualifies his every position by referencing his service. Without Vietnam, Kerry is just a "haughty, French-looking Democrat". Kerry has made a career of politicizing war. He gained national recognition through speaking against the war. Now, he travels the campaign trail with his "band of brothers" to trumpet his service in Vietnam.

By Kerry's own admission, however, his service in Vietnam was less than honorable. [MORE]
Enjoy.
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As "Old Europe" Ages…


Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became NATO member states today, joining the Class of '99: The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

The Stars and Stripes newspaper reports the newstoday from the perspective of the U.S. military:
With news reports claiming that the United States plans to halve its troop presence in Germany and the U.S. defense secretary having once referred to it and France as “Old Europe,” alliance expansion may have come at an opportune time for the Pentagon. It’s easier to set up military shop in a NATO country than not. It will also move the alliance border geographically closer to its peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Afghanistan.
This is additional global prestige for some countries striving to become serious international players, and it is more bad news for Old Europe, especially France.

Geopolitically, it is more immediate bad news for the Russian Federation, on western border you'll find the new NATO states.

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A little socio-political amusement


MSNBC has launched a feature wherein people who read their site can select whom they would like to see as candidate JF Kerry's veep choice.

With no stats given except the ranking, the top five this week were:

1. John Edwards
2. Bob Graham
3. Howard Dean
4. John McCain
5. Wes Clark
OUT - Al Sharpton

Those nominated "for next week's Veepstakes" (20,059 responses):

Hillary Clinton - 48%, Joe Biden - 27%, Washington Governor Gary Locke - 14%, Joe Lieberman - 10%.

"We are unable to record your vote. Please contact MSNBC technical support for assistance."

I personally think Kerry ought to pick that fellow who played "Captain BJ Hunnicut" on MASH He's a nuanced actor.

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Clarke's worth…


I've written that whatever notions with merit expressed by Dick Clarke, such as during his 9-11 Commission testimony or even on yesterday's Late Edition on CNN, had been rendered useless by his impeached credibility. To use an extreme example, you don't go to Mussolini for advice on how to make the trains run on time.

Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, opines in the opposite direction today in NRO, listing the meritorious items he found in Clarke's testimony, "[b]elow the grandstanding."

He lists the several important items on which Clarke expressed and defended a position concurrent with that of the Bush Administration, which comes as no surprise to me. Remember, Clarke helped develop the Bush Administration's policy in this area, his protestations to the contrary. As Secretary of State Colin Powell said of Clarke on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday: "He wrote the script."

Clarke said nothing in his 9-11 Commission testimony that wasn't slander, character-assassination, invention, hyperbole, or something we didn't already know. Everything he said was tainted by his invective. I don't suppose Mr. Lowry would like to peruse the notes of Germany's Nazi doctors to see if their camp experiments yielded any useful medical information. Although that example is extreme, it is sound. Ethics exist for a reason.

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Gary Aldrich on Dick Clarke


Former FBI Agent Gary Aldrich, author of the 1996 book Unlimited Access—An FBI Agent Inside The Clinton White House, has penned column comparing and contrasting the Dick Clarke situation with his own. The constantly "evolving" story versus the concrete.
The Soviet Union had collapsed and the Hard-Left enjoyed the false theory that resources and attention to national security and defense could be redirected to more important matters, like gays in the military and national health care. The National Security Counsel began tracking rain forest depletion and environmental changes, as well as world-wide poverty and food supplies. These were the priorities for Mr. Clarke’s NSC. Moreover, since Clarke worked in the Clinton White House for eight long years, he knew this better than most.

Osama bin Laden attacked us over and over again, yet we sent troops to Kosovo and Haiti – where they remain today. How these countries had anything to do with national security, few can articulate. So why could our military travel there, but not to Afghanistan?
On the Sunday shows, Clarke attributed Clinton's failure to combat al Qaeda on these other pressing concerns. And on that woman, Miss Lewinsky, who caused Clinton not to act for fear of being accused of doing so only to provide cover for his own peccadilloes.

Aldrich has a dire forecast for Clarke:
The Democrats are using Clarke. My prediction is that Clarke will discover the hard way that after his 15 minutes of infamy – having told three different versions of the “truth” – his final destination will be obscurity and his final reward the shunning of his peers. A year from now, Clarke won’t be moaning about a president dragging him into a meeting – he’ll instead complain that no significant person in Washington, D.C. will return his phone calls. Not even his “new friends” in the mainstream media.
The left has made the argument that Aldrich was an FBI guy while Clarke was a national security type, but that can also play to their individual egos as factors in their post-administrations behavior.

