Koppel and the war dead

TacJammer tells Ted Koppel what he thinks -- "BITE ME" -- and lists the names Ted should have listed: those who were slaughtered on 9-11.

They have been listed on TV, at least in part, but that was done long after there were people still dying on September 11. Our troops are still in danger in Iraq.


Sharpton invited to speak at the DNC

Courtesy of Erick Erickson at Confessions of a Political Junkie -- who has been dreaming that this would be so -- I've learned the great news that candidate JF Kerry has told BET News that the Reverend Al Sharpton is invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this July. [BET press release]
On Rev. Al Sharpton as a Speaker at the DNC ...

Kerry: "I hope so. Sure ... That's my call ... If he wants to do it, he can do it ... Let me just say to you ... if he wants to do it, I'd like him to do it. I think he'd do a terrific job. I think he'll add something ... there's no plea necessary. It's my invitation."

On Rev. Sharpton's Impact on the Presidential Campaign Season ...

Kerry: " ... He certainly earned the right to be part of this process, and I think he can be very, very helpful in motivating people, in helping to register people."
And, by the way, Howard Dean fancies himself the next Oprah.

New Column on the RSN site

The latest column by Jan Ireland, Score Pat Tillman American Hero, Rene Gonzalez Cowardly America Hater, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Words so often reveal more than the writer intends, and truth can find its way out of the craftiest planted propaganda.

Puerto Rico and the University of Massachusetts were shamed yesterday when their lamentable son Rene Gonzalez sought to wound America as it grieves for football great turned elite Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

Racism and envy were part of the reason Gonzalez called Tillman a "pendejo" (idiot) and a "Rambo" soldier who deserved to die. But the biggest reason of all was the personal cowardice of America hater Rene Gonzalez. [MORE]


Al Gore and the Young American

Al Gore and other investors purchased Newsworld International from Vivendi Universal, the struggling French media giant, and plans to turn it into a public affairs and entertainment outlet for the 18-34 demographic.

Al Gore says he's not targeting the nation's most popular cable news network, the FOX News Channel, despite rumors to the contrary.
"This is not going to be a liberal network, or a Democratic network in any way, shape, or form,'' the former vice president said.
Is there a wink we're missing?

There are a few that claim that while the FOX News Channel claims to be "fair and balanced," they wink when the say it. It's not true, the claim goes.

Gore no doubt buys into this sloppy line of thinking, so he might be thinking along the lines of: "Well, if Murdoch and Ailes can claim to be fair and balanced, so can the Al Gore News Network!" (NOTE: I invented the name for the new network; what he actually calls it is his business.)

After watching Gore on the stump for the past several years, I cannot imagine the man reserving his fiery vitriol from certain aspects of his life. Unless he is a brilliant actor and genius compartimentalizer, which would make his political life an ingenious fraud.


John McCain and Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel has decided to use his ABC new infotainment show Nightline to recite the names of the 532+ K.I.A. in the Iraq war and reconstruction effort. Sinclair broadcasting, which eight ABC stations, is not going to air it. From the Sinclair web site:
The ABC Television Network announced on Tuesday that the Friday, April 30 edition of "Nightline" will consist entirely of Ted Koppel reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq. Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq. [emphasis in orig]

[ . . . [
We understand that our decision in this matter may be questioned by some. Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorist attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, we believe you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday. Unfortunately, we may never know for sure because Mr. Koppel has refused repeated requests from Sinclair's News Central news organization to comment on this Friday's program.
Fair enough. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) -- who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which oversees the FCC, which controls Sinclair's ability to broadcast -- sent a letter to Sinclair Chairman and CEO David Smith, saying, in part:
There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq. War is an awful, but sometimes necessary business. Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war’s terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves.
Smith replied, in part:
It is "Nightline's" failure to present the entire story, however, to which Sinclair objects. "Nightline" is not reporting news; it is doing nothing more than making a political statement. In simply reading the names of our fallen heroes, this program has adopted a strategy employed by numerous anti-war demonstrators who wish to focus attention solely on the cost of war. In fact, lest there be any doubt about "Nightline's" motivation, both Mr. Koppel and "Nightline's" executive producer have acknowledged that tonight's episode was influenced by the Life Magazine article listing the names of dead soldiers in Vietnam, which article was widely credited with furthering the opposition to the Vietnam war and with creating a backlash of public opinion against the members of the U.S. military who had proudly served in that conflict

In closing, I would like to quote for you the words of Captain Kate Blaise of the U.S. Military. Captain Blaise served in Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne Division and suffered the loss of her husband Mike who was killed while also serving in Iraq. In commenting on exactly the type of practice which "Nightline" intends to employ, Captain Blaise had this to say:

"I was watching the news, watching this anti-war demonstration and they were reading off names of soldiers who had fallen in Iraq and they read off my husband's name. That made me very angry because he very strongly believed in what he was doing and they were using his name for a purpose that he would not have approved of."
I've heard the theory that McCain enjoys tweaking the President, a notion which he dismisses, and this seems to be evidence of that. Sinclair owns no stations in Arizona, so McCain should not have interfered in a business decision by Sinclair Broadcasting. That a chairman of the committee overseeing the FCC would so such a thing is disgusting and reprehensible. The government is neither empowered nor does it belong anywhere near such things. The rest of this matter is trivial.

Like Koppel's motivation. He might be protesting the war by taking the ridiculous step of listing the dead before the action is finished. He might also be trying to gather attention for his infotainment show. (I haven't seen his ratings.) Either way, he is dishonoring the dead. His show began as a nice little thing with news of our hostages in Iran in 1980. I do not know why he is still on the air.

Sinclair is a private company.

People, including Koppel, have a right to protest the war, even to dishonor the dead. I have a right to note what they are doing. Sinclair has a right not to air his stunt. John McCain has no right or power to use his elected position to bully a private corporation.

The French: "Canadians Hate Bush"

This stuff from the French wire AFP is always stimulating.

A new Ipsos-Reid survey conducted for the CTV , the remnants of the government-owned Canadian television system, and the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper had concluded that 83-percent of Canadians responded in agreement to a statement that President Bush "is not necessarily a friend of Canada and doesn't really know anything when it comes to Canadian issues." The French translated the Canadian reaction to that statement as: "[m]ore than eight in 10 Canadians harbour [sic] a strong dislike for President George W. Bush." It cannot be thusly translated, but the French are getting sloppy with the strong dislike they harbor.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin is meeting with President Bush as I type, trying to undo the damage do to the U.S.-Canada relationship by former Canadian PM Jean Chretient. To be certain, Martin opposed the war; the difference is that he does not fear or hate the United States.

And that's my honest analysis.


Joe Wilson's Book

Ambassador Joe Wilson's novel, The Politics of Truth: A Diplomat's memoir, was due out today. The NYTimes the damned thing today. You can read that by clicking on the cover, here:

He promised that he would disclose the name of the person in the White House who leaked his CIA operative wife's name, Valerie Plame, to columnist Robert Novak and according to the AP, he names three of them: Cheney Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the NSC's Elliott Abrams, and Karl Rove:
"The workup on me that turned up the information on Valerie was shared with Karl Rove, who then circulated it in administration and neoconservative circles," Wilson writes.
White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan had previously ruled all three men out as possible sources.

Wilson's motivation? Book sales, of course, but he wants to "frog-march" the Bush Administration out of the White House. He runs with Rand Beers and Dick Clarke, and has spoken at MoveOn.org events. He's one of the mini-assassins of the organized ABB crowd.

We'll find out soon enough if it contains anything new or interesting.


Those Pictures of prisoner humilation

On Wednesday night, CBSNews.com, on one of the infotainment shows (60 Minutes II, aired photographs of Iraq prisoners being put in goofy poses by their US military guards at the Abu Ghraib prison. As a CBSNews.com story relates, former CIA Bureau Chief Bob Baer told Dan Rather
"I visited Abu Ghraib a couple of days after it was liberated. It was the most awful sight I've ever seen. I said, ‘If there's ever a reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it's because of Abu Ghraib,'” says Baer. “There were bodies that were eaten by dogs, torture. You know, electrodes coming out of the walls. It was an awful place."
Now prisoners are made to assume goofy and humiliating poses.

At the White House, from Reuters:
"We cannot tolerate it and the military is taking strong action against the individuals responsible for these despicable acts," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
According to the Associated Press, Army Reserve Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick, one of those implicated in the humiliation, told his family in an e-mail that "[w]e've had a very high rate with our styles of getting them to break; they usually end up breaking within hours." Barely authorized psychological warfare?

