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5/31/2004

 

AFTER-WORD


  • Tuesday is the day of the special election to fill Bill Janklow's South Dakota House seat. The race between Republican Larry Diedrich and Democrat Stephanie Herseth was thought to be close, but The Hill newspaper, in Tuesday's edition, carries a report that Diedrich has basically conceded the race to Herseth. He points out that he had been 30 points but had closed to within single digits: "I think as long as it’s close, I don’t think I have a lot of opposition at all."

    He can afford to think along those lines. Herseth has run for that seat before, while Diedrich was unknown Statewide. This race is getting his name active in the State's political mind, in preparation for the rematch in November for a full term.




  • From the China Daily web site out of the PRC comes word that our allies in Great Britain are planning to cozy up to France and Germany in a move to end their ban on selling military weapons to the PRC.
    However any moves would most likely come to nothing as the United States would oppose the move and could even block European nations which sell arms to China from having access to US military technology.
    France is looking for potential allies to assist them in forming a global "counterweight" to the United States, and this may behind the French drive to sell weapons to the People's Republic.

    It is possible that Tony Blair is attempting to repair relations with France and Germany so as to assist him when he calls for an election. It is doubtful that Britain truly wants to help arm Beijing. Or maybe he is following the old Clinton example. If you'll remember, President Clinton signed a waiver allowing the sale of proscribed satellite technology to the PRC in 1998.


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    The Eucharist as a Political Tool


    In Chicago Sunday -- Pentacost -- ten homosexual members of the Rainbow Sash Movement demanded to receive the Holy Eucharist. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago had circulated a memo about these Sash folks, saying that the sashes were a symbol of opposition to the church's teachings on homosexuality and an attempt to exploit the communion as a political tool.

    Remember, to Catholics, what is given in the Eucharist is, through a process they call transubstantiation, the "physical body, blood, and divinity" of Jesus Christ. There is nothing political about this to them.

    The Sash folks were given communion in St. Paul, Minnesota, however, with the priest in that city accusing both sides of using the Eucharist as a political tool.
    A Vatican doctrinal decree last year directed at Catholic politicians said a well-formed conscience forbids support for any law that contradicts "fundamental" morality, with abortion listed first among relevant issues. A second Vatican statement said it is "gravely immoral" not to oppose legalization of same-sex unions.
    Before its Daily Mass program, cable network EWTN runs an explanation read by Father Angelus Shaughnessy, a Capuchin Franciscan, which stipulates that no one "in a state of grave sin" may participate in the Eucharist without first undergoing a sacramental confession. This was added in recent weeks, possibly to explain the gravity of the Eucharist to viewers.

    As a Catholic, JF Kerry should know better and respect the teachings of his church.

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    Privatize Air Security


    The House is trimming the Transportation Security Administration, started after 9-11, costs: $10-billion over 3 1/2-year. House Aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica of Florida said that the new bureaucracy was created in haste, without forethought, in the frenzy after the attacks.

    Republicans want to return all airport screening positions to the private sector, while Democrats insist that the government can do a better job if given a real chance.

    Can a bureaucracy, once created, actually die? We'll have to watch this one.

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    Memorial Day Monday


    My words for Memorial Day were posted yesterday evening, on the May 30 Memorial Day. They weren't much, but what can I say more than THANK YOU.

    The Associated Press reports on the President this Memorial Day.

    The AP also reports on candidate JF Kerry spending his Memorial Day attacking the President in regards to the military.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post decides that President Bush is attacking Kerry in an unprecedented manner with misleading statements.

    Analysts predict, they report, that President Bush will eventually surpass his father's 1988 campaign against Michael Dukakis for sheer negativity.

    JF Kerry has been attacking the President since Howard Dean was called the likely Democrat nominee.

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    Watergate, Iran-Contra, Abu-Ghraib-gate


    The thesis of the NYTimes "Congressional Memo" is that "even some Republicans say they worry that Congress is abdicating its oversight responsibility" in the matter of President Bush.

    Writer Chris Hulse names one Republican who feels this way: iffy GOP Representative Chris Shays of Connecticut: "I believe our failure to do proper oversight has hurt our country and the administration. Maybe they wouldn't have gotten into some of this trouble had our oversight been better."

    To his credit, but in the face of his initial assertion, Hulse also quotes Republican Representative Duncan Hunter (R-California) on the matter: "Maybe we should cancel every piece of Congressional business for the entire year so that the issue at Abu Ghraib can be milked until the election." Of course, he then quotes Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) saying that the Republicans trying to protect the Administration have led to the Administration's lack of communication with Congress.

    In his opening paragraph, he compares the Abu Ghraib with Watergate and Iran-Contra.

    It eats newsprint.

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    The President of Iraq is…


    Geopolitics.

    The Prime Minister of Iraq will be one Eyad Allawi; he will serve as the head of the government. The President of Iraq will serve as the head of state.

    Although the comparison is general at best, the best known of this type of arrangement is that of Great Britain, where Tony Blair is the Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II is head of State. (In the United States, the President is head of both government and state.)

    Though they had promised to select a President by the close of business Monday, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) has failed to do so. The IGC, or most of 'em, are said to favor a gentleman named Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, the current IGC President. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provision Authority (CPA) is said to favor 81-year-old Adnan Pachachi, a pre-Saddam Iraqi foreign minister. (Nelson Mandela springs to mind, but that is simply that gravitas which comes with age.) The UN envoy, the Algerian anti-Semite Lakhdar Brahimi, is also said to favor Pachachi.

    Both men are Sunni Moslems to Allawi's Shi'ite background.

    From the AP via Canada's Montreal Post:
    A council member said the U.S. and United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi favoured [sic] former foreign minister Adnan Pachachi, who supports keeping foreign troops in Iraq until the security situation is stabilized.
    The Canadian head of government is Prime Minister Paul Martin, while the head of state is Britain's QE II represented by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

    As a matter of personal preference, I would be more comfortable with Pachachi. He has the "Nelson Mandela" age-related gravitas along with that brought by service in the pre-Saddam Iraqi government.

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    "Can We Ever Repay the Greatest Generation?"


    The latest column by Barbara J. Stock is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site.

    It opens:
    Can my generation ever repay the sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents? Yes, and no.
    And to read the rest, click HERE.

    She sees a way to repay.
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    PRE-FACE


    Good morning.

  • The Washington Post this morning complains that supporters of the WW II memorial cop a "love it or leave it" attitude toward critics. You see, the press does not approve of the monument:
    Columnists and critics in such major publications as the New York Times, The Washington Post and the New Yorker have derided it for what they term a militaristic tone and empty grandeur and for not conveying to an uninformed visitor what the war was all about.
    The paper says similar things elsewhere about the way the war's supporters treat its opponents.

    They seem not to understand why the Bush Administration does not heed their advice on the prosecution of the war and why the World War II veterans and others could do without their meddlesome critique of their memorial.

    Life would be so much better if we'd only listen to them? Actually, it would be fine if the press would stick to reporting the news and leave the rest to those more qualified?

    It seems the press is an "uninformed visitor" with little inkling what either "war was all about."



  • Here's a poll which the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday. It missed my Sunday radar, did this poll of definite Ohio voters:
    Bush led Kerry 47 percent to 41 percent among Ohio voters surveyed for the poll, which The Plain Dealer released Saturday night. Three percent of voters said they favored independent Ralph Nader, although he has yet to qualify for the Ohio ballot. Nine percent were undecided.

    Washington, D.C-based Mason-Dixon Polling and Research interviewed 1,500 registered voters who plan to vote in November for the poll, which was conducted May 20-25.
    The President's 6 point lead is outside the 2.6-percent margin of error for the poll.

    Ohio is, of course, a crucial "swing state" in which candidate JF Kerry has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort. It's where disgruntled factory workers were believed to be carrying the Kerry juggernaut.

    The messenger seems to be shooting himself in the foot.


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    5/30/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


  • In Atlanta Sunday, more than 800 delegates to the Libertarian Party have selected 49-year-old computer programmer Michael Badnarik to be their Presidential nominee.
    Badnarik (pronounced bad-NOR-ik) was considered by many Libertarians to be trailing the two other leading candidates when the convention got under way Friday at the Marriott Marquis downtown. He faced Cleveland radio show host Gary Nolan and Hollywood producer Aaron Russo, rivals with more money and experience in front of microphones.
    Suspense, unlike what will happen in Boston and in New York.

    Also unlike what will happen in New York and in Boston, the delegate did not select a candidate who might be our next President. He knows it, the Party knows it, and so does everyone else.