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Global In-Sourcing


It makes campaign-sense for the Democrat to rail against corporate outsourcing. It fits perfectly with the large corporation versus the American worker scenario which is part of the Democrat them which has at its base raw class envy.

Will John Kerry address the growing "problem" of in-sourcing, when foreign companies build factories here in America, employing Americans? This "crisis" is described in a piece from Bloomberg.com this morning.
While U.S. companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's second- largest computer maker, and AIG Life Insurance Co., the world's largest insurer, have transferred white-collar work to low-wage countries such as India and China, more jobs are coming the other way, according to government estimates and trade analysts.

``Any way you slice it, the world is creating or transferring more jobs to the U.S. than we are doing to the rest of the world,'' said Daniel T. Griswold, a trade specialist at the Cato Institute, a research organization in Washington, in an interview Wednesday.
You'd think the self-described internationalist Kerry would be on top of this issue, but then again, it doesn't make for low-brainpower campaign hissing.

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3/28/2004

 

Interesting Partial Transcript


The partial transcript on the CBSNews.com site of Condoleezza Rice talking to Ed Bradley is up, and it has Dr. Rice behaving strangely. To wit:
ED BRADLEY:
But there are some people who look at this and say, "But this - this was an unprecedented event. Nothing like this ever happened to this country before. And this is an occasion where you can put that executive privilege aside. It's a big enough issue to talk in public."


CONDOLEEZZA RICE:
It is an unprecedented event. We've said that many, many times. But this commission is rightly not concentrating on what happened on the day of September 11.. So, this is not a matter of what happened on that day, as extraordinary as it is - as it was. This is a matter of policy. And we have yet to find an example of a national security advisor, sitting national security advisor, who has - been willing to testify on matters of policy.

The commission is investigating the circumstances surrounding the 9 /11 attacks. The star witness was Richard Clarke, the president's former counter-terrorism chief whose new book has become a best seller. In it Clarke alleges that the Bush administration failed to take the threat from al Qaeda seriously and that the 9 /11 attacks were a pretext for the Bush administration to go to war in Iraq. The administration's reaction was immediate and ferocious. The attacks continued this morning on the Sunday talk shows.

What has the Bush administration most up in arms is the explosive allegation Richard Clarke made in his book and to Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes last week that at a meeting on September 12 in the White House situation room - one day after the attacks - President Bush tried to intimidate Clarke into finding a link between 9/11 and Iraq.


RICHARD CLARKE (60 MINUTES 3/21):
I said 'Mr. President, we've done this before. We - we've been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind, there's no connection.' He came back at me and said, 'Iraq, Saddam - find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean, that we should come back with that answer.
I don't know where Clarke came from.

The webmaster's glitch aside, one couldn't imagine Dr. Rice attacking the Administration with the histrionic language used, I assume, by some CBS reporter.

This garbage might not blow over for a while. The press has its panties in a wad.

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New Column on the RSN site


I've just put the new column by Jan Ireland, Democrats Count on Republicans Not Confronting Richard Clarke Lies, on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Democrats have come to expect that Republicans will "wimp out" in directly confronting lies and obfuscations.

Richard Clarke, nominal Republican but Democrat financial contributor over the years, likely expected the Bush Administration would follow that same course, since he had the backing of congressional Democrats and the media giant Viacom.

He probably expected the mainstream media to echo the Leslie Stahl puffery from CBS's 60 Minutes, without any bothersome questions or investigations of his claims. Even the MSN homepage had a link to "Best Parts of Richard Clarke's Book" the other day, with apparently no concern at all about confirming. [MORE]


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Kerry's Favorite Scripture


In a TIME Magazine article from their April 5 issue, John F. Kerry is quoting playing with scripture:
In a speech at a Mississippi church on March 7, he said Bush does not practice the "compassionate conservatism" he preaches, and quoted James 2: 14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"
According to a story on ABCNews.com, Kerry is quoted as doing it again, this time in St. Louis:
Kerry never mentioned Bush by name during his speech at New North Side Baptist Church, but aimed his criticism at "our present national leadership." Kerry cited Scripture in his appeal for the worshippers, including James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"

"The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry said. "When we look at what is happening in America today, were are the works of compassion?"
Here is James 2:14: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" To a Christian, this means that one's faith must be a proper faith to save him. Proper faith will produce the requisite deeds. Kerry interpreted it to mean that President Bush talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk in secular matters, which is blatant misuse of scripture.