Britain's lefty broadsheet Guardian Unlimited Friday complains about the lack of coverage this has received but argued that the photographs "could prove a tipping point in the war in Iraq."

Just like the Sixteen Words, Dick Clarke's book tour testimony, and Valerie Plame-gate could destroy the President. Yeah.

We have some overly enthusiastic soldiers who conducted themselves in a way contrary to the code observed by U.S. servicemen. Punish them and avoid hyperbole. It may be reprehensible, but it is most certainly not barbaric.


New column on RSN site

The latest column by Dennis Campbell, Candidate Reaffirms his Support of Slavery, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter site:
WASHINGTON - We caught up with Sen. John Kerry as he prepared to debate fellow Democrat Stephen Douglas for the right to challenge likely Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election.

We wanted to clarify Sen. Kerry's position on slavery, the most divisive issue in American politics. Republicans will campaign on a strong anti-slavery platform, while Democrats are equally staunch in their support of the "peculiar institution."

Yesterday at a noontime rally, Sen. Kerry defended the rights of slaveholders in the face of
mounting criticism from Christian clergy, who call slavery immoral and an affront to Christianity. [MORE]
A little bar will open to the left of your screen when you visit the page with the column. Close it. It's harmless but useless, someone's "bright idea."


Ronald Reagan U.

The school will be 200 miles northeast of Denver, but Nancy's nixed the name. It's not their name to use, and his name remains private for such purposes for as long as the President or Mrs. Reagan lives.


Air Support

Good Morning! Last night, a good friend stationed with us USAF at the Ali Al Salam Air Base wrote me (on his distribution list) apologizing for a virus he might have inadvertently passed around:
"Go figure, we spend zillions of dollars and have Anti Virus software running all the time but this crap slips through.
I tried to be reassuring:
Think of it this way. For all the trouble which can be caused by computer viruses and Iraqi insurgents, they don't get air support. - Mark
It's true.



To win (reelection), the Prez has to lose (Iraq)

That's an interesting assertion made by Daniel W. Drezner, whom we might know from his exactly eponymous weblog, in Thursday's TNR.com.

The operative graph [link]:
Ordinarily, presidents are rewarded for doing their jobs well. In Bush's case, however, quiet in Iraq would allow Americans to focus on their pocketbooks. While the economy--and Bush's approval numbers on the issue--have rebounded from lows, the president remains far weaker on domestic issues than on international affairs. Democrats can still claim that Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a decline in the number of jobs. The latest Gallup poll shows a 54 percent disapproval rating on Bush's handling of the economy. Bush's best hope for reelection is for the electorate to focus on his leadership abilities--and one way for that to happen is for there to be trouble in Iraq.
I'm afraid not, though it does make sense. If he is going by the worn tradition that Republicans poll worse than Dems on the economy, that is a part of the conventional wisdom which he earlier suggests might not be operative this cycle.

If the economy continues to rally, his concomitant numbers will rise. As far as the Dems pointing to the total job loss for the entire administration -- "Herbert Hoover, maaaan" -- that argument is already flat on its face. Kerry harps, Pelosi spits, but with an job creation like the nation is currently experiences, and 9-11 and the bursting of Clinton's bubble on which to blame the previous losses, the President will be fine.

The argument that the President needs things to go poorly in Iraq so that he can demonstrate his leadership ability is also, I think, faulty. Remember, if things do go poorly in Iraq, candidate JF Kerry and his allies can more forcefully use the dread Q-Word: QUAGMIRE. They can sing the Vietnam song, and few voters are going to wait for the nuance.

If the President can successfully give Iraq to the Iraqis and the economy says strong, he has the election in the bag. (He may anyway, should the Democrats go through with nominating JF Kerry.) The President can then score his leadership points through the war on terror and maybe -- this one is sweet, in a perverse way -- forming some global alliances to wave in JF Kerry's face.

Life ain't so bad. We don't have to lose an arm to win.


New Column on RSN site

The latest column by Justin Darr, Liberals are Unpatriotic, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
There they go again. Another Liberal has decided that loud must somehow equal right. This time Hillary Clinton has decided to join the ranks of Al Gore and Howard Dean by screaming herself into a hysterical frenzy at a pro-abortion rally. Other than making America finally understand why Bill looked outside his marriage for companionship, Hillary's tirade about how she is tired of Republicans calling Liberals "unpatriotic" makes no sense. No Republican has called the Democrats unpatriotic. They have questioned the Liberals dedication to national defense, their commitment to the War on Terror, and the motivations for their Socialist policies, but not their patriotism. Liberals may want to blame the Republicans for their public perception of Anti-Americanism, but the Democrats actually are having a problem with common sense. [MORE]


The Testimony of the President

To be fair, the 9-11 Commission appeared behind the President and Vice President this morning, rather than them appearing before the commission. In the Oval Office, with all that the power the room implies, the commissioners had a "conversation" with the President.

From his remarks afterward:
I want to thank the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for bringing the commission here and giving us a chance to share views on different subjects. And they had a lot of good questions. I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the time. This is an important commission, and it's important that they ask the questions they ask so that they can help make recommendations necessary to better protect our homeland. It was -- I enjoyed it.
Do not forget that just a month ago, the press had the Dick Clarke book tour appearance crushing is chances at reelection. That did not work out, so they determined that Condoleezza Rice's testimony would make or break his reelection chances.

Evidently the President answered most of the questions and did so authoritatively. The perception pretty much all around is that it went well, as the opposition has resorted to its fall-back position of continuing to question why the President and VP were questioned together. (I suspect that EJ Dionne will have some other sort of criticism and sniping. I have to credit him with a superior imagination.)

What I hope can happen now, and it can, is that the commission put this circus which began with the public hearings and the Dick Clarke book tour behind them. They took a lot of substantial testimony before that circus, and some afterwards. If they can concentrate on that and eliminate Jamie Gorelick's fingerprints as much as is possible, this could be productive.


New Poll (Manet still has brush in hand)

From VOA:
The New York Times-CBS News poll found that 47 percent of those surveyed believe the United States did the right thing in invading Iraq, down from 58 percent in March and 63 percent in December.
The same poll has his general approval rating down and the one for his handling of the war in Iraq down as well.

Take the poll when we've finished.

No one took a survey of art lovers to rate Edouard Manet halfway through The Execution of Maxmillion. Wait 'til Saddam's work is undone.


New Column on RSN site

The new column by Isaiah Z. Sterrett, No Doubt About It: Muslims Can Handle Freedom, is live on the RSN web site:
LAST WEEK I wrote a column in which I argued that liberals have started addressing conservatives as neoconservatives because the word conservativewithout the divisive prefix of neono longer frightens the American public. By labeling the Bush Administration neoconservative, rather than merely conservative, liberals are trying to undo all of the positive steps conservatives have taken to improve our image. [MORE]


Patterns of Global Terrorism Report

In their annual report, the State Department reported that the last year in which there were fewer terrorists incidents than in 2003 was 1969, some twenty years before the fall of the Soviet Union facilitated the rise of modern terrorism.
[Top State Department counterterrorism official, Cofer] Black also said al-Qaida "is no longer the organization it once was. ... Most of the group's senior leadership is dead or in custody, its membership on the run and its capabilities sharply degraded." He said more 3,400 al-Qaida suspects have been detained worldwide.
The war on global terrorism is being won, and brought together by President Bush using the good will after September 11, the world is winning it.


Testifying in Private

The French wire AFP reports today:
The president, who initially fiercely opposed the commission's creation, grudgingly agreed to the session on condition he not be sworn to tell the truth, that Cheney accompany him, and that there be no transcript or recording.
That's the French, who report:
But a poll published Thursday showed Bush's approval ratings in a slump, his race with Kerry a dead heat, and highlighted growing doubts about his handling of the war in Iraq.

And former counter-terrorism aides have publicly called into question Bush's response to the growing threat from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network after he took office in January 2001.
That's French analysis, and it's so misguided that it is almost stunning. But it's what the French people are led to believe, and the mullahs are saying similar things to their charges in the mideast.

Back to the testimony. Fred Barnes stated earlier this week that the President should not testify at all, that the panel was too discredited. I think the President's testimony will give the panel some of the credibility it has lost since it kicked of the Dick Clarke Book Tour last month. The circus we saw was only a small portion of the work they did, so if they could put that aside and excise, to the extent possible, Jamie Gorelick's participation from the final report, they could offer something potentially valuable.

One should not throw the baby out with the bathwater, even if such bathwater is particularly putrid. I hope the President and Mr. Cheney can allow them to get serious again.