    That is not what this is about. Members of the Libertarian Party, those with whom I speak, are disgusted with the government and with both major parties which dominate. At their level of benevolent ideological extremism, there barely a white of discernable difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. They are not stealing significant votes from Republican President Bush because: a, most Libertarian voters would not vote for the President in any case, and b, their candidate does not receive significant votes.

    I conjure angry reactions when I note that I think that they are tilting at windmills, but that is honestly what I see happening. There is nothing wrong with it, and somebody has to go after those windmills.



  • I saw this headline from Reuters: Rice Takes Indy 500 for First Career Win.

    I shan't make a cute comment, as it would be lame.



  • Last night when the freaks were commandeering the complex in Khobar, the FOX gal had Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin-Sultan on the phone. He continued to do what he has been doing all year: "Hey, see, we're just like you! The terrorists hate us, too! We're all in the same boat!"

    We will never be like Saudi Arabia. They are a hereditary dictatorship with a fuel economy, a welfare state in which people even distantly related to the House of Saud collect government checks while foreigners come in to be treated like non-entities while doing all the work.

    The foundation of Saudi Arabia was a partnership between the House of Saud and Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism. The two are inextricably linked, so when a politician discusses separating the two, he is… well, confused.
  • (I'd link to Stephen Schwartz if I had a URL handy. Google his name.)

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    Memorial Day, 2004


    As the sun sets on Memorial Day…

    Thank you.

    Just thank you.

    From the bottom of my heart.

    My mind right now thinks of you as young men (and women), putting on your uniform, checking your rifle, doing whatever it was you did to prepare. You knew what you had to do, and you damn well did it. You trained with America's best, you served with America's best, and you were America's best. You still are. Forever.

    Thank you.

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    Saddam's Pistol


    The gun which Saddam Hussein held in his lap when he was "caught like a rat" [Maj. General Ray Odierno] by the 4th Infantry division last December 13 now hangs mounted on a wall in a study off the Oval Office, Time Magazine reports in Monday's edition.
    The study…has become a place where Bush keeps the memorabilia that hold special significance for him. Another of the room's mementos: a photograph of special-forces soldiers in Afghanistan praying after burying a piece of the World Trade Center there as a tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
    That same study was used in a different manner by President Bush's predecessor, thus the ellipsis above.

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    Kerry's got a new plane


    From The Buzz, in today's Kansas City Star online:
    Sen. John Kerry has a new campaign plane. “This is my freedom bird now,” he said.

    When reporters asked what the name of the new plane would be, he said: “I don't know, maybe Freebird?” That was a reference to the name troops in the Vietnam War gave to the transport jets that ferried them back home.

    Then Kerry joked: “How about ‘Bush-whacker 1 or 2?'”

    Some groans were heard, and Kerry returned to “Freebird.”
    Here's this from Matt Druge last month:
    One source suggests the hairdresser was flown to Pittburgh on Teresa Heinz Kerry's 'Flying Squirrel', a Gulfstream V private jet.

    [The 'Flying Squirrel' is worth about $35 million. A deluxe model; plasma TV, two bathrooms, fancy mahogany and burlwood paneling, gold-plated fixtures.]
    The bracketed bit is from Drudge, as well.

    So Kerry could call his new campaign plane "The Flying Ferret" or "The Flying Rat." Of course, there's no Vietnam reference there.

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    The RSN is finished


    The Sunday edition of the Rightsided Newsletter has been delivered to the sundry global inboxes of the subscribers, and it is available online for those who do not yet subscribe: CLICK HERE.

    The brightest line of the morning, I think, was actually spoken this afternoon, on CNN's Late Edition, with Judy Woodruff subbing for Wolfgang Blitzer.

    She had asked Dole, a man crippled on the WW II battlefield, what he thought of Kerry's constant referral to his service in Vietnam. Dole answered: "I think John's got to watch that."

    From the RSN: As Woodruff was talking over him, Dole said: "And I'd just tell him, 'Talk about something else.'"

    Here, here.

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    Pelosi on Meet the Press


    Here is a draft of what I wrote for the RSN regarding Nancy Pelosi's appearance with Russert on MTP:

    A guest on MTP, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi reprised her earlier "incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience" rhetoric without using the words. In fact, she asserted that: "I said that with great reluctance. … I said this for the troops." Because, she later added, "We're on a course of action which is dangerous for our troops."

    A refresher: Her earlier remarks were clearly spoken with partisan intent. From her recent remarks: "[T]he president's capacity to lead has never been there. In order to lead, you have to have judgment. In order to have judgment, you have to have knowledge and experience. He has none. He's gone. He's so gone.'' Those words were spoken with politics in mind. On MTP, she tried to remove that taint. Russert facilitated this.

    He did not ask her about the veracity of her remarks. He took that as a given, that she was correct, and asked what sort of message speaking this truth sent to our troops and to the enemy. She maintained that she made those irresponsible remarks with a higher purpose in her heart: "I made the statement, if I may say so, with great courage." After all, she's opened herself to CRITICISM.

    She stepped down her demand for a change in Presidential leadership somewhat. "There has to be a change in the personnel of this administration." This means Don Rumsfeld, Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice, etc, She suggested a new President, saying: "I think there is a chance, with new [Presidential] leadership, to get more troops from other countries."

    What would she do if she were President? Her bold plan is actually quite simple: "I would make an assessment of where we are." The current President knows where we are and is acting accordingly.

    Russert played Gore's little NYU talk, the clip in which he called upon all and sundry to "resign immediately," and she noted: "I didn't see the speech until you showed it just now." She explained: "I was traveling."

    She agreed with the basic sentiment of Gore's speech, she said, but he delivered it in his own style. She distanced herself from the almost-psychotic aspects of Gore's talk, although her own remarks were very close to both his and those delivered by Senator Ted Kennedy.

    Russert read from a Washington Post analysis which found little difference between the policy recently outlined by candidate JF Kerry and what President Bush is doing. Pelosi remarked: "President Bush is moving closer to John Kerry. My point is, it's a year too late." If this be the case, then it would be twenty months to late when JF Kerry took office if elected. If she is pushing a change of course, then it is obviously not too late in her little mind.

    Finally, Pelosi looked to JF Kerry to save this nation via a change of course: "We have to create our country with that spirit of community" evinced at the time of World War II. She is working overtime to prevent this from happening, however, with her over-the-top language.

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    PRE-FACE


    Good morning.

  • Bob Woodward's book is still No. 2 on the New York Times best seller list, which makes on wonder who is purchasing it. Haven't those who would be interested in the thing already read it in the papers? Piece-by-piece, it pretty much comprised the political "news" for several weeks.

    Joe Wilson's frog-marching handbook is still No. 8 on that same list. What would irk a person, at this late date, do decide: "You know, I really want to read Joe Wilson's book. He reveals the possible Plame-name leakers"?



  • The talk shows promise to have a special element this morning, with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kansas) becoming former Army Captain Bob Dole representing his generation again. It puts the crude politicians to shame, and it is a sublime form of honor which I believe Kerry cast aside when he cynically began to protests his fellow veterans for political reasons. He wants it back now, of course.



  • The Saudis have ended the shooting attack in Khobar. If this had happened in the United States today, we would already have Congressional committees set up publicly to investigate why the President failed to stop the attacks, which agencies were to blame, and who authorized the botched rescue mission. (I am not saying that the resolution was botched; rather, that it would be called botched for whatever political reasons.)

    It's how we do things here.

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    5/29/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


  • Tomorrow morning, I watch, review, and analyze the Sunday morning talk shows for the Rightsided Newsletter, to which you can subscribe for FREE by visiting the web site and signing up there, or by sending a blank e-mail t. rsn-subscribe [AT] topica.com.

    For Memorial Day, Bob Dole will be on Fox News Sunday (FNS), NBC's Meet the Press (MTP), and CNN's Late Edition (LE). George McGovern will join him on FNS, with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) opening the show. It will be interesting to see if Lugar goes off on the Administraiton for not consulting him frequently enough. He's made those noises in the past.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is up first on MTP, and I have to question Russert's judgment on this one. He has to know that she'll be entirely venal with nothing of merit to say.

    California Representatives Chris Cox (R) and Jane Harmon (D) will be Steph's guests on ABC's This Week (TW), which could make for a good segment. Iraqi Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi; General Anthony Zinnii; and Richard N. Perle will also be guests, Perle no doubt to defend Ahmed Chalabi.