From the same ABCNews.com piece:
Kerry is Roman Catholic, but his support for abortion rights is at odds with Vatican teachings.

"I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life," Kerry said in an interview with Time posted on the magazine's Web site Sunday.
This brings to mind another verse of scripture which candidate Kerry might want to consider while campaigning. This words of Christ from Mark 8:36: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

Also from the ABCNews.com piece:
Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack."


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Condi Rice will not Testify


In an interview recorded Sunday morning, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice reiterated on the CBS infotainment show 60 Minutes that she won't speak publicly to the 9-11 Commission:
"[She] said there was "an important principle ... that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress."

"Nothing would be better, from my point of view, than to be able to testify," she said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by the network ahead of broadcast.

"I would really like to do that. But ...This is a matter of policy."
Comission Chairman Tom Kean said on FOX News Sunday, and commissioner John Lehman explained on ABC's This Week, that the commission would continue to urge her to testify publicly but would not force her to do so with a subpoena.

It's a legal thing, a matter of protocol. It seems that the White House is concerned that her testimony would set the wrong precedent, though Lehman explained that it would not. He said that they would be sure to qualify that the 9-11 Commission was not a standard "Congressional tribunal."

It might depend on call for her to testify on the public's park, and that seems right now not to be forthcoming.

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When Pervez Speaks


On ABC's This Week, former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos talked with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf after Secretary of State Colin Powell had left town and No. 2 mutant Ayman al-Zawahiri was not captured in the rugged, mountainous, lawless border region between Pak and Afghanistan.

Lawless might soon be an outdated adjective in this case. Musharraf said that his armed forces will continue to operate in the area. He also stressed that this region "is not Pakistan," as in not representative of the entire country. Pakistan, he said, is Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore…

Of Zawahiri, he said: "He's misusing the name of Islam, bringing a bad name to the religion." I've heard arguments to the contrary, but there are more Moslems than there are Madrassas and 8th century Mullahs. But this is obviously something he wants Americans to understand: Most Moslems do not want to kill everyone else.

Of the war being fought by terrorists, Musharraf asserted: "This war is an anti-Jewish war, Semitic." It's the Jews they're after, and the rest are dragged along as allies. This seems what some would like those of us who are not Jewish to hear, and the war is undoubtedly focused on Jews first and foremost, but the their war is being fought to destroy the infidels -- including the House of Saud -- and set up their own global theocracy. That's how I read that with which I've been presented.

Very confident, Musharraf scoffed at their chance of success, especially in Pak: "Zawahiri is on the run…. What is the worry? He can never take over." He is not sure, though, whether he will get Zawahiri before Zawahiri gets him. He's think long term, as in the future beyond his own life, and that's a rare and noble trait in a leader, if genuine.

Steph would not have been being Steph if he did not ask Musharraf the Dick Clarke Question: "Do you think the United States waited too long to attack al Qaeda?" Musharraf answered: "I don't think so." He said that his government had been working "internally" on the Taliban government in Afghanistan, trying to get them to moderate and expel al Qaeda. This struck me as either disingenuous or foolish. How does one work Mullah Omar toward moderation? The man had visions from the Soviet shrapnel lodged in his brain and blew the 1,600-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas off their cliff, for crying out loud! And the pre-Afghan War Pakistani government was not known for its nuanced diplomacy.

Steph asked him if al Qaeda could ever develop of suitcase nuke. Musharraf was adamant: "Absolutely not." He said they could not get the means and the material together along with someone who knew how to make it work. Musharraf, though, has reason to be defensive, what with A.Q. Khan having sold the world's soul under his chin. (Here is the old web site of the Pakistani government's Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories.)

I cannot, however, going to fault our government for trusting Musharraf as far as they do, and I certainly shan't complain about working with them on the terror problem and nudging them willingly toward the 21st Century.

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A Clarke Opinion


Here's one from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune by a fellow named Tom Maertens, 61, who worked with our buddy Dick Clarke for 15 months in both the Clinton and Bush White Houses. He backs Clarke's account, telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last week that the "Bush White House was reluctant to believe a holdover from the previous administration," like Clarke.

In the Star-Tribune today, Maertens offers a different view:
Administration officials seemed to believe that the terrorist attacks on the United States in East Africa, and on the USS Cole, were due to Clinton’s moral failings. Since they didn’t share those weaknesses, and because President Bush had the blessing of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Justice Antonin Scalia, we would be spared any serious attack. Moral superiority would triumph.
That is some of the bitter non-sequitur one would expect from the immature brats at Buzzflash.com, not from a career civil servant.