Election Law Broken in South Dakota Senate Race

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) ran a phone ad campaigning pointing fingers and blaming Republican challenger John Thune for starting the negative campaigning.

Daschle did not include a message stating that he approved of the message, as required by federal election law to distinguish for the public between soft and hard money advertising.

Democrats said oops, while Republican called it blatant hypocrisy with Daschle's initial pledge to run a positive campaign:
"Their hypocrisy is unbelievable," said Thune's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams. "It's either blatant disregard for the law or incompetence."
How stupid is Daschle's campaign? Every official political ad, seemingly but Daschle's, has contained the disclaimer.

The ads were pulled.


The state of the nation is…

John Kerry just finished spreading his message of malaise to enraptured audiences in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, talking not of the current job situation, but of the jobs lost since the burst of the Clinton bubble, especially those in manufacturing.

President Bush heads to Michigan and Ohio next week to talk about the current condition of the economy.

The Democrat is appealing to defeat, while the Republican is reflecting victory.

Meanwhile, the economy grew 4.2% between January and March, as businesses invested money in their infrastructures. Growth was 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2003, and this is the first time we have had three straight quarters with 4%+ growth in a decade.

But Kerry reports that we are miserable, and he has an half-baked index to "prove" it.


Gore gives $4m to the DNC

Like most Democrats, Al Gore is not excited about his party's presidential candidate, JF Kerry.
"I didn't support John Kerry. President Carter didn't support John Kerry. President Clinton didn't support John Kerry," Gore said. "John Kerry earned the nomination of this party. He won it the hard way."
He claims to have $6.5-million left from his failed 2000 Presidential run. Of that money, he's giving $1-million each to the DCCC and the DSCC, the party committees which work on winning House and Senate seats respectively.

He's giving $4-million, he says, to the Democratic National Committee in order to help Kerry's Presidential effort, simply because the candidate is not President Bush. DNC spending this year is restricted by the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, so it will not help Kerry as much as the numbers claim.

No word as to whether he gave the maximum $2,000 to Kerry's campaign machine. He could also have paid his subordinates, if such he has, to donate $2,000, thus skirting the law and increasing the assistance to Kerry.





Super-secret Dem bratty protestors are seeking to infiltrate the ranks of volunteers for this Summer's Republican National Convention in NYC.
"I think they don't understand either just how much of New York City is not prepared to welcome them," said Amanda Hickman, who described herself as a community gardener from Brooklyn. "I don't think that has clicked."
Some aging kid, age 37, has a web site designed to get troublemakers to infiltrate both the RNC and the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The Boston boys are seen as virtually immune, as they already have their volunteers.


PA Redistricting Plan Stands

We ALMOST got the courts out of the legislative function of redistricting.

After the 2000 census, the Pennsylvania legislature redrew the maps of Congressional districts to reflect the loss of two seats. The Republicans controlled both chambers of the legislature, so the maps were redrawn to reflect the will of the people through their representatives.

That's my Republican way of saying that they redrew the districts to favor the GOP. The Democrats complained that Pennsylvania voter registration is about evenly split between the two parties so the redistricting should have reflected that.

The Supreme court decided 5-4 in the case of Vieth v. Jubelirer that Commonwealth Senate Pro Tem Bob Jubelirer get his way and the plan stands.

Justice Antonin Scalia -- writing for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas -- upheld the Pennsylvania redistricting map and wanted to overturn the Court's 1986 redistricting case of Davis v. Bandemer, 478 US 109 (1986), which allowed the courts to meddle in legislative redistricting. (Rehnquist and O'Conner had dissented in that case.)

The view had only four votes, but Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with them to allow the Pennsylvania redistricting to stand but to keep Davis v. Bendemer.

The ACLU, arguing against the plan, maintained that the Constitution does not allow for such plans which might let a minority of voters to control a majority of Congressional seats. The plan, of course, does not such thing, and the Constitution makes no mention of political parties.

Last week, the SC declined to hear an appeal of Texas' redistricting plan.


McDermott's Pledge

Representative Jim McDermott (R-Washington) was seventeen when President Eisenhower signed the bill into law adding the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. He said he had forgotten and gone back to saying the pledge as he did "in the 6th grade" when explaining why he recited the Pledge for the House of Representative, Tuesday, without those words. But roll the tape, McDermott paused briefly while other members said "under God," then resumed "with liberty."

Representative Jeff Sessions is vocally chastising McDermott, who gained the appellation "Jihad Jim" when visiting Baghdad in late 2002. Last December, he said that the capture of Saddam Hussein was politically timed.

It seems to me that the old man is a tad mean-spirited and a bit disconnected with reality. There are people in most groups the size of Congress who cause trouble merely to watch the effects.

He should not lie about his motivation.


WANTED: People who aren't there

I thought it would be nice to Al Jazeera, public access for terrorists.

Something called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has offered a $15-million reward each for the capture of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, US Commander in Iraq, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, and his spokesman, Brigadier General Mark Kimmit.

They're distributing leaflets in Fallujah, and some of the deadenders are no doubt looking for Rummy behind the mosques.


Clinton's Vial of Powder

Someone not identified sent a letter and a vial of powder to former President Bill Clinton's in Harlem. It was not anthrax.

No comment from this end.


Hot Judicial Nomination

The President is not backing down to Schumer or to any of the other liberal Senators on the Judiciary Committee. The President has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Brett Kavanaugh is the White House attorney who helps select the President's judicial nominees, somr of whom were labeled right wing ideologues, dead on arrival. Ken Kavanaugh was one if Ken Starr's lead Whitewater attorney.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and the committee chairman, extolled Mr. Kavanaugh as a graduate of Yale Law School and a law clerk to three judges. Mr. Hatch also said the American Bar Association had rated Mr. Kavanaugh "well qualified" for the judicial post, on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Mr. Hatch said it was wrong of opponents to portray Mr. Kavanaugh as a right-wing ideologue. He has devoted a majority of his career to public service, not ideological causes, Mr. Hatch said.
If Kavanaugh's nomination tracks like the President's past "controversial" nominees, there's an outside chance that he might not get his hearing until next year. Arlen Specter will be chairman of Judiciary.


Thursday's Joint Appearance

This little AP piece says it all:
White House -- President Bush says Thursday's appearance before the 9-11 commission will be a "good opportunity" to help in the panel's work. He says he looks forward to what he terms "the discussion."

Bush will not be under oath, and there'll be no recording or transcript, when he and Vice President Cheney are questioned together behind closed doors at the White House.

Bush says he expects the panel to ask about "what happened leading up to" 9-11 and administration anti-terror efforts in general.

Questioned by reporters as he met with Sweden's prime minister, the president side-stepped a question about the lack of a transcript. And he wouldn't say why the White House insisted he appear jointly with Cheney.
The 9-11 Commission was empanelled, according to their web site to "prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks." Despite the three rings added for the circus when the Dick Clarke book tour kicked off last month, this is not an investigation of wrongdoing. For the President to participate, it should not be a game of political gotcha. This is the President of the United States of America, and despite the antics of Administrations left behind, the job is not that of a male lead in a dark comedy film.

He and the Vice President will be there to describe what happened and what is being done to prevent future attacks. If this effort is to be successful, we can't have we can't have pests like EJ Dionne and David Corn dealing faux-indignant to covert what was intended to be a serious effort into a slapstick attempt to shoot substance into flailing campaign.


UN Resolution on WMD

I am linking to the story from the French wire AFP to prove a broader point.
The United States could get a major victory at the UN Security Council on a new resolution aimed at keeping weapons of mass destruction (WMD) out of the hands of terrorists.
I can write "Working with the international community, President Bush is asking for approval…" What else is new? Our President has always shown internationalists tendencies, short of surrendering sovereignty, even in the face of obstruction.

The French do not report that Great Britain is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Pakistan, an erstwhile (?) purveyor of nuclear tech through citizen A.Q. Khan, has expressed its concerns that one of the five permanent members of the UNSC could us its permanent veto to exempt itself from the resolution.

From the AFP:
But the measure would still pass with 14 votes in favour on the 15-nation council, even if Pakistan abstains. The United States has called for a vote this week, before Pakistan takes over the Security Council presidency in May.

Hoping to get Islamabad's support, the United States revised language to make the measure non-retroactive so that Pakistan would not be held accountable for the spread of the technology by its nuclear mastermind A.Q. Khan.
In a way, this is a positive sign. President Bush took a necessary risk when he brought Pakistan into the world community after 9-11, and it is good to see them calculating their interests and behaving responsibly. After all, the United States would not sign off on a resolution proscribing the sale of military secrets to the People's Republic of China if it were not non-retroactive so that we would not be held accountable for the facilitation of a sale of such secrets by President Clinton.