    CBS's Face the Nation has the makings of a rout, with former National Security Advisor Lawrence Eagleburger facing off against former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. Berger's out of his league.

    On LE, host Blitzer will talk to reserve General Jane Karpinski, the woman who ran Abu Ghraib but swears she knew nothing, saw nothing, and was responsible for nothing. Dole will be on, of course, as will Zinni; and Harman will sit with Representative David Dreier (R-California). Both TW and LE have a California thing going. I'd mention also MTP, but Pelosi's doubtless doing something different.



  • The Yankees be the Devil Rays this evening, 5-3. The best record in baseball, the most runs scored in baseball, and the most home runs in the American League. Now, if we were to calculate wins, runs scored, and homers per $10,000,000 in payroll, we might find something different. But so what?


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    Still going…


    New York Times, Sunday: Scant Evidence Cited in Long Detention of Iraqis


    USNews & World Report, June 7: Up in the Celblocks: A Pentagon memo defines just who gets to see some inmates at Abu Ghraib--and when



    Associated Press (Newsday), Saturday: Intelligence Agents Encouraged Abuse


    NYTimes, Saturday: Cuba Base [Guantanamo Bay] Sent Its Interrogators to Iraqi Prison


    Alternet.org, Friday: Abuse from Sea to Shining Sea


    This one has been over for awhile. It's time to find something new, perhaps reexamine Joe Wilson's tome on frog-marching which kind of fizzled. Maybe they could look into Iyad Allawi CIA ties, or some such nonsense.

    But nothing outlasts a story with pictures. They keep going and going and going…

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    It's okay to call me gay?


    A caption under a photograph in a Madonna book referred to an ex-boyfriend "a gay man." He sued, and U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner in Boston dismissed the case because, she held, calling a guy homosexual is neither slander nor libel. Why? Evidently, she gleaned from recent court decisions bolstering homosexual rights, that it is just plain fine to be one.

    This is problematic. A heterosexual man might not want to be called a homosexual because, to him, it is an insult. Or because it will color the perception others have of him in a way he does not desire. And because it is just not true.

    But let's apply her logic to the labels of political ideology. By her reasoning, it would be alright for someone to call me a liberal. I could laugh that one off, because it is absurd; but so would be referring to me as a homosexual. Why would I become angry if called one?

    Would it vary from person to person? Perhaps some heterosexual conservatives could accept being called homosexual but not being painted as a liberal.

    Party labels. Is there a consensus amongst the Log Cabin Republicans that it's okay to be referred to as heterosexual but not as a Democrat?

    I am a Republican, but being called a (capital L) Libertarian would earn a "not quite." Being called a Democrat would invoke an eye-roll, if another Republican were to call me that intentionally, or a correction if spoken by anyone else.

    What, if any, damage has the ex-boyfriend suffered? How much "pain and suffering"?

    Judge Gertner, I need some clarification.

    [Note, as this 1998 dissenting opinion reveals, Judge Gertner would also like to decriminalize drugs, which I offer only as a clue to her ideological bent.]

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    Support for Chalabi


    Labeling Ahmed Chalabi "a favorite of conservatives," the New York Times today published that, according at least to the headline, "conservative allies" defended Chalabi to Condi Rice last Saturday.

    The "conservative allies" mentioned in the peace are former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Pearle, former Clinton CIA head James Woolsey, and ousted House Speaker Newton Gingrich.

    With Pearle, he sees the attacks on Chalabi as impugning himself as well.
    Mr. Perle said the action against Mr. Chalabi would burnish his anti-American credentials in Iraq and possibly help him to be elected to political office. "In that regard, this clumsy and outrageous assault on him will only improve his prospects," Mr. Perle said.

    Mr. Perle said that he had no business dealings with Mr. Chalabi, but that he believed the C.I.A. and D.I.A. were spreading false information that he did. He also said that Mr. Chalabi was not alone in supplying intelligence to the United States government that turned out to be false.
    Did Chalabi engage in espionage for the mullahs in Iran? Did he furnish false informative for the purposes of his own aggrandizement? Those are the questions being asked and not being answered.

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    Kerry's Careless Nature


    Another flip-flop, this one in a one-hour Friday night interview with the Washington Post. In he, he denounced the Bush Administration for being concerned with the spread of Democracy overseas while indicating that he would spread American values, among which Democracy was prime.
    While Kerry said it was important to "sell [democracy] and market it" around the world, he demurred when questioned specifically about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing all nuclear materials in Russia, integrating China in the world economy, achieving greater controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons or winning greater cooperation on terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia trumped human rights concerns in those nations.

    "Sometimes we are dealt a set of cards that don't allow us do everything we want to do at once," he said.

    During the interview, he eschewed the soaring rhetoric on freedom and democracy that are commonplace in Bush's speeches or news conferences. At one point, he stumbled over his words when he tried to emphasize his interest in promoting American values: "The idea of America is, I think proudly and chauvinistically, the best idea that we've developed in this world."
    Note also his professed pride and chauvinism when speaking of America vis-à-vis the rest of the world, and consider the "arrogance" with which he faults the President.

    I honestly and objectively do not think the man is fit to be President.

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    Kerry's "shredded alliances"


    Here's JF Kerry on the radio this morning:
    "It's time to put away pride and stubbornness," Kerry said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "We must rebuild alliances that have been shredded because an America respected in the world will be an America stronger in the world and safer here at home."
    Of which alliances is he speaking as "shredded"? Germany's Gerhard Schroeder, having survived his late 2002 elections and the time shortly thereafter, is keen to get back on the good side of the United States. Putin and Russia, no problem there. We have better relations than ever with Mexico, Australia, and Eastern Europe. Canada, with a new prime minister, is trying work its way back into the good graces of Washington.

    And it is not per se about President Bush; it is about America. Bush can either hinder or facilitate, and the President is facilitating economic, military, and diplomatic agreements apace.

    The problem, then, is France. The only way to appease France is to stop being the United States. We must become weaker, less assertive, more pliable. That, I have asserted, must be the Kerry Doctrine, then: we must be as weak as France.

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    Sanford's Pigs


    South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford saw too much pork in the State's budget, so he vetoed 106 items. Then on Wednesday, South Carolina's Republican-controlled House overrode all save one of the governor's vetoes.

    Same party, different spending proclivities.
    Hours after his vetoes were cast off, Sanford's top legislative priority, an income tax reduction plan, basically died in the Senate.

    House members said the whirlwind process of dealing with the vetoes demonstrated their confidence in the compromise budget approved last week by a large margin.

    The speed with which Sanford's concerns were dispatched led to harsh words from the governor's office as Sanford spokesman Will Folks accused House Ways and Means Chairman Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, of trying to "embarrass the governor."

    "This is an absolute mockery of the deliberative process," Folks said. "Clearly, Harrell and other leaders in the House don't care about discussing the merits of these issues. They are more concerned with who's the mayor of Importantville."
    Sanford backed off Folks's remarks, but he did his part to embarrass the legislators. On Thursday, he carried two screaming piglets -- "Pork" and "Barrel" -- onto the floor of the Statehouse to let them know what he thought of their spending.
    "There was a lot of pork-eating yesterday," said Sanford, juggling the tiny, squirming pigs. "Ultimately what was said yesterday was: 'We're not going to cut spending by one dollar."'

    The governor stood at the House chamber doors with pig feces smeared on his shoes and coat and laughed about it.

    Inside, representatives were outraged.

    House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville, said the stunt was "the worst kind of politics."

    "This is the people's house, it ought to be treated with dignity. I think he defiled it in order to get
    TV coverage," he said.
    It also embarrassed the folks at TheState.com:
    What Sanford did was demeaning to the office of governor and the state of South Carolina. And it certainly didn’t help our image. Outsiders already have this stereotype of the South, and something like this confirms that sad image.

    Once again, thanks to Sanford, it’s acceptable to laugh at South Carolina.
    I'm from north of the Mason-Dixon, and I have a stereotype of southern lawmakers: they are not New England (or DC) technocrats. They aren't afraid to laugh at themselves or at the absurd.

    If the press wants urbanity, they ought to consider a move.

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    Jaime Gorelick's ambition


    According to Jonathan M. Stein in Friday's The Washington Dispatch, 9-11 Commission Commissioner Jaime Gorelick is one of the brethren (her term for the commissioners) because she wants to be Attorney General in a Democrat Administration. She wanted it in Clinton's second term, but he stuck with Janet Reno for scandal(ous) reasons.