But alas, Maertens has another gripe with the Administration: He opposed the war in Iraq. He penned the borderline-incoherent piece: We Were Led to War Under False Pretenses.

We're being flooded with a group of educated Michael Moores with civil service credentials. A disgruntled few, to be sure, but they're nonetheless awfully noisy.

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Clarke: Sunday Odds & Ends


These are some things said by and some observations about Dick Clarke on NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert and CNN's Late Edition with Judy Woodruff subbing for Wolfgang Blitzer. This stuff didn't fit into this afternoon's Rightsided Newsletter.

First of all, and on a purely surface level, Dick Clarke looks like an older Bill Maher.

One theme that I noted was a plea to raise the level of the debate from that which he had created. (No, he didn't not that he was the one who opened with the personal sniping.)

"Let's raise the level of discourse," Dick Clarke pontificated on MTP. "I want this to be about issues." He does not want to discuss his credibility. His issues, as he now frames them, are that the President ignored al Qaeda prior to 9-11 and the war in Iraq took valuable resources from that war on terror.

On LE, Woodruff allowed him to use his expertise and discuss the need to do this, that, and the other. It did not strike a chord with me, because I have personal difficulty taking someone seriously once their credibility has been blown. I cannot simply forget the man's obscene histrionics and listen to him speak more-or-less rationally.

On MTP, he held up a little handwritten note -- "the President's handwriting" -- which he said thanked him for serving with distinction.

In the RSN, I correctly attributed an argument to Clarke on LE, only mentioning that he had previously made it from MTP. Now, I'll take it from my MTP notes.

Clark averred that when CIA Director George Tenet approached Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger about a possible al Qaeda attack, Clinton himself "shook out the system" and prevented an attack. If President Bush had done the same, Clarke insisted, "information might have shaken loose" and September 11 would have been prevented.

I think the "shaking the system" to which Clark referred was getting information from CIA, FBI, FAA, etc. and correlating it. If it is true that Clinton did this single-handedly, that calls into question the need for the 9-11 Commission. If it's possible to prevent terrorism by shaking out the system, as Clark suggests, we obviously do not need to study how to prevent terrorism.

The main story I've seen in the press this afternoon is that Clarke says he is willing to have all of his testimony declassified. It's not his choice, and they neglect to mention the conditions Clarke set. If the 2002 testimony is declassified, he wants all of his testimony declassified and all of Condoleezza Rice's testimony declassified. It seems he wants to flood the system, making it difficult if not impossible for his words to see the public light.

Howard Dean did something similar with his records as Vermont governor, agreeing to release them only if each piece of paper were reviewed individually by a judge. Of course, by that point (post-Iowa), Dean and his records were no longer a story of note.

Clarke claimed on MTP that he had warned the President at the ranch in Texas that hijackers might commandeer airliners. It was something he had discussed as early as 1996. During the Bush Administration, he asserted, he had tried to get the money to protect Congress and the White House from such attacks.

He also, on MTP, intoned that Clinton used "covert action" against the terrorists, "and they stopped" terrorizing.

And this, which I'm copying from the Rightsided Newsletter, might be my favorite part of his bizarre morning:
He blamed the matter of that woman, Miss Lewinsky, for Clinton's failure to do more than lob a few missiles. You see, Clarke explained, Clinton was afraid to fight terror during this time because people would accuse him of "wagging the dog," of using strikes to cover for his own problems when he was really concerned about terror.

If Clinton were a real leader, and if he really thought the nation to be in danger, it was his sworn duty to forget the personal stuff and act to protect the nation. Clinton, by Clarke's own estimation, put fear of personal attack over the lives of the people of this country. (sick)
Whether this hurts or helps Clarke and his reputation is up to the media.

One thing to note, though: according to the 9-11 Commission, Clarke's testimony was not of overriding importance. Chairman Tom Kean said that he was just one of thousands of witnesses. And, he said, the commission will touch on Clarke's credibility when they release their report this July.

I think Clarke should be a guest on Jerry Springer CNN's Crossfire. That's the level at which from which he was coming at us.

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The Sunday RSN is live


The Sunday Rightsided Newsletter, the review of the Sunday Morning Talk Shows, has been delivered to the various, sundry global Inboxes, and it is live for your perusement on the RSN site: HERE.

Dick Clarke was on two shows, we have members of the 9-11 Commission (Kean, Hamilton, Lehman, and Gorelick), and the Secretaries of State and Defense.