On Wictory Wednesday

It has been established that JF Kerry threw/didn't thrown his/someone else's medals/ribbons over a fence/onto some stairs to protest the Vietnam War/display his love of country. But he'd sooner suddenly bring up the President's already-documented service in the Alabama National Guard.

… tick, tick, tick, tick…

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.

This effort is undersigned by WW founder PoliBundit and the entire cast of Wictory Wednesday bloggers (page a bit to item, to #3).

Let's see this through.


The Mod Squad

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has fended off a Republican primary challenge from the "Republican wing of the Republican Party," conservative Representative Pat Toomey. Specter had led the race all evening by about a 52% - 48% margin, but the gap narrowed to 51% - 49% by morning.

Specter is a member of the Senate GOP Mod Squad, so called because of their self-proclaimed MODeration, with Maine Republicans Susie Collins and Olympia Snowe, Ohio Senator George Voinovich, and Rhode Island Senator Linc Chafee. (Vermont's Jim Jeffords was a premier Mod Squadder until he quit the party for a big deal and subsequent anonymity in the Summer of 2001.)

Specter faces Democrat Representative Joe Hoeffel, who makes Philadelphia Representative Chaka Fattah look like a rabid right winger in the Pennsylvania Dem delegation. There should be no problem there, and hopefully the Doomsday scenarios of Specter at Judiciary will prove false.

In another close race, Representative Bill Shuster (PA=9) fended off a GOP primary challenge by Mike DelGrosso to pull off his own 51% - 49% squeaker. There was no real reason for DelGrosso's challenge, as both candidates were self-proclaimed conservatives, but he was running in a district tickled to have a bona fide primary election after having been represented virtually unopposed by Shuster's dad for 25 years.

Specter, in proclaiming his victory early this AM, said that the party should put its little squabbles in the past and unify to reelect President Bush. We'll reelect President Bush despite Specters troublesome governance, but now Pennsylvania has a lame duck old man, possibly the Republicans; answer to Howard Metzenbaum, all but certain to return to Washington. They do not call him Snarlin' Arlen entirely in jest.




The latest...

With 43% Statewide, Specter leads Toomey, 52%-48%.

It's over. The "T," as we call it -- Top and down the middle of the Commonwealth -- is not carrying Toomey by the margin he needed.

The latest...

With 30% Statewide, Specter leads Toomey, 52%-48%. Toomey's support in the conservative center of the Commonwealth, however, is softer than he had hoped.

The Dems are seeing a surge by candidate Lyndon LaRouche, but it's too little/too late.


PA Senate...

With 11-percent of the Commonwealth's precincts reporting -- all in the Philadelphia area -- Arlen Specter is leading Pat Toomey 53% to 47%. Specter has to pretty much dominate that region, his strong spot, if he is to match what Toomey is expected to do in central and western Pennslvania.

Of course, no totals of votes were given. Turnout was said to be light, and if it was, that also works against Specter.


early Pennsylvania results...

Okay, the results are coming in from the east of the Commonwealth -- Philadelphia, etc. -- and Shuster is leading Toomey by eight points. This is the liberal part of the State, of course...

In the Democrat primary, results from the same area, Kerry is leading with 60-percent of the vote. The party's nominee has to do better than this.

Early, early results.


During the Vietnam War

The Associated Press has published what President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and candidate JF Kerry were doing at the time of the Vietnam war. It's not an overtly biased account, but it is problematic.

There might be an inaccuracy, though. The AP concludes of Kerry:
Kerry's three war injuries -- all minor -- were enough to allow him an early return to stateside duty. After petitioning for honorable discharge six months early in 1969, Kerry ran for a House seat in Massachusetts, but later gave up his bid for the Democratic nomination. He joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and became its leading spokesman. During a protest in April 1971, Kerry threw his war ribbons over a fence at the Capitol.
Has it been established whether Kerry threw/didn't throw his/someone else's medals/ribbons over a fence/onto some stairs?


The high cost of gasoline

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naim deputy U.S. Secretary of Energy Kyle McSlarrow duked it out at a public energy security conference over whether the high price of gasoline was caused by the overregulated and overburdened U.S. refining system or by the high prices of crude oil. The United States, of course, took the Kerry approach and blamed the Saudis and the price.
``There is no general shortage of crude oil in today's market -- supplies are readily available,'' Naimi said.

Instead, he pointed to ``balkanized gasoline markets'' that required dozens of different gasoline blends to meet local clean air U.S. requirements.

To increase refining capacity in the United States, Saudi Arabia is prepared to spend $70 million to $100 million to obtain environmental and regulatory permits required to build two new U.S. oil refineries, the first such construction in decades.
The last refinery built in the United States, the Lousiana Refining Division, began production for the Marathon Oil Company in Garyville, Louisiana, in 1976.

McSlarrow argued that the high cost of crude oil has taken the incentive to refine from U.S. Companies.

The following is from Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections - December 6, 2001 [link]:
No new refineries have been built in the US in the past 25 years. And petroleum industry experts say anyone would have to be crazy to launch such an effort -- even though present refineries are running at nearly 100 % of capacity and local gasoline shortages are beginning to crop up.

Why does the industry appear to have built its last refinery?

Three reasons: Refineries are not particularly profitable, environmentalists fight planning and construction every step of the way and government red-tape makes the task all but impossible. The last refinery built in the US was in Garyville, Louisiana, and it started up in 1976.

Energy proposed building a refinery near Portsmouth, Virginia, in the late 1970s, environmental groups and local residents fought the plan -- and it took almost nine years of battles in court and before federal and state regulators before the company cancelled the project in 1984.

Industry officials estimate the cost of building a new refinery at between $ 2 bn and $ 4 bn -- at a time the industry must devote close to $ 20 bn over the next decade to reducing the sulphur content in gasoline and other fuels -- and approval could mean having to collect up to 800 different permits. As if those hurdles weren't enough, the industry's long-term rate of return on capital is just 5 % -- less than could be realized by simply buying US Treasury bonds.

"I'm sure that at some point in the last 20 years someone has considered building a new refinery," says James Halloran, an energy analyst with National City Corp. "But they quickly came to their senses," he adds. [note: They claim their source as Investors Business Daily]
I doubt the Treasury Bond analogy is still applicable, but the point has to be taken.

We have a problem, and cheaper crude oil is not going to solve it.


GOP economic Priorities

Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and the House Republicans tody outlined their legislative agenda for spring and summer: cutting taxes and slashing regs. It sounded like a campaign promise of good things ahead, but they will be in a position to write and pass actual legislation to do these things.

We'll figure it out then; as for now, it's talk...


Kerry's Nowhere in Ohio

Ohio is a battleground, almost certainly a must-win for candidate Kerry, where the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports he has nothing.
He has no field offices. No paid staff. And Kerry bumper stickers are harder to spot than faded "Gore-Lieberman" ones.

Cuyahoga County's Democratic Party headquarters - down the street from the Slovenian National Home in Cleveland, where Kerry appears this afternoon - displays placards in its windows reading, "Elect Dennis Kucinich President."

By contrast, President Bush's re-election campaign, which has had the luxury of time and money to get organized here, fills a Columbus office with 12 paid staffers and acres of signs and bumper stickers. The campaign says it has already signed up 24,000 volunteers, ready to pound on doors for the president.
People are telling Kerry he doesn't have to party 'til after Boston in August.

Things do not look good for the Kerry juggernaut.


Charlie Cook on Toomey-Hoeffel

What if. Say conservative Representative Pat Toomey upsets incumbent liberal/moderate Senator Arlen Specter in today's Pennsylvania GOP primary. He would then take on Democrat nominee Joe Hoeffel, whom we can assume Specter would defeat easily, but against whom a nominee Toomey and the Republicans would have to work, expending time, money, and effort.

In his Off to the Races e-mail column today, National Journal's Charlie Cooks looks at such a scenario.
[M]ost Democrats… argue -- and most independents observers agree -- that Hoeffel would have an advantage over Toomey if the Allentown Republican knocks off the incumbent in today's GOP primary.