    She also wanted to run the CIA, according to Stein. (If that had happened, I suppose it is possible that Clinton could have received his wish to have 9-11 happen on his watch. Remember, Clinton wanted the legacy-building opportunity that went with it.)
    A former Democrat staffer recently stated that Ms. Gorelick is on the commission for one reason – and it isn’t for her legal mind. Gorelick is on the Commission “to make sure Bush and his team look as bad as possible and to protect the Clintons and Reno." Her reward for doing her job well. . . the powerful position she has coveted for seven years.
    It will take more than a Kerry victory this November to secure the A.G. post for that woman, Ms. Gorelick. She simply will not be confirmed by a Republican Senate.
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    PRE-FACE

    Good morning.

    Sergeant Donald Walters died fighting when his convoy -- the one with Pfc. Jessica Lynch -- was ambushed during the invasion. That's what his wife had been told, and that is what the army had believed, until new evidence was discovered.
    They told her [Walters's wife Stacie[ an ongoing investigation had turned up evidence that Iraqi fighters led a lone Sgt. Walters, wounded in the leg, into a building after he was separated from comrades in the 507th Maintenance Company.

    Six combatants guarded him, according to two Iraqi ambulance drivers who have spoken to investigators.

    “Several hours later,” an Oregon Army National Guard press release states, “his body was brought out of the building after he had been shot twice in the back.”
    Blood splattered on a wall matched Walters' DNA, officials confirmed. Some suspects have been identified, a National Guard spokesman said, but their names were being withheld.

    [ . . . ]
    Her husband also suffered a dislocated shoulder and superficial stab wounds, suggesting torture, she said. Officials said the fatal shots appeared to have been fired more than 20 feet from the wall where he was executed.

    “To put it frankly, that is a vile crime,” said Capt. Michael Braibish of the Oregon Military Department, which coordinated with the Pentagon task force in delivering the news to the Walters' parents.
    Walters was not capture, tortured, and killed by the Iraqi resistance; this was done by Saddam Hussein's army before they were defeated and had dissipated.

    The Administration has been faulted for poor pre-war planning because CPA head Paul Bremer officially disbanded Saddam's army instead of putting it to security work for the coalition. The opponents of the war suggest that the men responsible for the painful and after-combat torture and death of Sgt. Walters could secure the streets of Najaf from Sadr's militia. These people could well have been Sadr's militia.


  • Today (May 29) is the anniversary of the day in 1953 that Sir. Edmund Hillary's Sherpa guide Tenzig Norgay became the first man in recorded history to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

    Now, Senator Hillary Clinton once told an audience in Sir Edmund's native New Zealand that she was named for the leader of that expedition. (She was born 6 years after Hillary's party reached that summit, though, so she must have been so named by prescient parents who foresaw the fabled feat.)

    If she wanted to be historically precise, named after the first person to reach the summit, she would now be Senator Norgay Rodham Clinton (D-New York), and she could have penned a book about it taking a village of Sherpas to raise Chelsea because she doesn't do cookies.

    Did I say, "Good morning"?


  • 0 comments

    5/28/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


  • I suppose this is good news. John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge have have issued a joint statement:
    "We are working together, and we will take all necessary actions to protect the American people, including raising the threat level or alerting the public to be on the lookout for possible terrorist suspects, whenever warranted by the information we receive," the statement by Ridge and Ashcroft said.
    This is after some in certain circles fumed because Ashcroft had signaled a heightened threat of terror without involving Ridge. (I discuss this earlier.)

    Are we looking for a government within a government here? I'm hearing music from another time.


  • Robert Virasin and I have discussed, in comments under Tom Ridge… below, whether Abu Ghraib is a mindset involving the total disregard for human life. My thought was that it was "just kids being kids." Take a look and tell us which side you come down on. If it is still a concern to you.


  • Last week, I received a copy of Robert Zubrin's The Holy War. It is billed, I've read, as a twixt with science fiction and satire, and humor and the politics of the war on terror. Dr. Zubrin has asked for a review, which I shall do for the RSN and this space.


  • As John Sterlng so aptly put it a while ago: "Ballgame over. Yankees win. THEEEEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN!" Tonight, it was 7-5 over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and it looks like the Captain has put his slump behind him. He homered in the 9th. Gary Sheffield, Ruben Sierra, and Hidecki Matsui did so earlier.


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    Boxer leading Jones


    California Republicans chose the moderate establishment guy, former Secretary of State Bill Jones, to run against Barbara Boxer this fall. According to the latest field poll, Babs is leading Jones among registered voters, 55-percent to 32-percent, with 12-percent up-for-grabs.

    The conservative in the GOP race was Howard Kaloogian. He pushed the primary field to the right for a time.

    Here in Pennsylvania, liberal Democrat Joe Hoeffel is looking stronger against moderate Republican Senator Arlen Specter than he might have against the Specter's vanquished primary opponent, conservative Representative Pat Toomey

    In 1976, the party establishment and Gerald Ford's boyz told voters that Ronald Reagan could not defeat the Democrat nominee, who turned out to be Jimmy Carter. Maybe not in that year, but his chances would have been much better than those of Ford.

    In 1980, the party establishment told GOP voters not to nominate Ronald Reagan that he was too conservative for voters and would lose even to Jimmy Carter. No.

    Conservatives can and will win general elections, and they do not even have to be "the right conservative." The problem arises if they are the wrong conservative. (And I don't go back to Goldwater.)

    1 comments
     

    Eleanor Clift missed it, too


    In a column off MSNBC.com this evening, Eleanor Clift misreads A.G. John Ashcroft in a way that shows she is allowing her malevolence to override any intellectual firepower she might have.
    What was the subliminal message of John Ashcroft’s stepped-up terror warning earlier this week? It’s that if the terrorists want to disrupt the presidential election, that must mean they’re for Democratic candidate John Kerry.

    Think Madrid. The terrorist train bombings there in March were credited with ousting Spain’s pro-Bush conservative government and propelling the Socialists to power. But Kerry has done a good job in recent days of countering the notion that if he is elected president, America will go soft on terrorism.
    That is not it at all.

    I dealt with this when the same underdeveloped thesis was put forward by a writer for the SLATE online fashion magazine on Wednesday.
    Al Qaeda, by that formulation, would want Bush to lose because he had cooperated with the Zionists, or whomever, in standing up to their boy Saddam.

    They knew Aznar didn't like them, so they wanted him to lose. They know Bush doesn't like them, so they want him to lose. They know their enemies, and the hate them. They support Zapatero and JF Kerry only in that they are not Aznar and Bush.

    Zapatero's victory did not weaken the coalition; rather, it seems to have strengthened it. Unless he does something rash and/or stupid, a Kerry victory probably wouldn't harm the coalition in the short term.

    But the larger question for al Qaeda is the war on terror.

    Either way, Ashcroft did not mention the terrorists wanting Kerry to win because that was not his point. They want Bush to lose. [See Misreading Ashcroft, Wednesday]
    Is it something in the water, or is it just the election season?
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    Adquate Plans


    From JF Kerry in Wisconsin, Friday afternoon:
    "We rushed off to war without an adequate plan, without adequate supplies ... without a plan to win the peace," Kerry said.

    Yet Kerry, who backed the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq, had no snap answer when a woman asked: "What do you plan to do to bring our troops home?"

    Kerry said he could not predict what the situation would be in Iraq on Jan. 20, 2005, when he would be inaugurated as president if he beats Bush in the November election.

    But he said, "I'm going to get our troops home as fast as possible with honor and the job accomplished in the way it needs to be."
    JF Kerry has no plan, as he cannot predict the situation in the future. At the same time, JF is faulting President Bush for not accurately planning down to the last detail what to do in future situations.

    Ah, the nuance!

    I find such thinking to be frightening when I think that -- may God forbid it -- this man could possibly be our next President. People remark in various ways about the President's intellect, but at least the man does not nuance himself into an existential void.

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    Kerry might/might not get "Green" States


    When the Reform Party endorsed Ralph Nader, his name went on the ballot in 7 States: Kansas, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, and South Carolina. The Green Party could put him on the ballot in 22 States -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- and the District of Columbia, but they still have their June 23-28 convention in Milwaukee; there, the Greens might choose a nominee or, failing that, formally endorse a candidate.

    Nader has said that he does not want their nomination, and it is not clear if a mere formal endorsement would put his name of the ballots.

    If he winds up with the slate of States from both parties, Nader will have 23 States (six with overlap) and the District.

    This might matter.