In this space later, I'll have more on Clarke. (I put his appearance on MTP in this space this morning, but his stop on LE is in the newsletter.) Also, I'll have a little from Steph's interview with Pakistani PResident Pervez Musharraf.

Now, I need some fresh air.
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Ambassador to Iraq


Bob Schieffer, on his CBS Face the Nation, offered the name of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz as the first U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. He said it is "floating around."

Secretary of State Colin Powell said that he had no reaction.

It would be a bold statement by the Administration, and Wolfowitz has the smarts to run what will be our largest embassy.

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Dick Clarke on Meet the Press


Here's the first draft of what I have written for the Rightsided Newsletter. There will be more in here later:


Dick Clarke on MTP. The direct charges he made against the Bush Administration were secondary to his own plight for this interview. He is the victim of a "taxpayer paid character assassination," he asserts, since those attacking him are on the White House payroll. "This is part of a general pattern," he said, of Bush operatives handing out "talking points," and "trying to make me the issue. I'm not the issue." But Clarke talked about himself as if he were the issue.

He agreed that his testimony under oath before the two Congressional Intelligence Committees should be should be declassified: "I would welcome it to be declassified." As a condition, he wants all six hours of his testimony to be declassified as well as all of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's testimony. He wants the memorandum he sent to Dr. Rice on January 25, 2001 to be declassified; it is this memo he says became the Administration's al Qaeda policy some 7 months later, on September 4 of that year. He seems to be trying to "flood the market" with declassified material to distract from the damning elements, much in the same way former candidate Howard Dean finally agreed to the declassification of his records as governor of Vermont. But Clarke does not want the Administration to continue, he alleged, "selectively releasing memos," which he thought violated some form of privacy agreement. He did not elaborate.

Of the press briefing from July 2002, in which Clarke stated the opposite of what he said last Wednesday to the 9-11 Commission, Clark insisted that he "was told to spin it [White House actions] in a positive way." He could have done that, he said, or resigned. He chose not to resign, he said, because he "believes it was very, very important to develop a plan to protect America's cyberspace," on which he was working. His scruples were such that he could not resign without wasting bandwidth.

He said he wrote his book to explain to the victims' families "what went wrong… how do you advise on structuring the government to avoid this in the future." He wrote the book, he said, because: "I had to get it off my chest." He blamed the publisher for the release date, coinciding with his testimony before the 9-11 Commission, and that's no doubt accurate. For his part, he said, "I wanted it to be a Christmas book." It would have been if the White House hadn't "sat on it," taking a long time to clear it for publication. He's going to make a "substantial contribution" with the proceeds, he said, to the families of the 9-11 victims and the families of those servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

He absolved the Clinton Administration from any wrongdoing concerning al Qaeda because, he said, they had a lot of other things going on: Bosnia and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He faulted the Bush Administration for having other things going on, but I think he's got something nuanced going on.


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It's Sunday Morning


In a few minutes, I begin watching the Sunday morning talk shows for the Rightsided Newsletter, one of my favorite periods of the week. Much talk will be of Dick Clarke and the 9-11 Commission, and it would be nice if Clarke would drop the lies and discuss what should be done in the future to prevent terrorist attacks. I'm sure he has some good idea, but he has zero credibility on recounting what happened in the 7 1/2 months before 9-11. It's also going to be interesting to hear Secretary Powell on the Schieffer show.

I'll talk to you soon.
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John Kerry Attacks Zell Miller


Candidate John Kerry doesn't like Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia). Miller has been leading the efforts to rally Democrats behind President George W. Bush, and the Kerry campaign is calling him "Zig-Zag Zell." Yes, Senator Miller has been accused of changing his positions by the King of Flip Flops, JF Kerry.
Kerry's people point out, for example, that Miller praised Kerry in a speech in 2001 as "one of this nation's authentic heroes" who has "worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment." Kerry and Miller have also had identical Senate voting records on intelligence funding, and both voted for increased defense spending in 2002.

Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter offers this sound bite: "Zell Miller's new leadership role will be a lonely post."
They miss the irony. Miller's Senate voting record is hardly that of a conservative Republican on all issues; until his moderate-conservative 2003, according to the ACU's ratings, Miller was a moderate-liberal.

Miller's leadership role is as head of Democrats for Bush, and it's not lonely. As charter members, the group counts 99 Democrats from 27 States and DC. For more on such Democrats, I turn your attention to the January 30 column by Oliver North.