Apart from the simple fact that the state seems to be trending Democratic, Hoeffel would begin with a strong advantage in the Philadelphia suburbs, including his homebase of Montgomery County, as well as Bucks and Delaware Counties. Historically, this has been Republican territory. But Al Gore won all three counties in the 2000 election and Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell won
them in the 2002 gubernatorial contest.
It seems to whom to be trending Democratic? Sure, Pennsylvania voters elected a Dem governor, Ed Rendell, in 2002, but that was more a contest between a good campaign and a bad one. Toomey should not have the problem against a bland Hoeffel.
Like so many suburban counties outside the South, social and cultural issues are driving many suburban voters away from the Republican Party. This is mirrored in the way those same issues tend to be pushing small town and rural voters away from the Democratic Party.
That may be a decent national observation, but… In Philadelphia, this may possibly be true to an extent, but I doubt it is so in the Pittsburgh area in the west.
The tough question for the Toomey campaign in a general election is this: Where outside of your congressional district will you do better than George W. Bush did in 2000, when he took 46 percent while running as a much less ideological candidate than you are today? Where will Hoeffel do worse than Gore?
Put Bush vrs. Gore 2000 away. This race bears no resemblance to that one save the general party labels. (Hoeffel comes from the left of Gore, and Toomey from the right of President Bush.)

Where in the Commonwealth should the campaigns best allocate their resources? That was Mr. Cook's larger question, and if I were in Toomey's campaign, I'd push in the region surrounding the Lehigh Valley and in the West, near Pittsburgh. Hoeffel ought to focus on Philadelphia, its suburbs, Harrisburgh, Erie, urban PA. Or he can go sleep if off in Pennsylvania Dutch country.


Afghanistan Executes One

In Afghanistan, one Abdullah Shah was convicted of, according to the Associated Press, "killing one wife by pouring boiling water over her body and murdering his infant daughter by bashing her repeatedly against a wall." He was a nasty guy -- read the linked story -- and he was executed with a bullet to the head on April 20. It was first reported today.

The execution itself is not the big story, as I see it; more significant is that that it took place at all. The United Nations officially considers the death penalty to be a violation of human rights, and the first post-Taliban government in Afghanistan was set up by our good friend, U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, and Algerian Sunni who brings to mind Henry Kissinger for reasons of the man's maddening aura.

This means that Lakhdar Brahimi can rightly (for him) say that Lakhdar Brahimi has blood on his hands.

What goes around…


Kerry Lost It


As I noted last night, Kerry's feeling the heat from the medal/ribbons mine/his thrown/not thrown adventure. He melted down ABC's Good Morning America, and blogger J.B, Corrigan has the play-by-play HERE. You don't want to miss it.


The Future of the Party?

We have seen it written that today's primary race between liberal Republican Arlen Specter and conservative Representative Pat Toomey is about the future of the Party, who is welcome in the Party, universes colliding in a majestic spectacle of magnificent plumes of fire cascading across the splendiferous hegemony of one-size-fits-all political hegemony.

To be decided by the 35% of Pennsylvania Republicans who are motivated to go to the polls, Which opened at 7a. We voted in a fire hall at 8 o'clock, then my wife purchased one of their apple dumplings for $2.50.

"I'm glad it is not raining," said my wife as we left the building, referring to what the prognosticators had served her the night before, sufficing as a forecast.

I nodded instinctively.

The sun was out, the skies were largely blue, and we had left the polling place ladies chanting: "I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree…" They had gone to school when such literature was taught. These days, that poem would be assigned only to establish that it's okay a man, in fact, to be named "Joyce." (Never mind that my ancestor died in World War I and was not married to someone named Ken.)

World changers? Nah. But the "conventional wisdom" again seems too myopic. "Toomey can't beat Joe Hoeffel in November." It was the thesis of the Specter campaign in the waning days, and it did not work for us. It left me hearing music from another time: 1976, when we were told that Ronald Reagan was too conservative to beat the Democrat nominee.

Reagan did beat that same nominee, albeit four long years later. We, as a nation, had to live through four years of President Carter before we proved the conventional wisdom wrong. I am not of a mind to sit through four more years of Arlen Specter…


Powell never considered resignation

Fueled by the questionable reporting in Bob Woodward's latest novel, the Washington press decided on its own that Secretary of State Colin Powell considered resigning over purported disagreements on the matter of the Iraq invasion. Remember, they've carefully painted Powell as the lone man of principle in a sea of neocons, ultimately duped by "the man."

Powell has already rejected the racist theory of his being a stupid go-along, and he has now said that he did not consider resigning. [Reuters link]

Taegan Goddard links a report that Powell might be moving to run the World Bank after the President's first term.

Part of the Revolution

Good morning! It's almost time for my wife and I to travel to a firehall to vote. This sun is out, things look find, and the revolution is almost underway.




Deaths in the hunt for WMD

If you are part of the top-secret unit designated to search for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) -- the Iraqi Survey Group, Iraq is too often a deadly place. At least three were killed when a bomb went off, according to Iraqi witnesses, when they entered a house.
The military initially claimed that a detail of U.S. Army soldiers were about to raid a suspected bomb making factory when two were killed after an explosion.
But the search must go on. Good luck and godspeed. [UPI link]


Kerry has been hit

When the media raised questions about the President's National Guard service, JF Kerry took the high road, saying that it was not an issue and he was not going to make it one. Perhaps this was because he had something in his closet that he did not want his opposition to extract to counter National Guard questions from the candidate himself.

When the media raised questions about Kerry and his (or someone else's) medals or ribbons being thrown, or not being thrown, by Kerry on his own or at someone else's request, Kerry began to demand proof of "whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. Prove it. That's what we ought to have."

The media raised the questions about the medals. His commanding officer in Vietnam brought up the Purple Heart.

Kerry has been hit, and badly. A campaign built on patriotic service in Vietnam being the ability to lead has nothing if that already questionable justification is removed. MAYBE.

You see, Kerry's campaign is centered around his state of not being George Bush. That has not changed, so he still has his campaign, for what it was worth. But he might soon lose all semblance of being about anything else.

What Kerry can do is wear those medals with pride. That would be political dynamite, speaking at campaign events wearing his military awards.

But where are they?


Another new column on the RSN site

The latest column by Barbara J. Stock, Muslim Terrorists--Are They Arabian Knights?, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Oh, for the days when knights wore shining armor and came to the rescue of damsels in distress. They slew mythical dragons and searched for the Holy Grail. The world has a different kind of knight these days. King Arthur would take an axe to the Round Table if he were alive today.

Today, there is a kind of "knight" in Middle Eastern countries that is held in high esteem but he doesn't don armor--he wears a bomb-vest. He doesn't mount a magnificent steed but steals a police car and stuffs it with explosives. This noble knight tricks ten year old boys with gifts of toys and sends them off to become unknowing, tiny-mobile- killing-machines. This "knight" is not a brave and honorable man, but a coward who kills children and then celebrates his great victory. [MORE]


New Column on RSN site

The latest column by Judson Cox, Questioning Kerry's Patriotism, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
John Kerry has accused Republicans of questioning his patriotism. Why not question Kerrys patriotism? Should not a candidate for the Presidency of the United States be patriotic? Should he not love and be loyal to the land he hopes to lead? I say yes, and I will question Kerrys patriotism.

Sen. Kerry has a record of engaging in activity that falls just short of treason; he has aided and abetted enemies of the United States. [MORE]


Veep smacks Kerry around

Vice President Richard B. Cheney today assumed the mantle of Kerry Critic-in-Chief. This is good for several reasons, the most obvious being the unseemliness of the President replying in kind to candidate JF Kerry's political attacks. Another reason is that it forces the Democrats to return fire against the vice president, not the President, which is not what a campaign wants to do.
"It's time for Dick Cheney to call off the Republican attack dogs," said Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Okay. McAuliffe's a lame duck as it is.

Cheney's day before the Supreme Court, including Justice Antonin Scalia, in that bit about his energy panel notes is tomorrow, so he could also be taking the offensive now so as not to seem defensive. An aggressive ticket is better than a purely reactive one.

This makes Kerry's choice of running mate all the more important to Democrats. When Kerry wishes to seem Presidential, even on the campaign trail, he'll turn to the bottom half of the card. If this is to be his main factor, he will want to take a close look at Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who will brutally attack anything.


Clinton Book

Former President William J. Clinton (impeached) will see his book published in June.
"It is the fullest and most nuanced account of a presidency ever written, and one of the most revealing and remarkable memoirs I have ever had the honor of publishing," Sonny Mehta, president and editor-in-chief of Alfred A. Knopf, said in a statement Monday.
As progressive is to liberal, nuanced is to b*llsh*t.

Go into the bookstore and check for JF Kerry's name in the index. Legend has it that Clinton was impatient with indecisive politicos.


Doomsday in Fallujah

I posted earlier about Coaltions plans for bringing Fallujah forward: hospitals, highways, etc. All they have to do is eliminate the resistance.

I did not mean to diminish the significance of the battle, especially for those who will be fighting it. My prayers are with them.