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    Tom Ridge, resignation, and Ashcroft/Mueller


    Watching Secretary Ridge answer the legitimate questions which seemed not to be coming from Charlie Rose's usual anti-conservative mindset, it struck me that her was the man entrusted to "mobilize and organize our nation to secure the homeland from terrorist attacks" [from the DHS web site].

    It further struck me that no one -- aside from this fellow -- had yet called upon him to resign. Why not? To be fair, if they want the heads of John Ashcroft, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Tenet, then what of Secretary Ridge. Perhaps because he is not perceived as being as threatening as the others.

    And there is the mild flap over Ashcroft and FBI Director Bill Mueller sounding a terror alert without first consulting Secretary Ridge. Evidently, Ridge thought that Ashcroft and Mueller were going to discuss simply the seven wanted fugitives, not tinker with how alert Americans were to be. In fact, on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday, the Secretary said that the threats we faced were "not the most disturbing that I have personally seen during the past couple of years."

    The following is from Representative Chris Cox (R-California):
    "The reason that Congress created the Department of Homeland Security is that we need to merge the various parts of government responsible for pieces of the war on terrorism into one coordinated effort," said Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the homeland security committee.

    Cox said it was "regrettable" that Ridge did not appear with Ashcroft and Mueller "because their separate public appearances conveyed the impression that the broad and close interagency consultation we expect ... may not have taken place in this case." He noted that the 2002 law creating the department puts the secretary in charge of issuing "public advisories relating to threats to homeland security."
    I personally see this as the three men doing what they believe is their responsibility, and we know that Ashcroft and Mueller would have had to go through Ridge if they wished to raise the security alert level.

    Has Tom Ridge been given protected status by the Dems and the media, similar to that Secretary Powell enjoys? Is the (collective) press attempting to portray Ridge as insulated from what is really going on in the Bush Administration, much as they have done the same to Powell?

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    Invent Some Common Sense


    The latest column by Justin Darr, Invent Some Common Sense, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site. It opens:
    I have great news for all Americans who are fed up with high gas prices. Presidential Candidate John Kerry has announced his sure fire plan to end our dependence on foreign oil, save the environment, and lower energy prices.
    To read on, click HERE.
    0 comments
     

    Abu-Ghraib not unusual


    MTV.com Choose or Lose reports today on a 1971 study which shows that what happened at Abu-Ghraib is a predictable pattern of behavior for young people thrust into such situations, as were the reservist-guards.
    In 1971 a group of 24 college men volunteered to act as either guards or prisoners in an experimental prison. Under the watchful eye of Dr. Philip Zimbardo, esteemed professor of psychology and former president of the American Psychological Foundation, volunteers went through several rounds of testing to ensure psychological and physical health and "normalcy." They were then designated either guards or prisoners by the simple flip of a coin.

    Two days into the good doctor's experiment, the normal, adjusted students were playing their prison roles with frightening reality. The "prisoners," fed up with having roll calls in the middle of the night, rebelled by pushing their beds against their cell bars and refusing to come out. The "guards" called in reinforcements, pulled the prisoners from their cells, striped them naked, and proceeded to humiliate and abuse them for hours. To further reinforce their power, the guards took away bathroom privileges and forced prisoners to urinate and defecate in buckets inside their cells, and to later clean the mess out with their bare hands. It got worse — so bad that Zimbardo halted the planned two-week study after only six days.
    Dr. Zimbardo told MTV news that Abu-Ghraib was not a few bad apples messing around; rather, it was "a bad barrel converting good apples into bad apples."
    Zimbardo went on to explain that the Stanford prison experiment and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal were built on the same foundations with similar (and even predictable) results. Inexperienced guards were given little instruction, extraordinary power and limited oversight. In Abu Ghraib that dynamic was heightened by the stress of war and death and the need for information from Iraqi prisoners.
    Or, as I've said, it's what kids do.

    This is not a political problem. It is a military one, the military has known this for longer than has Congress, and it is being dealt with. By the military.

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    New Sterrett Column


    The new column by Isaiah Z. Sterrett, Liberal Lollygagging on Iraq, is now live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site. It opens:
    ONCE AGAIN Unisom Kerry has been outfoxed by the dumb guy from Texas.
    To read the rest, click HERE.
    0 comments
     

    PRE-FACE


  • Up top on Drudge this AM, a CBS News poll of 1,113 adults shows JF Kerry leading President Bush by eight points, 49-perecent to 41-percent. Kerry/McCain almost doubles that lead over Bush/Cheney to 14 points, 53%-39%, among registered voters.

    This is a fashion poll, flavor-of-the-week. McCain, sight unseen, is a nationally celebrated political figure, and his name, untested, is bound to at a lift to anything. It's a neat story, something which sounds "inside-politics" to report.

    What would it take to convince McCain to change his mind and run with Kerry? Not even the top of the ticket would do it, as John McCain would not run for President as a Democrat.

    We can talk about it, one assumes.



  • From the Wichita Eagle, out of Kansas, is calling for the GOP to get with black voters:
    Watts said the No. 1 question the Republican Party should look at is: Why do black voters agree with the party's ideals and its stance on issues, but not vote for Republican candidates?

    He said to gain support from the black community the party needs to show its policies can benefit them.

    "Most black people don't think alike; most black people just vote alike," said Watts, who is chairman of GOPAC, a Republican political action committee.
    The theory goes, then, that their voting does not necessarily follow their thinking, and he wants the GOP to change that.

    Are they up to it?


  • 0 comments

    5/27/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


  • Here they go again. The 2003 tragicomedy The Adventures of the United Nations Security Council saw France doing what it saw as its duty, its destiny: blocking the United States from exerting any global influence. The theory in Paris is that the United States is the strongest nation on the Earth and does not have the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics to hold her in check, so a new check must be formed. France sees herself as the core member of whatever alliance is formed to check the United States. It tried to form an anti-U.S. alliance with Germany, but that eventually fell apart. As I pointed out below, it might now be in the process of forming one with the PRC.

    It's starting again. France will arrogantly dither this way perhaps with Russia. The PRC is so far providing a new dynamic of actually become vocally involved. One had hoped they would abstain.

    If this resolution is blocked and nothing passes, the coalition is still going to turn over the reigns of power to the Iraqi interim government on June 30. The problem will be, with no UNSC resolution, the US will again be go-it-alone, arrogant, etc. It would be the same dynamic as we saw last year.


  • The Yankees beat Baltmore, 18-5. I think I'll listen to some Copland -- an perfectly brilliant American composer.


  • ~~~~~

    ADDENDUM:

  • Bob Watson at BBC.co.uk cannot find a difference between Kerry and Bush in the realm of foreign policy.
    So the name of the game is not alienating those voters who are losing trust in the president but who are still finding it hard to entrust the country's security in the hands of a Democrat.
    He misses the difference, albeit it is not blatant, that I called the Kerry Doctrine below.

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    Germany and the UNSC Resolution


    This is from the Bulgarian News Agency his evening:
    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Thursday rejected Chinese proposals to limit an initial mandate for foreign forces in Iraq to January, saying it was too soon to discuss a date amid the current turmoil, Reuters reports.
    Reuters also reports tonight that French President Jacques Chirac wants the Iraqi government in January to "at all times be able to end" occupation by the coalition.

    Schroeder said: "I don't think that in the current phase a final date can be named already because I think the situation is too confusing."

    So the nay-sayers this year may not be France and Germany; rather, it could be France and the People's Republic of China. Remember, France and the PRC are permanent members of the UNSC with veto power, while Germany is not.

    A Franco-Chinese/Sino-French alliance would make for an interesting situation, a geopolitical "brains and brawn" setup.

    1 comments
     

    Remember General Boykin?


    General William Boykin is a Christian. When speaking to an evangelical group last year, he said: "I knew my God was bigger than his [a Somali warlord]. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

    Of President Bush, he said: "He's in the White House because God put him there."

    Almost a year ago, in June of 2003, he told a religious group that terrorists hate the U.S. "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan."

    The Pentagon's inspector general has been investigating General Boykin indirectly at the behest of those offended by the remarks. The investigation is said to be almost complete.

    On a side note, General Boykin, who is undersecretary of defense for intelligence, has had his name mentioned concerning another matter recenty:
    Boykin's boss, Stephen Cambone, told Congress on May 11 that he had urged Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, then the commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, to travel to Iraq last August and make recommendations on how to better interrogate prisoners.

    Cambone said he was involved in Pentagon discussions on how to press detainees for information without violating the Geneva Conventions. Miller later testified that he never discussed the matter with Cambone or Boykin.