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3/27/2004

 

Post-Clarke Newsweek Poll


The new poll taken for Newsweek Magazine after Dick Clarke's "rockin'" testimony, shows the President's approval rating unchanged at 49-percent. In a three-way race, the President gets 45-percent, Kerry scores 43-percent, and Nader hauls in 5-percent. Unchanged from the pre-Clarke results. (One-on-one, it's 48% for Kerry, 47% for Bush.)

The President's approval ratings for specific issues have almost all dropped, but those answers are in response to negatively-worded questions.

Half of those surveyed say they paid attention to Dick Clarke. A quarter of those who watched thought Clark a selfless public servant, and another quarter didn't know what to think. Exactly one half (50-percent) thought Clark was an ego-driven agenda maniac.

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Crumbling Empires


Geopolitics. They do not tax corporations in Bermuda. Companies like to go there, and everyone from CNN's Lou Dobbs to candidate JF Kerry is whining about "outsourcing." They want to stop jobs from going overseas, and Kerry is talking about reducing corporate taxes by a miniscule amount in order to lure them here rather than Bermuda.

The answer, and it obvious and it is a thing of beauty, is to eliminate taxes on corporations. Keeping jobs in country would be just one small benefit of such an act. Expansion, new jobs, lower consumer prices. When thought of in these real terms, corporations have human faces and taxing them can be seen as taxing Americans to benefit the rest of the world.

Bermuda is a British protectorate. A part of the British Empire, its head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who has a governor on the island named Sir John Vereker. For all his bluer than blue blood, he was not elected by the Bermudans; Premier Alex Scott was.

On Sunday, according to a story Bermuda Royal Gazzette, Premier Scott will give a speech proclaiming that Bermuda's independence from the empire will come under his Progressive Labour Party's government.

Said Scott:
“You come in and find out. I don’t think folks will go away disappointed and I think Bermuda is ready for what we are about to say. I hope they are going to be receptive.”
And they won't sure Tyco.

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Kerry's Economic Team


From a NYTimes pustule piece, dated Sunday:
Remember Roger C. Altman, the high-ranking Treasury official in the early Clinton years, forced out for being too loyal to his boss in the Whitewater investigation? He is one of them. Gene Sperling, a White House insider in all eight Clinton years, is another. Then there are two less-known 30-somethings: Jason Furman, a Harvard-trained economist, hired so recently that he is still working out of his Greenwich Village apartment, and Sarah Bianchi, who was Al Gore's policy adviser in 2000 and is now Mr. Kerry's. Both got their start in the Clinton White House, as young aides barely out of college.
The writer, Louis Uchitelle, gushes that Kerry's "core economic advisers… are clearly rooted in Clinton economics."

You know, centrist, deficit hawks, etc. The myth. The press-contrived folklore built over the taxing and spending Clintonistas, who agreed to reduce the deficit only when their collective bluff was called, is amateurish and old.

Altman, if you'll recall, had to resign after being caught lying to Congress about Whitewater.

Give me Bob Rubin and Janet Yellen, then we'll talk of a Clinton team for Kerry. The Dem's would love a trip back to the glory days, when their party had a purpose though none of them knew what it was. (I do.)

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Sunday Morning Talk Shows



KEY:
MTP: NBC’s Meet the Press with Tim Russert
FNS: FOX’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace
FTN: CBS’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer
TW: ABC’s This Week with former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos
LE: CNN’s Late Edition with Wolfgang Blitzer

And that's the KEY I use for my Sunday review and analysis of the Sunday Morning Talk Shows, mercifully inimitable, for the free Rightsided Newsletter. If you are interested, please visit our web site or send a blank e-mail to rsn-subscribe [AT] tripod.com.

FNS promises to be a good show, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the 9-11 Commission chairman, former Governor Tom Kean (R-New Jersey) and the vice chairman, former Representative Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana).

Hamilton is unnerving, in that a younger version of the man was the chairman of the House delegation to the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987. He was nearly as officious as his Senate counterpart, Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii), but you can be certain that Inouye would be there too if he would have done the right thing and retired long ago.