The Jewish scripture (Old Testament to Christians) tells of the early battles for the Promised Land, wherein the Israelites would wipe out tens of thousands of pagan warriors without losing a single man, which sounds incredible, and it requires belief. The circumsances now are different...

Once Fallujah is won, America will be able to focus on what is going right in Iraq. Living in a short-attention-span theater, this country will again have its massive positive injection, the first since the capture of Saddam Hussein last December.

And none of the returning soldiers will ask candidate JF Kerry to throw their medals around.


No Elections for Hong Kong

Hong Kong's sorta-constitution, "The Basic Law," guarantees a move toward full Democracy starting in 2007, a year after the Brits gave the region to the ChiComs. Now, the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, all 800 dead souls, voted that there will not no elections in 2007 or for the foreseeable future.. Current Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa is an aging boyfriend of Beijing,


"ticked-off radicals"

That was my term for the ladies who marched on Washington in support of the practice of aboriton last weekend. I've just read a nifty piece by Kathryn-Jean Lopez in NRO, and I feel as they were upon us:
At a pre-march rally on Saturday night at the D.C. Armory by RFK Stadium, California congresswoman Maxine Waters told George W. Bush to "go to hell." Going to hell with him, said Waters, should be John Ashcroft, Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice. In a brief, non-impromptu speech, that's what a member of the United States Congress chose to say. (You'll be amused — or horrified — to know she was introduced as "the future president of the United States.")
Have they escaped their ideological compartment? Nah.

Read the Lopez piece HERE.

Kerry's own religion

The Vatican defines what is an is not the Catholic Church. The Vatican states that pro-aborts should not ask to receive the Eucharist. JF Kerry is pro-abort and asks for (and receives) the Eucharist on Sunday in direct opposition of the Vatican's ruling. Kerry is a Catholic in direct opposition to the Catholic Church.
The Paulist Center attracts Catholics uncomfortable with some of the Vatican's orthodox teachings or who otherwise feel alienated from the Roman Catholic Church.

The congregation includes gay couples, whose adopted children are baptized there, unlike in some other Boston parishes. In November, its leaders refused to read aloud during Mass from a letter opposing gay marriage, as requested by the Massachusetts bishops.

The congregation is not geographical, but ideological, drawing people from as far as away as New Hampshire, said Drew Deskur, the center's music director and a parishioner for 25 years.
The Catholic Church is not a "big tent," to use Lee Atwater's phrase for the Republican Party.

Kerry needs to make like Henry VIII and form his own church, with Teresa and Teddy.


In Fallujah…

From this Knight-Ridder piece Monday, we learn more of what is happening in and around Fallujah, scene of bitter battles, Bush's last stand, make-or-break for US forces, costing him the election, etc.
Marines at the office, set up between the Marines' base at Camp Fallujah and the city itself, were issuing new identification cards to Iraqi police and civil defense officers - 600 have been given out so far - in a bid to get the Iraqi security agencies functioning again.

Nearby, about 100 sets of shovels, wheelbarrows and axes were piled in a dusty courtyard - part of a Marine effort to, slowly, spread some cash around Fallujah and put the idle back to work. The idea is to hire Fallujans, paying them perhaps $2 a day, to clean up the rubble around the city of 250,000 left by the street battles.

Later, if it's safe, Navy engineers called Seabees will sweep in with front-end loaders to clear out major damage, such as bombed buildings and walls.

Bigger American plans include a new bridge over the Euphrates River, two large secondary schools, two new clinics, an addition to the Fallujah General Hospital and a bypass to the so-called Cloverleaf Highway that links Baghdad to Ramadi and other parts of the province.
But, of course, the American forces must still take full control of the city:
Commanders at 1st Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters describe their campaign to re-establish control over the city in a more nuanced way than using superior air and ground power to storm inside.
We've heard the term "nuanced."

So has the LATimes' Ron Brownstein, who decries candidate JF Kerry lack of nuance when he told Tim Russert that, yes, he supported the President's promises to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:
So jaws dropped across Washington when Kerry responded with just one word after host Tim Russert asked him on "Meet the Press" whether he supported Bush's promises to Sharon.

"Yes," Kerry said.

"Completely?" Russert followed.

"Yes," Kerry said again.
So Kerry is lacking nuance in Brownstein's book, and, as I noted yesterday, the WashPost's Dana Milbank accuses the President of "skillful use of language and images" in selling the Iraq war to the public. This despite that the President has been derided as unpresidential for his lack of such skill.


Kerry's Medals/Ribbons

In a 1971 interview with WRC-TV, archived by the Nixon Administration, candidate JF Kerry said, according to the NYTimes:
On the program, an interviewer asked Mr. Kerry to explain what was happening in a photograph of a man hurling a medal, apparently during a protest. Mr. Kerry responded that the veterans had decided that the best way to "wake the country up" about the war was to "renounce the symbols which this country gives, which supposedly reinforces all the things that they have done, and that was the medals themselves."

"And so they decided to give them back to their country," he added.
How many of the "medals themselves" did Kerry say he gave back?

"I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine."

The Cybercast News Service (CNS.com) does a good job of describing what happened on ABC's Good Morning America this morning:
"I never asserted otherwise," Kerry said on Monday -- moments after ABC played part of the 1971 interview in which Kerry indicated he threw his medals over a fence.

"And back then, ribbons, medals were absolutely interchangeable...We all referred to them as the symbols..." Kerry continued. "So the fact is that I have been accurate precisely about what took place. And I am the one who later made clear exactly what happened."
Medals and ribbons used interchangeably, he threw his medals and not his ribbons, and Kerry's starting to feel the heat.
"Good Morning America" anchor Charlie Gibson said he was there 33 years ago when Kerry threw medals over the fence. "I saw you throw medals over the fence, and we didn't find out until later (interrupted) that those were someone else's medals," Gibson said.

Kerry, not listening to the end of Gibson's statement, said, "Charlie, Charlie, you're wrong. That is not what happened. I threw my ribbons across. And all you have to do..." [Gibson tried to clarify that Kerry threw someone else's medals over the fence, but Kerry would not give him an opportunity.]

Kerry eventually clarified that he did throw two medals (not his) over the fence at the request of two veterans.
The story that he threw someone else's medals over the fence, not his own, has been around for a while. But here he says he threw his own ribbons and someone else's medals, though I assume the statement that the terms "medals" and "ribbons" are used interchangeably was still in operation. In fact, Kerry said this to Gibson:
Kerry said what he did in 1971 was unpopular and polarizing: "I threw my ribbons over; I threw the medals of two veterans who asked me to throw them over -- after the ceremony, completely separate. And I'm the one -- if I had something to hide -- I'm the one who made it known exactly what happened. To me, it's one and the same [ribbons, medals] -- and I'm proud of it."
Again, ribbons and medals are "one and the same" to Kerry, yet he distinguishes between tossing his own ribbons and the medals of others.
"We threw away the symbols of the war. I'm proud I stood up and fought against it -- proud I took on Richard Nixon. And I think to this day there's no distinction between the two [medal/ribbons]."
suppose it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Kerry called this a "phony issue" and blamed it on the Bush campaign seeking to cover for the President's National Guard service. In its story, the NYTimes carries Kerry's water::
Republicans, nervous about questions regarding President Bush's Air National Guard service, have raised the issue to revive accusations by some veterans that the discarding of medals dishonored those who served and died in the war.
With Gibson, Kerry seemed to agree with the accusations:
Kerry said he didn't want to throw medals or ribbons over the fence to begin with. "I thought we ought to lay them on a table and put them in front of people in a way that wouldn't be as challenging to many Americans. Other veterans felt otherwise. They took a vote...they voted to throw. I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals."
Ribbons, medals, what's the difference 'twixt friends?

This is relevant especially because Kerry has made his service in Vietnam and the awards awarded therefrom

As the Amish might tell us: Throw the candidate over the fence some medals/ribbons.

… tick, tick, tick, tick …


High-Tech Stuff

Good morning. This is the President's "high tech" week, when the President will promise to give everyone high speed internet access and hydrogen fuel tech.

This is something one does to win votes, as this crippled society has been condition to expect love and largesse from their government, which means from the taxes of corporations and other individuals.

Some good:
On broadband, the name for the high-speed Internet connections over phone, cable and satellites, Bush said in a speech last week that America is "lagging a little bit." To encourage more broadband connections, he believes users should not be taxed, and that the government should encourage competition among providers.

Bush has already signed into a law a two-year extension of the Internet Access Tax moratorium, which expired last fall. Now, he's calling on Congress to pass legislation that would extend the moratorium to broadband and make it permanent.