    Di Rita said Wednesday that Boykin played no role in overseeing or approving interrogation procedures for prisoners held in Iraq.


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    In Oklahoma: Tom Coburn for Senate


    Robert Novak's May 27 column deals with the potential return of former Representative Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). You see, Don Nickles said ENOUGH, and the GOP needs a candidate.

    Coburn is a Republican: "limited government, entitlement reform, anti-abortion." Unlike many Republicans, he did more than talk the talk.

    He is supported by neither the White House to the Oklahoma GOP; they back former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, who Novak sees as a sure loser against Democrat Representative Brad Carson.
    Coburn was so uncongenial to the go-along, get-along mood that characterized the Republican majority in the House that a conflict-of-interest complaint was filed against him because he went back to Muskogee every week to deliver babies. If he had to choose, he declared, he would give up Congress -- and the complaint was dropped. In his current campaign, Coburn spends two days a week practicing medicine.

    In announcing his candidacy, Coburn took dead aim at the professional politicians who dominate the Republican-controlled Congress: "I believe we have a deficit of moral courage in the United States Congress. We have many learned individuals who know what is right but have not the courage to stand against the moral corruption that is now attempting to undermine our republic."
    My party needs Ronald Reagan. Coburn isn't it by any stretch, but he would be some fresh air. Even if he's not well-liked.

    1 comments
     

    Free Trade Pact with Bahrain


    The arrogant, world-hating, go-it-alone -- as some would have it -- has reached a free trade agreement with Bahrain.
    The agreement marks the third such deal with an Arab country. A free trade agreement with Morocco was completed in March and the United States has had a free trade agreement with Jordan since 2001.

    The Bush administration sees the opening of America's vast market to moderate Arab countries as a way to build support for its efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
    This is in the Middle East, where the U.S. is supposedly reviled for leading a multinational coalition in Iraq.

    The arguments and rhetoric just don't work.

    1 comments
     

    Liz Smith and Larry Flynt


    The New York Post's antique gossip columnist Liz Smith identified a "hero":
    [I]f one overlooks the raw money he makes from America's need for pornography, then maybe one can appreciate Larry, as I do, for what he really is — a concerned U.S. citizen who believes deeply in the First Amendment and wants to tell the truth as he sees it about the Establishment.
    This is Larry Flynt, the man who exploits the most vulnerable women in the most savage manner via his pornography publishing empire. The man who once forced his own daughter to perform a sexual act upon his person in exchange for the car keys.

    Why is Smith praising Larry Flynt? He's written a book: The Naked Truth. Liz says she read the first draft and told him that it was not tough enough. He rewrote it and is peddling it at Chicago's BookExpo America, where Bill Clinton will speak.

    Liz Smith proofreads the books of sex perverts. Why?
    In his impressive, well-researched book, Larry outlines the philosophical underpinnings of how our government got into the state it's in today. You better believe it is not a love letter to George W. Bush.
    Liz lets herself off the hook by redefining pornography:
    I was still skeptical because of his ties to pornography. But today pornography comes out of the government, not from Larry.
    Actually, if we're going to define pornography as something obscene even in a non-sexual way, it's still coming from Larry Flynt. And Liz Smith.

    [Thanks to Jim McCaffrey for the heads-up.]
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    The Kerry Doctrine


    JF Kerry delivered the first of three speeches on what seems to be the Kerry Doctrine, designed, he said, to create an "America that is respected, and not just feared." It is basically: "What Bush is doing, but I'll consult with the world first." His theme is that he is more mature and calm and willing to listen than is President Bush.

    There is not a lot I can do with besides say that it is a fundamentally flawed line of argument. His flaw is that he mistakes hatred of America and her prosperity and strength for a hatred of President Bush.

    These countries have resented the United States for a lot longer than the past three years. All President Bush did was give them something about which to noisily clash with the United States.

    Is it Kerry's policy that he would reduce European hostility by compliance with their whims, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the World Court, both of which would have had tremendously deleterious affects on United States sovereignty, position, and prosperity? The only way to appease the Europeans is to make the United States less than what it currently is. And that seems to be what JF Kerry is promising. That is the Kerry Doctrine.

    0 comments
     

    Kerry-McCain-France


    The French wire AFP has an article today about a Kerry-McCain ticket.
    Washington is abuzz with rumors that John McCain, one of the most popular Republicans in Congress, could team up with Democratic contender John Kerry in the race for the White House.
    Uh, okay.
    Only during Abraham Lincoln's first term (1860-1864), have the presidency and vice presidency been held by politicians from different parties.
    Actually, the veep during President Lincoln's first term, Hannibal Hamlin, had switched to the Republic Party several years before running as Lincoln's No. 2. The vice president during Lincoln's second term, Andrew Johnson, was Democrat brought on the ticket as a Southern Democrat who supported the President.

    John Mccain does not support the Kerry candidacy.
    Kerry has the gravitas that eludes McCain….
    Kerry has no gravitas. To have such a trait, one must adopt a position and a code of core values and promote the consistently. You can do those things and lack gravitas, but you cannot be without them and have it.

    But the French have written their own political playbook.

    2 comments
     

    When Al Gore Screams…


    … I'm reminded of an old song by the '80s Britpop group ABC: When Smokey Sings, It was a tribute to the great Smokey Robinson, but in jest, it could apply to Gore:

    Debonair lullabies in melodies revealed
    In deep despair on lonely nights
    He knows just how you feel
    The slyest rhymes - the sharpest suits
    In miracles made real

    Like a bird in flight on a hot sweet night
    You know you're right just to hold her tight
    He soothes it right - makes it outtasite
    And everything's good in the world tonight!

    When Al Gore screams - I hear violins
    When Al Gore screams - I forget everything

    Ah, yes -- Al Gore stirring emotions.

    Both Byron York and Barara Comstock over at NRO seem as "mesmerized" as was I.

    Ryan at Ryanshead calls the speech "truly offensive," and he does a great job of taking the damn thing apart categorically.

    But what was Al Gore doing? We've heard Teddy Kennedy say similar things, his voice dripping with the similar contempt. Pelosi and that old guy from New Jersey are two others. What makes Gore's episode unique?

    It was an episode. To people like Kennedy, Lautenberg, and Pelosi, such verbiage comes naturally. Their deliveries are polished, and it seems only natural. But Gore is a different story. The Al Gore we remember was one of the most disinteresting politicians on stage. For him to become passionate and aggressive, stirring emotions, is to parody himself. We have to doubt that he genuinely means what he is saying, and we also have to doubt, somehow, that he's actually saying it in the way that he is.

    The ridiculous figure of a Democratic politician who is genetically passionless and dull suddenly erupting into sheer nonsensical vitriol. Thinking people scratch their heads. And the strange thing about it is that the GOP did not draw this cartoon.

    0 comments
     

    Amnesty International: World More Dangerous


    The international human rights group Amnesty International has issued a report indicating that the War on Terror has made the world a more dangerous place in which to live.
    The UN faced a crisis of legitimacy and credibility because of the US-led war on Iraq and the organization's inability to hold states to account for gross human rights violations. International human rights standards continued to be flouted in the name of the "war on terror", resulting in thousands of women and men suffering unlawful detention, unfair trial and torture – often solely because of their ethnic or religious background. Around the world, more than a billion people's lives were ruined by extreme poverty and social injustice while governments continued to spend freely on arms.
    The report comes at us from the angle of the desirability of international socialism. It presupposes the international UN as the ultimate guarantor of human rights, thus its passing from relevance is a blow to those rights. It observes the war on terror only from the point of view of the terrorists, making any questionable detention or abuse an affront to human rights if perpetrated by the side fighting terror, while paying no never mind to what is being fought.

    Does terrorism hinder the UN's ability "to hold states to account for gross human rights violations"? Do terrorists flout human rights standards, "resulting in thousands of women and men suffering unlawful detention, unfair trail and torture -- often solely because of their ethnic or religious background? Yes and yes, but the report does not take this into account.

    That we're spending on arms while we ought to be redistributing our wealth down a sinkhole is their thesis. That is international socialism.

    This report has no legitimacy in the free world.

    2 comments
     

    PRE-FACE


  • Is this blog a soft target?


  • JF Kerry floated his trial balloon, saw the reaction, and has opted to accept his party's nomination at the Democrat National Convention at the end of July. This means that after the convention, he will be limited to spending the $75-million in federal funds that his campaign will receive from the taxpayers via the government. He will have been spending this money for over a month when President Bush is formally nominated and begins spending his $75-million taxpayer-funded account. If in August, Bush/Cheney runs an attack ad, Kerry will have to spend his "last money" to defend.