On MTP, host Russert will spend the entire show interviewing Dick Clarke. This is a guest who has blown all his cred and can only recant or, more likely, did his hole further. He will be well prepped, as he was for Wednesday's appearance before the commission [see below], and Russert will certainly ask him about his July, 2002 testimony before the two Congressional Intelligence Committees. Russert is very good at grilling guests for inconsistencies, and he doesn't always accept lame answers from Democrats and their sympathizers…


The White House will continue to make its case on FTN, where host Schieffer's lone guest will be Secretary of State Colin Powell. On PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer Friday night [transcript], the Secretary expressed regret but did not accept the blame for 9-11:
I don't know that there is anything we failed on. I can't yet find whether there was information that was there that connected, that we should have seen connected, which would have given us some indication that this was about to happen.
I can imagine Schieffer asking him if, deep down, he doesn't feel a twinge of remorse for what the Administration failed to do. It's annoying, but…


Steph's first guest on TW will be Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is now high on al Qaeda's hit list. Rummy's next, then 9-11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick. On Wednesday, she behaved as if she were the high priestess at the temp of Dick Clarke (where the ball always falls at midnight).


Wolfgang B. pulls up the rear with LE. He will talk to Kean, Hamilton, and Clarke. He'll also talk to Representative Chris Shays (R-Connecticut). I don't know if this is what he'll discuss, but he is co-sponsoring with Manhattan Democrat Caroline Maloney a bill that would increase the number of people eligible for federal health screening after breathing 9-11 dust.

Just subscribe if you'd like the RSN in your Inbox. It should be interesting tomorrow.

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Reality Show: American Candidate


It will air on SHOWTIME this fall, in time for the elections.

From WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina:
The show is centered around what goes into making a presidential candidate. It hopes to do for politics what ‘American Idol did for music’ and find that untapped talent.

[…]
Like any presidential candidate, those who make the show [as contestants] will debate the issues, attend political rallies and work with bi-partisan advisors.
John Edwards ought to audition. That "Two Americas" bit would go over great with Simon.

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Clarke/Roemer Confabulation


[Here, "confabulation" is used in the psychiatric sense: "To fill in gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts."

From Robert Novak's column today:
CONFERRING WITH CLARKE

Prior to his testimony Wednesday before the independent 9/11 commission, Richard Clarke conferred privately with one of its Democratic members, according to commission sources.

These sources say Clarke huddled with Tim Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. Roemer's subsequent questioning of Clarke contained a few barbs but consisted largely of open-ended questions giving the witness a chance to criticize President Bush. Roemer confirmed he had met "a couple of times with" Clarke, as he said he had with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA Director George Tenet. "Nobody coaches Dick Clarke," Roemer added.

One reason why House Speaker Dennis Hastert unsuccessfully tried to curtail the commission's activities on schedule was the presence of Roemer, his former congressional colleague. Hastert regards Roemer as a partisan who attempts to project a bipartisan image.
Release the 2002 testimony.

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The Truth and the Protest


The Washpost's Colbert King asks in his column today a question asked by a the stepmother of a fallen soldier in a Baltimore Sun piece (linked below): "Why are our children dying? What is the reason for this young boy [Army Spec. Jason Ford] to lose his life?"

King cannot provide an answer to his satisfaction.

He concludes:
And what have the United States and its strategic Middle East ally Israel received in exchange? This from [Grand Ayatollah Ali] Sistani in response to the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of the terrorist group Hamas -- a source of the suicide bombings of Israeli civilians:

"This morning, in a terrible [one translation said "ugly"] crime committed by the occupying Zionist entity, the oppressed Palestinian People lost one of its bravest men of courage, the martyr [Yassin], may God have mercy on him, who committed his life to serving his land and his religion, and showed patience and resistance that cannot be equaled.

"We are in mourning brothers and sisters in dear Palestine and the rest of the Muslims, for this terrible disaster and great injury, which will encourage the sons of the Arab and Islamic nation to come together and unite, and work seriously about the ways to liberate our robbed land, and to take our stolen rights back successfully."

America's Jason Fords are fighting and dying for that?
Not at all. That Sistani's reaction was identical to what it would have been if Saddam were still in power is inconsequential. Spec. Ford did not die so that Ali Sistani could mourn mutants. He died, in part, so that Sistani's countrymen could disagree without being disemboweled in front of their families.

There are no doubt many Iraqis running around their streets decrying the death of the mutant Yassin. There are no doubt people in the United States of America who will angrily insist that Yassin was a martyr, America is no safer with Saddam out of power, and the world is run by European Jewry. These people are hateful crackpots, but in a free society, a government does not legislate against blah, blah, blah. That's why people can say these things in America. It is why they can finally say the opposite in Iraq. (I'm not sure why they say those things in France. It could be the lack of air conditioning.)

If the young Mr. Ford's death is to be in vain, elect a President who will make it so. John Kerry does not care for why the man, aged 21 died.