The House has passed a moratorium on user taxes levied against consumers who subscribe to broadband; the Senate is scheduled to address the issue this week.
It's not quite my notion of an unassailable Wall of Separation between 'Net and State. Taxation is arguably the most important part of this.




Democrat Outrage!

This one is amusing.

The NYTimes ran a story about a KKKlansman who murdered a black sharecropper. Ugly stuff. Well, the accompanying photo in the paper was not a snap of the klansman; rather, it was a shot of Colorado Senatorial candidate Pete Coors, a Republican.
“It could have been worse,” Watson added. “Pete could have been identified as John Kerry.”

Chris Gates, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, demanded an apology.
So, she joked that it was better for a candidate to be compared to a racist murderer than to candidate JF Kerry. It's hyperbole, sarcasm.

The Colorado Democratic Party demanded an apology. The Kerry campaign said that this type of comment turns people off from politics.

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan said of American politics this Sunday morning on CNN's Late Edition: "You guys are going through your tribal warfare, and it doesn't make sense to talk logically until after November." When we're getting it from Bandar, it must look pretty dang bad.


Pro-Abortion March

Several hundred thousand ticked-off radicals marched in Washington, DC today in support of the practice of abortion. One account had TV star Whoopi Goldberg waving a coat hanger.

President Bush supports the right to abort only in cases of rape or incest, which is a line he draws, or when a woman's life is in danger. Vice President Dick Cheney talked to the press Saturday:
"It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, male or female, black or white, ... north or south, east or west, all that matters is your respect for the claim of every life," Cheney said in a 10-minute speech to the National Right to Life Committee Educational Trust Fund.

"To be part of this cause is to believe that every mother carrying a life, that every child waiting to be born deserves understanding," he said.
If a society becomes more enlightened as it develops, why are we still having this debate in the year 2004? Why have we made the capital punishment of the most evil of murderers a relatively painless affair while we have some fighting in court for the right to kill babies as a ghastly way as they are being born?

I truly hope, for the sake of humanity, that this debate is not about women's rights or male domination or any of that. I hope beyond hope that it is about a difference of opinion over when human life begins.


Ahmed Chalabi

This Iranian National Congress boss can be trusted even less than can be Bob Woodward or Saudi Prince Bandar. Someone said that it was the neocons at the Pentagon who so trusted him before the war, but this was from the people who talk of "the neocons at the Pentagon."

At the end of his appearance on Fox News Sunday this AM, he said that the "Iraq people do not understand occupation." I'd counter that many of them do not understand the balance of rights and responsibilities of living in a semi-free society

He said that the President's biggest mistake was not setting up an Iraqi authority in Iraq from the start. This was when the "neocons at the Pentagon" trusted him, and thus he could have been the man in charge, the heir to Saddam Hussein. He wanted that one.

Chris Shays (D-Connecticut) came on FNS next and remarked of Chalabi: "He's not trusted in Iraq, yet he's part of the government." And his nephew is slated to lead the prosecution of Saddam.


The greatest team in baseball this season

It's safe to say that, come October, the consensus choice of baseball fans from Tokyo to Tampa, Boston to the Bronx, will be the New York Yankees. It will be obvious.

It's early.

That being said, as a Yankees fan, I feel nothing but humility as I type this. Last weekend, the lowly Boston Red Sox defeated the Yankees, three out of four. This weekend, the Sox swept.

The Red Sox have whipped the Yankees in 6 of 7 games this season.

The catcher and a centerfielder who wasn't even supposed to make the team this year are the only ones hitting the baseball. The only decent starter is a 40-something. Sure, Mo Rivera remains the greatest closer in baseball, but he can't do his job -- protecting leads -- if there is no lead to protect.

So I humbly direct you to this post from major Red Sox fan Jaws at JawsBlog. He writes:
Sox Win! Sox Win! Red Sox win 2-0!

The Bronx Infidels™ have been defeated again!

Thus, the Boston Red Sox have swept the Bronx Infidels for the first time in the Bronx since 1999!

Time to get out the brooms to sweep the Bronx Infidels™ (and their fans) away!

Yankees Suck!
He is entitled his jubilation, and I cannot begrudge him that.

It has been a long time since 1999, and it has been even longer since 1918.
ADDENDUM: As Jaws noted in the comments, he is not Red Sox fan; rather's he's an Indians fan. My dad was a Cleveland Indians fan in the '50s, partly to be different from his father, a big Yankees fan. It's from my late grandfather that I got my love of the Bronx Bombers.

So, Jaws and I are conservative bloggers who root for different baseball clubs. Hey, Lee Atwater said we were in a big tent.

They Chat on TW

I'm back, returned from the drippy gray which hangs like a suspended hazy dome over a landscape which appears to want out of it as badly as do I.

Uh, yeah.

Picking up where we left of, after Steph's chat with Lakhdar Brahimi, it was the TW panel discussion. These things are interesting, as its usually a few government officials sitting with George Will and Fareed Zakaria. Facing the panel is George Stephanopoulos, who can call up video clips by tapping the flat panel sitting in front of him like a raised classroom desk.

Senators John Kyl (R-Arizona) and Joe Biden (D-Delaware) were the guests, and Kyl immediately took on Brahimi's assertion that one should never use military force: "It is the case that at the end of the day [in Iraq], there is going to have to be military action."

Biden suggested that Najaf has to be liberated in such a way as to remove the bad guys without damaging the mosques. He called this "physically impossible" then, without prompting, allowed that he did not know what he was talking about.

He also wants to get Sistani to speak up, assumedly against Moqtada al-Sadr.

George Will opined: "We know who the enemy is: 2,000 to 5,000 insurgents."

Fareed Zakaria countered that the real problem was "not the 2,000" insurgents; rather, it was the ordinary Iraqis who cheered them on.

Will returned that the celebrants are not the problem: "It is the men with rocket launchers and machine guns."

Biden then remarked that Iraqis were afraid to go to the market or to cross the street. He suggested that if a "massive infusion of power is necessary to increase to increase security for the average Iraq," we should use "everything" we have now so that our soldiers can come home later.

This is the world of JF Kerry, where very little is relevant to the actual topic at hand, and thank God that President Bush sits in front of the decision-making process. Whether he makes occasional mistakes or not, he has the course plotted. All systems go.


Steph talks to Lahkdar Brahimi

They sat in facing chairs in a darkened room, with Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. Special Envoy to Iraq, striking me as a Eurocrat in the same way that Henry Kissinger. Brahimi, though, is a soft-spoken Algerian. Neither are Eurocrats.

Brahimi is fresh off a loosely anti-Semetic remark last Wednesday, though Steph did not inquire. He did, however, offer that "Israeli policy is war; Israeli policy is brutal, repressive. They are not interested in peace." He passed this off, however, as the feelings of some people. He had said basically the same thing himself on Wednesday.
"There's a lot of hatred because the very violent and repressive security policy of the Israeli government as well as this determination to occupy more and more Palestinian territory."
He said it was not up to him whether Ahmed Chalabi was a member of the new Iraqi government, but he offered his own opinion that people like Chalabi with political parties "should stay out of government." (The United States did not have political parties at the beginning of our Republic, but factions are bound to form in any healthy democracy.)

"There is never any military solution to any problem." This sounds similar to what was said last year by M. Chirac and the poet de Villepin, except that Chirac promptly sent several additional battalions to the Ivory Coast. But Brahimi is a dreamer: "I am a diplomat. I believe that there is always a better solution than shooting." Which may be so if you can convince a group of angry-to-the-death people that his is the case.

He explicitly refused to answer Steph's question concerning whether the U.S. military could act, as in any future Fallujah, without permission from Iraq's new government.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani greatly impressed Brahimi, and his description of the man surprised me. I expected a glorified mullah, but Brahimi described Sistani as "highly respected… highly learned…highly well-informed." Sistani is a voracious reader, he explained. "He sounds like somebody who would like to help Iraq stand on its own."

Steph pointed out that Brahimi is involved in these negotiations between the various Islamic sects in Iraq, while he himself is a Sunni. Brahimi answered, "It doesn't come into my thinking that I am a Sunni. I am a U.N. man." (It sounds almost Kerry-esque, though for not for Kerry's reasons. Brahimi assures Steph that he is a believing Sunni. There is a certain intellectual quality to Brahimi that is just not there with Kerry, but that's not a per se compliment.)

Steph noted to Brahimi that: "You must see Sisyphus" in your efforts. Brahimi said, "Yes that rock does seem to want to stay up there."