    You see, the Dems did not expect to be raising money at the rate they are, so they scheduled an early convention to get their fingers on the $75-million early. They were supposed to need it. But donations, while not up to the President's level, have been much more robust than they expected, so they do not need the $75-million as much as they had expected.

    This early convention was another mistake on the part of DNC boss Terence McAuliffe, who also doomed the party to nominating a dud like Kerry by rushing the nominating process so the eventual nominee was not properly vetted.

    0 comments
  • 5/26/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


  • I have been told that my main URL -- http://www.rightsided.org" has been down for a while this evening. If this ever happens in the future, and this is indeed one of the advantages of running a blog via blogspot, the alternate URL is http://rightsided.blogspot.org.

    I had been considering that I'd had a pretty good day of blogging, too…


  • Anyway, here is Al Gore verging on breakdown this afternoon:
    "Raising his voice to a yell, he drew early applause by angrily denouncing the administration. ... President Bush 'has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every town and city to a greater danger of attacks by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornets nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us,' Gore said."
    And here is Al Gore on Larry King Live, December 16, 1988:
    "We need national resolve and unity, not weakness and division when we're involved engaged in an action against someone like Saddam Hussein, who is trying to get weapons of mass destruction and threaten his neighbors. ... [I]f you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons; he poison gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunctions about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."

  • Al Gore strikes me as a singularly pathetic figure these days.


  • 1 comments
     

    Misinterpreting Ashcroft


    In SLATE online fashion magazine, a fellow myopically asserts that the Bush Administration has a "poor record interpreting data from its spy agencies." The Administration was using the agencies' information, interpretation, and analysis. Anything for a cheap shot, but it is, after all, an election year.
    But Chatterbox does have a wee problem with Ashcroft's not-so-subtle insinuation about what al-Qaida would hope to achieve by attacking the United States "this summer or fall," by which Ashcroft apparently means "sometime before election day." Here is what he said:

    The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida to have advanced their cause. Al Qaida may perceive that a large-scale attack in the United States this summer or fall would lead to similar consequences.

    It's plausible that al-Qaida was pleased (though hardly satisfied) by its apparent influence on the Spanish election three days after the bombings. Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and his Popular Party lost; José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his Socialist Party won; and Zapatero promptly made good on his campaign promise to withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq. Anything that weakens, even symbolically, the coalition effort in Iraq, or smacks of appeasement by America's allies, is obviously bad for the United States, and anything bad for the United States is clearly good for al-Qaida.
    WRONG.

    Al Qaeda wanted rid of Aznar because he had cooperated with the Zionists, or whomever, in standing up to their boy Saddam.

    Al Qaeda, by that formulation, would want Bush to lose because he had cooperated with the Zionists, or whomever, in standing up to their boy Saddam.

    They knew Aznar didn't like them, so they wanted him to lose. They know Bush doesn't like them, so they want him to lose. They know their enemies, and the hate them. They support Zapatero and JF Kerry only in that they are not Aznar and Bush.

    Zapatero's victory did not weaken the coalition; rather, it seems to have strengthened it. Unless he does something rash and/or stupid, a Kerry victory probably wouldn't harm the coalition in the short term.

    But the larger question for al Qaeda is the war on terror.

    Either way, Ashcroft did not mention the terrorists wanting Kerry to win because that was not his point. They want Bush to lose.

    0 comments
     

    "An Overreaction?"


    That is what Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenhall speculate about Attorney General John Ashcroft's press conference this afternoon.
    In his briefing, Ashcroft cited no specific new information other than a claim that was sent to an Arabic newspaper in London immediately after the March 11 Madrid bombing. In it, a shadowy group asserted that a major attack against the United States was “90 percent ready.” But the authenticity of the group—and whether it really spoke for Al Qaeda—was questioned at the time by some U.S. officials.
    What of the infamous PDB that Dick Ben-Veniste waved around in April? What of the talk of shaking the tree, connecting the dots? September 11 could have been prevented, some say, if agencies would have worked together, dots had been connected, and trees had been shaken.
    One senior law-enforcement official, while acknowledging the paucity of any fresh intelligence pointing to an imminent attack, said the public warning was still justified as a “proactive” effort to disrupt any ongoing attacks prior to the election. One element of that was the release of the fresh BOLOs—Be On the Look Out bulletins—for the seven Al Qaeda suspects.
    The August, 2001 PDB contained NO "fresh intelligence pointing to an imminent attack," let alone a paucity thereof.

    The Administration does not need at 9-11 Commission report to instruct it on how to protect lives in this new world.

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    2004 Toss-Up House Races


    Charlie Cook has just released his updated list of Toss-Up House Races for this November. They are:


    That's 4 GOP districts, 7 Dems, and two split. The split Texas districts, with two incumbents, are the babies of the Republican redistricting.

    For Dr. Cook's explanation, always worth the read, visit his site.

    [Hat tip to Taegan Goddard.]

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    Daley on Kerry's cycling comment


    After the President suffered a bicycle mishap, JF Kerry was heard to guffaw:
    Did the training wheels fall off?
    Ha, ha, ha, good one, JF. We've mentioned in a post yesterday Mr. Kerry's mirthfulness on this occasion, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley did not appreciate the joke:
    Daley, who ripped the skin off his kneecap during a bicycle accident a few years ago, said the joke was disrespectful. "When someone falls . . . you should not wish ill upon anyone. It's not right. . . . You just don't do that. Let's have some respect for one another."

    To Daley, Kerry's remark symbolized a hate-filled brand of politics the mayor has long despised.

    "The thing I worry about in politics is all of these people hating one another [saying], 'I hate Kerry', 'I hate Bush.' I wish the former presidents -- Carter and Ford and Clinton and Bush -- would all get up and tell people, 'You may support candidates, but don't hate the other candidate.'

    "You see too much hate. And I'll tell you one thing -- hate will turn on people. . . . When hate gets in politics, it's a very, very dangerous aspect."
    They hate the President, Mr. Mayor. It's kind of difficult for one to feel any particular emotion about candidate JF Kerry.

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    Democrats Campaigning


  • First we have South Dakota's Senator Tim Johnson, at a get-out-the-vote rally in Sioux falls for Stephanie Herseth in her special Congressional election race against Republican Larry Diedrich, uttered the following:
    "And how sweet it's going to be on June 2 when the Taliban wing of the Republican Party finds out what's happened in South Dakota," Johnson said at the Sunday event.
    Johnson apologized, but Diedrich capitalized:
    "To have someone of Sen. Tim Johnson's stature talking about my supporters as being terrorists is somewhat flabbergasting."
    But this gives me an opportunity to post a new photo of Miss Herseth, and not because I'd consider voting for her:





  • Then there is Al Gore. He has lost it; to wit:
    Raising his voice to a yell in a speech at New York University, Gore said: "How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace! How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison!"

    The Democratic former vice president said the situation in Iraq is spinning out of control.

    "I am calling today for Republicans as well as Democrats to join me in asking for the immediate resignations of those immediately below George Bush and Dick Cheney, who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe we are facing in Iraq," Gore said, drawing strong applause from the partisan crowd.

    "Donald Rumsfeld ought to resign immediately!" Gore bellowed. "Our nation is at risk every single day Rumsfeld remains as secretary of defense. We need someone with good judgment and common sense."
    It is surprising that Mr. Gore could hysterically shriek the terms "good judgment" and "common sense" in his state.


  • Are these examples of hatred, poor judgment, stupidity, or an odd brew of the three? This most certainly does not sound like a party confident that it could soon control all three branches of government, as the press have portrayed the alleged swagger.

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    Ashcroft, Mueller, Shake Trees, Connect Dots


    The message from Ashocroft and Mueller was that information and intelligence is being shared interagency -- FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, local law enforcement -- to detect and deter possible threats. The trees are being shaken, the dots are being connected, and they, Ashcroft said, they "adjust our behavior" to meet new circumstances. This is a global effort, the said.

    There are seven suspects being sought. The face of al Qaeda "may be changing," they said, as it is a adapting organization; this time, we've been assured, so are the U.S. government agencies. BOLOs (Be on the Look Out) have been issued for each.

    Their thesis is that al Qaeda has said that they wanted to "hit the U.S. hard." They were "prepared to attack" the United States. Another statement said that they were "90% ready" to attack.