King based his column on the plaintive cry of Ford's stepmother Irene. For another look at Ford's funeral, one at odds with King's, read this piece from Maryland's Gaithersburg Gazette:
This week, instead of sending Ford a key, the friends got tattoos bearing his name and the words "Fallen soldier, rest in peace."

Younger children in the neighborhood told The Bowie Star that it is still difficult to believe their friend and mentor is gone.

"It seemed like he was ready for it, but we weren't," said Nicole Baxter, 15, who said she considered Ford her big brother. "I'm kind of coping with it now, that I can't get one last hug, one last kiss."

She is not alone. One officer who served with Ford told funeral-goers that Ford was universally loved throughout Bravo Company.

"One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in the Army is bring a friend home," Staff Sgt. Shawn Jackson said

This is how Americans honor a fallen son. They give thanks for his courage and his love.
As Jackson said to Ford's family before they drove to Arlington: "Y'all's family just got a bit bigger."
The step-mother, Irene Ford, is not mentioned in the Gazette piece

This from a piece in the Baltimore Sun offers a clue:
Asked for their feelings about the war in Iraq, Ford and his wife diverged in their opinions. Ford [Joseph, Jason's father], a Vietnam veteran, said he didn't see a need for the United States to be in Iraq. But he said his son had a duty to go.

"It was his job to serve his country," Ford said. "I felt that way when I went to Vietnam."

His wife [Irene] said she can't understand the rationale for the war, though she was proud of his service. Her eyes welled with tears as she spoke. "I'm still questioning [the war]," she said. "Why is this going on? I thought the war is over. Why are our children getting killed?"
So there is the question again, this time in context. A Washington Post columnist took a quote from the Baltimore Sun (it was not contained in the Post report) and gave the impression that he had heard it himself. Then again, maybe he called her and got her to repeat it.)

I very much appreciate Colbert King's rationality in most cases, but enough of this stuff already.

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RNC Ultraviolence


Blogger Adam Yoshida has posted an intriguing essay advocating a little ultraviolence in New York's streets for the Republican National Convention this September.

Here's a sample:
All of this could easily work to transform the Republican convention from a staid event, barely covered by the media (as opposed to the coverage which is sure to be lavished upon the Democratic Convention) into mesmerizing television with a message. After all, in any riot, the average American identifies far more strongly with those seeking to put down the riot than they do the rioters. Those who romanticism political “activism” of this sort aren’t going to be voting for George Bush in any case.
This ties in nicely with blogger Matt Margolis's recent experience with Union Thugs at a Bush fundraiser in Boston.

The Dem's are gonna bust some heads, man.

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To Throw Rice


National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has been front-and-center in the Bush administrations ongoing effort to inform the public on the fact that Dick Clarke cannot be believed. In a Chicago Tribune article this morning, a Bob Kemper refers to Dr. Rice as "damaged this week amid allegations that the White House paid too little attention to terrorist threats before the Sept. 11 attacks." This is part of the Whitehouse-on-the-ropes line the press continually promulgates, completely ignoring that any sense observer would attribute zero credibility to the Clarke.

He speculates that Rice will leave the Administration before a second Bush term and says that her defense now is merely for her legacy.
Rice's NSC has been "dysfunctional," said Pike [John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a private defense and military think tank], with the Pentagon and State Department at ideological odds and top Bush advisers--including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld--going over Rice's head to the president on a number of foreign policy initiatives.
I'm not sure on what Pike bases his assumptions, but he is head of a no-nuke outfit which holds that all we are saying is give peace a chance. (Not in those marijuana-laden terms, but it's my take. I just linked their "Mission" page, so you can check it out for yourself.)

Dr. Rice won't testify publicly before the 9-11 Commission.
The White House said Rice could not formally testify before the commission because Congress created the panel and such an appearance would breach the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.
I think she should testify, and I think she will.

Just as the White House allowed the declassification of Clarke's 2002 briefing in which he made statements which blatantly contradict his book and his recent testimony before the 9-11 Commission, and just as it can declassify Clarke's 2002 testimony before the Congressional Intelligence Committees, it can allow Rice to testify

Would it set a bad precedent? Maybe it would have, but not after the horrible precedent set by Clarke in writing his book. The book purports to reveal details of the advice given to a sitting President by one of his advisors (Clarke). How can the national security staff now be trusted?

The President could allow Rice's testimony in this particular case without harming future Presidents and their advisors. It could do wonders for Dr. Rice's legacy, and it should work towards ending the Clarke chapter of this campaign.

It would not surprise me if WH strategy was not for Rice to resist then relent under protest. Let's have it.

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