Sisyphus, according to the Greeks, was that mythical fellow sentenced by the Gods to spend his eternity rolling a rock up a hill only to see it roll to the bottom after the goal had been achieved. But as Homer had it, Sisyphus was also a clever man who outsmarted the PTB for a time to avoid his punishment. That's the Sisyphus I see in Brahimi.


The Rightsided Newsletter is Posted

The Sunday Rightsided Newsletter, with the summary and analysis of the Sunday shows, has been sent to the various global Inboxes -- and its live on the RSN page: HERE. A little John McCain and Carl Levin, a lot of Bandar, etc.

There was no room left for Steph's interview with UN dude Lakhdar Brahimi -- Bandar's a bulky guy -- so that comes up in this space soon. I'll write it up now, listening to the Yankees. I can report that they are not yet losing to Boston, in the bottom of the 3rd.


Bandar on Clarke on MTP

Real quick, this is taken from the RSN (rough copy), with Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultain talking to Tim Russert on MTP:
Russert hassled Bandar about the 150 Saudi relatives of bin Laden who flew out of the United States after 9-11. Russert insisted that this occurred when Americans were still under the flight ban. Bandar said that they were not. Bandar explained that he had called the FBI to ask if it could be arranged to fly these people out lest they be the victims of natural hostility. The FBI put him in touch with an Administration official named Richard Clarke, who saw no problems with the request. Russert did not follow up at all on Dick Clarke's role in this.

But Bandar characterized the books that have been written about the Saudis flying out of the United States: "In French, it's 'hogwash.'" Pardonnez-moi?


The President Becomes Articulate

After his recent press conference, we heard the chatterers declare it the most inarticulate, clumsy even in the history of the republic. But some Americans adored Bush, they lamented, despite his awkward and backward mode of communication.

I sighed myself.

Dana Milibankof the WashPost seized me unprepared this morning when he opined:
With skillful use of language and images, President Bush and his aides have kept the American public from turning against the war in Iraq despite the swelling number of U.S. casualties there.
Do you get it? The President cannot communicate well; however, when people like him despite the way he is botching all that he touches, it has to mean that he is articulating skillfully.

It's an impossible dichotomy which cannot be actual.
Political strategists and public-opinion experts say a good part of this resilience of public support for Bush and the Iraq war stems from the president's oratory. They say Bush has convinced Americans of three key points that strongly influence overall support for the war: that the United States will prevail in Iraq; that the fighting in Iraq is related to the war against al Qaeda; and that most Iraqis and many foreign countries support U.S. actions in Iraq.
Which strategists and "public-opinion experts"?

The United States has prevailed in Iraq; the fighting in Iraq is crucial part of winning the war against terror; and most Iraqis and many foreign countries not only support U.S. actions in Iraq but participate in it. It did not take our newly eloquent President to make these things obvious to me, but it did take him to make them so.

Bookmark the Milibank article so that you can retrieve it the next time some doltish goof begins to lampoon the President's communications skills. Milibank thinks the President is a masterful communicator using his impressive gifts to fool us all.

They cannot have it both ways.


The Sunday Morning Talk Shows

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.

This is interesting.

On Friday night, I noted that journalist Bob Woodward and Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan were telling different stories about the same series of events: Whether or not Bandar was told about the invasion of Iraq before was Secretary of State Colin Powell. One of them as lying, but which one? Bandar or Woodward? Woodward or Bandar? Neither often tells the truth.

Well, Bandar and Woodward will be host Tim Russert's guests on MTP this morning, and they will hopefully end this insufferable intrigue.

On FNS, host Wallace talks to Representative Chris Shays (R-Connecticut), that New England Republican whom I remember most recently for having penned a letter detailing Dick Clarke's insouciance regarding the terrorist threat during the Clinton Administration, but Clark is yesterday's news.

He has dueling campaign chairs, Marc Racicot for the President and Jeanne Shaheen for Kerry.

His final guest will be Iraqi National Congress president Ahmed Chalabi, who is an arguably more noisy liar than is Woodward, who is also yesterday's news. His nephew, however, was named to prosecute Saddam Hussein for war crimes.

FTN promises to be a dismal affair, with Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Carl Levin (D-Michigan). Perhaps McCain will liven things up by tearing someone limb-from-limb.

On TW, it appears that Stef will lead with one of those panel discussions, with Senators Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and John Kyl (R-Arizona) and anti-Semitic U.N. moderator Lakhdar Brahimi. (I can hear Brahimi now: "No, George, I was not being anti-Semitic. However, you see, the Jews…" A global government is bound to be populated by unelected anti-Semites.)

Wolfgang, on LE, will have Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) and ranking Dem Joe Biden (D-Delaware). (I haven't seen Biden since he told Schieffer on FTN a few Sundays ago that he had convinced Chirac to join the coalition given certain conditions were me. That went nowhere, and Biden crawled under a rock.)

Another guest will be Bandar. Also, Qatari (pronounced: GUTT-ER-ee) Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jasim will talk about something. And Blitzer will talk to Karen Hughes, I assume as a contrast to Bandar.


I also want to talk about a story in which President Bush is accused of using brilliant oratorical skills. This from Dana Milibank of the WashPost. These are the same people who accused the President of being a linguistic dunderhead after his press conference.

More on that this afternoon.




To whom does the world look?

Take Palestine, the land of the perpetual feud played out by young men with rifles on the one side and young men with bombs strapped to their bodies by cowardly old men they call leaders. From out the chaos, they allegedly look for a solution, but to whom do they look?

The United Nations? The European Union?

From tomorrow's New York Times Magazine:
[Palestinian cabinet member Dr. Saeb] Erekat is a moderate figure and claims to remain hopeful, but even he admitted that without a commitment from the United States for renewed negotiations -- few Palestinians I spoke with during the month I recently spent in Israel and Palestine said they believed the European Union or the United Nations could play a central role -- neither Israelis nor Palestinians would get any closer to peace.
Contrary to what Kerry and the Democrats have repeated for over a year, the United States is respected globally like never before. There is an element of fear, perhaps distrust of our motives, but we are the most capable diplomatic entity in the world, much moreso than under the previous administration.

I don't know that Erekat is a moderate, unless compared to Hamas, but he's most definitely not a Paul Wolfowitz neocon. (Which, by the way, is a term the media has abused to the point of obliterating its actual meaning.)

To whom does the world look? Unless they want oil for food, and the accompanying revenues, it is not to the United Nations. Or to France.


New on the blogroll

Welcome The Oracle of Jim, fallen from the firmament on this 24th day of April, to the Political Annotation blogroll. So far, he has looked at the ACLU and the chip on its shoulder, as well as the myopia and paramnesia of liberals concerning economic history.

And Jim put this blog in his blogroll, which I noticed in my referral log. I appreciate this.

If anyone here reading would like to exchange blogroll lnks, let me know.


New Column on RSN site

The latest column by Dennis Campbell, Teflon-Free Clintons: A Lot Sticks, But Little Comes of It, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site:
Remember Pat Schroeder? She was a congresswoman from Colorado during President Ronald Reagan's administration.

What she is best-remembered for is her frustration at the inability of Democrats to make charges of misconduct against Mr. Reagan stick.

"He's the Teflon President!" she lamented.

Well, Bill and Hillary Clinton definitely are not Teflon-coated. They are just the opposite: Lots of stuff sticks. What distresses is that so little comes of it. [MORE]
This one should have been live this morning, but there were sever problems, which reminds me that I ought to do something else with that. In due time.

The Red Sox have now taken five our of six games from the Yankees so far this year. I'm hurting.

Do you or don't you get what you pay for?


Kerry's Health

ABCNews.com's "NOTED NOW" informs us:
Senator Kerry visited Dr. Zarins at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Saturday morning, as a follow-up to his shoulder surgery. Campaign staff claimed to be unaware of Kerry's appointment earlier today, but spokesman David Wade now says he had "an appointment" and insists Kerry's shoulder is "doing great."
Meanwhile, according to a Kerry '04 press release, the Navy did not include his medical records with the batch they sent him, so the candidate "reconstituted the military medical records from his personal files." Which means, they are whatever he wanted them to be at the time.

Dr. Gerald R. Doyle, Kerry's personal physician since President Reagan's second term, reviewed these records Kerry had put together, and declared that Kerry was okay.

I want to know about his prostate cancer. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado) told Coloradoans several months ago:
Doctors have assured me that after treatment for prostate cancer, the recovery rate is 98 percent. But I believe Coloradans deserve a 100 percent guarantee of service."
Kerry does not mention his cancer, which is a legitimate concern. We know he earned a Purple Heart for being scratched, but not about his more serious current problem.


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