    The threat level has not been raised, as there are no specifics. The government seems to be operating as planned, again: shaking trees, sharing information, connecting dots.

    Ashcroft said it is not his job to play politics, "to worry about who is second-guessing"; his job is to protect the American people.

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    New York Times: "Chalabi did it!"


    Besides that of being a spy for Iran, former Iraqi expat Ahmed Chalabi is accused of passing on bogus info to the United States at the behest of the mullahs running Iran.

    The New York Times, which has had longstanding trouble with the truth, now blames its "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. [See From the Editors: the Times and Iraq.] In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged" on none other than "Ahmad Chalabi, [who] has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles."

    Not to attack the times. As they point out, Chalabi was also "a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week." The use of the term "hardliners" indicates a bit of testy defensiveness on the part of the paper.

    They document the mistakes they are willing to admit at this early date and conclude:
    We consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business. And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight.
    In the section listing the misinformation spread by the paper, they blame Administration officials who "[held] forth at length on why this [false] evidence of Iraq's nuclear intentions demanded that Saddam Hussein be dislodged from power."

    The New York Times and the Bush Administration were duped, but the Bush Administration at least did not base their case solely on information taken from Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress.

    The media has recently been canonized in some ignorant circles as the savior of the republic, especially in regards to the Abu Ghraib bit. As I have said in the past, and I know of no better way to say it: the Media as watchdog is absolute s***.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More Chalabi news in a bit.

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    Credible Evidence/Nothing Specific


    Our Terror Alert color is changing yet, but Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge had a date with the morning shows, including Fox & Friends:
    Ridge told Fox News a "couple" of the reports were "deemed credible that Al Qaeda would like to attack." And he said the threat "is one we take very seriously" although he offered no specific information offered about it.
    They have to successfully attack the United States to be able to continue to tell people that they are the Army of Allah, able to strike at will to the heart of the enemy, etc.

    Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller are scheduled to hold a press conference at 2p ET concerning this.

    We're connecting the dots, and we didn't need a 9-11 Commission Brethren report to do it.

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    The Message on Wictory Wednesday


    The President has articulated and will continue to talk about our strategy in Iraq, but the opposition will attack for the sake of attacking.

    Let's help the message be spoken loudly.

    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 PoliPundit and the entire cast of Wictory Wednesday bloggers (page down to #3).

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    PRE-FACE


    Good morning.

  • Ah, the press! Well, Carolyn Lockhead of the San Francisco Chronicle Washington bureau writes of war enthusiasts, particularly from "the neoconservative intellectual ranks," expressing open alarm" after the President's Monday speech. She quotes a few souls at Norm Ornstein's American Enterprise Institute, quite probably out of context.

    She talked to Wall Street Journal contributing editor Mark Helprin, who whined about the horrors of Abu Ghraib, "a symbol of the inescapable fact that the war has been run incompetently, with an apparently deliberate contempt for history, strategy, and thought." Things aren't being done in per se the way they were in the past, the manner is new like the type of war, so there is contempt for that which does not apply? And for old methods of "thought"? IT could be adaptation.

    Anyway, she also quotes Representative Tom Lantos (D-California) and Peter Singer of the Brookings Institute as proof of conservative disgruntlement.

    This is news. Straight news.



  • If we run with the Chronicle piece and extrapolate through an article by Adam Nagourney and Richard W. Stevenson in the New York Times, the neoconservatives are also put off by JF Kerry's war policy, which they hold that the President is adopting.

    In fact, they the Dem candidate with "a detailed speech Mr. Kerry gave on Iraq's future one month ago."
    Mr. Bush's gradual shift away from what many Democrats have long denounced as a go-it-alone stance is an adjustment to the surge in violence in Iraq, as well as the deterioration of domestic support for the occupation in the wake of the prison abuse scandal.
    Last September, the President went before the United Nations and reiterated that the United Nations risked irrelevance if they did not get onboard. They did not, but the President has been forced to exhort the U.N. for cooperation.

    It could be argued that he is "giving the U.N. another chance," but how many would he realistically give them? He's found a niche into which the U.N. fits, and his strategy has changed in that respect.


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    5/25/2004

     

    AFTER-WORD


    I'm listening to a Brazilian composer named Heitor Villa-Lobos. He's no Dvorák, but I guess it's not for me to say.

  • I wanted JF Kerry to badmouth the President's speech, but he didn't. Really. Here is the text of his statement:
    "The President laid out general principles tonight, most of which we've heard before. What's most important now is to turn these words into action by offering presidential leadership to the nation and to the world. That's going to require the President to genuinely reach out to our allies so the United States doesn't have to continue to go it alone and to create the stability necessary to allow the people of Iraq to move forward. That's what our troops deserve, and that's what our country and the world need at this moment."
    A popular theme in the press today was that the President did not explain how he was changing the direction of our policy in Iraq, with the assumption being that "the Bush policy has failed." Candidate JF did not go even that far.

    He admonished the President to do what he said he was going to do (Step #4): reach out to our allies.

    His statement was a mistake for his campaign, but that doesn't matter. He has until election day to nuance it and change his mind.



  • Mogtada al Sadr, the portly Iraq peudo-cleric who wanted to be a contender, has been defeated soundly in Karbala. The city is firmly under control of the Iraqi security forces, and the U.S. is military plans reconstruction.

    Very little is spoken of this in the media, relative to its import. Remember when al Sadr was the big, bad problem who was throwing plans off kilter, who was living proof that the "Bush strategy" didn't work.

    The US Army handled this one perfectly. Put it in the playbook and let the recruits learn from what happened.
    ''We want to do something visible so they can see that things are changing,'' said Lt. Col. John Kem, the commander of the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division. Kem said that their intention is to pump some money into the local economy by providing work on the repairs and the reconstruction projects, worth some $400,000. The plan is to get local contractors who would start working on rebuilding schools, water pumps, hospitals and sewer systems in this city of 600,000 inhabitants.
    Progress. And the best the opposition has is that this is a pipe-dream, it will never work? The Iraqis want it to work, the American forces want it to work, the Bush Administration and all associated with it want it to work I want it to work. You want it to work.

    JF Kerry cannot afford to have it work.


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    Kerry to flip-flop on Patriot


    Eric Lindhom quotes from an American Prowler piece regarding JF Kerry's upcoming manifestation of splungehood:
    According to a campaign source, the speech is also intended to further muddy Kerry's position on the USA PATRIOT Act. For months, Kerry has claimed he opposed the PATRIOT Act in all forms. But after polling revealed that most Americans support the act, Kerry has since been attempting to align himself with the law, now claiming that as president he would make only "minor" adjustments to it.
    It could also be the audience. When he is playing to the driven core of liberal primary voters in his party, it is necessary to oppose USA Patriot. When it looks like Howard Dean has the message which is resonating, it's important to follow his lead and oppose the act.

    When he is chasing "Republicans disaffected by Bush," as he is fond of professing, he ought to favor the Act.

    For Kerry, it's a matter of "nuance."

    tick… tick… tick… tick…

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    Military Strategy Described as Children's Game


    From a Los Angeles Times story regarding General Ricardo Sanchez's planned transfer out of Iraq:
    In a high-impact game of musical chairs, the Defense Department is planning to replace the top ground commander in Iraq, the head of the U.S. Southern Command and the Army's vice chief of staff.

    With President Bush insisting in a speech Monday that the military strategy for Iraq is sound, a planned shuffling of generals would instead reshuffle the commanders executing that strategy.
    The analysis is bad. If President Bush said that strategy was sound, which he did, then the adverb "instead" does not belong in the sentence.

    Stating that this movement is merely a game, the paper is broadcasting a sloppy assumption.

    Rhetorical question: Should we expect better from one of the nation's major newspapers?

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    It was Sarin


    Comprehensive tests have determined what preliminary tests had previously indicated: it was Sarin gas in that bomb by the road in Baghdad. The bomb, the tests indicated, was manufactured from an artillery shell designed to disperse Sarin in a massively destructive manner on a battlefield.

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    "The Fightin' Side of Me"


    The latest from columnist Judson Cox, The Fightin' Side of Me, is live on the Rightsided Newsletter web site.

    He opens:
    In 1969 Merle Haggard wrote one of the most memorable songs of his brilliant career, "Okie From Muskogee". It was a time of chaos in America. Our brave young men were fighting and dying in the battle against Communist expansion, while communists in America were waging war on the home front.
    He quotes another Haggard tune and radio talker Michael Savage in the balance of his piece which looks at the "enemy within."

    Read the rest HERE

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